Hi neighbors. There is some good news if you are a history buff or genealogist. The two-volume set "Nevada & Vernon County Heritage 1855-2005 Pass It On!" family history book has been marked down to $75 for the set.
The original price was $100 a set; but with several books left to sell, the Vernon County Historical Society wants to get them out to the reading public. You can pick up a set at the Bushwhacker Museum, or write to them at Bushwhacker Museum, 212 W. Walnut, Nevada, MO 64772. If you have them mailed to you instead of picking them up, you will have to pay postage.
There are more than 850 pages total with 550 pages of family histories. You may have been one of the local families that wrote and contributed your family's history for the books!
Many families wrote their stories for the book, and each family listed those their family had "married up with" which brings the total number of families represented in the books to many more than just those listed by family surname.
There is a military section as well, featuring men and women from Vernon County who served in a seemingly endless array of wars. These tributes to veterans in uniform make up an entire section of the set.
Along with families' stories, there are histories of Vernon County towns, churches, businesses, clubs, military involvement, organizations, schools, cemeteries and agriculture.
I remember well the months several of us donated to this worthy cause. My own involvement was minimal compared to several local volunteers, genealogists and historians.
First, people had to be convinced their family story was worth the telling! I've often wondered how many people found that original spark of desire kindled into a burning interest to know their ancestors when they sat down to consider writing about their family.
The stories had to be gathered. Many had to be retyped. We offered to type up stories for people who couldn't type.
Some stories came to us literally in pieces; a photo or two with a couple of sheets of scribbled notes that were not always in chronological order. Ah, but such stories!
If you have ever driven past a large old hotel or homestead or barn or any other structure and wondered how it came to be, and for what purpose it was used; you should definitely read these two books!
One person wrote about her childhood growing up in a family-run hotel. Another wrote about tending the family store, working at the family business, or traveling with their parents to sell things.
Besides the stories, there were a lot of photos! These had to be identified on the back so they could be returned to their owners. Submitters were encouraged to keep their originals and turn in only good copies. Some of the photos were very old.
The paste up came next, getting all the stories in order in book format.
Then proof-reading was done several times.
An index was created.
The title and the cover format took some time (and discussion) to come up with as well.
Finally all was done and we were all very pleased with the results of all those weeks of work.
The books are quite handsome and durable and can stand a lot of page turning.
The best part, in my opinion, is that as you read the stories of various families and their roles in creating and participating in Vernon County's history and future, you can't help but notice the connections of these people to each other and to the county as well.
If you take time to pick up a copy, even to just glance through it, you'll find it hard to put down. You will be amazed at how many people in the book you know at least a little -- and how many new things you'll discover about people you thought you knew well.
If you missed the opportunity to have your family history in these two volumes, it may be several years before another such occasion presents itself. At least all of us who served on this book's committee have vowed we will "never do it again!"
Until the next time, remember, even if you don't want to do a stint on a history book committee, you can still get started on writing your own family history. I'm sure you'll find just the right spot to slip it into one book of this set.