Tishomingo Genealogy Fair to feature Franklin speaker
The Fifth Annual Old Tishomingo County Genealogy Fair is set for Aug. 18-19 – and a familiar local face will be a part of the festivities.
The yearly fair, which is sponsored by Alcorn County Genealogical Society, Prentiss County Genealogical Society, Tishomingo County Historical and Genealogical Society and the Mississippi Humanities Council, will be held just across the state line in Corinth, Miss., and will feature a number of guest speakers – among them, Franklin County Archives Director Chris Ozbirn.
Ozbirn said Tishomingo’s Gale Judkins reached out to her about speaking.
“You know me – I can’t say no,” Ozbirn said. “I love to tell about the archives. Every time I can go and get the word about us, I’ll always do that.”
In particular, Ozbirn said, Judkins was interested in her skill in grave dousing, which will be Ozbirn’s presentation topic Aug. 19 at 9 a.m.
“I can go to a cemetery and, as I’m walking through the cemetery, I can find unmarked graves. Once I find a grave, I walk and figure out the length of the grave. That tells me if it was an adult or a child. Then I can tell you if that is the grave of a male or female,” Ozbirn said. “I do that with a pair of metal coat hangers. I have done that technique from Mississippi to North Carolina, and I’ve never missed a grave.”
Ozbirn was introduced to the technique years ago by archives visitors from Texas. She tested it for herself in the local KP Cemetery and Old Town Cemetery – to great success.
“I don’t know how it works. I just know it works,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of skeptical people –“ but when they try it for themselves, Ozbirn said, the doubters become believers.
The two-day Genealogy Fair will begin Friday at 1 p.m. with a bus tour, leaving from Waldron Street Christian Church, 806 East Waldron Street. The tour will include multiple stops in historic downtown Corinth. Following the tour will be a speaker from the Interpretive Center to cap off Friday events. A Dutch treat dinner will round of the evening at Pizza Grocery.
Saturday events will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the church. Other speakers Saturday, in addition to Ozbirn, include Joyce Dixon-Lawson on researching African-American roots and Dr. Joan Mitchell on using DNA in genealogy research.
People are also invited to bring their family information to share.
To attend, individuals can fill out and mail in their registration, including the following information: full name, complete mailing address, email address, whether or not they will attend the bus tour and whether or not they would like to purchase a box lunch (Subway sandwich or chicken strip box, $8; attendees may instead choose to bring a lunch or visit a local restaurant during the lunch break.) Forms should be mailed to ACGS, P.O. Box 1808, Corinth, MS 38835.
Attendees may also choose to register online at www.avsia.com/acgs.
Ozbirn encouraged people to attend this special event.
“I’m really honored and proud I can go and represent Franklin county. That’s a way of making friends in our profession, and all of us working together makes it a whole lot better,” Ozbirn said. “You always need to meet and know other people – and of course, get the word out about the archives.
“Preserving history – that’s for everybody.”
The fair is free to attend.