History/Genealogy Society expanding

Published 9:19 am Friday, June 29, 2012

The Decatur County Historical and Genealogical Society is looking for some “new blood.”

A committee, comprised of chairman Jim Gisondi, Linda Gisondi, Shirley Fleming, Clayton Penhallegon and Anne Reynolds, held an initial meeting this week at the new museum to look at several strategies for increasing membership.

The society’s purpose is to continue the preservation of the records and historical artifacts of Decatur County.

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The Gisondis, though relative newcomers to the county, feel that Bainbridge and Decatur County have a fascinating history. They moved here in 2008 from Enon, Ohio, where they were members and officers of an historical society for over 20 years. One of the first questions they asked when researching the Bainbridge area as a potential place to live was, “Does Bainbridge/Decatur County have an historical society?” An item of interest to them is Bainbridge being the first “Inland Port” that accommodated river commerce all the way up from the Gulf of Mexico. They also enjoy reading the stories of the many strategic battles fought in the area, from the time of the Indian wars, through the American Revolution and Civil War.

Society leadership is working to expand their scope of services. Some recent accomplishments have been the new museum that opened in May on Broughton Street on the square. There is now a bi-monthly newsletter that goes out on e-mail and through the post office for those who do not have email. There is also a website (www.decogensoc.org) that offers information and items available for purchase, such as books and maps.

A new brochure is being developed for placement in strategic places around the community. The genealogical area is being expanded to provide more training and access for those wanting to learn, and share more of their family heritage. The society helped with the new Oak City cemetery tour recently conducted by the City of Bainbridge, by providing the chronicled history of the graves and staffing the event with volunteers.

The society holds quarterly dinner meetings and has a current membership of 125 people, many of whom have become inactive over the years. Jim Gisondi, says of the group, “Like all organizations, we are getting older and looking for new members to take an active role.”

They are also seeking fund raising ideas to involve the community and promote the new museum.

Museum hours, in addition to special events, are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.