NORMAN — Twenty-three years ago, on July 15, 1990, the Cleveland County Genealogical Society members moved into a storefront on north Flood Avenue. Now with a collection full to the brim, the Genealogical Society celebrated its 23rd anniversary and welcomed the community to explore its collection and archives in an open house on Sunday.
Agnes McVeigh Brooks served as the library’s first director, and over the years the library has changed locations. Currently at 1119 E. Main St., the library houses almost 5,000 books and publications containing information about Cleveland County, various other Oklahoma counties, the Twin Territories, the State of Oklahoma and Native American tribes.
Mary Lewis, CCGS board member who has been with the library 10 years, explained that the library was built from donations from Genealogical Society members and the community and that the collection has become so large, the board can be selective as to what it puts on the shelves.
“We started with boxes on wooden shelves,” Lewis said. “It’s exciting we can be so selective now. We’ve come a long way.”
Lewis said that a majority of the board members do not have family in Cleveland County, but that the Genealogical Society is important to them because they are helping community members.
“We’re paying it forward to those in search of their history and family members from Cleveland County,” Lewis said. “It’s important because the county records are where you go when you’re hunting for information. They contain the little details of our lives.”
Recalling one of the her most memorable moments while working for the Genealogical Society, Lewis spoke of a man who walked to the library to find out information about his Native American ancestors.
“He found out his relatives were on a list of Cherokee freedmen. All because of our records here,” Lewis said. “When someone finds what they’re looking for, it’s as big a thrill for us as it is for them.”
To learn more about the Cleveland County Genealogical Society Library and Archives, visit rootsweb .com/okccogs, call 701-2100 or email email@example.com.