As the McDonough County Genealogical Society celebrates its 31st year, the group is opening its doors to the public to show the available research capabilities.
On Saturday, March 27, the society will host an open house at its offices, in the back of the Western Illinois Museum at 201 S. Lafayette St. The event runs from noon to 3 p.m.
“We want to show what we do and who we are,” said society President Marla Vizdal, who is retired from the Archives at Western Illinois University.
The non-profit society’s research collection focuses on McDonough and surrounding counties. A variety of search tools are available, including donated research from past members.
The society’s website; www.macomb. com/mcgs/ also offers a searchable surname index.
“There is no charge to come in,” Vizdal said of the society’s offices and search tools.
While the McDonough County Genealogical Society depends on donations and membership dues, it also charges a fee to perform searches for people.
“We get requests from all over,” Vizdal said. “The world of genealogy has really opened up with the Internet.”
Dick Jackson is the society’s main researcher and is currently training three new researchers to help with the requests.
The office and research center are run by volunteers and is open on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition, the society holds meetings on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting is Monday at 7 p.m., when Bridget Napolitano will speak about the “Argyle-Atkinson Cemetery.”
During the society’s open house, a drawing will be held for two one-year memberships, one for a current member and one for a non-member. Refreshments will also be served.
“We’ll have tours of our space and beginner charts of family trees,” Vizdal said.
Members of the MCGS have helped publish 65 volumes of McDonough County history.
Vizdal said work is also ongoing to catalog the society’s entire collection to allow better access to records.