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As It Was: Researchers Create Precursor of Genealogical Society in 1964

A meeting of genealogical researchers in 1964 in Gold Hill, Ore., led to the birth of the Progenitors Forum of Southern Oregon, precursor of the present-day Rogue Valley Genealogical Society.

The Society has hundreds of members and owns a 5,000-square-foot library and research facility in Phoenix, Ore., that houses the largest collection of genealogical books and resources in Southern Oregon. 

The group has progressed since its then-librarian, Ora Strom, stored the Society’s full collection in a box under her bed from 1969 to 1970.  By the time the Society moved the collection to its library building in Phoenix in 2011, it had more than 500 members and 20,000 research items. 

The library has online computer access, offers seminars on historical and genealogical information, teaches beginning and expert genealogy classes, and publishes a newsletter.  It also issues Rogue Valley Pioneer and Early Settler Certificates to document local family histories and to recognize the accomplishments of early Southern Oregon residents, many of whom arrived in the Oregon Territory before 1865.

The Society offers public access to its research facility and materials.

Source: Rogue Valley Genealogical Society, 26 Apr. 2018, www.rvgsociety.org/. Accessed 1 May 2018.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.