About

About WGS

The Wilkes Genealogical Society, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization chartered in 1967 by a small group of individuals and later incorporated in 1974. The Society is totally non-profit and fully run by volunteers. The Society is a labor of love and no one gets paid for the research they provide. The intent is to preserve the family histories of Wilkes County. The Society is responsible for publishing a wide range of Wilkes County related genealogical materials and continues to collect and provide citizens with genealogical materials for family research endeavors. These materials are housed in the Wilkes County Public Library.

The Past Meets the Future

In 2016, The Green Valley News Sun wrote Genealogy Today: Genealogy societies — dying or thriving? This pretty much covers the plight of all genealogical societies. With the advent of the internet and the changes in publishing over the years, some genealogical societies have died, while others have moved forward and thrived. The WGS consensus has always been they would rather thrive and not go by the way of the dinosaur.

When WGS began, the bulletins were physically assembled by hand, sent to a printer, and then mailed out through the post office. As technology changed and volunteers decreased, mailing out the bulletins in this way became labor intensive and costly. The cost of membership barely covered the cost of research and publication.

In 2016, the Society started producing e-Bulletins. The membership received these bulletins via email. Due to size constraints and email address changes, this would cause many bulletins to bounce back and be undelivered. Some bulletins also end up in people’s spam email folders, and members complain that they did not receive the bulletin. It takes a considerable amount of time to track down members and get their bulletins to them. The society is simultaneously creating hard copy bulletins and sending them out, mostly to other libraries and genealogical societies. This production basically fell on the shoulders of 2-3 volunteers. The WGS society fell behind in putting out their publications, and then COVID hit, which put them further behind.

WGS came to the realization that a better delivery system was essential to keep its head above water. The purpose of this website is to assist WGS in catching up, thriving, and keeping the flame alive. The WGS bulletins and other publications will be centralized. This will allow the membership to read and download the bulletins at their conveinence. Using this method is both more efficient and cost-effective than emailing and making physical copies and mailing them through the post office.

With change comes resistance. WGS realized when it began moving forward with digitization and using the internet for delivery that some people would be resistant to change. Change can be hard for some. To put it all in context, the originators of WGS ventured out into the brave new world of publishing family history research. They used the technology they had in their day. The current WGS board has decided to move forward with new technologies to keep the flame burning.

Folks have asked if WGS is putting its materials behind a paywall. To offset the costs of production and physical mail, the bulletins were always behind a paywall with an inexpensive membership subscription. The bulletins were later housed in the genealogy room, where the general public has free access to look at them and make paid copies if they want. There has been no change in this regard. Books and other publications have never been free. For the small fee the Society charges for membership, they are not getting rich. The society has been able to navigate the changing technological landscape thanks to our wonderful members, donors, and volunteers.

WGS will continue to strive to produce quality family history research related to ‘The Original Wilkes County’ and maintain low membership dues. Members will be able to pay their dues and donate more easily through this website. Therefore, WGS can carry on with their mission.

Mission

Our primary objective is to acquire, preserve, promote, and support genealogical research. We do this by collecting and preserving local records, maintaining a genealogical reference collection, and serving an active membership of people across the world who have roots in or are interested in our North-Western North Carolina genealogy.

Meetings

Meetings of the Society are typically the fourth Tuesday of each month except for December. Please check our events schedule.

A business meeting is held at the Wilkes County Public Library, 215 10th St., North Wilkesboro, NC, in the Genealogy Research Room at 5:30 p.m. Research assistance is provided before and after each meeting, as time permits. Meetings may be modified to accommodate special speakers at times. For more information, click on the ‘Events’ link at the top of the page.

Membership

We offer a membership with different levels that can be paid for online. Click on the join button below.

If you want to pay by check, you can access our payment portal by clicking on the join button below and then select that payment option during checkout. Your account will remain on hold until we receive your check. Send your check to:

WGS

PO Box 1629

North Wilkesboro, NC 28659.

The Wilkes County Genealogical Society Bulletin

Our goal is to publish The Wilkes Genealogical Society Bulletin 4 times a year.  Members will be able to access all of our bulletins through this site.

Book donations and other data

We gladly accept accept books, periodicals, and any digital data that you want to share as donations. We may place some of this material in our bulletins and it will be made available the public and stored in the Genealogy Reading Room. If you have such material, please contact us by clicking on the ‘contact’ link above or stop by the library.

Queries

Genealogical queries are encouraged. Upon logging in, you will be able to see the form for queries on your member page. You have the option to contact us via email via the contact link at the top of this page.

The likelihood of other researchers responding to information exchange is greatly decreased by providing only surnames. Include as much detail as you can for your name searches to increase your chances of getting in touch with other researchers. Examples: family surnames plus birth/death dates or time frame of the search, given names of main family members, etc.

You may also want to join our Facebook group and post your query there.

The Society cannot guarantee that the contributions published in its bulletins are accurate. If any errors are detected in the genealogical data found in our bulletins, please send us any corrections and the source of your corrections via email on the contact page. Any typographical, spelling, indexing, or format inconsistencies and errors not explained at the beginning of an article are purely the fault of the editor for which pardon is begged.

Now A Word From Our Originators

The originators of the WGS are the ones who can best explain their motives for starting the organization. Below is the very first May 1967 WGS Bulletin.

This is just a glimpse of what you’ll receive when you become a member. Once you become a member, you will be able to access all the WGS Bulletins online.