Iron County Historical Society

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September 26, 2022 By: John Abney
Dead Fred Genealogy Photo Archive
I want to thank fellow Board member, Judie Huff, for continuing provide me with new links to free family research resources.  This week it's the link to the Dead Fred Genealogy Photo Archive.  According to the website, Dead Fred Genealogy Photo Archive, is a free, fun photo genealogy research web site devoted to helping you visualize your heritage!"  Here you can, "Trace your roots for free with our searchable database containing thousands of identified and mystery photos for genealogy enthusiasts looking for long-lost family. Anyone who finds a photo of a direct ancestor that is owned by the archive will receive the photo for free."
September 19, 2022 By: John Abney
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Company, established in 1867, compiled and published maps of United States cities and towns for the fire insurance industry to assess the risk of insuring a particular property. The maps are large scale plans of a city or town drawn at a scale of 50 feet to an inch, offering detailed information on the use made of commercial and industrial buildings, their size, shape and construction material. Some residential areas are also mapped. The maps show location of water mains, fire alarms and fire hydrants. They are color-coded to identify the structure (adobe, frame, brick, stone, iron) of each building.  These maps are a great resource for genealogists and historians alike.
The Digital Library of the University of Missouri maintains a collection of these maps for Missouri cities and towns and a link is provided here and on the Maps category on the Links & More tab.  Further the Library of Congress provides access to over 3.000 Sanborn Fire Insurance maps from across the country.  
September 19, 2022 By: John Abney
Contributed by Judie Huff:

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history and you want to build out your family tree, you are going to need records and resources. That’s exactly what the WorldCat website provides. is a free website that provides access through its card catalog to millions of materials from libraries around the world. You’ll find items such as:

  • United States Civil War and other military records
  • Family Bibles, church histories, and records
  • Publications such as directories, handbooks, and magazines
  • Birth, marriage, death, wills, and obituary indexes
  • Microfilmed genealogy and local history collections
  • Newspapers from around the world
  • Photographs
  • Town histories
  • probate records

It’s important to keep in mind that not all libraries participate in WorldCat, and they can participate at different levels. Therefore, you’ll find different amounts of information about these different repositories.

September 13, 2022 By: John Abney
More Book Indexes Added
Today, I added two new indexes to the Book Indexes tab.  These two are for the obituaries from the Mountain Echo Newspaper for the years 1946 and 1947.  Volunteers from the now defunct Iron County Genealogy Society transcribed all the obituaries for these years and put them in book form.  Obituaries are a great resource for family historians and genealogists alike.  Many contain additional clues beyond just a person's birth and death and immediate family members.  With the availability of the index, potential byers can see exactly what surnames had obituaries in the local newspaper that year.  I will let you know each time a new index is added, but this project is going to take some time to complete.  
September 5, 2022 By: John Abney
Free Family History Resources
I thought it was time to take a look again at some of the free on-line resources to help you either find your ancestors or to learn more about becoming a better family historian.  The folks at Family Tree Magazine ® have put together an article entitled “How to Find Your Ancestors for Free” which cover a variety of topics.   Legacy Family Tree ® also offers a number of free webinars each month.  Their offerings for September 2022 are listed here.   Note that the free viewing period for each webinar is limited and that you must register to attend.   I would also remind everyone to take a look at the Links & More tab at this website to see links to many other free resources available to assist you in your search.  Happy hunting everyone!
September 4, 2022 By: John Abney
Living History Saturday - September 24th

Like many of you, the destiny of my family has a direct link to the Battle of Pilot Knob and its aftermath.  A perfect way to learn more about that battle and the ensuing Union retreat to Leasburg is to attend the last Living History Saturday event of the year on Saturday, September 24, 2022.  A guided auto tour beginning at the Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site will follow that route.  More information on the event is contained in this link and you can call the Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site with any questions, to reserve your  spot on the tour, or to reserve a seat on one of the two 10 passenger vans that will provide for rides for those not wishing to drive their own cars.  Their phone number is (573) 546-3454
September 4, 2022 By: John Abney
Happy Labor Day!
August 25, 2022 By: John Abney
History of Iron Mining in Pilot Knob
Earlier this year, you may have attended one or both special presentations on the history of mining in southeast Missouri. There are still two more parts to go and Part 3 is scheduled for Tuesday evening, August 30th in Ironton.
Dr. Russell Myers, an economic geologist, who lives in Arcadia, will lead the presentation for Part 3. Part 3 of Dr. Myers’ presentation focuses on iron mining, particularly the mining activities at Pilot Knob. His research, including the use of Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) technology as well as current and historic photographs have yielded some staggering results that will help give modern day historians and mining enthusiasts a better understanding of the historic mining activities in the area.
The History of Mining Part 3 gets underway at 6 o’clock Tuesday evening, August 30th at the Ozark Regional Library in Ironton.  The Library asks those wanting to attend to sign up in advance by either visiting the library or calling them at (537) 546-2615.
Part four, the final presentation in this historical series, will be scheduled and announced later this year.
This is a modification to a post originally created at and later shared by  Thanks also to Judie Huff for sharing the post with me. The photo of 19th century iron mining on Pilot Knob Mountain is from the ICHS collection.
August 23, 2022 By: John Abney
August Update
I apologize, again, for the time in-between my posts.  Now that my 4 year-old granddaughter is back in school (pre-K) full time, I should have some more time to keep you better updated.  Today was her first day and it's the first day that I have had the opportunity to work on the website itself in quite some time.  If you look down the left side of the homepage, you will see a new tab below the "Bookstore" tab called "Book Indexes".  This tab is under construction, but if you click there right now, you will see that you can now see the full index from our latest book, "A Historical Snapshot of Iron County, Missouri 1857 - 2017".  One of our Board members, Judie Huff, suggested that having these indexes available will assist visitors to the website's bookstore, determine whether or not they would want to purchase a given book.  I wanted to tie the index to each individual entry inside the Bookstore, but the website's software doesn't allow that, so this was my solution.  Over the next few weeks and months we will be adding other books' indexes to this tab.  
Work continues on the Schools Album in the Our Collection tab.  All the photos are there, but I have now added the history for just over half the schools listed there.  I will update everyone again when that work is done.  These brief histories, however, don't hold a candle to their source, " Readin' 'Ritin and 'Rithmetic a History of Schools in Iron County, Missouri 1840 - 1981.  If you don't have a copy of that book you should add it to your list.
So, again, please bear with me and I will try and do more timely posts.
July 23, 2022 By: John Abney
So, Where Did July Go?
I hope you are keeping cool wherever you are, I believe the heat index temperature outside as I write this 106 degrees.  Here we are with just one week left in the month and  just don't know where all the time has gone.  The month started with the newsletter and about a week or so after the newsletter was printed, we got word that our new copier was finally going to arrive.  It's here now at the museum and, wow, welcome to the 21st century is all I have to say.  I can hardly wait until it's time to print our next newsletter.  This copier will print directly from the computer, a thumbdrive, or the old fashioned way.  It's more than twice as fast as the old copier and the cost per copy is actually a little bit less than the old copier.  The next big event was our July quarterly meeting and the program that I did on the Gay and Tetley families and their impact on the towns of Ironton and Farmington.  In case you haven't seen the program, you can click here to view it now.  The program is just under 25 minutes in length.  The highlight of that program for me was finally meeting and spending time with some of the members of the Gay and Tetley family that were so instrumental in the creation of that program.
As far as the website, I'm still plugging along adding some additional history to the individual schools contained in the Schools album of the Our Collection page.  While all the photos are now there, I've only completed about half the histories.  I continue to ask for your patience as competing priorites continue to eat away at my free time.  To all of our members, thank you for your continued support and to those non-members out there, we hope you will consider joining the historical society to help us to continue in the preserving and sharing of Iron County's rich history.  Please continue coming back for furure updates and if there is something in particular that you would like to see included on the website, drop me a line at and I will see what I can do.