Genealogical collection donated to Perry Memorial

May. 13, 2013 @ 04:17 PM

The local history and genealogical collection of Perry Memorial Library will be enriched by a gift of more than 100 books and microfilm reels received recently from the Mary Leigh Dean Boisseau Genealogical Collection.

A resident of Danville, Va., Boisseau (1935-2012) was a teacher and genealogist. She taught for 33 years at the public school and community college levels in Virginia.

Henderson City Manager Ray Griffin represented the Boisseau family in presenting the materials to the library. Boisseau had appointed him curator of the materials with instructions about how they should be disposed.

It was her wish that a portion of her extensive collection be distributed to libraries in North Carolina and Virginia to promote the study of local history and genealogy, he said.

“She wanted her materials to be used,” Griffin said.

Many of the materials were donated to rural libraries in North Carolina and Virginia, Griffin said. Her research files were given to the Virginia Historical Society.

Mark Pace, local history room specialist at Perry Memorial, assisted in selecting materials for the local library.

“I’m really light on material related to Virginia,” he said. “About 70 percent of the material deals with Virginia. There also is some North Carolina material.”

He said many people in North Carolina have roots in Virginia.

“Prior to the Civil War, about 90 percent of North Carolinians came from Virginia, especially southside Virginia,” Pace said.

Pace said Boisseau was well known among genealogists.

“She had quite a reputation,” Pace said. “If you were doing genealogical research, you knew who she was.”

Books on genealogy and history and abstracts of deeds, marriages and other legal documents are among the donated items.

“Many people in Vance County do research on southside Virginia,” Griffin said. “This will be a good research tool.”

Perry Library Director Jay Stephens expressed his appreciation for the gifts.

“They will be a valuable addition to our genealogy and history collection,” he said.


Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.