Tishomingo County Historical and Genealogical Society

The Formation of the Tishomingo County
Historical & Genealogical Society

A local historical & research society had been a dream of founding president, Cindy Whirley Nelson (and probably some of you reading this) since she began researching in 1987. Following the overnight (unannounced) destruction of the old Iuka Depot, Nelson became fixated with the restoration of the Old Tishomingo County Courthouse.

While sitting at her office one morning, she made the decision to see if others in Tishomingo County had the same interest. She hurriedly drafted a meeting announcement to meet the 12 p.m. weekly newspaper ad deadline. Cindy explains that she was on "pins & needles" until the meeting day rolled around! The response, both by phone and at the formation meeting, was phenomenal!

Twelve people met at the Iuka Public Library on March 4, 1996, to organize a genealogical society. Present for the meeting were: Cindy Nelson, Eddie Carson, Brenda Whitfield, Hassell Holder, Betty Marlar, C. L. Browning, Martha Browning, Jan Anglin, Deborah Grisham, Mildred Aday, ?? (this person did not sign the register) and Marquita Greenaway.

Each person shared a genuine interest in establishing a Society. Each person was given a questionnaire asking for input and suggestions concerning the operation of such a Society. The scope of the Society was the first decision to be made. Should this organization serve as both a genealogical and historical society? It was agreed that our focus should be both historical & genealogical. Thus the name Tishomingo County Historical & Genealogical Society was adopted.

A meeting place was discussed and it was agreed that a historical dwelling would best suit the mind frame of this new organization. A suggestion was made to pursue the use of the Old Tishomingo County Courthouse. Cindy Nelson accepted the task of acquiring this locale.

Cindy voiced to the group her desire for publication of an up-to-date Cemetery Book and a first ever History of Tishomingo County Families. She also encouraged the group to consider the possibility of starting a Society research library if they could obtain a dwelling.

A steering committee was called for by Nelson to assist in organizing the start-up activities. This committee, comprised of four people, met once per week over a four-week period to plan the overall goals of the Society.

Nelson immediately made arrangements to rent a room in the old Tishomingo County Courthouse where she and others donated personal genealogical books and records to begin a Society research library.

Members volunteered their time at the courthouse research library inventorying the items being collected and assisting others with research. A green thumb community worker was hired and the Society operated from the courthouse until 2000, when they moved their belongings to the Iuka Public Library genealogy department due to poor conditions at the present location. Nelson did not lose sight of her goal to someday be able to provide a county archives and history facility at the old courthouse, and in 2003, eight years later, transferred the holdings of the Society back to the old Tishomingo County Courthouse and opened the Tishomingo County Archives & History Museum.

The success of the archives and history museum would not be possible without the dedication and commitment of volunteers such as Betty Marlar (charter member), Cindy Nelson (charter member), Janice Switcher (member), Helah Wilson (member), and RaNae Vaughn (member), who work tirelessly in making the day-to-day functions of the Society a success. Drop in to see us soon!


The Tishomingo County Historical & Genealogical Society was established in and chartered as a non-profit organization by the State of Mississippi. Membership in the Society is open to any person or organization. Any person, family, or organization interested in the purposes of the Society shall be eligible for membership.


203 East Quitman Street | Iuka, Mississippi 38852 | (662) 423-3500 | E-mail
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