STANARDSVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – A man in Greene County spent countless hours discovering his roots. Now he’s devoting that same time and energy to help others, especially those whose roots are tough to dig up.
“Genealogy is terminal. You do it until you die,” said Ron Mosher with a smile. “Because it’s so contagious.”
Mosher spends much of his time tucked behind a computer screen in a small room in the Greene County Historical Society, where he collects and reflects on many stories.
His own genealogy story begins when he developed upper back spinal problems.
“And to keep myself busy, I dove into my family tree,” he said.
Following his roots took him on a cross-country journey, which led him to self-publish a book and then eventually inspired him to learn other stories.
“This is my story,” he said with a hand on his book. “But it’s not Greene County’s. And the thing we really want is to tell Greene County’s story.”
For a few years, Mosher has volunteered in the Historical Ssociety as a genealogist with a clear job — “to go meet people.”
Beyond that, he wants to listen to them, trace their family trees, and help them tell their own stories. That’s how he met William Burley, a Black man who lives in Philadelphia but is from Greene County.
“William Burley was so excited about all that we found that they open an annual reunion at the firehouse in July every year, and I’ve been invited every year to go down there, set the table, and talk to different people.”
That connection inspired Mosher to continue his work with African American families from Greene County, wherever they are now. That’s something the Historical Society says is such an asset.
“If you don’t have the whole story, you don’t have the history,” said Jeanne Rexroad, the vice president of the Historical Society. “They are reluctant, I think, and I can’t say that I blame them. But I’m very glad for Ron because he has spearheaded the effort and won their confidence in so many cases with so many families.”
Mosher is now motivated to find more records so more families can tell their own stories.
“My goal is to get them to come to us and sit down for them to get involved in the Historical Society so we can get their point of view and not just my point of view,” Mosher said.
To reach out to the Greene County Historical Society Genealogy and Research team, click here.
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