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LAFAYETTE COUNTY HISTORICAL

AND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY

Are you ready to begin your research about Lafayette County history or your family’s genealogy roots here? We’re ready to help! We’ve got a great collection of historical and genealogy material that started when the Lafayette County Historical and Genealogical Society was founded in 1967 as the Skipwith Society. We’ve grown over the years since then and now offer our volunteer help online or in person in the Genealogy Room we maintain at the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library at 401 Bramlett Blvd. in Oxford, Mississippi. 

Check the NEWS tab above to see more details for our next meeting and to see summaries of past meetings.

The Lafayette County Historical and Genealogical Society, first called the Skipwith Society, began in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1967. The name was changed in 2010. The Society has been recognized for several awards and grants for its pioneering research into Lafayette County History and families. Initially, the Society met in the Mary Buie Museum on the University of Mississippi campus, named for Mary Skipwith Buie. Mrs. Buie had left Oxford and was an artist and designer for Marshall Field’s in Chicago. Her sister, Kate Skipwith, supervised the construction of the museum, which was originally given to the City of Oxford. The city then passed the museum to the University of Mississippi, which now operates it and which added another building to it, and named the buildings the Kate Skipwith Teaching Museum.

Next, the Society had space in the historic Lafayette County courthouse in the center of the square in Oxford.

“But above all, the courthouse: the center, the focus, the hub; sitting looming in the center of the county’s circumference like a single cloud in its ring of horizon, laying its vast shadow to the uttermost rim of horizon; musing, brooding, symbolic and ponderable, tall as cloud, solid as rock, dominating all: protector of the weak, judiciate and curb of the passions and lusts, repository and guardian of the aspirations and hopes.”
                              – William Faulkner, Requiem For a Nun

With our expanding collection, the Society then moved to the first floor of the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library. Continuing to grow, We then moved to our current location on the second floor of the library in a room titled the Kerin Coffey Magdovitz Genealogy and History Research Room. Most people call it the Genealogy Room.

The Board of Aldermen and the Mayor of Oxford along with the citzens of Oxford and the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors have been, and continue to be, supportive of the Society and our programs. We have received several donations from businesses and civic groups in Oxford. We also recognize the staff of the Oxford Public library for their daily efforts on our behalf. Our thanks to all of these groups for their continued support.

We also appreciate our volunteers who continue the work of those who established the Society and shaped its early years. Mr. Walker Coffey was a major contributor and leader for the Society. Another of our long-time volunteers, Dr. Wil St. Amand, greeted visitors for years in our Genealogy Room. Patricia Young worked countless hours on developing some of our publications. And Maxine Karr kept up with our finances as treasurer. We are proud to follow them and their leading by example.

In 2023, the Oxford-Lafayette County Heritage Foundation joined with the Society to enhance our collection by adding the Lafayette County Digital Museum.  The Museum has a wonderful collection of old pictures, videos, documents and maps online.  This includes a powerful mapping system in which you can overlay maps as far back as the Chickasaw Session onto current-day maps to find locations for places, people and events.  

The Foundation was organized in 1996, and has been responsible for several historic preservation efforts locally. It is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization that operates from donations and grants, using volunteer staff to collect, digitize, analyze, preserve and display items of significance to the people, past and present, of Lafayette County.

Since its inception, the Foundation has acquired and led the restoration of several historic local properties, including the L.Q.C. Lamar House and the Burns Church. We worked with the prior owners of both the Burns Church and the Lamar House, accessed grant funding, collaborated with stakeholders and coordinated construction phases for each historic site. Once they were completed, we donated the properties to the City of Oxford to enable public use and provide for the sites’ perpetual maintenance.