Historic tourism has become a priority for cities and states across the country. When these visitors come to visit Fort Dobbs, Vance House, Sharpe House, or other sites, they usually stay at local hotels, eat and shop at local businesses, and purchase gasoline. Many scholars come to the Iredell County Public Library. We keep a log in the local history room of the library here in Statesville. People can log in and leave their contact details as well as the names of the families they work with.
Every now and then we go back and make an index of those who have been here by ordering them in order of importance according to the last name they are working on. Customers can then watch and see who has been here looking for a particular family. Visitors do not have to register, but most of them are happy to leave their information in the hope that other researchers working on the same family will contact them and offer to exchange information.
Recently, I scanned the notebook to gather information on people who were visiting the library for a grant we were applying for. From January 2010 to September 2021, we received 633 visits from researchers from 38 other states. We had 92 visitors from Texas. We also received 12 visits from researchers from six other countries: Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
From 2003 to September 2021, we received visitors from 45 other states and received letters requesting research assistance from two more. A large number of research requests come from letters, emails and phone calls. I have a letter requesting information from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, Calif., Right now. In addition to the six countries already mentioned, we also had visitors and contacts from Australia, Holland, Japan and Puerto Rico.