Seales takes great care of history

BY PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

The Shelby County Historical Society sponsored the county’s 193rd birthday celebration and honored newly elected Governor Robert Bentley, native son of Columbiana.

The guest list was a Who’s Who of Shelby County: elected officials and dignitaries, family and friends of the governor and the honored guests of the day, Gov. Bentley and wife Diane.

The celebration was the result of the detailed planning of many persons, but especially a man whose passion is preserving the history of Shelby County — Bobby Joe Seales.

Seales’ roots run deep into our county. He is a descendent of Revolutionary War soldier David Lindsay (1750-1835) and Enoch and Mary Seale, pioneer settlers in the early 1800s.

A life-long resident of Alabaster, Seale is married to Diane Brandenburg, and they have two married sons, two granddaughters and one grandchild due in May.

His wife has been completely supportive of his historical work over the years.

Seales’ love of genealogy came early in life. In April 1970 he wrote a book on his mother’s family history.

He is a member of many genealogical societies including: National Society, Sons on the American Revolution, first president of the Cahaba-Coosa Chapter in Shelby County, and treasurer of the Alabama State Society. He is the Shelby County AL GenWeb Host which he has maintained from his home since 1992.

Bobby Joe and Diane Seales at Shelby County’s 193rd birthday celebration. (Contributed)

He is a graduate of Leadership Shelby County, Class of 2004, past president of Shelby County Tourism and Hospitality Assoc., and the Shelby County Rep. to the Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance.

For the last 12 years ,Seales has been president of the historical society and has been instrumental in preserving Shelby County’s history.

He has computerized the county’s archives, among which include census records dating to 1790, courthouse records, marriage certificates and newspapers. He has overseen the restoration of the Shelby County Museum and Archives, built in 1854, which is on the National and Alabama Register of Historical Places.
Its displays extend from the Indian era to WWII.

Seales’ brick fundraising program for the museum was hugely successful. With matching grants, computers, display cases, sound, video and closed-circuit systems were bought to enhance the museum.

Under his tutelage, membership has increased to be the largest historical society in Alabama and is known throughout the Southeast. He has documented all Shelby County Cemeteries and established a certificate program for early Shelby County citizens.

Bobby Joe Seales’ passion for preserving Shelby County’s history celebrates our past and prepares us for our future.
Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by e-mail at phoeberobinson@bellsouth.net.

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

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