Bobby Joe Seales honored at liberty day
By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist
Shelby County’s noted genealogist and historian Bobby Joe Seales was honored as the grand marshal of Columbiana’s 27th Liberty Day parade.
Seales is synonymous with Shelby County with his deep personal roots and vast historical knowledge.
Seales’ paternal great- grandfather was born on a wagon train while his family immigrated to Shelby County before our county was even a part of state. Many generations of Seales’ancestors are buried in the Elliottsville Cemetery in Alabaster. As a child, Seales walked with his mother through the cemetery as she told family stories. Often she would say that she was kin to this person but did not know how.
“I wanted to know more about who I was,” said Seales.
Thus began Seales’ search for his roots. With wife Diane, Seales began an in-depth genealogical study of his maternal family and published the book “Stamps-Massey Ancestors” in April 1970, soon after their marriage. A copy is in the Shelby County Museum and Archives of which Seales has been executive director since 1999. Seales is also president of the Shelby County Historical Society (2000 to present). Fourth great-grandfather Revolutionary War soldier and Shelby County resident David Lindsay was the ancestor whose direct line qualified Seales for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution.
Seales is a member of the First Families of Alabama (No. 148) and Alabama Genealogical Society (No. 99-035). Some other memberships and awards include: Leadership Shelby County (Alumni Board), Columbiana Merchants Professional Association (Board 2004-present), Historical Commission of the Alabama Baptists, grand marshals of Columbiana Christmas Parade (2004) and Westover Christmas Parade (2005), George Washington Fellow SAR (2005), and Certificate of Distinguished Service Alabama Society SAR (2011).
A devoted family man, the Seales have two sons and three grandchildren. Seales has been active as a youth minister at several churches and is a charter and active member of Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster.
Columbiana is a second home to Seales with all his years working at the museum.
“I am so appreciative of the love and friendship of Columbiana for it is like home to me,” Seales said.
Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.