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Why I Love Franklin County: Chris Ozbirn

FRANKLIN LIVING—

Franklin County Archives Director Chris Ozbirn was born in Laurens County, South Carolina, in the small town of Clinton. A graduate of Clinton High School and Muscle Shoals Technical College – now Northwest-Shoals Community College – Ozbirn is married to Hilton Ozbirn and has two children, son Thomas Johnson and daughter Buffie Ozbirn. She has worked in the county for 33 years.

1. What does your work at the Franklin County Archives entail?

I am the director of the Franklin County Archives and Research Center in Russellville. I am also the Franklin County archivist and a notary public. I help people uncover their family history by using documents, such as land deeds, marriage license, wills, census records, newspapers and more. I also preserve photographs and documents and display historical items.

2. How did you choose your job, and what do you enjoy about it?

While doing some family research with my late husband, I visited the Russellville Library and was asked, several weeks later, to volunteer in the Genealogy Room. I worked at the library and had the opportunity to visit the archives in Madison, Morgan and Lawrence counties and was so impressed with the large amount of records that were available to researchers in one location. This began my 14-year journey to convince Franklin County officials there was a desperate need for an archives here, as well.

3. What is your favorite place to visit in Franklin County?

The Red Bay Museum is just one of my favorite places to visit.

4. What are your favorite Franklin County restaurants?

Kelly’s Kitchen has excellent home-cooked meals and country vegetables. Pilgrim’s BBQ has delicious barbecue and loaded potatoes. Frosty Inn has the best hot dogs in the county.

5. Why do you love Franklin County?

Franklin County reminds me of my home county. Beautiful scenery, rolling hills, friendly and helpful residents. I have never felt like an outsider in Franklin County, even though I was not born here.

FAST FIVE

Favorite hobby: Walking through cemeteries

Favorite food: Chicken and dumplings

Goal: To continue to build the Archives to help our patrons for years to come

Church: First Baptist Church of Colbert Heights

Something people might not know about me is: After quitting school at age 16 to work, I returned to school and graduated in 1984 at the age of 35.

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