20 September 2017

Mixing Up Men with the Same Name

Sometimes research mistakes get made - even by local history librarians and archivists who should know better. One of my goals now that I have Melissa and Amanda to take on certain aspects of daily duties here is to revisit components of the "Virtual BDC" to make updates as necessary and to integrate some of the former local history articles from our old website (taken down in 2016) into the BDC's Wordpress blog and/or here in Connections.
Melissa, Grace, and Amanda: BDC Staff

Melissa arrived for duty on June 5th and Amanda arrived for duty on June 26th and since then, I have updated the following Wordpress blog entries: Pirates; John Barnwell; Obituary Files in the BDC; Bluffton; Cemeteries in Beaufort District; Robert Smalls; Rachel C. Mather, Robert Woodward Barnwell; and created a new one about the Yamasee War, 1715-1717 for Dr. Jon Marcoux's talk on 15 August about the Sadkeche Fight.

For years I have mixed up Robert Woodward Barnwell of Beaufort born 1801, died 1882 in Columbia with a poet by the same name. I have done some displays for National Poetry Month over the past decade that unintentionally ascribed the poems to the wrong Robert Woodward Barnwell. How did this happen? one asks. The answer is: "It is very easy to get persons with the exact same name mixed up when families perpetually use a name over and over through succeeding generations." In the course of unraveling this particular mystery, I discovered that The Story of an American Family by Stephen B. Barnwell, 1969 - considered the go to guide of all things Barnwell - lists a dozen different men named Robert Woodward Barnwell, the first one in 1801, and the last one listed born in 1959, though there probably are a few more RWB's now. In the index he calls the RWB I am most interested in today, "Senator." 

I discovered my mistake on 27 July 2017 as I was updating a Wordpress blog post I created nine years earlier. I was wondering why I could not find any references to poetry writing in all the online sources I found for him nor in any of our own BDC resources at hand - except for three items.

Seeing the dates on the poetry book, Realities and Imaginations ... a Poem, [1938] and Dawn at Daufuskie and Other Poems (1936) got me to thinking about why the collections were published 50 years or more after RWB's death. I have these two titles on the shelves so I could look at the items in their entirety for clues. Luckily Dawn at Daufuskie had a copyright date of 1936 and a "Preface" written by the author in 1936. Obviously, the author was not my RWB as I had previously thought. The "Preface" also written by the author for Realities and Imaginations ... A Poem two years later indicates that he did not begin writing poetry until 1920 and that he was living in Florence, SC. More proof that I had mixed up the Robert Woodward Barnwells.

RWB, 1801-1882
For nine years I had been unintentionally sharing bad information. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. This post is to set the record straight and to encourage you to take your time before determining if you have the "right" person with a particular - and repetitive through the generations - name. Weigh all the evidence. Evaluate the documents. Use your finest most honed reasoning skills. When in doubt, explain your reasons why you think this particular person is the correct person for your genealogical chart. Doing so will make it easier for your descendants to evaluate any new evidence or documentation that may come to light in the future.

Learn more about Robert Woodward Barnwell in our Wordpress blog.

The image is from House Divided: A Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/25761

Please note: All units of the Beaufort County Library will be closed Wed., October 4th for Library Staff Workday. Regular hours resume Thurs., October 5th.

14 September 2017

New Date for Waterfront Park Lecture; Registration Open

The Beaufort History Museum / Beaufort County Library Season #2 opening lecture had to be re-scheduled on account of Hurricane Irma. Calendars have been checked and a new date chosen. Registration is now open for “Politics, Pilings, and Playgrounds: Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, a panel discussion.” New date: Tues., October 17th; Same time: 2 pm; Same place: First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, Beaufort. If you’d like a seat, please register at https://beauforthistorymuseum.wildapricot.org/event-2643632.

If last year’s pilot season is any indication, seats will go quickly so don’t delay; register today! To sign up, go to https://beauforthistorymuseum.wildapricot.org/event-2643632.

PS: The postcard is from our own Arnsberger Collection, hosted by the Lowcountry Digital Library. This specific image is found at http://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/lcdl/catalog/lcdl:115119 . To see the Arnsberger Postcard Collection begin at http://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/content/russell-j-arnsberger-postcard-collection.

13 September 2017

Impacts of Irma: Library re-opens; Lecture postponed

As Beaufort County dries out, we are happy to announce that the Beaufort County Library system has resumed its regular schedule. 

The Beaufort History Museum is in the process of re-scheduling "Politics, Pilings, and Playgrounds: Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park: A Panel Discussion". The lecture will not be held on September 19 as previously announced.

07 September 2017

Hurricane Irma and the Beaufort County Library system

Due to the anticipated inclement weather, the Beaufort District Collection will be closed until further notice. The regular branch libraries will be closing at Noon on Fri., Sept. 8th until further notice.

Please monitor the Beaufort County Library's website for schedule updates as Hurricane Irma threatens this area. www.beaufortcountylibrary.org We'll resume regular hours as soon as the authorities allow us to do so.

May we all return safe and well.

Official Hurricane Related Announcements

Please monitor local sources of reliable information as Hurricane Irma approaches the southeastern United States. If you or your loved ones reside inn Beaufort County SC go to http://www.bcso.net/Social%20Media/BCSO%20Social%20Media.php to sign up for official notifications from the Beaufort County Emergency Management division regarding local conditions and projections of the storm's impact within the area. 

Stay safe.