25 January 2015

BDC@ The Branches Programs in February



FAMILY HISTORY DROP-IN
First Wednesday of month at 4 pm – 6 pm |BDC@ Lobeco | Ages 12 – Adults
Charmaine will be on hand to answer questions about how to start uncovering your roots. 

  • February 4
  •  March 4
  •  April 1
(We will evaluate this drop-in series in April.  It may, or may not, continue on a monthly basis after April 1st.) 

DIGITAL PRESERVATION HOBBYIST GROUP
Thursday, February 5 at 2pm |BDC@ St. Helena| Ages 12 – Adults
Strategies to protect all those holiday family digital images for the future. Drop by. It’s free.

GEN. MARION’S SNOW ISLAND
Thursday, February 12 at 6 pm | BDC@ BDC | Ages 12 - Adults
SCIAA Director, Steve Smith lectures on Gen. Francis Marion’s base of guerrilla operations during the Revolutionary War, Snow Island.  This lecture, co-sponsored with the Beaufort Chapter, Archaeological Society of South Carolina is free and open to the public.

A BLACK AMERICAN STORY: STEPHEN BINYARD AND HIS DESCENDANTS
Saturday, February 21 at 1pm | BDC@ St. Helena | Ages 12 – Adults | Reservations Required

A small gravestone on the Air Station was just the start of a decade long research project for Kimberley Morgan and Asouka Moore to uncover the life and legacy of USCT soldier, Stephen Binyard – and BDC staff and library resources have been there from the very beginning.  Sign up: cconcepcion@bcgov.net; 843-255-6468.

20 January 2015

Genealogy: The Living and the Dead


I get a number of free e-newsletters on all matters library, archival, and/or genealogical.  www.genealogical.com is the online home of Genealogical Publishing Company and its affiliate, Clearfield Company and I get their weekly Genealogical.com [tips@genealogical.com] newsletter. My comments appear below in brackets [...]. Today I share an article from the 12-30-2014 issue: 
 
"Genealogy Isn't Finding Just Dead People Anymore," by Denise R. Larson
    
Genealogy is usually a vertical construct with ascending or descending generations, which uses the imagery of a soaring, multi-branched tree and its deep roots to visualize how a family has grown, spread, and at times intertwined through many generations.

There are a couple of new uses of genealogical methods that are horizontal in their approach to finding family members. One looks to the past to help adoptees find their birth parents. The other looks to the future to find lost or out-of-touch family members who can mentor a youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood.

Both types of looking-for-the-living searches use a variety of resources: hard-copy guides, directories, and documents; online databases; and personal contact over the phone and in person.

Not sure if someone is still in the land of the living?

If you already have the name of the person you're looking for but are not sure if the person is still alive, go ahead and do an online search of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), which was started in 1936 for persons born in 1865 or later. Several websites offer free access to the SSDI database. [Please note: Ancestry Library Edition that the Beaufort County Library provides inside our buildings has the SSDI database.] They can be found by doing a Google search for "Social Security Death Index." If the person is located, then it's time to order a copy of the Application for a Social Security Number (SS-5) to obtain all the personal information provided at the time of the application. As the Social Security Administration states on its website, www.socialsecurity.gov, "A deceased person does not have any privacy rights." The application can be a gold mine of names, dates, and leads as to where to look next for living relatives.

If the person's name is not in the SSDI, chances are the person is still alive. It's time to search the many telephone databases available online. Most are compiled with information from public records, which provide a surprising amount of personal information, including name of spouse and children, ages, last known address, and, of course, a phone number. Some of the most popular websites are the following: 411.com, www.intelius.com, www.switchboard.com, and www.whitepages.com. There are often links from these sites to other people-search sites, some that require payment.

Family reunions can reunite lost relatives

If all you have is a last name, search for family reunions featuring that surname, especially in the region where the family lived. Nostalgia has a strong pull on the heart strings of middle-age and elderly people who feel that they might have missed out on something or someone through the years. Even if the "lost" person doesn't attend a reunion or isn't a member of the group, someone might have a good lead. Family genealogists are a tenacious breed of amateur detectives who will follow a family line for years and never completely give up the chase.

Elizabeth Petty Bentley and Deborah Ann Carl, authors of the Directory of Family Associations (Genealogical Publishing Co.), now in its fourth edition, gathered data on approximately 6,000 family associations in the U.S. by contacting reunion committees and one-name societies and consulting numerous newsletters, history journals, and online sources. Readers can use the directory to contact family members, examine surname migration patterns, or even share their own genealogical story. [Our sister consortium library, York County Library, has one circulating copy of this title that you can borrow through the SCLENDS catalog. Ask any librarian to help you place the material on hold.]

Another benefit to family reunions is that someone who attends is sure to have printouts of census returns for family groups, especially in the hometown area. Census can give the names and ages of everyone in the family and who else lived in the neighborhood. If the family has moved, maybe the neighbor hasn't and has kept in touch with the family. Even a Christmas card will give a current address. Online sites such as USGenWeb offer census databases through 1940. [One can also gain access to census databases via FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, and Ancestry Library Edition among others.]

When looking for the living, don't forget the dead

Obituaries are a rich source of family information. Though a secondary source and prone to errors made during a stressful time, names of surviving relatives can help track down others in the family. Official death records include the name of the person who furnished information about the deceased. Maybe that person knows who or what you are looking for.

[The BDC hosts an online index to the obituaries we have from the local newspapers, 1882 - 1982 plus. You can find out to access obituaries in other parts of South Carolina at http://statelibrary.sc.libguides.com/sc-information/sc-obituary-resources.] 

Other documents that can link deceased persons to living heirs include: property deeds, tax records, probate papers, divorce decrees, bankruptcy court files, driver and professional licenses, and church records.

Don't overlook the obvious

In this age of technology, go global. Lori Carangelo, author of The Ultimate Search Book (Clearfield Company, 2011), advises searchers to join Facebook, MySpace, and Reunions. People know other people and word gets around. In her book, which she wrote to assist both genealogists and adopted persons looking for their biological families, she relates fascinating and sometimes bizarre stories of resourceful people who thought of unique ways to find someone. A simple but effective way was to put a letter explaining their quest in a sealed bottle and leaving it at the gravesite of the head of the family. This would be especially effective close to Memorial Day and perhaps Christmas, when graves are traditionally decorated.

Carangelo starts with 40 search tips, not just to fill in a family tree but to help in the search for missing children, adopted children, birth parents, and even people who owe you money. 

[Alas none of our sister libraries have a circulating copy of this title and the BCL does not own a copy to share.] 

Genealogy can have real life value

Casey Family Services, a nonprofit adoption agency that operates in New England and Maryland, goes the extra mile when looking for someone to help teenagers make the transition from foster care to adulthood. The agency hired a retired detective to find extended family members with whom the youth could safely stay in contact and thus be a part of a related group. The hope is that at least one person would be willing to act as a mentor as the teenager leaves foster care and finds a place to live, land a job, or continue with his or her education.

Read more about Casey Family Services's program at: www.caseyfamilyservices.org/newsroom/newsdetail/777/.

[I am unaware of any South Carolina based agencies or individuals who perform similar work. If you know of one, please comment on this blog post.]

Figuring out who we really are

After finding a long-lost relative, the conversation often turns to how the parties are related - first, second, third cousins once, twice, thrice removed? Great-aunt or grand-aunt? Explaining the ins and outs and twists of kinship is deftly done by Jackie Smith Arnold in Kinship: It's All Relative. Enlarged Second Edition (Genealogical Publishing Co.). [There's one copy in the SCLENDS catalog that circulates. Ask a librarian how to borrow it.]

[Here's a chart that William Dollarhide created to explain those ins and outs that I posted a month or so ago on the BDC's Facebook page:]

 
Finding family members is what genealogy is all about. Knowing our family history can make a big difference in how we view ourselves, but meeting family members who are willing to share time and concern could make a huge difference in a young person's life. Genealogy is all about linking together the generations of a family in a webwork of relations. Sometimes we catch a skeleton-in-the-closet, sometimes a real treasure. The joy is in the hunt, the satisfaction, in the finding.

15 January 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

The Library system, including the Beaufort District Collection Research Room, will be closed Monday, January 19th to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Regular hours resume Tuesday, January 20th.

To learn more about King's time in Beaufort County read the small gem of a booklet "I Will Not Be Silent and I Will Be Heard:" Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Penn Center, 1964 - 1967 by J. Tracy Power. Copies are available in the local history sections at the branch libraries, call number 323.4 POW. We've recently added the newest history of Penn Center: A History Preserved, too, local history section, call number 370.9757 BUR. For those who want to dig even deeper, we have the microfilm series of the Penn School Papers in the BDC along with a number of other materials about one of the first schools organized to educate formerly enslaved people.

09 January 2015

Wait List Begun

The calls and messages have come in for Dr. Rowland's lecture in such numbers that we began a waiting list about 30 minutes ago.  If you'd like to get on that waiting list in case others have to cancel, please call 255-6468 or e-mail gracec@bcgov.net. (With all the sniffles and coughing now in sway, it is not unlikely to get cancellations so being on the waiting list isn't such a terrible place to be.)


08 January 2015

BDC@ Series returns

The BDC has two programs coming up in mid-January (which would be incredibly difficult to make happen except for the fact that Charmaine has returned to the BDC. She is finally back from her sojourn helping out at Lobeco Branch in light of chronic shortage of staff within the library system).

On Wednesday, January 14th, manager, librarian and archivist, Grace Cordial, is presenting "Tide of Death: The Sea Island Hurricane of 1893" at Coastal Discovery Museum. Listen to first person accounts and see rare materials about the night that death came to call. Consider it a “Beaufort District Collection Show-and-Tell of Local Disaster.” The presentation is free because it is co-sponsored by the Beaufort County Library. To register: http://www.coastaldiscovery.org/event-registration/?regevent_action=register&event_id=1148

On Thursday, January 15th at 4 pm, Dr. Larry Rowland tells all about "The Treaty of Beaufort" in the final lecture supplementing the South Carolina Historical Society's panel exhibit, "The Shaping of South Carolina," that is on display just outside our Research Room door. The lecture is free but registration is required as seats are very limited. Closed when full. Call 255-6468 or e-mail gracec@bcgov.net to sign up.

Heads up: The Library system, including the Beaufort District Collection, will be closed Monday, Jan. 19th to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Regular hours resume Tuesday, January 20th (barring anything unforeseen, of course.)