Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reduced Hours for Some South Mississippi Libraries

Resource Shelf blog alerts us to an article that appeared in the Sun Herald. Apparently several libraries in the Pine Forest Regional Library System serving Covington, Greene, Perry, and Stone Counties were closed for most of this month. They will now be reopening with reduced hours. The same article reports the reopening of the Bay St. Louis library in Hancock County (which had been a victim of Hurricane Katrina).

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Haiti's Libraries

A librarian friend of mine had family members who were missionaries to Haiti. They have been evacuated from the country, but they have received some news of the situation with the libraries in the country.

The oldest library in Port au Prince collapsed. This is the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint Esprit. This is located in Saint Martial College.

At least a portion of Haiti's national library has also collapsed.
Many university libraries have collapsed.

The St. Louis de Gonzague Library is weakened structurally but still standing.

This is somewhat bad news for those researching their Haitian roots! The earthquake will rewrite the chapter on doing Haitian genealogical research for generations to come. Let's hope that someone comes up with the funding to digitally preserve what remains of records of interest to future generations of genealogists.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Home Again

I'm finally back home in East Tennessee. I spent over a month in Mississippi caring for my parents. The good news is that Mom's cancer was caught early, and it appears that they have removed all cancerous tissues. She's still got some recovery time, but things are looking good. Thanks to everyone for their prayers during this difficult time. More later.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quick & Dirty Genealogy Research from the Hospital Room

I've been curious for a long time whether or not the Winsteads in Hamblen County, Tennessee are related to my Winstead line or not. My Winstead line is far enough back that I haven't really researched it very much, but I decided to just look at WorldConnect to see if I could determine if others have thought we have a common ancestor. Please realize that all of this needs to be documented and verified, and I'm not at all convinced that there are not errors in the trees I found on WorldConnect even though they do have a bit of documentation (not very thorough but more than most and with better quality resources than most). However, I did discover that we quite possibly share a common ancestor named Samuel Winstead who was born about 1701 in Northumberland County, Virginia. These sources show that Samuel had four wives. The Hamblen County Winsteads appear to be from one of the later wives whereas mine appear to be from an earlier. I really want to make certain that the sources have not confused multiple Samuels with one another because there is a very wide spread in children's ages.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Football Humor

This morning I was reading the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS) before we brought Mom to the hospital for her surgery prep. As I was reading, I noticed that Mississippi Valley State University had announced the top candidates for its vacant football coaching position. At the top of the list was Charlie Brown. I immediately began laughing as I pictured Lucy holding that football and jerking it away at the last moment while Charlie Brown once again landed flat on his back. I'm sure that many other readers had the same picture run through their minds as they read that article. I can't find the article in the online edition so I can't share the link.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Thoughts on Libraries and Genealogy

Many persons blogging about genealogy are taking part of a 52 week meme. I may occasionally post a response to one of the weekly themes, but I'm not able to participate in this week's challenge because of my mom's surgery and the fact that I'm nowhere close to home. I could use the Tennessee State Library & Archives catalog feature which allows one to search most of the public libraries in the state of Tennessee, but I can already tell you what the results would be. The challenge is to locate books that would help one become a better genealogist. I can tell you that my personal library is better than the holdings at the Morristown-Hamblen County Public Library or Jefferson City Public Library in neighboring Jefferson County. I would have to go into Knoxville to the McClung Historical Collection to find a better library and then I would not be able to check out any of the materials. The college library where I work has a number of genealogy books, but most of our methodology titles are becoming very dated. In fact, I own more recent editions of several of the titles. There are a number of other types of books or e-books which would be useful in getting background information to add dimensions to an ancestor's story. It is a shame that so many libraries (especially public libraries) do not offer circulating collections of genealogical titles. Some do have a few beginner's books in their circulating collections, but advanced researchers are left out. That's why I have my own genealogical library. I have books on methodology, record groups and their uses, research in various states and countries, standards, etc. I also have many published abstracts, indexes, and other tools. I have many histories of areas in which I do a great deal of research for myself or others. I'm not going to list a few books here because I don't want to pick and choose at this time. I can state that I'll be utilizing many of these books in the upcoming months. I can also state that my collection will continue to grow (even though I really need additional shelving). I also want to state that I often learn more about becoming a better genealogist by reading publications such as National Genealogical Society Quarterly. I enjoy discussing the cases with other professional genealogists who have read them when I have an opportunity. I keep hoping that Tennessee will eventually have its own APG chapter. A few of us discussed the possibility at the FGS conference in Little Rock this fall.

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