May 2007


Ancestry.com, one of the largest online genealogy sources, has annouced the expansion of its collection of military records. Items in the collection span the entire history of United States military involvements, from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam. Materials include draft registrations, muster rolls, enlistment records, pension applications, and gravesite registers. In addition to these typical military records, the database also includes items such as United Newsreel motion pictures and scanned editions of Stars and Stripes.

Ancestry.com is a subscription-based website, but from now through the anniversary of D-Day (June 6) access to the Military Collection will be free. (You will have to register using your email address.) To explore the collection, visit Ancestry.com.

The Charleston County Public Library maintains an institutional subscription to the Library Edition of Ancestry.com. Access via CCPL is free to the public, but the site must be viewed from within one our locations. This is not one of our remote-access databases. Call or email the SC Room for more details.

As digitization projects become more prolific on the Internet, it is becoming increasingly possible for scholars to gain access to often obscure and rare texts. The unfettered access offered by these digital galleries can be an indispensable tool for researchers. One such website available free to the public is Internet Archive.

Internet Archive is a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose stated mission is “offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format”. The archive contains numerous audio and video files, as well as over 200,000 texts. To maximize accessibility, texts are often available in various formats, such as PDF, Text, Flipbook, and DjVu.

Internet Archive contains several items that are specifically relevant to researchers interested in Charleston history. Examples include:

CalhounA History of the Calhoun Monument at Charleston, S.C by Ladies Calhoun
Monument Association (1888)

Moses Lindo
Moses Lindo: a sketch of the most prominent Jew in Charleston in Provincial days by Barnet A. Elzas (1903)

Samuel JonesThe Siege of Charleston And the Operations on the South Atlantic Coast In the War Among the States
by Samuel Jones, C.S.A. (1911)

sumter.jpegThe Flag Replaced on Sumter: a personal narrative by William Arnold Spicer (1885)

For these books and many more, visit the Internet Archive.
The information you need could be just a click away. (more…)

 CCPL has recently introduced the newest incarnation of the CCPL library card. Gone are the days of the plain, bright yellow cards. The new ones feature a triptych of Lowcountry scenes on the front, and the barcode and patron signature on the back. In addition, you will also receive a miniature library card for your keychain. If your card is lost or damaged, now may be a great time to have it replaced, for a small fee of $1.00. For more information, visit the Circulation Desk of your local CCPL branch or call (843) 805-6833.

As a special reminder to patrons of the South Carolina Room, please remember you must present either your library card or an ID to view vertical files.

One of the most useful online resources for the avid researcher is WorldCat, “the world’s largest network of library content and services”. Thousands of libraries around the world provide OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) with information about their collection content, including books, periodicals, microfilm, DVDs, and CDs. All of this content is then integrated in the WorldCat database, essentially creating one gigantic online library catalog. While not all libraries and research institutions participate, many public libraries, universities, and even the Library of Congress list their materials in WorldCat. Best of all, since August of 2006, access is free to the public.

This development has major implications for researchers. Now, if your local library doesn’t have a particular item you need for your studies, you can go to WorldCat and quickly determine which (if any) institution does own it. WorldCat will even link you directly to the institution’s website. Armed with this knowledge, you can ask your local library’s Interlibrary Loan department if they are able to order the item for you. Or you can simply visit the owning institution yourself.

Try WorldCat yourself at: http://www.worldcat.org

As many genealogists are already aware, the National Archives and Records Administration is currently proposing a revision to the NARA Federal Regulations, Part 1258, which governs reproduction fees.

In other words, you may soon be paying more for any photocopies you request from NARA. Genealogists interested specifically in Civil War research may be the hardest hit by this fee increase. If the proposal passes, the flat fee for photocopies of a complete Civil War pension file will rise from $37.00 to $125.00. According to NARA officials, the original fee amount was based on the assumption that most files would not exceed 50 pages, when in reality many Civil War pension files number 200+ pages. For more information, including the full extent of the changes and NARA’s explanation, see: http://www.archives.gov/comment/36-cfr-1258-prop.pdf

This fee increase has not been finalized, but researchers wishing to take advantage of the current rate may wish to act now.

The Charleston County Public Library will host an evening with photojournalist and author Cecil Williams who will be sharing his incredible photographs of the struggles and triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina. His new book Out-Of-The-Box in Dixie documents the nearly sixty-year span of local events that have shaped the course of the American Civil Rights Movement, capturing the emotion and gravity of these moments in South Carolina’s history.

Come join us tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Main Library at 68 Calhoun Street. Admission is free and parking is available on the ground floor. For more information, call the South Carolina Room at (843) 805-6956

Welcome to the weblog of the South Carolina Room.  We are a specialized department of the Charleston County Public Library, focusing on the history and genealogy of South Carolina with particular emphasis on Charleston and the Lowcountry. Let us be your guide through the fascinating landscape of this historic state.

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