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FROM THE COLLECTIONS
at the South Caroliniana Library
by Allen Stokes
The Leonardo Andrea collection is the South Caroliniana Library's most frequently consulted genealogical source. Mr. Andrea was a professional genealogist who worked at a time when there were few published records and not nearly so many published family histories and other sources as there are today. While access to records without the sophisticated indexes that are currently available was more difficult, South Carolina's public records in county courthouses and at the Department of Archives and History are abundant. Leonardo Andrea was a professional genealogist who compiled research files on over 800 families.
And as a result of depression-era projects to collect and transcribe public records and church records and to record cemetery inscriptions, a professional researcher like Mr. Andrea had access to a vast amount of information that was housed centrally in the South Caroliniana Library. The South Carolina Historical Commission (later the Department of Archives and History) and the South Carolina Historical Society were also the beneficiaries of the editing of public and private historical records accomplished by the Works Progress Administration. Before his death in 1966, Mr. Andrea compiled research files on over 800 families.
Louise Crowder researched families who lived in Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Kershaw, Union, and York counties. Mrs. Louise K. Crowder of Chester, S.C., was a contemporary of Mr. Andrea. Mrs. Crowder confined her research to families who lived in Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Kershaw, Union, and York counties. One can recognize the influence of Mr. Andrea in her work as the format of her research files was very similar to his. Also like Mr. Andrea, Mrs. Crowder's files include client reports, notes, and correspondence. Mrs. Crowder conducted research on over 600 families. Her files also include research notes from public records and private sources.
Aiken resident Bessie Lee Garvin conducted research on families who lived in Aiken, Barnwell, and Orangeburg counties. Her principal interests were the Corbitt, Garvin, Johnson, Protho, and Tyler families. But her research on these families directed her to allied families, and the Garvin collection contains files on over 100 family names. Like Bessie Garvin, Spartanburg resident Alice Tonge's interest in a particular family, the Lawtons, broadened into an extensive research for almost a half century on the Lawtons and related families. The Tonge collection of 2.5 linear feet contains files on over 150 family names as well as genealogical notes, marriage, birth, and bible records, and cemetery records for Allendale, Greenville, Hampton, and Jasper counties, and Edisto Island.
William Harris and Edna Manning spent many years researching and abstracting records of Barnwell County. The collection contains 15 volumes compiled between 1949 and 1966 and includes abstracts of wills, marriages, and cemetery records; a record of Barnwell County officials, 1880-1962; and service records of South Carolina veterans in the War of 1812. Eleven of the volumes are devoted to histories of approximately 150 families.
There are several other collections which represent the results of an individual's research. Floyd Bennett was chiefly interested in the Dickson, Bishop, Bennett, and Douglass families but also conducted research on 30 or more related families. The 6.25 linear feet which constitute the papers of Reba Holmes Brown represent the research that she conducted in writing two books: American Shoots from the Baskerville Family and The Youngblood Family: Some Descendants of Three Generations. Individual researchers have made significant contributions to South Caroliniana's collections.
Mrs. Brown also completed research for, but never published a book on the Norwood family. The bulk of her research files relate to the three families cited above, but there is also significant information on a number of related families.
Mary Claire Oliver Cox researched South Carolina families from her home in Nebraska. The 2.5 linear feet of research files contain information on over 30 different families including Boyce, Faust, Jernigan, Kerr, Langley, Sims, and Oliver. The genealogical research of Edward Latimer on the Latimer family of Alabama, Maryland, and South Carolina is contained in 3.75 linear feet of research files on various branches of the family. The library's holdings include a number of other collections containing genealogical research on numerous families. Files on Fairfield County families included in Fitz Hugh McMaster's History of Fairfield County, South Carolina are in the McMaster papers. Harry L. Watson and his daughters Margaret and Louise compiled information on many Greenwood County families. John Shaw Billings's interest in his Hammond and Cumming forebears inspired Billings to compile volumes of information on the Hammond, Cumming, Wade, Black, and many other families in the Beach Island, S.C. - Augusta, Ga. area.
All of the collections are housed in the library's manuscripts division and are listed in either the online or card catalog. A Genealogical Collection Guide provides researchers a list of family names in the collections as well as location information.
The South Caroliniana Library recently received the collection of Laura Bellinger Jones who researched many South Carolina families over a period of several decades. The library is currently processing this collection.
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