Relatives Always An Important Resource

January 2nd, 1994


While beginning genealogy researchers should always canvas and interview the appropriate relatives to get some information with which to start, one should never stop returning to those who have helped. One never knows when some new bit of information might surface, or when one story or discovery might trigger a deep memory. Many times a relative can add background information as to how a family lived, or how they felt about certain social issues, such as education or race relations. And you usually cannot interview them enough.

A case in point is my own maternal grandmother, Helen Russell Brooks, whose sudden death in December at age 88 left me with many unanswered and unasked questions, even after thirty years of discussing family history with her. Her memory never faltered. Her older sisters had passed already, so with her goes the memory of a generation and the only person who could recall certain aunts and cousins. So do your interviewing. Tape it, or better videotape it, and then go back for more. Sometimes it’s important to ask questions when you are totally alone with them, so that others don’t overhear or challenge the facts. For once they are gone, they are gone forever.


“Do you Want to Know More About Your Family?” Rita B. Worthy, 9:30-2:30 (with a lunch hour), Sat., January 22, one day workshop. $40 members, $45 nonmembers, Atlanta History Center, 130 W. Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta, 30305. Checks to Albert P. Boykin Genealogical Fund Workshop, or call 814-4040. Class limited to 25. Registration required.


Brent H. Holcomb, prolific author and editor from South Carolina, just published the third volume in his Methodist series: “Death and Obituary Notices from the Southern Christian Advocate, 1867-1878”. This volume follows two earlier ones that covered marriages and deaths from 1837-1866. Marriages were not included in the current volume due to the size of the project. Holcomb abstracted the material from microfilm, recording pertinent material as well as the date of the issue where found. Microfilm of this newspaper can be found at Emory University’s Theology School Library. This volume completes the abstracts from the “Southern Christian Advocate” when it was the conference newspaper for South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, for in 1878, the newspaper split and the Georgia edition became the “Wesleyan Christian Advocate” as it remains today. The book contains lots of material on strong Methodist families, but could also contain material on others, from the above mentioned states as well as others that border Georgia. So it’s worth a check for anyone you are searching. The full-name index covers any name found in the obituary. It is available for $40 plus $2 postage from SCMAR, P.O. Box 21766, Columbia, S.C. 29221. Update: Address still valid 2011 and the marriages were published in a separate volume.


“History of the Town of Hogansville, 1830-1970” is a short, 50-page work edited by Jane Strain about this west Georgia town in Troup County. It covers the town in chronological order up to 1970. No illustrations but the cover and no index. For anyone with roots or interest in this area, it will be useful. Any town would be proud to have such a history. It is available for $6 plus $1 postage form the Troup County Historical Society and Archives, P.O. Box 1051, LaGrange, GA 30241. They have a list of other books and issue a newsletter. The archives current project is indexing the Troup County newspapers. If you have any, let them know.


“Reunion Planner” by Phyllis A. Hackleman is the second printing of a very useful guide to its subject. The author discusses all aspects of a gathering, not necessarily just a family reunion. These include cost estimates, choosing a program, notifying, promoting, electing a place, forming a committee, and just about any aspect you can think of. This practical effort is something that could help anyone trying to plan any event, but especially a first time family reunion planner. She even includes samples of her own efforts and numerous checklists. There is an index. The book is available for $12.95 plus $3 postage from Clearfield Co., 200 E. Eager St., Baltimore, Maryland 21202.


The Daughters of the American Revolution Library in Washington, D.C. has recently begun a newsletter, “Continental Columns”. Each issue discusses news about the library, access, collections, etc. This past fall it listed state by state, periodicals they want for their collection. For Georgia, they need back issues of the “Georgia Historical Quarterly” from 1917-1972; and many issues of the “Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly” before 1975. They also announced that a new edition of the “DAR Patriot Index” is in preparation, for $75, in early 1994. Their address is NSDAR, 1776 D Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20006-5392. The library is a must for genealogists going to the nation’s capital.


The “Journal of Southwest Georgia”, published by Albany State College and the Thronateeska Heritage Center, has entered its eighth volume. Edited by Lee W. Formwalt, many issues contain important background articles on local history. The current issue includes interviews with blacks who worked on hunting plantations near Thomasville, and who discussed Emancipation Day celebrations on May 20th. This new volume and al previous ones are worth checking for anyone researching in Southwest Georgia. The editor, Dr. Formwalt, can be contacted at the Department of History, Albany State College, Albany, Ga. 31705.