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Genealogy is addicting, from reality to fiction

Genealogy is addicting — ask anyone who has spent time pursuing it. Finding one intriguing fact leads to another, then another. Just one more item to check and it is three hours later. Great-grandpa so and so came over on a boat from Liverpool, but the family story is that he’s from the Netherlands. Why England then?
Each family has its own set of stories and secrets although some begin to sound very similar. There were three brothers who came over in 17?? … Interested yet?
A good place to start might be taking a look at the PBS production “Faces of America” on DVD. Hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and exploring the family trees of 12 well-known Americans, it blends the individual family stories with historical world events. Steven Colbert’s great-great grandfather came over from Ireland in the time of the great potato famine in Ireland. Eva Longoria’s folks came over to the New World settling along the Rio Grande in what would eventually become Texas well before the Pilgrims landed on our Eastern coast. Kristi Yamaguchi’s families had to face the great prejudice against emigrant Japanese, even those fighting in World War II for the U.S., yet not able to become naturalized citizens until after the war’s end.
The library also has the first and second season of “Who Do You Think You Are,” a show tracing the heritage of many celebrities, among them Emmitt Smith, Susan Sarandon, Steve Buscemi and Ashley Judd. Other episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are” explore the patriot ancestor of Rob Lowe and the rebellious ancestors of Martin Sheen in two different countries. Each celebrity’s ancestry is carefully researched with official documentation, visits to places of origin, and some world and U.S. history, as well.
Genealogical puzzles also feature in quite a few murder mysteries at the library. Torie O’Shea, the town genealogist, local historian and costumed tour guide of New Kassell, Mo., is the delightful heroine of several Rett MacPherson novels. In “Veiled Antiquity,” while digging up information about the baffling and seemingly accidental death of a relative newcomer to the small town, Torie unearths some unusual letters. Written in French beginning around the 1700s, these letters lead to some of the town fathers and a possible treasure.
While unraveling the mystery by figuring out the family tree of the dead woman and all its hidden connections, she has to deal with her two little girls, the town gossip and her mother’s amour with the sheriff who thinks Torie is a meddler. Full of interesting characters and clues, these cozy mysteries are worth a peek.
Tom Morrisey’s “Deep Blue” also involves a long kept family secret. It is a thrilling tale of a young graduate research assistant, Jennifer, who enlists the aid of former marine diver Beck Eaton. While researching a young Civil War widow’s diary and family papers, Jennifer believes an object of great historical significance has remained hidden in a spring water cave in Florida. Can she and Beck remain alive long enough to determine the truth?
From cozy mysteries and exciting thrillers to inspirational fiction and documentary film, tracking family history has something for everyone.

Children’s story time: Weekly through Nov. 26. For more information, call 704-216-8234.
• Baby Time — A loosely interactive program introducing simple stories and songs to babies 6–23 months old with a parent or caregiver. Program lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.
• Toddler Time — Focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills for children ages 18–35 months with a parent or caregiver; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.
• Tiny Tumblers — A loosely interactive program introducing simple stories, musical scarves and instruments for babies 6-23 months old with a parent or caregiver. The same program is offered two times per week; lasts 30 minutes. South, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.
• Preschool Time — To encourage the exploration of books and build reading readiness skills for children ages 3-5 with a parent or caregiver; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; South, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m.
• Noodlehead Story Time — For children ages 4-8 to enjoy listening to silly books and tales together; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.
• Art programs — School-age children can learn different art terms and techniques and work on art projects. Program lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Emma’s Easel, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Art with Char, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.
Computer classes: Computer Basics, Tuesday, 7 p.m., headquarters; Sept. 25, 1 p.m., headquarters. If you’re new to computers or if you’ve never felt comfortable with them, Computer Basics covers the very basics, from discussing computer components to how programs are opened and closed. Classes are free. Sessions are about 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Dates and times at all locations are subject to change without notice.
Southern Banjo Traditions with Bob Carlin: Headquarters, Sept. 11, 7 p.m. A special evening of toe-tapping music from clawhammer banjoist Bob Carlin. This free concert is part of the Cheerwine Music Hour, sponsored by Cheerwine and Friends of Rowan Public Library. Please enter the Stanback Auditorium at the entrance near the historic Henderson Law Office. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the concert begins at 7 p.m. Visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or call 704-216-8240 for more information.
Adventure Club: Headquarters, Sept. 13, 11 a.m. Adventurous hands-on science-based activities and projects for all ages. This month’s theme is Candy Construction. Call 704-216-8234 for more details.
Storyteller Timmy Abell: Headquarters, Sept. 18, 7 p.m. Abell’s concerts are an interplay of music and storytelling and have been described as “spellbinding.” His storytelling includes a variety of adventure stories, tall tales, fairy tales and mountain Jack Tales often punctuated with music. Call 704-216-7728 for more details.
Teen Program: All programs 5:30-7 p.m. South, Sept. 23; East Sept. 29; Headquarters, Sept. 30. Celebrate the autumnal equinox with a variety of leaf-centered crafts. Teen programs are for middle school and high school students. Light refreshments for teens included.
Book Bites Club: South Regional (only), Sept. 30, 6:30 p.m., “A Week in Winter,” by Maeve Binchy. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-7841.
Displays for September: headquarters, Daughters of American Revolution, Manga 200th anniversary by Robert Clyde Allen; South, student art by Carson High School; East, Alpha Beta.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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