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Library one of the best places to start family research

By Dr. Betty Middleton

Rowan Public Library

Curious about your history? Have you ever wondered if someone famous is in your background? My search began when a granddaughter was researching the Daughters of the             American Revolution for a project at school. We were aware of a distant relative from New Jersey who had served as one of George Washington’s aides, so the quest began. It was an exciting  adventure and more difficult than it is today because that was before historic records became digitalized and accessible online.

If you would like to create a family tree of your own and are unsure where to start, then a visit to the History Room at Rowan Public Library is the place to go. Their data bases include HeritageQuest, which has four major sections: The Census Search helps you find your ancestors through the U.S. Federal Census Schedules, U.S. Slave Schedules, Selected Non-Population Schedules and more.

The Revolutionary War Pension Files can help you find patriots in your family tree who were in that war. The Freedman’s Bank Records helps you search for your African American ancestors. You can also locate ancestors in the Family and Local Histories and City Directories.

The Ancestry data base contains the following categories: Census & Voter Lists, Birth, Marriage & Death, Military, Immigration & Travel, Newspapers & Publications, Pictures, Stories, Memories & Gazetteers, Schools, Directories, & Church Histories, Tax, Criminal, Land & Wills, Family Trees.

You can access Ancestry and Heritage Quest from home by going to the Rowan Public Library Home page. Under Related Links on the left-hand side, select Online Tools. Both data bases can be accessed through that location if you have a Rowan Public Library card with a four digit PIN.

Some tips that can be helpful: When I began gathering family information several months ago, I was keeping my own notebook with the information printed out from various sources and it was taking a long time to find the information about long-ago relatives (not knowing maiden names or birthdays, etc.)  I discovered that just about every generation had a William and Mary combination or something similar, therefore the approximate date of birth can be vital.)

When I began to create a family tree through Ancestry I had to look up each person individually until I had entered the third generation (using maiden names and approximate birth dates). The next day when I signed in there were little green leaves attached to some of the names on the tree. This indicated additional information that Ancestry located about that person — census, birth, marriage and death information. It was amazing how quickly the tree grew once that began.

You, too, can learn more about your family — where they lived, occupations, and when they came to America. Give it a try. Be careful — it is addictive.

Computer classes: If you’re new to computers or never felt comfortable, Computer Basics is for you. Classes are free. Sessions: 90 minutes. Class size limited and on a first come, first served basis. Dates and times subject to change without notice. Call 704-216-8242 for more information. Headquarters, March 26, 9:30 a.m.

MuVchat for teens: All 5:30-7 p.m. South, March 24; East, March 24. Free and open to middle and high school teens. Enjoy snacks and a movie. For more information call 704-216-8229.

It’s Not What You’re Eating, It’s What You’re Not Eating workshop: South branch, China Grove, March 23, 5:45 p.m. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, learn more about protein and nutritional food that will keep you full and energized for the day. Led by Morrison Healthcare, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. This free workshop is part of the 2015 Learn.Act.Grow. series. Register online or call 704-216-7734 to ensure your spot.

Explorer Club: Headquarters, March 28, 11 a.m. Investigate different genres through activities based on books from the collection. Programs for children in third-fifth grade last one hour. This month’s theme, Go Green with Team Green.  Have fun and gain knowledge about our world with guidance from Rowan County Cooperative Extension. Call 704-216-8234 for more details.

Matthew Weaver and Clay Lunsford in concert: March 31, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium, headquarters. These two talented musicians bring bluegrass and country music to a new level with stunning performances on piano and guitar. Admission is free, and all are welcome. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show sponsored by Friends of Rowan Public Library.

Book Bites Club: March 31, 6:30 p.m., “The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman. Book discussion groups for adults and children at South Rowan Regional Library meet the last Tuesday of each month. Open and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments. For more information, call 704-216-7841.

Displays: Headquarters, log cabins by North Hills Christian School; South, stained glass by Betty Corriher and Sandra Collins; East, Kim Davis.

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.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly events for children through April 30. For more information call 704-216-8234.

Baby Time — Simple stories and songs for 6-23 month-olds with parent or caregiver. Program about one hour. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays,  10 a.m.

Toddler Time — Sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills; 18-35 months old with parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.

Tiny Tumblers — Stories, musical scarves and instruments for ages 6-23 months with parent or caregiver. Same program offered twice a week;  30 minutes. South, Tuesday and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschool time — Encourages exploration of books and builds reading readiness skills for children 3-5 years old with parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Noodle Head storytime — For children 4 years and up to enjoy listening to silly books and tales together; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.

Art programs — Based on various themes and media. Activities vary by branch.  Children 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult.; 30-45 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.

Adventure Club: March 14, 11 a.m.,  Adventurous hands-on science based activities and projects for all ages. Theme is “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plan! It’s a Marshmallow.” Design and build marshmallow shooters. Call 704-216-8234 for more details.

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