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Uncovering historical gems in the Edith M. Clark History Room

By Gretchen Beilfuss Witt

Rowan Public Library

Whether researching genealogy or history, don’t neglect to look at journals and magazines provided in the Edith M. Clark History Room.

The researcher of medical history in North Carolina might take a look at the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal and find some interesting articles about epidemics. The spring 2019 issue reports on the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1862 which began in Wilmington and spread all the way to Fayetteville. Many of these deaths were actually reported in the newspapers of the time.

Additional family information can also be gleaned from these reports — “Agnes Huston Cookman, died October 20, 1862 in Wilmington at the age of 13 years 9 months and 20 days, only child of the late William and Maria Cookman.” Her father, William, a native of Enniscorthy County, Wexford, Ireland, had died two days previously.

In the days before 1913, few birth records are available; however, a midwife in Iredell County, Panthea Sharpe Allison, kept a record of babies she delivered between 1818 and 1856. This article is a fabulous find if your ancestor is among them.

Internet Genealogy is another helpful journal with articles focusing on resources for World War I research, reviews of genealogy blogs, information on computer programs to restore fading photographs, or databases to research enslaved ancestors and so much more. The History Room has subscribed to Internet Genealogy as well as Family Tree for several years and keeps the back issues.

If you are pursuing membership in a lineage society — National Society of Colonial Dames of America, Daughters (DAR) or Sons of the American Revolution or The Mayflower Society, the History Room subscribes to the journals or magazines published by these societies.

The American Spirit magazine of the DAR not only offers information on the society, it also explores various aspects of American history. An article in the most recent publication examines what books Early American children read. The “Goodnight Moon” of the 18th century, “A Pretty Little Pocket-Book” by John Newberry, was published in 1744 and is considered the first children’s book written for entertainment.

A variety of county journals and some state publications share research that historical or genealogical societies have done on particular counties, places or family names. The Carologue, published by the South Carolina Historical Society, highlights a newly acquired collection of glass negatives of Columbia, South Carolina. These photographs have amazing detail and shed light on Columbia’s past.

These examples and many more journals and magazines are available for the researcher in the Edith M. Clark History Room at Rowan Public Library.

Friends of Rowan Public Library Annual Book Sale: Preview night, Oct. 25, 6-8 p.m. Sale Oct. 26, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Oct. 27, 1-4 p.m. See story.

Scavenger Hunt: Catch the Monster, Headquarters, South, through Oct. 30. Search the children’s room to see if you can find all of the monster pictures hidden there. Complete the challenge and get a prize. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Scavenger Hunt: Corny Candy, East, through Oct. 30. Enjoy corny candy riddles during October. Find all the answers and you will be entered into a contest for a literary-themed prize. For more information, call 704-216-7842.

2019 Bookmark Contest: Oct. 7-Nov. 9. Children ages 4 to 11 may design a themed bookmark and win a cash prize. This annual contest, sponsored by the Friends of Rowan Public library, will award first, second and third-place prizes in three, age-based categories: 4 to 6, 7 to 9, and 10 to 11. Full submission guidelines, rules and entry forms available online or at any RPL location. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Crafty Kids: Headquarters, Oct. 23, 6 p.m. Children ages 12 and under may explore their crafty side using a variety of materials and techniques to create art in the Children’s Room. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more information, contact Aida at 704-216-8234.

Special Preschool Storytime: Stars with the Star Lab. Headquarters, Oct. 24, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Enjoy a star-themed storytime. Then step into the Star Lab, a mobile planetarium, to see and learn about the stars in the night sky. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. Questions? Call 704-216-8234.

Adventures with Mr. Robert: Spooktacular, headquarters, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. Experience not-so-scary stories and books with Mr. Robert in the Children’s Room. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Star Lab: Headquarters, Oct. 22, 4-5 p.m. Be surrounded by the stars in the Star Lab, a mobile planetarium. Learn more about the stars and other objects we see in the night sky. This teen program is designed for rising sixth- through 12th-graders. For more information, call 704-216-7728.

Giant Pixel Art: East, Oct. 24, 4 p.m. Create giant versions of your favorite 8-bit pixelated characters and designs. This teen program is designed for rising sixth- through 12th-graders. For more information, call Sydney at 704-216-8229.

Cards for a Cause: Oct. 1-Dec. 18, headquarters, East and South. Create holiday cards that will be delivered to active service members in the U.S. armed forces and to veterans at the Hefner VAMC in Salisbury. Patrons can specify if their card(s) is delivered to a certain branch or to the VA. However, cards submitted for a branch of the armed forces do have specific deadlines: Nov. 6 for cards distributed internationally, Dec. 6 for cards distributed stateside. Cards submitted Dec. 7-18 will only be delivered to the VA. For more information, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Chapter Chats: Sensory storytime, East, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. This weekly program is designed for those with autism and/or sensory challenges and is coordinated in collaboration with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s Skills, Opportunity, Awareness, Readiness (SOAR) program and Rowan County’s Therapeutic Recreation Division. To learn more about how to participate in this program series, call Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Sensory Storytime: Oct. 25, 10:30 a.m., headquarters. Attendees will experience storytime through tactile stimulation as they touch, see, smell and hear different interactive elements. Low lighting and low music will also be used. This 30-minute storytime involves books, songs and movement and is designed for those with autism and/or sensory challenges. All ages and those of all abilities are welcome. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For questions or to make accessibility arrangements, call 704-216-8234.

Outdoor Mystery Cinema: South, Oct. 22, 6 p.m. Discover great mysteries with this film series. This month’s mystery-of-choice is “Escape Room” (2019, 103 min.) and will be shown on South’s covered porch. This film is rated PG-13, so an adult (age 18+) must accompany anyone 13 and under. Light refreshments will be served. For more details, call 704-216-7727.

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair: Headquarters, South. Oct. 23, livestream. Every year, the National Archives hosts a virtual Genealogy Fair via live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. For more details about this event, contact Gretchen at 704-216-8232. To learn more about the annual Genealogy Fair, visit www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair

Displays: Headquarters, Purple Shoe display in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness, presented by Family Crisis Council; East, original artwork by Beth Denton; South, miniature doll houses by Donna Deal and Terri Correll.

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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