03 October 2011

Visiting the Franklin Memorial Library (Emanuel County, Georgia)

Franklin Memorial Library
     After coming home from South Carolina, I headed out the next day on a day trip to Emanuel County, Georgia with my mom and sister.  During the previous portion of the week's trip, I'd been looking for information on my maternal side of the family. In Emanuel County, I was looking for information on my paternal side, specifically, the Barfield Family. Even more specifically, the obituary of William L Barfield.

   Emanuel County is four hours from home, so I checked out the library before heading out. I found their facebook page an inquired about available resources. They replied:
"we have local obituaries dating back to 1901, census records, marriage records, several local families' histories, HS yearbooks back to the 40's. We also have veterans pension records, cemetery records for Emanuel County and surrounding counties, and more. Come visit us!"
     My ancestor died in 1924, so I was very excited about finding his obituary in their collection. I cannot find a death certificate for William, though I had found his grave. I was curious about where he died and what the cause of death was. I'd already accessed many of the other items in the libraries collection through other source. To make the trip more worth while, I also planned to visit a local cemetery.

Genealogy Room - Franklin Memorial Library
     The library has a whole room devoted to genealogy, including two microfilm readers. I always wonder why is it that libraries out in the country, in the middle of "nowhere," always have better genealogy collections than Gwinnett County, the second biggest county in Georgia by population.

     I sat down at the microfilm reader, set my mom up looking through books, and asked my sister to look through the card catalogue of obituaries. I was not able to find an obituary for William Barfield, but I did find something else in the newspapers: a Card-of-Thanks.

     It seems that during this time and this location, not everyone had an obituary published. It might have just been the particular newspaper; the Swainsboro Forest Blade was a weekly newspaper with on about six pages. Instead, there were a number of notes from families thanking others for their support after the death of a loved one. This is what I found for William Barfield.

Card of Thanks for William Barfield

     It's almost as good as an obituary. Honestly, it just as good as some I've seen. I now know that William died from an illness, most certainly at home. Perhaps there was an epidemic of some sort? I'll have to look into that.

     I found a few other items of interest, though nothing that broke through any brick walls. I also visited the Hawhammock Cemetery, which I had visited before. I made sure on this visit to take photos, not just of my direct ancestors' graves, but also any other Barfield and Boatright graves. I've also emailed the cemetery to ask about some unmarked graves.

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