The Unknown Tongue

Speaking in Tongs

A weird chain of events led to an interesting investigation into history tangentially related to my family. This morning I participated in a webinar on the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program, sponsored, in part, by the University of South Carolina Libraries. One of the presenters mentioned the possibility of doing genealogy research using the archive. I decided to try a few search terms associated with my family history to see what I found. I actually didn’t find much about my family, but I did find another tale, full of conflict, misunderstandings, racism, and corruption.

The newspaper archives are hosted on the Library of Congress website as part of their Chronicling America series. The newspapers cover all states from 1836 – 1922. Any family search would have to be within those target dates.

I decided to start with my grandfather, Rev. O. E. Taylor, since he would fit within the tail end of that time frame. I restricted my search to issues of the Laurens Advertiser. Unfortunately, his name didn’t return any hits, even when I expanded it to all newspapers in the state. It did return a Rev. E. O. Taylor, who was an episcopal bishop in the state at the same time.

I changed tactics and started searching for churches where I knew my grandfather had preached, and there I hit pay dirt. The first term I tried was “Long Branch.” I grew up in Long Branch Pentecostal Church, which was founded by my grandfather and which my father later pastored. My grandmother taught at Long Branch School, and I have lots of other relatives in the area. The term returned several hits in The Laurens Advertiser, almost all of them relating to an issue of religion being taught at the public Long Branch School. Continue reading “The Unknown Tongue”

McCormick County Photo Trek

Mount Carmel Presbyterian Lomo

Houston and I had a day off in common, so it was time for one of our mid-winter photo treks. I really like exploring the area south of Abbeville, McCormick, and Edgefield. That part of the state is rather remote and rich in history, including our family history. Even though we’ve been down that way several times, I never seem to cover all of it, so it was ripe as another target.

Our exploration group was larger than usual. In addition to the two of us, Houston’s wife, Lynda, was coming along, as was our sister Glynda. The plan was to meet Houston and Lynda Sunday morning in the parking lot of Calhoun Falls Pentecostal Holiness Church. From there we would head south and see what we would find. Our route would take us past paddling venues, ghost towns, fire towers, and several important genealogy spots. It had the makings of a perfect day. Continue reading “McCormick County Photo Trek”

Family Haunts

Road to the Home Place

I have always enjoyed looking at the photos of Scott West (South Carolina’s Northern Kingdom). Scott and I seem to cover some of the same territory in Laurens County, and I’ve always admired his gutsy trespassing to get great shots of the interiors of old abandoned houses and interesting places.

Recently, Scott posted a couple of pictures of the old Poole Homestead in the Long Branch Community of Laurens County. I immediately recognized the place as being in one of the old photos my Dad has. After a couple of message exchanges it turns out that we do have some distant family connections (don’t ALL Southerners?) and that some of his family had attended Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness, where my father had pastored years ago.

That brings us to this Tuesday. My mother had taken a trip to visit her sisters in North Carolina, so my Dad was on his own for the week. Since I was on spring break, I decided to head down and hang out with him, and see if I could find this photo of the Poole Homestead. I did find it, and we decided to take a tour of some of the old family haunts throughout Newberry and Laurens Counties.

Continue reading “Family Haunts”

A Question of Ancestry

Over the weekend I signed up for a free two-week trial of Ancestry.com. I guess I fell prey to their recent marketing campaign, which shows users discovering new things about their families as “leaves” appear on their family tree. I had already amassed quite a bit of data on our family, so I was curious to see if I could add to my list.

It has been several years since I’ve done any serious research on our family’s history. Even then I’ve been more of a collector than actual researcher, depending upon the prior research of several cousins and some nice folks that I’ve met online, such as Dan Ellenburg in Pittsburg, with his excellent website on the Ellenberg family. By using several sources I’ve found some conflicting data, and have had to do some verification before merging various data sets. I figured that would also be the case with Ancestry.com, and I was certainly right. Continue reading “A Question of Ancestry”