For those in Fairfield County who have ever thought about researching their family history, our county has a hidden jewel that can help with just that.
The Fairfield Genealogical Society, which is located on the second floor of the Fairfield County Museum, has the tools to help you search your roots without leaving town.
The Fairfield chapter is a member of the South Carolina Genealogical Society, which currently has over 2,000 members. The local chapter has about 30 members and is growing.
They offer three different types of memberships on the local level; individual membership for $20.00, family membership for $25, and an associate membership for $15.
For those wondering just what the society does, they provide a location for persons to come in and research family history.
Although located here in the county, the chapter has provided help to persons from across the state to across the country. You may be wondering just how the process works.
Well, step one is to gather as much information about your family from the oldest members in the family.
The next step will be to contact the museum to confirm that a volunteer staff member is available to assist you.
The research room is open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
This room is staffed by all volunteers who will help you look at family files, history books and use the Internet to locate the information you are searching for.
As mentioned, the room offers help to those who may not live in the county as well. Persons who live outside the county, state, or country can call, fax, and email in questions for the volunteers to research.
Chapter president Eddie Killian is passionate about family history and research.
He commented on the effect that the research room has on the county by saying, “the people who travel into town to research, some stay the night in local hotels, but most enjoy lunch or dinner at the local restaurants.”
Museum director Pelham Lyles said, “The most exciting part of what we do is help people find their roots.”
This summer the museum has an intern who worked on another very important part of the research room, the Slave Narratives. Intern Kevin Qualls has put together 65 slave narratives. These are stories told by slaves or their families.
The work that Qualls has done over the summer will allow researchers to use the narratives to help find family names and locations.”
The museum and the society are both in need of help to replace their digital microfilm machine. The new machine will cost $8,000.00, but will allow persons to research faster and cut down on the cost for printing as they will be able to save files onto flash drives.
Without the new microfilm machine, older files that are on microfilm will no longer be available for the public to use.
The genealogical society will be taking part in the Big Grab and Rock Around the Clock as two ways to help raise the funds needed. Not only are they in need of funds, but they need volunteers.
The research room is staffed completely by volunteers.
In order to continue to provide this service, other volunteers are needed.
Feel free to contact the society if you have questions about donations, memberships or volunteering by emailing at email@example.com.