The thread that binds one generation to the next is in the stories families tell. That is why I love libraries. Libraries hold the books that tell the stories. The collective memory of families is passed down in books when the oral history is flawed or has been altered over the years. That love of libraries became part of who I am. As an MLS librarian, I wanted to investigate the stories. Public records, manuscripts, Bible records, validate the stories or not. Early in my library career, I was out in cemeteries collecting the names of those interred there. I found letters and store ledgers that identified people where no public record existed. That great quest was fun and sometimes frustrating.
Libraries like the DAR Library are the great repository of the written records of our ancestors. My husband’s family was quite well known. The family told stories about the Hatfield McCoy feud. Paul’s great grandfather was Valentine “Wall” Hatfield, an older brother to clan leader, Devil Anse Hatfield. Being curious about Wall’s involvement in the feud, I collected documents of testimony from the Kentucky courts. The official court records and the family story about Wall’s conviction and subsequent imprisonment in 1888 were very much alike. Just like a good cozy mystery, the documents tell the story.
My goals for the DAR Library are to move the library “Forward in Service to America” by advocating for the Patriot Records Project, and renewing interest in GRC records and especially Bible records. The GRC set has approximately 20,000 volumes. These are digitized records available online to those with image access. The index is available to all members, and copies of the material can be ordered from DAR. There are also 70,000 Bible records in the GRC collection.
When GRC volumes are collected by a state, members may contribute their Bible records even if there are only a few pages. This is a permanent way to preserve your family’s heritage.
The expansion of quality sources and materials and equipment are additionally important for the future growth of the library.
This officer is liaison to Chapter Development and Revitalization, Genealogical Records, Literacy Promotion, Patriot Records Project, and Special Projects Grants committees.
The next few years will be exciting times, as more and more records of our patriots become available to our members. Our members will want to be part of this exciting journey.