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Ancestry Database + Genealogy Reading

“Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors. “
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Great news for genealogists! Marion County Library now has access to’s Library Edition. This popular genealogy database is powerful but easy to use. You can search centuries’ worth of census records from all over the world, download ancestry charts and research calendars for your recordkeeping, and then share information with other genealogists on Ancestry’s public message boards.

The database is available on every computer in our Marion library, including a dedicated computer in our South Carolina Room, giving easy access to our other materials.

For more genealogy fun, take a look at these novels based on tracing our roots:

The Lost Quilter, by Jennifer Chiaverini
Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson treasures an antique quilt called by three names -- Birds in the Air, after its pattern; the Runaway Quilt, after the woman who sewed it; and the Elm Creek Quilt, after the place to which its maker longed to return. That quilter was Joanna, a fugitive slave who traveled by the Underground Railroad to reach safe haven in 1859 at Elm Creek Farm. 

Though Joanna's freedom proved short-lived -- she was forcibly returned by slave catchers to Josiah Chester's plantation in Virginia -- she left the Bergstrom family a most precious gift, her son. Hans and Anneke Bergstrom, along with maiden aunt Gerda, raised the boy as their own, and the secret of his identity died with their generation. Now it falls to Sylvia -- drawing upon Gerda's diary and Joanna's quilt -- to connect Joanna's past to present-day Elm Creek Manor.

Through hardship and deprivation, Joanna dreams of freedom and returning to Elm Creek Farm. Determined to remember each landmark on the route north, Joanna pieces a quilt of scraps left over from the household sewing, concealing clues within the meticulous stitches. Later, in service as a seamstress to the new bride of a Confederate officer, Joanna moves on to Charleston, where secrets she keeps will affect the fate of a nation, and her abilities and courage enable her to aid the country and the people she loves most.

The knowledge that scraps can be pieced and sewn into simple lines -- beautiful both in and of themselves and also for what they represent and what they can accomplish -- carries Joanna through dark days. Sustaining herself and her family through ingenuity and art during the Civil War and into Reconstruction, Joanna leaves behind a remarkable artistic legacy that, at last, allows Sylvia to discover the fate of the long-lost quilter.

Innocent Blood, by P.D. James
Adopted as a child into a privileged family, Philippa Palfrey fantasizes that she is the daughter of an aristocrat and a parlor maid. The terrifying truth about her parents and a long-ago murder is only the first in a series of shocking betrayals. Philippa quickly learns that those who delve into the secrets of the past must be on guard when long-buried horrors begin to stir. 

This is a stand-alone novel by master crime writer James, who also wrote the Adam Dalgleish series.

The Songcatcher, by Sharyn McCrumb
Folksinger Lark McCourry is haunted by the memory of a song. Passed down through generations, it carried her ancestors from a Scottish island, through the pages of American history, to western North Carolina. Over the years, though, the memory of the old song has dimmed and Lark’s only hope of preserving her family legacy lies in mountain wisewoman Nora Bonesteel, who talks to both the living and the dead. 

In the Afterword of The Songcatcher, McCrumb gives genealogists some words to live by: “To me [the song] symbolized the fragility of one's heritage. Each of us is the link between the past and the future, and it is up to us to pass along the legends, the stories, the songs, and the traditions of our own family. If we don't they will be lost.”

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