12 March 2014
Surprises at the Lexington County Library
After leaving the South Carolina Archive, my mom and I went to the Lexington County Library's Main Branch location. From their website, I knew that they had a South Carolina Room for genealogy research, which included local newspapers on microfilm. Unfortunately, their website doesn't really provide any more information on what resources they had available. From their Obit Index, I knew that there was at least one obituary that I needed. I also wanted to see what else they had available.
When we arrived, we headed straight for the microfilm, a list of which was available in a small folder. To my surprise, the list started with church records. There were numerous rolls of records, and on roll seven I saw the names of two of the churches my ancestors had attended: St Michael's and Mt Pleasant.
I was extremely excited and sat down to the microfilm reader... which didn't work! I started getting anxious, but luckily the other machine did work. Whew!
I found the St Michael's Lutheran Church records first, which contained birth, marriage, death and membership records. I first found records for many-times-great aunts and uncles births, then found one for my 3rd Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Rachel Metz, who was born in 1826! This was an amazing find. South Carolina didn't start issuing birth and death certificates until 1915, so church or bible records are the only source before that date. I also found records showing that my 4th and 5th Great Grandfathers, Gabriel and Barnet Hyler, had attended the church.
The second set of church records were for Mt Pleasant Lutheran Church, which was lost when Lake Murray was damed up. I found a plot map of their cemetery, listing the exact location of my 3rd Great-Grandparents' burial - except for the fact that they were moved when the lake water rose. Luckily, I do know where they were moved to. I found some funny records too; it seems that my 2nd Great Grandfather, John W Hyler, had "gone astray," while his brother had "gone to the Methodists."
After browsing through these records, I didn't have a lot of spare time to browse newspapers. I did find the obituary I'd located in the index, but didn't spend much time on them otherwise. These papers are all slated to be added to Chronicling America sometime this year or next, so I'll have another chance to search them from the comfort of my home.
The library also had a number of books of interest that my mom found, as well as vertical files with newspaper articles. It's too bad that I don't live closer and could spend more time exploring their collection. But I'm extremely happy with what I did find.