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Genealogical treasures await those with roots in Colleton and nearby counties, thanks to the Old St. Bartholomew Chapter of the South Carolina Genealogical Society.

The chapter, based in Walterboro, has amassed quite a collection of family history materials, which it houses in a three-room genealogy center there.

The collection includes donations from personal papers, estates and other sources. In addition, the Charleston Chapter of the state's genealogical society placed its collection of books with Old St. Bartholomew.

Inside the small, but rich archive is the "Colleton tree" that includes the names of more than 174,000 people connected to Colleton County and predecessor jurisdictions as far back as 300 years. References are provided for the information the tree gives.

Colleton, whose courthouse was among those burned during the Civil War, lost 65 years of wills, deeds and other legal documents. One of Old St. Bartholomew's specific goals is to help genealogists overcome challenges presented by the lack of those useful records.

In addition to the Colleton tree, the chapter has microfilm with more than a century of local newspapers and an accompanying four-volume surname index. Those are complemented by a complete set of the group's quarterly newsletter, "The Rice Planter" and genealogical newsletters from across the state. Add to that hanging files of loose papers containing hundreds of surnames that are significant to Lowcountry South Carolina.

The chapter also has more than 2,000 books that have been indexed, including more than 100 specifically on Colleton, Bamberg and Dorchester county families. It continues to seek more information on Native American and African-American families with roots in the area.

Free workshop

The chapter's center will remain open for research after Old St. Bartholomew's holds its free annual workshop there Saturday.

Sign-in is at 9:30 a.m.; "Indian Roots in Colleton" at 10 a.m.; and "Using DNA in Genealogy Research" at 11 a.m.

In addition, chapter members will assist those attending with personal research from 1 to 4 p.m. The center is at 609 Black St., across from the old football stadium.

Regular center hours are Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until 4 p.m. if a volunteer is available. It also opens by appointment for out-of-town researchers and groups wishing to tour on other days.

Laptops, digital cameras and flash drives are permitted. The chapter hopes to resume regular Saturday hours soon. Visit www.bartholomew.scgen.org.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Kinship column will return June 28.

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705 or wminis@postandcourier.com.