From time to time, conducting genealogical research leads family historians into situations that are anything but typical.
Such could be the case of the fictional Jeanie Hist, who traveled south to find a missing link in her family tree after long-distance investigations yielded no information.
She considered heading for the state archives and county seat to check sources others had researched without success. But somehow it seemed best to visit the ancestral hometown for clues to help map a research strategy.
Jeanie arrived in Tinytown, D.S., population 500. Her elders in Large Town, U.N., always spoke of this place with such reverence. Miraculously, it was exactly as they described it: clean and colorful with friendly people. Too bad they had not said more before passing on.
Her immediate family history research goal was to find out if cousin Sue Greene had died or moved away. Sue, so the story went, kept in touch with all of the Greenes. So, discovering what became of her could provide links to trace several family lines. It was thought that she remained single and would be found under the name Greene.
Jeanie began the visit with lunch at Tinytown Cafe. Locals lunching included a minister living in Tinytown for 15 years; the elderly, longtime postmaster; the middle-age librarian who developed a passion for local history in her youth; and the sexton at the only cemetery within an hour's drive.
Which two Tinytown residents should Jeanie try to interview first?
The sexton and the postmaster.
If Sue never moved from Tinytown, she's probably buried in the local cemetery and the sexton would have a record of when and where she was buried. If her name is not in his ledger, he can check for other Greenes and look for a Sue, who is about the right age, buried nearby.
With a correct name and approximate death date, it's possible to find a death certificate with information that leads to other research avenues. Even descendants of Greenes who are buried in the cemetery could lead to relatives with information on Sue and others in the family.
If Sue moved, it's possible the postmaster can and will share information on when and where her mail was forwarded. The postmaster of such a small town also might be able to share information about several family members.
The minister and librarian might be helpful, too. But they don't appear to be the strongest candidates.
St. Bartholomew Chapter of the South Carolina Genealogical Society will hold a free workshop in Walterboro June 12.
Sessions are "Indian Roots in Colleton" at 10 a.m. and "Using DNA in Genealogy Research" at 11 a.m.
In addition, chapter members will assist attendees with personal research from 1 to 4 p.m.
Sign-in will be at 9:30 a.m.
The event will be at 609 Black St. across from the old football stadium.