What’s New in Special Collections?

This weeks “What’s New” isn’t strictly new, but it is a useful and interesting resource that few of our patrons are familiar with or have used. Special Collection’s focus has not always been on local and university history. At one point, genealogy was a major collecting priority. Prior to online genealogical indexes and resources, most research was conducted using the far more painstaking and time-consuming technique of looking through directories, histories, and public records for some brief mention of the family name or individual in question. A lot of that still goes on today, of course, but there are a wealth of electronic resources and databases to get aid in your research.

Tucked in the back corner of Special Collections, however, is an index prepared by former librarians and staff that was far ahead of its time. The “Name Index” contains mentions of individuals who appear throughout the history, manuscripts, and public records of Augusta and the surrounding area. If you are looking for a family or individual, then this is a great place to start. You might even get lucky and find a picture to go with that name in our digital photo archive.

One example is James Paul Verdery, a private in the Civil War. His card tells us his date of birth and death, that he was wounded on Wilcox Farm in 1864, and that he served until at least Oct. 31, 1864. We also know that this information was found in the “Roster of the Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1864” that can be found on the shelf at call number E559 .A5. A search in the digital photo archive (available in Special Collections on the 3rd floor of Reese Library) turned up a photo of soldier with this same name. If Mr. Verdery was your ancestor, you’d have not only a likely photo, but a great start in your research!

To use either of these resources, please visit us in Reese Library Special Collections on the third floor, Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm. You can also reach us via email at spcoll@aug.edu or by phone at 706-667-4904.