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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Research at the Southern Maryland Studies Center

I love finding out of the way hidden research gems.  It just drives home the fact that not everything is online, and yes you still need to get out and do research in brick and mortar buildings sometimes.  A few weeks ago I had an amazing adventure in Maryland and I wanted to share it with you.

You see, I am on a mission.  My mission, as set out by my mother, is to get her ancestor Edward Arvin listed as a DAR patriot.  I have talked about him before on this blog and seeing that I have his pension file this should be a slam dunk right?  Well, there is one glitch.  The solid proof that he is the father of Henry Arvin, the son through which my line descends.  I have lots, and lots, of circumstantial evidence but I am still holding out hope that I will find that elusive document that clearly shows relation.  Proving family folklore is a pain at times, right?

The family resided near Port Tobacco in Charles County, Maryland which had record losses from the War of 1812.  Earlier this spring I stumbled on an archive located there which specializes in Charles County records and research. I called, made an appointment, and spent a whole day researching my family.

The Southern Maryland Studies Center, located on the campus of the College of Southern Maryland at La Plata, was a treasure trove of information.  I called ahead of time to talk to the Archivist there about the collection and to schedule a time that I could come in at other than the ones posted.  Living 2 hours away and having to plan around bus/school schedules made it difficult to get in there at the times the archive is normally open. 

It was well worth the trip, and I know I will need to make several more trips back there in the future.  The archives, which contain the historical and genealogical society records, is only open from 1pm-4pm M-F or by appointment.  However, the stacks with all the genealogical published books are open when the main library is open which varies during the school year so check the website.  First time visitors do have to read and sign a sheet stating they understand the rules of the archives.  You can see the sheet on the centers planning your visit page.

I am still going through the documents I uncovered.  One more thing I did realize while there, I will have to figure out how to get to the Maryland State Archives.  They may just have the key to my research.  YAY road trip! 

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