“But here I am, and here I’ll stay. I want the world to know I’m happy.” Sister in Why I Live at the P.O., Eudora Welty
Some of the happiest times of my adult life have been spent at the Mississippi Archives doing genealogy research. When I was pregnant, I would spend every day at the Mississippi Archives from opening until closing looking at microfiche, microfilms, books, journals, collections, compilations of marriage records, census indexes – all of it revealing new names, filling in missing details, and printing proofs for most of my family lines back to about 1800. Since I was becoming a “regular”, the director and her assistants were worried that I’d go into labor at the Archives! That would’ve been OK with me to have my daughter born at my favorite genealogy place!
After my daughter was born, the only time I could do research was in the first months when babies sleep most of the time. I’d go to the Archives with my mom and car-seat stroller in hand, and stay until dinnertime. In time, though, the research slowed down a bit, and it became clear that it was time to hit the road.
Armed only with family group sheets and diapers, I found fascinating, old record books hundreds of years old while visiting county court records’ offices revealing land maps that show the plats where ancestors lived including their neighbors, original marriage bonds and licenses, tax and militia rolls, state censuses, original wills and estate inventories in MS, AL, SC, NC and TN!
I have found records and changed diapers in most of the archives and county seats across the South. However, for me, the Mecca of all Archives where the angelic choir sings is the Library of Virginia in Richmond. When I visited Richmond with my young daughter and mom, it was for fun and seeing the old haunts where the first Rocketts lived. It wasn’t for research at the Library. Perhaps, someday. Maybe with a grandbaby and diapers in hand. Someday.