Live Oak Library
Contributed by Ann L. Sherman and Jane L. Splawn
Live Oak Public Libraries–Bull Street Branch
2002 Bull Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
Telephone: (912) 652–3697
Hours: Monday–Thursday, 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.;
Sunday, 2:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Web Site Address: www.liveoakpl.org/BullStreet.htm
Contact Person: Honey Ryan or Sharen Lee, Reference Librarians
Directions to and Parking at the Library
From I-16 going into Savannah, take the 37th Street exit. Turn left on Bull Street. The library is on the right. Limited parking is located on Bull Street to the left of the library, and handicap access is available through the front door.
History of the Area
The city of Savannah and the colony of Georgia were founded when James Edward Oglethorpe and his group of 114 settlers arrived from England on the ship Anne in February 1733. For the site of Savannah Oglethorpe chose a forty-foot bluff overlooking the river by the same name. He brought with him a plan that provided for the city to be laid out in a series of grids to allow for wide streets with shady public squares and parks. Today, the 2.5 mile-long Historic District with its elegant architecture, inviting fountains, and beautiful vegetation bears witness to Oglethorpe’s foresight.
England’s reasons for founding the colony were varied and included providing a home for English debtors and unemployed and creating a buffer between South Carolina and the Spaniards in Florida. The colony, it was hoped, would also produce wine, flax, hemp, and silk for English manufacturers and provide another market for English-made products.
Present-day Savannah is the county seat of Chatham County, created in 1777 from Christ Church Parish and a part of Saint Phillip Parish. The name Chatham was chosen in honor of William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham.
Location of Genealogical Materials
The genealogy collection is housed in the beautiful Kaye Kole Genealogy and Local History Room, located to the left at the front entrance. The emphasis of the collection is on Georgia and secondarily on Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. A knowledgeable librarian is available for assistance in locating materials.
Finding Aids and Internet Access
Three computers provide access to the library catalog and to the Internet. Ancestry Plus is available.
A collection of approximately 8,000 books is arranged by a modified version of the Dewey Decimal System. Books are shelved geographically and by subject group, encouraging browsing.
Some books of interest are:
· General Index to Savannah, Georgia, Newspapers (1763–1845)
· Annals of Savannah: Savannah Newspaper Digest (1858–1895)
· Savannah Morning News Index (1929–1993)
· Laurel Grove Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia (4 volumes)
· Dodge County [Georgia] Newspaper Clippings (19 volumes)
· Surrey County, Virginia, Court Records (9 volumes)
· South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution
· History of Alabama and Her People (3 volumes)
· Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America (5 volumes)
· Quaker Records in Maryland
· Index to Volunteer Soldiers in Indian Wars and Disturbances, 1815–1858
· Men of Mark in Georgia (7 volumes)
• Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (4 volumes)
· Irish Pedigrees (2 volumes)
· Moseley Family History (2 volumes)
· The Famine Immigrants (6 volumes)
· Passports of Southeastern Pioneers, 1770–1823
· Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, 2000 (4 volumes)
Most of the periodicals are bound and are shelved together as a group. Two unusual publications are the magazine of the Central of Georgia Railroad (March 1926–1962) and the newsletter for the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation (March 1943–November 1945).
Other bound periodicals include:
· Georgia Genealogical Magazine (July 1961–Winter/Fall 1998)
· South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research (1973–2004)
· The Virginia Genealogist (1957–2004)
· Huxford Genealogical Society Magazine (1974–2003)
· Georgia Historical Quarterly (1917–1982)
A small miscellaneous map collection may be accessed through the staff.
Sanborn maps on microfilm are arranged alphabetically for the Georgia counties of Quitman through Tallapoosa.
Savannah city directories dating back to 1848 along with limited other area directories are available. Access may be made through the staff.
Savannah directories are available from 1920 to date.
There are several filing cabinets with vertical files covering many aspects of the life of Savannah from the wharves to the city proper. A few family files are available.
The Gamble Collection was bequeathed to the Genealogy Room upon the death of Thomas A. Gamble, Mayor of Savannah from 1933-1936 and from 1939 until his death in 1945. This collection includes many scrapbooks of published writings by Mr. Gamble and other writers, as well as books and other materials. The collection is in the process of being digitized and may be viewed on http://e-archives.liveoakpl.org. Adobe Reader is required to view the contents.
One machine is available at ten cents per copy.
The microfilm collection consists of:
· Georgia census, 1820-1930, including slave schedules for 1850 and 1860
· South Carolina census, 1850, including slave schedules for 1850
· Georgia Soundex, 1880-1930
· United States census, 1890 (existing remnants)
A complete list of local newspapers and the index for some papers from 1780-present, including some surrounding areas, can be found on the Internet site for the Live Oak Public Library System.
Available microfiche records are:
· Georgia Marriage Register, 1964-1998
· Georgia Death Index, 1919-1998
· Miscellaneous group of IGI records and Everton published computerized family files and group sheets
CDs contain the following records:
· United States Census, 1880
· African-Americans in the 1870 census
· Irish in the 1870 census
· United States Mortality Index, 1850-1880
· Miscellaneous census schedules and indexes from various states and other countries
Four microform reader/copiers are available with a cost of 25 cents per copy.
Other Library Branches
The Live Oak Public Library System has two other branches with genealogical holdings:
· The Liberty Branch located in Hinesville has collections for Liberty County.
· The Effingham Branch in Springfield has resources for Effingham County.
Other Area Attractions
A walk through Savannah’s Historic District, designated a National Historic Landmark, provides a window to the charm and beauty of a bygone era. Its moss-draped live oak trees and lovely flowers explain why Savannah is considered one of America’s most beautiful cities. Chippewa Square, named for a famous battle of the War of 1812, was used in filming the movie, Forrest Gump. The lovely old Mercer House was used for the filming of the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
The Juliette Gordon Lowe Birthplace at 142 Bull Street was the home of the founder of the Girl Scouts of America. Built in 1818, the house is now used as the program center for the organization.
Tybee Island Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Savannah River, is still active and maintained by the U.S. Coastguard. A ninety-foot-tall original wooden tower was erected in 1736 and was at that time the tallest structure of its kind in America. The present lighthouse was built after the Civil War and is octagonal in shape. It is open for climbing and has a gift shop.
Fort Pulaski on Tybee Island was erected between 1829 and 1849 and ranked as one of the finest defense structures in the country until a siege by Federal forces during the Civil War made its all–masonry fortifications obsolete. A museum features architectural records of the fort, Civil War memorabilia, period furniture, and historic photographs.
Old Fort Jackson at 1 Fort Jackson Road was built in 1808 and is the oldest standing fort in Georgia. Exhibits created by the Coast Heritage Society explain the history of the fort and the weapons used there.
Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum at 503 East River Street features ship models and artifacts from around the world.
The Comer House at 2 East Taylor Street is a Victorian mansion where Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, was a guest of the owner, H. M. Comer.
The Owens-Thomas House at 124 Abercorn Street was built in 1816 from the architectural design of English architect, William Jay. It is now operated as a museum.
The King-Tisdale Cottage at 514 East Huntingdon Street was the historic home of Eugene Dempsey King and later Robert Tisdale. It is now operated as a museum by the Savannah-Yamacraw Chapter of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, Savannah has many events to celebrate its Irish heritage. The highlight of the day is a parade second in size only to the one in New York City.
(This article appeared in the Georgia Genealogical
Society Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 4
©2005 by The Georgia Genealogical Society