By Angie Georgeff

When I was a senior in high school, I was chosen to receive the DAR Good Citizen Award.  I didn’t know much about the Daughters of the American Revolution, but I learned more about the organization at the luncheon when the award was presented. I knew about my great, great grandparents who lived during the Civil War, but I marveled that anyone could know about ancestors who had lived more than 200 years ago. I asked my mother, who had accompanied me, “Where on earth would you find that kind of information?” She had no idea.

Years passed before I actively sought the answers, but now I know more about my ancestors than I had ever dreamed possible. I discovered my own Patriots of the American Revolution, along with farmers, ministers, teachers, blacksmiths, silversmiths, coopers, distillers and saddlers. What’s more, I learned about foremothers who led remarkable lives, conducting business on their own behalf beyond the shade of their husbands. I hadn’t expected to find that.

If you would like to begin – or continue – a journey to discover your roots, join us for a genealogy workshop at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8. We’ll talk about how to begin, search strategies and some of the resources available here at the library, on the Internet and in courthouses and archives.  Since space is limited, please call 743-6533 to register.

Mardi Gras

As people who live along the Gulf Coasts of Alabama and Mississippi are swift to point out, New Orleans is not the only place to celebrate Mardi Gras. Mobile’s celebration proudly claims to be the oldest, dating back to 1703, just one year after the city was founded as the capital of French Louisiana.

I experienced my first Mardi Gras in the “sleepy little town of Pascagoula,” Mississippi. Yes, that is the town where “the squirrel went berserk” in the Ray Stevens song Mississippi Squirrel Revival. I caught bags full of beads, doubloons, candy and Moon Pies that were being tossed from cars and floats on the Saturday before Mardi Gras. In this instance, the squirrels just dodged the incoming fire, since not every strand of beads that went up came down to earth again.  For months afterward, beads festooned the live oaks along the parade route as a gleaming counterpoint to the Spanish moss.

Now the schools in that district close for three days so students can travel to Mobile, Biloxi or New Orleans for even larger parades than P’goula’s and then recuperate on Ash Wednesday. If you would like a taste of Mardi Gras to take the chill off February, come to the library at any time on Tuesday, Feb. 13, and see what you can catch!