Visitors at the Longview Library have the opportunity to step back into history. At the Mary Lee Robbins Genealogy and Local History Room, visitors are finding some of the smallest links to an unknown past.
Every month between 185 to 300 visitors from East Texas and other states, including Maine and South Carolina, drop by. They can find "How to Books" on searching for Native American, Irish and German genealogy. There are census books, veteran's journals and even listings for state cemetaries. Visitors can scroll through Longview's death and birth statistics dating back to 1903 using the room's microfilm system.
Linda Laminack runs the genealogy room. She says visitors aren't always motivated by just curiosity.
"Some people do it for medical purposes," she said.
Terri Cook has been on a 3 year search for her genealogy. "I've heard stories about an Indian grandmother, a white great grandfather from Germantown and I just found it so interesting," Terri said. "I just wanted to find out where we came from."
Tuesday, her search turned up the picture of a cousin's deceased father. She says she's using her discoveries to educate the rest of her family. "What I did last year was I did a book and I sent it out to all my relatives and they were just shocked. I found marriage licenses and birth certificates. I took pictures at Gracehill cemetary of headstones. Some of our family didn't even know any of our relatives. So they were just so excited, they were like sending me donations to keep going."
Services at the Genealogy and Local History Room at the Longview Library are free. Books and resource materials are aquired through a special fund and from the Gregg County Genealogy Society.
Story by Maya Golden, firstname.lastname@example.org