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Genealogy Library to Host Open House at New Location Sunday

Nov. 16, 2007 — Ever wonder about those loins from which you were sprung? The Caribbean Genealogy Library will have a grand re-opening and open house Sunday in its new location at Al Cohen's Plaza atop Raphune Hill.
The event will run from 3 to 5 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and welcoming remarks by first lady Cecile deJongh, library President Susan Lugo and co-founder and principal benefactor Elizabeth Swinson Sharp.
It has been an uphill struggle to re-situate the library from its former minuscule space at Cohen's Havensight location. The library is strictly volunteer-supported.
Lugo, for one, could not be happier. She was busy Friday "papering the town" with flyers.
"This new location is three times the size of our former quarters," she said. "Now we are better able to use the new equipment we've had donated: two copier-scanners from Business World, and UVI donated a microfilm reader from its library in January."
In a short seven years, the library has become the only known library in the Caribbean devoted entirely to genealogical research. It is a licensed branch of the prestigious Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, with that library's vast resources available to CGL patrons. The LDS library has the world's largest collection of genealogical information, with more than two billion names in databases.
Sharp's private genealogy library initially established the collection in 2000. Raised on St. Thomas, where her father once served as rector of All Saints, Sharp was one of the founders of the Immigrant Genealogy Library in Burbank, Calif., a nationally recognized resource for German-immigrant research materials.
Though the former location of the Caribbean Genealogy Library was tiny, its shelves burst at the seams with volumes, documents, maps, microfilm and more. (See "Not for Profit: Caribbean Genealogy Library.")
"We now have more than 5,000 books, 600 rolls of microfilm (and more on order for the Caribbean) and about 200 or more journals, newsletters and periodicals," Lugo said Friday. "New computers — four for patrons, one for librarian — copy machines, printers, document scanners, three microfilm readers, one microfilm reader/printer and safe, accessible parking."
Membership starts at $25 annually, $30 for family (two or more persons at the same address). Members have Internet access to ancestry.com, including all U.S. censuses, historical newspapers and the UK-Ireland birth-death index.
A small cadre of volunteers man the CGL desk. Hours are Monday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 2 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 714-2136.
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