Thursday, May 19, 2011

A tour of Charleston...immersing myself in local history and trying to find contemporaries of my Story and Ellis families...

Some of the local architecture is reminiscent
of the kind you can find in New Orleans...
This entry is going to be a little more historical sight-seeing and a little less actual genealogy, although for better or for worse (for better, in my opinion), these two fields will always be intertwined. So the Tuesday before the National Genealogical Society's family history conference began, I did the whole sightseeing thing - most of the day was trying to get to Old St. Andrew's Church but I got a chance to walk around Charleston a bit too. I could've gone on a tour of the sights, I could've gone to a museum, but to be honest, that's not why I was there. I wanted to soak in the environment my ancestors lived in - I wanted to get a feel for what they saw, what they felt, what it was like to be in that place in another time. Luckily, parts of Charleston *look* as old as the city is. That's one of the things I love about many European cities, that you can actually see history around you. A place like New York City has deep roots, but you have to look for them to find them - in Charleston, there's a whole "historic district," which is kind of neat. I took in the coast, the marshes, the heavy wet heat, the cobblestone streets, the palm trees and magnolias. I visited two of the oldest churches in the city, established at the same time as the Church of England in the state. I found a house that was built by a contemporary of my family - the owner would have been alive when they were, and the house would have been standing when they lived there. That was pretty cool. The only thing I didn't get a chance to do that would've been pretty neat, considering the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War just passed, was visit Fort Sumter, where it all began. But I guess that's what return trips are for!

...and some of it seems to reflect the deep Caribbean roots of the city (the first English settlers of Charleston came by way of Barbados)

Down by the the palm trees!

This house, Col. Rhett's house (how appropriate - Rhett in Charleston! That's a Gone With the Wind reference btw...), was standing (not quite as enlarged) when my family lived here in the early 1700s...



  1. Glad you enjoyed your sightseeing tour!! Since I had family & friends to catch up with didn't get to go downtown like I had hoped. But like you said, future visits!!

  2. We also enjoyed seeing Charleston, though the Tuesday before the conference was awfully hot. Still, there was lots to see and plenty to bring us back there. Glad you had a good time!