Part of Live Oak Public Libraries in Savannah, The Kaye Kole Genealogy & Local History Room at Bull Street Library was established in 1999. Affectionately nicknamed the Georgia Room, this space has a wealth of Southern history and genealogical resources.
One of the most unique components is the Gamble Collection, given by a former mayor of the city. The collection includes maps, Civil War-era illustrations, journals on the naval stores business (1921-1949), and scrapbooks on a wide variety of historical topics. Some of the special items in the collection include the employee magazines for the Central of Georgia Railway (1913-1963) and the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation (during World War II). There are colorful topics too. If you are looking for a recipe or gardening ideas, there are many books to peruse.
The Georgia Room contains census materials, family histories, county histories and other genealogy materials. It also has Colonial, Revolutionary, and Civil War records. For researching your family tree, the library’s collection has the most resources from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Library staff are able to help researchers trace ancestors from other states and even from other countries.
For local history, the archive houses newspapers, telephone books, city directories (dating back to 1848), Sanborn maps, and a small collection of yearbooks. Images of newspapers on microfilm include the Savannah Morning News (1763-present), Savannah Evening Press, and the Savannah Tribune. There is also a large collection of clippings and pamphlets on Georgia topics.
For historians and students of American history, the Georgia Room has a collection of the “Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States” from Herbert Hoover through Bill Clinton.
Items in the Georgia Room are available to the public for in-library use during regular operating hours. The library also offers access to valuable online resources. Highlights include links to keyword searchable databases such as Ancestry Library Edition, African American Newspapers (1827-1998), HeritageQuest Online, Georgia Historic Newspapers, and a curated list of useful websites, including Family Search.
Built in 1916 with a Carnegie grant, the Bull Street Library is an excellent example of neoclassical architecture and a neighborhood landmark just south of Savannah’s historic district. The striking marble block structure is supported by an iron work grid. More iron work in the shelving holds up five floors, the outside walls, and ultimately the roof. A beautiful piece of iron work served as an oculus in the ceiling of the lobby as well.
Live Oak Public Libraries is a system of 16 library locations serving Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties in southeast Georgia. Live Oak has two other special collections. At the Hinesville Library, the Hinesville Genealogy Room, sponsored by LaFayne May in honor of Wyman May, has a large collection of local history and genealogy resources. The Springfield Library also has a growing collection of local resources of interest to genealogists and historians.