My most recent activity was fixing the roadblock that I made for myself at the very beginning. The database that I posted a month ago was on a Quattro Pro spreadsheet that I created and organized to my specific needs. I liked working with the spreadsheet format, or I thought. This was the first of my two major problems. It never occurred to me that one should create a text-based database in a word document. Then I realized my second unfortunate mistake, I’d created my database in an incompatible software to the rest of the world. I could not open the file in any other computer outside of my own desktop because my five year old computer with Quattro Pro is antiquated already. So for three sunny 70° Charleston days, I retyped my database into a Works Word Processor table. It still baffles me that software created and produced under the Microsoft name cannot be opened in all Microsoft computers. It’s crazy, right?
Now that I’ve had a chance to rant about the technical stuff, on to the important stuff. My list of relevant newspaper articles is growing daily. At times it is a little overwhelming, but I’ve received great advice from Dr. Butler at our weekly meetings. In searching names and places, there are so many avenues to take, so many terms to search, names and cross-references. I start in one direction and find myself running in another. This really is an exercise in organization. Dr. Butler urged me to create a list of search terms that I can strikeout and add to indefinitely. That way I keep myself a little grounded when it comes to new ideas for a search or new names.
What takes the most time and method are all the different ways I can search for a specific name and place. For example: if I search the name “Benoist,” there are three Benoists currently known to have a connection with Saint Domingue. I then either restrict the search to South Carolina newspapers after 1791. Or, I type in another keyword, like Saint Domingue, Haiti, Hayti, unfortunate sufferer(s), refugee(s), Charleston, French family, and/or French gentleman/lady. I could potentially find dozens of articles or nothing at all for each of the three Benoist.
I got my hands on the 150th Anniversary pamplet of La Société Française de Charleston. In this pamphlet, published in 1966 by the Société Française, there is a brief history of the French presence in Charleston, a list of the founding members, and a list of subsequent members and their date of joining. Through these two lists, I have a tons of names to search to figure out their place of origin and if there is a Saint Domingue connection. So these searches have become my current focus.
COMING SOON: Haitian Literature page