Our history begins with the woman behind the Southern Genealogist's Exchange Quarterly and Society, Aurora C Shaw; who was the third of four children, born Maria Aurora Casteleiro on 13 February 1913 in Tampa, Hillsborough, Florida. Her parents where Aurelio Casteleiro of Redes ,La Coruna, Galicia, Spain and Neta Gertrude Merriman of Jefferson, Florida. She was involved in genealogy at an early age, and in an article about her in the Jacksonville Journal dated Friday, 31 December 1965, she said her mother collected information about her family and had Aurora make a death bed promise to continue the research after she, Neta, died.
Aurora as editor and Trixie Davis as associate editor started the SGE Quarterly with Volume 1 which was sent out in the Spring of 1957. This Quarterly lead to the formation of The Southern Genealogist's Exchange Society, a non profit organization, on 5 October 1964 at 2525 Oak Street (the home of Aurora) in Jacksonville, Florida, the forming of which was announced in a letter to the subscribers of the SGE Quarterly dated 20 September 1964. The first meeting of the Society was held on 26 October 1964 at the Blue Flame Room of the Florida Gas Company, located at 29 East Adams Street, and was attended by 11 persons. The meeting consisted of the election of officers and the discussion and adoption of the Constitution and By Laws. (History File –Presidents Report – Page 2)
The first few years of the society were given to procuring genealogical materials for and assisting in the genealogy section of The Jacksonville Public Library which had just opened to the public. A Certified Genealogist and member of the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints), Aurora also maintained research material at her home where people could gather to do research. On 21 January 1980 a house was rented at 2246 Oak Street from Mr James Hutto where a Library was maintained for the Society and where meetings were held. On 20 June 1982 the society moved into a converted 2 car garage at 1580 Blanding Blvd, the home and office, rented from Dr Robert L Phillips; Optometrist, and finally on 13 Jun 2000 they purchased the current location at 6215 Sauterne Drive. In 2012 the then President of the society, decided to start a fund raiser to pay off the mortgage, this occurred and a “Burn the Mortgage” celebration was held on 19 January 2013 at the SGES Library where the mortgage was instead, clearer heads prevailing, shredded, vice burning a copy of the mortgage.
Maria Aurora's father, Aurelio, was born, 21 October 1885, he was a sailor, coming to the United States in 1905. He and Neta were married 2 August 1909 in Tampa, Hillsborough, Florida. He owned a restaurant there and continued as a sailor until 1941. He died in Jacksonville, Duval, Florida on 5 September 1950 and is buried in the Old Centro Espanol Cemetery in Hillsborough, Florida. Neta Gertrude Merriman was born 15 August 1888 in Ashville, Jefferson, Florida and died 30 November 1942 in Tampa, Hillsborough, Florida and is also buried in the Old Centro Espanol Cemetery. They had four children.
Aurora married George Tinney Shaw on 14 November 1937 in Tampa and after having three children they divorced in February 1951 and she moved to Jacksonville. Of her many works of genealogical endeavors The John Lastinger Family of America was published in 1960 with updates into 1980. Her family is covered on pages 30, 31 and 32. She continued her work with the SGES and was President again in 1972. She was still living at the home in Jacksonville in 1984 and in late 1886 moved to Littleton, Arapahoe, Colorado to be near a daughter (Sheila) and where she died on 9 February 1999. She is buried in the Littleton Cemetery.
To continually add to the genealogical knowledge base of our members, expose the general public to genealogy pursuits, to assist the individual in the compilation of family histories, record and preserve genealogical records, and to consistently further the interest in accurate genealogical research methods.
The SGES library contains over 6,000 books, periodicals, and magazines. In addition, our collection contains maps, family histories, and over 100,000 obituaries from Jacksonville and the surrounding regions. Ancestry.com access is available during regular business hours. We are staffed by volunteers, so it is wise to call ahead.
We recommend a non-member donation $5.00 per researcher per day.
President: Carol Clay
1st Vice President: Alana Masters
2nd Vice President: Michael Ports
Treasurer: Garry Clay
Recording Secretary: Chuck Young
Corresponding Secretary: Georgia Pribanic
Historian: Liz DuClose
Webmaster: Barry C. Sweetman
The SGES Library is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our library building is normally open and staffed by volunteers during the following hours: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Wednesday and Thursday of each week and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month. During the COVID-19 pandemic all hours are by appointment only.
Volunteers are our source-blood! There are plenty of ways for you to volunteer with our genealogy society library
It’s easy to volunteer! Just email us!
6215 Sauterne Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32210
PO Box 7728
Jacksonville, FL 32238-0728