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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Research in Northeastern Ohio

I'm just back from a rather whirlwind research trip to Northeast Ohio where I was able to visit a few cemeteries and a few more libraries. I actually planned ahead this trip, and, using Google Maps, made a "My Map" for my trip of all the cemeteries, libraries & Genealogical societies that I wanted to visit, numbered each and then printed out a detailed map of how to get to each place. It was extremely useful, and also made it easy to determine where we were going to go next.
Our first day was spent up in Chardon, chasing Hosmers and a few other surnames. The Geauga County Genealogical Society sponsors the genealogy room at the Chardon public library. While it was definitely small, almost cramped, it was packed with both state and local genealogical treasures. I don't normally spend time on collections of family group sheets, but theirs definitely had a great twist - obituaries and other news clippings were either attached or photocopied on the backside of the group sheet. They also had local informational tidbits collected in an individual box for each township, making it easy to find those juicy bits that were never necessarily published anywhere else.
The Geneva public library was home to the Ashtabula County Genealogical Society, and we spent a good day there as well. Again, it was hard for me to get my nose out of the vertical files, but the volunteers from the society were incredibly helpful, and pulled several books and other items of interest to the names we were researching for the area. They have a very well-organized collection of notebooks filled with different subject matter - Bible records, obituaries, etc. I could have easily spent another day or two there.
My absolute favorite was the Trumbull County public library in Warren. Not only did they have ample space (considering the tiny areas many other libraries set aside for genealogy), but the resources and librarians were wonderful. I spent an entire day there, and barely got out of the vertical files. One file cabinet was filled with surname packets of genealogical research and tidbits collected by a renowned local historian and genealogist from the 1930's. These files included her correspondence back and forth with both people who wanted her to find information on their family, and letters to and from people that she was requesting information about. Definitely found some golden clues there! Next trip I am going to set aside at least one, if not two, entire days just for this library. And did I mention the wonderful staff? Aside from rescuing the power cord for my computer which I accidently left, they were helpful and ever-ready to answer any question, and at the same time, didn't interfere with my research.
I had such high hopes for the Morley library, but was fairly disappointed overall. It definitely was the handsomest library - with both ample space and beautiful paneling and furniture. The highlight of their collections seemed to be (at least to me) their newspaper microfilm, and their vertical files. Their stacks were a disappointment, and there was but one librarian in the area, who was completely absent more than present, and didn't offer any research guidance or help at all. Not that I really needed that, but I always appreciate a nickel tour of the facilities before I dig in.
I'm still sorting through the couple of hundred tombstone photos that I took, cropping & downsizing them so I can get them posted on
I also got names and e-mail addresses for folks at a few of my favorite spots, who told me not to hesitate to contact them if they could look something up for me. Genealogists are the nicest people!!!

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