Wednesday, February 15, 2017

BLIZZARD!!!!


Well, let's hope not. But it is just February in Northeast Ohio, so anything can happen. Like the 60 degree temperatures forecast for this weekend.

But a more typical weather event would be a blizzard. Like last year...

And like almost 40 years ago when "The Big One" hit. Anyone alive at that time remembers where they were, what it was like and how it affected them.

Me? I was in base housing at Grissom Air Force Base in Indiana. Across the street from our house was a corn field. So when the wind started blowing, we got HUGE snow drifts between the houses.  The snow reached up to the electric lines and airmen traversing the drifts had to duck under the lines to walk down the street. The Air Force emergency-delivered milk and diapers to homes with small children. But it was an Air Force Base and the base mission came first. That meant as soon as the snow stopped, they had bulldozers and dump trucks hauling the snow away. The drifts were too big for the plows to handle and there wasn't any place for them to "push" the snow away to.

More about "The Big One" later...

Medina, of course, has its share of blizzards. A search for the word "blizzard" in the online version of The History of Medina County and Ohio turned up a family by the name of BLIZZARD. A search using the term "snow storm" turned up a few more relevant hits. Mostly about how some brave pioneer got stranded in the woods during the storm and survived by taking shelter in a hollow log.

With a search on the digitized version of The Medina Gazette  and  The Medina Sentinel  available on the Newspaper Archive database from the Akron Summit County Public Library and the Medina Library's own clippings files, I was able to compile this list of blizzards for Medina County:
  • Dec 31, 1863   (snow continued for 9 days, bitter cold, gale force winds) 
  • April 24, 1875                       
  • March 31- April 3, 1881 
  • Feb 1887
  • April 1901
  • Feb 1910
  • Nov 1913
  • March 1947
  • Nov 1950
  • Jan-Feb 1968
  • Feb 1977
  • Jan 1978 (The BIG ONE!)
  • Feb 1984
  • Feb 1987
  • April 1987
  • Nov 1987
  • Dec 2004
  • Feb 2006
  • Feb 2007
Strangely, The Medina Gazette newspaper didn't report of the big snows and blizzards of the 1800's. I could only find subtle news of the 1881 storm:

Someone circled the news of the storm in this April 1, 1881 edition
of the Medina Gazette

A week later, there still was no news in the Gazette. But there were two
oblique references to the recent weather in the "Local" column

The storm in 1901 was the first storm coverage in the local papers. Notice how the left edge of paper is distorted in the images below? The newspaper was microfilmed from bound copies of the paper. The distortion is where the paper is bound. 15 inches of snow fell but it drifted "higher than a horse's back". Illustrations and photos were rare in the newspapers at this time.

The Medina Gazette 25 April 1901 p. 1
In 1913, Medina had another big blizzard. Again the paper was microfilmed from bound copies of the newspaper and is quite distorted. Here is part of the 14 November Medina Gazette article:







In 1947, this amusing cartoon appeared in the March 25th edition:

Cartoon depicting Spring's arrival.

Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor!


It started snowing that very morning and three days later this was the front page picture:


The storm closed all the major highways around Medina. All the local schools were closed until the following Monday.

And in November of 1950, Medina experienced record breaking snow when 16 inches fell:


The Medina Gazette  28 November 1950, page 1.


Stranded motorists and truckers used the Medina Square as a parking lot until they could be dug out.

In a preview of what was to come in the following year, February of 1977 had some serious snow also:



President Carter declared Ohio a disaster area. 

THE BIG ONE!

On January  20 & 21, 1978, all of the mid-west was hit with heavy snow. Strong winds whipped the snow into incredible drifts, closing roads and stranding people in their homes.

This 20 January 1978 article from the Medina Gazette was just the beginning of the story.



Countians struggled to dig their cars out. 




A week later, the blizzard was still making the front page news;






Utility workers had been laboring around the clock to get electric and telephone service restored.


The Ohio State Government was shut down


This scene from Effingham Illinois shows how truck transportation was stalled.



Because the tanker trucks couldn't get to the dairies, milk couldn't be picked up and had to be dumped.


It wasn't just business and government affected by the storm. Lives were lost.

In 1984, the area was again hit with heavy snows:

The Medina Gazette February 1984

It was bad enough that medical personnel needed to be "shuttled" to work.






Ohio was declared an "emergency" by then governor Dick Celeste.

Alternative modes of transportation were employed. Lucky the resident who had a snowmobile!


Add caption













Of course, a blizzard isn't bad news for everyone, as this 1987 picture from The Medina Gazette  illustrates:

SNOW DAY!




Share your memories of past blizzards in the comment section below:













Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Weymouth Preservation Society


The Weymouth Preservation Society has been active for a number of years now. They identify, collect, preserve and display historical items reflecting the unique culture of this little community. Their collection is housed in the restored 1925 Weymouth School.



In the past they have hosted historic home tours and cemetery restoration projects.

2017 is their Bicentennial Celebration year and their calendar is bursting with activities; such as:

  • Special Exhibits
  • A Spring Tea
  • Annual Plant Sale
  • Happy Birthday Weymouth Pot Luck Dinner
  • Annual Weymouth Day
  • Historic Cemetery Tour

As part of that celebration they have revamped and relaunched their web site:

The Weymouth Preservation Society

The site is very attractive and inviting.

Perhaps we will run into each other at one of their events?

EXTRA!  EXTRA!

This week, Family History Daily newsletter reveals how you can get thousands of genealogy related ebooks from the Amazon site: Free Kindle books  Let me know what you think of it.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Finding AMERICA!

Columbus "discovering" America. But, you know it wasn't lost, right?

No, this blog isn't about Columbus discovering America. It is about discovering my 3 X great aunt, America MASON! Whoopee!  And just like Columbus, I wasn't looking for America when I found her!

You might remember from my blog on January 12th  that America MASON was the fifth child of my 3 X great grandparents, William B. and Elizabeth R. MASON. She is also one of three that disappeared after an appearance in several census records. You will also remember that I resolved to research this family further in 2017.

On Friday the 13th (who says that is an unlucky day?) a search for Elizabeth MASON on the West Virginia Vital Records site revealed an E. MASON as the mother of a A. A. MELTEN who died 25 January 1874 in Putnam County, West Virginia. Remember, Putnam and Kanawha counties share a border and my MASON family lived right along that border for generations. The deceased father's first initial was given as "M" but from personal experience I know that an "W" is often confused for a "M" when transcribing handwritten records. A.A. MELTON's birth year was given as 1854, close enough to the Dec 1853 date I had for America's birth date to warrant a closer look.

Transcription of the death record for A.A. MELTON. Could this be the missing America MASON?
Mother's initial is E, possible for Elizabeth? Father's initial M? Is it a transcription error?


However,  the West Virginia Vital Records site was experiencing difficulties and the images were not available for display. This problem persisted for 4 days. Frustrating to say the least. Contact with their web master revealed that they were aware of the problem and their technology gurus were working on a solution.

So, what to do in the meantime? The abstract for the record gave her husband's name as "B.F. MELTEN". Since America was last listed with her family in the 1870 census, that was checked first for "B.F. MELTEN". A Benjamin F. MELTON was listed with Elizabeth MELTON's family along with 7 other supposed  family members in Putnam County. The 1870 census does not list relationships. A possible match for "B.F. MELTEN".

Benjamin F. MELTON was also listed in the 1880 Census for Kanawha County, with a wife and 2 children, the oldest of which was 3 years old. Still no conflicting information to eliminate him as a possibility as a husband for America.

But what about a marriage record for A.A. MASON and B.F. MELTON? It wasn't listed in the West Virginia Vital Records site, and while birth & death registrations can be hit or miss, marriage records seem to be better recorded. Multiple searches using different variations of their names did not help.

Time to employ an old "fall-back" search mechanism. GOOGLE! Yes, when I get stuck in my family research I will turn to Google to see if anyone else has already done the work. A search for "Benjamin MELTON" and "America MASON" did turn up a clue. Someone had posted on MyTrees.com  that a Benjamin MELTON had married and America MASON in 1873 in OHIO! WOW! Names and time period are right. But OHIO? from all accounts this family was poor. Why travel to Ohio to get married?

A FamilySearch query did not turn anything up. But the MELTON surname was familiar. A quick check of the family group chart for William B. MASON's family reminded me that America's sister, Nancy, had married a MELTON in 1877 in GALLIA COUNTY, OHIO! Really? Could it be?

My still- packed-away genealogy research boxes had some books on the marriages in Gallia County, Ohio, as that is where my father's family had resided. Dragged out the appropriate box from the cold garage and located at the bottom was Marriage Records 1851-1900 Gallia County, Ohio compiled by Michael L. Trowbridge. It is NOT indexed by every name, but does have a surname index and there on page 103, near the bottom is a listing for the marriage of Benjamin F. MELTON  and America A. MASON on 10 April 1873.

With this information in hand, finding the original record on the FamilySearch web site was easy.

Marriage Record for Benjamin MELTON and America MASON from the FamilySearch web site

While all of this information was intriguing, it still wasn't enough to convince me that A.A. MELTON was America MASON. I needed to see the original death record.

Finally, on Tuesday the 17th, the site was fixed and I could access the record image.

PART1: Red Arrow points to death Record for A.A. MELTON. Note that she was 20 years old and died in childbirth.
Green arrow points to death record for B.A. MELTON who died on 20 July and was 6 months old. THIS is her baby.
The transcription for B.A. MELTEN says that the baby's full name was Blanche. The record below reveals that her parents are B.F. and A.A. Melton. Since America MASON and Benjamin MELTON were married in April of 1873, their daughter was born almost exactly 9 months later.

PART 2: The red arrow on the left points to A.A. MELTEN's parents.

When compared to the "W" on the line above, it is clear that that is a letter "M".  Does this mean that A.A. MELTEN isn't America, the daughter of William B. & Elizabeth MASON?

Not necessarily. The red arrows on the right reveals who the informant  was for the record, "W.F. MELTEN", "Brother." He clearly isn't the brother of A.A. MASON, so he must be B.F. MELTEN's brother. How familiar would he be with his brother's in-law's, when the marriage had only lasted 9 months? 

I believe the initial "M" for A.A.'s father is a mistake, made by her brother-in-law. For now, I believe I have solved the disappearance of America MASON. And just as I guessed,  she must have "married or died". In reality, she had done both.

Is the case completely closed? 

No. New information found in the future could cause me to look at this assumption again. But for now...

BTW: My research plan for the MASONs for 2017 has been formulated. It will require field trips to other libraries, ordering FHL microfilms and maybe a trip to West Virginia!

AND, once I returned to searching for Elizabeth MASON (America's mother), a review of the records I already had gave me a clue to her. In the 1910 Census for her son, William H. MASON, an Elizabeth LISLIE is listed as his mother-in-law. William H.'s wife was Elizabeth HARMON and her mother was Rebecca BESS. Who is this Elizabeth LISLIE? Could the census taker misinterpreted the relationship?

In the 1900 Census for her daughter, Nancy MELTON, Elizabeth LESLIE was listed as the mother-in-law to Nancy's husband, Elisha MELTON. Could this be the elusive Elizabeth MASON?

A query in FamilySearch  turned up a marriage record for Elizabeth MASON to Samuel LESLEY in 1886. They are both listed as widow(er)s and she is listed as 50 years old. In the census records her age fluctuates as much as 7 years, so this is inline with that info.  Further search revealed a death record for Elizabeth LESLIE in 1916.

If this Elizabeth MASON LESLIE is the same woman as Elizabeth MASON wife to William B. MASON, I have discovered what happened to her, and narrowed William's death date to sometime between June of 1880 when he last appeared in the census and January 1886, when his wife Elizabeth remarried.

Unfortunately, I still have not found a death date for William B., nor the marriage record between him and Elizabeth, whose maiden name is still unknown.  And THAT is why you set goals!

Now, I know you aren't all that thrilled to learn about my research into the MASON family, but what this posting illustrates is:

1. Using multiple records to prove a connection.
2. Looking critically at sources. Who provided the information? Could mistakes have been made?
3. Examining details of resources you already have for clues.
4. Willingness to re-evaluate suppositions as new information is discovered.
5. Realization that spelling of names and dates of birth are very fluid in early records.


Curious about which DNA test is right for you? 



Check out this article from Family History Daily: Which Genealogy DNA Test is the Best?  I still like what Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, says; "Test with as many companies as you can afford." That strategy gives you the greatest chance of making connections.





SOURCES:
West Virginia Vital Records
FamilySearch
Google
MyTrees.com
Family History Daily
The Legal Genealogist

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Medina County History Fair

Join us this Saturday for the second Medina County History Fair. 14 different historical and genealogical societies from Medina County will be on hand to display the history of our county and share what they hold in their collections. 

Ask Questions!


Share Memories!!


Become a member of your favorite group!




This event will be held in the Lobby and the Community Meeting Rooms on the first floor of the Medina Library at 210 South Broadway, Medina.

THANK YOU! To every historical & genealogical society who participated and to the 200 people who came through the exhibits!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ohio's Squirrel Hunters

FIRST, read this post from the Legal Genealogist and decide what you want to do to protect your privacy.


NO,  not the kind of squirrel hunters who shoot at the very cute but also
very annoying and destructive little rodents that populate my neighborhood.

During the Civil War, states and cities that formed the border between the North and the South worried constantly about the battle coming into their homes. If you know very much about the Civil War you will know that their worries were justified. Homes in the path of Sherman's March To The Sea, were looted and crops were burned. Some homes in Gettysburg still have bullets lodged in their siding.

In September of 1862, the citizens of Cincinnati Ohio were alarmed when they learned that Confederate leader, General Kirby Smith was headed their way. Martial law was enacted in the city. The governor of Ohio telegraphed each county across the state, calling for armed volunteers to hasten to Cincinnati and defend the border. Men from 65 out of Ohio's 88 counties answered the call. 15,000 in two days. Armed with muskets, shotguns and "squirrel" rifles; hence the name of the volunteers "Squirrel Hunters."

This article from the Medina Gazette in 1935 described how Democrats (Copperheads*) & Republicans forgot their political differences for a time when their state needed them:

Medina County Gazette 9 August 1935, section 2, page 3. Article by P. (Peter) P. Cherry,
a local Medina historian. Cherry inflated the number of troops involved.
The governor ordered that the men should travel by train and the railroad would be reimbursed later. Soon, flour and other food supplies were also on their way to the volunteers.

Image from the Library of Congress of Squirrel Hunters
https://www.loc.gov/resource/ihas.200000085.0/?sp=1


On September 13th, officials received word that the Confederate forces had retreated from their advance. Rebel scouts had learned of the rally of the citizen soldiers. The volunteers returned home soon after.

In 1863, the Governor ordered that official discharges be printed for every man who came to the defense of Cincinnati. In time, these "Squirrel Hunter" discharges became prized possessions.


In 1908, the Ohio Legislature passed a resolution to grant each "Squirrel Hunter" $13, or the equivalent of one month's pay for a private in the Army.

Very little documentation exists on the "Squirrel Hunters" of Medina County. Only one man lists his participation with the volunteers in the 1881 History of Medina County and Ohio,  p. 777-778. Morris Olds of Hinckley Township answered the call. After he returned home, he was drafted but hired a substitute. Upon learning that the substitute had been killed in action, he joined the 1st Ohio Light Artillery.
No mention of the Squirrel Hunters turns up in the library's books on the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic, a veteran's organization) or Medina in the Civil War.

A few newspaper clippings, beside Peter Cherry's article, were in The Gazette and The Sentinel:


19 August 1881, p. 7 The Medina Gazette article on the reunion of the
124 O.V.I.




8 May 19087 Medina Sentinel  article detailing the state legislature granting a
stipend for the "Squirrel Hunters."

Medina Sentinel Apr 19 1912 p. 1

The state of Ohio has compiled a roster of the Squirrel Hunters, but the Medina Library doesn't have a copy of it.  The libraries that own copies of the index to the roster are listed on this LINK.


*Copperheads were generally Democrats who opposed the war.


For more information, view these links:
Oberlin Heritage Center

Ohio History Central

Library of Congress

Cincinnati Civil War Roundtable

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Years Resolution...

Yes! It is that time of year to make New Year's Resolution and to review how we did on last year's goals.

I like making genealogy resolutions to set an objective or focus for the year.

A reminder of what I resolved to do genealogically in my 2016 Genealogy Resolution - to work on my MASON surname. And how did I do?

W-e-l-l...

Gives you a good idea how well I did right there, right?

In all fairness to myself, I really did work on the MASON genealogy. Around other life events. Like multiple deaths in the family. Seriously. 2016 was one bad year for longevity in my family. Multiple occasions of water in my basement. Which hopefully I have finally fixed forever. But it meant my main genealogy research area and paper have been in storage for  over 4 months.

So yes, genealogy is hobby that gets interrupted by life.

But what did I accomplish?

1. Organized the files. By organizing my files, the missing information became more apparent. I filled in some of those blanks. As a result I:
  • Obtained copies of the birth records for my aunt and uncles. (John, Charles & Dixie MASON) The cost of obtaining paper copies can be prohibitive. But since anyone can now take a picture of a birth certificate for anyone born in Ohio FOR FREE from your local health department, I could now afford the price!
  • Located the marriage dates and places for my grandfather and great aunts. (John, Rosie, Ruth, Elizabeth, & Alewilda MASON) Most of these people had multiple marriages.
  • Confirmed death information for all of the deceased.
  • Located each of the individuals in the appropriate census records.
2. My 2 X great Grandfather William Harmon MASON and his children were well documented thanks primarily to interviews with my grandfather and his sisters when I first started genealogy research all those years ago. Vital records were then obtained either from the state or from The West Virginia Division of Culture and History's Vital Research Records. And thanks to a volunteer at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, obituaries for him and his wife were sent to me just for the cost of copying and postage.

Charleston Gazette, 10 Aug 1936 p. 7


3. William B. MASON, and his wife, Elizabeth my 3 X great-grandparents have been more elusive. They are  listed in the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 census for either Putnam or Kanawha County West Virginia. The two counties abut each other and the area where the family lived is right on the border. In the 1850 Census his occupation is "overseer", but in the others he is listed either as a farmer or farm laborer. After the 1880 census he and his wife Elizabeth disappear. Multiple searches for their death records have not uncovered anything. So, I formulated a research plan. But first, an overview of what I already knew:
  • William B. MASON was born circa 1810-1816 somewhere in Virginia or West Virginia*.
  • His wife, Elizabeth R. was born 1828-1835 somewhere in Virginia or West Virginia.
  • Virginia F. MASON, their first child, was born circa 1846 in Virginia or West Virginia. She appears in the 1850 and 1860 census with the family. After that she disappears. Most likely she died or married. Repeated searches for records on her have failed.
  • Mary E. MASON was born 1847-49 most likely in Virginia or West Virginia. The 1880 census lists her birth place as Kentucky. She never married and died in Institute, Kanawha County, West Virginia in 1924. 
  • James M. MASON was born circa January 1850. He doesn't appear in the 1860 or later censuses. Did he die? Did he use his middle name? What was his middle name?
  • Nancy A. MASON was born 3 Jan 1852. She married Elisha Melton on 28 Feb 1871 in Gallia County Ohio. She died in 1944 in Kanawha County, Ohio.
  • America MASON was born 6 Dec 1853 in Mason County, (West) Virginia. She is listed with the family in the 1860 and 1870 census. Then she disappears. Did she marry or die? Multiple searches have not turned her up.
  • Martha Jane MASON was born 23 May 1857 in Putnam County, (West) Virginia. She married Charles Plunkett on 23 Dec. 1880. She died 25 April 1940 in Charleston, West Virginia.
  • William H. MASON ( my @2 great grandfather) was born 22 Jan 1860 in Putnam County, (West) Virginia. He married Elizabeth A. HARMON on 18 April 1878 in Kanawha County, West Virginia. (See number 2 above.)
Area in red shows where the family lived during the 1850-1880 time period


Next, I formulated my research plan:

1. Could census records tell me anything else? Where was William B. MASON prior to his appearance in the 1850 Census? Are there any other MASONs in the area?

2. Could obituaries for the children reveal anything about the parents.

3. What records from the Family History Center (FHC) might be useful? Are they digitized online, or do the films need to be ordered?

4. What history books on the area are available? Do they have any information?

5. Did William B. MASON serve in the Civil War? If so, what side did he serve on?

6. WHEN and WHERE did William and Elizabeth die and marry?

So how well did I do?

1. CENSUS RECORDS
    a. A closer examination of the census records revealed that, at no time did they say that William owned any land. Land was relatively cheap and he was a farmer or farm laborer. But he didn't own any land? It is possible that he bought and sold or lost land between the census years. But the FHC had personal property tax records on microfilm for Kanawha County for 1849-1850. Even if he didn't own any land, it is likely that he had tools or livestock. So I ordered the film in, and William B. MASON is listed, but he PAID NO TAXES. Which means whatever property he owned was below the threshold for paying taxes. In other words, he was very poor. I will still order in the land transaction microfilm to make certain that he didn't own any land between the census dates.
  b. The 1850 Census lists William's occupation as overseer. In 1850 all of the area that was to become West Virginia was still part of the state of Virginia, and slavery was still legal. The 1850 Census of slave owners in the area show 4 men who owned slaves. But none of them owned enough slaves to require hiring an overseer. Plus the geography of the area is very rough and mountainous; not a likely location for a slave plantation. I have since learned that there were salt mines in the area that employed slaves. Perhaps he oversaw those workers?

Excerpt from 1850 Census for Kanawha County, (West) Virginia showing William's occupation as an "overseer".

  c. There are no other MASON families in the 1850 Census for Kanawha County. In nearby Putnam County there is one MASON family with Isaac MASON being the only adult male old enough to have been William's father. A tenuous connection.
  d. There is a William B. MASON in Sussex County, Virginia. He was a wealthy slave owner. Not a likely candidate for my William B. MASON.

2. OBITUARIES
  a. The obituary for William H. MASON (William B's son) did not mention his parents. Would obituaries for any of the other children reveal anything? I do not have death dates for the children who "disappeared" early on, Virginia, James and America.
 b. Checking Newspaper Archives database, I found obituaries for Martha MASON PLUNKETT and Nancy MASON MELTON, but there was no information on their parents.

3 FHC microfilms and the familysearch.org web site
  a. I have thoroughly searched the Family Search web site with little new results.
  b. I identified 5 FHC microfilms that were of interest. I ordered in two: the Personal Property tax (see #1 above) and a microfilm of Kanawha County Marriages, Deaths & Wills which turned out to be a "collection" of the above listed records, not a comprehensive digitized collection.

4. Using the FHC book catalog and WorldCat.org, I compiled a list of history books that covered the area and the time period.
  a. One of the books Kanawha County Marriage 1792-1869 by Julia Wintz was available online but had no information on my MASON family.
  b. Several of the books were available at the Wayne County Public Library, but, again, nothing was found on my family. For more information on that experience, see my blog: Wayne County Public Library Trip
  c. Several other books are available at the Hudson Library & Historical Society. Yes, I could request photocopies through interlibrary loan. But that would defeat the purpose of a road trip. DISCOVERY! Hudson has an extensive genealogy and local history collection that I have wanted to see for a long time. There is a road trip in my future!

5. Did William B. MASON serve in the Civil War? At 45 years old, he would not have been considered too old to serve.
   a. A William B. MASON did serve in the Confederate Army from a Virginia unit organized in the eastern part of the state. There isn't enough information to say if he is my ancestor.
   b. 37 William MASONs are listed as serving in the Confederate Army from Virginia in the National Parks Service list of Soldiers and Sailors who served in the Civil War. 2 William MASONs served from West Virginia.

6. WHEN and WHERE did William and Elizabeth MASON die?
   a. From census records we know it was after 1880 when they were living with their daughter Mary in Kanawha County. Now that I know how poor the couple were, I looked for a county poorhouse or infirmary. There was a county infirmary very near the area where they lived. Multiple listings online indicate that records for the institution have not been located.
  b. Repeated searches using variants of their first names in the The West Virginia Division of Culture and History's Vital Research Records but to no avail. Online discussions say that deaths that occurred in the "poorhouse" were not recorded and the graves are not registered. No grave information has been discovered either on Findagrave.org or the several cemetery books that have been consulted.
 c. Could they have been living elsewhere when they died?

So, yes, I did research my MASON family. I still have several avenues of research to consult and I will continue to research them. THAT is my resolution for 2017!

How did you do with your 2016 genealogy goals?

*During the height of the Civil War in 1863, West Virginia sepceded from Virginia and became a separate state. Ironically, THIS secession was allowed and encouraged by the Federal Government


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Fond Farewell...

This is my good friend, Liz Nelson.



My mentor, my co-worker, and my sometime co-conspirator, Elizabeth Nelson is retiring at the end of the year, after 31 years of assisting thousands of members at the Medina Library.

Many of you know her. Many of you have been helped by her. Many of you were befriended by her. Even if you didn’t know her by name, if you have visited the Medina Library you have been blessed by her presence. For Liz is one of those very special people who continually strive to make the world a better place. 

Words have failed me in trying to describe Liz. Here is a partial list of her many, many wonderful attributes:

  • Liz is consummate storyteller. To her, everything is a story. Books are stories. History is stories. Genealogy is stories. Related to that is the wonderful eulogies she does. Seriously. After one eulogy I left with the feeling "I am SO lucky I knew that person!" Perfection. I want her to do my eulogy.
  • Liz makes connections wherever she goes. Try going somewhere with Liz without her running into someone she knows. Because she knows everyone. James Garner,yes. Captain Kangaroo, yes. She and Michael Feldman bonded over Naugas. And if you don't know who Michael Feldman is, shame on you!*
It's a real thing. Yah. I don't get it either.
  • Liz is a wonderful tour guide. Try traveling through Akron with her. She knows the history and people of Akron like... well, like the back of her hand. She has lived in the Akron area almost all of her life. She and her husband Charlie are well known among the theater, music, and education crowds. She KNOWS and loves everything Akron.
  • Liz is a compassionate person. The world's indifference to suffering is physically painful to Liz. Hence she is always donating and helping with numerable charitable groups. 
  • I nicknamed her “Houdini” for her ability to find any arcane piece of information. Not because she is a magician, but because her deep knowledge of our collection and her incredible memory.
  • She is funny. Maybe not slapstick funny. But very funny.
  • She is spiritual. It goes along with being compassionate and kind. But goes deeper. Much deeper.

  • While this photo was taken for a department calendar,
    it definitely illustrates her spiritual side.

But most of all, Liz has been my friend. Just has she has befriended many of you, she befriended me. She has been a shoulder to cry on and a shoulder to lean on. She has seen me at my worst and celebrated the highs with me. She makes me be a better version of myself. And she laughs with me and sometimes she laughs at me. But more importantly, she makes me laugh at myself. And while we have vowed to stay in touch, I will deeply, deeply miss the near daily contact with her.

For Liz, I wish her happiness and peace. And the knowledge that she is appreciated and loved.

From one of her book club members:
Forever it seems you have been our mother, sister, friend, and confidential ear. You have taken us to new places and revisited the old with new vision. At Christmas you brought us hand crafted stars and there were simple paper hearts on Valentine's Day to mark that day. But there are legions of lovely people waiting to meet you on your life after MCDL. Be ready!


*Michael Feldman





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

New Books

This week, the Franklin Sylvester Genealogy and Local History Room (F/S Room) has received several important new books, thanks to donations.


R929.3744
MAY
In November, The Society of Mayflower Descendants in Ohio installed a display outside the history room in honor of the Pilgrims celebrating a day of thanksgiving. I  hope you saw this display because it was splendid!

The members  noticed that our collection of books on the Mayflower Families is incomplete. We had Volumes 1-8, 12, 15-16 and 22, but are missing the rest. They are rectifying the problem by donating the missing volumes. Volumes 10-11 have arrived.

If you can trace an ancestor to someone listed in one of these books, you have a Mayflower ancestor! Congratulations!

That would make you eligible to join the Society of Mayflower Descendants. They left some of their applications behind and you can pick one up in the F/|S Room.


Or you can contact the Society directly:



Terry (Nelson) and Marcia Hart have been compiling lists of U.S. veterans buried in Medina County. They published the first volume on Revolutionary War veterans in 2009.

Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Medina County.
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Military


The second volume covering War of 1812 veterans buried in Medina County came out in 2012, in time for the bicentennial of the War.

War of 1812 Veterans buried in Medina County.
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Military


Their latest volume has just been released and again, they were generous and donated a copy to the F/S Room collection. It covers the Mexican-American War. The war was fought from 1846 to 1848. The United States won the conflict and obtained the territories of (Alta) California and New Mexico. The U.S. had already annexed Texas in 1845 and that was part of what led to the war.

Mexican-American War Soldiers buried in Medina County.
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Military

For each of the 61 soldiers listed you get a map of the location of cemetery, a picture of the tombstone, if there is one and basic information on the soldier, as shown below:

Entry for John Layton McFadden

The photos of the tombstones can be hard to read, just like the tombstones themselves.
This is a great jumping off place for anyone researching their ancestors who served in the military.

Stop by and browse these new books, after the New Year!

Happy Holidays and see you in 2017!