Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Educators

School is back in session here in Medina County.  So let's take a look at a couple of Medina's well known teachers; Eliza Northrop and Ella Canavan.

Both of these ladies have elementary schools named after them. But their career paths were very different.

Eliza Northrop is known as the first teacher in Medina County. The school named after her is located on Reagan Parkway. She taught 23 students in 1817 in a "log meeting house".

Log meeting house similar to the one Eliza would have taught in.
The next year, she became the first bride in Medina County when she married Giles Barnes. As it was the first wedding, everyone was invited and everyone came. The partying when on "rather late", and people went home with bark torches to light their way. Some arrived home "snapped with wine".

Eliza Northrop Elementary School on East Reagan Parkway
Thus ended her career as a teacher. It was the custom at that time, reinforced by school boards, that a married woman could not hold a teaching position. She and Giles had seven children and Eliza died in Medina in 1863.

The NORTHROP family is an old Medina name that goes back to Connecticut.

Ella Canavan was born in Medina 1877 to Anthony and Hellen (Staid) Canavan. His parents were born and married in County Mayo, Ireland. Shortly after the couple married, they immigrated straight to Medina County. Ella's given name on her birth record is "Hellen" Canavan and she was born 4 November 1877 in Medina.  Her father, Anthony, was a section boss for the C.L. & W. railroad. The family lived at 514 West Liberty Street in Medina. He died in 1890 leaving his wife and 6 children to mourn him. In the 1880 Census, she is listed as "Helen" but by the 1900 Census, she is "Ella" and that is the name she was known by for the rest of her life.

"Miss Ella" Canavan with her students (1946 Medinian Yearbook)

After completing high school in Medina, Ella graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in teaching. She started a private kindergarten in 1900. For the next 45+ years, "Miss Ella" was a beloved teacher in the Medina School System. She resigned in 1945 but the outcry from past students and the superintendent of the schools, Mr. Spencer, dictated her return. She later resigned permanently in 1949.

"Miss Ella" passed away in 1964.

Ella Canavan Elementary School on Lawrence Street in Medina, was dedicated to Miss Ella in 1960.

Ella Canavan Elementary School

Two other schools in the Medina City School system are named after teachers: Sidney Fenn Elementary School and Claggett Middle School, named after Howard Claggett. But that is a subject for another blog.

Gloria Brown has just published a new book on the history of the Medina County Schools, titled, The Story of Medina's Schools. Read more about it in this Medina Post article: New Book Chronicles History of Medina Schools.  The Medina County District Libraries will soon have copies available to check out!

Pioneer History of Medina by N.B. Northrop (1861)
History of Medina by the Medina County Historical Society (1848)
Highlights of Medina  (1966)
Medina County Gazette
The Medina Post

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Genealogy Lock-In

16 September

No, we won't be dancing any jigs. But we will be delving into Irish Genealogical Research with Margaret Lynch, the Executive Director of the Irish American Archives Society in Cleveland.

It is an exciting time to be Irish and to be searching for your Irish heritage. Just this week, more records went online with the launch of  Irish

The site is described as "...home to the historic records of Births, Marriages and Deaths of the General Register Office. These records join the Indexes to the historic records of Births, Marriages and Deaths that were already available on the website."

Join Margaret to learn more about ALL of the resources to be used in Irish Genealogical Research.

Then MCDL's own Lisa Rienerth will teach us all how organize our research so that we know what we have, know what we need to find out and know where to find it
so that we can be more efficient and more effective researchers.

Lisa is THE GURU at the library on organizing your research.

The Lock-In is an after-hours event that runs from 6:30-10:30 on Friday evening, that focuses totally on genealogical research.

The evening offers light refreshments, door prizes, and the opportunity to use all the library's resources and to work with the Medina County Genealogical Society 's members on your own research.

Sign up for the Lock-In by clicking here  or by calling 330-722-4257.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September Genealogy Lock-In


On September 16, 2016, the Medina Library will be offering its 16th Genealogy Lock-In!

From 6:30-10:30 on Friday evening, the Lock-In is an after-hours event that focuses totally on genealogical research.

The evening offers light refreshments, door prizes, and the opportunity to work with the Medina County Genealogical Society on your own research.

We also offer two special educational opportunities:

Margaret Lynch

First, Margaret Lynch, of the Irish American Archives Society in Cleveland, will lecture on performing Beginning Irish Genealogical Research. Margaret has been the Executive Director of the Archives since 2008. She is also a free-lance writer and playwright, often writing about the Irish immigrant experience.

Then MCDL's own Lisa Rienerth will shed light on how to organize your research so you know what you have, and know what you need to find out, so you can be a more efficient and effective researcher. TAME THE PAPER TIGER!!

Tame the paper tiger 

Sign up for the Lock-In by clicking here  or by calling 330-722-4257.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Our Ancestors from Europe

The Main Branch of the Akron Summit County Public Library

Any time you can listen to a nationally known genealogy speaker, instructor, and author FOR FREE, you should go for it.

The Akron Summit County Public Library has presented such an event once a year, for the past six years.

This past weekend, they hosted John Philip Colletta, noted genealogist and author of several books, including:
  • They Came in Ships: a Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record
  •  Finding Your Italian Roots, a Guide for Americans and most recently  
  • Only a Few Bones, the True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath.

Author John Philip Colletta & Judy James ASCPL

This all day program was titled Our Ancestors from Europe: How to Discover Their Individual Stories. And it was incredible. He broke his talk into 4 components:
  • Passenger Arrival Records, Colonial Times to Mid-20th Century
  • Naturalization Records, Colonial Times to Mid-20th Century
  • Re-Discovering "La Famiglia;" Accessing and Using the Records of Italy
  • Discovering the REAL Stories of Your Immigrant Ancestors
The library provided a folder with John's handouts and a guide to downtown Akron's restaurants -- there aren't any near the library - bring a lunch! They also provided a place to eat your bag lunch, water, coffee, and, during the afternoon break, bite sized candy to help you through the "hump" of the afternoon. The auditorium was large, the seats comfortable. The room was kept cold (to help keep us awake?) but they warned us to dress in layers in an email that went out to everyone who signed up.

Program attendees perusing literature provided by the library & Gen. Soc.

There is no way to cover his four one-hour lectures in this blog, so I will just give you some of the highlights.

The information on the post-1820 passenger lists and naturalization records should be familiar to anyone doing research for some time. If not, there are plenty of resources in libraries and online to help you with that. I was most interested in the pre-1820 records, as that was when most of my immigrant ancestors made their way to America.

Why the 1820 demarcation? That was the year the U.S. passed a law requiring all ship's captains to turn in a list of passengers arriving from foreign ports. I have not had much success tracking down my pre-1820 immigrants. But John's lecture covered what information is needed to begin the search: the immigrant's full name, approximate year of immigration, and country of origin. Also, he said that era is well researched and many sources have been published that replace the non-existent passenger lists.

For naturalization records, he said you must check all courts of record in the area's where your ancestor lived. Some immigrants chose not to become naturalized citizens. But most did, because it conferred the right to vote and the right to hold office, among other rights. You have to know what the law was at the time your ancestor immigrated. Prior to 1790, the colonies also had laws regarding naturalization. The British Colonies had laws to cover non-British immigrants who wanted to be naturalized, for example. The "new" United States passed its first law regarding naturalization in 1790. Starting in 1906, all naturalization records had to go to the Immigration Bureau (now the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.)

After lunch, John covered using Italian records in a lecture titled "Rediscovering "La Famiglia" Accessing and Using the Records of Italy". I haven't researched the Italian side of the family, but my sister-in-law has. It was a great overview of what is and what isn't available.

The last session of the day was "Your Immigrant Ancestors How to Discover Their True Stories" which presented 3 case studies of some of John's immigrant ancestors. He showed how tracking down all the records and not "assuming" anything you can truly discover the "whys" of immigration.

Here are some of the sources recommended for Immigration & Naturalization research:
  • They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record by John Philip Colletta at your library.
  • The Castle Garden web site for New York passenger lists from 1820 to 1892. I have referred to this site a lot. But it hasn't been working the last several weeks. This covers the pre- Ellis Island period.
  • The Ellis Island web site for ancestors who came through New York City from 1892 to 1954, when it closed.
  • Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: a Guide by William Filby at your library.
  • The Family Search Wiki on U.S. Immigration.
  • Denizations and Naturalizations in the British Colonies in America 1607-1775 by Lloyd deWitt Bockstruck at your library.
  • Guide to Naturalization Records of the United States by Christina Schaefer at your library.
  • They Became Americans by Loretto Dennis Szucs at your library.
  • Discovering Your Immigrant and Ethnic Ancestors by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
  • The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service web site where you can request an index search or a copy of a document.
  • The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild web site is run by volunteers locating and transcribing ship's lists.
  • The Steve Morse web site makes searching online resources easier than the individual site's own search engines.
  • Family Search and Ancestry Library Edition, both have sections dedicated to immigration and naturalization records.

I know that I will be looking forward to next year's event!

Brochure describing the event

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Genealogy Basics Course

                                                                                                                                                                            A few weeks ago I promised to review the online genealogy course available through your library account from Gale Courses. Gale is a large provider of informational databases for libraries. Besides the genealogy course, they offer lots of classes in these categories:
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Business
  • Computer Applications
  • Design and Composition
  • Healthcare and Medical
  • Language and Arts
  • Law and Legal
  • Personal Development
  • Teaching and Education
  • Technology
  • Writing and Publishing
 To access the courses, go to the library's website: and move your mouse over the "Your Library 24/7" tab. When the drop down menu appears, choose "Online Resources" After the next page loads, scroll down to "Gale Courses" under the section for MCDL Databases.  At this point, if you are logging in from home, you will be asked for your library card number and PIN.

To take any of the classes you will need to enter your email address and a password. This allows them to keep track of where you are in the course.

The Genealogy Basics course is a six week course consisting of 12 lessons. If you don't keep up with the lessons, you are dropped from the class. I know. It happened to me earlier this year.  OOPS!

Here is the course syllabus along with a photo of the instructor:

Down the left side you can see that each lesson comes with Resources, Quizzes, Assignments and Discussion areas. They also come with a lot of supplemental material. Oh, and there is a final exam!

Overall, I would say that it is a good basic course for beginners. It covers all the important topics fairly thoroughly. The Discussion area is a good place to go with questions and comments on the material presented. More than one student presented their "brick wall" problems to the professor here. I particularly liked that you could print and/or save the course material. This allows for checking back when a question arises later.

Classes given by your local genealogical society or library would be better. But if that isn't an option and you don't want to wait, take this class.

Most of the issues I have with the course are related to outdated material. Lisa and I update our class materials every time we teach them. New resources and information are always being developed or discovered, and the classes should reflect that.

Some issues:
  • The instructor makes frequent mention of all the great info. available on CD-ROMs which aren't used very much anymore.
  • He mentions Window's 8 as being the most recent version of Windows. (WHAT, NO Windows 10?)
  • The screen shot for the FamilySearch website was from a very OLD version.
  • Videos are dated from 2011.
  • No mention of saving files to "the cloud"
  • Referral to web site Kindred Konnections, which no longer exists. (You get redirected to
  • Screen shots from very old versions of genealogy software. This might have been intentional as the instructor says there is nothing wrong with using older software.
  • Much of the information in chapter 12 on genealogy software was dated and led to bad links. In the discussion area for that chapter, it is mentioned that the chapter is being re-written.
And the final exam? Well, I missed one out of 36... 97%  Not bad, even taking into consideration that I have taught this class in the past!  LOL!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

MORE New Books!!

The Medina Library is very fortunate that a number of local organizations donate items for our Franklin Sylvester Room (F/S) collection.

The Medina County Historical Society and the Medina County Genealogical Society donate frequently. The Historical Society will send us any duplicates they have, but don't need. The Genealogical Society will try to get us materials that the Library is not able to get through its normal channels.

Medina County Genealogical Society

Medina County Historical Society

And lately, we have been the benefactors of several other Medina County organizations:

The Family History Center on Windfall Road is downsizing their small library. They have offered the library any of the books we would like to add to our collection. Here is a sampling of their gifts:

Family History Center at Medina
Church of Later-Day Saints
Just some of the books donated by
the Medina Family History Center

Lisa Rienerth, co-worker and a fellow genealogist, recently did a tour of the F/S collection for the Seville Historical Society. Their members noted that the library did not have a copy of their latest publication and they promptly promised us a copy. And here it is!

Connecting the Past to the Present 1816-2016 updates the current histories we have on Seville and Guilford Township.

The Society of Mayflower Descendants, the Western Reserve Colony noticed that our books on the Mayflower Descendants needed updating and donated copies of those along with some other books on the Pilgrims and the Mayflower.

If any of these books are interesting to you, take a look at them the next time you are in the Franklin Sylvester Room.


1. Following up on my applications to lineage societies, I have just submitted my application for First Families of Ohio. If successful, it will prove that my 3X great grandparents, John WILLIAMS and Lucinda Sartain TILLMAN WILLIAMS were in Ohio prior to 1820. I am using a land record to show that William P. WILLIAMS is the son of John & Lucinda WILLIAMS.

2. This is the last week for the online Genealogy Basics course I have been taking through the Library's subscription to Gale Courses. A fuller report will be next week, but overall, it is an okay basic course. It is a bit dated and needs to be updated.  In this fast changing world it is important to keep your material current. Lisa and I update our class materials every time we teach a class.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Founded in 1867 by D. A. Sanborn, the Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years.

ProQuest's Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970 provides digital access to more than 660,000 large-scale maps of more than 12,000 American towns and cities. Medina Library card holders have access to the maps for Ohio cities and towns only. You will not find great grandpa's farm in these maps!

ProQuest describes the collection:
"Sanborn maps are valuable historical tools for urban specialists, social historians, architects, geographers, genealogists, local historians, planners, environmentalists and anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth, and development of American cities, towns, and neighborhoods. They are large-scale plans containing data that can be used to estimate the potential risk for urban structures. This includes information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers. Seven or eight different editions represent some areas."

Follow this path for access:→Your Library 24/7→Online Resources.

Scroll down and select tab marked “History & Genealogy” then select "Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Ohio".

From home, you will be asked for your library card number and PIN.

Using “Caledonia” as my search term the database returns 7 entries covering the little village near my family’s farm. The village maps cover the years 1901, 1912 and 1924. Using these maps we found the house where my sister now lives and verified that it was over 100 years old.

Let's look for Medina maps!

Notice the Fatal error message. I am really glad that it wasn't FATAL!
Whatever problem triggered the error message didn't seem to effect the database.
It worked fine!

As you can see a search for Medina returns about 50 maps covering the years 1885, 1892, 1897, 1902, 1911, 1923, 1932 and 1932-1940.

Let's check the intersection of Washington and Broadway:

1885, Sheet 2

You can use the last link listed under SOURCES below to find out what the abbreviation Dwy means.
The answer will be in the comments section.

Notice the building the red arrow is pointing towards? With this map, it is obvious that this building was constructed before 1885.

1902, Sheet 5

Same intersection, same building

1911, Sheet 7
Now what is at that intersection?

From this information alone, we can prove that they Sylvester Library was built between 1902 and 1911.  (From other sources, we know that the building opened in 1907.)

Can you think of ways you could use this resource in your research?


Wednesday, August 3, 2016


During the pioneer times, there were no roads, few paths, nor any other markers that would assist travelers as they made their way through the dense forests and marshy swamps of southern Medina County. If they were lucky, they had a guide to lead them through.

Occasionally, pioneers would lose their way and end up far from where they intended. (How Christopher Columbus of them!) Children could easily wander away from their parents. Sometimes, they were never seen again. Medina had just such an instance.

By the early 1820's when Abel Beach and his family moved into Wadsworth Township, the trails weren't much better. Abel brought his wife, Roxey, and three children with him, sons George, and Orlando, and daughter Sylvia, from their home in Torrington, Connecticut. Son George helped Abel build Wadsworth's first sawmill in 1824. When a bear went after the family's pigs, Roxy shot it dead.These were not faint hearted pioneers!

Sylvia had contracted scarlet fever as a child. It left her deaf and mute and also caused her to sometimes get confused easily. Accounts fluctuate as to how old Sylvia was; anywhere from 12 to 26. As her brothers were both born around 1800, it is likely that she was close to them in age, in her early twenties.

One day in March of 1823, she just disappeared from their cabin. Reports varied as to how that happened. Some reports say that she just slipped out of the cabin. Other say that she was traveling behind her mother and vanished without a trace. As soon as the family discovered that Sylvia was missing, they started the frantic search.

There had been a light snow that yielded some faint tracks, but as the snow melted those tracks faded away. The next day, a search party formed drawing on citizens from miles around. They searched for days with no luck. A week later, an even larger search party was formed with over 400 men. By now, they were no longer looking for a live Sylvia, but were hoping to bring some measure of peace to her parents by finding her body. No trace was ever found.

We will never know what happened to Sylvia. Did she fall down a coal shaft in a region that was later known for its coal mines? Did she become the victim of a ravenous wolf pack or hungry bear? Did she simply fall exhausted to the ground and freeze to death? We just don't know.

But Wadsworth has not forgotten about Sylvia. In 2014, Jeff Nicholas and Roger Havens wrote a children's book The Story of Sylvia Beach. And as part of their Bicentennial celebration, children participated in a morbid scavenger hunt "to find Sylvia Beach or her grizzly bear."

Her original tombstone in Woodlawn Cemetery in Wadsworth became unreadable so it has been replaced. The epitaph still reads: Sylvia Daughter of A & R Beach Lost in the Woods 17 April 1824 And Never Found

Photo provided by "essay" on

Wadsworth Memorial by Edward Brown, 1875.
The History of Medina County and Ohio by Baskin & Beatty, 1881.
Remembering Wadsworth from Pioneers to Streetcars by Caesar A. Carrino, 2009
"Deaf Woman's Disappearance a Big Mystery" by Mark J. Price Akron Beacon Journal, 14 March 2016, p. B-1
"Tombstone, But No Grave There" Evening Independent (Massillon, OH), 2 June 1911, p. 1.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Things we inherit from our grandparents...

We inherit many things from our ancestors...

The family Bible.

Random family Bible. None have been
passed down to me....

 Family photos.
William P. Williams

 Heirloom glass.

I have similar glass to this, in yellow.

Antique furniture.

NOT my washstand. But very similar to it.

The color of our eyes.

Brother David got his brown eyes from Dad.

Premature grey hair (Thanks, Dad!)

Propensity to certain diseases. (Again thanks, Dad!)

But did you know that trauma also can be passed down through the generations?

These websites talk about the studies that are proving this phenomenon:

Ozy - this article prompted more research and the decision to blog about this.

The Guardian


Huffington Post

82 different articles are listed if you do a magazine search with the terms "inherited AND holocaust AND trauma"

The idea is challenged by some, but I tend to agree with it. I have seen it in my own family.

My grandfather was a restless man, working as a long distance trucker for much of his adult life; he also moved frequently. When my younger sister grew up she started showing some of the same tendencies, choosing to move around a lot. Then I learned about my great great grandfather, James Tanner. I had trouble tracking him down in the census records in the late 1800's. Then when I ordered in his Civil War Pension Record, I found out that he moved about every 18 months. He worked for the railroad. Another traveling man. Years later, I met a cousin, Sharon, who also likes to travel a lot. She works as a traveling nurse. Actually, she is a fifth cousin once removed, and we share an ancestor on, you guessed it, the Tanner line.

Several books written by children of Holocaust survivors have touched on how that trauma has affected later generations.

But here is what I really like about this phenomenon:

If the bad things get passed on through the generations, certainly, the good things get passed on too. Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers is all about this idea.

Maybe my grandfather's wanderlust could be viewed as an adventurous spirit. Certainly, as a country settled by people who left everything they knew behind them to go to a unknown place for the possibility of  a better life, this wanderlust has been an asset to the U.S., and is often viewed as the height of adventurism.

What did you inherit from your ancestors?


On a lighter note:

Just to show that genealogists don't always think just about genealogy, I will discuss something totally different for a moment. Pokemon Go.

In case you haven't heard, Pokemon Go is game app that you download to your smartphone. It is based on the ever popular Pokemon franchise that has been going since the 1990's. Because I am a curious person and because I like to push my technology skills and because it sounded interesting, I downloaded the app. You join a team, you capture Pokemon (virtual monsters), you evolve them, you hatch eggs, you collect Pokemon balls & other items at Poke Stops and you train and you fight other Pokemon at gyms. It is a bit addictive, so I have promised to stop when I reach Level 10, which I did earlier today.

This is Evee. I would like
to evolve Evee, but don't
have enough Candy!
Isn't she cute?
Here is what I liked about it:

  1. Capturing Pokemon is fun. It is like catching wild bugs or butterflies. 
  2. You can level up and evolve your Pokemon. So there are increasing levels of development and difficulty.
  3. You collect different types of Pokemon; water types, grass types, fighters.
  4. You have to physically walk and physically visit other locations. Walking helps you hatch eggs. Visiting different locations lets you capture different types of Pokemon, visit Poke Stops and the Poke Gyms. The stops and gyms are located in the real world next to landmarks and historical places. The Medina Square has a lot of Poke stops and a Gym. Visiting Medina Lake nets you some water type Pokemon.
  5. It is something that I could share with my younger daughter and my nephews.
What I didn't like about it:
  1. Server issues. Because of its huge popularity, there have been whole days when I couldn't connect to the app. Or I would be in the middle of capturing a Pokemon when the connection would fail. Maybe this will get better with time?
  2. It is addictive. Like any computer game it can eat away at your free time and attention.
  3. It consumes the battery power on your phone.
  4. People have actually gotten hurt playing the game. Many just weren't watching where they were going and walked into traffic. 
Am I glad I tried it? Sure! Am I glad I have quit? YES!

If you have any questions about Pokemon Go, don't ask me!  LOL! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


We always get excited about new books, don't we!?!

Here are some "New to Medina"  genealogy and local history books:

929 TAY
Click the call number above to order this book
Photo Organizing Practice: Daguerreotypes to Digital by Maureen A. Taylor. Maureen Taylor is the go-to expert on dating your old photos and basically all things photographic in genealogy. Released this past winter, this is a concise guide to getting all your photos organized so that you can find them when you are looking for them.

Do you have shoe boxes full of pictures that need to be organized? (I do!) Get this book! (Not yet rated on

929.1028 SMI
Click the call number above to order this book
Organize Your Genealogy by Drew Smith. Drew is a well known genealogy author and speaker. I attended his session on organization at the Ohio Genealogical Conference this past spring. He makes taming the paper chaos seem attainable. He admits to struggling with his own paper mountain at home, which I found reassuring. I have already started implementing some of his suggestions. This should be on every genealogist's shelves! (4.4 stars on

929.1028 BEI
Click the call number above to order this book.
Trace Your German Roots Online: A Complete Guide to German Genealogy Websites by James M. Beidler. Just as I was thinking we needed some newer books, along comes Beidler's book. Seriously, I really was just thinking that. During my annual review of the genealogy books, I noticed that the our German genealogy books needed to be updated. Beidler, a well known German researcher, has updated his previous book on the topic. One reviewer says, "Do not think that Trace Your German Roots Online is limited to just online resources... the book is an excellent immersion into general German research" (4.5 stars on

R977.1 MIL
Shelved in the Franklin Sylvester Room
Ohio's Black Soldiers Who Served in the Civil War  by Eric Eugene Johnson is the first Reference (use in library only) book in this countdown. This is an alphabetical listing of the Ohio soldiers. Be sure to read the introductory notes and explanations to get the most from this book. (Not yet rated on

Shelved in the Franklin Sylvester Room
 This booklet updates the SNOW Family history we already have in the Franklin Sylvester Collection. The SNOW family lived in northern Medina County and Cuyahoga County.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wayne County Public Library

Both as a genealogist and as a library staff member, one of my joys is experiencing a new library. For my personal research, I visited the Wayne County Public Library (WCPL) in Wooster last Friday. It is true I could have called or emailed my questions to the staff, but then I wouldn't have had an excuse for a FIELD TRIP!

I had visited the library many years ago, but they have built a new facility since then and I was eager to see it. And it is beautiful.

But before you travel to any library you should check out their website to learn what hours that they are open, parking issues, copier costs, and what materials they have. WCPL has a nice clean web site:

The link to their genealogy resources is right at the top of the home page. (See red arrow below)

They own several books on Kanawha County West Virginia that I wanted to check for my MASON ancestors. I had found these by searching the CLEVNET catalog that both Medina County District Library (MCDL) and Wayne County Public Library utilize.

The Library uses Wiki pages for their genealogy information:

A Wiki page is much easier to edit than a page that is part of the web site. This means that any staff member with access can edit the page.

The new facility is near the downtown Wooster area on West Liberty Street. When you are heading west on the street, you drive past the library and turn left to find the parking, of which there is plenty, behind the library.

The front of the library as seen from West Liberty Street.

These stairs sweep up to the second floor where the Genealogy Department is.
Fairview Park Library has a similar set of stairs & also has a fine Genealogy

The entrance to the Genealogy Department is clearly marked and not obscured by other departments or materials.

The Genealogy Department is right outside the elevator entrance, too.

One of the best features of their Genealogy Department is that it is always staffed! They have one full time librarian, a library associate and a library assistant. Plus several of the Reference Staff have received additional training for the Genealogy Department. (Christina, the Associate on duty was shy about having her picture taken. Hi Christina!)

Plus they have a very strong Genealogical Society that provides volunteers for their many projects. More about that later.  

 I don't have the square footage of the room, but it seemed HUGE! 

The book shelves. WCPL collects materials for surrounding counties and the
states that contributed to the development of Wayne County.

A large alcove dedicated to the High School Yearbooks for all the county's schools.

Tables for conducting research. The lamps double as electrical outlets.

The have quite a few microfilm readers and scanners. Some are older readers that don't print or scan. But the ones pictured here can scan, print and email, plus provide full Internet access.

These machines can scan and print.

As the genealogy books are arranged geographically (all the West Virginia books on one shelf) I quickly found the books that I'd come to see and checked for my MASON ancestors. Alas! Nothing was listed. That is called "negative evidence" But I did find something that I didn't plan on looking for:

This printed index show that my 3X Great grandfather, Joshua JOHNSTON (sic) married my 3X great grandmother, Amy HAWKINS, on 27 June 1816 in Kanawha County, VA (WV), which I knew. The information I didn't know was the note next to the asterisk* to the right of the listing, d/o Abraham. This is definite proof that Abraham HAWKINS was the father of Amy! Later when I pulled the record up on the Family Search web site, I saw the same note. (Plus, I now have a copy of the original records for my files.) 

Because of my library connection, I was allowed a look at "behind the scenes":

The staff office that they share. Some might see a lot of clutter. I see a lot
of projects and a very busy staff!

The workroom where staff & volunteers work on many projects.
Again, a very busy vital department!

And as always, I came away with ideas of how to improve MCDL's resources:

This is a list of magazines they have for the department. MCDL already subscribes to New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Timeline and Your Genealogy Today, but Internet Genealogy would be a great addition.
 Here their blank genealogy forms are on display and free to pick up. In the Franklin Sylvester Room at the Medina Library, these some forms are inside file cabinets and most people aren't aware they exist.

So while I didn't find any helpful information for my MASON family research, I still obtained useful information:
  1. Additional information on my 3 X great grandparents marriage record.
  2. Ideas for  a "dream" genealogy room & collection.
  3. Ideas for improving MCDL's collection.
  4. Material for this blog!

Do you have any favorite genealogy room reminiscences to share? Or horror stories?