Thursday, September 20, 2018

10 Tips for using "The Ancestor Hunt"

Hello! It's Lauren Kuntzman, again, guest blogging once more for Kathy Petras. For this week's post, I'll be discussing one of my new favorite resources - The Ancestor Hunt!

Why would you want to use The Ancestor Hunt? Well, it has a lot to offer, including links to...
  • 26,000+ Newspapers
  • 1,700+ Obituaries/Obit Indexes
  • 2,000+ Birth/Marriage/Death Record Databases
  • 3,800 Yearbooks
  • Collections of Historic Photos
  • "How To" Articles & Videos
And, it's all free.

Because of its massive collection of newspapers and obituaries, The Ancestor Hunt is now my first stop for tracking down these essential documents. If you're also looking for these sources -- or if you want to find vital records, yearbooks, or old photos -- then you should definitely check out this website, too.

Here's a little bit more about the website and 10 tips for using it: 



Overview

The Ancestor Hunt is created and managed by Kenneth R. Marks. Though I've only discovered recently, the website has existed since around 2010. It reminds me of Cyndi's List, in that it points users to resources located elsewhere on the web.

10 Tips for Using The Ancestor Hunt

1. To find information, The Ancestor Hunt is first organized by resource type, and then by geography. Generally, it's divided by country, then by state/province, and then may get to a city/county level.

2. Speaking of geography... The Ancestor Hunt focuses on the United States and Canada. (Exception: there are a few "world" newspaper links.) 

3. You'll notice that there is a link for "Newspapers" and a link titled "Newspaper Links." "Newspapers" will teach you how to best search historic newspapers. "Newspaper Links," on the other hand, will take you to digitized newspapers. 

Options for resources are listed in the main menu. 
"Newspapers Links" will take you to the list of 26,000+ newspapers available online.

4. Some of the resource lists are a little long, so I recommend using the Find command on your web browser (Control+F for PCs or Command+F for Macs) and search for keywords.  By the way, your city or county make great keywords!

5. Most of the "Obituaries" category resources are indexes, however there are notes if the links include clippings or transcriptions. 

Here's a screencap of some of the Ohio Obituary/
Obituary Index links.  Some links include clippings and transcripts.

6. With the birth, marriage, and death (BMD) record links, many point to databases on FamilySearch or local library's webpages. Church records may be included, too. 

7. When using the "Photos" section, some links will include information about restrictions on rights for usage.  

8. Make sure you read the end of the lists as special collections, miscellaneous resources, and other information may be included there. 

Make sure you read the end of the resource lists, which may contain
miscellaneous collections, like this list of Ohio BMD Links.  


9. The "Yearbooks" are just for the United States, and are organized alphabetically by the name of the city, not the name of the school.

10. Be aware that the information on the site is periodically updated.  Until an update happens, however, some links may be dead and brand new resources might not yet be included. Following the Blog is a great way to learn about updates.



To get you started hunting for your ancestors, here are links to all of the Ohio resources on The Ancestor Hunt:

Happy Searching!



Thursday, September 13, 2018

An Introduction: MCDL's Family History & Learning Center


Hello! My name is Lauren Kuntzman and I am guest blogging for Kathy Petras this week. I am new to MCDL and am the manager of the Family History & Learning Center. For my first blog post here, I thought I'd introduce myself and share some details about what you can expect from the Family History & Learning Center!

When it comes to genealogists, the first question everyone wants to know is how you got started. So, here's my genealogy "origin story..."

I've been researching my family history for nearly 20 years now. My mother and I always wanted to learn about our family's roots, and when FamilySearch came online in May 1999 it gave us the push to get started. 

I can tell you the exact moment I got "hooked" on genealogy: I was standing in Stark County District Library's genealogy department (back when it was on the first floor, surrounded by windows) with the sunlight streaming in, on a hot summer day, looking through a transcription of Columbiana County, Ohio on the 1860 Federal Census. In reviewing the household of John and Sidney Ruff (my 4th great-grandparents), I noticed an 73-year old woman named Nancy Woolf residing with them. I remember pointing Nancy out to my mother, and speculating that Nancy was Sidney's mother -- a fact which additional research later proved to be correct. 

1860 U.S. Federal Census, Knox Twp., Columbiana County, Ohio
Household of John Ruff.  Sidney (Woolf) Ruff and her mother Nancy were some of the
earliest genealogy "discoveries" I made -- and one of the reasons I got "hooked" on genealogy!

It was that moment -- the moment of re-discovering forgotten ancestors and adding a generation to my family tree -- that got me hooked and I've felt a special connection to Sidney and Nancy as they were the first ancestors I "found." Since that time, there have been many other discoveries, and I've come to specialize in researching in the Midwestern USA and France, tracking criminal ancestors, and using historic newspapers.

It was my love of genealogy that prompted me to become a librarian and, before coming to MCDL I worked as a intern and a substitute librarian at Stark County District Library, then as a Local & Family History Librarian at St. Joseph County Public Library (Indiana). Prior to obtaining my library science degree, I also earned an M.A. in Art History & Museum Studies, and was the Education & Technology Manager at the Canton Museum of Art for about a decade. In that job, I planned art classes, led museum tours, and developed partnerships with local teachers and artists -- among many other responsibilities! I like to think my past has made me a good match for MCDL's Family History & Learning Center, with my experiences in museums and libraries, and my love of genealogy, creativity, and teaching.

But that's enough about me... let me tell you a little bit about MCDL's upcoming Family History & Learning Center! Plans for the Center are nearly finalized and we hope construction will start in early 2019. When completed the Family History & Learning Center will include a digitization lab (where you can scan and preserve photos, slides, and home movies), a genealogy reading room (much like the current Franklin Sylvester room), and a makerspace (including all sorts of supplies to express your creativity), plus additional meeting and study rooms. We have Virginia Wheeler Martin (1928-2016) and her generosity to thank for making the Center possible. 

A snapshot of Jinny, c. 1951.
Virginia Wheeler Martin -- better known as "Jinny" -- grew up in Medina, before completing a BFA in painting and illustration from Miami University. She then became a stewardess for American Airlines (the first from Medina!) and, in 1954, married Capt. Barney Martin, U.S.N. (Ret.). Jinny and Barney traveled the world during Barney's naval service, eventually settling in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. But throughout her travels, Jinny maintained a strong connection to her roots in Medina County, and spent decades researching her family history. It was her love of genealogy that led to the development of MCDL's Family History & Learning Center. 


In addition to providing funding, Jinny also 
donated her personal
A unique item in Jinny's personal collection:
a postcard-sized watercolor by John Hickling.
collection of genealogy resources and research to MCDL. As we prepare for the Center, it has been my job to sort through and organize all of these materials. The collection has included hundreds of books, hundreds of photographs and negatives, dozens of research binders, and a few more "unique" artifacts. 


One of the most fascinating items that I've come across so far, has been with a postcard-sized watercolor painted by John Hickling. The inscription on back is what makes this item so charming: it was created by John for his brother Jesse, on the occasion of his birthday. I'm not yet sure how the Hicklings relate to Jinny, but I'm certain there's a familial connection there somewhere!

Back of the postcard, revealing that the watercolor was a gift from John, to his brother Jesse.  

Jinny's collection of resources will be available for research purposes once the Family History & Learning Center opens. It is my hope that the Center will help visitors discover and preserve their family's stories, while giving people the opportunity to express their own stories creatively.

Hopefully, that gives you a better idea about what to expect from the new MCDL Family History & Learning Center! I'm looking forward to meeting all of you, and helping you discover your family's stories.

In the meantime, since you now know a little bit about me, it's your turn to help me get to know you. Comment below and share your genealogy "origin story." How/why did you start researching your ancestors, and what's kept you coming back to it? What was the moment you got "hooked" on genealogy? 



A big thank you to Kathy for having me guest blog for her this week! 
-Lauren Kuntzman

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

New Columbus Settlement




Working with old newspaper microfilm, you come across the names of long forgotten places, like Risely, Ohio, which was, at one time, due west of the Village of Medina. Or Leroy, now known as Westfield Center.  Or Marysville, which was once part of Liverpool Township.

So I was surprised when I came across the name of an area of Medina County that I didn't recognize: the New Columbus Settlement.

I forget where I first stumbled across it, but I made a note to investigate it "when I have some spare time."

Well, I don't know that I will ever "have the spare time", but I did come across the note, and decided NOW was the time.

This is what is said in The History of Medina County and Ohio that was published in 1881:

Excerpt from the 1881 History of Medina, page 572. The "few years later"
refers to shortly after 1821, a date mentioned in the previous paragraph.



This information was repeated verbatim on pages 2-3 of The History of Chatham Township Medina County, Ohio Chatham Centiseptiquinarian 1818-1993 and Joann King repeats the story on page 51 of her Medina County Coming of Age 1810-1910 (2016), adding their "happy-go-easy style" must have "unnerved their neighbors of solid Massachusetts stock".

But the information was misquoted in the 1968 Chatham Sesquicentennial 1818-1968:

The text  reprinted from the 1881 History of Medina County has some serious typos!
What is "boppy-go-easy" style? Sounds like something a bunny rabbit would do!
So, just who were these people that the history spoke of so disparagingly? The oldest map that the Medina Library owns is dated 1857. There is no trace of "New Columbus" in Chatham Township. As the authors foretold, no other trace of the settlement can be found in other sources.

Excerpt of the northwest corner of Chatham Township from the 1857 Map of Medina County.
The dark border on the left shows the boundary with Spencer Township to the west.

When the place named cannot be traced, then we look at the individuals who are listed:
  1. William Foltz 
  2. Orrin Parmeter
  3. Phineas Davis 
  4. Truman Davis 
  5. Isaac Vandeventer
1.William Foltz is not listed anywhere else in the 1881 History of Medina County, nor in any of the Chatham Township histories. His name does not show up in the Medina County Land Records of the period, nor in the 1810, 1820 or 1830 census records for either Medina County, Ohio, or the State of Virginia. So he is not easily traced.
Note: the name was searched using Foltz and Fultz.  Also, there is a Wm. FULKS in the 1840 Census for Chatham Township. Same man? Possibly.

2. Orrin Parmeter - all the same sources were searched and and Orrin was not found. A Civil War veteran with the name Orris Parmeter  is listed in the 1890 Census for Portage County, Wisconsin. But a man settling in Medina in the 1820's would be too old to serve in the Civil War. There were other Parmeter's listed in some of the sources.

So, two of the five men listed cannot be traced. Maybe they were "boppy-go-easy".

But that is not the case for the other three men.

3. Phineas Davis is presented in the best light in the sketch from the 1881 History. He "put up a little 'pocket' grist mill, to which he shortly added a distillery." But that is not all the History has to say about Phineas. He is mentioned 6 different times on the section on Spencer, not Chatham, Township:

     a."In the fall of 1823, Phineas Davis and family came and occupied the unused house  of Rising", p. 556.

     b. "Each man had his particular mark*, which was recorded thus: May 4, 1832, Phineas Davis made returns of his ear-mark for cattle, hogs and sheep (viz) 'a crop on the left ear and a slit in the right.'" p.559.

     c. "On another occasion, Phineas Davis and his daughter were coming through the forests... It grew very dark, and they became lost...they listened to the howl of the gathering wolves.", p. 560.

     d. "Phineas Davis kept an accommodation for travelers, not exactly a tavern, at the River Corners, at an early date.

     e. Phineas Davis built the first grist-mill in Spencer in 1825. It was a log mill, run by water-power, and the bolter was run by hand. The mill-stones were made from hard bowlders (sic), the building being logs, and two stories high, and, when grinding, it shook as though it had the palsy. The water power of this mill was destroyed when Spencer built his dam, which was a few hundred rods below.", p 561.

     f. The first literary society was organized at the river mills. They came according to appointment to the schoolhouse, but forgot to bring candles, and adjourned to the house of Phineas Davis...", pp.568-569.

In The History of Spencer Township and Village, Phineas Davis is described as "the township's second settler"  and he "was an active man."

That doesn't sound "happy-go-easy" style to me!? That seems quite industrious. But there's more...

Phineas is found in the 1820 Census in Wayne County, the 1830 Census in Lorain County,  and the 1840 Census in Chatham, Medina County. He disappears after that. It is possible that he died in 1845. There is a Findagrave listing for  Phineas Davis who was born in 1790 and died in 1845 in Champaign County (west of Columbus.) The ages given in the census records would agree with this tombstone.
Tombstone for Phineas Davis in Champaign County, Ohio. The dates, 1794-1845
 make him the right age to be Spencer Township's Phineas Davis.

AND... he is listed among the War of 1812 soldiers on Fold3 as part of the New York Militia! So he is not even from Virginia!

4. Truman Davis might be related to Phineas or he might not. The records are not as plentiful on him. But the Land Records of Medina County do show him buying and selling land in the 1830's.

5. Isaac Vandeventer has even more surprises for us. He is in the 1810 Census in Dansville, New York. But by the 1820 Census he is in Wayne County Ohio, as was Phineas Davis. After that, it becomes difficult to find him because of misspellings of his name. In the 1830 Census he is Lorain County, under Vanderventer and by the 1840 Census, he is under Vardeventer in Medina County. He hasn't been located in the 1850 census. but by the 1860 census he is Chatham, Medina County under "B" Vanderventer. He died in 1860 and is listed in the Mortality Census schedule as "J" Vandervander. He appears in Terry and Marcia Hart's Veterans Buried in Medina County, Ohio. Volume 2, War of 1812 book. He is buried in Chatham Cemetery and served in the New York Militia!


Isaac Vandeventer's tombstone from Findagrave.


And take a closer look at that 1857 Map of Medina County:



J.A. Davis could  be a descendant of either Truman or Phineas Davis. But take a look at the name to the left of the vertical line - I. Vanderventer!

So now we have a hint of where New Columbus might have been. And we can dispel part of the myth:

We now know that at least 3 of the men mentioned were from New York and several of them were quite
hardworking and productive!


Mystery debunked!



* A mark was a way of branding farm animals so that the owners could be identified.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

O. C. Duke

Entrance to the Medina County Career Center (MCCC).



Every fall hundreds of Medina County High School students head off to classes at the Medina County Career Center in pursuit of educational training.



How many of them pass by or enter the OC Duke Agricultural Building without knowing anything about the man the building is named for?

Sign outside the O.C. Duke Building
The O.C. Duke Building at the MCCC.











Wild Life Center at the OC Duke agricultural Center at MCCC  December 4, 2015 Cleveland






O.C. Duke, or more formally, Orland Charles Duke, was born in 1901 in West Virginia to John F. And Nellie (Daniell) Duke. He was the second son of the farming couple. He graduated high school and attended college in Kentucky for a year before following his brother to Ohio State University in Columbus.

"O.C." as he was most often known, studied agricultural science and thrived at OSU! He was a founding member of the Tau Gamma Phi agricultural fraternity, which later became Alpha Gamma Sigma.


TGF


In this 1924 Ohio State University "Makio" Yearbook picture, O.C. is with his fraternity brothers. O.C. is in the upper right row, circled in red.  Yearbook photo courtesy of Ancestry Library Edition.

The "Makio" yearbook was created by O.C. Duke especially for the OSU students that graduated in December. 

Upon graduation, Duke was hired by the Medina City School Systems. His 1925 OSU graduation picture is the same one used for the 1925 Medina High School Yearbook.

1925 Medina High School Yearbook
In 1927, O.C. married his wife, Lauraette, in 1927, and they soon settled down in their East Friendship home and started their family, son Ronald, and daughter Marilyn.

O.C. was a man of action and took on many responsibilities, besides teaching. Among his accomplishments are:
  • Started teaching in Medina in 1925. MHS had the only agricultural curriculum in the county. Important in a then predominately farming community. He was the only AG teacher until 1950.
  • Taught Vocational Agriculture at Medina High School for 42 years – till 1968. Nicknamed “Mr. Agriculture” His classes featured:
    • Frequent field trips 
    • 10-day summer excursions to Canada, the State Fair and New York City. 
    • Opened up the local chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA) to girls long before the national organization did.
1965 Medina High School Yearbook
  • Served Adults & young farmers in the area. Started a farmer’s club
  • Promoted the welfare & social activities of farmers and city dwellers with his involvement in:
    • Medina County Farm Bureau 
    • Medina County Agricultural Society
    • Medina County Extension Service
    • Agricultural Stabilization Committee 
    • Medina County Fair Board – 50 years 
    • Izaak Walton League 
    • Montville Grange 
    • 4-H Extension Advisory Committee member 
    • 4-H Club adviser 
    • Cleveland Farmers Club 
    • Medina County Park System 
    • Medina City Uptown Park – promoted the building of the Gazebo that is a city landmark today. Weeded flower beds.
O.C. Duke presenting an award to Joy Anderson, the first young woman to receive the State FFA degree.
Medina Gazette 23 April 1975 page 13.
  • Advocated for the development of the Medina County Joint Vocational School District – now the Medina County Career Center.
  • His 100th birthday party thrown by the Medina Kiwanis Club in 2001. He was then the oldest active Kiwanian in the world. He was a member for 75 years!
  • Long after his retirement, he was a resource for people as he fielded their questions.
  • At his East Friendship home, he kept bees, raised chickens planted fruit trees
  • Wrote a column for the Medina Trading Post & Mid-Ohio Farmer magazine.
O.C. in front of the building that carries his name with two unknown people.
Photo on FindAGrave.

O.C.'s many accomplishments did not go unnoticed. Throughout his long career, he received many, many awards, some of which are listed here:

  • Bob Drake Award (Former Plain Dealer Farm writer) 1965
  • John T. Tobin Award from Izaak Walton League – 1978, 3rd in country to receive it.
  • Building named in his honor in 1980 Was at the rededication after renovation in 2000.
  • Scholarship presented to an agricultural student each year in his honor.
  • In 1981 awarded the OSU Alumni Association Citizenship Award in honor of his community service.
  • 1984 named of the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.
  • Medina High School Hall of Fame 2001
  • Medina Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame
  • Awarded the George F. Hixon Fellowship Award from the Kiwanis 
As O.C. neared his 100th birthday, everyone wanted to interview him and get his insight into life. John Gladden, Sandy Fahning and Sam Boyer all talked to O.C. Here are a couple of his pearls of wisdom:

“I attribute my long life to good DNA. I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke and I didn’t run around with the wrong kind of women.”  on the occasion of his 100th birthday

And my favorite: 

“Don’t judge people, love everyone, and it's all about helping people the best you can.”  on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

From OC's obituary in the Medina Sun, 16 May 2002, page B3.


SOURCES:


  • Boyer, Sam,“O.C. has a hundred years of memories to share”,  The Medina Sun, 23 August 2001, page A 3.
  • “Duke’s long, active life comes to an end’, The Medina Sun, 16 May 2002, page B3.
  • Gladden, John, “’Mr. Agriculture’ dies at 100”,  The Medina Gazette, 14 May 2002, page A-2.
  • “’Historymaker’ O.C. Duke third in nation to get award” Medina Gazette, 18 May 1978, page 2.
  • The Medina Gazette 23 April 1975 page 13.
  • “Orland C. Duke”, The Medina Gazette, 15 May 2002, page A-2.
While taking photos at the O C Duke Agriculture Building,
this Monarch butterfly stopped by.



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Aerial Photographs at the Medina Library

This type of aerial photograph was popular in the 1950's and 1960's.
Potential customers were contacted, and if interested, could have an
aerial photograph of their homestead, for a price.


Aerial photographs were briefly mentioned in the 17 December 2015 post on Historic Home Research.

But today we are going to look more closely at the historic aerial photographs in the Franklin Sylvester Room at the Medina Library.

All of the aerial photos belonged to the Natural Resource Conservation Service/Farm Service Agency (FSA) USDA. When they moved their offices back in the seventies they were going to throw them out and the Soil and Water Conservation District saved them. Later, they did not have a place to store them so the Library took them off their hands. The FSA uses on line aerial now and newer images can be purchased at their web site Farm Service Agency

The photos are useful to researchers because they can help pinpoint how a piece of land has been used over the years or narrow down when a particular house or development was constructed. If the scale is large enough, you might be able to make out details of buildings.

As an example, we will take a look at a particular street in the city of Medina - West Park Boulevard - which happens to be where I live.

With this type of research, as with family history research, you want to start with what we know now and work our way into the past.

HOWEVER, today, we will start with a look at what the neighborhood looks like today and then jump to  the oldest record, 1937, and work toward the present.

For comparison, we will look at the street today using Google Maps.



In this screen shot from Google Maps, West Park Blvd. is right above the red line. It is south west of Medina Square and runs between South Court Street on the east, and Oak Street on the west. It is an older tree-lined neighborhood.

This is the satellite view of the area:


The oval in the upper left is the track at the fair grounds. While there is a 2018 copyright date on this photo, I know for certain that it is at least 1 year older than that. If you look at the Street View, it  is from July of 2013.

So that is how the neighborhood looks today.  And with Google Maps you can zoom in very close.

But how did it look in the past? City and county directories and plat maps can only give you a map. The aerial photographs give you a picture!

Aerial Photographs

The Medina Library has Aerial Photograph sets that cover these years:

  • 1937
  • 1950
  • 1958
  • 1965
  • 1973
  • 1979
Notice that there is nothing from the 1940's? America was busy fighting a war from 1941-1945. IF any photographs were taken, it is likely they would have been destroyed or classified, so they couldn't get into enemy hands. More likely, they just weren't taken.

Each set has a Key that is a map of Medina County. Handwritten across the map are numbers that correspond to the appropriate photograph.

Here is the key for the 1937 set:


By looking at the area on Google Maps and comparing it to the Key, we know to look for the
photo marked 12-1087.


The actual photo measures 9 inches X 9 inches, so if you didn't bring a magnifying glass with you, ask to borrow one from the Library.

Here is the area of West Park enlarged:


As you can see, the area is mostly farmland with veryfew landmarks to help orient ourselves.


By careful comparison with current maps, the red line indicates approximately where West Park Blvd. is today.

81 years ago, the City of Medina was concentrated around the Square and a few blocks in any direction. The area that is now in the West Park neighborhood was still part of Montville Township and was predominately farmland. You can even see the dotted patches of the apple orchards that older residents say were in the area.

Here is the same area from the 1950 set of Aerial Photographs:


West Park is a relatively new street here with just a few houses on it. Oak Street, on the western (left) end of West Park has a lot more houses, but seems to lead into an area of construction. There are still plenty of agricultural fields both to the north (above) and the south (below) West Park.

The photograph from the 1958 set:


Nearly all the houses that are currently on West Park are visible in this photo, so we know the approximate dates they were built, 1950-1958.

But notice the gap under the red X?  According to the Medina County Auditor's web site, that house was built in 1966.

There is still a lot of open space east and west of Circle Drive. And look at the open field south of West Park!


Here is part of the key to the 1965 set:



It is only by comparing the surrounding numbers that we are able to make out that the photo for the West Park neighborhood should be marked 3-87.



There aren't a lot of changes visible in this photo, but just out of the frame, below the word "Park" there is a major addition - The Ella Canavan Elementary School. The school opened in 1960.


The 1973 and 1979 sets are 2' X 2' and share the same Key. Originally, someone had handwritten the numbers across the map. Then someone else covered over the handwritten key codes with raised letters. The letters have started falling off, but you can still read the handwriting underneath.


An excerpt from the 1973-79 key indicating that the photo we want is I-6.


Here is a blow up of the West Park neighborhood from the 1973 key:


Notice the development to the north of West Park and to the East of Circle drive. Medina, and this neighborhood, were definitely growing!

This is a blow up from I-6 Photo from the 1979 Set for the West Park Blvd. area with some of the familiar landmarks typed in.



Combine Aerial Photograph research with city and county directories and Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and you can get a pretty detailed picture of the development of neighborhoods and cities.

The U.S. Geologic Survey has historic aerial photographs online at Earth Explorer. However, today this message appeared:


The Department of the Interior and the USGS have requested a Federal Advisory Committee to review USGS’s current free-and-open policy for user access to Landsat data.

This USGS web page provides a synopsis of frequently-asked questions and answers about the ongoing review.


















Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Next Generation

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

All family historians struggle with how to engage the next generation of genealogists so that the family legacy can continue.

I say, "Get 'em while they're young!"

And the following books can help you accomplish that.

The first three books explore the local history of Medina County and they are appropriate for  younger children, from infancy, when a parent is reading to them, up to about the 4th grade.

A portrait of Captain Martin Van Buren Bates and his wife,
Anna Swan Bates. Photo courtesy of the Medina Library's
collection. 






Most Medinians know the story of Captain Martin Van Buren Bates and his lovely wife, Anna (Swan) Bates, more commonly known as "The Giants of Seville." The couple were once well known throughout Europe, all of America, as well as in Medina County, Their story can serve as an introduction for young readers into the fascinating circle of local history.



The GIANT of Seville a "Tall" Tale Based on a True Story
by Dan Andreasen.
This first book is a little older, 2007, and focuses on the story of how Captain Martin Van Buren Bates chose Seville, Ohio as their home away from the circus. Wonderfully illustrated, it is a fictionalized account of how the citizens of Seville went out of their way to make the Giant feel comfortable in their small town.

Here, Captain Martin Van Buren Bates enjoys stack after stack of
flapjacks at a fictional boarding house. Later in the tale, he crashes
through the floor during a square dance. The illustrations are not to scale!





































The True Tale of a GIANTESS by Anne Renaud is a new release and focuses on the life of Anna Swan who married Captain Martin Van Buren Bates and became part of the largest married couple in the world during the 1800's.

It is beautifully illustrated and sticks a little closer to reality. Anna was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and this book follows her as she grows up and leaves the farm to become celebrated across Europe and the United States. It ends with the couple settling down in Seville.

Soon coming to the Medina Library collections, this September 2018 copyrighted book will
delight any young reader. The will be thrilled to learn that GIANTS actually lived in their county!

In this charming illustration, Anna is coaxing her pet monkey, Buttons,
 out of the tree on their Seville Ohio farm.

Also, a little older book, Olden Days of Medina a Children's Guide to Medina History by Mollie Wilson and Susan Lucht gives a child-sized introduction into the history of Medina County. This title is harder to obtain, as all of the remaining copies are "FOR IN-LIBRARY-USE" only. You could contact the publishers, History Galls Publishing at 8344 West Smith Road in Medina.

Cover of the Medina history book for children, Olden Days of Medina.


Entry on Letha Morse House. Besides the foundation that still bears her name, there is also a county park named for her.

The last title is National Geographic Kids Guide to Genealogy by T.J. Resler. This book came out just spring of this year and is geared towards an older audience, grades 3-6 and is an introduction to genealogy.

This book is packed full of all the information a promising young genealogist will need to start their quest for their family history.

It is nicely illustrated and includes tips and trivia along the way. 

Did you know that Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor who plays Sherlock Holmes on the TV show, is a 16th cousin, twice removed of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the creator of the character?!

And if you want to know what it means to be a cousin twice removed, be sure to investigate  this book for yourself.

This would make a perfect gift for a budding genealogist. And if you don't believe me, check it out and see for yourself!