Wednesday, January 16, 2019


January 26th 12-4 p.m.

@ The Medina Library

Curious about Medina County History? Have questions? Want to learn more? Want to talk to other people who are as fascinated by Medina County's unique history, events and people?


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Genealogy Goals for 2019

Resolutions can be made at any time, but we tend to make them at the beginning of the year. Studies
have shown that by setting specific goals, we are  ten times more likely to succeed.*

My 2019 genealogy resolution, or maybe goal would be a better term, is to concentrate on organizing my genealogy files - paper and digital.

Most experts say not to worry about organizing past research, but to start with the present and go forward. But if I don't make this a priority, I may never do it. Plus it will help guide my future research.

Lisa will cover the specifics on how to organize your genealogy files next month in great detail so that is not what this post is about. She does a GREAT job in teaching this all important skill.

Generally, this is my plan of action:

  1. Dedicate a  minimum of 2 hours per week on the project. Preferably, Friday or Saturday mornings, before the rest of the household awakens. It is important to schedule time for this task.
  2. File all of my loose papers that are currently covering multiple surfaces in my home. My only consolation is that I don't have huge plastic tubs of files waiting to be organized. Seriously, an instructor at a genealogy conference a few years ago admitted that he had several large tubs waiting to be organized. His speaking topic - Organization!  
    There's more that isn't pictured!
                                                   Desk Clutter!!
    Shelf clutter.

    Unfortunately, this is only part of the clutter.
  3. Organize my digital files. I have most of my digital files in folders, but these need to be cleaned up. I use a naming scheme that works for me which needs to be  applied to ALL my files. And picture files need to be reformatted from JPEG files into a format that isn't "lossy**", such as TIFF. I want to do this before tackling my paper files, so that any papers that I want to scan can go into the newly cleaned up digital folders. 
    Some files need to be renamed, some need to be reformatted and some new folders need to be created.
  4. YES! I keep both digital and paper files. L.O.C.K.S.S. - Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe. And  I back up my computer files regularly.
  5. Tackle my paper file folders. Again, I have created a system that works for me, but it needs to applied to all the file folders.  
    At least my file folders are in filing
     cabinets. At least most of them are!
  6. Tackle my binders (remember #4!) No one wants to look at file folders or even digital files, so I have created binders that family members can browse. And they need to be updated, and cleaned up, using better materials.
  7. Rest on my laurels... HECK NO! Now it is time to get back to research. 
  8. Who am I kidding? I will not stop researching during this project!
BTW, I spent 2 hours this past Saturday tackling some of the backlog of filing! WOOT! WOOT!

* Family Tree Magazine January/February 2019, page 6.

**Lossy Definition from - *.jpg format is great for displaying the final image ...(it) contains only the data which it needs to show the image... result(s) in a smaller file that is easier and quicker for computers to use...and use small storage space... makes them good for use on the Internet... lost data is not retrievable ... Every time the file is re-edited/saved further data is lost... lost data compromises the file for archiving.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Getting Started

The first installment of family history research how-to's that will be posted once every month in 2019.


1. Preliminary guidelines:
  • Research from the known, you, in the present, and work your way backward into the past.
  • NEVER start researching from a famous "relative" or story and try to make them fit into your family.
  • You do have to know what you are looking for Or you will find anything that looks good, whether it is your family or not.
  • Evaluate ALL your information. Is is it from a reputable source? What was the purpose in creating the information? 
  • Don't rely 100% on the Internet! A lot of information on the Internet is WRONG, having been uploaded by misguided or inexperienced researchers. And eventually, you will find that some of the information you need is NOT on the Internet. People did genealogy for thousands of years before the Internet!
  • Document where you find your information. You may need to retrace your steps. And you ALWAYS want to be able to tell others where you found the information.
  • Learn how to spell genealogy G-E-N-E-A-L-O-G-Y 

2. Start with yourself - To get started in family history research, you need to start at the beginning, at YOU, and work backwards in time.

So many of us don't start here and chose instead to focus on a family story or a famous "relative". But a misstep early in your quest can derail you in unimaginable ways.

So, how do you start with you? You know everything there is to know about you, right?

Yes, you do. But can you DOCUMENT every fact about your life? Just like when you are applying for a driver's license or a passport or a car loan, you need to provide proof of the facts of your life.

So, go digging through those desk drawers and boxes stashed away in closets or the basement, and start documenting your life!

What kind of information should you be looking for? The same information that you want to collect on all your ancestors:
  • Full name including women’s maiden names - found on birth and marriage records
  • Date and place of birth - found on birth records
  • Date and place of marriages & divorces - found on marriage records
  • Date and place of death & burial - found on death records
  • List of siblings and children
3. You can use these handy charts to start organizing the information you are gathering into one location.

An Ancestry Chart like this one lets you see multiple generations at a glance.

A family group sheet displays more detailed information on each individual.

Similar forms and many others are available on the web site HERE.

  • Use a pencil to fill in the information, so that it can be corrected, if needed.
  • Last names are written in ALL CAPS. This makes them stand out and makes it easier to find the name you are looking for.
  • Women are always listed under their maiden names.
  • Dates are entered day/month/year (from the smallest unit, a day, to the largest unit, a year)
  • Places are listed as city or township/county/state/country (again listed from smallest to largest unit)
4. But if that is all you have in your  history, it will be very boring. Use these additional sources to start filling in the gaps and make your family history come alive!

Adoption Records
Baby Announcements
Baby Books
Baptism Records
Birth Certificates
Citizenship Papers
Confirmation Record
Death Announcements
Death Certificates
Diaries & Journals
Discharge Papers
Divorce Papers
Employment Records
Family Bibles
Family Business Papers
Family Stories
Family Letters
Family Pictures
Funeral Guest Books
Graduation Records
Heirloom Jewelry
Immunization Records
Income Tax Forms
Insurance Records
Land Records
Marriage Records
Military Awards
Mother's Certificates
Naturalization Papers
Newspaper Clippings
Oral Histories
Photo Albums
Property Tax Receipt
Report Cards
School Records
Social Security Cards
Wedding Albums
Wedding Guestbook
Wills & Estate Records

Now you are ready to start gathering information on your extended family; spouses, children, parents, siblings and grandparents.


5. Collect family stories and personal testimonies. These should be verified in other sources. Talk to all of your relatives, particularly the older ones, and collect family stories and information from them.
   a. Interview the oldest relatives as soon as possible. ALL of us have missed interviewing a relative because of dementia or early death. Who knows what information was lost.
   b. Be considerate of the person you are interviewing.If they get tired, reschedule. If they don't want to talk about a certain subject, move on to something else. Don't interrupt too often.
   c. Set up an appointment and be prepared. Have all the tools you will be using handy:
       1) Notebook, pencils and extra forms
       2) Camera & spare batteries
       3) Memorabilia to share and trigger memories
   d. Ask open ended questions to trigger more information. "What was your grandfather's name?", not, "Was your grandfather's name John Mason?"
   e. Thank your relative for helping you.
   f. Follow up by sharing new information with your interviewee.

Topics to ask about:

Full Name
Childhood Home
Family Relations
Family Income
Seasons & Special Occasions
Birthdate & Place
Historic Events
Family Traditions
AND… Be sure to ask if anyone else has ever worked on the family history!


6. First of all, get acquainted with the help that is already available to you. Most major genealogy web sites have a how-to or wiki section. And the Medina County District Library has several useful aids to get you started:
   a. From our web site: Medina County District Library Genealogy- Getting Started 
   b. In our genealogy/local history area we have a very concise and useful kit:
Available in the local history genealogy area, the Kit contains basic
instructions, useful forms and lists of other sources.

      c. The Library also has a collection of very helpful books. These are recommended for beginners:
         1) Cite Your Sources and Evidence Explained - guides you in always documenting the source of your information. An essential step in any research project.
          2) Complete Idiots Guide to Genealogy - don't take the title personally! Like all the Idiot and Dummy  books they explain the process as if you are starting from scratch.
         3) Genealogy Online - so much research can be done online. Just not ALL of it!
         4) How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy - a highly readable but comprehensive guide to the search.
         5) International Vital Records Handbook - this 2018 edition lists where to find the essential records throughout the U.S. and most of the rest of the world.
         6). Unpuzzling Your Past - is a more compact coverage of the research process and includes many useful forms and examples.
     d. Take classes. Libraries, and local & state genealogical societies frequently offer classes for a skill levels of family history researchers.
        1) The Medina County District Library list their classes on the EVENTS tab on the web site.
        2) The Medina County Genealogical Society incorporates classes into their monthly meetings. To find out what is coming up, contact them at MCGS.
        3) The Ohio Genealogical Society is one of the largest state genealogy organizations. Their excellent conferences and classes can be viewed under EVENTS.
        4) The Akron Summit County Public Library offers great classes also. Their current listing can be found HERE.


Thank you Jay for making this post better!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Coming in 2019

As Lisa and I work with members at the Library, we see a LOT of people who do not have the basic research skills to be successful in their family history quest. Maybe it is because they have been told,

"You don't have to know what you're looking for. You just have to look."


If you don't know what you are looking for, you can easily follow the wrong family line.

So this year, we are going to focus on how to do genealogical research. At the beginning of each month we will present a separate lesson on basic family research. The lessons will be:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Organizing Your Research
  3. Vital Records
  4. Census Records
  5. Immigration & Naturalization
  6. Military Records
  7. Church Records
  8. Newspaper Research
  9. Cemetery Research
  10. & Ancestry Library Edition
  11. Family Search
  12.  Preserving Sharing & Publishing Your Work

See you next year...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Stealth Genealogy

Does your family avoid talking about your shared
family history with you?

Do you dream of mining relatives' memories on family history during the holidays, but everyone runs and hides when they see you approaching with pen, paper and forms in hand?

Then it is time to employ some stealth genealogy tactics!

Your relatives may not even realize what you are doing,
if you use "stealth" genealogy tactics!

Here are ten steps to get you going that are especially useful at the holidays...

 Screensaver of family photos on my computer. 
Because of my file naming format,  people are 
displayed in alphabetical order. Hi Darrell!!
1. Put out the old family albums or use a digital display of family photos. I use the folder of family photos as the screen saver on my computer. Several holidays, I have caught my brothers staring at my computer screen only to find that they were really interested in the photos from the screen saver!

2. Talk about holiday traditions. Do you have favorite holiday traditions? Where did they come from? Relate the tradition to ancestors from that area.

3. Talk about food traditions - "Remember how Mom loved the oyster stuffing and we all hated it? Did you know that oyster stuffing is a British tradition? Can you guess how many of our ancestors were British?"

4. Display old holiday cards - "See that card with the bird on it? Uncle John sent that home when he was in the Army in Germany. Yah, it was after he had been wounded in Korea and was visited in the Tokyo hospital by two Generals' wives." 

While it is tattered now, this card is
 still the treasured symbol of the
love that a younger brother
had for his big sister.

Three weeks after arriving in Korea, Pvt. John Mason was
hit by mine shrapnel, some of which he carried with him
the rest of his life.

This woodcut print accompanied the obituary of Joseph Heighton and
was published in an unnamed newspaper.
5. Keep it simple. Don't talk about the process of doing family research. Talk about the results. "Yah, the Heightons were abolitionists and the siblings formed a singing group that would perform at Anti-slavery meetings. Son Joseph Heighton barely escaped being tarred and feathered and had to move away for several years." This can lead to other ancestors' activities during the Civil War.

6. Bring an old family recipe. Mom made wonderful divinity fudge. That could elicit memories of other cooking traditions.

7. When someone starts talking, don't interrupt with questions. Let them fill the silence with more stories. Nod often.

8. Try to record the memories being shared. Most smart phones can do video and audio recordings. REMEMBER - it is illegal to record anyone without their permission. (Hopefully, your family isn't as camera shy as mine!)

This arcade photo of my aunt & uncle
with their spouses could trigger
memories of other family members'
real time behind bars!

9. Everyone loves a scandal! And all families have their share.

10. Use these ticklers to bring up family members memories of the same story. Maybe they remember parts of the story you don't have.

And as always, have fun telling the stories!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A DNA Story

Kimberly H. from the Tech Dept at
Medina County District Library
Recently, a co-worker shared a fascinating DNA tale that highlights some of the strengths and
weaknesses of DNA testing and genealogical research.

Here is Kim's story...

(My questions are in bold and Kim's responses are in italics.)

1. How long have you been interested in your family history? 
I have been interested in my family history as long as I can remember. My dad had studied history in college, and my parents were very interested in genealogy. My grandparents also had always told  us stories about their lives growing up.

2. How long have you been researching your family history?
Since the advent of online research, around the 90’s. I tried to pick up where my parents left off.

3. What made you decide to do a DNA test? What were you hoping to learn? Or was it just for fun?
I was told many stories about my ethnic background. I was very curious about where my gene pool came from.

4. Are you interested in the health aspects of DNA testing?
I am interested to some degree, as I lost my mom to ovarian cancer, but fear of finding out makes me hesitant. 
Did you know that most primary care physicians are routinely screening for familial diseases and that some insurance companies will pay for genetic testing?

Yes, as our daughter has Turner Syndrome and has been through extensive genetic testing. We were offered to have testing done, because of her results, but I have a tendency to worry. I’d rather just not know what my genes say could or might happen medically. In this case I kind of feel “ignorance” is bliss.

5. Were you surprised by your ethnicity estimates?                                                                     

Kim's Ethnicity Estimate

I was very surprised by my ethnicity estimates in that what I expected to see was not there, and by what was there. I expected to see European Jew in the mix, as it was indicated to me that my grandmother’s extended family was Jewish. My results do not indicate that is the case. I was also VERY surprised to find I am Scandinavian; 11% Norwegian, 2% Swedish, and 1% Finnish.  As a matter of fact, both my parents have French surnames, but I am more Scandinavian than French. 

Because of people crossing back and forth across the area that is France, there is not a good genetic identifier for French ancestry. Also, for privacy reasons, the French people are very hesitant to participate in DNA testing, meaning we don’t have a large enough pool of “French” DNA to compare against. 

My grandfather’s family has been in New Orleans since the very early 19th century, I dare say even late 18th century. They are part of the New Orleans Acadian migration (Cajun), so that is where my mother's French surname originates. My DNA test confirms though what I have been finding document-wise, I have yet to find anyone from France anywhere in my tree. I also cannot find my father’s maternal great-grandfather anywhere, document-wise.

6. And the big surprise was…
I have a sister! My grandfather indicated a bit vaguely just before he passed that my mom had a child before my older brother. In doing the Ancestry DNA test, a person came up as 1st cousin or closer. I thought initially she may be related to me as a cousin via my dad, as he never met his father, but when I saw we had being Acadians in common, I knew Rudy had to be related to my mom. After contacting Rudy via Ancestry, we decided to do another DNA test that is specifically to determine a sibling relationship, and it said there is an 81% chance of certainty that we are half siblings.

Kim's "new" sister, Rudy.

7. How has that impacted you?
I’ll be honest in that I do not think it particularly impacted me. I am glad to know there is another family member.  I think it probably impacted Rudy more, finding her genetic family.


 a. Do you think/feel about yourself differently?
I am the “baby” of the family, and I am still the youngest, so my position in that regard is unaffected (ha-ha). I have to say, no I really do not feel differently about myself.
Kim's mother around the time she had Rudy.
  b. Do you think/feel about your mother differently?
 My mother and I were very close. Knowing about Rudy only explains how and why my mom did some things, reacted to certain things. Knowing how much she loved my brother and I. I know that must’ve been very hard for her to give Rudy up. I know she probably loved her and likely thought about her all the time. Having to keep it to herself for so many years (because that is what they did back then) must’ve been such a sad burden. I am just so happy that Rudy was placed in a good home and had a loving family to grow up with, because I am sure that was all my mother would’ve hoped for her. 
You seem very nonchalant about this new sibling. How long ago did you find this out? Have you had time to process the information?

My grandfather told me about the possibility of a sister in 1998(?), so I have had from start to finish about 20 yrs to mull it in my head. I never asked my mom about it because after he told us (my husband and I) about it, I had my youngest daughter, then he had a stroke and died, my great-aunt of whom I was close to, passed away, and my mother was diagnosed with cancer, then also passed away. From start to finish, it was 9 mos.

Are you still absorbing it?
I've pretty much accepted the situation, as a whole.  

Or is that your laid back personality?
I am pretty chill about most things like this. I mean if I found out I was related to the Queen or to Hitler (My DNA dream vs my DNA nightmare), that would have definitely brought out a reaction. I have no illusions about who my parents were and where they come from. We are all human and things happen, decisions are made, good or bad. My life is blessed, and Rudy is to me is one more blessing.
c. Did that make you angry?
 Not at all. As I said my mother and I were very close. I just feel so bad she had to carry this burden alone her whole life. She was just a child herself (16 yrs old) when she had Rudy, and all decisions regarding Rudy's birth and adoption I am sure were made by my grandmother, with very little say on my mother’s part.

8. How has that impacted the rest of your family?
It really hasn’t impacted the rest of us. My daughters and my niece are eager to get to know that part of their family. My brother has not said much of anything, perhaps that is the only was he knows to deal with it. I do think it is funny that Rudy, Rob (my brother), and I all only had girls.

Kim's brother, Robert.

9. Did she know she had half siblings?
I believe not until Ancestry put us together. She has a brother by her adopted parents.

10. You are in contact with your half-sister? 
We have sent messages via Facebook messenger and email mostly. I think I hear from her or vise versa once or twice a month.

11. Do you plan a face to face meeting?
I am sure one day we will, but we are both have jobs and Rudy lives in another state. We just haven’t gotten too deep into that yet.

12. Are you sorry you found out? 
I am not at all sorry I found out about Rudy! More you learn about your family is more you learn about yourself.

13. Are you sorry you did the test?
Again, not at all. I am very science minded, and I find the fact that they can tell you so much information about yourself on a micro-cellular level fascinating. To find family, and meet new people that share characteristics with you is a bonus!

14. Would you recommend others to have their DNA tested?
I definitely would.

So what do we learn from Kim's DNA story?
  1. Ethnicity estimates are not exact and can be very inaccurate for certain nationalities.
  2. You never know what surprises it might have in story for you.
  3. To get the most of the results, you must still do traditional genealogy research that provides documentation.
  4. Know what your personal comfort zones are. 
  5. That being tested is totally worth it!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

New Book on Newspaper Research

The Medina Library has a new book in its collection on doing newspaper research. Titled The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide: How to Find Your Ancestors in Archived Newspapersit is authored by James M. Beidler. You might be familiar with James' other book Trace Your German Roots Online: A Complete Guide to German Genealogy Websites that I reviewed back in July 2016.

All of the attention to detail and thoroughness he brought to German roots, he now brings to doing newspaper research.

His first chapters deal with the history of newspapers and WHY genealogists should be using them for all of the wonderful information they contain. Besides recording major life events like births, marriages and deaths, newspapers record a myriad of other details from our ancestor's lives, like land transactions, participation in various social groups, criminal activity and who visited who for Thanksgiving dinner!

Next the book covers how to track down newspapers in archives and libraries. Then he shares the free and subscription databases that offer access to digitized newspapers, such as Chronicling America, and Genealogy Bank.

Next he covers ethnic and foreign newspapers and lastly he covers how to preserve and cite your newspaper articles.

So follow this link to put a hold on a copy today - because Medina's copy is checked out to me right now!

In case you haven't figured it out, I LOVE newspaper research!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Touching History

One of the wonderful aspects of my job is that I get to touch history. Like last fall when a donation was brought to my attention. Someone was getting rid of a bunch of theological materials. Among the items donated was a tiny handmade New Testament that was written in an Ethiopian language that is mostly used just for ecclesiastical purposes.

Wooden end pieces and hand stitched binding of this
very unique donation.
Vellum pages and ornate illustrations and text.

We are still waiting to see if the item has any monetary value or if it is just incredibly interesting.

And it happened again just a couple of months ago...       
Medina County Texas is due east of San Antonio, Texas

In the spring, a gentleman from Texas contacted us about a Civil War diary that he thought belonged at the Medina Library. Knowing that there is a Medina, Texas, we first verified that he had the right Medina library.

Thomas Kreneck, is an archivist, and knew what he was doing. The family who was donating the item, Dick and Mary Heldt,  just wanted to make sure it had a good home. Thomas wanted to know that it had the right  home.

He said the diary never gives the author's name, but mentions that the author's father was the sheriff of Medina and also mentions several locations, such as, Brunswick, Seville, etc. Yep, he had the right Medina Library.

The gentleman promised to send the diary to us. Months went by and no diary ever appeared. As often happens, life took over and sending us the library went to the bottom of the list. I contacted Tom in September and on October 4th a package was sitting on my desk when I came into work.

It was the diary! 

The cover is a very delicate leather with a little slot and flap to keep it closed. The days and dates are pre-printed and leaves 10 lines for each entry.   

This type of diary was meant to be carried in the inside pocket of a man's coat.  And they were very popular with Civil War soldiers. 

The first pages have an annual calendar for 1862 and then it jumps right into the daily entries.

Indeed, the author never identifies himself but starts recording his daily routine.

His punctuation, capitalization and spelling are erratic and when doing transcriptions, these must be recorded accurately. This is particularly challenging when all of our software wants to auto-correct everything.

The first 3 days read:

January 1 Wednesday Happy new year to myself and the rest of mankind=. Dull new year’s in this Town of Medina= nothing going on. at home all day. Father went to Brunswick in morning: Firm got home from Chicago Friday. Gilmore & Firm came down going to Seville

January 2 Thursday At home. Done nothing particular, Cold day= Firm & Gilmore were at our house to day. went up to court house in evening Severance & Bill Hayslip were there

January 3 Friday About home. done some work at the office and at house. snowed most all afternoon. Went up to Clerks office in evening Bill. Hayslip was there found what we wanted to do impractible. the roads are in good condition

Reading further into the diary still did not reveal who the author was. This was purported to be a Civil War Diary but for months, all the author does it recount his daily schedule which involves helping his father with clerical work and delivering summons and subpoenas. Not until mid-April does he talk much about the war.

April 10 Thursday About  home all day worked most of the time 
News Recd today of the Death of H. Canfield he was killed in the battle of Pittsburg Landing at the Head of the Regt. The combined forces of Grand & Buell have Defeated Beauregard with 100,000 men with terrible slaughter on both sides

(The Battle of Pittsburg Landing is more commonly known as the Battle of Shiloh.)

April 11 Friday Father went to special Meeting in A.M. to take measures in regard to Receiving Remains of Col. Canfield. as the meeting adjourned Mr. Mat & Mrs Canfield arrived from Grafton with the information of the arrival of the remains at the station. The citizens went in carriages men the corpse & escorted it into town.

April 12 Saturday Went up in morning and seen Canfields Corpse. looked natural. started bout 9 & went to Lodi Homer Spencer Chatham & home bout Dark Served Summons & got Jurymen. goog many of the 72d Regt are Killed & wounded & taken prisoners.

(More information on Colonel Herman Canfield can be seen at his memorial on FindaGrave.)

Consulting the 1881 History of Medina County and Ohio, disclosed that in 1862, Morgan Andrews Sr. was the Sheriff of Medina County.

Listing of Medina County Sheriff's from the 1881
History of Medina County and Ohio, page 240

The History had other revelations in store:

List of Civil War Soldiers from Medina county on page 348 of
History of Medina County and Ohio.

This would be Morgan Andrews, Junior. A quick jump to the end of the diary...

The last entry is on July 8 of 1862:

July 6 Sunday  Inspection in the morning very warm day no drilling took out a lot of boys in the P.M. They went off and milked their canteens full of Milk. Jo Welch Beul & myself laid under the Shade in the woods

July 7 Monday  Not very well today did not drill in the forenoon went out on dress Parade and felt so sick came pretty near dropping my Gun got better and drilled with the Cos. the Captain was either drunk or very cross on our drill

July 8 Tuesday Unwell all day did not drill any. laid on Lieut Manning's bed most all the time. took some medicine of my own. did not report to the surgeon at all as he is not fit to be surgeon of a Regt. slept in our mess tent in the night.

The Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, lists Civil War Soldiers and Casualties and has this to say about Morgan Andrews:

According to the Roster, Morgan died on July 30 1862, page 632.
Page 784 of the Roster tells us that Morgan died of disease and was buried in Antietam, Maryland.

The diarist was "quite unwell" in his last entries on July 7th & 8th and Morgan died on July 30th. I believe we have identified the author of the diary - Morgan Andrews Jr. But Morgan Andrews Sr. had other sons.

This excerpt from the 1860 Census for Medina County shows Morgan Andrews with his (2nd) wife Cordelia, daughter
Maria (sic), son Morgan, son Finley and two inmates from the jail, Christian Breemer, a farmer who is
listed as insane and John Reed a "convict".
This excerpt from the 1850 Census for Hinckley Township, Medina County shows Morgan Andrews' original
profession was "tailor" Also shown are two additional sons, Addison, age 19 and Fairman, age 15. Neither of
these young men are listed among the soldiers who served in the Civil War from Medina.

The diary mentions "Firm" several times and most likely this refers to "Fairman", Morgan Jr's brother. So Fairman is not the author. NO other concrete information has been found on Addison.

Additional research using the census records on Ancestry Library Edition, Findagrave and Medina Library's Obituary Index confirmed that the author of the diary was Morgan Andrews Jr. 

Although the Roster says that Morgan was buried at Antietam, he also has tombstones at Old Town Cemetery and Spring Grove Cemetery in Medina.

Morgan Andrews tombstone in Old Town Cemetery
Photo courtesy of itsallrelative2me 

Morgan's tombstone at Spring Grove.

Following up with more research on the family, I found out that Fairman, Sarah and sister Meroa (listed as "Maria" in the census records) all died in 1910, within several months of each other.

Meroa never married and worked for A.I. Root when he had a jewelry store. Then she started a small jewelry shop of her own. When the a small circulating library was formed in 1877, Meroa donated space in her shop to house the books and served as the "librarian" of the collection.

Both her and Fairman's obituaries mention that they came from a family of five children, but neither obituary mentions what happened to Addison...

Fairman died in Girard Pennsylvania, outside of Erie. The people who donated the diary had cleaned out their father's attic in Lake City, Pennsylvania, less than a mile from Girard.

After Morgan's death, Fairman undoubtedly kept the diary and it was passed on through his family, eventually ending up in the attic of Wilson F. Andrews, father of Mary Andrews Heldt. Mary now lives in Texas with her husband Dick.

Wilson appears in the 1880 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois census as the 14 year old son of ... "Firnon" Andrews.

1880 Census for Chicago, Cook County, Illinois from Ancestry Library Edition.

We thank Thomas Kreneck and Dick & Mary (ANDREWS) Heldt for their diligence in finding a new home for Mary's great uncle's journal. So now Morgan Andrews' diary, that details his daily life in Medina and recounting his short time in the Civil War, has returned home.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

When Being a Member of the Swastika Club Was a Good Thing

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

 Long before Adolph Hitler adopted the swastika as the symbol for his Nazi party, it was a symbol of spirituality in Eastern cultures and a symbol of good luck in the West.

American Farmer, by Solon L. Goode. 1907, page 101. 
Many different groups adopted the swastika as a symbol, including one here in Medina County.

Finding a mention of a Swastika Club meeting in an old newspaper was shocking and I had to find out more about the group.

Medina Gazette, 29 March 1935, page 1.

Most of the newspaper articles about the club were just announcements of meetings or events like luncheons and banquets. The club's purpose was elusive.

Articles like this one did little to expose the club's purpose.
Medina Gazette 5 March 1937, page 3.

Articles like the following one, from a 1917 issue of Ladies Home Journal seem to indicate that it was a woman's club:

Ladies Home Journal January 1917 page 52.
But that was a national organization. The Medina club could have a different purpose.

Finally, this article from 1935 sheds some light on the Medina group:

Medina Gazette 12 March 1935 page 1.
So the Medina Swastika Club was a "girls'" business club loosely affiliated with the YWCA.

The articles in the digitized edition of the Medina newspapers only span the 1930's with a peak of articles in 1935. No one article showed the beginnings of the group, but this one tells what happened to them:

Medina Gazette 3 March 1939 page 2.
Because of the chaos as World War II commenced in Europe and because the Nazi Party had adopted the symbol, the ladies changed the name of their group. Bravo, Ladies!

Eastern cultures sometimes still use the swastika as a spiritual symbol, which can cause confusion among Western cultures who view it as a symbol of the terrors and genocide of the Nazi regime.