Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lock-In Wrap Up

We had a very nice time at the Lock-In on Friday. We had 28 people attending, and one service dog.  Good doggie!
Photos courtesy of Keith on Facebook

Photos courtesy of Keith on Facebook

Besides the fantastic $35 gift certificates from Family Tree DNA that arrived via overnight express, we also had some nifty gift cards courtesy of the Medina County Genealogical Society.  Thank YOU so much!!  We had 23 other door prizes that were quickly snapped up during the intermission at 8 p.m., leaving one lonely participant empty handed. But Liz came to the rescue and found her a nice door prize also.

We learned how useful  DNA testing can be, depending on what you are looking for. And Lisa did a great job covering the web site. I use this site daily, but still I learned quite a few new tricks.

Kudos also go out to Lisa for being SO-O-O adaptable with the technological glitches. First, our DNA presenter's laptop refused to work. Lisa quickly set him up to use her laptop. Luckily he did have his presentation on an USB drive. Good to go! Then after the intermission, Lisa's laptop decided to do over 100 updates, even though she has it programmed to do updates at 3 a.m. SHEESH! But again, being very adaptable, Lisa quickly moved her program into the computer lab. What a trooper!

Lisa and I looked at our files and realized that this was our 13th Lock-in and we are in our 7th year of offering them. Truly, it does not seem to be that long ago!

We hand out surveys at every lock-in asking for ideas of what programs to offer in the future. We really depend on these surveys to give us ideas. Some of the more popular requests were for  topics that we have offered in the past, including German Research, Medina County Research or Computers and Genealogy, all of which we have offered in the last 3 years. Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey. And THANK YOU for your input.

For the September 18th Genealogy Lock-In, we hope to offer sessions on Researching Your Polish Ancestry and Writing Your Family History.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Yes, I am SHOUTING! Because thanks to the generosity of the folks at Family Tree DNA we have two $35 certificates toward DNA testing to give away as door prizes at tonight's Genealogy Lock-In! 


And we still have spots available if you want to come in for a chance to win one of the certificates or any of the other nifty door prizes we will be giving away! 

Oh, you can learn about genealogy research too!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DNA Testing: Hype or Help?

Have you ever wondered if  DNA testing is the answer to all of your genealogical prayers?

DNA Testing: Hype or Help?  is one of the educational sessions at this Friday's Genealogy Lock-In at the Medina Library.

Popular TV crime shows and genealogy programs all tout the miracles that DNA testing can accomplish.

But what is the reality??

Richard Spector of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Cleveland will  teach us the finer points of DNA testing for genealogical research.
  • What are the realistic expectations? 
  • What can you learn? 
  • What isn't possible with DNA testing? 
  • Which companies offer which DNA tests?
Several years ago, I received a DNA test as a Christmas gift. I can't tell you how thrilled I was! 

Yep! That's me!!
My daughters had given me National Geographic's DNA test called Geno 2.0. This test reveals your DEEP ancestry. As in Neanderthal. Which I have 1.8% Neanderthal DNA, just slightly lower than the average of 2% for people of European descent. (I LOVE telling people I am 1.8 percent Neanderthal! Most people just nod their heads. As in "That explains so much!") With this test, you learn how your ancient ancestors came out of Africa and traveled across the Middle East and Europe, eventually covering the whole planet. Fascinating stuff.  

But not very useful for genealogy research.

So I had my results transferred to FamilyTree DNA. And while it was also very interesting and has helped me to connect with distant cousins, none of my brick walls have come tumbling down. But I just did learn the name of my 4th great grandmother on my Dad's side. I wasn't looking for her name just yet. But that still counts as a breakthrough, right??

But I am not sure I am getting everything out of my tests as I should, and I am hoping for some guidance from Friday's class.Want to join me, Lisa and Liz at the Lock-In??  Call 330-722-4257 to register. Or register online at: 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Have you seen this???

HUGE u-shaped iron embedded in the sidewalk on Smith Road
When walking around Medina, have you seen this in the sidewalk on Smith Road, right next to Castle Noel's parking lot??
Have you wondered what it was and why it was there?
Did you wonder if it was some kind of utility marking?
Or some relic from the Civil War?
Or did you wonder if it was a giant horseshoe and just HOW BIG was that horse??

Did you know there is another one in town? Do you know where this one can be found?

I have to admit, I wondered about this curiosity a lot on my lunch time walks around downtown/uptown Medina.  Until last fall when I went on the South Court Historic Neighborhood Tour. 

If you haven't ever taken any of the historic home  tours in Medina I can highly recommend them. We toured around 15 homes in the neighborhoods south of Route 42. They covered a range of architectural styles and decades. One of the last homes we toured was this one:

514 South Broadway
I have always admired the house for its cheery seasonal decorations along the picket fence.

The owners of the house are very enthusiastic keepers of the history of their home. It was built by Jabez Holben  in  1884.

Jabez lived from 1852 until 1933. He doesn't show up in the county histories, but by tracking him in the U.S. Federal Censuses from 1870 through 1930, we see that his occupation is listed as....


His blacksmith shop was located on Smith Road and the horseshoe embedded in the sidewalk there marks where his shop once stood. The other one is placed in the sidewalk in front of the house he built.

Jabez' obituary states that he was "known by thousands" in Medina.

P.S. Bob Hyde grew up in the area of the Holben House and tells me that Jabez Holben built at least 5 houses in the area of South Broadway and Wadsworth Road.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Locked Up!!

Medina Library Staff, Lisa Rienerth & Kathy Petras

Or Locked-In?

Please join Medina Library staff and members of the Medina County Genealogical Society for a Genealogy Lock-In on April 24th from 6:30-10:30 p.m.  Two educational opportunities will be offered:

DNA Tests- Hype or Help?

and - Best FREE genealogy site

As always, help will be available for personal genealogy research.

Refreshments & Door Prizes will be provided.

Register online at:​ 
or by calling 330-722-4257

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New Year's Resolution Update

How is your genealogy New Year's Resolution going??  I hope it is going as well as mine.

If you don't remember what my resolution was, you can read about it here:

So, I organized, cited & numbered all of my documents, filled out the application to be a member of the Civil War Families of Gallia County, Ohio and sent it all in. And waited...
And then, I received an email from Henny Evans saying I have been accepted!! YAHOO!! I have been invited to attend the Lineage Banquet on October 11th!! I am very excited about this as my father's family has extensive roots in Gallia County.

Lineage Society Application, Part Two:
Apply for the Society of Civil War Families of Ohio -- the application is nearly identical, but their criteria for acceptance is more stringent. I am a little nervous about this one.

A nice aspect of both of these lineage groups is that I can add additional ancestors at no additional cost!

Closed during renovation
Columbus Metropolitan Library - Main Library
As of Monday, April 13, the building will be closed to the public.
On April 20, our Local History &  Genealogy division will open in the old Whitehall Branch at 4371 E. Broad St. while Main Library is being renovated. Once the renovation is complete, the division will return to Main Library. In the meantime, you can email our Local History & Genealogy staff at
Full services at Main Library will be back and better than ever once the transformation is complete in August 2016.

Cuyahoga County Archives
The Cuyahoga County Archives will be moving during the months of June, July and August of this year.  Therefore the Archives will be closed.    If you happen to be working with a researcher/patron who needs to go there they need to do it before June or they will have to wait. This information is not yet on their website: