Saturday, February 27, 2016

Medina County Historical Society Closed...

The Medina County Historical Society will be closed for the months of March and April for basement renovation.

The Historical Society's web site:

"Once complete, the basement will have a new floor, interior furnishings and climate controlled environment to last many more years." says the Society's page.

The February 27 edition of The Medina Gazette has an article about the closing on page A2:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Genealogy Lock-In

There are still a few spots open for the Lock-In!

Be sure to sign up if you are planning to attend!

(Click on the Lock-In link toward the bottom of the page.)

The April Genealogy Lock-In is scheduled for the 22nd, Friday, from 6:30-10:30 p.m.

If you have never been to one of the Library's lock-ins, let me explain. The Lock-Ins are an after-regular-library-hours genealogy program where we bring in special speakers and spend the night talking about and researching genealogy. The Medina Library co-hosts them with the Medina County Genealogical Society, twice a year, once in April and once in September.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     This April, we are pleased to be offering a session on Researching your Polish Ancestry. Ben Kman of the Polish Genealogical Society of Cleveland will be our speaker. This is part of the Library's efforts to provide training on Eastern European roots, which Lisa and I do not have a lot of experience in. We know there is a need for it from the questions we get at the Reference Desk and during our sessions as the Genealogist is In! This presentation will run from 7-8 p.m. 
After a brief intermission to re-energize with some of the light refreshments provided by the Library, we resume at 9 with a second educational session.

This April, Lisa will be talking about Ancestry Library Edition (ALE), the library subscription database that is the sister site to Ancestry. com  ALE is very similar to the commercial database with some of the personalized options not available. And it is FREE from inside any of the Medina County District Library branches.

You do not have to stay the whole 4 hours.You do not have to come to the educational sessions.  You do have to be present to claim your door prize. You could spend the whole evening doing genealogy research using library computers and databases. Genealogical  society members and library staff will be on hand to help you. 

April Genealogy Lock-In

22 April - Friday
6:30-10:30 p.m.

You can sign up to attend it here: 


Door prizes, provided by the Library and the Medina County Genealogical
Society are awarded during the intermission. You must be present to win.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pete Rademacher - 1956 Olympic Gold Medalist

Hi, it's me again, Kathy's co-worker from the Medina Library. One of my responsibilities is to fill a display cabinet in the Medina Library's Franklin Sylvester (local history) Room. My display for January, February and March is Pete Rademacher. Pete might not have been born and raised in Medina, but he sure brought a lot of history with him and continues to create it while living here.

Peter Rademacher with his daughter Susan

Pete grew up in the state of Washington. He began his college education at Yakima Valley Junior College, then graduated from Washington State University.

He met his wife, Margaret, while attending college and according to him he met her at a party and asked her out on a date. At the time she was seeing someone else, but they got to know each other, and the rest is history. During his college years he fought in the Golden Gloves in Seattle and won the Nationals in Boston.

In 1954, he and Margaret went to Fort Benning, Georgia where he had to complete his ROTC obligation. He was assigned to run a boxing program and was very successful. In the spring of 1956, he was instructed to begin training for the Olympics.  Not long after he began, Margaret was approached by a colonel's wife at the Officer's Club and asked if she was excited about her husband trying out for the Olympics. Imagine her surprise because Pete had promised to give up boxing after they were married. She must have forgiven him, because he made the 1956 Olympic team and was sent to Australia to compete in the Heavy Weight division.

Rademacher fought three opponents, Josef Nemec from Czechoslovakia, Dann Bekker from South Africa and Lev Mukhin from Russia. He won all 3 fights taking the Russian out in one round and earned his gold medal in heavy weight boxing. Pete also was given the honor of carrying the American flag in the Olympics' closing ceremony.

However, this is just the beginning of Pete Rademacher's time in history! When he came back he wanted to fight professionally and he did in a big way! Rademacher wanted to fight for the recently vacated Heavyweight Championship position. He would face World Champion Floyd Patterson. This would be the first Pro-Am fight ever! It was unheard of for an amateur to begin their professional career fighting a professional for the top spot. After contacting several managers and promoters and raising a $250,000 guarantee they signed the papers for the fight.

The fight was set for August 22, 1957 in Seattle. Rademacher started out well, hitting Patterson hard enough to buckle his knees in the second round. However, Rademacher didn't have the stamina that Patterson possessed and was taken down in the sixth round.

"I took the count sitting on my duff, I couldn't get up."

He continued to box for five more years and fought such fighters as Zora Foley, Brian London, Doug Jones, and Archie Moore. His last fight was April 4, 1962, in Honolulu against Bobo Olson. He retired after this fight with a record of 15-7-1.

Pete didn't leave boxing all together. He became a referee in the 1970's and in 1979 was the chief referee for the Cleveland Coliseum. In 1975, He was asked to be the referee for the Muhammad Ali-Chuck Wepner heavyweight championship, but was pulled out because Wepner's manager felt there was a conflict of interest due to the fact the Ali's trainer, Angelo Dundee, used to work with Rademacher during his boxing career.

One of the fights he did officiate was the  "Sugar" Ray Leonard and Art McKnight match in 1978.

Radamacher moved his wife and three daughters, Susan, Helen and Margo to Medina in 1963 after meeting a building contractor and going to work for him. He then began working for Kiefer McNeil and after awhile became president. One of the products they manufactured was the  material for Olympic swimming pool lanes. Pete was off to the Olympics again! This time representing the company in the 1976 Montreal games and the 1986 Los Angeles games. He retired in 1986.

In 1987, he became the American Cancer Society's director of [golf] tournaments and he raised more than one million dollars in 1989 and 1990.

In 1996, he and two of his daughters carried the Olympic torch through the streets of Cleveland.

Some of you might know Pete Rademacher because of his fun invention the "Radecycle". He thoroughly enjoyed driving his one wheel motorcycle in over 380 parades.

Pete came into the library and enjoyed seeing the display. I really recommend that everyone come and see this beautiful and historical display. It is an honor to be able to display it and know that Medina has such a treasure in Pete Rademacher.

Just a note about last weeks blog post. I had said the Family Tree software was not going to be available after 2017. However, I found out since then (thank you Pat!) that this is no longer correct. According to Ancestry they have sold their Mac and Windows Family Tree Maker to the company that makes their Mac version and they will be offering a Windows version of the software that will work with Ancestry. Details are on Dick Eastman's website - - posted on 2 February 2016.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How To Organize All Your Stuff!

Hello! I am Lisa Rienerth, Library Associate at the Medina County District Library. My co-worker, Kathy Petras, has invited me to be her guest blogger for the next two weeks. I wrote a blog for her site a little over a month ago and I hope you enjoy this one.

I don't know about you, but after I started doing my family history research I collected so many pieces of paper and records and my families started to blend together and I began repeating research and losing notes...well you know how that goes. So, I decided to organize my mess!

Believe it or not, you begin with more paper work!


In order to organize your families properly you need to start making a paper trail. It will also help you keep your research organized.

The Pedigree Chart or as some call it the Ancestral Chart, shows the direct line of your family. They can be 4, 5, or 6 generational. These are a way for you to keep your ancestors in proper order.          

4 Generational

The Family Group sheet is another important form. This form helps you keep your individual families in simple groups. This form includes the whole family unit, the parents and the children. You can also keep track of the different sources connected to the individuals, i.e. birth, death and marriage records.

There is a uniform way to fill out these forms. Names should be written: first, middle, LAST (last name in all caps to differentiate from other names) and place names should always be: town, county, state, country (little to big).  Writing the dates is a little different, it should be: date, month, year , ex: 16 January 1916. The uniformity helps other researchers read your forms.

Once you have these two forms filled out you will see the blanks that need to be filled. Who is missing? What vital records need to be found? Which dates need to be filled in?

Now it's time to organize your future research.

The Research Planner is just what it sounds like. You keep track of the research you plan on doing. This organizes your questions, such as, what person do I need to research, what record do I need to find for this person? Where would I find this record? What date did I actually do this research?


The Research Calendar is the form where you record the research you have actually done. You want to date the research, and record who you were researching, where you did the research, what you were researching and what did you find.

The Correspondence Log is an optional log, it kind of repeats what you put in your research calendar, but some researchers like to keep their correspondence separate to help remind them who they contacted and what resource they requested. It is also a good idea because then you will have a list of repositories that you can contact in the future that might have a similar resource for a different ancestor.

Most of these forms can be found on Ancestry and are free to download.


OK have your families all sorted and all your forms filled out...what next?

If you are just beginning your research and don't have a lot of "stuff" you can separate the surnames into two (2) inch binders. You will want to put the surnames on the spines so you can access them easily. Each binder should have dividers, 5 to 7 tabs.  In each binder you will have a place for the following:

1. Pedigree/Ancestral charts
2. Family Group sheets
3. Research Planner
4. Research Calendar
5. Correspondence log
6. Family Information (any records that are connected to your surname, but not quite sure how yet)
7. Sources - Copies of sources

If you been doing your research for a while and are drowning in piles of records and notes, I suggest you use a file cabinet or file box. You would label each file with the surname and type of record, i.e. SMITH/Pedigree Chart. You can go a little crazy and color code your surnames. However, if you have gone waaaay back in your research there may not be enough colors to cover your surnames!


Technology!? Why did I tell you all about these paper forms if you can organize your research with software? Well, an important rule to remember when doing research is anything can happen. You don't want to do 10 years of research and have your computer crash or have the software become non-compatible to the new system you buy or install...or your computer can be caught in a fire or a flood...You get the idea. A rule to remember is NEVER let your software program take the place of your hard copies!

O.K....let's talk software programs. If you would like to organize your research on your computer/laptop/device, there are many choices available. I suggest you go to  and check out what is listed there. FYI...Family Tree Maker will be gone by 2017, so don't pick that one if it is still listed!

There are also websites where you can download your information onto their
site. Ancestry and are two popular sites for downloading your family research. Just remember, if you download to those sites you can mark your living relatives as private, but the rest of the research is open to everyone that visits the site.


Make multiple copies of your research...flash drives, external hard drives, and "clouds" i.e. Dropbox and Google Drive. Once again you never know what kind of disaster can happen. I saw a woman from Louisiana interviewed after Hurricane Katrina and she sadly explained that she lost 30 years of research due to the flooding in her home. Ever since I saw this interview I have kept my research in multiple places.

 I have the hard copies in a file cabinet, I have scanned all of my records and resources and keep the images on a flash drive, an external hard drive and in a "Cloud" along with all of my forms, I also keep a flash drive on my desk and a disc in my safe. Which come to think of it, I should probably put the flash drive in my safe, since the disc may be obsolete in a few years. You can never have too many places! Just remember to update the information in every form of storage.


You are now ready to tackle the pile of papers in your bedroom, guestroom, basement, office....You will see a difference in your research as soon as you begin....Happy Organizing!!!

Let me know if you have any questions or maybe even some more ideas on organizing family research!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ordering Microfilm from the Family Search Web Site

As we learned last week, the Church of Latter Day Saints has been microfilming & digitizing records from around the world for a very long time. We've seen how a basic search on the Family Search Web site reveals the indexed records and we've learned how to access the unindexed records.

This week we are going to learn about the records that have been microfilmed but not digitized. They can be ordered from the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah.

From the FamilySearch website, put your cursor over the "Search" option on the options across the top.

Choose "Catalog" from the drop down menu.

This is what the catalog search page looks like:

You can search by Place, Surnames, Titles, Author, Subjects and Keywords.  You can combine your searches. Example: I searched MASON surname and WEST VIRGINIA keyword. It narrowed the search results from 660 (MASON surname search only) to 41 entries for the combined search.

Below that you can search for an item by Call Number or Film/Fiche Number. The Surname search alone is more helpful if you have an uncommon surname. 

The Family History Library catalog includes books as well as microfilm. You cannot order the books, unless they have been microfilmed. Then you can order the microfilm of the book. You can search by book title, author or subject. If the book has been digitized, it will provide a link to the digitized copy. The site also provides a link to the WorldCat catalog so that you can see which libraries own the item.

We are going to explore the Place search in more detail. Don't include words like "county", "state" or "country". Type in the name of the locality. Example: Marion County, Ohio:

As soon as you type in Marion, a drop-down menu appears so you can select the exact location you want.

 Once you select your location, you will see a subject list of all the items the FHL has for that location. Many of the records have separate indexes:

Once you select the subject area you are interested in, you'll see an expanded view of the topic:

Curious about what it contained, I selected the Pensions subject line.
I have never seen this kind of record.

Click on the title of the record to see more information:

This looks like it is pension records for mothers who lost a son in World War I.
Notice the little film reel icon on the bottom right?  When you click on that you are taken to the ordering page.

The Short term Loan costs $7.50 per reel and you would have access to the film for 90 days. The extended loan is for an indefinite period of time - basically until someone else wants the film. If you haven't already registered at the FamilySearch web site, you will want to now! 

You will have to designate which FHL you want the film to be sent to. I can HIGHLY recommend the Medina County District Library. We have been an Affiliate Family History Center Library since October of 2014. We are open 65 hours a week and have two fabulous new microfilm machines and two middling-old machines! 

You will also have to choose your payment option: PayPal or credit card.

The FHL will keep you updated on the status of your order:
  • When the order has been received
  • When the order has been shipped, or back ordered.
  • When it has arrived at the library.
When the film arrives at the Medina Library, it is checked in and labeled with your name. It waits for you in a microfilm drawer in the Franklin Sylvester Room until it is time for it to be returned to the FHL in Salt Lake City.

It is definitely cheaper than traveling to distant locations. I used FHL films for Northamptonshire, England to find the marriage record of my 4X great grandparents, James Tagg and Rebecca Heighton in 1814, a full four years before other researchers had estimated for them!

Try it out! If you have any questions, see me or Lisa Rienerth at the Medina Reference Desk.

Next week, Lisa will be the guest blogger!