Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wayne County Public Library

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

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

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

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

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

The Library uses Wiki pages for their genealogy information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These machines can scan and print.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 comment:

Wendy said...

What a fabulous genealogy department! Sounds like it was well worth the trip.