Honestly, I didn’t expect to find much in the Celina, Mercer, Ohio library. I spoke with one of the librarians in August and she mentioned that the collection was held in a small room, the local volunteer didn’t come to help out researchers anymore, and there had been no response from the local historical museum contact in the past year so no information on the contents of that museum was available. Not very promising information to hear and besides, the location was 1 ½ hours from my home. Still, I’ve always wanted to visit as my paternal lines were in Mercer County from the 1840s through the 1940s so I hoped that some secrets would be given up.
Hubby was off on a trip of his own so I decided to take the day to research. I wasn’t sure how long I would spend at the library and depending on what I found, I might also visit the courthouse. This was the courthouse I contacted years ago when I was searching for a divorce record for a great-grandmother. It took me 9 months to get them to send me the record and it was only after, at Christmas time, I had sent a reminder email that I had been a good genealogist all year and all I wanted for Christmas was the record. I finally received it.
I had planned to arrive at the library when they opened at 9 AM but my crazy GPS took me to a lake, instead. It was a beautiful lake but definitely wasn’t going to help me locate records so I pulled out my phone and used an alternative GPS to find the library, about 10 minutes away.
I was amazed at the wealth of the information that I discovered! Some kind soul had compiled an obituary collection of 3 x 5” cards and they were stored in the old wooden card drawers. Remember those? Arranged in alpha order by author, title, and subject. What I found was surprising as I had looked for the burial location of John Duer and Peter and Catherine Lanpher/Landfair for years and wasn’t able to find it. The obituary card listed an obit for Catherine. Wow! But there was a problem – it listed no source. So whoever typed the card likely had found one once but where did it now reside? I looked through every piece of paper in the file cabinet by surname. Scanned each shelf book by book looking for a cemetery book, church record, death index, and family genealogy – nothing was found for Catherine.
I went to look for a librarian to see if they knew what the sources for the obit cards were and was told they came from a newspaper that was on microfilm. The librarian set it up for me but alas, going forward 4 weeks for this weekly local paper, no obit appeared. The obit did not list a cemetery, which was the main interest, but I also was interested in seeing if the obit had other information that might have been left out of the card. Struck out again but I know that somewhere out there one resides and so this item remains on my wish list.
Next week, more about the Celina research trip.