Feb 29, 2016


(Genealogy Gems from Allen County Public Library Monthly Newsletter – February 29, 2016)

by Adam Barrone and Mike Hudson
As family historians, we often need to broaden the focus of our research in order to find gems of knowledge which have found their way to unexpected locations. One moves away from his ancestor’s stomping grounds and takes family memorabilia with him. The Daily Evening Expositor in Fresno reprints a New York Sun story about a bicycle-riding clergyman in Newark. A Canadian researcher compiles New York state news about college hazing and submits it for publication in his local genealogical journal. These are some of the ways useful information becomes geographically separated from its point of origin.

On Feb. 28, 1930, Lafe Crothers, a farmer in York Twp., Noble Co., Indiana, gave a talk on crop diversification which was broadcast over 870 kilocycles from WLS Radio in Chicago via their fifty-thousand-watt transmitter in Downers Grove, Illinois. Eight days before the broadcast, the Oelwein Daily Register in Iowa published a schedule listing this radio program. Oral history was passed down about Lafe’s growing mint and onions in the muck of Noble County. Column nine of the 1930 census showed that Lafe owned a radio set. A newspaper 400 miles west printed mention of Lafe’s effort to educate his fellow farmers over the new medium of radio.

If not for a wide-reaching resource like Newspaper Archive, one researching an Indiana farmer would not have looked in an Iowa newspaper. Likewise, without PERSI, the family of a Cornell University student might never search a genealogical journal published in Victoria, British Columbia. PERSI’s great value lies in its ability to unite researchers with valuable resources published in unexpected places. Try your hand a making an unexpected find in PERSI: PERSI Index

Consider the likelihood of finding these gems without PERSI:

Clergyman rides bicycle, [Newark, NJ] congregation describes it as an instrument of evil, 1891
Ash Tree Echo (Fresno Genealogical Society, CA), v.45n.3, Nov. 2010

Cleveland librarian advised woman to use beer to rid her basement of crickets, news note, 1936
Kinsman Courier (Coschoton Co. Chap., Ohio Gen. Soc.), v.33n.4, Win. 2010

Company D, 160th IN Vol. Inf. history note, theft of 12th NY regiment’s beer, 1898-1899
Peek at the Past (Wabash Co. Historical Society, IN), v.4n.1, 2011

Congregational Church [in Hanover, MA] disliked Rev. Joseph Litchfield’s colored stockings, his fence-climbing, 1780
The American Genealogist, v.84n.4, Oct. 2010

Cora Barnes arrested for wearing pants, [Beaver Falls] Constable Feller refused to give them back, 1890
Gleanings (Beaver Co. Genealogical Society, PA), v.34n.2, Spr. 2010

Cornell University freshman R. P. Davis leaps from window to escape sophomores, 1888
Victoria Genealogical Society Journal (BC, Canada), v.33n.4, Dec. 2010