Author Archives: wcrcarchives

About wcrcarchives

The Warren County Records Center and Archives was dedicated in honor of the former Warren County Recorder, Edna L. Bowyer on June 22, 2001. We offer on-site records storage, records delivery, records retention and disposition management, records management training, document imaging, and microfilming services.

Guest Blogger Series: Words From Our Intern, Lauren – Post 3

From Archaeology to Archives

Growing up, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up (and I didn’t simply say “I don’t know”) I usually replied with a job that dealt with history. For the longest time I specifically planned to be an Egyptologist. When I graduated from high school and started at Wright State, however, I had no clue what I would choose to study. That was until I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test and my results indicated that I might choose to study a major that was geared towards my passion of history. That is when I decided to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology.

Finally, with a plan and career path in mind, I focused on the archaeological side of anthropology. For several summers, I participated in the archaeological field school under Dr. Robert Riordan at Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve. It was through this experience where I found that little Lauren was right and that I love archaeology. Touching an object, whether it was a projectile point or the pieces that came off from making a point (a flake), that has not seen the light of day for over 2,000 years makes you appreciate how short our lives really are. Blink then it is over, and someone 2,000 years from now will be excavating our bones and trash while hypothesizing how we lived. For a couple years, I wanted to continue to chase this feeling and be an archaeologist.

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So if I loved archaeology so much, why I am pursuing an archival career?

Thanks to another archaeology class, taught by Dr. Lance Greene, I did research on the land that Wright State is situated on. I learned about the families that used to live on the land that I walk around all the time. We would explore the woods and look at the Rockafield Cemetery that is at Wright State, named after the family that used to own the land WSU is on. While still applying archaeological skills by looking for former foundations around the woods, I was able to look through documents that helped stitch the pieces together. After that, I then became an intern for the Special Collections and Archives at school. I did many projects but I always enjoyed cleaning and helping preserve some of the older ledgers. The idea of preserving objects for future eyes to appreciate just as much as I do gives me a stronger sense of purpose. And know you know why I chose to follow the archival, or even museum, path.

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I really miss the unpredictable nature of archaeology. I come to my internship knowing what I will do and having an idea of what I will come across. Digging is more random. I could have come across a significant artifact or absolutely nothing. I also made a lot of memories and met a lot of people that I often think about. However, I love archiving more. I like the researching aspect and preserving the past for the future. So that is how I have ended up interning here at Warren County’s Special Collection and Archives.

One thing I know so far is that I seem to circle back to learning about Warren County’s history, whether it is prehistoric or more recent.

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Guest Blogger Series: Words From Our Intern, Lauren – Post 2

Every so often, I will have moments where I come across something that makes me pause and appreciate reading documents from the past. Sometimes, it is a signature of a historically famous person, such as William Henry Harrison or someone else that was prominent to Warren County, but lately it is random stories that I have come across while skimming through the Western Star.

I mentioned in the last blog that I am looking through the microfilm reels of the Western Star to find information about Foster, Ohio and the Warren County Board of Elections. When thinking about the past, I typically picture proper people who have a no-nonsense demeanor. That perception still has not changed. However, some of the writers, with their stiff upper lip, gave whacky titles to some stories over the years that continually catch my eye; usually leaving me asking “Whaaaaat?” Unfortunately, I did not get dates for most of the stories that I will mention below but hopefully you will enjoy seeing pictures of some of the articles that I came across.

First, I will start with articles that I do not have pictures of but were on the same page. These were ones that I came across about a month ago and I apologize that I do not remember all the details and that I did not think to take pictures, but I do remember the gist of the articles. One was titled along the lines of a young boy that was drowned by his cat. Apparently, the child was playing with his cat near shallow water and somehow he fell in the water, face down, and the cat just stood of him. Not sure what prevented the kid from pushing the cat off but, sadly, he died. This article was followed up by an article titled “Man Strangled by False Teeth.” The story went exactly how you think: this gentleman swallowed some of his fake teeth and choked to death. I could not make those stories up if I tried.

Next, I came across an article with this picture –

7-18-2018 Guest Blogger Series - Lauren Lyon

I found what year May 18th fell on a Thursday in the 1890s and it was the year 1899, but really, what was the Boogum?  I have tried finding out what this strange creature was but with little luck. I did find another article from the Los Angeles Herald, pretty much stating the same thing but with a more detailed picture (here is the link Los Angeles Herald). Far from cute, the Boogum had to have been a very peculiar attraction that I would have definitely passed on seeing.

The next article I want to bring up was evidence of very slow news on that particular day.

7-18-2018 Guest Blogger Series - Lauren Lyon (2)

When I found this article, I remember telling my coworkers that it was in 1912. I have seen odd-shaped food before, but a potato that was shaped like a dog? I wish there was a picture of that.

Lastly, this is something I found that took place in Foster.

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This article came from July 24, 1902. The reason I find this hysterical is that this guy just ran around, in the nude, in the Foster area for several weeks and there were over fifty people, with dogs, trying to find this guy. I never found a follow up article saying whether or not they found the guy, which makes it all the more hilarious.

*Guest blogger: Archival Intern, Lauren Lyon


Guest Blogger Series: Words From Our Intern, Lauren – Post 1

Lauren's 1st Blog Pic

Since starting my internship at the Warren County Records Center and Archives early May, I have already been involved in a few projects. I have alphabetically organized over seventy boxes from Child’s Services with the other intern, Autumn; cleaned documents and placed them into folders; read through various ledgers and documents from the early 1800s and mid-1900s; indexed information from the ledgers (one of which is the Black and Mulatto Record Book that is now online); also researching and looking through microfilm reels of the Western Star while preparing for two upcoming exhibits. Yet, I know this is just the beginning of what it means to work in an archive.

This internship is not my first experience in an archive. I have also worked at Wright State University’s Special Collection and Archives, back in 2016. Having completed my first year in the Public History program at Wright State, I already had an idea of what skills I would need to be an effective archival intern. Getting to apply those skills at the Warren County Records Center and Archives has been a completely amazing experience! It is a very humbling experience to work with such important documents, such as the Black and Mulatto Records Book. This is because I am learning about people who lived in a very different world than what we live in today.

Also, we are currently researching the Board of Elections and Foster, Ohio for upcoming display cases. I have lived in Greene County all my life and have never heard of Foster, Ohio. Learning about the history of that town from its beginning as Foster’s Crossing in the 1800s to what it is today, even actually taking a field trip there, is incredible. Foster is not a place that, with a simple Google search, people can learn everything about. Therefore, after looking through old newspapers, like the Western Star, and finding something fascinating about Foster’s history is a very rewarding feeling and I am so excited for this exhibit!

I am very thrilled to have my internship here and I cannot wait to see what else I will be able to work on and where this experience takes me in the future!

*Guest blogger: Archival Intern, Lauren Lyon


#ThankfulThursday at the Archives

Today is #thankfulthursday at the Warren County Records Center and Archives.
 
We are thankful today for having our Common Pleas Record of Black and Mulatto Persons (1804-1840) index and images available to researchers online and House Bill 139 passed the house!
 
Recently the Warren County Historical Society was kind enough to loan us the original Common Pleas Record of Black & Mulatto Persons book to scan. Because Ohio was never a slave holding state, freed people of color were required to register, which is the origin of this book. Their registration would have been of extreme importance due to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 and 1850. We want to make researching these historic, and often difficult to find, records as easy as possible. Please go over and check out the index and images, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us directly.
 
 
House Bill 139 will help our Archives and other county Archives to make historic records available to the public, whereas now they are closed. For more reading be sure to go over and check out The Ohio Legislature website for the most recent version as passed by the house.
 

Unsolved Mysteries from the Archives

While processing miscellaneous Clerk of Court State cases, our Archives Technician Tori Roberts came across these beautiful house drawings. We wanted to see if we could locate this house within Warren County, so we put the information out to our Facebook page to see if the community might know. Unfortunately no one recognized the house but we did get some great feedback about where to share the image and a suggestion about the fact that the house may have never been built!

Upon further review of the case of Hartman vs. Lindsay we determined that Charles Hartman was contracted to perform work to the foundation and cistern on the property to be paid by the architect Joseph R. Lindsay. There  was a dispute of whether the work was completed and money still owed to the plaintiff. Unfortunately the case went on for almost 2 years and there is no mention of the property address or owner. We are looking for any clues or suggestions for where this house could have been. The case dates from November 1910 through 1912.

 


Broken Down: Our Biggest Preservation Project

Continuing our discussion of preservation during Preservation Week 2018, we would like to highlight the biggest preservation project we’ve taken on to date, our Estate Records. This is an ongoing project that includes multiple step rehousing, removing materials that will further deteriorate the records, and finally scanning what we can so that we no longer have to physically access the oldest records.

What we’ve done is broken down each step in the images below:

Step #1 – Rehouse the files from wooden shelving units to cardboard boxes. This step was done years ago. It is always best to store like items together, so moving paper records from lacquered wood boxes was the first step of preserving them in their current condition.

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Step #2 – Refile the records from their original accordion style non archival quality folder to new flat archival quality folders. This doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference but the ideal way to store paper is flattened and in paper based folders that are designed to absorb some of the acidity of the paper to keep it from deteriorating further. While we are transitioning the documents we are also flattening them as best we can, we let time and the environment they are stored in do the rest.

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Step #3 – Digitize as many of these records and make them available to search online. This is the final and most time intensive step in the process because of the fragility of the records and we don’t want to expose them to more light than necessary. This step helps people who are unable to visit the archives access these historic records and if they are needing copies of the record all we have to do is hit print, as opposed to copying it and exposing it to light multiple times.

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I refer to this as the largest project based on the sheer volume of records we have. We are duplicating these efforts for many of the other records we house including our historic court records and smaller collections within each county department.

If you would like to view the digitized images we have uploaded thus far, go over and check out our website. We will be uploading additional images as they become available, so if there is a record you would like to view and there are no images please contact us direct. Warren County Old Common Pleas Estate Packets Index

 

 


Preservation vs. Conservation

These words are often used interchangeably. Here at the archives we use these two methods together to provide the best future for the records that we maintain. To preserve would be to keep the records in their current state and prevent them from further deterioration, which is the primary method of maintenance that we use. To conserve many of these items to their original state is unfortunately just not time conducive and it’s costly. Our department, along with other county departments have taken on some large scale preservation and conservation projects.

I wanted to provide you with examples of both so you can see how the two can be different.

Preservation Efforts to Protect Original Volumes

Here are examples of original volumes that we have that have had no preservation efforts vs. volumes that have had a cover applied to them. Unlike conserving a book and taking it back to its original form, the cover simply preserves the book so that no further harm comes to it.

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Conservation Efforts to Restore 1856 & 1867 Historic Warren County Maps

The Records Center received the two wall maps pictured below in deplorable condition. Had we tried to utilize them for any purpose we would only have done further damage. Due to their historic significance, it was important to hire a conservator to come in and try to restore the maps to their original condition (or as close as the damage would allow). Unfortunately we do not have any images of what they looked like prior to work being done, but we have been told that they were filthy, folded up, and falling apart in pieces. All of the work done on them meets archival standards, including the framing.

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1856 Warren County Wall map

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1867 Warren County Wall map


pre·serve 1. maintain (something) in its original or existing state.

April 22nd – April 28th is National Preservation Week 2018! We obviously take preservation very serious as archivists, so this week we will be sharing some of the projects we have worked on or are working on. These projects reflect how our department helps to contribute to keeping past and future Warren County records around as long as possible. In addition we will have a special edition of our blog post Friday that will help you learn how to better preserve your personal records!

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It’s Records and Information Management Month!

Did you know that April is Records and Information Management (RIM) Month? Here in Warren County we promote proper records management all year long, not just in April. Now, if you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what that means, don’t worry! You’re not alone.

RIM month was started nationally in 2002 to promote records management standards and best practices while also emphasizing the importance of organized information. The archives and preservation side of the Records Center is much more visual to the public, whereas records management is much more behind the scenes, but just as important! As the county records manager*, outside of managing the department, records and information management is a big part of my responsibilities.


Records storage temporary storage for records

 

We keep all kinds of records for county departments. A record is defined as any document, device, or item, regardless of its form, that serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of an office.  Each record is recognized on a retention schedule, commonly known as an RC-2. This schedule then determines how long a record should be kept depending on whether it has administrative, fiscal, legal or historical value.

The county follows a general retention schedule (GRS) and each department has their own RC-2. These are especially important because not every record should or needs to be kept long term. By staying current with departments’ retention schedules, we save valuable tax payer dollars through the proper destruction of records after they have hit their retention period. In turn this reduces operating expenses and cuts back on the cost of unnecessary storage of inactive records.


Certificate of Destruction for Sheriff’s Department Records in 2017

Once records are ready for destruction, a certificate of destruction (RC-3) or court order for disposal  is required to be submitted to the Records Center for most items. Once this happens, then proper destruction of records can happen, which we conduct onsite.  All of these steps are instrumental in order to keep the flow of records and information management moving.

 


Onsite Records Destruction in March 2018

 

*Guest blogger: County Records Manager, Jen Haney Conover


Justice for Father O’Donoghue

Today’s post is a teaser for a future “Based on a True Story” story. We recently had a patron in who is writing an article about a murder case from Morrow that took place in the 1880’s. He was trying to tie up loose ends on the story following his extensive research using newspapers and other outside sources, unfortunately their stories just weren’t adding up. What we would like to present to you today is a preview of the article that we will be sharing with you as it comes available. We rarely get the chance to share the research that our patrons have completed, so it’s a big deal to make sure we highlight all of his hard work!

Characters:

  • Timothy Greene: Railroad Worker & Murderer
  • Father J. B. O’Donoghue: Reverend of the Morrow Catholic Church & Victim
  • Mrs. Greene: Murder’s Wife & Victim

Synopsis:

When his wife is publicly shamed it pushes Timothy over the edge. In this thrilling story of a local railroad worker turned murderer we find out if there is any justice for Father O’Donoghue. This tale is full of intrigue, thievery, murder, and plot twists that will keep you wondering!

Release Date:

  • To Be Announced
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State Record, Volume 10, The State of Ohio vs. Timothy Greene