So far during my internship I have gotten the chance to interact with a variety of historical documents in multiple types of formats. The single project that I have done the most work on up through now has been processing probate records, specifically those having to do with estates and wills. This has given me the opportunity to work directly with records dating back to the 1870s while also allowing me to gain some hands-on experience in the actual processing. Another large-scale project that I recently completed was the scanning of photographic 35mm slides that originated from the Warren County Park District, which included photographs detailing the construction and opening of Landen-Deerfield Park and different flora and fauna from the county (just to name a few topics); a couple of these pictures have been included in the post so you all can see as well.
Throughout the internship I (along with the two other interns) have also been doing research to create an exhibit about the Mary Haven’s Children Home, which operated in at least some capacity as a county building from 1874 through 1996 and was eventually demolished in 2012. Working on this project has given me a great chance to interact with all sorts of records, including commissioner’s journals, will records, visitor’s ledgers, and newspaper collections (most notably the Western Star). The exhibit is still being finished, but I definitely urge anyone reading this to come and view it once it is complete so you can learn more about a county institution that operated for over a century and had an impact on countless lives while it was open.
At the Warren County Archives and Records Center, I have already learned some diverse lessons when it comes to types of sources and information available. Prior to my start here, I only worked with public government documents a time or two. Mostly, I had used a few census records, but that was about my extent of knowledge. Now, I have looked at Estate Records, Will Records, an Atlas, maps from 1860s, and Commissioner’s Journals. I have also been using The Western Star and the Lebanon Gazette to figure out more information for an exhibit we have coming up in August.
This research is where I have really had the opportunity to use a variety of sources to gather information. I have yet to use all the resources available to me here, but I do believe that would take me an eternity. Outside of using traditional county archives records, I have gained the experience of networking with other archives, historical societies, and museums from Warren County. We all sat down together to go over events in the community and what kind of work we are doing.
Western Star, August 8, 1907
I have also been a part of the digitization of Old Common Pleas records. I have scanned records and edited them to prepare for them to be put up on the internet. I also will be assisting in the oral history project that is starting soon. I am not sure of my exact role in the oral histories, but documenting the past through the people who experienced it is important for so many reasons that I would not miss the opportunity to be a part of it. Therefore, I have been a part of research by interested parties, the research for an exhibit which I will continue to be a part of until we finish the installation, oral histories starting soon, scanning and editing of documents from the 1800s, and joining my supervisor and other interns on adventures to expand our network and see how history still impacts towns and people.
The Western Star, February 12, 2011
Today the Warren County Records Center & Archives had the pleasure of accepting the OHRAB Achievement Award, awarded by The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board. We won this award: for our work furthering the digital accessibility and archival preservation of Ohio’s public records, exemplified by the innovative use of its website to make its records easily available to researchers around the world.
We, as a department, have worked hard over the past few years to ensure the effort we put into digitizing, preserving, and indexing our historical records was not just for our use. It seems pointless to have these amazing records organized if they are not available to everyone. So thanks to our fearless leader, Jen Haney Conover, who made her vision for the Records Center & Archives a reality.
The purpose of making sure we share our work with anyone with internet access is because these records are typically hard to get a hold of. Many people aren’t comfortable trying to navigate public records, we are only open normal business hours so access can sometimes be an issue, and it can be extremely disheartening to reach out to us only to find out we do not have what you are looking for. Our end game result would ultimately be for as many people as possible to use our website for research and for each individual to find something truly unique to their story. By receiving distinguished awards such as this it helps put us in the eye of the County Officials and the eye of the public to help spread the word and for that we are truly thankful!
We hope you have had the chance to browse the indexes and images available on our website so far. If you haven’t please feel free to check out The Warren County Records Center & Archives County Index page.
Warren County Archives Staff left to right: Jana Wells, Shayla Wheat, Jen Haney Conover, Jenifer Baker, Tori Roberts, and Ted Hitchens
OHRAB Award Acceptance, Warren County Commissioners Meeting – January 15, 2019
Warren County OHRAB Achievement Award – Accepted January 15, 2019
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