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Thursday, September 25, 2008

How do I find out about my family history?

“I’m related to the Longenberger family that lived in Newton Township and would like to find out more about them.” This is a perfect question as October is Family History Month, and the Newton Falls Public Library’s Local History Room is filled with items which individuals can use to learn more about their families. The library staff is working on the ongoing project of identifying local people in photographs donated by Alma and Peter Murri, owners of the Newton Falls Herald. Many genealogists find this collection very useful.

There are also numerous print resources available for use at the library. Some that a family researcher may want to consider are: Trumbull County, Ohio Bible and Family Records compiled and edited by Ruth Allen for the Trumbull County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society; 1880 Census Index of Trumbull County, Ohio compiled by Norman & Mary Lou (Keifer) Ulam; the indexes to the official rosters of Ohio soldiers in the war with Mexico [1846-1848] and the war with Spain [1898-1899]; and Trumbull County birth, marriage, death and census records.

For those looking for more contemporary information, the library has a collection of the Haines ... Criss-cross Directory: Youngstown, Ohio city and suburban and Newton Falls High School yearbooks. The earliest yearbook is from 1885 and has no photographs. The more extensive collection, which includes those with class pictures, begins with the 1916 edition. There are also some large pictures of graduating classes on the walls of the Local History Room
The Ohio Web Library has a Resources link from our homepage’s Library Databases []. There you will find excellent Genealogy sites including statewide genealogy sites, maps, military sites, and cemeteries. For those who came through Ellis Island and the Port of New York, allows you to search by passenger names. Using any of the popular online search engines one can find many other ancestry, genealogy, and family tree sites.

Visiting the library is a great opportunity to share and learn more about your family, where they came from, and where they have lived. While a little dated, Oral History for the Local Historical Society by Willa K. Baum has excellent ideas on how to create an oral history, learning from older family members about their lives. Discovering the History of Your House and Your Neighborhood by Betsy J. Green is another interesting resource. In conjunction with Ms. Green’s book, the Haines directories and Sanborne Fire Insurance Maps (found in Ohio Web Library’s Genealogy section) will assist you in researching where your family has lived. If your family moved to Newton Falls during the growth of the steel mills, you might find it interesting to view the tools belonging to contractor Nicholas Risko. Mr. Risko built many of the homes for families who came during this era. Back to the Longenberger Family, a relative of the family, Grandma Caroline Gamber [1836-1928], would be blushing to know that there is a display of her clothing including undergarments, in the library’s Local History Room.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wedding gift for busy couple

Strangely enough, it is the second week in a row that we have a Washington D.C. related inquiry. “I need to find a meal planner in the Washington D.C. area.” Interesting question, but the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library really required more information. Upon further questioning, it was discovered that the real need was “I have friends who are getting married. It is a second marriage for both. They live in Arlington, Virginia near Washington D.C. and are very busy people with jobs that often take them out of town. I want to get them a gift certificate, where someone will prepare some gourmet meals for them so that when they get home they can just take meals from their freezer.” Sounds as if what is really wanted is an upscale restaurant that has take-out service or a personal chef who will prepare meals.

Looking at books available in the catalog of the library and TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] Consortium there is very little which may have references to restaurants in that area of Virginia. More titles about travel could be found in Ohio Libraries Share MORE, but the patron doesn’t want to wait for items to come from other parts of the state.

Online there are more options to consider. An Internet search for ‘Arlington Virginia prepared meals’ brought up some interesting results.,, and www.Let’ were three of the sites where meals may be ordered online, and then they are prepared, frozen and delivered to the couple’s home. The library also contacted ‘Ask A Librarian’ at the Arlington Public Library for recommendations of local restaurants near the engage couple’s home which offer take-out service. Their librarian emailed back 7 restaurants with ratings and reviews.

Another option is a personal chef who will come to the house, cook a number of meals and place them in the freezer. The advantage of a personal chef is the meals will be personalized to suit the couple’s tastes or special dietary requirements. Searching for one in the Arlington area brings up a large list. Many of them are members of the American Personal & Private Chef Association. The patron should consider those who are certified food managers, and are licensed and insured. As this is a long distance purchase and would require the chef to go to the gift recipient’s home, it was suggested that the patron contact the local Better Business Bureau [] to see if there have been any complaints about a chosen service provider.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Students, teachers, parents and reports

“My daughter has to do a report on a city. Can you help us? She wants to use the Internet, but are there any books too?” School has begun and the Newton Falls Public Library staff is always happy to assist students in finding the information they need. We won’t do their homework, but we can help them to learn how to locate what’s required.

An interesting city which this child might consider is Washington D.C. The library has two books specifically for elementary students on this subject: Around Washington, DC with kids by Kathryn McKay and Washington, D.C.: a scrapbook by Laura Lee Benson. Encyclopedias such as World Book are great sources of basic information on a topic and the library has copies which may be borrowed. The City of Washington: an illustrated history by the Junior League of Washington will include important events going back to 1790.

A good place for this student to begin searching online is the library’s home page Selecting CHILDREN’S will take her to the Internet Public Library and HomeWorkNow. This latter site will let your child chat online with a librarian who assists in finding reliable information. Ohio Web Library [] also provides many resources including popular magazines, scholarly research journals, newspapers, encyclopedias, and more. Your library card is all you need to access this from home. Since, in this case, we are looking for materials for an elementary age child, we select Resources at Ohio Web Library. There is a section called STUDENTS AND HOMEWORK that can be used to search for information on the selected city.

Your child’s teacher may have also elected to have the library create a Pathfinder. If the teacher requests it, we can assemble a list of websites specifically for the students to use for a particular assignment and make it available on our website. All they need to do is go to our website, select TEACHERS’, find the teacher’s name, click and complete the work. It is an easy way for students to find reliable websites for their homework.

Teachers, if you are interested in having a Pathfinder for your students you may request one through the library’s TEACHERS’ link. Teacher Totes may also be requested. To ensure that all the students will have access to the required materials, give us an Assignment Alert so we can pull books and hold them for just your class to use.

If the worst case scenario occurs and we cannot find anything for a student, we will give a completed and signed Sorry . . . We Tried slip. This notifies parents and teachers that we were unable to fill the request and why. Taking the time to do this also helps us to become aware of subject areas where we may need to acquire more materials.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Questions from afar

Not every question asked comes from Newton Falls. This past few weeks the Newton Falls Public Library staff has had inquiries from outside the Mahoning Valley, including the Cleveland area, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona. One question came from the Cleveland area via email. “Where can I purchase the two covered bridge Christmas ornaments?” As many of the staff are local residents and familiar with the ornaments, it only took a couple of phone calls to determine that Art Effects may still has some of the older ones available. It turned out that those were not the ones the patron desired. Mrs. Traina was able to direct him to Nussle’s Florist where the Rotary ornaments are for sale.

Our covered bridge is a popular topic. The caller from Georgia was looking for a map of Newton Falls or Trumbull County which showed where the covered bridge is located. She had access to the Internet, so while speaking with her she was instructed to go to online to Google Maps [] and type in Bridge St. 44444. There she was able to see a map of the area around the bridge. When she selected ‘satellite’ she could actually see a photograph of the bridge. Her flight was coming into Akron Canton Airport, so she was also able to get directions from the airport to the Newton Falls Covered Bridge.

A visitor from Pennsylvania was seeking a map of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal. He was following the canal as it traveled from New Castle, Pennsylvania through Newton Falls to Akron, Ohio. The librarian was able to show him Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal: 160 years 1840 – 2000 and The Ohio Canals by Frank N. Wilcox. Each volume had historical information about it. The Ohio Canal Society [] has a map online which shows all the communities the P & O Canal ran through. By selecting ‘Local History and Tourist Information’ on our library’s website [], a detailed map can be found which shows where the canal went through Newton Falls. Lock 22 was located near Lock Street, and the canal also ran along part of Canal Street near the library.

The caller from Arizona was seeking information about his ancestors. His question was transferred to our Local History Room. While some of his family was from the Braceville area, others lived in Earlsville. “Earlsville was near Main Street. The boundary lines were from the bridge on Main Street, along the river behind EK Concrete to Division Street. Division Street was so named to refer to the dividing line between Earlsville and Newton Falls” [from Ruth Sharec oral history]. The Local History collection has an abundance of material about Newton Falls, Newton Township, and their residents. Photographs, local newspapers, street directories, and more are available as resources to discover more about your family or your neighborhood. A sampling of the material currently on display are arrowheads, tools, school related items, Police Department equipment, and souvenir dishware. The Local History Room hours are Monday – Wednesday noon – 8 p.m., Thursday & Friday 9 – 5 p.m. It is also open the first full weekend of each month. It is closed the Friday before that first weekend.

Remember September is LIBRARY CARD SIGN-UP MONTH. A library card will allow you to borrow a plethora of books, media, magazines, and more for free. For more information or to get the answers to your questions, visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal Street, Newton Falls, phone 330-872-1282, or online at Sunday hours, noon to 5 p.m., will resume on September 7.