Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Progress on New Archives Facility

Construction materials being unloaded at the future site of  the
Licking County Records & Archives Department
Palmetto Construction employees have been steadily working for several weeks on our future building.  A lot of renovation has already been accomplished inside the former garages and workshops of the Maintenance Department, and work on extending the current building to the south has commenced.
Trenches indicate where the new outer walls will be located.
Our department hopes to move into the new facility early in 2018.  We will be consolidating many more county government collections in one location.  Hopefully this will make it a lot easier for the public to get access to county records.  We also will be more conveniently located near other downtown agencies.
Working on the west wall

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Homeschoolers' Resource Fair

Bill Markley had a rewarding and enjoyable time at the Homeschoolers' Resource Fair on August 7.  The Records & Archives Department presented a display at the event, along with several other local organizations.  The fair is held annually at the Spring Hills Baptist Church in Granville.
Children, parents and grandparents visit displays
at the 2017 Homeschoolers' Resource Fair
Many homeschooling parents and children remarked on the beautiful cursive writing in our 19th-Century documents, and how some elementary schools today have stopped teaching cursive.

Children and parents are welcome to visit the Records & Archives facility to work on educational projects, or to just explore through old county records.  Please call us first to arrange an appointment, at tel. 740-670-5121.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Display on Transportation

A new display, “Transportation in Licking County: A Brief History”, is in the lobby of the county administration building.  Intern Kady Wolfe and Records Manager Sophia McGuire created the display.  Kady assisted our department with various projects, while earning her Master of Library and Information Science degree.

Part of Thomas Hutchins' map, published in 1778, which
showed the Ohio Country, including some Indian trails
Licking County has a rich transportation history, with Indian trails, pioneer roads, river and canal traffic, the National Road, railroads, interurbans, automobiles and airports.  One of the biggest events in early county history was the opening of the Ohio Canal at “Licking Summit,” located in what is now Heath, in 1825.  The man who dug the first shovel-full of earth for this canal was New York Governor DeWitt Clinton, who earlier ensured the construction of the Erie Canal.

Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York, who participated
in the opening ceremony of the Ohio Canal in Heath
Newark developed into a major railroad center, and the city was connected to Granville by one of the world’s first interurban electric railways.  Interstate Highway 70, which was constructed through the county in the late-1950's, also had a profound effect on the region.
Postcard showing the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Depot in Newark

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rare Opportunity to Tour Historic Buildings

On September 10, four interesting old buildings in downtown Newark will be open for free public tours:  the County Courthouse, former Pennsylvania Railroad Station, Fifth Street Gymnasium and Historic Jail.  Take advantage of this special opportunity to see these buildings, which are not normally so accessible.  Details about the tours are below, following the descriptions of each building.

Construction of the County Courthouse was completed in 1878.  Trials of many infamous criminals
have occurred there, and the west courtroom contains beautiful, impressive works of art.  The Courthouse is still the scene of Common Pleas trials and Juvenile/Probate hearings.  It is located on
the Newark city square.
Andrew Jackson and other decorative work in the
West Courtroom of the Licking County Courthouse

An office in the County
Courthouse, ca. 1925

The building which was formerly the Pennsylvania Railroad Station is now the home of the Thomas J. Evans Foundation.  It was built in 1876, and is where untold numbers of people embarked and arrived in Newark on trains, well into the 20th Century.  U.S. presidents and presidential candidates gave public speeches there.  The address of the building is 25 Walnut St.
Once the Pennsylvania Railroad Station

Newark High School had its Gymnasium at 9 N. Fifth Street from 1926 to 1961.  It was the home of the 1936, 1938 and 1943 state-championship-winning boys' basketball teams.  The Gym was dedicated to the memory of a 1913 NHS graduate who became a hero and died in World War I.  It is now used by the Granville Christian Academy for games, athletic practices and meetings.

The 1943 NHS boys' basketball starters and coach

Fifth Street Gymnasium--scene of many NHS basketball
games, and now used by the Granville Christian Academy

The Historic Jail was built in 1889, and it served as the Licking County Jail until 1987.  It was considered a state-of-the-art facility during its early decades.   In addition to cells for inmates, it included the living quarters for the sheriff and his family.  In 1910 it was assaulted by a mob which dragged Deputy Carl Etherington from his cell and lynched him nearby.  The Historic Jail is at 46 S. 3rd Street.
The Licking County Jail, from 1889-1987
Admission to all of these buildings will be free.  The event is part of the Ohio Open Doors program of the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, which is encouraging historic sites to open for free in September.  Following is the schedule for when the downtown Newark buildings will be open on the 10th:

County Courthouse............................Noon to 2:00 PM
Pennsylvania Railroad Station.......1:00 to 3:00 PM
Fifth Street Gymnasium...................2:00 to 4:00 PM
Historic Jail.........................................3:00 to 5:00 PM

This staggered schedule will allow you to visit each building that day.  All of the buildings are in walking distance from each other.  Maps and directions will be provided at the sites.

Please register with Sophia McGuire to attend this event, at tel. 740-670-5122, or email us at archives@lcounty.com.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Naturalization Records

An immigrant becomes a citizen by successfully completing the process called naturalization.  Naturalization records can show not only when an alien person acquired legal citizenship, but sometimes other interesting information as well, such as the birthplace and occupation.  The names of the documents and the amount of information vary from time to time and among different counties.  During much of American history, naturalization records were filed at many different kinds of courts, including federal, common pleas and probate.  A researcher therefore might need to search multiple archives for the records of one person.

Final naturalization record of Solomon Tyhurst from England, 1821, in the Common Pleas Journal
Typically, the initial step in the naturalization process was when an alien filed a declaration of intention.  This legally indicated that he or she intended to go through the process of becoming a citizen.  Later, after the alien had successfully completed the additional requirements of the naturalization process, the court created a final record, and the new citizen received a certificate.  Occasionally, additional records are available in an archive, such as the affidavits of persons who testified about the character of the alien, and the petitions of aliens who applied for the final record.

Final naturalization record of John Richardson from England, 1881
Naturalization records in Licking County have survived from 1813 onwards, with some gaps.  Those which are earlier than 1875 are normally entries in general court journals, such as the Common Pleas Journal.  From 1875 to 1892, records in separate naturalization volumes show the name of the alien, name of the character reference, date of the declaration of intention, and foreign country and sovereign to which the alien owed allegiance.  Records from 1906 onwards also indicate the occupation and physical characteristics of the alien, birthplace and birthdate, current and foreign residences, place of embarkation, vessel traveled upon, port and date of arrival, and sometimes data of other family members.  From 1907, information about spouses and children is regularly included.  From 1918, information about race and nationality is included, as well as occasional photographs of the alien.
Declaration of Intention of Mike Oreovac from Yugoslavia, 1940
Some Licking County naturalization records are held in our department, while others are located in the basement of the Domestic Relations Court building.  Call us for more information, at 740-670-5121.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

LCRA in 2015 and Now

In 2015, the Department was especially productive in scanning, records disposal, cataloging, and preparing for our eventual move to 675 West Church Street.  With very generous help from Licking County Clerk of Courts Gary Walters and his staff, we have been going full steam ahead towards that future move.  Renovations will begin this year at the Church Street building.  After that project is complete, the building will enable us to consolidate several more county government collections at one location.

675 W. Church Street, where our department will
eventually move all of our operations.

Records & Archives Manager Sophia McGuire has also been working regularly with other county departments to determine future records storage needs, and assist with current records management issues.  She has presided at Record-Keeper Roundtable meetings, and she has been meeting individually with county records clerks throughout this year and last.

Imaging Technicians Corinne Johnson and Angie Spray scanned 420,391 images in 2015, which is a 21% increase over the previous year.  Documents from the Building Code, HR, MRDD, Planning, Probate, Prosecutor and Sheriff Departments were digitized.  These included 47 volumes of Probate Court Complete Records.   Also scanned were a large collection of aperture cards, which are computer punch cards that hold frames of microfilm.  The aperture cards belonged to the Newark City Government, and showed plans and maps from the Newark Division of Engineering.  Angie also created 98 microfilm rolls of permanent county records.

Angie and Corinne have been assisting the Probate Court Clerk’s Office with the use of OnBase document management software.  They also have been working on OnBase solutions for the Civil Division of the Prosecutor’s Office.

A screenshot of the OnBase document management sofware, showing
how the various pages of a document can be selected for viewing.

Sophia and Reference Archivist Bill Markley have been developing outreach resources for elementary-school-age children.  Bill worked on a timeline of Licking County history, which is almost finished.

Bill also completed a catalog of mostly unpublished Licking County resources that are located in the library of the Licking County Genealogical Society.  This information will be combined with that of the LCRA holdings, in an ongoing effort to develop a county-wide online catalog of archival materials.  Bill also created 140 new catalog entries of LCRA collections, which included early marriage records, and Coroner investigative reports from the 1960’s through the 1980’s.  He transferred between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds of obsolete county records to the Church Street facility for disposal.

Some of the items donated by Sheriff Gerry Billy, and cataloged in 2015

Sadly, volunteer Bob Grove left the department.  He reliably helped us with a variety of projects since 2012.  Bob recently finished cataloging several materials from the Emergency Management Agency, which date from the 1950’s through the 90’s.  Happily for Bob, he departed in order to assume the full-time position of Imaging and File Clerk for the Prosecutor’s Office.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Marriage Consents and Returns

A marriage return is a document that officially records a wedding. It is completed by the person, such as a pastor, who solemnized the marriage.  It is called a “return” because it must be returned to the court that legally records marriages.  Returns in Licking County have typically indicated the names of the bride, groom and person who solemnized the marriage, along with the wedding date.  Sometimes the names of witnesses are also included.  Older marriage returns were called "Marriage Certificates" in Licking County, because they provided the Probate Court with certification that the couple actually got married.  Today, a marriage certificate is typically the document which the court gives to a couple after they are married.
A Marriage Return, sent by the minister to the Probate Court.  Note that
these records were called "Marriage Certificates" in the 1920's.
Marriage consents are documents proving that a parent or guardian gives consent for a person who is a legal minor to marry.  The minor must also meet a minimum legal age for marrying with such a consent.  Some earlier consent records are simply notes which were written by parents or guardians, and then given to the court.  Others are standardized forms which were filled out by the parent or guardian.  Consent documents indicate the names of the guardian, parent or parents who give consent, and the name of the minor for whom they are responsible.  Sometimes the name of the other prospective spouse is included, along with additional information such as the home of the parent or guardian.

A Marriage Consent, signed by the parents of a
prospective bride, and filed with the Probate Court
Licking County Returns and Consents from the years 1869 to 1950 were found in the former county jail, and are now cataloged and located in our department (only a very tiny proportion of records date from before the 1875 courthouse fire).  The consents and returns can be useful if there are gaps in the court marriage registers, or for other reasons.  Sometimes the intention of a couple to marry was recorded in the register, but the occurrence of an actual wedding was not recorded.  A marriage return will confirm that the marriage was solemnized.  Consent records will give a clue to the age of a minor who was getting married with proper, legal consent, although these records will not necessarily show the actual age of the minor.