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.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Street Construction Uncovers Rail History

During the late-19th and early-20th Centuries, a popular way to get around Newark was by electric rail car.  In 1889, the Newark & Granville Electric Street Railway was completed from downtown Newark to a point a little ways east of Granville.  This was one of the first "interurbans," which were electric railways that connected towns.  Interurbans became a major means of transportation in the USA until motorized bus systems developed, automobiles became more affordable, and streets and rural roads were improved.

Workers digging up the streets along the southeast corner of the
Courthouse Square, where several railway spikes and ties were found
In the summer of 2015, a major street construction project commenced around the Courthouse Square in Newark.  In early August, workers who were digging up South Park Place and South 2nd Street found several spikes and rail ties which were the remains of the interurban railway that went alongside the square.  The workers gave some of the spikes to passersby, including former County Commissioner Doug Smith.  Doug then gave one of them to our department.  It has been cleaned and added to our collection.

Spike found during the street construction project in August
We also have bond certificates and coupons from the same street railway company.  These documents were salvaged from the Courthouse attic.  One item is signed by John Peter Altgeld, who was an executive of the railway company, and a controversial governor of Illinois.

Newark & Granville Electric
Street Railway bond
Interurban service was eventually extended from Newark to Hebron, Buckeye Lake, Zanesville and Columbus.  People could ride the rail cars from downtown Newark to the popular Idlewilde Park, an amusement park which was located in the area of the Great Circle Earthworks.  These interurban routes were all shut down by 1929.

If you would like to get a better idea of what it was like to ride in an interurban car, you can do so by visiting The Works museum in Newark.  On display there is a car which was built by the Jewett Car Company in Newark.  The car was used on the Lake Shore Electric Railway, which was an interurban that ran in northern Ohio.

Sources:
"The Newark-Granville Interurban Car: Was It the First Interurban In the Country?," by Anthony J. Lisska, The Historical Times: Newsletter of the Granville, Ohio Historical Society, Winter 1991.

"The Works: Museum Challenge,"
http://www.attheworks.org/files/documents/Museum%20Challenge%20Teacher%20Packet.pdf,
accessed online December 2, 2015


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Early Licking County Marriage Records

Recently some records from the Licking County Probate Court were transferred to our department.  These include some 19th-Century marriage records which will be of interest to genealogists.  They are among the small number of county government records which survived the 1875 courthouse fire, and so they can be especially valuable in tracking down ancestors who were in the county.
From a page in the Marriage Record, 1808-1828
The recently-transferred marriage records include:

Marriage Record, 1808-1828
Transcribed Marriage Record, 1808-1827
Transcribed Marriage Record, 1828-1879
General Index to Early Marriages, 1809-1888

The 1808-1828 volume is a recent-day compilation of pages from earlier sources, which were almost certainly the original, official records.  Because it is a compilation, it might not have a record of every marriage that was performed during that time in the county, but it does have information about thousands of marriages.

Most of the post-1875 marriage records are still at the Probate Court.  Staff of both Probate and the Records & Archives Department will be glad to help you with the older and newer records.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Disasters and Emergency Management in Licking County

The Licking County Emergency Management Agency has provided disaster preparedness and response programs since 1988.  EMA replaced other local agencies which planned for and reacted to civil defense matters and natural disasters. Recently the Records & Archives Department has collected material from EMA, as well as some other items related to disaster management, civil defense and disasters in Licking County.  These include photographs, maps, planning documents and other objects, mostly from the 1970's through the 90's.  Several photographs are unidentified.  If you were involved in emergency relief efforts during this period, or otherwise might be able to identify people and incidents shown in the pictures, we would like to talk to you!

Emergency personnel examining an accident scene

A house severely damaged by a storm
From early in the county's history, residents have helped each other recover from tornadoes, floods and other calamities.  In 1825, a very destructive tornado tore through the northern part of the county.  The tornado killed three boys and several farm animals.  It also destroyed buildings and leveled large stretches of forests and orchards.  Local people gathered together afterwards and helped each other with rescue efforts and cleanup.

A logjam, probably sometime during the 1990's
Flooding along the Licking River and its tributaries has often presented challenges.  Some of the most serious floods that have been recorded in the county occurred in the years 1898, 1913, 1937, 1959, 1990 and 1995.  Several other floods have also endangered lives and caused property damage.
Unidentified rescuers, saving one of Man's Best Friends after a flood

Helping a woman leave her home (persons and location are unidentified)





Other natural and man-made occurrences have had major impacts as well.  In 2012, the derecho which hit central Ohio caused many local households to be without electrical power for several days.  The Licking County EMA studied the nature and effects of the event, and developed new procedures for activities such as public alerts.  EMA also devised plans for responding to the possibility of a dam burst.  This was especially significant recently, due to the deterioration of Buckeye Lake Dam.

In wartime, Licking Countians have participated in preparedness programs in case enemy forces became active in the area.  During World War II, civilians throughout the United States served regular shifts as aircraft spotters, watching the skies in case enemy airplanes intruded.  Civil defense activities continued during the Cold War, when the nation faced threats of nuclear and other forms of attack.  Buildings such as the Licking County Courthouse and the Tuberculosis Sanitorium were designated as fallout shelters.

Illustration from a 1956 civil defense guidebook entitled"Home Protection Exercises: A Family Action Program"

Sticker indicating a civil defense unit

The Records & Archives Department unfortunately does not have material associated with earlier disasters such as the 1825 tornado, but information about 19th- and 20th-Century events can be found in published county histories and old newspaper articles.  To help us identify photographs, or to generally view our late-20th century EMA materials, please contact us at tel. 740-670-5121.