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Monday, June 28, 2010 6:10 AM

Who said: “You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks”? I’m 78 (soon to be 79) and I’m gaining a little more computer knowledge every day. So there’s hope for anyone.

Each time there’s a computer crash class, I go….almost each time.  Ruth Wilhelm, the local history director for the Putnam County Library has given classes on, Heritage Quest and Family Family Search is the web site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, better known as the Mormons.

I thought I could use some one-on-one lessons from Ruth, so I went to the Local History Room in the Fort Jennings Library on the hottest day of the year, Wednesday. That air conditioner was just about the most comfortable around so I stayed for hours. Then the weather radio started buzzing with storm warnings. I got out of town right before those strong winds came through Fort Jennings and took the roof off “The Fort”, landing on Vetter Builder’s Supply.

While at the library, I practiced on,, and the RE Hayes Obituary web site.

These sites are loaded with information. Some of Ancestry and Heritage Quest was covered in This & That on May 22. Ancestry covers birth and death records, Social Security Records, Census 1790 – 1930, obituaries, passenger lists, mortality schedules and much, much more. Heritage Quest covers much of the same material but concentrates on the USA, while Ancestry goes World Wide.  Family Search is world wide because an important feature of the Mormon faith is baptism by proxy for church members to get relatives into Heaven.  Genealogy is an aid to baptism by proxy.  However they make their information available to anyone who wants to use it. You can visit the branch library in Lima or sit at home and search on your computer.

Before the days of computers, I found the Gremlings in Belgium, in their records. On the computer, I was able to pull up Louis Gremling and Catherine Reding back to their marriage in 1812 and their birth dates of 1790 and 1791.

The Family Search also has US census records and many church records, including the Toledo Diocese church records for over 100 parishes in northwest Ohio, including Delphos St. Johns, Fort Jennings, Landeck, Ottoville and Glandorf.

I found a real treasure in the Glandorf St. John the Baptist records — the marriage of my great-grandparents, Bernard Anthony Kemper and Mary Catherine Halker, on 24 February 1867. This was a double wedding with the marriage of Frank Kemper and Louise Halker. The men were brothers and the women were cousins. My grandma, Anna Kemper Krieft, told of it being a double, “so they (each couple) got only half the blessings.” Just two years later, Barney was killed by Frank, following a heated argument about one or the other’s horse being in the wrong pasture. Frank and his family were sent by train to Nebraska by his parents. My grandmother and her mother were given the farm just north of Delphos in Jennings Township.

I also found several other things, including the death record of John Grothaus in 1926 from the Delphos St. John’s records.
Personally, I like to go to the library and search through the books and microfilm but so much is available on the computer. The Putnam County Library has several book indexes of church, newspaper and court records, which helps locate them on microfilm. It’s very handy to have these records just five miles away in the Fort Jennings Branch Library. Better take advantage of this now, because in about a year or so, they will move them back to the new main library in Ottawa. The Delphos Public Library has a treasure trove of records. They also have two advanced microfilm viewer scanners, which were purchased with a gift from the Alba Landwehr Bianchi estate. Alba was a former library employee. You can read and print from the newspapers and census on these machines, and also search on is also available at the Putnam County Library. Ancestry, for home use is extremely expensive. Heritage Quest can be used at home if you have a Putnam County Library card. Family Search and the Hayes Obituaries can be pulled up on home computers. It is necessary to have Internet Explorer to get some of these web sites. There are many more genealogy web sites available on the computer. The list is endless.

Remember this on a cold winter day in January when the snow is six inches deep and you can’t get out. This will give you something interesting to do.

Once you get started, you’ll be hooked.


Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:13 PM

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