Providing practical, down-to-earth advice for family historians since 1995, online since 1985.
Town's 150th Anniversary
From: Linda McCann firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, Iíd like to find what the weather was at certain times. Iíve gone to old newspapers and looked up certain dates, but they donít always have the weather. Does anyone know of a place where you could enter the location and date and it would give you some weather info? Does anyone know what a cemetery walk is and what info is included in each personís bio?
1. COUNTY HISTORIES created in the 1890-1920 time period are found at local libraries, universities and state archives throughout the country.
2. OLD CITY DIRECTORIES often chronicle the founding institutions, schools and churches in addition to listing the individual, his occupation and residence. These predate the telephone. These are found in dusty corners of the courthouse, at the public library or historical society. I've also seen them at state libraries.
3. THE TOWN HISTORIAN, COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY & COUNTY LIBRARY may have preserved items for display. This is also a source for the information you seek. They will have a copy of the county history which may have been done around the turn of the previous century. Check with the local reference librarian who might have a vertical file of notes and newspapers taken years ago.
4. US CENSUS BUREAU - The federal government took enumerations every ten years from 1790 through the present, with those records from 1790-1930 available on the internet. I would be interesting to incorporate scanned images of the census page showing the founding fathers as a backdrop to their portraits, and other artifacts from the period. Find these online in membership-only services such as Ancestry.com and HeritageQuestOnline.com. I view the latter through membership in the Godfrey Memorial Library www.Godfrey.org.
5. WEATHER - Contact the local weather bureau for statistical information on your area. They can guide you to on and offline resources. See also: http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/main.html
6. CEMETERY WALKS are a fun way to bring history alive, (pardon the pun.) Plan your route in advance, and determine which deceased 5-6 townsfolk with interesting personal histories and 2-3 other colorful character characters you plan to highlight during the walk.
If you were to dress in a period costume (say the 1890s) and meet at the gates of the cemetery, the mood would be set. Give each participant a flashlight in case it gets dark before sunset. Before you enter the cemetery give a little talk about the founding of the town.
This might include:
Then as you are walking to the first grave tell things like:
Spend 2 minutes or so at the first grave explaining who-what-where and then move on to the other graves you wish to spotlight. It isn't so much the graves, but the individuals and the development of your town.
If any of the gravestones have unusual markings, you might look into the meaning of them and incorporate this into your presentation.
Other things to weave into the evening's cemetery walk:
Gosh, I don't live in your town, but I would love to hear what you end up talking about during the walk. It would be great to advertise that the cemetery walk will take place again next October 31st, and annually thereafter.
Happy family tree climbing!