delgazette.com

Learning to live in a Donald Rumsfeld world (Part 2)

August 24, 2011

[caption width="250" caption=" Delaware County Genealogical Society President Larry Ratcliffe turns over the completed index for the Delaware County Common Pleas Court records from 1820 to 1950. (Gazette | Melissa Mackey) "][/caption]

MELISSA MACKEY

Staff Writer

Those looking for information about their Delaware County relatives who lived here in the early 1800s can now do so with ease thanks to seven years worth of work by the local genealogical society.

The Delaware County Genealogical Society recently completed work on indexing the county’s common pleas court records from 1820 to 1950.

Essentially, this means that someone searching for any court records involving their great-grandparents can do so by looking up their names alphabetically in either the plaintiff or defendant index provided to the Delaware County Records Center by the genealogical society.

Once the name is located, a case number corresponds with the name, making it easier for the records clerk to help the public searching for any genealogical link to their past.

The county records center — now located at 2079 U.S. 23N in the Willis building — recently moved making it easier for those looking for such documents, said Chris Shaw, records coordinator.

Most people who stop in looking for records are seeking genealogical information, Shaw said.

That was the big reason we wanted to take this on as a project,” said genealogical society treasurer June Feuillerat. “Certain records are important genealogical sources. Many family accounts are accurate, but sometimes they’re not.”

The index is about 1,100 pages and has entries from about 28,000 court cases. The project was completed at no cost to the county by several genealogical society volunteers.

Volunteers have been meeting on Thursdays for the past seven years, removing the cases from the packets, placing them in file folders, then indexing them both by plaintiff and defendant, Feuillerat said.

Anywhere from four to 12 genealogical society volunteers would work on the project. One case would be worked on at a time, so the records would not be mixed up or damaged, Feuillerat said.

The original records have now been turned back over to the county records center. Having the opportunity to complete the index wouldn’t be possible without the help of Clerk of Courts Jan Antonoplos, genealogical society president Larry Ratcliffe said.

A copy of the index is also available at the genealogical society’s home at the Delaware County District Library. The staff at the district library has been especially helpful in the genealogical society’s transition to the new building, Ratcliffe said.

The genealogical society will now resume its work on indexing the probate court records from 1850 to 1940, which is about 40 percent complete, Ratcliffe said.

An experienced genealogical volunteer is always available to assist the public during the society’s normal business hours: 10 to 11:45 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sundays.