Well! No sooner did we leave one set of newly found relatives in Indiana than we encountered, unexpectedly, another set of relatives in Western Ohio.
We were tracking one nineteenth-century family in Wood County and Hancock County, Ohio, trying to figure out which children were with them and which had moved our ahead of them. As we walked up to the Wood County courthouse we noticed there were several doors and over one of them was a sign reading, "Genealogy." We had never seen genealogists in the court house before, but that's exactly what was going on. They had two offices and lots of courthouse indexes and family files, and all staffed twenty hours a week by volunteers from the local genealogical society, a branch of the Ohio Genealogical Society.
Soon we were amiably chatting with the volunteers and we mentioned the name of the family we were searching for and then just happened to blurt out another surname -- Burnside -- of a family that we thought might have some connection with Seneca County, to the east.
"We've got lots of stuff on Burnside," said the volunteer, and proceeded to show us a 70-page book entitled "Descendants of James Burnside." Could that be our Burnside?
Yes it was! The James Burnside in the book was Elsa's 4-Great Grandfather, and this book was full of his descendants. In a few hours we were meeting with the authors, Ralph and Pat, a local couple who had put together this great family history. We made a swap and gave them the scoop on Elsa's line of the family, which they did not have, in return for the rest of the Burnside descendants.
And in the course of the exchange we've met another set of great relatives (including two nice grandchildren) and promised to keep in touch by email as we continue our genealogy wanderings.
Wandering through these old Ohio towns, we're charmed by the immense public buildings, many of which remind us, naturally, of some of the Oberlin College buildings in which we lived and studied almost a half-century ago. Stone and brick and towers, alternating rounded walls and sharp protrusions; even in small towns they can be found. Two examples are the Hancock County courthouse in Findlay, and the University of Findlay, gorgeous in brick and fresh white paint.
Ohio has a reputation as the home of colleges, and each of the county seats we're visiting -- Tiffin, Bowling Green, and Findlay -- has a college. In the case of Bowling Green it's a good-sized state university. Incidentally, the fifth and sixth floors of the University Library in Bowling Green are devoted to old manuscripts and archival material, and they are open to use by peripatetic genealogists.
We're getting to the stage where we learning new family history faster than we can type it into our computers, so we'll have to slow down soon just to catch up!
Meanwhile, the countryside is beautiful and we keep watching for the farmers to start their harvest. And we're watching for county fairs, too. We just missed one, but August is the month, so we'll surely hit some fairs soon enough.