Friday, March 24, 2017

The Faithful Two

Last Monday evening I had the opportunity to see the love of genealogy in action.

I also saw the dedication of an Ohio Genealogical Society trustee in action.

I happened to be talking with Sunda Peters at OGS on Monday afternoon, and she had mentioned how they are trying to help a struggling county genealogical society stay afloat.  She was driving to their meeting that very evening.  It was cold, it would be dark and a bit rainy, so I volunteered to go along with her.  Cheryl Abernathy would be meeting her there.

Sunda is past President of the Ohio Genealogical Society.
Cheryl is a trustee on the board.

Sunda picked me up, and we laughed and talked all the way to Mt. Vernon, Ohio.  We located the building and walked in to wait on Cheryl.

This is the beautiful big older home where the society meets.

Dick and Jim were already there and welcomed us right in.

Jim is on the right, and is the President and the Treasurer.  Dick is on the left, and proudly showed us their collection.  Each month, Jim draws up an agenda for their meeting.  They are the only two who attend.

I want you to look at the faces of Sunda and Cheryl as they listen intently to the problems these two men face in keeping the society alive.

Some of those problems include:
1.  Having an historical society and a genealogy room in the public library that appeals to people more than the tiny space they have.
2.  An out-of-state membership.
3.  An aging local membership, many of whom are in nursing homes or the cemetery.

Take a careful look at Ohio in 1810.  We had just become a state seven years earlier.  The red arrow points to where I now live in Richland County.  The parent county is Knox County, right where I was Monday evening.

It's an old county.  And, an important one.

Dick proudly showed me a photo album that had been left in a motel that ended up with them.  I thought of Maureen Taylor as I looked through the pages.  Here's a few for you to look at, too.

Look how thick it is!

Who are these people?  They were left behind in a motel, and no one seemed to notice.

Well, Dick noticed.  He turned the back of each photo over and noticed there were names on a few of them.  So, he traced them.

I learned many things that evening.  As we left to drive home in the rain, I felt profound respect for Dick and Jim and their efforts to keep a small, but important piece of Ohio's history alive.

I saw the relief on their faces as Sunda and Cheryl leaned in to listen to their concerns.  I don't know that I have seen a better example of officers, past and present, than what I did that evening.  A "tiger team" that will include other trustees will be assembled by Cheryl to meet again and help these men out.

And, once again, Peggy had another opportunity to learn.


  1. Interesting post. My mom'side comes from Dayton Ohio- I don't know if it is Miami county or Montgomery. I'm wondering did it change or split. I'm in California.

  2. Debby, there are two places you can look.

    Go to and enter the title Montgomery County Ohio Genealogy. It will give you a history of the area.

    It will also direct you to a site showing boundary changes at Put in any year, and you can see how the counties changed.

    Thank you for your comment!

  3. If I weren't down in Cols. I would come however, night driving doesn't work so well now. Am from the Isaac SMITH b. 1799 and Mary Mariah (KRIGBAUM / CRICKBURN / _ )[12 children] and the BUTTS GUENTHER STARNER families from what is now Holmes Co./Glenmont area. Thank you all for following the "Spirit of Elijah" for Knox County!

  4. And, I'm sure they would love to see you walk in! When we were there Monday night, we more than doubled their attendance.

  5. If I weren't down in Cols. I would attend, night driving is prohibitive. Certainly am grateful I could do the night driving to get records directly from up there when I was younger, beautiful country up there, often reminds me of the Baden-Baden, Germany area from which some of the below came! Connected with SMITH, Isaac M. (1799 MD, m. 1822 MD ) + [ KRIGBAUM / CRICKBURN / KREIGBAUM / etc.], Mary Mariah, they had 12 SMITH children in Knox who melded into BUTTS , STARNER , GUENTHER/GINTHER , + + families in what became Holmes Co. near Glenmont. One of them ran the Store in Danville and some lived in Mt. Vernon including Catherine SAPP and other relatives from the BUTTS line. Have some of the genealogies back to 1600s upon You may copy and put them into the library which is in your tender care and thank you for following "the Spirit of Elijah" and helping so many others up there!