Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Birth and Death in Willard, Ohio

A tip o' the hat to the October 15 issue of NEHGS eNews for highlighting the Willard Memorial Libary's online databases of birth and death announcements. (Willard's not a place you're likely to visit by accident. It's a small railroad town in Huron County, Ohio, south of Norwalk -- about halfway between the east-west arteries of the Ohio Turnpike on the north and the near-interstate-quality US 30 to the south.)

Each database contains just over 10,000 entries from the local newspaper, the Willard Times-Junction. My quick and possibly superficial check didn't find any entries prior to 1950. Volunteers continue to add to the system, but it's not clear whether they're keeping up with the present or moving back into the past, or both. Thanks to them in either case.

On my way out I noticed the library's front page: "Willard Memorial Library SYSTEM LIBRARIES CUT HOURS DUE TO SECOND HALF BUDGET REDUCTION." Something similar has happened at my local library in Indiana. Librarians may not be in a good position to speak out, but as genealogists we should let our elected officials know that libraries are a public service that should not be crippled by short-sighted budget freezes and tax cuts.

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