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Genealogy News from the Hayes Presidential Center

This newsletter courtesy of
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

Genealogy News from the Hayes Presidential Center

July 28, 2006

An e-mail update to new genealogical resources and services

Upcoming classes:

September 13, 2006 - Wednesday – 9:30-11:30 am- Genealogy and the Internet

October 19, 2006 – Thursday – 9:30-11:30 am – Beginning Genealogy

November 18, 2006 – Saturday – 9:30-11:30 am - Genealogy and the Internet

Sorry for the long time between our News updates. I won’t make any excuses but we have been busy. Besides catering to our genealogical patrons, May and June were very busy hosting four weeklong workshops for public school and community college teachers here at the Center. Although most of the teachers used the Gilded Age part of our collection, a few did delve into the genealogical resources we have here. People from Alaska to Florida and Northwest Ohio learned about the Hayes Library and all we have to offer – and that’s a good thing!

Hayes Obituary Index

Volunteers have been busy entering new data into the Obituary Index here at Hayes. A Heidelberg College intern, Howard Stultz, entered a membership record book of the Fremont Knights Templar organization from the 1910’s to the 1950’s. This book gives occupation, birth date and place, and information on the person’s membership. A copy of the original will be cataloged and placed in the Reading Room. For further information on the original collection, see

Mary Ann Sieberg from Tennessee is a wonderful volunteer who entered a large amount of data from the Ochs Funeral Home of Fremont into the Obituary Index. The Ochs records consist of four ledgers dated 1891-1899, 1899-1924, 1910-1916, and 1925-1948. Each volume contains a variety of data, including name of the deceased, birth and death dates, birth and death places, marital status, gender, race, occupation, locations and dates of interment, ministers, services provided and costs. Each ledger is formatted differently, therefore, different information appears in each volume. All the names are now entered into the Obit Index and people can order the complete entry through the shopping cart. For more information on the Ochs Funeral Home records, go to

Another project being worked on by Mary Ann Sieberg and Dorothy Wagner of Clyde, Ohio, another super volunteer, is the entering of information from the Fremont Monument Company. This collection of books lists people who bought tombstones or monuments and the information that was inscribed on the stones. Mary Ann and Dorothy are entering the names of the people who are named on the marker, along with the cemetery, where the stone was installed. Full information, which can be obtained through the shopping cart, will give the name and address of the person who purchased the stone and details on the stone itself. These records range from 1938 to 1966, but are only completed up to the 1940’s at this time. Keep watching for these as our volunteers continue to enter the data.

The Norwalk Reflector is being indexed by Elizabeth Stager, Irene Byrne and Gaylen Kline. Elizabeth has completed the years 1830 to 1880, Irene and Gaylen are working on the 1880’s.

Irene found this quote in the 1892 Norwalk Reflector which explains the paucity of obits in these early papers!– “We do not insert obituary notices, obituary poetry, card of thanks, and other like matter that is not of general interest, unless payment be made for the same at the rate of five cents a line. Count six words to the line, and send money when the copy is sent; Otherwise the article will not appear”. The Reflector Printing Company .

We have almost 800,000 names entered into the Hayes Obit Index as of today, thanks to such volunteers and of course, to the 36 partner libraries who have been busy entering data also.

We hope to encourage more libraries to join the Obits Index by attending an Ohio Library Council Expo in Columbus on September 15th. We will have a booth demonstrating the Index. If you are from Ohio, tell your public library that you want them to be part of our system, if they aren’t already. I would be happy to explain how to sign them up.

New Books

Be sure to check the web site for our newest books and donors –

Some interesting Civil War web sites:

Northwest Ohio Civil War Newspaper Correspondence Index - -
This is an online index to letters written home by soldiers and published in their local papers. Some of the counties included are Defiance, Henry, Ottawa, Lucas, Williams and Wood.

Civil War Maps -
Try looking for the battlefield where your ancestor fought at this web site. Formerly only found in research libraries, these maps will give you a visual of the areas where the north and south fought. The web site includes 2,240 Civil War maps and charts and 76 atlases and sketchbooks that are held within the Geography and Map Division, 200 maps from the Library of Virginia, and 400 maps from the Virginia Historical Society. The maps, charts, and atlases depict battles, troop positions and movements, engagements, and fortifications.

And don’t forget the Hayes Presidential Center’s web site:
Nan Card has posted a wide array of materials on the Civil War, not just limited to Sandusky County.

Here’s a web site to help search the FamilySearch web site for Ohio sources:

1. Go to
2. Read over the page. Click on an area you want to search, e.g. Seneca County Births, 1864-1875
3. Try putting in surname. You will also have to choose a region (North America) to allow it to search.
4. The search will bring up the results just for that county and that name.

Remember Eddie the Swan Hunter?

In the last News from Hayes, I abstracted a charming story from a 1934 Fremont News Messenger about a child who had a swan dumped in his lap – see below – and finished it with the tongue-in-cheek question, “Eddie, are you still alive?’.

Less than a week went by and I received an email from Charlie Meiser from Sault Sainte Marie, MI, who read the newsletter. Charlie emailed his distant cousin, Edwin Arthur Overmyer, who replied, that yes, indeed he was still alive! Here is Ed’s reply to my query:

“I'm sure the item was in the Fremont Messenger as well as the Toledo
Blade because my dad, an editorial staffer at the Blade, was from
Fremont, and my grandparents, Judge Arthur W. and Nina Overmyer, lived
in Fremont.
There was a follow-up to the story two days later, published in both
papers. The current owner of the Willys estate in nearby Ottawa Hills
saw the photo of his bird and claimed it. He had purchased two Rumanian
swans in N.Y. and brought them to Toledo. This one however ended up in
our (non estate) side yard. According to the story I got a reward of $5, probably not too shabby in l934 dollars. I don't know if the swan
retained the name "eddie" --
hopefully something more elegant like Alexander - or Alexandria.”

Thanks, Ed, for the “rest of the story”. I love the fact that the email originated in Fremont, Ohio. traveled to Sault Ste Marie, Michigan and then on to California, where Ed lives – isn’t the internet great?!

In case you've forgotten, here's a recap from the last News -

This interesting news article was indexed for Edwin Arthur Overmeyer. It turns out little Eddie didn’t die, but had an unusual experience which our newspaper indexers thought was too good not to be indexed. The Fremont News Messenger of March 19, 1934 reported that the grandson of Judge A.W. Overmyer of Fremont had a “swan dumped in his lap”. The Toledo Blade covered the story which actually happened in Toledo to the son of Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Overmyer with the headline “Wanted a Bathtub – For a Swan”

Three year old Eddie Overmeyer “was at play with this fox terrier, Bingo, in a vacant lot near his home (2822 Merrimac Blvd., Toledo) when both boy and dog were startled by the sudden descent from the air of a huge and strange bird. While Bingo started an attack on the mysterious stranger, Edwin ran screaming for his mother.”

Mrs. Overmyer ran from the house with her maid and captured what they thought was a mammoth goose, tying it up in the garage. A nearby businessman, W.C. Gise, examined the bird and declared it to be not a goose, but a swan and decided to keep it as a mascot in a bathtub and eventually build a pond for the bird and call it Eddie in honor of the little boy. The Toledo Blade had a picture of the child, with the swan looping its long neck over his shoulder.

You just never know what you’ll find while doing genealogy. Eddie, are you still alive?

Hayes Online Store

Another college intern, Joe Faykosh, from Defiance, Ohio, has spent a great deal of time this summer updating and revamping the online Hayes Center Museum Store . Please drop by and see what we have. There is even a genealogy section where people can buy RootsMagic and other genealogical items using our online shopping cart. Click on a general category, then click on a specific item to bring up complete details and a picture of the item.

Becky Hill and the Hayes Library Staff
Head Librarian
Hayes Presidential Library
Spiegel Grove
Fremont, OH 43420 419-332-2081