By Nathan Pilling
GREENE COUNTY — The polls are open for the Greene County Archives’ “I Found It In the Archives!” contest. The contest, which began back in June, called for those who have utilized the county archives to submit their stories of quests in the archives for public consideration.
Voters now have the chance to decide the contest winner by choosing their favorite of the six finalists. The essays are available for viewing on the agency’s website and Facebook page. Voters should either “like” their favorite entry on the “Greene County Archives” Facebook page or submit their choice to FoundItArchives@co.greene.oh.us. Voting is open through 5 p.m. July 25.
“We’re really happy with [the entries],” said Greene County Archives Public Outreach Coordinator Robin Heise. “It’s exactly what we were hoping for is to hear some of the stories and get an idea of what people have found here at the archives.”
The first essay came from John Forbes Sweson from Glenview, Illinois. In his essay, Sweson said the Greene County Archives helped him to uncover several family history details relating to a historic Shaker hatbox.
“Our family was never big on family history,” he wrote. “The hatbox was the key to an unknown part of our story.”
The second essay was written by Mike Denis, who used the archives to extract facts from fiction from a historical novel about a slave named Garret Buster. Denis learned more about Buster’s story and family along the way.
“The Greene County Archives have been a tremendous help in piecing together this family,” he wrote.
The third essay was written by Deborah Clark Dushane, who researched a family tall tale about an ancestor. When she was in school, her grandfather would give her a dollar for a good grade and say, “It would be more if my Uncle Ike hadn’t shot the town sheriff, and we had to sell the farm to keep him out of jail.”
Dushane researched the story and found out there was perhaps more than a little truth to the tale.
The fourth essay was written by Mary Stefanik, who worked to link her family heritage back to an individual who was on the Mayflower. She used information found in the Greene County Archives to apply for membership in the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.
“I received a letter last week from the Mayflower Society approving me as having a direct descendent on the Mayflower – Mr. Edward Fuller,” she wrote in her essay. “It is a wonderful feeling knowing where you come from and getting an idea of who your family was.”
The fifth essay was written by Judith Spencer, who learned more about her family history through the archives.
“I found many relatives, some good, some bad, in the archives,” she wrote. “With lots of help of the staff I found ancestors I didn’t even know I had.”
Through the archives she discovered the truth behind a family secret.
The sixth essay was written by JoAnn Garlough of Iowa, who researched other Garloughs through the archives. In her essay she described receiving information from the agency.
“I ended up with more information than I originally had asked for, so I was even more encouraged that I would be able to piece together this puzzle,” she wrote. “My package contained estate records, common plea records, biographical sketches and much more. With this information I was able to fit together some of the missing pieces of the puzzle.”
The winner of the competition will receive behind-the-scenes tours of the Greene County Archives and the Greene County Court House, as well as a frameable certificate. The winner will also be entered into the statewide level of the contest.
The winner of the state level of the competition will be hosted at the Ohio Local History Association/Society of Ohio Archivists fall meeting and will be given a tour of the Ohio Statehouse.