Amy Johnson Crow is hosting an online learning experience called “31 Days to Better Genealogy.” If you haven’t signed up for this, you can do so here. There is also a closed Facebook group that you can request to join after you sign up for the daily newsletter. You will receive a daily email and during the day, Amy posts a live video on the Facebook group. All members of the group are encouraged to work on the tip of the day, report their results, help and encourage each other.
Today’s tip was to explore the Digital Public Library of America website. Amy said that searches on it are a bit like Google. The DPLA has a bit of everything and some items do not even pop up from a regular search engine. So I thought I would give it a whirl to see what else I could find concerning my ancestors in Coshocton county, Ohio. Here is where Bright Shiny Objects happen so I knew I would need to be focused on what I was searching for (Day 1’s tip was to be more specific and asking the right questions).
As the search results for “Coshocton county Ohio” appeared, I noticed off to the side was “History of Muskingum County, Ohio.” Hmm, I thought. New focus and new question. Would that digital book have any new information concerning my 3rd great-grandfather, Abel Lewis? So I clicked on that topic, the digital book appeared, and in the “search this text” box I entered Lewis.
Sure enough, one of the first items that appeared concerned Abel Lewis and the Masons in Muskingum county. This was new information for me. The text mentioned that “On Saturday, the 25th day of May, 1805, William Raynolds, William Smyth, Levi Whipple, Daniel Converse, Abel Lewis and Lewis Cass, held a meeting in Zanesville, and, ‘after becoming known to each other as- Master Masons, in the manner prescribed by the rules of the craft, entered into conversation respecting the practicability and propriety of procuring a charter, authorizing them to hold a Lodge in this place…'” (Source: Everhart, J.F. 1794. History of Muskingum County, Ohio, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Pioneers. F.J. Everhart and Company. 1882. Hathitrust. Electronic material. Digital image. p187. Digital Public Library of America. http://dp.la : accessed 4 October 2016.)
Another entry mentioned exactly where Abel Lewis lived after he had completed his term as Postmaster (he also had been an Ohio Supreme Court Clerk and surveyor) in 1812.
In the past, I have just glossed over items at the DPLA because I wasn’t thinking about searching for things. I was searching for names. The tip for today has really opened my eyes. I see many hours of more research in the DPLA ahead for me!