As I was driving back from my trip to Kentucky, I was talking with my husband about a “research kit” that I’d have been interested in purchasing, if it were available. I was thinking of things that would have made my trip easier or that I’d like to have for my next trip – especially since I always seem to be doing things on the spur of the moment. Realizing that my next opportunity to visit Russell County is probably a year away, I’ve decided to see how many of these things I can find online so that I can have all of the links in one place. Maybe some other Russell County researcher will find these to be helpful. I’m leaning toward a 2nd blog, specifically about Russell County to stay organized as this collection grows, but perhaps that’s duplicating something already out there, so for now, this is just my initial “to do” list along with the links I already have on hand.
Maps: It would be incredibly helpful to have a current map of Russell County specifically geared for genealogists. I’m picturing a large fold-up map – the same size that you’d get for a state map from Triple-A or someplace like that. On this map, I’d LOVE to see:
- Locations for every cemetery (Findagrave.com says there are over 80 cemeteries and I wouldn’t be surprise if there are more.)
- Locations for every church
- Location of the library or historical museum where genealogical information might be located
- Location of the Court House
- Locations for office supply stores and/or copy places like Kinkos
- Location of stores like Walmart/KMart/Target, etc
- Locations of hotels/motels/cabin rentals, etc.
There is a map available online from 1999, but printing it in a size that is readable is quite a challenge. A map of Russell County is especially difficult to read because of the incredible number of creeks and lake “fingers”. Because the roads meander between the creeks and lake fingers, sometimes it’s hard to tell a road from a creek on a black and white map. To have this pre-printed in a very large format (dare I dream of color to quickly show the difference between water and road?) would be wonderful! This map does contain the locations of cemeteries and churches, but again, unless it is printed in a large format, it is difficult to to read. The map for Russell County (and all Kentucky counties) is available in GIF or TIFF and can be found here. I’ve never taken a file to a copy place like Kinkos to see if they could print a large version of this for me, but it might be worth a try.
The same web site contains a link for a TIFF version of a map from 1950 – which is great because it shows Russell County BEFORE the lake. The 1950 map (the web site explains that the 1950 and 1999 dates may not be exact) has a key, so you can find the locations of churches and cemeteries, but no names for the churches or cemeteries. Better than nothing, but less than ideal. How great it would be to have large printed versions of each map at the same scale so you could compare “pre-lake” locations with “post-lake” locations. My ancestors would never have seen the lake as they moved to Indiana about 20 years before the lake was completed.
Lists: With today’s technology in navigation and GPS systems, I think it would be great to have a list of addresses and/or latitude and longitude coordinates to be able to quickly find specific locations as well as hours of operation. The list could be a “key” to the locations on the map. I’d like lists of:
- Court House
- Cemeteries (going to work on an Excel file based on information found on findagrave)
- Historical Society/Museum
- Kentucky State Library/Archives
- Retail stores
- Copying and printing facilities
- Internet WiFi hotspots (my cabin barely got cell phone coverage, let alone internet!)
Research Info Available: While I can use the Russell County Public Library catalog to search for genealogy books on Russell County, I would love to have a printed list of books, microfilms, etc. that are contained in the genealogy section of the library. I always wonder if there are books that are not categorized the way I think they would be that I am not seeing online. I have compiled a list of Russell County books and microfilm available at the Allen County library, so maybe I’ll start working on a similar list for Russell County. I could also search Worldcat.org to see what other books are available at the State Library/Archives. Perhaps on Google Books? I need to have a clear idea of whether the material available is worth scheduling an afternoon, an entire day or a week for library research. Can I get those books through my own library? Some other closer library? Sounds like a bit of a project!
Dreaming: As long as I’m dreaming, how about a list of records that can be obtained at the Court House in Russell County or the State Archives, State Historical Society, or University Library? This is something I need to start compiling. I know there are books such as “Ancestry’s Red Book”, but that’s not very portable. I also like printed lists that I can make notes on. Wouldn’t it be great if that was already done? Maybe it has and I just don’t know about it! Maybe it’s on the shelf at the Russell County library right now!
Well, I think that’s enough to keep me busy for now! We’ll see how many of these things I can find or compile before next summer!