A Pleasant Experience at the Library Today

20 Jun

I had a very pleasant experience at the library today that I really wanted to share.  It started as I was entering the library.  As usual; I arrived at the library; and went up the elevator from the parking garage.  Upon entering the library; I overheard an elderly gentleman ask the security guard where the Genealogy Department was.  The guard explained to him where it was.  As soon as he walked away; I informed him that he could simply follow me; that I was headed that way.  During our brief walk to the elevators; and our ride up to the second floor; he informed me that he had only recently learned that the genealogy department at the Allen County Library was supposed to be a really good one.  I explained that it is the second largest genealogy library in the U.S. Although he lives locally; he had never been here.  In fact; he had never really even started researching his family history; but wanted to do so.  During our conversation, I told him that I researched professionally; and spend at least a couple of days a week at the library there.

Upon entering the genealogy department; I asked him where his family was from.  He explained that they had come from France originally; but his parents, grandparents and great grandfather had lived in Adams and Allen counties.

I immediately decided that I wanted to help him get started.  I introduced myself; and he to me.  His name is Lester Zehr.  He was born in 1930.  Since he was not familiar with the census records; and had never searched those; we sat down; I booted up my laptop; and proceed to locate him with his parents in the 1940 census. From there; I decided to go ahead and back track the family into the earlier census records.  Lester was amazed to see himself; his parents; his grandparents; and his great-grandparents in the census records.  I also found the WW2 Draft Registration of his grandfather; Amos Zehr.

From the census records; we learned that his great-grandfather, George Zehr was born in 1842.  We also learned from the census records that he had immigrated to the U.S. in 1866.  At that point; I knew I had to go to the bookshelves to the “Germans To America” series.  It took only a few minutes to locate George Zehr in one of those volumes; showing us when he departed Germany for the U.S.; the name of the ship he traveled on; and the date that he arrived.

Since the family seemed to have lived in Adams County for a lot of years; I decided to take a quick glance at some of the books at the library regarding Adams County.  Within a few minutes I found a wonderful biography about George and his family from an Adams County History book which had been published in 1907; many years before George had died.  The biography gave wonderful details about his immigration to the U.S.; and his life in the U.S.  It also gave the names of his parents.

Lester obviously had not planned on spending a lot of time at the library.  So…. I took him over to the copying machines and helped him make copies of a couple of the things we had found.  Of course I handed him a business card before he left.  He thank me and thank me for taking the time to help him; and for giving him much more information than he had known about his ancestors.  Lester left the library a very happy man; and left me with a big smile on my face; and a sense of pride as well.

After Lester left; I got to work on the research for my clients that I had intended for the day.

What a wonderful experience.  Just had to share it.



Posted by on June 20, 2014 in General Genealogy


6 responses to “A Pleasant Experience at the Library Today

  1. Raymond

    June 20, 2014 at 2:09 am

    Rex it sounds like it was that guy’s lucky day.


  2. Jo Ann Jones

    June 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    What a wonderful thing you did for that man, Rex, and how rewarding it must have been for you! It’s things like that that make us feel good and that man was certainly blessed by your good efforts. I love your blogs and it was so nice to see another one so soon. I may be asking for some assistance soon.
    Jo Ann Jones

  3. digginbones

    June 20, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Hi Jo Ann. I would be glad to assist you. Do you have a particular brick wall that you are needing help with? Send me an email and tell me a little bit about the person; and I may be able to give you some idea of what I might be able to do.


  4. Mike Cross

    June 22, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Nice story and such a nice gift. I can only imagine how daunting it would be to start research in the age of computers if you had not spent your life with them.

  5. Greta Pryor

    June 30, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I find your stories always interesting!! I am always digging around for information about my family genalogy. I would very much like the emails in your stories. Who knows they might include some about my family some day!!

    • digginbones

      June 30, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      Glad you enjoy the blog. Be sure to let your genealogy friends know about it.

      Rex Bertram


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: