Hi Jim & fellow researchers:
My son and I were also able to take a trip from Arizona to Lorain County this early August ('06), and I'm curious how things turned out for you, where you stayed, and what your experiences were. We were returning after my solo trip in November '04, (both by vehicle)
We stayed at the Oberlin Inn downtown Oberlin. This is fairly central and also very comfortable. There are some good restaurants around the area. One thing we learned... don't be shy to stop and ask someone...
Although my research was not centered in the area I do have a distant cousin living there and we met him one morning for breakfast. Also, over time, I've met a couple of other indivuals in the area who have helped me with some photography and research long-distance, and we met one of these individuals one evening. These were very enjoyable times to be able to make connections.
In the lobby of the Oberlin Police department, next to the library, one can obtain a detailed map of Lorain county, complete with cemetery locations. This was critical in our ability to move about quickly. Also, be aware that there might be construction that blocks off sections of road, so knowing how to get around helps.
As you visit certain places, plan for the unexpected and give yourself a little more time. I found Wellington to be quite interesting, with its history of Cheese making. We visited a museum where the Spirit of '76 painting and artifacts are located, we visited the library and spent time there (finding interesting information), my son was interested in a small train museum, and we had lunch on the main corner of town where the food was quite good.
My experience in November 2004 also played a key in our plans for August 2006. I was better organized and prepared the second time around. Prior to our trip, I made a specific list of things I wanted to accomplish. I planned to stay in the area at least three nights, so we had two full days of research. And, I had a cooler in our car with lots of bottled water for the humid days.
The time of year played a key roll, as in November 2004, I was at the LaGrange Twp. Cemetery, and then traveled to Elyria and visited "The Hickories" which is the location of the Lorain County Historical Society. I visited their library, saw a clue in a transcription, and headed back over to the cemetery. The shorter November winter hours cut the sunlight at about 5:00 pm, and it was cold. During the summer, the sun stays around until almost 9:00 pm.
Prior to our 2006 trip, I made contact with two cemetery sextons via telephone (and I was persistant!), one in LaGrange and the other in Wellington, and they knew we were coming. They were, without a doubt, very helpful.
Many of the Lorain County cemeteries are transcribed Online via rootsweb at http://www.usgenweb.org > select Ohio > select "Counties" (red box, upper right hand corner) and > select Lorain. The sextons were helpful in locating certain headstones, and (in Greeenwood Cemetery, Wellington), letting us into the mausoleum. Where cemeteries are not transcribed, I would not be shy to contact the township and ask for assistance. The Greenwood Cemetery is not transcribed Online, but I was able to purchase a book, which is a sizeable hardbound edition -- and key to our research.
While in the LaGrange Twp. Cemetery, the folks next door in the little library were very receptive to allow my son to explore their books while I walked the cemetery. I had a while cloth to cover my head because it was quite warm and sunny, and I saved myself from potential sunburn. Be aware that some of the libraries are small, so I've found that the Elyria Library (branch near the Hickories) and the Wellington Library both to be well equipped. Other libraries, like that in LaGrange, are quite small. Still there are computers there for Internet access if needed.
This is a key link to a ton of information about Lorain County: the "Ohio Public Library Information Network" for Lorain County can be found here... http://www.oplin.lib.oh.us/page.php?Id=63-16-160&msg=
The visitor's bureau can be found here: http://www.lcvb.org/
After our visit in August 2006, I was quite satisfied with my results. However we are still searching for the brial place of Benjam Sheldon, Jr., (his parents are in the LaGrange Twp. Cemetery -- and I suspect he is also there), and Bradley B. Woodmansee and Sylphina M. (Sheldon) Woodmansee, whom I believe are also in the LaGrange Twp. Cemetery, where all three of their children are interred. It is interesting to know that prior to the mid 1940's cemetery records are not available for this cemetery.
Photography is one of my hobbies, and you can find some of my work and photographs from this trip at http://www.pbase.com/azsheldon -- take extra batteries for your camera, and it helps to have a lot of memory for digital photographs.
Please contact me if I can be of any further assistance.
Jack Sheldon, Jr., CPA
Sheldon Family Assoc. Life Memeber
Mesa, AZ (formerly of Owosso, MI)
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