Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
May 27, 2011 (Volume 7, Number 6)
>>Bullitt Genealogical Society Meeting June 18.
Joe Hardesty, Kentucky History & Genealogical Librarian of the Louisville Public Library, will be speaking on what the Louisville Public Library has available for research in their genealogical section. Normal meeting time and place, 10:00 a.m. at Ridgway Memorial Library in Shepherdsville at Second Street and the railroad tracks.
Check our calendar for future scheduled speakers.
>>Genealogy Classes at Ridgway Library.
Classes are in progress at our public library on genealogy. The next session is also at the library on June 18, a little while after our Genealogical Society meeting. Call the library at 502-543-7675, ext 5, to register, or e-mail Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also register online at the library programs page.
>>Family Fair August 20.
Make plans now to attend the Bullitt County Genealogical Society Family Fair Day. Displays of family heirlooms, histories, photos, and other family memorabilia will be there and you can display items of yours as well. More on this in later newsletters, but plan for that date if you can, and come be with us! Reserve your free table before the limited space is filled. For more info, e-mail President Daniel Buxton. Deadline for table reservation is July 31.
Trivia Answer and Another Question.
Last month, I mentioned the 1937 flood, compared to recent flooding in the area. The '37 flood was the worst in local recorded history. I asked you: "In our county courthouse, it is really easy to see how high the water came up in the building...if you know where to look. If standing inside the courthouse, how can you still see the high water mark of 1937?"
The answer is this: In 1937, the flood rose to nearly six feet inside the county courthouse. When you walk though the front door of the courthouse, if you look for it, you will see a small brass marker mounted on the door frame. That marker shows the water level of the 1937 flood. Funny how many people go through that door every day, year after year, and never notice the marker, even though it has been there for many decades, perhaps since the flood itself.
By the way, if you look on the outside of the building, you can also see the general flood level of '37. It is stained into the old brick walls.
If you look carefully enough.
It is one of the few ways to tell the difference between the "old" part of the building and the "new" part that was added in 2004.
This month's question: Look at our great old 1900-vintage courthouse today and you might notice its bell tower with its fine old clock.
But just how "old" is that old clock and the bell inside? You might be surprised at the answers. And the mystery.
Daniel Buxton recently photographed and recorded the texts of the approximately 650 tombstones in the Clermont Cemetery. Volunteer Brenda Rittman then typed it all up for us. Quite an accomplishment for both Daniel and Brenda and we thank them. The information has been placed in our large collection of cemetery files, and the photos will be placed on our museum computers. That makes our cemetery photo database now at about 6,000 photos. At this time most of them can only be accessed at the museum.
Brenda also helped us on another project this month. It had been brought to our attention that there were several conflicting dates on the history of our County Sheriffs. Brenda Rittman and Bobby Darnell started digging into original documents to retrace just who was sheriff when. They had to go back to the originals because the incorrect information had been out there long enough to create a false "loop" in which one modern document was based on another and another but all were wrong because the first one was wrong (a common problem for serious researchers). Thanks to Brenda and Bobby, and the help of our friends in the Sheriff's office, I think we have a pretty darn complete and dependably accurate list now. Check it out at our sheriffs web page.
While doing that work, we realized we had never placed our County Judge list on the web, so we published that one too.
And all our great staff of Volunteers have helped many visitors and answered many inquiries over the past month, and continue adding information to our files every day. With the school year closing down, we are beginning to see visitors from out of state again, with some from Illinois, Indiana, and California most recently.
>>Web Site Additions.
Additions to our web site have grown since last time. To see what is new, visit our Latest Additions page.
For Your Information...
As Nancy Richey in the Spring 2011 edition of "Kentucky Libraries" points out, old newspapers "are a gold mine for genealogists." Besides the expected news of the day, newspapers can provide stories about families and community. Since death certificates were not mandatory in Kentucky until 1911, newspaper obituaries might be an only source of ones' death and family.
We are fortunate in Bullitt County that local Museum Friend and Volunteer Edith Blissett has worked countless hours over several years transcribing our old local newspapers into searchable computer text. So far, she has transcribed newspapers from, I believe, 1909 through 1925. A phenomenal accomplishment. Much of it is just items like "Aunt Juanita visited Alice Crenshaw last weekend." But things can also be found such as a long letter to the editor written "from the front" during World War One by a young soldier. That story was found recently by a young woman who never knew her "great grandpa", and now does a little, because he had written that letter to his mother for Mother's Day so long ago.
Many old newspapers around the country can now be found on-line. For example, as "Kentucky Libraries" mentions, "The Historical New York Times (1851-2001)" can be found, as can "The Historical Los Angeles Times (1881-1986)", and many others. Even these far-away papers can sometimes be useful to the local genealogist, perhaps listing someone who died or did something newsworthy, and describing some connection to Kentucky or Bullitt County. I personally found reports of our deadly Train Wreck of 1917 in newspapers around the country.
Search around and you'll find many papers from Kentucky and the nation now on-line.
As I finish writing this newsletter late on a Friday evening at the beginning of a Memorial Day weekend, my mind is settling down and beginning to reflect on the unimaginable sacrifices of so many men and women in the military over the years.
Oh, I have set out American flags at my house and made plans to attend several Memorial Day ceremonies, and even am supposed to speak at one.
And we at the museum have been working for years toward a day when we can have a really proper memorial monument in our county.
And I have begun work on trying to get the portable version of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall to visit our county (If you are interested in being a part of this, please let me know).
But that is all just small stuff in the relativity of things.
I am thinking about how so dreadfully many good military people have sacrificed so much, even their lives, over the years.
But as I sit here this evening, I find myself thinking more of the living who have sacrificed their lives. That is, God bless them, our many veterans who, by their service, experienced such awful things that they could not have prepared for, that it dramatically affected and changed the rest of their lives, so very often to their life-long loss. They might not have died in military service, but in a way many of them gave even more. "Pro Military" or not, we should all remember that these Brother and Sisters went through a lot more than the rest of us can imagine.
Forgive this moment of Christian religious thought, but in a church Sunday School that I teach, I sometimes discuss how, in one way of looking at things, Jesus "giving His life for us" might not mean just that he died for us. Much more than that, He gave his "Life," His lifetime, His "Living," affected by His calling. A lifetime of sacrifice and harshness and sorrow and often painful experience.
That is how I often think of our Veterans. They not only were willing to give their lives, they have given their Living.
I know this Memorial weekend is meant to remember those who "gave all."
And I do. Nothing should diminish that remembrance.
But I also want to remember those who continue to give all, and will give for the rest of their lives. Both our military men and women now serving, and especially those who have served in the past...and will never quite finish serving until the end of their days.
God bless them everyone.
Thank you for being a Friend of the Bullitt County History Museum.
Bullitt County History Museum
Museum Phone: 502-921-0161
E-Mail address: David.Strange@BullittCountyHistory.org