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Tips for researchers:
Have a pencil and paper handy. Some libraries do not allow bags or pens. You may be asked to check those items, but a pencil and a few pieces of paper will always be allowed.

When reading old film or printed items, transparent colored film, such as that used for slide shows, brings out printing. Simply hold over the paper, the front of the reader, or between the lens and film.

Always carry a magnifying glass or, one of the large sheet magnifiers.

When copying anything that may "bleed through," place face down on copier and put a sheet of red or black paper over it.

Copy title page of  book and attach to pages copied - you will not forget where your source came from. You may wish to note date and library as well.

When viewing census records, read at least one page ahead of and one page behind the one where your folks are. Same goes for cemetery surveys - note who is in nearby plots. Copy the pages and take them home so you can see if any of the names match known relatives or friends.

Old newspapers have great tidbits about people who lived in the area. They give you time lines, as well as pointing to possible relatives.

Jeanette at map cabinetteJeanette Henderson, Curator of the Museum has gathered family histories, films, books on local and general genealogy and other things. There are photo albums, business ledgers, maps and many more valuable resources for area researchers. There are film reader/printers, a copy machine, and several computers hooked up to printers and to the internet. Copies may be made for a small fee from either the film readers or the copy machine.

Genealogy libraryOne may browse through donated family histories. Many are indexed, some are not. Jeanette and volunteers can pretty well tell you whom to contact about each of them. Often they will know the family personally and can answer your questions. Jeanette, her husband, and many of the volunteers grew up in the area and have a broad knowledge of its history and that of its people. See our books index for the holdings of the librcomputer areaary.
The volunteers rock; they can show you how to: find information on the internet; use forms (available at the library); or do a history of your family, if you are new at genealogy.

Browse books on history of areas in which your family lived. It will help you understand why they lived in a certain area, or why they moved elsewhere. Histories will give you time lines of major happenings which may have impacted locals. They tell you the major industries, when the railroads and highways were built, and a number of other things that may give you a clue to find that elusive ancestor.

Perhaps you lost track of Great Grandfather John and can't find him anywhere. After reading a history of the area where you lost him, you find the railroad was being extended to the south for a hundred miles or so. You know he was working for the railroad, so now you have a good idea of where to look for him next.

There are Genealogy help books as well. "The Handy Book for Genealogist" tells when a county was formed, from what area it was subdivided and the information it maintains. Other books tell you about census records, have definitions you may need, or give you ideas of places to look for certain documents.

Browse through LDS CDs or log onto or Heritage Quest. Both are paid subscriptions and have census records for every state in the US  from 1790 through 1930, along with birth, marriage, and death records and published family histories. and the LDS have family histories compiled by others. These must be taken with a very large "grain of salt." Many will be meticulously researched and documented, while others will not be. They may, however, serve as road maps for research.

Microfilm and readers

There are now 20 rolls of microfilm containing local newspapers which patrons of the library may view and copy. Some are: a nearly complete set of Okaloosa News Journal 1930 thru mid 1956; Okaloosa Messenger, 1930s and 40s; miscellaneous issues from Milligan, Laurel Hill and Valparaiso.

Films may be ordered from the LDS. Check with staff members. Rental of these films are $5.50 and a list of ones available may be seen at the library catalogue of LDS:

Special offer from Allen Co. Library -- largest genealogy repository in eastern US. Send copies of your work for a bound copy.

Newspaper Indexes:

Roll 2   Roll 3   Roll 4
Roll 5   Roll 6   Roll 7
Roll 8   Roll 9   Roll 10
Roll 11   Roll 12   Roll 13
Roll 14   Roll 15   Roll 16
Roll 17   Roll 18   Roll 19
Roll 20

Carole Griffin, maintains a list of the records that are available for research. Browse through this list before you come to the library. Then spend the day digging into them.

Books on Loan from Bill Bell

Genealogy Tidbits archive


Lost -- somewhere on the road between Crestview and C.B. Ferdon's turpentine still a walking stick belonging to G.W. Edge. Finder please return same to him or leave it at The News-Journal office and receive a reasonable reward. OKaloosa, 6-14-1918.

Cain Family of Crestview
The first building in present day Crestview was the homestead of John Nathaniel Cain's family. Wife Mariantha (Powell) and children lived from 1881 til 1919. Jos. A. Cain told his family history to Mallie Martin for a newspaper article in 1938. His siblings were: Sam, Jim, Joel, John, George, Hillard, Alex, Martha, Nathaniel, Annie and Ellen.
     Their neighbors were the Henry Harris family and the Savage Plum Orchard.  Later families were:
Noys, Clark, Fountain and Richbourg.  The first church: Congregational Church, also first courthouse. First depot: L&N box car; agent Percy King. HF Powell built the first house, used as hotel.
     Joseph was born July 27, 1871, wed Mary Wilkinson, dau. of Fletcher Wilkinson.
    His brother John W. died in August 20, 1940 at age 68. A cotton farmer in Northwest Okaloosa county; raised a large family. His obit lists children, friends, pallbearers.  D.R.  Moore Funeral Home made arrangements and burial was at Old Bethel Cemetery.  Rev. Ellisor of  Methodist church officiated. Children from New York, Ohio and Florida attended.
Last Two Hangings
From Playground Daily News, June 19, 1970.  Article tells of the  hanging of Putnam Ponsell and Jacob Benjamin Martin  murders of John F. Tuggle of Deerland July 4, 1921. A letter from Ponsell to his mother is quoted heavily. Sheriff was FJ Steel.
     It also tells of the Bob Blackwell hanging in July of 1920. Blackwell killed Bud and Nancy Davis March 21, 1917. All three men confessed their crimes and were hanged in public on the Okaloosa court house grounds with huge crowds attending.

DR Moore made funeral arrangements in the 1930s and there are some of his records at the museum.

Send us queries, photos, anecdotes or other items to post on our "bulletin board." Perhaps you will help someone or get help.

  ©2007 Baker Block Museum