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November is National Veteran and Military Families Month!

This month in the Local History & Genealogy Department, it’s all about veterans: we want to help you talk to the veterans in your life, preserve their memories, commemorate them, and research your ancestors’ involvement in conflicts past. We’ll start an important fact: WWII and Korean War veterans are passing away in great numbers each year, and many take with them all the memories and stories of their experiences. Here at the library, we are hoping to preserve as many of those memories as we can by offering oral history interviews to veterans. We’ll setup a date and time, you’ll turn in a pre-interview questionnaire so that we can tailor our questions to your experience, and we record the interview for posterity (you get a copy to keep, too!). Veterans are encouraged to bring mementos such as medals, photographs, newspaper clippings, etc. to their interview. If you or a relative are interested, please contact us at (859) 962-4070 with questions and to setup an appointment. Interested in conducting your very own interview with the veterans in your life? Check out The Oral History Workshop: Collect and Celebrate the Life Stories of Your Family and Friends or Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide for information on how to get started. These books will also give you tons of ideas on what kinds of questions to ask (including some interesting and non-traditional questions), and tips for a successful interview. We also have Oral History Kits that include a digital voice recorder so you can do an interview in the comfort of your home. Thinking of a way to commemorate your favorite veteran, or make a special gift for a loved one? Visit one our Makerspaces and make [...]

5 Tips for Researching Your African-American Ancestry

Photograph of the congregation at First Colored Baptist Church in Covington. Courtesy of the collection of Ted Harris and available online at Kenton County Public Library's Faces and Places Historic Northern Kentucky Photograph Database. February is Black History Month, and a good time to focus on researching your African-American ancestry. We've put together a list of 5 tips to help you get started researching your African-American family history. Talk to living family members and write down what you know. Ask for names, birth and death dates, burial locations, obituaries, photographs or anything else that may help you with your research. There are lots of free genealogy forms online, like family charts and group sheets. Visit CyndisList, Ancestry, and Mid-Continent Public Library for free, downloadable charts and group sheets. Visit any branch of the Kenton County Public Library and use our databases! Popular genealogy databases include: Ancestry.com (free inside any branch of the Kenton County Public Library), FamilySearch.org, and the Chicago Defender (African-American newspaper with coverage from 1909-1975). Start with the 1940 United States Census and work your way back. Follow your direct ancestors through the U.S. censuses. If you have trouble finding ancestors in censuses, follow their siblings – you might find a connection to the next generation more easily by searching for their siblings. Getting past the 1870 & 1860 censuses can be difficult, but looking at the families who lived around your ancestors may provide you with clues. Former slaves often did not move far away after emancipation. If you think your ancestors were slaves, look at the white families living nearby your ancestors in the 1870 census. Then, look at those families in the 1860 census to learn if they were slave-holders. You [...]

New Year, New Resolution! Getting Started with your Genealogy

Photograph Courtesy of Faces and Places: Northern Kentucky's Online Photograph Collection. If you’ve gotten away from your genealogy for a while or if the holiday gatherings this season have sparked your interest in your family’s history, look no further. KCPL has a dedicated Local History & Genealogy Department and staff ready to assist you with your goal of discovering your family’s story. The Local History & Genealogy Department is located on the second floor of our Covington branch at 502 Scott Boulevard in Covington, Kentucky. Our department is full of all kinds of resources that can help you to discover your family history: from books to microfilm, to maps and vertical files, and let’s not forget online databases! First things first: where to start? We recommend starting to write down what you already know about your family. Start with a basic family tree (we like this one via Mid-Continent Public Library’s Midwest Genealogy Center) and fill out what you know starting with yourself. Start talking with your relatives – parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, cousins - to fill in as many details as you can. Ask for names, dates (birth, marriage, death), and places where they lived or may have come from. Check out our blog on ice-breaker questions here. Once you’ve done that, look for any gaps you might have in your tree – that’s a good place to start! Start looking for basic information in birth indexes, death records, and censuses, which often give you clues as to parentage (thus helping you take your tree back a generation!). We like starting our searches online because many of these records are being digitized by companies such as Ancestry, FamilySearch, and FindMyPast, just [...]

Genealogy Ice Breaker Questions for Holiday Family Gatherings

The holidays are a great time to discuss family history! Photograph courtesy of Faces and Places! Family gatherings over the holidays are a great time to talk about family history. We've crafted a list of fun genealogy based ice-breakers to get the discussion started at your next family gathering. What was the fastest mode of transportation when you were born? What was your mom, dad, grandparents favorite dessert? Do you have the recipe? Why do you think they liked it? What school subject was your favorite and why? How did you spend your summer vacations when you were growing up? Who in the family do you think you look like and why? Where and when did you first go to see a movie? Do you remember what was playing? Who went with you? What sports were important to your family? What sports were your siblings better or worse at? Why did you marry your spouse? What do you remember about your great grandparents? How did you come to choose the names of your children? Do you “remember when Joe got his head stuck in the railing and..."? Ask about a funny family story or memory! What was the biggest news story during your life? We'd love to hear how your relatives answered these questions! You can comment on our blog, or post to any of our social media accounts!

By |December 19th, 2018|Categories: blog, Featured Post, KCPL|0 Comments

Family Oral History — The Power of Stories, Rituals and Resilience

Between Thanksgiving and the end of the year we spend a lot of time thinking about family, planning get-togethers, cooking and buying gifts – all for the ones we love best. As Americans we tend to focus on the future and not the past. But this is a great time of year to slow down and remember -- and learn from -- those we love. There’s research that shows that children who know their family’s history – both the happy times and the challenging ones – are more resilient, confident and happy than children who don’t (see The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler). He calls it a “…strong intergenerational self. They know they belong to something bigger than themselves.” Mr. and Mrs. Gisellie Baker with (left to right) Cindy (2), Priscilla (3), Paul J. (2), Richard (2), Anthony (5). Photograph Courtesy of Faces and Places.            “The most healthful narrative … is the oscillating family narrative. ‘Dear, let me tell you we’ve had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your grandfather was the pillar of the community. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened we always stuck together as a family.’” --Bruce Feiler   Should you decide to take part in a Family Oral History, here’s a few things to consider:   Keep others involved Starting a family oral history project takes a bit of preparation and time. There’s a lot of things you need to think about so take some time to put together a plan. But you can do [...]

Five Ways to Learn Your Family History

Holiday gatherings are a great source of family fun. They can also be a great source of family information to help you learn more about your history. Here are five things you should do at your next family gathering so those family memories last forever: Think about what you want to learn. Where did grandma meet grandpa? Where was great-great cousin Lou born? What war did great uncle Joe serve in? Make a list of questions ahead of time and be sure to ask: birthplace, names of parents and siblings, where they lived, churches attended, burial locations, marriages, occupations, military service, public service, schools attended, etc. Not only will you get valuable information, you’re sure to hear some entertaining stories! Create a list of family members. Sit down with some of the older members in your family and ask them to list names of their brothers, sisters, grandparents and so on as far back as they can remember. Make sure to write down all the names and details like place of birth if possible. Even better, use your smartphone or tablet to record members of your family talking about it. Share and share alike. You may find that someone else in your family is working on your genealogy as well. Share what you’ve learned. Genealogy is a great way to connect with others and sharing family data, research tips, and resources can go a long way in making contacts and/or finding those missing pieces. If you have extended and far away family, use social media to let them know what you’re doing and ask if they have anything to add. Create a Facebook group where you post family history and invite your family to join. [...]

By |November 21st, 2018|Categories: blog, Featured Post|0 Comments

Expanded Online Access to the Kentucky Post Available

The Kenton County Public Library is proud to offer for a limited time expanded coverage of the Kentucky Post. The new  database offered through NewsBank is keyword searchable and includes digitized images of the paper between 1895-1962. The database is available for free from inside any branch of the Kenton County Public Library system. Also, the database can be accessed from home for free with your Kenton County Public Library card. To access the Kentucky Post database follow these instructions: Visit: www.kentonlibrary.org/genealogy Click on Research Tools Click on Kentucky Post If you are outside of the Library - enter your Library card number Under the Heading "America's News - Historical and Current" click on "Kentucky Post Historical and Current" From this screen you can search the database. This search also covers the text only access for the Kentucky Post from 1990-2013 Questions or comments? Contact the Local History and Genealogy Department at (859)962-4070 or via email at history@kentonlibrary.org  

Celebrate Family History Month at KCPL

We are spooktacularly delighted that October is coming (and it's not just because of cooler weather, fall leaves, pumpkins, or Halloween)! Family History Month is our favorite part of October in the Local History and Genealogy Department. To celebrate, we've got a month full of programs to help you with your family history research and learn more about the history of our area. Learn more about the sensational stories in the Licking Riverside neighborhood this month at KCPL. Photograph courtesy of Faces and Places. www.kentonlibrary.org/genphotos On Columbus Day, Monday, October 8, attend our Scandals & Mayhem: A Historic Walking Tour of Licking Riverside and Governors Point neighborhood. We'll recount the grim stories of the neighborhood's prior inhabitants and share some of the scandals that rocked the neighborhood. You have two chances to take the tour, once at 2 PM and then again at 6 PM. The tour will depart from the Local History and Genealogy Department at Covington. The Kenton County Historical Society is sponsoring an Antiques Appraisal Fair on Saturday, October 13 from 11 AM - 2 PM. Always wondered what that old vase was worth? Talk with antiques appraisal experts to see if you might be sitting on a pile of antique "gold." Photographs of large furniture pieces are preferred. The fair will take place in the BB&T meeting room at the Covington Branch. Are you researching your ancestors who might have served in the American Revolution? Interested in joining the DAR? Then mark your calendars and plan to meet with members of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on Tuesday, October 16 @ 9 AM at the Covington Library. Members of the DAR will discuss the necessary steps toward [...]

DIY Sock Snowmen of Kentucky Historic Icons

There are Craft People™, there are those who craft, and there are those who do not. I am one of those who do not. On the rare occasion I find myself artistically afflicted, I look for projects that are easy and fun, with little-to-no clean up required. Since winter in Northern Kentucky can often feel never-ending, a snow-themed project sounds like the perfect way to break up the monotony, while celebrating the season. For my chosen craft, I decided to make no-sew sock snowmen, modeled after well-known Kentucky figures: Abraham Lincoln (16th President of the United States), Colonel Sanders (founder of the always delicious Kentucky Fried Chicken), Loretta Lynn (award-winning country singer and coal miner’s daughter), and Simon Kenton (legendary pioneer and county namesake). This project is simple enough to construct, appropriate for people of all ages (as is the case with most crafts, I’d recommend adult supervision for younger kids). You’ll need white socks, scissors, polyester stuffing (rice or beans work better, though), thread, buttons, markers, ribbon, and any other supplies you deem necessary to bring your snowperson to life. Let’s begin! Turn a sock inside out and cut it into two parts, just a few inches below the heel. (Hold on to the toe-end of the sock – we’ll make a hat out of that piece later!)   Take a piece of thread, wrap it around the newly cut end of the sock, and tie a knot. Turn the sock outside in (back to the way it was originally packaged; the knot is hidden this way). Fill the sock full of polyester stuffing (or rice or beans) and shape along the way in to a snowman silhouette. Then separate the two spheres of [...]

Using The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

USING THE SANBORN FIRE INSURANCE MAP We’ve done a blog post in the past concerning our Sanborn Fire Map collection, and I wanted to go one step further; while the previous post dealt with the nature and scope of the collection, I wanted to show you how to use the maps for your property research.  We have digitized maps from 1886, 1894, 1909, and 1909-1949 for Covington and vicinity, and a subscription for the entire state of Kentucky in the years that are digitally available; print maps of Covington (Vol 1) and the surrounding areas (Vol  2) that originated 1909 and are physically updated through about 1950; and 1946-1992 on microfilm. I begin below with an annotated graphical introduction to the characteristics of the maps and a view of the Sanborn’s key map.  Whether in print, digitized, or on microfilm, each ‘map’ is a set of multiple pages of enlarged maps preceded by a key map and symbol key.  Each year has slightly different symbols and color codes, so be sure to check the key for the year that you are using. Since the Sanborn maps are of more densely settled areas, I’ve also included a view from a county atlas in our collection so that you can see the types of information included in these resources in comparison to the Sanborn maps. Lastly, I’ve included a view of the enlarged map of a property in Covington in 1886; on this map I’ve noted the characteristics that can be either directly observed or interpreted through the use of the key.  USING THE SANBORN FIRE INSURANCE MAPS TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR HISTORIC PROPERTY One of the most important things to know when trying to read any [...]