To the Editor:
The Carroll County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society would like to clear up some facts that have been reported in the newspapers. Fourteen years ago, arrangements were made with the commissioners and judges at that time to move into the Second Street building. The agreement was that we be the caretakers of the old courthouse books and records and answer any requests for research of those records. In return, we were not charged any rent or utility fees.
It has been reported that the utilities ran from $1100 to $1200 per month for this building. After checking with the Carroll County Auditor’s office, it was learned the utilities for the first six months of 2013 were $1056.78.
Representatives from our society attended the commissioners’ meeting to ask for additional time to prepare for our moving from the Second Street building. We had been given less than two weeks to move out of the building. Can you imagine our surprise when we were told about all the “wonderful” arrangements that had been made for us that our membership knew nothing about?
In 2012 we had 2,800 people visit our library, plus unknown others who did not sign in. It required us to have two people staff the library each day, five days a week. We volunteered 1,015 hours to staff the library. This is not to mention the hours that were spent making copies after we closed. In two and one half months last year, we copied 433 probate packets. We undertook this huge task because the old documents were being destroyed by repeated handling. These packets can have from five to hundreds of pages in them. In order to try and keep up with the requests, we had to lease another copy machine at $149.00 per month. We did get to keep the fees from those copies, but we surely earned that money!
These packets and the old courthouse books can now be found in digital form thanks to Chesapeake Energy who undertook the huge task of photographing them into digital format. It will take less time to copy these records in the future.
Our main source of income over the years has been our membership fees and donations. We are a tax exempt organization, so that all donations are tax deductible. Over the last couple of years our membership numbers have been down due mostly to the internet. We have never charged to use the library or requested fees for research done for patrons. The oil and gas people find our cemetery books, obituary files, birth and death records, biographical resources, family files, and books we have published and collected over the years very useful in their title searches. Our society feels we have saved the taxpayers of Carroll County the expense of salary and benefits for additiional courthouse staff to do what our society has handled for free as volunteers.
After being granted additional time by the commissioners to remain at the Second Street building, we now start the search for a new home for our library. If we cannot find a place that we can afford to occupy, then the society may have to disband. What does that mean to the public? Our collection of materials, per our chapter charter, must go to the Ohio Genealogical Society located in Mansfield, Ohio. The old county courthouse records will remain in Carroll County to be placed in storage.
In closing, the Carroll County Genealogy Society would like to thank the public and the county for their support and the arrangement established in the past.
The Carroll County Genealogy Society
24 Second St, Carrollton Ohio