Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

Apr 19

Records and Information Management Month!

Posted on April 19, 2018 at 9:08 AM by Melissa Dalton

Last week, we discussed April being County Government Month, but did you know April is also Records and Information Management Month? Do you know what we mean by records and information management? How about a brief description! Records management is the systematic control of records throughout their life-cycle, from creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposition. As records managers, it is our job to preserve and protect records and information, while complying with federal and state laws, and classifying which records are of intrinsic and historical value, all while implementing policies that make records accessible to the public.

Something else that many may not think about is the actual definition of a record. This term, along with terms like “data” and “information”, can be ambiguous, but it is the role of records managers and archivists to define what a record is and how it should be maintained.

Last week a group of regional records managers and archivists, members of the Ohio County Archivists and Records Managers Association (CARMA), met for their Spring Meeting. The goal of CARMA is to create a space and professional network of archivists and records managers in Ohio to discuss various topics associated with county records. In particular, CARMA members discuss retention, storage, protection, preservation, and outreach in relation to their records. This is a wonderful group of people and a great opportunity for county employees (and even those who are not county employees, but those concerned with proper records management) to discuss common concerns and work together to find best practices in records management.

If you would like to learn more about records management and CARMA, I highly recommend you check out their latest brochure or check out their website.

CARMA logo (JPG)
CARMA logo (courtesy of CARMA)

Until Next Time!

Society of American Archivists:
Apr 12

2018 National County Government Month!

Posted on April 12, 2018 at 10:39 AM by Melissa Dalton

In 1991, April was designated as National County Government Month (NCGM). Since then, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has encouraged county governments to participate by making their services and programs known to the communities they serve. This year’s theme is “Serving the Underserved” (Fig 1).

2018 National County Government Month (NCGM) Logo (JPG)
Fig 1. 2018 NCGM logo (NACo)

Do you know what role county government plays in your region? County government is responsible for various services – from road maintenance, park maintenance and preservation, police protection, collecting property taxes, registering voters and managing elections, recording deeds and other legal instruments, and of course, providing access to public records. However, they also provide invaluable social services, such as children services, veteran services, job and family services, health services, as well as numerous other services and support programs.
Not all counties are the same, and each delivers services and programs in a way that best supports their community. The first county government was formed in Virginia in 1634 and by the 1830s, most states had elected county boards. Additionally, the roles and responsibilities of county government are largely mandated by the state.

As we are the keepers of Greene County’s history, we have to include a little history lesson. Greene County was established in 1803 and originally stretched up to Lake Erie (Fig 2), and was named for the American Revolutionary War General, Nathaniel Greene (Fig 3). By 1819, the county was sectioned off, and Ross and Hamilton counties were formed, establishing Greene County’s current boundaries (Fig 4).

1803 Ohio County Map (JPG)
Fig 2. Original counties of Ohio in 1803 (Auditor of State)

Portrait of General Nathaniel Greene (JPG)
Fig 3. General Nathaniel Greene (Wikimedia Commons)

1855 Map Greene County (JPG)
Fig 4. Greene County in 1855 (Greene County Archives)

To learn more about what we hold, and what kind of information you will find at the Greene County Records Center & Archives, visit our website! Additionally, we invite you to learn more about the services and programs Greene County provides to its citizens, by visiting the County website at

Until Next Time…


Ferguson, Thomas E., Ohio Lands: A Short History, Ohio Auditor of State, 1991

National Association of Counties (NACo):

Wikimedia Commons

Apr 06

Welcome our Newest Intern, Emily Hartman!

Posted on April 6, 2018 at 4:07 PM by Melissa Dalton

I have been volunteering with the Greene County Archives this semester as the last stage of a Master of Library Science degree from Kent State University (Fig 1). My undergraduate degree was in history and my master’s specialization is in archives and special collections, so I really wanted to finish my degree by getting some hands-on experience with a local collection. I had visited the archives repeatedly to work on projects for other classes, so I was excited to get the chance to intern here. I have to say, it has not been a disappointment!

Image of Emily Hartman (JPG)
Fig 1. Emily Hartman

My biggest project has been helping prepare 1910s probate records for microfilming by cleaning dirt off the pages and removing all the old staples and other fasteners (Figs 2 & 3). I did not know very much about the history of Greene County before I started my degree, and it has been fascinating to get a better idea of what the area looked like a hundred years ago. Some of the names are familiar, like the Huffman family or, of course, Dodds Monuments, but many files include receipts for expenses paid to tiny stores that have not been in business for decades (Fig 4). Other files include detailed inventories of household goods or farm equipment, and a few hide stories of family drama, contested wills, and dishonest or incompetent executors. I like to say that history is “just people being people,” and this project has been a small-scale example of that.

Image of receipts prior to removing fastener (JPG)
Fig 2. Receipts prior to removal of fastener (Greene County Archives)

Image of receipts after removing fastener (JPG)
Fig 3. Receipts after removal of fastener (Greene County Archives)

Receipt for textbooks (JPG)
Fig 4. Receipt for textbooks (Greene County Archives)

I also indexed a common pleas appearance docket from the late 1870s (Fig 5). While I have been getting some practice reading old handwriting during this internship, the clerk of courts who filled out this docket had particularly poor handwriting (Fig 6)! Sometimes I had to compare the docket to other records of the same cases or ask Joan Donovan for help translating the last names.
Inventory listing names horses in an estate (JPG)
Fig 5. Inventory of named horses from Estate (Greene County Archives)

Page from Greene County Common Pleas Docket (JPG)
Fig 6. Page from the Greene County Common Pleas Docket (Greene County Archives)

The last project I started is inventorying a box of ephemera (small, miscellaneous items) from the commissioners’ office. Ironically, I started working on this box on April 3, and the first file in the box included receipts and damage reports from the 1974 tornado.

My favorite part of this internship, though, is the people. The archives staff have all been very friendly and helpful and their knowledge of their collections and the community is impressive. I have truly enjoyed getting to work with and learn from them, and I would like to conclude this post by thanking them for this internship opportunity.

Until Next Time...