Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Compiled Work of Rhoda ENGLISH Ladd
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Rhoda ENGLISH Ladd 
2 Gale Street
Oregon,Illinois 61061-2232
Table of Contents of Rhoda's Work
This page retyped for Tri-Counties by Norma SMITH Mattison
The following material has been compiled by Rhoda ENGLISH Ladd and others to help historians and genealogists with Tioga County research. She has generously granted us the right to include her material here. this page is under construction, and over time we will add the materials that Rhoda has collected. Now retired in Illinois, Rhoda is greatly missed in Tioga County where she was a mainstay at the Tioga County Historical Society, but she is still avaialable online or by mail.

Rhoda ENGLISH Ladd, formerly of Wellsboro, dedicated a liefetime to the accumulation of genealogical materials which are available at the Tioga County Historical Society in Robinson house in Wellsboro, PA. Thanks to her efforts and accomplishments, today's researchers in Tioga County have available easily accessible research tools which she compiled. These include several volumes of newspaper clipping abstracts, lists of the cemetery burials in the county, Bible records, census data and much more. These volumes are available in many other libraries as well. At her retirement, she also donated the personal genealogy library that she and her husband, William Ladd ,had accumulated. She presently resides out of state, but I think of her every time I so conveniently walk to my shelves to take down the abundance of material she made available to us. When we research in other counties where such materials are not so easily available, we are reminded how fortunate we are to have had such a committed genealogist in our county. We can now build our research on the foundation she created. Thank you, Rhoda.

Precious Family Records: Their Care Preservation

How many of you through you research have collected together a wealth of materials including many photographs, newspaper clippings-vital records, including birth, death and marriage records, copies of Bible records, probate records, copies of deeds, and many one of a kind original records which really need to be care for properly

How many of you have collected Pension records on your soldier ancestors? What about all the source materials copied from Town Records, County Histories, and State Records. What have you done with these? Do you realize many of these precious family records are considered archival materials and should be treated as such.

First, lets consider the "Old Family Bible." The first pages, a presentation page, telling you who owned the bible and who gave it. The next page probably contains the marriage record, in the middle of the bible between the Old and New Testament, look for the family record, names, births ,marriages and deaths of members of the family. Sometimes ,placed carefully between the pages of the bible you can find newspaper clippings or memorial records & sometimes certificates.

Second, What about the large family record or marriage certificate-parchment heavily embellished in color and framed, hanging on the wall?

Third we need to consider the family scrapbook. Sometimes no name of newspapers or dates appear , only the most informative data on family members and history, dates places, and family names, so important and need to be preserved but how?

Forth, we have all collected many copies of Court House records: deeds, probate records, orphans court; also copies of pages from Genealogies, County Histories, now, how do we save these records.

Fifth, we all collect family pictures and we look for old pictures of our ancestral line, what can we do to properly preserve them.

Sixth, one of our most important finds would be a bundle of old letters, or a family record or what about an unpublished manuscript or diary?

There are certain basic preservation cares we need to know. Do not:

1 Do not use any type of " Scotch Tape".

2 Do not use paper clips or staples.

3 Do not fold materials

4 Do not pack materials tightly

5 Do not use rubber bands

6 Keep out of damp areas that could become flooded or extra warm areas.

7. Do nor roll documents

8. Do not use magic magnetic albums

Do the following things:

1. Do retype any written materials {be sure to give source)

2. Do make copies of all newspaper items( print is highly acidic)

3.Take photographs of old documents or use a good photocopier.

State Archivists recommend we file our family records in Archival approved material such as:

1. Acid free folders

2. Acid free sleeves & sheet protectors ( always remove any black sheets)

3. It is recommended to use acid free typing paper or coping paper

4. Provide proper storage ,air circulation, out of light, and heat( about 70degrees is alright) an unused close closet on an interior wall. Or a closed book case .

5. Acid free storage containers,

PLEASE NOTE: Samples of acid free materials may be seen at the Tioga County Historical Society’s Robinson House Museum. Arrangements can be made to order these items for you. They are expensive so a decision should be made to your needs and buy in quantity for a cheaper price. Find a friend to buy with you.

In conclusion remember to:

1. remove tapes, paper clips, rubber bands and staple from all records.

2. unroll materials, first leave at room temperature with the humidity from 40 to 60%, before attempting to unroll.

3. make certain that notebooks and file folders are not packed to tightly.

4. keep all materials in a dark, dry area about 70 degrees,

5. Store in a large draw with acid free paper between documents.

6. Type all poor records and make copies and photographs of documents.

Cataloging, Filing, and Writing Your Genealogical Findings to Compile a Family History

Sources used for the following paper are:

1. My experiences

2. Practical use of my materials

3. A guideline found in reading a small booklet entitled "WRITE IT RIGHT", a manual for writing family histories & genealogies, compiled by Donald R. Barnes & Richard S. Lackey

Pages 1, 3, 4, 12, 15, 27, 62, and 89

If you are going to compile your family records into a Genealogical, Historical Family History, every Genealogist and every researcher should stop at some stage, make an outline, arrange all his notes and materials, and start writing. This, then will be the culmination of all your research, all your documentation, all your researching and collecting data from source materials, and if you did not record your source and the place you did locate it, then you have overlooked one of the most important phases of Genealogical research. For instance. the 1860 census Sullivan Township, Tioga County Pennsylvania, Household No. 214 lists your family group. Hurryidly you write Tioga County Census, and the family group, you have located, the ages are now immaterial because you did not record the year. You now have a lot of researching because you did not take the time to record the family number, also that person, Susan Rose age 80 at the end of the census family group you now need the data on because it could be your great grandmother’s mother.

Writing a compiled genealogy requires special knowledge and skill that sets you a part from others in the field of Genealogy.

The things that distinguish a genealogist from a researcher are the ability to evaluate, and to interpret what you do locate as sources such as census & cemetery records, Wills and orphan’s court and deeds both grantee and grantor, also watch for the deed used in the settling of an estate.

Writing your family history will include data about your people, dates, places, and in making each one of your family come alive and become a person you can write about him or her. Make a small outline to follow, like, complete name, birth date, where born, death date, where died, where buried, and son or daughter of. Where they lived ,occupation, what church they attended.

Note: It is a good idea to quote your source material above data. Now record the children of. giving the source material for name, birth date, and birth place. This gives you an opportunity to use all the data you have located in all source material.

If your ancestor was one who helped build the first road from Elmira to Lawrenceville this is part of the historical data you can use. The census records states the oldest daughter was 19 years old and she is a school teacher, do you record this important fact ?

You are so busy and you just do not have time , have you ever said that. Well just listen, plan a little time for this writing, maybe you are a night person, maybe you function better early in the morning, set aside a special time, like Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 am till 9 am. you would be surprised what you can get done in two hours a day. Maybe Wednesday evening is better for you. Just try it for one month and see how you make out.

Remember to use your documentation as you go along, do not be afraid to quote from your findings, giving book, docket or a manuscript as the source. Sometimes you need to decide how much you want to write , you do have several options, you can decide to

No. 1 Trace the descendants of a person in all lines,

No. 2 Trace the descendants of a person in one line,

No.3 Trace the ancestry of a person in a single line

No 4 Do a multi family genealogy

Remember Families living in a certain area, married into families in that area. It is recommended that you treat each family group separately, early history of the area can be woven into a part of a family history, in doing this more persons will wish a copy.Do not forget to record the part your ancestors played in the beginnings of our counties and our townships and towns.

Numbering systems differ as you are quite aware. As you work with different genealogies you may find one easy to follow, clear back to your immigrant ancestor. If this works all right for you, or if you have decided on one you like, just give an example and an explanation for how it works. The one highly recommended and that has been approved for genealogists is the new England Historical & Genealogical Register system. These volumes are on file here and I have brought along for an example.

In doing research you know you all start with yourself and work toward an immigrant ancestor. When you start writing your history start with the oldest you have found.

Do not look at the whole thing.

Break your work down into family groups follow the generations

Your reference notes can be used for documentation, cross references, and to make acknowledgements.

Always use: 81/2 x 11 good quality paper

use only one side

binding side leave 1 1/2 inch margin

other three sides leave 1 inch margin

g ood clean ribbon and clean keys.

Title page

Dedication page

Table of contents




Introduction to Oral History

Data Abstracted from Oral History for the Local Historical Society by Willa K. Baum

Oral history is an important means of assembling information for historical research at a local level. It can be done by societies with limited resources but should be done right.

Oral history is the tape recording of reminiscences about which the person can speak from first hand knowledge the information can be placed on tape by a question and answer session about any given topic or a series of topics.

Local Historical Societies have assumed the responsibilities of preserving the history of their communities. This takes the place of the long newsy letters about letters about conditions, places, life, and family which used to be written.

The ultimate goal will be to provide this valuable information to others during historical or genealogical research.

Volunteers who are usually recruits for this valuable project are an important part of the society and should attend a workshop to learn how to do oral history. These workshops are available through your local Historical Society.

Possible Topics for interviews by Dr. Robert H. Wooley

I. Natural events

1. Fires 2. Floods 3. Blizzards 4. Epidemics

II. Natural Events

1. Roaring twenties and their effect on the locality( prohibition, on credit, flappers etc.)

2. The Great depression/ New Deal Era ( unemployment, bankruptcies, W.P.A. CCC. etc.)

3.Wars,(WW1,WWII, Korea, Vietnam)

III. Local Events

1.New Technological Marvels (Automobiles, telephones, radio, tv. etc.)

2.Civic improvements(paved streets, transportation, electricity, gas, etc.)

3.Civic Celebrations ( Laurel Festival, Mansfield Fair, County Fair, etc) How they originated and their signifiance to the area

IV. Local Organizations

1. Churches( origins, early ministers, buildings etc.)

2.Chamber of Commerce

3. Civic Organizations( lions, Kiwanis etc. )

4. Fraternal Organizations ( Moose, Masons, etc. )

V. Local Color

1.Unforgettable Characters

2. Family Histories

3. Local stories, Folk Lore etc.

VI. Local Landmarks

1. Historic buildings and places their owners, origins, changes over the years.

VII. Previous generation’s reminiscences

1.Remembering your grandfather’s tales of the civil war.

VIII. Economic aspects: Their origins, owners, success or failure

1.Area/family Industries ( lumbering; mining ,Glassmaking etc)

2. Area / Family Business ( retail stores, professional services )

3. Family Farms ( crops grown etc.)

IX. Political Aspects and Their Effect on the Locality

1. Elections( National, State, Local )

2. Political Parties ( factors behind Republican dominance of county)

3. Local Politicians ( their backgrounds, Power, accomplishments)

4. Power Elites ( Who had power? How was it used?)

X. Intellectual Aspects

1. Schools ( private, Public, colleges )

2. Libraries ( origins, Funding, use, success, or failure )

3. Literary or Art Societies

4. Musical Groups

5. Historical Societies

XI. Social Aspects

1. Life in this Locality( child hood, work, recreation etc. )

2. Area Ethic Groups ( Poles, Welsh, Yankees etc.)

3. Social Classes in area and their effects

4. Social Mobility ( moving up in the world, How much? How done? By whom? )

                    Tips For Interviewers

     1.An interview is not a dialogue. The whole point of the interview is to get the narrator to tell his story. Limit your own remarks to a few pleasantries to guide him along. It is not necessary to give him the details of your ancestor’s trip in a covered wagon to get him to tell about his grandfather’s trip  to California. Just say,” I understand your grandfather came around the Horn to California. What did he tell you about his trip,”
    2. Ask questions that require more of an answer than ‘Yes or no.’ Start with” Why, How. Where ,What kind of....” Instead of “ Was Henry Miller a good boss?” ask “ What did the cowhands think of Henry Miller as a boss?”
    3.  Ask one question at a time. Sometimes interviewers ask a series of questions all at once. Probably the narrator will answer only the first or last  question. You will catch this kind of questioning when you listen through  the tape after the session and you can avoid it the next time.
    4. Ask brief questions. We all know the irrepressible speech-maker who, when questions called for at the end of a lecture, get up and asks a five-minute question. It is unlikely that the narrator is so dull that it takes more than a sentence or two for him to understand the question.
    5. Start with a non- controversial question; save the delicate questions until you have become better acquainted. A good place to begin is with the narrator’s youth and background.
     6. Don’t let periods of silence fluster you. Give your narrator a chance to think of what he wants to add  before you hustle him along with the next question. Relax, write a few words on your notepad. The sure sign of a beginning interviewer is a tape where every brief pause signals the next question.
     7.Don’t worry if your questions  are not beautifully phrased as you would like them to be for posterity. A  few fumbled questions will help put your narrator at ease as he realizes that you are not perfect and he need not worry if he isn’t either. It is unnecessary to practice fumbling  a few questions; most of us are nervous enough to do that naturally.
     8. Don’t interrupt a good story because you have thought of a question, or because your narrator is straying from the planned outline. If the information is pertinent, let him go on, but jot down your question on your note pad so you will remember to ask  it later.
     9. If your narrator does stray into non-pertinent subjects ( the most common problems are to follow some family members children or to get into a series of family medical problems), try to pull him back as quickly as possible. Before we move on, I’d like to find out how the closing of the mine in 1898 affected your family’s finances. Do you remember that?”
    10. It is often hard  for a narrator to describe persons. An easy way to begin is to ask him to describe the persons appearance. From there, the narrator is more likely to move into character description.
    11.Interviewing is one time when a negative approach is more effective than a positive one. Ask about the negative aspect  of a situation, For example, in asking a person, do not begin with a glowing description of him.” I know the mayor was a very generous and wise person. Did you find him so?” Few narrators will quarrel with the statement like that even though they may have found the mayor a disagreeable person. You will get a more lively answer if you start out in the negative. “ Despite the mayor’s reputation for good works, I hear that he was a very difficult man for his immediate employees to get along with.” If your narrator admired the mayor greatly, he will spring to his defense with an apt illustration of why your statement is wrong. If he did find him hard to get along with, your remark has given him a chance to illustrate some of the mayor’s more unpleasant characteristics.
     12. Try to establish at every important point in the story where the narrator was or what his role was in this event,, in order to indicate how much is eyewitness information and how much is based on reports of others. “ Where were you at the time of the mine disaster?” “ Did you talk to any of the survivors later?” “ Did their accounts differ in any way from the newspaper accounts of what happened?” Work around these questions carefully or you can appear to be doubting the accuracy of the narrator’s account.
    13. Do not challenge accounts you think may be inaccurate, Instead, try to develop as much information as possible that can be used  by later researchers in establishing what probably happened. Your narrator may be telling you quite accurately what he saw. As Walter Lord explained when describing his interview with survivors of the
titanic, “Every lady I interviewed had left the sinking ship in the last lifeboat. As I later found out from studying the placement of the lifeboats, no group of  lifeboats was in view of another and each lady probably was in the last lifeboat she could see leaving the ship.”
    14.  Do tactfully point out to your narrator that there is a different account of what he is describing, if there is. Start out, “ I have heard....” “ or I have read....” This is not a challenge to his account , but rather an opportunity for him to bring up further evidence to refute the opposing view, or to explain how that view got established, or to temper what he has already said. If done skillfully, some of your best information can come from this juxtaposition of differing accounts.
     15. Try to avoid “ off the record” information-- the times when your narrator ask you to turn off the recorder while he tells you a good story. Ask him to let you record the whole thing and promise that you will erase that portion if he ask you to after further consideration. You may have to erase it later, or he may not tell you the story at all, but once you allow “ off the record” stories, he may continue with more and more and you will end up with almost no recorded interview at all. “ Off the record” information is only useful if you yourself are researching a subject and this is the only way you can get the information. It  has no value if your purpose is to collect information for later use by other researchers.
     16.Don’t switch the recorder off and on. It is much better to waste a little tape on irrelevant material than to call attention to the tape recorder by constant on-off operation. For this reason, I do not recommend the start-stop switches available on some mikes. If your mike has such a switch, tape it to “on” to avoid an inadvertent middling of material-- then forget it. Of course you can turn off the recorder if the telephone rings or someone interrupts your session.
   17. Interviews usually work out better if there is no  one present except the narrator and interviewer. Sometimes two or more narrators can be successfully recorded. but  usually each one of them would have been better alone.
   18. Do end the interview at a reasonable time. An hour and a half is probably maximum. First, you must protect your narrator against over- fatigue; Second you will be tired even if he isn’t. Some narrators tell you very frankly if they are tired, or their wives will. Otherwise, you must plead fatigue, another appointment, or no more tape.
    19. Don’t use the interview to show off  your own knowledge, vocabulary, charm or other abilities. Good interviewers do not shine; only their interviews do.

Table of Contents of Rhoda's Work