The Fairview Area Historical Society
Posted January 8, 2015
Genealogy for the asking!
The Historical Society is very, very fortunate to have a fine genealogist on hand to answer various questions that come from descendants of early Fairview folks. She is Joan Fiesler and she's been honored by the Erie Society for Genealogical research for her work - for them as well as for the Fairview Area Historical Society.
Joan receives requests regularly for assistance and she does it willingly, without charge. Instead, she suggests that the seeker might donate to the Society as an option. Joan has been known to meet people at a cemetery and even show them around the township! Her interest in genealogy is all-consuming. Her office is overflowing with files on Fairview people and she is responsible for putting together the Cemetery Book, which occasionally is reprinted and available for sale. Her goal, she says, is "to create binders of as many old Fairview families as I can, especially adding photos and stories."
Here's an example of a request from January 2010: "Dear Joan Fiesler, I am searching for any information about my Great-Great-Grandfather Dr. Jacob Ziegler and his wife Eliza Melhorn Ziegler. They lived in Fairview and I found the Fairview Cemetery Burial Listings of them. (The writer listed them.) If you have any input on this information, or other avenues I might try, I would greatly appreciate it."
Joan's response began: "I am so glad that you contacted me. I have been responding with a MELHORN descendant who sent me photos of her family, etc." She went on to describe the type of information she had recently acquired. She even included a photo of some of the Melhorn stones in the Fairview Cemetery (see photo, right). She then sent an e-mail to the source of this new information asking permission to share it.
Sometimes a request comes asking her to verify information. That person is seeking proof in order to apply for a DAR membership. A few years back another person offered to help care for one of the small family cemeteries around the township. She had ancestors buried there, she explained, so this request was passed along to the Township Supervisors. And yes, there have been inquiries on the various Sturgeon families who lived in the Fairview area.
Alas! There are times when a name is so obscure that no record can be found of him/her. Joan often passes those requests along to the county genealogists and also suggests the descendant check court house records and the microfilm of old newspapers available at Blasco Library. Oh, yes, she also has responded with brief tutorials on how to research one's own genealogy using the Internet. Her advice included keeping a printed copy of all the information gathered, along with sources for each item, in a three-ring binder. "Then I can grab it and go," she said.
One request came in this past July that she has not been able to answer. Perhaps our readers might help with this. The request began: "I understand that the Sturgeon House was rented to families in the early 1900s. I wonder if you have records of those families."
As yet there is no complete record. As a matter of fact, Joan lived in the house when she was a child. The Sturgeon House was rented by a descendant of the Sturgeons from 1899 until the Society purchased it in 1979 - - eighty years of rentors! We would like to do a "genealogical search" on the house and have that list for our own information. If anyone knows the name of a family and possibly when they resided there, please send it along to us.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for an ancestor from the Fairview area, contact Joan Fiesler. She's waiting to search it out for you.
Tradition: the handing down of information, beliefs, or customs from one generation to another.
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The Fairview Area Historical Society is one of 26 members of Erie Yesterday, a county-wide consortium of historically-oriented organizations and individuals. Together these organizations are saving history for the future. For more information, see erieyesterday.org
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