Learning how to use the archives of local history & records created and maintained by our six public libraries

CHURDAN, Iowa, May 1, 2022 — When the Greene County Historical Society gathers this Friday, May 6, at the Churdan Public Library in Churdan, members and guests will learn about “Mining Digital Treasures from the Archives.”

Created in 2012 and growing impressively ever since, those “Greene County Archives” are available free online 24/7 and worldwide, from the website of the Jefferson Public Library. They are a collaboration by the county’s six libraries, the local newspapers, local government agencies and donors.

Jane Millard

“We receive usage statistics every month, and it’s always fun to look at how many users we’re getting from countries all over the world,” said Jane Millard, the Jefferson library director. “You always wonder, ‘Who are these people and how have they become interested in some part of our history in Greene County?’ ”

The largest volume of material in the archives are the digitized newspapers of the county – all of them.  The oldest archive on the site is the 1856 U.S. Census report on Greene County.

“We’ve built the archives in two phases, with lots of public support,” Millard said. “In fact, writing the grants and finding matching money for both phases has been the easiest fundraising I’ve ever done. That tells you how much public support there is for having archives that are as accessible as ours are. If you can do a Google search, you’ll easily be able to use our archives.”

She will lead the presentation on Friday, but it’s been developed with all the libarians in the Greene County Librarians Association.  Those include Millard, Shari Minnehan in Churdan, Diane Kafer in Grand Junction, Wendy Johnson in Scranton, Cara McCoy in Rippey and Kimberly Bohnet in Paton.

The Churdan library has special equipment that will allow the presenters to use the library website while projecting it on a large screen, so the audience can see and follow along when Millard shows how to access specific documents.

The event Friday will open with a lunch at the library at 12 noon, provided by the members of St. Columbkille Catholic Church. Cost of that is $10 and members should RSVP to their historical society community contacts.  Others are welcome for lunch, too, and should make a reservation with program director Margaret Hamilton at 515-386-4408.

The free program will begin at 12:45 p.m.

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How many courthouse structures have been built on the site of the current Greene County Courthouse?

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There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today.  Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society.  You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”

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