I visited Mt. Vernon from August 26 to September 2, 2011. I am home now but I will continue to post highlights about the trip and archives that I visited and hopefully it will assist you in your research in these areas of Ohio.
Mt. Vernon is the county seat for Knox County, Ohio. The courthouse is located just down from the Records Annex at 117 High Street in Mount Vernon (Hwy 36) and not far from the round-about in the center of Mt. Vernon. The Recorder’s office (for deeds) is on the floor when you enter through the main door. The Record Center is in the basement. I suggest you visit both for court documents such as probates, court records and more. The clerks are all helpful and very nice. The Recorders office has the indexes and books right out there for you to access. The first index to 1843 contains a listing of old deeds. I asked the clerk behind the counter and was told they go all the way back in the first book to 1803. They will let you take photographs.
I tried to dig deep into early Knox County history looking for Kellers, Delano, Askins and more. I have already studied the Spracklins and associated surnames of the children so I am confident I have them covered. I decided this time to emphasize the other surnames.
The Knox County History and Genealogical Society is also located at 117 High Street in a room in the basement area right across from the Records Center office. They have updated their website so you might want to check it out. They are very small but I noticed that there was change from my last visit and they had been busy. They have an obituary file, family histories, have books and more. They are also very helpful. Hours are short so check the website. They are in the process of updating the cemetery books done by R. DeLauder so keep and eye out because they will make them even better. Unfortunately they have to rebuild the database because the company that printed the books went out of business. They could use volunteer help.
The Mt. Vernon Public Library (Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County) is located on Sugar Street and Mulberry St. There is parking in the back of the library. You can enter on Sugar (a narrow ramp up to the parking) or try Mulbery which is one way going south. I visited the History room in the Mount Vernon Library which is heavy on Knox County sources. They also have Mount Vernon newspapers on microfilm, family histories, city directories, school yearbooks and more. It is worth a visit. I spent two hours one day and another hour on another day at the library checking sources for obituary readings, plat maps and more.
The Mound Cemetery, one of the oldest in Knox County, is just north of the public library and even if you don’t have family buried there I suggest you visit it. It is amazing, for there are a lot of huge, I mean huge, monuments in this cemetery. I was overwhelmed by it. You know me, I have seen a lot of cemeteries on my travels but this was awesome. So once again get a map from the Delauder publications (Knox county books) so you can find the graves you are interested in and that may still be a challenge. I will feature this cemetery in another post in the future. There are Kellers buried in Mound Cemetery.
My recommendations are that if you want to do genealogical research in Knox County then you need to visit the Knox County Historical Society, Knox County History and Genealogical Society, the Mount Vernon Public Library and the Courthouse Annex and include the Morrow County Genealogical Library Annex as well. Each has sources to offer and is worth a little of your time. Now they might duplicate what each other has but because of the short hours of some of these respositories you may have to revisit a book or source and you will find it at one or the other location.
I would like to encourage those of you with Knox and Morrow County roots, including the surrounding counties, to submit some form of our family history: copy of a bible, chart, booklet, reports to the historical society and genealogical societies. It is really needed!!!! I would also like to encourage you to volunteer your help if you live in the area or join as a member and learn about the people who built this State of Ohio.