The Bookmobile is off the road today. Van service will be provided.

Franklin Sylvester Local History
and Genealogy Collection

Located in the Medina Library, the Franklin Sylvester Local History and Genealogy Collection was inaugurated September 1992.  Named for the local cattle baron who donated the money for the first public library in Medina, the collection is devoted to basic genealogy resources and the rich history and colorful people of the immediate Medina County area.

Family History Center Affiliate Library

In October 2013, the Medina County District Library (MCDL) became a Family History Center Affiliate Library. On August 31st of 2016, The Family History Library (FHL) suspended loaning of microfilm. However, as an affiliate library, the Medina library grants access to some of the restricted images.

To search and view the images go to the FHL web site: Full access requires registering for free online.

This is a priceless resource and MCDL is excited to be offering this service to their members interested in discovering their family history.

For more information, visit the Family History Library catalog at or contact the Adult Services Department at the Medina Library: 330-722-4257 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Getting Started

click here for a printable version

Searching Your Family History: Cardinal Rules of Genealogy Research

1. Begin collecting information with the known, yourself, and work backward one generation at a time towards the unknown, your ancestors. Don’t skip to a famous person and try to make him/her fit into your history. Have at least this much information on each individual:
  • Full name including women’s maiden names
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date and place of marriages & divorces
  • Date and place of death & burial
  • List of siblings and children

But if that is all you have in your family history, it will be very boring. Use these types of sources to start filling in the gaps and make your family history come alive!

  • Adoption Records
  • Baby Announcements
  • Baby Books
  • Bank Books
  • Baptism Records
  • Birth Certificates
  • Citizenship Papers
  • Confirmation Record
  • Death Announcements
  • Death Certificates
  • Diaries & Journals
  • Diplomas
  • Discharge Papers
  • Divorce Papers
  • Employment Records
  • Family Bibles
  • Family Business Papers
  • Family Stories
  • Family Letters
  • Family Pictures
  • Funeral Guest Books
  • Graduation Records
  • Heirloom Jewelry
  • Immunization Records
  • Income Tax Forms
  • Insurance Records
  • Land Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Military Awards
  • Mother's Certificates
  • Naturalization Papers
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Obituaries
  • Oral Histories
  • Photo Albums
  • Property Tax Receipt
  • Report Cards
  • Resumes
  • School Records
  • Scrapbooks
  • Social Security Cards
  • Wedding Albums
  • Wedding Guestbook
  • Wills & Estate Records
  • Yearbooks
2. Read books on “how-to” do genealogy. The library has many fine books that explain the process of researching your family history. Learn from other’s experience and don’t make unnecessary mistakes.

Take genealogy classes either from the library or the local genealogical society.

3. Collect family stories and personal testimonies These should be verified in other sources. Talk to all of your relatives, particularly the older ones, and collect family stories and information from them.

Topics to ask about:

  • Full Name
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Childhood Home
  • Family Relations
  • Hobbies
  • Family Income
  • Seasons & Special Occasions
  • Religion
  • Birthdate & Place
  • Marriage
  • Children
  • Politics
  • Military
  • Friends
  • Schools
  • Games
  • Career
  • Hometown
  • Historic Events
  • Family Traditions
  • Sports

AND… Be sure to ask if anyone else has ever worked  on the family history!

4. Organize your research and keep it organized!
  • Use Ancestor Charts and Family Groups Sheets to organize your information. These charts are available free online:
    Ancestral Chart

    Family Group Sheet
  • Choose a filing system and/or computer program to contain your research.
  • Use a log to track your research. Who have you requested information from? Have they replied?
  • Make back up copies of all records and computer files and store some copies away from your home (safety deposit box, someone else’s home.)
  • Protect irreplaceable documents in a secure location. NEVER take original documents on trips to do research.
5.  Use a set format for recording your information
  • Capitalize surnames, it makes them easier to read. I.E. John SMITH
  • Dates; month, day, year. i.e. January 1, 1989. The month should be spelled out or use a three letter abbreviation to avoid confusion. Do not use a number for the month. Use four digits for the year since you will be researching different centuries.
  • Places should go from the smallest, most local to the larger, i.e. City, County, State, Country. i.e. Lodi, Harrisville Township, Medina County, Ohio, USA.
  • If you use any abbreviations, be sure to supply a key to what the abbreviations mean. Don’t assume everyone uses the same abbreviations.
6. Completely document the source of your information.
  • When gathering information from relatives, be sure to record the date and location of the interview and the full name and relationship to you of the person.
  • When using an Internet source, cite the full name of the resource, and the date and how accessed.
  • For government records, list location (city, county, state) and volume number and page and the date found.
  • When using books, list the full title, author, copyright date, page number and where the book was located (ex. Delaware County District Library Local History room.)
  • Put citations on your sources. For an explanation of this process you can read two resources:
    “Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian”
    “Evidence Explained, citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace”
  • Your goal is to make it possible for someone else to retrace the steps in your research.
7. Use these resources to further your research
  • Vital records, birth, death and marriage records, are generally held at county or parish court houses and state departments of vital statistics. Handybook for Genealogist and Ancestry’s Redbook list where vital records can be found anywhere in the world. is an online resource.
  • Census records for the U.S. are held at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and (and the library version AncestryLibraryEdition) all provide access to the Federal census records.
  • U.S. military records are held either at the National Archives or theNational Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC), in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Libraries are good sources of information on general history, genealogy processes, state and national indexes, and local or county histories.
  • Internet sources, like the ones mentioned above, as well as the GenWeb network of sites can help further your research.

All of these sources, and more, are covered in any good genealogy “how-to” book!

8. Share your research and your questions
  • Produce copies of your research and share with interested family members.
  • Make a copy for the libraries and genealogical societies in the counties and states where your ancestors resided.
  • Share your research online with others interested in the same names and locations as you are, via mailing lists on and (Do not share information on living persons. Not everyone is as honest as you are!!)
9. Remember: You are never “finished” with your family history. For every new person you find, there are at least two more people you must find, the parents!

click here for a printable version

Library Resources

Library Resources

Medina Library Genealogy: PDFPowerPoint

MCDL Genealogy

Video: What's Available at MCDL

Genealogy & Local History Events

Check MCDL's Events Calendar for Genealogy & Local History Events

Downloadable Genealogy Brochures

Ancestral Chart

Birth & Death Records

Civil War Research

Genealogy Resources at MCDL

Historic Home Research

Land Records

Marriage Records

Wills & Estate Records

Genealogy Tutorials

Databases Available at the Library

American Ancestors
Explore your New England ancestors' lives using American Ancestors' collection of 1.4 billion records from the United States, the British Isles, continental Europe, and beyond. Available only at Medina Library.

Ancestry Library Edition

FamilySearch Affiliate Library
Search for your relatives in records from around the world. Access 135 million restricted records by using FamilySearch at any MCDL location.

A premier collection of historical U.S. military records that brings to life the details of America's military veterans with stories, photos, and personal documents.

Heritage Quest Online

HeritageQuest features the U. S. Census, 1790-1930 (1850-60 Slave Census Schedules not included), The Periodical Source Index (PERSI), A digitized collection of more than 25,000 family and local history books, Records from the Revolutionary War Era Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files and Freedman's Bank Records (1865-1874).

MCDL Obituary Index

The Obituary Index covers obituaries, death notices, and probate notices that have appeared in the Medina County Gazette (1850 - present) and the Medina County Sentinel (1899 - 1962). Obituaries may be requested based on search results.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Ohio

Features detailed maps at building level for more than 400 Ohio communities from 1868 to the 1960s.

Medina County District Library Genealogy Blog

The Medina County District Library Genealogy Blog covers all topics of interest to genealogists and local historians with an emphasis on the undiscovered resources at MCDL.

Local Resources

Local Resources

Beyond the Store Fronts

Robert Hyde Presents a Tour Through the History of Medina

Cleveland Memory Project - Medina page

Cleveland Necrology File

The Cleveland Necrology File contains local cemetery records and newspaper death notices for the following years: 1833, 1847-1848, 1850-1975. A more complete description of the file's contents can be found in the about section of the database. For necrology information after 1975, please use the Cleveland News Index.

The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The online edition of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, a joint effort by Case Western Reserve University and the Western Reserve Historical Society.

Medina County Genealogical Society

Help and links for researching your Medina County ancestors.

Medina County GenWeb

The primary source for information on local Medina County genealogy and history.

Medina County Health Department

Medina County Historical Society

The official web site of the Medina County Historical Society featuring events, history and some photos.

Medina County Probate Office

Ohio Genealogical Society

The largest state genealogical society in the United States, the OGS is dedicated to researching the people who settled Ohio.

Ohio Memory Project

A collaborative project of the Ohio Historical Society and the State Library of Ohio.

Ohio Obituary Index

Obituary index at the Rutherford B. Hayes library indexing death notices from many different Ohio counties, including the Wadsworth newspapers.

Ohio GENweb

On this website are thousands of pages of information created by dedicated volunteers providing free Ohio genealogy resources.

Ohio History Connection

Features an index to Ohio death records from the Ohio Historical Society covering 1913-1937.

Ohio Townships and Counties Map

Timeline of Medina County History

Created by Steve D. Hambley, PhD, the 2015 edition of the timeline includes a number of new illustrations, historical events and facts since the previous edition's release in the summer of 2009.

Tombstone Transcription Project - Medina County

National Resources

National Resources

American Memory Project

American Memory provides free access to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. 

Castle Garden

Database of information on 10 million immigrants from 1830 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened. Over 73 million Americans can trace their ancestors to this early immigration period.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System

A computerized database of 6.3 million soldier records in the National Archives containing very basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War.

Ellis Island

If your ancestors emigrated through Ellis Island during the years 1892 through 1924, you can search for them on this site.

Family Search

The largest collection of family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Federal Land Record

The Bureau of Land Management and the General Land Office provide live access to Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States, including image access to more than five million Federal land title records issued between 1820 and the present.

Find a Grave

Great place to look up famous and not so famous graves, cemeteries and burial records.

National Archives

Basic genealogy instruction links, plus information on how to use the genealogy resources at the National Archives.

National Genealogical Society

A service organization that leads and educates the national genealogical community.


Rootsweb is the oldest and largest free genealogy site whose primary purpose is to connect people doing genealogy research.

US GenWeb Project

Provides Internet web sites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States.

Vital Records Information

Information about where to obtain vital records from each state and county of the United States.

The War of the Rebellion

A 128 volume compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

World GenWeb Project

Research ancestors world-wide online.

Library History

History of the Medina County District Library

1877 - The Medina Circulating Library Society was formed.

1899 - The Medina Circulating Library Society became Medina Library Association. A small building on the north side of the Public Square was purchased.

1904 - Franklin Sylvester a Medina County businessman, gave $10,000 to be used for a library. Mr. Sylvester and his wife, who had no heirs, decided to build a library in Medina to keep his name alive.

1905 - The corner of Washington and Broadway Streets was chosen as the site for the library.

1907 - The Franklin Sylvester Library opened in September with 2,000 volumes. Unfortunately, Mr. Sylvester died before his library was completed.

1933 - The Franklin Sylvester Library voted to extend the borrowing privileges to all Medina County residents, excluding Wadsworth, which already had a library.

1947 - In December, the County Budget Commission approved $9,300 for the purchase of a bookmobile to serve the county’s rural areas.

1948 - The bookmobile was debuted at the County Fair and began servicing outlying areas. After the first year of operation staff registered over 4,000 borrowers and circulated 45,364 items.

Bookmobile service began at Brunswick elementary schools, the Lodi school and the Lodi town square, Valley City and at the Liverpool School.

1950 - Local organizations in Lodi started working on a campaign to have their own library.

The Bookmobile started making stops in Seville.

1958 - A second bookmobile was acquired. One had adult materials for community stops and the other carried materials for schools.

The Friends of the Lodi Library committee was formed.

An addition to the Medina Library was completed providing more stacks and a reading room.

1960 - The Friends of the Brunswick Library was incorporated and raised money to open a small library on Pearl Road.

The first Lodi Library opened in a room in the Lodi Advertiser. The Rotary Club purchased lumber for shelves; City Hardware and Western Auto donated paint; and volunteers donated time to put it all together.

1961 - The Seville Community Library was established. The Friends of the Seville Library, the Seville Lions, and Dandy Lions were instrumental in making the library a reality, but it was a total community effort.

1962 - The 1948 bookmobile was replaced.

1964 - The Friends of the Hinckley Library formed to start a library-building fund.

1965 - The Brunswick Library moved to the Brunswick Shopping Center under the bowling alley.

A room in the town hall opened as the first Hinckley library with 4000 books.

The American Legion Post 523 offered to rent part of their building to the Lodi Library. The Lodi Library moved into its new quarters in April of 1966.

1966 - The 1958 bookmobile was retired.

1970s - The Library Board of Trustees and the city of Brunswick agreed to construct a library.

1972 - A 5-year levy passed by Medina residents allowed for expansion of the Medina library.

1974 - The Friends of the Hinckley Library leased the Stouffer homestead on the corner of Routes 3 and 303. Community businesses and organizations renovated the home and supplied materials and labor. The Hinckley Library opened in 1975.

1975 - Work on the addition to the Medina Library began and was completed in August of 1976.

1976 - The former Elliott Funeral Home was purchased by the Friends of the Lodi Library and the Medina Library Board. The Lodi Community Library moved to its new facility in 1977.

1979 - Land on Center Road was donated and voters approved a bond issue to finance construction of a new Brunswick Library.

1980 - The 20,500-square foot Brunswick Library opened in December, with 70,000 volumes.

1982 - The library board voted to change its service area from a school district library to a county system and the library became the Medina County District Library.

Bookmobile service was suspended as it became too expensive to make repairs and improvements to school libraries made the school stops less necessary.

1985 - Irene Welday bequeathed $100,000 to build an addition on the Seville Library.

1986 - The Irene Welday wing of the Seville Library was opened.

1987 - Voters in Medina County passed an operating levy. It allowed for operating expenses, the purchase of a new bookmobile and the purchase of the building adjacent to the Medina library for Administrative offices.

1988 - The Lodi Library building was remodeled in with money from the Mary Still Trust and donations form the Friends of the Lodi Library.

1991 - A new 28-foot Bluebird bus took to the roads. After fourteen years of service this Bookmobile was retired in September of 2005.

1992 - An operating levy passed and allowed for expanded hours of operation, increased staffing, expanded services, enlarging the collections and renovations at all locations.

1996 - The library debuted its first website on 47 new personal computers offering full Internet access to its patrons. This service was met with both an overwhelming positive response and opposition from area residents who objected to the open access Internet Policy.

1997 - An Intellectual Freedom challenge ended with a victory at the polls when MCDL’s 10 year levy was renewed.

2003 - The MCDL bond issue passed allowing for construction and expansion of libraries in Medina County. The Buckeye school area was earmarked for a new library due to the success of Bookmobile service there. The Steingass-Riggs family donated land the construction of the new library.

The Buckeye Library was the first new branch of MCDL opened in more than 20 years. The building houses the public library, the system’s Maintenance and Delivery departments and Outreach Services and MCDL’s Bookmobile and delivery vehicles.

The Hinckley Library, Stouffer homestead location closed due to deteriorating conditions. The Bookmobile provided library service through stops at the Hinckley, Sharon and Granger town halls.

2004 - The Hinckley Library opened in a new location at 1315 Ridge Road.

2005 - The current Bookmobile hit the road. It holds 4,000-5,000 items including books, magazines, audio books, CDs, and DVDs.

The Buckeye Library opened in December.

2006 - The Lodi Library moved its current location at 635 Wooster Street in February.

2007 - The expanded and renovated Brunswick Library opened in September.

The renovated Seville Library opened in September.

2008 - The renovated and expanded Medina Library was opened in January.

The new Highland Library opened in March.

2009 - State of Ohio reduced funding to all public libraries in Ohio. MCDL instituted layoffs and cutbacks in hours and services to accommodate the reduction in funding. Fees were instituted for some services.

2011 - In November it was discovered that the new Lodi Library had major structural issues causing MCDL to temporarily close down the branch and re-assign staff. The branch reopened in their meeting room in 2012, while the investigation continued to discover the cause of the structural deficiencies.

2013 – The Lodi Library moved temporarily into the Lodi Outlet location while reconstruction began on the permanent location.

2014 - The Lodi library moves back into the “new” repaired building.

2015 – Repurposing of library spaces commences in all branches.

2016 – The library is notified that they are the recipients of the Virginia Wheeler Martin genealogy collection and the funds to build a new genealogy room.

2017 – The Operating Levy from 2007 expires. The Library goes to the public in May for a renewal levy and a small .25 mill increase.