Most of us have had the opportunity to attend some interesting, fun and historical community events. Well Saturday of last week Middletown, Delaware had the”22nd Annual Olde-Tyme Peach Festival” hosted by the Middletown Historical Society. Everything kicked off with a parade at 9am making its way down Broad Street, it was a typical parade with floats, bands, horses and the streets lined with members of the community and surrounding communities. When the parade came to an end the estimated 30,000 plus people then made their way wondering around Main Street seeing all of the booths, exhibits and historical reenactors. You could find music, food, games and of course peaches lots of peaches, peach pies, jams, jellies even peach butter.
This was the first year that I played a part in the event and had a great time. As I’ve mentioned in past postings I spend some hours volunteering in the research room at the museum. This year it was decided that we bring some items out of the research room and display them for everyone to see. As most of us know not everyone is aware of what information can be found in some historical societies. What better way to share these hidden treasures then at an event like this. Yes this is where part of my role was this year, just in case you are wondering.
Just one of the valuable resources that were offered was the chance to see if “Did your family make Middletown's headlines?”. This alone brought a lot of interesting family stories to the attention of some. The historical society took the opportunity a few years back to have the Middletown Transcript, the oldest existing newspaper in Delaware, digitized and searchable covering 124 years from 1868 – 1992. There were many lined up to enter a surname or two hopping to find their names in the headlines or at least mentioned in an article. Of course some were shocked, to say the least, to find their family member was arrested for public disturbance. Others weren’t so shocked and even said, “Of course they were what else would you expect from a family that celebrates life.”
I was happy to answer questions and provide some help to those who had always thought about researching their families but had no idea where to start or hit a “dry dead weed rough patch” as one lady put it with a smile and a laugh. The Middletown Historical Society accepted a $150 genealogy research report from me, ARodesky Genealogy, to be given away at $1 chance drawing and all of the money collected went to the society. This was a chance drawing that was very well accepted and some entered many times for the opportunity to find out more about their family history. The family “stories” that were shared with me were some of the most amazing, funny and some heartbreaking but a reality that they wanted to find out more about.