NEWSLETTER  9/30/2000  (Fourth issue)

                                      ~~~~~NOTICE & APOLOGY~~~~~

During the past few weeks I have had a major computer crash and a major e-mail system failure. Material has been pretty well recovered…BUT if you had been communicating with me about material you were submitting for the website and you have not received the follow-up you expected or if your project has not shown up yet on the website…PLEASE do not feel snubbed or ignored! Instead, please e-mail me about it using the single word REMINDER in the subject line. Then tell me what state and county we were dealing with (if relevant) and remind me what we have previously discussed or what you have previously submitted. Your patience, forgiveness, and persistence (!) will be very much appreciated.  PHL

Greetings!  The POORHOUSE STORY has undergone some rather surrealistic experiences this past month. We have decided that dwelling too much on our growth is a little “braggy” … and listening to bragging gets rather boring rather quickly. So as much as possible we will … uhm, in the future <grin> … confine the record of the growth of the site to a table of statistic which can be found below. But this month we simply must report that everything has been about GROWTH!

Yup, a Table of Statistics and Site Additions. (See below)  Pretty formal organization, right? We hope so! The changed format apparent in this newsletter is a consequence of the phenomenal growth we have experienced recently. Well, there we go again with the bragging! But it really is necessary to explain some changes in the way we are having to manage the site and report updates in this newsletter.

During the past month we have experienced two benchmark days: on August 31st  there were 1115 visits to the website and on September 14th there were 1254 visits! Now, to put this in perspective you need to realize that prior to those days a count of 300 in one day was remarkable and really infrequent. We still don’t know what prompted the crowd on 8/31 – it may have been the publication of the last installment of this newsletter. (But we don’t even want to think about that…it would be too frightening to The Poorhouse Lady who would get stage-fright!) But we do know what prompted the rush on 9/14 …

We were given an award! On that day, (unbeknownst to us…and unannounced in advance) gave us their “Family History Favorite” award and featured The POORHOUSE STORY in that day’s Ancestry Daily News. (You can now find that award notice at the bottom of the homepage.)

[Note: I had been traveling out of town the 12th through the 16th and returned to find the most jammed and messed-up e-mail box situation imaginable. Fortunately, one of the first e-mails I was able to open was from someone who explained that they had heard about the site in that article. So … I had a clue what was going on. But not even a clue how to retrieve and organize all that e-mail! And therein lies a tale … or part of the tale reflected in the notice at the top of this page. Sigh.  PHL ]


(Remember, if you want to go right to the bare bones facts, you can scroll down.)

 Let them eat cake! (NO)  Teach them to fish! (YES)
Talk about mixing metaphors!

Our emphasis and priority on The POORHOUSE STORY has lately become teaching readers how to do their own research for poorhouse records. It could take us forever to discover and post all the information that is … “out there” … not just on the web, but in those no-longer-so-dusty-old archives (both state and local) in the real world. And lots of our e-mail (and most of the posts on the Message Board) consists of requests that we find the specific poorhouse records a reader is looking for.

 At first we did that randomly…simply looking for records as they were requested. More recently we have learned that simply is not an efficient way to prioritize our research. While we do want readers to continue to make such requests … that does influence which archives we will approach first … we hate to see readers have to wait so long for us to do research and post the results. (We feel a little like parents who point to a dictionary when their kids ask them to spell a word for them while they are doing homework!) 

So….we have now published a list of the poorhouse holdings of the state archives collections in four states: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois.(See the lists and their links in the table below.) The IRAD (Illinois Regional Archive Depositories) system’s on-line catalogue is truly amazing!Among their holdings which they have posted are … get this! …On-line searchable name-indexes for the Almshouse Registers for 5 counties! 

Now, to better help readers find such resources for themselves, we have put a new link on the homepage. It is a link to a list for the official state archives for all 50 states. The list includes (where available) addresses, phone numbers, and website URLs. We hope to keep this list as up-to-date as possible … given that those URLs change often. (That’s what we found with many existing such lists.) On that page we have included suggestions and tips to help you search in such archives’ catalogues of holdings.

 OK, we have a confession. There is a (not so very “hidden” <grin>) agenda behind our publishing this kind of material on The POORHOUSE STORY.  We need to delegate some of this research! (No kidding.) 

COMING ATTRACTIONS:  Next month we will share with you some of the personal family history stories which have been submitted by readers about the experiences of family members who lived in a poorhouse. Many of these stories have given us a new perspective on poorhouses which goes beyond that available in the current historical record. Some include the role of the poorhouse as a refuge for victims of domestic violence. (That’s a remarkable insight!) And another involves the seizure of Civil War Pensions by the local governments as repayment for the costs of maintaining individuals or their families in a poorhouse. This involved poorhouse residence during the time the breadwinner was serving in the military or subsequent to their military discharge with handicaps which made them unemployable but not yet receiving any pension!


Table of STATISTICS and NEW ITEMS ADDED  to The PHS Website

(since site counter went up on 5/8/2000
Total Visits to Homepage -- as of 7/30/2000  7,000  
Total Visits to Homepage -- as of 8/30/2000  9,000 (increase of 2000 during August; rate of 67 per day)
Total Visits to Homepage -- as of 9/30/2000 16,000+ (increase of 7000 during September, rate of 233/day)
E-mail Subscribers to Monthly Newsletter 137 (as of 8/30/2000)
  273 (as of 9/30/2000) increase of 136 during September
Picture Postcards IA Chickasaw, Des Moines
  MN Rock
  NH Hillsboro
  NY Ulster, Dutchess -- original current photo
  OH Marion, Washington
  PA Lancaster, Montgomery, Tioga, York, Westmoreland
Notes from Readers / Local Notes IL Macoupin, Stephenson, Vermillion






Butler, Floyd, Washington






Laclede, Osage, Pike, St. Louis






Bedford, Windsor









Poorhouse Resident lists from CENSUS




(new material or off-site links to the web)


































The Poorhouse in Literature

Poem – “Over the Hill”  by Will Carleton, 1897



REPRINTS of articles
 (submitted by readers

MO (Laclede) – excerpt from The History of Laclede County
”Poor Farm Remembered”


NC (Forsyth Co.) unpublished Memoirs of Tom Simmons


TN (Henderson)  from The Lexington Progress – 1904
”The Pauper Question”



Government Reports



Yates Report -- 1824




PENNSYLVANIA      List of Microfilmed Poorhouse Records


OHIO                           List of Microfilmed Poorhouse Records's_List.htm


ILLINOIS                    List of Microfilmed Poorhouse Records


Note: We have previously published such a list for NEW YORK



Thanks for your continued support!
Linda Crannell                     
(aka=The Poorhouse Lady