Only in York County

Part of the USA Today Network

Ask Joan: Sort of back to school edition

As homeschoolers in Pennsylvania, we begin counting the days for each “school year” as of July 1 – so we’ve been back to school, as it were, for quite a while. Yesterday, though, was the first day of class for West York, our home district, and today marks the first day for much of Dover, my alma mater, so I figured I’d share our version of Sarah’s first-day-of-school photo taken last week at the 4-H Alpaca Club meeting.

You can read more about these furry cuties – and Painted Spring Farm – on our personal blog here.

What’s inside

1. Finding info from older newspapers
2. Seeking the history of Bottstown
3. Entering this year’s York Fair

1. I hope you can help me. In Sept. of 1960-1961 the Salvation Army was selling bricks to build a new church. My grandmother was one who sold them and she also sold to President Kennedy. The newspaper had a picture in the papers of her and Kennedy shaking hands. I would like it very much if you could find it and reprint it.
– Mary Reinhart, Red Lion

I’m sharing Mary’s question today especially because it’s indicative of MANY of the questions we are asked here at the Daily Record/Sunday News; essentially, “How do I get a copy of something from an earlier newspaper?”

The answer is slightly complicated, so I’ll work in reverse chronological order.

If you’re looking for an article, we have an online text search that goes back to 1998. You can find that at

Our in-house staff library goes back a bit farther digitally, and includes the option to search for photos and pages. Joan McInnis, our part-time librarian, can help with that; reach her at or 771-2019. She is only in the office a couple of days each week, though, and replies are answered as her time permits among our own archival needs!

Specifically for older editions, here are some microfilm hunting/research tips, courtesy of Jim McClure, who shared them a little while ago on his York Town Square blog (read more here):

He says, “Really, the best place to check for microfilm is the York County History Center Library. The repository there has several operational microfilm machines to roll microfilm for York County newspapers back to 1815. It has microfilm going back years for the York Daily Record and York Dispatch.”

He also points out the value of the York County Library System’s resources for research on local history.

But specifically to your question, Mary, the York County History Center is the only York-area site for researchers to view newspaper microfilm before 1971. (Microfilm at York College’s Library starts at that date.) To view its microfilm collection, the Trust charges a daily rate, unless one has a membership or is a school student.

The Trust’s 250 E. Market St. archives are open during business hours Tuesdays through Saturdays; for details, you would want to contact them via either or 717-848-1587!

2. I am into genealogy. I have discovered that my ancestors were the Botts. I found out last year that Hermanus Bott had built a community named Bottstown. When I was a child I remember my grandmother and her sister speaking about a 99 year lease on Pottstown, Pa., which I have now come to think it must have been Bottstown. Do you have any information that would help me solve this ? I have an uncle and 2nd cousin that I would love to solve this story with before they pass.
– Dianne McNamee

In good news for Dianne, I was able to find some info on Bottstown, which was in the area near Manchester and West Manchester townships in York County. You can find that here, as well as a really awesome map here.

I told Dianne it may be the same info that she had already found, but I hope it might provide some new info! I’d be surprised if there’s any relation to the actual town of Pottstown in Montgomery County, kind of suburban Philadelphia, but I can certainly bet there were people in York County who pronounced OUR version with the P instead of the B – heaven knows we have enough other mispronunications floating around!

If you have any other memories or info on York County’s Bottstown to share, I’m sure Dianne would appreciate them!

3. Can you tell me when and where I would enter photos for exhibition at the fair this year?
– Denny Sheaffer

Here’s the info on those, from the fair.

First, the premium book (where you can see the categories, etc.) is available here.

The deadline for mailed-in registrations has already passed, but you can still register online here.

The photos themselves don’t need to be at Old Main until Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, so you can still get them ready if you hurry!

(This holds for other entries, too, including horticultural ones, paintings, antiques and so on. More details and the premium books in other categories are available here.)

I know I personally can’t wait to see all the entries!

Got any questions? Ask Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.