York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Dates help research on York County’s history

If you’re doing research on York County’s past, it’s important to have a date.
That’s what I wrote a recent e-mailer, who was seeking information on a deadly barn fire on or about 1910 in York County. That barn fire killed five children… .

She noted that our archives accessible on the Web page only go back to 1998.
As we’ve mentioned before here, the York County Heritage Trust has vast newspaper microfilm resources that go back to 1815 or before. I wrote her that if she could narrow down the date of the fire, that would save her eye-numbing microfilm scrolling time.
The e-mailer had heard that the family involved was Hamme or Hamm. Many county families have some derivation of Hamme. A visit to the family file collection at the Heritage Trust might net dated newspaper clippings telling about the fire.
I told the e-mailer that if she finds anything, to let me know. That is surely one of the deadliest fires in county history. In fact, the deadliest I’ve run across is a 1904 fire that killed three firefighters — the York Carriage Works blaze on West North Street in York.
But the magic pill in research is to have a date or at least narrow the time range. That will more easily deliver the information from microfilm, which this county is blessed with.