CATAWBA ISLAND — The repository of research materials at Union Chapel Museum has been officially named the Donald and JoAnn Rhodes Memorial Library by trustees of the Catawba Island Historical Society (CIHS).
Members of the Society’s board and staff have been working with JoAnn Rhodes, widow of longtime Catawba historian Donald Rhodes, to receive and catalog books and other records her husband had collected for nearly half a century. Included are historical works about Catawba Island, as well as Ottawa County and surrounding counties in Ohio, and the United States.
“One of the promises we made to the community when Union Chapel Museum opened its doors in 2018 was to establish a Heritage and Genealogical Center that would help our patrons do family tree research,” said CIHS President David Wonnell. “The books and other documents from the Rhodes archives are helping to bring that project to life. People looking for information about their ancestors are discovering that our library is a good place to start.”
Under the direction of Museum Curator Jane Spriestersbach and Membership and Database Administrator Lori Letterhos, volunteers work year round at cataloging information from reference materials into a computer dedicated to genealogical and other research projects.
“Between answers to be discovered on the shelves of our library, and those available through the computer, demand on our capabilities is beginning to grow, said Wonnell. “We are currently working on a procedure to grant access to our resources at no cost to members of the Historical Society. A fee to cover printing and related costs may ultimately be sought from researchers who are not members.”
The museum does not charge for admission. Operating costs are principally covered by CIHS membership dues, gifts and grants.
Two types of membership are available in CIHS, annual and lifetime. The cost of an annual Historian membership is $25 per year. For an annual Curator membership, it is $100 per year. A one-time payment of $1,000 purchases a perpetual membership in the organization’s Council of Nabagon.
New and renewal memberships are currently being sought. Checks can be mailed to CIHS, P.O. Box 396, Port Clinton, OH 43452. Additional information, including directions for making credit card payments, are available on the Sociey’s website which is www.catawbaislandhistoricalsociety.com.