The Pointe

MidPointe Library's Official Blog

Research your African-American ancestors at MidPointe Library!


Today may be the last day of “African American History Month,” but it’s not the end of learning about the culture and history of African Americans.At MidPointe Library we’re ready -- onsite and online -- to celebrate the accomplishments of local and nationally known African Americans and to provide tools our patrons can use to trace their ancestry.

  • Let’s start with a highly anticipated March 23rd visit to MidPointe’s Middletown location by Tim Pinnick, nationally-known author and expert on African-American genealogy. Pinnick’s talk will be part of an “African American Book Talk & Fair” from 1 to 4 p.m. His appearance is made possible by MidPointe in association with the African-American Genealogy Group of the Miami Valley. Pinnick is the author of “Finding and Using African American Newspapers” and the owner of “History and Genealogy Spotlight.”  The program is free and open to the public.

  • Then begin your ancestor search at MidPointe-Middletown! While you’re here March 23, be sure to stop by our “Local History and Genealogy Gallery” (look for the Aeronca airplane model suspended overhead) and its vast collection of how-to resources that can be checked out on your free library card. You’ll find material on ancestries from around the world.

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Spacious and inviting, the “Gallery” features a 70-inch color touchscreen on its south wall that currently displays the “African American History Timeline.” The intriguing pictorial history features notable African-Americans from the 1400s to the 21st century.

The Middletown area is well represented on the display, which was originally created by the Middletown African American Heritage and Cultural Center and designed by local historian Sam Ashworth. It was made possible by a grant from the Middletown Community Foundation in cooperation with the Middletown Historical Society.

Having engaged library visitors since its arrival last year, the “Timeline” will only be available a few more weeks.

  • Adjacent to our Local History and Genealogy Gallery is the unique “Ohio Room,” a treasure trove of books and files on local and area history that are not available for checkout but but may be read onsite.

Within the “Ohio Room” is the popular “Vertical File” along the north wall. This file cabinet contains a voluminous amount of documents, newspaper clippings and more on all-things-local. Of special interest might be the file titled “African American Black History Month Profiles” containing biographies of outstanding local African-Americans that were originally published as a series several years ago by the Middletown Journal.


While at MidPointe-Middletown don’t forget to peruse copies of local newspapers from years past on its microfilm machine. Located near the Ohio Room, this popular machine stands ready to display copies of the Middletown Journal and the Middletown Daily Signal dating from the late 1800s to the present.

If you feel like staying home to research your genealogy, look no further than MidPointe’s online research sites!

A free MidPointe Library card gives you access to numerous databases via our website: > eLibrary> Research Databases > Genealogy and Local History.

Or find it directly at:

Sites include -- but are not limited to -- “African-American Heritage,” the “Ohio History Connection,” “Heritage Quest Online,” an Ancestry Library Edition (in-library use only), and newspaper archives among many others.

MidPointe also offers its own “Digital Archives” via its website. Find photos and information on local African Americans at:

Of course, MidPointe offers a multitude of items related to African Americans on its catalog. They’re available at:

Interested in a certain subject(s)? Just place a “hold” on any item(s) and choose one of our five locations to pick them up : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Center in Liberty Township.

Enjoy meeting your ancestors!