Tom Geimeier on the Library: Genealogy Resources and Local History

Tom Geimeier picWhile Burlington resident Tom Geimeier boasts that he has been a Boone County Public Library patron for many years, he takes real enjoyment in talking about the Local History Department and how it has grown over the years to become an invaluable resource.  “The Local History Department has staff who are trained and always willing to help you. Other libraries may show you how to use their microfilm machine or other equipment, but then they leave you on your own.  At Boone County, staff members make sure you get the help you need.”

Tom also appreciates the scope of the library’s collection of local and state genealogy resources.  “I think I’ve looked through pretty much all the books in Local History over the years.  I’m always keeping my eye out for when new books hit the shelf.  There may be some Boone County history in there I didn’t know about.”

Tom worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for 39 years before retiring. In 1987 he received The Golden Apple for Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2000 was named the Kentucky Middle School Administrator of the Year.  Retiring however, did not slow Tom down. He is an active member of American Legion Post 4 in Florence, Hebron Masonic Lodge 757 and the Simon Kenton Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). Just recently, Tom and other SAR compatriots who belong to the Col. Daniel Boone Color Guard were at Blue Licks State Park to help commemorate the battle that was fought there on August 19, 1782 in which almost 70 Kentuckians lost their lives. Tom has served as National Trustee for SAR, State President of SAR, and President of Simon Kenton Chapter of SAR among the many leadership positions he has held.

Tom also appreciates the library’s dedication to serving the community.  “I work with the library to take books no longer usable by the library to VA Hospitals and Medical Centers across the region.” Along with reading materials, Tom and his SAR chapter collect and deliver personal hygiene items, clothes and even appliances to veterans in need.

As if all of these activities weren’t enough to keep Tom busy, he recently published The Second Fifty: Your Roadmap to Fitness and Healthy Aging. Long-time friend Jerry Auton was a contributor to the book.  Health and overall well-being are a passion for Tom and Jerry, and they wanted to share what they have learned with others who are interested in improving their quality of life.

–Robin

Robin Edwards is a Local History Associate at Boone County Public Library. Her passion for history and genealogy carries over to her involvement with the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) where she is the current registrar for the Boone County chapter. This summer she was able to attend NSDAR’s Continental Congress in Washington D.C where thousands of women from DAR chapters across the country gathered for the yearly business meeting. Robin has a BA in Middle School Education from NKU.

The Mysterious German Count of Constance

Everyone loves a good “whodunit”, but how about a “who is it” mystery?  In 1906, the good folks of Constance were pondering that very question.

In those days, the Ohio River offered a major means of travel, and accidents occurred with as much frequency as on our modern highways. One major difference is that the roads stay in one place, and the river moves along, sometimes carrying its victims downriver with the current.

The flow of the Ohio River is rough in some spots, and calmer in others.  In some cases, the current moves toward the river bank, bringing flotsam and jetsam with it.   This happened with great frequency along the banks near Constance.  There are numerous reports of the bodies of unfortunate victims of floods, river accidents or foul play washing ashore in this sleepy river town.

These sad discoveries were made so often, that the coroner was not surprised to be summoned, yet again, to Constance.  In 1904, the body of an unknown man floated ashore at Constance, and could not be identified.  As the body’s condition did not prompt further investigation, and no one came to claim him, he was buried in a plain box near the river.  Two years later,strangers came calling to the Boone County Coroner, looking for the remains of this mysterious man.Graf Lubbert von Westphalen

The two “middle aged men” asdescribed in the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1906, claimed to be brothers of the unidentified man, but refused to give their names.  What they did disclose is that the deceased was a member of European nobility. The men had traveled from their native Germany in search of a missing brother, who had boarded a boat in Cincinnati, carrying a large sum of money and other valuables.  They feared that he had met with foul play.  They asked for the body to be exhumed, to confirm their suspicions.

Upon examination of the remains, the men identified several gold fillings in the teeth and were convinced. This was their long lost brother, the German Count.  Though the mystery surrounding the identity of the deceased and the two men might have caused a bit of curiosity, everyone was cooperative with the visitors. They received the coroner’s permission to take possession of the body, and placed it in an expensive metal casket.  The two men loaded the casket onto a west-bound boat, and took their leave of Boone County.  To this day, the identity of the “Count of Constance” has not been revealed; another unsolved Boone County mystery.

More information on German nobility:
Genealogy research of German nobility:

–Hillary

Hillary Delaney is a Local History Associate at Boone County Public Library. She is a Boone County native, but has also lived in Richmond, VA, where she attended Virginia Commonweath University to study journalism. Hillary moved back to her hometown of Florence in 2007, with her husband and two children. Her lifelong love of all things historic brought her to her current position at BCPL.