When I first began working on family history in earnest in 2006, I wrote a letter to the Mercer County, PA, courthouse asking for copies of records for several of my Froman ancestors (or at least people I believed to be my ancestors). I had dockets, volumes, page numbers, and dates. I sent a self-addressed, stamped envelope so they could at least tell me whether they could help and what the cost would be.
When no response came I called to ask how to request the information. I spoke with a very pleasant lady who cheerfully told me that they just don't do that. She said the books were stored in the attic, that they usually went to the attic around 2:30 in the afternoon and brought down the books that were requested, and if I wanted copies, I would have to go to the courthouse, request the books I wanted, wait for them to be brought down (it they went to the attic that day), and then search for the pages I wanted to see. It was not possible then and not likely now.
Enter Rootsweb PAMercer email list. Those with Mercer County, Pennsylvania, ancestors subscribe to the list where they discuss interests, challenges, and successes. A few weeks ago one of the members asked about obtaining records from the Mercer County Courthouse. I thought about sharing my sad experience but decided to wait and read what others had to say. Someone responded that the employees at the Mercer County Courthouse were very helpful and would look up and make copies of requests. Surprise! A week or two went by and the member trying to obtain records wrote to the list and said that the records she had requested had already arrived. Speedy, too!
What I must remember is that employees change and sometimes rules and procedures change. So yesterday I spent a little time confirming that the information I had was correct by searching through the Mercer County Estate Index 1804-1971 E-G. Yes, the information was there. Today I composed my letter and will mail it off tomorrow.
I believe John Froman died in about 1872, leaving a wife and six children, ages about 2 to 10 years. I've been unable to discover anything specific about his death date, cause of death, or his burial location. I hope to obtain that information from the court documents I requested.
The wait begins.