Do you need to fuel up that librarian in you to do a better research job? The Ohio Genealogical Society is holding its 15th annual OGS Genealogy Librarians’ Seminar on Friday, October 12, 2018 at the Samuel Isaly Library, Ohio Genealogical Society, 611 SR 97 W, Bellville. The fee is $25 (includes lunch) and the programs include Sunny Morton on “Comparing the Genealogy Giants: Ancestry, FindMyPast, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage”; Jen Johnson on “Connecting Ohio’s Local History with the Digital Public Library of America”; Tom Neel on “Meeting the Needs of Today’s Patron”; and Sunda Peters on “DNA: What is it & How to use it”. Please register by October 8th. This is an educational gathering for professionals who work in the genealogical and local history field in Ohio’s libraries. Librarians and library volunteers are welcome!
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Monday, June 11, 2018
At one of our library volunteer work sessions each second Monday of the month, I was asked to try to give guidance on our various obituary collections at the Ohio Genealogical Society. We have indeed been collecting obituaries since our library became a reality in the early 1970s.
Walking through the front library door into the Barnes Reading Room, visiting patrons see several wooden card cabinets containing over 600,000 Ohio obituaries mounted on 3x5 cards. These were collected from 1973 to 2016 and were recently scanned by FamilySearch. Images will be open to LDS church members, and eventually a public every name index will be generated which will point users to the OGS Library for the images. Since 2017, we have been filing any new obituary cards received in cabinets in our Ellis Computer Lab for future digitization.
Many obituaries are too large for cards and we put these in notebooks in the reference area of the library. We currently have three series. The earliest series has been bound, scanned, and entries make up the Ohio obituary index found in the “Free Database” section of our web site - https://www.ogs.org/research/search_obitindex.php
We also have a partial index of our Florida obituaries on our web site - https://www.ogs.org/research/search_floridaobits.php - and we have a volunteer working to complete this. These are Ohioans who were snowbirds or who retired to Florida and died there. Volunteers from our Florida Chapter OGS send us these on a regular basis.
Perhaps our most used obituary collections are those found in the Hayes Presidential Center’s Ohio Obituary Index - https://www.rbhayes.org/main/ohio-obituary-index/ - developed by former OGS Trustee Rebecca Baker Hill. These now come up in an Ancestry.com search. Our volunteers are entering a collection of 54 boxes of Central Ohio obituaries found in our Hal West Archives and have already entered several local Richland County scrapbooks. There are many county newspaper scrapbooks in our holdings that could eventually be entered into the Ohio Obituary Index at Hayes. Users find something in the index, determine the library that submitted it, and then send a fee (we ask $2.50) to that library for the obituary copy or scan.
We also have several unprocessed obituaries, both those that have been donated by members and our chapters in recent months and have yet to be filed, and larger groups like those from the Cleveland papers in our Guthrie Volunteer Room. This was a project led by the late OGS Trustee Jean Barnes. The obituaries are from 1997 to 2004 and there are thousands of them. Jean and her crew put many on cards but we now just leave them in original form and use the Cleveland Public Library’s “Necrology File” as an index - https://cpl.org/newsindex/
Many of our county chapters have done extensive work with obituaries in their area. We house the original Crawford County obituaries in our library (going back to the 1860s) but the images are free on FamilySearch - https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1384728?availability=Family%20History%20Library – and an index to the massive Washington County, Ohio Obituary project was just announced by FamilySearch this week - https://www.familysearch.org/collection/2358414 - although the index is not quite linked with their catalog entry yet.
We also subscribe to many newspaper database providers for the benefit of our library patrons. We can get those on GenealogyBank, Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com and NewspaperArchive.com. Additionally, there are free sites out there like ChroniclingAmerica - https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ - Ohio Memory - http://www.ohiohistoryhost.org/ohiomemory/newspapers - and Google Newspapers - https://news.google.com/newspapers.
Who uses all these wonderful obituary collections at the Ohio Genealogical Society? Well, quite honestly, most of the obituary requests that we receive each week are from young researchers who are working in the oil and gas industry trying to trace descendants of landowners back in the 20s and 30s who signed leases that have expired. But perhaps they will grow up to be genealogists someday! There’s a lot of good information in Ohio’s obituaries for family historians too!
Tom Neel, OGS Library Director – 6/18
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Half price MARCH MADNESS Membership Special - $40 single NEW membership (digital) in the Ohio Genealogical Society is just $20 through the end of March. Now is the time to get your relatives and friends involved. Why join a group? Educational opportunities, comradery of friends, digital resources on our web site, two fantastic periodicals, a 60,000-volume research library, thousands of Facebook friends, a BIG jamboree in Columbus next month “Blazing New Trails” for you – this is why we need to join up! Send $20 and the new member's name/address to the Ohio Genealogical Society, 611 State Route 97 W, Bellville OH 44813-8813 – www.ogs.org
Thursday, March 1, 2018
March 1, 1803 is Statehood Day for Ohio, the day that we were created (although they technically didn’t ratify it until 1953). Historians of all types get together in Columbus this time each year and talk to our State Senators and State Representatives advocating for issues that impact our groups. Chris Wilson, of the Smithsonian, the keynote speaker, said that our research libraries and museums contain a “democracy of information,” in that we collectively share ownership of history viewed from all different perspectives.
The biennial state budget (House Bill 529) is under review this month. $750,000 for the “Online Portal to Ohio’s Heritage” at the Ohio History Connection and $15,000,000 for OHC Collections Storage Facilities Expansions are both items that will directly be of benefit to Ohio’s family historians. House Bill 139 is supported by the Ohio Genealogical Society. This would open record groups that are currently closed in Ohio 100 years after their creation. We could then view that 1880 lunacy case for an ancestor. Another piece of legislation (preliminary, no number assigned) that OGS supports would provide better protection for abandoned cemeteries and unmarked human burial places (Native American mounds). The Ohio Revised Code generally applies to township and municipal cemeteries and those that are privately owned are just not covered by the rules. The Statehood Day group also hopes to increase federal funding of social studies and civics in Ohio’s schools which was dropped in 2011, perhaps as a result of all the emphasis on STEM topics. An introduction to history in our youthful days was often the seed that inspired our avocation of genealogy and local history today.
Checks are also issued at the Statehood Day luncheon to recipients of the History Fund Grants, money awarded through the check-off box on your Ohio income tax form. Some of this year’s projects would be of interest to genealogists. The Center for Archival Collections at Bowling Green State University received $6,700 to make 100 oral histories concerning World War II accessible. The Southeast Ohio History Center (includes our Athens Co Chapter OGS) got $7,000 to digitize local photographs taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jon Webb.
The Ohio Genealogical Society is a sponsor of Statehood Day in Columbus each year and we are among hundreds who gather to advocate for history at our lovely Greek Revival Statehouse. Construction was initiated in 1839 but not completed until 1861. They ran into funding problems too!
Monday, November 27, 2017
#RichlandGives Spotlight: Ohio Genealogical Society
Midnight tonight is the start of Giving Tuesday – November 28, 2017 – a day to aid non-profits across America. The Ohio Genealogical Society is participating in RichlandGives set up by the Richland County Foundation to help organizations in the Mansfield-Bellville area. Although their promotion of OGS posted today is written with an aim at Richland County donors, we know that OGS serves all 88 counties and our library and archives contains treasures on all regions. Please participate in this day of giving. Just click on the link below for Richland Gives – click on “Give Now” in the blue box – and choose the Ohio Genealogical Society! A BIG THANK-YOU to you all!
The Ohio Genealogical Society sees Richland Gives as an opportunity waiting to happen. What do we mean by that? The first year, we saw less than five donors. The second year, spurred by a $1,000 match by the Richland County Foundation, our pool of benefactors jumped to about twenty. “Fantastic”, you say? Yet, all the names were recognizable as past donors within our own organization. Perhaps they put their dollars in Richland Gives to get that match – good move—but would have given directly to our group anyway as part of our normal end-of-year solicitations.
The opportunity for the Ohio Genealogical Society is that Richland Gives touts our Samuel Isaly Library as a point for charity. We hold over 65,000 volumes in our local and family history reading room about Richland County, about Ohio, and about the world. Mansfield’s earliest newspapers from 1823 are here! The first Richland county census, taken in 1815, is here! The records of the Oddfellows and Knights of Pythias are here! Over 1,000 original identified photographs of Richland county pioneers are here! We archive family Bibles, old business records, World War I records, ancestral charts – and just a lot of information on the pioneer families of Richland County.
Richland Gives provides the opportunity for prospective donors in Richland County to learn about us. Did you know that volunteers have been unfolding Richland County’s estate packets every Monday in our meeting room? They start with Levi Jones, who got on the losing side in a squabble with a Delaware Native American in 1813, and these probate cases go up to 1930. They contain wills, inventories of personal property, a listing of who bought what at the estate sale, and tons of small slips – bills owed by the deceased, receipts for payments to the estate, and distributions of funds. The images scanned so far are already online, free for all who love Richland county history – https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/2778602
We just got word that we have a new “oldest yearbook” in our collection! The 1877 LeBijou from Ohio Wesleyan University was just donated to the library. We have well over 15,000 Ohio high school and college yearbooks containing photographs of all our relatives and friends. We are still missing the Madisonian for 1942, 1956, and 1958; and the Manhigan for 1943. Maybe they didn’t put them out during WWII? Some of the titles are great – the Euphrosynean from Savannah, the Polychronian from Flora Stone Mather College for Women in Cleveland, and our own Cleofan of Bellville’s Clearfork High School.
These are just two featured projects of the Ohio Genealogical Society. Our research library is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9-5, at 611 State Route 97 W, Bellville. We transcribe cemetery tombstones, we clip Ohio obituaries, we scan old books and records for our website (www.ogs.org), we assist visitors with their personal family research, we preserve the local records of our families and community, we teach how-to classes that are open to all, and, most of all, we just have fun with our pastime.
This year, we hope to see some names we do not recognize on that list of donors to our organization through Richland Gives. That is our opportunity, and, it is indeed a REAL opportunity for all of you to explore the non-profit world in the Mansfield area. We all have worthwhile missions, we have excited people who are committed to achieving goals that meet those visions of improvement, and we are celebrating life, arts, education, and culture in Richland County with our participation in and support for the activities of all these local organizations that bring our community together.
Tom Neel, Director
Samuel Isaly Library of the Ohio Genealogical Society
Thursday, October 26, 2017
It was the first organized area within the United States to outlaw slavery, establish freedom of religion, create public education, and provide inheritance laws for widows and their children. The Northwest Ordinance foreshadows the first ten amendments to the U.S. Bill of Rights.
The French established Cahokia (Illinois) in 1699 and Detroit (Michigan) in 1701. Other settlements were also founded by the French. The British received this territory after the French and Indian Wars. After the Revolutionary War, the territory became a part of the United States.
In 2015, the Ohio Genealogical Society formed a new lineage society - The Society of Families of the Old Northwest Territory. This is the only OGS lineage society that is open to members and non-members of the Ohio Genealogical Society.
This lineage society not only honors the memory of American ancestors living within the boundaries of the Old Northwest Territory, but also those of Native American, French, and British ancestry who were living in this area prior to the territory becoming a part of the United States.
Applicants must prove one of three conditions for membership:
A) Your ancestor must have lived in what is now Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, or eastern Minnesota (east of the Mississippi River) between 13 July 1787 and 7 May 1800 when the Indiana Territory was created;
B) Your ancestor must have lived in what is now Ohio or Michigan between 13 July 1787 and 3 March 1803 when Ohio became a state;
C) Your ancestor must have lived in what is now Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin or eastern Minnesota prior to 13 Jul 1787 as a citizen of either France or Great Britain, or as a Native American.
Applicants are also eligible for admission to SFONT under the following conditions:
1) A Native American who is a legal member of an existing Indian tribe which once lived within the boundaries of the Old Northwest Territory prior to 3 March 1803;
2) A citizen of France who lived within the boundaries of the Old Northwest Territory prior to 10 February 1763 (Treaty of Paris);
3) A subject of Great Britain who lived within the boundaries of the Old Northwest Territory prior to 29 February 1796 (Jay Treaty);
4) A citizen of the State of Virginia who lived in the County of Illinois between October 1778 and 1 March 1784;
5) A soldier from the armies of either France or Great Britain who was stationed within the boundaries of the Old Northwest Territory prior to 10 February 1763 for a French veteran and prior to 1 March 1796 for a British veteran;
6) A soldier from the United States Army who was stationed within the boundaries of the Old Northwest Territory prior to 3 March 1803;
7) A American who illegally settled within the Old Northwest Territory and who later took up legal residence. These settlers are commonly called "squatters".
Descendants of early civil officers of the Old Northwest Territory are also encouraged to apply. Those early civil officers would be: Arthur St. Clair, Territorial Governor; John Cleves Symmes, Supreme Court member; James Mitchell Varnum, Supreme Court member; Samuel Holden Parsons, Supreme Court member; Winthrop Sargent, Secretary; William Henry Harrison, Secretary and later a non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress; Charles Willing Byrd, Secretary; William McMillan, non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress; and Paul Fearing, non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress.
Applicants eighteen (18) years or older, who can prove satisfactory lineal descent of one who lived in the Old Northwest Territory according to the Society's rules and guidelines shall be eligible to join this Society.
For the application form, rules and guidelines click here.
This is one of five lineage societies of the Ohio Genealogical Society. For information on all of the lineage societies, click here.
If you have any questions pertaining to SFONT, you can contact the judge here.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
October is Family History Month! Why is that important? Because the Samuel Isaly Library of the Ohio Genealogical Society is open for FREE all month! And why come to the intersection of I-71 and SR-97 in rural Bellville? Because we have over 60,000 books, tons of Ohio obituaries, school yearbooks out the wazoo, Bible records going back to the 1700s, and surname files of all kinds. So, we have 27,167 books on Ohio; that means that we have 32,833 titles on other states and foreign countries if your families were not from Ohio! Have you thought about researching Massachusetts or Virginia or Pennsylvania from right here in Bellville, Ohio! And check out the Manuscript Key under the Library tab – Special Collections on our web site – www.ogs.org Most of these collections are genealogical research papers on Ohio families donated by our members and friends. You can only view them here! And education? OGS Vice President Marleen Applegate is teaching a class this Friday (Oct 6th) at 2 PM on Genealogy Fundamentals – again, for FREE! Call the library 419-886-1903 to reserve a spot. For those with the big bucks, our OGS Fall Conference this Saturday (Oct 7th) with Michael Lacopo on DNA and other subjects runs all day at the Quality Inn next door – just $40. And next week, Friday (Oct 13), those who work or volunteer in genealogy/local history libraries are having their annual Genealogy Librarians’ Seminar at OGS (just $15, with lunch included $25), followed by another FREE class Migration Trails to the Ohio taught be our own Peggy Lauritzen (Saturday, Oct. 14th, 10 AM) at OGS. And, if you don’t like all this activity and like to hide away in a corner by yourself? We have 20 computers in our lab and subscribe to all the big database vendors – Ancestry, FindMyPast, HistoryGeo, Fold3, GenealogyBank, Newspapers.com and many more. Did you know that we are a “library affiliate” of FamilySearch? That means that you can view most of those digitized films that have a key icon locking them on your home computer. October is the time to go to the OGS Library and pay a visit to your family. And if you decide that these ancestors are not worth your time this October, OGS Trustee Mary Jamba is teaching two FREE classes on Friday, Oct. 27th (10 AM and 1 PM) on Epitaphs, Icons, Haunted Ohio --- and, I imagine, what you can expect by ignoring these ancestors and making them restless. You must visit OGS today!