Chapter Management Seminar

Saturday, November 17, 2018

What if we all gave?

What if we all gave?

You can support your favorite local nonprofit organization during Richland Gives.
Donations will be accepted from November 1 through 7 p.m. on November 27 for Richland Gives.
November 27 is designated as Giving Tuesday to encourage people to contribute to local nonprofits they care about through a single giving platform/website. The Richland County Foundation is hosting the day to build capacity, grow philanthropy and make the community stronger.

#RichlandGives Spotlight: Ohio Genealogical Society
Midnight tonight is the start of Giving Tuesday – November 27, 2018 – a day to aid non-profits across America. The Ohio Genealogical Society is participating in Richland Gives 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!

We are proud that the Ohio Genealogical Society is a part of Richland Gives. 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 unfolded hundreds of  Richland County’s Probate Court estate packets every Monday to be digitized by They start with Levi Jones, who got on the losing side in a squabble with a Delaware Native American in 1813, and  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 –

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 (, 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 your name on the list of donors to our organization through Richland Gives. Your help is our opportunity, and, it is indeed a REAL opportunity for all of you to explore the non-profit world in the Mansfield area, and our unique collections to assist you in family history research. 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 the local organizations that bring our community together.

If you have not visited our state-of-the-art library, you need to stop in and learn more about your family's history! We're here to help you


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Annual Writing Contest

2019 Ohio Genealogical Society Writing Competition
 1 September – 31 December 2018 

OGS is sponsoring its genealogical writing contest to reward amateur and professional genealogical authorship and to fill the pages of its renowned journals with quality articles. All entries fitting the criteria will be considered for publication in the award-winning Ohio Genealogy News (OGN) or the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly (OGSQ). Editors will select the appropriate journal for each winning article. Prizes will be awarded as follows: • $50 Grand Prize for highest scoring article • $25 Prize for next highest scoring article • $15 Prize for next highest scoring article In addition, each prizewinner will receive a one-year membership to the Ohio Genealogical Society. Following is a description of the criteria for material accepted by these two journals. Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly articles cover Ohio history and genealogy, Ohio records groups, Ohio families, and Ohioans who left the state to settle elsewhere. The historical time period covers pre-statehood to the 1940 census. Article length may vary from 750 words to 5000 words (3- 10 single-spaced pages). Images are requested when available. Suggested article types might include: • Family histories and genealogies of those who passed through Ohio or who came to help settle the state. • Transcriptions, abstracts or indexes of record groups, especially those that are not yet digitized. • Historical journals, sets of letters or hand-written histories, transcribed with added material on the author of these item types. • Military history dealing with Ohio people and units, military record groups, and the anniversaries of the War of 1812 and the American Civil War. • Ethnic ancestry or community settlements in Ohio • Individuals, families or record groups that relate to the five OGS lineage society eras. First Families of Ohio (before the end of 1820) Settlers and Builders of Ohio (1821-1860) Century Families of Ohio (1861- 100 years ago) Society of Civil War Families of Ohio (Ohioans who served in the Civil War in some capacity) Society of the Families of the Old Northwest Territory (pre-1803 Northwest Territory) Ohio Genealogy News welcomes articles on newsworthy and human interest topics in the genealogy world. Article length may vary from 750 words to 2500 words (2-5 single-spaced pages). Images are requested when available. Suggested article types might include: • Feature Articles. Topics may have an anniversary or seasonal slant, describe newly-available record sets (in archives or on-line), or introduce the genealogy collections of Ohio repositories. • Methodology (how-to) articles are welcome for both individual skill-building and OGS chapter growth. • Technology-related methodology articles particularly are requested. • Historical features (e.g. Poorhouses in Ohio). The topic must have wide interest and should introduce genealogically-interesting records. • Success Stories. This is a great place for genealogical hobbyists to share their research journeys. Write about a specific experience you’ve had breaking through a brick wall, discovering a new ancestor, or getting to know a relative through their personal writings. • Local Spotlights. These short pieces introduce an Ohio county, city or OGS chapter or affiliated organization. Articles may include a brief local history, description of ongoing chapter activities or projects. They might contain a description of local genealogical resources and repositories (including websites and digital resources). Articles must be properly cited following the guidelines in standard works by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Chicago Manual of Style, or MLA. Entries for the 2019 Contest will be accepted from 1 September 2018 through 31 December 2018 and must be submitted according to The Ohio Genealogical Society Writing Contest Rules and Style Guide available on the OGS website at or by e-mail request to For questions please contact

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

15th Annual OGS Genealogy Librarians' Seminar Oct 12th

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!

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 -

We also have a partial index of our Florida obituaries on our web site - - 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 - - developed by former OGS Trustee Rebecca Baker Hill. These now come up in an 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 - - We are also beginning to place digital copies of some our county obituary scrapbooks in the member side of our OGS web site.

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 - – and an index to the massive Washington County, Ohio Obituary project was just announced by FamilySearch this week - - 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,, and Additionally, there are free sites out there like ChroniclingAmerica -  - Ohio Memory -  -  and Google 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 –

Thursday, March 1, 2018

OGS Participates in Statehood Day

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!