OGS Conference – Register Now and Save

OGS 2011 conference logoThe Ohio Genealogical Society’s 2011 annual conference is fast approaching: 31 March – 2 April in Columbus. Also fast approaching is the deadline to get the early discount — Monday, 14 March.

Registration costs if you send in your registration now (postmarked on or before 14 March):

Full registration (OGS members): $115

Full registration (non-members): $153

Single day registration (OGS members): $58

Single day registration (non-members: $79

Each of those registration costs go up $20 after 14 March.

On Friday, 1 April I will be speaking on “After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans.” (No fooling!) It’s one of my favorite topics; I’m really looking forward to it.

(Disclaimer: I am being compensated as a speaker at the OGS conference.)

Revised edition of Ohio Towns and Townships

According to Tom Neel, Library Director at the Ohio Genealogical Society, OGS will be printing a revised edition of Ohio Towns and Townships to 1900: A Location Guide. OGS would like to hear from anyone with additions and corrections for inclusion in the new edition.

If you have such information, email ogs@ogs.org and put Ohio Towns & Townships in the subject line. OGS will collect data until mid-March.

Ohio Genealogical Society conference – save $ and register now

This year’s Ohio Genealogical Society conference will be held 2-4 April at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron. The schedule is filled with sessions covering topics such military research, Internet sources, software, publishing, migration, oral history, and historical fiction. I think my favorite title is Shirley Hodges’ session “Family Historian or Pack Rat?” I didn’t know there was a difference :)

Before March 15, full registration for OGS members is $115; for non-members, it is $153. The price goes up to $135 and $168 respectively after March 15.

You can download the booklet which contains the registration form at www.ogs.org/conference2009/OGSConferenceBooklet2009.pdf

Ohio Genealogical Society’s Writing Competition

From the December 2008 issue of the OGS Quarterly:

OGS is sponsoring its second annual genealogical writing contest open to authors of genealogical and historical material. The contest is for articles dealing with Ohio history and genealogy, Ohio records groups, Ohioans who left to settle elsewhere and Ohio families. OGS welcomes articles ranging in size from 750 words up to 5,000 words, depending on the subject.

Authors may submit up to eight entries with a maximum of two entries in each of the following OGS journal categories:
Ohio Genealogy News – concentrates on genealogical record groups, collections, research techniques, databases and websites related to Ohio genealogy and history, as well as articles about OGS, its Chapters and other genealogical news.
Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly – publishes articles relating to the full spectrum of Ohio history and genealogy. Types of articles include case studies, abstracts and transcriptions of Ohio related materials, and Bible records.
Ohio Records and Pioneer Families – focuses on Ohio from pre-colonial times to the Civil War historically and accepts articles on Ohio record groups including abstracts and transcriptions of such records.
Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal – features anything relating to Ohioans who served in the Civil War including post-war related activities such as reconstruction and the GAR.

The contest is open to OGS members and non-members. Both amateur and professional writers may submit articles.

Three winning articles will be selected. Winning articles will be features in the appropriate OGS journals as space permits. First place winners will receive a one-year OGS membership, a one-year subscription to ORPF and OCWGJ; second place will receive their choice of two of those items; third place will receive their choice of one of those items.

Entries will be accepted from 1 January to 28 February 2009. Send entries as hard copy or as an electronic file on CD or via email. All electronic files should be saved in Rich Text Format or in Microsoft Word or WordPerfect only. Include the following with each entry: Category (journal you wish your article to be judged), author’s name, full address, telephone number, email address and any other pertinent contact information.

Send entries to:
Writing Contest
c/o The Ohio Genealogical Society
713 S. Main St.
Mansfield, OH 44906-1644
email: ogs@ogs.org (put Writing Contest in the subject line)

Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly, Dec. 2008

I received the latest Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly [December 2008] in today’s mail. Contents include:

  • The Family of William H. Fyffe of Champaign County
  • Society of Civil War Families of Ohio Roster, 2008
  • OGS 2008 [sic] Writing Competition [I’ll blog about this later]
  • Nathan L. Glover, Akron’s Premier Music Educator
  • 1903 Deaths in Cincinnati, Ohio with Burials Outside of Hamilton County
  • Rose’s Research
  • The Smiths of Champaign County, Ohio
  • Decennial Tax Valuation, Cincinnati Real Estate, 1892
  • Hulda Emilie (King) Richholt Harris Otterbach [I look forward to reading this one. The subject sounds like my Matilda (Debolt) Skinner Crossen Brown McFillen <g>]
  • Book and CD Notices
  • 2008 Surname Index

Ohio Tax Records – Digitized and Online for Free

Some Ohio researchers are familiar with FamilySearch’s partnership with the Ohio Genealogical Society to index early Ohio tax records. After countless hundreds of hours of volunteer time, we are seeing the fruits of the labor! The tax records from 1816 – 1838 for Columbiana, Guernsey, Harrison and Jefferson counties are now on the site, fully indexed and linked to the digital image.

Go to http://pilot.familysearch.org, click on the map of the United States, then scroll down to “Ohio Tax Records, 1816-1838.”

Later today, I will work up some more screenshots showing how to navigate the site. Meanwhile, enjoy these early Ohio tax records!


Results for John Ramsey in the Ohio Tax Records on FamilySearch.org.

Results for John Ramsey in the Ohio Tax Records on FamilySearch.org.


Showing an early Ohio tax record on FamilySearch.org.

Showing an early Ohio tax record on FamilySearch.org.

Ohio Research 101

When I started tracing my family tree (more years ago than I care to admit to), I found myself lucky that I was living so close to where several generations of my ancestors lived. I was happy as a lark going to courthouses, libraries, and the Ohio Historical Society. As I became more involved with genealogy and started talking to people from outside Ohio, I kept hearing what I thought was a strange comment: “Ohio is such a hard state to research.”

I didn’t think so; perhaps it was because that was what I got used to first. But I can see how some people would be frustrated by researching in Ohio. Ohio, being the first state carved out of the Northwest Territory, became the guinea pig for how the Federal government would do land surveys. We have more surveys with different setups than any other public land state. (I’ll devote a post to Ohio’s land surveys later. It really is a topic unto itself.) Ohio didn’t take any state censuses and our Federal census for 1810 is no longer extant. Early marriage records typically don’t record parents’ names.

All that being said, there are some wonderful things about Ohio research. Marriage records go back to the creation of the county. Civil birth and death records date to 1867 (and in some counties, 1857). Land and tax records are remarkably complete.

Let’s take a quick survey of some basic records and where you will find them in Ohio:

Vital Records:
Marriage records date to the creation of the county. (Which is true for all states formed from the Northwest Territory.) They can be found in Probate Court. Many have been microfilmed. The Ohio Genealogical Society has published two volumes of early Ohio marriages: through 1820 and 1821-1830.

Birth records date back to 1867. (A handful of counties participated in a pilot program to record births and deaths in 1857 and 1858.) They can be found in Probate Court. After December 1908, births began to be filed in the city or county health department. A copy was also forwarded to the State Vital Statistics office in Columbus. You can find copies in both the county and with the state.

Death records also date to 1867 (again, with a few counties recording them in 1857 and 1858.) Like birth records, the records from 1867-1908 are in the county Probate Court. Deaths after December 1908 can be found in either the city or county health department or with the state. Death certificates from 1908 to 1953 are at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. Death certificates after 1953 are at the State Vital Statistics office.

A new developement for researching Ohio death certificates dated 1908-1953 is that they have been digitized and are available for free on the Internet! FamilySearch has also created an index of the name of the deceased and the parents’ names. It is an invaluable tool. Go to http://labs.familysearch.org to register. After they process your request (usually a couple of days), you will be able to go in and research not only the Ohio death certificates, but also the 1900 census and numerous other records.

Wills and Estates:
Found in the probate court. Many have been microfilmed.

Land and Tax Records:
Found in the County Recorder’s office. Again, many have been microfilmed.

Military Records:
Ohio has a long, rich history of military service. Ohio contributed the third most soldiers to the Union during the Civil War (following only New York and Pennsylvania.) Many of the records of the State Adjutant General have been transferred to the Ohio Historical Society. One fantastic resource the the statewide Graves Registration file at OHS. It records the burial place of veterans buried in the state of Ohio through the early 1950s. It is also available on microfilm. Many County Recorders still maintain the files for their counties (meaning that they have not only the early burials, but also the post-1950s as well.)

Major Repositories:
Ohio is fortunate to have an incredible network of archives, libraries, and societies with resources for genealogists. I will devote a future post to this topic, but here are a few:

  • The Ohio Genealogical Society, the largest state genealogical society in the nation. Their library in Mansfield has nearly 30,000 volumes and a sizeable microfilm collection. They publish the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly, the OGS News, Ohio Records & Pioneer Families and the Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal. They also sponsor lineage societies such as First Families of Ohio, devoted to honoring those who lived in Ohio by the end of 1820 (a great resource for those with early Ohio ancestors.)
  • OGS Chapters. There are Chapters of the Ohio Genealogical Society in almost every county of Ohio. They have published countless volumes of records for their counties. Be certain to contact the society in the counties you’re researching.
  • The Ohio Historical Society in Columbus serves as the official state archives. They have a tremendous collection of original and published materials. Be certain to check their website, including their online catalog, before visiting.
  • The Columbus Metropolitan Library. In early 2007, they received what had been the genealogy collection at the State Library of Ohio. If you haven’t been to CML for awhile, you really need to check them out.
  • Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. Indispensible resource for northeast Ohio research.
  • The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. One of the largest genealogy collections in a public library in the Midwest, if not the nation.

More to come!
Each of these topics will be covered more in-depth in future posts. I hope this has at least whetted your appetite for Ohio research!

Ohio Genealogical Society 2008 conference

Yes, you read that right — the OGS 2008 Conference! I’m trying to figure out what happened to 2007 :-)

OGS will have its 2008 conference April 17-19 in Cincinnati. There are two “extra” sessions on Thursday, April 17, and full days of sessions on both Friday, April 18 and Saturday, April 19. The schedule looks very interesting, with a little (or a lot!) for everyone.

Check out the info on the OGS 2008 Conference at www.ogs.org/conference2008