Friday, May 15, 2015

Hamilton County Recorder Receives Award of Merit

 Wayne Coates with Jim Dempsey
Award of Merit

On April 18, 2015, Recorder Wayne Coates was honored by the Hamilton County Genealogical Society which presented him with their Award of Merit. Jim Dempsey, Board Member, stated "For his vision to digitize Hamilton County property records for internet access, for the support of digitizing over 800,000 historical records, and his commitment to work with our Society to create digital historic and genealogical indexes, it is our honor and great pleasure to award Wayne Coates, our Chapter‘s highest award, the Award of Merit."

Additional News from the Recorders Office

Jim Dempsey announced that a group of HCGS volunteer indexers have completed a transcription of Deed Index 7, Part 1. It includes about 6,000 deed purchaser surnames. The index can be found on the HCGS website. This, and the previously completed Index 8, are Adobe Acrobat PDF files which are in alphabetical order by buyer surname.

Tech Tip

These PDF files can easily be searched.  Simply click Ctrl-F and a search box will appear on the screen. A search box can be used for any word or part of a word in the transcribed index. In addition, the search box is useful for searching first names, second names, institutions, businesses and partnerships.

These member benefits would not be possible without the dedication of HCGS volunteers. Our thanks to all of them.

Submitted by Jim Dempsey
Photo Credit: John Tholking

Sunday, May 10, 2015

German Genealogy Day at the Kolping Center

Jeff Herbert, Bob Rau and Kenny Burck

Yesterday at the Kolping Center, 86 people showed up to our German Genealogy Day. The day included speakers Jeff Herbert, Bob Rau, and Kenny Burck. In addition to three special talks, attendees were able to enjoy beer, apple strudel, and large German pretzels. It was a great day with a surprise turnout, given that it was a nice spring day.

Thanks are due to the Kolping Society, who graciously co-sponsored the event, and allowed us the use of their facility. The event attracted people from Indiana, Kentucky and even one from New Mexico who was home on a visit. I think everyone who attended had a great time and learned a lot.
What expertise we have in Hamilton County!

You may look at other pictures of the event by clicking on this link.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jewish Genealogy: The use of Local Jewish Cemeteries

Local Jewish Cemeteries

Certainly one of the most accessible tools for genealogical research particularly to those of Jewish ancestry would be a Jewish Cemeteries. The oldest Jewish cemetery located in Hamilton County is the Chestnut Street Cemetery dating back to 1821 located at the corner of Chestnut Street and Central Avenue in the downtown region of Cincinnati. Unfortunately, it closed rapidly in 1849 as this small plot of land was consumed during the Cholera Epidemic that had wiped out so many in the Cincinnati area. It is not only the oldest Jewish cemetery in Cincinnati, but in fact, it is the oldest Jewish cemetery west of the Allegheny Mountains.

The most basic fact that can be gleaned simply from which Jewish cemetery your ancestor is buried in is simply whether that individual was of the Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform Jewish movements. Every Jewish cemetery formed historically by a particular Jewish congregation. That congregation would have belong to one of those broad movements. Knowledge of which movement any specific Jewish cemetery belongs to just involves a bit of research about the congregation that founded it.

Since 2004, the majority of Jewish cemeteries in Cincinnati have been managed and maintained under the non-profit organization “Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati.” This organization has become a major tool for all Hamilton County Jewish Genealogists. Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati can be found on the web at This site will provide a rich source of information about the history of all the Jewish cemeteries located in this Hamilton and Butler counties. Once on the main home page, you will find a header labeled “Genealogy” on the menu.
Once you click on the Genealogy menu, you will be taken to their data base whereby you can do a simply search for your ancestor and you will find a quick response listing the first & last names, the cemetery, and the date of death. Additionally, you will find an actual photograph of the head stone or marker. If you would like to make an in person visit to the actual grave, by continuing to click on the last name of your ancestor, you will find more detailed burial information showing the specific burial location such as lot number, section number, and grave number.

Of course, first-hand experience has taught me that actually using that information to find the actual grave can be much more challenging. So here is a very helpful tip! Take your cell phone with you as begin to search for the location of your Jewish ancestor. If you are particularly struggling in your search, you can phone the Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati staff at 513-961-0178 during regular business hours, and you can explained to them who you are trying to find. They can take the name of any deceased person for which you happened to be standing by and they can direct you by telling you how many rows to walk forward or backward and so many graves to the left and the right in order to located your ancestor.

Jewish headstones may uncover more information that just the birth date, and death date. It may uncover who they were married to if buried adjacent to their spouse. Plus, these headstones may uncover more genealogical information if you can translate the Hebrew inscription. To be continued…

My Paternal Grandparents Buried in Covedale

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Jewish Interest Group Now Forming

Have you ever wanted to become more involved with our very own Hamilton County Genealogical Society but felt like you may not really fit it since most of your ancestry if not 100% of your ancestors were Jewish? I most definitely have and we certainly don’t have a Jewish Genealogical Society to fold in to. So who am I you may be asking. Well that is a fair enough question.

My name is Rick Schear Cauthen and I have been working on my Family Tree since my early twenties. Unfortunately, I am now in my early fifties. However, I have never lost my passion for family history or history in general for that matter. I recently have become active in our very own local Hamilton County Genealogical Society. It is truly a wonderful way to make new friends and become more involved in the pursuit and preservation of local records.

I am currently in the process of forming a Jewish Interest Group with the Society and I really would love to meet others who would share my passion for Jewish Roots. The first project that I been instrumental in making my dream a reality is the Microfilming and Indexing of the funeral records from the local Jewish Community’s very own Weil Funeral Home. Well, I should say this project is in the pipeline and it is going to be an enormous undertaking as we have determined that in the last 100 years, Weil Funeral Home has handled more than 28,000 funerals. Weil Funeral Home is a genealogical gold mine for any researcher who has Jewish roots in the Greater Cincinnati community. 

So, if you have this same interest, won’t you come get involved? Please reach out and contact me, Rick Schear Cauthen at  Just email me your name and phone number. Also, you can friend and message me on Facebook at

I thought I would share one of my most treasured photos of my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother Freda & Hyman Schear and their seven children. The small little boy in the front center was my Grandfather Mose Schear. Unfortunately, I never met one person in this picture so I am quite grateful to at least have this photo which would have been taken in Kursenai, Lithuania sometime in the very late 1800s. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New Database available on our website: Hamilton County Church Deaths 1890-1899

We are pleased to announce that we have a new database on our website, Hamilton County Church Deaths 1890-1899.  This  is the latest and last installment of 19th Century church deaths, indexed by Jeffrey G. Herbert, covering the years 1890 through 1899.  The Previous years are in book format and this database will also be published in book format soon.  Included in the 1890-1899 database are 25,914 church deaths from 81 Hamilton County churches, including Roman Catholic.  Also included are 8,443 burials in three Catholic cemeteries during the 1890s. 

These are records of church services for deaths (funerals) and are typically NOT cemetery burial records, except for some cemetery burials indexed in Church Deaths 1890-1899. A typical index entry consists of Name (Last name, Given name), Church burial/funeral date, Death Date if given, Maiden name if given, and Age at Death if given, and Parents name if given (sometimes for children).  Some entries also include an indicator (asterisk or Y) that the Place of Birth (POB) is given and some include the newspaper page. Each index record includes a reference to the source microfilm or church source.

The database is in two formats, one for Members and a Public Version:

Members-Only Online Full Index: Search the complete index of entries from Church Deaths 1890 - 1899 database.  The full index entry will be given in the search results for HCGS members who have logged into this website. If you are not a member you can Join HCGS (for as little as $15/year) and have access to this database.

Public Online Abbreviated Index: Available in a searchable PDF file (1.6 MB). Each entry contains Last Name, Given Name, Year of death, Place of birth (POB) indicator.  Until this index is published in printed book form, the full index entry is only available at this time to HCGS members.

Here is a link to the database page: Hamilton County Church Deaths 1890-1899

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Annual Seminar Registration Deadline Approaching: April 1!


Saturday, April 18, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm




Mill Race Banquet Center in Winton Woods Park

1515 West Sharon Road, Cincinnati


Preregister by April 1


Print and Mail a Registration form:

Registration is $35/person for members of the Hamilton, Butler, Clermont or Warren County Genealogy Societies. All others pay only $37/person.



Gerald "Jerry" Smith, CG, is our speaker. Jerry is an expert in New Jersey and Pennsylvania research. That's good news for descendants of Hamilton County's early settlers. Many of those early settlers migrated from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania records are similar to records in any commonwealth--that includes Kentucky, Massachusetts and Virginia! Even if you have no ancestors from those states, the seminar has much to offer.


Records of the New Jersey Proprietors

Records of the New Jersey Proprietors include land records. (I know you all love land records after the recent land series!) These records may be the key to unlock your ancestors identities in New Jersey. New Jersey land records are unique. Learn the history of the East Jersey and West Jersey Proprietorships. Discover records available online or at the New Jersey Archives.

Early Pennsylvania Research from Afar

Jerry will navigate us to underused sources and tell us how to get the most out of them. Early Pennsylvania records including Pennsylvania patents, Quarter Session Court records and early tax lists will be covered. For those who are planning a summer vacation to Pennsylvania, Jerry will reveal lesser-known repositories. For those who aren't going there, learn how to efficiently engage a researcher.

Obituaries--From Humor to Horror

This introduction to obituary research will inform and delight you. Gotchas, humorous and horrid examples are interspersed. Topics include compiling a list of newspapers, locating them, finding obituaries in a variety of forms and then using them as a springboard to further records about your ancestor.

Finding Land-Less Ancestors

I've heard the cries and tales of woe from those who found no ancestors listed in ANY of land records we explored. This session is tailor-made for you. Jerry will teach us techniques and resources for researching our poor ancestors who died without land. Strategies for both rural and urban areas will be presented.


The annual seminar is a fun way to learn about genealogy from national experts! No airlines or hotels required. The Mill Race Banquet Center has ample parking. Admission to the park, a continental breakfast and buffet lunch are included with your registration. We look forward to seeing you there!

Submitted by Liz Stratton, Education Director,  f

Thursday, March 19, 2015

German Genealogy Day - May 9th

The Hamilton County Genealogical Society, in conjunction with the Kolping Society, is excited to present a “German Genealogy Day” on Saturday, May 9th, from 10:00 – 2:00. The day will feature three speakers, recognized for their expertise in German culture and genealogy.


10:00 - Jeff Herbert – Researching Your German Ancestors Using German Newspapers

11:10 - Bob Rau – Eva Barbara, Where Are You? Finding Your German Ancestor’s Birthplace

12:20 - Kenny Burck – Tracing Your German Genealogy

Question and answer period to follow.


Beer, soft drinks, German pretzels and strudel will be available for purchase throughout the day.


This event will be held at the Kolping Center, located at 10235 Mill Road, Cincinnati, OH  45231. You can get a map and directions at this link:
There is free parking and the building is handicap-accessible.


There is no cost for this program with the exception of optional food and drink purchases.

Speaker Bios

Kenny Burck - President of HCGS, has been a German researcher for 46 years. He is a frequent speaker and has contributed to the publication of more than 20 books. He also teaches a course annually on reading German script in genealogical documents. 

Jeff-Herbert - Jeff has been a local researcher for 20+ years and specializes in German research.   He the past-president of the HCGS and currently serves as Treasurer.   His lecture will focus on strategies for researching and translating local German records to find the birthplace of your German ancestors.

Robert Rau - Bob Rau has been interested in genealogy for over thirty five years, and has been researching his and his wife’s ancestral lines, all of which go back into Germany and Alsace-Lorraine.  He has been a non-member librarian, specializing in German research, at the LDS Family History Center in Cincinnati for over twenty five years. 

We hope to see you there.

Submitted by Kathy Reed