Monday, August 11, 2014

Proposed Bipartisan Legislation to Change the VA Policy on Veteran Headstones

Grave of Civil War Veteran Jesse Flinn in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery

Jim Dempsey forwarded this article to me for possible inclusion in the blog. Since it is an article that discusses a bill with bipartisan support, I have included it in this blog. If you have an ancestor who served in the military and was buried without a headstone, this new policy may allow the Veterans' Administration to supply a headstone.The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County confronted this issue a couple of years ago. They wanted to honor seven African-American Civil War Veterans buried in the Wesleyan Cemetery without a headstone. In some cases, they could not locate a descendant, making them ineligible to receive one according to the VA rules in place at the time. So it is with great excitement that I share this link.

Thank you, Jim, for the good news.

Legislation to Provide Headstones to All Veterans

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spring Grove Cemetery Tram Tour

Photo Credit: Spring Grove Cemetery Website

On Saturday, September 6th at 1:00 PM, 24 lucky members of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society will have the opportunity to take a tram tour of Spring Grove Cemetery. The tour will be led by two docents who will discuss "Women of the Grove" and "Iconography." (Note: Iconography is the study of the symbols found on grave markers). The tour will last approximately one hour.

Unfortunately, only the first 24 people who make a reservation will be able to attend. Should there be more members interested in attending, every effort will be made to schedule a second tour at a later date. Please notify Kathy Reed by email at and with the words "Spring Grove" in the subject line. By return email, you will receive confirmation of your eligibility to attend the tour. A waiting list will be maintained if necessary. Participants are asked to meet at the Welcome Center near the cemetery entrance. There is no cost to members.

Questions? The best way to contact me is through email. You may also call me at 513-295-1970.
Click to Access Directions

                                                                              Photo Credit: Kathy Reed

Note: This tour is FULL. If you are interested, please ask to be put on the Waiting List. If another tour can be arranged, you will be contacted.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Monday, July 28, 2014

Survey Results Indicate that People Join Genealogical Societies for Camaraderie

Background: Recently, Gail Dever posted a survey trying to determine the most important factors that explain what motivates people to join genealogical societies. She published the results of her survey on her blog, Genealogy a la Carte
Do the results ring true for you? Do you recognize areas where we could do a better job in the Hamilton County Genealogical Society. Send your comments to Kathy Reed at and I will publish them in a future post. Thanks to Gail Dever for allowing us to share her post.
Are you listening, genealogical societies? Here are the results to last week’s survey question: What are the most important factors that make you decide to join a genealogy society? 
Due to publicity on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, 490 people participated in the survey that provided 37 multiple-choice answers. More than 40 people checked the Other box and provided additional responses.
Many thanks to all who participated and to those who promoted the survey.
Focus on camaraderie, resources, and newsletter – at an affordable price
According to the results of this survey, if your society wants to increase membership, it should focus efforts to build camaraderie, encourage members to share and learn from each other, develop the library’s resources, maintain/increase the content and quality of its newsletter, provide lectures, and offer an affordable membership fee.
Most important factors
The top two reasons people join a society are for the people. While genealogists often do much of their research alone, it perhaps comes as no surprise that close to a majority of respondents — about 60 percent — join societies for the opportunity to meet people and learn from others. Forty-five percent also said “research assistance and guidance” is an important factor and 40 percent join because members are friendly and helpful.
The number three reason genealogists join societies is to “improve my research skills” (54%).  As for organized opportunities to learn, only lectures appear in the top ten. Is this because lectures are often free for members? Is it the frequency of lectures that encourage people to join?
Cost is also an important factor, suggested by 45 percent of respondents who selected “affordable membership fee.”
Other top ten factors are the library’s resources (47%), newsletter (46%), and remote access to members only databases (40%).
1. Opportunity to network with people passionate about genealogy – 61%
2. Opportunity to meet knowledgeable members to help me – 59%
3. I want to improve my research skills – 54%
4. Society focused on area where my ancestors lived – 48%.
5. Library’s resources (books, computers, microfilm) – 47%
6. Informative newsletter/journal/magazine – 46%
7. Research assistance and guidance – 45%
8. Affordable membership fee – 44%
9. Lectures – 43%
10. Members are friendly and helpful – 40%
10. Remote access to “members only” online databases – 40%

Learning opportunities not a huge factor
Other learning opportunities, such as conferences (36%), workshops (34%), and webinars (24%), appear in the top 20, however, they are not among the top factors one may expect, given the amount of work and cost required from a society.
While only one if five respondents chose message boards (21%) and free queries (20%), significantly more people (31%) prefer the ability to post to a surname research database.
Member discounts and advocacy attract few
Way down the list are member discounts, ranging from 10 to 18 percent. Although many respondents indicated they join societies to network with other genealogists, they appear much less interested in field trips (15%) and social events (11%). Very few respondents join a society for its advocacy program, partnerships, or board of directors.
11. I want to help fellow genealogists – 36%
11. Conferences – 36%
12. Workshops – 34%
13. Ability to post to surname research database – 31%
14. Email communication with members about activities, resources, and news – 25%
15. Webinars – 24%

16. I live near the society – 23%
17. Message board for members – 21%
18. Variety of special interest groups – 20%
18. Free queries – 20%
19. Member discounts on lecturers, seminars, and workshops – 18%
19. Volunteer opportunities – 18%
20. Society is a leader in the field of genealogy – 17%

21. Field trips – 15%
21. Member discounts on conferences – 15%
22. Member discounts on commercial databases – 13%
22. Society partners with other organizations – 13%
23. Member discounts on books and magazines – 12%
24. Recommendation from a friend – 11%
24. Social activities – 11%
24. Society recognizes volunteers’ contributions – 11%

25. Member discounts on research – 10%
26. Other (these factors will be listed tomorrow) – 9%
27. Useful new member packages – 8%
27. I want to provide financial support – 8%
28. Society has an advocacy program – 7%
29. Society’s board of directors – 2%

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hamilton County Genealogical Society Makes a Difference Volunteer Project

quilting fabric and blocks representing those of the Civil War period
Now that the summer is upon us we have a volunteer project that might interest you. Do you like to wander through cemeteries taking photographs? Would you like to honor and memorialize Civil War Veterans buried in Hamilton County? Or maybe you would like looking up memorials on Find a Grave?

With the period for recognition of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War drawing to a close, we’ve planned a project that needs lots of volunteers, each undertaking a small amount of effort. We want to place photos of the tombstones, burial site, or memorialize on Find a all the Civil War veterans buried in Hamilton County. These soldiers we seek to honor fought to preserve the Union – so we did not become a nation divided.   

We will need volunteers to “adopt” a cemetery and take photos of the graves of soldiers. We will provide the list. Other volunteers are needed to research Find a and verify if a memorial has been created already for the soldier. This volunteer will also move existing memorials to our “virtual cemeteries” for our project. And finally, we will need volunteers to create new memorials on Find a for soldiers who need them.

We have a Find A Grave profile that we will use The “virtual cemeteries” are located there.

We will provide work sheets and instructions for the cemetery you choose to adopt. Supplies to help the photographer will also be provided. We suggest you work in groups, so volunteer with a friend or join us as we tackle some of the larger cemeteries together.

This is the initial group of cemeteries we will be taking photos in. The number beside the name indicates the number of Civil War Veterans buried there. After checking on Find a Grave the actual count for each cemetery will be lower if memorials have been created already.

Armstrong Chapel (Methodist Churchyard)-19
Asbury Methodist Episcopal Chapel-5
Asbury Methodist Episcopal Churchyard-17
Bethel Baptist-8
Bevis Cedar Grove-35
Carpenter’s Run Baptist Church Cemetery-2
Clough Baptist Churchyard-1
Coleman Presbyterian Cemetery-5
Columbia Baptist Churchyard-9
Compton Family Burial Ground-2
Congress Green-2
Dunlap Station-1-assigned
Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Cemetery-4-assigned
East Miami River-1
Flag Spring Cemetery-49-completed
Glen Haven Cemetery-109
Green Township-5
Guardian Angels Catholic Cemetery-3
Hayes Rittenhouse-1
Hillcrest Afro-American-4
Maple Grove-119
Mt Healthy Evangelical United Brethren-5
Mt Pleasant-34
New Burlington-18
New Haven-16-assigned
Oak Hill-19
Our Lady of Victory-6
Reading Protestant-91
Rose Hill-2
Salem Methodist Episcopal-2
St Aloysius Gonzaga-14-assigned
St Bernard Catholic-4-assigned
St James of White Oak-10
St John the Baptist Catholic Churchyard-2
St John-17
St John Catholic-19
St Michael Catholic-5
St Paul Evangelical-2
St Peter and Paul, Reading-18
St Peter and Paul Old, Reading-2
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran-1
Union Baptist African American-151
United African American-47
United Brethren-2
United Jewish, Clifton-9
United Jewish, Price Hill-10
Van Blaricum, privately owned-4
Vine St Hill-800+ (will have this be a large team project)
Zion United Brethren-7

Think about the cemeteries near you, or ones that you are familiar with and check in with us to volunteer.

If you would like to volunteer please email our coordinator for volunteers on this project, Jane Fitzpatrick, at

Please indicate how you would like to be involved:
  • Volunteer photographer at cemetery (pick one or several)
  • Research our list of soldiers on Find a Grave (and add them to a virtual cemetery)
  • Create memorials or add photos to Find a Grave

There are no deadlines for completion of the project; we’ll just keep moving ahead till we are finished.   

If you have any questions, feel free to email any of us on the Cemetery committee:
Amy Hartman, 
Pam Sattari,
Jane Fitzpatrick,            
Jean Morrison,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Tracer Wins 2014 NGS Award

The Tracer is this year’s winner of the National Genealogical Society Newsletter Competition in the category of County or Local Genealogical or Historical Society.

As described on the NGS website, “A panel of three judges reviewed two issues of each submitted newsletter on these criteria: material interest, variety and originality; writing and editing quality; readability and attractiveness; and overall publication make-up.”

The judges’ comments included “it was one of the most professional newsletters that they have reviewed,” and “the content was far above any of the other nominations submitted for 2014.”     
The award was presented to Deb Cyprych, editor of The Tracer, at the NGS Conference in the States held in Richmond, Virginia May 7-10. The Tracer was honored with this award in the same location in 2007.

Great Timing!

The June issue of The Tracer is now available on our website in the Members Area. The contents of this issue are:
  • "Cincinnati Boardinghouses: 1819 to 1840"
  • Calendar of Upcoming Events
  • Lineage Societies Deadline and Heritage Luncheon
  • HCGS Publication News
  • Awards Presented at the Annual Seminar
  • HCGS in Kroger Community Rewards
  • New Project to Memorialize Civil War Veterans
  • Preserve the Pensions: $2,360!
  • More Hamilton County Marriage Records Online
  • Hamilton County Records Online at FamilySearch: Update
  • Divorce Records of the Insolvency Court
  • New Members
  • “Early History of Hamilton County—Residents in 1790”
  • Historic Hamilton County Courts and Their Records
  • Public Library Acquisitions
  • Book Reviews: Cincinnati’s Underground Railroad; A City That Sings
  • HCGS Treasurer’s Report, 2013

To read these articles, logon to our website in the Members Area and then click on The Tracer. If your HCGS membership includes printed copies of The Tracer, a copy will arrive soon by USPS mail.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Discover How to Dig for Your Genealogical Roots

Are you new to genealogy and don't know where to begin? HCGS in conjunction with our library partners is offering three sessions that will enable you to kickstart your research. Both a member of the Genealogy and Local History Department and a member of HCGS will give you tips and techniques on how to begin and help make you aware of the rich resources we are fortunate to have in Cincinnati.

The sessions will he held as follows:
Saturday, May 10th, 11:00 AM in the 3rd Floor Program Space
Monday, May 12th, 7:00 PM Anderson Branch
Tuesday, May 13th, 6:00 PM St. Bernard Branch

For maps and directions, visit the "About Us" Section on the library site.

Submitted by: Kathy Reed

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sometimes the Stars Just Align!

Bill Graver and Liz Stratton
The Final Practicum of Searching Land Records for Genealogical Gold will be on Saturday, April 19th. Liz Stratton's topic will be an Introduction to Property Maps. Participants will use online resources to locate properties using online historic and contemporary maps. There will be a brief introduction to land platting.

At a recent Practicum, Liz was discussing how to use published sources to locate Hamilton County land records. She cited several sources authored by Bill Graver. At this point, one of the participants made Liz aware that Bill Graver was attending the lab! What a treat for us all. Bill, gracious as always, was thrilled to see that we were getting hands-on experience in the use of these materials.

Next Steps: Many of the images are now online. We have resources to understand them and many of us have learned the basics. Bill Graver's invaluable books available on our website (, see "Property Records, etc.":

Hamilton County, Ohio, Guide to Recorder's Indexes and Documents, 1794-1988

Hamilton County, Ohio, Index to Early Deed Books, 1804-1806 and 1814-1817

Hamilton County, Ohio, Index of People, Roads, Churches, etc., on 1835, 1847, 1848, 1869, 1884 Maps and Atlases

Cincinnati, Ohio, Index to Property Owners & Streets in 1895 and 1897 Atlases: River to Liberty, Freeman to Mt. Adams

Locating land records in Hamilton County using geographical indexes can be a complex process. In the future, Liz Stratton has agreed to create a video summarizing the steps. We look forward to offering more programs in the future related to this topic -- so stay tuned!
Submitted by Kathy Reed