Sunday, January 15, 2017

Weil Funeral Home Records
By Rick D. Cauthen & Paul K. Cauthen

The Hamilton County Genealogical Society is very excited to announce we have completed filming and digitizing the Weil Funeral Home Index card catalog. This represents a huge repository of information to the Jewish Genealogical community with more than 25,000 funerals dating back to as early as 1913. These records have been made available to the Hamilton County Genealogical Society through the generosity and kindness of present-day owners, Mr. Robert Weil and Mr. William Kahn. This tremendous collection will serve as an incredible tool and resource for the entire Jewish Genealogical community. Weil Funeral Home was established in January 1912 and has continued to meet the needs of the local Greater Cincinnati Jewish community to the present day. The funeral home can be found on the web at: Their current location: 8350 Cornell Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45249.
Weil Funeral Home has an interesting history. It had its earliest roots not as a funeral home, but as a livery service. As a livery, essentially, the Weil family would rent horses and horse-drawn carriages. Yes, as a livery, they even would have provided such rentals to established funeral homes that would have needed the horses and carriages to function as a modern day hearse. The livery service itself dates back to the 1890s. The Weil family originally came to Cincinnati from Alsace. Robert Weil’s great grandfather Isaac Weil was born August 5, 1860, in Cincinnati and started out as a produce vendor. He ended up dealing in horses by going into the business around 1895 with his brother-in-law Leo Mook under the business name Mook & Weil. The story goes that some 16 years later, Isaac went to a local Cincinnati funeral home that was closing and selling off their horses to make a deal. Well, you guessed it, he ended up buying not just the horses, but the entire funeral business.
 That the Weil Funeral Home has been nearly the sole resource for Jewish funerals for Greater Cincinnati as well as Hamilton, Butler, and Warren Counties for more than 100 years means that almost every Jewish family has had their final arrangements for their loved ones made using their services. Weil Funeral Home has maintained excellent records dating back to the 1940s. Within the card catalog, there were cards created that alphabetized the funerals dating back to 1913. Unfortunately, those cards contain very minimal information. It was not until 1940 when the funeral home began to maintain extremely detailed records all the way forward until the present day. We have digitized these records through December 31, 2015.
The Weil Funeral Home records are maintained in the Member’s Area of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society website located at and are available exclusively to the Society’s members. If you are not a member of the Society, you can easily join via our website with memberships beginning at $15.00 annually. Archival copies of the microfilmed records are being maintained at the American Jewish Archives located at Hebrew Union College and the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Main Library Downtown.

How to Find the Funeral you want

The 25,000 3" x 5" index cards of funerals from 1940 to Dec. 31, 2015, are divided into 86 Acrobat PDF files alphabetized by last name and one PDF for funerals from 1913 through 1939.  These files contain the actual images of the funeral record cards.  After accessing the Weil Funeral Home Records link from the member’s area, click on the surname pair in the list where the family name of interest would be in alphabetical order between the first surname and last one in each pair. Within each group of identical surnames, the cards are in alphabetical order by the first name. As the card images are in alphabetical order, it would be simple enough to locate your ancestor by browsing. However, the OCR technology makes it possible to use the find function (usually Control Key + the F key) to access a popup window by which you can do a search for any keyword you desire. It will then give you all the possible index points to locate that record. These index cards have a wealth of genealogical information such as: birth and death dates, Hebrew date of death, surviving spouse, Rabbi who performed the service, place of death (particularly valuable when out-of-state), cemetery of interment (or if cremation was chosen), where the body was sent if not buried locally, marital status, and the individual who was responsible for paying for the funeral. You can search for virtually anything, such as the cemetery name, the rabbi who did the services, but the first or last name of the deceased will probably be the most popular way of finding your ancestor. Be advised, however, that the OCR indexing is not perfect. If you do not have success using the find option, always follow up by browsing.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to write to Jewish Interest Group leader, Rick Cauthen at

Sample record from our collection

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Southwest Ohio DNA Interest Group - "Work Session" on January 31st

January Work Session On Tuesday, January 31st from 7:00 - 8:45.

We will have a "work session" at the MidPointe Library in West Chester, Ohio. Bring your laptop or other device and questions about using autosomal DNA. We will rely on the expertise of other group members to solve problems you may be experiencing.

Meeting Dates for 2017
February 14th – Using your FTDNA and 23andme results.
April 11th – Introduction to Gedmatch
June 13th
August 15th
October 10th

Videos for the first two meetings are available at the following links:
Introduction to DNA and Genetic Genealogy 
Using Autosomal DNA on Ancestry

If you want to be placed on the mailing list, email

Friday, January 13, 2017

Photography and Genealogy Research with Thomas Jordan

Photography and Genealogical Research
Thomas Jordan
HCGS member and author, Thomas Jordan, will be the featured speaker for two programs to be held at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM at the Main Library on Saturday, February 11th.

Saturday, February 11, Main Library (2 sessions) Photography and Family
Photography and Genealogy Research, 11 a.m.
Behind every photo lies a story. Genealogist Thomas Jordan will explore genealogical clues just waiting to be discovered in cabinets and photo albums found at home. This program will take place on the First Floor in the Reading Garden Program Space.  

Saturday, February 11, Main Library (2 sessions) Photography and Family
Photography and Genealogy Research, 11 a.m.
Behind every photo lies a story. Genealogist Thomas Jordan will explore genealogical clues just waiting to be discovered in cabinets and photo albums found at home. This program will take place on the Second Floor in the MakerSpace area.

Additional Information:
You may want to read Thomas' book.

Double Jordan:: My Journey Towards Discovering My Paternal Ancestors 

When Thomas Darron Jordan’s paternal aunt died in 2002, another generation of his family was gone. Thomas realized that he knew very little about his family roots. A visit with a cousin in Dunbar, West Virginia in 2008 forever altered his purpose in life and he became a genealogist. Thomas invites you to join him on his journey to uncover his paternal ancestors. His search led him to Roberta, Crawford County, Georgia, the place where it all began. He has documented all eight of his paternal great-great grandparents and his research led to the creation of a bi-annual reunion of the descendants of his great-great grandfather Jessie Jordan, Sr. (1817-1915). Utilizing his newfound sleuthing skills, he discovered his connection to one of the most pivotal civil rights events in history.

Available on Amazon.

Submitted by Kathy Reed


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Posted in Error

Note: Yesterday I posted what was a "preview" of things to come in regard to Cincinnati deeds. The deeds are currently available on the Hamilton Co, Recorder site:

Deed Books A through W2 (1794 to 1823)

Detailed descriptions of early deeds and deed book indexes can be found on the Recorders' Historic Records page

Some pages may be missing due to the 1884 Hamilton Co. Court House Fire. The March 2017 Tracer will have additional information.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Southwest Ohio DNA Interest Group (SWOHDNA)

On 10-17-2016, we held our first Southwest Ohio DNA Interest Group meeting (SWOHDNA) at the MidPointe Library in West Chester. About 30 people attended. We have since received 8 more requests to join. A DNA Interest Group subpage has been added to the website. Just go to “Interest Groups” and click on “DNA Interest Group” listed below. Information related to genetic genealogy is posted there.

The group has also developed a “google groups” page (SWOHDNA) which currently has 62 members. To find it, search “goggle groups” and type in “SWOHDNA.” You can request to be a member of the group.

Because of numerous requests from out-of-town HCGS members, we are currently in the process of editing a video the first presentation for sharing on our website. In the first presentation, we discussed the three types of DNA available for genealogical use and the three main companies that process it: Ancestry DNA, 23andme and FTDNA. All three companies process autosomal DNA (atDNA). For this reason, we decided to focus on atDNA initially. We look at the video as a benefit for out-of-town members, as well as those who may not be available for an individual meeting.  Once processing is completed, the video will be posted on our website.

The next meeting is scheduled at the MidPointe Library in West Chester on Tuesday, November 29 from 7:00 – 8:45. We will discuss how to interpret DNA results and use them to identify family members. Reference populations, ethnicity results, triangulation and how to transfer results to Gedmatch will be among the topics discussed. If you have Ancestry results or want to order a kit for processing in the future, you may want to consider joining the group.

This group is not limited to members of HCGS. Participants come from all over southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky. To be put on the mailing list, send a request to

Submitted by Kathy Reed
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Gold Star Mothers from World War I to the Present - November 12th

Are you familiar with this banner? I first saw it in a picture of my family from World War II. My father and his brothers went off to fight in the war one by one, and this banner in the front window told all passersby that three members of this family were serving. A gold star indicated that a family member had died.

Over time, mothers experiencing this unspeakable loss, came together to support each other. The organization became known as the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. HCGS Librarian, Brian Powers, has met with members of this organization. Together, they have worked to identify some of the genealogical records that can help us better understand those local families whose children paid the ultimate price.
Click to enlarge

On November 12, the Genealogy and Local History Department will present two programs on Gold Star Mothers from World War I to the present.  On November 12, the Genealogy and Local History will hold two programs highlighting the contributions of Gold Star Mothers. There are two programs -- 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. The afternoon program, co-sponsored with HCGS, will discuss genealogical records that can be useful in researching those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We hope to see you then.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Vietnam

HCGS asked me to share this with our group. Although this is not an HCGS program, Chris Smith assures me that Ken Williamson and native Cincinnatian has created an excellent photographic memoir of his time in Vietnam and what he learned in two return trips in 1998 and 2005. The program will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday, November 5th.

Submitted by Kathy Reed