Monday, December 26, 2011

Cincinnati: Searching the Census by Address

I recently posted "Finding Smith, Jones and every other Tom, Dick and Harry in the Census" on my personal blog giving an example of using Obtaining Enumeration Districts (EDs) and Streets  for the 1900-1940 Census. I was looking for Loretta Smith in New York City with very few details other than a name and address.  The good news is that Obtaining Enumeration Districts is also available for many other large cities including Cincinnati!

In Cincinnati, we have the added advantage of the online access to most Cincinnati City Directories on the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's Virtual Library. Downloadable directories are available for most years from 1819-1934.  A name and address from a record you know pertains to your ancestor is all you need to get started. You can track family moves using the online directories to aid in determining their residence in a census year.

In the 20th Century, many records include an address should you not be able to positively identity your ancestor in directories. Death registrations, cemetery records, social security applications, obituaries and other news items, etc., are just a few of the records that might include your ancestor's residence. Many of these records are available online.

Once you have an address, use  Obtaining Enumeration Districts to quickly locate your ancestor in the census. Clicking on 'View Microfilm' will take you to the enumeration district on Page forward through the enumeration district to find the street address.

While the example in my blog dealt with a common surname, the technique is also effective for finding families whose surnames were prone to misspelling in the census. There are some amazingly creative renditions of names in the census! Wally Huskonen wrote about using the tool in Getting Ready to Research in the 1940 Census. When the census is first released, it will not include a name index. But you will be able to search by street address.

Thanks again to all the people who provide access to these important historic records and research tools! This is but one of Steve Morse's One-Step Tools for locating your ancestor in records. For more see One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse.

Happy Boxing Day!

Huskonen, Wally. "Getting Ready to Research the 1940 Census." Ohio Genealogy News, Winter 2011, page 22.

Morse, Stephen P., Joel D. Weintraub and David R. Kehs.  Obtaining EDs for the 1900-1940 Census in One Step (Large Cities). : 2006.

Stratton, Liz. "Finding Smith Jones and Every Other Tom, Dick and Harry in the Census." Attics and Old Lace. : 20 December 2011.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Webinars and the Genealogical Community

According to Wikipedia, "The term webinar is short for Web-based Seminar, a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web."  Webinars can be live and interactive, allowing the participants to actively interact with the speaker, or one-way.  A webinar that is not presented in real-time is sometimes referred to as a "webcast."  Watching a webcast is similar to watching a prerecorded presentation.

Approximately one-half of the members of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society are not local.  They are interested in the area because they, or their ancestors, lived in Hamilton County at one time.  It is often not practical for them to attend meetings or take advantage of the excellent speakers that are available to members who live locally. Offering webinars or webcasts might be a way to bring our local speakers to you regardless of where you are. If you think you would take advantage of the webinars, please add a comment at the end of this post.

More and more societies are working on ways to address the needs of members who are not able to attend Chapter functions.  One of the ways that organizations are meeting this need is by making webinars/webcasts available to members. Mary Ann Faloon, Chair of our Irish Interest Group, forwarded me a Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree 2012 Extension Series flyer to me in the hope that we would make you aware of the availability of these free webinars. Complete directions on how to register and participate are included in the flyer.

There are a great many other webinars available on a vast array of topics. For a Google Calendar of up-coming webinars: View GeneaWebinars calendar. A link to this calendar has been added to our blog sidebar.

As 2011 comes to a close, why not make a resolution to get out of your comfort zone and try something new in 2012?  I'm going to put this at the top of my New Year's Genealogical Resolutions.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Researching Civil War Veterans

Amy Johnson Crow, CG
On Saturday, November 19th, the Hamilton County Genealogical Society and the PLCH co-sponsored a talk with Amy Johnson Crow.  Her talk was of special interest to those whose ancestors include veterans of the Civil War. 

Probably the best source of genealogical and biographical information for Union Civil War Veterans is the Pension Record.  In order to qualify for a pension, applicants were often required to document their eligibility by providing proof of marriage, birth records for children and possible disability.  A General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934, is available on    It is arranged alphabetically.  A second index, arranged by regiment, then company, the alphabetically is available on and in a beta version at  It is called the Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served between  1861 and 1900- [1917]. 

Pensions for Confederate veterans were issued by former Confederate states.  Each state had its own eligibility requirements.  Veterans applied for a pension from the state in which he resided, not the state from which he served.  If a Confederate veteran was unfortunate enough to move to a Union state following the war, he was not eligible for any pension.

Civil War veterans were issued a military discharge record that they were to record in their county of residence.  If the record exists it is often located in the County Recorder's Office. This record includes the place of birth, age, physical description and the place of discharge.

It is well-known that the majority of the 1890 U.S. Census (Population Schedule) was destroyed.  However, there was an 1890 Special Schedule of Union Veterans and Widows.  About half of this record survived Including the second half of the Kentucky record through Wyoming. An index and images for this record can be found on also has browsable images.

Amy also suggested that researches search out the records of Veterans Organizations such as the (GAR),  The Grand Army of the Republic was an organization for Union veterans.  Individual Regiments also held reunions.  Booklets filled with memories, biographies, lists of unit members and lists of deaths since the last reunion were often published and distributed at these reunions.

Both the federal government and individual states created homes for disabled soldiers.  Some of these records can be found on  Most residents of these homes were required to have been honorably discharged and either disabled or indigent. 

Finally, some states and local governments provided benefits, although these records vary greatly.  In the 1930s, the WPA began a Graves Registration project.  Their purpose was to try to document the burial records of all veterans within a given state.  Should the records exist, they are most likely to be found at the County Recorder Office, County Auditor of the local office of veteran's affairs.

Lesson learned:  There is more out there than the Pension Record available through the National Archives.  I think all who attended would agree that Amy Johnson Crow opened our eyes to other possible resources.

Crow, Amy Johnson, CG. "After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans." Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and the Hamilton County Genealogical Society. Cincinnati. 19 November 2011.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

FHL Film Online Ordering Now Available in Cincinnati

It is now possible to order Family History Library (FHL) microfilm online at FamilySearch Online Film Ordering.  See It's Not All Online: Ordering Family History Library Microfilm for the benefits of using the Family History Library's extensive collection of microfilms.

To order film, you will first need to set up an account with FamilySearch if you do not have one already.  This is necessary to prevent spammers from inappropriately accessing the website.  Once you have an account, select the Family History Center where you want to view the film at My Family History Center.

Ordering microfilms is easy:
  1. Identify the microfilm that you would like to order using the FamilySearch Catalog.  Proceed to FamilySearch Online Film Ordering and enter the loan type and film number and click 'search'.  Short-term loans must be returned within 90 days while long-term loans are indefinite. 
  2. The film will appear in the window with the charges shown and a link to 'Add to Cart.'
  3. Click the 'Proceed to Checkout' button when you have finished entering in microfilms you would like to  order.  You will be taken through a series of additional screens to complete your order including payment.  Payment can be made with a Visa/Mastercard credit card, debit card or prepaid card.  Payment can also be made using PayPal. ($7.50 for short-term; $18.75 for long-term; and $4.75 for microfiche)
  4. You will receive a confirming email letting you know if the film is available and another email when the film has been received by your local Family History Center (FHC).
  5. One week before your film is due, you will receive another email from the FHL reminding you that your film is due.  If desired, you can renew the film at that time or have the film returned by the FHC.  It is best to let your local FHC know when you are finished with a film so that they can return it.
Note that even though a film is on long-term loan it may be returned if the local FHC determines that the film is no longer being used, the film becomes restricted or the film already exists at the center.

It is always a good idea to confirm the film is not already available online at the FHL or at your local FHC.  Online films are identified in the catalog.  You will need to check with your local FHC to determine whether they already have a film.

Posted by Liz Stratton; Updated 27 November 2012.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Tracer Now Online

The November Tracer is now available online in the members section of the website.  There are many great articles to choose from as well as chapter news.  Articles in the current edition:

Successful Bridgets:  Irish Women in Cincinnati's Third Ward in 1860
Chapter Projects and News:  Blog, Wiki, Facebook, Member Pages, NGS Conference
Hamilton County Recorder's Office - Far More than Deeds
Hamilton County Records Online:  Vital Records, Cemeteries, Maps
Passenger Lists
Re-dedication of Mohawk World War II Honor Roll Memorial
German Birth and Marriage Database
Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian Church of College Hill
Methodist Episcopal Church, Catherine Street Cemetery, 1826-1868
Hamilton County Probate Accounts - Partial Abstract of Account Volume 3, 1840-1857, Part II
German General Protestant Orphan Home Index
Public Library Acquisitions
Book Review:  To Crown Myself with Honor: The Wartime Letters of Captain Asbury Gatch
J. Richard Abell Genealogical Trust Fund Donors

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


If you are researching Hamilton County or Cincinnati ancestors, you have undoubtedly paid a visit to the Cincinnati Historical Society’s Library, located in the Museum Center at Union Terminal.  Our February program will be an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour and Library orientation led by Librarian, M'lissa Kesterman. 

On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, we will meet at the Library, located in the lower level of the Museum Center, at 10:00 am.  Ms. Kesterman will begin the program with an overview of the library’s on-line catalog and then take us back to the stacks for a look at the photo, map, and other special collections housed at the Library.  As the Library’s entire collection is not available on-line, this should give researchers a better idea of the variety and scope of the specialized collections available.  The program will end in the Hauck Research Room, where the majority of genealogical holdings are available on the shelves, and the extensive newspaper collection is available for microfilm viewing.

The program will end at 12:00 noon, at which time the library is open to the public.  You are encouraged to stay and make use of the collections you have just discovered!  You may bring your own lunch, or food is available in the rotunda of the Museum Center, along with the dining area.

This private tour is limited to 18 people.  To make your reservations or for more information, contact Linda Dietrich, Program Chairperson.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

HCOGS Welcomes New Members to Lineage Groups

First Families Honorees
The HCOGS held its annual luncheon to recognize new inductees into the lineage groups sponsored by the Chapter. The luncheon was held at the Clovernook Country Club. The Chapter now sponsors three lineage groups:  First Families, Settlers and Builders and Century Families.

The Chapter's first lineage group, First Families of Hamilton County, was started in 1988 and has established 419 members with over 1000 pioneer ancestors who were proven to be residents of Hamilton County before December 31st, 1820. Nine new members were able to prove 38 direct ancestors who lived in Hamilton County during this time period.

Settlers and Builders Inductees
In 2007 the Chapter established Settlers and Builders of Hamilton County honoring ancestors who lived in the county between January 1st 1821 and December 31st 1860.  They now claim 53 members who have proven 209 Settlers and Builders ancestors.  Four new members were inducted as well as two members who submitted additional ancestors through a supplemental application.

Charter Members of the Century Families Lineage Group
This year a third lineage group was established by the Chapter called Century Families.  This group honors ancestors who resided in Hamilton County 100 years before today's date or January 1, 1861.   Twenty-two charter members honoring 135 Hamilton County ancestors were inducted.

Our guest speaker for the luncheon was Michael Morgan who entertained us with stories of Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.  It was known for its large population of German immigrants, beer gardens, saloons and breweries.  You can read more about his program by checking this previous post that discusses "When Beer Was King."

It's not too early to start thinking about next year's luncheon.  Download an application at the Chapter's website. There are several Chapter members who would be happy to share advice on how to complete the application.  Perhaps next year we will be able to recognize even more Hamilton County ancestors who had a part in creating such a great community.

You can view individual pictures of Century Families inductees by clicking on this link

Photo Credits:  John Tholking

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 2011 Gazette Now Available

The October 2011 issue of The Gazette is now available online on the members-only portion of the website, 

Articles in this edition:

Webinar for Irish Research by Mary Ann Faloon
Online Irish Family History Forum by Mary Ann Faloon
Probate Court Project Update by Jim Dempsey
Access to Website Member Pages by Jim Dempsey
Volunteers Needed for Facebook and Twitter by Liz Stratton
FamilySearch Wiki by Liz Stratton
Library News from the PLCH by Patricia Van Skaik
President's Message by Kenny Burck

Current Program announcements can be found on the calendar tab of this blog.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King

Ken Burns coverage of George Remus, King of the Bootleggers, in the PBS Special, 'Prohibition,' has given us an interesting glimpse back into life in the Queen City in the Roaring 20's.  

Step back to an even earlier time, 'When Beer was King," at the Heritage Luncheon on Saturday, October 22, 2011.  Michael Morgan will speak on this fascinating time in Cincinnati history at the luncheon.  Everyone is welcome!   A printable registration form can be found at:  Heritage Society Registration Form.  Please return your registration by October 12, 2011.  The following program description was taken from the registration form:
Michael Morgan has worked several years toward the physical and cultural restoration of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine.  He has been involved in historic preservation and conducting events that bring the neighborhood’s history alive. He is a lawyer, author, trustee of the Brewery District Community Redevelopment Corp. and former executive director of the
Over-the-Rhine Foundation.  Michael organizes tours of historic brewery sites and the annual Cincinnati Bockfest and recently published his book, Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King.
Everyone  Welcome!  Questions about program or reservations?   Karen Klaene  (513) - 922-3379.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Ask the Experts" Day at the Library

Yesterday was a great day at the Main Branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  Local genealogists had the opportunity to "pick the brains" of representatives from a wide variety of Tri-State organizations.  Included were experts from the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.  Have African-American, German or Irish ancestors?  They had answers. Want to know more about technology?  Got it. Ancestors from Kentucky?  No problem.  One author even provided a historical perspective of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood as well as breweries from both sides of the river.

Irish Ancestry Table

Attendees also had the opportunity to attend a session on how to create a blog about their family history and research.  This was followed up with a hands-on session in the computer lab. 

On a personal note, I made some valuable connections and have filled up my calendar for November and December.  As a first-time attendee, I didn't know what I was missing.  I'm already thinking about how we can "get the word" out next year so that more people have the chance to "ask the experts."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cincinnati Birth and Death Records, 1865-1912

When I first became interested in genealogy, I remember making an appointment and going to the Hamilton County Health Department to look through index cards that recorded some early Cincinnati births and deaths.  I was struck with how easy it would be to just pocket specific cards and walk out with them.  As I recall, one of the people who assisted me said that cards could be missing.

At some point, the cards were given to the University of Cincinnati Blegen Library where many archives are stored.  I was thrilled when I learned that these cards were being digitized.  Apparently, that task has largely been completed.

There is a FAQ about this collection on the U.C. site:

Question: What is the scope of this collection and its history?
Answer: With a few exceptions, the official death records for the City of Cincinnati begin in 1865 and those for birth in 1874. As a result of a government records program of the Ohio Network of American History Research Centers, in 2003 over 500,000 card files from the Cincinnati Health Department were transferred to the UC Libraries' Archives and Rare Books Library. The cards contain the official records of births and deaths for Cincinnati citizens from the beginning dates as noted through 1908, with additional records through 1912. These cards are sometimes typed and many times handwritten, and were created by the Cincinnati Health Department several decades ago to preserve the data originally entered in ledger books. The ledger books are also preserved in the UC Libraries, but are of such fragility that any turning of the pages results in flaking and tears. The informational cards are considered the official and legal records of births and deaths for this time period.
While the bulk of these records begin in 1865, a small number of records show earlier dates. It is believed that these early records reflect the "restoration" of vital documents by citizens after the 1884 Hamilton County Courthouse fire, and were eventually sent to the City of Cincinnati Health Department for recording.
There are several different techniques for searching the database.  I found one of the most useful ways was to search by "subjects." An alphabetical list will come up and you can search by the surname that interests you.  Even with a surname like "Jones" I had reasonable results.

As anticipated, I was able to find information on some of my family members and not others.  "Deaths" are usually recorded on orange index cards.   Pictured is one that I found for my great-grandmother, Rachel A. Jones.

Once you've clicked on this record, you will be able to click on the "full" record. A lot of information is provided, not only on the person you are researching, but also a complete documentation of the history of the record.  Some of the information is pictured below.

A careful reading of the FAQ explains the few exceptions that have not yet been digitized.  However, I think you would agree that this may be a wonderful new opportunity to research many of our Cincinnati relatives at an important time in our city's history.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mappy Monday: Mapping Morehouses in Cincinnati

My Morehouse and Warwick families had largely left Cincinnati by the time that Sanborn maps are viable research tools.  But, I'm hoping that the maps can help me solve the mysterious disappearance of Sarah Jane 'Sallie' (Morehouse) Warwick (1846- ).  If nothing else, understanding more about the community she lived in might help locate her in other records.

Sallie was a young widow found living in her mother's boarding house on 32 McFarland Street in the 1880 Federal population census.  She also appears in the Cincinnati city directory for the last time in 1880.  Her mother, Mary Ann (Rees) Morehouse, continues to be listed in directories intermittently until her death in 1894. Between 1880 and 1894, Mary Ann lived on 32 McFarland, 180 West 3rd, 199 Everett and 7 Gorman Street.  I'll start with Mary Ann and see if there are some clues in her neighborhood.

At the time of her death in 1894, Mary Ann lived at 7 Gorman Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.  There are two Sanborn maps that might give me information about the house - 1887 and 1891.  Both of these maps are available on microfilm at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  But, I'm not at the library, so I'm looking to see what I can find out about the neighborhood on the 1904 Sanborn map which is available online the the PLCH Virtual Library.  I'll check out 1887 and 1891 later.

From the index, I learn that Gorman Street is on Map 80.  But, looking at the map, I don't see 7 Gorman Street.  Doug Magee warned us not only about street name changes but also numbering changes.  I remembered that Mary Ann (Rees) Morehouse had a daughter that continued to live on Gorman Street.  The 1896/97 directory gives Alice McLean Morehouse's address as 1507 Gorman Street.  Bingo!  (I'd still like to confirm this is the same house in other sources.)

Cincinnati, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  "Insurance Maps of Cincinnati, Ohio, Vol. 1."  Virtual Library.  : 2011.
Several things immediately jump out.  First, Armory Avenue (once Everett) is in very close proximity so even though Mary Ann moved from 199 Everett to 1507 Gorman it was likely a move within the same neighborhood.  From Doug's talk, I know that the 'F' indicates that the building was a Flat (apartment) and that it was 3 stories high.  The pink coloration tells me the building was brick.  The 'D' designates a dwelling so this was a largely residential neighborhood.  A larger view of the map gives additional neighborhood information including other churches and businesses - perhaps sources of additional information!

This neighborhood is very close to the boundary between maps so I also looked at the map of properties south of Armory Avenue (map 72).  And much is made clear!  Mary Ann (Rees) Morehouse's daughter, Alice M. Morehouse was a schoolteacher.  In Map 72, we see that the flat where mother and daughter resided was very close to the 11th District Public School.  This is good news and bad news.  It does provide new information about the likely place that Alice worked but it is also possible that the family's living arrangements were driven by proximity to the school rather than proximity to other family members.

Cincinnati, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  "Insurance Maps of Cincinnati, Ohio, Vol. 1."  Virtual Library.  : 2011.
I always like to see pictures of the places my ancestors lived and worked.  I've looked for a photo of Gorman before without success.  This time I searched for images of the 11th District Public School and found images of the Washburn School on Clinton between Linn & Baymiller. The interesting thing is that one of the images is  Old Eleventh School District 1907 and notes that the school is about to be destroyed.  Another image is a postcard depicting the New Eleventh School District.  Since the map above is the 1904 Sanborn map, one might assume that it is the Old Eleventh School on the map.  Guess again!

This is one of the tricky things about the 1904 Sanborn map that Doug Magee warned us about.  Because of the exorbitant cost of producing maps, from 1904-1930, corrections were simply pasted into the 1904 map books.  A careful inspection of the Sanborn map reveals that both the school and the annex were pasted  in later.  The map shows the New Eleventh School District building as can be confirmed by viewing the images of the Old and New Eleventh School.

The Morehouse flat on Gorman could be tracked through later Sanborn maps (1917, 1922, 1934, 1937, etc.) to get an idea of the property's transition over time.  A list of available Sanborn maps is at  But, my Morehouse families had already moved along. 

From a genealogical perspective, tracking the earlier family properties, determining who owned the flat, and checking the records of nearby churches and schools just might give me the break through I am hoping for! First, I'll want to take a closer look at the 1887 and 1891 Sanborn maps and other early maps to see if there are other even more promising sources of additional information.

If you have made an interesting discovery using the Sanborn maps for Cincinnati, please comment or better yet, write a post!

Update:  PLCH has the 1987 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps digitized and online.  However, the library also has a link to Ohio Link where Sanborn Maps dating from 1867 - 1970 are digitized and available online.  To get to this site, take the following steps:

  1. Logon to the library site at: http://
  2. Click on "Research and Homework"
  3. Click on "Research Databases"
  4. Click on "S" under "Browse Resources by Title"
  5. Click on "Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps"
  6. Submit your zip code.
  7. Begin your search.  I have found that one of the most efficient ways to search for a street is to type (Name of street, Cincinnati/Hamilton) or (Name of business, Cincinnati/Hamilton).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Introduction to Family History Blogging

The HCGS Technology Interest Group was reactivated last year so that members could learn about the tools that are available to assist members with their genealogical research.  "Blogs" such as the one you are reading can be a great vehicle for sharing research with family and other stakeholders. 

Kathy Reed has been blogging about her own family's history for more than two years.  The more she has become involved in the blogging community, the more she has recognized the value in organizing her research and sharing it with others.  In conjunction with the PLCH, Kathy will be offering a series of three classes on blogging about your family history.

An overview of the process was presented at an introductory session today at 1:00 PM.  The same talk will be presented at the "Ask the Experts" Day at 10:00 AM on October 1st.  At 1:00 the first hands-on session will be held in the Technology Lab associated with the Genealogy Local History Department.

Sessions 2 and 3 are scheduled for November 12th and December 3rd from 10:30 - 12:00.  Registration is required for participation in the lab sessions. Call the Genealogy Desk to register.

All participants should be fairly comfortable with computers including the ability to conduct searches, add attachments and pictures.  Resources and support will be provided to participants so that they can continue with their own projects between sessions.

Questions?  email Kathy at and put "Blog support" in the subject line.

Introducing Doug Magee - PLCH "Map Librarian"

Map Librarian Doug Magee
Self-described "Map Librarian," Doug Magee, kicked off the year with a presentation on how Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps can be an aid to genealogists.  According to the Map and Geography Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

"Sanborn maps were made to assist insurance underwriters in determining fire insurance rates for individual buildings by examining the buildings' construction methods, heat and lighting sources, manufacturing uses, and the same attributes of nearby buildings. The maps primarily provide information on the downtown areas of cities and adjoining residential areas. They are especially useful in providing a record of urban development from the 1880s through the first half of the twentieth century."

Doug presented a slide show that can be used to gain a better understanding of the symbols that are used on the maps. 

1887 was the first year that Sanborn maps were published for Cincinnati. They have limited value for identifying a specific home because house numbers were not included on the map.  In addition, the streets of Cincinnati were renumbered in the early 1890s and some street names were changed. The cost of publishing the maps with any kind of frequency was prohibitive, so changes in the forms of cut-outs were provided that could be glued on top of the original map.  Since there is no indication for when these changes took place, the maps do not have as much historical value as they could have had.

We learned that the Sanborn Map of Cincinnati for 1922 is significant because it was not updated and included all of the areas within the city limit. In addition, there are two index books kept at the Genealogy and Local History desk that are invaluable when used in conjunction with the 1922 maps.  The first book is an index listing all of the real estate values for Hamilton County, and the second is a 2-volume Index of Property Owners, Real Estate Atlas of Cincinnati, 1922.

In answer to questions from the participants, Doug discussed some other resources that many genealogists may find helpful.  The Catholic Cemetery Society recently added more searchable databases for cemeteries to their site.  Included are the long-awaited records of the Baltimore Pike Cemetery.

There is also a digitized version of the 1892 Decennial Tax Valuation of Cincinnati online.  It can be downloaded from the Virtual Library from the Old and Rare Books section (R336.220977 C574 1892). 

Finally, I was made aware of the numerous indexes published by William H. Graver, including an index to property ownership maps.  Just when I was beginning to think that I was pretty familiar with some of the resources available at our library, I found out that I haven't even begun to scratch the surface.  Happy hunting!

Note:  To view the Cincinnati Sanborn Fire Maps online, click on this link.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) - Samford

Irish Group 2011
This past summer, Mary Ann Faloon and I  had the pleasure of attending the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR). IGHR provides week-long intensive genealogical training at Samford University.

The experience was somewhat of a cross between a monk-like sabbatical and a college road trip! Mary Ann and I had a great time on the drive down and back and at the sessions. As we approached the campus memories of college  intruded - traipsing down the hall to take a shower was not at the top of my list of pleasurable memories!  We were pleasantly surprised to see that the dorm rooms had in-room bath and shower facilities. Although spartan, the rooms were clean and welcoming. It was a nice change to have all meals provided in the dining hall!

Military 2 Group
The experience was wonderful - genealogy from sun-up to sun-down! Meals were spent meeting other participants and talking about, what else, genealogy! We met many old friends and made new ones. I now have a face to go with the name 'Dear Myrt'!  Next year HCGS is the local sponsor of the The National Genealogical Society Conference giving us all the chance to immerse ourselves in genealogy in the Queen City.  We look forward to hosting our genealogy friends and meeting HCGS members from across the country.

In the meantime, there is a great line-up of local events to keep us happy, including two presentations this Saturday, September 24.  At 11 am Doug Magee will feature the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Map Collection and at 2 pm, Kathy Reed will give an introduction to blogging.  Hope to see you!

Many more events are planned for later this Fall, see the Calendar for further details.

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's Not All Online: Ordering Family History Library Microfilm

The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City literally has a mountain of genealogical records. Some are available online at FamilySearch. But, most are only available to order and view at your local Family History Center (FHC). Family History Centers are located in the Latter Day Saints’ churches throughout the country.

You don’t have to be a member to use a FHC. In fact, most of the people researching at FHCs are not members. Finding an FHC near you is easy at FamilySearch Centers. Simply type the city and state where you live and click 'Search.' If there is more than one, select a FHC that has hours that are convenient for you.

Now comes the fun part - finding the records of your ancestors! I am looking for the Griffith's Valuation Revision Lists that I learned about in Mary Ann Faloon’s presentation. To find out what microfilms the FHL has, I’ll check their online catalog. It is generally best to search by the place-name for the country and county where your ancestor lived. There may be additional records for smaller administrative divisions that you will want to explore as well.

The format for searching place names is to start with the country or county and then work down to the smaller divisions. For the U.S., it is not necessary to include the country. So, if searching for Cincinnati, you would enter Ohio, Hamilton, Cincinnati. To search for Ballymartle, Ireland, you would type in Ireland, Cork, Ballymartle. Entering only a state and county will list county-wide resources.

Searching for Ireland, Cork, produced a long list of microfilms. “General Valuation Revision Lists, Kinsale Union (Cork), 1855-1956” was found in “Ireland, Cork – Land and Property.” Clicking on the record brings up additional information. There are often multiple microfilms in a collection. A detailed list of what is on each film is in the description. I’m looking for the Ballymartle Electoral Division which is on FHL BRITISH Film 829111 Item 2. Many microfilms have multiple items. So, when I get this film, I’ll advance the film to Item 2.

Great – I found the records I was looking for! Before I leave the catalog, I’ll review the list for any other interesting titles and also check under Ireland, Cork, Ballymartle to see what local records are available. I  found, The Land and the People of Nineteenth-Century Cork: the Rural Economy and the Land in Question. Books are not available on interlibrary-loan through the FHL. A quick check on WorldCat, indicates the book is at the University of Cincinnati.

To order a microfilm you will need to know the title: “General Valuation Revision Lists, Kinsale Union (Cork), 1855-1956” and the microfilm number: “BRITISH Film 829111 Item 2”. Take this information and the film rental fee of about $5.50 to the local FHC (fees vary by location).

Before you fill out a microfilm request form, confirm the film is not already on-loan at the local FHC. The helpful FHC staff will answer any questions. Your request will be sent to the FHL and in 4-6 weeks, you will get a call letting you know that your film has arrived.  Film can be viewed at the FHC but cannot be taken home. 

The initial rental fee allows you to view the film for a short time. If you haven’t finished with the film before it is due, you can renew it or place it on indefinite hold. Not all Family History Centers keep ‘indefinite hold’ microfilms permanently. If you place a film on ‘indefinite hold,’ be sure to let the staff know that you are still using the film actively. Once you have finished, you can request that the FHC keep the microfilm permanently or tell them that you no longer need the film.

Online ordering of microfilms is available for some, but not all areas. See FHL Film Online Ordering Now Available in Cincinnati for information about ordering online.

Happy Hunting!

This is the first in a series of posts that will feature repositories and resources that are not available online. If have any suggestions or would like to feature a repository, please contact Liz Stratton. It is not necessary for you to become a blog contributor. I am happy to post the blog for you with your by-line. Thanks!

Submitted by Liz Stratton; Updated 27 November 2012.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What I Learned Reading The Tracer

I was excited to receive my August 2011 copy of The Tracer.  It seems that every time I dig into my copy lately, I find something directly related to my research.  This edition was no exception.  I've been researching my ancestors who served in the Civil War, some of whom were German.  So of course I was drawn to Don Heinrich Tolzmann's article on Germans in the Civil War. Mary Ann Faloon submitted and article on "More Irish Genealogy Learning Opportunities Available from Home" and Jim Dempsey helped us get a better handle on Probate Court records.  What really caught my eye in this issue, however, was Judy Craven's article on "The Mystery of Passenger #171 . . ."

Scanning the article, I realized that Judy had included a list of 204 passengers from Bremen to Cincinnati in 1852.  Better yet, many of the passengers came from the Oldenburg region of Germany with town names so familiar I can rattle them off in my sleep.

My Vonderheide ancestors emigrated from Holdorf, Germany.  The first family of "my" Vonderheides that came to Cincinnati were included in Judy's list.

Click to view in larger size.

Although not in my direct line, this Herman and Elisabeth were the aunt and uncle of those who were to arrive 29 years later.  They probably were the link that made my g-grandparents decide on Cincinnati.  Judy questioned in her article whether or not Arnold Muthing, passenger #171, could actually be her great-grandfather, Adolph, using his brother's name.  Judy went on to describe her evidence for why she had concluded that "This must be Adolph!"

How did this impact me?  First of all, I grew up in Pleasant Ridge and was in a Girl Scout troop with Carol Muething.  Her mother, Mildred, was one of our leaders.  A quick phone call to Judy confirmed that she knew that family well and that they were related to her.  Secondly, I was encouraged to think that if Judy could find Vonderheides on a Passenger List that I should be able to also. 

For years it amazed me that I could not find "my" family in Germans to America or on a passenger list.  After all, I knew more than most.  I had a copy of  my gg-grandfather's naturalization papers and I knew they had arrived in the U.S. in June, 1881 when my g-grandfather was 7 years old.  Encouraged by Judy's success, I searched one more time.  Here is what I found:

Click to view larger size

The person who transcribed this record recorded the name of passenger #157 as H. o. d. Heide, age 42. Here is the transcription for his wife and three children:

Click to view larger size

My Vonderheide family of 1881 included Hermann Heinrich (age 42), Elisabeth (age 43), Joseph and Heinrich (Henry) twins (age 11) and August (age 7).  The ages for the parents were correct.  Elisabeth could have had the nickname of Liselle.  What was clearly "Heinr." on the original record was transcribed as "Heiur", and "August" was transcribed as "Margurt".  The poor transcription of the names was understandable, but the ages were clearly wrong.  And how did they EVER decide that their surname was HeideHeide?

I have overwhelming evidence that this is the exact time frame for the arrival of my ancestors in Baltimore.  I have the Naturalization record, a written family history and census documents that all support this date.  I'm not surprised that the people responsible for recording the names of the people in steerage were not too concerned about getting the ages of the children correct.  Everything else fits.

So I want to thank Deb Cyprych and Judy Craven for their work on The Tracer and publication of this article.  Without their contributions, I would have never solved this mystery  -- The Mystery of Passenger #157 and his family. And Judy can add her name to the list of HCOGS members from this area.  Anybody for a DNA test?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why Google+ Could Be a Boon for Genealogists

Patricia Van Skaik
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton Co.
AKA DigiGenie
A few weeks ago my nephew invited me to sign up for google+.  Google+ is the new social media application that is part of the google product line.  Although still under development and testing, more than 25 million "early adopters" have already signed on.

Many genealogists/bloggers immediately recognized it's ease of use and set about inviting members of the genealogy community to join their "circles."  As a member of the facebook community, I know that my genealogy friends may not find it interesting to read about how the potty training is going with my grandson.  On the other hand, other "friends" may be bored to tears with my latest genealogical breakthrough.  The "circles" feature in google+ enables you to easily separate all of your contacts into different groups.  Contacts can be placed in one circle (i.e. family), or more than one circle (, bloggers, etc.)  You are free to set up as many circles as you want and identify them with any tag that is meaningful to you. When it comes time to post a comment in your "stream" you can easily choose what circles or individuals you want to be able to see that post.

A second feature that I find particularly appealing is one called "hangout."  It is similar to using skype.  You click on the "hangout" function and you can have an online conversation with up to 10 people.  You can decide if you want to use video, audio, text, or any combination.  While in hangout mode, the person doing the speaking is in the center of the display with the other participants displayed below the speaker.  The software will try to identify the speaker and switch to the speaker accordingly.  You just have to be willing to play with it.

To that end, Pat Van Skaik, Liz Stratton and I met at the library to try out the technology with each other.  We had a great time placing each other in circles, posting messages and using the hangout function while sitting in the same room.  Pat, in her role as DigiGenie is in the process of writing an article about how google+ could work for the genealogy community.  We'll post a link to her article after it is published.

So if you want to play, email me at  I'll put you in one of my circles and send you an invitation to google+.  We can hangout together.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

For a better understanding of google+ and its features, go to this link:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Genealogy, Tips and Techniques with Karen Everett

Photo Credit:
A true sign that fall will soon be here is the announcement that HCGS Education Director, Karen Everett, is announcing her annual presentations.  The sessions are held in three different libraries, making commuting easy.  Check the offerings below, sharpen your pencils, and consider attending one of Karen's always well-received presentations.

Monday, Oct. 3, 6PM "Genealogy, Tips and Techniques" Karen Everett, HCGS Education Director and PLCH Librarian. Location:  Forest Park branch library, 655 Waycross Road.

Thursday Oct. 13 - 7 PM "Genealogy, Tips and Techniques" Karen Everett, HCGS Education Director and PLCH Librarian.  Location:  Anderson Township branch library, 7450 State Rd.

Monday, Oct. 17 6PM "Genealogy, Tips and Techniques" Karen Everett, HCGS Education Director and PLCH Librarian.  Location:  Northside branch library, 4219 Hamilton Ave.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 2011 Gazette

The current issue of The Gazette is now available online in the members section of the website. Articles and announcements in this issue:

Webinar for Irish Research by Mary Ann Faloon
Probate Court Project Update by Jim Dempsey
Technology Interest Group/Blogging by Bev Breitenstein
Heritage Day Luncheon October 22, 2011 by Karen Klaene
Library News from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County by Patricia Van Skaik
President's Message by Kenny Burck

The events in The Gazette will be added to HCGS Calendar within the next day or two.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HCGS Technology Interest Group

The HCGS has revived the Computer Interest Group with a new name, Technology Interest Group.  The purpose of the group is to share information about technologies that are changing the way people do genealogy.  Gail Burkholz, Kathy Reed and John Tholking are on the steering committee and Liz Stratton will lead the group.  The interest group will sponsor programs, write articles and blog posts and have informal gatherings to share the latest developments.  If you would be interested in participating, please email Liz Stratton.  You can also sign up online at 

We have planned a series of programs on Blogs for the fall.  Kathy Reed will begin with an overview of blogging for genealogists, followed by hands-on sessions in October.  In November, we will wrap up the series by demonstrating a feed reader to track changes to your favorite blogs, websites, message boards, etc.  For more information, see the online calendar.

The Technology Group would love to know what you are most interested in learning more about.  We have created a short survey that can be completed online,   If you would prefer, you can also take the survey by email.  For an email survey, contact Liz Stratton.

Our first informal gathering will be on September 24, just after Kathy’s talk on blogs (about 2 pm).  We will get to know one another and gather ideas about interests and expertise for future activities.

Genetic Genealogy -- What Do You Think?

Disclaimer:  I have no financial interest in 23andme.  The information discussed is provided only as an aid for those who have wondered about the advantages and possible disadvantages of providing a DNA sample for genealogical purposes.  I have also used the services of FamilyTreeDNA.  Each company has its advantages. 

I already knew that several members of our chapter have roots from the Niedersachsen/Oldenburg area of northwest Germany.  After all, this is Cincinnati.  John Tholking, Karen Klaene, Kenny Burck, Leo Christen and I can all trace at least one line to that area.

About a month ago, I had a conversation with John Tholking about my von der Heide line.  When I came to the monthly Board meeting, imagine my surprise when he handed me some research showing not only the von der Heide's, and Cohorst (John's family) surnames crossing paths, but also the Klaene surname.  It makes you wonder.  Are we "cousins?"

Recently I submitted a sample of my DNA to an organization called 23andme.  The "23" refers to the 23 chromosomes that each of us inherits from both our mother and our father.  Their results include genealogical information as well as health information.  In my quest to understand my own results, I wrote a series of posts for my personal blog, Jones Family Matters.

Here are the topics and their corresponding links:
Genetic Genealogy
Anticipating DNA Results
Health Results from 23andme
Looking at Disease Risk with 23andme
Understanding Relative Disease Risk with 23andme

If I could wave a magic wand, all of my cousins would submit a sample so we could see how much we have in common.  I just submitted a sample from my husband, who can trace two lines to that area.  I can't wait for the results.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Griffith's Valuation with Mary Ann Faloon

Mary Ann Faloon
Mary Ann Faloon, Chairman of the Irish Interest Group for the Hamilton County Genealogical Society was the Guest Speaker for the Kenton County Library's Congenealogy Group.  Due to the current renovations at the library, the meeting was held at the Baker-Hunt Arts and Cultural Center on Greenup St. in Covington, Kentucky.

Those in attendance were really in for a treat.  Learning how to navigate Irish genealogical records can be a daunting task.  Mary Ann was able to lead us through the various kinds of records available for researching Irish ancestors.  Tithes were collected to support the Church of Ireland.  The "County Cess" was created to support the needs of the counties.  The Griffith's Valuation was based on any occupant of the land, regardless of whether or not they owned land. 

Various acts passed in 1826, 1848 and 1852 determined what was to be assessed.  After 1838 the country was divided into Poor Law Unions and after 1852, all assessments were organized by Poor Law Unions.

We learned of the unintended consequences that made it much more profitable for landlords to evict their tenants and level their homes rather than pay the assessed taxes.  Mary Ann tracked a few select individuals through the various records so that we could better understand how the records complement each other to provide a fairly good picture of an individual ancestor.

We were provided with a list of terms and related resources.  Some items, including the Griffith's Valuation, are available online.  Townland Maps and 6" Maps are available in the Genealogy and History Department of the Cincinnati Public Library. Still other records are on microfilm which can be ordered and placed on loan at your local Family History Library.

Once again I am amazed at the expertise that can be found within the membership of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society -- one more reason to become actively involved. 

Jan Mueller of the Kenton County Library was our host for the evening.  Anyone interested in other programs sponsored by the Congenealogy Group can ask to be put on a mailing list.  Jan's email address is:

Listed are some online resources that can be used to aid you in your Irish Genealogy.

Baker-Hunt Arts and Cultural Center