Saturday, April 22, 2017

Webinars -- A New Member Benefit

Many members of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society do not live in Hamilton County.
The Board is constantly discussing ways to better serve our out-of-town members. To that end, the Board recently approved the purchase of GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar software. Over time, we hope to present several webinars on a variety of topics.

The Southwest Ohio Regional DNA Interest Group (SWOHDNA) used GoToMeeting to record a video on how to use Gedmatch to identify possible cousins. This past week we used the webinar software to record a presentation on the use of DNA to identify the biological family of an adoptee. Fourteen people from as far away as Houston signed up to watch the presentation “live.”

You can find this webinar by clicking on this link: If you choose to watch this one, try to watch it to the end. You aren't going to believe how this story evolves! It falls into the "truth is stranger than fiction" category.

We’d love to hear from your suggestions for future webinar topics and whether or not you find them valuable. Email Kathy Reed, Program Director at or click on "comments" below to post your input.

Submitted by Kathy Reed
Program Director

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Did You Miss the Irish Genealogy Webinars?

Perhaps mid-March found you busy or at work during the time that a series of Irish webinars were broadcast in conjunction with the Fountaindale Public Library. Two speakers from the Ulster Historical Foundation shared their expertise with particular focus on the Scots-Irish from Northern Ireland and the Famine Immigrants. The good news is that these webinars are online and available for you to watch at any time.

To take advantage of this opportunity, click on this link and click on "Webinars."

Scroll down the page until you find the Irish Genealogy series.

Watch them at your leisure. The information is invaluable to those engaged in Irish Genealogy. A donation was made on behalf of HCGS members to the Ulster Historical Foundation, so you can watch them guilt-free! I hope you take advantage of this opportunity.

Submitted by Kathy Reed
HCGS Program Director

Saturday, March 25, 2017

"How Could a City Named 'Porkopolis be Anything but Funny?" by Robert J. Wimberg

This looks to be an entertaining presentation-a perfect outing for April Fool's day!

"Humor in History or How Could a City Nicknamed 'Porkopolis' be Anything but Funny" by Robert J. Wimberg
Saturday, April 1, at 11 am in the Genealogy and Local History Program Space, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Main Library
"From its original name of Losantiville to Mrs. Trollope's Bazaar to August Herrmann's love for wursts, German fried potatoes and baseball, Cincinnati has provided the stuff to make us smile if not burst out laughing.  From a trained bear that escaped the People’s Theater in Over-the-Rhine to beer suds popping sewer lids, our town has hundreds of humorous stories that are a part of its history."
This program is sponsored by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. 


Friday, March 24, 2017

April 8 Annual Seminar with Judy G. Russell is Nearly Full

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
The Legal Genealogist
Only a few spaces remain for the Annual Seminar on Saturday, April 8 with Judy G. Russell. If you have not already registered, please check our website to ensure spaces available before sending in your registration, Annual Seminar. You can also register online:

The annual seminar is held at the Mill Race Banquet Center in Winton Woods, Great Parks. Admission to the park, continental breakfast, and lunch are included with your registration.

The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. Her blog – chosen as one of the American Bar Association’s top 100 in 2013, 2014 and 2015 – appears at The Legal Genealogist website,

Judy will be presenting four lectures:
When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records
The Gentlemen Judges: Justices of the Peace
Beyond X and Y: The Promise and Pitfalls of Autosomal DNA Testing
NARA Mythbusters: Your Family is in the Archives

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Visit to the Waldschmidt House and Civil War Museum - May13th

A Visit to the Waldschmidt House and Civil War Museum
10:30 am
7567 Glendale Milford Road Camp Dennison, Ohio 45111
Waldschmidt House

If you are not an "east-sider", you may not be familiar with the post-Revolutionary War home in Camp Dennison near Milford. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) own and are caretakers of the Christian Waldschmidt home and Civil War Museum located on the property. The home, built in 1804, included a store and a tavern. Waldschmidt helped encourage industries that would be necessary if the community was to thrive. He staffed a church and helped found a school. Ohio's first paper mill, a cooperative distillery, woolen mill, sawmill and blacksmith shop were built in the surrounding area.
The Camp Dennison Civil War Museum tells the history of Camp Dennison, a Civil War Camp and Hospital. As many as 50,000 Union soldiers were mustered in or out of service at Camp Dennison, with as many as 12,000 occupying the camp at any one time. In 1862, Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan threatened this camp with his "raiders" who attacked the railroad north of the camp.

Ohio Daughter of the American Revolution Member (DAR) Darlene West, will do a short presentation on the Christian Waldschmidt family and its impact on this early post-Revolutionary War community. Following lunch, we will tour both the homestead and the Civil War Museum located on the property. 

We will gather in the Memorial Barn behind the home which the Ohio Society DAR added in 1989 built to honor the Bicentennial of the Northwest Ordinance. It houses an extensive collection of stone-cutting and farm tools as well as a restored Conestoga wagon and a vehicle used by James Garfield.

To make a reservation and/or order a box lunch, please complete the form below and mail it to the address listed. You can also order and pay for lunch using PayPal through our website. For directions and a more detailed description of the Waldschmidt properties, click on this link.



Adapted from the Waldschmidt Homestead website by Kathy Reed, HCGS Program Director.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Genealogy Roundtable: A New Discussion Group for Beginning-Intermediate Researchers

The Genealogy Roundtable is a new discussion group intended for beginning and intermediate genealogists. The purpose of the Roundtable is to give researchers the opportunity to get questions answered, learn, share ideas, and network.  Each Roundtable will consist of a short overview and discussion of one topic. The floor will then be opened to the attendees to discuss any genealogy topics of interest. Sessions will be held bi-monthly beginning in February 2017. In the first Roundtable we will identify future discussion topics and set the times and locations for future roundtables.

Genealogy Roundtable: Planning Session
Saturday, February 18 @ 10:30am - Blue Ash Branch Library
Genealogy Roundtable: First Discussion Topic: City Directories
Saturday April 22 @ 10:30am - Main Library Room 3A

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Spessart Roots: A History of the People of a German Forest

Saturday, April 22nd, 1:00 PM 

Main Library - Third Floor Program Area

Many members of HCGS have German roots. Whether your ancestors came from northwest Germany or The Bavarian southeast, have you ever wondered how your ancestors actually lived? Fortunately, HCGS member and native Cincinnatian, Mary E. Wuest, has written an exciting book -- Spessart Roots: A History of the People of a German Forest. This non-fiction work gives a vivid account of how events and circumstances played out in one location—Spessart Forest—in northwest Bavaria. Travel the road of peasant life through the centuries: through the wars, witch persecutions, famines, and heavy governance. Learn about life as a serf from the time of earliest settlements until the time of mass emigrations; and how religion, schooling, and customs affected everyday existence. Read gripping stories of individuals, including stories of the author’s own ancestors, which bring the forest’s history to life. Finally, in the last few chapters, travel with the emigrants as they transplant their roots in new lands. And, as a bonus, in the last chapter, learn what DNA can tell us about our deep ancestry, our original roots. 

Tim Trainor, Writer and Editor, provided an excellent review of this book on Amazon.
More than a million Germans immigrated to the United States from the mid-1840s through the following decade, fleeing repression, political turmoil and bleak futures. Andreas Wust and his future wife Maria Magdalena Gessner were among this diaspora, joining fellow countrymen in 1848 in a noisome Cincinnati enclave called Over-the-Rhine, where German language and customs prevailed through the twentieth century. Former U. S. Navy Commander Mary E. Wuest, great-granddaughter of this Bavarian couple, tells their story through the broad sweep of German history, focusing on the Spessart Forest, a forbidding and magical realm where wild animals, poachers, rogues and robber knights roamed the dense woods and feudal nobility ruled a network of farms and villages.
A model of meticulous research and crisp, clear writing, Spessart Roots traces forest inhabitants to the twelfth-century settlements of the Kahlgrund Valley, a mining and glassmaking region known for crystal clear "talking" mirrors immortalized in Snow White, the Grimm Brothers fairy tale. The book chronicles eras of famine, epidemics, invasions and pillaging punctuated by times of quiet prosperity. The stream of events flows through the centuries-long reign of the Holy Roman Empire, the Thirty Years War, Napoleonic conquests and other epochs that uprooted and shaped German society and culture.
Spessart Roots also is the story of America revealed through the microcosm of poor immigrants seeking freedom and opportunities denied them in their homelands. After settling in Cincinnati, Andreas Wust (Americanized to Andrew Wuest) started a mattress-making business that grew and prospered, staying in the family until its sale to Serta International in 1999 -- the American Dream fulfilled.
We hope to see you there.

Submitted by Kathy Reed
Program Director

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Two-Day Irish Genealogy Workshop and Streaming Webinar - Main Library - March 15th and 16th

We are excited to announce our participation in a two-day webinar presented by The Fountaindale District and the Plainfield Public Library District. The webinar will feature speakers from the Ulster Historical Foundation on Wednesday,March 15 and Thursday, March 16, 2017. We have reserved the Huenefeld Tower Room at the Main Library as well as one of the adjoining meeting rooms and kitchen so that participants will be able to spend the day in a relaxing atmosphere. Because we use Eastern Standard Time and the library hosting the webinars is in the Central Time Zone, sessions will be scheduled from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM each day. Participants should feel free to come and go as desired as well as watch the webinars from home. Here is the schedule. (Note: All times have been converted to EST from the original website posting).

Irish Genealogy – Resources for Success! irelandPublic Library (Wednesday, March 15 10:30 am to 6 p.m.)
Morning Session
010:30 a.m.  Introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish Family History Research
(1 hr)
11:30 a.m.   Irish Education and School Records (30 mins)
12 p.m.  BREAK (30 mins)
12:30 p.m.   Introduction to archives in Ireland (45 mins)
1:00 p.m.  LUNCH
2:30 p.m. Sources available for Irish research by county (1 hr)
3:30 p.m. Gravestone inscriptions and newspapers as sources for Irish research (45 mins)
4:15 p.m. BREAK
4:30 p.m. Using the Registry of Deeds, with a short introduction to Irish wills (55 mins)
5:30 p.m. Q&A and solving brick walls
Famine Era Records and Emigration imrs(Thursday, March 16 10:30 am to 5:30 p.m.)
Morning Session
10:30 a.m.  The Great Famine in Ireland, 1845–51: A brief historical overview (1 hr)
11:30 a.m.   BREAK
11:50 a.m.   Emigration from Ireland to North America: An Overview (1 hr)
12:50 p.m.   The Great Famine in Ireland: Sources for Research Part 1 (45 mins)
Afternoon Session
1:45 p.m.   LUNCH
3:00 p.m.   The Great Famine in Ireland: Sources for Research Part 2 (45 mins)
3:45 p.m.   Emigration from Ireland to North America: Strategies for Researching Emigrant Ancestors (1 hr)
4:45 p.m.   BREAK
5:00 p.m.  Q&A and Solving Brick Walls
Online Webinar Available!
Can’t attend the presentation in person? No problem! Both programs will be available for free as a streaming webinar on YouTube!  Free reminder event and registration for the webinar is available on our site.
Streaming participants, please make a donation to the Ulster Historical Foundation to support their genealogical projects and programming.  The donation site is powered by PayPal, and you have the ability to donate without creating an account by checking out as a ‘guest’. If you are a member of HCGS, a donation from the society will be made in lieu of individual donations.

Credit: Fountaindale Library and Genealogy Website

Submitted by Kathy Reed
Program Director

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.