Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Annual Seminar Registration Deadline Approaching: April 1!


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




Mill Race Banquet Center in Winton Woods Park

1515 West Sharon Road, Cincinnati


Preregister by April 1


Print and Mail a Registration form:

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



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


Records of the New Jersey Proprietors

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

Early Pennsylvania Research from Afar

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

Obituaries--From Humor to Horror

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

Finding Land-Less Ancestors

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


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

Submitted by Liz Stratton, Education Director,  f

Thursday, March 19, 2015

German Genealogy Day - May 9th

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


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

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

12:20 - Kenny Burck – Tracing Your German Genealogy

Question and answer period to follow.


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


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


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

Speaker Bios

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

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

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

We hope to see you there.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Griffith's Valuation - Beyond the Basics!

Saturday, March 14th, is going to be a great day for those of us with Irish roots or who just want to be "Irish for the day." Beginning at 10:00 AM in the Huenefeld Tower Room of the Main Library,Mary Ann Faloon, will help us understand The Primary Valuation of Ireland, known as the Griffith’s Valuation. The Griffith’s Valuation, was developed to provide a standardized taxation method in Ireland during the mid-nineteenth century. 

Because of the destruction of early census records, it has become a census substitute used to find Irish ancestors, especially those who left Ireland during the Famine of the 1840s.  However, there is much more to Griffith’s than a list of names.  By exploring the various documents used to create the final product, along with pre and post documents, we can discover many interesting aspects about our ancestors and the lives they lived.  Join us as we investigate how Griffith’s was developed and view some of the information contained in the various records.

Note the special time for this presentation. It was scheduled at this time so that participants will be able to attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade that begins at noon. For detailed information on the parade click on this link.

Here is a description of the parade route:

 Mark your calendar and “think spring.”

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Monday, February 16, 2015

HCGS Heritage Groups

Do you think you have an ancestor who was here in Hamilton County in the early years of its existence?

Have a look at the index that has been developed from all of the First Families of Hamilton County lineage applications.  This index contains all of the names that appeared on the application, not just the person(s) who qualified as a First Families ancestor. The index is complete as of 2014. This index has been posted on the HCGS website. Click on the all-name index to bring up the file to search. To search the file click Ctrl + F and put the name in the box then press enter. This will show the application number(s) containing your surname.

The Cincinnati History Library and Archives (CHLA) has all of the original applications on file.  Contact CHLA to see the original applications. If you need the help of a local researcher, see the Hamilton County Genealogical Society ResearchServices page.

If you don’t find your ancestor in this First Families index go to the Pioneers and Early Settlers page and search that index.

We would like to encourage you to submit an application for one of our lineage groups – we know there are a lot of you out there who qualify. Now is a good time to work on an application and members of the committee are here to help. Copies of the application and the rules for membership are available on the website. Just respond in the comments section if you would like one of the members of the Heritage Committee to get in touch with you for assistance.

Submitted by Gail Burkholz

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hamilton County Online Deed Indexes Are Now Available

If you've never used deeds as part of your genealogical research, you may be missing out on a gold mine. In Hamilton County, searching for an ancestor's deed usually required you to go through several cumbersome steps that would then need to be followed up with a visit to the Recorders Office or the Cincinnati History Library and Archives.

The task is becoming much easier due to the efforts of Director-at-Large, Jim Dempsey, to digitize the deed surname indexes.This has received full support from Hamilton County Recorder, Wayne Coates, and Chief of Staff, Dave Pittinger. Since the original indexes are only by first letter of a surname, several HCGS members have volunteered to transcribe these indexes into Excel files so the indexes can be made completely alphabetical. This effort will continue throughout 2015. Indexes for 1859-1869 are already available. 

Information on these Hamilton County Recorder Deed Surname Indexes can be found on our website. If you missed the opportunity to participate in Education Director Liz Stratton's Land Classes, you may want to refer to the December 2014 Tracer for an excellent explanation of how to best utilize these records (pp. 116-121).

The task is becoming  much easier due to the efforts of Director-at-Large,  Jim Dempsey, to digitize the deed surname  indexes.This has received full support from  Hamilton County Recorder, Wayne Coates, and Chief of  Staff,  Dave Pittinger. Since the original  indexes are only by first letter of a  surname, several HCGS members have volunteered  to transcribe these indexes into Excel files so the indexes can be made completely alphabetical. This  effort will continue throughout 2015. Indexes for 1859-1869 are already available.

Updated 3/11/2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Visit to the Norwood LDS Family History Center

LDS Norwood Family History Center

If you research family history in Cincinnati, you've probably heard about the Family History Centers located in this area. If you have German heritage in particular, there is a wealth of microfilms housed at this center that are on permanent loan. HCGS Treasurer and Past-President, Jeff Herbert, volunteers at the Norwood Center biweekly on Tuesday nights.

Jeff has agreed to provide an overview of the center and its resources on two dates: Tuesdays, March 10th and March 24th, at 6:30 PM. As you can see from the pictures above, space is limited. If you are interested in attending one of these two dates, please email Kathy Reed at and list your date preference. We will take up to 10 visitors each night. You will be notified by return email of your reservation.

For directions and additional information, click on this link and search on Cincinnati Ohio Family History Center. You will then be able to access directions to the site. Please note that the library is accessed by a door at the far end of the parking lot. After pulling around the back, you will see an entrance with a door bell. Hope to see you there.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hamilton County Recorders Office

Dave Pittinger, Wayne Coates, and Jim Dempsey

Last Wednesday, ten lucky HCGS members got to spend the morning at the Hamilton County Recorders Office. Wayne Coates, Hamilton County Recorder, Dave Pittinger, Chief of Staff and Jim Dempsey provided an overview of the workings of the Hamilton County Recorders Office. This was followed up with a tour of the office and the many materials they hold.

Board Member-at-Large, Jim Dempsey, discussed the process he has used to digitize and preserve materials for the benefit of all of us. He, and two volunteers from the Latter Day Saints, are responsible for digitizing over two million records at a rate of more than 70,000 records a week. Hamilton County served as a template for record preservation, and their efforts are being duplicated in other Ohio counties.

In order to view some of the records that have been uploaded to, follow this link.
After signing in, search on records: United States, Ohio, Hamilton.

You can then browse through the images in the collection, including land and property, naturalization, vital records, military, and probate records. These collections are frequently updated, so you may want to look for additional records added to the collection.

If you were unable to attend either of these sessions and would like to be put on a waiting list, please send an email to Kathy Reed at Put "Recorders Office" in the subject line and asked to be notified should another opportunity occur.

Submitted by: Kathy Reed