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).

If you have ancestors who lived in Hamilton County, you owe it to yourself to check out this resource.

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

African-American Genealogy: Tearing Down the Brick Walls

African American Genealogy Webinar-2 sessions
February 14-Main Library - Huenefeld Tower Room
This year, the Library is proud to announce a free two- session webinar with Michael G. Hait, professional genealogical researcher and lecturer, co-sponsored by the Friends of the Public Library and the Hamilton County Genealogy Society.

African American Genealogy: Tearing Down the Brick Walls. Michael G. Hait, CG

11 am-Main Library (First Session)

Brick walls in African-American genealogy can be caused by lack of records or improper research habits. Learning to research effectively can help to avoid these brick walls. This presentation includes a case study to demonstrate proper techniques for researching an African-American family in Maryland, from evaluating known information to identifying parents to locating the final slave owner.

Freedmen’s Bureau Records   Michael G. Hait, CG
2 pm-Main Library (Second Session)
The Freedmen’s Bureau's records, kept from 1865-1872, contain a wide range of data about the African American experience during slavery and freedom. Among the records are marriage registers and other records that give the names, ages, and former occupations of freedmen and names and residences of former owners. For some states there are census lists, details of labor and apprenticeship agreements, back pay records, complaint registers, personal data about black soldiers (including company and regiment), school records, hospital registers, census records, and records of murders committed against freedmen.  Hait will explain the challenges and rewards that a researcher will encounter using this collection.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Visits to the Recorders Office in 2015

Hamilton County Recorders Office
Have you always wondered about the records held by the Hamilton County Recorders Office? Maybe you know how the records could be beneficial to your genealogical search, but you've been a little reluctant to show up in an unfamiliar office populated by a lot of people who seem to already know what they are doing.

Have we got a deal for you! Many of you have participated in Liz Stratton's series on Finding Genealogical Gold in Land Records. We thought now would be the time to take that newly-found knowledge and apply it during a visit to the Hamilton County Recorders Office.

Kenny Burck and David Pittinger

Luckily for us, Recorder Wayne Coates and Chief of Staff Dave Pittinger thought it would be a great idea, too. They offered to schedule two dates for small groups of 10 to visit and learn first-hand about the wonderful resources available to us in their office. From 10:00 until noon on Wednesdays January 14th and 21st. Ten lucky members will meet in their Conference Room and get an overview of the office and the opportunity to search for their own records with Dave's help. (The programs on the 21st will be a repeat of the one on the 14th).

We gave priority registration to those who have been participating in the classes on Land Records and then opened it up to all members in the December Tracer. We currently have two spaces available on the 14th and three on the 21st. If you want to have your name added to the list, please email Kathy Reed, Program Director, at Should these classes fill up quickly, Dave has expressed a willingness to schedule additional dates. If these dates don't work for you, ask to be put on a "Waiting List."

The Recorders Office is located in the Hamilton County Administration Building a 138 Court Street. For a map and complete directions, click here. We hope to see you there.

 Submitted by Kathy Reed.