MANSFIELD, Ohio – Family trees are important to genealogical researchers, but it’s family histories that most people are really after.
“There’s a whole lot more to genealogy than just family trees,” said Robert C. La Prad, executive director of the Ohio Genealogical Society. “Family trees are important, often the cornerstone of research. But our members trace not only their lineage, but the lives of their ancestors.”
They are looking for the bits and pieces of family history that fit into the important historical facts and stories all woven all together into the tapestry that is Ohio’s history.
“Names, dates, and places are important in recording history. It’s the individual, personal, human stories that make history interesting,” La Prad said.
The Ohio Genealogical Society is a non-profit organization of more than 6,500 members. Its mission is to meet the educational and research needs of its members and the general public through the acquisition, preservation, and dissemination of genealogical and historical information.
The society offers a variety of resources, including newsletters, publications, library records, and conferences and seminars relating to the genealogical research of Ohio families.
An ongoing project of the Society is a time line of Ohioans of the Civil War. There are more than 400 entries from January to December, 1862, alone.
These include the dates of battles and names of specific Ohio units that fought that year.
“The time line is one piece of our research into Ohio’s Civil War history,” La Prad said.
“Our members have also gathered personal details of these battles and recollections of army life from that time,” La Prad said. “When taken together, we have a pretty good idea of the era, even nearly 140 years later.”
The Society’s research is not limited to the Civil War, however.
“We have records related to Ohioans from well before statehood,” La Prad said.
The genealogical research library contains 15,000 books, including 4,000 family histories, county histories atlases, resource records, research aids, computer records, and over 15,000 rolls of microfilm on which is stored all the Ohio censuses and the complete genealogical index.
The society collects Bible and church records.
It has also identified all known Ohio cemeteries and can offer advice on cemetery law and preservation. In many cases, transcriptions from the cemeteries may be available through individual chapters.
The OGS Web site at www.ogs.org is, according to La Prad “a major resource for genealogical researchers around the world. From anywhere, at any hour, people can, and do, access the Society with their computers.”
Access to the resources of The Ohio Genealogical Society is available through membership in the organization or, for a small fee, to non-members.
Members may also be eligible for membership in two honorary lineage organizations, the Society of Civil War Families of Ohio, for those whose Ohio ancestors served in The Civil War, and the First Families of Ohio, for those whose families lived in Ohio prior to 182l.
All members receive free subscriptions to The Report, a statewide quarterly journal for Ohio genealogical information, and to the Ohio Genealogical Society Newsletter.
Two other publications, Ohio Records and Pioneer Families and Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal, are available by separate subscription.
Members may also submit queries free of charge to the Ohio Genealogical Society Newsletter.
For further information on membership or resources contact the Ohio Genealogical Society, 713 S. Main Street, Mansfield, Ohio 44907-1644, 419-756-7294 or on the Web at www.ogs.org.