Friday, November 30, 2007

Sandusky Public Library/Follett Musem

Sandusky is not just about amusement and water parks. There has been a long and interesting history of this area and Erie Co. Ohio. For the genealogist the main point of interest is the collection of the Sandusky Public Library and the collection at the Follett Museum.

Some of the unique items in the archives collection of the library are the interment cards for the Oakland Cemetery. This is not only the largest cemetery in the area, but interment cards are a wonderful source of genealogical information(more to be covered on this in a seperate posting). They also have a microfilm listing of all the rest of the cemeteries in the county. The collection also has obituary notebooks that were compiled from 1921-1952. Another unique item is the finding aids that help in finding primary sources, business files, vintage photographs and more. Finally they have a extensive collection of yearbooks.

The Follett Museum helps in creating a window into the past of Sandusky and Erie County. Here is a link to more information about this very interesting library.

Be sure to check out these two exciting resources for your Erie County genealogical research. I would like to thank Doren Paul for her help on this article.

Sandusky Library
114 West Adams St.
Sandusky, OH
419- 625 3834

Follett Museum
404 Wayne St.
Sandusky, OH
419- 627 9608

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Military Records- World War I

The Great War was the first major global event for soldiers in Northwest Ohio. The information from this war is unique in that the main document is the draft registration card that was generated on a local basis.

When tracing you WWI ancestor the first item is to know where they lived during the possible time of sign up. The cards for a particular area are listed alphabetically. The information provided is fabulous. They list the persons name, address, date of birth, age, race, citizenship status, birthplace, occupation and employer, dependent relative, martial status, father's birthplace, and name and address of nearest relative. For many new immigrants this would be one of their first important documents while in America. The listing of the soldiers address and relatives address are very important when proving kinship.

Another index that I have seen for this time period that is very valuable is of all women in a given area that are able to work. The cards list all the same information as the men, but include their ability to work. This is a fascinating resource for a period in our history that was dominated by men.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Military Source- Grand Army of the Republic

The Grand Army of the Republic is a military organization that was organized by veterans on the Union side of the Civil War in 1866. This group was located in almost ever town in Northwest Ohio of any size. This group is similar to a VFW hall that we would have in modern times.

The records by this organization are a little hit and miss. Many of the records for the individual groups were destroyed for a variety of reasons over the years, but some have been kept. Applications for this organization were often as detailed as those used for pension records. Another interesting outcome was the publication of the group magazine called "The National Tribune". Here the soldiers would write detailed stories about their experience in the war. These can be very interesting and offer flavor to your ancestors past if they participated in the same Regiments in the war.

The GAR held annual meetings on a national, state and local level. In 1908 the city of Toledo held one of the national meetings. At the time this was a pretty major event and would bring thousands of people from all across the country to your city. There would be marching bands, speeches and a variety of other activities. In most cases the President of the United States would be in attendance at this event.

The city of Lima held the State convention on several occasions. This was well attended by people all over the state of Ohio. You will find pictures and many post cards of downtown Lima decorated for this event.

On a more local level the individual regiments will have reunions. I have seen documents for reunions in Toledo, Bowling Green, Fremont, Lakeside and Sandusky, Ohio.

All of these gatherings would produce items for the soldiers. Many medals, ribbons, water canteens, cups, books and pins were produced as keep sakes. Pictures were also taken in abundance and many pictures can be found with males wearing medals. If you have old pictures this is a excellent clue to participation in the Civil War.

Similar to today's Women's Auxiliary for the VFW the GAR had a Women's Auxiliary. Records were also kept for applications for this group as well. Information and clues exist in their records but many have experience the same fate as the men's.

A good place to start your search is to determine if your person participated in the Civil War. Then check out the Ohio Historical Society website. They have many sources on the GAR.

Another link to check out is manuscript collection at the Library of Congress. On their website they have a listing of all the GAR posts in Northwest Ohio. They are intermixed with the rest of Ohio, but this will help find if there was a local post in your area. When I looked, most cities large and small had a GAR post.

On a more local basis the Bowling Green archives has over 70 documents currently in their collection related to the GAR. All of these are cataloged and are for Northwest Ohio. The Hayes collection in Fremont also has items related to the GAR. Finally the Williams Co. website on USgenweb has information about a GAR post in Montpelier. This is by no means a exhaustive list of items available so be sure to check for this group.

Another current group that grew out of this group is Sons of Union Veterans and Daughters of Union Veterans. These were organized as the veterans began to pass on and kept their children involved in the group. There are some of these groups spread across Northwest Ohio and meet on a monthly basis.

Good luck on your GAR research.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Military Records- Civil War Pension Records

In the early stages of tracing your family back in time, the pension records from the Civil War are a important document. If your relative served in all likely hood they applied for a pension record. It does not mean that they got one, but even a rejected application can have a great deal of information.

Here again the more information and details you have on the solider the better. The information provided on the service record application is the same for the pension record. The information is a first hand account by your ancestor or widow on the events that occurred during the individuals service. The primary information is person's name, date of enlistment, location of enlistment, birth date, location of birth, injuries during battle, death date if widow and location of death. Another important item is a list of where they have lived since the war and complete list of children with birth dates. The information in these documents can vary, but I have seen several that exceed fifteen pages and up. Pension papers are one of the few documents in your research that you will get a first hand account done by your ancestors. All of these records area available again at the National Archives.

My ancestor George Davey applied for a pension after he left the service. When he enrolled he had actually given the wrong year of birth. He was older than most when he signed up so his date he gave the government varied by ten years his actual birth date. Needless to say when it came time to apply for his pension he had a lot of explaining to do. His pension record had a great deal of documentation as a result.

Be sure to get your ancestors service and pension records from the Civil War. They offer extensive clues to earlier generations.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Military Records- Civil War Case Study- cont.

From our last post on this topic we were able to determine that William Wallace Brown served in the 54th Ohio Co. K. The next step was to order the service records from the National Archives to document his period of service in the war.

The first step in this process is to get the form. This can be obtained from the National Archives website. From the County history I was able to determine the period of time that he served. (8 Feb. 1864-15 Aug. 1865) Other facts that are needed on the form is state of service, union or confederate, and volunteer or regular. The unit in which he served is critical. (54th OH, Co. K) They also want to know the persons date of birth, death and location of each event. The less information that you are able to provide the less likely you are to get back information from the National Archives.

With the use of a credit card the records can be ordered over the Internet. Allow for four to six weeks for delivery though. Please be aware that this information costs from $50 to $75 dollars.

The information you can expect to obtain from the service documents includes the rank of the solider, rate of pay, locations of payment, health and date of mustering out. The amount of data retrieved from these files really varies. I have experienced a variety of information from these records. They can be as basic as date of document, soldiers name, location of pay and amount of pay. Then there are others where the amount of information is much more detailed.

William Wallace Brown's service records were very detailed. He served a very short period of time in the war. He served in the latter half of the war in the Western Theater. The battles he fought in included Stone River, Chickamauga and March to the Sea. William was present at the signing of the peace treaty by Johnston in North Carolina and participated in the victory parade in Washington, DC at the end of the war. This was rare for soldiers that were fought in the Western portion of the war. Finally he was mustered out of the war in Texas. Amongst the things that he took home with him according to the documents was his uniform and equipment including his gun. This type of information is rare and would not be found anywhere else other than family lore.

I know in the case of my own ancestor my father and I took it one step further. We used the service record along with some other sources to document where are ancestor participated during the war. Then we mapped out a trip and visited the many battles that he served in during the war. This turned out to be a very moving experience for both of us. The meaning of history and the part that are ancestor had played in the war came home to both of us.

Tomorrow I will talk about the pension records. This will give a much richer understanding of the value of military records.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Feed Back

Please let me know if there are any topics on Northwest Ohio you would like to see covered in upcoming days or months. Your input is important.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday Season Gift Ideas

Well Black Friday is over and the gifts have been purchased. My thoughts are on what to by for the genealogist. Here are a few suggestions that you may want to take a look at over the next few weeks.

1. Quicksheet Citing Online Historical Resources- by Elizabeth Shown Mills- 2007- This is a well done guide on how to use those numerous sources available on the Internet. This is a timely item as the Internet increases it's presence in genealogy. The author is one of the true leaders in the study of genealogy.

2. The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall- by Marsha Hoffman Rising- Jan. 2005- We all run into that one brick wall that gives us fits. This book comes up with creative ways to solve genealogical issues.

3. Ancestry's Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources, Third Revised Edition, by Alice Eicholz, 2004, This book has been one of the must have books when doing genealogy. Invaluable listing of sources with addresses and phone numbers.

4. Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures, by Christine Rose, 2004, The court house can be intimidating for the average person doing genealogy. This book does a excellent job of identifying records of interest and where they are located.

5. The Handybook for Genealogist: United States of America, (10th Edition) by Everton Publishers, 2002, This book is another primary book in your collection. Everton the publisher of the Genealogical Helper has compiled a excellent list of sources.

So while your out this weekend don't forget the genealogist in your life. Might be you!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Findlay Hancock County Public Library

Got some time this long weekend and have ancestors from Hancock Co., OH then check the Findlay Hancock County Public Library. There local history and genealogy department has all the sources to continue your search or start a new one.

Fortunately this library was able to survive the floods that occurred here during the early summer. Here are some of the unique sources that they have for Hancock Co., OH.

1. Birth, Marriage & Death records
2. Local Cemetery Indexes
3. City directories
4. County History books
5. Newspapers for local area that are from 1850's to present.
6. Obituary Index for Hancock County
7. Ohio Census Records

So while your out please check another one of Northwest Ohio's great genealogical resources.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Today I will be taking a little break. Enjoy your day and I will be back on Friday with more on Civil War military records.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Military Records- Civil War Case Study

The first steps in searching your Civil War ancestor is to determine if they participated in the war and from where did they serve. I will show this process in a search I did recently for a client.

Recently I was having a party at my home and had a conversation with a friend that I have had for years. While in my office he was looking at the many Civil War items I had decorating my walls. He indicated that he thought he had an ancestor that participated in the war. Curiosity had gotten the best of him and he knew that I did genealogy searches of this sort.

Here are the facts as he told them to me to begin the search.

1. The subjects name was William Brown (Yikes, Can we get anymore generic)
2. He lived in Upper Sandusky, Wyandotte Co., OH when he died.
3. His spouses name was Harriett.
4. Family lore indicated that he was always called Colonel.
5. The family had sold all his Civil War related items from this person several years ago.

This was all the information that I had to go on to begin the search. The intention here was to determine what unit he served in and where. My friend was also interested in learning if William Brown or his spouse Harriett had applied for a pension. So I began the search.

I had my friend talking to relatives to see if any more information could be learned. No success. We talked with his father to determine if any written information was in the families hands. No information.

This left me to begin the search in the Census records of the time to determine age and location of our William Brown right before the Civil War broke out in 1861. I new that the majority of the people that served in the war were born between 1820 and 1847. Sure, there are exceptions at both ends of the period. Some generals that served in the war were born prior to 1820 and some drummers were born after 1847. I started my search looking in the 1850 Ohio Census for Wyandotte Co., OH. I was able to locate the proper William Brown living in the county during this period. This was good information, because it showed that he had been in the county for several years prior to entering the war. From the records I was able to determine that he was born in the year 1843. This fit's the proper age group for service. The next step was to track the same individual into the 1860 census. He was found ten years older of course and still living with his family.

The next step for me was to determine what unit William Brown may have served. Well up front I new this was going to be a difficult task. I checked a free online resource called the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. When doing a search in the listing for William Brown serving in the Infantry from Ohio I had over 275 hits. Needless to say this was not the answer in narrowing down the search. I needed to find another way.

A very good source in most counties is the county or regimental histories. I started by looking through the county histories. I was able to determine through the History of Wyandott Co., OH that men from the county served in a least eight different regiments. Not to mention some cavalry and artillery units. I did some more study of the individual units on another website to determine my next best plan of attack. The information indicated that some of the units were actually organized in adjacent counties. A regimental history was not available.

I cross referenced my unit list with William Brown's in them against those units in the history that came from Wyandott Co. Through this I was able to narrow the search down. Two regiments remained. The 88th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 54 th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
According to the county history company K of the 54th was partially organized in the county, but were mustered in Lima, Allen Co., OH. Through the search of the regiments lists of members served. I determined that indeed a William Brown served in this unit. The 54th served from 1861 to 1865. From the regiment lists that William Brown never served as a Colonel.

The next step was to consult with a different county history where I was able to find a biography on William Brown. From the information in the bio I confirmed that the individual was married to Harriett Paulin and he has served in the 54th Ohio company K. He also died in Upper Sandusky in old age and had been a member of the GAR.

Needless to say my friend was thrilled with the information. The search was not done yet and I will talk about that in the next few days.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Military Records- War of 1812 Correction

The following information has been brought to my attention concerning the pension and bounty land records for the War of 1812. Many men or their widows applied for pension or bounty land under the Old War Pension Act which was prior to 1812. For more explanation on the individual acts please look at the following link The descriptive pamphlet listed here is listed under M313 The index to the War of 1812 Pension Application files. Men who participated in the war between 1812 and 1815, and applied for pension, are included in the Index to the Pension and Bounty Land Application Files.

Another area to look for information is also in the Application files. These will be indexed if the solider, sailor or widow was eligible or not. If a claim was made a filed was started even if it would later be rejected.

I hope this helps understand these important genealogical records. Thanks again for the correction.

Military Records- Civil War

The Civil War would be a life changing event for many that lived in Northwest Ohio. The state of Ohio was one of the larger states when it came to organizing and supplying the war effort. The first call for soldiers signing up would be in 1861.

The soldiers in the beginning would sign up on a regional basis. A prominent citizen with no other qualifications than being prominent in that area would lead the organization. The call would come from the governor and then down to a local level. Having a person with any military training to lead a troop was very rare. Political clout tended to be a major qualification for leadership. In the early years of the war the sign ups were brisk. Many people of the period believed that the war was going to last for a very short period of time. Thus the ninety day troop sign up was the first version. The experience level of the leadership would add to the awful cost of war.

The typical regiment was organized at the county seat. The individual units within the regiments would be organized from the various geographic areas within the county. In counties where population was sparse it was not uncommon for units to organize in the regiment in the next county. Once the regiment was organized they were then sent to Camp Chase in Columbus. I have seen exceptions though to the in county and adjacent county rule, but this typically happened later in the war.

The majority of the soldiers in Northwest Ohio would end up serving in the western portion of the south. This was primarily in the states of KY, TN, MS, GA, AL, LA, SC and NC. Many units from Northwest Ohio served with distinction and many generals would come from our area.

More on the Regimental records later.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Feedback and Topics

My hope is that the ideas and topics on this blog have been helpful to those people reading it on a regular basis. I need some help though. Are there topics or subjects that you would like to see covered on Northwest Ohio. Do you see things that you would like included or changed? I look forward to your input. Let me know through clicking on the comment section for this topic.

Thank you again for your support. I will continue covering military records on Monday.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Toledo War- 1835-1836

As many of us prepare for the annual renewal of the border war today between Ohio State and Michigan my thoughts go back to the first War between our states. It was a bloodless battle between the territory of Michigan and the state of Ohio. The war was as a result of poor mapping and fuzzy boundary lines between the two states. Legislation passed between 1787 and 1805 had confused the situation. The area being fought over was a 468 square mile region of Northwest Ohio. The territory of Michigan was trying to become a state in the 1830's and claimed this area. Their plans were blocked by the state legislature in Ohio. The eventual solution to the mess was Michigan giving up the strip of Northwest Ohio and they in turn got the Upper Peninsula.

So as your cheering for your favorite team. Remember that it's roots came long ago in 1835. Enjoy the game and may your favorite team win.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Musselman Library- Bluffton University, Bluffton, OH

Many Germans who practiced the Mennonite religion located in the counties of Putnam and Allen in Northwest Ohio. The university at Bluffton was established early to educate the many people that had located in this area. The library here has a collection that is dedicated specifically to the history of the Mennonite religion in general and people that lived in the area.

The collection is know as the Mennonite Historical collection and is housed on the first floor of the Musselman Library. The collection was started in 1935 and includes many items of genealogical interest. Some items of interest are

Historical Events of the Mennonite Settlement in Allen and Putnam Counties, Ohio, by P B Amstutz, 1978.

Many items related to church history are also included. Vertical files related to specific surnames are indexed and in the collection. Another interesting item is a collection of Fraktur's which document many families from all over the United States.

For more information they can be contacted at

Musselman Library
Bluffton University
1 University Dr.
Bluffton, OH 45187
Phone- 419- 358-3262

Be sure to check this excellent source for information on Mennonites in Northwest Ohio.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Military Records- The Indian Wars Series

One of the lesser known sources for military records is the Indian War Series. The people that served against the Indians from 1817 to 1898. This was a very common form of service in Northwest Ohio in the early years prior to the movement of the Indians from the area.

This series is indexed by surname and is stored at the National Archives in the Index to Indian Wars Pension Files 1892-1926(T318-twelve rolls). Included in the file is how long the person served, whether they survived the war and if the solider was survived by a widow. They also include places lived. When they were married and to whom. Location where they died and children with birth dates.

As you can see from the overviews on War records there is a lot of valuable genealogical related information that can be gained.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Great Lakes Sailors

The occupation of serving on a ship was a important one in the early days of Northwest Ohio. As the area developed it became much more common in cities like Sandusky and Toledo. Inter lake trade and transportation began as early as the 1800's, but really increased once the canal system was established.

Ships in those days would start from Buffalo at the eastern end of Lake Erie. This was the western edge of the Erie canal. A common cargo at this time was moving settlers from the east to points along the northern edge of Ohio and points beyond. Eastern supplies from industrial companies were also a common cargo. They would then transport on a very regular basis to the growing areas in Ohio.

Once they arrived in Northwest Ohio they then would transport about anything that could fit in a barrel back in East. Transport of food, raw materials like wood and stone were common. The trade would help the area become more prosperous and would work as a draw for people to the area.

Life as a sailor on a ship was a difficult one during this period of time. Ships were powered by the wind and later steam. Many people from the New England area had participated in these occupations prior to moving so it was often a life style they new very well.

The National Archives has records for people that were sailors on the Great Lakes. They are much later in time, but may shed light on your ancestors. The file is RG 85 which includes 91 rolls of microfilm.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Military Records- Mexican War

The next war of interest would be the Mexican War which occurred between 1846 and 1848. This is a war that is not spoken of much. Soldiers from all over the United States participated. Northwest Ohio was no exception.

Pensions were available to those soldiers who served sixty days and to their widows who did not remarry with a act of congress in 1887. The files are arranged in alphabetical order and have a master index of names. The records are indexed in "Index to Mexican War Pension Files 1887-1926"(T317- fourteen rolls). The files include for the soldier place of birth, enlistment date and discharge records and areas lived in since service. The spouses file will include date of marriage, who married them, and where the soldier died. The file will include wife's maiden name, names of former wives if any with date and place of death or divorce. It will also name all living children with their dates of birth.

This is a outstanding source of genealogical information. This information is stored at the National Archives in Washington DC.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Military Records- War of 1812

Northwest Ohio played a major part in the War of 1812. Two major events took place in our area at Ft. Meigs in Perrysburg, OH and the Battle of Lake Erie located out by West Sister Island. One of the interesting outcomes of this war was not only did it result in securing this area for the United States, but it also resulted in many of the soldiers and sailors staying in this area after the war.

In the case of the foot solider they got to see a lot of the land by virtue of the major form of transportation in the army at the time called walking. They moved all along the Maumme River and up into the southern portions of Michigan. This would give them valuable understanding of the area and would result in many of them locating in this area after the war.

Just like the Revolutionary War there are three primary sources of records. They include service records, pension records and bounty land records. The service records run from 1812 to 1815. They are organized by state or territory and then by individual regiments. Genealogical information in these records is slim like in the Revolutionary War records.

The really sad part concerning the pension records and bounty land records is Congress did not get around to passing legislation until 1871 and 1878. The vast majority of soldiers that had participated and their wives had passed away by this time. As a result the claims for this war are low. The files are listed alphabetically by last name. The information included in these files both pension and bounty is name, age and residency of the veteran. The maiden name of the wife. The place and date of their marriage. The rank achieved while participating during the war. The unit that he served. The date and locations of joining and discharge. The widows claim includes the widows name, age and place of residence. Date and place of their marriage and the name of the official that performed the ceremony. The date and place of the veterans death.

The records are all included at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Provide as much information as you can about your ancestor. The fewer facts you have on the forms the higher likely hood of rejection.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Veterans Day

Today is a very under celebrated day in our countries history. The irony is that without the many sacrifices that have been paid by the people that have served our country we would not be able to enjoy the many freedoms that we enjoy today.

WW I officially ended on June 28, 1919, when the Versaille Treaty was signed. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the treaty, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

Today spend some time thanking and thinking about those veterans around us. The sacrifices are great and the rewards have been wonderful. Hug a vet!

Weekend Recap- Genealogy Meetings

I hope that this site is providing valuable information for those folks that are readers. Now is the time to be attending your local genealogy group meetings. These are excellent places to learn new skills for future search and networking with people that can help you with your family search.

This take some time to attend these meetings in your area. The time spent will be well worth your time.

Thanks again for your support. Please let me know if there are any specific topics that you would like to see covered. Spread the word on the blog.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Huron Co.- Norwalk Public Library

When researching your ancestors in Huron Co. Ohio a good place to start is the main library for the county that is located in Norwalk, OH. Here you will find many resources pertaining to the county. The library is one of many that was built as a result of donations from Andrew Carnegie around the turn of the century.

The library's collection includes the following items of local interest.

1. 1820 Census for Erie, Huron, and Sandusky Counties
2. County Directories-
- Huron County starting with 1908
- Erie County and Sandusky County
Cemetery Records of East Norwalk Historical Cemetery
City Directories: Norwalk starting with 1885
City & Township Histories: Bellevue, Greenwich, Norwalk, Wakeman, Willard, etc.
County Histories: Ashland, Crawford, Erie, Huron, Lorain
Erie County Atlas 1874
Erie County Cemetery Records
Firelands Pioneer (complete set)
First Methodist Episcopal Church Marriage Records 1888-1902
Huron County Atlas 1873 & 1891
Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions
Huron County, Ohio Marriages (3 vol.) 1815-1900
Huron County Plat Book 1845
Index to 1880 Huron County Census
Index to the following newspapers:
- Monroeville Spectator 1870-1986
Norwalk Papers 1822-1835
North Fairfield Gazette 7 May 1856 - 3 April 1860
Wakeman Independent Press 1875 - 1915
Marriage Records of Huron County, Ohio 1812-1839

The library is located in downtown Norwalk at 46 W Main St. Norwalk, OH. The hours for the library are Monday thru Thursday 9:30 am to 8:30 pm and Friday thru Saturday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

If you are looking for sources in Huron County Ohio this is a excellent place to start.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Military Records- Revolutionary War Veterans

With the creation of the United States laws were provided to take care of those veterans that served our country during the Revolutionary War. The descendants of the soldiers came to the area of Northwest Ohio in large volumes.

Northwest Ohio had a few Revolutionary Soldiers that died and were buried in the area. Due to the age of many of the soldiers who fought it was not common for them to come to our area. The information gained from there service records can be valuable to tracing your ancestors to their states of origin.

Two primary records exist for the soldiers that served. The first is the service record. There were two primary units. They were those that served in the Continental Army and those that served in the state militia. Service records for the Continental Army are located at the National Archives and state militia records are at the state level of the state served. These records provide information on when the person served, where they joined and how long they served. This information provides valuable clues to the area that the person came from. This is critical when trying to trace the ancestors back further.

The second primary source and by far the most valuable is pension records and bounty land warrants. These provide a treasure trove of information related to the soldiers life and military service. The person was proving who they were and that they were eligible for the pension. In these records you will find where the person was born and when. You will get a list of where this person has lived since their service in the war. This is important, because it shows their migration pattern. The document will list who they served under and where they served. The spouses name will be listed and I have seen instances where the spouses maiden name is given. Spouses were also eligible for this benefit after the death of the solider.

Bounty Land warrants were applied far more than the pensions. The information provided is the same as that for a pension. Over 450,000 applications are located at the Archives in Washington. These bounty's were granted all over the Northern part of Ohio.

The records both for the Continental Army, pension records and bounty land warrants are located at the National Archives in Washington. The files are indexed by the soldiers name. When searching your family history this is another valuable source of information and something to be very proud of their service.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Railroad Workers- Northwest Ohio

Did you have a Grandpa that worked on the railroad? From about 1850 to the 1950's this was a very popular occupation for people living in Northwest Ohio. The service records and location of the railroad routes can be valuable resources when researching your ancestors. This resource is not one that is commonly consulted when looking for information on your ancestors.

When looking through a ancestors obituary or stories you may learn that one of your relatives had worked for the railroad. This information can be used to gather additional information on your ancestors work career. The following resources are excellent for completing your search.

1. Jackson, Elisabeth and Carolyn Curtis. Guide to the Burlington Archives in the Burlington Archives in the Newberry Library 1851-1901. Chicago: Newberry Library, 1940.
This book includes land office records and payroll records.

2. Kanely, Edna. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Employees, 1982.

3. National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collection, Washington DC. Library of Congress 1962-1994.
This is a excellent record of where the records are stored at almost 1400+ repositories

4. Taber, Thomas T. Guide to Railroad Historical Resources. United States and Canada. 4 vols. Muncy, PA: TT Taber, 1993.
Another guide for location of historical materials. Lists addresses and all is listed by state.

The largest resource for locating your railroad workers is the United States Railroad Retirement Board which was established in the 1930's and house records up to pre 1937. You need to have the ancestors Social Security Number to complete the search. You will also need persons full name, railroad they worked for, time period of employment, birth date and death date. They can be contacted at

Some other sources for online research are as follows-

1. Extensive resource for railroad links.

2. Site for the Central Pacific Railroad

3. Extensive railroad links

In the future I will be talking about other occupations and the genealogical records they may have.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Migration- Vincennes and Indianapolis Road

If we look at yesterdays migration map this would be the pink colored route that comes out of Detroit, MI area. This route was established during the early occupation of Northwest Ohio. The trail followed that route of US 24 today. In it's early years this had been the connecting route between the British forts in the area. During the later years it was a route of travel to the Indiana and Illinois country.

Part of this trail was overland, but a great deal of this route was traveled by water. Travelers would board boats west of the rapids near current day Maumee and travel all the way to current day Fort Wayne, IN. Along this route towns began to pop up and some were located at sites of old British forts.

Migrants that followed this route would come either by boat out of the port in Buffalo or would come overland across Ontario in Canada. This route was used by people that immigrated to Canada from Great Britain and people that lived in the northern parts of New England. If the route was traveled correctly you could travel the majority of the route from Albany, NY to Ft Wayne, IN on water. There was also major advantages to trade products created in Northwest Ohio back to the east using this route. Part of this route would also become part of the Erie Wabash canal.

The Blanchard and Auglaize converge in Defiance, OH. This would be a common departure point for people traveling down into Putnam, Henry and Allen counties. Settlement and trade would be major activities because of these water ways.

This route was also popular with those people that continued to migrate west. They would move on to points in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Migration- The Great Trail

The Great Trail on the map above is the blue route moving from the east out of Columbiana Co. and across eastern Ohio to Northwest Ohio.

The Great Trail was the route used my people that were coming out of Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland and Virginia. There were a couple of primary groups that came this route. They were the Germans, Irish, and Quakers. This would begin the period of the melting pot of cultures in Ohio.

The main migration of Germans into Northwest Ohio began around 1825. The interesting thing about this particular migration is the fact that many of the migrants were actually new immigrants from Germany. These folks followed the dreams that had been shown to them of the wonderful things that would be available to them in the new world. Whole families and cities in Germany would board ships and begin the journey to the United States. People in Europe at the time were tired of the wars, crowding and lack of food. The New World promised to fix these things. Many of them would land in Philadelphia and in Delaware. It was here that they would learn of the bountiful lands to the west. It was here that they would purchase their wagons and begin the slow migration west to the Ohio country.

The second group was the Germans that lived in the United States for generations. A common religion for these folks was Mennonite. Things were starting to become crowded in the areas of Lancaster and Franklin counties in PA. In the early stages many of them had moved to Western Maryland in the Hagerstown area. The promise of new bountiful farm land got them to pack the wagon and head west.

The Irish had settled in the eastern half of Pennsylvania. The crowding and lack of land forced them to look further west. You can see record of their travel all through the southern half of Pennsylvania.

The Quakers had come to America because of it's religious tolerance. Concentration of these folks in small areas was key. The meeting houses that they worshiped in were in specific areas. Ohio would become a destination point for these people seeking new land.

These groups would locate all over Northwest Ohio. Allen, Fulton, Henry, Putnam and Williams became very popular places for the Germans. The Irish lived all over the area. Many helped to add to the populations of the small cities and help them grow. The Germans would become one of the largest population groups in Northwest Ohio.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Migration- The Black Swamp

I had a request from one of the readers for a map outlining the boundaries of the Black Swamp. As you can see it covered the majority of the area we know as Northwest Ohio. You can also see the natural barrier it posed to migration into this area. This swamp was like the ones that we still have in the southern portion of the United States. It was not conducive to migration or habitation. It was not until the 1840's that the area really became drained.

I would like to thank all of you for your support in this first week of my blog. From the responses I am getting it looks like it is helpful. In the future I will be including a variety of subjects and will try to stay on a main topic. Please let me know if you have topics related to Northwest Ohio you would like me to cover. Also be sure to pass this link on to others that you feel would have interest in this subject. Thank you again for your support.

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Library

Did you know that Rutherford B Hayes was a hardcore genealogist? Well it's true. Seems he got bitten by the Genealogy bug as well. The result is a library at his home Spiegel Grove in Fremont, OH. The library was established by his heirs in 1916. The Collection includes about 80,000 books, 4,500 linear feet of manuscripts and over 70,000 photographs.

The highlights of the collection are a almost complete collection of county histories and county atlases for Ohio. Many other county and state books from other states are included. The city directory collection deals mainly with Fremont, Sandusky plus other cities in Erie and Sandusky counties. Printed lineages of DAR members is current up to the 1920's. Complete collection of Pennsylvania Archives which includes tax lists, militia rolls, marriages and colonial documents. Many records concerning Ohio in the Civil War including many regimental histories. WPA County Record inventories are also included in the collection.

Included in the microfilm collection is Ohio Census 1820-1930, Local Newspapers, City directories of major cities in Ohio, Sandusky County courthouse records, Ohio Death Index 1908-1944, Ohio Birth Index 1908-1911, surname index for 100 Ohio county histories and church records.

A major project since the year 2000 has been the creation of the Hayes Obituary Index. The best part is it's availability on line. The index includes over a million names from newspapers all over the state of Ohio.

Please check out their website at

www. for the obituary index

Please check out his valuable Northwest Ohio genealogical resource.

Migration Patterns- Erie Canal

One of the major events of movement west was the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. The waterway ran from Albany, NY and traveled to Buffalo, NY along the eastern edge of Lake Erie. Travel suddenly became easier and cheaper.

The canal began in Albany, NY along the upper portion of the Hudson River area. This was a ideal location for those people living in the New England states to start their trip West. Prior to the canals opening the main form of travel was overland following trails that were no better than wide openings in the woods. The safety and ability to move from Albany to Buffalo in days instead of weeks was a major improvement in western travel.

The close location of the beginning of the canal being in Albany allowed migrants from Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts to travel very easily using the canal. People in the New England states were becoming crowded and the need for farm land was important. The practice of leaving property to the first born and the creation of large families forced the people to find their fortunes in the west. New England was one of the largest groups to make their way to Ohio and settle.