Saturday, June 23, 2012

New on Our Shelf : Pioneer Ohio Newspapers, 1793-1818

Something that many of us "Michiganders" have in common is that our ancestors when migrating to Michigan from the eastern states may have have stopped over in Ohio for a few years or decades.  In the years immediately following the close of the American Revolution, pioneers began pouring into the lands of this vast frontier.  These families comprise the state's earliest non-indigenous population.

Understandably, there aren't a lot of written records for the 1790-1820 time period...genealogical slim pickings.  However, even at that early date, there were a handful of newspapers being published around Cincinnati and along other parts of the southeastern border of Ohio.  Not all of these newspapers have survived in their entirety, but for those that have, an index was published in two volumes by Karen Mauer Green entitled Pioneer Ohio Newspapers.

The two volumes divided into the time periods of 1793-1810 & 1802-1818 were published in the 1980's by Frontier Press.  The newspapers indexed include:
  • The Centinel of the North-Western Territory (Cincinnati)
  • Freeman's Journal (Cincinnati)
  • The Western Spy and Hamilton Gazette (Cincinnati)
  • Freeman's Journal and Chillicothe Advertiser (Chillicothe)
  • Scioto Gazette and Chillicothe Advertiser (Chillicothe)
  • The Scioto Gazette (Chillicothe)
  • The Western Spy (Cincinnati)
  • The Western Herald  (Steubenville)
  • The Ohio Gazette  (Marietta)
  • The Commentator  (Marietta) 
  • The Western Spectator (Marietta) 
 The compiler's guidelines for what was indexed (& not indexed) are listed in the preface of the book:
  • Every mention of a local person
  • World & national news not unless Ohioans were referenced
  • Items regarding new settlements in surrounding states
  • Legislation notes (not legislators) mentioning individuals
  • Election returns
  • Advertisements, letters, etc. - first mention only
Abstracts are only abbreviated versions of the original.  Samples from October 9, 1805:
William Noble regarding wheat to be delivered to Thomas M'Cullough's Mill and Joel Williams' Mill
Ephraim Caterline, living within two miles of Hamilton, reports a stolen horse
Marriage: Thomas Elder married Miss Jane Scott at Colerain on 1 October 1805, by Judah Willy
Complete indexes to the abstracts appear in the back of each volume.  Ohio area historians will want to add this excellent reference to their Ohio research checklist.  The set has been cataloged and appears in the Ohio section of the Local History CollectionContact us with any questions.

Nameless Picture of the Day
Group of Baseball Players
From the collection of Kelly (Vanderhoof) Weldy

Can you identify any of the young men in this cabinet card?  It is believed but not confirmed that this photograph may have Keeler area connections.  Please contact us if you have any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Upcoming Events : June 18 KVGS & June 25 VBRGS

JUNE 25 - "Color Your Ancestor Alive!" will be the first topic of the evening at a special meeting event sponsored by the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society (VBRGS), Monday, June 25, 2012, 6 p.m. at the Webster Memorial Library in Decatur.  This lecture will be followed by "STUMBLE - My Favorite Way to Find Ancestors," both being presented by genealogist, Karen Krugman.

Karen, a native of Florida, has been a Michigan resident for the last 20 years and now resides in Bloomfield Hills.  She has been a professional family history researcher since 1998.  Her lectures are given with her own unique form of humor and are fun as well as informative.  In addition to authoring five family history books and co-authoring The Ford Family Cemetery book, Karen has actively served for the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, the Ford Genealogy Club, and the Oakland County Genealogical Society.  She was also a six-year volunteer for the Library of Michigan, Lansing.

The evening will also serve as the 25th anniversary celebration of the VBRGS which organized in April 1987.  The public is invited to attend the celebration and free programs as the society's guests.  For more information, contact program chairman, Ann Flora.

JUNE 18 - The Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society will wind up its program season with "Putting Together a Genealogical Lineage" Monday, June 18, 7 p.m. at the Portage District Library.  Toni Benson (yours truly), local history librarian for the Van Buren District Library, will give this lecture with appeal to  beginning, intermediate and advanced family historians alike.  Additional details about this program may be found in our October 17 post.

Immediately preceding the 7 o'clock program will be a KVGS mini class, "Researching in the British Isles," at 6:15 p.m.  The public is invited to attend.  For more information contact the society.

Nameless Picture of the Day
unknown young man
photographer - Hughson, Dowagiac

Can you identify the young man in this cabinet card?  Do you have any knowledge of the photographer?  Please contact us if you have any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

New on the Shelf : VBRGS Acquires Rebekah Lodge Records

Garage & yard sales as a local history resource?  Absolutely!  Over the years the Local History Collection has had enumerable acquisitions as a result of purchases or donations from sales, flea markets, auctions, and antique shops.  These places are where the rare and unusual turn up, akin to online giant Ebay. 

The Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society (VBRGS) has just announced the addition to its manuscript collection of the Rebekah Lodge Collection.  The volumes were purchased from an area garage sale [one step before the dumpster] with the assistance of local resident, Janet Porter.  Spanning 123 years and 38 volumes, these records include membership rosters, finance reports, minutes, bylaws & constitution, special events, and general history of the Green Leaf Lodge No. 252 [Dowagiac], Dayton Lodge No. 448 [Dayton], Miriam Lodge No. 47, New Century Lodge No. 351, and Bay Leaf Lodge No. 248 [Buchanan].

The Rebekah's started out as a companion women's organization for the Independent Order of Oddfellows (I.O.O.F), and later evolved to include both women & men.  According to the "History of Rebekah Odd Fellowship" published by the International Assembly in 1980:
The history of the Rebekah Degree began, as does every great movement, in a general demand for a more definite purpose.  The desire for some method by which the wives of Odd Fellows could participate in the pleasures and benefits of Odd Fellowship became apparent after about twenty-five years of the Order's existence...
The first rumblings of the formation of the Rebekahs was in 1845 and by 1851, the Rebekah Degree was adopted.  In Michigan, Battle Creek was the site of the first lodge in the state in 1869, named Friendship Lodge No. 1.  Membership in a lodge entailed:
All applicants for membership in a Rebekah Lodge must believe in a Supreme Intelligent Being, the Creator and Preserver of the Universe, must be of good moral character.  Those persons eligible to become members are:  Women who have attained the age of eighteen years, Odd Fellows in good standing who have attained the Third Degree, and persons holding Cards of Certificates showing membership in a Rebekah Lodge.
 The charter membership roster for the Dayton Lodge No. 448 in 1937 included the following individuals:
  • Harold N. Thomas
  • Clayton E. Leiter
  • Lyle Barber
  • Charles Morgan Jr.
  • Evalena J. Richter
  • Blanche Sheldon
  • Minnie Harroff
  • Ames Harroff
  • Lillian G. Schau
  • Christian P. Schau
  • Austin C. Sarver
  • Katherine Sarver
  • Ray Frame
  • Julia & Jerome Sebasty
  • Ida Sarver
  • S. C. Sarver
 For more information about this Rebekah Lodge manuscript collection and other manuscript items in the Van Buren District Library Local History Collection, contact the library or VBRGS.

Nameless Picture of the Day
 Unidentified couple
From the collection of Gloria (Goodrich) Krogel

Can you identify the young couple in this photo?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the five character catalog number with your e-mail. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Upcoming Feature Event : Ancestry Day, July 14 comes to Southwest Michigan!  The Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society (VBRGS) is sponsoring a day-long event, Saturday, July 14, 2012, in Lawrence, Michigan, featuring representatives from, Loretto Szucs and Juliana Szucs Smith.

Loretto Szucs
We can all agree that Ancestry has become a genealogical household word and the first thought when doing online family history study.  Ancestry Day is a golden opportunity for area historians to get together for a day of useful information and comradery with other researchers.  I had the pleasure of attending Fort Wayne's Ancestry Day last July, an experience that I wrote about in the August 8 and August 11 posts of this blog.

In what is truly one of the most affordable events of its kind, VBRGS brings Ancestry to the Van Buren Conference Center, Lawrence, for the minimal cost of $20.00 per person.  This fee includes five lecture sessions, a full banquet luncheon, and automatic entry into a drawing for a free World Deluxe subscription to, a Family Tree Maker software package, and a variety of other door prizes.  In addition, VBRGS will have a large display of local history materials for view and sale.

Loretto Szucs is a widely known genealogical lecturer and author, appearing at most national genealogical conferences.  Some of her more noted written works include Chicago & Cook County : a guide to research, Ellis Island : tracing your family through America's gateway, Hidden Sources : family history in unlikely places, They Became Americans : finding naturalization records and ethnic origins, and perhaps her most noted, The Source : a guidebook of American genealogy.

Juliana Smith
Juliana Smith, Loretto's daughter, has made her own place in the genealogical world, having given lectures around the country.   Both Juliana and Loretto will be in attendance for the day, and as time permits will be available to answer questions.

Lectures for the July 13 Ancestry Day will include:
  • Find Them Fast : Searching for Your Family on
  • A Dozen Ways to Jumpstart Your Family History Project
  • Midwestern Resources on
  • Hidden Treasures at
Whether you're a frequent user of, have been thinking about becoming a subscriber, or just love to use the internet for your family history research, you won't want to miss Ancestry Day. 

To register, you can visit the VBRGS website and sign up online, or print out the form and mail it in.  In either case, space is limited and the deadline for registration is July 6.  This blogger hopes to see you there!

Nameless Picture of the Day
 Unidentified couple
Photographer - Blair, Allegan
From the collection of Gloria (Goodrich) Krogel

Can you identify the young couple in this photo?  Do you have knowledge of the photographer?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the five character catalog number with your e-mail.