Town Hall

Lending Library available to members

Items of general interest to the genealogist.

New African American Oral History Collection at Library of Congress
A video archive of oral history interviews about life, history, culture, struggles and achievements of the U.S. black experience was donated to the Library of Congress. The HistoryMakers archive is the largest archival project of its kind since WPA recordings of former slaves in the 1930s.

GenForum ends September 30
GenForum is the message board system of (which is closing down Sept. 30). The boards, dating back to the 1990s, won't go away - but will be read-only (no more comments/queries can be posted). So, last chance to review, correct entries or reach out to users

Ohio Historical Society Changes Name to Ohio History Connection
The OHS name change is the result of two years of research both nationally and in Ohio, and the word 'connection' better explains how people can access Ohio history. For info on the 1.9 million+ artifacts in its collection, go to:

1847 Philadelphia African American census is now on
Per This census of thousands of free African American families and individuals living in six areas of Philadelphia PA, provides data not found in the federal population schedules.

"Forgotten Ashes" online database launched
Every year, thousands of cremated remains go unclaimed for a variety of reasons at funeral homes, cremation providers, and other agencies across the country. A funeral director in Washington, PA has partnered with the Oregon State Hospital to provide information via the web site To read the news release:

Law signed to open birth records of Ohio adoptions
Dec. 2013 - A bill was signed into law that ultimately will allow Ohio adoptees, when they reach adulthood, to gain access to their adoption records, learn more about the medical history of their biological family and perhaps make contact with birth parents.

Social Security Death Index - limited access
Dec. 2013 - The United States Senate voted to close off access to the Social Security Death Master File (known to genealogists as the Social Security Death Index or SSDI) for three years after an individual's death. A well-written summary can be found on The Legal Genealogist site.> acquires Find a Grave has acquired, a free "virtual cemetery" with 106 million grave records. Genealogists use Find a Grave to locate gravemarkers, find hints about relatives' lives and contribute photos and data.

Mocavo adds new databases
*Mocavo recently added 5000 new databases to its site, including family and local histories, vital records, city directories, newspapers, and yearbooks. To see what's new on Mocavo, & FamilySearch to make more records online
The two largest providers of family history resources will work together over the next five years to digitize, index and publish approximately one billion global historical records available from the FamilySearch vault.

Allen Co. Library partnering with FindMyPast
Allen County Public Library partnered with FindMy Past (on-line family history) and will enhance PERSI (Periodical Source Index), the largest and most widely used subject index for genealogical and local history.

2015 FGS conference combines with RootsTech
The 2015 FGS National Conference will be held February 12-14, 2015, in Salt Lake City, Utah in conjunction with RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch. Registration for both events will begin in August 2014.

Virginia vital records to be available at DMV offices
Beginning March 1, 2014, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will be allowed to issue birth certificates. On January 1, 2015, it is authorized to issue certified copies of death, marriage, and divorce records. This allows for easier walk-in access; privacy restrictions are still in place.

Volunteer Opportunity - Cuyahoga County Estate Files
Family Search has contracted with Cuyahoga County Probate Court to image 17 years of probate records - from the 1880's to 1935. Volunteers are needed to help prepare the documents for imaging at the Probate Court in downtown Cleveland.

North American English Dialects web site
This web site created by Rick Aschmann contains hundreds of audio & video samples of speech (pronunciation patterns/accents) from across North America:

Lending Library Available to Members
AAGS has a selection of material (books, manuals, pamphlets, CD’s, etc.) that can be borrowed by its members.
Go to the Lending Library holdings

National Archives Reduces Hours for Public Access

As of March 15, 2013, research rooms at the National Archives Building in Washington DC and College Park, MD are accessible Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. Extended hours that were previously offered have been eliminated.

Marietta, OH Cemeteries to be catalogued
Volunteers are working to catalogue and map the burials in Marietta, Ohio cemeteries. The data will be compiled and posted online.

The Cleveland Public Library is a FamilySearch affiliate library
CPL is now a FamilySearch affiliate library, which allows patrons to order microfilm from the Family History Library (FHC) in Salt Lake City, Utah for viewing in the CPL History and Geography Department. FHC holdings may be searched at After ordering microfilm online at ($7 each), an email notification will be sent when it is available at CPL (216-623-2864 or

Macon, Georgia Riverside Cemetery database is online
Riverside Cemetery in Macon, Georgia provides an online database to simplify finding loved ones. The search allows anyone to search for interments, view personal and family memorials, view original obituaries, and to locate grave sites on a map.

Family History Daily is online
The site "Family History Daily" features genealogical stories, research advice, interviews, and resources on a wide range of topics from diverse family historians. It is free of charge at and is also available on Facebook and Twitter.

Waunakee, Wisconsin Library newspapers are online
Waunakee Public Library of Waunakee, Wisconsin has put online the town's newspapers dating from 1896 to 2006. The collection of approximately 54,000 pages can be searched by name, keyword or date range at The newspapers are hosted by

Help Wanted Identifying Charlotte, NC photos
The Levine Museum of the New South has a photo album containing African Americans from the 1900's and would like help in identifying them.

New DAR Chapter has Black Regent
A Queens, New York chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was established in July 2012. It is the first in the organization’s nearly 122-year history that was founded by a black female.

Black Civil War Soldiers at Woodland Cemetery
African American notables in the Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio include Lucy Sara Bagby Johnson (one of the last fugitive slaves returned to the South before the Civil War), Eliza Bryant (social activist), Samuel Green (prominent businessman), and Carrie Clifford (writer/activist). Also buried there are African Americans who served in the Civil War USCT. The Cemetery is located at 2367 E 65th Street, Cleveland OH 44104 and is preserved by the Woodland Cemetery Foundation

African American Newspapers link
At, users can access a ‘single portal’ on the Internet to link to ‘active’ African American newspaper sites from across the United States. This eliminates the need to search multiple newspapers. Just one click to find the newspaper from your community or browse other states from the same website. To stay current in the social media arena, Our Village News has incorporated ‘social media’ websites.

Fold3 military records available at Cuyahoga County Libraries
Fold3 History & Genealogy Archives is an online repository for original historical documents. It has a comprehensive collection of U.S. military records, and also includes FBI file cases, naturalization, Native American, African American, Holocaust, Revolutionary & Civil War records, as well as 1860 & 1930 censuses. It is now accessible with a library card through the county library system.

City of Cleveland Cemetery Records relocated
Records for the Highland Park Cemetery and City of Cleveland Cemeteries are now housed at Camp George Forbes, 25440 Harvard Avenue, Highland Hills OH. Inquiries about records and burial location information can be made at the new location or by calling 216-348-7210

Cleveland Cemetery Index
Interment records for City of Cleveland-owned cemeteries are available on-line:

Order on-line Westlake Family History Center
On-line film and fiche ordering begins October 19, 2011. Requires a Family SearchTM ID and password, and an e-mail address.

CPL updates Genealogy Resources Guide
The Cleveland Public Library has updated its Genealogy Resources Guide ]

NARA documents are available digitally
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) documents are available for ordering online. Pay the same as you do for paper copies and get your digitized documents faster. Order at or call 800-234-8861 for details.

Black Newspapers Forum
An African American Newspapers Forum has been launched on Afrigeneas.

Plain Dealer historical database available at CPL
The Plain Dealer Historical database (1845-1991) is now available to patrons at all Cleveland Public Library locations; to CPL cardholders from home (who reside in Cleveland); and to those who reside within Cleveland Metropolitan School District boundaries. This newspaper collection offers full page and article images, with searchable full text. It includes digital reproductions and provides access to every page from every available issue (April 7, 1845 to May 31, 1991). Search by keyword, name, date, date ranges, article type and issue. Log onto Choose "RESEARCH” then "Research Categories" & “Newspaper Articles" - or - choose “RESEARCH” then “Research Databases.” (The list is alphabetical)

People of Color in early southwest PA
A History of Slavery and People of Color in Greene County and Southwest Pennsylvania
Note: Many folks migrated from this area to Ohio.

The Negro Motorist Green Book, 1949
An interesting find, the Green Book is a compilation of hotels, boarding houses, restaurants, beauty shops, barber shops, and other services recommended for Negro travelers during a heavy segregationist period in the U.S. Newsletter is an online book and CD store listing over 25,000 genealogy publications. Its free newsletter highlights new additions and special discounts. Each issue includes a link to unsubscribe. View current edition at

DD-214s are Now Online
The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has provided the following website for veterans to gain access to their DD-214s


This may be particularly helpful when a veteran needs a copy of his DD-214 for employment purposes. NPRC is working to make it easier for veterans with computers and Internet access to obtain copies of documents from their military files.

Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former military members may now use a new online military personnel records system to request documents.

Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180, which can be downloaded from the online web site. Because the requester will be asked to supply all information essential for NPRC to process the request, delays that normally occur when NPRC has to ask veterans for additional information will be minimized. The new web-based application was designed to provide better service on these requests by eliminating the records centers mailroom and processing time.

Archived Johnson Publishing Co. Magazines On-line
Johnson Publishing Company has partnered with Google to digitize its magazine archives. If you are a "Jet", "Ebony", or "Black World/Negro Digest" reader, click on the magazine of your choice below to browse past issues. Great for doing research or just personal enrichment.

Ebony                          Jet                          Black World/Negro Digest

Restore Cleveland Hope, Inc. – “In Their Path 2009” Community Walk
“It is not taboo to go back and fetch it when you forget.”
a proverb of the Akan people of southern Ghana

There is wisdom in learning from the past to build for the future. The ancestors whispered “walk”, so in May 2002 Joan Evelyn Southgate, a retired social worker and Cleveland-area activist, began a walk from Ripley, Ohio across Pennsylvania, New York and Canada to honor the Underground Railroad freedom seekers, conductors and enslaved. She called her journey IN THEIR PATH! and set out to increase awareness of a moment in history when people came together across color, creed and class to do freedom's work. In May 2009, she will walk the last 220 miles of her 739-mile journey to complete the circle back to the last pre-civil war house still standing in University Circle. Ms. Southgate will be 80 years old.

Restore Cleveland Hope, Inc. is raising funds to restore the 1853 Cozad-Bates home and create an UGRR Education and Resource Center. The Cozad-Bates House (listed in the National Register of Historic Places), is the only pre-Civil War structure still standing in the University Circle area. To learn more or sign up to help, go to or call 216-231-0301.

New at the National Genealogical Society
"UpFront with NGS" is a free, monthly genealogy newsletter by e-mail, designed for members of the National Genealogical Society and the entire genealogical community.

How To Subscribe?
Send an e-mail message to:
(click here for latest excerpt)

Updated listing of African American Newspapers
(from "The Monthly Reporter," a weekly newspaper in Rochester, New York.

Georgia Death Index for 1919 – 1927 is now available online.

Major LDS Vital Records Indexing Project
The leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints committed to digitize and index the entire holdings of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City over the next several years. The result of this project will be made available to the general public, free of charge, over their website

To accomplish this massive undertaking, thousands of volunteers are needed to help enter data. This project will benefit all genealogists & family history researchers. More info is available on the attached flyer.

Contact: Milt Rhynard at or 937-435-2292

Roots Television™
Roots Television™ is internet-based television, by and for avid genealogists and family history lovers. For more info, review the ‘About Us’ page and ‘Program Guide at

Virginia Slaves Birth Index 1853-1865 available
Virginia Slaves Birth Index 1853-1865, volume I,A-C is available from

Names of British Slaves to be posted on line
In the April 28, 2007 edition of the Plain Dealer, an Associated Press (London) article indicated: “A genealogy Web site said Friday that it will post 3 million names of slaves held across the British Empire in the early 19th century, putting hundreds of thousands of pages of searchable information online to help slaves’ descendants research their past. The project will use registers that the British government created between 1813 and 1834 in an effort to stamp out the slave trade by ensuring plantation owners did not buy new slaves. Britain abolished the trade in 1807. Slavery itself was outlawed in the colonies 17 years later. Information from about 700 registers from 23 British territories and dependencies will be made available online, free of charge, within the next 12 months, said Simon Ziviani, a spokesman for”

Akron Beacon Journal Obituary Indexes
Obituary indexes to the Akron Beacon Journal Newspaper for years 1990, 1992, 1993 and 2000-2005 are available from the special Collections web site at Special Collections also has an obituary index to the Akron Beacon Journal from 1841-present and a subject index for 1841-1939 (microfilm and print) and 1985-present (database).

African American Genealogy Group in Orange County, VA
The Orange County African-American History & Genealogy Society is an available source for research in the Virginia area. Web site:

Help Us Tell the Story of Alabama
The Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) has collected, preserved, and exhibited historical records and artifacts for more than 100 years. The ADAH is expanding its museum and archives collections on 20th and 21st century Alabama life. If you have material representative of the following Alabama experiences to donate, contact ADAH: the African American experience, the Space Program, the Cold War, Folk Traditions and Artisan Crafts, the Civil Rights Movement, 20th Century Sports and Entertainment, and (early) Everyday Life for the Common Citizen. Visit, write to the ADAH Registrar at P.O. Box 300100, Montgomery, AL 36130-0100, or call (334) 353-4726. For gaps in the current collections, view

Public Records Directory Available On-line is an Internet resource listed as the largest and most updated free public record portal directory that facilitates people to access, find, and retrieve vital public information.

WRHS Volunteer Opportunity
Lend your time, skill and talent: Become a member of the Western Reserve Historical Society's African American Archives Auxiliary (Cleveland, Ohio). This volunteer organization works to collect, promote, and preserve the history and heritage of African Americans in the Western Reserve. Volunteers are needed for research and collection processing. If interested, call 216-721-5722, ext. 225.

Chambers County, AL Slave Names
A list of slaves and slave owners compiled from probate court records. These slaves were listed in the inventories of owners who died without leaving wills between 1834 and 1866. The Inventory Records list the slaves along with the other "property" of the deceased, and the slaves are listed by name. Those records have been compiled and listed here alphabetically, with the hope that Chambers County researchers may find them helpful.
Note: This list can also be accessed from the African American Lifelines website. Click on "Slave research".

Now available from award-winning historian Roland Barksdale-Hall:
"The African-American Family's Guide to Tracing Our Roots: Healing, Understanding and Restoring Our Families" (ISBN #0-974979-7-7 or toll free: 1-866-566-3144)

Ohio Death Certificates (1908-1953)
Special Collections at the Akron-Summit County Public Library contains a number of readily available documents, including the Ohio Death Certificate collection. For records of those who died in Ohio between 20 Dec. 1908 and 31 Dec. 1953, send the name, year of death, and other identifying information if you have it, e.g. exact date of death, spouse's name, etc. There is a small fee for requests that involve photocopies ($1 base service fee, plus 5 cents per photocopy). Limit five to seven items at one time. Photocopies from books are limited when the photocopying process will cause damage to the binding or paper. Contact Special Collections staff at 330-643-9030.

Ohio Death Index
Per the Ohio Historical Society Archives/Library, the Indexes to the 1945-1953 Ohio Death Certificates are now available in the Microfilm Reading Room at the Ohio Historical Center. Patrons can also use the indexes to find exact dates of death to facilitate finding obituaries in the many Ohio newspapers in the OHS collections.

Mt. Hope Park Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio
Ollie McCurdy has abstracted records for Mt. Hope Park Cemetery in Youngstown, Ohio. Her indexing project is still in progress. If you are searching for an ancestor who may be buried there through 1984, contact her at Struthers Public Library, 95 Poland Avenue, Struthers, OH 44471 (330-755-3322).
Click here for more details.

New Lineage Society
The Cuyahoga County Pioneers was launched in 2004. If descendency is proven from an ancestor residing in the county before December 31, 1850, contact Marilyn Sauer, Chair for East Cuyahoga Co. Genealogical Society, 1247 Bonnie Lane, Mayfield Hts., OH 44124.

Miami Valley, Ohio Genealogy Group Electronic Newsletter
The African American Genealogy Group of Miami Valley , Ohio publishes a quarterly newsletter that is now available via e-mail in .pdf format. To subscribe, contact Robert Harris at

Akron-Summit County Public Library Offers Electronic Newsletter
The Special Collections Department (Genealogy and Local History) of the Akron-Summit County Public Library will issue a free electronic newsletter, "Past Pursuits." It will be issued four times a year and include new collections, services, and upcoming genealogy events in northeast Ohio and beyond. The publication can be e-mailed or sent via hard copy. One portion of the newsletter is dedicated to listing new acquisitions.

For more information, contact the library at 330-643-9030 or e-mail

Fort Wayne Electronic Newsletter
The following information was provided by the Allen County Public Library:

Addicted to Genealogy? Love libraries and research? Interested in learning about new resources?

The Allen County Public Library Historical Genealogy Department in Fort Wayne, Indiana is pleased to announce their electronic newsletter, "Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library." Each month, learn about new collections, department special events, source highlights, new acquisitions, websites...and much more! Learn what is going on in the Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library.

To subscribe to this mailing list, send a message with ACPL NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to:

You will NOT receive a confirmation message; you will just begin to receive the newsletters, which are scheduled to be published approximately once a month."

USCT Personal War Sketches - Pennsylvania
USCT Personal War Sketches - published by the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society

Read the personal stories of over 275 Civil War soldiers and sailors as told in their own words. These veterans served with the United States Colored Troops, lived in Allegheny County, PA after the war, and became members of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Diane Ragan, CGRS, spent two years researching their lives. Military service records, pensions, regimental descriptive books, medical cards and soldiers' homes were researched at the National Archives. Marriage, probate, land and vital records, city directories, cemetery records were examined.

With the help of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society, the records were abstracted, transcribed and images of the records digitized onto CD-ROM.
For more info, contact:

Unclaimed Civil War Medals - 45th U.S. Colored Infantry, West Virginia
The West Virginia State Archives is interested in locating the descendants and relatives of the soldiers of the 45th U.S. Colored Infantry, so that their Civil War medals can be claimed. Of the 220+ black soldiers assigned to West Virginia, many medals remain unclaimed at the West Virginia State Archives.

If you are related to any soldier of the 45th U.S. Colored Infantry whose medal is unclaimed, you might be entitled to it if you can show proof of your relationship. You do not have to be a direct descendant; you can be a niece/nephew or cousin. The following link provides more information:

Last updated: July 17, 2014