Research & Collections > Family History
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Family History & Genealogical Research

If you are just beginning to put together your family tree or are a seasoned genealogist, the Western Reserve Historical Society offers a wealth of resources for genealogy research, including seminars and classes, outstanding collections and more. Click on the links below to discover all the WRHS Research Library has to offer.


Want to take your experience as a family history researcher one step further? 

Get involved with the WRHS Genealogical Committee. The Genealogical Committee offers classes, seminars, and a variety of events and learning experiences throughout the year. To learn about upcoming events, click here.


Census, Soundex/Miracode and Related Records

A. All available United States Federal Population Schedules from 1790 through 1930  (microfilm).
B. Complete 1880 and 1900 Soundex. 1910 Miracode for Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. 1920 Soundex for Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,Vermont, and West Virginia.  1930 Soundex for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky(part) and West Virginia(part).
C. 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 Enumeration District Descriptions.
D. Printed census indexes for most states through 1870.
E. 1890 Special Census of Union veterans and their widows.
F. All available mortality schedules for Ohio showing deaths in 1850, 1860, and 1880.
G. Accelerated Index System International ( AISI ) index (microfiche)
H. 1855 New York State census for all available counties
I. United States Census Federal non-population census schedules for Ohio, 1850-1880.
J.  AncestryPlus database
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Religious Groups

A. Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy with records of meetings in North Carolina, Ohio, New York, and Virginia; supplemented by Willard Heiss’ Quaker records for Indiana.
B. Shaker Records Membership file, manuscripts, and printed materials from all Shaker settlements in the northeastern United States (123 microfilm rolls and 1,187 microfiche).
C. New York church records compiled by Vosburgh (13 microfilm rolls), consisting primarily of Dutch Reformed and Lutheran church records from eastern New York.


Immigration & Ethnic Sources

A. Passenger lists for the port of New York, 1820-1841, index covers 1820- 1846; the port of Baltimore, 1820-1879; the port of Philadelphia, 1800- 1819, index covers 1800-1906; the port of San Francisco, 1850-1875.
B. Dutch passenger arrivals in the United States, 1820-1880 (microfiche).
C. Filby’s Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (and all supplements) and many of the sources indexed therein.
D. Morton Allan Directory of European Steamship Arrivals 1890-1930.
E. Filby’s Passenger and Immigration Lists Bibliography 1538-1900.
F. The Famine Immigrants,1846-1851 Irish immigrants arriving at the port of New York.
G. Many Cleveland newspapers published for ethnic groups such as African- American, Czech, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Jewish, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, and Slovenian. An index to death and marriage notices in the Jewish Review and Observer is complete from 1889 to 1940.
H. Griffith’s Valuations Irish tax lists of 1823 to 1864.
I. Germans to America and Italians to America, ed. by Glazier and Filby.
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Local Histories & Records: Books

A. City directories for Cleveland, including east and west suburbs, from 1837, and for many other United States cities, late 1800s to the early 1900s.
B. Histories of all Ohio counties, most of which include numerous biographical sketches of residents. Many county and town histories for the original 13 states, the Midwest, and the upper South.
C. Transcribed marriage records of most Ohio counties to 1865 and many Ohio cemetery tombstone inscriptions. Similar records for areas in other states, with extensive recent additions for Illinois and Indiana.
D. Extensive series of published vital records of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, and other eastern states.
E. Late 19th century land-ownership atlases for most Ohio counties.
F. Pennsylvania will abstracts, late 17th century to 1825, for Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties, and marriage and death notices from Philadelphia’s Poulson’s Daily Advertiser, 1791-1839.
G. Index to the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey by Stryker-Rodda, Swem’s Virginia Historical Index, and other historical and genealogical journals with indexes.
H. Henry Baldwin collection of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania genealogical materials in 67 volumes, with a detailed 8-volume index.
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WRHS Card Catalogs

A. Main Catalog author entries for all published genealogies, subject entries for town and county histories.
B. Family History Catalog family surnames, arranged alphabetically.
C. Local History Catalog entries by city, county, and state for transcriptions of birth, marriage, cemetery, probate, and tax records, etc. Emphasis on Ohio, New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states.
D. Map and Atlas Catalog place-name entries for a collection that covers the United States; includes many detailed state maps and various city maps showing ward boundaries.
E. Manuscripts Catalog Title, subject, and name entries for more than 3,000 manuscript collections.
F. Union Catalog of American Genealogies Entries by family surname for the genealogies held by the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Genealogical Society of Utah, and WRHS through ca. 1979.
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Local Records: Microforms

A. New England marriages prior to 1700. Compiled by C. A. Torrey (7 rolls)
B. Connecticut State Library Vital Records: Charles R. Hale Collection (358 rolls) of newspaper notices and headstone inscriptions plus the Barbour index to published vital records.
C. Vital Records for Ohio Counties, including tax, deed and probate records for Geauga County. 1800-1850, which included present day Lake County until 1840 (64 rolls).
D. Vital Records for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, including marriages, 1810- 1941, and index, 1810-1988, and auditor’s tax duplicate, 1819-1869.
E. Cleveland Necrology File I & II, alphabetical index to Cleveland newspaper death notices, 1850-1975.
F. Ohio Surname Index (64 rolls) to biographical information in numerous county histories and other Ohio sources. Compiled, 1928-1936.
G. Indiana Biographical Index (16 Fiche) to biographical sketches in numerous county histories and other Indiana sources.
H. Corbin Manuscript Collection in New England Historical and Genealogical Society (55 rolls).
I. Lyman C. Draper Manuscripts (123 rolls).
J. Massachusetts Town Records Holbrook Series (3000+ microfiche).
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Family Histories

A. More than 18,000 family histories in book, pamphlet, and manuscript form, with many on microfiche (UMI’s Genealogy and Local History Series).
B. Periodical publications of various family associations and genealogical societies.
C. Rider’s American Genealogical-Biographical Index, full name index to many genealogies and related sources. Most of the indexed sources are also available in the library.
D. Genealogical notices from the Boston Transcript, 1896-1941 (microfiche), an important source for New England genealogical research.
E. Kaminkow’s Genealogies in the Library of Congress, with Supplements and Complement.
F. Greenlaw’s descriptive index of genealogies in the library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
G. International Genealogical Index to more than 200 million names recorded in the genealogical files of the Mormon church.
H. Family Registry alphabetical list of surnames together with names and addresses of researchers registered with the Mormon church.
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