Get Involved > Volunteer > Genealogical Committee

In 1967, the Genealogical Committee was organized by a group of thirty individuals interested in pursuing genealogy.

The Genealogical Committee is a working committee of the Western Reserve Historical Society whose purpose is to further the study of genealogy through meetings, lectures, seminars, workshops and volunteering in the library. In addition the committee provides financial support in the acquisition of appropriate materials and equipment for the genealogical collections of the society’s library.

We work hard in the hobby that we love but we also know how to socialize through events that include our spouses, such as pot luck dinners, a cookout at Holden Arboretum and a boat ride up the Cuyahoga River.

The benefit of membership in the Genealogical Committee is the opportunity to gain additional knowledge about research techniques and what is new in the field of genealogy. Making new friends who share your interest in genealogy is a bonus.

Membership in the Genealogical Committee requires membership in the Western Reserve Historical Society and the payment of yearly dues of $20.00.

How to Apply

To apply for membership in the Genealogical Committee contact:                                                                             

Joellen O’Neill at 216-481-1220 or

Sign Up Now for the WRHS Genealogical Committee Bulletin:
The Bulletin contains historical data of genealogical interest, announcements of genealogical seminars and meetings, a listing of genealogical collections recently acquired by the library and numerous other articles pertaining to genealogy. Issued quarterly.  Downloadable Subscription Form

2014 Genealogical Seminar
Establishing Genealogical Proof
Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
The WRHS Genealogical Committee welcomes Dr. Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL to present on the Standard of Proof in genealogy and how each of its five elements contributes to convincing proof. This day-long seminar will discuss how to resolve conflicting evidence, present polished resolutions, and solve complex research problems. Registration is required; $40 per person. To see a detailed itinerary of the day and register online, please click here.

In addition to the yearly seminar, the WRHS Genealogical Committee hosts an array of family history research how-to programs. Each program is $15 and take place from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm in the WRHS Research Library's Hassler Room. Registration for each event in advance is required.  Click here to view the entire WRHS Calendar of Events.   

March 1, 2014
"By the Numbers" presented by Linda Freeman and Ed Bolte
An in-depth study of Federal, State, and other census resources will be presented. This workshop will cover censuses from 1790 to 1940, and birth, death, and marriage records as a supplement to research. There will be hands-on experience during this workshop, as well.
Register online here.

April 5, 2014 
"Becoming Americans" presented by Wally Huskonen
Your ancestor steps off the ship at Ellis Island. What happens next in the process of becoming a citizen of the United States? Mr. Huskonen will present the steps need for the process of naturalization: the documents, the time periods, and the changes in immigration laws.
Register online here.

May 10, 2014
"Cuyahoga County Archives Collections" presented by Dr. Judith Cetina
Learn more about the historical governmental record collections housed at the Rhodes House from the person who know them best. Though many collections have been digitized and are available on numerous website, there are still unique documents waiting for the interested researcher to discover. Dr. Cetina will also discuss the collections, including the status of the Cuyahoga County Archives.
Register online here.

June 7, 2014
"Putting Together the Pieces: Solving Puzzels Using Probate Records" presented by Chris Staats
Probate records provide an intimate window through which to view our ancestors' world. They reveal a wealth of information about an individual: family, relationships, friend and associate networks, occupation and lifestyle, and economic and social standing in the community. All of these make our ancestors' identities unique. Learn the where, why, and how of maximizing the usefulness of probate records and actively participate in solving real-life family history mysteries.
Register online here.