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.
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.
The WRHS Library Online Catalog is the gateway to discovering books, manuscript/archival holdings, maps and atlases, photographs, journals, newspapers and other significant resources available in our Library collections.
Search the Online Catalog:
Check the online catalog for town, county, regional and state histories and transcribed local records where your ancestors lived. Also check the online catalog for available family genealogies, ethnic, businesses, churches, synagogues, organizational and neighborhood histories.
Highlights of WRHS Library genealogy and family history collections:
Online Subscription Databases available in the Reading Room include:
- Ancestry Library Edition
- Delivers billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, photos, military records, passenger lists and more. Important resource.
- HeritageQuest Online
- Includes 40,000 family and local history books, Freedman’s Bureau Bank Records, Revolutionary War Records etc.
- American Ancestors and New England Historic and Genealogical Society
- Important resource for New England Family History.
- FamilySearch Affilate Library
- Over 18,000 family histories in book, pamphlet, and manuscript form, with many on microfiche (UMI’s Genealogy and Local History Series) and microfilm.
- Extensive Family Association (over 600), Ethnic Genealogy Newsletters and Genealogical Society Periodical publications. Include the American Genealogist, New York Genealogy and Biographical, The Virginia Genealogist, The Mayflower Descendant and many more.
- Digital access to thousands of online genealogies and family histories.
CENSUS AND RELATED RECORDS
- All available United States Federal Population Schedules 1790 through1940 on microfilm.
- 1855 New York State census for all available counties (microfilm)
- United States Federal non-population census schedules for Ohio 1850 -1880. Includes Mortality, Agricultural & Manufacturing Schedules. (microfilm)
- Slave schedules 1850 and 1860. (microfilm)
- Digital access to US Federal Population Schedules, State Census and Special Census.
LOCAL RECORDS: OHIO:
- City directories for Cleveland, including east and west suburbs 1837-2000 and for many other Ohio and United States cities, late 1800s to the early 1900s.
- Vital Records for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, including Auditor’s Tax Duplicates1819-1869. (microfilm), Cleveland and Cuyahoga County birth and death record indexes.
- Histories for all 88 Ohio counties, most of which include numerous biographical sketches of residents, township histories, illustrations and maps.
- Late 19th century land-ownership atlases for most Ohio counties.
- Transcribed marriage records of most Ohio counties to 1865+ and significant collections of cemetery tombstone inscriptions for Ohio counties and townships.
- 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).
- Henry Baldwin collection of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania genealogical materials in 67 volumes, with a detailed 8-volume index.
LOCAL RECORDS: NEW ENGLAND, MIDWEST, MID ATLANTIC STATES:
- New England marriages prior to 1700. Compiled by C. A. Torrey
- Connecticut State Library Vital Records: Charles R. Hale Collection of newspaper notices and headstone inscriptions and the Barbour Index to published vital records.
- Corbin Manuscript Collection in New England Historical and Genealogical Society (55 rolls).
- Massachusetts Town Records — Holbrook Series (3000+ microfiche).
- Extensive series of published vital records for Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, and other New England and eastern states.
- Extensive collection county and town histories for the original 13 states, New England, the Midwest, and the upper South.
- Transcribed marriage records and cemetery tombstone inscriptions for states including Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Indiana.
- 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 1781-1839.
- Index to the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey by Stryker-Rodda, Swem’s Virginia Historical Index, and other historical and genealogical journals.
- Lyman C. Draper Manuscripts (123 rolls).
- Extensive Resources on Magna Charta, Mayflower and Presidential families.
- National Archives Collections:
- Revolutionary War pension application and bounty land files (2,670microfilm rolls),
- Revolutionary War Bounty Land Warrants, U.S. Military District of Ohio
- Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Parts I and II by Virgil D. White.
- Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Books include membership through 1921 (166 volumes) and Index to Rolls of Honor of the NSDAR (4 volumes). Also DAR Patriot Index Centennial Edition, Parts I and II.
- Revolutionary War and War of 1812 published rosters for most states.
- War of 1812 Pension Application File Index (102 microfilm rolls)
- Published Civil War unit histories for Ohio, Union and Confederate States.
- World War I Cuyahoga County Draft Registration.
- World War II and Korean War picture files of enlisted persons, from The Cleveland Plain Dealer with index.
- Confederate Army Casualties and Georgia Confederate Soldiers (Henderson
- Digital access to Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I and II military records.
IMMIGRATION AND ETHNIC SOURCES
- 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. (Microfilm)
- Dutch passenger arrivals in the United States, 1820-1880 (microfiche).
- Filby’s Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (and all supplements). Many of the sources indexed are available in the WRHS Library collection.
- Filby’s Passenger and Immigration Lists Bibliography 1538-1900.
- Morton Allan Directory of European Steamship Arrivals 1890-1930.
- The Famine Immigrants,1846-1851 — Irish immigrants arriving at the port of New York.
- Griffith’s Valuations — Irish tax lists of 1848 to 1864.
- Germans to America and Italians to America, passenger lists series ed. by Glazier and Filby.
- Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company Records (Microfilm and Digital access)
- Many Cleveland newspapers published for ethnic groups such as African-American, Czech, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Jewish, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, and Slovenian.
- Extensive printed and archival ethnic Cleveland history collections.
- Extensive digital access to Passenger and Immigration lists and indexes.
RECORDS OF RELIGIOUS GROUPS
- 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
- Shaker Records — Membership file, manuscripts, and printed materials from all Shaker settlements in the northeastern United States (123 microfilm rolls and 1,187 microfiche).
- New York church records compiled by Vosburgh (13 microfilm rolls), consisting primarily of Dutch Reformed and Lutheran church records from eastern New York.
- Cleveland Jewish Archives:
OTHER RECORDS WRHS online searchable databases.
- The Research Library Genealogy Index to original church, funeral home, photograph and other historical records includes more than 320,000 entries and does not index all records held by the library.
- Search and browse WRHS digital content including Cleveland and Cuyahoga County photographic images, text, and video.