Genealogical Committee

Gen Committee Logo


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.



September, 2017: No classes schedules

October 7, 2017: 12 noon to 3 p.m. Annual Open House

The Genealogical Committee cordially invites interested researchers to be our guests to enjoy a refreshment table, a short topic talk on a subject of interest and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Library. Please register with Linda Freeman at

November 4, 2017: 12 noon to 3 p.m. Using MyHeritage to Find Ancestors and Cousins
Presented by Wally Huskonen. offers for free Family Tree Builder, a personal genealogy database program for installation on your computer. It has the ability to find hints in millions of online resources and family trees. MyHeritage has a large customer base in Europe so it is quite efficient in making connections with present-day cousins in the “old country.” This presentation will discuss how to utilize this online database provider in its free and premium versions. Fee $15. To register: online at or email

December 2, 2017: Genealogical Committee Meeting and Pot Luck. No Classes.

January 6, 2018: TBA.

February 3, 2018: 12 noon to 3 p.m. African Americans in Ohio.
Presenter will be Deborah Abbott, OGS trustee and nationally renowned genealogy speaker. Many famous African Americans have ties to Ohio. Join Debbie for a look into the history and how she researched these people. A behind-the-scenes library tour is available after class. Fee $15. To register: online at or email

March 10, 2018: TBA

April 7, 2018: TBA

May 5, 2018: TBA

June 2, 2018: TBA


All classes will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Hassler Room of the WRHS Research Library in the WRHS History  Center at 10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
For more information, call 216-721-5722.

youth roots image


Youth Roots Family History Writing Contest

The Western Reserve Historical Society Genealogical Committee encourages    students to explore their family history. Tracing family history bridges generations & is a compelling link to your past.

Who can enter?

Any student residing in the Northeast Ohio area. There are two divisions:  Grades 7-9 & Grades 10-12.

What are the Prizes?

Cash prizes are given in each division: First Prize, $100; Second Prize, $50; Third Prize, $25.

PLUS: Teachers of the First Prize winners receive a complimentary one-year membership to Western Reserve Historical Society (this includes Hale Farm & Cleveland History Center).

What can I write about?

  • Write a short biography about a deceased relative/ancestor.
  • Write about his/her career, hometown, military service, or some aspect of their life.
  • Write about your ancestor’s experiences with emphasis on place and time in history.

How do I begin?

  • Identify an ancestor to write about.
    • Gather information about your subject. Conduct personal interviews, gather family documents and memorabilia, review online resources (AncestryLibrary, FamilySearch etc.)

Can I have help with my project? 

  • Visit the WRHS Research Library during open hours Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Library Volunteers and Staff can assist with research strategies and suggest sources.
  • For one-on-one assistance call the Research Library 216-721-5722 ext. 1509 and schedule an appointment to work with a library volunteer.
  • WRHS Research Library provides access to and other helpful websites.  In addition, you’ll have access to a wealth of books, manuscripts and newspapers.
  • You can also email any questions to:     Subject Line:  “Youth Roots 2017”
  • You can access from other public libraries.

What are the requirements for the contest?

One submission per student.

All submissions should be original, unpublished work with citations.

Please use: for citations.

Place citations on a separate sheet from entry submission)

            One source must be from a library collection, either in printed form or electronic database. 

Entry should have a title, be 800-1200 words in length, double-spaced. 

No graphics or photos allowed.

Submissions must include: Name of student author, home or school address, email address, school name and address, grade level, and teacher’s name & contact information.

 When is the deadline?

  • All entries are due by December 31. Entries postmarked or emailed by that date to
  • Students will receive confirmation within one week of submission. Haven’t heard?      Contact Ed Bolte at
  • Only winning entries will be contacted

Written submissions can be mailed to: Western Reserve Historical Society, c/o Genealogical Committee, Youth Roots Contest, 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44106

Email submissions can be sent to  subject line: Youth Roots Entry. All submissions must contain the same information: student’s name, home or school address, grade level, teacher’s name & contact information. This information should be in the body of the email, and the entry must be an attachment, not in the body of the email.

Teachers, educators, and parents: click on the following link:

yr2017 for teachers


All prizes and gifts are funded by the Genealogical Committee. All entries become the property of the Genealogical Committee. Entries will be judged by those members