Genealogical Committee

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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.


April 7, 2018: Researching Your Ohio and Western Reserve Ancestors Presented by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG
An all-day seminar featuring nationally known speaker, Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG.

9:00 –9:30 – Registration
9:30-10:45 – The Firelands, The Connecticut Western Reserve, and The Ohio Territory
11:00-12:15 – Ohio; the Great Land Experiment
12:15-1:30 – Lunch (boxed lunches will be available for purchase the day of the seminar)
1:30-2:45 – Migration Trails to the Ohio
3:00-4:15 – German Migration Into the Ohio

Speaker Bio:
Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG has been involved in genealogy and family research since even before she was born. Being born into an older family afforded her the opportunity to be around a generation that loved to tell stories and visit cemeteries. She is accredited in the Southern States, and is a frequent speaker at workshops and jamborees around Ohio, including the Conference on Family History and Genealogy held each summer at BYU. As a former Family History Center Director, she kept a staff of thirty trained and up to date on current genealogy trends, as well as implementing yearly seminars

To register for this event download and send in this flyer with your payment: Researching Your Ohio and Western Reserve Ancestors

To register:  or email Chris Staats at


May 5, 2018: 12 noon to 3 pm Fundamentals of English and Welsh Family History Records
Presented by WRHS Genealogical Committee member, Liz Pearson. As we well know, it is very difficult to understand the more advanced elements of any topic without the basic under-pinning knowledge. This class will provide all the you need to know about easily accessible family history records, what is available, what is not, what you are looking for and at. We will cover administrative jurisdictions, parish chest records, and the government census. Fee $15.

To register: or email Kathryn at


June 2, 2018: Jenni Salamon, Coordinator, Ohio Digital Newspaper Program, Ohio History Connection

As manger of the newspaper digitization program, Jenni will discuss her project highlighting Chroncling America. The Ohio History Connection’s Archives/Library at the Ohio History Center in Columbus contains the largest collection of Ohio newspapers in existence. The newspaper holdings contain newspapers pulbished from 1793 to present, 4,500 titles, 20,000 volumes, and over 50,000 rolls of microfilm of Ohio titles.

This is a FREE event, but due to limited space: REGISTRATION is required.

To register: or email Kathryn at


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 ext 1509

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