Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Nov 02

Using Greene County Records for Genealogy Research

Posted on November 2, 2018 at 12:37 PM by Melissa Dalton

We have many people who stop in the Archives hoping to do family histories. Although we do not have personal collections, many of our records are incredibly useful when conducting your research. This week, we thought we could offer some advice on places to go and records to consider when doing your genealogy.

Some of the most requested records are birth and death records. Here in Greene County, our records date from 1869 through 1909; however, not all births and deaths were recorded regularly, so if someone never got to town to report it, it may have gone unrecorded. These records can provide valuable information, such as names of parents, location of birth/death, date of birth/date, cause of death, and age at death (Fig 1). Please note that all birth and death records after 1909 are held at the Greene County Combined Health District.

Fig 1. Example of Birth records (JPG)
Fig 1. Example of Death records (JPG)
Fig 1. Example of birth/death records

Another one of our frequently requested records are marriage records. These records date from 1803 through 2012. Unfortunately, early marriage records do not include the names of parents, and it is not until 1899 that these names appear in the records. These records can provide information such as names of bride and groom, date of marriage, name of the officiant, previous marriages/divorces, and if any children from previous marriage (Fig 2). It should be noted, however, that up until the late 1970s, the law required the marriage license be obtained from the county of residence of the bride. It does not matter which county one was married, but where the license was obtained. This is important to keep in mind when looking for marriage records.

Fig 2. Example of Marriage records (JPG)
Fig 2. Example of marriage records

Wills, estates, and guardianships can provide valuable insight in the family history, and our records date from 1803 through 2017. These records provide names and relationships of family members, indicate ownership of property, and cane provide an interesting look into family dynamics (family feuds/disputes, etc.) (Fig 3). We actually have a blog that was written earlier this year that shows just the type of family disputes one might run across in these records (link to blog).

Fig 3. Example of Estate records (JPG)
Fig 3. Example of will/estate records

An unconventional record to check might be our Commissioners’ Minutes, which date from 1803 through 1995. There may be times one knows their family lived in a particular area, but they never owned property. Family surnames are provided in meeting minutes for various reasons, so you may have success locating a family member in these records.

Common Pleas Court Records are another great resource. The time range for these records varies based on the type of record, but the overall range is 1804 through 1981. These records provide research information about divorces, financial cases, petitions for partition of land, and criminal cases.

One of our most valuable resources are our manumission/emancipation records (Fig 4). These records document the freed blacks living in Greene County from 1805 through 1861. Emancipation/manumission records can demonstrate where family members were born and/or living prior to being emancipated, as well as physical descriptions, and personal comments of owners.

Fig 4. Example of Emancipation/Manumission records (JPG)
Fig 4. Example of Emancipation/Manumission Records

One type of record people may not know we have are naturalization records. These were found in the Common Please minutes/journals from 1822 through 1958. They indicate names, country of origin/allegiance, date of arrival, country of residence, and date they became a citizen (Fig 5).

Fig 5. Example of Naturalization records (JPG)
Fig 5. Example of Naturalization records

The Greene County Records Center and Archives has many wonderful resources for genealogists. Many of these records are now available on FamilySearch, which offers users free access with the creation of an account. Additionally, we provide a full inventory on our website, and I highly recommend you check it out when beginning your research. Also remember, you are more than welcome to contact us at the Greene County Archives with any questions!

Next week, we will provide information about records useful to conduct property research, so be sure to check back next Friday!

Until Next Time…


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