Researching in Ohio is something that I’ve taken for granted for far too long. When I lived in Georgia I wasn’t focused on the state. My concern was documenting my grandmother’s line because she was willing, interested, and able at that moment. When I moved to Ohio, I still wasn’t focused on it. Instead, I learned to research online so that I could still access information about my Cotton lines from South Georgia. After all, my Bullington line was the family that I knew best and was invested in.
What was I thinking? I was surrounded by the history that I sought, yet I looked to online sources that led me to records 600 miles away? Yes, this is worthy. Yes, it needs to be done. (And, yes, it will be the subject of a future article!) However, I have several branches of my tree just waiting for me to realize that they are begging to be found. They were calling to me but, like a silly girl, I had been ignoring them. Ohio resources needed to take a front seat in my research.
Residents of the Columbus area are fortunate. We’re as close to the middle of Ohio as one can get which means that we can travel to the various corners of the state in a pretty short amount of time. Central Ohio may be our regular playground, but it doesn’t take long to go on a research field trip. So, why did it take me so long to begin researching my Corn line? These ancestors need to be remembered just as my other families do.
In my research, Ohio seems to be oriented as if it is only four main areas: Central, Southwest, Northwest, and Northeast. I apologize to those who love the Southeast. I love it, too! (Go, Scioto County!) I just don’t have many lines that I personally research in that corner of our state. With that in mind, the vast majority of my research on my family occurs in the Central and Southwest regions. As a result, I’ve developed my go-to list of perfect research locations. These are the locations that hold the most meaning for my research across my paternal lines, and they will be the locations that I will continue to turn to most throughout my research.
Sometimes we need to be reminded to look in our backyards. We get focused on the resources that we can’t easily access and, in some cases, forget about those within our reach. I’m glad to have been reminded to take notice of Ohio repositories. I look forward to discovering new gems over time, but these locations will remain cornerstones in my research. Many have online resources or searchable catalogs and databases, so I encourage you to visit their websites if you have relatives within Ohio. And – never forget to look in your own backyard for locations that may have fallen off of your radar!
Stephanie Pitcher Fishman is a freelance writer, editor, and genealogical researcher specializing in Midwestern and Southeastern United States family history, specifically within Ohio and Georgia. You can learn more about her research, writing, and editing services at Corn and Cotton Genealogy (http://www.cornandcotton.com).
Copyright © 2012 Stephanie Pitcher Fishman/Corn and Cotton Genealogy (www.cornandcotton.com). Text may be reprinted without permission if used in full, including the above and this copyright, and if linked to this original article except for use in a book or other publication for rent or sale. Please check each article individually for content-specific copyright information.