#RichlandGives Spotlight: Ohio Genealogical Society
The Ohio Genealogical Society sees Richland Gives as an opportunity waiting to happen. What do we mean by that? The first year, we saw less than five donors. The second year, spurred by a $1,000 match by the Richland County Foundation, our pool of benefactors jumped to about twenty. “Fantastic”, you say? Yet, all the names were recognizable as past donors within our own organization. Perhaps they put their dollars in Richland Gives to get that match – good move—but would have given directly to our group anyway as part of our normal end-of-year solicitations.
The opportunity for the Ohio Genealogical Society is that Richland Gives touts our Samuel Isaly Library as a point for charity. We hold over 65,000 volumes in our local and family history reading room about Richland County, about Ohio, and about the world. Mansfield’s earliest newspapers from 1823 are here! The first Richland county census, taken in 1815, is here! The records of the Oddfellows and Knights of Pythias are here! Over 1,000 original identified photographs of Richland county pioneers are here! We archive family Bibles, old business records, World War I records, ancestral charts – and just a lot of information on the pioneer families of Richland County.
Richland Gives provides the opportunity for prospective donors in Richland County to learn about us. Did you know that volunteers have been unfolding Richland County’s estate packets every Monday in our meeting room? They start with Levi Jones, who got on the losing side in a squabble with a Delaware Native American in 1813, and these probate cases go up to 1930. They contain wills, inventories of personal property, a listing of who bought what at the estate sale, and tons of small slips – bills owed by the deceased, receipts for payments to the estate, and distributions of funds. The images scanned so far are already online, free for all who love Richland county history – https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/2778602
We just got word that we have a new “oldest yearbook” in our collection! The 1877 LeBijou from Ohio Wesleyan University was just donated to the library. We have well over 15,000 Ohio high school and college yearbooks containing photographs of all our relatives and friends. We are still missing the Madisonian for 1942, 1956, and 1958; and the Manhigan for 1943. Maybe they didn’t put them out during WWII? Some of the titles are great – the Euphrosynean from Savannah, the Polychronian from Flora Stone Mather College for Women in Cleveland, and our own Cleofan of Bellville’s Clearfork High School.
These are just two featured projects of the Ohio Genealogical Society. Our research library is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9-5, at 611 State Route 97 W, Bellville. We transcribe cemetery tombstones, we clip Ohio obituaries, we scan old books and records for our website (www.ogs.org), we assist visitors with their personal family research, we preserve the local records of our families and community, we teach how-to classes that are open to all, and, most of all, we just have fun with our pastime.
This year, we hope to see some names we do not recognize on that list of donors to our organization through Richland Gives. That is our opportunity, and, it is indeed a REAL opportunity for all of you to explore the non-profit world in the Mansfield area. We all have worthwhile missions, we have excited people who are committed to achieving goals that meet those visions of improvement, and we are celebrating life, arts, education, and culture in Richland County with our participation in and support for the activities of all these local organizations that bring our community together.
Tom Neel, Director
Samuel Isaly Library of the Ohio Genealogical Society