FAIRFIELD COUNTY CHAPTER of the OHIO GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
Our vision - To be the major resource for the preservation and promotion
of family heritage in Fairfield County, Ohio.
 
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THE FIRST 28 YEARS: HISTORY OF THE FAIRFIELD COUNTY CHAPTER OF THE OHIO GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY

The First 28 Years 

1978 –  2006

 

History of the Fairfield County Chapter

of the Ohio Genealogical Society

 

 

The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette reported on Thursday, Sept. 21st, 1978 that a genealogy society had been organized in Fairfield County. The first meeting was held at the Olivedale Senior Citizens Center.  Those present met the required steps to become a chapter of The Ohio Genealogical Society and a local chapter was formed. Officers elected were: William W. Woodward, President; Ray Mulrooney, Vice-president; Mrs. Robert F. Lamb, Secretary-Treasurer.

 

The first newsletter of the chapter was written and edited in March 1979. It was reported that the first project of the Chapter, indexing of the family histories and/or genealogies at the Fairfield County District Library, was begun. The 9th edition of this index was printed in 1997 and listed 408 family histories and/or genealogies.

 

In May 1979 the Fairfield County Chapter OGS received their charter (which was signed by the OGS Board of Trustees on July 26, 1978) at the OGS Convention in Columbus, Ohio.  Rosa Lamb, Secretary-Treasurer, accepted the charter on behalf of the chapter.

 

That same year it was reported in the newsletter that a suggestion was made to publish an index of the persons buried in Fairfield County Cemeteries. The president felt “That would be a good project for the chapter. However, there is a lot of work involved and could take years to accomplish.” In 1996 the last cemetery book was completed and published. It took 17 years to enumerate every known cemetery in Fairfield County but inscriptions for cemeteries in all 13 townships are available.

 

Through the years we have invited many speakers to present programs. We have had Thomas Burke, Ohio State Auditor; Robert Lacey, Fairfield County Clerk of Courts; Charles Goslin, local historian; Julie Overton, Jeanne Pramaggiore, Mary Bowman & Phyllis Brown Miller Delaney, presidents of OGS just to name a few. Local members have also presented programs and most of the speakers have done so without expecting any compensation.

 

In March 1980 the meeting was held at the Fairfield County Recorder’s Office. This particular office has worked very well with genealogists in the past and continues to do so. Our current county recorder, Gene Wood, opens his office after hours at least once a year so that genealogists may do research.

 

The genealogy collection was housed at the Fairfield County District Library located on the second floor at City Hall. Upon completion of the new library building in 1979 the collection was moved to the current location in the Historical Room.  In 1984 the library began providing us with a corner in the basement that could be used as office space. By 1986 walls, a door, and a telephone were added to the office. Several businesses in town donated items such as desks, chairs and other necessary equipment to help furnish this new office. In 1997 the library completed renovations to the annex building at 203 North Broad Street and our office was moved there. By that time we were financially able to purchase new furniture. This office space is used for our executive board meetings as well as publishing books and the newsletter.

 

1994 proved to be a year of many changes for the society. Two charter members, Margaret Johnston and Alta Jane Pate, passed away. Neal Johnston, Vice-President & dynamic volunteer, resigned, as did Virginia Robinson who had been the corresponding secretary for 15 years. More changes followed in 1995. Chapter meetings were moved from the courthouse to the Fairfield County District Library. The first lock-in was held at the library so genealogists could do research from closing time until midnight. The lock-in has been such a success that we have held one every year since 1995. The lock-in was made possible because of the magnificent relationship we have with the library and the outstanding dedication of library employee and Fairfield County genealogists’ friend, Joyce Harvey.

 

Three of Fairfield County Chapter members have served on The Ohio Genealogical Society’s Board of Trustees: Amy Johnson Crow, 3rd Vice President of OGS; Frances Mercer, Recording Secretary; and Karen S. Smith as a Trustee.

 

While preserving the past, the society realizes the need to move into the present and future. In 1995 the Chapter became a presence on the World Wide Web. Our web master at that time, Bryan Smith, worked countless hours to ensure that technology did not pass us by. We not only had a website and a registered domain name but in 2002 we began offering our publications and memberships for sale on the internet.

 

In 2003 the Fairfield County District Library offered the Chapter generous terms for a two year lease on the former West Branch Library building. We accepted that offer and in August 2003 our first Executive Board meeting was held in our new facility. Shortly thereafter we began holding our regular meetings there and our research facility soon opened to the public.

In October 2005 the Chapter was able to rent a booth at the annual Fairfield County Fair. This had been a long-time dream of ours and gave us the opportunity to make ourselves more visible in the community as well as to sell publications and memberships. It was a very successful endeavor and we hope to continue there for many years.

As the lease was expiring The Library Foundation gave us the opportunity to purchase the building at 503 Lenwood Drive. After extended research and discussion we voted to purchase the building. Closing was held on 20 February 2006.

Since then we have put in a considerable amount of time on fundraising. We have begun a graduated system of donations and pledges, held a raffle and two very successful yard/bake sales. We are also involved in recycling and have published several new publications.

We have become incorporated and also have spent a good bit of time on Long-Range Planning as well as our By-Laws and Standing Rules. More work needs to be done but we are well on our way to ensuring organization and continuity for the future.

The officers and volunteers of the Fairfield County Chapter OGS have devoted more hours to the society than we can count. It is amazing that we are still going strong after 28 years considering we are all volunteers.

We are looking forward to the next 28 years





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