Sinners, not saints: An introduction to your ancestor's dark side

Those who have researched their family history for a considerable time will reluctantly admit that not all their ancestors were “saints.” Tucked among the law-abiding family members are a few “black sheep” who needed legal counsel. Some may have been involved in lesser crimes, while others went to prison. In either case, a trail of evidence lies within the court and prison records. Just how does one gain access to that information? Aren’t those records closed?

Tom Neel, director of the Ohio Genealogical Society’s library in Bellville, will answer those questions and more, when he speaks at the Cuyahoga West Chapter, OGS, meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road. Tom will share his knowledge of a variety of lesser-known record groups, as well as those of the common courts and prisons in Ohio. This program promises to be full of humor, with a touch of sadness, and a lot of education.

Program begins at 7 p.m. Social time, with refreshments, is from 6:30-7 p.m. The public is invited to attend at no cost. For additional information or questions, go to or email


Jayne Broestl

Publicity Chair for the Cuyahoga West Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society that meets at Westlake Porter Public Library.

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Volume 7, Issue 19, Posted 8:56 AM, 10.06.2015