Don't let history fade away: Support your local genealogical society

Sad news for 2019: The Erie County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society ceased operation, as of Dec. 31, 2018. Their P.O. Box 1301, Sandusky, OH 44871, will remain open through the spring. You may not care about Ohio’s Erie County Chapter, if you have no family ties to that area, but when a chapter fails to attract new members to its ranks, it fades away.

New members bring critical dollars to a genealogical chapter. Most local libraries provide a meeting room free of charge, but the speaker’s fee for the program is paid by the chapter. No local tax dollars are used. New members also serve to keep a chapter vibrant, when they volunteer to write articles for or edit the quarterly newsletter, participate in chapter activities like family history research help sessions, or serve as an officer on the board. 

Make no mistake, retaining longtime members is equally important. They have accumulated a great deal of genealogical research experience. Their passion is infectious and they need to impart their collective knowledge to the younger generation.

Fortunately, Cuyahoga West Chapter is on firm footing this year and will be able to offer a variety of monthly evening programs and afternoon research help sessions, to the public at Westlake Porter Public Library. However, things can change in a blink of the eye. Do not let Cuyahoga West Chapter go the route of Erie County Chapter. 

Attend the Wednesday, Jan. 16, meeting to hear Sherry Minn speak about “Finding Your Ancestors in Cuyahoga County Records.” Sherry has decades of professional experience locating legal documents in Cuyahoga County and has been a speaker at the annual spring conferences at the Latter Day Saints' Westlake Family History Center. Other counties in Ohio and across the nation have set up similar systems for record retention and access. So the information Sherry provides can be applied to localities elsewhere. The program begins at 7:00 p.m.

Then, if you value what Cuyahoga West chapter has to offer, please consider joining the chapter as a valued active member. Annual membership runs from January-December and includes the Tracer, a quarterly newsletter (January, April, July, October) mailed to every member for $17 or to a joint member household for $20. The Tracer has a variety of genealogical articles and notices of upcoming genealogical meetings and events, both local and national.

Cuyahoga West's evening programs begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Porter room, the third Wednesday of the month (January-July; September-November). Social time, with refreshments, is from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.  Afternoon family history research help sessions are from 1:00-2:30 p.m., the first Wednesday of the month (January-June; September-November), in the Porter computer lab. Our monthly board meeting follows in the library's conference room. For additional information, 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 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:47 AM, 01.08.2019