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The Basic Rules of Evidence  are the standards by which all HCGS applications are judged. There are no exceptions.

1. Primary or collateral evidence from vital statistics, courthouse, or other governmental records, school records, etc., usually are considered excellent proof.

 The following are examples of Primary Proof.



Birth Records Wills
Marriage Records Administrations
Death Records Estate Settlements
Divorce Records Inventories
Guardianship Records Final Settlement
Case Records (Civil and Criminal) Signed Receipts

Government Records

Poll List Real Estate Taxes (Residents only)
Jury List Naturalizations
Military Records Land Deeds
Pensions Records Land Patents
School Records-elementary and high school Mortgages, Liens
Social Security Applications Insurance Applications

2. Secondary evidence, such as census records, newspaper clippings, old letters, Bible or other family records (Contemporary To The Facts Reported) and with corroborating evidence are considered almost as authentic.


The following are examples of secondary proof.

Census Records (copies, not transcriptions or indexes)

Church Records:  Baptismal, membership, marriages, deaths, burials, etc.        

Newspaper clippings -- obituaries, news stories, legal notices, public auction notices, etc.

Bible Records (contemporary to facts).

Old letters (contemporary to facts).

County Histories.

Cemetery Records.

Tombstone photos.

Family histories--documentation used by author must be secured and presented. Possibly other miscellaneous items.

 3. Documents used as proof must either alone or in conjunction with other acceptable documents, must actually STATE THE FACT TO BE PROVED.

4. Land or tax records are acceptable only if they specify that the individual was a resident of Harrison County, Ohio, since many early landowners and speculators never lived in Ohio.

5. Female ancestors must be identified by their maiden names.

 6. Married female applicants must include a copy of their marriage record to prove their change of name.

 7. A direct line from applicant to ancestor must be proved at each step, including the spouse in each generation. Collateral descent is not acceptable.

8. Illegitimacy is not grounds for denial.

9. All proof documents must state their source. Proof is required for each date listed for both parents in each generation. Bible records must include a photo copy of the title page with the publication date and current owner's name and address.

 10. Typed, handwritten, or printed copies of original documents must be certified as a "TRUE COPY" by a courthouse or other official, or a librarian, etc. An applicant or member of his or her family cannot certify a document as a "TRUE COPY". Photocopies of original documents are acceptable as copied if there are no changes on the original.

 11. Photographs of tombstones are acceptable for proof of birth and death dates (when no birth or death record exists) and for relationships actually stated on the stone. Published compilations of tombstone readings are acceptable when the tombstone no longer exists, and if no additional information has been written that is not on the stone itself.

 12. If an ancestor has been previously proved by another individual, the applicant can use the previously submitted documents for proof. All documents must be copied and included with current applicant's application.

The following numbers 13 thru 17 are listed to help the applicant by indicating materials that should not be sent.  This saves time for all concerned.

 13.  Circumstantial evidence such as implied facts or hearsay are NOT accepted as proof.

 14.  Oral, written, or published family traditions may be wrong and are NOT accepted as proof.

 15.   Printed or manuscript genealogies, genealogical records, or compilations, family group sheets and charts, family reunion records, and similar material are NOT considered proof. Unsupported information from an amateur or a professional genealogist is NOT acceptable, including such records printed in any genealogical, historical, or similar publication.

 16.  Lineage papers, accepted or unaccepted, from other patriotic or hereditary societies by themselves are NOT considered proof. The document copies which were used to prove the lineage MIGHT be considered proof for FIRST FAMILIES OF HARRISON COUNTY, OHIO, if they follow these rules.

 17.  Material authored by the applicant or a member of his or her family CANNOT be considered as proof.

 Examples of Implied Proof Which Are Not Acceptable

1.   Unnamed individuals specified in court records as "Heirs" or "Heirs-at-law" unless it is known that applicable laws at the time included only bloodline descendants.

 2.   Census records which show the name of the head of the family only, along with numbers of family members or others by age group, prove only the family head actually named. Next door or close neighbors on a census or tax record do not prove any relationship by themselves.

 3.   A father is not proved as being in an area just because his child was born there. The birth only proves the mother was there.

 4.  Blood descent is not necessarily proved by owning the same land as an earlier owner by the same name, whether the land was inherited or purchased.

Deadline for application is SEPTEMBER 1 for the year in which application is being made.  Remember A statement is not always true because it is printed.

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