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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

History Of The Warren County Genealogical Society

Dallas Bogan on 18 September 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

April 14, 1999

Wow! Just where did the Warren County Genealogical Society move to? Well, that is the question asked by many family researchers. And so, because of the renovation of the old courthouse, they moved into the old Academy Building in January 1998, located at 190 New Street, just west of the new post office.
The writer volunteered with the Society for a few years and found solace in helping others find their roots. One story that comes to mind is that one-day a young man dropped in to visit us, and within 30 minutes he left with a full slate of his family's genealogy. He was so excited with what we found for him that he left without paying for the copies.
Chester (Chet) Dunn, President Emeritus, has served the Society for many years. He is quite a storyteller and could relate to most any instance you bring up. In fact, Chet made mention that when his dad and mom, Carleton and Mabel St. John Dunn married, he had the privilege of "being related to everyone in Warren County." If you have known Chet and ever had a conversation with him, within ten minutes he will find some way to be your cousin.
The Genealogical Society was sanctioned by the Ohio Historical Society May 20, 1981. Original board members were: President, Bart C. Gibbons; Vice President, Leora Spindler; Corresponding Secretary, Miriam E. Worley, Recording Secretary, Pat Johnson; Treasurer, David Ledbetter, Jr.
Chet tells the story that when the Society was first started
five family member sheets were on the agenda for the board members. Bart Gibbons took one look at Chet's chart and said, "we are cousins."
Chet says that when the Society was first started it was so small the library material could be fit into the trunk of a car.
And so, once a month reality set in and sure enough, the volunteers would pack their car trunk and take off to the different county libraries. These stops included the Salem Township Library in Morrow, the Mary L. Cook Library in Waynesville, the Mason Public Library, and the libraries in Lebanon and Franklin.
Two of the early dedicated, unrewarded volunteers that did all this traveling were Helen Hutt and Nancy Burdge. Chet is not sure whether Jessie VanMeter and Pat Johnson were volunteers on this long ride or not.
Judge Bowers later made arrangements for the Society to have their own quarters in the basement of the old courthouse. Both parties, the agreement, agreed to this arrangement being that the Society would answer the court queries.
A genuine effort has been given on this account by the Society, for there are over 2,500 persons who have contacted them, whether through the court or by individuals. Many have made contact several times, apparently having found the researching commendable.
The late Marion Snyder, for several years, was one of the many Society volunteers. He had the capacity to have served in both the Genealogical and Historical societies. He wrote for the different Western Star publications for many years, the first of what I found was published in 1950.
One of his goals was to have a book published regarding his articles. This was not achieved, but Chet has worked very hard by putting together a book on the Warren County school articles written by Mr. Snyder; this can be found in the Society library.
(Mary Klei, of the Warren County Historical Society, and the writer have indexed most of Mr. Snyder's articles. This index can be found in the Warren County Museum and the Genealogical Society.)
Chet, his wife Betty, and the late Evelyn (Hall) Preest have been instrumental in copying virtually every cemetery in Warren County. Their reward for this tremendous job was plenty of fresh air and sunshine.
What would this job be without the pesky mosquitoes and chiggers gnawing and a diggin'? These hearty folks, however, with a powerful commercial spray, were able to rid themselves of these sometimes-troublesome giants.
Chet says that their job was not all that hard, for when it came time to eat, they frequented all the best restaurants in the County. Sometimes Evelyn would tantalize everyone's appetite with a freshly baked cake. To make sure it didn't go to waste, she unfailingly sampled the first piece.
Some of the many records found in the Society are county census records, marriage return records, the 1890 Civil War veterans and survivors and widow's index, the county will index, estates, and guardianship records, the Western star on microfilm from 1856 to 1884, and the Children's Home inmates record from 1874 to 1952. Miscellaneous birth and death records are also indexed as well as the cemetery books.
Also included are many state reference books that includes Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, etc. They also have numerous how-to-do-it books regarding genealogical research.
Included is a host of family genealogical books, as well as an abundance of smaller family folders. Also included are many obituary books, compiled by Chet and his wife, Betty. Many thousands of names can also be found in the family group sheets and ancestor charts.
Also available are many Warren County town histories, along with Hinshaw's Quaker records. Marriage records, wills and estates indexes from 1803 to present are available, along with birth and death records indexes from 1867 to 1908. These latter records from 1909 on can be found in the Health Department.
The Society office is modernized, with a computer and through it many millions of names are available to the public. They have also purchased a new copy machine, and have an-up-to date microfilm reader with many rolls accessible.
Board members for 1998 were: President Emeritus, Chester Dunn; President, Helen Hutt; Vice President, Robert Mehl; 2nd Vice President, Bobbi Apking; Membership Chairman and Publisher, Chuck Griffen; Jane Baily, Recording Secretary; Ruth Justinson and Leora Spindler, Historians; Dorothy Linkous, Corresponding Secretary, Harriet Foley, Heirlines Editor, Treasurer and Cataloger; First Family Charts, Lisa Pennington; Volunteers, Sue Frary, and Carol Ghearing.

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This page created 18 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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