How to Overcome Brick Wall Problems in German-American Research at the Ohio History Center, March 15

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The Ohio Historical Society, in partnership with Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society and the Columbus Metropolitan Library, is proud to host nationally-renowned genealogist Dr. Michael Lacopo at the Ohio History Center on Saturday, March 15, from 10:30am – 12:30pm, as a part of 2014 Genealogy Workshop Series. Dr. Lacopo’s workshop, “How to Overcome Brick Wall Problems in German-American Research” will use Pennsylvania and German American case studies to highlight the different ways in which genealogical researchers can revisit their own research “brick walls” to make a breakthrough. His point-by-point lecture will explore how to formulate a genealogy research plan, how to use lesser-known resources, and how to critically analyze information that is found.

The following post is a guest post submitted by Dr.Lacopo:

People of German descent have long dominated the Ohio landscape, with the most numerous settlers in the pre-1850 period coming from the Middle Atlantic states, particularly Pennsylvania. Many of these were good “Pennsylvania Deutsch” whose ancestors had come from Germany in the 18th century. When the state began experiencing the influx of European immigrants in the first part of the 19th century, the vast majority of them came from Germany. By 1850, nearly one half of Ohio’s immigrant population came from the various regions that would become modern Germany. This is most obviously reflected in the 2000 United States census, where German ancestry was the predominant heritage reported in nearly every county in Ohio. When speaking about Ohio ancestors, there are definitely Germans among us!

2000 census map indicating ancestry per county

2000 census map indicating ancestry per county

Those of us with German ancestry are lucky, as Germans are notorious for their obsession with record-keeping. Unfortunately those records often elude us, and I hope to illustrate with a number of interesting case studies how you can find clues to your German ancestors. We will discuss records that will be useful to people of all levels of German ancestry, regardless of whether your German forefathers came in 1728 or 1928. Hopefully you will go home with that little gem of information that will break down your brick walls!

Cost to attend this workshop is $15 for OHS and Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society members; $20.00 for non-members. Space is limited. To register online, visit the Ohio History Store at: To register over the phone, or for more information, call 614-297-2510.

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