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By James M. Beidler

Ohio has been a hotbed of family history activity for generations. One of the things that abets researchers is the Ohio Genealogical Society, which is a state society with a national profile due to its library, publications, projects, annual conference and the many strong county chapters it charters.

One of the most active of those units is the Cincinnati-based Hamilton County Genealogical Society, which has become a powerhouse organization, especially for the many researchers with German-speaking ancestry who came to this area, since being chartered in 1973. It currently boasts about 1,100 memberships (the society allows two individuals at one address under one membership, so the total individuals with membership is about 1,350).

Because of Cincinnati’s location on the Ohio River, many settlers passed through the city and others settled in Hamilton County before later moving on to new homes. Mass German immigration to Cincinnati began in the 1830s and by 1860, about 30 percent of Cincinnatians were German immigrants or first-generation German Americans. A second large wave occurred in the 1880s, when over half the population were German immigrants or had German heritage.

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