All of our projects are to help preserve original records and make researching Portage County accessible. By selling our publications we can raise funds for other projects. Monetary or material donations are gratefully accepted to continue our work. Please refer to the membership form to donate to our efforts. Collections made available to those doing historical and genealogical research are stored as a part of the Portage County Historical Society's library.
What We Have
A group of members meet on Wednesday mornings to clip old newspapers which we received from the Western Reserve Historical Society. We save all obituaries and articles of historical and genealogical interest to Portage County for the files in the Portage County Historical Society Library. Obituaries are copied for placement in notebooks and include clippings from approximately 1879/80 through 2002; the originals are sent to the Ohio Genealogical Society for their card file.
A surname index to these obituary notebooks is being created. The opportunity to purchase copies and/or scans of individual pages for $3.00 each is available. Please click on the button to view the index and request pages.
Portage County Cemeteries Books:
The Chapter has read the cemeteries within Portage County and published thirteen volumes containing every name indexes and all readable information written on the stones. The books and CD's are sold by mail or at the Portage County Historical Society. Please refer to the Publications For Sale link above for a complete list and pricing.
Other Publications for Sale:
Undertaker's Records of Ira L. Herriff (Kent, Ohio): There are four volumes in this collection, Volume I (1869-1889), Volume II (1889-1896), Volume III (missing), Volume IV (1901-1907), and Volume V (1869-1912).
Cleveland Worsted Mills Redfern Mill Annevar Dye House Employee Roster Record Book 1990-1919
Part I – Declaration of Intent To Become United States Citizen 1803 to 1969 & Part II – Naturalization Class Enrollment Books, Ravenna High School, Portage Co. OH 1930-1944
Index to Portage County Wills & Estates and Guardianship Probate Court Records (1815-1923): Located at the Portage County Historical Society, Ravenna, Ohio.
Portage Co. Chapter OGS Newsletters with Index 1979-1988:
All volumes are softbound. Cemetery volumes include tombstone inscriptions, available sexton records, histories of the cemeteries and maps to help locate burial plots. *Volume I includes a surname index and Volumes II through XIII have an every-name index. A separate publication for Volume I has an every-name index. Searchable CD’s for all publications are now available.
**Please refer to the Publications For Sale link above for pricing.
Scrapbooks & Diaries Indexes:
Notebooks containing indexes to all the scrapbooks and diaries located at the Portage County Historical Society have been completed by our members. This index was compiled by John Knowlton of Maine for the Historical Society. There are over 180 scrapbooks and this index lists only the names of individuals found in the articles within the scrapbooks. Scrapbooks at PCHS include obituary scrapbooks, diaries, birth and death records, poll books, tavern owners, minister records, tax lists, marriage records, and Bible records.
Portage County Historical Society Library:
The Library at the Portage County Historical Society contains a wealth of information on Portage County. The Library is non-lending and much of the material is one of a kind. It is important to handle material with extreme care. They are always looking for donations of family histories and Portage County related material. Please call 330-296-3523 or email email@example.com if you have something that would be of interest to a fellow researcher. The library depends on donations of material to continue to offer the researcher information on history and genealogy. Your support is appreciated.
The Archival Library is available to Society Members Only. Special collections, photos, maps, and ledgers are available to the serious researcher. Appointments are necessary to view any of this material. Library and Museum hours are Thursday 2:00-5:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to Noon (closed first Saturday of the month for the Portage County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society's meetings).
The following is a partial listing of some of the topics on the shelves and in the files.
Family Histories and Genealogies - Publications have been donated to the Historical Society by the authors or other sources. Includes books and papers from over 950 families. Surname files may contain papers, photos, personal papers, hand written notes, newspaper clippings and more. Some of the genealogies have no known author. The books are not for sale but copies can be made of almost any item in the files and from the books (copies are 25¢ per page). Entire books are not copied due to copyright laws. Go to the Portage County Historical Society's website to view the list by surnames.
Portage County History Material - Books, papers, personal notes, and court material. To see a listing of books featuring Portage County available for purchase, click here.
Portage County Township Histories - Books on shelves and each of the 20 townships has a file drawer with material. Files may contain 1930 cemetery readings, hand written historical papers, photos of people, information on businesses, historic buildings, parks, personal/social news, site-seeing attractions, villages within townships, historical society information, and other general items.
Coroner Records - The Coroner's Office investigates deaths when a person dies suddenly or unexpectedly while in apparent good health, or when a death appears to be suspicious or unusual. In addition they investigate all accidents, suicides and homicides, and any child that dies who is two years of age or younger.
Community Organizations - Information about non-profit groups that work at a local level to improve life for residents that may include social, service, sports clubs, school groups, church groups, youth groups, community support, health care agencies, and clubs.
Other Historical Societies - Information about other organizations dedicated to preserving, collecting, researching, and interpreting historical information or items.
Naturalization Records - Naturalization is the process by which an alien becomes an American citizen. These records can provide a researcher with information such as a person's birth date and location, occupation, immigration year, marital status and spouse information, witnesses' names and addresses, and more.
Family Bible Records - Not actual donated Bibles but copies of historical or genealogically related information.
Portage County Businesses - Filed by type of business.
Churches in Portage County - Details about the church (not their individual records).
Correspondence - Donated letters organized by who it was written to by surname.
Miscellaneous People in Portage County - Hodgepodge of newspaper clippings on various topics not falling within other categories.
Military Files - Includes lists of Portage County soldiers, news items, and more.
Ravenna Arsenal - During World War II, Ravenna, Ohio, was the site of the Ravenna Arsenal. Illustrating Ohio's important contributions to winning World War II, from 1942 to 1945 workers at the Ravenna Arsenal produced more weapons for the war effort than at any other plant in the United States. More than 14,000 Ohioans found employment here during World War II. Much of the site is now the Ohio National Guard's Ravenna Training and Logistics Site, with the Ohio National Guard using it for training.
Railroads Within Portage County - Much like many other regions in the United States, Portage County does not see as much rail traffic as it did from the early to mid 1900's, which was considered the “golden age of railroads.” Historical information about the railroads can be found here.
Veterans' Burial Records - Maps showing veterans' burial sights in Portage County.
Civil War Roster Books - During the service of an individual in the Civil War, many records were created (muster-in rolls, pay rolls, descriptive lists, etc.). Roster books are available.
City Directories - Arguably one of the most over-looked resources by genealogists, have been around since the 1700's.
Yearbooks - Find out what your relatives were really like in high school in this local collection. It can be a treasure trove of fascinating family details.
Maps - Limited local maps with the earliest being from 1857.
Poll Book Transcriptions (voters over age 21, various townships & years) - Giving names, addresses, occupations, and showing how people voted in the election, the Poll Books are a valuable resource for family historians.
Tavern Licenses Transcriptions (various townships) - A tavern license allows an establishment to serve beer, wine and hard alcohol. These records could provide interesting details about your ancestor's life.
Diaries (Indexed by author only and date, if known) - Recounting for us firsthand what it was like to live during a given time period and at a particular place, diaries give a wonderful glimpse into someone's daily life, thoughts, and attitudes.
Marriage Licenses from 1808-1852 - Not every year and not all licenses within each year. The Portage County Probate office will have the complete records.
Probate Court Records - Wills & Estates 1817-1900+ (not every year & not all wills or estates within year) - There is an index available for all wills and estates within the facility. For complete information, go to the Portage County Probate Court office. An index book published by the Portage County Chapter Ohio Genealogy Society is available for purchase (please refer to the Publications For Sale link above for pricing).
Guardianship Records - Court records are typically rich in detail and can sometimes provide insights not found anywhere else. They will typically contain names of family members and relationships as well as a look at your ancestor’s financial standing. In cases where minor children were involved, these records reveal who assumed responsibility for those children.
Early Tax Records of Portage County - No longer stored at Historical Society. The Portage County Archives/Microfilm is located at 7988 Infirmary Rd., Shalersville Twp., Ohio 44266 (330-297-3849).
Census Microfilm for Portage County - 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930. Ohio Federal Census Indices for 1820-1880 (1870 only for Portage County); no index for 1840.
Newspaper Microfilm - Garrettsville Journal 1867-April 1910, Western Courier 1837, Ohio Star 1852-1854, Ohio Star with anti-Masonic Jan 1832-Dec 1833, Kent Courier 1889-1929 [many years missing], Portage Sentinel Jul 1845-Apr 1861--Nov 1861-Feb 1862, Portage County Democrat Apr 1863-Mar 1964.
Miscellaneous - Ohio History, Western Reserve History, and a few books from Trumbull and Summit Counties are included in the Portage County Historical Society's library.
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A non-profit family history organization dedicated to connecting families across generations (project of The
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A women’s service organization dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education, patriotism and honoring the patriots of the Revolutionary War.
Maintains an extensive collection of genealogy and local history resources focusing on the Ravenna area, including: Cemetery Transcriptions, City Directories, Family Histories (many are one-of-a-kind), Local History Books, High School Yearbooks, Newspapers on Microfilm (Including all years of Record Courier), Obituary Indexes, Ravenna Arsenal Information, Ravenna Postcard Collection. Library staff and volunteers experienced in genealogy research are available to help you.
It is part of the Portage Library Consortium, which includes the Portage County Library District and Reed Memorial Library and is a school district library associated with the Kent City School District. The Carnegie Section currently houses The Burbick Foundation Genealogy Room, with the library’s collection of genealogy and local history materials.
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Cleveland’s oldest existing cultural institution established as the historical branch of the Cleveland Library Association. While its original focus was on the history of “…Cleveland and the Western Reserve, and generally what relates to the history of Ohio and the Great West,” it now concentrates on the history of Northeast Ohio.
Contains death notices published in the following newspapers:
The Cleveland Plain Dealer (1850-1975)
The Cleveland Herald (1833, 1847-1848, 1876, 1878-1879)
The Cleveland Press (1941-1975)
Chartered April 17, 1971
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