So when I signed up for last Friday’s genealogy lock-in at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, I was worried I’d pass out on a city directory and end up with street names tattooed on my forehead. But I managed to last almost ’til the end.
If you’ve never been to a lock-in, it’s an after-hours research session at a library. Around 30 researchers (all the tables were taken!) had the genealogy and periodicals departments all to ourselves. I recognized a few people from April’s Ohio Genealogical Society conference.
The pursuit of family history kept everyone awake and focused, including me. I hadn’t made a firm research plan, so I wasn’t expecting thrilling discoveries. And I didn’t make any, but I got some groundwork laid.
I started off using the library’s free wireless to try some Ancestry.com searches for my dad’s family, who remain absent from the 1920 census. I did find the Social Security Death Index entry for the man who vouched for my great-uncle when he applied for a delayed North Carolina birth certificate in 1971.
Next I turned to Cincinnati city directories. My great-great-grandfather on my mom’s side started a cigar store in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, and his family ran it for years. When I was little, my mom drove me by the building—it had an outline where the “H.A. Seeger Cigar” sign used to be.
Here’s a photo from around 1910:
(My great-great-grandfather is third from left; his son is in the doorway).
I wanted to see how long the store was open. My ancestor H.A. Seeger showed up in printed directories starting in 1875, when he boarded downtown, then in 1877, when he opened the cigar store (the family moved in above it). The store’s listing disappears after 1955. Here’s a Google street view of the building today:
It was late by the time I was through photocopying directories. I decided to save map research for my next library trip, and browsed the compilations of vital records, church records and cemetery transcriptions from counties across the country.
Then I found my husband’s late-80s photographs among the high school yearbooks. That was entertaining.
I don’t know if it was the 80s hair or the hour, but I could feel my brain switch to Off mode, so I packed up my laptop and papers, checked my forehead for accidental tattoos (none), said goodbye to the bleary-eyed souls still scrolling microfilm, and went home to get some shut-eye for the next day’s Family History Fair. I’ll write about that tomorrow.