Ohio has a place in many of our family trees. Whether they were just passing through or they put down roots, many of our ancestors (mine included) called Ohio “home.”
As an original gateway to the west, Ohio drew in people from across the east and south. Connecticut claimed much of the northeastern part of the state, including a section called the “Firelands,” used to compensate people who lost property to the British during the Revolution. Virginia claimed much of the southwestern part of the state in an area called the Virginia Military District. Revolutionary War veterans could claim bounty land there. Many of them did and moved with their families. Others sold their claims to land speculators.
Ohio’s early fortunes rose with easy transportation. The Ohio River and its tributaries made for natural pathways. In 1825, Ohio began building canals, which aided the transportation of goods and people and opened up the area to outside markets. Later, railroads crisscrossed the state and spurred even more migration and industry.
Our new free guide “Ohio Resources: Family History Sources in the Buckeye State” gives an overview of Ohio history, as well as resources to help you research your Buckeye ancestors. Be sure to look at the other state guides that are available.
I’ve always considered myself fortunate to have so many Ohio ancestors because of the richness of Ohio’s records. The diversity shown throughout Ohio history also means there is always something new to explore and learn.