I have two favorite places to do genealogical research in Central Ohio: the Columbus Metropolitan Library main branch and the Ohio Historical Society Archives/Library. To give a more detailed treatment of each, I’ve decided to do two separate posts, with the second one to follow next week.
|Columbus Metropolitan Library|
The Columbus Metropolitan Library main branch (CML) is where I fell in love with family history research. The classically elegant old building, a legacy of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, has grown with the city over the years. Many years ago, I used to descend the worn marble stairs to the children's department. But the crown jewel of the library for me these days is the third floor in the new addition, home of the Genealogy, History, and Travel Department.
Thanks to a dedicated staff and the acquisition of several important collections, CML is evolving into a major repository for those tracing their family history. It has resources for all 88 Ohio counties, plus state and county resources for other states. CML also boasts a substantial collection of family histories, military histories and records, city directories, maps and atlases, and lineage society books. Resources for tracing British, Huguenot, and German-speaking ancestors are particularly strong.
The work area features plenty of light and table space. Everything is available to browse in the stacks. Staff members are always wiling to give a quick tour, answer a question, or help a patron find something. That’s a good thing, because the amount of material has really grown. Over the past few years CML has been the recipient of sizable collections from:
- The State Library of Ohio
- Ohio Daughters of the American Revolution
- Ohio Huguenot Society
- Joy Wade Moulton British Isles Collection
- Palatines to America Germanic Genealogy Collection
- Franklin County Genealogical and Historical Society
All of these have been fully integrated into the library’s catalog, which is accessible from the Genealogy Department homepage. The page is loaded with links to other resources and tools. One of my favorites is The Columbus Dispatch Obituary Search, which indexes the years 1931-1997. A number of premium resources, including Heritage Quest, are accessible to library cardholders from home. (Update: in the few days since I published this post, CML changed the look and URLs of its webpages. I’ve changed the screen shot and links to reflect the changes.)
Russ Pollitt, department head, is active in local and state genealogy organizations. He and his staff have been busy digitizing the library’s photographic and postcard collections for the Columbus Memory project.
A microfilm reading room on the same floor holds collections of over 20 historic newspapers, all censuses for Franklin County, and the Civil War prison records of Camp Chase, among other things. Microfilm printouts are free.
If you plan to go, here's some good things to know: The main Columbus Metropolitan Library is located at 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43215; phone (614) 645-2275. There’s an on-site parking garage (take the parking ticket into the library with you; you’ll pay before leaving the building). Photocopies are 10 cents. Computers are available in the department, or bring your own. CML was named Library of the Year by Library Journal in 2010.