The last area of Ohio to be settled was that of the Great Black Swamp. The Greenville Treaty of 1795 had guaranteed this land to be used exclusively for the Indians. Like so many guarantees made to Native Americans, the promise of this land would not last. Successive treaties chipped away at the area, so that by 1820 most of the land was available to pioneers at the price of $1.25 per acre, with an 80-acre minimum.
All of my maternal grandmother’s great grandparents, came to Northwest Ohio in the early 1830’s and settled in Seneca County.
The picture in the banner of this blog is from one of the cemeteries in Seneca County, the Bettsville Liberty Cemetery, located in Bettsville, Ohio. One set of my grandmother’s great grandparents, Joseph and Magdalena Good, are buried there.
If you have ancestors who are buried in Seneca County of Ohio, you can consider yourself lucky for a variety of reasons.
1. In 1987, the Seneca County Genealogical Society published a compiled transcription of the cemeteries of Seneca County, Ohio. The book is entitled, Seneca County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions/Compiled by The Seneca County Genealogical Society. According to World Cat, the book currently resides in at least 27 libraries across the US.
Having spent some time in many of these cemeteries, I can tell you that this compilation has within its pages, the inscriptions of gravestones that are no longer legible to the eye, making it a valuable commodity.
2. There are several websites with transcriptions and/or images of Seneca County Cemeteries. Below I have listed three that are noteworthy.
Ohio Gravestones.org – Currently this website has six cemeteries from Seneca County listed, but there are a total of 303 images available for view. There is also a nifty search engine, which is what makes a good website great.
Find A Grave – The undisputed big daddy of the gravesite websites, it has 104 of Seneca County’s cemeteries listed in its database. Some are well covered, some have only a few names available.
I say the next part with love, the search criteria is adequate, but with 29 million names in its database, it would be nice to narrow down the search criteria by county in addition to state. But even if this function never becomes available, I still love Find A Grave and all its many contributors.
Seneca County Ohio Cemeteries – I’ve saved the best for last. This is Kristina L. (Kuhn) Krumm’s website. Kristina and her legion of volunteers have put together a great website. She has included within her list, cemeteries that have been destroyed or moved, a reminder why documenting graveyards is important work.
There are 109 cemeteries listed, a one-word search engine, and some images.
In addition, with the permission of the Seneca County Genealogical Society, Kristina has included township maps that show where the various cemeteries are located. These maps originally appeared in the Seneca County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions book. These maps print up nicely, and are invaluable if you are going to do some “tombstone hunting.”
Elsewhere on Kris’s website are the 1874 plat maps of Seneca townships, which take a while to load if you have an old dial up connection, but are worth the wait. She scanned them at a high resolution making the details legible. If you have Seneca County roots, and haven’t checked this website out, you need to take a little tour. For those of you who don’t have Seneca roots, take a look anyway. See what a great job that Kristina and the volunteers have done.
3. Finally, if you have Seneca County roots, don’t overlook the Hayes Presidential Center’s Obituary Index database. This is a consortium of Ohio Libraries that have included their indexed obituaries as part of the Hayes database. The Tiffin-Seneca Public Library was the first library to sign on to the project (after the Hayes Library, of course). The database is closing in on 1.5 million names, and has expanded to include some libraries outside of Northwest Ohio.
In the next few weeks, I will be taking a closer look at individual cemeteries in Seneca County. Until then, a wealth of information is only a click away.
Additional Source of Information:
Knepper, George W., “The Official Ohio Lands Book,” 2002. Pamphlet, State Auditor of Ohio, http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/Publications/General/OhioLandsBook.pdf: 2007.