Ohio & Erie Canal presentation

Kim Jurkovich from the Tuscarawas County Historical Society presented on Monday 4 Feb 2019 a history of the Ohio & Erie Canal.  She presented many interesting facts about the canal.  She started at the north end of county at Bolivar and ended at the south end at Newcomerstown.  A lot of interesting pictures were shown.  Below is a short synopsis of her presentation.

Canal was built between 1825 and 1934.  The portion in Tuscarawas County was built between 1826 and 1830.  Total cost of the canal was 4.3 million.  It radically changed the Ohio landscape in the areas it traveled through.  Locks 7 through 21 are located in Tuscarawas County and it followed the west bank of the Tuscarawas River for the most part in the county.  The first canal boat to use the canal in Tuscarawas County was “The Union” owned by Christian Deardorf in 1829.  The Dover Toll Office was 1 of 11 along the canal.  The top speed was 4 mph.  The State of Ohio had boats that traveled the canal for repairs and maintenance.  The flood of 1913 ended the canal era, but its death began with the first railroads.

For more information on the canal – A Documentary History of the Ohio & Erie Canal, Tuscarawas County ​by the Tuscarawas County Historical Society is $15.00.  This book is a detailed look at the Ohio & Erie Canal in Tuscarawas County from 1828-1913.   Picture

Bob Smith presented ‘Amish Funerals’ this evening

Tonight the TCGS members enjoyed listening to a presentation given by Bob Smith. Mr. Smith is the owner and operator of both Smith Ambulance and Smith Funeral Homes. His funeral home in Sugarcreek serves the Amish community in the area. Mr. Smith explained the difference between our ‘English’ funerals and the Amish funerals.

‘English’ funerals are evolving with our fast paced life styles. No longer do we have the traditional obituary in the newspaper, followed by one or two nights of calling hours, a service, and burial. Today, many don’t have an obituary, or calling hours, or even burial. Cremation has changed the ‘normal’ services.

Amish funerals are more of a ‘grass roots’ funeral according to Mr. Smith. The Amish community has a tried and true established way of doing things. When the funeral home is alerted of a death a certain process is put into action. The obituary is immediately written up. Many times before the body is removed from the home. The obituary must be in the next day’s paper as calling hours begin the day after death.

Each Amish church has their own coffin maker. The funeral home must go to the shop and pick up the casket. Then the body is returned to the deceased’s home for the calling hours. At day three after the passing, is the funeral.

Amish services are attended in mass. Many times Mr. Smith must print between 600-1000 memorial folders. Neighbors come to the home of the deceased do help with chores, animal care, and food prep for the funeral. The graves are hand dug in family cemeteries.

Thank you, Mr. Smith, for taking the time to present your knowledge with us.

Our Newest Toy – Fujitsu SV 600 Overhead Book Scanner

Last week found us playing with a new toy. A borrowed toy, but still new to us! It is a Fujitsu SV600 Overhead Book Scanner. The scanner allows us to scan material hands-free. It recognizes when the book page has been turned, can snip images apart, and removes any fingers that may have been scanned. With the OCR capabilities – indexing will be a breeze and it turns jpeg and pdf files to searchable records!

We have plans to scan one-of-a-kind township records, funeral home records, delicate yearbooks, archived newspapers, and possibly take it to the courthouse/churches to acquire more records for you to research.

Thank you, Bill for allowing us this test drive!


Happy Thanksgiving!

As you sit down for dinner on Thursday, remember all of those burning questions you have about family traditions! Thanksgiving dinner is an amazing opportunity to recall old family stories, recipes, and traditions.

Uncle Sal…how is he your uncle? What about Grumpy Patsy…why was she always so grumpy? Did one of the nieces have a new baby? Do you have all those details? What about that nephew…what was the degree he just graduated with?

Instead of football, screens, and social media, what about a game of ‘Family Story Time?’ Are you the oldest person at Thanksgiving this year? Why don’t you tell the story of the Thanksgiving that Grandpa almost burnt the house down! Or the year you had to call the fire department on Grandpa.

Take time this year to be thankful for those who have come and gone before us. Maybe you can add a few details to your family tree!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from the Tuscarawas Co. Genealogical Society!


Bill Given Program a Great Success!

November 14, 2018 found Bill Given in our library!

What a wonderful program showing his collection of war memorabilia.









A Confederate bill and coins, swords, and an amputation kit from the Civil War were displayed. Other items displayed were a WWI uniform, daggers from the German soldiers, and a bomber jacket from the navigator of the ‘Smoky Liz.’


New faces were in attendance along with library members. A very nice turn-out for our first program celebrating our 50th anniversary.

Our next program features Bob Smith, of Smith Funeral Home in Sugarcreek, who will present ‘Amish Funerals.’

Lakeland High School Year Books

The Tuscarawas Co. Genealogical Society has added 38 Lakeland High School Yearbooks to our collection. We now have one of the largest collections, of Harrison County High School annuals, in Tuscarawas County.

Stop in and see our collection of Ohio High School Annuals today. We have annuals dating back to 1913…is your grandfather in one of them? Mine was.

If you need a home for your old yearbooks – think about donating them to the TCGS so others can locate their family.

Surname Research Day in 2019

The Tuscarawas County Genealogical Society is planning on holding a Surname research day during 2019. We would meet at the library on a day that the library is closed so that we would have the library to ourselves. Anyone researching the surname for that day could bring in their information  for that surname to share and additional research could be done. If you are a member this day would be free to you. If you are a non member the normal $3.00 fee to use the library would apply.

If you are interested in participating in this program please send us the surnames you are interested in researching. We would need to have at least 3 people interested in the same surname to schedule a day. We will start with the surname that receives the most requests.

Just let us know what surname you would like to research by sending a letter to Tuscarawas County Genealogy  Society P.O. Box 83 Dennison, Ohio 44621-0083 or by e-mail at tcgslibrary@gmail.com.

The surnames we have requests for so far are Eichel, Knauss, Kreig/Krieg, Kees, Murphy, Patterson and Wagner.


Our 50th anniversary open house was a great success. We had very good attendance. A lot of new faces. People were surprised to discover the vast amount of materials that we have in our library.  A lot of interest was expressed by visitors in returning to the library to do research. We took in a number of new memberships at the open house.

We would like to thank everyone who came to make our day such a big success.

A great big thank you to all of the volunteers who helped clean and get ready for the open house and for helping the day of the open house. We were all kept busy.

Below is a list of the door prizes awarded and the winners.

  1. Mark Gladman    Blue Pillow
  2. Josephine Hrabley  OGS Membership
  3. Julie Julian   Blue Pillow
  4. Brenda Voelm   Tote Bag
  5. Barb Smith   T-shirt
  6. Marla Pavelzik   TCGS $20.00 gift card
  7. Crystal Bates   T-shirt
  8. Elaine Mayenschein  Centennial History of Muskingum and Tuscarawas Valleys