Objectives of the First Families of Seneca County
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The prime objective of the First families
of Seneca County is to identify and honor the memory of the earliest settlers
of this County showing their lasting mark on the land and honoring their
The research necessary to prove descent is intended
to stimulate increasing interest in the pioneers of this county, their
customs, culture, genealogy and history, and to awaken the descendant to
the sacrifices and contributions of his/her ancestor.
Encouraging descendants of the settlers to identify
and prove their lines will honor as many as possible of the courageous
pioneers of Seneca County.
Requirements for Membership
of the Seneca County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society who is a
direct descendant of any individual settling in Seneca County, Ohio by
1840 for Gold or 1860 for Silver may be considered for membership.
A member need not be a resident of Seneca County. Potential members
should complete and submit the following:
1. Application Form furnished by the Chapter or printed
from web site.
2. Application Fee of $15.00 covering first ancestor
and $5.00 for each additional ancestor.
3. At least a five-generation chart(s) showing names
of every ancestor claimed.
4. (optional but recommended) A biographical sketch
for each ancestor claimed; subjects could include the person's occupation
or profession; church affiliation; political, patriotic, or community involvement;
migration; an interesting family story; physical description -- anything
which will give dimension to that particular person.
Items #1 through #4 will be submitted (for their review) to the
Committee established for this purpose. This Committee will make
the judgment regarding eligibility, requesting additional proof as it deems
necessary for final approval. Qualified members will be presented
with a membership certificate and an award at an annual event.
Rules of Evidence
Basic rules of evidence
of implied evidence which is not acceptable as proof are:
1. Primary evidence from vital statistics (birth, death, and marriage
certificates), court house or other government records (military, land
records, deeds, wills, land warrants, naturalization records, tax list,
guardianship, ward and trustees, and civil dockets), church records (birth
and baptism, marriage, death membership-communicants), school records (enrollment
and school census) is considered to be excellent proof.
2. Secondary evidence such as census records, newspaper clippings,
and obituaries)name of newspaper and date of publication are necessary),
old letters(dated), Bible records(with title page and publication date)
or other family records contemporary to the facts reported, County Histories(supported
by primary evidence) is considered almost as authentic.
3. Circumstantial evidence implied by facts of hearsay is not considered
as proof unless backed up by primary or secondary evidence.
4. Oral, written or published family traditions are often wrong and
are not acceptable.
5. Printed or manuscript genealogies, genealogical records, or genealogical
compilations are not accepted as proof unless they are well
documented and proved in themselves, or unless backed up by other acceptable
proof. Family group sheets and unsupported information from an amateur
or professional genealogist are considered in this context as genealogies
and are not acceptable proof.
6 Lineage papers from other patriotic and hereditary societies in
themselves are not acceptable as proof.
7. Materials authored by the applicant, or his/her family, cannot
be considered as proof.
8. Documents used as proof must, either by themselves, or in conjunction
with other acceptable documents, actually state the fact to be proved.
If the document merely implies the fact, this is not considered
proof. An example is the expression, "heirs" or "heirs-at-law" used in
some estates. Ohio's (any state's) laws on inheritance have changed
many times through it's history, and what is true during one period, may
not be true at another. If these statements are to be used as proof
of direct descent, the applicant must include with his application, copies
of the inheritance law of the state showing that , at the year the proving
document was dated, it was proof of descent "in the blood line" and must
also include proof that the testator had at least one child.
Census records which show the name of the head of the family only, with
no numbers to represent the other residents by age grouping. Those unnamed
persons are not proved as children or wife of the family head, nor as residents,
how well they match with other records. Next door or close neighbors
on a census
record are not proved as related merely by their closeness on the census.
A father is not proved as being in the area just because a child was born
there. A birth
proves only that the mother was certainly there on the birth date.
Blood decent is not necessarily proved by owning the same land as an earlier
by the same name, whether the land was received by inheritance or by purchase.
Application on next page
9. Old letters, family records, ect. can be accepted as proof
for only the facts the writer of the records of letter would logically
know, of his own knowledge. They cannot be accepted as proof
for facts the writer could have only obtained by hearsay from older generations,
or other sources. Identification of the writer and the date of the
letter or record are a must. This same rule is true of county histories
or other published biographies. The biography (who probably gave
the biographer this information) must have been able to know the
information of his own knowledge.
10. Land transactions(deeds, warrants, grants, ect.) can only be
accepted as evidence of settlement in Seneca County as of December 31,
1840, if the record actually states that the individual was "of Seneca
County", and was dated prior to 1840. Many absentee land owners and
speculators in early Seneca County never set foot in the County.
11. A tax list of 1841 is usually a record of taxes levied in 1840, and
therefore could prove residence prior to 1840 if the individual is shown
as a resident, and not an "absentee owner".
12. Proving female ancestors as settled in Seneca County as of December
31, 1840 is usually difficult. They must be proved as individuals
their maiden names.
13. The ancestor(s) proved in Seneca County as of December 31, 1840 must
be a direct line back from the Paternal or Maternal ancestors of the applicant.
14. Typed, hand-written or printed copies of original documents must be
certified as a "true copy" by a court official, librarian, notary public,
ect. An applicant cannot certify his own copies.
15. Photographs or "true copies" of tombstones inscriptions usually only
prove birth and death dates. However, sometimes relationships are
shown on the tombstone and are considered good proof.
16. Married female applicants must include a copy of their license, or
record, to prove their married name.