The challenge
When local government records are not properly safeguarded or made accessible to the public…

  • Legal rights are jeopardized
  • Citizens are separated from their past
  • Government work is shrouded in mystery and doubt
  • Vital records languish abandoned and neglected

Fewer than one-quarter of Ohio’s 88 counties have archives, records centers, or records management programs. Those few that do often lack adequate and sustainable funding to provide acceptable levels of staffing, environmentally sounds structures to preserve records, state-of-the-art equipment to make records available, and space for research and reference services.

Records management responsibility too often becomes “other duties” assigned to untrained staff. Few local governments have the luxury of a position specifically to manage records and care for archives. Opportunities for training and professional development are few and expensive. Staff members burn out. Their turnover robs governments of institutional memory.

The opportunity
Ohio’s Public Records Act (Ohio Revised Code Sect. 149, 43) makes government more accessible to the people. It requires that all public records be available to view and copy. The records must be organized and kept in a way that permits access by everyone. Proper records training are key to fulfilling the law’s goal. Local archives and records centers offer research and reference services to eager constituents such as ours in Jefferson County, Ohio.

Ohio’s Local Records
Local Records created by Ohio’s county, municipality, and township government’s document

  • vital statistics (birth, marriage, and death)
  • land ownership
  • verification of taxes owed and paid
  • infrastructure performance and safety
  • unique stories about our ancestors’ – and our own history
  • and much, much more

Local records make it possible for governments – and the citizens they serve – to remember the past. Conduct business in the present and inform the future. Preservation of records and access to them make government transparent and more efficient.

How You Can Help!

  • Contact the Governor and your Ohio General Assembly representative to share concerns about the preservation and accessibility of local records.
  • Contact your representatives in Congress to express support for preserving any/all American Historical Records and legislation.
  • Volunteer at your state and local records centers or archival repositories. (We need you!)
  • Donate funds to support archives efforts. Since the chapter is a nonprofit organization (501c) you can deduct any contributions on your federal taxes.
  • Form coalitions with other Ohioans (historians, genealogists, and preservationists) to strengthen your numbers and allow your voices to be heard.

These are your records. This is your history. Help safeguard the past by getting involved in the present. Our future depends on it.


There are a number of ways that our members can financially support the Chapter.  Since we are a 501(c) (3), all contributions are tax deductible. 

In addition to cash contributions, members may also consider the following:

Donations by Will
What a great way to help ensure that the mission of the Chapter will live on!

Donation of Property
A charitable deduction is allowable based on the property's fair market value.  "Property" could include stocks, bonds, real estate, or practically anything for which a fair market value can be established.  There are a number of income tax and estate tax advantages available to our members who donate appreciated property.  Members should check with a lawyer or other professionals for details.

Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)
This widely used estate planning tool can be especially helpful to a couple who wish to donate income producing assets to a qualified charity, but who would like to be able to use that income during their lifetimes.

A CRT permits them to irrevocably convert assets into a lifetime income stream without generating estate and capital gains taxes, while at the same time reducing current income taxes.  When the trust ends, the remaining assets pass to the charity.

Members are strongly encouraged to contact an attorney or the Trust Department of your local bank to see if a Charitable Remainder Trust could be right for you.

Contact The Jefferson County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society to see how you can help. Everyone benefits from record preservation projects and available archives to conduct research. However, few offer to volunteer and help staff, donate time or talents or skills or funds for such projects.

For more information for State Support
Ohio Historical Society
1982 Velma Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43211

Let them know you care about the Jefferson County Chapter and you support our preservation efforts!