The Genealogy and Local History Department provides research-level resources including one of the nation’s largest and oldest genealogy collections.

Our Collection

The Library houses an extensive collection of African American history material such as southern plantation records on microfilm, the history of African American Civil War regiments, and U.S. Civil Rights Commission reports.

Highlights include: the complete U.S. federal census (1790–1930), passenger lists, city directories, military histories, maps, church and cemetery records, and enslaved person and freedmen records.


Genealogy and Local History Department staff offers specialized reference assistance to all customers, from children and beginning genealogists to professional researchers and scholars. The department presents monthly tours, co-sponsors programs with the Hamilton County Genealogical Society, and will develop programs tailored to the needs of any size class or group, including family reunions. To schedule a program, contact the department in person, by phone, or email.

Related Library Resources


Staff Picks

African American History in Cincinnati

Read more about African American History in Cincinnati in these selections from our staff.

Latest Blog Posts

West End Stories Project: “We really knew we were it.”

The fifth episode of the West End Stories Project podcast features the experiences of LaVerne Summerlin.

Throwback Thursday: The Althea Hurst Scrapbook

Travel through late 1930s Europe via the scrapbook of four Black educators from Cincinnati.

Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month with CHPL

We have lots of ways for you to explore Black History Month this February and beyond
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