Friday, August 16, 2013

Becoming a Citizen in 1820 Harrison County, Ohio

Harrison County Courthouse, Cadiz, Ohio
     A Union County, Ohio history pointed me towards some ancestors who might have lived in Harrison County. So when we were visiting relatives in Ohio, we arranged a side trip to coincide with a day when the Harrison County Genealogical Society was open.  After a drive through rural southeastern Ohio, with a stop at a cemetery, we arrived in Cadiz. I was blown away with the original documents that were filed with the genealogical society.  Evidently the local government had thrown many original documents in the dump but the society members rescued these papers.  Holding pages that were written between 1820 and 1850 was an experience.
     One of the documents was a request for citizenship by James B. Norris. The document was loaded with important genealogical information. Below is an image of the page with a transcription.

State of Ohio
Harrison County

To the Honourable the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the County of Harrison and the State of Ohio.   
Now Sitting
 James B. Norris aged fifty years Born in the County of Wilshear (Wiltshire?), England & Parish of Dunhead, Removed from that to Novoscota [sic] and from thence to New York, arrived at New York within The United States of America from Novo Scota on the twentieth day of May in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred & seventeen owing allegience to George the third King of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland and intending to settle in the State of Ohio hereby reports himself for the purpose of being admitted to the rights of Citizenship within the United States, and prays that a record may be made of the same

July Ten 1820    J B Norris

     Finding this type of document certainly proves that local societies and archives are an essential resource for researchers.  It is also a shame when agencies (governmental or otherwise) are unable to store documents and artifacts with historical value.  

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