An Odd Place for Genealogy
Posted On: 03/08/2017 - 1:57pm, Posted By: Christine Engels, Archives Manager, Manuscripts Department
A sizeable portion of the Cincinnati History Library & Archives users are genealogists. As any good genealogist can tell you, useful information can often be found in unexpected places. The membership roster of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Humboldt Lodge, No. 274 has some potentially useful genealogical information about the men that belonged to it. As I was working to get the finding aid for this collection online I noticed this and hoped that genealogists would appreciate me taking the extra time to include what I could. Each of the members’ names are keyword searchable both in the Archives & Manuscripts database and on the page of the finding aid itself. Also included are the date of initiation or admittance to the order and in some cases death dates of the member are included. Though the records we have only cover 1908-1922 the membership roster lists men that joined in 1855 and the membership fees they paid over the years.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was a secret society of "men for fraternal purposes; an association of individuals of various creeds and ideas, whose business it is, not only to alleviate each other's trouble in cases of necessity, but to cement in the unity of Friendship, Love, and Truth." In addition to doing good work in their community, especially focused on assisting orphans, Odd Fellows supported each other in times of need including tending to the sick and with burial costs.
Humboldt Lodge No. 274 was established in Cincinnati in 1855 as a German-speaking I.O.O.F. lodge. In 1871, the lodge was meeting at Magnolia Hall at the corner of Sixth and Walnut Streets. The lodge had 310 members in 1883 and 355 members in 1892. 1945 is the last year that the lodge is listed in the Cincinnati directory.
The membership records of any organization are always worth checking out if you know or are even guessing and hoping that the person you’re searching for was a member. Sometimes you hit a roadblock or dead end when doing genealogy. Hopefully the data from this collection can help genealogists get past these blocks to find even more information and continue their work with the past.