The Portsmouth Public Library’s Henry A. Lorberg Local History Department was established in 1995 as part of the new addition to the Main Library. Named for the local historian who procured the original funding for the Carnegie building, the department houses the Library’s local history and genealogy materials. Our resources have aided researchers worldwide.

Genealogy Databases

World Vital Records is a genealogy database with access to over 4.2 billion names worldwide. The database can be accessed from home with a valid library card. The library also subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition and Access NewspaperArchive. Both must be accessed from within the Local History Department.

County Histories

The Library strives to maintain all material of historical value to the local area. The county histories contain many interesting facts about the people and industries that formed the area. Histories included are:

  • History of Scioto County, 1986
  • A History of Scioto County (Evans)
  • History of Lower Scioto Valley
  • The Story of Portsmouth
  • Scioto County Photo History
  • Pioneers of Scioto County
  • Scioto Stories Often Told
  • Portrait and Biographical Record of the Scioto Valley, Ohio and Hanging Rock Region of Ohio
  • Family Histories

The collection embodies lineage of local families as well as those whose ancestors migrated through this region. The Library encourages donations of family histories. Cook, Clingman, Boone, Ramey, Newman, and Wear are among the family names in our collection. The Library also considers donations of old photographs and many diaries.

Surname Files

The surname files contain previously researched names. The files may contain obituaries, group sheets, marriage records, articles, and other research. The surnames are those from Scioto County and surrounding counties and may include northern Kentucky. Kinney, Easter, Bonser, Sly, Allen, and Stockham are a few of the surnames included. Patrons are welcome to add information to the files.

Census Materials

The microfilmed census records date from 1820 to 1920. The 1930 census is in CD format. Ohio state indexes are available for 1820 to 1920. Indexes for Scioto County for the years 1870 and 1880, and 1900 are also available. The census records include Scioto County, several surrounding counties, and nearby Kentucky counties. Census information may also be obtained through our subscriptions to World Vital Records and Ancestry Library Edition.

CD-ROM Materials

The Local History Department also has vital records from several states from various time periods. The collection also includes the Social Security Death Benefit Records 1937-1996, various land records, immigration records, genealogies and records from eastern states such as Maine, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The department has received donations relating to information to that area.

Local Newspapers

The Local History Department maintains microfilmed copies of the Portsmouth Daily Times from 1858 to the present year. The Community Common is on microfilm from 1985-2003, with current issues in hard copy. The collection also includes other early newspapers such as the Portsmouth Morning Sun (1921-1930) and The Blade (1890-1903, with some years missing.) There are other early newspapers with scattered time periods. The Portsmouth Correspondent (1894-1908) was a German language newspaper. The local newspapers can be accessed through the Access NewspaperArchive database within the department.

City Directories

The earliest city directory owned by the Library is dated 1856. The Local History Department houses city directories from 1856 to the current published year, with the most current edition housed in the Reference Department. City directories are not available for some years because they were not obtainable or published in those years. The 1892 city directory often provides valuable assistance to researchers because no census is available for 1890.

Cemetery Inscriptions

The inscriptions from gravestones in the county and city cemeteries have been read, printed, and bound in volumes. The city cemetery, Greenlawn, has early inscriptions in book form, and more recent information is available on CD and microfilmed death cards. The microfilm may contain the date of death, date of burial, and sometimes, date of birth. Occasionally, they may contain only the lot number.

Microfilm Holdings

The Local History Department has records of births and deaths for Scioto County on microfilm for the years 1856-1908. The Ohio Death Index is available from 1908 to 1954. Microfilmed marriage records cover the years 1803-1911. Scioto County court records range from 1801-1906, with records from courts including Chancery, Common Pleas, Clerk of Courts, and the Board of Commissioners. The Lorberg and Peebles scrapbooks have been microfilmed and span the years from the early 1800’s to the 1920’s. Other microfilm includes the 1850-1880 Mortality Schedule, 1941-1961 Delayed Births and Corrections, Nile Township Records 1853-1921, records from the Portsmouth Evangelical Church (in German) and some Lawrence County and Pike County, Ohio records. The department also houses some newspapers from surrounding counties in early time periods.

Military/Pension Records

The military and pension records cover the Revolutionary War to WWI. Available war rosters include:

  • Official Roster III Soldiers of the American Revolution Who Lived in Ohio
  • 1812 Roster of Ohio Soldiers
  • Roster of Ohio Soldiers-Civil War
  • Index to the Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers in the War with Spain
  • Roster of the Soldiers in the State of Ohio in the War with Mexico
  • Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, WWI
  • Roll of Honor

The list of pension records includes:

  • Pension Roll of 1835
  • List of Pensioners of the Roll 1883
  • The Pension List 1820
  • Revolutionary Pensioners
  • Index to Old Wars Pension Files, 1815-1926

The Ohio Room

The Ohio Room is a separate section of the Local History Department. The archival materials are shelved in this area. The Ohio Room contains histories of Ohio and the Northwest Territory, which includes Civil War histories, Native American history, early industry, and the Ohio River. The earlier city directories are also kept in this area. Some of the materials in the Ohio Room are in deteriorated condition and can no longer be photocopied.

The department provides research outside a fifty-mile radius of the county to assist those who cannot visit the library. Requests must be specific. Please contact the department for further information as a research fee is required.

  • Research is limited to PPL’s holdings.
  • Requests will be answered in the order they are received.
  • Microfilm reader/printers and a microfilm scanner are available.
  • Copies are 25 cents per page.
  • Photocopies are 10 cents per copy.
  • There is a $1.00 minimum for mailed copy requests.

This information provides only a brief look at the wealth of information available in the Local History Department. Donations and new items are rapidly increasing the size of the department’s collection. The Local History Department staff would be happy to help you with your endeavors to locate your ancestors. Please contact us if we can be of assistance.