Sunday, January 6, 2019

Searching and Researching Muskingum County's Population Centers

Outside of the city of Zanesville, Muskingum County has (depending on the source you consult) somewhere between 45 (see Muskingum County, Ohio: Communities) - 105 areas (see Ohio Hometown Locator) of  settlement, each one designated as either a village, unincorporated community, or CDP (Census Designated Places). At least, that's the theory. The sources seem to agree on which population areas are villages and which are CDPs. When it comes to which places are officially referred to as "unincorporated" and which ones are just kind of "there", there is some agreement, but no, as I see it, clear agreement.

To add to the confusion, there are "historic" communities that continue to exist---or not---again depending on the source. And there are names changes to contend with. When I began doing research, well before online searches were even conceived, it was startling to find my paternal ancestors, known to have lived for generations in White Cottage, living in a place called Newtonville.

The designation of an area of settlement is determined by governance, as well as population density: Villages, like towns and cities, are incorporated, meaning they are self-governing entities; unincorporated communities are governed by the county, and do not have their own post office---usually.

Muskingum County townships
and selected population centers
CDPs are are artificial creations of the U.S. census bureau based on local residents' shared understanding of the extent of a named area. CDPs are unincorporated areas of dense population often located within or adjacent to the boundaries of a city, town or village. For example, East Fultonham is an unincorporated adjunct of the village of Fultonham. It is a settlement named and defined by the local residents. To simplify data collection, the Census Bureau has formalized East Fultonham's boundaries, although no actual boundary lines for the settlement exist.

During the coming year, I'll be tackling a bit of the history of as many of these population centers as possible. There is a fair amount of information about each of villages, the CDPs, and the official unincorporated communities, but I'm intrigued by the large number of places that are just "there", or that aren't there but once were, so I've got some digging to do.

I would appreciate any information about and/or photos of any of the following "just there" places. Please do not use the comment area of this blog to provide information. Instead, please contact me at,

  • Ashcraft Ford (historic, but might still exist)
  • Black Run
  • Bloomfield
  • Blue Rock (this is an area supposedly in the western part of Blue Rock Township)
  • Buckeye
  • Cannon
  • Drake
  • Elizabeth
  • Fairview
  • Frazier
  • Kieffer (historic)
  • Maysville
  • McDonald
  • Meadowbrook
  • Merriam
  • Opera (historic)
  • Riverview
  • Roberts
  • Rock Cut
  • Smith Mill
  • Stringtown
  • Wesley
  • Wortley

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