27 December 2009

January, January -- what to do?

Once the holidays are over what are you going to be doing? Use the genealogy books, memberships, and subscriptions you received for Christmas? How about these other ideas for the beginning of the New Year?
  • Hmmm, a last minute trip to Salt Lake City might be fun. The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy takes place just under 2 blocks from the Family History Library and there is still room in some of the courses. Learn, network with others who speak the genealogy language, and then visit the library to put the learning to work.
  • If you take Course I, American Records, you will receive many hours of one-on-one assistance in the Family History Library from a couple of the instructors. I coordinate that course and enjoy the teaching and also the consulting with students right in the library.
  • Think about scanning those old photographs. I save the old photos in case the format I save them on is not accessible in the future. Once the photos are online or transferred to a CD or DVD I share them with others as another form of at least current preservation
  • Add the titles of your genealogy and history books to LibraryThing.com.
  • Think about continuing education in genealogy. In addition to SLIG, many classes and courses take place both online and in the classroom.
  • Look at the program for the National Genealogical Society's conference that takes place in Salt Lake City April 28-May 1, 2010. Lots of info on the conference pages! The conference is hosted by the Utah Genealogical Association.
  • Later in January, check out the program for the August 18-21, 2010 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference that is co-hosted by the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Kentucky Historical Society. For now, read the FGS Conference News Blog.
  • Join your local or state genealogical society and add their meetings to your calendar. The FGS website has listings of many societies.
  • Check out the source citations in your genealogy program. Would you want others to see them as they are? If not, it's time to work on them. That includes me!

Never stop looking: Old Fayette County, Kentucky records found

Amy Dunn, a professional genealogist from Owensboro, Kentucky, posted a link to a news article about this on a discussion list for members of the Association of Professional Genealogists. A number of Fayette County, Kentucky records have surfaced. It's one of those things that reminds us to never give up, never say we have looked at everything, and to keep checking back in catalogs and other finding aids. Once again, it shows that it isn't all online.

The Lexington Herald-Leader's website Kentucky.com tells about some "Land, census and marriage records from the late 1700s to the early 1900s have recently resurfaced that could provide a treasure trove of information for genealogists and others." Lexington is the county seat of Fayette County.

The article also tells that the material found includes "property titles, essentially — from 1779 through 1780, when Kentucky was still part of Virginia.Another record book recovered by Fayette County clerks, the "Land Entry Book," contains similar information from 1783 to 1784. Kentucky became a state in 1792.'

Read the article for more details. I wish I needed Fayette County for family research!

26 December 2009

Merry Christmas to all of you

Last weekend we celebrated at my daughter's in northern Minnesota. All four of the grandchildren, two of my three children and a son-in-law were together. We had a great weekend. I now have a heated cushion for my car, jewelry to wear and am supplied with wipes for hands and glassed for quite awhile. Yes, I asked for these. My daughter and son-in-law made a terrific dinner. The best gift of all was being together with all of these family members and getting lots of hugs.

Christmas Eve was to be at my oldest son's but since early on Christmas Eve morning I have had the seasonal flu. Ironically, I had to cancel my 9 a.m. appointment that day for my flu shots! The clinic finally has the vaccines.

I had thought this Christmas would be a tough one since it would be the first one without either of my parents. Instead I slept through most of it. My sister, Linda, and I commented on how much we missed Dad's Christmas morning phone call from him.

I hope you were able to have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas Eve and Day. Don't forget that there are 12 days of Christmas! The Stuart family will be having a big celebration on January 2nd.

North Carolina newspapers online

The state archives in North Carolina has has completed the posting of 23,483 digital images of newspapers online at its website. They are keyword searchable! These cover a time frame from 1751 into the 1890s.

The North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project website states: "In 2009, the North Carolina State Archives completed a project to digitize newspapers from its collection that were, up until that time, only available on microfilm. These materials include papers dating from 1751-1890s from cities like Edenton (1787-1801), Fayetteville (1798-1795), Hillsboro (1786), New Bern (1751-1804), Salisbury (1799-1898), and Wilmington (1765-1816) - a total of 23,483 digital images that are keyword searchable."

The project page includes a list of the newspapers and years that have been made available online. The searches can be made by just a keyword, or limit it by year and/or newspaper title. An advanced search capability allows for additional parameters.

17 December 2009

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Childhood Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve
Until the early 1970s Christmas Eve was always celebrated with my Dad's side of the family. Grandma Toots was last with us for Christmas 1965 and Grandpa Stuart didn't pass away until 1974. We spent the early years at Grandma and Grandpa's at 2019 Princeton in St. Paul.Then we began with one year at our house, one year at Aunt Dorothy's and the next at Aunt Jean's. They both lived in Roseville, Minnesota right by each other. There were 10 of us cousins. I think Grandma Toots gave me either a Bobbsey Twins or Nancy Drew book every Christmas.

Christmas Eve at our house included homemade au gratin potatoes many of the years. My cousin Mary often mentions how good those were. Once year my Aunt Dorothy made the most mouthwatering beef roast that had cooked overnight in the oven. I thought that was so neat. It was excruciating when the adults made us kids eat dinner before opening presents.

Christmas Day
Until the early 1960s Christmas Day was spent with my maternal Grandparents, Maurice Micheal and Gertrude Margaret (Cook) Hanley. Then after 1967 it was just Grandma -- and she was with us through Christmas of 1997. She passed away in 1999. There were years in the 1950s where my great grandmother Nana and her sisters-in-law would join us. Until the early 1960s my Aunt Jeanie (Hanley) Ronnan was with us on Christmas Day. By the early 1960s she and her growing family stayed home in White Bear Lake. I missed having all those little cousins around. Watching them unwrap gift was more fun than watching my own sisters who were getting older. The picture on the left is from Christmas 1958. The three girls are me and my sisters and our first maternal cousin, Ricky.

Most often we had turkey on Christmas Day. My Mom made the best gravy!

13 December 2009

18 couples from same class still married after 50 years.

Today's Washington Post carries an article, "Still Going Steady" about a high school class of 1959 that includes 18 couples who are still married to each other. That's a neat thing for future genealogists. It's a heartwarming article for the holiday season.

In October, 200 members of the Washington-Lee High School 1959 class met for a reunion in Arlington, Virginia. That was nearly a third of the graduating class. The occasion, as those who passed basic arithmetic in elementary school can calculate, was their 50th anniversary of graduating.

Oh, one more tidbit for the family historians. "Bob and Jane Lanham head the reunion committee and have served as dedicated class archivists, keeping up with an extremely thorough alumni database." I can't help but wonder if they are also genealogists!

11 December 2009

Interesting show about Google on CNBC

I watched a fascinating hour long show on CNBC tonight about Google. The show was titled "Inside the Mind of Google." Google wasn't created until 1998. In some ways it seems like Google has been around forever.

The next times the show will run are on December 24th at 4 and 8 p.m. ET and December 25th at midnight ET. I wish it would run on a better date and time so that you had a decent opportunity to view it. As the CNBC website says, "See how Google came to dominate the search industry and turn it into a profit machine... and see where it's taking its next step... and how the company plans to address arguably the biggest controversy in today's digital age: privacy."

Last year I drove past their huge campus in Mountain View, California. This show gave me a little peek into the buildings. I wish I worked at some place where I received a free cell phone, free meals, free transportation to and from work and where they would do my laundry for me. The reason for all this and more is to ensure that the employees keep working and thinking. All in all, it seemed to be a decent working atmosphere.

10 December 2009

Federation of Genealogical Societies 2010 Conference Hotels

The 2010 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference is being held in Knoxville, Tennessee from 18-21 August, 2010. Who attends these conferences? People from all over the United States, Canada, and even from other countries. Among those who attend are genealogists just starting to research their families to those working on family history for decades. You will also find historians, librarians, genealogical society volunteers, professional genealogists, software developers, writers, archivists, and many others. We all have a common bond.

The FGS Conference News Blog is up and running and today's post is about the two conference hotels in Knoxville, Tennessee. It's important to make your hotel reservations early as the hotels often fill quite quickly. The FGS program and other information will be online at the FGS website later in January.

WWII babies fathered by German soldiers in occupied Europe

Today's Washington Post carries a sobering story about a search for identity by children whose fathers have turned out to be German soldiers. As the Post says "Historians estimate that more than 800,000 children were born to German soldiers enforcing the four-year Nazi occupation of Europe, about 200,000 in France alone."

For one of the men his search for his father was a "decades-long search, of harassing German archivists, of begging historians for clues, of following false leads." Many of the children did not know about their heritage for most of their lives. It sounds much like the frustration of adult adoptees trying to find their own birth parents.

09 December 2009

Those 7,000 books will have a home!

Back on October 30th, I reported on the the Sequoia Genealogical Society's collection of 7,000 books that was not going to be included in the new Tulare, California library building. Click here to read that posting.

Last evening, the Tulare City Council stated support for housing the collection in the new library building. It will still require a council vote next week but it looked good after two hours of comment! "The collection belongs to the city," Councilman Richard Ortega said. "It's our responsibility to see it's well kept."

Read the update in the Visalia Times-Delta by clicking here.

04 December 2009

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Christmas Cards

My mother always sent Christmas cards and I loved those that arrived at our house when I was growing up. I loved to look at the return addresses and see where people lived. Very few people included a letter telling about their year and the family. Now when I receive one of those from a relative I read every word -- looking at it from a genealogical standpoint. It's amazing how much detail can be found in them. So, don't groan when you receive one of those -- just be ready to cull info from it. Those births, deaths, marriages, divorces, graduations, and illnesses can all find a place in your genealogy software!

For most of the years I was married, I always sent cards and kept my list from year to year. In fact, I still have those lists. What a kick (and sad at the same time) to go back and remember neat people that are no longer on this earth.

I am lucky to have two Christmas single sided postcard size cards that a relative Marie Slaker sent to her son and daughter in 1915. This is a collateral line and I am not quite sure which Marie it is. The cards don't have the names of the son and daughter!

I also have a card sent to someone in the family by William H. Rohr of Watertown, Wisconsin. No year is given but he died in 1919. He is the half-brother of my Great Great Grandmother Marie
(Fisher) Slaker.

03 December 2009

NHPRC recommends 2.9 million in grants

This press release just came from the U.S. National Archives. It will be interesting to see how the projects pan out over time.

December 3, 2009

Washington, D.C*. New Archivist of the United States David Ferriero ended his first full week on the job by chairing the meeting of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), celebrating its 75th anniversary. At its meeting, the Commission recommended to the Archivist 32 grants totaling $2.9 million for projects in 20 states and the District of Columbia. These recommendations include grants for digitizing historical records, electronic records preservation, and historical documentary editions.

Grants totaling $1.6 million were recommended for 11 publishing projects from the U.S. Colonial and Early National Period, and three additional publishing projects received Commission endorsement. A grant to the Wisconsin Historical Foundation will support the 39th annual Institute for Editing of Historical Documents, which provides training for new documentary editors. Seven new volumes of documentary editions received subvention support for print editions.

The Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College received a grant to develop a virtual laboratory to support instruction in electronic records management, and the University of Denver will undertake a two-year project to develop and test open source records managements software called Liaison. Seven digitization projects were recommended, including the Historic African American Education Collections in Atlanta and New York's Colonial Council Records, 1664-1781. Mount Holyoke College, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Hawaii State Archives received funding to establish electronic records programs, and Michigan State University will begin Spartan Archive to manage the university's institutional memory through electronic records management archives. View the full list of recommended grants at http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2010/nr10-28.html.

Kathleen Williams, Executive Director of the NHPRC, presented the grant applications and policy issues to the full Commission. The Commission welcomed its newest member, Washington State Archivist Jerry Handfield, who represents the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators. Commission members also heard a presentation by John Nemmers, a Descriptive and Technical Services Archivist at the University of Florida Libraries, on the progress of "America's Swamp," a digitizing project on the history of the Florida Everglades, funded by the Commission.

Archivist David Ferriero is the Chairman of the Commission, which includes representatives from all three branches of the Federal government as well as the leading archival and historical professional associations. The NHPRC is the grantmaking arm of the National Archives. It is the sole federal funding agency whose only focus is the documentary heritage of the United States. Established in 1934, the NHPRC awards grants for preserving, publishing, and providing access to vital historical documents.

02 December 2009

Century Farms: Montana now recognizes

The Montana Historical Society has just created the Centennial Farm and Ranch Program, joining similar programs in other states. The new program, at the direction of the Legislature, is "to identify and honor the families that have kept a farm or ranch for 100 years or more." As in other states, the designation requires that a farm or ranch must have stayed in the same family and been passed down through “spouses, children, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or adopted children in a continuous sequence of ownership.” The Billings Gazette states: “The form is detailed and includes questions about the history of the farm or ranch and the people who lived on it.” That last sentence is what family historians want to hear. Click here to read the article. 
What is a Century Farm? In general, it is a farm in which ownership has stayed in the same family for a designated length of time such as 100 or 200 years or for operation since the formation of a state or county, province, or other milestone. Such programs exist across the U.S. and Canada. Even New Zealand honors Century Farms. Another requirement might be that the farm must be a minimum size or have a minimum farm, animal, crop, or other product output. 
What might Century Farm records hold for you? In many cases the programs add new farms and families each year. The applications range from a few line statement to special multi-page forms which require documentation. In most cases, these are programs not created by genealogists, but the records and clues provided are valuable in our research as the cart below shows. Not all applications have survived once the award was granted. In Minnesota, the older forms are housed at the Minnesota Historical Society. 
What might you find in such old forms? Family photos, original and then current farm acreage, legal description of land, photos of buildings, detailed genealogy, list of owners from past to present, name of original owner(s) and spouse, relationships of each to present owner, land abstract, how purchased, tax records, date land purchased, date and birthplace of original owner, deeds (including copies of originals held by family), past and current farm crops and products, place original owner first lived, original cost of farm, and even the names of the children of the original owner. .
Who or what operates the program? It might be run by a state or county fair, state agricultural society, the Grange, a private group, a farming industry magazine, state level agriculture department, farm extension agency, or other organization. The earliest program I have found is New York in 1937 with many of the honored farms dating back to the 17th century. Oregon’s began in 1958 just prior to the state’s centennial in 1959. North Carolina’s awards began in 1970. Many of the programs in the U.S. began at the time of the 1976 Bicentennial of the country. Some farming-related magazines publish yearly updates of farms added. As of 1986 there were 783 Century Farms in Tennessee. Iowa had over 8,000 century farms in 1985; today there are more than 15,000 in Iowa. 
Locating the records. Not all programs make the applications available for research. Older applications might be found in a variety of places: state and local archives, historical societies, large public library, or a university library special collections department. With so many repository catalogs online it is relatively easy to check for a location of older applications. A program may have an online listing of the honored farms or an index might be found via USGenWeb.com. If there is no website for a state’s program, check agricultural magazines, rural newspapers, and the state's genealogical and historical periodicals. 
Some websites to check out
Alberta Century Farm and Ranch Award
Marathon County, Wisconsin
Minnesota Century Farms
Missouri Century Farms
Tennessee Century Farms
Selected Century Farm Publications
Baer, M. Teresa, et al., eds. Centennial farms of Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press, 2003. [Includes genealogical indexes by Ruth Dorrel.] 
Century Farms of Wisconsin. Shawnee Mission, KS: Inter-Collegiate Press, 1984. 
Gorman, Libby, et al. North Carolina Century Farms: 100 Years of Continuous Agricultural Heritage. [Raleigh, NC]: North Carolina Department of Agriculture, 1989. 
Harriger, Jean K., ed. The Century Farms of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. Brookville, PA: Jefferson County Historical Society, 1988.
Kant, Joanita. A History of South Dakota Century Farms. Sioux Falls, SD: Century Farms Book Committee. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Co., 1985. 
Ladell, John and Monica. Inheritance: Ontario’s Century Farms Past & Present. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1979.
Leonard, Deach Ford. Century Farms of Vermont. Montpelier: Vermont Hist. Soc., 1986. 
Men of the Soil: Century Farms. n.p.: Nova Scotia Rural Beatification Committee, 1970. 
Morain, Thomas J. and David Miles. Century Farms of Iowa: The History of Farming in Iowa. Dallas: Taylor Pub. Co., 1986.
Wanless, Dorothy L. Century Farms of Minnesota: One Hundred Years of Changing Life Styles on the Farm. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Co., 1985. 
Washington’s Centennial Farms: Yesterday and Today. Olympia, WA: Washington State Department of Agriculture, [1989]. 
Wermuth, Mary L. Michigan’s Centennial Family Farm Heritage, 1986: A Michigan Sesquicentennial History. Hillsdale, MI: Ferguson Communications, 1986.
West, Carroll Van. Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective. [Nashville, TN]: Tennessee Department of Agriculture, 1986.

01 December 2009

Advent Calendar for Geneabloggers: The Christmas Tree

Christmastime has always been important in our family. As my children were growing we started some traditions. I had traditions as I grew up. Over the next few weeks I will share some of these as part of the days leading up to Christmas. I know that both the immediate and extended family will remember some of these things. I wonder what they will be saying about my Christmas trees over the years?

For Geneabloggers, the December 1st topic is the Christmas Tree. This is a perfect topic for my family.

Growing up we always had to have perfect trees. Mainly this was my Mother, but my Father was no slouch in that department. We looked and looked for the tree. Many years it was at a tree lot at Snelling and St. Clair avenues in St. Paul -- at the edge of the Macalester College campus. If the tree wasn't perfect in all ways, we had to get extra boughs to fill in the blank spots. My family members will laugh if they recall Mom sitting on the couch directing the way the tree was put into the stand, where the extra boughs were put in a hole drilled by my Dad. Then the ornaments. We did have some beautifull glass ones. We were allowed to hang most of them, but Mom had to supervise so they were in the right place. Then the lights and tinsel. They had to be placed perfectly and each strand of tinsel had to be smoothed flat with your fingers. The picture above is from 1957. Pay attention to the Santa in the upper left hand corner -- you will hear about it later.

The result? A wonderful looking tree that could be seen through the three huge windows of the yellow rambler at the corners of Bowdoin and Magoffin streets in St. Paul as you see in the picture above. As they got older, Mom and Dad did get an artificial tree but it was never "undecorated." It was simply wrapped up and carried down to the basement intact. I should be honest -- we did have an earlier fake tree. Really fake. Aluminum. It was the tree relegated to the basement. Ugly as all get out. Why did we have that? I have no idea. The picture of the aluminum tree is from 1962.

29 November 2009

Privacy laws? Even for 100+ year old burials

Sometimes privacy laws make absolutely no sense. An article was posted on the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal's website today that tells the story.

Two researchers have undertaken the task of identifying the graves of men who fought in the Civil War. One in particular happens to have died at the Milwaukee Hospital for the Insane and therein lies the stumbling block. As Tom Ludka says "the last known burial was in 1914 -- 95 years ago." He is the veterans' service director for Waukesha County. His cohort is Margaret Berres a middle school teacher and curator of the Oak Creek Historical Society.

The story is fascinating (click here to read it) and involves a family connection to what became the Pabst Brewing Company.

As the researchers tried to document the burial of the one soldier they were told they couldn't check the hospital's old records because of "federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rules." The burials at the hospital's cemetery occurred between 1880 and 1914 and likely include other Civil War vets in unmarked graves. Even though the particular soldier died over 100 years ago, they can't check to verify this. They were also told that it was state law that prohibited them from viewing the records and that someone checked the records and all that was found was a directive to send the soldier's body to another cemetery. Ludka and Berres believe this was not accomplished.

Different states have varied laws about such access but 100 year after a death just doesn't strike me as a privacy issue. If this man's information remains hidden, his burial will remain unmarked and not honored. A sad life, sad ending and continuing sadness surrounding Albert Melms who served his country, if only for a short time as a musician.

In my opinion, the records of such institutions help people understand family issues, possible mental health considerations in current family members, are an important part of social and community history, and often the people involved have not been remembered. Albert and others like him deserve to be remembered, their graves marked, and stories told.

28 November 2009

"British Newspapers, 1800-1900 " available for home access

I love being able to sit in my home in the U.S. and read newspapers from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. I have been doing this for the last couple of hours and as usually happens when I read old newspapers, I start reading everything and forget the exact thing I was searching. But I usually find things that I wish had my ancestors listed in them. The item at the right is from the Aberdeen Journal [Scotland].

A relatively new website makes these newspapers such as this one available for research right in your own home. Quoting directly from the company making this possible: “Before “British Newspapers, 1800-1900” was created, a genealogist would have to visit various libraries and scroll through hundreds of screens of newspapers on microfilm to look for this information. Now, researchers can keyword search millions of pages of text with one key stroke from the comfort of their homes, drastically reducing the time and energy needed to research family genealogy. With this new resource the task of researching family genealogy, once arduous and seemingly impossible, is now relatively easy and very exciting."

"Gale, part of Cengage Learning, along with The British Library and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), have made nineteenth-century British newspapers available on the internet. The database, known as “British Newspapers, 1800-1900" and available at http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs/, gives users access to over two million newspaper pages from 49 different national and regional newspapers from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Chosen by leading experts and academics, the newspapers represent a cross-section of nineteenth-century society and contain illustrated materials on a variety of topics, including business, sports, politics and entertainment.”

“To make this collection available to users, Gale turned The British Library's collection of nineteenth-century newspapers into a high-resolution digital format with searchable images. The database presents online access to a key set of primary sources for the study of nineteenth-century history. For the 49 newspapers selected, every front page, editorial, birth and death notice, advertisement and classified ad that appeared within their pages is easily accessible from what is a virtual chronicle of history for this period. Users of the database can search every word on every page.”

Among the features I used on the website:
  • Short history of the individual newspaper
  • Short history of British newspapers in general which has sources cited!
  • Searched all newspapers for an uncommon surname
  • Searched a specific newspaper for a surname within a range of years
  • Searched for names in a specific newspaper
  • Searched for a surname and a city in the U.S.
  • Searched for a surname and a city in Scotland
  • Checked my search history
  • Printed an article (also could have downloaded, saved, or emailed it)
  • Browsed the alphabetical list of publications
  • Checked the map showing what cities’ newspapers are included
While I didn't find anything on direct ancestors I found some articles that relate to possible collateral lines. I also gained a feeling of the social history of the years I searched. The articles loaded quickly.

Among the types of articles I saw:
  • Lists of births, deaths and marriages from these countries
  • Some U.S. b, d, and m in these newspapers
  • Accident notices
  • Bankruptcies
  • People sentenced to jail and to gaol
  • Business partnerships dissolved
  • Politics
  • Religion
Over two million pages are included and are all fully text searchable with keywords in context visible in the results list. Access cost:
  • A 24-hour pass for £6.99 that provides you access to 100 articles over that period. [ca. $11.52 US]
  • A 7-day pass for £9.99 that provides you access to 200 articles over that period. [ca. $16.46 US]
A larger library, especially a university library, near you might have this database. Before visiting the library check to see who may log on to do searches.

Check out the website at http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs/

27 November 2009

WorldVitalRecords.com: Free Access to Early American Records through Nov. 30

WorldVitalRecords.com sent this press release.

"In honor of Thanksgiving, through November 30, 2009, we have over 200 early American databases available to the public for FREE. This free access include vital records, court and land records, and military records."

It includes early Colonial Databases from 1607 - 1800 such as Mayflower family lineages, DAR lineages, and many other items for a total of 200 databases. Click here to see the databases. Simply click on each of the topics, Birth, Death and Marriage Records, Land/Court Records, and Military to see the material in each topic. You do not need to enter your credit card number or any personal details to access the info.

25 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving 1948

Paula Stuart, age 4 1/2 months with her paternal Grandfather E. J. Stuart.

U. S. Thanksgiving history from the National Archives

November 25, 2009


"Thanksgiving, like Ambassadors, Cabinet officers and others Smeared with political ointment, Depends for its existence on Presidential appointment." -Ogden Nash

Washington, DC . . . On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789, as an official holiday of "sincere and humble thanks." The nation then celebrated its first Thanksgiving under its new Constitution. On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln made the traditional Thanksgiving celebration a nationwide holiday to be commemorated each year on the fourth Thursday of November. In the midst of a bloody Civil War, President Lincoln issued a Presidential Proclamation in which he enumerated the blessings of the American people and called upon his countrymen to "set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise."

In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November to lengthen the Christmas shopping season and boost the economy, which was still recovering from the Depression. This move, which set off a national debate, was reversed in 1941 when Congress passed and President Roosevelt approved a joint house resolution establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

The three-page engrossed Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln is part of Record Group 11, General Records of the United States Government; Presidential Proclamations, 1791-2000, in the custody of the National Archives. The October Proclamation (Presidential Proclamation 2373) signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt on October 31, 1939, is also part of Record Group 11 and the Presidential Proclamation series. The House Joint Resolution (H.J. Res. 41) is part of Record Group 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives held by the Center for Legislative

Related images and these documents are available on the National Archives website at www.archives.gov, under "News and Events" or go directly to http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2010/nr10-25.html.

President Richard Nixon and turkey
Turkey presentation for Thanksgiving , 11/18/1969.Nixon Presidential Materials Staff (NLNS), National Archives at College Park

President Harry Truman and turkey
Photograph of President Truman receiving a Thanksgiving turkey from members of the Poultry and Egg National Board and other representatives of the turkey industry, outside the White House. , 11/16/1949 Harry S. Truman Library (NLHST)

George Washington's October 3, 1789, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 10/03/1789. Old Military and Civil Records LICON, Textual Archives Services Division (NWCTB), National Archives

President Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of October 3,
1863 (Presidential Proclamation 106). , 10/03/1863 Old Military and Civil Records LICON, Textual Archives Services Division (NWCTB), National Archives

The House Joint Resolution Making the Last Thursday in November a Legal Holiday, 12/26/41. 77th Congress, Record Group 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives held by the Center for Legislative Archives.

See also: "The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings" - a special online exhibit about President Roosevelt's commemoration of this important day: http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/thanksg.html

24 November 2009

Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses is back!

Over at GenealogyBlog.com, Leland Meitzler announced that Dollarhide and Thorndale's Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses 1790-1820 is back in print!

As Leland states, "The county has always been used as the basic Federal census unit. Genealogical research in the censsus, therefore, begins with identifying the correct county jurisdictions. This work (one of the top-five best selling genealogy books) shows all U.S. county boundaries from 1790 to 1920. On each of the nearly 400 maps the old county lines are superimposed over the modern ones to highlight the boundary changes at ten-year intervals."

And that's not all! For more details and ordering info, click here. This is a guidebook that belongs on every genealogist's book shelf. You might even print out the announcement and hint to your family that it would make a perfect Christmas gift. Don't just look at the pictures (maps), be sure to read all the prefatory info and the material on each page. You will be amazed at all this guide offers.

22 November 2009

Black Sheep Sunday: Alexander Charles Stuart

I have not found anything as far as criminal activity regarding my Great Grandfather, Alexander Charles Stuart, but he still wasn't a man that his family always looked up to. Alex Stuart was born 2 August 1847 in Arbroath, Angus, Scotland, the son of James Stuart and Helenor Edward. James Stuart was born about 1815 to Robert Stuart and Mary Grant. James' date of birth and parents' names have not been proven. They come from obituaries and other sources. The likely parish is Strathdon, Aberdeen, Scotland. The parish records of Strathdon have no entries for a number of years. Helenor Edward was born 30 October 1819 in Brechin, Angus, Scotland, the daughter of James Edward and Magdelene Allardice.

In 1852 James and Helenor and four children born in Scotland sailed to America. They settled in Oshkosh and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Helenor's brother James Edward/Edwards and family also settled in the same area.

Alex was also called Alec and A. C. In the very early 20th century he left his family in St. Paul, Minnesota, and took off for Salina, Kansas where his brother, Robert, lived. His wife, Emma Louise Slaker, was left behind to raise their seven living children. Two daughters had died previously while they were living in Ripon, Wisconsin and Elgin, Illinois. Alex was a wanderer and two of his grandchildren, Bill and Dorothy, related the stories of him always on the lookout for "something better." He was constantly on the move. Often, it was not the best thing for his growing family. They moved frequently, even within the same city, likely to stay one step ahead of the rent collector. His main occupation was that of carving tombstones.

When he abandoned his family, his oldest son, Earl James, quit school to support the family. Alex's granddaughter Dorothy, told that E. J., her Dad, lied about his age in order to get work to support the family. The grandchildren also remembered hearing that Emma was a pretty stern woman.

When Alex was going blind from glaucoma, he did come back to St. Paul permanently, for Emma to take care of him. And she did. Alex died 2 April 1942 and Emma died 11 November 1951. Both died in St. Paul.

20 November 2009

"Recently Added Online Birth and Marriage Records Indexes."

Over at Genealogy Roots Blog, Joe Beine has posted a list of "Recently Added Online Birth and Marriage Records Indexes."

If you haven't seen the links that Joe has compiled check them out. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see his other ongoing links. I know you will agree with me that Joe has provided a valuable service for researchers.

19 November 2009

And another research closure: Iron Range Research Center

Well, it has actually had a name change from that before today. But that doesn't matter when the place will now be closed to the public as of Friday, 20 November 2009 at 5:00 p.m. The name change to Minnesota Discovery Center didn't help the complex which is located in Chisholm, Minnesota.

The announcement says that it will be temporarily closed to the public. Read the announcement here. Yes, finances are the reason. The place formerly known as The Iron Range Interpretive Center, and also as Ironworld, opened in 1977. It was initially funded during the administration of then Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich. Perpich was from the Iron Range area of northeastern Minnesota. The research area opened in 1980.

The core collection concentrated on the people of the Iron Range area of Northeastern Minnesota, and on the area's iron mining and logging industries. Then it took on a wider scope with the addition of statewide censuses, soundexes, and county level naturalization records for Minnesota. The IRRC also had microfilms of federal census records and soundexes for Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The collection includes governmental records, personal papers, newspapers, church records, maps, family histories, city directories, and an interesting oral history collection. I loved the index to mining accidents and deaths.

Volunteers indexed many records such as the statewide index to district court (county level) naturalizations. The indexes were on its website. The naturalization index is also available at Ancestry.com.

I have been thinking of doing a blog post to let researchers know more about this place but I certainly didn't think it would be about sad news.

18 November 2009

Great electronic news from the DAR

Eric Grundset, Director of the DAR Library in Washington, DC has just released some great news about the DAR and its website:

"After nearly a decade of scanning, indexing, and other behind-the-scenes work by DAR members and employees, the Daughters of the American Revolution is pleased to announce the availability of the DAR Genealogical Research System on our public website. Here are the direct links:

or www.dar.org (and click on the Library button at the top, then the second tab in the left-hand column).

The GRS is a growing collection of databases that provide access to many materials collected by the DAR over the past 119 years. Included in this collection of databases is the GRC National Index which has been available to researchers for the past few years. There are still some kinks we're working out here and there.

When you go to the link above, you will find several tabs that will enable searching in the various databases:

Ancestor - established DAR Revolutionary War Ancestors and basic information about them with listings of the applications submitted by descendants who joined the DAR [updated daily]

Member - limited access to information on deceased/former DAR members - not current members.

Descendants - index of generations in applications between the DAR member and the Revolutionary War ancestor. There is much eighteenth and nineteenth-century information here. [ongoing indexing project]

GRC - everyname index to 20,000 typescript volumes (some still being indexed) of genealogical records such as cemeteries, Bibles, etc. This index is not limited to the period of the American Revolution at all.

Resources - [In particular, the digitized DAR Library Revolutionary Pension Extract Card Index and the Analytical Index Cards. Other information sources will be coming in the near future, mostly relating to Revolutionary War service, bibliographies, Forgotten Patriots (updates), etc. Read the introductions to these to learn why these are both important genealogical indexes. For example, the Rev. War pension index includes the names of people mentioned in those pensions that were abstracted (not just the pensioner or widow)!!!]

Library Catalog - our book, periodical, and manuscript holdings

Each of these has interrelated content, and a description of each is given more fully on the website. You will notice restricted information in many search results. This is the result of a concerted effort to protect the identity of our members while providing historical genealogical information to researchers.

The national numbers of members (without the names of living members) given in the search results are needed to order copies of applications and supplemental applications. They do not lead online researchers to any other information about the member."

DAR Library

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

1776 D Street, N. W.

Washington, DC 20006-5303


15 November 2009

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

The discount registration deadline for this wonderful week of courses right in the backyard of the Family History Library is tomorrow, November 16th. You save $25.00 if you register today or tomorrow! For all the course details click here. If you wish to read my previous lengthier blog entry about SLIG, click here.

Diocese of St. Augustine archive hosts oldest American documents

The Catholic News Agency recently distributed a story with that title about the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. The opening paragraph stated "The oldest extant European documents written in U.S. continental territory are now hosted at the Archives of the Diocese of St. Augustine."

The story also said "One of the earliest documents, dated Jan. 24, 1594, is a handwritten record by Fr. Diego Escobar de Sambrana. It describes the marriage of soldier Gabriel Hernandez to Catalina de Valdes in St. Augustine." So why can't we find "modern" marriage records for some of our ancestors! The material in the archives was brought back to one place from a variety of other archives.

On September 22d, a new archives building was dedicated. "Curators intend to digitize the archives so that they can be easily and safely used by researchers." Unfortunately, the article does not give any time line for that process. Diocesan archives information can be found here and that includes their list of rules for researchers. "The diocese maintains Episcopal archives (1857-1967) and the parish registers of the Cathedral-Basilica (1594-1881). The archives also handles requests for genealogical research and the history of Catholicism in Florida."

13 November 2009

The Association of Professional Genealogists elects new officers and board

Its been a bunch of years since I was an officer of the Association of Professional Genealogists. The elections go on year after year and bring in new officers and board members to lead the organization. The results of the recent election were released today. Congratulations to you all and you have my support and thanks for serving. I know it is a big volunteer commitment, but it is worth it. A big thanks to all the outgoing officers and board members and to the others who ran in this election.

13 November 2009

Laura G. Prescott Elected APG President

WESTMINSTER, Colo., November 13 - Laura G. Prescott of Brookline, New Hampshire, has been elected president of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the world's leading professional organization of family history and related professionals. Prescott is genealogist for the Nickerson Family Association and a consultant for Footnote.com. She will succeed Jake Gehring of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Prescott, reflecting on her upcoming tenure, said "I'm very excited about the next two years. We have a diverse and enthusiastic group of people on the board. This enthusiasm, coupled with the momentum from the current administration, will surely bring benefits to our members. Chapters will continue to play a vital role in reaching members and genealogists on a local level, while we try innovative ways, nationally and internationally, to educate and inform the membership, as well as aspiring genealogists. As professionals, we have a responsibility to set an example and support each other in making positive contributions to the entire genealogical community and to the profession."

APG members also elected three members of the board's executive committee to two-year terms, eleven of its nineteen regional directors, and two members to one-year terms on the nominating committee.

Kenyatta D. Berry of Santa Monica, California, a genealogist, entrepreneur, and lawyer with more than 12 years of experience in genealogy research and writing was elected vice president of the nearly 2,000 member organization. Andrew M. "Drew" Smith, MLS, of Odessa, Florida, president of the Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa, and co-host of the Genealogy Guys Podcast was elected secretary. Current APG treasurer, Gordon Gray of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was re-elected. He owns GrayLine Group, a genealogical/family history research business and is the president of the International Society for British Genealogy & Family History.

Eleven regional director positions will be filled by:

West Region:
Suzanne Russo Adams, AG, of Utah, specialist in Italian research and employee of Ancestry.com. James Ison, AG, CG, of Utah, president of the APG Salt Lake Chapter and manager of Strategy and Planning for the Family History Library.

Midwest Region:
Mary Clement Douglass, Salina, Kansas, former museum curator and co-founder of the APG Heartland Chapter. Jay Fonkert, CG, St. Paul, Minnesota, genealogical educator and writer, and president of the Minnesota Genealogical Society.

Southeast Region:
Alvie L. Davidson, CG, a Florida-based Private Investigator and Circuit Court qualified expert. Craig Roberts Scott, CG, President and CEO of Heritage Books, Inc. Melanie D. Holtz, of North Carolina, specialist in Italian research.

Northeast Region:
Debra Braverman, New York, national speaker and forensic genealogist who regularly testifies as an expert witness. Pamela S. Eagleson, CG, Maine, researcher, writer, and teacher focusing on New England, the mid-Atlantic, and Midwest.

International Regions:
Michael Goldstein of Israel, traces roots worldwide, specializing in family reunification, heir searches, and holocaust research. Carole Riley, a professional genealogist based in Sydney, Australia with a background in computer applications.

David McDonald, CG, of Wisconsin, currently serving as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and a director of the National Genealogical Society; and Donna M. Moughty, Florida, speaker and writer were elected to one-year terms on the nominations committee.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (http://www.apgen.org), established in 1979, represents nearly 2,000 genealogists, librarians, writers, editors, historians, instructors, booksellers, publishers, and others involved in genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring, and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy, local, and social history. Its members represent all fifty states, Canada, and thirty other countries.

The new Archivist of the United States is now on the job!

November 13, 2009


Washington, DC. . . David Ferriero, the former Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries and a leader in the field of research librarianship, was sworn in today as the tenth Archivist of the United States at a small ceremony at the National Archives at College
Park. Mr. Ferriero will move to Washington and assume his duties full-time in the very near future.

At his swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Ferriero said, "I'm very excited about being here. I am looking forward to jumping in with both feet to work with the staff at the National Archives on the important issues that we face in a world increasingly dependent upon information and

11 November 2009

Ancestry.com: Additional Military Records + free access through Friday, November 13th.

Ancestry.com Publishes for the First Time Online Collection of Twentieth-Century Navy Records Site Celebrates Veterans Day with Free Access to Entire U.S. Military Records Collection

PROVO, UT (Nov. 11, 2009) - Ancestry.com today added more than 600 Navy cruise books to its online collection of military records to commemorate Veterans Day. This historic effort is the result of an agreement between Ancestry.com, the world's largest online resource for family history, and the United States Navy. As part of the agreement, Ancestry.com set up scanners on location at the Navy Department Library in Washington, DC, and has spent several months digitizing the cruise books for this occasion.

The collection of Navy cruise books, available exclusively online at Ancestry.com, represents nearly 40 years of cruises following World War II (1950-1988) and chronicles an estimated 450,000 servicemen deployed at sea during that time. Styled after yearbooks, the cruise books include the names and photographs of individuals who served aboard the ship and highlight not only significant milestones that took place during the cruise, but also the day-to-day life on board ship. While not every Navy cruise was documented in a cruise book, the Navy Department Library has on file an estimated 3,500 cruise books, which Ancestry.com plans to digitize and add to this collection over time.

"When Ancestry.com approached the Navy about digitizing these cruise books for online access, we were thrilled," said Captain Charles Todd Creekman, Jr., USN (Ret.) Executive Director of the Naval Historical Foundation. "A cruise book offers an insider's perspective into what these sailors experienced, and the strong camaraderie they established, while serving their country at sea."

The Navy cruise books are part of Ancestry.com's U.S. Military Collection, which includes 100 million names that span more than three centuries of American military service. "When you have a family member who has served in the Armed Forces, you can't help but be proud," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. "This Veterans Day, we're celebrating America's military heroes of yesterday and today and invite every American with military roots to see if they can learn something new about their family member on Ancestry.com."

In honor of America's military heroes, the entire U.S. Military Collection on Ancestry.com can be searched free through Nov. 13. To begin exploring your family's military heritage, visit www.ancestry.com/military.

06 November 2009

New Archivist of the United States

This press release was just received from the U.S. National Archives. I hope this bodes well for all types of researchers and the preservation of and true access to the records.

David Ferriero Confirmed by U.S. Senate as 10th Archivist of the United States

Washington, DC. . . Today, the United States Senate voted to confirm David Ferriero as the 10th Archivist of the United States. Mr. Ferriero was the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries and is a leader in the field of library science. Mr. Ferriero, who was nominated by President Obama on July 28, 2009, will succeed Professor Allen Weinstein who resigned as Archivist in December 2008 for health reasons. Deputy Archivist Adrienne Thomas is serving as the Acting Archivist until Mr. Ferriero assumes his duties.

As the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries (NYPL), Mr. Ferriero was part of the leadership team responsible for integrating the four research libraries and 87 branch libraries into one seamless service for users, creating the largest public library system in the United States and one of the largest research libraries in the world. Mr. Ferriero was in charge of collection strategy; conservation; digital experience; reference and research services; and education, programming, and exhibitions.

Among his responsibilities at the NYPL was the development of the library's digital strategy, which currently encompasses partnerships with Google and Microsoft, a web site that reaches more than 25 million unique users annually, and a digital library of more than 750,000 images that may be accessed free of charge by any user around the world.

Before joining the NYPL in 2004, Mr. Ferriero served in top positions at two of the nation's major academic libraries, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, and Duke University in Durham, NC. In those positions, he led major initiatives including the expansion of facilities, the adoption of digital technologies, and a reengineering of printing and publications.

Mr. Ferriero earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from Northeastern University in Boston and a master's degree from the Simmons College of Library and information Science, also in Boston. After serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War, he started in the humanities library at MIT, where he worked for 31 years, rising to associate director for public services and acting co-director of libraries.

In 1996, Mr. Ferriero moved to Duke University, where he served as University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs until 2004. At Duke, he raised more than $50 million to expand and renovate the university's library and was responsible for instructional technology initiatives, including overseeing Duke's Center for Instructional Technology.

As Archivist of the United States, Mr. Ferriero will oversee the National Archives and Records Administration, an independent Federal agency created by statute in 1934. The National Archives safeguards and preserves the records of the U.S. Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to records that document the rights of American citizens, the actions of federal officials, and the national experience.

04 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday: The Stuart Grandchildren Christmas 1962

Christmas 1962 at 1080 Bowdoin in St. Paul

All the grandchildren of Earl James and Olga Theodora (Toots) (Carlsen) Stuart.

01 November 2009

Purdue year books online

Did you, an ancestor, or other family member attend Purdue University? The Purdue yearbooks from 1889 through 2007 are now online according to a November 1st article at BoilerStation.com.

"Sammie Morris, head of archives and special collections at Purdue, said the library staff saw a need to scan the yearbooks due to the many requests that come from out-of-town individuals searching for information. And, she said, month-to-month statistics show hundreds of thousands of visits to the site since its launch in February."

It is possible to search by a name, topic, building name, or other ways. An advanced search capability is offered for this and other digitized items. Checking year after year shows a changing view of the campus, courses, activities, and of course, the students.

The 1907 edition shows very few women but has an interesting entry on page 173 for one of the men, Lester Elliot Gunn from Toledo, Ohio. "He expects to enter the employ of the Wabash Railroad and we all hope to see him President some day." Sadly, there is a handwritten addition to his entry "Deceased October 2, 1918." In 1907 the thesis topic of each graduate is listed.

Read the full online article by clicking here. The name of the yearbook? Debris. No, I did not check for the reasoning behind that name. Any Purdue grads want to explain?

30 October 2009

2010 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG)

Please share the following with your genealogy friends:

Five days of learning. Five days of discovering ways to find your ancestors. Five days of networking. Five days of techniques to break through brick walls. Five days of fun. Five days of working on your own family. Five days of making new friends.

And to top all that off, you will be near the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. SLIG classes take place in the downtown Radisson Hotel which is less than 2 blocks from the library. Heck, you don't ever have to venture out if you don't want to. Stay at the hotel and take the elevator or stairs to the classroom and to the restaurant. If you decide that you do want to visit the library (is there any doubt?) there is usually no problem walking on downtown SLC sidewalks even in winter. I am always amazed at how clean those are kept no matter the time of year. You may hear weather forecasts of big snow in the area but that is up in the mountains not down in the valleys. Traditionally, SLIG draws students from all over the United States and some from Canada. If you don't normally get to see snow in the winter months, you might be lucky enough to see a couple inches that week but it doesn't always happen.

Live locally? Take the Trax to within 1 block of the library. Don't make enough use of the library that is practically in your own backyard? This is a great opportunity to learn from instructors who are very familiar with the FHL.

Registrations made by November 16th save $25.00 off the full price. For your fee you receive all the classes in the course you choose, course materials, an orientation breakfast and the Friday night banquet. Optional evening classes and additional dinner tickets are extra. To see the full and varied list of courses click here.

I am in charge of Course I that is an intermediate level course on U.S. resources titled American Records and Research: Focusing on Families. The 2010 classes focus on topics related to researching individuals and families in the 19th-21st centuries. Sixteen informative classroom hours on significant U.S. records and strategies take you beyond basic research tools. In addition, for this course only, 6.5 hours of help in the Family History Library during the Institute week provide hands-on assistance and guidance. This totals 22.5 hours for your one fee. Time in the library will also include mini-tours and instruction on the recently expanded number of digital scanners for capturing your own images from microfilm.

7,000 books with no place to go

I just read a story about the Sequoia Genealogical Society in Tulare, California. The society owns between 5,000 - 7,000 books that have been housed in the public library in Tulare since 1976. They were recently informed that they are being "evicted" even before moving into the new city library. The space for the genealogy section had been on the drawing board for the new library. The library says it needs to serve more people. "The library now plans to use that space for a learning center, which would offer tutoring, job training and community group activities."

I wonder if the library ever did anything to promote the genealogy section that was staffed by volunteers? Click here to read the full article. The genealogy section is included on the library's website here. The website says it is "one of the largest collections of genealogical materials between Los Angeles and San Francisco."

28 October 2009

Eating lunch while learning

It's good to eat a sensible lunch and it's even better if you pack it yourself. Accompany that lunch with a historical lecture and you are feeding both mind and body. Historical societies and libraries often have noontime "Brown Bag Lectures." Yes you may need to take some extra time from your day to attend the full lecture but most run about an hour. This is a great way to gain education while eating. That lecture might even be at a place where you need to do some research. Maybe a co-worker would be willing to accompany you to the lecture (and while on the way to and from you can tell how the lecture relates to family history research). Some are free and others have a small fee. Many offer some liquid refreshments to accompany your lunch. Here are a variety of places with such lectures:

Idaho Historical Society, Boise, Idaho
The Brown Bag programs occur the second Tuesday each month from September through May from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Idaho State Historical Museum.

Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska
November 19: Saving Native American Artifacts at the Museum of Nebraska History
Presenters: Tina Koeppe, NSHS Collections Technician and Jessica Waite, NSHS Conservation Technician. Learn how staff at the Museum of Nebraska History are working to save over 3000 Native American artifacts from the ravages of time.

University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi
November 16: Brown Bag Lecture/Film: 'Makin Do: Rural Women Coping with Difficult Times'
"This film captures women's lives in depression-era Union County. Topics include midwifery, birth and bartering, as well as farm and factory women. The documentary was produced by the Department of History and the Center for Media and Documentary Studies. Moderated by Elizabeth Payne, professor of history."

Birmingham Public Library
, Birmingham, Alabama
November 1: Guest Lecture and Exhibit Opening for Digging Out of the Great Depression-Federal Programs at Work

Ohio County Public Library
, Wheeling, West Virginia
December 15: A History of the Wheeling Fire Department

27 October 2009

Do you have Pillsbury family connections?

Do you have an ancestral connection to the Pillsbury family (England, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Minnesota)? If you have a bit of change lying around you might be able to bid for the Pillsbury home on Lake Minnetonka, just west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It even has a connection to the restoration of Ellis Island.

The estate, Southways, was sold out of the family in 1991. It could be that the 40,000 square foot mansion that sits on 13 acres is not large enough for you. The price has been 53.5 million dollars from the current owner but it has not sold and the next tactic is to sell it via auction. Sealed bids are due by December 9th.

The Ellis Island connection is that the current owners "commissioned New York City-based architects Beyer Blinder Belle, famous for restoring Ellis Island and Grand Central Station" to restore the mansion.

If you are the successful bidder, I am available for luncheon when you move in. According to Google Maps I can be there in 19 minutes and I am familiar with the area. There would be space for a very nice genealogy library and even for some meetings. The closest I have been to the Pillsbury family is buying a bag of their flour and doing some minimal research on them.

To read the full story click here. Photos of the house and grounds are here. Lake Minnetonka is a beautiful area.

21 October 2009

Another kind of electronic obituaries

Many years ago a notice about a funeral may have appeared somewhere in the town square, in the local post office, or the info was passed by word of mouth. Then we had printed newspaper funeral notices and obituaries. Today we also have online obituaries via newspapers and funeral home websites.

Change has come once again. A funeral home in Des Moines, Iowa is posting obituaries on billboards. Yes, you read that correctly. I had to reread the article about it.

They appear on electronic billboards and rotate with other advertising. I can see it now. Attend John Q. Smith's funeral followed by the ads for BBQ ribs, a local "gentlemen's" club, the all-you-can-eat buffet, and then one for the 10:00 news team. How did obituaries ever escape the Burma Shave style series roadside ads? That could have said --

Friday 4:00
Stop to see
John Q. Smith
Don't be late
Oaks Funeral Home

"Jessica Koth, spokeswoman for the National Funeral Directors Association in Brookfield, Wis., said it's the first time she's heard of a funeral home displaying service information on a billboard." Read the Associated Press article by clicking here.

19 October 2009

October 24th, Pittsburgh PA Seminar

My next lecture stop is the 2009 Fall Conference of the North Hills Genealogists on Saturday, October 24th at the Christ Episcopal Church, 5910 Babcock Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15237. Sandra MacLean Clunies, CG, CGL is also presenting at this event.

For more info check the North Hills Genealogists website. http://www.northhillsgenealogists.org/

My topics:

  • Tho’ They Were Poor, They May Have Been Rich in Records
  • Lord Preserve Us! Church Records for Family History Research
  • NUCMC & Its Cousins: Keys to "Lost" Ancestral
  • A Baker’s Dozen: Easy Ways to Begin Writing Your Family History
Sandy's topics:

  • Jump the Pond: Tracing Immigrant Families
  • Research in Washington, DC, from Home
The end of the day features a Wrap-Up Session: Panel Discussion with an opportunity to ask the speakers questions during a panel discussion moderated by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG.

CG, CGL, Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are Service Marks (SM) of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and are used under license after periodic evaluations by the Board.

18 October 2009

Home from Southern California.

I just spent four wonderful days communing with other genealogists in Southern California. I was not expecting the 90 degree temps! As I reported earlier, I spoke on Wednesday evening to the Genealogical Society of North Orange County California and yesterday presented four lectures for the South Orange County California Genealogical Society. Both groups have a very dedicated segment of volunteers. Chairs, display tables, refreshments, microphone, and the needs of the speaker were taken care of quickly and professionally. The friendliness of the folks at both meetings made it difficult to say goodbye. I was also able to spend some quality time with long-time genealogy friends and had some wonderful meals.

I answered dozens of questions from audience members and that is another part of these events that I love. Quite a few folks mentioned that they read my blog so this is a special hello to them!

If you live in the Southern California area, watch for monthly events and annual seminars sponsored by both of these societies. They do a great job of making the audiences and speaker feel comfortable.

Where am I off to next? I will be in the Pittsburgh area -- watch here for details in a day or two.

DAR guide wins prestigious award

This is a press release from the American Society of Genealogists:

FORGOTTEN PATRIOTS wins the Jacobus Award

At its meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 10 October 2009, the American Society of Genealogists voted to give their annual Donald Lines Jacobus Award to Forgotten Patriots, African American and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War: A Guide to Service, Sources, and Studies edited by Eric Grundset, Director of the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., and published by the DAR in 2008. wins the Jacobus Award

Researched by Briana L. Diaz, Hollis L. Gentry, and Jean D. Strahan, as well as by the editor, this substantial reference work has a general introduction, state-by-state introductions, sources, and bibliography, an alphabetical list of names with source codes, maps, photographs, and a glossary of obscure words found in the original records. Many appendices deal with topics such as documenting the color of soldiers and using names as clues to finding them. It is not a collection of biographies but a compilation of source references for individual soldiers that will greatly improve the breadth and accuracy of research. Since Revolutionary War service is often the starting point for research on families of color, this book opens new doors in an increasingly compelling field of genealogy.

The Donald Lines Jacobus Award was established in 1972 to encourage sound scholarship in genealogical writing. It is presented to a model genealogical work published within the previous five years. A list of the books receiving the award in previous years appears on the American Society of Genealogists website (www.fasg.org). Anyone planning to publish their own research, especially as a compiled genealogy or family history, would do well to study the format and style of these books.

12 October 2009

Southern California here I come

During this week, I will be making two appearances in southern California. I look forward to meeting blog readers. It is snowing here in my part of Minnesota and I will be happy to leave it. It will melt, but it's still so early to see this much. (At least in my mind!)

Wednesday, 14 October, Yorba Linda, California
An evening presentation for the Genealogical Society of North Orange County California. The title is Research Rewards in County Courthouse and Town Hall Records. Click here for details on the society's events for Family History Month.

Saturday, 17 October, Mission Viejo, California
I will be presenting an all -day seminar Locating those Illusive Ancestors for the South Orange County California Genealogical Society. For the full flyer and registration details click here. To see my previous post with the list of the lectures click here.

09 October 2009

Equality among family history researchers

Many scenarios come to mind. When you attend a genealogy meeting and "talk genealogy" with those sitting around you, what comes to mind about the other people? Is it their home life, life style, color of their skin, political leaning, or religious affiliation? Do you consider whether they are single, married, divorced, in a relationship, gay, straight, thin, fat, tall, short, have children, or drive only a red car? I bet these things don't come to mind. Genealogy is a great equalizer.

Yes, we might be concerned about someone's genetics -- but only to see if we might have some common genealogical background that DNA testing might help out. We might be interested in their religion if they live in a particular town and attend a particular church -- but only to see if they can obtain a copy of a christening record for you.

In that conversation one person mentions that they are German and their parents came to the U.S. from Germany. Ah -- you are now interested. Parents alive? Might they be able to help you translate a document?

If we ask what side the family fought on during a specific war, we aren't asking so that we know whether to shun them, but to see what kind of knowledge about history they might be able to tell you about or where some records might be.

When visiting a library or archives, those questions in the first paragraph don't really matter when we meet the librarian or archivist. We want to know if they have knowledge of the archives' records from the Civil War or if one of them could help read two faded words on a document.

If someone says that their great grandfather was in prison, we don't move to a different chair, we ask what prison and whether they were able to find any records.

As I have said many times, wouldn't it be great if the whole world operated like this? Hate crimes, political tirades, religious persecution, and so many other things could be distant memories. It's Family History Month. How can we get the rest of the people to think like genealogists?

Among my genealogy friends (aka genealogy family) I have tall friends, short friends, gay friends, straight friends, friends who don't know how to drive, friends with silver cars, friends with no religious affiliation, friends with advanced degrees, friends who struggle to spell correctly, friends who are young, old, retired, and just about any other label. But labels sometimes hurt and in genealogy there are few of those. Equality is important for everyone.

05 October 2009

Hamm's Beer and Brewery History

Hamm's Beer -- a name synonymous with the east side of St. Paul. The St. Paul Pioneer Press ran an article a couple days ago reminding me of the long history of this St. Paul institution. I don't think that I will ever get the song from the commercial out of my mind. I figured that I might find it on You Tube and here it is!

What's the genealogy connection? There is one. Years ago I was a subcontractor on a research project that involved the genealogy of the owner of a brewery in Brooklyn, New York. That was pre- online research days. I found that the beer collecting hobbyists have produced books to assist themselves and that much historical background is found in some of those. Books exist that tell about the history of beer cans, breweries, brewers, and even breweries in a given city or area. Visit Worldcat.org and type in terms such as "brewery history," been can collector," and similar search terms. Today a lot of that info is online but the books are generally better for genealogical purposes, especially those with source bibliographies.

A guide to beer cans, their provenance, and worth might detail the owners of a specific beer brand over the years. In the one I worked on, the books detailed the owners and even listed information from land tax records as to who owned the brewery.

If your ancestor wasn't the owner or brewer, your family history could still benefit from the history of a brewery where a family member worked.

Brewery Collectibles Club of America

Buffalo Brewery History

Roslyn Brewing Company (Washington State)

American Breweriana Association

A source for purchasing many such books: http://www.beerbooks.com

02 October 2009

October is Archives Month, Family History Month, and a few other important designations

Among many other valuable and some strange designations, October is Archives Month, Family History Month, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Archives Month
Visit a local, state, national, religious, ethnic or other archive this month. Thank the archivists for taking care of historical records. Tell then you appreciate all that they do to preserve them. Acknowledge that they are generally working under stressful situations today as their budgets have been cut, hours slashed, and many other staff members are no longer employed there. Before you visit, check the archives' website to verify parking, hours, and check for an online catalog or other finding aids so you are better prepared for your visit.

Check out this interesting Blog centered on Wisconsin. I just saw this on another list I read. Lots to read about.

Family History Month
Does your genealogical or historical society have some special events or classes to celebrate family history month? Check the newsletters and websites for these organizations for notice of such activities.

This year to help celebrate October as Archives Month and Family History Month, plan some days where you drag yourself away from the computer and visit an archive and experience the joys of using original records. Nothing compares to holding an actual deed, will, or tax record in your hands or reading an old diary.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
While you are thinking about all that, be sure that you do monthly self-exams and make sure you are up-to-date on mammograms or ask that question of the women in your life. I can still remember my mother sitting in my living room in the early 1970s and saying" by the way, I am going to the hospital for a mastectomy tomorrow." Early detection is important.

Historic Bridges

A website for just about anything. That's the way it is in today's world. If you love historic bridges you might want to check this website, Historic Bridges of the United States. The website states, "This is a database of 32,527 historic bridges in the United States of America, past and present."

The pictures for some of the bridges are beautiful, but many more bridges are listed than have images. The site has instructions for providing pictures of bridges. The "News" section is interesting. Links on the right hand side of the website allow you to check by state, type of bridge, condition, and other categories including those on the Nation Register of Historic Places.

Of course I had to check Madison County, Iowa because of the Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood movie, The Bridges of Madison County. Coincidentally, the movie is on a cable channel as I type this. I just checked on the date of this movie at imdb.com and found that it is a 1995 movie. That's 14 years ago. My does time fly.

You might be able to find details and a picture of a bridge that was in the town where great granny lived.