27 February 2009

Appearance: So. St. Paul, Minnesota March 21st

I will be presenting a lecture titled “Baker’s Dozen: Easy Ways to Begin Writing Your Family History” on Saturday, March 21st at the Swedish Genealogical Society of Minnesota's Quarterly Meeting. This lecture demonstrates ways to get that writing started without becoming overwhelmed. It includes ideas for sharing family history with family members who otherwise might groan. They might not even realize you are indoctrinating them into the fascinating history of their ancestors. If you use several of the "Easy Ways" over a year or two, your end result will be that much of your family history is in some sort of print that can easily be modified for a larger publication.

The meeting takes place from 1:00 - 4 p.m. at the Minnesota Genealogical Society Auditorium at 1185 Concord Street North, South St. Paul. Click here for a map. The library is open that day from 10:00 - 4:00. Free parking is next to the building.

If you would like to attend the meeting, the Society asks for a donation of a few dollars or so to cover expenses such as room rental, coffee and cookies, speaker fees, etc.

Appearance: Kalamazoo, Michigan: March 28, 2009

In just one month, I will be presenting four lectures at the Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society's Spring Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan. To learn more and register for the event click here. These are the lectures:

NUCMC and its Cousins: Keys to Lost Ancestral Records:
One of the important aids since 1962 is the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections and its modern cousins. Where might Great Aunt Sadie’s diary be today? Where are the records of the circuit rider who traversed Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan located? Frequently, genealogists think that there may be no records for part of the family. However, there may be substantial information buried away in a manuscript collection.

Tho’They Were Poor, They May Have Been Rich in Records: So many researchers put up artificial brick walls because their ancestors weren’t land owners, were perennial renters staying one step ahead of the bill collector, or didn’t leave behind a ten page will listing all the children. Our poorer relatives are traceable and this lecture will show helpful records.

Organizing Your Genealogical Materials: How tall are the stacks of your genealogical materials and in how many rooms are your papers and books stored? This lecture will help you organize sensibly and give tips to keep you on top of your organization.

Finding Ancestral Places of Origin: Still looking for great-grandma or grandpa’s place of origin, and it wasn’t under the apple tree? Where in Sweden was Aunt Lily born? This lecture shares records and research strategies which may help you identify that place.

It's an easy drive from many cities: Kalamazoo is only 95 miles from Ann Arbor; 61 Lansing; 117 Racine WI; 54 South Bend, IN; 111 Toledo, OH; 121 Dearborn MI; 86 Chicago; 132 Elkhart, IN; 86 Fort Wayne. I hope to see you there.

26 February 2009

New Jersey and Pennsylvania history auctioned

There's no record. All the records are gone. No one knows what happened to it. Don't give up -- something may turn up. An article in the Maine Antique Digest tells the story of auctions of major collections of New Jersey and Pennsylvania artifacts, memorabilia, maps, manuscripts and official records.

One amazing purchase at a 2005 auction was on behalf of the New Jersey State Archives. This was a collection of 17th century New Jersey records that had been in private hands for 300 years. For more details on the collection, finding aids, and an article about it from the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey (September 2005) check out the state archives page on the Proprietors and Adventures: A Rediscovery of Colonial New Jersey.

Many items pertained to Benjamin Franklin, Western history, family history, Lewis & Clark, Indian affairs, printing history and that's just a small portion of the items auctioned off. Be sure to read the article. One reality will sink in and that would be the fact that some of the purchases were made by private collectors. Maybe one day they will sell or donate the items.
I have had several inquiries wondering what happened to my columns in the Ancestry Weekly Journal/Ancestry 24/7 Family History Circle. In December, Ancestry decided to take the writing of the columns "in house" and change the focus. This meant that all of us doing the writing for our excellent editor, Julianna Smith, were let go. That was not an easy task for her.

I am still writing regularly for Ancestry Magazine and FGS Forum and occasionally for other genealogical publications. s

24 February 2009

Footnote.com Content Update

I received a press release from Footnote.com that lists some of the recent new and updated content. Footnote is a subscription database with images that are indexed and digitized. I have discovered some wonderful items via Footnote. Not for my own family, but for clients and for my niece. Some of the new content is in conjunction with Black History month which is celebrated every February. The press release ended with these intriguing words, "Big content announcement coming soon!"

So, I sat and stared at the emailed press release and politely shouted: TELL ME! But, I will just have to wait like everybody else.

What's New on Footnote.com:

What's Coming Soon:
  • Vietnam Service Awards
  • Vietnam Photos
  • Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909
  • Records of the Cherokee Indian Agency in Tennessee, 1801-1835
  • Enrollment of Eastern Cherokee by Guion Miller, 1908-1910

22 February 2009

If only I had that 1890 Census . . .

I would guess that is one of phrases used by most family historians over and over. I absolutely need it for my Dow family in Superior, Wisconsin. Were my Great Grandmother's brothers still living? What would be the relationships given for people living in that household? Were any of the other relatives from Canada in the household? Alas, that is not one of the surviving portions.

Stories abound concerning the population schedule of this census and why the majority of it does not exist. The initial loss was in a fire in 1921 in the Department of Commerce building in Washington, DC. Other portions were destroyed later due to the smoke and water damage. The remains include just over 6100 people. For Minnesota it includes just one family in Enumeration District 224, Rockford, Wright County, Minnesota.** The page with George, Florance, Morris, and Grace Wolford can also be viewed at Ancestry.com if you are a subscriber, Ancestry.com at your library or at HeritageQuestOnline, also via your local library.

The special schedules of this census (mortality, paupers, deaf, blind, dumb, insane and other) were damaged in a 1896 fire and were subsequently destroyed.

For a great article on the 1890 census and the loss of it, read Kellee Blake's article "First in the Path of the Firemen: The Fate of the 1890 Population Census" in Prologue, Spring 1996 issue. It is online at the National Archives Website. This is a must read for everyone working on the history of their family. Be sure to look at all three parts of the article. Prologue is a quarterly publication of the U.S. National Archives and can be ordered online.

** However, there is more of the Minnesota 1890 census that survived. I can still remember the day back in the 1980s when one of the archivists told me that a portion of the 1890 census had been turned over to the state archives. It covers part of Rockville Township, Stearns County, Minnesota. It has been microfiched but few genealogical guidebooks share this information. I will write more about it in a future blog post.

19 February 2009

New Danish Historical Atlas Scheduled

On Thursday, February 19th, The Copenhagen Post Online reported that the Danish National Archives has received a grant to create a historical digital atlas of Denmark. This geographic gem will have data as early as the mid 16oos. The project is scheduled to last three years and has several partners as detailed in the article.

The project end result will be "an internet-based GIS (geographic information system) map" with a database of cultural, historical and geographical information. AND it will be free. I am looking forward to this.

My Danish ancestors were mainly in Barritskov[by] in the county of Vejle and my great grandfather [Niels] Christian Carlsen arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota in the early 1880s. His parents were caretakers of a poor farm for many years in Denmark and died there. His brothers also migrated to the U.S. Soren is a mystery, but Alfred's family is still going strong. My cousin Nancy descends from that branch and her late Aunt Anne Carlsen was an amazing woman. I haven't updated my work on this family for many years. One of these days I will get back to my own research instead of doing it for the families of others - but that is what pays the bills and I love doing it.

Chris Carlsen married my Swedish Great Grandmother Betsy Pehrsdatter. He was one of the founders of a Swedish Methodist Church, now known as Arlington Hills United Methodist Church now located just over the St. Paul border into Maplewood. The original location was on Case Avenue near Payne avenue and several blocks from what is still known as Swede Hollow.

12 February 2009

February 12, 1809 -- the birth of Abraham Lincoln (and Charles Darwin)

Abraham Lincoln was born 200 years ago today. I wonder what he would think of the United States and the World if he were alive today. These are some websites that are honoring the bicentennial of his birth and have excellent information on the man, his family and his life. I wonder how many of our ancestors may have had some connection to him during his lifetime, especially before he became famous?

Official Federal Government Site for Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial 2009
The work for this site and many celebrations of Lincoln's life and work has been in progress for a long time. It is a federal commission. People who attended the keynote session at the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2006 Conference in Boston heard Commission member Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank J. Williams talk about the Commission and its work. Many states have an official commission and the direct links are on this website. These and other states have representatives appointed to work with the Commission. [I think this site is being bombarded with visits today and I was unable to get it to open, but will keep trying.]

The Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
Lincoln was born and spent his years until 1916 in the Hodgenville, Kentucky area. Hodgenville is in today's LaRue County but it was in Hardin County at the time. I often wonder if my own children and grandchildren have an ancestor or cousin who knew the Lincoln and related families as their paternal ancestors lived in Green County, south of today's LaRue County.

The Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
Lincoln lived in Spencer County from 1816-1930

Lincoln Illinois Bicenntenial Commission

"Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky, spent his youth in Indiana, and made Illinois his home. The State of Illinois captured this special relationship with its slogan 'Land of Lincoln.'"

The anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth is also being celebrated around the world.

10 February 2009

Genealogy Blog Prompt #6: Cooking and Food

Every so often I will be joining a host of other genealogy bloggers in writing about the same general topic. This is one of those ideas that is right up my alley.

When my Mom was a teenager, she was a soda-jerk! She worked in the store at the corner of Hamline and Randolph avenues in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lucky girl! The then all-boys Cretin High School was across the street and guess where the guys went after school! Mom still made the best chocolate malts and root beer floats as my sisters and I were growing up. Mom was a great cook. I do think I have duplicated her spaghetti sauce recipe but I cannot make barbecued pork ribs or a pork roast the way she did. My cousins remember that every third year Christmas Eve would be at our house and Mom made her famous au gratin potatoes -- from scratch. Dad was no slouch as a cook either. He made superb rotisserie chickens on the outside grill, juicy hamburgers, and what we called "pan fries" on the grill. His turkey stuffing was my favorite and still is.

Now, at Christmas and other holidays I make foods that my children remember both of their grandmothers making when they were young. I love it when they request recipes that belonged to either grandmother. Many of my recipe cards carry notations such as "Mom's Mushroom Meatballs" or "Mrs. Warren's Cowboy Cookies"(my late mother-in-law). Yes, I copied her recipes long before I became comfortable calling her anything but Mrs. Warren! I wish I could remember special foods that my grandmothers made, but either they didn't or I just don't recall such things. When I visit my Dad later this week I am going to ask him about the foods his Mother and Father made.

I was the lucky one who learned to cook as I grew up. In turn I made sure both my daughter and my sons could cook. I have been blessed with a daughter-in-law and son-in-law who are great cooks. But we have all been on diets and those good ol' recipes are not used as often. I do make some things in a low fat and low sodium fashion so we can still enjoy some of those neat things. Traditions are so important in our family history. I have some dishware that came from my mother, mother-in-law, grandaunt-in-law, and my own grandmothers and great grandmother and I do use these on many occasions.

07 February 2009

David Rumsey Map Collection

If you have never used the David Rumsey Map Collection, you are missing a wonderful resource. I have used maps from many states and have been well rewarded in my searches. The site has almost 20,000 digitized maps.

Rumsey is a retired San Francisco real estate developer. That in itself puts him high in my esteem -- I love San Francisco. Now, he has turned over his collection of 150,000 maps to the Stanford University Libraries' Special Collections in Palo Alto, California. [It will] "help create one of the premier cartographic collections of American history in the United States," said Julie Sweetkind-Singer, head librarian of the Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections.

The maps are not all flat or folded, some are in books. Just tonight I was looking at the images from an 1832 Atlas of Scotland. My Stuarts, Grants, Edwards, and Allardyce families were in the counties of Aberdeen and Forfar [Angus].

Read more about his donation in the Stanford Report.

01 February 2009

2009 FGS/AGS Conference for the Nation's Genealogists' Program is Live!

The program and registration for this year's Conference for the Nation's Genealogists is live at the FGS/AGS Conference website. The program can be viewed as a whole, sorted by speaker, or by subject area. Click on the various buttons in the left hand column to see info on special events, hotels, Exhibit Hall registration, keynote and banquet speakers, travel, and how to become a conference sponsor. Sponsorship is a great way to publicize your genealogy related business, organization, or services.