31 January 2011

1784 Map of the U.S. to be displayed at LOC

An article in Sunday's Washington Post tells the tale of how the Library of Congress will be able to display the first map of the United States. "The first map of the United States, created in 1784, has been purchased for the record price of $1.8 million by Washington philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, who is lending it to the Library of Congress."

This map is an original drawn by Connecticut resident Abel Buell and Rubenstein wants the LOC to display it for five years. He said "I just think Americans don't know enough about their history. Showing documents spurs them to learn more." I agree with this statement. Whether I am teaching beginners or advanced family historians, the ability to see a document connects them more fully to the document and time period. It also spurs them to find such documents that relate to their own ancestry.

The Christie's auction house website describes the map as "the first map of the U.S. published in America, the first map printed in America to show the flag of the United States and the first map to be copyrighted in the United States." That would be the NEW United States of America! 

Rubenstein has purchased other historical documents and made them available for public viewing. The map had been put up for auction by the New Jersey Historical Society as a means of raising operating funds. I think we will see more historical societies, archives, and libraries employing such methods to keep them going in today's era of extreme lack of governmental support for historical organizations and libraries.

Click here to read the full article. Click here to see the map description at Christie's auction house.

29 January 2011

Miscellaneous Serendipity!

Some of my favorite records are those labeled as “miscellaneous” or “loose.” Others are data in the back of a totally unrelated record book or on the back of a note or index card.
These may be a collection of related or unrelated papers and the dates of coverage may not be clear. The Family History Library Catalog www.familysearch.org does include some miscellaneous court and vital records. Do a keyword search for "miscellaneous" in the catalog or that of any record repository. A state or other archive online catalog or in-house inventory may show a couple of volumes of “Miscellaneous Records” for a town or county. A check of the catalog of the Missouri State Archives http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/ using only the word miscellaneous yields “Miscellaneous Court Records.” The subject tracings include

26 January 2011

The Illinois Supreme County and O'Hare Airport Expansion

The Chicago Tribune has declined to hear the case of the preservation of the cemetery that sits on land O'Hare Airport wants for expansion. This means that the ruling of a lower court will stand and likely the known 1,000 people buried there will be disinterred. St. Johannes Cemetery is 161 years old. I am willing to bet that there are many people who don't know they have family there. Other may not realize that the graves near the relatives they do know about are also related to them.

Gone will the the family groupings, gone will be the community and church history that the groupings of burials reflects, and gone will be the historic resting place.

Archivist of the U.S. to answer questions online

Tomorrow, Thursday, 27 January 2011, David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States will be online via the Washington Post's website. This will take place at noon Eastern Time. Click here for details or to leave a question. Then at noon EST check back to see the questions and answers. This appearance is in connection to the alteration of a document at the National Archives that I discussed earlier this week.

I have another appointment at that hour but will check in later to read the conversation.

Watch WDYTYA with a group in Minnesota

Are you getting ready to watch the new season of Who Do You Think You Are? It would more fun to watch it with a group of others who love researching family history. The Minnesota Genealogical Society is hosting a fun, social get-together to help kickoff  the 2nd season of  
"Who Do You Think You Are?"

Please join us as we watch the premiere show for the 2011 season.  Bring your family and friends!  We will begin with some eats, then enjoy the show, and stay around for

24 January 2011

Author and Lincoln researcher alleged to have altered a document

This press release was sent by the U.S. National Archives. As I read this I stood up in my office and yelled "it wasn't a genealogist!" So often those researching their family history are blamed for things that happen in repositories.

The Washington Post had a lengthy and informative article on the matter. Part of that article states "Archives officials, after a year-long investigation, say Lowry signed a written confession Jan. 12 that he brought a fountain pen into the research room sometime in 1998 and wrote a 5 over the 4 in 1864, using a fade-proof ink. Lowry, a retired psychiatrist who discovered the pardon in an unsorted file box, has denied any wrongdoing. He said he was pressured by federal agents to confess." 

Never, never, never alter an original document, never "correct" items that appear out of order, don't reorganize files, and shudder, never take any document. If something in a file or box at any repository seems out of order or that something is awry, bring it to the attention of the staff. Like with the airlines, even careful and innocent people will be subjected to greater scrutiny because of the misdeeds of a few
January 24, 2011
National Archives Discovers Date Change on Lincoln Record
Thomas Lowry Confesses to Altering Lincoln Pardon to April 14, 1865
Washington, DC… Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced today that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher from Woodbridge, VA, confessed on January 12, 2011, to altering an Abraham Lincoln Presidential pardon that is part of the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives.  The pardon was for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion. 

Ancestry.com discontinues Expert Connect

I received this press release from Ancestry.com today:
"Over a year ago Ancestry.com created Expert Connect as a way to expand its service offerings and provide additional assistance for members through an elite group of professional genealogists and researchers. Through this service, customers were given the opportunity to hire genealogists to retrieve records, perform research or simply acquire expert advice. Though this service has been a positive experience, Ancestry.com

22 January 2011

Still need a 2011 Calendar? Even better, a genealogy one?

"Everyday Genealogy 2011" should fit the bill! Each day of the tear-off desk calendar gives a genealogy tip, website, blog, history fact, or other tidbit useful to genealogists.

Everyday Genealogy is available on Amazon or on its own website http://www.everydaygenealogy.com/. Pattie Schultz, the creator, says "there is also an iPhone version available on iTunes. There are research tips covering all 50 states, suggestions for getting family members involved, connecting through social networks, monthly blogs and book recommendation and much more. The best part is 99% of the suggestions refer users to FREE sites."

It is now priced at $9.99. Be sure to check out September 1st for a mention of this very blog! My calendar is sitting right next to me on my desk. Today's entry reminds us to check for the many useful genealogy videos on YouTube.com.

06 January 2011

Early bird discount registration for RootsTech ends Jan. 15th

SALT LAKE CITY—The $99 early bird registration for the RootsTech 2011 Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, ends January 15, 2011. RootsTech is a completely new conference focused on bringing technology creators together with genealogy technology users to learn together and identify solutions to family history research challenges. Genealogists and family historians will discover exciting new research tools while technology creators will learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers.
The registration fee includes three full days of conference attendance, conference materials, entry to the Clarke Planetarium dinner event, extended access to the Family History Library, admission to the closing reception event, eligibility for prize drawings, and admission to the Community Zone (exhibition hall).

Family Tree Make for MAC released


Downloadable Version of the #1-Selling Family History Software Available Today
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., January 6, 2011– Ancestry.com today announced the launch of Family Tree Maker® for Mac on the Mac App Store. Family Tree Maker for Mac provides an easy way to save and organize your family tree conveniently on your Mac and has a variety of tools that can help you share your discoveries with family and friends.

“We are excited that Family Tree Maker for Mac is now available for download on the Mac App Store,” ,” said Eric Shoup, Senior Vice President of Product for Ancestry.com. “We’re committed to making our

02 January 2011

Support the Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Fund

Support the Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Fund

by Cari Taplin on Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 9:28pm
Birdie Monk Holsclaw (1948-2010) was a Certified Genealogist from Longmont, Colorado. She was very active in the genealogical community not only locally but nationally as well. She was most known for her mentoring spirit and knowledge of the latest technological gadgets. She often lectured and, among other things, taught classes at Samford University. She was active in many societies always bringing her cheerfulness and sharing her knowledge everywhere she went.

The books from Birdie Monk Holsclaw's private collection are being auctioned at eBay. They being sold to

Generations alive when I was born

When I was born I had these ancestors alive:

Parents: William Earl and Patricia Margaret (Hanley) Stuart
Maternal Grandparents: Maurice Michael and Gertrude Margaret (Cook) Hanley
Paternal Grandparents: Earl James and Olga Theodora (Carlsen) Stuart
Maternal Great Grandparents: John Thomas and Violet (Marie Delia Malvina Daoust/Dow) Cook 
Paternal Great Grandmother: Emma Louise (Slaker) Stuart (widow of Alexander Charles Stuart)

I was 10 when my last great grandparent died, Violet (Marie Delia Malvina Daoust/Dow) Cook. She was 83.
I was 18 when my first grandparent died, Olga Theodora (Carlsen) Stuart. She was 76.
I was 51 when my last grandparent died, Gertrude (Cook) Hanley. She was 98.

When my oldest son was born he had these ancestors alive:

Marin Co. California Coroner Records

Coroner's records offer fascinating stories. I have a thick one from 1911 in Chicago that details the death of Great granduncle Edgar Royal Stuart. He died on a streetcar and all the other passengers had to be interviewed and their statements are in the file. How many of you can find proof that at a specific time on a specific day your relative was riding on a specific streetcar in Chicago?

The Marin [California] Independent Journal reports the current and new location of coroners records for Marin County as "the files on more than 89,000 coroners' cases -- many handwritten in pen and ink on parchment -- have been transferred to the county library's Anne T. Kent California Room, a rich repository of local historical documents, and the nonprofit Marin County Genealogical Society."

The article also relates that "library volunteers have already begun organizing the files in acid-free archival boxes and folders, and entering case information into a computer index. . . But numerous issues remain to be resolved in setting up the database, including the legality of public access to medical records and homicide-related files."

Read the full article here