30 July 2012

National Archives puts more workshops online

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                               
July 30, 2012

National Archives Puts More Popular Records Workshops Online
More “Know Your Records” videos now available on National Archives’ YouTube Channel

Washington, DC… The National Archives has launched new online videos of its most popular genealogy “how to” workshops. These videos cover “hot topics” in genealogical research such as Civil War records, online resources and databases, and more. These workshops led by National Archives experts are available on the National Archives YouTube channel at http://tinyurl.com/NARAGenie.

The National Archives–produced Know Your Records video shorts cover the creation, scope, content, and use of National Archives records for genealogical research. “We are happy to make more of our most popular genealogy lectures available online. We welcome researcher feedback and will continue to make more workshops available online for free for viewing by anyone, anywhere, at any time,” said Diane Dimkoff, Director of Customer Services. 

For the first time, researchers and staff voted for their favorite topics—and the National Archives listened:

National Archives electronic records expert Dan Law discusses using electronic records for genealogy research and shows how to access such records using the National Archives Access to Archival Databases (AAD) online search engine.

National Archives genealogy expert John Deeben explores War Department death records created during and after the Civil War. These records show how the government documented personal circumstances of soldiers’ deaths on the battlefield, in military hospitals, and in prisons.

National Archives archivist Reginald Washington explores marriage records from the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen's Bureau). The Freedmen’s Bureau provided assistance to tens of thousands of former slaves and impoverished whites in the Southern states and the District of Columbia. These records from 1865 through 1872 constitute the richest and most extensive documentary source for investigating the African American experience in the post–Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

Over 2.8 million men (and a few hundred women) served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. National Archives genealogy expert John Deeben demonstrates how to research and use Civil War Army service records.

National Archives archivist Damani Davis examines Federal records relating to the “Kansas Exodus” (the so-called “Exoduster” movement), which was the first instance of voluntary, mass migration among African Americans. This mass exodus generated considerable attention throughout the nation and resulted in a major 1880 Senate investigation. For more information, see http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2008/summer/exodus.html.

Ancestry.com has digitized selected National Archives microfilm publications and original records and made them available on their web sites for a fee. Lead Family Historian for Ancestry.com Anastasia Harman discusses these records and their use for genealogy research.   Access to Ancestry.com and Fold3 (formerly Footnote.com) is available free of charge in all National Archives Research Rooms, including those in our regional archives and Presidential Libraries. For a list of National Archives records available online through Ancestry.com and other digitization partners, see http://www.archives.gov/digitization/digitized-by-partners.html.

Background on “Know Your Records” programs
The National Archives holds the permanently valuable records of the Federal Government. These include records of interest to genealogists, such as pension files, ship passenger lists, census and Freedmen’s Bureau materials. The “Know Your Records Program” offers opportunities for staff, volunteers, and researchers to learn about these records through lectures, ongoing genealogy programs, workshops, symposia, the annual genealogy fair, an online genealogy tutorial, reference reports for genealogical research, and editions of Researcher News  for Washington, DC, area researchers.

05 July 2012

Great Northern and Northern Pacific railway record inventories now online

The Minnesota Historical Society just announced:

"Online finding aids just launched 
For the first time ever, inventories of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railway companies are available online. With more than 16,000 boxes of archival records, these two collections fill more than 15% of the total space in the stacks and have been a draw for railroad buffs, historians and genealogists for decades.Online finding aids allow for more convenient browsing, faster searching and the discovery of related materials that may have been overlooked before."

These inventories are extensive and well worth reading. They cover so many more states than Minnesota. The personnel, accident, land, and other records are fabulous. For more info on this exciting news click here. 

Minnesota 1940 census index now available!

The index for the Minnesota 1940 census has gone live at www.findmypast.com! My plans for the day are now changed. I am guessing it will be at www.familysearch.org pretty soon. These indexes and images are FREE.

This index was created by volunteers from all over the world. Many volunteers from the Minnesota Genealogical Society participated and we were lead by Kathy Lund. More states need to be indexed. Check them out and sign up to help at FamilySearch.

04 July 2012

War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions Project update

You may have read previous posts I did about this exciting project. I just checked the FREE images on the Fold3 website www.fold3.com/title_761/war_of_1812_pension_files/ and there are now 253,498 images on there. I think July 4th is a great day to honor this project. I have donated twice and will donate again in August at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2012 conference in Birmingham and to the Illinois State Genealogical Society of which I am a member (see below). We are getting closer to the D section of the alphabet so I can check for some of my brother-in-law's Dubois family. Then let's get moving faster so I can check my late father-in-law's Hatfields, Johnsons, and Warrens.

I am a member of the FGS Board of Directors and we recently learned of two major things which have greatly impacted this project. 

On Monday, June 18th (the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812), the Illinois Genealogical Society (ISGS) issued the ISGS $10,000 War of 1812 Pension Match Challenge. ISGS will MATCH any donation up to the first $10,000 that is made before December 31, 2012. This means:
  • If you donate $10, ISGS will match your donation with another $10
  • If you give $100, ISGS will also give $100 to the project
  • In addition, Ancestry.com will also match the overall amount donated by individuals and ISGS, which means that the $10,000 raised plus the $10,000 in matching donations will become:
  • $40,000! 
  • Your $10 donation to help digitize these files actually becomes $40!
Find out all the details at the Illinois State Genealogical Society’s webpage. If you’re interested in donating to the project, giving through the Illinois State Genealogical Society will ensure that your gift is quadrupled in value! One certainly cannot beat that kind of an investment.

Then on June 25th, the Federation of Genealogical Societies announced another major gift for the project. The FGS press release on that said:

“The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces the donation of a generous gift in the amount of $135,000 from the estate of the late Jon Stedman in memory of his mother, Ardath Stedman. The donation to the Preserve the Pensions – War of 1812 Pension Digitization Fund will be used to help preserve and digitize War of 1812 Pension records.

Hollace Hervey, executrix of the estate, indicated that Jon Stedman was "always interested in preservation and bringing information to the front" so genealogists could more easily use it. Besides caring passionately for facilitating genealogists doing good research, Stedman had a deep love and affection for his mother who was a genealogist in her own right. The Preserve the Pensions project is just such a preservation and access endeavor, and FGS is honored in receiving this generous donation.

The $135,000 donation is a significant lead gift to the Preserve the Pensions project as FGS ramps up its fundraising efforts (to raise $3.7M) during the bicentennial of the War of 1812 which started on June 18, 2012. Members of the genealogy and family history communities as well as the general public are invited to learn more about this important record preservation project by visiting the Preserve the Pensions website at www.fgs.org/1812 and assist with honoring our nation’s heritage by preserving the records of our past.”