Thursday, November 29, 2012

GENEALOGY HABIT


There really ought to be a support group for genealogy nuts.  My doorbell just rang and it was the delivery man dropping off one of my new acquisitions: The Genealogist’s Guide to Researching Tax Records by Carol Cooke Darrow and Susan Winchester. I will add that to my numerous other genealogy books. And yesterday I signed up for a subscription to Worldvitalrecords (http://www.worldvitalrecords.com) even though I have Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com) and FindmyPast (http://www.findmypast.com) and Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com) accounts.



What’s a person to do? Research is entertaining. I get high on the thrill of the hunt, the awe of the discovery. I can’t help myself.

And then there are the conferences. I read the brochures as if I were salivating in a fine restaurant. Shall I go to Vegas and attend the NGS conference (http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/galleries/new-gallery/2013_Conference_Registration_Brochure_20_November.pdf), or should I go to Salt Lake City and attend RootsTech (http://www.rootstech.org/about)? Or should I drive to Ft. Wayne’s Allen County Library (http://www.genealogycenter.org/Home.aspx)? Or fly back to Boston to visit the New England Historic Genealogical Society (http://www.americanancestors.org/home.html)? The choices are many.


I check my local Barnes & Noble regularly so I don’t miss any new editions of my favorite genealogy magazines:

I have subscriptions to:

And then there are the historical society memberships:

Plus many more smaller societies.



Let’s not forget the numerous family surname books:
  • A Cutler Memorial and Genealogical History: Containing the Names of a Large Proportion of the Cutlers in the United States and Canada, and a Record of Other Families Allied to the Cutlers by Anonymous
  • Royal Families: Americans of Royal and Noble Ancestry,Volume Two, Reverend Francis Marbury and Five Generations of the Descendants Through Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson and Katherine (Marbury) Scott by Marston Watson
  • Thomas Boyden and His Descendants by Wallace Clarke Boyden
  • Yearbook of the American Clan Gregor Society by Caleb Clarke Magruder, Jr.



Oh! There are also the wonderful Images of America books by Arcadia Publishing (http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/series/Images-of-America):
  • Canastota and Chittenango: Two Historic Canal Towns
  • Chelmsford, Massachusetts
  • Clinton and the Town of Kirkland
  • Coventry, Connecticut
  • Erie Canal
  • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • Henrico County, Virginia
  • Niagara Falls, New York
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland
  • Westerly, Rhode Island


And then there are Lisa Louise Cooke’s many excellent publications: (http://lisalouisecooke.com/lisa-louise-cookes-store):
  • Google Earth For Genealogy
  • How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers
  • Turn Your iPad Into a Genealogy Powerhouse

I’m an eBay regular—ordering items such as old yearbooks, postcards, town histories and vintage maps

See what I mean?  I will be working forever just to pay for this habit.  Nonetheless, if you have been bitten by this bug, you will agree it is worth every penny!



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1100 Pictorial Symbols, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Full-Color Old-Time Vignettes, 2002.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Advertising Cuts of the 20s and 30s, 2003.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ITALIAN GENEALOGY


Canastota (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canastota,_New_York). It’s a little town in Madison County in Central New York with a substantial Italian population. It is where I grew up.  Until recently when I had my DNA tested, I had no idea that I could have Italian ancestors but, sure enough, AncestryDNA says I am 18% Southern European (Italy, Spain, Portugal).  Although I have not yet found Italian ancestors, I believe that hundreds of years ago my French Huguenot ancestors, who were located in Southeastern France, may have originated in Italy. I have found some indications on Ancestry.com on this, but I have no proof that it is so.  Anyway, in honor of my newly-found Italian blood, I figured I would do a page on Italian genealogical research for me and my friends back in Canastota.

Rome

If you have never done genealogical research before, FamilySearch (www.Familysearch.org), operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a good general place to start.  It is free and easy to navigate. If you know some basic information about an ancestor, you can gather more clues about them such as their immigration date.  As you become more proficient at using the site, you can enter a place name (https://familysearch.org/catalog-search) and discover what resources (church records, cemetery information, land transactions, military records, history, biographies, vital records and more) are available for the area you are researching. You can then order microfilms online and have them shipped to your local Family History Center (https://familysearch.org/locations).  

Under the Learn Wiki section (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Main_Page) of the Familysearch.org website you will find numerous articles that will help you with your Italian research. For example, I found one entitled “Italian Marriage Records More Than You Think” (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Italian_Marriage_Records_More_Than_You_Think).  Another one is called “Italian Civil Registration—Vital Records” (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Italy_Civil_Registration-_Vital_Records).

Familysearch even has an Italian Genealogical Word List (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Italian_Genealogical_Word_List) to help you decipher documents.

You can also take free online courses in the Learn/Research Courses section of the website (https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/home.html). I found one called “Basic Italian Research” (https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/basic-italian-research/246).



If you learn an approximate immigration date, you can then go to websites such as Ellis Island (http://www.ellisisland.org), which covers the years 1892-1924, or CastleGarden (http://www.castlegarden.org), which addresses the years 1820-1892.

Here are some other helpful websites on Italian genealogical research that I have found:


And these are books that I may purchase:



I hope this helps those of you seeking to locate your Italian roots!



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Full-Color Victorian Vignettes, 2002.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Elegant Floral Designs, 2003.



Sunday, November 25, 2012

THE SEARCH FOR JIM BOWIE


amily lore. We all have it. When I was growing up I recall hearing my parents say that we were related to the famous gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok. My brother, however, never heard this. I have tried to find a genealogical connection to Wild Bill, but so far there is none. However, I have recently discovered that I have the Bowie surname in my family tree, so now I am wondering if perhaps it was Jim Bowie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bowie) who was the ancestor.  Memories play tricks on you.


The Alamo

My fifth great grandfather’s name was JAMES BOWIE (1714-1744); he was born and died in Maryland. My sixth great grandfather was JOHN BOWIE (1688-1759); he was born in Scotland and died in Maryland Now the task is to see if my Bowie family is connected to the Jim Bowie who died at the Alamo.  I first had to get my Bowies out of Maryland since the famous Jim Bowie was born in Kentucky. My James Bowie had three daughters, but no sons as far as I can tell.  His father John, however, had five sons (James, John, Allen, William and Thomas).  Perhaps one of James’ brothers produced a son who produced a son and somewhere down the line came the famous Jim Bowie.

I began by downloading The Bowies and their Kindred: A Genealogical and Biographical History by Walter Worthington Bowie (http://ia600208.us.archive.org/17/items/bowiestheirkindr00bowi/bowiestheirkindr00bowi.pdf).  I also reviewed the University of Maryland Archives “Bowie Family Papers” discussion at http://digitalstage.lib.umd.edu/archivesum/actions.DisplayEADDoc.do?source=/MdU.ead.histms.0167.xml&style=ead.



My sixth great grandfather had a son named John (1708-1753). John had a son named James (1739-1789). Apparently, there is a bit of a mystery about this James.  Some people believe he moved from Maryland to South Carolina where he became the father of Rezin Bowie, who was the father of Colonel James Bowie, hero of the Alamo. (1)  If this is true, then Colonel James Bowie is my 3rd Cousin 4X removed. Other traditions indicate that James Bowie died around 1760 and that there is no connection between Maryland’s Bowie family and Colonel James Bowie. (2)

Sometimes there is a grain of truth in family lore. Some people imagine that they have Indian princesses in their family trees, others have gunfighters.  People enjoy the idea that they might be related to someone exotic or famous or even infamous.  It breaks up the monotony of decades of hard-working farmers.  Enjoy your family’s lore but realize that it might be fiction.


ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1565 Spot Illustrations and Motifs, 2007.

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Walter Worthington Bowie, Bowies and Their Kindred: A Genealogical and Biographical History, Washington: Press of Cromwell Bros., 1890 (http://ia600208.us.archive.org/17/items/bowiestheirkindr00bowi/bowiestheirkindr00bowi.pdf: accessed November 25, 2012), pp. 28, 258, 259.

(2) University of Maryland Libraries Digital Collection, "Bowie Family Papers." (http://digitalstage.lib.umd.edu/archivesum/actions.DisplayEADDoc.do?source=/MdU.ead.histms.0167.xml&style=ead: accessed November 25, 2012).






Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TEWKSBURY, MASSACHUSETTS


I have numerous ancestors from Tewksbury, Massachusetts, so I decided to check out the Tewksbury Historical Society website (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org). The amount of material on this site astonished me.  If you click on Archive, you will find links to:  Online Videos, Published Articles, Published Books, Historical Documents, Images and Photographs, Local Maps, Tewksbury State Almshouse, Government Publications, Short Stories, People from Tewksbury, 1850 Federal Census, Aunt Hannah Chandler Collection, 1883 Lowell Weekly Sun,  Minute Men of Tewksbury, Postcards from Silver Lake, Sister City – Tewksbury England, Police Chief Cyril Barker Collection and The Fred Carter (Carter Farm) Collection. (1)



Some of my Tewksbury ancestors are:
  • My sixth great grandparents, REV. SAMPSON SPAULDING and his wife MEHITABEL HUNT, as well as their many children. Rev. Spaulding was the first minister of the Tewksbury Congregational Church, which was established in 1734. (http://www.tewksburycc.org/aboutus/history.php)
  • My six great grandparents STEPHEN MERRILL and his wife ELIZABETH BAILEY, and their family.
  • My eight great grandfather SAMUEL HUNT and his wife RUTH TODD and their children.
I wanted to see if I could find any records about my ancestors on the Tewksbury Historical Society website. There is an article entitled “Following the Spaulding Bell” which discusses the donation of the bell through the fundraising efforts of Benjamin Spaulding, a seventh generation descendant of Rev. Sampson Spaulding. (2) See http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/articles/spaulding.pdf.


And then I found Ask Now of the Days that are Past: A History of the Town of Tewksbury, Massachusetts 1734-1964 (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/books/pattons.pdf).  Inside this book I found amazing items such as a copy of Rev. Spaulding’s Last Will and Testament, a picture of the Spaulding Homestead built in 1736, a record of his salary and his biography. I learned that he worked as a waiter while studying at Harvard University. (3) In the year 1792, “during the Thanksgiving service, at the age of more than four score a paralytic shock rendered Rev. Mr. Spaulding unable to preach.” (4). When he died in 1796, the Boston papers called him “the Christian, the Gentleman and the Neighbour.” (5) In the church record books is written “the Revd Sampson Spaulding Died December the 15 ye 1796.” It is believed to have been written by Mrs. Spaulding (Mehitabel Hunt). (6)


In his will, Sampson gave:
  • one third of his estate to his wife Mehetebel
  • five shillings to his son Sampson
  • forty pounds to his son Jonathan
  • two thirds of his estate to his son John, who would be his executor
  • five shillings to his daughter Mary Bridges
  • thirteen pounds, two shillings & six pense to his daughter Manning
  • four pounds, ten shillings & eight pense to his daughter Hannah French
  • five shillings to his daughter Anna Kirk
  • forty pounds to his daughter Sarah Spaulding
Rev. Spaulding addressed each child as his beloved, and the amounts gifted depended on if the child had been given money previously.  He also asked that his books be divided equally among his wife and children and that his books in Latin go to the Rev. Mr. Abel Kirk. (7)


Ask Now of the Days that are Past also contained a list of the Tewksbury citizens who were in the War of the American Revolution (1775-1782). On this list I found a number of people with the names of my ancestors, including Jonathan Spaulding, Sampson Spaulding, David Merrill, Daniel Merrill, Samuel Hunt, Jonathan Hunt and David Bailey. Further research is required to ascertain whether these were indeed my ancestors. (8)


When I clicked on the link for Documents on the Tewksbury Historical Society website, I found a copy of a deed for a land transaction in Tewksbury for property sold by Stephen Merrill to Seth Jewitt on March 12, 1738 (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/Documents/deed-merrill.pdf). (9) Further research is necessary, but this may be Stephen Merrill, my 6th great grandfather, who was born in 1711 and died in Tewksbury. The deed is witnessed by Sampson Spaulding. How incredible to have a deed that old available so readily on the web!


The next document of interest was the Annual Return of the Names of all the Persons enrolled in the Militia, in the Town of Tewksbury for the year 1843. (10) (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/Documents/1843militia1.pdf). On this list is a Spaulding, but I don’t recognize the first name.


The next surprise was a wallet card printed by the Tewksbury Congregational Church in 1888, containing a six month prayer meeting schedule.  The officers are listed, and someone by the name of F. M. Spaulding is the President. (11) (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/Documents/cong1888-1.pdf).  Rev. Spaulding died in 1796, so this was probably one of his descendants and possibly one of my ancestors.



But wait! There’s more. The next item was a booklet printed in 1890 by the Mechanics Lodge No. 11 International Order of Odd Fellows (Masons) containing a membership list of people who belonged to the Lodge from October 26, 1842 to January 1, 1890. (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/Documents/mechanics.pdf).  I saw the following potential ancestors:
  • J Merrill, Mch 22 44, 34, trader, (withdrawal), Feb 4 48
  • Spaulding J, Mch 31 67, 28, Carpenter, D (dead)
  • Spaulding D S, July 27 70, 29, Police
  • Spaulding PS, Apr 18 87, 21, Jeweller [sic]
(12)

I especially liked that they noted the occupations of the members. You really should investigate this document. Note that sometimes the names are not in perfect alphabetical order.


And, finally, under Books there was “Tewksbury Vital Records,” which contains all birth, marriages and death records until the end of the year 1849. In this I found numerous references to many of my surnames. I could spend hours entering this information on my tree. (13)  The link is http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/books/vitalrec.pdf.


What amazing finds, and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all the other material contained on the Tewksbury Historical Society website! If you have ancestors from Tewksbury (or any of the surrounding towns such as Billerica, Lowell, Dracut, Andover or Chelmsford), I highly recommend that you visit the website of the Tewksbury Historical Society!

Thank you, Tewksbury Historical Society, for making this incredible information available to us online!!



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Early American Design Motif, 2003.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Old-Fashioned Silhouettes, 2001.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Full-Color Old-Time Vignettes, 2002.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, American Folk Art Designs, 2006.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments, 2006.

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Digital Collection, Tewksbury Historical Society Archives, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, 2004 (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/index.html: accessed November 20, 2012).

(2) "Following the Spaulding Bell," originally published in the Town Crier, September 24, 1986, text of speech by Maureen Kelley on September 13, 1986 (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/articles/spaulding.pdf: accessed November 20, 2012).

(3) Patten, Harold J., Ask Now of the Days that are Past: A History of the Town of Tewksbury, Massachusetts 1734-1964, 1964, p. 27 (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/books/pattons.pdf: accessed November 20, 2012).

(4) Ibid, p. 60.

(5) Ibid, p. 27.

(6) Ibid, p. 55.

(7) Ibid, p. 190.

(8) Ibid, p. 142.

(9) Deed for a land transaction in Tewksbury for property sold by Stephen Merrill to Seth Jewitt on March 12, 1738 (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/Documents/deed-merrill.pdf: accessed: November 20, 2012). 

(10) Foster, Enoch, Town Clerk, "Annual Return of the names of all the persons enrolled in the Militia, in the Town of Tewksbury for the year 1843, the whole number enrolled being one hundred and two," (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/Documents/1843militia1.pdf: accessed November 12, 2012). 

(11) Wallet Card, Tewksbury Congregational Church, July 24, 1888. (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/Documents/cong1888-1.pdf: accessed November 12, 2012). 

(12) Membership of Mechanics Lodge, No. II, I. O.O. F. from Date of Organization, Oct. 26, 1842, to Jan. 1, 1890, arranged by Chas. H. Eaton, P.C., Butterfield & Co., Lowell, Massachusetts, 1890. (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/Documents/mechanics.pdf: accessed November 12, 2012). 

(13) "Tewksbury Vital Records to the end of the year 1849," (http://www.tewksburyhistoricalsociety.org/Archives/books/vitalrec.pdf: accessed November 12, 2012).













Friday, November 16, 2012

REVOLUTIONARY WAR VETERANS


ne of my discoveries at the New York State Library in Albany  a few weeks ago was a set of books entitled Revolutionary War Veterans Chenango County-New York. (1)  In Volume IV, I found my 5th great grandfather SAMPSON SPAULDING.  This book gave me a wonderful summary of Sampson’s military service as well as the vital statistics concerning his life and those of his wife and children.  According to this book, Sampson was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and participated in the Battle of Lexington.  He "marched from the town of Canterbury for the relief of Boston in the Lexington Alarm in April 1775.”  He then served in a number of other companies and was discharged on September 12, 1778.(2) (I won't bore you with all the details.) If I ever decide to submit a DAR application, this book will be of enormous benefit because it details his military accomplishments.


Sampson was born on Nov. 19, 1745, in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, the son of Rev. Sampson Spaulding, Tewksbury’s first pastor (3), and Mehetable Hunt.   In 1764 he married Experience Merrill, and they produced nine children in Tewksbury.  A number of these children settled in Chenango County, New York, including my 4th great grandfather JOSEPH SPAULDING. I had much of the vital information prior to reviewing this book, but this book helped confirm my research. It is also one more source I can add to my tree.

There is a mystery, however.  Sampson eventually moved from Chenango County to the State of Ohio.  Despite numerous searches by me and my cousin RICHARD ROTH (mentioned in my post a few days ago), we have not been able to find the exact area where he is buried.  If anyone out there has a clue, I would love to get your input!



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Full-Color Holiday Vignettes, 2001.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Trees & Leaves, 2004.

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Nelson B. Tiffany, Revolutionary War Veterans Chenango County-New York, Volume IV S-Z, (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc., 1998), 1015-1016.

(2) Ibid, p. 1016.

(3) Nason, Rev. Elias, and George J. Varney. A Gazetteer of the State of Massachusetts. Boston: B.B. Russell, 1890. http://capecodhistory.us/Mass1890/Tewksbury1890.htm (accessed November 16, 2012).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

FINDING FAMILY WITH WORLDCAT AND THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

In October of 2011, I discovered on the Internet that my 2nd great grandfather, Aaron M. CUTLER, died in the Civil War and that there was a book about him entitled Away Amongst Strangers: The Civil War Letters and Family Histories of Aaron M. Cutler, Battery A, First New York Light Artillery and Stephen Tillinghast Spaulding, Company G, 140th New York Volunteer Infantry, Army of the Potomac by Richard W. Roth. Of course, I wanted to obtain a copy of this book, so I headed to WorldCat (www.worldcat.org) and typed in the book’s name. I discovered that the book was available in three locations: The Library of Congress, the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, New York, and Harvard University. I clicked the “Ask a Librarian” icon to the right of the Library of Congress entry. Up popped an e-mail form where you can submit your question. I asked how I could obtain a copy Away Amongst Strangers and explained that I live in Michigan.

Gettysburg Diorama

To my surprise the next morning I had an e-mail from the Library of Congress with the author’s address and telephone number.  I called Richard Roth’s number and left a message on his voice mail. Shortly afterwards I received a call from him. It turns out that our grandparents were siblings so we are second cousins.  He had moved to Pennsylvania when he was young while I grew up in New York.  He said he would mail me the book right away.  Technology and communication were at their best that week. I was so impressed with the ease of use of WorldCat and with the efficiency of the Library of Congress .

I was elated when I received the book. It is full of family data for not only my Cutler line but also about Stephen Tillinghast SPAULDING, my second great grand uncle, who also served in the Civil War.  There are numerous copies of original letters written by Aaron CUTLER and Stephen Tillinghast SPAULDING to their loved ones.  By reading the correspondence back and forth you get a real sense of what life was like for them at war and for their families back home in New York. Richard even included copies of the stamped envelopes.  In addition, he transcribed the diary kept by Esther Cutler, Aaron’s wife, while Aaron was at war and she was raising their young son, Delos CUTLER, my great grandfather.  There are photographs of Aaron and Esther Cutler (as a young lady and when she was elderly). There is also a copy of Aaron and Esther’s marriage certificate from May 24, 1860 as well as maps and pictures of gravestones.  Richard has included transcriptions of letters from Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, to Esther when Aaron was dying and later to inform her of his death. And, finally, there is information about Richard’s father’s line (Roth).  The book is priceless for me and for anyone interested in the Civil War. Every family researcher needs to find a treasure like this one. 


Richard and I have corresponded regularly since that time. We have exchanged photos, documents and family stories, and we continue to share new discoveries as we each pursue our family research. 

In May of this year we met for the first time in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  In addition, I was able to meet his brother (my 2nd cousin), his mother (my 1st cousin 1x removed), his father and two of his brother’s daughters (my 2nd cousins 1x removed).   Richard, who has been to Gettysburg many times, showed me the location of the 76th New York Infantry monument. 


Karin Taylor Hadden and Richard W. Roth in front of 76th Regiment Monument at Gettysburg



For a full picture of this monument, please visit the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center website at (http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/76thInf/76thInfMonument.htm).  

Aaron Cutler died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (https://sites.google.com/site/harrisburgcemetery/the-people/155-men). He was later transported back to New York State and is buried in Chenango County (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=66548686).

Thank you WorldCat and Library of Congress for helping me find more of my family!



ILLUSTRATION BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art,1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments, 2006.





Sunday, November 11, 2012

MICHIGAN GENEALOGICAL COUNCIL / ARCHIVES OF MICHIGAN


Yesterday I attended the Michigan Genealogical Council (http://mimgc.org) and Archives of Michigan (http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-54463_19313---,00.html) Fall Family History Seminar at the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing, Michigan.



There was an excellent selection of seminars/activities you could choose from:
  • Using Township Records
  • Family Trees—Fact or Fiction?
  • What Did Grandma Do?
  • Genealogical Treasures at the Bentley Historical Library
  • Tiptoeing Through the Tombstones
  • New York State Genealogy
  • The Peasant and the Palace: Researching Manor Records in Europe
  • Seeking Ancestors with Seeking Michigan & Other Online Resources
  • Deciphering Early Handwriting
  • What’s In Your Grandfather’s Trunk
  • Tour of Archives
  • Getting Around the Brick Wall
  • Scot-Irish Migrations to Canada and the USA
I chose Using Township Records, Genealogical Treasures at the Bentley Historical Library, New York State Genealogy, Seeking Ancestors with Seeking Michigan and a Tour of the Archives.

Township Records

Shirley Gage Hodges (http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/authors/authsh.htm) gave a fascinating talk on township records, a topic that could easily have been dull.  I learned about many documents that I would never have thought to investigate, such as a Certificates of Stillbirth, Justice of the Peace docket ledgers and marriages, Permits for Disposition of Human Remains, Absent Voters, Cemetery and Sexton Records, Indentures and Apprenticeships, Overseers of Highways Work Logs, Accounting of the Poor Fund, Dog Census cards, School District Reports and Estrays Marks and Brands. She also gave tips on how to prepare for a visit to a township hall and warned us that often the records are in disarray and dirty.  Bring gloves and hand sanitizer.  Call ahead. Bring a camera in case they don’t have a photocopier.

Genealogical Treasures at the Bentley Historical Library

Karen Jania, Head of Reference at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan (http://bentley.umich.edu), enlightened us about the many resources available in the Bentley Collection.  Examples of these items are assorted census records and city directories, church baptism records, church membership lists, cemetery records, Early Settlers of Washtenaw County, historic maps, civil dockets, Civil War letters, funeral records, DAR records, obituaries and manuscripts.  If you have an ancestor who attended the University of Michigan, you can obtain a great deal of information about them (pictures, dates of attendance, classes attended and much more). My great grand uncle, GEORGE ROBERT TAYLOR, attended the University of Michigan in the 1800s. I’ll have to see what I can find on him.

New York State Genealogy

William Ruddock, editor of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine (http://dsgr.org/about.php), spoke about finding ancestors from New York State. I was especially interested in this talk since I grew up in New York and have plenty of ancestors from there.  He recommended the LDS Research Outline for New York (https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/New_York).  It was his opinion that it is not nearly as easy to find vital records in New York State as it is in New England, and so he recommended that we look for substitute records (bible records, cemetery records, biographies, census records, church records, town clerk records, city directories, naturalization records, military records, newspapers, periodicals, tax lists and land records). He stated that probate records, in particular, could be of enormous value.  He showed a land record of James Crandall on the overhead. This got my attention since I have a JAMES CRANDALL in my family tree. After class I asked him if he was related to James Crandall. He informed me that he was not related but that he has done a great deal of research on the Crandall Family and recommended I look at an article from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record from April 2004. When I returned home I found the article entitled “Connecting Parker Burdick Crandall to the Rhode Island Crandall Family” by Larry Crandall-Wood. (1)  It was pure serendipity that I learned about this; that is why I love attending genealogy conferences.

Seeking Ancestors with Seeking Michigan

Jessica Miller, an archivist at the Archives of Michigan, gave a very helpful presentation on the use of the website Seeking Michigan (http://seekingmichigan.org). I have used this website in the past and love it because you can find copies of original death certificates. Jessica showed us tricks to searching, such as clicking on the words “Seeking Michigan” whenever you are stuck.  The site also includes detailed subject guides on the holdings of the Archives of Michigan. In addition, there’s a Soldiers and Sailors link (http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/soldiers-and-sailors-database.htm) where you can look up an ancestor who served in the Civil War. I looked up my second great grandfather, AARON M. CUTLER, and found information on his side (North), regiment name, his rank and the film number.  You can also search the Graves Registration Database (http://www.suvcwmi.org/graves/search.php). In addition to military information, you can look at Michigan Census records (http://seekingmichigan.org/discover/michigan-state-census-1884-1894). This website is loaded with information. Check it out.

Union Soldier


Archives Tour

At the end of the day we were given a tour of the Michigan Archives and were even permitted to peek inside the “vault” area.  We were instructed on the procedures for reviewing documents held in the closed stack portion of the archives—pencil only; coat, bags and pens in a locker, no photocopying, no photography, etc.  There are also many books available, such as surname studies and county histories, for review in the open area. I spent the last 30 minutes of the day photographing books on some of my surnames (BEALL, MAGRUDER, SCRIPTURE and BOWIE).



With so many states threatening lack of access to their state archives, we are especially blessed here in Michigan to be able to visit this fine facility. 




ILLUSTRATION BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Civil War Illustrations," 2003.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Holiday Vignettes," 2001.

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Crandall-Wood, Larry. "Connecting Parker Burdick Crandall to the Rhode Island Crandall Family." The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. 135. no. 2 (April, 2004): 92.




Thursday, November 8, 2012

ANCESTRY DNA—GETTING ORGANIZED


s I mentioned in an early post, I had my DNA tested through Ancestry.com.  I have looked at numerous results from my cousin “hits” but I found that it was getting hard to organize and remember all the details.  To solve that problem, I designed a chart, which has helped me considerably.  I used Word to format it (landscape mode), but you could use Excel or some other program.





On Ancestry.com, people often go by screen names. Once I learn a person’s real name I enter that in the chart.  You can chat via Ancestry, but it is also helpful if you have a person’s e-mail address so you can send documents back and forth.  Once I learn the e-mail address, I pop that in the chart.

I record the date I e-mail a potential cousin and, if they respond, I note that also. I also have a column for whose turn it is to respond. It gets confusing after several e-mails to dozens of people.



In the last column called “Miscellaneous” I put their cousin rank (4th-6th or 5th – 8th). I also add notes about surnames and geographical locations they have in common with my ancestors.  As I correspond with a person, I add more notes in this column, such as “sent them my Brashear pedigree” or whether their tree is private.

Now, when I receive an e-mail or message on Ancestry, I can quickly search my chart and respond intelligently.  Because there is so much information in the genealogy world, charts have been used for ages. Remember, charts are good. Carry on!



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "1200 Ornamental Letters," 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Victorian Goods and Merchandise," 2006.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

SARATOGA SPRINGS AND THE DAR

After the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society conference was over, my husband and I headed up to Saratoga Springs, a city rich in history. Our first stop was the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitors Center (http://www.saratogaspringsvisitorcenter.com).  The building was built in 1915 as a trolley station. In 1941 it was converted to a drink hall where people could buy bottled mineral waters. In 1974 the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. (1) There we watched a video about Saratoga. The lady in charge loaded us up with brochures, maps and paper cups to sample the spring waters throughout the city.

Horse outside of the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitors Center

Our next stop was the Saratoga Springs History Museum (http://www.saratogahistory.org) in Congress Park in the Canfield Casino. This museum was founded in 1883 as the Saratoga Historical Society.  One of the founders was Ellen Hardin Walworth, one of the four originators of the Daughters of the American Revolution. (2) Ellen’s amazing story of an abusive husband, her son who killed his father to protect her, her son being sent to prison and her obtaining a law degree to learn how to free her son is told during the tour.  A New York Times article from 1873 gives the trial details (http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F2081EFF3A5B127B93C4AB178DD85F478784F9). (3) To read more about this incredible woman, visit the Daughters of the American Revolution website: http://www.dar.org/natsociety/archives_founders.cfm#walworth. (4)


Congress Park

Fountain in Congress Park
"The Spirit of Life" Sculpture by Daniel Chester French

Later, we had a fantastic lunch at Maestro’s, the 1840s style dining room, at the Rip Van Dam Hotel (http://www.maestrosatthevandam.com).  The enormous ham and cheese sandwiches were served with crunchy chips, and I had delicious cinnamon tea served in a teapot. Complimentary chocolate slices were given out after dinner. 

Rip Van Dam Hotel

Of course, we had to try the mineral spring water. I liked it, but my husband definitely did not. Here’s a sample of the springs we visited:

Hathorn Springs

Peerless Spring in High Rock Park

There was not enough time to truly investigate all Saratoga Springs has to offer.  I’ll surely visit there again, but next time I would like the weather to be a bit warmer.


CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center, "About the Building." Last modified 2012. (http://www.saratogaspringsvisitorcenter.com/about-the-visitors-center/about-the-building: accessed November 6, 2012).

(2) The Saratoga Springs History Museum: The Canfield Casino In Congress Park, "About the Museum." Last modified 2012. (http://www.saratogahistory.org/about-the-museum: accessed November 6, 2012).

(3) "The Walworth Murder." The New York Times. (June 26, 1873). (http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F2081EFF3A5B127B93C4AB178DD85F478784F9: accessed November 6, 2012).

(4) DAR National Society: Daughters of the American Revolution, "Four Founders." Copyright 2005. (http://www.dar.org/natsociety/archives_founders.cfm: accessed November 6, 2012).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Part 2 - Research in Albany with The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society


The recent research conference with the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society was not only a chance for camaraderie and research, but it was the opportunity for a mini vacation.  Despite having grown up in Central New York, I had never been to Albany. I was struck by its combination of old and new architecture. Here is a picture of St. Peter's Episcopal Church:




Here's a shot of the New York State Capitol Building:



And here are some photographs of Empire State Plaza:




There are also many striking memorials on Empire State Plaza:

New York State Emergency Medical Services Memorial

New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial

And there are numerous sculptures on the Plaza as well:





For more information on Albany, check out the Official Site of the City of Albany, NY (http://albanyny.gov/Government/CityHistory.aspx).

Research in Albany with The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society


With Hurricane Sandy’s vicious slap, it did not seem at first that the New York Genealogical  & Biographical Society (NYG&B) (http://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org) Research Conference in Albany, New York, would happen this past weekend. However, the members are tough and, although a few were unable to attend, most arrived after going great lengths to surmount the transportation hurdles posed by the storm.  Then, just as we entered the New York State Cultural Center early Thursday morning, the firm alarm went off and we had to leave the building and stand in the street.




Fortunately, we were able to enter ten minutes later. Nirvana at last.




There were many ways to mingle during the conference, including cocktail parties and a dinner, as well as a complimentary lounge at the Hotel Albany. Networking is important. For example, Lauren Maehrlein, Director of Education at the NYG&B, gave me the useful link for Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries (http://rihc.info/index.php).  Another attendee, Jody Lutter, shared her blog site (http://familyhistoryresearchbyjody.blogspot.com) with me. I met two lovely ladies from Rome, New York, a town not far from my childhood home of Canastota.  There were other people from Michigan there too besides me and my husband.  Another woman from Canada promised to send me information on accessing newspapers in Canada.  I hope to correspond with these people and others in the future so we can assist each other in our respective family research.

I spent three solid days poring over surname books, town histories, vital records compilations, Census records and genealogical journals.  The photocopy pile I had my husband carry home weighed a ton.  One of my favorite finds was a 1906 picture of my great grand uncle, Dr. George R. Taylor, sitting in the driveway of his home at No. 2 Marvin Street in Clinton, New York, with his family in their new Paige automobile. (1)

Stay tuned to my future posts as I share my discoveries!

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Munson, Philip E., et al., Glancing Back At...Clinton and Neighboring Communities: the Way It Used to Be. Vestal, New York: Clinton Central School District Foundation by The Vestal Press, Ltd., 1993.