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A Note from the Editor: More on Holiday Newsletters

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week’s article generated a lot of email about the benefits of holiday newsletters. (Although, for the record, I should note that one reader wrote to express the view that all holiday messages should be personally written and not mass-produced.) Here are some excerpts:

 

 

From Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Londonderry, New Hampshire:
I enjoyed the story about the Christmas newsletters. For twelve years we have sent out a photo collage — a visual newsletter — of all the events of the year — birthdays, graduations, vacations and family reunions. I’ve kept all the copies, and I think I’ll have to make scrapbook to keep them in.

 

Dan M. Johnson of Johnson City, Tennessee, wrote:
I have written and saved holiday newsletters for many years. In addition, every December since I retired in 2006, I have prepared a family history report with separate pages for each branch I've been studying. I summarize what I've learned in the past year that might be of interest to others in the family — about thirty people. This not only satisfies my need to share, but also documents my progress, including corrections to errors made in previous reports, and provides clues for future family historians who may follow in my footsteps.

 

From Karl West of Walpole, Massachusetts:
When I retired I tackled four projects, one for my father's line, my mother's line, my wife's father's line, and my wife's mother’s line. Using address books that belonged to my parents and my in-laws, I wrote to extended family members, explained who I was, and asked for old photos from each person. For each person who sent me pictures, I said I would send a CD of all the photos I received. The response was wonderful. Not only did I get pictures, but many also sent notes and further information. Now, I have a more complete reference to each family.

 

From Priscilla Greenlees of Bainbridge Island, Washington:
I've been writing Christmas letters since 1978 — and have been both reviled and praised for doing it! But the thanks I get from people who really care about my family and friends make it worthwhile. I've saved all of newsletters; and now that I'm writing my memoirs and am still working on my genealogy, I plan to incorporate the contents all into the master copy of "my life."


Kathryn Fenton of Virginia Beach, Virginia, wrote with a poignant story:
My mother started writing a newsletter in the early 1960s, when I was just a little girl, and continues to this day. Three years ago, my mother gathered up ALL her holiday newsletters and made photocopies of them, one set for me and one for Tommy, my younger brother (and only sibling), for Christmas. My brother was particularly moved by this and spent a couple of hours that day just reading through them all, thoroughly enjoying his trip down Memory Lane and saying what a great family history they provided. Unfortunately, Tommy very unexpectedly and suddenly passed away the following year, just a few days after his fiftieth birthday. When I got the news of his passing, I was understandably shocked, but almost immediately got in my car and started the long drive from my home in Virginia Beach to his home in Orlando, where he had lived alone at the time of his death. Along the way, I contemplated how I might eulogize my baby brother at his funeral. When I finally arrived, however, I had still not come up with anything substantive to say about him and our lives together, my thoughts being in such a jumble of grief and disbelief. Then I walked into his home office, and sitting right out in plain view on his desk, was his packet of our family's Christmas letters! Somehow, Tommy had known to leave those out where I'd be sure to see them, thus providing me with all the clues I needed to write his eulogy.

 

So, indeed, holiday newsletters DO have a very valuable place in preserving the history of the families they chronicle, and I am very glad that my family has always written one. Further, now that Lynn Betlock has shared her excellent idea about putting her newsletters into a binder, I am planning to do the very same thing with all of ours. In that way, perhaps future generations of my family will be able to easily read them and thus perhaps get a glimpse of the magic that was the childhood my brother and I shared back in the 1960s, as well as all our other family "doings" over the years. In fact, I'm certain that my eight-year-old granddaughter will probably want to be first in line to read them!


Man’s Long Search for Family Artifacts Pays Off

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

Refusing to abandon a seemingly hopeless search, a California man persisted and located family photographs in Illinois

Package Lost 33 Years Finally Delivered to Anchorage Home

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

An envelope containing letters and genealogical information arrived at its destination more than three decades after it was mailed.

Trove of Educator’s Momentos Found by Road

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

A Charlestown County, South Carolina, Good Samaritan rescued “a lifetime of memories” from destruction on a roadside.

This week's survey: genealogical resolutions from 2011

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week’s survey asked whether you send a holiday newsletter to family and friends. The results are:

 

55%, No, I don't send a holiday newsletter.

24%, Yes, I mail a printed holiday newsletter.

12%, No, I used to send a holiday newsletter but do not send one now.

7%, I use a combination of electronic and print media for my holiday newsletter.

1%, Yes, I email an electronic holiday newsletter.

1%, Yes, I use a website, blog, or social media to distribute a holiday newsletter.

 


This week's survey asks how well you fulfilled your genealogical New Year resolutions for 2011. Take the survey now!


Name Origins: Joseph

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

JOSEPH (m): In the Hebrew Bible, Joseph the patriarch was the youngest son of Jacob and his favored wife Rachel. His jealous older brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, but he was able to rise to considerable power in that country by interpreting the king’s dreams and providing opportunities for his people (Genesis 30:22-24, 37:1, etc.).

 

In later years, the name was borne by the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. He was a carpenter of Nazareth, whose family had links to Bethlehem; his genealogy forms the highly enjoyable “begats” in the first chapters of the Gospel of Matthew.

 

Joseph was one of the most popular given names in colonial America. Note: If your ancestor Joseph ____ was of French-Canadian extraction, remember that many or all male family members may bear “Joseph” as one of several names, in honor of St. Joseph.


A Note from the Editor: In Defense of Holiday Newsletters

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Although the holiday newsletters sent out to family and friends this time of year are frequently mocked, I’ve always enjoyed reading them. Now I also write one, and over time I’ve come to appreciate their more lasting value for family historians.

 

I never considered writing a holiday newsletter before I had kids. In my pre-parenthood days I had more time to write individual notes and I also had less information to share. My twin son and daughter were born in January of 2004, and by the time December rolled around, I had lots of news to impart and very little time. So I wrote my first holiday newsletter and sent it out with a family photograph. I can’t say how well my letter was received but I was glad I’d documented at least a few facts from that blurry first year.

 

After five years, I realized that I had never given any thought to keeping copies of my letters or holiday photographs. (And, yes, I work at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and have been doing family history since I was about fourteen.) So I began the painful process of trying to reassemble what I’d sent out. The computer I composed the first letters on had died, and I had to ask various relatives if they had kept my letters. Fortunately, some had, and were willing to return them. Two of my early holiday photos still were “saved projects” in Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly websites. I was pleased about this — except that I had to order ten copies of each photo so I could get the one copy of each I actually wanted. My final missing piece, the 2004 family photo, was found when I went to Minnesota and my mother let me look through my grandmother’s papers. My grandmother, who died in 2007, had indeed saved that holiday photo.

 

The effort I put in was worth it. I purchased a nice album and inserted all the photos and letters, and for the last few years I’ve simply added a new photo and letter. Earlier this week, after inserting the latest additions, I flipped through my eight years of documentation with some satisfaction. I am sorry to say that I didn’t journal about my kids’ early lives or fill baby books with great detail, as my mother did for me. But I am glad to have this record, which offers a yearly snapshot of our lives. I asked my kids if they wanted me to read them the first one, and they said yes. I thought they would be interested but I did not expect them to be as enthralled as they were. While I read, they laughed and blushed and asked lots of questions — and the questions continued long afterwards.

 

Historians often express concern that there will be fewer written sources to preserve from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries than in previous eras. It seems to me that the preservation of holiday newsletters, a unique source that originated and flourished during this time period, would make future genealogists very happy. I rather like the idea of a descendant getting to know me through my holiday newsletters.


What's In A (Baby) Name?

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

BabyCenter.com has released its 2011 list of the most popular American baby names. NPR's Scott Simon reflects on "names that ring with new hopes and dreams."

Family Roots — at What Cost?

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

Two Canadian university professors have undertaken a groundbreaking research project to find out why genealogists trace their roots and how much time and money are invested in the search.

Contents of Auctioned Storage Unit Take Family on Cross-Country Adventure

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

 This follow-up to one of last week’s stories of interest offers news video — and a happy ending.

This week's survey: Holiday newsletters

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week’s survey asked how many times readers had moved over the course of their lifetimes. (We did not count moves within the same city or town.) The results are:

 

35%, I have moved two to five times.

31%, I have moved six to ten times.

14%, I have moved eleven to fifteen times.

6%, I have moved sixteen to twenty times

6%, I have moved once.

5%, I have moved more than twenty times.

3%, I have always lived in the same city or town.


This week's survey asks if you send a holiday newsletter to family and friends. Take the survey now!


Name Origins: PAOLI/PASCALPAOLI

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

PAOLI/PASCALPAOLI (m): A number of Federal-period boys bore the name PAOLI or PASCALPAOLI in honor of the Corsican patriot [Gen.] Pascal Paoli (1725–1807). Pascalpaoli Spear (b. Bellingham, Mass. 23 Nov. 1785, son of Benjamin and Elizabeth [Forrestall] Spear) m. Bellingham (int.) 27 Feb. 1811 Betsey Guild and had a namesake son in 1812 (Bellingham, Mass. VRs to 1850, pp. 61, 146). Paoli Lathrop (1797–1872, son of Joseph and Rowena [Wells] Lathrop) was named for the same hero (Rev. S.B. Huntington, A Genealogical Memoir of the Lo-Lathrop Family [1884], pp. 184–85).

Spotlight: Obituary Indexes, Texas and Arkansas

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Assistant Editor

Burnet County Genealogical Society, Texas

 

Burnet County is located in the Texas Hill Country, in the central part of the state. Its county seat is Burnet. The Burnet County Genealogical Society has compiled and made obituary indexes for the period from 1876 through 1910 available online. This project is a work in progress, with more years being added as they are completed. The indexes are organized by year and are alphabetical by surname. The data fields in the index include the name of the deceased, age, city of residence / resident of, newspaper title, and the date of publication of the obituary. A check mark has been included in the publication date field if the genealogical society has a printed copy of the obituary in its collection.

 

McKinney Public Library, Texas

 

McKinney is located in northeastern Texas. It is the county seat of Collin County. The McKinney Public Library has made a number of vital record indexes available on its website. The files are in Microsoft Excel. The data has been extracted from local newspapers. There are two birth, engagement, and marriage indexes, covering the period from 1980 to 1989 and 1990 to 1991. The data fields include last name, first name, type of record, date of publication, and page number. There are four alphabetical obituary indexes. They cover 1884 to 1989, 1990 to 1999, 2000 to 2009, and 2010 on. The data fields for the earliest index are last name, first name, title, maiden name, newspaper, date(s), and page(s). For later databases the data fields include all of the above except for newspaper title.

 

Pine Bluff / Jefferson County Library, Arkansas

 

Pine Bluff, which is located in central Arkansas, is the county seat of Jefferson County. The Pine Bluff / Jefferson County Library has made an obituary database available on its website. They have indexed all deaths and obituaries in Jefferson County newspapers in the library’s collections. Records in the index date back to 1866. It should be noted that there are gaps in the collection to 1899. The database includes the following newspapers: Pine Bluff Commercial, Pine Bluff Graphic, Pine Bluff News, Pine Bluff Press-Eagle, and White Hall Journal, as well as some little-known publications such as The Pine Bluff Dispatch, The Negro Spokesman, The Jefferson Republican and The Weekly Echo. Obituaries from the Pine Bluff Commercial and the White Hall Journal continued to be added to the database as they are received.

 

This database is searchable by name (surname, full name, or even nickname) or by name and year. Up to 1,000 records will be displayed in the search results at a time. Data fields in the initial search results include name, date of the obituary, and the source. Click on the name link to access a record that also includes the page number on which the obituary appears. Click on the Request Photocopy link to learn how to obtain a copy of an obituary from the library for a fee.


Spotlight: Newspaper Databases, Alabama and Pennsylvania

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

The Jacksonville Republican, Jacksonville, Alabama

 

Jacksonville is located in Calhoun County, which is in northeast Alabama. Jacksonville State University has made a historic newspaper database available on its website. The Jacksonville Republican is one of the oldest newspapers in northeast Alabama. It began as a weekly paper in January of 1837. The paper was published continuously between 1837 and 1904, with the exception of a month-long period at the end of the Civil War. The digital archive of Jacksonville State University’s Houston Cole Library includes the full range of newspapers from 1837 to December of 1895. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files.

 

Click on The Jacksonville Republican link to access the digital collection. The first two PDF files in the list were digitized from a published index. The first gives a brief history of the collection and the second is an index to proper names. The index entries include “names, local events, state and national happenings, and local advertisements,” a few keywords to describe the article and its contents (obit, murdered, editorials, 3rd regiment, and so on), and the date on which the article appeared. The PDF files are organized by year, from most recent to earliest. Within each year the newspapers for each month are located in a single file. Click on the “PDF” link to open the files. You will have to scroll through the newspaper images to locate particular issues and articles.

 

Newspaper Indexes, Altoona, Pennsylvania

 

Altoona is located in Blair County, which is in central Pennsylvania. The Altoona Public Library has made two newspaper databases available on its website. Click on the database link to access the search page.

 

Obituary Index


The database indexes obituaries from the local newspaper, the Altoona Mirror, for the period from 1929 to the present. The index is searchable by last name, first name, and maiden name. The data fields include last name, first name, middle name, maiden name, descriptor, and the date or dates on which the obituary appeared in the newspaper. The descriptor field contains such information as the person’s title (Miss, Mrs., Mr.), nickname, and other descriptive information about the deceased. Once located in the database, photocopies of obituaries may be requested in writing from the library’s Reference Department for a small fee.

 

Birth Index


The Birth Index is a work in progress. The database contains birth notices from the Altoona Mirror. It may be searched by the child's first or last name, mother's first name, maiden name or married name, father's first name or last name, and date of birth. The data fields in the search results include child’s full name, father’s full name, mother’s full married name plus her maiden name, if known, child’s date of birth, and the date on which the birth was announced in the newspaper. If the child is not named, the words son or daughter appear in the first name field.


A Note from the Editor: Following Up on Some Recent Columns

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week I wrote about the opening of the 1940 census on April 2, 2012, and provided instructions from the National Archives on how to search for ancestors in the census without an index, since no index currently exists. I mentioned speculation that a complete name index to the 1940 census would be available about six months after the census is released.

 

Reader Tom Doherty of Wilmington, Delaware, wrote to let me know that the full index to the 1940 census is expected to be available in the U.S. for free on Ancestry.com by mid-April 2012 — and remain free through the end of 2013. “When complete, more than 3.8 million original document images containing 130 million plus records will be available to search by more than 45 fields, including name, gender, race, street address, county and state. It will be Ancestry.com’s most comprehensively indexed set of historical records to date.”

 

The press release is available at Ancestry.com.

 

* * *

 

In response to our recent stories on Massachusetts historical markers, a reader sent a link to London Remembers, a website “aiming to capture all memorials in London.” The memorials include “plaques, monuments, statues, fountains, etc, that commemorate a person, an event, a building, etc.”

 

I appreciated the site’s caveat: “Be aware that London actually has more cars, more rain and less sun than our photos show.”

 

* * *

 

And, finally, following up on a previous column on useful map websites, we have the following recommendations to pass on:

 

Historic Map Works, Inc.

 

This site, which contains a wide range of maps, has an interesting feature I’ve not seen elsewhere. It allows you to search for maps by street address. I entered addresses in Maine and Massachusetts and received results of relevant ward, town, city, county, and state maps that included my location. Had I simply been browsing the site, it would have taken me much more time to assemble this list.

 

The Geographicus Antique Map Archive

 

The Geographicus Archive, the scholarly arm of an online retail map gallery, attempts to bridge the gap between a webstore and an academic archive. Much of the research the gallery compiles on its maps is made available here for public study and use. Users can link to their maps and embed them into their own websites.

 

If you missed any of the above stories, or would like to re-read them, please visit our Daily Genealogist blog. Featured subjects are posted each weekday, and full issues are available in our archives.


Brothers, Apart for Decades, ‘Didn’t Feel Like’ Strangers

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

Genealogical research reunited two brothers separated as young children.

In Digital Age, Women Retell Family History Via Traditional Sources

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

This article, which details two women’s family history projects, also speculates about the endurance of early 21st-century sources for future family historians.

Storage Unit Holds Family Secrets: Trove of Lost Local History Surfaces in Tampa, Fla.

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

When a Florida resident purchased the contents of an abandoned storage unit, he didn’t expect to find a cache of Massachusetts family photos, letters, and documents.

This Week's Survey: Reader's migration patterns, part two

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week’s survey asked whether you currently live in the state (or province) you were born in. The results are:

 

38%, Yes, I live in the state or province I was born in.
62 %, No, I do not live in the state or province I was born in.

 

This week's survey again looks at the migration patterns of Weekly Genealogist readers. We ask how many times readers have moved. Take the survey now!


Name Origins: NOTWITHSTANDING

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

NOTWITHSTANDING (f): This famous example of bizarre New England Puritan names comes from Genealogy as Pastime and Profession (1930) by Donald Lines Jacobus, and is cited by him as an example of “the old custom of opening the Bible with eyes shut and giving the child the name which happened to be nearest the pointing finger.” Given the short life of at least one bearer, use of this name more likely reflects (justified) parental fear that their infant was not long for this world, but also faith that despite grim earthly prospects, its baptism assured eternal bliss hereafter.

 

Notwithstanding Griswold, b. Durham, Conn. 4 March 1759, daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah Griswold, died the next day, and was succeeded by a younger namesake, Notwithstanding “Standa” Griswold, born Durham 16 April 1764 and baptized the following 29 April. As “Standa” Griswold, this younger child was married to Daniel Graves of Guilford at the Second Congregational Church, North Guilford, Conn., on 2 April 1786; they apparently removed to Broome County, New York. She had many children and grandchildren, but none that I can see bore either version of her given name.


Spotlight: Brooklyn, New York Cemeteries

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

Green-Wood Cemetery

 

The Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as one of the country’s earliest rural cemeteries. The 478-acre cemetery with “hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths,” contains 560,000 graves. As noted on its website, an 1866 New York Times article stated, “It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the [Central] Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.” Click on the Historic Green-Wood link to view a dropdown list of options from which to select. Select About/History to read details of the cemetery’s history.

Many notable individuals are buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Horace Greeley, as well as Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors. On the cemetery website you will find profiles of a few of these famous ‘residents.’ Select on the Famous Residents link from the dropdown list to access the biographies.

 

Select Map from the dropdown list under the Historic Green-Wood tab to view and download a PDF version of a comprehensive map of Green-Wood Cemetery. The map also contains the names and photographs of some of the more well-known cemetery residents. Their graves are noted on the map. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the map.

 

There is a photo gallery under the Photos link. Click on the Videos link to view a number of videos of the cemetery. You will also find a list of films and television shows shot on location at Green-Wood Cemetery.

 

The link to the burial database search page may also be found on the dropdown list under the Historic Green-Wood tab. It should be noted that the database is not complete. Some burials may be missing from the list, particularly some of the earliest ones. (The records at the cemetery are complete.) Select the Burial Search link to open the search page. The database can be searched by first name and last name. Searches can be limited by year of burial. You should note that the date of interment listed in the database might not be the date of an individuals' first burial at Green-Wood Cemetery. If an individual was moved from one grave to another, the date of interment listed in the database will be the re-interment date. The data fields in the search returns are last name, first name, burial date, and lot and section. Individual burial transcripts and a listing of names and dates of interment of all individuals buried in a plot may be ordered from the cemetery for a fee.

 

The Evergreens Cemetery

 

The Evergreens Cemetery was organized in 1849. It covers 225 acres and is located in Brooklyn on the Brooklyn-Queens border. More than 526,000 people are buried in Evergreens Cemetery. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Click on the Records tab to begin a search the interment records of The Evergreens Cemetery. Currently the records of over 300,000 of the more than 500,000 individuals buried at the Evergreens have been included in the searchable database. The list is nearly complete for the period from 1849 to 1877, and the period from 1942 to the present. The database is a work in progress with new records being added on a regular basis. You can search by first name and last name. The data fields in the search results are first name, middle name, last name, burial date, and burial number. Researchers may contact the cemetery directly for additional information.

 

Click on the Stories tab to find biographical information about some of the notable individuals buried in the cemetery and articles about historical events, including disasters, as they relate to the cemetery. The stories are organized under the following headers: The Revolutionary War, The Civil War, Famous Musicians, Entertainers and Artists, Quirky Characters, and Historical Disasters. On the right side of the Stories main page you will find links to the individual narratives.


A Note from the Editor: Preparing for the Opening of the 1940 Census

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

The online debut of the 1940 census is now only four months away. At 9 a.m. on Monday, April 2, 2012, the National Archives will make the census available for research.

 

The 1940 census will provide some challenges for researchers used to typing a name in a search box and immediately locating an ancestor’s place of residence. There is no index to the 1940 census. The National Archives FAQ page on the 1940 census reports that in lieu of an index, “You can locate people by identifying the enumeration district in which they lived in 1940 and then browsing the Census population schedules for that enumeration district.”

 

If you don’t know where an ancestor lived in 1940, you can follow the suggestions on the Start Your 1940 Census Research Page:

 

1. Make a list of all the people you want to look for in the 1940 census

2. Determine their addresses using sources such as city directories, 1930 census information, and World War II draft records.

3. Identify the enumeration district for each address. Follow the steps provided online to search 1940 census maps for enumeration district numbers and descriptions. You can also try the search utilities, which allow you to convert 1930 EDs to 1940 ones and search for 1940 EDs by using addresses or locations.

 

You can view a clock that is counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the census opening — and a wealth of information on the 1940 census on the National Archives website.

 

Steve Morse's 1940 census information page contains numerous strategies for locating ancestors using his free One-Step tools and a source checklist that might yield 1940 addresses. Mr. Morse also provides useful background on the 1940 census. For instance, “There were several new and interesting questions in 1940. Some examples are name of informant (so you can see if the information was provided by someone knowledgeable), highest school grade completed (to see if education level affected whether or not a person had a job in this recessionary period), country of birth as of 1937 borders (because the borders of Europe were changing fast and furiously in 1940), place of residence in 1935 (to see how migratory the population was due to the recession and great dust bowl of the 1930s), and income.”

 

On his website, Mr. Morse speculates that a complete name index to the 1940 census will be available about six months after the census is released. So if some of your ancestors prove elusive, other search options will become available over time.

 

I am looking forward to finding my family members, most specifically my grandparents, in the 1940 census. Both sets of my grandparents were married in August 1940, so at the time the census was taken, on April 1, all four of them were single, and my grandmothers were still living with their parents in Little Falls, Minnesota. I also particularly want to locate my immigrant ancestors and find out whether the information provided tallies with what I think I know now. I’m not expecting great revelations in this census but I am looking forward to a new genealogical resource — one that connects me a bit more to my grandparents and older generations of my family that I knew and now remember.


Holocaust Database Helps Families Complete Stories

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

From NPR's "Morning Edition": Since May, the World Memory Project, sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.com, has indexed more than 700,000 records, and made data on more than 30,000 people available online.

Story of Interest: Why Inbreeding Really Isn’t as Bad as You Think It Is

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor


An in-depth analysis that draws some surprising conclusions about “what the consequences of inbreeding really are.”

A Convert to Family History

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

An unexpected source provided the answers author Lisa Jardine was seeking about her grandparents’ migration to England.

This Week's Survey: Geographical mobility

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week’s survey asked how Weekly Genealogist readers manage their genealogy data. The results are:

 

67%, I use a combination of systems

25 %, I use software on my computer

6%, I use a paper system

2%, I use a web-based genealogy program

 

Paula Hinkel of Sherman Oaks, California, wrote “In this week's survey, there was one option missing. I was looking for ‘random stacks of paper strewn haphazardly around the office.’ Then again, maybe I'm the only one.”

 

We feel we can safely say that Paula is not the only one, and we think that Paula’s answer might well have been the most popular, had it been a choice!

 

This week's survey looks at readers’ geographical mobility. Take the survey now!


Name Origins: AHASUERUS

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

AHASUERUS (m): “In the Old Testament, a great ruler of Persia, and husband of Esther, probably identical with Xerxes I. He is mentioned in Ezra, iv.6, and throughout the Book of Esther” (Clarence L. Barnhart, William D. Halsey, et al., eds.) THE NEW CENTURY CYCLOPEDIA OF NAMES, 3 vols. (1954), 1:63). A discussion of the name in Isaac Landman, ed., THE UNIVERSAL JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA, 10 vols. (New York: The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Inc., 1939-1943), 1:137, notes that the Biblical Ahasuerus is most often identified with Xerxes I (KSHAYARSHA in Persian), but commentators as early as the Roman/Jewish historian have favored Artaxerxes I, while others have identified him with Cambyses, Darius I, or Artaxerxes II or III; see also 5:168-70 (under Esther). Nathaniel and Keziah (Blackman) (Cross) Ferris of Greenwich, Conn., named a son Ahasuerus Ferris in 1750; he was living in Genoa, Cayuga Co., N.Y., as late as 1820, and had a large progeny. In 1855 King Ahasuerus Chillson and Cynthia Eaton of Springfield, Vermont, were made heirs of Largan Lockwood, also of Springfield (Vermont Genealogy 9 [2004]: 17, #360, citing Vermont Legislature, Acts and Resolves of 1855, orig. p. 220, #148). The 1850 census lists three men with the exact spelling Ahasuerus: Ahasuerus Capen (b. about 1806) in Winthrop, Maine; Ahasuerus James (b. about 1828) of Nanticoke Hundred, Delaware; and Ahasuerus Yates (b. about 1845) of Milton, Indiana. There were very likely others.

Spotlight: Houston, Texas, Websites

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

Glenwood Cemetery, Texas

 

Houston is the largest city in Texas. The city is also the seat of Harris County. The Houston Cemetery Company established Glenwood Cemetery in 1871, and it opened for business in the summer of 1872. The Glenwood Cemetery has made a burial records database available on its website. Click on the Burial Records link in the banner below the photograph at the top of the homepage. This will open a new page from which you can access the database. Click on one of the two Search Burial Records links to open the search page.

The burial records database can be searched by first name and / or last name and limited by selecting a date range to search. The search results include full name of the deceased and the burial date. The results returned are arranged by date, from the most recent to the earliest records. The fields in the detailed search results include name, burial date, section, lot number, and marker.

 

In 1999, Glenwood assumed ownership and responsibility for the adjacent Washington Cemetery. The German Society of Houston established Washington Cemetery in 1887. It was known as the German Society Cemetery until its name was changed to Washington Cemetery during the summer of 1918. It is an active cemetery with over 7,500 burials. To access the cemetery’s website you can click on the Washington Cemetery link toward the bottom of the History section in the About Glenwood webpage. The Washington Cemetery website is under construction. It will eventually contain a searchable burial records database.

 

Genealogical researchers may request from Glenwood Cemetery the complete information available in the records of both Glenwood and Washington cemeteries. However, due to the condition of the burial records, photocopies are not provided. Up to three burial locations or records searches will be provided free of charge. The non-refundable fee for each additional location or search is $5. The information contained in burial records includes the name of the deceased, burial date, burial location, and sometimes age at death, cause of death, and place of nativity. The burial records do not include birth or death dates, or parents’ names. There are short biographies of notable individuals interred in Glenwood Cemetery on the About Glenwood page.

 

Houston Public Library / Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

 

The Clayton Library, Center for Genealogical Research, was founded in 1921 as a special collection for genealogical research at Houston Public Library. The library has made a death records database available on its website. This database is an index to the records of two Houston funeral homes: the Fogle-West Funeral Home and the Boulevard Funeral Home. The records for the Fogle-West Funeral Home housed at the Clayton Library cover the time period 1921 through 1975. The records for the Boulevard Funeral Home owned by the Clayton Library cover from December 12, 1961, through December 1, 1967. Information in the funeral home records include last name, first name, middle name, nicknames, sex, age, death date, parents, place interred, copy of a death certificate, an obituary, information on an autopsy, last residence, insurance records, military service information, and many other miscellaneous bits of information about the deceased. Learn more about these records.

 

The search fields are last name, first and middle names, and a death date range. The results returned include the death date, last name, first and middle names, and the funeral home name. The death date field is a link to a form you can use to request the full record.

 

The last field contains an abbreviation for the types of papers found in the individual’s file. For the Fogle-West Funeral Home these include the following: ‘B’ for an entry in the bound record book; ‘C’ for a death certificate; ‘I’ for a family information sheet, a preprinted form with space for information about pall-bearers, surviving relatives, songs played at the funeral, and so on; ‘L’ for a ledger sheet containing payment information on one side and, in some cases, family data on the other; ‘M’ for miscellaneous papers, such as military papers, letters to the funeral home about payments, and more; and ‘O’ for a copy of an obituary. For the Boulevard Funeral Home the list does not include ‘B’ for bound volumes, which they did not have, but does include ‘F’ for a pre-printed folder with spaces for information on pall-bearers, surviving relatives, songs played at the funeral, etc.


On Blogs and Blogging

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 

Randy Seaver
Genea-Musings

Earlier this month, Weekly Genealogist survey questions on blogs prompted a range of questions and comments from readers. While some asked what blogs were, others wrote that they read hundreds of blogs a week. Based on this feedback, we asked blogger — and NEHGS member — Randy Seaver to provide some insight into blogs and blogging.
— Lynn Betlock, Editor

* * *


Welcome to the World of Genealogy Blogs
by Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings

 

What do you call a writer who tells family stories, opines on current genealogy news and issues, and shares research tips on a website that encourages comments from readers? If you guessed a “blogger” — someone who writes a blog (the term comes from “web log”) — you're right.

I started my Genea-Musings blog in April 2006, thinking that the world needed my opinions on world affairs, science, religion, and sports. Well, it soon became a genealogy-only blog, with family stories, news commentary, software and website reviews, research advice, and some genealogy humor. I write fifteen to twenty-five blog posts each week, and that often consumes ten to twenty hours of my time. My blog subjects come from my own research, questions from readers, new record collections, new websites, and new software. Reader feedback is valued, and often helps me with my own research challenges.

 

There are over 2,000 genea-bloggers currently listed on the www.geneabloggers.com website in dozens of categories, including Acadian Genealogy, Forensic Genealogy, Libraries and Archives, Technology, and Writing Your Family History. Three to four hundred blog posts are written each day by these genea-journalists. The writers range from teenagers and busy moms and dads to empty nesters and retired researchers — all of whom are having fun writing about their passion for genealogy and family history. There are genea-bloggers all over the world.

The beauty of genealogy blogging is that anybody with a computer and genealogy stories and experience can do it for free (www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com are two free platforms). Setting up a blog is easy — it takes ten minutes at most to create a blog title and description, and choose a blog template (layout, background, fonts, etc.). You are then ready to write your first post. A blogger might add a blog archive (previous posts), subject labels, a blog roll (list of websites and blogs), and widgets (banners, badges, etc.). Some genealogy blogs have advertisements for affiliate companies. A blog can have a free URL associated with the host site (e.g., http://wetree.blogspot.com) or a paid URL (e.g., www.cluewagon.com).

 

Blogs usually have from one to twenty posts on their main page. The most recent post appears at the top of the web page. All blog posts are archived, and content can be found by search engines. Most blogs permit readers to comment on each post, and comments are desired and encouraged. Many genea-bloggers post family pictures, document images, and screen captures to enhance the text.

 

Genea-bloggers are part of a welcoming, encouraging, and helpful community. You may know the names of some of them, such as Dick Eastman, Leland Meitzler, Lisa Louise Cooke, and Michael John Neill. Some readers will be familiar with Thomas MacEntee, Elyse Doerflinger, Michael Hait, and Amy Coffin. Some bloggers use a nom de plume, like the Ancestry Insider, DearMYRTLE, footnoteMaven, and Jasia. At regional and national genealogical conferences, “Official Bloggers” (sponsored by the conference promoters) are making their presence known, writing about classes, exhibits, and their experiences.

 

The most popular tool used to read multiple blogs is Google Reader. Users can copy and paste a blog URL into the “Subscribe” box in Google Reader. When a new post is published, Google Reader adds it to the user's Reader list for easy access. To comment, the user can click on the blog post title in the Reader and go to that post. The Reader reduces the time it takes to visit a number of blogs.

 

If you want to stay on top of the latest genealogy news, see reviews of the latest software and technology, or just read research or family stories, start reading genealogy blogs while you're having your morning cup of coffee. You'll enjoy reading about genealogical perspectives from all over the world.


Depleted Texas Lakes Expose Ghost Towns, Graves

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

 Drought in Texas has caused lakes to recede, revealing a variety of historical artifacts long buried beneath the waters.

This Book is 119 Years Overdue

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

A discussion of What Middletown Read, a database that tracks the borrowing records of the Muncie [Indiana] Public Library between 1891 and 1902.

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