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Public Library Usage Survey Results

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Last week’s survey asked about visiting your public library for genealogical research. While 45% visit weekly, monthly, or quarterly, an astonishing 33% never go to the library, and almost 50% never use their public library’s website.

 

Many of these are likely made up of two types of researchers: individuals who think that if the library does not have a genealogy section, there is nothing there to assist them; or individuals who think that if their ancestors did not live in the local area, the local public library will not be able to assist them. It is unfortunate that these people choose to ignore a major asset for their genealogical research.

 

Public libraries have research assistance in many corners. Books on general American history can help you place your ancestors in historical context. They may have subscriptions to history journals and popular magazines that will also help in this area. Understanding the historical context of the area where your ancestors lived may help you find more clues to identify who they were and where they came from.

 

One of the biggest reasons to visit your local public library is InterLibrary Loan (ILL). No one library (not even the Harvard University library system) has every item ever published. Many books and articles can be borrowed through ILL from libraries around the country (as well as many places elsewhere) and brought to your local library for you to use. Amazingly enough, not everything is on the internet, or even available digitally. Many records still exist only in the original or on microfilm. Microfilms of many materials can also be borrowed through ILL.

 

If you never visit your library or its website, how do you know there is nothing there to assist you? Libraries are constantly getting in new materials, subscribing to new online databases, and otherwise acquiring materials to help you. Without regular visits (both in person and online), how would you know if these materials would be of assistance?

 

One of the more valuable resources at the library is also the reference staff. It is their job to assist you with finding answers to your questions. They will also have access to materials to assist you that may not be readily apparent. The important thing to remember is not to restrict yourself in your thinking. Don’t limit yourself to thinking that because your ancestors didn’t live in your local area, or that if your library doesn’t have a specific genealogy section that they have no materials for genealogists. Take advantage of this free resource.

 

The full results of the survey are:

 

How often do you visit your local public library in person to conduct genealogical research?
Never, 33%
Yearly, 22%
Quarterly, 20%
Monthly, 17%
Weekly, 8%

 

How often do you visit your public library’s website for genealogical research?
Never, 49%
Weekly, 16%
Monthly, 15%
Quarterly, 13%
Yearly, 7%

 

This weeks’ survey asks about certification and accreditation.

Take the survey now!


Spotlight: Washington County Free Library, Maryland

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

Washington County Free Library
www.washcolibrary.org/localhistory/genealogy.asp 

Washington County, named for the Revolutionary War general and President George Washington, is located in western Maryland. Hagerstown is the county seat and home to the Washington County Free Library (WCFL). The online local history collection of the Washington County Free Library contains many resources specifically focused Washington County records. Click on the link in the contents list to access the particular resource. 

Obituary Locator 1790 – 2007

This database is a searchable index to the obituaries from the Hagerstown Morning Herald and Daily Mail, 1790 – 2007. There are two search options—last name or other details. The search results returned may provide full name of the deceased, age, if known, date of the obituary, military service, and newspaper abbreviation.

Marriage Records

This database is an index to Washington County marriages for the periods from 1861 to 1919 and 1941–1949. The database may be searched by last name, first name, page number, spouse, or month, day and year of the marriage.

School Records

This database is an index to individuals named in the Annual Report of the Public Schools of Washington County, Maryland, for December 1927. Search fields include last name, first name, home address, role (teacher, trustee), school, election district and school district.

Church Records

There is currently only one active church records database, created from the transcribed records of St. John's Parish in Hagerstown and the records of the parish cemetery. You may search this database by record type, church, officiant, year, date, and description of what took place. For example, parents and sponsors in baptismal records are named. Race is also noted in the record. The records of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Lappans will be available soon.

Cemetery & Death Records

Two cemetery records databases are available. The first is for the Reformed Cemetery of Knoxville, Frederick, County, Maryland. You may search this database by last name, first name, and page number. The second was created from Washington County, Maryland, Cemetery Records transcribed by Samuel Webster Piper prior to 1936, typed and presented by the Conococheague Chapter, NSDAR of Hagerstown in 1942; edited by Dale W. Morrow in 1992. You may search this database by last name, first/middle name, volume, and page number.

Land Records

The links in this section provide access to various land records databases for Western Maryland.  Land records for Washington County are available on the Maryland State Archives website. Direct access to early land records is provided from the library website or you can explore the records from the state archives site by applying for a free password via a link provided on the webpage. The databases are as follows: Land Certificates, Patented 1776 – 1961; Land Certificates, Unpatented 1739 – 1896; and Land Plats and Maps 1849 – 1936.

Historic Newspaper Index

The Historic Newspaper Indexing Project was started in 1980. Its goal was to create a multi-volume subject and personal name index to weekly and semi-weekly newspapers published in Hagerstown between 1790 and 1890. To date, printed volumes of An Index to Hagerstown Newspapers cover the period from 1790 to 1849 and 1860 to 1865.

The online index covers the periods from 1845 to 1849 and 1860 to 1865. Click on the Search Database button to access the database. The following newspapers have been indexed in this database: Herald of Freedom, Herald of Freedom and Torch Light, Herald and Torch Light, Hagerstown Mail, News and Hagerstown News, Maryland Free Press, and Torch Light. The geographic area covered in the articles found in the index include the following “present-day” counties and states: Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties in Maryland; Cumberland, Adams, Fulton and Franklin counties in Pennsylvania; and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia.

Article titles can be browsed by clicking on the “Show Article Titles by Date” link. Index users can look through lists of titles month by month for each of the years. The data fields include the date on which the article appeared, newspaper abbreviation, page and column information, and the article title and summary. The index can also be searched by keyword. Enter a keyword or phrase in the search box and click on the Start Search button. Click on the “Subject Term” in the search results to see the complete article title information.

You can get assistance with your searches by visiting the Guide to Using the Index. The guide also includes a list of missing issues of the newspapers in the database. Copies of articles may be requested from the library by clicking on the Request Copies button.


Katrina Uncovers a Little History in Mississippi

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

When Hurricane Katrina devastated Mississippi's coastal areas, the storm tore up the home. But it also peeled back a little slice of history about Beauvoir that might never have been known otherwise. Beauvoir was the last home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

 

Read the full story from April Williams on CNN.com.


Grandfather's Ghost Story Leads to Mysterious Mass Grave

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

CNN Reporter Meghan Rafferty filed this interesting story out of Malvern, Pennsylvania. A group of Irish immigrants who supposedly died of cholera may, in fact, have been murdered.

 

"Duffy's Cut," as it's now called, is a short walk from a suburban cul-de-sac in Malvern, an affluent town off the fabled Main Line. Twin brothers Bill and Frank Watson believe 57 Irish immigrants met violent deaths there after a cholera epidemic struck in 1832.

 

They suspect foul play.

 

"This is a murder mystery from 178 years ago, and it's finally coming to the light of day," Frank Watson said.

 

The full story, and a short video, are available at CNN.com.


Research Recommendations: FGS and the East Tennessee History Center

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Last week’s Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Knoxville was a grand success. Although the physical placement of the exhibit hall removed us from the classrooms, there was still a great deal of traffic. A number of exhibitors had a great deal of interest for attendees. Maia’s Books now stocks all Heritage Books in print and had a wide selection in the booth. I am continually amazed at the quality of product at Maia’s. I picked up an excellent book at the conference dealing with German names. Bruce and Laurie Buzbee were able to answer some questions for me about the latest release of RootsMagic (one of the best database software programs I’ve ever used).

 

Connie Potter, Maureen Macdonald, and their crew at the National Archives were extremely helpful in answering questions about military records, including a large number of questions about the War of 1812 pension records. On Friday evening FamilySearch.org sponsored a reception for the launch of a new FGS project, Preserve the Pensions, which will raise money to digitize these pension files. You can find more details, and sample pension files, at www.fgs.org/1812.

 

One of the highlights of the week, however, was visiting the East Tennessee History Center. The Center is home to the East Tennessee Historical Society, the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, and the Knox County Archives. The convenient location on Gay Street is just two blocks from the Hilton Hotel where we stayed. I have heard good things about the Center before, but was unprepared for just how wonderful a place it is to do research.

 

The Museum of East Tennessee History and a small gift shop are located on the first floor. On a mission to research some families for my book on the descendants of Josiah Franklin, I went straight to the second floor, home of the Knox County Archives (KCA). KCA houses a wide variety of county records, from the earliest days of the county to the late twentieth century. With the assistance of extremely friendly staff, I was quickly looking at original probate files from the 1950s and 1970s. A valuable set of cemetery transcriptions helped me locate the family in the Old Gray Cemetery quite speedily. FindaGrave.com had revealed stones for two family members. It turns out that they are buried in a family plot with seven known burials. The next day I was able to take a short trip to the cemetery and photograph all of the stones.

 

I next moved up to the third floor, home of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection of the Knoxville Public Library. Extra staff was on hand to assist the large number of conference attendees there to research. I was quicklyseated at a microfilm reader, examining death certificates and newspaper articles that quickly identified a number of new descendants. The microfilm cabinets held a large number of records from counties across Tennessee, while the adjacent room held books from all over the state.

 

At the end of the day I left, bleary-eyed, to make my way back to the hotel and some sleep, my backpack filled with photocopies of new information. One drawback of the Center is that all copying (photocopying of books or prints of microfilm) must be done by staff members. Users fill out a form with the appropriate publication information then drop off the form with the book or microfilm at a nearby desk, paying for all copies at the time of drop off. Later on, you pick up your photocopies at the front desk. While this does make for a slow process initially, you do not have to waste time standing at the photocopy machine, and you always receive excellent-quality printouts.

 

If you have research in Tennessee, I strongly advise a trip to Knoxville to visit the East Tennessee Historical Center. You can find out more about it at www.easttnhistory.org.


Name Origins: Pardon

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Genealogist

 PARDON (m): This Puritan "virtue name," referring to the pardon offered by Christ to the repentant sinner, is a marker name for the Tillinghast family of Rhode Island. Readers are warned that a royal line attributed in many older printed sources to the immigrant, Rev. Pardon Tillinghast, was broken in the middle 1980s.

Spotlight: Concord Public Library, New Hampshire

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

www.onconcord.com/library

Concord, the New Hampshire state capital, also serves as the seat of Merrimack County. The city includes the villages of Penacook, East Concord and West Concord. The Concord Public Library has a section on its website dedicated to the history of the city.

 

Click on the Concord History link in the index on the left side of the page to open a page with links to the resources. These include full-text versions of a number of Concord histories. There are four published volumes, one manuscript and historical city reports. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the files.

 

Local Histories: Published
Nathaniel Bouton's The History of Concord, From Its First Grant in 1725 To The Organization Of The City Government in 1853, With a History Of The Ancient Penacooks, published in Concord by Benning W. Sanborn in 1856. It includes a physical history and a statistical chapter.

 

James O. Lyford's History of Concord New Hampshire From the Original Grant in Seventeen Hundred and Twenty-Five to the Opening of the Twentieth Century, 2 volumes, was published by the Rumford Press in Concord, New Hampshire in 1903. The second volume of this work contains church history, the history of the Concord schools, and trades and professions.

 

David Arthur Brown's The History of Penacook, N. H., From Its First Settlement in 1734 Up To 1900, includes local history as “gleaned” from earlier Concord history publications and from interviews with older residents.

 

Local History: Manuscript
"A Capital for New Hampshire," by Grace P. Amsden, is an unpublished three-volume manuscript written in the 1950s. It provides “an account of important Concord persons and buildings through the middle of the 20th century. The stories related to buildings associated with Count and Countess Rumford, Franklin Pierce, Robert Rogers, Isaac Hill and other Concord notables are interesting and informative, but little known to the present Concord community.” The original manuscript, with photographs, is available at the Tuck Library of the New Hampshire Historical Society. The Concord Room of the Concord Public Library has a copy of the text.

 

Historical City Reports
The resources provided in this section include published reports of city records for the period from 1732 through 1925. For the period 1732 – 1820 there is index of names, a meetings index by year, and an appendix, which includes a roll of licensed innkeepers; a list of marriage intentions; and a 1757 Polls and Estates listing of property and other possessions of value held by local citizens. There is a gap in the records, which lasts from 1821 to 1834. There are no indexes for the years from 1835 through 1925, but the records are organized year by year.

 

The final resources include a document titled “Celebrating 150 Years of Service, Concord Public Library, (1855 – 2005)” and the Henry P. Moore 1860 colorized lithograph of the southwest view of Concord, owned by the Concord Public Library, which has recently been digitized and preserved.


Name Origins: Vespasian

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Genealogist

VESPASIAN (m): Roman emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus (9–79 A.D., acceded 69 A.D.) gained power as a bluff, no-nonsense general.

Status Quo Gains Momentum on Library

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Status Quo Gains Momentum on Library

The Lansing Journal reports on the status of an advisory panel recommendation to Gov. Jennifer Granholm that the Michigan State Library remain exactly as it is.


Bay County Man Finds Roots Through 50-Year Journey

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Bay County Man Finds Roots Through 50-Year Journey

87-year-old Vern Weiler, of Munger, Michigan, started his research in the 1960s when two lawyers informed his in-laws that they “may be in for a lot of money because your ancestors got a land grant from the King of France bordering on the St. Lawrence River.”

British North-West Passage Ship Found in Canada

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

British North-West Passage Ship Found in Canada
The Guardian reports on the discovery ofHMS Investigator in shallow water in Mercy Bay. Investigator was abandoned in 1853 while trying to discover the North-West Passage.

Spotlight: Miscellaneous Databases: Ohio and Iowa

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

Columbus News Index, Ohio
www.columbuslibrary.org/cmlcnix/searchform.cfm

This database is an index to news articles related to events that occurred in Franklin County, Ohio, and surrounding counties. It contains abstracts of selected articles from 1960 to 2007 and obituaries between 1931 and 1997. You may contact the Library's Science, Business, and News Division to obtain a copy of the complete article. The database of selected articles can be searched by keyword and limited by date and publication. You can also browse the index by subject.

There is a link to the Columbus Dispatch Archives, which indexes obituaries from 1996 to the present; however, this database is accessible to library cardholders only.


Morley Library Obituary Index, Ohio
www.morleylibrary.org/genealogy.htm

The Morley County Library is located in Painsville, Lake County, in northern Ohio. The library has made available on its website an index to death notices from various area newspapers. The newspapers include The Telegraph and The News-Herald. The indexed records date back to 1822. Click on the Obituary Index link to access the search page. You can search by name (last name, first name) or keyword. The search results include the deceased’s full name and the individual’s death or birth and death dates. Click on the name link to view the detailed record, which includes the following data fields: name, birth date, death date, last residence, age, gender, and newspaper name, date and page number. You may request copies of the obituary from the library.


Oxford Mirror Newspaper Index, Iowa
http://showcase.netins.net/web/wregiememlib/thistory.html

The Wregie Memorial Library in Oxford Junction, Iowa, has made an index to the Oxford Mirror newspaper available on its website. Oxford Junction is a city located in Jones County, in the eastern part of the state. Click on the OJ Mirror Index link in the webpage contents list to open the database page. The alphabetical index covers the period 1916 – 1922. The data fields in the database include last name, first name, microfilm roll number, date of the paper, and page and column number.


Paper Carriers, Register Tribune, Des Moines, Iowa http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~judysstuff/carriers/rtcarriers.htm

This database contains names of young newspaper carriers employed by the Register and Tribune Company of Des Moines, Iowa, to deliver The Sunday Register, The Morning Register, and The Evening Tribune-Capital. They were abstracted from two free monthly publications, Our Junior and Carrier Salesman, distributed to the newspaper carriers. There are two issues from 1929 and one from 1931. In some cases there are links to newspaper clippings with photographs of the carriers. The data provided includes carrier’s name and location.



Stories of Interest: Celebrating 111 with Swedish and Scrabble

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects


Celebrating 111 with Swedish and Scrabble

The granddaughter of Swedish immigrants is among the oldest Americans and will likely celebrate on a $300 version of Scrabble provided by Hasbro’s CEO.


Spotlight: Montana State Genealogical Society

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative


Montana State Genealogical Society

The Montana State Genealogical Society (MSGS) was founded in 1989 to promote the “study of genealogical and historical research within the State of Montana.” The Society’s library is located in the Lewis & Clark Public Library in Helena, the state capital and county seat of Lewis and Clark County. It is located on the southern border of the state. The MSGS website contains some online resources, which are accessible from the homepage.

Click on the Montana State Death Indexes link to open a page from which you can access the Pre-1954 death indexes. Then click on the title link to access the Earliest Montana Death Records through 2002.

The Montana Bureau of Vital Statistics and MSGS collaborated to computerize the Pre-1954 death indexes. The Bureau arranged for the copying of the original vital records books and provided those copies to the Society. Many early deaths in Montana were not recorded on the local or state level. The earliest death in the index was recorded in 1882. These data files are grouped in one file for the pre-1900 dates and in ten-year increments for the period from 1900 on. The data fields for these indexes include Index Number, Last Name, First Name, Middle Name, Sex, Age, Location, County Number, County Name, Item Number, Day, Month, Year, Date of Death and Comments. Definitions for the 56 Montana County Codes have been provided on the database webpage. It should be noted that the records for the period from the early 1800’s to 1918 have no county designations. To get this information you will need to contact the Montana Bureau of Vital Statistics.

The Montana State Death Index 2003 to 2007 is only available on a CD, which can be purchased from MSGS. The files are in Excel format, and contain more than 41,000 Montana death certificates filed during this five-year period.

Norske Marriage & Naturalization Records
Part 1- Eastern Montana Marriage Records Index

This database is indexes marriage records of Blaine, Daniels, Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Phillips, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley and Wibaux Counties of Montana, which were included in the book Norske In Montana by Richard Fretheim. As described on the website, the database is a “continuation of the search for the records of those Norwegian immigrants and Norwegian /Americans who came to the Territory/State of Montana during the settlement years.”

The data fields in the records (for both grooms and brides) are as follows: name, place of residence, age, place of birth and parents' names, date and place of the marriage, county of issue and document number of the marriage license.

Part 2 - Eastern Montana Naturalization Records

This database indexes naturalization records of Daniels, Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Phillips, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley and Wibaux Counties. They represent ten of the twelve counties included in Norske In Montana.

The data in the records includes Identity (name, place and date of birth), Route (last foreign residence (LFR), place and date of departure, name of ship(s) taken, place and date of entrance to the United States), and Document number (place and date filed of the Declaration of Intention or Petition for Naturalization and number and date of the Certificate of Naturalization). The researcher should note that, for the period from 1900 to 1930, naturalization documents for a single individual might be found in as many as three different courthouses, while residing at the same address.

1930 Census Index for Montana

The 1930 census index is organized by county. Montana had 56 counties in that year. Click on the County Link to access each index. The data fields in each index are: line, surname, given name, county number, enumeration district number, city/township, page number, sheet number, and comments. It is a work in progress.


Name Origins: Emily

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Genealogist


EMILY (f): This name, derived from the Latin AEMILIA [feminine form of a Roman nomen or family name] via the French ÉMILIE, is different from AMELIA, which attained popularity at much the same time but has as its root the Germanic "amal."

Survey: OIdest Immigrant Lines

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects


Our eNews surveys are getting more and more popular every week. We are so glad you enjoy them. Last week we asked about your oldest immigrant lines in America. An astounding 82% had ancestors who arrived between 1600 and 1699. The remaining distribution is:

  •  1800 to 1899, 7%
  •  1700 to 1799, 5%
  •  1500 to 1600, 4%
  •  1900 to 1999, 1%
  •  Over the ancient land bridge, 1%

 

This week’s survey concerns your genealogy education. How do you learn more about resources, methodology, etc.?

Take the survey now!


Research Recommendations: Saving Your Favorite Pages

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects



Remember the days when websites were simple and had only a few pages? It was so easy to find what you were looking for. Websites today can be complex structures with hundreds or thousands of pages. Even if you do know where the information you are looking for is located, it often involves clicking through several pages to get there.

Fortunately, there are shortcuts around this process. Depending on the browser you use, they may be called bookmarks, favorites, or something else. You can subdivide your bookmarks into folders. For example, I have bookmark folders for news, maps, and vital records.

One of my favorite uses is to circumvent basic search pages on websites. I often want to use the more advanced search features when researching, and having to go to a home page, then a search page, then an advanced search page can take time (even longer if any of those pages is slow in loading). Using bookmarks allows me to jump right to the advanced search page.

Saving a bookmark is easy. Just navigate to the page you wish, then select from the bookmarks, favorites, or tools menu (depending on your browser). Choose to save the page (either in the main menu or into one of the folders). You can even save page to the menu bar of your browser.

I have direct links on my toolbar for Boston.com, Ancestry.com advanced search, FamilySearch.org advanced search, and my online email. Another tip is to change the name of the page when saving it to your menu bar (for example, instead of FamilySearch.org, I called it FHL). The Safari browser even displays images of the pages in the main window for you to browse through. Clicking on the image jumps you right to the page.

Using bookmarks/favorites is a great timesaver, and it allows you to skip over pages that you have no interest in viewing.

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