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Research Recommendations: Tips for Genealogical Research Trips

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Once again the Society’s annual tour to Salt Lake City is upon us. This year we will have almost 100 people joining us on the tour, which is certain to keep the staff hopping for the week. In addition to the preparatory efforts for my work with the participants, I have been preparing for my own personal research that I will be doing while I am at the Family History Library (FHL).

     

Whenever taking a research trip, either on your own or as part of a tour, it is helpful to review materials and develop goals prior to departing. All too often, on many of our tours, we have folks who are not able to get as much research done as possible because they did not refresh their memories and develop a list of specific problems and questions to deal with on the tour. Not only is it frustrating for them, it is frustrating for us as staff members. We love working closely with participants on our tours, doing our best to help them solve problems, break down brick walls, and find new ancestors.

     

Before taking any trip, sit down and look at your research. This is especially important if you haven’t worked on some lines in a long time. In preparing for my trip, I looked at research I had done on my uncle’s ancestors. I hadn’t touched these lines in 10 years or more. I had hit a brick wall with a couple who lived in Philadelphia and married in the late 1840s. Just looking at it again, and using the online databases now available, I was able to identify the couples’ parents, the wife’s grandparents, and the English origins of her grandfather. Researching English and Jamaican records at the FHL will hopefully confirm what I have found in other sources.

     

As another step in my research, I create a word processing document and call it “SLC Research [insert month and year of trip].” In this document, I start a summary list of questions and problems to work on. Under each one, I copy FHL film and fiche numbers, as well as call numbers of print materials that I will look at for that problem. I can then print this document and use it to retrieve materials when I am onsite. This cuts back on the time I have to wait to consult the catalog there. I then type in a summary of my findings for each film under that film number/book in the list and save it. Sometimes I put page breaks between items so I can have a partly blank page to write notes on while I am moving around the library.

     

One of the tasks I perform when I am in the stacks in the library is to conduct a literature review. Once I have retrieved information from books I pulled out of the catalog, I look at every book on the shelf that deals with the locality in which I am researching. This sometimes involves moving to several areas in the stacks because of the way items are catalogued. I often find at least one or two nuggets of hidden information that I might not have found otherwise. I’ve also found more than one index/abstract/transcription of records that I might not have found through a regular FHLC search.

     

Whenever you are taking a research trip, make sure to take the time to do your homework before leaving. Even if you will be consulting with professionals on your trip, the more work you do in advance, and the more familiar you are with the problems you will be researching, the greater your chances will be for success.


Great Holiday Gift Suggestions for Genealogists

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Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

 Our new Book and Gift Catalog has many great holiday gift suggestions for genealogists. Perhaps forwarding this link to family members might be beneficial to you as we enter the holiday shopping season.

Blue Earth County Historical Society, Minnesota

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

Blue Earth County is located in southern Minnesota. Mankato is its county seat. The Blue Earth County Historical Society (BECHS) has made a number of indexes available on its website. Click on the Research tab and select the Resources link, then Indexes to view them.

 

Digital Photograph Images
Click on this link to view a collection of county photographs that have been digitized and made available by the Minnesota Digital Library. The originals of the 1,426 images are part of the BECHS photograph collection. Click on the thumbnail to view an enlargement with a detailed description of the photograph.

 

Cemetery Index
Burials in seventy-eight cemeteries have been transcribed and included in this alphabetical index. It contains only the full name of the deceased. Complete information is available in the BECHS Research Center in book form.

 

Marriage Index
This is an alphabetical index to marriage announcements published in the Mankato Free Press in 1947 and 1948. The data fields include groom, bride, marriage date, and Mankato Free Press issue. You may order a photocopy of an announcement from the historical society.

 

Minnesota State Census
This database comprises an alphabetical index to the Minnesota State Census of 1865 for Blue Earth County. The pages have been indexed by last name. The data fields include person number, last name, first and middle names, down, page and family number.

 

Obituary Index
Like the Marriage Index above, this database indexes obituaries published in the Mankato Free Press in 1947 and 1948. The data fields in the index include surname, given name and age, maiden name, two reference fields (publication dates), birth date, and death date. You may order a photocopy of an announcement from the historical society.

 

Social Notes
This database contains indexes to articles published in Blue Earth County newspapers from 1875 to the 1940s. These articles have been clipped from the original papers, and are in scrapbooks at the Historical Society. They have been indexed by town and are listed in chronological order. The towns covered in these scrapbooks are Beauford, Cambria, Caroline, Ceresco, Cray, Cream, Danville, Decoria, Eagle Lake, and Garden City.

 

Wills Index
This database provides an alphabetical index to wills that were donated to the society. It indexes only Blue Earth County residents. The wills date from 1858 to 1973. Researchers can request a copy of a will for a fee.


South Shore Maritime Museums Preserve the History of Shipwrecks

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

 The Quincy Patriot Ledger discusses the efforts of the Hull Lifesaving Museum and other organizations in Massachusetts to preserve the history of shipwrecks.

Name Origins: Louis

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

LOUIS (m): This name, originally the Frankish CHLODOWEG, was introduced to what is now France by the Franks in the very early Middle Ages. It evolved into one of the most popular French male names, used at every level of society, perhaps most famously by the Bourbon kings: Louis XIII, "the Just" (1601–1643, king from 1610); his son Louis XIV, “le Grand” (1638–1715, king from 1643, whose long reign practically made the given name a royal institution); his grandson Louis XV (1710–1774, king from 1715), and his great-grandson Louis XVI (1754–1793, king from 1774).

Research Recommendations: Genealogical Writing: Historical Periods

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Writing about historical periods of time is an important part of genealogical compilation. Knowing how to use these terms properly is critical. When referring to a period in time that is defined numerically, the number is lowercase unless it is a proper name. For example, one would write twentieth-century, but would properly write the Fourth Republic.

 

Capitalization rule are also important for descriptive periods. Once again, descriptive terms are lowercase unless referring to a proper name. Examples include the antebellum period, colonial era, and Victorian era. Note that even when capitalizing the proper name of Victorian (after Queen Victoria), the word era remains lowercase.

 

Some terms have come to traditionally refer to a certain period of time, and are capitalized by tradition. Examples include the Counter-Reformation, the Middle Ages, the Roaring Twenties, and the Gay Nineties.

 

Historical events can provide a challenge. According to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (CMS): “Names of many major historical events and programs are conventionally capitalized. Others, more recent or known by their generic descriptions, are usually lowercased. If in doubt, do not capitalize.” (CMS 8.74). For more information and detailed examples about dealing with historical events and periods, consult CMS 8.70–8.83.


NARA Seeks Feedback

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Last Spring, the National Archives announced that within the next two years the Northeast branch in New York City will move to the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green in New York City.

Researchers who use the National Archives microfilm and textual records are being asked to comment BEFORE 1 November about the records you most want to see remain at the new facility. Public comments are welcome regarding the preliminary list of textual records moving to One Bowling Green, and the preliminary list relating to the microfilm collection.

Visit the NARA website for more details about the move, and to provide your feedback. For questions, please contact Dave Powers, Acting Director of Archival Operations, National Archives at New York City, by phone: 212-401-1620; fax: 212-401-1638, or  by email.


Spotlight: Gallia County Genealogical Society, Ohio

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

www.galliagenealogy.org
Gallia County is located on the Ohio River in southeastern Ohio. Gallipolis is the county seat. The Gallia County Genealogical Society has uploaded a number of resources to its website. Click on Genealogical Resources link on the home page to access the database.

 

Obituaries
This section contains a collection of obituaries drawn from various Gallia County newspapers and other publications. They are organized alphabetically by surname. Each entry includes a transcription of the obituary, name of the newspaper, date of the obituary, page on which it appears, and the name of the individual who transcribed it.

 

Military Obituaries
This collection of obituaries of Civil War veterans was transcribed from various Gallia County newspapers. They have been organized alphabetically by surname. In addition to the obituary text, each entry contains the name of the newspaper, volume and date information, and the name of the individual who contributed the obituary. Additional information about the deceased may be included in a bracketed note.

 

Military Records
The Military Records section consists of the rosters of twelve Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and Infantry companies. Each database contains a brief history and an alphabetical list of the soldiers in each company. The data fields include name, rank in, rank out, and company. The source of most of the information presented here is the National Park Service’s Soldiers and Sailors System database.

 

Cemeteries
A census of the more than 500 Gallia County cemeteries was taken between 1976 and 1983. It should be noted that Gallia County is one of the oldest counties in the state, dating back to 1803. Click on the Cemeteries link to view an alphabetical list of cemeteries by township, with specific information about the location of each one. Click on the names of the townships under the Cemetery Locations header to view a list of cemeteries organized by township.

 

The cemetery database, which contains more than 40,000 records, includes burials from every known cemetery in Gallia County. Small family cemeteries have been included. Sources for the information in the database include “old notes from visits to the cemeteries, and also from death records, funeral home records, obituaries, and contributions from many individuals who contributed new and corrected information.”

 

The database is alphabetical by surname. Click on "Alphabetical Index" on the left side of the page to begin your search. A key for the abbreviations found in the database is included on the Cemetery Records main page. The data fields include surname, given name, cemetery name, township abbreviation, date of birth, date of death, age at death, and inscription. If you are unclear about where individual townships are located within the county, go to the Maps section to access the resources there. There are links from about 25% of the names in this database to photographs of the tombstones or to an external database, which has photos and, on occasion, additional genealogical information.

 

Birth Records of Gallia County
The birth records transcribed here are from volume 3, covering the years 1894 to 1903. The original records are housed in Gallia County Probate Court in Gallipolis. There are a total of six volumes of births, beginning with the year 1864 with just a handful of names. Most families don’t start registering births until 1867. Records continue through 1951. There is an overlap with the Gallia County Health Department, where births were first kept starting at the end of 1908 and continuing through to the present.

 

Biographical Sketches
In 1909, the Gallipolis Tribune published a series of biographical sketches of some of the citizens of the county. They have been transcribed on the website. Click on the name link or scroll down the page to read them.

 

Ship Passengers
The ships' passenger list, which was recently added to the website, is a valuable resource for individuals who are researching German ancestry. It was created from information found in Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776 by Israel Daniel Rupp, first published in 1876. All of the names from 320 separate ships' lists in the book have been combined into a single master list, which has been alphabetized by surname. Many early Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants subsequently made their way to Ohio.

 

Other resources include the index to Hardesty’s History of Gallia County, the Delinquent Tax list for 1860, and databases related to the French 500, a group of French individuals who settled Gallipolis in 1790. Hardesty’s History was published in 1882, and, according to the website, is the only known early history of the county. The township-by-township Delinquent Tax List for 1860 was published in the Gallipolis Journal.


Name Origins: Perdita

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

 PERDITA (f): From the feminine past participle of the Latin verb perdere ‘lost, destroyed, damned,’ which Shakespeare mined for the heroine of The Winter’s Tale.

Dig Offers Peep at Long-Gone Brothels

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

 From toothbrushes to jewelry to cosmetics, and parts of 19 syringes used for hygiene, the treasure trove plucked from a now-buried site near Haymarket is evidence of a thriving, racy economy that the city’s prim Victorian image never acknowledges.

 

From toothbrushes to jewelry to cosmetics, and parts of 19 syringes used for hygiene, the treasure trove plucked from a now-buried site near Haymarket is evidence of a thriving, racy economy that the city’s prim Victorian image never acknowledges. You can read the full story in the Boston Globe.


N.Y. State Library and N.Y. State Archives Increase Hours

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Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

New York State Cultural Education Center

Nowadays we normally here nothing but bad news about staff cuts and hour reductions from repositories. How nice to hear wonderful news for a change. The New York State Library and the New York State Archives have announced that they will now be open on Saturdays starting this weekend. Following is the announcement from Albany:

 

The New York State Library and New York State Archives will institute new Saturday hours beginning on October 16th.  Saturday hours of operation at the two facilities, located on the 7th and 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center (CEC) at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free public parking will be available in the Madison Avenue parking lots adjacent to the CEC. Directions and parking information is available on the New York State Museum website .

 

This new policy for expanded access does not affect the hours of the New York State Museum, which is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. However if a major holiday (e.g. July 4th, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day) falls directly on a Saturday, the Library and Archives will not be open (checking their websites is advised for such holidays).

 

The New York State Library  has served New Yorkers, New York State government and researchers from throughout the United States for more than 190 years.  It is the largest state library in the nation and the only state library to qualify for membership in the Association of Research Libraries.  The Library's research collection of more than 20 million items includes major holdings in law, medicine, the social sciences, education, American and New York State history and culture, the pure sciences and technology.

 

The New York State Archives  identifies, preserves, and makes available more than 200 million records of colonial and state government dating back to 1630 that have enduring value to the public and private institutions and to all the people of the Empire State and the nation. 


Name Origins: Electra

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

 ELECTRA (f): Although similar (and by some used interchangeably), this name is not identical to ELECTA. The original Electra, daughter of King Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, supported her brother Orestes after he killed his mother and her lover Aegisthus.

Charles Kilroy and Laura Revell Win Jersey City 'Oldest Family' Contest

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Kilroy and Revell responded to a call by the Hudson County History Advocates and the Jersey City Free Public Library for the longest roots in the county. Mary Lou Vreeland Muller, however, beat them out for the county-wide prize. The Jersey City Independent discusses the celebration of the oldest families in the country, with a complete list of ancestors and descendants for the county.

Research Recommendations: Bibliothèque at Archives Nationales de Québec

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

I’ve just returned from Montreal, where we spent the last week on our tour to the Societé Généalogique Canadienne-Française (the largest French-Canadian genealogical society in Québec) and the Bibliothèque at Archives Nationales de Québec (BANQ, the provincial library and archives). The participants had a wonderful time, with one breaking down a major brick wall that opened up almost two dozen new lines for her. While on the tour I had the opportunity to use BANQ'swebsite extensively for the first time in a long while, and was impressed with changes they have made.

     

First, the good news and the bad news for those of you who do not speak French. The good news is that there is a link at the top of the page to change to an English version of the site. The bad news is that not all pages are available in English.

     

The Iris Catalogue provides access to materials in the libraries, as well as books at the archive centers. It is partly bilingual. A simple search page allows you to search for books, music, films, newspapers and magazines, images, or all categories.

     

Search results give you an image and a short bibliographic citation. Clicking on any of the results brings you to a page with a full bibliographic citation and description of the work. Below this is a list of the libraries and archive centers that have a copy of that item, and what the call number is for that location. Remember that many of the books are written in French; therefore their titles appear in French even if you are looking at the English portal.

     

Unfortunately, many of the items in Iris cannot be borrowed through InterLibrary Loan (ILL). Instead, if you go to the Services tab, you will find a link to the ILL area, and a special catalog search for items that can be borrowed. The good news is that this search is a province-wide one, through the catalogues of libraries, universities, and other repositories. You may find even more items than you previously thought available that you can have brought directly to your local public library.

     

The Pistard Archives link brings you to a finding aid for materials in the archive centers. The simple search (recherche simple) will search all areas for your search terms. The advanced search (recherche avancée) allows you to refine your search. The first box, Centre d’Archives, allows you to search all branches of the archives, or limit your search to a specific location. The second box, Recherche Dans, allows you to search in Titles (Titres); Government Branch of Organization [that original held custody of the item] (Mention de Responsibilté); Scope and content (Portée et Contenu); keywords (Termes Rattachés); or Description of the Contents (Descriptions des Contenants).

     

The next section, Mot(s) ou Expression(s), allows you to do Boolean searches for specific words using And (Et), Or (Ou), and Not (Sauf). You can limit your results to exact words or only to scanned documents. The next section, Cote, allows you to limit your search to specific record groups. The last two sections allow you to limit your search by date or by Contenant (which is a group division number for items in the archives).

 

The archives has placed digitized images of a number of items into Pistard to assist researchers. One major set of records becoming available online are the indexes to the Québec notarial records. You can search these indexes to find if your ancestor had contracts recorded by a particular notary. Some of the these items also include scanned images of the original notarial records. For those that do not have records available online, you can send an email to the archives requesting a copy. NEHGS also has a large number of notarial records available on microfilm, and you may be able to obtain a copy of a record through Photocopy Services if you have an exact citation, or through Research Services if you do not.

     

Whether your ancestors spoke French, English, or another language, if they lived in the province of Québec the materials at the BANQ will be invaluable for your research. Some of these records are searchable from a distance, but a trip to the regional archives where your ancestors lived will bear tremendous fruit for you, as many records (such as militia, land, and court records) are available only in the original. Visit the BANQ website to open up new avenues of research.


Research Ancestors at Asheville Area Cemeteries

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

The Asheville Citizen-Times provides some ideas of using the temperate fall weather to explore cemeteries, a perfect way to celebrate Family History Month.

Spotlight: In Search of Your Canadian Past: The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

The County Atlas pilot project was started in July 1998. It originally comprised ten atlases. There have been two additional phases of the project and it now contains forty-three atlases, covering the entire Ontario map. This is a project of McGill University Libraries.

 

Click on the County Atlases tab to learn detailed information about the atlases in the collection, the publisher, and what is included in them. Click on the Primary Sources and Other Sources tabs on the County Atlases page to read the list of atlases and other sources used in the project.

 

The County Atlas Digital Project contains a searchable database of the property owners' names, which appear on the township maps in the county atlases. The township maps have been scanned and uploaded to the site. There are links from the maps to the property owners' names in the database. Click on the Search tab on the homepage to open the main search page. There are two search options for this collection: People and Maps.

 

Click on the People tab to access the search boxes. With this option you may search the database by name and narrow your search by county, township, town, birthplace, and occupation. The data fields in the results returned include last name, first name, county, township, town, occupation, and birthplace. There is also a link to the full record. Click on the word GO to open the detailed record page. Additional data included here are year settled, post office, township, county, and atlas date, as well as concession and lot information. In addition, the Locate on Map links to the maps show the concessions and lots owned by the person.

 

Click on the Maps tab to open a new page with the 1880 map of Ontario counties. You can choose a county, township, and/or town from the dropdown lists and click on the ‘Get Map’ button to access the map of your choice. Click on the county image to open a new page with a map of the entire county. Click on a township to view the map. A link below the map generates an index of the property owners in the county. The results returned have the same data fields as noted above. Copies of the maps may be ordered from the library.


Family Cemeteries Conflict with Land Development

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Once commonplace, family cemeteries — both new and old — increasingly are in conflict with development concerns in formerly rural areas around the nation, says Mark Musgrove, past president of the National Funeral Directors Association. USA Today ran an interesting story on the conflict between development in rural areas and old traditions of family cemeteries.

Name Origins: Byron

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

 BYRON (generally m): This name commemorates the Romantic poet and hero of Greek independence George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron (1788-1824), whose writings were enormously popular. Note, however, that girls named Harriet Byron are so called not for Lord Byron, but for one of the two heroines (the other being Clementina della Porretta) of Samuel Richardson’s far earlier Sir Charles Grandison (1753/4).

Genealogy Buff Creates

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Herb Schwede of Donnybrook, North Dakota, doesn't consider himself an expert on cemeteries or genealogies. But he has a bent for organizing data that is appreciated by people worldwide who are searching for the roots to their family trees. He also has more than the usual interest in cemeteries. Schwede has documented about 70,000 gravesites from tombstone data that he's collected from visits to about 360 cemeteries. Read his full story in the Minot Daily News.

Name Origins of CHLOË

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

CHLOË (f) (Greek ‘the first light-green shoot of a plant in spring’): Originally an epithet for the great earth goddess Demeter, this name comes into English via Greek and Latin pastoral literature.

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