Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Another Day of Mining for Genealogy Gold

There is definitely gold in the states.  And you thought there was gold only in California?  Nope, you are wrong.

I just discovered gold in Connecticut, of all places!  The Connecticut State Library has a great digital collection.  The Connecticut State Library Digital Collections has many images and collections, but I found the Account Books, Diaries, and Journals to be very helpful.  It is thrilling to discover a nugget buried somewhere and such is the case of digital images of Capt. N. Lyon's Cash Book No. 2, ca 1856-1861.  He kept the cash book while serving in Co. B, 2nd Infantry of the US Army.  If you think cash books and account books are mundane, think again.  Something like this may be the only place you'll be able to place an ancestor at a given time.
Capt. N. Lyon's Cash Book No. 2


Miners expect to find gold and other minerals in Montana.  The Montana Historical Society has a digital collection in the Montana History Project.  This consists of diaries, letters, documents, brand records, county histories, maps, military enlistments and even state prison records.  Since I got lost looking for Badger Creek, it seemed like a good idea to check out the Montana Place Names web site.  I entered Badger Creek (Glacier) as a place name and presto there appeared a topographical map showing me exactly where I need to stake my claim and start mining.

I heard there was gold in Wyoming, so decided to check out the Wyoming State Archives.  There might be newspapers there that I can check for information on diggins.  Found them at the Wyoming Newspaper Project.  Those people have been busy.  They have converted over 800,000 newspaper pages into digital format.

Spending more time in Wyoming before moving on.  Keep checking on my mining progress as I bring you news as to what I'm finding.  So far I have been striking gold!

Ruby --- the mining genealogist!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Finding Genealogy Gold

Genealogical research is like looking for gold.  Maybe the first attempt you don't strike it rich and maybe not even on the second attempt.  However, any good miner will tell you to keep trying but to also change your location.  There are treasures in all kinds of locations, particularly on Internet.

In a self-challenge I have been looking for gold in state archives, state libraries and state historical societies.  I have struck pay dirt and feeling philanthropic this morning, I have decided to share my luck with you.

The Maine State Archives has an extensive index to Revolutionary War Land Grants and Pension Applications.  While it is only an index, there is identifying information as to where the records are located.  There a lot more on their web page, so explore!

Working with land records and the land laws, I was pleased to learn more about Missouri's land history.  The Missouri State Archives through Missouri Digital Heritage allows you to search Missouri Land Patents.  The actual deed is not shown on the web site, but with click of the mouse you can locate sufficient information to send for a copy of it for $1 from the Missouri State Archives.  If your ancestor is listed, that's pay dirt!

Because I have an abundance of North Carolina ancestors, I am always interested in what I can locate  in that state.  Taking a trip through the State Library of North Carolina's web site, I decided to dig deeper.  I learned that they have free digitized NC Newspaper online.  Actually there is a lot  more mining to do there because I have noticed more digital images at DigitalNC.

I decided to try my luck in the deep south in Mississippi.  The Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) is an excellent place to explore.  Right away the Digital Archives caught my eye.  Browsing through the list of topics, I spotted Confederate Pension Applications (Mississippi).  That looked like a great place to dig.  Confederate pensions were granted only through the former Confederate states and not by the federal government.  Every good miner has to do their preliminary work, so I had my tools at hand ... names, locations, dates and more.  Browsing the images of the pension applications is easy because they are in alphabetical categories.  Once again I strike it rich!

This miner is getting tired and it is time to pull out my maps, clean up my tools and begin another day.  Look for more news of my findings of genealogy gold.  I don't even mind if you move in on my location and look for your own gold.

Ruby .... the genealogist and miner!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Lost, but never forgotten

It was a very warm Nebraska afternoon as people gathered at Fort McPherson National Cemetery south of Maxwell, Nebraska.  The cemetery is a short distance from the military post of the same name that was built to protect people on their way west along the trails, as well as make sure that freight got safely westward also.

The cemetery is full of knowns and unknowns, many of whom died in military skirmishes in western Nebraska.  As forts closed on the western frontier, the dead were brought to Fort McPherson National Cemetery for reburial.  Names of many were lost to time.   Many wars are represented on the tombstones.

Through the timeless efforts of the Missing in America Project, the remains of veterans are being identified, not only in Nebraska but in many other states.  The purpose of the MIA project is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American Veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations.  They provide honor and respect to those who have served our country by securing a final resting place for those forgotten heroes.  The Nebraska Missing in America Project was responsible today (30 May 2014) for bringing five urns to the cemetery for burial in the columbarium.
Half-mast flag at Fort McPherson National Cemetery

As the flag flew at half mast, the gun salute echoed through the valley and taps sounded throughout the cemetery, there was a narrative about the five veterans  They were ...

Hazel Wood  1917-2013  US Army WAC, WWII
Floyd Emil Johnson  1931-2014  US Army, Korea
Gary L. Hirschman  1952-2011  USMC, Vietnam
Charles Warner  1946-2013  US Army, Vietnam
Reginal Thomas Prim  1950-2014  US Navy, Vietnam

All of the above named veterans were lacking relatives, but they were honored by a multitude of people who became self-proclaimed relatives, even for a small period of time.   They gave their lives that all of us could be present to pay respect to them, but also to all of those buried in the cemetery ... the known and the unknown.  May they all rest in peace.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Family History Expo - Casper, Wyoming

Genealogists will gather for two days of classes, research assistance and networking in Casper, Wyoming on the 27th and 28th of June.   The Family History Expo event will be held at the Parkway Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, 123 West E Street in Casper.

More than 25 classes will be held with Holly T. Hansen and Arlene H. Eakle as the keynote presenters.  If you are researching Germanic and Scandinavian ancestry, you won't want to miss the classes taught by Ruth Ellen Maness.

Go on a treasure hunt with me as I present the class, Treasures in Genealogical Research.  I will also offer classes pertaining to becoming naturalized and immigrant women.  Think you know everything about the 1940 US Census?  I will share some great tips and suggestions for using the census.  And finally ... is your genealogy in a mess?  I'll give you some great suggestions and ideas about cleaning things up in my class Organizing Your Genealogy Mess.

We are roping in the genealogy cowboys and cowgirls in Wyoming.  Be sure you check out the Family History Expo web page and pre-register for this great event.  Then you can get back in the saddle and start looking for your ancestors!  See you in Casper!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Family History Retreat

Genealogists love to visit with each other about genealogy.  They also listen and look for helpful information and ideas for doing research.  You can combine all that into my fantastic retreat to be held on 6-7 June (next month!) at Colby, Kansas.  

The Family History Expos is holding a retreat at the City Limits Convention Center, 2227 South Range Avenue in Colby.  Attendees will receive many benefits from their registration, including meals and accommodations, admission to the Prairie Museum, a 12 month subscription to Digital Mag, a research kit, Expo CD as well as professional instruction by their professionals.  Holly Hansen and Arlene Eakle will guide attendees toward successful avenues of research and help you hurdle over those brick walls. 

There will be a field trip on Friday to the courthouse, cemetery, churches, library and museum.  Also on the agenda is a time to network together.  On Saturday there will be classroom instruction and research skill building.  I will show up about noon on Saturday to present a program on the Homestead Records Online.  

For more information about this great event, be sure to check the agenda and register at Family History Expos or call 801-829-3295.  I hope to see many eager genealogists at the retreat.  Let's have some genealogy fun!  


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Genealogical Research in Nebraska

My first book about Nebraska was published in 2011.  To add more information plus updated URLs and addresses, I have written Genealogical Research in Nebraska, revised edition.  It is now available for purchase at my web page.

The book contains 537 pages on history, genealogy, records and resources of Nebraska.  There are over a thousand URL links to web pages.  Each county is detailed with courthouse information, libraries with collections, information on genealogical and historical societies, research centers and museums.  The chapters are:

Nebraska Settlement and Statehood
Trails, Roads and Forts
Settlements
Ethnic Groups and Settlements
Native Americans
Courts and Records
Land Laws and Records
Nebraska's Large Repositories
Census Records
Religious Records
Newspapers
Cemeteries
Steamboats and Railroads
Orphan Trains
Wars and Military Records
Schools
Institutions
Organizations
Farming, Ranching and Records
Federal Records of Nebraska
Addresses
Nebraska Counties
Nebraska Publications and Histories
Family History Centers
Maps, Atlases, Directories and Gazetteers

From the dreams and travels of explorers and mountain men, Nebraska Territory played host to thousands of people migrating in search of adventure, wealth, land and religious freedom.  The dawn of each day brought countless wagons filled with the hopeful, clanking across the land as they followed the trails westward.  Eventually the wagons were replaced by strips of steel that were laid across the state.  This would link the United States coast to coast and also change the way of life, economy and settlement forever.  Nebraska became a state in 1867 and with great expansion and abundance of land, became a prime area for settlement.  Some pioneers stayed and others moved on.  Regardless, their mark was already made in Nebraska records.

The book sells for $32.95 plus $5.00 postage and handling.  It is spiral bound which means you can easily use it by your computer or research notes.  It is the most up to date compilation about doing research in Nebraska.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Why Iowa is Special

Iowa was my home for a while.  I found it fascinating geographically, historically and genealogically.    I enjoyed looking at the fields of soybeans, changing to their golden color in the fall, farm yards with squealing pigs and rolling hills of terraced farming.  Often I would imagine how my ancestors (and yours) saw the land when they first arrived when Iowa was a territory and then a new state.  Unbroken ground ... a new life ... a challenging life.

Having spent so many years in Nebraska, I soon realized that things were a bit different in Iowa when doing research. Some courthouse records are referred to differently and some are the same.  Nebraska's recording of names of parents, including mother's maiden names, does not particularly hold true in Iowa.  You may luck out and find the names!  Naturally the records are older in Iowa than in Nebraska.

One major difference is in the census records.  Those records, although some are not completely extant, begin in 1836.  Iowa took state enumerations every few years, making it very easy to keep track of your Iowa ancestors.  Combine that with the federal census and you have a wonderful profile of your ancestor, including migrations and family additions or deaths.  The last census taken in Iowa was in 1925.  Because of the information contained in that census, it is extremely valuable to researchers. You are lucky if you can identify ancestors or relatives on that enumeration because it lists names of parents, including mother's maiden name, along with place of birth and marriage and ages if living.

These are just some of the items that you can read about in my new book, Iowa Genealogical Research.  The book contains 416 pages and is spiral bound.  It is a great reference book for anybody doing research in Iowa.  There are hundreds of URLs for Internet sites, along with addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers.

This is the link to order the book online, http://genealogyworks.weebly.com/store/p1/Iowa_Genealogical_Research.html