Saturday, February 28, 2009

Weekend Warriors -- My Names and Places

For a change, I'll follow Craig Manson and Thomas MacEntee and list my kids' great-great-grandparents' 16 surnames and (some) localities. (Details here although since much of this research was done years ago I don't guarantee their accuracy; sources on request.) If any of these tickle your fancy, let me know!

CRANDALL in Walworth County, Wisconsin; Madison County, New York; and Rhode Island
BURDICK in Dane County, Wisconsin; Madison County, New York; and Rhode Island
BLISS in Allegany, Otsego, Madison, and Jefferson counties, New York; and Rhode Island
BASSETT in Allegany and Otsego counties, New York; and Rhode Island

LINHART in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, Pennsylvania; and Germany
BOREN in Allegheny, Beaver, and Huntingdon counties, Pennsylvania; and maybe Maryland
MOZLEY in Green Lake County, Wisconsin; Erie County, Pennsylvania; and Nottinghamshire, England
SCHOLES in Marquette County, Wisconsin; and Lancashire, England

JOSS in Cook County, Illinois; Holmes County, Ohio; and Canton Bern, Switzerland
SCHREIBER in Cook County, Illinois; and Canton Aargau, Switzerland
FLINT in St. Clair County, Illinois; and Lincolnshire and Rutlandshire, England
THRALL in St. Clair and Edwards counties, Illinois; Licking County, Ohio; Chittenden and Rutland counties, Vermont; and Hartford County, Connecticut

STENBERG in Cook County, Illinois; Kalmar, Skaraborg, and Jonkoping, Sweden [sorry, folks, Blogger does not tolerate umlauts]
ANDERSSON (later changed to BORING) in Cook County, Illinois; and Jonkoping, Sweden
DAVIDSON in Edinburgh, Scotland
HENDERSON in Cook County, Illinois; Osceola County, Iowa; and Edinburgh, Scotland


Friday, February 27, 2009

Blogs, Maps, and Forgotten Bookmarks in South Bend

FYI, the St. Joseph County Public Library's Family and Local History Section has had its own newsletter (PDF) for the last few months. In addition to their catalog, they have on line listings of genealogically useful holdings, including their maps (anyone for an 1838 street map of South Bend?) and research guides for those seeing Eastern European or Irish homelands.

The library also has an online database of locally published obituaries from 1913 to the present of people with ties to St. Joseph County, Indiana. (Print indexes of earlier obituaries are available.)

And that's not all, folks! One of the spookiest blog posts I've seen in a while was on the library's main SJCPL blog last month, featuring a bookmark from 1960 that turned up in a library book. Of course it's been entered as well on the web site (you knew there was one) called Forgotten Bookmarks. Yes, history can jump out and bite you!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Catching up with the Newberry

If you're just in from Mars and haven't yet started following the intermittent "Genealogy News" blog of Chicago's Newberry Library, here's what you missed in the last month:

FamilySearch Labs is putting up Cook County birth certificates.

The Hyde Park Herald newspaper is digitizing its archives, including 1950s, 1960s, and 1990s so far.

Selected items from the Newberry's own collections are up on Internet Archive, including primarily church histories and a number of specialized directories it would be easy to miss: Board of Trade, "Jewish Community Blue book," law and medical directories, "Colored people's blue-book," real-estate dealers, and a Bohemian directory and almanac.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Evansville's Quarterly

Contents of the December 2008 issue of The Tri-State Packet, the Tri-State Genealogical Society's quarterly for southeast Illinois, southwest Indiana, and northwest Kentucky:

"Vanderburgh County, Indiana, in the Mexican War," part 2, by Col. Charles C Schreeder (1847-1930), from the Southwestern Indiana Historical Society Collection at the Willard Library in Evansville

"Abstracts of the 1890 County Enrollment" of US army veterans, tr. Peggy K. Newton

"From A Grave Digger's Journal: Fall Festival & The Rabbit Man," reminiscences by Gilbert Schmitt

"Brady Family Bible Records," from Willard Library Family Files

"German Evangelical and Lutheran Churches in Vanderburgh County Indiana (1838-1865)," by
Karin Marie Kirsch: "The records listed under St. Paul's Evangelical, St. Paul's Evangelical and Reformed, and St. Paul's United Church of Christ may all refer to the same church."

"Bible Records of Ephraim Cox & His Descendants,"from Willard Library Family Files

"Mike Craft Remembers Evansville's Railroad," circa 1910?

"Spencer County, Indiana Deed [recorded in Livingston County, Kentucky] -- Estate of John Karr/William Briscoe," tr. Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

"WPA Pike County Deaths 1887-1902," tr. Marjorie Malott

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Illinois' Winter 2008 Quarterly

The Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly does a better than average job of publishing more than record transcriptions. In the Winter 2008 issue editor Oriene Morrow Springstroh organizes them under the heading of "Telling Our Stories." "Don't be discouraged if your children or grandchildren aren't interested in what you have to say right now," she advises. "There are others to follow in the coming generations who wil cherish your words and be glad to meet you through the work you have done for them. They will also wish you had written more." In the issue:

"Coffee Time," by Gary K. Hargis

"Olivia's Story," by Jane Gwynn Haldeman

"James Miller Morrow of DuPage County, Illinois -- In His Own Words"

"Faces from the Past -- Identifying Photos with Marge Rice"

"How to Start a Writing Group for Your Society," by Oriene Morrow Springstroh

*"Using School Record Books," by Robert W. Frenz, with a focus on McHenry County

"Ask the Retoucher!" by Eric Curtis M. Basir

"Family Bible Collection," comp. Kristy Lawrie Gravlin

* footnoted.

Monday, February 23, 2009

People To See, Places To Go

It's spring, and the genealogist's fancy lightly turns to getting out and associating with fellow aficionados of dead people:

In St. Charles, Illinois, February 28, the DuPage County Genealogical Society will feature Everton's Genealogical Helper blogger managing editor Leland Meitzler, and including Jeff Bockman, Don Litzer, Lesley Martin, and Craig L. Pfannkuche.

In Kalamazoo, Michigan, March 25 -- seeking perhaps to compensate for Michigan's lack of an effective state genealogy organization -- the Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society's spring conference will feature Paula Stuart-Warren, CG.

In Hudson, Ohio, April 2-4, the Ohio Genealogical Society (PDF) will feature Ian Frazier, author of Family, and a lot of other speakers who probably wish they didn't have to follow that act.

In Middleton, Wisconsin, April 3-4, the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society's Gene-A-Rama (PDF) will feature Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG; James Hansen, FASG; Rev. David McDonald, CG; Nancy Emmert, CG; George Findlen, CG; and Virginia Nichols.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, April 25, the Indiana Genealogical Society (PDF) will focus on military research with Pamela K. Boyer, CG, CGL.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A New Year of Ohio Civil War Genealogy

The first quarter 2009 issue of the Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal starts off with the top three finishers in the Civil War division of OGS's 2008 writing contest:

"Had They Stood Their Ground, We Would Have Cleaned Them Out: Ohioans in the Battle of Lewisburg in Western Virginia," by Jan Rader*

"Isaac Lyle of the 53rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and His Brothers," by Jean M. Hoffman*

"When Frank Came Marching Home: Frank Elliott, 135th OVI," by Harold Henderson*

"Lincoln's Brother-in-Law in Fayette County?" by Mike Williams and Washington Senior High Research History Class

"Update: Significance of the Dove on Lewis Tuttle's Gravestone at Andersonville GA," by Kevin Frye and Mary Metzinger Nunneley

"DVD Announcement: Andersonville: View Behind the Valor, A Narrated Photographic Tour of the Prison Grounds and National Cemetery," by Kevin Frye

"Ask the Experts"

"Commodity Price Indexes, 1860 to Present," by Dan Reigle -- applying John J. McCusker's How Much Is That In Real Money? A Historical Commodity Price Index to Civil War pay figures.

"Isaac Shumaker Diary for 1863-1865, 81st OVI, Galion, Ohio," by Mike Hocker

"Book Review: The Fighting McCooks by Charles & Barbara Whalen," by Dan Reigle

"John William Eckert and his Red Badge of Courage," by Eric Johnson

"1883 Census of Pensioners, Erie County, Ohio," comp. Michael Elliott


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Midwestern News from New England

Valerie Beaudrault of the New England Historic Genealogical Society keeps on finding Midwestern research resources in NEHGS's eNews:

One is Worthington Memory, an "online scrapbook of Worthington history" -- so far, 1373 items from 1803 to the present from this Franklin County town. In the cemeteries database, you can choose to search Flint Road, St. John's Episcopal Church, or Union cemeteries individually or all together. The Worthington News index so far covers one full year 1812-1813, and nothing more until 1925-1942, 1950-1956, and more recent years. A link to the Worthington Historical Society leads to some information (and the chance to order more) on estate records 1803-1850, Scioto Company members and descendants, and genealogical gleanings from property records.

Another is from Hartford, Michigan. Under the title "Pearls from the Past" are many photographs, a scattering of obituaries from 1918 to the present, transcriptions of three local histories, and accounts of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, who have survived and persisted in the area.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tales from the Firelands

You don't see many blogs with footnotes, but Dave Barton's four-month-old Firelands History Blog is the better for them. He's posting about once a week and documenting the history of what is now mainly Huron and Erie counties in north central Ohio, which were set aside for those whose towns were burned during the American Revolution. (Justice was significantly delayed in this case, as the lands didn't begin to settle until after the War of 1812.) Most of the settlers were from New England.

"With this blog," writes Barton, "I intend to tell the stories those who settled in the Firelands; people like Platt and Sally Benedict, who founded Norwalk, Ohio; Samuel Preston, who founded the Reflector, Norwalk’s present-day newspaper; his daughter Lucy, who persuaded a ship captain named Frederick Wickham to marry her, leave the sea and become a newspaperman with her father; Henry Buckingham, a failed businessman who was a conductor on the Underground Railroad; and many more."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And You Thought You Knew the GenWeb Archives!

I had no idea until a friend forwarded an email that the GenWeb Archives includes "Penny Postcards," old postcards organized by state and county. They have cards from everywhere, and the Midwest holdings are ample.

It would appear that there are at least two kinds of postcards represented: the carefully airbrushed and tinted ones, and the (more individual and less overtly boosterish?) black-and-white images. It's these less boosterish ones that can almost stop my heart -- it really is like a Jack Finney story, a moment frozen in time, like this one from Three Oaks, Berrien County, Michigan.

You may find these little images at the end of a quest, but it could also be the beginning -- since it's often not clear just when they were taken, but at a guess I'd say most of them are around a century old.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wisconsin Goes To War

Hey, it's Presidents' Day, and one thing presidents have a way of doing is sending people to war, whether they like the idea or not. Thanks to the Scout Report for flashing its searchlight on "Wisconsin Goes to War: Our Civil War Experience," one small part of the unfathomably large University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. At present this collection has both original and transcribed letters from Wisconsin residents involved in the Civil War, from Green County, Madison, Woodlawn, Appleton, Stoughton, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Racine, Waupun, Whitewater, Neosho, and more.

If you think I should have listed surnames instead of places, you're missing the point. Most of our Civil War ancestors either wrote nothing or nothing that survived. The trick is to find someone whose writings did survive, who shared their service in the same regiment or company, which often means they came from the same area.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weekend Warriors Methodology Edition

Bearing in mind Tom Jones's concern that our genealogical education tends to focus more on records than on what to do with them once we have them, I'll try to occasionally branch out and take note of outstanding methodology materials, even if they don't refer specifically to Midwestern work.

Over on the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) mailing list, Debbie Parker Wayne points to a great one: a series of posts by legal historian Emily Kadens at Legal History Blog on working in archives. (Kadens's specialty is 18th-century European legal history.)

Working in Archives #1.

Working in Archives #2 (advance preparation).

Working in Archives #3 (using the archives).

Working in Archives #4 (transcriptions). She's definitely been there: "Archival work is very 'in the moment,' and so you always feel as if your memory will be vivid. But it won't be. And I hate the feeling later of wondering whether I missed something...."

Hopefully there will be more. And, echoing Tom once again, don't be too focused (even though I have linked to those specific posts!). Check out the rest of the blog. I plan to keep an eye on it and see what I can absorb and put to use.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chronicling America in Newspapers

I don't need to be convinced of the genealogical value of newspapers -- I once found an entire branch of my great-great grandfather's sister's family from a two-line social note in a rural Illinois paper, just because it gave a woman's married name when she came to visit.

So, a belated hat tip to Christy Fillerup and Daniela Moneta on the transitional genealogists' listserv, for pointing us to the Library of Congress's search site for locating where newspapers have been published in the US, and where surviving copies can be found now. Another site from the National Endowment for the Humanities US Newspaper Program offers access to state-level data that may be more precise, especially in those states with newspaper projects of their own.

(I cannot forebear to mention that three of NEH's eight national-level repositories are in the Midwest: the Wisconsin State Historical Society in Madison, the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago, and the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. Kansas State Historical Society is a fourth, and the rest are, um, out east somewhere.)

A chronic issue with catalog listings of old newspapers is imprecision about which dates are actually available. If the record says "1875-1877" check if there's fine print that says the issue you really really need is "wanting," i.e., not there. Or call ahead if it's a critical matter and a long trip. I also observe that some of the holdings listings appear to be 20 or more years old.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Digital records from Northern Illinois University

It turns out we're not quite done with the final 2008 issue of the St. Clair County Genealogical Society Quarterly. Writing on paper but in a bloggy spirit, editor Diane Walsh calls attention to the Northern Illinois University Libraries' Illinois Historical Digitization Projects online, which if you drill down a bit contains loads of searchable source material, from Civil War letters to one man's account of what it cost him to track the fellow who stole his horse. You can search transcriptions of original sources within any of the four historical periods covered, or search 'em all using the fifth link down on the main page. It's always been a peeve of mine that the Illinois historical journals aren't well indexed over time; this collection includes a number of articles from earlier issues including many transcribed and annotated letters. (And if you have DeKalb County research targets, scroll down a bit for more possibilities.) You can get lost in this site; don't foget to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind you!

Walsh also mentions a new article in volume 4, number 1, of the online journal, Annals of Genealogical Research: "Rauschkolb: Finding the Belleville Roots," by Carol Tuck. The publication is not peer-reviewed but the editor does insist on documentation. (The archives contain an article I wrote four years ago on a Wisconsin relative. Now I know how much better I could have done it!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fun with county maps

Thanks to SLIG classmate Jerry Edwards for reminding me of the animated historic county maps feature at FamilyHistory101. The Atlas of Historic County Boundaries it ain't, but it's fun to watch and fool around with.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

St. Clair County Illinois Quarterly #4 of 2008

Like most ambitious state and regional publications, the St. Clair County Genealogical Society Quarterly welcomes actual articles, but still subsists largely on a diet of transcribed records. Why not write up your southwestern Illinois ancestors for them?

In issue #4 of 2008:

"Extracts from Death Register Book II, 2 January 1886 - 6 July 1886, tr. Melinda Cahill and Diane Walsh

"Marriage Index 1911," tr. Judy Phelps

"Document Conservation," an information-packed one-page summary of a recent society meeting where former Belleville Public Library archivist Patricia Hamilton spoke.

"Military Discharges 'L'," tr. Art Rubeck and Sheila Kronenberger

"Plan, Analyze, Begin Again: A Davis Family Example," by Diane Walsh. At the Salt Lake Institute last month I complained a bit about the lack of information about how to do research planning beyond the stage of brainstorming and list-making; this article is the beginning of an answer, as the quarterly editor takes us through an actual research situation and shows how to respond to new information, when to focus on the task at hand and when to draw back and make a note of an alternative path to perhaps be followed later.

Monday, February 9, 2009

December's OGSQ

In the December 2008 Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly:

"The Family of William H. Fyffe of Champaign County," by Martha Orsborn Gerdeman*

"Society of Civil War Families of Ohio Roster 2008"

"Ohio Genealogical Society 2008 Writing Competition" [closing 28 February 2009]

"Nathan L. Glover, Akron's Premier Music Educator," by Rena Glover Goss

"1903 Deaths in Cincinnati, Ohio, with Burials Outside of Hamilton County," comp. Kenny R. Burck and Doris Thomson

"Rose's Research," by Mary Alice Austermiller Betley

"The Smiths of Champaign County, Ohio, with connections to Epps, Hall, Stoddard" by Nancy Wright Brennan, CG*

"Decennial Tax Valuation, Cincinnati Real Estate 1892," comp. Jean Overmeier Nathan

"Hulda Emilie (King) Richholt Harris Otterbach," by Joanne Richholt Allison


Friday, February 6, 2009

Ohio Records and Pioneer Families #4, 2008

The last 2008 issue of Ohio Records and Pioneer Families has material from a good half of the state's counties, with special focus on the counties of Wood, Mercer, Montgomery, and Hamilton.

"The Service and Pensions of William McCleary in the War of 1812," by Daniel H. Reigle

"John Wilson Langdon -- Letters Home, Cincinnati to Wilbraham, Massachusetts" tr. Kay Ballantyne Hudson *

"First Families of Ohio: The Early Years," abstr. Kay Ballantyne Hudson

"Revolutionary War Pension Application Abstracts," abstr. Lois Wheeler

"Official Register of Physicians by County, 1896 Wood County"

"Merchants, Manufacturers & Traders of Ohio, 1885"

"Ohio's Lost Militia Companies of the War of 1812," by Eric Johnson* (Twelve that aren't included in some usual references.)

"Ohio Governors Who Served in the War of 1812," by Eric Johnson (There were eight!)

"William Dickman, His Story," by Cecelia A. Anderson-Carvalho


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Genealogy in South Bend

The new (January) quarterly newsletter of the South Bend Area Genealogical Society is out. The big news is the annual one-day Michiana Genealogy Fair will be Saturday, March 14, at the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library in downtown Mishawaka (SB's twin city to the east), featuring Jeff Bockman from Illinois on "Using Maps for Genealogical Research" and "No Birth Certificat, No Problem." Exhibitors (including my local society from the next county west) will be hawking our wares and talking with visitors.

Meanwhile here's the other stuff in the newsletter:

Minutes of the 27 October and 24 November 2008 programs: Don Litzer of the Allen County Public Library on "Networking Genealogically," and Garry Harrington of the Rum Village Nature Center on the topographical-geographical-ecological early history of St. Joseph County, respectively.

"World War I and World War II Draft Registration Cards: A Genealogical Treasure Trove," by Eric Craig

"George Milburn, Captain of Industry," by Ken Reising -- an active businessman who helped fossster Studebaker and Oliver manufactureres "during critical periods, when they expanded from job shops to major manufacturers," but who is little known locally in part because he moved his wagon firm to Toledo, Ohio, in 1874.

"Thomas McCartney 1809-1861 Biography," by John E. McCartney

"The Johnsons: The Swedish Connection," by Jack R. Newman

"New Books on the Shelf" at the St. Joseph County Public Library, including as well the bad news that the Indiana state legislature's ill-advised 2007 property tax cap will require the Local and Family History and microfilm rooms to close on Sundays when the rest of the library is open.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Illinois Civil and Congressional Township Maps

Woops -- I should have posted on this months ago. (Hat tip to Melissa Barker in the Transitional Genealogists forum for getting the ball rolling about maps the other day.) There's a central although well-hidden on line resource for maps of each Illinois county showing townships. If you're visiting in person, you have a good chance of finding such a map at the courthouse or library, one that will also include roads and landmarks, as I did in northwestern Illinois' Whiteside County last fall. If you're visiting virtually, you can get there in six easy steps:

(1) Visit the Illinois State Archives regional depositories page, maintained by the office of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

(2) On the left-hand menu, click on the second tab down for "IRAD region map."

(3) That will bring up a colorful map of Illinois divided into seven regions, each festooned with the initials of the depository university. Click on your region of choice.

(4) That will bring up a close-up map of the region and its counties. Click on your county of choice.

(5) That will bring up a "_____ County Fact Sheet." Enjoy the facts; don't get too focused; but then scroll down a few screens to a thumbnail outline map of the county with subdivisions, which are the townships. (Hey, it's a big thumbnail.)

(6) Click on the thumbnail and presto, you have a printable map of the county and its townships. And when I say townships, I mean BOTH KINDS, the civil townships (with names you are or soon will become familiar with) and the congressional townships, with names like T36N R5E in La Salle County, which due to rivers that disobey the rectangular survey system, is not quite the same as the civil township of Northville.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NGSQ touches on Michigan

The cover of the December issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly portrays Ann (Pratt) Snowden who emigrated from England in 1833 and settled with her family in Kent County, Michigan, in 1842. She figures in Ronald A. Hill's article involving conflicting evidence, a seaman who went by various names, and the ambiguous use of "brother" and "sister" in correspondence: "Siblings, Religious Brotherhoods, or Neither: Oliver, Pratt, and Fowler or Foley Families of Whitehaven, England."

It should go without saying that this article and the three accompanying it -- Elizabeth Shown Mills on documenting a slave's birth, parentage and origins; George R. Ryskamp on Basque genealogy; and Arliss Shaffer Monk on "Five Edmund Jeningses of Virginia and Maryland" -- are the haute cuisine of the genealogy world. You can't read them without learning something, and you can't read them fast.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Insurance and Bankruptcy in Chicago

Cynthia has an intriguing post over at Chicago Genealogy -- "The Chicago Fire: Was Your Ancestor Insured?" about the possibilities of using insurance records to learn more about your research targets. Interestingly, most of the materials she's found are in the Minnesota Historical Society. (Hat tip to the Newberry Library blog.)

Locally the treasure trove is at the National Archives Great Lakes Region. Bankruptcy cases are federal cases, and most Illinois-based insurers were bankrupted by the Chicago Fire (and not just because it was a big one -- they had been conducting business recklessly as well). So one entry point to insurance matters is through bankruptcy cases in 1871, 1872, and thereabouts.

One of my research targets was in the insurance business, so I had occasion to pay a very pleasant visit to NARA Great Lakes, out on South Pulaski, last summer. (None of what I say below should in any way replace your calling an archivist there before showing up -- they are very helpful, and these records are not simple to deal with. I'm not blowing smoke; check out the on line info on Record Group 21, Records of the U.S. Circuit and District Courts, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Chicago. Learn from it, but this ain't DIY territory.)

The more you already know about your research target, the better. Using the historical index to the Chicago Tribune at ProQuest newspapers (in your better libraries) may help you latch on to a case or a company that your research target was mixed up with. Many of the bankruptcy files are not indexed. But I got good results -- YMMV -- by coming in through a side door and working my way through the early years of the Defendant's General Index to Equity & Law 1871-1911, in five volumes (so you have to look for each surname in up to five places) but on one microfilm. Many of these are bankruptcy cases, and if your luck holds you can learn a lot about your people if they're involved. But this is not an every-name index; your best shot may be to find a company that you know your people were connected with, and follow that lead.

One final repetitive caution: this is not the place to start if all you have is a name and a handful of census lookups. Get to know your people before you start in on this fascinating and rarely-taken research journey -- who they worked and lived with, who they associated with. As Tom Jones says, it's about identities, not names.

The above has to do largely with post-1871 Chicago research, but Martin Tuohy of NARA Great Lakes has a thorough and inspiring article, "Federal Court Records: Researching Hoosier Family History at the National Archives-Great Lakes Region, Chicago, 1817-1859," if you can lay hands on the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of The Hoosier Genealogist: Connections (volume 48 issue 1), published by the Indiana Historical Society.