Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hard to get back in the swing of it

I've been home from Samford for 2 weeks now and catching up is hard!!

I got the genealogy bug again this week when someone posted a query on the TOWNE family forum at rootsweb/ancestry. I did a few nights of research there are had a good break when I found an obituary on the person from the ancestry small newspaper files in Minnesota. I started looking for some of the folks who had attended the funeral from "out of town", and discovered that one of them seems to be a sister (they had only given the name as Mrs W C Barnes) and another was probably a niece (name given as Mrs Clarence Hillig). It was fun tracing those and trying to tie them back into the person for whom I was searching. The problem was that her name was Elma Town, and she was born between 1884 and 1886, so without the 1890, we lose track of her until she's a married woman in 1905. I found what SHOULD be her in the 1900, listed as ALMA TOWN, but the birth year is off by 10 years in this census, so I can't be sure. Hopefully the person looking for Elma will write for her death certificate (she died in the 1940's) and it will assist in solving the mystery.

It was a fun exercise. Keep those brain cells active.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pictures from Our Class

Pictures of Samford University

Pictures from IGHR - Banquet

Samford University IGHR Day 5

Day 5 covered: Onomatology and Church Records, both taught by Bockstruck.

Onomatology is the study of names, and he went through example after example of interesting things that can happen to names, whether it's a change on purpose by a person, a change in translation of the name of an immigrant, or misreading of a name by the person doing the abstraction or index.

The second session was on church records and we learned where church records might be found, the types of records that might be available, the types of records kept by different religions, the WPA inventories of church records. It was a very interesting discussion.

The week ended at noon after we had received our certificates. I took some pictures at the Thursday night banquet, a few of the school grounds and buildings, one of our instructor, Lloyd Bockstruck, one of Paul Milner - the Thursday night speaker. The above picture is our instructor, Lloyd Bockstruck.
I really enjoyed the class. I'll post the other pics in another blog entry. Back to work on Monday!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Samford University IGHR Day 4

Samford University IGHR
4th day of Course 2 – Intermediate Genealogy and Historical Studies

Topics for today were:
Lineage Societies
Westward Expansion
Guides to Manuscript Collections

All topics were taught by Lloyd Bockstruck. Guides to Manuscript Collections was to be taught by Luebking, but she became ill earlier in the year, so Lloyd Bockstruck taught the class.

Hereditary Societies was not my favorite topic. Maybe it’s because I don’t have anyone who came over on the Mayflower etc. I do have ancestors who were Revolutionary War Soldiers, and their lineage has been proven by some member of the DAR, but I haven’t done the work yet for myself. I am descended from a brother of two of the women hanged for being witches at Salem, but I don’t think there’s a society for those. There are societies for military, ethnic, colonial, regional, occupational and other groups of people.

I did learn some things though.
The DAR is good way to have your lineage preserved. If it’s written up, proven and submitted to them, it’s likely to survive for your descendants.

Collateral ancestors are the siblings of your ancestors.

Even if it’s been submitted to the DAR, do your own research. Reprove your line. Those sources are secondary to you until you prove them.

When applying to these societies, follow their instructions exactly.

Only one Jamestown person has present day descendants (through male to male to male lines).

The hereditary society community has a web site.

More interesting to me was the discussion of migration. If you have the chance to take a course on this with Lloyd deWitt Bockstruck teaching it, take the course. We floated through his melodious telling of the history of our country, through wars, through different migrations. I took six pages of greatly abbreviated notes on just this topic – and I write in small type! The only wish I would have for a change to the course is that more of the notes for the lectures would be provided (as Rose and Colletta did). Bockstruck showed so many interesting maps, and they were great for illustration, but I would have loved to have had those in my materials to refer to later in my research. A few of the things that I learned today:

Historians look at mass movements of people.
You need to understand local history.
Climatic zones – can plant same crops, affected where someone migrated to.
People generally migrated with family.
People often migrated for various reasons, including religion.
In the south, colonies were along waterways. In the north they lived in towns and villages.
The fall line is the old continental shelf – waterfalls; as far as ships could go, so that’s where the towns are located.

From the fall line to the mountains is called the piedmont.
From the coast to the fall line is called the tidewater.

He went through several years of migrations, telling when and how far inland the settlers moved.

More children survived in the north than the south – due to illness etc.

He went through several interesting stories on names changing.

He talked about the economics of migration and the crops planted here and shipped back to England and how that affected migration.
He talked about the three main routes through the mountains from the east coast to the interior of our country.

We learned about the change from indentured servants to slavery and what the landowners got for bringing over indentured servants.

Men often looked for a wife “down river”.
He discussed where the various ethnic groups (Swedes, Germans, etc) settled in this country and why.

I learned about Braddock’s Road.
I learned about Acadians.

He says the term: “I’ll be there tomorrow if the Creek don’t rise….” Doesn’t mean the water in the creek. He said it means if the Creek Indians don’t rise up against us. Early settlers in this country were deathly afraid of the Creek Indians.

A long discussion on roads, settlement of Missouri, and mail routes and the building of roads.

The final discussion was on Manuscript Collections and where they are located.
The following site will help with that:

He also talked about PERSI – the index to genealogical magazine articles.

Well, I’m off to the Thursday night banquet and the talk by Paul Milner on “What were my ancestors really like?”

Samford University IGHR Day 3

Wednesday’s topics in the second level class were:
Analysis and Correlation of Information – taught by Christine Rose
Federal Land Records – taught by Claire Bettag
Passenger Arrival Records and Naturalization Records – taught by John Colletta

All of these presentations were wonderful.

Christine Rose discussed:
We used to use Preponderance of the Evidence in determining solutions to our problems. We now use the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Things to ask yourself:
Have you done a reasonably exhaustive search?
Has each piece tested?
Does all the information collected point in the same direction?
If not, is other evidence explained?
Does the accumulated evidence leave no doubt?

We don’t look at a record and call it primary or secondary – we look at the information – the pieces.
For instance, a WILL and its derivatives (copies) are both primary sources, with the original carrying more weight, but either could have errors. You look at the items in each.

Should always know who created the record to evaluate it.

Strategies when stuck:
- the answer is often buried in something we already have
- see if you’ve made assumptions before that aren’t valid
- make list of all the documents you’ve looked at – is there something else I could look at?
- broaden the surname search in the area – they might have missed our guy, but a relative might appear.

Proof summaries:
- use only the info that pertains to the problem
- write it up in cohesive summary
- state the problem
- explains the evidence that helps ‘solve’ the problem
- include it as a part of the compilation, as a footnote, or just a page or two attached to the evidence in your life

Bibles – always photocopy the title page of the bible

When evidence conflicts:
- read/transcribed correctly?
- consider informant
- consider source
- consider motive
- understand terminology
- understand time period (example: son-in-law often stepson)

She covered many other things in an excellent presentation

Land Records by Bettag
This was an intense, fast paced presentation. She covered a HUGE amount of data in an excellent manner.
She discussed in great detail:
Land entry papers
Surrendered bounty-land warrants
Private land claims

She went through the survey system.

Useful site:

NARA has land entry papers (case files) for the public land states only.
Land records at the NARA are in group 49.

Public land states are divided into eastern and western public land states, and the eastern state records are centralized in Springfield Virginia.

She discussed the various congressional acts that affected land acquisition.

The notes she handed out were excellent (as were those of Christine Rose). She also provided a good bibliography for further study.

The section on Arrival Records and Naturalization by Colletta was very interesting.
He gives many examples, using his own ancestors.

He referred us to

He discussed pre-1820 and post 1820 arrival records.
Other topics discussed:
- what you need to start the search
- passenger lists and where to find them
- other resources for potential value: passport applications, homestead files, newspapers of the port of entry, major ports and minor ports.

A reminder to look at these census records:
1820, 1830 census for “not naturalized” column,
1870 “eligible to vote” column,
1900 and later years for immigration info

He provided a very good bibliography.

On naturalization, he covered the key federal laws, state laws, and also provided a good bibliography of materials for this subject.

We skipped the evening presentation. Our choices were:
Manuscripts at the Library of Congress by Bettag and
Planning an Overseas Research Trip by Paul Milner;
We instead, found the mall and my daughter, the handbag queen, now has two more!!

Dinner was very good at Landry’s Seafood, and my daughter was introduced to bananas foster. I think she has a new dessert to add to her “favorites” list.

The weather here is typical Alabama. It's to be 89 tomorrow. As the heat rises in the afternoons it leads to the usual afternoon thunderstorms. Cools the temperatures a little, but makes it more muggy later. This is normal weather for me, but I think it's bothering some of our Pennsylvania and New York attendees in the class.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Samford University IGHR Day 2

Today's topics were Court Records taught by Christine Rose and Military Records taught by Lloyd Bockstruck. All the sessions were very well done, interesting and useful.

In the court record section, we learned about the different types of courts and the different types of records available in each. We learned many definitions and terms used in court research. A few of these were:
primogeniture - if the disposition of land was not specified it went to the eldest son;
Rhode Island was an exception to primogentiure between 1713 and 1723;
entail - a way to control property forever - 4 states still have remnants of entail;
the difference between filing and recording in a courthouse;
indenture - refers to paper that's indented - think of jagged cuts, with the top and bottom holding the same information and you can fit the two pieces together to prove they're from the same document;
a dead poll as opposed to an indenture;
difference between land grants and bounty land;
the military benefits of a bounty, and what a "donation" is;
first census to show military service was the 1840 for Revolutionary War Soldiers;
in 1775 there were 26 colonies of Great Britain in this country;
the loss of records and what the continental congress tried to do about it;
records provided by the son of Pickering;
the difference between a tory and a loyalist;
where to find records associated with each military conflict;
knowing when pensions started for Revolutionary War, Civil War and War of 1812;
in the indexed pension records, if there's an X.C. at the bottom of the index card, the record is still at the branch office and not in Washington.

Tonight we attended a very interesting talk by Ruth Hagar of St Louis on the search for Harriet, widow of Dred Scott. It had generally been accepted that Harriet died soon after Dred Scott died. Ruth seems to have proven that Harriet lived until 1876 and then traced the two daughters of Dred and Harriet. It was an interesting research journey.

I forgot to mention the lecture from last night: Tips for Improving Your Genealogical Lecturing Skills, taught by Paul Milner. It covered delivery, gestures, expression, posture etc.

Samford Unversity IGHR Classes - Day 1 continued

More on the tax record information:
We talked about using the tax records as census substitutes.
GA probate - is Court of the ordinary
AL probate - orphans court or probate office
If census is not available, go to tax records, voter registration lists, city directories, special state censuses.

Tax list can be state or federal and are usually unindexed.
PRE1850 - use tax list to show young men coming of age, then use land records - deeds, mortgages, patents, grants
In burned courthouse counties, can probably still find tax records at state level.
They discussed several specific states and where to find records and what types of records you can find.

Other items discussed:
capitation taxes; quit rents, rent rolls, tax digest.

Before 1750/1770 cousin meant nephew.
He talked about the ages of children when they chose guardians and the difference between male and females for ages of this.

The term inmate meant someone who "comes and goes through the same door as the owner".
The term "crazy" meant sick in body.
The term "grocer" meant someone who sold liquor.
Lumber in an inventory meant odds and ends, not wooden boards as it means today.
"Trusty and loving friend" usually meant someone out of the immediate circle, who had usually married into the family.
"Casually killing his wife" meant he killed his wife by acciden.
"Natural child" in 19th century meant bastard.
"Orphan" meant a minor person due an inheritance.
He talked about the difference in DOWER and DOWERY.
He talked about the terms: Pennsylvania Dutch, Black Irish, Scots-Irish, Creole, Cajun, Hessian, Mulatto.

In the Newspaper section they discussed terms:
"ghostly father" meant pastor of a parish
He talked about Worldcat
Invalid on the Revolutionary war records meant "sick person". It did NOT mean NOT VALID.

The common practice of 2 sons with the same name.
B.C. in 1850 Wisconsin meant Bos Canada which was lower Canada.
Index to Devisees - those who received land.

That's it - next comes the courts....

Samford University Classes Day 1

We arrived in Birmingham on Sunday night. We're staying in the Best Western instead of the dorm. I just didn't consider staying in the dorm this time. My daughter is also attending and she is currently in college, so I thought the break from University housing might be what she would prefer. We got checked in before 5 at the University library; picked up the notebook of materials; had the opportunity to get help connecting with the laptop (I bypassed this - how hard could it be - see mea culpa later). The notebook includes the names of those in your chosen class; their names, addresses, email addresses and the surnames in which they are interested - all good conversation starters. We met some really nice people even before the group evening meal. After the meal, there was an orientation session - telling us where and when items for the next day. Check in at the hotel had been fine, and the room is clean and adequate.

Monday morning. We ate breakfast at the hotel. We met a couple of folks at the hotel who were in one of the IGHR classes and offered them a ride - they had flown in from Maryland and Pennsylvania - two more nice and interesting folks.

I'm taking the Level 2 course: Intermediate Genealogy and Historical Studies. My daughter is taking the Level 1 course: Techniques and Technology. The two guys we met at the hotel this morning are in the "Researching African-American Ancestors: Military Records.

My class on Monday covered tax records, pitfalls in research, newspaper research and included an advanced bibliography of resources. Lloyd Bockstruck taught all the sessions except the newspaper session and it was taught by John Colletta. All topics were taught very well. I learned something in each session.

I had connected to the internet from my hotel, and attempted to get onto the secure network on campus before class. All four of us with laptops in the room had trouble connecting and had to ask for help from University personnel. We finally connected, but it was painful. I suggest anyone coming to these classes take advantage of the help in the library on Sunday night for laptop setup [I should probably tell you that I was a computer analyst for MANY years and STILL had trouble setting it up].

I've been doing genealogy since 1977, but decided to take the Level II class becaues it's covering quite a few record types that I've never spent a lot of time with. So far, I've learned quite a few interesting things. As an example, did you know that a FREEMAN in pre 1850 Pennsylvania meant BACHELOR? Did you know that NEAT CATTLE means DEHORNED CATTLE? We learned about the Julian to Gregorian date changes. Did you know that in the 17th and 18th centuries that the term NEPHEW actually meant GRANDCHILD (male or female)? Better reevaluate all those lineage charts, huh? I'll go through and give more examples of interesting things I learned in the middle of learning more about tax records and other genealogy sources.

Time to get ready for day two....

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I love getting a new book

I had ordered a cemetery book back in March, and had completely forgotten that I'd ordered it. That made the surprise package that arrived in the mail today even more fun. I usually buy any book pertaining to Caldwell, Lyon or Trigg counties in Kentucky. This book is "Cemeteries of Cadiz and Trigg County, Kentucky" by David Sumner, Kim Fortner, Pam Metts & Charles Morris. I already own the following books on Trigg county: the "Trigg County Handbook" by Neel; "LBL Cemeteries" by Maupin; "Trigg County Cemeteries" by (no author or publication date listed). This new book has a great index. A couple of the previous books have the kind of index that just lists the last name of the person, and if you're a Smith or a Gray, you'll spend a few hours searching all the relevant (or irrelevant) pages.

I've been asked to teach "Getting Stated in Genealogy" again. I think this one will be in August.

Next week is my genealogy class at Samford University in Birmingham.
It will be hard being away from work for a whole week, so soon after starting back to work, but I'm really looking forward to it. I'll try to blog about the experience. There are some evening classes too, so the posts might be short. My college senior daughter is also attending a genealogy class at Samford next week. It will be fun seeing genealogy research through the eyes of the new researcher.