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A Brief History of Roads in Virginia 1607-1840

“County court records relating to roads and transportation are collectively know as “road orders.” The Virginia Transportation Research Council’s published volumes of road orders and related materials contain not only information on early roads, but also the names of inhabitants who lived and worked along the roadways, plantations, farms, landmarks, landforms, and bodies of water. Much of this information is found nowhere else in early records, making these publications invaluable not only to historical and cultural resources research, but also to other disciplines, including social history, preservation planning, environmental science, and genealogy.”

A Brief History of Roads in Virginia 1607-1840 is the result of a larger study into the history of road construction and development in the various counties of Virginia. This book represents what was to be the introduction to a larger work on the county of Albemarle. With the input of other, the author realized the value of this brief history to all interested in the early development of roads across the state. This historical sketch is intended to provide insight to the development of all Virginian roads, up to the time of heavy railroad development in the nineteenth century, while also providing understanding of the various forces which shaped transportation policy at the colonial, and following, state level.

A map book I review a few months ago, An Atlas of Appalachian Trails to the Ohio River, by Carrie Eldridge, shows the location of little known trails as well as the major routes which passed through Virginia during the early expansion years. Along these routes grew towns and communities. Only four major routes crossed the Appalachians from the eastern seaboard to the Ohio River. But, the area spread out along minor routes and eventually many of the major and minor routes became state and interstate highways. A Brief History of Roads in Virginia provides additional insight to this development; including, the legislation and thinking that was behind continued improvements and development.

Establishing and maintaining public roads was important business. Choosing between roads and canals, selecting overseers to keep roads in repair, and managing budgets was of great importance to everyone. The history of road development is probably far more important to the country’s overall history than most give it credit for. This brief look into this small subsection of American history opens windows of thought and perspective into the lives of early Americans.




The Colonial Period 1607-1776

Groping for a Solution 1783-1816

The Board of Public Works 1816-1827

The Board of Public Works: The Golden Years 1827-1840

Selected Bibliography


A Brief History of Roads in Virginia 1607-1840 is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: HBV3674, Price: $16.17.

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Mormon Migration Index Website Has Been Revised

A FamilySearch blog provides the details. Here is an excerpt:

Mormon Migration Index Give you More Than Ever Before

If you have Mormon ancestors who crossed the ocean to join the Saints in America, you may have heard of the Mormon Migration website. In the past, folks have come to this website to find voyage information about people who made this life changing journey to the Land of Zion. Now this valuable website has been revised to include even more historical information than ever before.

This revised internet site is in the 2nd stage of a 3 stage development plan. This phase provides more images of ship manifests and more articles. This collection of articles will continue to grow with the addition of more than 100 articles in the near future.

Find a Voyage:
Using the Mormon Migration site, you can search through the many personal accounts to discover stories, letters, journal entries, and other accounts for each voyage. Links take you to passenger lists, person accounts written by people who were on board each ship, and scanned images of the ship’s passenger logs. This is a remarkable source for learning not only about your migrant ancestors but also about those who traveled with them and events that took place during each voyage.

Share What You Know:
The Mormon Migration database includes thousands of passenger records, stories, journal entries, scanned registry images, and other information, but it is far from complete. It is hoped that users will add information they have about their migrant ancestor. They are especially interested in first-hand accounts of voyages, photographs, and other information.

Click here to read the full blog.

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Tracing Your European Roots

Hot off the presses, Tracing Your European Roots is W. Daniel Quillen’s fifth volume in his Essentials of Genealogy series. The Essentials series covers immigration and naturalization records, census and military records, family records, and more. European Roots serves as a basic research guide, breaking out individual countries and the available resources.

The first four chapters provide the reader with the basics needed to trace any European ancestor. The basics may prove redundant for the experienced researcher. However, the subsequent chapters examine individual nations and the means to research each. In general, the book covers the following topics:

  • “Where to find European records
  • How to access European records
  • How to use the Internet to help you in your search
  • Pitfalls and issues in obtaining European records
  • Countries covered include England, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, and the Czech & Slovak Republics”

Quillen is a professional writer. Yet, after 20 years he can still put heart and personality into his writing. Much of the praise given to this book talks to his writing skills and his ability to express the point with clarity. Anyone ready to research those countries listed above will find some helpful hints and great starting points in this book.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Basics

  • Patronymics
  • Spelling Woes
  • US Records First
  • What’s in a Name?
  • Know Your History
  • Ethnic Gatherings
  • Religion
  • A Few Helpful Hints

3. Clues & Hints

  • Family Tradition / Legend / Knowledge
  • Immigration & Naturalization Records
  • Emigration Records
  • US Census Records
  • Passport Applications
  • Histories / Biographies

4. Research Tools

  • Websites
  • Books
  • Country and Record-Specific Websites
  • Genealogy Societies

5. Your British Roots

  • Key Records
  • Censuses
  • Civil Registrations
  • Parish Registration
  • Wills & Probate Records
  • Helpful Websites
  • National Archives
  • British Names

6. Your Czech & Slovak Roots

  • Key Records
  • Civil Registration
  • Church Records
  • Helpful Websites
  • Archives
  • Sample Letters
  • Genealogy Terms in Czech and Slovak
  • Months of the Year
  • Czech and Slovak Names

7. Your French Roots

  • Key Records
  • Civil Registration — Departments
  • Censuses
  • Parish Record
  • Wills & Probate Records
  • Helpful Websites
  • Sample Letters
  • Genealogy Terms in French
  • Months of the Year
  • French Names

8. Your German Roots

  • German States
  • Patronymics
  • Immigration Records
  • Emigration Records
  • Clan Books
  • Sample Letters
  • Genealogical Terms in German
  • Months of the Year
  • German Names

9. Your Irish Roots

  • Geographical Units
  • Key Records
  • Censuses
  • Civil Registration
  • Helpful Websites
  • National Archives
  • Going to Ireland
  • Irish Names

10. Your Italian Roots

  • Key Records
  • Censuses
  • Church Records
  • Civil Registration
  • Military Records
  • Province Archives
  • Helpful Websites
  • Sample Letter
  • Genealogy Terms in Italian
  • Months of the Year
  • Italian Names

11. Your Polish Roots

  • Censuses
  • Passports
  • Obituaries
  • Passenger Lists
  • WWI & WWII Draft Registration Cards
  • Partitioning of Poland
  • Helpful Websites
  • Polish State Archives
  • Church Records
  • Civil Registration
  • Sample Letter
  • Genealogy Terms in Polish
  • Polish Names

12. Your Portuguese Roots

  • Portuguese Naming Trends
  • Key Records
  • Censuses
  • Church Records
  • Civil Registration
  • National Archives
  • District Archives
  • Helpful Websites
  • Professional Genealogists
  • Sample Letter
  • Genealogical Terms in Portuguese
  • Months of the Year
  • Portuguese Names

13. Your Spanish Roots

  • Key Records
  • Censuses
  • Church Records
  • Civil Registration
  • State Archives
  • Helpful Websites
  • Sample Letter
  • Genealogical Terms in Spanish
  • Months of the Year
  • Spanish Names



Tracing Your European Roots is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: CS02, Price: $11.71.

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New at The Original Record

The folloing databases have been added this week the

1664 – Leicester Hearth Tax
The Michaelmas 1664 hearth tax returns for the city of Leicester, transcribed by Henry Hartopp mainly from the original collectors’ books in the Public Record Office (Exchequer Lay Subsidy county Leicester 251/4). The names are listed by ward, with the number of hearths. The latter part of the list for each ward consists of the names of those not chargeable by reason of poverty. Hartopp annotated the heading for each ward with a list of the streets comprised.

1834 – City of Oxford Electors
A List of the Freemen and Householders of the City of Oxford, Registered July 31st, 1834, as Entitled to Vote in the Election of Members for the said City. This starts with an alphabetical list of the freemen of the city, which gives (as in the sample scan) full name, address and occupation. Then follow lists of householders, by parish or ward, but without giving occupations: All Saints, Binsey, Cowley, Holywell, St Aldate’s, St Clement’s, St Ebbe’s, St Giles’s, St John’s, St Martin’s, St Mary Magdalen, St Mary the Virgin, St Michael’s, St Peter le Bailey, St Peter’s in the East, St Thomas’s.

1848 – Directory of Bath
Hunt & Co.’s ‘Directory & Court Guide for the Cities of Bath, Bristol, & Wells, and the Towns of Bradford, Calne, Chippenham, Devizes, Frome, Lavingtons, Melksham, Shepton Mallet, Trowbridge, Warminster, & Westbury, containing The Names and Addresses of The Nobility, Gentry, Clergy, Professional Gentlemen, Traders, &c. Resident therein. A Descriptive Account of each Place, Post-Office Information, Copious Lists of the Public Buildings, Law, and Public Officers – Particulars of Railroads, Coaches, Carriers, and Water Conveyances – Distance Tables, and other Useful Miscellany’, published in May 1848 includes this alphabetical directory of Bath.

1861 – Members of Durham University and Newcastle College of Medicine
This alphabetical list of members of the University of Durham and of the College of Medicine, Newcastle, gives full names; those marked with an asterisk being Members of Convocation; those marked with a dagger being either fellows or late fellows of the university. On the righthand side is a column of dates. In the case of graduates this is the year in which the examination for the degree of B. A. was passed; and in the case of Licentiates in Theology, and of Civil Engineers, to the year in which each passed the final examination. Those dates that are marked with a double dagger are years in which the graduate, being a member of another university, passed the final examination in theology at Durham. The centre column gives the degree and, where appropriate, college.

1912 – Blind Annuitants
The General Register of Blind Annuitants for 1912 listed nearly 6000 recipients of annuities from various charities and trusts in the British Isles. This index sets out the same information again in tabular form, giving: register number; surname; christian name or initials; full address; year of birth or age; amount of annual payment; year of appointment; recurrence (if renewed: yearly, weekly, or monthly); and abbreviated name of the charity. Many individuals were receiving sums from more than one source. Where (n) is given after the surname, it indicates a pension granted since the last previous edition; (+) shows an increase in pension; (-) a decrease.

1927 – Naturalizations
The Home Office issued monthly lists of aliens to whom Certificates of Naturalization had been granted by the Secretary of State and whose oaths of allegiance had been registered in the Home Office. These notices, from January to December 1927, refer to naturalizations from December 1926 to November 1927. The lists give full name (surname first) with any aliases; country of origin; occupation; full postal address; date of taking the oath. An asterisk indicates re-admission to British nationality.

There is a free unlimited search at the site, where you can purchase sets of scans, or buy open access to the surname(s) of your choice, including variants.


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Alsace-Lorraine: Atlantic Bridge to Germany

Many years have passed since North America has seen any of its national boundaries change. Most of the World has proven less stable of recent decades. Even Europe has seen its share of change. World history is wroth with the ebb and flow of political and military boundaries. During the middle ages and on up to the First World War a modest portion of western-central Europe was a land of ever changing boundaries. In the heart of this area were the German people. At different times, different rulers and governments ruled the various lands, including areas of modern France, Austria, and more. As maps changed, so did the names of towns and parishes throughout the region. At one point a town may have a German name, and at another time a French name. Sorting out the names of places, as they would have appeared on records and documents at any particular time in history is difficult. Fortunately, researches have spent countless hours reviewing and documenting these variation.

Alsace-Larraine: Atlantic Bridge to Germany is the result of one such endeavor. In this book, the researcher will discover indexes and maps of place names in Alsace and Lorraine during the time of the German Empire (1871-1918). There are indexed alphabetically in both French and German. The book also includes a list of available records in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, as well as a short history and how to research the area.

Like a Disney cartoon, this book was out of print for nearly seven years. Fortunately, the author, Charles M. Hall, has granted rights to Origins. Origins has been pulled the book from the vaults, as it were, reprinted and re-released the book for 2012.


Table of Contents

Introduction and Explanation




Immigration History

Emigration History


Industry and Natural Resources

Transportation and Communication



Personality of People

Family History Library

Church Records

Civil Registration


Archives in France

Genealogical Societies in France

Resources for Alsace-Lorraine Research

Internet Websites


Word List (English, German, French)

Key to Map Terms

Government Districts


Kreis Map and List

Key to Map Pages

Maps of Alsace-Lorraine

Placenames (alphabetized by German name)

Placenames (alphabetized by French name)


Alsace-Larraine: Atlantic Bridge to Germany is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: OBK531, Price: $24.45.

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Join Us on the 2012 Salt Lake Christmas Tour

It’s time to start planning for a trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City the first week of December! This is an invitation to join us on the 28th annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour. This year it is begin held from December 2 through the 8th, with most of the group flying in on Sunday, December 2, and flying out on Sunday, December 9.

The Salt Lake Christmas Tour is the genealogy research trip where you can find ancestors quickly. Now in its 28th year, the Tour is renowned for the genealogy research success of its attendees, many of whom come back year after year.

One of the major advantages of the Salt Lake Christmas Tour is that there is no waiting for microfilm to be shipped from afar. If you don’t find your family on one film, just move on to another! If your ancestors aren’t mentioned in one book, there are often dozens more in which you may find them! It’s genealogy research at its finest!

There are numerous trips to The Family History Library, sponsored by genealogical societies and commercial firms. However, The Salt Lake Christmas Tour has been highly successful because we have the highest ratio of professional researchers to attendees of any genealogy research tour using the Family History Library. You’ve always got the help you need to overcome your difficult research problems! You can research your ancestors with the help of our experienced professional genealogists. The Salt Lake Christmas Tour is known for the quality of the professional genealogists that work with the attendees on a daily basis – Monday through Saturday. The Christmas Tour typically has professional genealogists available for consultation from 9 am until near the time when the library closes. Professionals currently planning to work the 2012 Tour are: Lisa A. Alzo, Linda Brinkerhoff, Arlene Eakle, Billy Edgington, Loni Gardner, Kevan Hansen, Wade Hone, Stan Lindaas, George Ott, Dwight Radford, Ruth Maness, and Trudy Schenk. The Salt Lake Christmas Tour is led by Leland K. Meitzler, Donna Potter Phillips and Bill Balter.

For more details and registration, check out the Salt Lake Christmas Tour website.

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A Cemetery Buried Within a Cemetery

Here is an excerpt from the article in the Press Telegraph out of Long Beach, CA:

Long Beach’s buried cemetery

By Tim Grobaty, Columnist

A BURIED BURIAL PLACE: Jennie Aguillar was born in Mexico in 1890. She died 30 years later in Long Beach, where she lived with her husband Joe at Wilton Street at Termino Avenue. She was buried at Palm Cemetery in Long Beach.

Thomas L. McGregor, the infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. McGregor of 1121 Gladys Ave., died on March 19, 1920. The baby was buried at Palm Cemetery.

Luria Nieto, the 14-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Trinidad Nieto, died on May 11, 1920. There was a small obituary in the Long Beach Press. She was buried at Palm Cemetery.

James J. Taylor died Aug. 4, 1918, at Seaside Hospital in Long Beach. According to the Long Beach Press, Taylor had been found ill and destitute in a shack at Alamitos Bay. He lived on donations he received for his sand sculptures, most of which were renderings of a mother and child, which he called “Cast Up By the Sea.” He was buried at Palm Cemetery.

Palm Cemetery, in turn, was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery-Sunnyside Mausoleum, at Cherry Avenue and San Antonio Drive, in Long Beach.

Click here to read the full article.

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French Holocaust Records Released

Did you that in just two days, July 16 and 17, 1942, over 13,000 French Jews were rounded up by police and sent to Auschwitz. For the first time, police records of these events have been released. Read more about it in the following article found at

French Holocaust records exhibited for 1st time


The Associated Press

PARIS — They are among France’s darkest days: Police dragged over 13,000 Jews from their homes, confined them in a Paris cycling stadium with little food or water, and then deported them to their deaths in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. But even in France, one of the most brazen collaborations between authorities and the Nazis during World War II is unknown to many in the younger generation.

Police are hoping to change that, opening up their archives on France’s biggest single deportation of French Jews for the first time to the public on Thursday.

The often chilling records are being exhibited in the Paris Jewish district’s city hall to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the two-day “Vel d’Hiv” roundup, named for the Velodrome d’Hiver, or Winter Velodrome. Many thousands were rounded up on July 16 and 17, 1942, then holed up in miserable conditions in the stadium, just a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, before being bused to the French camp at Drancy and then taken by train to Auschwitz.

Tallies list the daily count of men, women and children detained, alongside stark black and white photographs of deportees. A registry of those forced to wear the yellow star and a Jewish census show how police knew who to take. Meticulous handwritten lists detail personal possessions handed over to police. Others list the value of property, such as jewelry, confiscated — often forcibly — during the deportation.

France struggled for years to come to terms with the extent of its wartime collaboration with the Nazis, but over the decades officials have been showing greater willingness to acknowledge the shameful period in its history.

Click here to read the full article.

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Using the MyHeritage Family Trees Now Found on the World Vital Records Site

I’ve had a membership to since the beginning of that website. I went to work for Everton’s in 2006, and they had a relationship with World Vital Records, allowing WVR to scan books and magazines in the Everton collection to be posted on the World Vital Records site. In all the time I worked as the editor of the Genealogical Helper (2006-2009), I watched millions of records being posted at the site, including some of my own, without ever seeming to achieve it’s goals and promise to become the #2 genealogy site on the web. I was laid off at Everton’s in early 2009, and continued to watch the WVR progress. They developed valuable relationships – with affiliate access to newspapers, gravestone data, and the like. But honestly, in comparing WVR to sites like Ancestry, GenealogyBank, and many others I had my doubts about whether the company had a chance of making the big time. Then two things happened. They hired a go-getter by the name of Mark Olsen who had previously worked for He used his expertise to help stabilize their cash flow, and added a professionalism I was pleased to see. Then the company was purchased by – a highly successful genealogy website based in Israel. The merging of the two companies was a genealogy marriage made in heaven. MyHeritage had huge family trees, many with European, as well as American connections and World Vital Records had data (books and electronic databases).

This morning I decided I’d check out the MyHeritage Family Trees which are now available at After searching for new information on my Titus line, and coming up empty, I switched to looking for new data on my Keelers. I searched only within the Trees – searching for databases and vital records information I didn’t already now about. Sure enough, I immediately found data about my 4th great grandmother, Dinah Keeler – most of which I didn’t already have. Some isn’t sourced, but other items are. Beside that, I have the contact information of the folks that posted the data. One of the features of the Trees is that off to the right hand side, there is a column that says something like: “More Records for Dinah Keeler.” In this case it stated that there were 3 birth, marriage, and death records I could check out. Clicking on the link, I found a copy of the marriage of Dinah Keeler to my fourth great-grandfather, the so-called James Canfield (and that’s another story). I didn’t have this document, and it gave me the marriage date that I didn’t have previously. Now I’ve got a lot more data to prove, cousins to contact, and other sources to look at. One of the MyHeritage Trees also led me to extensive data and more trees located at I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me, thank to my search on this morning.

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New Books at the Family History Library

Each month the Family History Library adds new books to its collection. From patent rolls to individually produced family histories, these books are collected and cataloged. Many represent recent research but may provided information dating back centuries. To see what has been recently added to the library, see the FamilySearch blog entry below:

The Family History Library acquires many new genealogy and family history related books each month. Major US additions includes abstracts of Hartford, Connecticut newspapers; Worth County, Iowa cemetery books; Douglas County, Oregon cemetery, death, tax, and divorce books; a variety of Blair County, Pennsylvania books; six volumes of Fra Amerika til Norge (books on Norwegian emigration to America), and George G. Morgan’s How to Do Everything Genealogy.

In the International section, additions include several Ortsfamilienbucher from Baden and Bavaria; street guides to Berlin; Basque settlers of Mexico; notarial records from Toluca and Jalapa, Mexico; marriages from Monterrey Cathedral, Mexico; and 12 volumes of Norske gardsbruk (farm histories from Ostfold, Norway).

To read the full blog; plus, access the lists of new books, click here.

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Genealogy at a Glance: U.S. Federal Census Records

Learning to read and use U.S. Federal Census Records is probably the most critical skill almost a genealogists can learn for research the past 230 years. Each census attempts to identify every person tied to a family and a residence. While each census is a little different, and each varies in some detail, the information available in each makes the census the most important resource for anyone born in the last 250 years. Learning to use the censuses is like learning any other resource, there are some basic skill and knowledge from which to build on. Genealogy at a Glance: U.S. Federal Census Records seeks to provide this critical background and skill set to all genealogists.

This guide covers key census basics. Readers will learn the background behind the census, what changes were made in different time periods, and how to access census data. The author, Kory L. Meyerink, offers insight into the difference between Heads of Household Censuses (1790-1840) and Every-name Censuses (1850-1940). Meyerink also covers Soundex searching and problems one may encounter with indexes. Tips are given for getting around search problems. There is an entire column on the back page dedicated to Census Search Strategies and Online Search Considerations. Additional references and some online resources help round out the guide.

Like all the Genealogy At A Glance sheets, this guide is a four-page, full-color limited brochure meant to be easily stored and sized to take with you when conducting related research. And, like each At A Glance, the top of the first page provides Contents and Quick Facts. Some of facts for this guide include:

  • The Federal census began in 1790
  • Records are available after 72 years (hence the recent hoopla about the 1940 census)
  • 1890 Census burned in a fire
  • Substitute records are available for many of the missing census records

Some of these items may be common knowledge to some researchers while new and exciting to others. Regardless of your experience level, the easy to carry guide makes a great quick reference companion for any researcher.


Contents for this guide:

Quick Facts & Important Dates

The Basics

  • Time Period
  • Content
  • Coverage
  • Access and Availability

Heads of Household Censuses (1790-1840)

Census Indexes

  • Soundex: Phonetic Searching
  • When Indexes Don’t Work

Census Search Strategies

  • Online Search Considerations

For Further References

Major Online Resources

Additional tips provide the reader with added.


Order Genealogy at a Glance: U.S. Federal Census Records from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC3874, Price: $8.77.


Other Genealogy at a Glance guides:

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History of Louisianna: From Its First Discovery and Settlement to the Present Time [1842]

If I were to summarize what I remember learning about American History in public school, it would go something like this:

  • In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue
  • Then the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock
  • People came from Europe, mostly English, to practice free religion and other things.
  • The 13 colonies didn’t like the taxes and the the British ruled them so they dumped the Tea into the Boston Harbor and then went to war for freedom
  • The 13 colonies became the first states
  • People moved to territories which became states
  • The U.S. bought Louisiana and other land from France in the Louisiana purchase and Alaska from the Russians

Granted, I have filled in a few blanks since grade and high school. But, like most U.S. Citizens, I don’t know near enough about early settlers in North America outside the 13 colonies. I have only the vaguest sense of proper Canadian history or the history of the southern states like Florida and the areas encompassed in the Louisiana Purchase. Fortunately, there are those out there willing to help fill in my educational gaps without having to return to school. History of Louisiana: From Its First Discovery and Settlement to the Present Time, by E. Bunner, is just such a gap filler.

The book starts out with early explorers, most French in this case, and the connection between Louisiana, the Mississippi River, and Canada. Filled within the pages are details of land transfers between countries. The presence of both Spain and France in the Gulf Coast region and the treaties and wars alike with the Native population. The historical involvement of France and Spain in the Revolutionary War is covered, including the position of French citizens in Louisiana who “rejoiced at the opportunity thus presented of avenging the injuries of the last war.”

Other areas covered include Penal laws, slavery laws or the “Black Code,” laws upon husbands and wives; plus, involvement in the War of 1812 and other settlers to the area. It must be noted, that though the title of the book states “to the Present Time,” the present time at the printing of this book was 1842. This book was reprinted in 2008. Despite, or perhaps because of, the date or original printing, this book provides a great historical reference to state of Louisiana and the surrounding areas. History of Louisiana reads like a story, making it easier to follow than many modern history books. So, if you are like myself, and lack a proper education into parts of the modern U.S. but were not part of the 13 colonies, here is a chance to learn more about a very important segment of American’s past.



Chapter I Discovery of Canada

Chapter II Discovery of the Mississippi

Chapter III Settlement of Florida

Chapter IV Expedition of Joliet and Marquette—Hennein—La Salle

Chapter V Expedition of Iberville—Mississippi Company—Foundation of New-Orleans by Bienville

Chapter VI Indian Tribes

Chapter VII War of the Natchez

Chapter VIII Surrender of the Charter of the Mississippi Company—War of the Chickasaws—Interior affairs

Chapter IX Difference between France and England—General Washington—Nova Scotia—Fort Duquesne—Loss of Canada—Suppression of the Order of Jesuits

Chapter X Louisiana ceded to Spain

Chapter XI Conduct of O’Reilly—Villere—Acts of the Spanish Government

Chapter XII Galvez—War with England—Mira—St. Domnigo

Chapter XIII Carondelet—Fortification of New Orleans—Sugar Manufactory—French Emigrants—Treaty between the United States and Spain—Gayoso de Lemos

Chapter XIV Transfer of Louisiana to the United States

Chapter XV Territorial Government of Louisiana—Laws

Chapter XVI Spain–Conspiracy of Burr—General Wilkinson—Refugees from Cuba—Taking of Baton Rouge—Louisiana made a State—Constitution—Steamboats

Chapter XVII War with England—Battle of New Orleans

Chapter XVIII Prosperity of Louisianan—Bank of Louisianan—Laws—Florida—Mouth of the Mississippi—Lafayette—General Jackson elected President—National Bank—Cholera

Chapter XIX Tariff—Speculation—Lotteries—Banks—Madame Lalaurie—New Orleans Divided—Stoppage of Specie Payments

Chapter XX Project of Albert Hoa—Appropriations—Great Flood—Improvements in Louisiana—State of Society—Conclusion


Order History of Louisiana: From Its First Discovery and Settlement to the Present Time [1842] from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: HBB2275, Price: $27.93.

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Salt Lake Christmas Tour……… Week’s Peek

Really disappointing news to share this week……… and I’d like to know if any of YOU have had a parallel experience.  My hubby’s father, Charles Alexander Phillips, was born in 1906 in Toledo, Ohio and he was consistent in saying that. I was eagerly looking forward to seeing him in the 1940 census, not because I expected to learn much new, but just to find him and document him one more time. (Those Phillips have been elusive.)  Finally, Washington was completed and posted! Fantastic!  So I did a search for “Charles Phillips, b. 1906 in Ohio, living in Seattle.”  Negative. NEGATIVE!

To shorten the story, I finally found him BUT the index lists his birthplace as Oklahoma! And the original census document very clearly says Ohio. So this means that two different people looked at that census image, and wrote Oklahoma for Ohio………… however in the world could two people have made that awful, terrible mistake????

Chuck was married to Rose, a registered nurse, and he worked for Shepard Ambulance Service. This was in April 1941 and they soon divorced and it’s a unlovely, long, convoluted, unhappy story…… but that’s another story.

I’m just awfully terribly disappointed at finding this mistake. I hate to say it, but it does kinda rather make me doubt the other things I find in the index???????   Have you experienced something like this? If so, please share it.

Donna, aka Mother Hen, until next week.


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Dower Share, Dowry & Dower Rights

The following article is by my friend, William Dollarhide:

Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 10: Work from the known to the unknown. In other words, just because your name is Washington doesn’t mean you are related to George.

Martha Dandridge was the oldest daughter of John and Frances (Jones) Dandridge, born June 2, 1731, on a plantation near Williamsburg, Virginia. Typical for a girl raised in a well-off 18th-century family, her home-tutored schooling was in the basics, but heavy in the domestic and social skills required for keeping a well-ordered plantation household. In 1749, Martha was a girl of 18, about five feet tall, dark-haired, and gentle of manner. That year she married Daniel Parke Custis, one of the wealthiest men in colonial Virginia. Two babies died and two were hardly past infancy when her husband died in 1757.

Dower Share
Upon her husband’s demise, Martha received a Dower Share, the lifetime use of (and income from) one-third of his estate, with the other two-thirds held in trust for their minor children. Martha’s dower share included at least 85 of the total 285 slaves held by Custis at the time of his death, and over 5,700 acres of the total 17,300 acres in the Custis plantations and farms in five Virginia counties. Two years later, at the age of 28, the dowager widow Martha (Dandridge) Custis married a former military officer and surveyor named George Washington, age 27.

Martha (Dandridge) Custis was perhaps the richest widow living in colonial Virginia in 1759, but when she married George Washington, she gave up control of her entire estate to her new husband. Two weeks after their marriage, George officially put his wife on allowance — from the same money that used to be hers. The property that Martha brought into the marriage with George was her Dowry, which, under English Common Law, was any money, goods, or estate owned by the wife. In the case of a maiden bride, the dowry could be in the form of a gift to the groom from the bride’s family. In the case of a widow who had property (her Dower Share), that property became her Dowry, and was automatically transferred to her new husband’s name. This dowry practice was followed in colonial Virginia well into the federal period of the 19th century, a carry-over from the plantations of southwest England, where most of the earliest landed Virginia people had derived. Essentially, a married woman could not own property in her own name.

At the time of his marriage to Martha (Dandridge) Custis, George Washington was a well-known Virginian, recently returned from service with the British Army during the French and Indian War. But George Washington had no property, and was still struggling to find a place in Virginia society. He had no property because he was not the oldest son in his family. That honor went to his older half-brother, Lawrence, who inherited the Washington family estate upon the death of their father, Augustine Washington, who died in 1743. The prevailing system of inheritance in colonial Virginia provided that the first-born son would inherit the entire estate, a system of inheritance known as primogeniture. Again, this was the practice followed in the plantations of southwest England and was continued in colonial Virginia well into the 19th century. George Washington’s entry into Virginia’s elite society came as a result of his marriage to Martha (Dandridge) Custis, who gave him a dowry of land and slaves – the prerequisites to become an English gentleman.

George managed to acquire and expand the Washington family estate, Mount Vernon, after his brother Lawrence died, but without the resources of his wife’s dowry, he would not have had that opportunity. Washington used his wife’s great wealth to buy slaves and land, tripling the size of Mount Vernon to over 8,000 acres over the years. But initially, the Custis estate was far greater than the Washington properties in size and value, and is what first gave George Washington the social standing and prestige of an English gentleman. It could be said that George Washington married very well indeed.

Dower Rights
After her marriage to George Washington, Martha may have lost her estate, but under English Common Law, she gained rights specific to a married woman, including the legal right to stop any land sale George Washington may have decided to do on his own. The Dower Rights of a married woman was another of the practices of colonial Virginia, as well as the rest of the English colonies. Dower rights were a protection to a wife so she would not be left out of her husband’s wealth after his death. Upon the death of a husband, a widow was entitled to one-third of her husband’s estate, thus her Dower Rights (as a wife) became her Dower Share (as a widow), often referred to as the Widow’s Third. The oldest son would inherit the entire property, but one-third of the estate was held in trust in the name of the widow, who could legally derive equity, rents, or income from her portion. After her death, her Dower Share would revert back to the heir.

Martha’s first experience with the Widow’s Third rule was after the death of her first husband. Because the legal heirs to the Custis estate were underage, Martha gained management control of the entire estate. Incomes from two-thirds of the Custis properties, however, were held in trust for the minor children of Daniel Park Custis. After her marriage to George Washington, Martha’s control of the entire Custis estate transferred to her new husband. George Washington became the manager of the entire Custis estate, but derived income only from Martha’s Dowry. George and Martha never had children, but they raised Martha’s two children, John Parke Custis and Martha (Patsy) Parke Custis, and also raised two grandchildren, Eleanor (Nellie) Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis, children of John Parke Custis, who had died during the Revolutionary War.

After the death of George Washington in 1799, Martha’s original Dower Share of the Custis estate was restored back to her control. That Custis Dower Share had grown to 153 slaves, and still included a sizeable amount of the original Custis estate properties. Washington’s will had specified that all of his slaves were to be freed after the death of his wife – but on her own, Martha freed all of the slaves one year after his death.

Martha Washington died at Mount Vernon in 1802, after which her Dower Share of the Custis estate was finally liquidated. Her only surviving grandchild, George Washington Parke Custis, turned 21 in 1802 and inherited the Custis estate of his father and grandfather, including Martha’s former Dower Share. G.W.P. Custis’ only surviving daughter, Mary Anna Custis, was to marry Robert E. Lee in 1831. Mary Anna Custis inherited land and property when G.W.P. Custis died in 1857, and title soon transferred to her husband. The Custis house and property from which the present Arlington National Cemetery was established still stands today. Arlington House is famously known as the family home of Robert E. Lee, but in fact, Arlington House was erected and named by a Custis grandson of Martha Washington.

Find the Deeds
Because of the English Common Law practice of Dower Rights for a married woman, a genealogist can locate land records that name a husband and wife in the same document. Deeds and other real estate transactions are often mundane genealogical sources – except in special cases of the division of property from a probate of an estate, where the names of heirs may be mentioned – deeds are usually stale legal documents, simply showing the transfer of ownership of property from one man to another. However, because of the Dower Rights of a wife, whose name is mentioned in the deed, they take on a very important role in genealogical discovery.

Deeds recording a land sale for a man would mention the name of the man’s wife, because she had veto power over the sale of the land — that is, she had a legal interest in his property because of her dower rights. As an example, deeds in which dower rights are involved might mention the sellers of land as “John Henry Brown and wife Jane” as the grantees involved in the sale. Jane was mentioned by name only because she had dower rights on the property. In many cases, the accompanying papers in a deed case will have a record of an interview with the wife attesting that she was in favor of the sale.

Since deeds are universally available for longer periods of time than any other court record, they provide the best tool for finding the place where an ancestor lived. Land deeds are recorded at the county court level, except in three New England states (Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont) where they are recorded at the town level. In Alaska, which has no counties, deeds are recorded at the state district court level. In each courthouse, the index to deeds, variously called a Grantee-Grantor Index, Direct-Indirect Index, or simply Index to Real Estate Conveyances, is the place to find out if an ancestor ever bought or sold land in that jurisdiction.

A common problem in genealogy is finding the county where an ancestor lived. Census records often give us the name of the state of birth only. So, for this problem, I have learned to check the deed indexes first. Even if you have to look through deed books for many counties, this exercise is the quickest way to find which is the right county of residence. There are no other court records that are as complete as deeds. And, understanding the concepts of dower share, dowry and dower rights will help you find the names of both the husband and wife.

Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No.11: With any luck, some of the people in your family could read and write . . . and may have left something written about themselves.

For Further Reading:

Check out Dollarhide’s earlier article: “If He Owned Land, There’s a Deed

E. Wade Hones Land & Property Research in the United States

Kyle Betit’s Researching American Land Records

Genealogy at a Glance: Virginia Genealogy Research; by Carol McGinnis

Research in Virginia – NGS Research in the States Series – Second Edition; By Eric G. Grundset

Virginia Genealogical Research; by George K. Schweitzer Ph.D, Sc.D.

Virginia Genealogy – Sources & Resources; by Carol McGinnis

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California in the 1940 Census

The following infographic is courtesy of

1940 census

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