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The Civil War in Art

My friend, Linda Petrasek, alerted me to this great website dealing with Civil War in art. Their local public TV station, WTTW, did a piece on art of the Civil War – seeing as how this is the 150th anniversary of the war. The website is and is absolutely fascinating! It is also made as a teaching aid for school teachers. You can go to the site and click on “Partners and Collections” to view the art either shown or stored at the six locations shown in Chicago. Each piece of art has a description. Each picture can be enlarged to see better. One of the pictures is of Lincoln’s face mask and hands!

I found the site to be fascinating, and one that you can spend hours on. Check it out!

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Census Mistakes

The following article was wriiten by my friend, Bill Dollarhide:

Dollarhide’s Rule #9: An 1850 census record showing twelve children in a family proves only that your ancestors did not believe in birth control.

Census records provide researchers a primary source of genealogical evidence. The fact that names of people and relationships are listed in certain census schedules is all that is needed to make them our most important sources for finding our ancestors. But, too often, genealogies are prepared just from census records and no other source.

As useful as census records are to genealogists, the real importance should be the clues they provide to access more records concerning our ancestors. For example, a census record may be the only way a genealogist learns of the county of residence for an ancestor. And, with that information, much more can be learned about a person from county records located in a courthouse, such as births, deaths, marriages, probates, or land records. The census records lead us to the place on the ground where more genealogical evidence can be found. That is the most trustworthy aspect of census records — they are place finders.

Nevertheless, census records are widely used by genealogists to prepare a record of one’s ancestry. But, census records, unfortunately, are prone to errors. If so, what information can you trust? And, if all you have as evidence of a family is what you have found in a census record, have you really proven anything?

Here are some things to consider when using census records, and areas where mistakes are prevalent.

Wrong Spelling
Probably the most common mistakes in census records are the spelling of names. It is estimated that between 60 and 75 percent of the U.S. Population in 1790 could read or write. That means that the spelling of a person’s name in a 1790 census record may have a 25-40 percent chance of being in error. The census taker (who presumably could read and write) wrote down the names of the heads of household based on what he heard them say. If the spelling of a name is terribly important to you, don’t expect census records to be very useful, because you may never find the name spelled the way you think it should be. The fact that names were spelled phonetically by early census takers means you have to think of ways to misspell a name before ruling out someone as the right person. Therefore, I accept any American spelling of the name Dollarhide, such as Dolahide, Dalerhyde, Dollorhite, Dollehide, Dollahay, Dolarhyte, and perhaps a dozen or more variations. (I have to add de la Hyde, Delahyde, and Delahoyde for pre-1650 Anglo-Irish / Norman spellings). I have come across some strange spellings of surnames that caused all kinds of problems finding a particular family in census records. My worst example was looking for Needham and stumbling on to the family by accident when I found the name spelled Kneedham.

Spelling Bees began in the U.S. school system in the 1880s. Before that, American schools taught spelling as phonics, that is, spelling a word by how it sounded. A good example of this can be found in the early writings of Abraham Lincoln, who as an attorney, often spelled the name of his client two or three different ways in the same document. Each time he spelled the name, he sounded out the phonetics of the name and spelled it accordingly. So, when we look at census records before 1900, we are looking at names spelled by census takers whose education consisted of phonetic spelling, not letter-by-letter spelling exactness.

Wrong Ages
The celebration of birthdays in this country did not become widespread until the 1880s. While virtually every child today is keenly aware of his/her birthday, before 1880, there was little made of it. A birthdate might be written down in the family Bible, but without annual birthday celebrations, it is not
surprising that parents did not remember the correct age of their children when asked by a census taker.

Wrong Names, Missing Data, Wrong Nativity, Etc.
There have been many instances where a family was enumerated more than once in the same census. These include cases where two census enumerators each visited the same house. Or, one census-taker was not paying attention and went back to a house he already visited. But, more often, the duplications occurred because the family moved after the first census taker’s visit and were then visited by another census-taker at their new home. When we find these examples in the census, it is always interesting to see how two different census entries compare for the names, ages, and nativity of the members of the same family. Here are some examples:

First entry of the George Jones family:

The above was extracted from a digital image found at Click on the illustration to see the original at A Fold3 subscription is required.

Second Entry of the George Jones Family

The above was extracted from a digital image found at Click on the illustration to see the original at A Fold3 subscription is required.

In the second entry, the same George Jones and family was repeated by the same Assistant Marshal, one day later, and two pages later in the census schedules. Because the House No./Family No. was different, this was clearly a duplicated census entry. (If the House/Family No. had been the same, I would suspect that this was a copying error, i.e., someone made a second original from the first and got things wrong in the process of copying). It seems odd that a census taker would repeat a house he did the day before, and several differences in names, ages, and nativity are evident. But, there are a couple of possible explanations: 1) He visited the house the first time and talked to Dad to get his questions answered; and he visited the same house again, not realizing he been there the day before, because this time he talked to Mom (or maybe one of the older children). Or, perhaps, 2) He visited the house the second time not realizing he had already been there – but this time no one was home, so he went next door and interviewed the neighbors about the family living there. From one enumeration to the next, taken one day apart, ages changed, names changed, and in one case, one person, Catharine, was shown in one entry and not in the other. If the same enumerator can make such different reports for the same family, it makes all of his other entries suspect.

Here is an another example of a family enumerated twice, this time because the family moved after they were enumerated the first time, and were then visited again at their new residence by a different enumerator.

First entry of the Joseph L. Sharp family:

The above was extracted from a digital image found at Click on the illustration to see the original at

Second Entry for the Joseph L. Sharp family:

The above was extracted from a digital image found at Click on the illustration to see the original at

This was the same family, although they moved from Adams County to Fulton County, Illinois between 13 Nov 1850 and 25 Dec 1850, which resulted in their duplicate enumeration. Two different census takers recorded different things about this family, including names and ages that do not agree. It is possible that some of the family members had birthdays between the two enumerations, but how several children could lose a year in age from one to the next is a little strange. However, since birthdays were not celebrated annually in most American families in 1850, it may not be so surprising for the parents to mistake the exact ages of their own children. But, if Dad answered the questions the first time, and Mom did the second one, that might explain the difference. In the Fulton Co listing, the date of the census taker’s visit to the house was Christmas Day. You would think that the Census Office would allow their census takers a holiday – but apparently, not this one.

Who Answered the Questions?
The above examples of duplicate entries for families listed in a census raises questions, such as, who was the person answering the census taker’s questions? If it were the male head of house, would he have the correct answers for ages and places of birth for his children? And, if it were the female head of household, would these questions be answered the same? The above examples may indicate that the differences reported may have been due to Dad answering the questions in one listing, while Mom was the one answering the questions in the second enumeration, or vice versa.

It always amazes me how a woman found in one census can be only five years older in the next census taken ten years later. But, if Dad answered the questions in one census year and Mom gave the information in the following census, these age differences might be explained.

What is Important?
What is important is to remember that census records are full of mistakes. And, if you are preparing a genealogy from census records alone, you are almost certainly repeating those mistakes.

The unfortunate fact is that census records can not always be trusted for accuracy. The solution is simple: find other documents about the people you are researching. After finding a family listed in a census, confirm the names and ages from residency records such as land records, court records, family Bibles, cemeteries, etc.

For more information, see:
Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide. (The examples of duplicate census entries shown above, along with several more examples, can all be seen on page xx (Introduction).

Census Substitutes & State Census Records – Vol. 1&2 – Eastern & Western States – An Annotated Bibliography of Published Names Lists for all 50 U.S. States and States Censuses for 37 States

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Your Swedish Roots

Your Swedish Roots: A Step by Step Handbook may be the most comprehensive book on Swedish family history research available on the market today. The book focuses on Swedish-American research, from immigrant descendents back to their roots in the old country. Starting with basic instructions, the book quickly moves to detailed case studies full of examples.

The obvious challenge to researching foreign countries is the language barrier. However, this may seem easy to some people compared to the transcription problem some have when trying to read and transcribe old handwritten script. Your Swedish Roots attempts to help the researcher by placing a major focus on the translating and interpreting documents. Sweden has not seen war for over 200 years. This, along with some good luck and hard work, has kept many records intact and properly preserved.

On top of providing an easy to read primer on Swedish research, this book stands out in the manner it educates. The authors use specific examples following the lives of individuals and families. Using these examples, research topics cover everything from censuses to moving records. Through these examples the reader learns of available sources, how to search these sources.

Order Your Swedish Roots: A Step by Step Handbook from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: TP768, Price: $19.55.


Table of Contents


1. A Name on a Gravestone

2. Clues to Your Family’s History

  • Old relatives
  • Home sources
  • Family Bible
  • Letters and postcards
  • Photographs
  • Legal document
  • American records
  • Swedish American church records
  • Census records
  • County courthouse records
  • Vital records
  • Probate records
  • Naturalization records
  • Newspaper – obituaries

[Read the rest of this entry…]

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Finding Your Scandinavian Ancestors

Time and again I have heard genealogists discuss the difficulties of researching their Scandinavian ancestors. Having, myself, a line of Norwegian ancestors I can attest to the difficulties sometimes found in this research. However, author Dr. Penelope Christensen, in Finding Your Scandinavian Ancestors, declares the process is much easier than is often expected.

According to Christensen, Scandinavians kept detailed records and did an excellent job of preserving them. Common research records include parish registers for christening, marriage and burials. Census, probate, and military records are often readily available as well. Finding Your Scandinavian Ancestors covers general topics useful to researching the region as well as country by country resources.

The first section examines languages, common naming practices, namely the patronymic naming method, key dates, and major resources. Following this general information, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are reviewed in that order. Common coverage for each country includes a brief history, personal and/or surnames, geographical information, and key records resources.

Dr. Christensen has four degrees and over 25 years university leaving teaching experience. She obviously loves family history and genealogy and has lectured on the subject in England, the U.S., and Canada.

For you own copy of Finding Your Scandinavian Ancestors, please visit Family Roots Publishing; Item #: HV06, Price: $16.66.


Table of Contents


  • Chart 1: Map of Scandinavia


  • Chart 2: Anglicization of Scandinavian Letters
  • Typing Scandinavian Characters on an English Keyboard
  • Chart 3: Interchangeable Letters in Scandinavia
  • Chart 4: Old Scandinavian Handwriting


  • Patronymic IGI


  • Julian and Gregorian Calendars
  • Feast Days
    • Chart 5: Common Scandinavian Fixed Feast Days
    • Chart 6: Common Scandinavian Movable Feast Days
    • Chart 7: Guide to Calendars of Movable Feast Days, 1607–1699
    • Chart 8: Guide to Calendars of Movable Feast Days, 1700–1753
    • Chart 9: Guide to Calendars of Movable Feast Days, 1754–1824
    • Chart 10: Calendar Tables for Movable Feast Days in Scandinavia – Numbers 1-12
    • Chart 11: Calendar Tables for Movable Feast Days in Scandinavia – Numbers 13-24
    • Chart 12: Calendar Table for Movable Feast Days in Scandinavia – Numbers 25-35


  • Scandinavian Genealogy on the Internet
  • General Comments on Land Divisions
    • Chart 13: Counties & Parishes in Scandinavia
  • General Comments on Parish Registers
    • Reading the Parish Register
    • Reading Parish Records with Patronymics
    • Note on Civil Registration
  • General References for Scandinavia

DENMARK: Including Faeroes, Greenland & The Danish West Indies

    • Chart 14: Brief History of Denmark
  • Languages Used in Danish Records
    • Chart 15: Danish Genealogical Word List
  • Danish Given Names
  • Danish Geography & Place Names
    • Chart 16: Alphabetical List of Danish Counties, 1793-1970
  • Recommended Strategy for Successful Danish Research
  • Danish Parish Registers
    • Finding Your Parish Register
    • Chart 17: Contents of Danish Parish Registers
    • Chart 18: Danish FHLC Parish Register Entry
    • Chart 19: Danish Parish Register Column Heading
  • Danish Civil Registration
  • Danish Censuses
  • Danish Probates
  • Danish Military & navy Levying Rolls
  • Other Danish Sources
  • General References for Danish Genealogy
  • Danish Archives & Genealogy Societies


    • Chart 20: Brief History of Finland
  • Languages Used in Finnish Records
    • Chart 21: Finnish Genealogical Word List
  • Finnish Surnames
  • Finnish Given Names
  • Finnish Geography & Place Names
    • Chart 22: Lists of Finnish Counties as of 1945
  • Recommended Strategy for Successful Finnish Research
  • Finnish Communion Books & Preconfirmations
    • Chart 23: Finnish Communion Books and Preconfirmations
    • Chart 24: Contents of Finnish Main Books
  • Finnish Parish Registers
    • Finding Your Parish Register
    • Chart 25: Contents of Finnish Parish Registers
    • Chart 26: Finnish FHLC Parish Register Entry
    • Chart 27: Finnish Parish Register Column Headings
    • Confirmations
    • Marriages
    • Deaths and Burials
    • Arrivals Into the Parish
    • Departures From the Parish
  • Finnish Civil Registration
  • Finnish Certificates of Departure
  • Finnish Censuses
  • Finnish Probate
  • General References for Finnish Genealogy
  • Finnish Archives & Genealogy Societies


    • Chart 28: Brief History of Iceland
  • Languages Used in Icelandic Records
    • Chart 29: Icelandic Genealogical Word List
  • Icelandic Personal Names
  • Icelandic Geography & Place Names
    • Chart 30: Alphabetical List of Icelandic Counties
  • Recommended Strategy for Successful Icelandic Research
  • Icelandic Parish Registers
    • Chart 31: Contents of Icelandic Parish Registers
    • Finding Your Parish Register
    • Chart 32: Icelandic FHLC Parish Register Entry
    • Chart 33: Icelandic Parish Register Column Headings
  • Icelandic Civil Registration
  • Icelandic Censuses
  • Icelandic Probates
  • Other Icelandic Sources
  • General References for Icelandic Genealogy
  • Icelandic Archives & Genealogy Societies


    • Chart 34: Brief History of Norway
  • Languages Used in Norwegian Records
    • Chart 35: Norwegian Genealogical Word List
  • Norwegian Surnames
  • Norwegian Given Names
  • Norwegian Geography & Place Names
    • Chart 36: Alphabetical List of Norwegian Counties
  • Recommended Strategy for Successful Norwegian Research
  • Norwegian Parish Registers
    • Finding Your Parish Register
    • Chart 37: Contents of Norwegian Parish Registers
    • Chart 38: Norwegian FHLC Parish Register Entry
    • Chart 39: Norwegian Parish Register Column Headings
  • Norwegian Civil Registration
  • Norwegian Farm & Family History Books
  • Norwegian Censuses
  • Norwegian Probates
  • Norwegian Military Records
  • Other Norwegian Sources
  • General References for Norwegian Genealogy
  • Norwegian Archives & Genealogy Societies


    • Chart 40: Brief History of Sweden
  • Languages Used in Swedish Records
    • Chart 41: Swedish Genealogical Word List
  • Swedish Personal Names
  • Swedish Given Names
  • Swedish Geography & Place Names
    • Chart 42: Alphabetical List of Swedish Counties
  • Recommended Strategy for Successful Swedish Research
  • Swedish Clerical Surveys
    • Chart 43: Column Headings for Swedish Clerical Surveys
  • Swedish Parish Registers
  • Finding Your Parish Register
    • Chart 44: Contents of Swedish Parish Registers
    • Chart 45: Swedish FHLC Parish Register Entry
    • Chart 46: Swedish Parish Register Column Heading
  • Swedish Church Record Extracts
  • Swedish Civil Registration
  • Swedish Certificates of Departure or Exit Permits
  • Swedish Censuses
  • Swedish Probates
  • Swedish Military Records
  • Other Swedish Sources
  • General References for Swedish Genealogy
  • Swedish Archives & Genealogy Societies



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The Science Behind the Show

I stumbled across this article about 23andMe, the company providing the DNA research for all those celebrities on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and thought I would share. The article appeared in Market Watch section of the Wall Street Journal:

23andMe Provides the Science Behind PBS Series “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” With Its Personal Genome Service®

23andMe is the Key to Celebrities Learning About Their Heritage, Ethnicity, Ancestry and Relationships to Each Other

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 9, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Barbara Walters, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Wanda Sykes and a host of celebrities are tracing their ancestry in the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. ( ) with the scientific help of leading personal genetics company, 23andMe. 23andMe genotyped all of the celebrities featured on Finding Your Roots and consulted with show producers to help them map the heritage and discover the global origins of each celebrity. Finding Your Roots premiered Sunday, March 25 at 8 pm and airs for nine consecutive weeks through Sunday, May 20 at 8 pm on PBS (check local listings).

Saliva samples from the celebrities were used to provide the DNA, which was extracted from the cheek cells found in their saliva. DNA samples were then genotyped on 23andMe’s customized genotyping array, which reads more than one million specific points, called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in an individual’s genome. In addition, 23andMe evaluates tens of thousands of handpicked SNPs focused on particular traits selected from the scientific literature to provide personal genetic information available only through 23andMe. All laboratory testing provided for 23andMe customers and Finding Your Roots participants is performed in a CLIA-certified laboratory.

Until recently, DNA genealogy tests could assess only one or two branches of a person’s family tree, because they used only the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. 23andMe analyzes these DNA segments along with “autosomal” DNA from chromosomes 1 to 22, allowing individuals to trace ancestry along many branches of their family tree. The company’s Relative Finder feature also enables individuals to connect with their living relatives who are also in 23andMe’s growing database, which now includes more than 150,000 individuals.

Click here to read the full article.

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Genealogy to Go! Migration: Canada And The United States

With an historical focus so often on the great European migrations it can be easy to overlook more regional migrations which occurred throughout North American history. Namely, there have been many migrations between Canada and the United States, both during and after the colonial periods. Genealogy to Go! Migration: Canada and the United States focuses on this very topic. This guide provides background information on migration between the two countries and sources for tracing histories and records.

Genealogy to Go! Is the title for a series of guides similar to the Quicksheet and Genealogy-at-a-Glance series, many of which we have reviewed on this site. Each Genealogy to Go is a four-page, laminated guide printed in multiple colors on an off-white (nearly beige) paper stock. Each guide in the series covers information of genealogical and historical value, written specifically for the genealogy market.

Migration: Canada and the United States offers an overview of migration for each country. Each half of the guide provides an historical brief, then covers major migrations. The Canadian overview suggests that 25% of Americans can trace their ancestry to Canada. From the United States section one learns that prior to 1918 people moved freely across the border, with no official records being kept on migrants.

The independent migration subsections for each country include an historical synopsis plus listings for online and book resources. For example, Canada starts with the Acadian Migration. Conflict between the French inhabitant living in Acadie (the Colony of Nova Scotia) and the British eventually drove over 6,000 French Acadians south of the border, all the way down to French populated areas in what is now the Louisiana area. These people ultimately became know as Cajuns. There are seven online resources and six suggested books for this section. Each migration section follows the same pattern.



  • Acadian Migration
  • Migration to the “Boston States”(New England)
  • French-Canadian Migration
  • Migration to the Midwestern and Southwestern States
  • Migration from Canada to the United States Due to War

United States

  • New England Planters to Nova Scotia
  • The United Empire Loyalists
  • The United States Migration to Central Canada
  • The US Migration to the Prairie Provinces & the Yukon
  • Migration from the US to Canada as a Result of Wars
  • Migration of Blacks from the US to Canada


Get a copy of Genealogy to Go! Migration: Canada and the United States from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: G2G02, Price: $8.77.

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Youth Program at the National Genealogical Society 2012 Family History Conference

(Arlington, VA): The National Genealogical Society’s thirty-fourth annual Family History Conference, The Ohio River: Gateway to the Western Frontier, will be held 9–12 May 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A highlight of the NGS 2012 Family History Conference will be the Genealogy Youth Kamp on Saturday, 12 May 2012, at the Duke Energy Convention Center from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. The Kamp, designed to develop an understanding of family history, is intended for youth 8 to 16 years old. Scouts and 4-H groups are encouraged to participate in the event with their leaders. The morning will be composed of a variety of hands-on activities including a workshop focusing on genealogical merit badges. A special program is planned for interested parents, grandparents, and adults who are welcome to attend.

The Genealogy Youth Kamp is free, but registration is required. Space is limited. Go to to register. After registering, please prepare for the Kamp by following the directions on the NGS Genealogy Youth Kamp web page

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, VA-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

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Something Must be Done About the Alaska State Library, Archives, & Museums in Juneau

The following excerpt is from an article by Bruce Parham, published in the April 10, 2012 edition of

Many Alaskans may not have heard about the dire condition of Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museums in Juneau. The state’s treasures of records, historical photographs, and museum artifacts are at great risk in the present facilities. They are too small, technologically insufficient, outdated, and structurally deficient. The collections are not connected physically or digitally for statewide access. The State Archives building is literally splitting in two, as the rear half was constructed on bedrock and the front half on failed pilings. The front half of the archives building is sinking, with walls cracking, doors shifting, and water pipes splitting. The Alaska Historical Collections in the State Office Building are out of space. The collections are also at risk of severe deterioration as there are no temperature and humidity controls for the preservation of the materials.

Among the priceless items are diaries of Alaska’s pioneers from the Klondike and Alaska Gold Rushes (1896-1914), the original Alaska State Constitution, 175,000 historical photographs, and more than 34,000 cataloged museum artifacts. The Alaska Native artifacts, amounting to more than 15,000 objects, are outstanding. Objects from daily life, as well as ceremonial and sacred objects, include those from Alaskan Aleut, Athabascan, Eskimo, and Northwest Coast groups. Together, the collections of the State Library, Archives, and Museums are internationally recognized by scholars of Alaska history and culture.

Read the full article.

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National Archives Shares Rarely-seen Slave Petitions from the District of Columbia Emancipation Act

The following April 11, 2012 press release is from the National Archives:

Emancipation documents offer a rare glimpse into slaves’ lives for Act’s 150th anniversary

Washington, DC: In commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the DC Emancipation Act, the National Archives today shared rarely seen original records pertaining to the Act, including petitions from slaves in Washington, DC. National Archives archivists Damani Davis and Robert Ellis, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln scholar Kenneth Winkle discuss the significance of these documents in the National Archives “Inside the Vaults” video short at

In the video, archivist Damani Davis discusses the petitions filed by owners and enslaved persons under the Act and the details they reveal about the enslaved African-American community at the time. Archivist Robert Ellis explains how the process worked. And Kenneth Winkle of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), explains how the UNL scholars have scanned, transcribed, and made these petitions available online at the UNL Civil War Washington website (

The film series is free to view and distribute on YouTube channel at These videos are in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages the free distribution of them.

“These petitions show a fuller portrait of the people who were slaves in the District. These documents reveal information about who the slaves were, how they lived and how slavery and emancipation changed their lives,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “We are grateful to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for making these documents more accessible to the public.”

“Slaves at this time were generally anonymous,” said Kenneth Winkle, UNL’s Sorensen Professor of American History and co-director of the project. “Now, with these petitions, they have documented lives that we can interpret, study and share with scholars, students and the public. We can tell their story, which has been largely overlooked. And it is a remarkable story.”

Background on the DC Emancipation Act
More than eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation broke the bondage of slavery across the South, a much more singularly focused experiment in equality was playing out in the country’s capital. The Compensated Emancipation Act, signed in April 1862, ordered all slaves in the District of Columbia to be freed. It was the first time the U.S. government had officially liberated any group of slaves – and unlike the Emancipation Proclamation, it permitted their former masters to petition the government for compensation in exchange for their slaves’ freedom.

Though controversial, the act produced exceptionally rare documentation of the era: Namely, reimbursement petitions that showed the names, ages, histories and descriptions of an entire community of 3,200 African-Americans. These records contain personal information such as names, ages, physical descriptions, and places of residence, as well as collateral information casually provided in recorded testimonies. These records also contain difficult truths – because the forms were used to establish a slave’s value for compensation, they share physical details that often underscore the brutality of slavery.

The original act, signed by President Lincoln, is on loan to the Capitol Visitor Center through September 9, 2012.

About the National Archives
The National Archives and Records Administration, an independent federal agency, is the nation’s record keeper. Founded in 1934, its mission is unique — to serve American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. It supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives meets a wide range of information needs, among them helping people to trace their families’ history, making it possible for veterans to prove their entitlement to medical and other benefits, and preserving original White House records. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at

About Civil War Washington
Civil War Washington is UNL’s interdisciplinary digital project examining the nation’s capital during the pivotal Civil War period. Created by Susan Lawrence, Kenneth Price, and Kenneth Winkle of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at UNL, this project allows users to study, visualize, and theorize the complex changes in the city of Washington, DC, between 1860 and 1865 through a collection of datasets, images, texts, and maps. The site illustrates how Washington and its people responded in dramatic and distinctive ways to the four years of war.

The Compensated Emancipation Act project, part of Civil War Washington, was made possible through a three-year, $220,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to examine how race, slavery and emancipation affected the capital during the war. For more information, contact Steve Smith, UNL University Communications, at 402-472-4226, or

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Thomas MacEntee to Teach 10 Classes at the Salt Lake Christmas Tour, December 4 through 10, 2012

The following classes will be taught by Thomas MacEntee at the 2012 Salt Lake Christmas Tour, held December 4 through 10, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Genealogy
Whether stuck in a rut with genealogy research for the past year or just wanting to expand the ways in which family history can be pursued, follow these 10 touchstones and you’ll be surprised at the results. Covering every aspect of genealogy and even those you never considered, your genealogy research will not just jump, it’ll leap!

Acres of Records: The Homestead Act
Learn how The Homestead Act of 1862 lured citizens of the United States to procure federal lands West of the Mississippi River. The application and qualification process, as burdensome as it was for our ancestors, produced a bumper crop of documents for use by genealogists and family historians.

Copyright and Genealogy
Are you aware that certain documents and photos that are part of your family history research may be restricted by copyright? Don’t panic – you can still use them in your genealogy! But understand how to determine if an item is copyrighted and how it can and can’t be used. Learn the basics of US copyright law and how you can still use copyrighted items such as document, articles and photographs as part of your genealogy research.

Facebook for Genealogists
If you’ve decided to set up a Facebook account not only to stay in touch with family but to expand your genealogy experience, learn the basics of the program including how to protect your privacy, how to make friends on Facebook, and how to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Google Docs for Genealogists
Learn how to use Google Docs – a free application complete with spreadsheets, word processing and more – to your advantage while performing genealogy research. Discover how to create new documents, import documents from your hard drive, and how to use the basic functions of each component.

Managing Your Genealogy Data
Managing a folder of data files is much like cleaning out that junk drawer at home: you keep putting it off and putting it off. And once you do organize the items, you vow to never let it get that way again, right? Learn how to manage your genealogy data so items can always be located easily and quickly. You’ll also learn some best practices and good habits to make sure you keep those data folders clean and clutter-free!

Playing Nice in the Genealogy Sandbox
Genealogy is all about connecting with your ancestors. As part of this process, we often need to connect with other genealogists and share research. It isn’t always easy as it seems! Learn the best ways to connect with other family historians and share resources including research, documents and research strategies. Discover the various methods of locating other researchers and the best practices to ensure that your work is shared and credited in a responsible manner.

Privacy and Your Ancestors
With all the news about privacy, identity theft and the role of access to vital records, have you ever considered that in 2012 most of us (at least here in the United States) have more privacy than our ancestors? As a result of living in the a digital age ruled by the Internet and social media, is there really less privacy than in prior years? In fact, the reverse is true. Learn what type of information about your ancestors was public and how to find it!

Staying Safe Online
Are you hesitant to use popular social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter or even Pinterest and share your genealogy research because of issues involving personal information and privacy? Learn how to safely navigate these sites and still get the most out of them!

The Genealogy FAN Club (Friends, Associates and Neighbors)
While you may think you’ve hit a brick wall with your research, have you tried using the FAN Club strategy? F is for Friends, A is for Associations and N is for Neighbors. Learn why researching those in-laws, “shirt-tail cousins” and others who may not be a direct-line ancestor can help you break down your genealogy research brick walls.

Register today while there’s still space. Space is limited, and the 28th annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour is filling up fast!

For more information about the Salt Lake Christmas Tour, see the website.

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FamilySearch Posts 1940 Census Images Plus 14 Million Additional Records for 19 Countries This Week

Click on the map to get a graphical view of indexing progress thus far on the 1940 Census.

FamilySearch has begun publishing images online from the 1940 U.S. Federal Census to engage the army of volunteers who have been waiting for the chance to begin indexing those names. To explore the digital images or to see which states’ images have been published, go to FamilySearch also published over 14 million new, free records online for Austria, Brazil, Chile, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, England, Estonia, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, and Spain. Volunteer to help index the 1940 U.S. census now, or search these diverse collections and 2.5 billion other records for free at

Searchable historic records on are made available by thousands of volunteers from around the world who transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the amount of digital images being published online at Learn more about how to personally help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records as a volunteer indexer at

FamilySearchInternational is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

New Online Collections This Week

Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments
Austria, Seigniorial Records, 1537–1888 – 0 – 983,053 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Chile, Civil Registration, 1885–1903 – 69,511 – 0 – Added indexed records to existing collection.
China, Collection of Genealogies, 1500–1900 – 0 – 170,280 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843–1921 – 0 – 46,895 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Czech Republic, Land Records, 1450–1850 – 0 – 473,696 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Dominican Republic, Civil Registration, 1801–2010 – 0 – 257,902 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
England, Kent, Quarter Sessions and Court Files, 1600–1883 – 0 – 198,619 – New browsable image collection.
Estonia, Population Registers, 1918–1944 – 0 – 113,331 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Estonia, Population Registers, 1918–1944 – 0 – 23,108 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Germany, Bavaria, Fürth, Emigration Records and City Directories, 1805–1921 – 0 – 40,930 – New browsable image collection.
Ghana, Accra, Marriages, 1863–2003 – 0 – 272,668 – New browsable image collection.
Italy, Agrigento, Agrigento, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866–1910 – 0 – 433,777 – New browsable image collection.
Italy, Bologna, Bologna, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866–1941 – 0 – 640,609 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Italy, Catania, Diocesi di Acireale, Catholic Church Records, 1560–1941 – 0 – 68,598 – New browsable image collection.
Italy, Cuneo, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1795–1915 – 19,775 – 0 – Added indexed records to existing collection.
Peru, Civil Registration, 1874–1996 – 0 – 372,800 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Philippines, Civil Registration (Archives Division), 1902–1945 – 0 – 185,698 – New browsable image collection.
Philippines, Civil Registration (National), 1945–1980 – 0 – 2,015,312 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Philippines, Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706–1911 – 0 – 206,828 – New browsable image collection.
Poland, Roman Catholic Church Books, 1600–1950 – 0 – 82,074 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Portugal, Diocese of Lamego, Catholic Church Records, 1529–1916 – 0 – 220,483 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Russia Tver Church Books, 1722–1918 – 0 – 891,877 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Spain, Catastro de Ensenada, 1749–1756 – 0 – 649,299 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
Spain, Municipal Records – 0 – 613,107 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
United States, Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871–1920 – 0 – 36,324 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
United States, Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797–1954 – 114,024 – 106,582 – Added browsable images and index records to existing collection.
United States, New Jersey, County Marriages, 1682–1956 – 33,836 – 0 – Added indexed records to existing collection.
United States, New York, County Naturalization Records, 1792–1976 – 0 – 951,289 – New browsable image collection.
United States, Ohio, County Marriages, 1789–1994 – 0 – 586,705 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
United States, Tennessee County Marriages, 1790–1950 – 339,141 – 151,560 – Added browsable images and index records to existing collection.
United States Census, 1850 – 0 – 171,424 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
United States Census, 1930 (turning on images) – 0 – 2,733,507 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
United States Census, 1940 (Colorado, Oregon) – 0 – 70,829 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
United States Census, 1940 (Delaware) – 0 – 11,036 – New browsable image collection.
United States Census, 1940 (Kansas, Virginia) – 0 – 129,501 – Added browsable images to existing collection.
United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863–1865 – 41,556 – 0 – Added indexed records to existing collection.

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Dwight Radford’s New “The Journey Home Genealogy” Blog

My friend, and professional genealogist, Dwight Radford, recently started a terrific blog dealing Irish research. Dwight is adept at finding Irish ancestors – so much so that he’s been making a living at it for the last 25 years. Dwight works with us on the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour, consulting with those folks who may be doing Irish and Scots research. Not surprizingly, Dwight doesn’t get many breaks during the Christmas Tour week.

Following are links to Dwight’s recent posts. Check them out:

Why I’m Attracted to Irish Research

Irish Civil Registration

I Can’t Find My Ancestor’s in the Passenger Arrival Lists

Those Hidden Irish Quaker Indexes

So You have a Plymouth Brethren Ancestor

What is a “Census Substitute”?

Developing Your Own “Census Substitute” List

My Ancestor Wouldn’t Have Done That!

Thinking About a Research Trip to Ireland

Those Gaelic Words in Irish Place Names

Who Were the Scots-Irish?

Who Were the Anglo-Irish?

What does it Mean to be Irish?

The Genealogical Office, Dublin

And I Would Look at Mormon Records, Why?

The Irish and the African American Connection

Female Surnames in the Records

Don’t Forget South Wales!

They Came from County Cork – Maybe Not…

What to Expect from Irish Roman Catholic Registers

Sorting Through Irish Common Names

What the Heck is a Townland?

Christened Before Birth – Hum…

Variations to Irish Given Names

The Scots-Irish and Native American Connection

Using “Surname Clusters” to Sort Through Common Irish Surnames

What the Heck is a Sub-Denomination?

Geographic Places Preserved on Irish and Irish Immigrant Tombstones

The Irish Moravians

The Irish in Peru

The Coffin Ships

Passenger Lists Leaving Ireland and the UK (1890-1960)

Leaving Ulster in the 1700s: The Newspaper Trail

Canada to America Border Crossings

Theology and Record Keeping

The Value of Joining a Genealogical Society

What is a Freehold?

Ontario Township Papers

Researching Families on the American Frontier

American Frontier Religion

What is an Indentured Servant?

Grand Lodge of Ireland

Periodical Source Index (PERSI)

Migration Patterns from Ireland to North America

The Scots-Irish in The Netherlands

Don’t Forget to Look in the Caribbean

Why is My Ancestor Not in the Tithe Applotment?

Historic Land Measurements in Ireland

Historic Terms from Irish Tax Records

Historic Terms from Irish Tax Records

The Irish in Chile

The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement

Historic Terms Used in the Irish Registry of Deeds (Part 1)

Historic Terms Used in the Irish Registry of Deeds (Part 2)

Did You Look at the Vestry Minutes?

Did You Look at the Session Minutes?

Palatine Germans in Ireland

Lost in Alaska and the Yukon

Ontario Genealogical Society

Those Irish Theosophists

The Congregational Union of Ireland

The Scots-Irish and Catawba Connection

Irish Registry of Deed Indexes (1708-1929)

Locating the Ancestral Home Site

The Irish Workhouse (1838-1948)

Church of Ireland Diocesan Marriage Licenses

Church of Ireland Prerogative Court of Armagh Marriage Bonds

African American Surnames

Irish Wills at the National Archives of Ireland

Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois

Who Were the Wild Geese?

The Difference Between Catholic and Protestant Research

The Irish in British India

Canadian Passenger Lists (1865-1935)

The Irish in the Greek Ionian Islands

Odom Library

Methodist Church in Ireland

The Scots-Irish and Chickasaw Connection

New England Historic Genealogical Society

Society of Australian Genealogists

Irish Settlement in Scotland

Black Biographical Dictionaries

The Irish in Argentina

The United Church of Canada

Southern Claims Commission

An Introduction to

The Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgians)

An Introduction to

The Importance of Men Religious in the Family

The Importance of Women Religious in the Family

The Family History Library Catalog

Western Canada Land Grants (1870-1930)

Australasian Genealogical Computer Index (AGCI)

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Irish Genealogical Research Society

Cumberland Presbyterian Church

American Hereditary (Lineage) Societies

The Irish in Antigua

Irish, African, Slave, Muslim, Christian and Hoodoo Practitioner

The Irish in the Ottoman Empire

PRONI Guide To Church Records

National School Records of Ireland

Library and Archives Canada

Irish Petty Court Session Records

Scots-Irish and Choctaw Connection

Quakers and the Inward Light

Two Little Known Penal Colonies Where Irish Were Sent – Ships in Bermuda & Gibraltar…

What is GENUKI?

Vulgar Dictionaries

Ontario Civil Registration

Smith’s Inventory of Genealogical Sources: Ireland

A “Super Index” to Will Indexes

Landed Estates Database

New Zealand Society of Genealogists

India and the Colonial America Connection

The Censuses of England and Wales (1841-1911)

The Irish Migration to South Africa

The Important Irish Connection to Barbados

The Four Provinces of Ireland

Dictionary of Quaker Terms and Phrases (Part 1)

Dictionary of Quaker Terms and Phrases (Part 2)

Dictionary of Quaker Terms and Phrases (Part 3)

Who are the Melungeons?

TROVE as a Major Research Tool

The Nova Scotia Archives

Cork City and County Archives

Southeastern Passports

Why was Greenock, Scotland so Popular?

Who were the Loyalists?

The Death Certificate Said

Irish Naming Patterns

Scottish Naming Patterns

The “O” and the “Mc” in Irish Surnames

Irish Directories

Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Ireland

Why Would I Look at Tax Records?

Irish Newspaper Databases

An Introduction to ScotlandsPeople

The Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Collections

When is it Time to Subscribe to an Online Database?

Using the 1870 U.S. Census in African American Research

The Irish Connection to Bermuda

Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

What is a Dispensation Record?

Oregon and Washington Donation Lands

Why Would You Use Irish Dog Licenses?

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland (1844)

What is T.U.L.I.P.?

What Does “Cherokee” Mean? (Part 1)

What Does “Cherokee” Mean? (Part 2)

In Search of Missing Friends Database

Tithe Defaulters (1831)


Lists of Townlands in Poor Law Unions (1885)

Tracking Down Particular Authors

Baptism for the Dead and the Genealogical Record (Part 1)

Baptism for the Dead and the Genealogical Record (Part 2)

My Grandma Has Done All of Our Genealogy

Did Grandma Have Access to Current Material?

Did Grandma Do Original Research?

Using the Index of a Book as a Research Tool

The Un-Churched Dictionary of the Churched (1811) – Part 1

The Un-churched Dictionary of the Churched (1811) – Part 2

Scots-Irish and Muscogee (Creek) Connection

Prince Edward Island Archives

Presbyterian Identity

Royal Irish Constabulary (1816-1921)

South Africa Death Notices

Yukon Land Records

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The Historical Biographer’s Guide to Finding People in Databases & Indexes

Elizabeth Shown Mills, is an expert researcher and family historian. Her works include top selling books on proving and citing sources: Evidence!: Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian and Evidence Explained, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Mills has also written a number of Quicksheets covering research methodologies designed to improve the accuracy and success of the overall research process. This review examines The Historical Biographer’s Guide to Finding People in Databases and Indexes.

Mills provides a basic premise for this guide: “Databases and indexes are valuable tools for research. As finding aids, they can shortcut the process of discovery…Historical records, however, involve vagaries that defy technical formulas.” She suggests that databases and indexes can limit, or even prohibit, discoveries if the researcher does not apply an analytical strategy. Genealogical research requires understanding the nature of those people being studied. Computers cannot understand people and their unique needs. However, one can understand the nature of both one’s ancestors and the systems or tools one uses. Finding solutions begins with understanding problems.

The guide suggests strategies to help overcome database and index related issues in finding people. Some strategies provide a pro-active approach. The author lists seven considerations to keep in mind. Three full pages in this four page guide, are dedicated to a single table. The table lists “anomaly types” along with the associated “typical problem” and examples. For example, the “Anomaly Type” for Translated Names offers two “Typical Problems”. One problem for Given Names and one for Surnames. Examples included the translation for the French name Reine is Regina in English. Such a translation is helpful in searching indexes and databases that cannot make the translations assumptions for you.


Basic Premise

Pro-Active Strategies

Major Considerations

  1. Erratic spelling
  2. Family names vs. surnames
  3. Female name usage
  4. Penmanship
  5. Regional dialects
  6. Translations and adaptations
  7. Composition of finding aid
    • Arrangement of entries
    • Selection criteria applied

Table: Common Anomalies & Errors


Order The Historical Biographer’s Guide to Finding People in Databases and Indexes from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC3869, Price: $8.77.

See other Quicksheets available at Family Roots Publishing:

QuickSheet: Citing Online African-American Historical Resources

QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources

QuickSheet: Citing Databases & Images

Quicksheet: The Historical Biographer’s Gide to Cluster Research (the FAN Principle)

QuickSheet: The Historical Biographer’s Guide to the Research Process

QuickSheet: Genealogical Problem Analysis, A Strategic Plan

Leave a Comment’s 200,000 Titanic Records Collection

This coming Sunday marks the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. recently opened a 200,000 records collection into the lives of the passengers, crew, and others associated with the Titanic. 1,517 people died when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the northern Atlantic. In’s own words:

“Discover fascinating details about passengers and crew who sailed aboard the doomed ship in our new Titanic collection. From occupations, names and ages of those who bought a coveted ticket to death records and coroner’s inquest files of those who lost their lives, you’ll find a story both tragic and heroic. You might even find your own connection to the most famous maritime disaster in history.”

In addition to the records, there is a section on the history of the ship and her devastating maiden voyage.

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The Seventy-two Year-old Scar

The following missive was written by my friend, Tom Fiske:

Thomas Fiske
I still have the scar. It is about 72 years old and, since I am blond, going white-haired, it hardly shows. But I know it is there, and I just checked to be sure I was bearing it nobly.

It was about 1940, and a boy I went to school with who lived down the street from us in Louisville, Kentucky, had thrown the lid of a tin can at me. Its edge was sharp and it sailed right at my head, opening a one inch slice in my scalp.

Of course, blood streamed down my face and I thought I was severely wounded. Gilbert Goldberg, the boy who cast the first can lid, apologized as my parents came by. They were out for a walk and stopped to have a look at me. About that time Gilbert’s folks came out to see how much damage their son had done.

Having had two other older sons, my parents knew that scalp wounds bleed profusely, but don’t mean much. They seized on the opportunity to introduce themselves to the Goldbergs and reassure them that they were not going to call the police or a lawyer. Over their lives, my parents maintained a “good neighbor” policy they had learned in Sunday school, and chose to make friends (while I bled to death).

I didn’t know it then, but my Kentucky ancestors served under 1) Col. Daniel Boone and 2) General George Rogers Clark when Indians were paid to scalp American settlers. So, they had lots of experience with scalping. Of course they probably had never run into any Jewish Indians.

Gilbert and I were friendly after that and I think he and his family moved to another neighborhood.

How did I stumble across this feeble memory? I finally got a look at the 1940 census. On it I discovered the names of long-forgotten streets and families I once knew. These were the families of kids with whom I went to school. I was probably in the second grade as a seven or eight year-old skinny little blond boy – with blue eyes.

I found the home of David Seubold, who proved his manliness by plunging his bare arm into a garbage can full of ashes and cinders from a coal furnace. Unfortunately, the can had just been taken out to the curb. Under the first three or four inches of cool gray ashes were glowing hot embers. He yanked his arm out of the ashes with a howl and was soon on his way to a local hospital for treatment of his severe burns. The rest of us kids with him were fascinated by what we saw and talked about it for days. Who needs TV with that kind of action going on?

The building next door to us housed a family whose father was head accountant for a machinery company that had once been owned and run by my grandfather. I don’t know any connection to my family, but there must have been one.
Down the street was a woman from Oregon with a son, William. Their last name was that of my cousin, a man named Castleman. I will have to look into that family. It is not a widely used surname.

My Great-Uncle Charles was on a street two blocks away. Dad used to take me over to see him and listen to his stories about being a riverboat captain on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. He was a lonely old man and my Dad recognized it. He just went there to help the old guy get through his last days.

The census pages were full of memories. Eventually, I found our family. We were a low to middle class family in a small house. A mother, a father and three little boys – all gone now, except for me.

I waited for about thirty years to look at the 1940 census. I’m old enough that I will probably never get a look at the 1950 census, so 1940 is “it” for me. And now that I have seen it, I’m not so sure it was the best thing I could have done.

Except that maybe Gilbert Goldberg might read this story and know for sure that I forgive him.

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