The House can now vote on a plan to protect battlefields of the American Revolution and the War of 1812. As the nation celebrates the bicentennial of the latter war, the House Committee on Natural Resources officially reported and sent for House consideration the American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act (H.R. 2489), which would allow the National Park Service (NPS) to buy from willing sellers sites where historically significant activities took place during the wars.
Currently, the Battlefield Acquisition Grant Program only applies to Civil War sites.
The committee approved the bill in April but only reported it to the House last week (see stories linked to below).
What Did They Mean By That? A Dictionary of Historical and Genealogical Terms Old and New has long been the most popular historical dictionary carried by Family Roots Publishing. This book provides an understanding, in modern terms, for words used in the past. Many of these words, used historically in everyday conversation, to describe items, jobs, events, and technology of the day, are no longer in use or get used with a different meaning. This book provides the background family historians need to grasp the meaning of letters, documents, and sources from the past.
Genealogists enjoy the thoroughness of this book. At 6″ x 9″ and 350 pages this is a big dictionary, and it lists entries paragraph style, instead of using a typical dictionary two-column format. In fact, the book feels a bit more like an encyclopedia than it does a standard dictionary. Most entries provide more than just a standard definition. Rather, entries provide an explanations, examples, and observations. This dictionary has other unique features as well. What Did They Mean By That includes images. While not on every page, the pictures do provide both an element of interest as well as prove educational. Some of the images are pictures and some are document samples. There is also a small chart at the beginning showing a comparison between Saxon and English alphabets.
With that all said, perhaps the best review of this book is the one the book gives itself on the back cover:
“The family historian must seek out the records of the merchants, courts, legislators, and churches, as well as the everyday expressions of the common men and women, all the while striving to remain aware that just as we have created words like television, computer, microwave oven, automobile, space station, gigabyte, and airplane, and set aside words as ticking and icebox, stadle, and squabpie, our ancestors had to do the same. They made up the likes of telegraph, railroad, and telescope, and assimilated German words like hex, sauerkraut, fresh, hoodlum, and kindergarten; Spanish words such as barbeque, chocolate, and tornado; French sounds like bayou, levee, depot, and chowder; and Indian words such as hickory, pecan, hominy, moccasin, and raccoon. Though they invented the likes of popcorn, sweet potato, eggplant, bullfrog, and backwoodsman, they left behind them terms no longer needed in their daily lives. Gone were the likes of moxa (Indian moss burned on an area of the body, thought to cure gout), hautboy (oboe), gruntling (young hog), muchwhat (nearly), revelrout (a ruckus), and, from most regions of the U.S., the long “a” sounds of old England (fahst for fast, dahnce for dance, and hoff, meaning half.) In addition to terminology, such as the names of the many courts and legal processes, this collection of more than 4500 words includes many occupations, descriptions of early furniture and foods, common medical terms and herbal remedies, and many all but forgotten expressions. The words found here are seen at every turn of research; in court documents (especially inventories of estates, court entries, and lawsuits), church records, books, newspapers, letters, and songs.”
Equities research analysts at Imperial Capital lowered their price target on shares of Ancestry.com (NASDAQ: ACOM) from $35.00 to $33.00 in a research note issued to investors on Monday. The firm currently has an “outperform” rating on the stock.
Separately, analysts at Bank of America raised their price target on shares of Ancestry.com from $31.00 to $34.00 in a research note to investors on Thursday, April 26th. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
Shares of Ancestry.com opened at 27.35 on Monday. Ancestry.com has a one year low of $20.67 and a one year high of $43.50. The company has a market cap of $1.166 billion and a P/E ratio of 19.27.
Like her first book, Further Undertakings is full of funny stories that will have you in stitches. “With a swipe at foreigners, computer freaks, reluctant letter-writers, and certain best-forgotten ancestors—not to mention the hell on earth when the microfilm reader is on the fritz—” Moore takes the reader deep inside the struggles every genealogist faces and finds a way to see the bright side of life; though, she may not have thought these situations funny at the time. The more experience you have as a researcher the more you will appreciate the witty humor found in these stories.
Check out the infographic below to discover the history and strongholds of 20 of the most popular Irish family names. Click on the image and go to the GoIreland.com website, where the resolution of the image is better.
Over the years I’ve continued to collect what little information I could find on my third-great-grandfather, Gold Canfield. He died in 1814 in the War of 1812, having frozen his arm while on guard duty in Harlem Heights, New York. His wife, Nancy Hayes, applied for a pension for her minor children following his death, leaving a decent widow’s pension file with quite a bit of family information – including the birth dates of the minor children.
About once every quarter or so, I’ll go into GenealogyBank.com, where I’ve kept a membership since it’s inception, and search for data on my more difficult ancestors. One of those I checked out this morning was “Gold Canfield.” Searching on the name Gold Canfield, I got 40 hits – one of them listed as an historical obituary. Clicking on the image teaser where I could see the words “Mary Ann Canfield Robertson,” I found an extremely detailed obituary for Gold’s daughter, Mary Ann. She died at the age of 84, having been born in Salem, Connecticut 20 August 1812. What’s amazing about the obit is the detail that is given about Mary Ann’s six living children. Not only does does the obit list their names, but details about the professional positions of the the girl’s husbands, and where they lived. It also gives Gold Canfield and Nancy Hayes as her parents.
I’ve heard it said that you can compile a family history based on obituaries alone, and although it would be inaccurate, I can see the point.
Following is a copy of the obit for Mary Ann Canfield Robertson (1812-1896) found at GenealogyBank.com.
I’m a long-term supporter of GenealogyBank, and a friend of their genealogy guy, Tom Kemp. I’ve had an affiliate relationship with them for a couple years. In discussing Family Tree Publishing’s current 12 Days of Chirstmas in July Promotion with them, they offered my readers a special deal of 30% off their normal annual rate (which I gladly always pay), making the cost just $48.95 per year!
The following is from the National Archives website:
Washington, DC… The National Archives National Declassification Center (NDC) has issued its fifth biannual Report on Operations of the National Declassification Center, covering the period of January 1 through June 30, 2012. The report is online [www.archives.gov/declassification].
“The declassification review merry-go-round where records get on for a ride but are never able to get off is over,” said NDC Director Sheryl J. Shenberger. “The work of the NDC has streamlined the declassification process, implemented a proven quality assurance program, and developed a complete equity identification and reviewing curriculum. This has led to millions of pages that no longer contain sensitive information to move off that merry go round. No more records taking multiple rides on a single ticket!”
Report highlights include:
The NDC has assessed 90% of the classified records backlog, with 55% cleared for final processing.
The biggest challenge facing the NDC is records that were not properly reviewed for atomic energy information by the originating agency (known as the Kyl-Lott requirement). An interagency team including representatives from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of State, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Office of the Secretary of Defense has been working collaboratively to complete these reviews.
The NDC has started review of special media records and has reviewed 1,341 motion pictures and 235 sound recordings.
Through its Remote Archives Capture, the National Archives Office of Presidential Libraries prioritized 1,364,471 pages within certain collections of the administrations of Harry Truman through Jimmy Carter, as well as the China-associated materials within the Kissinger Personal Paper Collection, for completion of referral review.
The National Declassification Center was established by Executive Order (E.O.) 13526, “Classified National Security Information.” Under the direction of the Archivist of the United States, the NDC coordinates the timely and appropriate processing of referrals 25 years old and older classified records of permanent historical value.
Updated information on NDC records releases, initiatives, and upcoming forums is online at the NDC website [www.archives.gov/declassification]. Public input, questions and comments are welcome and can be sent to NDC@nara.gov or the NDC Blog [http://blogs.archives.gov/ndc].
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that serves 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. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promote civic education, and facilitate historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at www.archives.gov.
The Family History Expo, to be held in Springfield, Illinois is less than two weeks away. It will be at the Crowne Plaza Springfield, 3000 South Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62703 on Friday and Saturday, August 3 and 4, 2012. It starts at 1pm on Friday – and ends at 4:40 pm on Saturday.
The opening keynote address will be given by Bernard E. Gracy, Jr.: External CTO and VP Business Development, Volly at Pitney Bowes. Bernie has a BS, MS in Computer Science, an MS in E-Commerce, and is a Fortune 500 executive who is also an accomplished amateur genealogist!
Registration can be done online – or at the door. However, online registration can save attendees a lot of money, so I recommend that you register now! Fees are as follows:
Clans and Tartans, by Charles Maclean, is a small but insightful introduction to the Scottish clans and the tartan’s they wore. In just a few short pages, the reader is introduced to “Scotland’s most enduring symbols.” This book introduces the origins of the clans and the importance and meaning tartans. The author also adds a couple of pages on tracing one’s ancestors.
According to the cover of the book: “The Highland clans were defiantly independent: they spoke a different language, were loyal to their own chiefs, and fiercely proud of their Name. Most distinctively, they wore, and have kept, their own traditional costume.” This book examines the leading clans.
For each clan there is a history along with an illustration for a swatch of the clans tartan colors. Illustrations were provided by David McAllister. Each name is given two pages. Each begins with the same three elements: the clan’s lands, the clan slogan, and plant badges.
Contents of the book:
The Origins of Clans and Tartans
Tracing Your Ancestors
family names and their tartans:
For those with a Scottish heritage or who have a simple curiosity about clan history, Clans and Tartans can be obtained from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: PP916, Price: $9.75.
FamilySearch added new searchable collections online this week for Nevada and South Africa plus additional free records for Austria, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Korea, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. Search these diverse collections and 2.8 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.
Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers 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 large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.
FamilySearch 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 for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments
America was not the only land to be heavily colonized by England. Australia is another country of predominately English colonization. One big difference between the two countries, however, is the number of colonist who chose to emigrate compared with those who were forced to leave their home country. Bound for Botany Bay: British Convict Voyages to Australia examines the nearly 200 year history of forced emigration of convict from England to Australia.
Right up front, in the Introduction, the authors acknowledge their own errant misconceptions they had before starting their own research into the convict transportation from England to Botany Bay.
“We shared the view that those responsible for law and order in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries must have been cruelly vindictive people, happy to hung men, women, and even your children for stealing objects of trifling value. Those who escaped execution faced a living death in desolate convict colonies on the opposite side of the world. These unfortunates were transported in ships amounting to floating hells in which they were systematically abused, physically and mentally. Unsurprisingly, convicts died in vast numbers of disease and neglect while at sea. The prisoners who survived to reach Australia had to eke out their sentences in chain gangs—breaking rocks and beaten constantly by spiteful guards for the slightest inattention or the merest hint of insubordination. Some convicts escaped from this torture to form robber gangs, which then terrorized evolving settlements. Such were the antecedents of Australia, or so it was easy to assume.”
The authors readily admit how wrong these conceptions were. Yes, conditions were not always the best and many died in accidents. However, as time passed, conditions improved, education never offered to some became available for the first time in the lives of many. In time, some found their freedom and their families eventually joined them in their new world.
Bound for Botany Bay examine, in great detail, the history of transportation to the Australian colonies through the words and observations of tens of thousands of convicts. The book looks into controversial policies on forced emigration as a deterrent, a punishments, and as a solution to labor shortages. The history is a compilation of insights provided through letters, journals, logbooks, and popular ballads. The authors learned, as can the reader of these pages, not all trips were terrible—there were unexpected opportunities and surprise pleasures.
The book is engaging and the truths uncovered surprising. Challenging preconceptions and accepting the good in the bad makes histories like this one worth reading.
The following article is by my friend, William Dollarhide:
Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 22: It is a known fact that St. Peter checks all of your Family Group Sheets for accuracy before you are allowed to enter the Pearly Gates.
A Family Group Sheet (FGS) is the basic form to record the genealogical events of a family. If you are a parent, the first sheet could be of your own family, showing yourself, spouse, and children. Or, you can start with the family in which you were a child. If you are a grandparent, you may want to create family sheets for your son/daughter, spouse, and grandchildren. In any case, where you start is your choice. Creating family group sheets is a convenient way to record the details about the brothers and sisters of your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on.
Standard FGS Formats
You may be aware of genealogical software or websites that allow you to create “families” with unrelated persons substituting as parents, or two parents of the same sex – but these are not really Family Group Sheets. No, a true standard Family Group Sheet identifies all members of a biological family with a father, mother, and all of their children listed in order of birth. The standard FGS is for the presentation of the “truth.” Therefore, the FGS form does not include children by a different mother or father. For each different family grouping, a separate FGS form needs to be completed. For example, if a mother or father had children with another partner, that family needs to be identified as another group, whether there was a formal marriage or not. This may seem unfair to those who were raised in families that included step-sisters or half-brothers, but it is important to identify the members of a family by their blood relationships, and without any possible confusion about their parentage.
In some cases, a Family Group Sheet can add names of foster children or adopted children; but if this is done, it should be clearly shown on the form that these children are not the biological offspring of the father and mother shown on the form. In other words, write ”foster child” or “adopted” next to a child’s name so it is clear. Another family group should be prepared to show the birth parents of a foster or adopted child – even if there is unknown or sparse information. Then, refer to the foster/adopted child’s FGS as a cross-reference.
What is recorded on the group sheet is a master vital statistics arrangement. Although you are allowed to guess at possible spellings, approximate dates or probable places, you are not permitted to imply relationships where none exist. This is the most important record you will create in your genealogical endeavors. Think of your Family Group Sheets as something your descendants will see over the next hundred years – how will they judge your veracity? Will the relationships indicated on your FGS hold up to future DNA testing?
An FGS form has space for the basic genealogical events for each person including dates and places of birth, marriage, death, and burial for each family member. For each child on the list, a name of a spouse can be given, along with a date and place of the marriage. Carry down the offspring of each married child on another FGS, and to have consistency, use standard notations for recording information on every FGS you prepare.
Standard Name / Date / Place Notations
Names: To avoid confusion about a person’s given and last names, use the standard of All-Caps for a surname, and Upper/Lower case for other names, e.g., William Jones SMITH; or SMITH, William Jones. This standard allows us to correctly identify ancestors who may have names such as Henry James, or James Henry. Which is it? If you capitalize the last name so it can be presented either as JAMES, Henry or Henry JAMES, you will immediately know the answer. Some exceptions to the All-Caps rule are allowed for the readability of surnames such as McDONALD, MacINTIRE, la PLANT, and de la TOYA.
Dates: A date written as 8-12-96 is not clear, since we may be dealing with centuries, not decades in recording genealogical dates. And, it must be easily determined if it was for the 12th day or the 12th month. To do this, the month of a genealogical event needs to be spelled out or abbreviated – not numbered. Also, the year needs to be a full year so it is clear. Therefore, the standard genealogical date that should be used on a Family Group Sheet or any other genealogical report, is one that is in the military style, i.e., 8 Dec 1996.
Avoid numerical dating, which can be confusing, mainly because there is no world-wide standard. For example, the U.S. numerical standard is 12-08-1996 (MDY), while Latin America, Europe, and much of Africa and Asia use 08-12-1996 (DMY), and China, Korea, and Japan use 1996-12-08 (YMD). Regardless of the country where your genealogical events took place, the military style of 8 Dec 1996 should be understood by all.
Places: In recording a place of an event, such as a birthplace, place of marriage, etc., start with a smaller jurisdiction, and move to a larger one, such as, born in Harrison Township, Wayne County, Indiana or an abbreviated version, born in Harrison Twp, Wayne Co IN. If no city or town is known, use the county/state, such as born in Wayne County, Indiana, or an abbreviated version, born in Wayne Co IN. If no county is known, spell out the state, such as born in Indiana. The name of a country should be included if the place of the event lies outside the U.S., such as born in Baumholder, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany (oder auf Deutsch: geboren in Baumholder, Rheinland-Pfalz, Deutschland).
Cite Your Sources
A Family Group Sheet is the basic worksheet for genealogical research. While a Pedigree Chart identifies just your direct ancestors, the Family Group Sheet shows not only your direct ancestors but the brothers and sisters of your ancestors. Thus, the FGS is the logical place to record all known vital statistics about a complete family. But, the FGS is not complete without indicating the reference sources where you obtained the information. Special attention is necessary to the citation of sources used for every name, event, date, and place noted on the FGS. There is no set rule on how to list the sources, and adding a page of free style notes is perfectly acceptable.
There should be at least two citations (a minimum of two separate sources) for each event listed. One single source for a piece of information on the FGS does not prove anything. For example, if a complete Family Group Sheet was copied from someone else’s work, nothing on that FGS can be trusted. The goal is to have at least two sources for every event (every birth, marriage, death, burial, or residence). In other words, to prove what you say on a FGS, you have to list one source that was used to compile the information, then list another source that says the same thing.
There are genealogical organizations in America that require three (3) citations for every event – and if you are joining such an organization, follow their rules. But, typically, the cited statements on a Family Group Sheet submitted as evidence in a court of law require a minimum of two (2) sources for every event.
Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 1: Treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestor as equals, even if some of them were in jail.
The identification of each member of a family is essential to the success of your genealogical work. That means that brothers and sisters of an ancestor need to be given the same status as a direct ancestor. You need to identify the brothers and sisters by their full name; full birth information, including dates and places; complete marriage data, including the names of their spouses and dates of marriages; as well as death and burial information.
Seems like a lot of extra work doesn’t it? But guess what. If you treat the brothers and sisters as equals, you will have many more ways to find your own ancestors. The children or later descendants of the brothers and sisters of your ancestors are your relatives — people who are sources to you for information about your common ancestry.
For example, the birth certificate for my uncle gave me the full name of his father and maiden name of his mother, my grandparents. That proved to be very valuable, because the birth certificate for my own father, identified only as “Baby Dollarhide,” did not name his parents at all.
If you are searching for a lost family Bible, or a lost family photograph, document, or artifact – identifying the collateral descendants of the brothers and sisters of your ancestors may be your only route to success. A presentation of multiple generations of descendants of a common ancestor is best done using family group sheets.
Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 49: A relative is someone with all the information about the family you want, but died last week.
Involve Your Relatives
In some cases, you may need to enlist the help of your uncles, aunts, or cousins to create Family Group Sheets. A method to involve your relatives is to send them each a copy of a FGS on which they appear as a child or parent, and ask them to fill in more details. Along with the form, send a folksy note/email, one that reminds them that they are your favorite relatives. If you have any photographs of their family, or anything that you can share with them relating to their genealogy, send copies as examples of what a gracious and wonderful person you are. In other words, try to put them in your debt so they will respond to you. Many of our mothers have known this technique well – they can elicit just about anything from their kids just by making them feel guilty.
In making this contact, ask your relatives to add information to the family group sheets you sent them and then return a copy back to you. Even if the last time you saw these people they were threatening to sic their dog on you, you need to contact them again with the news that you are now preparing the world’s greatest family history and that they will be included in it.
If Your Relatives Don’t Respond
Some of your relatives will try to ignore you. If they don’t return a corrected family group sheet, then you may have to resort to bribery or some other devious ploy to get them to respond. For example, if you are not having success in getting your cousin Martha to return the family group sheet you sent her, try this: send Martha another group sheet, only this time indicate a bogus date of birth on the form, making her at least ten years older than she really is. Add a post-it note that says, “Did I get these dates right?” Include your email address on the post-it note. When Martha sees that incorrect date, she will have to correct it! Expect a email message from Martha within minutes after she reads the wrong date for her birth. You could be even more devious and make Martha’s date of birth two months before her parent’s wedding date. Now, when Martha complains about your terrible record keeping, you can come back with, “but can you prove that wasn’t your date of birth?” You might even get a copy of Martha’s birth certificate in the mail after that one.
Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 50: All’s fair in love, war, and the pursuit of non-responsive relatives.
“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
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.