The New Cemeteries and Cemetery Symbols Blog

Joe Beine, owner of the “Genealogy Roots Blog,” has begun a cemetery blog that’s pretty interesting. All active genealogists have an interest in the meaning of cemetery symbols and other graveyard oddities. Take a look at the Cemeteries and Cemetery Symbols blog. Good stuff…See:

The Washington State Genealogist

WA state mag Washington State Genealogical Society (WSGS) has published the first issue of a new research journal, The Washington State Genealogist. The premier issue is fully indexed and contains 36 pages of family stories and research information. This annual journal is a benefit of WSGS membership, designed to provide researchers a statewide outlet for stories about Washington families and extracts from newspapers, private and public records from Washington territorial or state sources. To contribute an article for the next journal issue, contact Bob Witherspoon, or write to WSGS Journal Editor, PO Box 1422, Olympia, WA 98507-1422.

The table of contents for this first issue of the journal includes the following articles:

  • About the Society
  • Blakely, Bradway, Hickox: Who Are These People?
  • Congregational Church of Shaw Island, Washington: Part 1 – “Records”
  • Miss Gladys Taylor Captured by WWI German Raider
  • Charles H. Davis: Double Murder and Suicide
  • Jefferson County Oyster Claims, 1890
  • The Family of Robert Herman Sheedy and How They Came West
  • LaClair – Cornell Bible Record
  • News from Wahkiakum County – December 7, 1905
  • Wahkiakum Marriages Announced – December 21, 1905
  • The Armstrong Family – Always To the West
  • Index of Personal Names
  • Index of Names of Places, Business, Ships & Other Groups

—From: Bob Witherspoon, Bellingham, WA

Michigan Death Records, 1897-1920, Now Available at the Library of Michigan

“The 1897-1920 Michigan Death Records, a brand-new resource that is available at the Library of Michigan, will benefit family history researchers across the state. The Library of Michigan is able to provide these records thanks to a generous gift from the Michigan Genealogical Council and the Abrams Foundation.

“This records set supplements the Library’s existing vital records collection, which also includes Michigan death records from 1867 to 1897, and fills a gap in Michigan genealogical research,” said Randy Riley, Special Collections Manager at the Library of Michigan. “These statewide records were not previously available outside of the Michigan Department of Community Health, so this is a real boost for genealogists here, and for those who travel from other states to use the Library.”

Scots Genealogy Expert, Beth Gay, Sues Her Former Employer

My friend, Beth Gay, is an institution in the area of Scots genealogy. Now it looks like she’s scrambling to survive in the genealogy field. I know the feeling. Been there – done that. But life goes on, and I’m sure it will for Beth. The following excerpt is from an article, written by Lori Glenn, and published in the September 10, 2006 edition of The Moultrie Observer. Here’s wishing Beth all the best. By the way, in checking out Beth’s attorneys, I certainly would not want to be on the opposite side of the courtroom from them. I can’t imagine the Odom Library in Moultrie, Georgia without Beth…

“MOULTRIE — Fired from her job at the Odom and Moultrie-Colquitt County libraries, the former editor and publisher of genealogical newspaper The Family Tree is seeking back pay from the libraries and city and county governments which contribute to the libraries’ funding.

“Represented by Atlanta firm Beard and Chang, LLC, Beth Gay currently is seeking $4,160, the alleged difference between what she said she was paid and minimum wage for two years; $19,325 in alleged uncompensated overtime; $15,000 for compensation for pain and humiliation in relation to her termination; and attorney’s fees.

“Gay, a former columnist for The Moultrie Observer and The Mailbox Post, is making her claims pursuant to the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act that requires employers to pay employees a minimum wage, currently $5.15 per hour of work for up to 40 hours per week, plus overtime at one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay, attorney Kelly Beard said in recent correspondence to the library board.

“In her 17 years tenure with the libraries, Gay built up the The Family Tree to be largest genealogical newspaper in the world, the claim said. Gay traveled often to various events and festivals in the course of promoting and gathering material for The Family Tree. She was responsible for raising $225,000 per year to publish it, Beard said. Gay’s networking also contributed to more than 130 Scottish clans loaning their archival and genealogical materials to the Odom Library.”

Mid-Continent Library to Build New $8 Million 52,000 Ft. Genealogy Center

It looks like Independence, Missouri is about to get a facility that at some point could rival the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I was in the library just a short time ago – and the current 12,000 foot facility was packed with books. The new 52,000 foot two-story building will be welcomed by genealogists from all over the country.

“The Mid-Continent Public Library recently bought 6.5 acres in Independence and plans to build what it calls a world-class genealogy center. The new center will be at the southwest corner of Lee’s Summit Road and Kiger Road, just south of the Drumm Farm Golf Course. Construction is expected to start in May and be completed in the spring of 2008.” Posts Indexed Digital Images to Seven Major U.S. Newspapers has posted a new database that indexes digital images of birth, marriage, and death notices from the newspapers of the following seven major U.S. cities:

  • The Atlanta Constitution (1869-1929)
  • The Boston Globe (1872-1923)
  • The Chicago Defender (Big Weekend and National Editions) (1921-1975)
  • The Chicago Tribune (1850-1985)
  • The Hartford Courant (1791-1942)
  • The Los Angeles Times (1881-1985)
  • The New York Times (1851-2003)
  • The Washington Post (1877-1990)

Mitochondrial DNA Services from Relative Genetics and Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation

“Relative Genetics, the leading provider of DNA testing services for individuals and families researching ancestry, today [September 19, 2006] announced the availability of enhanced mitochondrial DNA testing services that dramatically improve the accuracy and reach of maternal lineage information.

“Mitochondrial DNA is passed exclusively from mothers to their children, providing a dependable way to trace maternal ancestries for both men and women. The most accurate way to distinguish the genetic profile of one individual’s maternal lineage from another’s and to identify deep ancestral origins is through analysis of genetic sequences from three “hypervariable” regions of the mitochondrial DNA. The new Relative Genetics mitochondrial DNA testing includes analysis of these three regions, adding great detail and precision to the results. Relative Genetics already offers the industry’s leading Y-chromosome DNA testing services for paternal lineage research.

“In addition, Relative Genetics has enhanced its mitochondrial DNA sequencing and Y-chromosome genotyping services by including a haplogroup predictor with each test, at no extra cost. This analysis uses the results of DNA tests — mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosome or both — to assign individuals to a haplogroup that can identify their deep ancestral origins and may detect geographic origins going back tens of thousands of years.”

World Vital Records Launches Scottish Death Records 1747-1868

Over 13,000 geo-coded Scots deaths records have been posted at the new website. This unique set of Scottish Death Records was extracted from parish records of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Specific parishes include Cockpen, Midlothian; Cranston; Crichton; Dalkeith; Dunfermline, Fife; Edinburgh; Fala; Gladsmuir; Heriot; Humbie; Newbattle; Pencaitland, Midlothian; Prestonpans, East Lothian; Salton; Shotts; Tranent, and East Lothian. The folks at World Vital Records continue to launch new data, almost on a daily basis. Adds About 300 New Online Resources from GPC

On August 24, posted 301 new items, including many books that I’m familiar with. In running through the list, I find that the books seem to all be those published by Genealogical Publishing Company. These books cover many topics including: Irish, Germanic, Revolutionary War, and various countywide and statewide titles (including many for New York State). This is a major expansion of digitized books at Previously, the majority of digitized books at were duplicates of those available at HeritageQuest Online.

Washington State Plans for New History Center in Olympia

Washington state leadership has agreed to push forward a $400 million plan to build a new set of stone-faced office buildings north of Olympia’s historic Capitol Campus. The style of the new buildings will mimic that of the columned office buildings that surround the domed Legislative Building. Included in the plans will is a 226,000-square-foot heritage center which will be partially comprised of the state archives, and history displays. This facility is to be built into the hillside near Capitol Lake.

The state of Washington already leads the nation with their online digital archives. The new building will continue to enhance the image of the importance of heritage to Washington State residents. Having lived there for 40 years, I have a personal stake in this.

Johnson County, Missouri, Historical Society Inherits Pre-1880 Original Court Records

The Johnson County, Missouri, Historical Society has become the repository for pre-1880 Johnson County Court records. This is great news for genealogists. The Historical Society maintains a wonderful research facility where I personally have spent time researching ancestors for Patty and I. I had Gfellers in the area, while Patty has Hannas and Steeles.

Following is an item from the March 14, 2006 edition of
“WARRENSBURG, Mo. — Johnson County Circuit Court transferred court records prior to 1880 to Johnson County Historical Society on Aug. 10, following an order from Hon. Joseph P. Dandurand. The documents will be held on the archives level of the Mary Miller Smiser Heritage Library.

“Johnson County Historical Society has actively pursued the preservation of historic court documents since 2002. Staffed by dedicated volunteers with supplies provided by the State Archives, over 5000 cases have been prepared for microfilming in the past 3 years.”

VP Dick Cheney’s 2nd Great-Grandparents’ Grave Found in Gallia County, Ohio

Gallia County, Ohio, found a way to make the vice president of the United States part of a local club – by discovering his great-grandparents’ grave.
Vice President Dick Cheney was allowed to skip the usual formalities when he accepted honorary membership last month (July 2006) in the Ohio Genealogical Society’s Gallia County chapter in southeast Ohio about 90 miles from Columbus. Society members Henny Evans and Mary James did the legwork and invited him to join, sending him photographs of his great-grandparents’ tombstones and information about his great-aunt’s homestead.

Google to Digitize 3 Million Books at the University of California

Google has added another partner to its controversial library-book scanning project – the University of California, which is also working with a team led by Yahoo, Microsoft and the Internet Archive.

Google will be scanning and digitizing millions of books from the University of California’s more than 100 libraries across its 10 campuses and making those titles fully searchable.

The New Church of England (Anglican) Genealogy Website

The following is an excerpt from a news release from the new Church of England (Anglican) website. Having realized the need by genealogists for information about records, the Anglican Church has created a new website, with which to guide researchers in the right direction. Although the site has no indexes or digitized records itself, it does give instruction as to where to find the data.

“The Church of England has launched a new area on its website to assist the thousands of people currently trying to trace the branches of their family tree.

“The move reflects the huge popularity of research into family history: when the 1901 Census was placed online in 2002 it soon became one of the most visited sites on the web, and more than 829,000 people have visited The National Archive’s Family Records Centres in London and Kew in the last three years. The Church’s dedicated web area brings together links to a range of sources for tracing family histories – including the Lambeth Palace Library – and provides contact points for archives and repositories.”


WorldCat Search from OCLC Online with Free Access

Most of us are familiar with OCLC, available at most good libraries. Their new WorldCat Search is now online and in the clear. It’s in Beta format, and a very worldcat-logosimple search engine, but it’s about the most powerful library catalog I’ve ever tried. I just typed in a few of my surnames of interest, and was amazed at the results.

WorldCat is meant to be accessed through your local public library – and may be available as one of their remote access databases, allowing access from your home. The version you can get through your library allows for an advanced search and “similar items” capabilities, as well as published reviews and excerpts to help you better evaluate an item. The advanced search would be an advantage, allowing you to narrow your search. See: