Sunday, September 27, 2009

Church Record Sunday: Baptist Manuscript Collection

The American Baptist Historical Society Manuscript Collection list can be found at This manuscript collection is housed at the America Baptist Samuel Colgate Historical Library in Rochester, New York. This is a great list that includes journals, correspondence, newspaper clippings, student notes, photographic albums and more.

There is some great vital record information in this manuscript collection including marriage records, deeds, and even some patient records from a physician. Here are some examples I found in the manuscript collection list.

E. R. Clemens (?-1914).
Marriage Licenses 1904-1938. 67 items

John Harvard Castle (1830-1890)
1volume notebook containing a record of marriages performed in Pottsville, PA 1853-1856, Newburgh, NY, 1856-1859, Philadelphia, PA 1859-1873.

Mary Ann Stotesbury Crozer (1836-1918)
Published copy of Mary's will, 1918; photocopies of obituaries, and of newspaper articles about persons contesting the will, 1918-1920

William Edwin Darrow (1864-1939 )
record of marriages performed by Darrow, 1909

Ely, Edward T. Ely, Physician 3 items
Three casebooks of a medical doctor with patient histories, diagnoses, etc., 1878-1882.

Thomas Garder Field (1843-1926)
Book of Baptism Records 1874-1886.

Jonathan Goble (1827-1896)
Scrapbook compiled by Montgomery with information about the First Baptist Church of Coffeyville, Kansas; original poems; biographical/genealogical information about her family, particularly her father, William Anderson Kern.

Joel Henry Greene (1806-1873)
Marriage register, 1831-1867.

Howard Benjamin Grose (1851-1939)
Family papers, including genealogical information; diary and correspondence, 1840-1860

Horatio Gates Jones (1777-1853)
Register of marriages, 1802-1852.

Morgan Jones 1764
Will and Deed.

Samuel Denton Merrick (1815-1910)
Volume of autobiographical notes, 1896; family record of births, deaths, and marriages.

Charles Morton (1798-1874)
Record of marriages performed, 1830-1866

William Richard Patton (1835-1899)
Marriage register 1885-1899.

Roger K Powell. (1914-)
Record of weddings, funerals, and baptisms performed by Powell, 1938-1956.

Timothy Remick (1775-1850)
Certificates of intentions of marriage, 1805-1842

William Shadrach (1804-1890)
Marriage and baptism register

William Henry Spencer (1838-1926)
Marriage records (3 volumes), 1892-1904

Levi B. Steele (1829-1907)
Record of marriages, 1864-1868

Joseph Wanton Taggart (1805-1893)
Marriage register; diaries, 1846-1859

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Social History Saturday: School Hygiene

School Hygiene by Ludwig Kotelmann, published in 1899, is available as a digital book on Internet Archive at

The book explains in its beginning that the term school hygiene is .."concentration of the principles of architecture, sanitary engineering, psychology, pedagogy, and preventative medicine upon the physical conditions of school life. The translators of this volume state that pupils should be able to “do his work without injury to health-that is without becoming nervous and sleepless, or having his eye-sight, digestion, or other bodily functions impaired."

This book goes over everything from the way schools are heated and illuminated to school furniture. One chapter focuses on homework, the order of subjects, and medical conditions that may have something to do with school, everything from curvature of the spine to eye problems and infectious disease to suicide (…warning to teachers to be conservative in their demands upon the energies of the 231).

It’s interesting to read some of the controversies that were present in the late 1800’s that continue today. As schools argue about kindergarten curriculums and whether to have kindergarten children attend school half day or full day, this books also addresses the issue, “..many children are sent to school too young. As is well known, the sixth year is generally looked upon as the most suitable age…even pupils who have completed the sixth year do not always have the necessary strength of body and mind for the demands of school.” (pg. 209).

This is a great look at some of the thinking on school reform in the late 19th century. There is a comprehensive bibliography in the back of the book as well as some advertisements for school supplies that will provide some historical context.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Church Record Sunday: Schools of Theology

I was talking to a genealogist at a local society where I spoke this month and she was telling me about some of the wonderful places she had researched and what she had found. One of the important truisms she echoed was that sometimes, places that don’t have genealogy collections do have genealogical information.

In this case she was researching a Methodist minister ancestor and was at the Claremont School of Theology (CST). She mentioned this because I am a graduate of the school, which is a Methodist seminary located in Southern California.

She went to the reference librarian and asked if there was any information on her particular ancestor. Well, because this isn’t a genealogical library, the librarian initially said no, but then directed her to a series of reports that did include biographical information that was immensely helpful to her research.

CST is a Methodist seminary so of course they do have some materials on the history of Methodism and those who served, as well as other religions. No, it is not a genealogy library but remember you are doing historical research. And in this case she was doing research on Methodist religious history.

CST has an online library catalog and other resources which you can access at

There is a list of accredited theological schools at This list might provide you with some libraries and their online catalogs that might assist you in your research.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Church Record Sunday: Pennsylvania Religious Groups Chats

On GenealogyWise this month, Jim Avery is focusing his Sunday evening Pennsylvania Chat on religious groups.

Tonight, his chat will focus on the Ephrata Cloister and Related Groups. Next Sunday his chat will feature John Casper Stoever and and the Early Lutheran Church.

The chat is at 7:00pm (MDT). To learn more you can consult the chat schedule on GenealogyWise. You do need to be a member to access the chat room on GenealogyWise. Membership is free.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Social History Saturday: Mildred Burke, Woman Wrestler

Yes, you just read right. I am writing about a woman wrestler. A strange idea for a genealogist? Maybe, but this book is a great example of how you can flesh out the story of an ancestor.

I just finished reading a book that chronicles the life of the champion woman wrestler Mildred Burke. Titled, The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds and the Making of an American Legend by investigative reporter Jeff Leen. You can see a limited preview of this book on Google Books. It is also available for sale at Amazon as well as a download for your Amazon Kindle.

This book is a very interesting look at a world that I would think most of us have never thought of before. At the height of her career, Mildred Burke, a woman wrestler from the 1930’s was making more money than Joe DiMaggio. But you probably haven’t heard of Mildred.

Mildred was the pioneer of women’s wrestling. She began when it was basically unheard of for women to wrestle (1930’s). Her experience as a woman in a totally male dominated field provides a glimpse into how all women were treated during this era.

Once Mildred entered the field and brought with her the notion that women could compete, in some states it was illegal for women to compete in a sport in front of an audience, it opened the field up to other women who may have had few options for employment. What was interesting to me was that many of the women who decided to give wrestling a try were young (16-20 years old) and some were single mothers who were deperate to provide for their children.

As you can tell by the title of the book, the book has it's share of tales of physical abuse, and sexual coercion by men and especially the women’s wresting manager, who was also at one time Mildred's husband. It really points to the lack of power the women had over their own lives, even though they were very powerful, physically. One example is the danger that was to be had for the women driving alone to wrestling matches due to men along the highway trying to rob them and assault them.

I was interested in the research the author did in order to write this book. One of the places he talks about consulting was eBay, because there he could buy old wrestling magazines that featured articles on Mildred and the other women wrestlers. He also interviewed her son, and other wrestlers who knew her. And of course he consulted collections at libraries and archives. He employed many of the research techniques that we as genealogists would use to better understand the lives of our ancestors.

To see pictures of Mildred, consult Google Images and type her name in the search box. You can see a video, albeit a very fuzzy image, of Mildred wrestling on YouTube at Her obituary can be found at

Friday, September 11, 2009

Using Facebook

Tomorrow I am attending the meeting of the Southern California Association of Professional Genealogists. At this meeting, I am going to share my ideas about using Facebook.

I have not always been a fan of Facebook but I do think it is becoming an essential tool for genealogical networking, providing information/resources, and keeping connected with family. I use Facebook and Twitter, personally and for my work at FamilyLink, which includes managing the social network site GenealogyWise.

For those not familiar with GenealogyWise, GenealogyWise is a social network for genealogists, like Facebook but strictly for genealogists and with less bells and whistles. It’s a place for genealogists to meet, share information, blog, upload video/photos and attend genealogical chats.

Facebook has become very popular among genealogists and for a good reason. It is a great way to network, access resources, learn what’s new in the world of genealogy and collaborate with relatives near and far. Recently, I have had the opportunity to attend two conferences where I used Twitter and Facebook to post information that I learned while attending various presentations.

Not everyone is so enamored with Facebook, as with anything that is on the Internet, there are some concerns that members have. The two that I hear the most often have to do with time and privacy. Many, with good reason, see Facebook as a waste of time. And as we all know, anything on the Internet can becomes a time waster if you don't set some limits. I use Facebook as a tool. For me, it's the way I connect with family and with other genealogists. I choose not to play games or take quizzes on it. I am not saying that there is something wrong with you if you choose to do these things. I just want to point out that it's important to limit activities to those that you believe benefit you. Facebook is only a time waster if you allow it to be.

Typically though, the big concern potential Facebook members have is privacy.

The good thing about Facebook is it allows other to find you. The bad thing about Facebook is that it allows others to find you. Ok, you know what I mean, you may want to network with other genealogists but you may not necessarily want your high school boyfriend/girlfriend to find you.

Here are some of my ideas for interacting on Facebook. These aren’t original ideas, just ones I tell those considering using Facebook. I have also included some links that may be of interest.:

1. Don’t reveal too much about yourself. Just because Facebook has blanks for where you live, what high school you went to, etc…doesn’t mean you have to fill them in. It may not seem like a big deal to you at first but revealing too much could backfire.

2. Decide what you are comfortable with and then set privacy settings to control who can see your information. The Privacy settings are under the Settings link on the top toolbar on Facebook.

3. Make a rule about who you will "friend." As genealogists, we often have people “friend” us because of our common passion, genealogy. In the case of those who present to genealogy societies, we may have people who have heard us speak ask to be our Facebook friend. I tell those in my audience to go ahead and friend me but it is also a good idea to send a message with that friend request stating how I know you. That way I know that I “know” you and you are not just a random person wanting to add one more “friend." Let’s face it, in some cases it may not seem like a big deal to friend someone but you are potentially giving them access to a lot of your personal information, thoughts and the thoughts and photos of family and friends.

4. Be careful about what you write. It’s kind of like the old saying that goes something like, “better to have people think you are fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Be careful what you write on your friend's wall or as comments to their postings. Remember, they will not be the only people who see it. Their friends will also see it.

5. Use the Inbox to send a private messages to your friends and family. In one case, I saw a posting on a mutual friend’s wall where the person included her address and phone number. This may not be information you want your friend’s 500 “friends” to see.

6. You can choose any image as your profile picture, so if you are uncomfortable with your current picture being on the Internet, then choose a graphic or something more obscure.

7. I think, most of all, remember that this is your public face. If you are a professional in some field, and your boss and other coworkers, clients are your Facebook “friends” you may want to pick and choose what is on your page. If you like playing the Facebook Mafia game, you can hide that so all your friends don’t see how many hours you put into playing that game. And I’m not picking on the Mafia game, there’s a score of others that I know some of my friends enjoy. People have been fired for what they post to social networking sites. Just a thought.

Some links that you may find useful include:

Facebook Blog

All Facebook

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know

Books about Facebook on Barnes and Noble

How Genealogists Use Social Networking
By Gena Philibert Ortega (with the assistance of my fellow geneabloggers)
(available on the WVR Blog)

Geneabloggers Twitter Tip Sheet

Social Networking for Genealogists by Drew Smith