Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Presentation List 2011

I want to publicly thank all the societies and conference organizers that have invited me to speak this year.  I am grateful for the opportunity to speak on a subject I love, genealogy, and share that passion with others.  I am also humbled by the support I continue to receive from the genealogy community. Like most of those who present, my speaking schedule is completed for 2010 and I now look forward to the opportunities that 2011 will bring.

Just some of the topics I have available for presentations are listed below. I have also updated my 2011 schedule here on my blog.

Research Techniques

I LOVE Libraries: Using Libraries for Your Genealogy

Step Away From the Computer: Using Archives, Academic Libraries and Museums for your Research

Journals, Store Ledgers and Letters to Aunt Mary:  Using Manuscript Collections

Citing Sources

Combining Historical Research with your Genealogy

Increasing your Genealogical Knowledge

California Dreamin'

Institutional Records

Putting Flesh on your Ancestor's Bones

Grandpa was in Jail!? Researching the Black Sheep and Other Infamous Relatives

Read All About It: Your Ancestor in the Newspaper.

Elusive Genealogy Sources

Female Ancestors

The Secret Lives of Women: Researching Female Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind

Women’s Work

Remember the Ladies: Finding your Female Ancestors

The Cigar Factory Quilt: Tracing Women’s Lives through Quilts

Church History and Records

19th Century American Religions

Researching LDS Ancestors

American Church Records

Where Can You Find Religious Records?


There an App for That?  Apps for Genealogy

Finding Images to Tell the Story of Your Ancestor

Hidden Genealogy Websites

Advance your Family History through Social Networking

Finding your Genealogy in Digitized Books

Using Google for your Genealogy

More Google for your Genealogy

50 Internet Sites Every Genealogist  Should Know

Social History Websites That Bring Your Ancestor’s Story to Life

Cemetery Research

Researching Your Ancestor’s Death

Cemetery Research

Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Church Record Sunday: Church Bulletins from World War II Internment Camps

Church bulletins have a lot to offer the genealogist. Unfortunately, they are not always archived; they fall in the realm of ephemera, paper items not meant to be kept for long periods of time. When they can be found, typically in an archive or in a private collection, they provide a snapshot of our ancestor's church life at a specific time.  Names of members, events, upcoming activities and more can be part of the bulletin.

The collection found on the Online Archive of California entitled Japanese-American internment camp church bulletins and newsletters collection, 1942-1945 includes church bulletins and newspapers from seven of the Japanese-American Internment Camps. In the cases of these church bulletins, there is much more mentioned about the community the church served than would be found in a typical church bulletin.

The collection description says, "The bulletins and newsletters provide orders of worship for Sunday services, articles, announcements, notices of baptisms, mariages, deaths, and other items of interest for the church members. Several have sections reprinting parts or all of letters received from members who had left the camps for school, jobs, or to serve in the armed forces. Though there are more extensive runs for the churches in Minidoka, Rohwer, and Poston camps, all are incomplete."

This collection is housed at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, California . The original materials in this collection are fragile and require permission from the archivist to be used.  There are photocopies available for research. This collection is not available online.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Adding a House History to Your Genealogy

Recently, I've been thinking of my maternal grandmother's house a lot.  We use to go visit her every summer and stay for weeks. Her house was a totally different world for us kids living in Southern California.  Her home in the White Mountains of Arizona were slower paced and full of different things to explore. Because she lived in a small town we could walk everywhere and would enjoy eating out of her garden, wading through the irrigation in her garden, throwing apples from her crab apple tree at cousins and picking currants.  In a time before multi-plex theaters, her local movie theater was only a block away and that always seemed exciting. When we would go pick up her mail at the Post Office all we would have to say is that we were there for Grandma Nikolaus' mail and they knew exactly who we were talking about.

Unfortunately, Grandma's house burned down about 10 years ago. She had died years before but family members lived there and it was still referred to by us as "Grandma's house." When that house burned down so did a lot of memories.

As I was pulling old family photos out of a magnetic album this week and scanning them to preserve them, I came across pictures of her home. That mint green with white trim house brought back memories.  There were pieces of petrified wood on the outside facade (she lived in Arizona where you could find such materials and people in the early 1900s used it for decoration). It got me to thinking how important a family member's home can be to our genealogy. Yes, the names and dates are important but the stories of where our family lived, where we sat with them, where we had meals and laughed can be so important.

Your inclusion of a house history with your genealogy can include photos (inside and outside), drawings, deeds, newspaper articles, plat maps, and remembrances. I wrote a brief article about researching a home for the WorldVitalRecords newsletter that you can find here.

A house history can add more detail to your family history narrative and help your children and grandchildren to know why your grandmother's house (or even your childhood home) was so special to you.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

California Archives: California State Archives

If you have California ancestors, you will want to check out the California State Archive for records that may pertain to your family. A list of their family history resources can be found here. Some of their materials are available on microfilm and can be borrowed through inter-library loan.

What records do they have?  Well their collection includes:
  • Probate 
  • County, District, Judicial and Superior Court
  • Bond, Letters and Wills
  • Naturalization
  • Deeds
  • Homestead
  • Birth
  • Death
  • Marriage
  • and Miscellaneous records from various county offices including records pertaining to occupations, the military, mental health facilities and prisons.
For those with ancestors who were amongst the earliest settlers of California, the archives collections includes Mexican and Spanish land grants.

The California State Archive collection can be searched through the Minerva online catalog or the Online Archive of California.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Church Record Sunday: Provo Community Congregational Church Records

Today's church record collection is a good example of being open to the possibility of records being in any number of places. In this case, records for the Provo (Utah) Community Congregational Church are archived at the University of Utah. I found this collection on the Mountain West Digital Library website.

According to the page for this collection, "The Provo Community Congregational Church Records (1883-1986) consist of the records of various church-sponsored organizations, board and committee materials, Sunday bulletins, minutes, financial records, correspondence, histories, and miscellaneous papers. The Provo Community Congregational Church was one of the earliest churches organized in the state of Utah."

There's many great records here including church bulletins from 1925-1982, yearbooks, baptismal records, and a Pastor's diary.

In some cases, church records may be donated and kept as a manuscript collection at an academic library.  Fourteen  linear feet of documentation from this church is open for research by the public but it is recommended that you call 24 hours prior to your visit to the University of Utah library.

So the next time you are looking for church records, consider a nearby academic library as a resource.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

52 Weeks of Genealogy Sources: Insurance Library Association of Boston

Was your ancestor an insurance agent or in the insurance business? Then you might be interested in A Catalogue of the Library of the Insurance Library Association of Boston (1899) available from Google Books. This is a catalog listing of  books from the Insurance Library Association of Boston. You can learn more about the Insurance Library Association and research opportunities on their website.

While this is not a "genealogical" source it is one that includes some books with genealogical information, like names and dates. The chapter entitled "Insurance Almanacs, Directories, Year Books, Etc.", starting on page 96 does list directories of agents and others working in the insurance industry.

If your ancestor was part of the insurance business you may want to contact the Insurance Library Association of Boston and ask what types of materials they may have that might list the locality your ancestor lived in/worked in for that time period.

This is a great example of how you can research an ancestor's occupation by going to organizational associations and private libraries.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Ephemera Society of America

It's amazing all the great stuff you can find online. Take for example the website for The Ephemera Society of America. Ephemera is typically paper items that weren't meant for long term use. There are many different objects that can be called ephemera such as postage stamps, movie posters, calenders, and business cards. Although meant to be used only once or for a short amount of time, ephemera can have genealogical applications. Take World War II ration stamp books for example, they had a cover where a person wrote out their name and address. Business cards place a person at a specific occupation and location. Maps provide historical geographical information about an ancestors's locality. Postcards can provide a sneak peak into our ancestor's family, friends and their thoughts and travels.

To see a list of some items considered ephemera, see the "What is Ephemera" page of the Society website here.

One of the great aspects of this website is their list of online exhibits of ephemera. One of my favorite links in this index is the Hearts at Home: Southern Women in the Civil War exhibit.

The Ephemera Society of American website can help you think of ephemera that may be a home source or could be archived in a repository that will shed light on your ancestor's life.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Church Record Sunday: St. Francis Church, Naugatuck, Connecticut

I've written before about using maps as a way to find out more about your ancestor's religion. Maps pinpoint religious migration routes, outline religious communities and more. Here's yet another example of what you can find in a map collection.

The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection has more than 22,000 maps and images online.  These maps cover the world and various historical eras.

One of the digitized images is from the book Town and city atlas of the state of Connecticut. Compiled from government surveys, county records and personal investigations. D. H. Hurd and Co: Boston, 1893. This book includes drawings of various buildings including churches. One of the churches included in this work is the St. Francis Church and Rectory in Naugatuck, Connecticut.  However, it is not the only one.

It's a good idea to check all kinds of sources when researching your ancestors.Using images of the buildings where they worshiped can help your readers better picture your ancestor's life in a written narrative. In cases when you lack photos of an ancestor, images of the places they were involved with can be a substitution. Check out the David Rumsey Historical Maps site and search on the places that your ancestor lived. You might just find something that helps tell the story of your ancestor.

(Please note that the website does include copyright information for their materials.  They also provide an option to purchase images).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

52 Weeks of Genealogy Sources: Wyoming Ancestors

What I absolutely love about Google Books is that it can lead you to books that you had no idea had anything to do with genealogy. Here is a case in point.

I was searching on a keyword and came across the book, Wyoming: Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases. So I was a little bewildered what that book had to do with what I was searching for but I thought I would take a look. The book's preface states. "Ever need a fact or quotation on Wyoming?...It (the book) represents a compilation from a variety of sources with a linguistic emphasis on anything related to the term "Wyoming"..."

When you first start looking at this book it is mostly phrases, saying and songs having to do with Wyoming but as you continue searching it includes a list of non-fictional works that have to do with Wyoming. So you can find works relating to sociology, geology, history and yes, even genealogy.

Just some genealogical examples (I have included the title of the work, the name it is listed under in Wyoming... and the page number where  it appears):

  • Wyoming 1890 federal census index, editor Ronald Vern Jackson, page 27.

  • Stark Co., Il., Toulon Twp, cemeteries : Toulon Mawberry , Publisher Ada A Terwilliger, page 28

  • A church in Wyoming; a sociological study, by Herbert Charles Kimmel, page 152

  • Families of the Wyoming Valley: biographical, genealogical and historical. Sketches of the bench and bar of Luzerne County Pennsylvania., by George B. Kulp, page 158

  • Archives in Colorado and Wyoming: a directory, 1996. , compiled by Mary L. Linscome, page 165

  • Pioneering on Cheyenne River: the stories of pioneers and early settlers in Northern Niobrara County, Wyoming, Southern Weston County, Wyoming, Western Fall River County, South Dakota, publisher Harold Lusk, page 170.

This is not all the bibliographic listings that have to do with genealogy.  Because this is a limited preview book in Google, not all of the pages are available to view. And some of these listing are not just focused on Wyoming, I saw mentions of Canada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah and Colorado.

This is a great example of a book that can lead you to other sources. Don't limit yourself to only genealogy books. Information is out there, just be curious!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To All Who Have Served

Thank you to the brave men and women who have served in our military. Your service is not forgotten.

From http://hubpages.com/hub/US-Military-Veterans-Memorial-Day

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Church Record Sunday: Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage

For those with Mennonite or even Amish ancestors in Pennsylvania the Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage Illustrated Quarterly might be of interest. It is available as part of a membership benefit to the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. You can also check out back issues through indexes available on the website. 

According to their website, the  "Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage focuses on historical background (Europe and America), religious thought and expression, culture, and family history of Mennonite and Amish-related groups originating in Pennsylvania. Additional features: Genealogical tips, readers’ ancestry, queries, Pennsylvania German dialect stories, and book review."

The predecessor of the Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage is the Mennonite Research Journal.  Published between 1960-1977, some issues are available for purchase. You can see a list of some article from previous issues on the web page for the Journal.