Ancestry.com Blog » Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry The official blog of Ancestry.com Thu, 31 Jul 2014 22:18:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Welcome to the Sooner State! Oklahoma State Research Guidehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/31/welcome-to-the-sooner-state-oklahoma-state-research-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=welcome-to-the-sooner-state-oklahoma-state-research-guide http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/31/welcome-to-the-sooner-state-oklahoma-state-research-guide/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:39:12 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=19184 Read more ]]> Oklahoma became the 46th state on November 16, 1907.

Library of Congress, "A pair of truants, tending their father's mules.," color digital file from b&w original, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, ( http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/nclc.00666  : accessed 29 Jul 2014), photo taken April 1917, Reproduction no. LC-DIG-nclc-00666.

Library of Congress, “A pair of truants, tending their father’s mules.,” color digital file from b&w original, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, ( http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/nclc.00666 : accessed 29 Jul 2014), photo taken April 1917, Reproduction no. LC-DIG-nclc-00666.

Five things you may not have known about the Sooner State:

  1. Originally Indian Territory, the state of Oklahoma was opened to settlers in a “Land Rush” in 1889. Prospective settlers would be allowed to claim plots of land by grabbing the stakes marking each plot on a specific date. A few of these settlers cheated and pulled their stakes early; these cheaters were called “Sooners”.
  2. The world’s first parking meter was installed on July 16, 1935 in Oklahoma City.  A parking ticket was probably not too far behind.
  3. The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is in Oklahoma City.
  4. The town of Beaver is known as the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World — the world championship is held there each April.
  5. The YIELD sign was first used on a trial basis in Tulsa.
Our new free state guide, “Oklahoma Research Guide: Family History Sources in the Sooner State,” has an overview and timeline of the state, along with resources to explore when searching for your Oklahoma ancestors. Guides for other states are also available in the Learning Center under Free State Research Guides.
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What You Might Have Missed: July 28 Editionhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/28/what-you-might-have-missed-july-28-edition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-you-might-have-missed-july-28-edition http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/28/what-you-might-have-missed-july-28-edition/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:30:19 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=19098 Read more ]]> Blogs

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What You Might Have Missed: July 22 Editionhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/22/what-you-might-have-missed-july-22-edition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-you-might-have-missed-july-22-edition http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/22/what-you-might-have-missed-july-22-edition/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:31:18 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=18843 Read more ]]> Blogs

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Welcome to the Mountain State: West Virginia State Research Guidehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/18/welcome-to-the-mountain-state-west-virginia-state-research-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=welcome-to-the-mountain-state-west-virginia-state-research-guide http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/18/welcome-to-the-mountain-state-west-virginia-state-research-guide/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:48:24 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=18767 Read more ]]> The western counties of Virginia separated from that state when it seceded in 1861. Those counties combined as West Virginia and became the 35th state on June 20, 1863.

Library of Congress, “...Boy beginning career as 'picker'...” color digital file from black and white negative, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, (  http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/nclc.01054 : accessed 17 Jul 2014), Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-74043

Library of Congress, “…Boy beginning career as ‘picker’…” color digital file from black and white negative,
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog,  (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/nclc.01054 : accessed 17 Jul 2014), Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-74043

Here are 5 things you might not know about West Virginia:

  1. In 1756, the first public spa opened in Berkeley Springs.
  2. Almost 3/4 of the state is covered by forests.
  3. The first rural mail delivery started in 1896 in Charles Town and then spread throughout the U.S.
  4. The concept of advertising outdoors originated in Wheeling in 1908 when the Block Brothers Tobacco Company painted bridges and barns with: “Treat Yourself to the Best, Chew Mail Pouch.” Mail Pouch Tobacco was first produced in Wheeling in 1879.
  5. The only residence built entirely of coal and aptly named Coal House is located in White Sulphur Springs.
Our new free state guide, “West Virginia Research Guide: Family History Sources in the Mountain State,” has an overview and timeline of the state, along with resources to explore when searching for your West Virginia ancestors. If your ancestors hail from West Virginia, you should also check out the “Virginia Research Guide: Family History Source in the Old Dominion State.”
Guides for other states are also available in the Learning Center under Free State Research Guides.
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What You Might Have Missed: July 13th Editionhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/14/what-you-might-have-missed-july-13th-edition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-you-might-have-missed-july-13th-edition http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/14/what-you-might-have-missed-july-13th-edition/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 18:41:09 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=18678 Read more ]]> Blog Posts

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Genealogy Roadtrip: Do You Brake For Cemeteries?http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/09/genealogy-roadtrip-do-you-brake-for-cemeteries/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=genealogy-roadtrip-do-you-brake-for-cemeteries http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/09/genealogy-roadtrip-do-you-brake-for-cemeteries/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:38:43 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=18139 Read more ]]>  

Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Amy Johnson Crow.

Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Amy Johnson Crow.

This summer, you may venture out from behind your computer and into the sun to travel to the places that your ancestors lived and where they were buried.

Cemeteries are great places to find information about your ancestors. Standing in front of the grave of those that have come before you can be a moving experience.

 

Here are 10 tips to consider before you go.

1. Be Respectful

This is the final resting place for many who have gone before, and there may be people there who are mourning the recent loss of loved ones. This is not the time to shout “Eureka!” no matter how good the find is.

2. Dress Appropriately and Bring Supplies

Don’t wear your Sunday best. Wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty. Open-toe shoes are probably not a good idea. A hat, sunscreen and some water might make your trip more comfortable. A pair of clipping shears can be used to cut away grass that is in the way of the information on the marker. Wrap some aluminum foil around a piece of cardboard to help illuminate a marker that is hidden in shadows when you take a picture.

3. Take Pictures and Videos

Take a lot of pictures. And then take more. Take up close photos from all sides and photos from the distance that show surrounding graves. Also, many cameras and phones can take videos. This allows you to show markers in relation to each other. Check out my blog post “A Few Steps Closer to a Death Date and a Burial Place” for an example. Also check out “How to Photograph a Tombstone” and “Tips for Taking Great Cemetery Pictures” for more ideas on how to take pictures at the cemetery.

4. Check the Back of the Marker

There can be names, inscriptions or other information on the back of a grave marker. Don’t miss what might be an important clue.

5. Sketch a Map of the Marker

Sketch out a map of the marker and what is around it.  Make a note of anything you don’t want to trust to your memory. And don’t trust anything to memory!

6. Look for Surnames in Your Tree

Look around for surnames in your family tree. If you have the Ancestry.com app on your phone or tablet, you can easily look people up. If you see a name that sounds familiar, take a picture.

 Mitchell, Anne Gillespie, Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, 2 Aug 2010.

Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. Photo by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, 2 Aug 2010.

7. Check with the Office

If this your first time at this cemetery, call the cemetery office (or the church that runs the cemetery) and ask if there are rules you should be aware of and if there are records that you could see when you visit. Also, find out what the hours of the office are. (Also double-check the hours for the cemetery. You don’t want to plan an early morning visit only to discover they don’t open the gate until 9:30.) Do they have a copy machine?  Will they allow you to take pictures of documents?

8. Look for Indications of Military Service

If your ancestor served in the military, there may be a marker from the U.S. Veteran’s Administration, which will indicate that service. Some tombstone will even note the exact unit and his/her religion. Make sure to get good photos or take good notes. Or better yet, both! Here are some tips for understanding military tombstones.

9. Look for Symbols on the Marker

Symbols such as an anchor or praying hands may have meaning.  Check out “Gravestone Symbolism” and “Photo Gallery of Cemetery Symbols and Their Meanings” for more clues.

10. Look for Other Cemeteries

Your ancestors may not have all been buried in the same place. Check out online maps such as the  USGS topographic maps (free to download!) that often have cemeteries marked.  Also use the Cemetery Search on FindAGrave or the Search Cemeteries feature on the FindAGrave app. You may have driven by your ancestor’s final resting place and never have known it.

Happy Searching!

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What You Might Have Missed, July 7 Editionhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/07/what-you-might-have-missed-july-7-edition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-you-might-have-missed-july-7-edition http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/07/what-you-might-have-missed-july-7-edition/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:06:24 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=18491 Read more ]]> WDYTYABlog Posts
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Welcome to the Volunteer State: Tennessee State Research Guidehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/04/welcome-to-the-volunteer-state-tennesse-state-research-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=welcome-to-the-volunteer-state-tennesse-state-research-guide http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/04/welcome-to-the-volunteer-state-tennesse-state-research-guide/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 21:19:05 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=18405 Read more ]]> On June 1, 1796, Tennessee became the 16th State admitted to the Union.

Five things you might not have known about Tennessee:

  1. Before Tennessee became a state, in 1784, part of what would become the state became the State of Franklin; Franklin dissolved in 1788.
  2. Shelby County has more horses per capita than any other county in the United States.
  3. Tennessee became known as the Volunteer State  when volunteer soldiers displayed outstanding bravery in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.
  4. “The Grand Ole Opry,” broadcasting out of Nashville since 1925, is the longest continuously running live radio program in the world.
  5. Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home, is located in Memphis and is the second most visited house in the United States; the most visited is the White House.
Library of Congress, "Gates, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee," original digital file, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/highsm.04470/ : accessed 3 Jul 2014), photo taken 2008, Reproduction no. LC-DIG-highsm-04470

Library of Congress, “Gates, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee,” original digital file, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/highsm.04470/ : accessed 3 Jul 2014), photo taken 2008, Reproduction no. LC-DIG-highsm-04470

Our new free state guide, “Tennessee Research Guide: Family History Sources in the Volunteer State,” has an overview and timeline of the state, along with resources to explore when searching for your Mississippi ancestors.

Guides for other states are also available in the Learning Center under Free State Research Guides.

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Ask Ancestry Anne: Why Can’t I Find My World War II Veterans Records?http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/02/ask-ancestry-anne-why-cant-i-find-my-world-war-ii-veterans-records/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ask-ancestry-anne-why-cant-i-find-my-world-war-ii-veterans-records http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/02/ask-ancestry-anne-why-cant-i-find-my-world-war-ii-veterans-records/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 19:05:43 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=18299 Read more ]]> A question we hear a lot is: “I’ve searched and searched, but I can’t find records of my grandfather’s service in WWII. Am I doing something wrong?” Same for WWI, Korean War and Vietnam War records.

You probably aren’t doing anything wrong. There’s a good chance the records may still be private or they may have been destroyed in a fire.

Privacy for Veterans

Veterans’ records are not accessible to the public until 62 years after the veteran has separated from the service. So if your veteran was still in the service after 1952, only he or she or an authorized person can access that veteran’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF).  You can learn more about these veterans and obtaining their records from the National Archives’ article, “Access to Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) – for the General Public.”

If your veteran separated from the service before 1953, which includes most from WWII and earlier conflicts, you can have access to their Official Military Personnel File. For more on access to these files at NARA, which are not available digitally at this time, you should take a look at NARA’s “Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Holdings.”

Disastrous Fire at the Military Personnel Record Center in St. Louis

Federal military records starting with WWI are kept at the Military Personnel Record Center.  Then on July 12, 1973 there was a fire:

fire

Southern Illinoisan, 13 July 1973, page 1. Accessed on Newspapers.com.

Not all records were lost, but it is estimated that over 80 percent of Army records for personnel discharged between 1912 and 1960 were destroyed and 75 percent of the Air Force records for those who were discharged between 1947 and 1964 were. No Navy, Marine, or Coast Guard records were lost. “The 1973 Fire, National Personnel Records Center” gives more information on what was lost, what happened during the fire, and the work being done to preserve and recover what was left.

Finding World War II Records on Ancestry.com and Fold3

While not all records exist and not every record has been digitized, there is still a lot for you to look at.

If you start on our Military page, you can focus your search by conflict, by clicking on World War II

world war ii

 

Or if you want to see what individual collections we have, try the Ancestry.com Card Catalog filtering by Military and World War II or the Fold3 World War II title list, which includes:

Listings and records for other wars can be found in the same way.

Why Your Soldier May Not Show Up in the WWII Draft Registration Cards

Most of the WWII draft registration cards are not yet available in digitized form. First, you’ll need to determine which of the drafts your ancestor may have been in and discover whether they are on Ancestry or whether you will need to obtain them from NARA. Also, your ancestor may have enlisted and never filled out a draft card.

There were 7 drafts taken for the U.S. in World War II:

  1. 16 Oct. 1940: all men between the ages of 21 and 31
  2. 1 Jul. 1941: all men who reached 21 since the first registration
  3. 16 Feb. 1942: all men between ages 20 and 21 and between 35 and 44 (Note: Some of these are available on Ancestry.com)
  4. 27 Apr. 1942: all men between the ages of 45 and 65 (Note: This is called the “Old Man’s Draft” and these men were not expected to serve; these records are available on Ancestry.com)
  5. 30 Jun. 1942: all men between ages of 18 and 20
  6. Dec. 1942: all men who had turned 18 since the last registration
  7. 16 Dec. 1943: all men living abroad between the ages of 18 and 44

You might also want to check out our research guide: Find Them in World War II

Happy  Searching!

 

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What You Might Have Missed: June 30th Editionhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/06/30/what-you-might-have-missed-june-30th-edition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-you-might-have-missed-june-30th-edition http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/06/30/what-you-might-have-missed-june-30th-edition/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 18:43:31 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=18181 Read more ]]> Blog Posts
Library of Congress, “531(?) Chance Mine,” print from black and white negative, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, ( http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/96515275/ : accessed 25 Jun 2014), Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-116688

Library of Congress, “531(?) Chance Mine,” print from black and white negative,
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, ( http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/96515275/ : accessed 25 Jun 2014), Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-116688

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