U.S. Agricultural Census Schedules

by George G. Morgan  

You would think that after all these years of researching my great-grandfather, Green Berry Holder, that there would be few resources I had not checked. However, I will be the first to tell you that there is always something new to find–and to learn.

U.S. federal census records are a common starting point for most American researchers after they have gathered information from home sources. The population schedules were used for censuses from 1790 to 2000, including the 1885 census for Colorado, the Dakota Territory, Florida, Nebraska, and the New Mexico Territory. The cost for the 1885 enumeration was split between the federal and state/territorial governments. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Did Grandpa and Grandma Immigrate Too?

from Michael John Neill

Don’t overlook Grandpa and Grandpa in your search for immigrant ancestors. When it is determined that an ancestor emigrated as an adult, the thought many times is that the parents remained in the old country, never to see their child again. This is not necessarily so. There were no age limits on immigration and ship manifests are scattered with names of individuals in their sixties and seventies leaving their homeland.

Widows or widowers whose children had all left were more likely to emigrate, perhaps when the last child left. It may explain why an elderly couple has disappeared in the old country.

In my research, when one set of my ancestors disappeared from the church records of their local parish, I assumed it was because they moved to a nearby parish and I had just failed to locate them. A comprehensive search of census and cemetery records for the children in the United States located them on the opposite side of the Atlantic. They were enumerated with a married daughter in the 1870 census and are buried in the same cemetery as that daughter. So if Grandpa and Grandma are lost, don’t neglect the possibility that they might have crossed the pond as well.

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Your Quick Tips

James Kelly tombstone, Calvary Cemetery, Brooklyn, New YorkExercise in the Cemetery
I’ve started walking my dog every day to get some exercise. One of our routes takes us past one of the largest cemeteries in the county. I’ve decided to start transcribing the cemetery and send it to the GENWEB coordinator for our county when I’m done. It gives me an extra incentive to take those walks and will hopefully someday help a few genealogists!!

Jolynn Winland Continue reading

The Year Was 1849

Letter from California, Alton Telegraph And Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois), 01 June 1849The year was 1849 and in the United States rumblings of the Civil War were becoming louder. The year began with James Knox Polk as president, and on March 5, Zachary Taylor, often called “Old Rough and Ready,” took the oath of office. A popular war hero, he would have little time to make an impact because of his sudden death in July of 1850.

Americans were flocking to the gold fields of California. Click on the newspaper image on the right to read a letter from California that was printed in the Alton Telegraph And Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) on 01 June 1849.

In the upper Midwest, Minnesota became a United States territory. It encompassed 166,000 square miles of land that was originally part of the Iowa and Wisconsin Territories. This included the current area of Minnesota, as well as some of the Dakotas. Continue reading

Photo Corner: Lt. Francis J. McCarton and Emma (Alander) Koskinen Randa

Francis J. McCarton


Contributed by Michael Timmons
Michael’s great-grandfather, Francis J. McCarton (1854-1907), a Lieutenant in the New York Police Department


 Emma (Alander) Koskinen Randa, 1910Click on the photographs to enlarge them.


Contributed by Gloria Hawkins Draper, Emmett, Idaho
Gloria’s grandmother, Emma (Alander) Koskinen Randa, 1910, Brooklyn, New York. Emma immigrated from Finland in 1906 and married Nicholas Randa in 1911.

NARA Budget Update-Action Alert

The National Coalition for History (NCH) website has posted an update on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) budget cuts in its latest Action Alert. This issue outlines possible cuts and provides helpful information for communicating your concerns to your local senators. You can read the entire text on the NCH website.

Calendar History, by Mary Penner

calendarWhile hanging out along the Nile River with Cleopatra, Julius Caesar may have picked up the idea of using the sun to calculate the length of the calendar year from Egyptian astronomers. The roughly 355 day Roman calendar was an irksome mess that needed regular tinkering to align it with the seasons.  Days or months were inserted or taken away every now and then.  This was understandably annoying to the populace.

When Caesar returned triumphantly to Rome in 47 B.C., he decided to launch a new calendar similar to the Egyptian model.  The new solar calendar had a 365 day and 6 hour year with an extra day thrown in every four years to account for the extra hours. After a vexing year of calendar adjustments making 46 B.C last 455 days, the new calendar, known as the Julian calendar, commenced on January 1, 45 B.C.  The Julian calendar would reign for centuries to come. Continue reading