Your Quick Tips, 26 February 2007

Tax Photos
I greatly enjoy your column in the Journal and thought other readers might enjoy a resource I found exciting.
I was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., as were my parents and grandparents. My great-grandparents lived in New York City thru 1935. I have assembled all their addresses over the years verified by birth, marriage, and death records, as well as census records. I had always thought it would be interesting to have a photo of each residence but the task seemed daunting.

One day, I came across the NYC Department of Records Tax Photographs program. New York City photographed each and every residence in all five boroughs in the late thirties and early forties and makes them available for purchase. I have purchased photographs for each address and now have a remarkable visual image of three generations of my family. Perhaps others of New York City origins would enjoy doing the same.

Norman B. Buckman
Ocean Grove, N.J. Continue reading

The Year Was 1935

Dust Storm, Baca County, Colorado, 1935 (From Library of Congress Collection at Ancestry)The year was 1935 and the United States was in the midst of the “Great Depression.” The unemployment rate was 20.1 percent, meaning roughly one in five workers was out of a job. In his State of the Union address, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt states that “A large proportion of these unemployed and their dependents have been forced on the relief rolls.” He is concerned that, “To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America. Work must be found for able-bodied but destitute workers.”

To address these concerns, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) is created. The WPA ultimately employed more than 8 million workers and built 116,000 buildings, 78,000 bridges, more than half a million miles of roads, airports, and parks. Other projects that are of particular interest to family historians include the indexing of many government records, most notably the creation of the Soundex indexes to the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 federal censuses. Other projects included indexes to vital and naturalization records, inventories of archives, and oral histories.  Continue reading

Photo Corner

Gustav Roger von Blucher, born in Denmark 1842, died in Copenhagen 1895Contributed by Christina Blucher-Manning
This is a photo of my great-grandfather, Gustav Roger von Blucher (born in Denmark 1842, died in Copenhagen 1895), in his military uniform. He fought in the American Civil War, having enlisted into the Union Army in Washington D.C. as a 2nd Lieutenant at the age of nineteen.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Everard Bryant, 21 Apr 1893 in Waldo, Maine, wearing uniform of the fraternal group of the Modern Woodmen of AmericaContributed by Bruce MacDonald, Hanover, Pa.
Everard Bryant was my great-grandfather. He was born on 21 Apr 1893 in Waldo, Maine. In the picture he is wearing a uniform of the fraternal group of the Modern Woodmen of America. The picture was taken in 1921. He would pass away on 30 Jan 1963 in Auburn, Maine.

New Database: British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920 Release One

British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920, Joseph Tobin, page 1Ancestry has posted a database of British Army WWI Pension Records (1914-1920) online. Approximately 5 million men served in the British Army in World War One (WWI). This database contains service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who were discharged from the Army and claimed disability pensions for service in WWI. These were also men who did not re-enlist in the Army prior to World War II. This first release contains records for surnames beginning A & B. Full surname range coverage will be realised in Release 2.

These records contain a variety of forms, including:

  • Attestation forms – the form completed by the individual on enlistmentBritish Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920, Joseph Tobin, page 2
  • Medical history forms
  • Casualty forms
  • Disability statements
  • Regimental conduct sheets
  • Awards Continue reading

New Publication: Finding Your Mexican Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide

Finding Your Mexican Ancestors, by George and Peggy Ryscamp Ancestry has announced the release of a new publication by George and Peggy Ryscamp for those seeking to learn about their ancestors in Mexico.  Finding Your Mexican Ancestors is essential to any researcher looking to trace their heritage across the Rio Grande. The authors show how easy Mexican American research can be by providing detailed descriptions of parish records, civil records, and other types of records common in Mexico.

This book makes it clear that Mexicans kept very good records, and outlines where to find such resources, and how to use them. In addition, it provides a basic introduction to the Spanish vocabulary researchers are likely to encounter in their research, and includes useful Mexican historical and geographical context.

You can buy Finding Your Mexican Ancestors in the Ancestry Store for $16.95.

Ancestry Adds Wisconsin State Censuses for 1895 and 1905–Index and Images

Wisconsin State Census 1905-.jpgAncestry has posted the 1895 and 1905 Wisconsin State Censuses to its collection. Both indexes include links to images of the census records.

The 1895 Wisconsin State Census only lists the head of household by name, and lists the number of males and the number of females, as well as the number of U.S. born residents in the houshold.

The 1905 Wisconsin State Census lists all members of the household and also adds:

  • Relationship to head of household
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Birthplace
  • Parents’ birthplace
  • Occupation
  • Months employed
  • Home ownership

Both censuses cover all counties that existed at the time. This is basically all modern counties with the exceptions of Rusk (not included in the 1895 census because it was not created until 1905) and Menominee (not included in either year since it wasn’t created until 1961).

Click on the image to enlarge the sample page from the 1905 Census.

Search the 1895 and 1905 Wisconsin State Censuses.

More on “Gretna Greens”

Courthouse in Crown Point, IndianaIn the February 12 article on Love and Marriage we discussed the possibility that a couple may have eloped to a nearby “Gretna Green”–a place where it was easier to get married. Yesterday, Arlene Eakle posted on this same subject on her blog. It lists some twenty or so Gretna Greens and requests that if you know of one not on her list, that you let her know by dropping her a line. I you’re still searching for a marriage record for one of your ancestors, check out her list.

Weekly Planner: Google a Person, Place, or Thing

Ever wondered what great-grandma’s hometown in Ireland looked like? Google the town. Need to know if a historical figure has ties to your family history? Google his or her biography. Is that disease great-grandmother and her sister died of hereditary? Google the disease. Where did grandma get that crazy teapot? Google the manufacturer’s name that is on the bottom and add some descriptive keywords. In many cases, the answers to questions like these are just a few clicks away.

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