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  • U.S. Passport Applications, 1787-1925 
  • Historic U.S. & Canada Atlases, 1591-2000 
  • Major U.S. & Canada Newspaper Update 
  • North Dakota State Census, 1915 & 1925 
  • Oklahoma Territorial Census, 1890 & 1907 
  • Southern Claims Commission Records 
  • Stars and Stripes, Pacific Theater, 1942-1964


Weekly Planner: Five Questions about Your Family

In honor of Family History Month, your challenge is to answer five questions from each Weekly Planner topic–or make up five of your own. This week’s topic is family. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • How has a member of your family influenced you?
  • How often did you see extended family (e.g., aunts, uncles, cousins), and what was it like when you all got together?
  • What kind of traditions did/does your family observe? Were there special ways you celebrated birthdays? Holidays?
  • Did your family have pets?
  • What foods did you family enjoy? Was there a special dish that was always on the table at family get-togethers?

Feel free to share your memories in the Comments section of this post; or, if you have a blog, post a link to your responses. Your memory may help spark the memories of other readers who had similar experiences. For more interesting questions, see

Previous challenges:

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Hidden Treasure: Miscellaneous and Loose Papers, by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

Old deeds.bmpSome of my favorite records are those labeled as “miscellaneous” or “loose.” Miscellaneous can mean the data in the back of a totally unrelated record book or on the back of a note or index card.

Do you have a relative who says “I really don’t have anything about Great-grandma Hazel’s ancestry?” Yet, in a collection of “loose” papers, they have a stack of family funeral cards that were kept by Hazel.
Miscellaneous records can be found in major repositories. The Family History Library Catalog includes some miscellaneous court and vital records. Some state and other archive online catalogs or in-house inventories show volumes of “Miscellaneous Records” for a town or county. A check of the catalog of the Missouri State Archives using only the word miscellaneous yields “Miscellaneous Court Records.” The subject tracings include “elections,” so I would check this out to see if any personal names are listed.

The North Carolina State Archives has informative descriptions of what may be found in county records it holds and miscellaneous records are frequently listed. One item listed is “Miscellaneous Court Records: Includes boxes of miscellaneous court records and dockets from both Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions and Superior Court.” It is possible that some miscellaneous records are not found in court indexes. Continue reading

After the Brick Wall Falls, by George G. Morgan

Holder familyYou may remember my column in the 3 September 2007 Ancestry Weekly Journal titled The Joys of Genealogical Collaboration! (Or, Brisco Holder is Found). It was there that I was able to proclaim that my great-uncle, Brisco Washington Holder, had at last been found. Through help from one the listeners to our The Genealogy Guys Podcast, Brisco’s death certificate was located in Missouri. He had died in the City of St. Louis on 17 May 1949, and not in “the mid-1920s,” as the family stories were told. Great-uncle Brisco had been my outstanding brick wall for almost twenty years, and it was the mystery of his fate that has prevented my writing a book about that Holder family story.

Now that the brick wall has fallen, I have new locations and a new life span to research. The initial shock of the discovery and the “happy dance” elation have worn off, and I am ready to research Brisco with renewed zeal. It is easy to just dive in and search every venue possible. However, I realize that I need to outline a research plan that builds on what I know. That plan can develop further as I learn more, but I have to organize my search if I am going to effectively locate additional information. Here is my research outline, along with what I have researched in the last month. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Make Note of It, from Michael John Neill

A great idea for an article hit me while I was changing terminals at the Memphis Airport. Unfortunately, by the time I got something out on which I could record the idea for later, it was too late. It was gone. The greatest genealogy tip ever lost for good.

How many of us have parts of our genealogical information recorded only in our minds? Did we make assumptions about a date, a place, or an event and fail to record those assumptions in our notes? Did we reach a conclusion from a series of documents and fail to record our reasoning in our notes? There is always the chance that our assumption or line of reasoning was incorrect and if we fail to note such in our records it sometimes is difficult to see where facts left off and “concluding” began.

And what information is still resident only in the minds of living family members? Traditions, stories, the identities of people in old pictures, the reason Grandpa moved to Kansas, and other bits of family lore may exist only in the depths of someone’s mind? Have you taken the time to record that information in a more permanent format? If you don’t, it too could be lost forever, much like my “greatest genealogy tip of all time” is floating somewhere around the Memphis airport. Hopefully it won’t interfere with airplane navigation.

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Your Quick Tips, 22 October 2007

Too Many Slides?
Like many families, mine took a lot of slides. To have prints made of these, even at home, would prove costly. Using a multi-function scanner is no prize either. What I have done is set up a slide projector and a screen (if no screen is available a white wall or a white sheet will do) and a digital camera on a tripod. When all equipment is in place I show a slide, then zoom in to capture the picture. I then click through the carousel taking a picture of the slides I want. Of course I later download them to the computer. It works wonderfully.
Tom Hennessy
Desoto, Texas Continue reading

The Year Was 1927

1927 Mississippi River Flood.bmpThe year was 1927 and a joyous crowd greeted Charles Lindbergh in France after he completed the first trans-Atlantic flight, covering 3,610 miles in thirty-three and a half hours. His reception when he arrived back in the U.S. aboard the “U.S.S. Memphis” was even greater where he was honored in Washington, D.C., and in New York—more than 4 million people lined a parade route to catch a glimpse of the aviator that had taken the world by storm.

Across the country, another pioneer was following his dream. Philo T. Farnsworth had an idea for an invention he called television and in January 1927 he applied for a patent. In September of 1927, he successfully broadcasted his first image over a chemistry flask that he used as his first picture tube and an industry was born that transformed the world.

Mexico had been struggling with the separation of church and state and in 1917 a series of laws were enacted that forbid worship outside of churches, restricted religious organizations’ rights to hold property, and deprived church officials of basic rights. At first the laws were only selectively applied, but with changes in the country’s leadership, the laws were enforced more stringently and sometimes brutally. Resistance started with several uprisings in 1926 and on 1 January a formal rebellion began with a proclamation by the rebel forces. The Cristeros War was set into motion and would continue until an agreement was reached in 1929.

Unusually heavy rains in the central U.S. that persisted from late 1926 through the spring of 1927 caused catastrophic flooding. The Mississippi River grew more than seventy miles wide in some places. The area affected was roughly the size of New England. Continue reading

Photo Corner

Charles Aolph Thomas, 1849-1936 Contributed by Donna Tougas, Warwick, Rhode Island
This is Charles Aolph Thomas, 1849-1936 (photo ca. 1879-85). He was a great-great-grandfather to my daughters, Wendy and Jenn Thomas. We call him Civil War Thomas. He lived in South Carolina and fought in the Civil War when he was about thirteen years old. Many years later, he moved north and raised a family in Rhode Island. He hung around the Veterans Hall with his friends so everyone knew he fought in the war. He passed away in 1936. At that time he was given a big “send off.” His casket was placed on a horse and buggy and paraded through town before the burial. It wasn’t until several weeks later that everyone realized he had fought for the South and not for the North! He had to be having a good laugh. 

Click on the image to enlarge it.  

Evelyn Gail Merriman (July 31, 1876 to Nov. 11, 1951). Contributed by Karen Schultze, Toms River, New Jersey
This is a photo of my great-grandmother, Evelyn Gail Merriman (July 31, 1876 to Nov. 11, 1951). She was born in Yonkers, New York and lived most of her life there. The last few years of her life she lived in Laurelton, New Jersey, (now known as Brick, New Jersey). She married George Allen Kimball, and they had four daughters, her daughter Ethel was my grandmother. This photo was taken around 1910-11.

Alex Haley’s Nephew Takes the DNA Plunge

I was doing some blog surfing this morning and ran across a post by Megan Smolenyak on her RootsTelevision blog. Thirty years after Alex Haley’s miniseries Roots aired, his nephew took things a step further and had his DNA tested at the FGS Conference in Fort Wayne this past August. RootsTelevision filmed him taking the test, and I have to say, I don’t recall ever seeing someone entertain with a cotton swab. 

Beyond Chris Haley’s test though, I also discovered a library of DNA stories that I thought were very interesting. You can check them out at RootsTelevision’s DNA Channel.