Weekly Planner: Shake Things up This Spring!

Juliana's DaffodilsSpring is finally here and for me it comes the urge to clean house, organize, and rearrange. I love putting a fresh shine on everything; it feels like a new start. A good portion of my efforts will go into my family history office. It’s a good time to take stock. Look at what is working for you and what is not–and make some changes. Do you have a setup for new information that needs to be processed? In other words, when you find new data, but don’t have time to analyze it, enter it into your database, file it, share it, etc., does it end up in a big pile? Try a tray or folder system with sections for each task in your process so that when your research gets interrupted midstream, you can put it in its appropriate tray or folder and know where you left off. Is your office setup working for you? Maybe it’s time to purge some of those file cabinets or rearrange things to make resources easier to access. Take a look around your workspace and start your spring cleaning today. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you’ll be in your newly organized environment!

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Stumped? Have You Checked for These Records? Part 5: Marks and Brands, by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

Cattle brands. Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. Canyon, Texas (from LOC Historical Photo Collection at Ancestry.com)Wouldn’t it be neat to have a drawing of an ancestor’s cow, horse, or sheep, or learn the color and size of the animals? You just might be able to find this.

When animals wandered around town or were freely grazing in vast lands of the West, marks and brands helped to prove who the animals belonged to. Have you ever seen a branding iron or a picture of one? Branding a farm animal with a hot branding iron is a way to distinguish the animals of one farm or ranch from that of another. Marks, usually on ears as a tattoo or a clipped portion, are another way.

Marks and brands are found all the way back to ancient times and exist all around the world. In the U.S., laws and customs vary as to when the practice began in an area but it continues to today, usually under the auspices of the state agricultural department. Though we are talking about animals today, logging companies also marked the cut logs to differentiate theirs from other companies.

Useful for Genealogists
Genealogists can search for older brand and mark registrations that detail an ancestor’s specific mark or brand. Some of the designs found in older town and county record books are quite intricate; perhaps a family member or the clerk had a creative and artistic side. Continue reading

Bragging Rights, by Maureen Taylor

Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt which she made, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940 (from LOC Historical Photo Collection at Ancestry.com) There are many ways to tell your family story. You can write a genealogy, create a DVD, or design a family website. But there are other options, too. You could make a quilt. These testaments to a women’s skill with a needle are centuries old. Traditionally, bed coverings are collections of colorful cloth stitched together into a pattern. Each one is a valuable family treasure and artifact, yet some are more family history oriented than others.

Signature Quilts
Signature quilts feature names. They became popular in the mid-1800s when friends and relatives would make them as going away gifts for families moving away. Each block of fabric features a signature in stitching. Today, there are variations that include transferring historical signatures from documents or showing off your penmanship using permanent markers. If you want to learn more about creating one, follow the tips and instructions on Equilters.com.

Photo Quilts
Instead of handwriting, how about turning your quilt into a fabric photo album? Each block contains an image. All you need is a scan of a picture or document, some photo transfer paper, fabric for a quilt, and an iron. Photo transfer paper is readily available in fabric stores and art supply shops. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Estimating Dates of Birth Using Ages, from Michael John Neill

Ages given in any document can easily be incorrect and care must be taken when using an age to infer a year or date of birth for an ancestor. That said, it still is important to remember what an age on a given date means–the age as of that date. If Elizabeth’s age is listed as fifty years on 6 August 1832, then at the youngest, she had just turned fifty on that date. At the oldest, she was one day shy of her 51st birthday. So Elizabeth could have been born on 6 August 1782 (if she had just turned 50) or as early as 7 August 1781.

Of course, this potential range of birthdates makes the assumption that Elizabeth knew when she was born, that she actually reported the age herself and gave her true age, and that the age has been transcribed correctly from the record. Any birth date, or range of birth dates, calculated from an age should be clearly sourced and noted in your records. Keep in mind that many times such ages will potentially conflict with one another and often with sources providing primary information about the event.

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Your Quick Tips, 26 March 2007

Add E-mail Address to Address Labels
I had some return address labels printed with the second line being my e-mail address. I sometimes forget to provide that information. I have my e-mail address on letterhead, but I don’t always write a letter. I only use these labels for genealogy-related items. It also eliminates four lines you might have to fill in on a submission form.

Barbara Continue reading

The Year Was 1800

U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. (from Historical Postcard Collection at Ancestry.com).jpgThe year was 1800 and it was the year of the second census of the United States. It began on the first Monday in August and took nine months to complete. The population of the U.S. was 5.3 million. There were thirty-three cities or towns with populations of more than 2,500 and only 6.1 percent of the population lived in those areas. The remaining 93.9 percent of the population lived in rural areas. 

On the British Isles, legislation passed uniting Great Britain and Ireland creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the 1798 uprising aimed at Catholic Emancipation and parliamentary reform, uniting Ireland with Great Britain was seen as a way to keep Ireland from completely separating and possibly providing a too-close-for-comfort haven for its enemies. The move was unpopular in Ireland and did nothing to ease tensions.

Following successes against the Austrians in Italy, Belgium, and the Rhineland, the young General Napoleon Bonaparte ended up stranded in Egypt at the hands of the British after Admiral Horatio Nelson destroyed the French fleet anchored off the coast of Egypt. He secretly fled Egypt in August of 1799, abandoning his 30,000 troops. Seeking to secure his position as leader of France, he led an army across the Alps and through the Great St. Bernard Pass. Despite great losses on both sides, Napoleon’s army was victorious and the Austrians signed a treaty with France the following year. Continue reading

Photo Corner

William Herbert Fyfe, 1870-1959, born in Beechworth, VictoriaContributed by Robert Fyfe, Australia
We are fairly certain this dapper young fellow is William Herbert Fyfe, 1870-1959, born in Beechworth, Victoria, possibly on his wedding day 3 September 1903, Nathalia, Victoria, Australia. Is there anybody out there fashion wise enough to tell me if those clothes are early 1900s?

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Frederick Jerome Bowers, taken during WWII Contributed by Catherine Southworth
This photo of Frederick Jerome Bowers, my father, was taken during WWII while he was stationed in England. He went Scotland and had his photograph taken. He must have been thinking about his McLarty ancestors who came to North Carolina in the 1700s.

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