Federation of Genealogical Societies 2008 Conference Blog Updates

fgs2008Phil.bmpThe FGS 2008 conference takes place this coming September 2-6 in Philadelphia. Many past conference attendees, libraries, historical societies and others have received the detailed sixteen-page conference program and registration info in the mail. If you have not received one, please check out the full program, registration and hotel details and more at www.fgs.org. Both the conference and the city promise a wealth of history.

To keep up to date on conference details, extended info on speakers and vendors, tourism, and nearby sites, visit the conference blog at www.fgsconference.org/blog/. Recent and upcoming additions to the blog include extended details on speakers, vendors, and conference events. Check back periodically to see more details on those presenting the lectures and words from the vendors that will be filling the rapidly filling Exhibit Hall.

See you in Philly in just four months!

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
FGS 2008 Blog Editor

New at Ancestry

Ancestry____logo.bmpPosted this week: 

Weekly Planner: Re-Visit and Re-Search

Internet resources and databases are ever-changing and those at Ancestry are no exception. Make it a point this week to re-visit databases you haven’t searched in a while. New content is constantly being added and you may find that a tweak in search functionality has uncovered the ancestors that had evaded you in the past. You may also find that another researcher has posted a correction to the record of an ancestor that you had been unable to locate because of a mangled name or mis-transcription. Not only does this allow you to find that elusive ancestor, but you may find a new cousin to research with through the Ancestry Connection Service!

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Your Family’s Religious Historical Context, by George G. Morgan

Throughout history, religious organizations have provided strength, stability, and support in their communities. Beyond the spiritual aspects of their activities, they also have provided a focal point for social interaction. Members formed strong common bonds with one another, often resulting in marriages between families.

Sometimes you may find that large numbers of a congregation’s members relocated to other geographical areas or split from their original group to form a new congregation.
Your family may have been part of a religious group that migrated from one area to another. One of my own ancestors came from Scotland–through Ireland–to America in the early 1700s and settled in Cecil County, Maryland. He came with his parents, two of his brothers and their families, his minister, and at least twenty other families. These Presbyterians migrated through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and to Mecklenburg County in the southern part of North Carolina in the late 1740s.

They settled and established a new church in that area which, over time, produced other Presbyterian churches in the vicinity. These people went on to build a community and to become active in civil affairs, including the organization of resistance and rebellion against the English crown. Published histories of the congregations detail the founding of these churches and recount the activities of its members throughout the centuries.

Not every church or synagogue has a history filled with extraordinary events, but the role it played in the community is no less significant. A book titled “Pressing Toward The Mark,” written by Bill Page, was published in 1991 by the First Baptist Church of Mebane, North Carolina, on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the church. It contains a history of the church and its place in the history of that area. It provides membership statistics, detailed biographical information about every pastor, the names and details of a number of prominent members, the names and terms of pastors, clerks, treasurers, Sunday schools superintendents, and directors of the Women’s Missionary Society/Union, as well as the names of all members at the time of publication.

In addition, there are photographs included of pastors, groups, individuals, and significant events in the church’s history. I found my own grandfather in a photograph of the 1947 groundbreaking ceremony for a new building. As a result, I was able to conduct some additional research to learn more about my grandparents’ membership and activities in the church, as well as details about my mother and her sisters.

Locating the Histories
Some congregations’ histories may be formally published in book form while others may only be typed and photocopied. You are sure to find a copy in the church or synagogue library, and chances are good you will find a copy at the local public library. Other sources for such histories are the national or regional administrative locations for the religious group, the state archives or state library, and genealogical or historical societies. Continue reading

Where Was It Written? by Michael John Neill

In theory, the genealogist locates every scrap of paper they can for an ancestor. The reality is different. When obtaining everything is not possible, it may be helpful to ask, “What record could contain the information I am looking for?” This week we look at taking that approach and the opportunities and limitations that come with it.

We will start with Nancy Newman, born in 1846 in Rush County, Indiana. Where can I find a proof of that date and place? First of all I need to consider:

~ Civil birth record. Red Book by Ancestry Publishing could provide information on the civil records in this time and place. A variety of websites could also provide similar information. The key is to make certain information about the availability of records is accurate. Generally speaking websites of state archives, state departments of health, or county and town offices of vital records are good places to start. Google searches or references on county and state USGenWeb pages are excellent way to locate these sites. None are available for the state and time period.

~ Church records. The family was Baptist and the chance that church records mention her birth are slight.

~ Newspapers. Birth announcements were rare during this time period in this location.

These types of records are most likely ones to be sources of primary information about Nancy’s birth–information recorded by someone with firsthand knowledge of the event closely after the date of the event.

Other possible primary sources of information about Nancy’s birth would be letters or diaries written close to the time of the event. A letter written by a cousin one hundred or even ten years after the fact by someone who had never lived near Nancy’s family would not be considered a primary source. However, most of us do not have letters and diaries.

Consequently, we need to expand our searching to other records that might provide information on Nancy’s birth. Unfortunately, this type of information usually becomes secondary and not primary. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Never Been There Before? Give Yourself a Tour

from Paula Stuart Warren, CG

Never been to a research place before? Did you check for a website to learn where to park, see if the catalog or other finding aids are online, or learn if there are tours or classes about using that facility? On location, look for signs about tours, classes, or a video. At the very least, give yourself a tour.

As I write this, I am sitting in the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I haven’t been here since last September. A self-tour was top on my list of tasks for the day. I wanted to refresh my memory about where specific things were located. Next on my list was browsing the labels on the microfilm cabinets; I found a collection I didn’t know was here.

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Your Quick Tips, 28 April 2008

Photograph Your Contact Information
After inserting a fresh memory card in your camera, take a shot of a card or page with your contact information–whether name and address or just a phone number. My newspaper recently included a lost and found item where a person found a memory card in a store parking lot. This could be a really devastating loss for some of us. With the identifying information on the memory chip, the finder may be able to contact you to return it.
Thank you,
Sharon Continue reading

The Year Was 1805

Bombardment of TripoliThe year was 1805 and determined to strike back at Napoleon, Britain, Austria, Russia, Sweden, and several German states form the Third Coalition. One of the most the most famous battles of that war was fought at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. British Naval forces under the command of Admiral Viscount Lord Nelson defeated the French and Spanish, although the battle cost the admiral his life. Napoleon’s troops were faring better on land though. They defeated Austrian forces in the Battle of Ulm in Germany and Austrian and Russian forces at Austerlitz, which is now in the Czech Republic.

In the United States, Indiana Territory was split up and the Michigan Territory was created on 30 June 1805. One of the first acts of the new government was to lay out plans to rebuild the town of Detroit, which had burned to the ground on 11 June 1805. 300 houses were lost and 500 residents were left homeless.

Thomas Jefferson had just been elected to his second term and Lewis and Clark were off on their historic expedition. In October, as they made their way through what is now Idaho, it appears that they experienced a weather phenomenon called a “thunderstorm heatburst”–a rush of very hot wind that bursts ahead of an approaching thunderstorm.  Then, in November of 1805 the explorers reached the Pacific Ocean. They had traveled 4,000 miles in nineteen months. 

The United States had been fighting a war with the Barbary States, a group of African states that supported piracy. Barbary pirates preyed on ships of countries that had not paid tributes to the states. In 1801 the Pasha of Tripoli had declared war on the newly formed (and financially burdened) United States because it didn’t have enough money to pay tributes. The war with Tripoli ended with United States Marines attacking the city of Derna in Tripoli. 

Image: Bombardment of Tripoli from the Library of Congress Photo Collection at Ancestry.

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Photo Corner

James Samuel Edwards (left) and Archibald Pope (right)Submitted by Jerry Merle Hicks Bailey
This tintype picture shows my great-great-grandfathers, James Samuel Edwards (left) and Archibald Pope (right). Mr. Edwards fought with Company G, 64th Georgia Infantry, and participated in the Battle of the Crater during the siege of Petersburg. Mr. Pope fought with Company H, 15th Alabama Infantry and was wounded at Fussell’s Mill in the Richmond Petersburg campaign.

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George Bartram (age seven) and Bob Bartram (age two) Contributed by Marie Bartram Goodin
My oldest two brothers, George (age seven) and Bob Bartram (age two) examine their car carefully before taking a ride. The picture was taken in Kokomo, Indiana, in or about 1922.