Documents of genealogical value are found in many different repositories including government offices, Family History Centers, libraries and archives. Manuscript collections housed at libraries, archives and museums provide valuable information written by your ancestor’s neighbors, fellow community members, friends and even other family members. Manuscript collections include diaries/journals, letters, organizational records, theses and dissertations, basically dany kind of unpublished documents. One place to search for manuscript collections is through the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC), http://www.loc.gov/coll/nucmc/. When searching a manuscript collection, try several search strategies including searching by surname and locality.
Archive for 2009
by Gena Philibert Ortega
We are as one with our ancestors and children
–Rosita Worl Tlingit
One of the problems I hear from genealogists is that the younger generation isn’t interested in family history; that the genealogists of today have no one to pass down their genealogy to when they die. I think genealogy, like most hobbies, is one of those activities that one has to be introduced to and partake in before really becoming interested. For kids, the prospect of researching in libraries, government offices and cemeteries may not sound exciting. But how you introduce the idea of learning about ancestors to the younger generation may make all the difference and help start them on a lifelong pursuit. The following three ideas can help to introduce family history to the children in your life.
Tell Stories. I have always loved genealogy and the reason is that my maternal grandmother told me stories of her grandmother and other ancestors. And she didn’t tell me stories that made everyone look like angels. No, she told me stories about the hardships in their lives and what they did despite them. I felt like I knew these long-dead family members, because my grandmother had told me stories about them.
The stories you share with children don’t have to be just about dead ancestors. What about telling them what life was like when you were young? Share stories of your childhood, technology that you used, places you went to, what you did for fun. I know my kids are just shocked to hear that we did not have color TV when I was younger and that my mom didn’t have TV until she was in high school. I think sharing this information with kids helps give them some perspective on life.
Not sure what to share about your life? Consult one of the many books that help guide you through the process of telling your life story. Your Life and Times, by Stephen and Julia Arthur, available through the World Vital Records store, http://store.worldvitalrecords.com/other/guides-and-manuals/your-life-and-times-sku_180.html, for $5.50, can do just that.
Share Photos and Documents. My kids start getting the glazed look in their eyes whenever genealogy is mentioned. But when I tell them about their great-great grandfather and how he fought in World War I, they get excited. When I show them pictures of the ship he was stationed on in the Navy, it brings it to life for them. Names and dates mean nothing to non-genealogists; it’s the pictures and documents that bring everything to life.
Don’t have photos of your ancestor? Try online digitized image collections like Google Images, http://images.google.com/, or the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Reading Room at http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/ to find pictures of occupations, military related photos, and places. For more local or regional images, check out public and university libraries for their online digital collections.
Go on Field Trips. If you live near where you grew up, take the kids on a field trip to see the old stomping grounds. Show them your elementary school, your favorite restaurant and where you lived. If that’s not possible think about going to a museum and pointing out exhibits that depict events that occurred in your family’s life. Living history museums provide kids with a glimpse of what life was like in the “olden days”.
Not able to travel? Why not take a virtual field trip? Find websites for historical landmarks in your ancestor’s hometown. Find websites depicting pioneer or colonial life. Try websites like Panoramio, http://www.panoramio.com/, that feature photographs taken in different cities around the world.
What is the purpose of these Genealogy Facebook Pages?
1. Provide a forum to share genealogical discoveries
2. Post insights related to the genealogy industry as a whole
3. Provide a way for people to identify themselves as “fans” of genealogy
4. Share updates from experts and prominent genealogists
How do I become a fan of genealogy and family history on Facebook?
Why should I become a genealogy and family history fan?
Combined, the genealogy and family history groups have nearly 10,000 members, and the groups are growing at a rapid rate. Here you will find 10,000 people who love
genealogy and family history just like you do. You can connect with other genealogists, and get the latest genealogy buzz for free!
By Whitney McGowan, FamilyLink.com, Inc.
Monday, May 25th is Memorial Day. Memorial Day has always been a special day in my family, a time to remember my military ancestors, and also a day to visit the headstones of my loved ones who have passed away. As many of my family members (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc.) that can make it gather at the cemetery at the same time and pay tribute to these special people who have made a difference in our lives. We place flowers on the graves and also take a family picture to mark the occasion.
Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the military. It was originally enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, and then extended to celebrate American casualties of any war or military action.
How do you honor your military ancestors on Memorial Day? If you have never paid tribute to your ancestors on this day, why no start this year? Here are a few ideas of how to observe Memorial Day:
- Visit cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of those who died while performing military service.
- Visit a memorial, such as the National World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the USS Arizona Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the National Civil War Memorial, etc.
- Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.
- Participate in a ceremony in honor of military ancestors.
- Serve or visit widows/widowers of military ancestors, as well as disabled veterans.
WorldVitalRecords.com also has a variety of military databases to help you find out more information about your ancestors who served in the military. Here are links to a few of these databases Click here to view all military databases):
In the early 1980s, in response to a demand from veterans, Richard D. Coffelt began
a project to create data files to identify units down to the company/battery/troop
level for U.S. Army deaths in the Vietnam War. During the 1990s, Richard J. Arnold
and David L. Argabright joined Mr. Coffelt in the research effort. In 2001, the
data files project expanded to include unit information for those members of the
Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy who died in the Vietnam War. In 2002, the Vietnam
Helicopter Pilots Association and The Virtual Wall contributed significant additional
amounts of information to the data files for members of all the Armed Forces. These
data files contain the records for this series. This database contains information
on U.S. military officers and soldiers who died as a result of either a hostile
occurrence, including while missing in action or while prisoner of war, or non-hostile
occurrence in the Southeast Asian combat area during the Vietnam War. In particular,
it provides unit information the series creators had been able to locate about the
following: more than 37,000 of the 38,200 casualties from the U.S. Army, more than
11,000 of the 14,836 from the U.S. Marine Corps, more than 1,700 of the 2,584 from
the U.S. Air Force, more than 2,200 of the 2,564 from the U.S. Navy, and all 7 from
the U.S. Coast Guard. Each record includes identifying information for the casualty,
such as name, service number, date of birth, date of death, and city and state of
home of record.
This database contains information about U.S. Army personnel and their dependents
who died or were injured worldwide, including missing in action and prisoners of
war. Approximately 85 percent of the records relate to the Vietnamese Conflict,
1961-1975. The file includes records for active duty enlisted personnel; general
officers on active duty, retired, or otherwise separated from the service; some
National Guard and Army Reservists; and some civilian employees and dependents if
overseas and the casualty required a notification to someone. The records include:
Country of Casualty, Category of Casualty, Master Casualty Number, Social Security
or Service Number, Name of Casualty, Category of Personnel, Military Grade, Military
Classification / Dependent, Current Casualty Status, Previous Casualty Status, Major
Attributing Cause, Complimentary Cause, Vehicle Type Involved, Vehicle Position,
Vehicle Ownership, Date of Casualty, Report Date, Province of Casualty, Grid Coordinates,
Republic of Vietnam Report Control Number, Component, Military Occupational Specialty,
Officer Branch, Source of Commission, Sex and Marital Status, Posthumous Promotion,
Race, Religion, Home of Record, Birth Date, Major Organization, Date Commenced Tour
or Retired or Separated, Previous Master Casualty Country, Previous Master Casualty
Group, Adjustment Code, and Card-ID / Battle Determination. This data file contains
duplicate records for some soldiers.
Known Military Dead During the American Revolutionary War, 1775 – 1783
This database contains the first complete list of the known military dead during the American Revolution.. Known Military Dead consists of an alphabetically arranged
listing of upwards of 10,000 names, with rank, date of death, and state of birth
or service or place where buried. Also includes a bibliography of published Revolutionary
This database contains information about U.S. Army officers and soldiers who were
casualties in the Korean War. According to the variable “casualty type,” 27,727
records are for Army personnel who died, including personnel who died while a prisoner
of war or missing in action. The remaining 82,248 records are for nonfatal Army
casualties. The information on each casualty includes: name, service prefix and
number, grade, (Army) branch, place of casualty, date of casualty, state and county
of residence, type of casualty, detail/previous casualty type, casualty group, place
of disposition, date of disposition, year of birth (for deceased casualties only),
military occupational specialty, organization troop program sequence number, element
sequence, unit number, race, component, and disposition of evacuations.
Data obtained from 3,050 Pension Claims and Bounty
Land Applications, including 1,000 Marriages of Maryland Soldiers and a List of
1,300 Proved Services of Soldiers and Patriots of other States.
The data in this index was taken from Record Group 36, the compiled service records
of soldiers and sailors who served in the First World War from Tennessee. The index
is not a “complete” list of all Tennesseans who served in World War I; individuals
from Tennessee who enlisted in other states are not included. Additional information
regarding the soldier’s rank, training, dates of service, discharge, etc. can be
obtained from the microfilmed records.
Search the newly expanded, geo-mapped database of nearly 60,000 Vietnam veterans.
Here you will find extensive unique statistics such as location, date and reason
of casualty, religion, tour dates and even reference numbers to the exact location
on the Vietnam Memorial. Also included are vital statistics such as birth, marriage,
death, hometown location, nearby cemeteries and much more.
USA World War II Army Enlistment
The information below outlines the content that can be found in the USA World War II Army Enlistment database.
State and county of residence
Place of enlistment
Date of enlistment
Term of enlistment
Nativity (place of birth)
Year of birth
Height and weight (before 1943)
Military occupational specialty (1945 and later)
Box and reel number of the microfilmed punch cards
New Vital Records From Connecticut (Norwich, Woodstock, Bolton, and Vernon) and Geer’s Hartford Directory, 1926Friday, May 22nd, 2009
This week’s major collection comes from Godfrey Memorial Library and includes vital records from several towns in Connecticut (Norwich, Woodstock, Bolton, and Vernon) as well as a city directory from Hartford, Connecticut. The dates included in these databases range from 1659 to 1926. Vital Records of Bolton to 1854 and Vernon to 1852 will be free to access until May 29, 2009.
Vital Records of Norwich, 1659–1848 (available 5/14/2009)
Vital Records of Norwich, 1659–1848, Part 2 (available 5/15/2009)
Vital Records of Woodstock, 1686–1854 (available 5/18/2009)
Geer’s Hartford Directory, September 1926 (available 5/19/2009)
Vital Records of Bolton to 1854 and Vernon to 1852 (available 5/20/2009) Free for Ten Days!
By Whitney McGowan, FamilyLink.com, Inc.
School will soon be out, and all the kids will soon be home. This summer, instead of taking your children to Disneyland, why not take them on a family history vacation?
Involve your children by helping them research where your ancestors lived. You could use a map and have them mark the cities and towns where your ancestors lived (their birth place, death place, and other places where they lived throughout their lives).
Next, you and your family can research online or at a library to find events or places you can visit in the areas where your ancestors lived. For example, you may want to take your family to a local museum to experience the ethnic and cultural background that existed there. You can also visit cemeteries and other landmarks. Your family history vacation should also include visits to living relatives if they are in the area where you are traveling.
You can still have a wonderful time without spending a lot of money. You may also want to have your children write a family history, or make or print out a family tree in preparation for your vacation.
Once you have chosen the places you will visit and are on the road, make sure to take plenty of photos, and even video of some of the places you visit. This way your family can create an album or a movie of its experience. You may also want to compare your photos with the photos you have of your ancestors.
By Whitney McGowan, FamilyLink.com, Inc.
This week’s major collection at WorldVitalRecords.com includes new databases from Wales, Germany, and the United States (Virginia, and Maryland). The content comes from Genealogical Publishing Company and includes directories, a family history, and family tree data. Schlegel’s American Families of German Ancestry (available 5/11/2009) is free for ten days.
The Surnames of Wales (available 5/7/2009)
The purpose of this database is to provide the reader with detailed insight into the origins and occurrence of common Welsh surnames, together with some consideration of those surnames which are associated with particular locales, thus helping to suggest a likely place of origin within Wales. The opening chapters of the book give an historical overview of Welsh names, dealing, in particular, with the patronymic naming system and the gradual adoption of surnames. The central chapters include a comprehensive survey of Welsh surnames and an all-important glossary of surnames. This is the core of the work, as it provides the origins and history of surnames from the viewpoint of family history, and also shows the distribution and incidence of surnames throughout Wales. The final chapters cover such items as the distribution of surnames derived from the ap prefix, the incidence of surnames derived from Old Testament names, and surname evidence for the presence of people of Welsh origin in populations outside Wales. Nearly forty maps, drawn by the authors, show the incidence and distribution of typical surnames throughout Wales.
This is the fourth edition of the most celebrated compendium of family histories in the entire field of Virginia genealogy. Prepared under the auspices of the Order of First Families of Virginia, 1607-1624/5 in anticipation of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, and edited by the foremost authority on Virginia genealogy, John Frederick Dorman, this new edition extends the lines of descent of the founding families of Virginia from four generations to six, bringing most families down to the Revolutionary or early Federal periods.
The purpose of the book is to establish descents–through the sixth generation–of the approximately 150 individuals who can be identified as (1) Adventurers of Purse (i.e. stockholders in the Virginia Company of London) who either came to Virginia in the period 1607-1625 and had descendants or who did not come to Virginia within that period but whose grandchildren were residents there; or (2) Adventurers of Person, 1607-1625 (i.e. immigrants to Virginia) who left descendants. With roots deeply embedded in the social fabric of the United States, descendants of these original settlers today number in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, and like descendants of the Mayflower passengers, they claim an ancestry that is unique in American history.
The foundation for this work is the famous “Muster” of January-February 1624/25– essentially a census taken by the Royal Commission which succeeded the Virginia Company to determine the extent and composition of the Jamestown settlements. In the Muster (which is reproduced in entirety here in Volume One), the name of each colonist appears with the location of his home and the number in his family, together with information about his stock of food, his supply of arms and ammunition, his boats, houses, and livestock. In all, about 1,200 persons are named in the Muster, of whom approximately 150 are shown here to have left descendants to the sixth generation. Most scholars agree that the total population of Jamestown between 1607 and 1625 was about 7,000, so by 1624/5 only about one-seventh of the colonists had survived the punishing conditions of the Virginia wilderness.
In addition to the Muster, this work builds on the investigations of dozens of scholars, correcting, revising, and supplementing the best genealogical scholarship of the past half century. New discoveries, newly available information, and a further reevaluation of evidence concerning previously accepted relationships have led, in some instances, to wholesale changes in the accepted genealogies. In consequence, this fourth edition brings together the results of all the most recent scholarship on these families, expand.
Schlegel’s American Families of German Ancestry, Volume 1 (available 5/11/2009)
Free for Ten Days!
This is a reprint of the largest collection of German-American genealogies ever published, a full-blown compendium of family history and biography unknown to all but a handful of specialists. The first three volumes were published somewhat inopportunely between 1916 and 1918, with a fourth volume added in 1926. Each volume was limited to 200 numbered and registered copies, and consequently only a dozen or so three-volume sets can be located today, while the fourth volume is all but unknown. This is a complete paradox, for like similar compendia by Virkus and McKenzie, this work should be available to all students of genealogy and should be the very first resource for anyone researching German-American ancestry.
Unlike other great compendia, however, Schlegel doesn’t just start out with the immigrant ancestor; rather, each family history usually begins two or three generations back, examining the family in its historic setting before bringing it forward to the immigrant ancestor and his descendants in America. Averaging about ten pages in length, including portraits and coats of arms, the family histories are no mere catalogues of births, marriages, and deaths but are rich biographical and genealogical studies, each depicting the education, service, achievements, life, and career of the various family members, and each tracing the roots of the first four or five generations in America, usually commencing in the 18th or the 19th century, naming thousands of related family members.
Of all the information-rich sources of German-American ancestry, none is this comprehensive or as useful to the researcher, as illustrated by its coverage of the following families:
Ackermann, Aichmann, Altenbrand, Ammann, Auer, Barkhausen, Bauer, Baumann, Becker, Bender, Bermel, Biertuempfel, Boos, Bossert, Brandis, Braunstein, Breidt, Broking, Burger, Cordts, Cronau, Dangler, Dannenhoffer, de Kalb, Deck, Dippel, Dittenhoefer, Dochtermann, Dornhoefer, Doscher, Draesel, Dreier, Dressel, Drewes, Dreyer, Eichacker, Eichhorn, Eimer, Engelhardt, Espenscheid, Faber, Faller, Fink, Fischer, Flammer, Focht-Vogt, Frank, Frey, Fritz, Froeb, Funk, Gaus, Gobel, Goebel, Goepel, Golsner, Grell, Gretsch, Groborsch, Gunther, Hauenstein, Haug, Haupt, Haussling, Havemeyer, Hechtenberg, Hecker, Helwig, Hering, Herkimer, Herlich, Herrmann, Hoecker, Hoffmann, Jaeckle, Jahn, Janson, Junge, Just, Katz, Keene, Kern, Kessler, Kiefer, Kircher, Kirsch, Kleinert, Kline, Kny, Kobbe, Kochersberger, Koelble, Komitsch, Korth, Kost, Koster, Kraemer, Kramer, Kroeger, Kuhn, Lafrentz, Lamprecht, Lausecker, Leisler, Lexow, Liebmann, Limbacher, Lohse, Lotz, Luckhardt, Luhrsen, Lutz, Marquardt, Martin, Maulbeck, Maurer, Meeker, Mehlin, Mende, Meurer, Meyer, Mielke, Mietz, Moeller, Moser, Mueller, Muhlenberg, Muller, Naeher, Nissen, Nungesser, Oberglock, Offermann, Otto, Pedersen, Peter, Pflug, Poppenhusen, Prahl, Rasch, Rath, Reichhelm, Reisinger, Reppenhagen, Reuter, Ridder, Riedman, Ries, Ringler, Roehr, Runkel, Ruoff, Sauerwein, Schaeffer, Schalck, Schering, Scherrer, Schieren, Schill, Schilling, Schissel, Schlegel, Schlitz, Schmelzer, Schmidt, Schmieder, Schneider, Scholzel, Schortau, Schrader,Schroeder, Schultz, Schumann, Schurz, Schwarz, Sebold, Seyfarth, Sigel, Solms, Specht, Spengler, Stabler, Steiger, Steil, Steingut, Steinway, Stemme, Stengel, Steubner, Steurer, Stiefel, Stier, Stohn, Strebel, Stuber, Stutz, Stutzmann, Sutro, Thumann, Vogeler, Vollweiler, vom Hofe, von Bernuth, von Briesen, von Steuben, Wahlers, Weber, Weimar, Weismann, Weitling, Wendel, Wenk, Wesel, Wilhelms, Wintjen, Wischmann, Wolffram, Zaabel, Zechiel, and Zobel
Maryland and Virginia Colonials: Genealogies of Some Colonial Families, Volume 1 (available 5/12/2009) and
Maryland and Virginia Colonials: Genealogies of Some Colonial Families, Volume 2 (available 5/13/2009)
Here is a true giant of a work, covering in full some twenty-two colonial Maryland and Virginia families and also treating hundreds of collateral families. Mrs. Doliante not only establishes the Virginia and Maryland ancestry of the twenty-two main families, but also corrects many longstanding inaccuracies and dispels some cherished myths, many repeated uncritically in one publication after another, such as the non-existent fourth wife of Henry Ridgley, the erroneous ancestry of Richard Duckett, Sr., and the putative maternity of the Sprigg children.
The physical specifications of the book are in themselves impressive. There are over 1,200 pages of text, more than 150 illustrations, a bibliography, a place-name index, and an index of personal names with over 23,500 entries! In addition to the standard sources both in print and manuscript, the author has had recourse to a wide range of private and public records to substantiate her facts. Hence the book is amply furnished with transcriptions of such records as wills, inventories, and Bible records. Little will be found wanting here, and for those who are interested in these families, from their origins in Maryland or Virginia up to recent times, it is gratifying to know that someone has spared them the drudgery of sifting through thousands of pages of court records.
By Whitney McGowan, FamilyLink.com, Inc.
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10th. With the current state of the economy, you may not be able to afford a fancy gift or an expensive meal. However, my mother always taught me that “presence was more important than presents.” The gifts of self and time are often considered to be greater than gifts bought with money. How can you show your mom or grandma that you love them? Here are a few simple ideas that don’t cost a lot of money.
1. Send your mom or grandma a card expressing thanks for all they have done for you. You could comment on advice they have given you, memories you have of them, characteristics that you love about them, etc. You could buy the card or make one yourself.
2. Provide breakfast in bed. Who doesn’t love waking up to a homemade meal delivered straight to the bed room? You could make heart-shaped pancakes, omelets, scrambled eggs—whatever your mother or grandmother likes.
3. Take some time to print off some of your favorite photos of your mother, grandmother, or fun times you have had with your family. You could put them in a book, a frame, or wrap a bow around the stack of photos. If you really want to go the extra mile, consider labeling all of the photos.
4. Go on a walk or drive with your mother or grandmother and express your gratitude for all they have done for you.
.5. A small gift: Find something inexpensive that your mother likes, and perhaps hasn’t purchased for herself in a while. It could be a simple thing such as her favorite kind of cookies, bubble bath, a new gardening tool, a journal, etc.
6. Flowers: Cut flowers are beautiful, but they don’t last a long time. My mother personally prefers perennials or even some annuals. Purchase a flower or two that your mother or grandmother can plant. Most of these plants are only a few dollars each, and she gets to enjoy them much longer.
7. A special event: There are many places or events you can attend for free (museums, performances, parks, plays, concerts, etc.). Set a time to have a nice outing with your mom or grandma.