Archive for the ‘Content’ Category

The Dark Side of Family History, and Its Uses

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Recently, I was testing our newspaper collection at, looking for search results in the mid-twentieth century. I have an aunt who was killed in 1956 at age 17; I thought she might make a good test case. When I was a child making my first family group sheets, I asked my parents why she died so young. Their answer, as I remember it, was that she was killed in an auto accident on her way home from work at a local drugstore. Such tragedies usually make the newspaper, so I thought I might turn up at least one article about the accident, and possibly also an obituary.

There’s a dark side to family history research. All those ancestors lived, as we do, in a world filled with good and evil, with triumph and tragedy and random chance. I’m not thinking just of the rumors that my mother’s great-great-great uncle what’s-his-name was hung as a horse thief, sad as that must have been for the whole family (if it really happened). What my test search found in our newspaper collection was a few shades darker than that.

There were articles about my aunt’s death in newspapers from Utah to Idaho to California — but they weren’t about an auto accident. For example, on June 27, 1956, a front-page story in the Idaho State Journal (of Pocatello, Idaho) reported that detectives from Salt Lake City and Provo had joined the investigation of “the sex murder” of my 17-year-old aunt. The story explained, “The pretty teenage girl was sexually molested and murdered while on her way home from working at a drugstore June 13. Her body was found in a canal near Vernal [Utah] June 16.”

There was more.

Papers as far away as the Long Beach [California] Press-Telegram picked another UP story a few weeks later. “A 23-year-old service station attendant left a note Wednesday confessing to the murder of a pretty teenage girl and then killed himself on a lonely hillside.” That’s bad enough, but it got worse as I read further. “Her battered, partially nude body was found four days later floating in an irrigation ditch. She had been sexually molested.”

(You’ve noticed by now that I’ve omitted the names of both killer and victim, though the news stories gave them. The names don’t matter to my story, and I don’t want to intrude on her family’s — or his family’s — privacy any more than I have to, in telling the story at all.)

In December of that year the Ogden [Utah] Standard-Examiner ran an article which added a sad detail or two. It was their list of Utah’s top ten news stories of the year. The first was “the miraculous recovery of a girl who lay trapped under a wrecked car for nine days.” The second was “the flaming blast which turned a restaurant in the Utah community of Monticello into a help of rubble, killing 15.” (In case you’re curious, the culprit was a gas valve inadvertently left open in the basement. Don’t do that.) Number ten was the disappearance of my 17-year-old aunt, “the finding of her body in a stream,” and “the subsequent suicide” of her murderer, a local father of two, who killed himself as the police closed in.

I told my siblings of this discovery. They said they had known for years, and they were surprised I hadn’t. They had learned of it from another document of genealogical interest, her death certificate. So I looked that up online, too. The first thing I noticed was an instruction printed in bold type in the certificate’s margin: “Physicians Should State Cause of Death in Plain Terms.” Duly warned, I read through the document.

Birthplace: Vernal, Utah
Usual Occupation: Student
Place of Injury: Street in Vernal City
Injury Occurred: Not While at Work
Was Autopsy Performed? Yes
Immediate Cause (in longhand, which seems more poignant): Death By Strangulation

The response in Part 20b, “DESCRIBE HOW INJURY OCCURRED,” is also in longhand: “This girl was sexually assaulted. Choked about the neck. Struck on the chin. Was found 4 days after disappearance submerged in a canal. Attacker’s suicide note left later states he killed her quickly about 10:30 p.m.” Signed, Ray E. Spendlove, MD.

I don’t tell this dark story to celebrate the darkness, and I would understand if some people avoid family history because they expect or fear they’ll find such things. For my part, I justify this glimpse into the abyss — among others — with these three thoughts:

First, the darkness is real, and it shaped my ancestors and their time, which in turn shape me and my time — in which darkness is also real.

Second, if I want to know my own heritage, I want to know the real, unvarnished history, not some carefully sanitized version that won’t distress a child and that, oh, by the way, isn’t quite true.

The third thought is more complex.

Her parents, my grandparents, were the kindest, gentlest people on the planet. I can only imagine how dark those days — and many days thereafter — must have been for them. Somehow, they overcame it, because when I knew them, not too many years after this tragedy, they were quite cheerful, and they hadn’t moved away to escape the memories. Knowing what they overcame, I admire them now even more than before.

This aunt was a decade younger than my parents, and I was born less than a decade after that gruesome summer. In my childhood, I thought my parents were much too worried about such things as villains lurking in the bushes, waiting to prey upon school children who abandoned the sidewalks and walked through the local park on their way home from school. I absorbed and obeyed that fear for a while, but soon I was disobediently walking home through the park every afternoon, if the weather was good — and if my older sister wasn’t looking. I never saw a villain lurking.

Now a parent myself, I still think my parents were a bit too worried. But now I know why. Their worries came from a source far more personal than the six o’clock news. So I understand my parents more than before, too.

. . . All of which is awfully close to the point of doing family history research in the first place.

Pioneer Database

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Pioneer Records contain data and insight into the lives of our pioneering ancestor’s that are an important part of any genealogists family history research.

At, we currently have over 534 databases in our pioneer collection, with over 13.8 million names- 9 million of these names were added this month! Read the list of Newly Updated/Added Pioneer Databases below to find out what records and information we may have on your pioneer ancestors.

Newly Updated/Added Pioneer Databases Include

Search Pioneer Records

Recently Added: Over 20 Million Names to Military Databases

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Many of us have ancestors who have served in the military. In Genealogy, military records contain some of the most pertinent information of an ancestor’s life. These records can include: birth and death dates, names and addresses of family members, and details of your ancestor’s service.

On FamilyLink and WorldVitalRecords, we have an ever-growing collection of military data. We have recently added over 20 million names to our collection! Find out if we have information you are looking for. Click the link below to get started-

Newly Added Military Databases Include
US Army Registers, 1813-1969
Official histories of divisions, regiments, etc.
Boys of ‘98: History of the Tenth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Duke of Cornwall’s Own Rifles: Regimental History of the Forty-Third Regiment, Active Militia of Canada
Heroes of the Argonne: Authentic History of the Thirty-Fifth Division
Extract From the History of the Third Regiment Rhode Island Heavy Artillery

Other Highlights from our Current Military collection
World War II Army Enlistment
World War II Reserve Corps Records
Air Force Registers (US)
World War II Prisoners of War 1941 – 1946
Revolutionary War Land Bounty Grants
Union Regiments of Kentucky
Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War Between the States
Queenslanders Who Fought in Great War
Army Casualties 1961 – 1981
Militia Attestations Index, 1886 – 1910
Roster of Revolutionary Soldiers in Georgia

WVR Database in Review: Warrants for Land in South Carolina

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Warrants for Land in South Carolina
By A.S. Salley, Jr.

This consolidated volume, published originally by the Historical Commission of South Carolina, encompasses a number of the oldest and genealogically most important records of colonial South Carolina. Compiled by A. S. Salley, the commission secretary and a prolific editor of South Carolina source materials, this collection of land warrants consists of three separately indexed volumes referring to upwards of 5,000 land warrants for the period under investigation.
In colonial South Carolina, a land warrant, of course, was an order issued by the governor or one of the proprietors–usually to a surveyor–for the “laying out” of lands granted to an individual. Each warrant referred to here gives the name of the warrantee, the location of the parcel (whether by county, town, proximity to body of water, etc.), the size of the parcel, occasionally the name(s) of wife and/or siblings, the date of the warrant, the name of the surveyor, and the names of signatories to the document. Each warrant thus has the virtue of placing the possessor in South Carolina at an early point and in a particular locale during the colonial period. One of the starting points for all colonial South Carolina research.

This database is a digitized book. You may want to check out the index in the back for surnames you are researching.

This database courtesy of

WVR Database in Review: The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island by John Osborne Austin. (1887) 2006.

Austin has compiled accounts of more than 460 families who settled in Rhode Island during the seventeenth century, tracing some of the families to the third generation and others to the fourth, including both male and female lines. These accounts include extensive extracts from original sources.

Among the original source material, Austin placed special emphasis on probate records, with full abstracts of the wills and inventories of many first, second and third generation settlers. He made a special effort to summarize the officeholding of each settler, and also included information on land transactions and religious affiliations.

More than 90 of the accounts are taken to the birth of the fourth generation. The families so treated are generally the earliest settlers, and include most of the early religious and civic leaders of the colony. For most sketches, whether of three generations or four, the members of the final generation listed were born from about the 1690s to the 1730s. Some of the accounts include information on the European origins of the settlers, and, where pertinent, on earlier residence in Massachusetts Bay Colony.

This database courtesy of Archive CD Books USA.

Become a Fan of Genealogy on Facebook

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Get the latest genealogy news, tips, and tricks from our new Facebook pages: Genealogy and Family History. Visit our pages and become a fan!

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?

Simply click on these links: Genealogy and Family History. * You must be a member of Facebook to become a fan of genealogy and family history.

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!

Honoring Your Military Ancestors on Memorial Day

Monday, May 25th, 2009

By Whitney McGowan,, 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. 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):

Army Casualties 1956 – 2003

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.

Army Casualties 1961 – 1981

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
War records.

Korean War Casualties

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.

Maryland Revolutionary Records

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.

Tennessee World War I Veterans

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.

Vietnam Memorial Index

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.

Questions Asked:

Serial number


State and county of residence

Place of enlistment

Date of enlistment


Army Branch

Term of enlistment


Nativity (place of birth)

Year of birth



Civilian Occupation

Marital status

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, 1926

Friday, 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!

New GPC Content From Wales, Germany, and the United States

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

By Whitney McGowan,, Inc.

This week’s major collection at 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.

Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1624/5. Fourth Edition. Volume One, Families A-F (available 5/8/2009)

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.

New Haven City Directories for 1888, 1898, 1892, 1894, and 1896

Friday, May 8th, 2009

This week’s Major Collection includes the New Haven City Directories for 1888, 1898, 1892, 1894, and 1896. This content comes from Godfrey Memorial Library. One of the databases, New Haven Directory, 1896, is free for ten days.