By Jeannette Holland Austin
As an avid researcher, I am sharing some of my articles with you. Most
of them appeared in Expert Genealogy (a newsletter) which circulated privately
over the internet for five years. These articles are available for your use so long as you mention Genealogy-Books
A. I. S. I., Accelerated Indexing Systems International
This is a microfiche collection available at Family History Centers (Mormon Church) which is
a database dating from 1608
to 1906. However, most records are covered from 1790 to 1850. Other records included are special
censuses, tax lists, military lists, church records, land records, vital statistics, petitioners lists,
rent lists, and various other types of municipal records. They re subdivided into categories:
Search 1: Early Colonial
Search 2: US, 1820-1829
Search 3: US, 1830-1839
Search 4: US, 1840-1849
Search 5: US, 1850-1860
Search 6: New England and Southern
Search 7: Midwestern and Western
Search 7A: US, 1850-1906
Search 8, Mortality Schedules,1850-1885
Example of Search 1: Early Colonial -
AARNOLD, Charles Herkimer NY
379 31010-10010 1810
** Ages in household -
3 males under 5, 1 male 5-10,
0 males 10-16, 1 male 16-26,
0 males 26-45,
1 female under 5, 0 females 5-10,
0 females 10-16, 1 female 16-26.
0 females 26-45
Example of Mortality Schedule -
BENNETT, H. J. Stearns Co.MN M Oct
NY Dropsy 01 1870
Note: Mo. is month of death
BENNETT, H.A. Hamilton Co.OH 8Mo
M Mar OH Unknown 00 1850
The A. I. S. I. provides guidelines where to locate ancestors for certain time periods. The farther
back into history one searches, one must consider all persons residing in a county or state.
We know for certain that Charles Aarnold family lived in
Herkimer Co., New York in 1810, and we have the age ranges of his children. As scant as this
data is, it provides some information, if only to be used for elimination.
Therefore, one writes
down all surnames of interest for specified time periods and places of residence. Then, one
examines county records, land grants, tax digests, etc., trying to establish additional information.
Real detective work begins
with the accumulation process, which either ultimate adds to the puzzle or eliminates.
Ancestral File (Family History Centers)
For those who saw the Star Trek series wherein one drama surrounded a woman who had been
frozen in space and desired to learn what happened to her son. She punched his name into a
computer and his genealogy up to the present appeared on the screen! It is on the computer -
and one does simply type in a name to find pedigrees! It is the future of all electronic
genealogies, as more and more people submit to the Ancestral File, and as people make
corrections to it.
The Ancestral File is the single greatest genealogical-linking tool ever! Now, everyone who works
on their families, can share with those who may have traced even farther back in time. Truly, it is
a central genealogical intelligence. One can sit in front of the computer, type in a name, and call up generations upon generations of family members! Then, they can either print out pedigree charts
(with or without family group sheets) or download onto a diskette. Then, take it home and load it
into your personal PAF, Family Origins, or similar ancestral software program.
This computer program was developed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, and
was created from pedigree charts with supporting family group sheets, from submissions by church memers since 1978. The first version came out in 1988, incorporating about 300,000 -of-line
names which were contained in the Church's queries, i.e., The Family Registry, which is brief
information (not pedigrees). Also, it includes records of individuals and families, providing
exted family relationships.
Updated versions of the Ancestral File continually arrive in the Family History Center.
There are currently over 30 million names in the Ancestral File.
There are two types of records in the Ancestral File:
- Brief Records. These are incomplete pedigrees, mostly from information contained in The
Family Registry, and Family Group Sheets.
- Pedigrees. If you highlight over a name in the index and see "F7" in the menu (at top of
page), this a complete pedigree. By pressing "F7", you may have to load several cd's
before the complete pedigree appears on the screen. One uses the "arrow" keys to arrow
over to each generation. You can print out the pedigree charts, as well as accompanying
family group sheets.
As pedigrees are received in Salt Lake City, the computer links families together. In so doing,
the computer brain makes certain errors. For example, if a child was named "Ann, born 1808"
was in John Trammell family, it might be recognized as a John Trammell already included in
the file, and add "Ann, born 1808". However, the first record might have included "Ann, born
1807". That means there would be two Ann's in this family. One has to discern the difference
All genealogies do not concur exactly date-wise, spouse, or children. Thus, the
submissions themselves might be filled with errors! At this writing, the Ancestral File does
not include sources/references, although it does include the names of submitters.
A future version will include the references, since it is extremely helpful to know where the
information came from, in order to verify it.
The PAF (Personal Ancestral File) and other genealogy programs provides for the addition of
sources, and should be regularly used. Even though source notes are not displayed in the
Ancestral File, all notes received on diskette are being electronically stored.
To protect rights of privacy, the Ancestral File displays only partial information on living
persons. The word "living" will appear for most people born less than 95 years ago who do not
have a death date in the file. All data in the file is copyrighted by the Family History Department
of the LDS Church. You may publish your own information, and share it with others. However,
before publishing other people's submissions, you should obtain their permission.
The following software genealogy programs use GEDCOM and is approved as compatible to the
Personal Ancestral File (Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
Roots III (Commsoft, Inc.)
Everyone's Family Tree (Dollarhide Systems,
Family Roots (Quinsept, Inc.)
Family Ties (Computer Services)
Family Tree Maker Exchange Utility (Banner
Blue Software, Inc.)
Family Tree Print Utility (Common Sense
Generation Gap Plus (Flying Pigs Softsware)
Sesame (Commsoft, Inc.)
Griot Alternative (Thierry Pertuy)
Brother's Keeper (Brother's Keeper)
If you s an Ancestral File to the Mormon Church, using one of the above programs,
remember that diskettes are not returned, so make a copy of your diskette!
Is the Ancestral File filled with errors. You bet! And does it contain "sources", or
"notes" similiar to those which appear on the Family Group Sheets? No, however, look for the
program to be re-written to include "source" information.
Please, please do not accept all of this information as fact. What I do is this:
Print out (or download) all pedigree sheets and family group sheets.
Use the names as "guidelines" for my research. Assuming the names are correct, I go
right to work, trying to prove it in the ordinary way, i.e., census records, county records, etc. It's
too bad the sources are not listed, because it would be easier. However, even if they were,
I would still do my own research.
After completely satisfied with my own research efforts, submit "corrections" to the
Ancestral File. Anyone may make corrections to the Ancestral
File - whether it is your work or not.
I strongly recomm two things:
- Submit to the Ancestral File.
- Submit corrections to the Ancestral File.
Working together, we can strive to weed out the
errors and make for more accurate genealogies.
Many of us submit our "working" genealogies, only
to later learn of contradictions in our own
information. So, it is encumbant upon us to make
corrections. I don't believe that we should take a
"give up" attitude, because errors exist. Rather, that
we use the Ancestral File as a guideline to our own
When submitting corrections, do so on a diskette
and include sources for all your corrections.
Using the computer in a family history center,
use the edit key F3....this allows you to make corrections
in the file and copy them to your diskette.
Then mail the diskette to:
- The Ancestral File
- 50 East North Temple Street
- Salt Lake City, UT 84150
The corrections will appear in the next updated
cd-rom sent to family history centers.
A specific guide is located in the family history center.
Ask the librarion for "Correcting Information in
Beginners: The Mechanics of Tracing Ancestors
First, let us discuss some of the fallacies of genealogical research for those people who claim to have traced their lineage back to Adam. Although such pedigrees do exist, none of them contain appropriate documentation from contemporary documents.With reasonable accuracy it
is possible to trace one's origin to 1066, when William the Conqueror invaded England. This is because at that time he mandated what was known as the Domesday Book, dreaded by the population. For the first time, an accounting was made of commoners for the purpose of being
Such medieval data in the Domesday Book can be of some minor assistance in establishing ancestors in this time-frame. One can do their european research and reasonably trace roots to this era. Some may also be able to trace to the time of the Merovingian Kings (A. D. 450-A. D.
Earlier than this, proper documentation is virtually impossible. Pedigrees which make claims to Adam base their attempts on legs.....questionable traditions, which could easily be
prevarication, as tradition often is. Then it is vague, and without evidence. At this writing, there are no records to document one's ancestry to Adam. We are lucky to go back to 1066, or
(infrequently so) to the Merovingian Kings with reasonable accuracy
Therefore, wherein lies our responsibility to an era which is out-of-grasp? Perhaps ancient records of documentation will be discovered and translated.....ones which we'd love to have to establish an authentic lineage to the ancients. Frequently, while tracing prior to 1500 the
researcher simply re-traces the steps of others and is forced to draw similar conclusions.
Family History Centers (Mormon Church) maintains a Medieval Families Unit which especially deals with pre-1500 research. The results of such research is included in the church's "Ancestral File". Many medieval genealogies contain inconsistencies and inaccuracies. Therefore, the Medieval Unit alludes only to accepted sources.
More importantly, our searches should be conclusive, accepting authentic records as source materials....that we are certain our path of eavor is true. Once we have accepted the "wrong
ancestor", each generation of that wrong ancestor doubles hundreds upon hundreds of times. Thus, generations of work is traced erroneously....all for nought. This is why it is particularly
important to stick to conventional records....census, county records, cemeteries, bibles, so on and so on, back as far as these types of documents take us. One can trace authentic county records and
parish registers back to the 1600's in America and to the 1500's in Europe. And along the way, each generation which we search--doubles in names!
The purpose of this discussion is to assist you in understanding how to think, as well as to direct you to the easiest, most forthright sources. The approach is equally as important as the sources
themselves, especially considering the zillions of hours you will sp in pursuit. Think of yourself as a little ole' lady (or man) hidden behind a pile of dusty books. While researchers
frequently go unnoticed behind those books, the thought processes are in gear, the wheels revolving, complexly analyzing the footsteps of the past. Why did my ancestor migrate through Pennsylvania via the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia, then finally into the Carolinas, or
Georgia? Is this not the migratory path of some Germans, Puritans and Quakers? If so, then I must know the history, follow the path, picking up tiny specks of information as I go. Then I must search residential county records, etc.,so that finally, the puzzle will begin to fit. And....in the .....I will have answers!
Notice that I suggest the trail is sketchy, tedious and quite time-consuming. That it is a giant puzzle which has broken pieces, or few. Nevertheless, a pot of gold is to be found at the of
the rainbow. First, you will learn how to analyze, put events in the proper order, devise methods of discovery. Then, you will find cousins galore, lost relatives, real people who care about your
family. Old photographs, family relics, homes, farms, countryside once in your family. Their life, the roles your ancestors played in pioneering wilderness, making freedom, paving the way
for you......their real-life history. Your own private view. Not George Washington and James Madison's relics. But, your history. You compare yourself to old photographs, family traits, and begin to see yourself in each of them. Your large ears came from Grandmother Nelly, your long, sler waist from Great-grandmother Jane, etc. Even your name is repetitive of them. You begin to know yourself, and who you are. Finally,you will meet scads of new fris, truly nice people, who love to learn while experiencing personal growth and love for their families. People like you. The treasures, then, are more than
can be recounted, they are golden.
As a little child, my sister, Dorothy, and I, sat at the feet of grandmother Mary Brent pleading for family stories. The information was filled with old traditions....tales, if you will, of pride and hope.....and of the history of generations before Mary Brent's time.
Years passed before I collected old photographs from the fading memories of my great uncle.
One cold February day of silver skies and blustering winds---I found the old Davis Smith cemetery in Monroe County, Georgia. It sat atop a knoll, artfully enclosed by a white rock wall.
My other sister, Marianne, was with me - but shuttered at the prospect of ascing the knoll. "It's too eerie," she said. So, alone I climbed the knoll, by back to the wind, shivering, while Marianne
watched from the automobile.
Inside, gravestones were covered with gnarling, twisting thistles. Reaching betwixt thorns, I felt
the stones, using my fingers to trace intentions of names, dates. Wrote them down.
Later that summer I would return with Dorothy - to clean up the cemetery and find ageless
sunken grves, concrete slabs, dating back to the 1830s....even finding a brother (Jeremiah) of
Davis Smith! A neighbor visited, recounting his knowledge of the old plantation.
I stood on the knoll, this time embraced lovingly by blue skies and white clouds, looking down
at the place where the house once stood, seeing the crossroads where the Smith Store once
thrived, and surrounding green countryside. We ambled through the region (now farmland),
finding chimney bricks near the site, buried in pasture debris.
The photograph from my great
uncle, helped me see how it was in those days. The family was seated in the yard in front of the
house, which consisted of Davis' daughter, Elizabeth and her little boys dressed in confederate
uniforms, as well as her brother, Thomas Young Smith, boasting a long white straggly beard.
And to the side of the house was Sarah, a former slave who refused to leave the family. A cedar
lined path once led from the road to the house, the yard swept clean around the porch. The house
itself was a two-story structure having an open front porch with plain square columns. Built for
country-living, simple, with square lines. The parlos and dining room were divided by a wide
hallway. Upstairs, the bedrooms.
The story unfolded from bibles, census, county records, and of course the cemetery and
surrounding countryside. Davis Smith was born 1791 in Washington County, the son of
Alexander Smith and his wife, Martha Franklin of Warren County. But Davis was a resident of
Laurens County when he married for the first time, Hannah, and by her had two sons. His first
son he named after his grandfather, Rev. William Franklin--pioneer minister of Briar Creek
Baptist Church in Warren County. The second son he also named Franklin. How proud he must
have been of his grandfather's accomplishments, or close he might've been!. However, Hannah
and her two sons died early. Soon afterwards, about 1821, his father, Alexander died
the scant administration papers mentioned Davis Smith and his mother, Martha. Davis married
again, this time to the widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Dixon Jordan and brought her to Monroe County
about 1824. They were among the earliest settlers, locating on a road about eight miles west of
Forsyth in a community which would later be called "Brent". Prosperity surrounded Davis
family--a planter of hundreds of acres of cotton, fodder and farm products, and more than twenty
slaves to work the plantation. A community soon build up around his thriving plantation. In 1850
when the Swedish soprano, Jenny Lynn, came to America, Davis took Elizabeth to Charleston to
hear her sing. Elizabeth was a talented musician herself, loving to play the piano. When they
returned to Brent, they had with them a fine piano for Elizabeth....reportedly the first in the
county! It was put in the parlor where Elizabeth gave her children lessons. Later, she sent her
daughter, Jane, to study music at Wesleyan, the first female college in Georgia. And Jane sent
her daughter, Lizzie, to Wesleyan for her music education. Elizabeth and Davis had a number of
children, all of them buried in the Smith cemetery across the street from where the house stood.
Two sons went off to war, fighting the Confederate cause...only one returned. During the war, a
yankee patrol was seen coming towards the house. Davis scampered up a tree, hiding. The
obdurate yankees stopped their horses under the tree where Davis hid. A great fear came over
him - for as he clung to the branches, he could hear the ticking of his gold watch in his vest
pocket. Louder and louder.....more and more afraid of discovery.
It wasn't long after the war
before Elizabeth died and Davis married a third time, to widow Hogan, making a marriage
contract with her concerning the management and ultimate disposition of her Hogan plantation.
No more slaves, workers to plant the fields, the plantation suffered its devastation. In 1868,
Davis Smith died, and was buried in his cemetery.
Jane had married Wesley Clements and
removed to Columbus, having by him two children, Tom and Lizzie Clements. As the war
opened and Wesley was called, she took the children home to Brent to share the house with her
brothers, sisters and in-laws. There they would all reside until the turn of the century. Wesley did
not return home from the war....he was never heard from again. The war records do not reveal
his battles, or where he fell. So, after the war, Jane married again, an ex-Confederate soldier, Ty
Brent. It was the Brent husband who revived the plantation as best he could....keeping the family
in Monroe County until the time when most people left their farms, going to the cities for work.
The great pride of Mary Brent, then, came from this relative...a step-grandfather....as she happily
recanted the tale that after Jane's death, Ty moved to the old Confederate Home in Atlanta
where he eventually died.
The puzzle is snugly sized---from documentation and personal
interest, bibles, photographs, and relics, Mary Brent's memory was validated. Her traditions had
provided some useful information---but it was the actual documentation of facts which revealed
the real story....the contribution of my ancestors to history.... my family history.... my historical
sites...my personal, private museum! More interesting than George Washington or James
Madison....because it was mine. There are countless other family stories - gathered from facts -
all interesting - all fun! I am part of history, because my family background is real to me. Begin
with a Family Group Sheet and Pedigree Chart, recording the names of your parents, dates and
places of births, deaths, etc., then each child's data, which includes the spouse and marriage
At the bottom of the page, record documentation. This can be personal interviews
with relatives, census, county records, etc. The documentation is very important, as you will
need to refer to it from time to time.
The following is an example of a Pedigree Chart, using the Personal Ancestral File (PAF)
computer program designed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ($35.00) which
prepares family group sheets, pedigree charts, sorted lists, as well as ss information to the
Temple and Ancestral File. Its functions are too multiple to list.
- Laurel Benjamin Holland
- b. 13 Feb 1903 Paulding Co., Ga.
d. 28 Jul 1955 Charlotte,
- Mecklenburg Co., N. C.
Notice how each generation doubled. For example, James Tom Holland married Willie Florence
Collins. Here begins her Collins lineage. Had I not located the marriage, generations 10 and 11,
20 and 21, 22 and 23, 42 and 43, 44 and 45 and 46 and 47 would all be blank! Using the
pedigree chart, one prepares a shell from which to work. This is your worksheet....adding names,
estimating birth dates and marriages. As a rule of thumb, 33 1/3 years equals a generation, so
anywhere from 20-30 years as a divider between parents and the first child is a reasonable
- Marguerite Elizabeth Evans
- b. 26 May 1910, Atlanta, Ga.
- d. Feb 1985 Atlanta, Ga.
Don't forget to write down towns, cities, counties where progenitors resided. The
county of residence generally represents the place where that ancestor's records are deposited!
The Family Group Sheet begins with you, first listing yourself, dates, places, spouse, and
children, including references, or notes.
FAMILY GROUP RECORD
- Born________ Place________________________
- Died_____________ Place___________________
- Married________ Place____________________
- Born__________ Place_____________________
- Died_______ Place________________________
- Sex Given Name____________Last Name____________
- Christened__________ Place________________________
FAMILY GROUP RECORD
- HUSBAND James Tom HOLLAND-1991
- BORN: 11 Oct 1876 PLACE:Dallas Ga.
- CHR: PLACE:
- DIED:26 Feb 1939 PLACE:Dallas Ga.
- BUR: 28 Feb 1939 PLACE:High Shoals Cemetery, Paulding Co.
- MARR: 2 Dec 1900 PLACE:Dallas Ga..
- FATHER:Geo. Washington Holland-1891
MOTHER: Lydia CAMP-1877 PARENTS' MRIN:685
WIFE Willie Florence Collins-1992
BORN: 1 Sep 1884 PLACE:Dallas Ga.
DIED: 7 Oct 1914 PLACE: Dallas Ga..
BUR: 8 Oct 1914 PLACE:High Shoals Cemetery, Paulding Co.
FATHER:Thomas M. COLLINS-2202
MOTHER: Nancy Carrie LANE-2203
- Child No. 1. NAME: Willie Eugene HOLLAND-1993
- BORN:22 Sep 1901 PLACE:Dallas, Paulding Co., Ga.
DIED:27 Dec 1965 PLACE: Fulton Co., Ga.
BUR: PLACE: Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Paulding Co., Ga.
SPOUSE: Mable SMITH-1995
MARR: 6 Jun 1923 PLACE: Dallas, Paulding Co., Ga. MRIN: 680
For generations people have written family births, deaths and marriages inside
their bibles. As this tradition is slowly disappearing, and because court house
records burned and other information is difficult to locate, a bible record is
most welcome to the genealogist. Sometimes, several generations were written down
in family bibles. What happened to all our old bibles? Estates discarded bibles
to antique dealers, and many were relegated to trash cans.
I have seen old bibles which contained several generations of dual families as
various family members inherited bibles and took up the responsibility. Also,
there are bibles to be found which contain obituary notices and other newspaper clippings.
Fortunately, some genealogical, historical and DAR societies have taken on the task of collecting old
bibles, and have published them in their magazines. The avid genealogist will obligingly take a bible to State Archives to be
placed copied and place there. These facts enlarge the scope of places to look, however,
the most direct route is to visit older
relatives. No matter where they currently reside, such visits have to be
cheaper than sping years on research trips, books, etc.
Atting family reunions is a must for finding bibles, relics, stories and
other pertinent information. Also, it’s a great place to exchange information
and get people’s addresses. Having a list of correspondants is another source
of locating bible records, even though they may not be your direct lineage.
At some point, you will use them for piecing together details, and to eliminate.
To locate phone numbers of possible relatives, try CD phone books, fiche
and phone book collections at libraries, and the internet. What I do is take a
phone book of the city/towns where my relatives lived, then phone everyone
with that surname. There is just worlds of information to be located this way.
This is how I’ve found my bible records, photos, relics, even family group
Other places to look are local libraries everywhere you go and archives for DAR
Collections, microfiche collections, folders, etc. There is usually more than one
place at the Archives to find bible records. Don’t forget to look in the county
histories and family histories for published bible records.
Of course, antique shops, thrift stores, genealogical and historical magazines, and published books.
And don’t forget, online bible records.
See my collection at
Click on Online Bible Records. That will take you to an index of names, then to the bible records.
If you have any you would like me to add online, for others to see, just email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are other collections online, they come and go, so I would advise using
the search engines to locate.
We have heard stories of convicts immigrants prior to the American Revolution. The first idea of exporting convicts to
America to use as colonial laborers began as early as 1606 and was regarded as "a place
where idle vagrants might be sent". The
British Treasury Records contain information about convicts to America. The Kaminkow's published
English Convicts in Colonial America (Middlesex), Vol. I and Vo. II which included
London. Later, other convict lists were published as Bonded Passengers to America.
More than fifty Courts of Quarter Sessions were empowered to impose sentences of importation,
and many such records are found in the English Judicial System. The duties of the Courts of Quarter
Sessions were to divide suits between civil matters such as taxes and its judicial function. They could
try both civil and criminal cases, however, the more serious offenses were referred to the Courts
of Assize for disposition and were set up by districts. For example, the home circuit was
Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
The London Archives contains the first official records (1618) of the Bridewell Institution for
Vagrant and Orphaned Children. What they did was to set aside children from within several
of its wards to be sent to Virginia. However, in 1611 Governor Dale of Virginia asked King
James I "to banish hither all offers condemned to die out of common gaoles". Within three
years' time, the Privy Council ordered such reprieves for prisoners condemned to die.
This opened the door for The Virginia Company to begin emptying the common gaoles. Curing 1619 and
1620 they shipped one hundred children to Virginia.
However, emigration of this type declined during the English Civil War of the 1630's. It was not
until 1649 that the old methods were resumed. And by 1655, Parliament pardoned felons on the
condition that they be transported to one of the colonies.
With the Scottish uprising in 1715, many of the rebels were imprisoned, then shipped to Maryland, Virginia,
North Carolina and Georgia. The contract to export required that the ship's captain obtain a
"certificate of landing" from the customs officer at the port of disembarcation, however, the
only surviving documents date from 1718 to 1736. Luckily these documents were for persons from
London and Middlesex, areas which shipped over half of all transported felons to America.
The famous Newgate Prison in London shipped its felons from St. Katherine's Dock, a place
which regularly exported felons and slaves to the colonies. As a result, transporting convicts
became a business. From 1715 to 1742 the Contractor for Transports (London, Middlesex) was
Jonathan Forward, a prosperous tobacco merchant. Later, Andrew Reid succeeded him. Reid,
hounded by complaints of almost every nature, was replaced by John Stewart (died 1771). After
that, various merchants competed for contracts to transport felons at their own expense.
During the American Revolutionary War convict cargo trade stopped and did not resume gain until 1787.
The best method of locating cemeteries in which your relatives were buried is to obtain a county
map where they lived. This can be purchased at the court house, in the tax assessor's office. The
county map is clearly marked, having a leg to explain sites, such as churches, railroad tracks,
cemeteries. The county maps which I've used all denote the symbol + for cemeteries. A church
might not necessarily have a cemetery, so study the leg carefully. Again, when you visit write
down all burials with your family
surnames, the name of the cemetery, and it's location.
If a family cemetery -- is there a neighbor who has information - such as who is buried in the
unmarked graves? Or perhaps knows where other members of the family are buried?
Family plots are easily marked, with walls of concrete, stone, gravel, fences, or what-have-you.
The key to recognition is a group of tombstones having the same surnames, yet may include
married daughters, etc. Small children frequently succumbed from childbirth, disease, cholera,
mumps, measles, etc. and graves might be marked by rocks, or rock outlines. Sometimes an
infant who died at childbirth with its mother was buried in the same grave and two names appear
on a single tombstone. Why not make a note that unmarked graves (children, adult) are part of a
family plot? Later, when you locate children on a census record, then never see them again in
subsequent-years census or other records, you will remember these unmarked graves. If a child
appeared on the 1850 census as age 5, and did not appear on the 1860 census, then it must have
died between 1850 and 1860, and might be the tiny grave outlined with rocks.
Too, unmarked graves suggest to your mind the existance of other children in that family.
When I first started my research, county maps did not occur to me. So, I would drive to the town,
then ask local service station attants where the Hollands, or Colliins, were buried. In a
moment I learned which cemeteries to inspect. People who live in small towns usually serve
their community. In Paulding Co., Georgia, "decoration day" was had annually at local
cemeteries. Prior to that time, or early morning, families would clean off the graves and decorate
them with flowers. Then, about noon, picnic baskets where shared as a delicious lunch was
spread on tables under large shade trees. It was an occasion of enjoying good country cooking,
tasting goodies, bragging on the cook. Such occasions, I found, were wonderful places to meet
new cousins while casually extracting information.
Even if there is no decoration day in a town or city, local residents see names on tombstones as
they ride past. Or, remember their neighbors, where they lived, even the burial spots.
Consider.....what do you know about your neighbors? When you leave your driveway to go to
work, has your next-door neighbor already left? Does the lady across the street have black hair or
blonde? And about what age person is she? We know things we don't realize.
Tombstones are made from several types of stone. Slate was one of the first stones to be used in graveyards, particularly in America, and New England area. Slate is a dark-colored rock which breaks naturally along a strong preferential plane (cleavage). One of the reasons it was preferred is that it is easy to carve, as well as resistant to chemical weathering. However, they do break easily, and one can dig around gravesites, to search
for headstones which are buried in the ground.
Granite, also used, is actally a crystalline metamorphic rock which contains high concentrations of silica (silicon dioxide, or quartz), as well as feldspars, dark minerals such as pyroxenes, hornbles and micas. Because of his toughness, granite is actually difficult to use in the making of tombstones, however, it is popular because of its resistance to chemical weathering. Granite does, however, age in the respect that inscriptions get lighter, and more difficult to read.
Marble is a crystallized form of (formerly) limestone. It is easy to grind and saw, and engrave inscriptions. However, marble does not weather well, and a hundred years will wipe off an inscription.
Looks like there’s no ideal stone for markers. They fall, they crumble, the weather
removes inscriptions, etc. I read washed-out inscriptions by tracing my fingers
through the indentions. You can also take a piece of paper, press it against
the stone, then color over it with crayons.
Henry VIII, after his dispute with the Pope, established the Church of England in 1558. This
precipitated his ordering his archbishop to require the priests (Episcopal) to keep a record of
baptisms, marriages and burials. So, in 1558 all the parishes in England began keeping their
records. This is why we rarely find earlier dates in the christening records in England.
By 1598 the bishop of each diocese, in England, was required to receive copies of records, where
we find dates of baptisms (christenings), not births. According to the Episcopal creed, baptism
occurred quickly after the birth, usually within a few days thereof.
The Church of England only kept records for members. Non-conformists kept their own records,
and this is why George Fox began keeping the Quaker records about 1658. The difference is that
the Quaker records recorded births, while Episcopalians recorded baptisms.
Parish registers all over England have been microfilmed and are available in Family History
Centers. They are on computer, and easy to access. One merely types in a name and approximate
After the American Revolution, the Church of England was established in the American
Colonies, and there were colonial records were kept.
Before churches were organized in America, preachers traveled the countryside on horseback,
preaching, baptizing infants, performing marriage ceremonies and performing the last rites. The
Methodists called such ministers "Circuit Riders"; Baptists called them "Gospel Rangers". They
kept records of their missions in little books inside saddle bags. An itinerant minister named
Draper traveled throughout Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and
Southern Illinois, and wrote his interviews in his notebooks which became the property of the
Wisconsin Historical Society at Madison.
As different States required the filing of marriages at the court house, Ministers, like Draper,
kept private records, and did not always file marriages, for example, with the county.
One seaches for Native American ancestors by searching the usual records, vital data,
county records, and census records. Also, Indian Rolls, which are found at
the National Archives, and should be extensively reviewed since the applications
contain so much genealogy.
The Cherokee Nation once occupied parts of eight eastern States, viz:
North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia
and West Virginia. As a consequence intermarriages with
immigrants was frequent. The Cherokees were once a mighty and powerful Nation.
When DeSoto came in 1540, these Indians claimed some 135,000 square miles of
territory. By the of the Revolutionary War, the Cherokees had lost about half of
their lands, and between 1785 and 1835 acreage had shrunk to a few million
When the US Government began removing the titles to certain Cherokee
Lands in the east (ca 1817), the Cherokees were given two options.
- Allowed Cherokees to remove to Arkansas.
- Those who did not wish to move could file for a reservation of
640 acres which would revert back to the state when the Cherokee died,
or abandoned the land.
This Act created what is called the Register of Cherokee Who Wished to
Remain in the East, 1817-1819. This is a list of persons who were granted
reservations on the land where they lived. Information recorded is date of
registration, number of reservation, name, number in family, place of residence,
value of reserve, and remarks.
The above roll may be viewed at the National Archives, (microfilm) M-208.
Theoretically, once could trace their lineage back to say, 1740, or earlier,
if their ancestor was found on this roll.
Other early rolls to search are the Emigration Rolls of 1817-1838, which include the States of Alabama,
Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina - they contain a listing of Cherokee Indians wishing to emigrate.
This list originated because of the Cherokees who voluntarily enrolled as emigrants to the Arkansas
territory, thus relinquishing all rights, titles and claims to lands which they left behind, east of the
Mississippi. These rolls ultimately became known as “The Old Settler Rolls”. This roll is available at
the National Archives. If you ancestor appeared on the above roll, you might find him on the
Old Trader’s Roll.
Northwestern Arkansas was occupied by the “Old Settlers” under the Treaty of 1817.
Part of research in the Indian Nations, is to understand and track the history.
The Treaty of New Echota was signed in 1835 and conceded all lands east of the
Mississippi River to the Federal Governement.
By 1838 and 1839, the Cherokees were removed to Oklahoma, and this famous
trek is known as the "Trail of Tears" when more than 4,000 died enroute.
The Cherokees first began migrating voluntarily in 1835, but by 1838 and 1839 they
were forced out by
gunpoint in 1838-1839 by the US Government.
But things changed by 1893 when Congress passed an Act on March 3 (27 Stat. 645) which authorized
the establishment of tribal lands to individual members. This meant that a commission was established
which would negotiate agreements with not only the Cherokee, but the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and
Seminole Nations as well. In November, Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts was appointment chairman.
In order to make fair distribution to blood Indians, a new roll had to be created which would provide more
family data, to prove that one was a Cherokee. There were mixed-blooded families, and these were invited
to apply. That meant they would be considered for receiving land, for only those with Indian blood were entitled.
"The Dawes Roll" was created to supersede all previous rolls, and a commission was established for the
purpose of supervising and allotting the land. Surveys were made, townships drawn delineating lots.
Applicants had to apply for the land, provide family data, and be interviewed.
You have to look at all the Indian Rolls to determine what to do next. (Alphabetical
listings of persons appearing on the various rolls may be found in the books
listed below). You can always go to the National Archives and search their Rolls.The application is worthwhile
reading, once one locates an ancestor on the Enrollment Cards.
The first approach would be to search the Enrollment Cards (1899-1907). Then, after you have located the
reference, write for the testimony and application of the individual applicant. Expect to see names, ages,
percentage of Indian blood, names of parents, deceased and alive, etc. Look for any notes written on the card,
because they may be important later. A “D” number on the card, such as D1100 would be the application had
been rejected. But don’t give up here - do read the application. An intermarried Cherokee is a person with
white blood who married a Cherokee. The term is “IW”.
Nearly all packets contain the information used by the Dawes Commission to either admit or reject persons
as tribal members, and, in this respect, has become the accepted authority. You may order your own microfilm
copy of a Dawes Packet from the National Archives. Best to go to a local Federal Records Center and use
M-1186 series of microfilm rolls. Roll 1 contains an index, rolls 2-38 contains Cherokee cards.
The remaining rolls, 39-93, contain Creek, Chocktaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole Cards.
There are so many Rolls, that I prefer to use a couple of excellent books, which contain information
from 16 different Rolls, and contain all the names listed alphabetically. They also which indicate which Roll, or
Rolls the ancestor may be found on. This saves time.
- Cherokee Roots, Vol. 1,
Eastern Cherokee Rolls
- Cherokee Roots, Vol. II, Western Cherokee Rolls.
- Dawes Roll Plus
- Guion Miller Rolls
There is an Index to the Final Dawes Rolls for 1902-1906. It is arranged by tribe, and
Thereunder by enrollment category, then roughly in alphabetical order by the first
two letters of the surname.
Expect the following information from the index: Name and roll number.
The surname may appear in several locations. See National Archives Microfilm
Publication M-1186, Roll 1.
The Final Dawes Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen, 1902-1906 includes the Indian
Territory for Eastern Oklahoma. The Cherokees by blood section provides the individual’s name, roll number, age in 1902, sex, blood degree, and census card number. There were originally 32,926 entries. However, death, non-citizenship or duplicate entries
removed many entries.
Those children born between 1902 and 1906 whose parents were either enrolled or had applications ping were designated as minor Cherokees by blood, and includes 4,991 entries.
197 Delaware Cherokees were adopted into the Cherokee tribe, and this information ins included. Also intermarried Cherokees and Cherokee Freedmen.
Recently a group contributed more than $10,000 to the
National Archives in East Point, Ga. The results
include the following new microfilms:
- The 1896 Cherokee Nation Census (7RA-19)
- Application for Enrollment of the Commission to the Five
Civilized Tribes 1898-1914 (M1301), Rolls 270-399
Colonial research involves the 13 original colonies, viz...Virginia (1607), Massachusetts (1620),
Maryland (1634), Connecticut (about 1635), Rhode Island (1636), Delaware (1638), New Hampshire
(1638), North Carolina (1653), South Carolina (1663), New Jersey (1664), New York (1664),
Pennsylvania (1682) and Georgia (1732).
A good place to begin research is in the land patents which provide the earliest land
owners, acreage, boundaries of grants, family members, and names of thousands of persons who were
transported or brought over by the early settlers known as ""headrights," and date of settlement,
There are also references drawn from marriage contracts, wills, deeds, and other legal instruments.
Virginia. The land patents have been published in Virginia, in three volumes, as
- LV-174-2. Cavaliers and Pioneers. Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1666. Vol. One.
By Nell M. Nugent. 802, 1992, cloth. $45.00. S/H $4.00
- LV-009-6. Cavaliers and Pioneers. Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants. Vol. Two: 1666-1695.
By Nell M. Nugent. 620 pp., indexed, cloth. $45.00 . S/H $4.00
- LV-083-5. Cavaliers and Pioneers. Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants. Vol. Three: 1695-1732.
By Nell M. Nugent. 587 pp., indexed. 1992, cloth. $45.00. S/H $4.00
Marylands Eastern Shore Records
contain many colonial references. In addition the first land patent records are available on
microfilm at Family History Centers. These consist of hundreds of reels which have never been
abstracted, but there is a wealth of information!
Massachusetts,Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island.
The standard source for locating the first settlers is the book,
#G1760. A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England
(1620-1675) by John Farmer, 355 pp., cloth. $30.00 plus $4.00 s/h.
This is a directory of the first settlers of New England and is based
almost exclusively on original
records. Includes dates of arrival, places of settlement, dates of birth and death, and biographical highlights.
The object of this undertaking is to give names of magistrates and ministers in all New England colonie
s from 1620-1692" the Deputies or Representatives of the General Court of the Colony of
Massachusetts from 1634-1692; the graduates of Harvard College and Members of the
Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company from inception of those institutions until 1662;
the freemen admitted in the colony from 1630-1662; and the names of all such emigrants, both freemen
and non-freemen who came over before 1643.
The first townships kept "vital records" of it's citizens, which
include births, deaths and marriages. The New England Historic Genealogical Society has a
collection of these volumes. You can
subscribe to the Society's excellent magazine online.
Address: 101 Newberry Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02006
As cities and townships kept their own records, an example is the City of Boston's earliest marriage records.
Two volumes have been published of 75,000 persons, which range from 1700 to 1809.
BOSTON MARRIAGES by Edward W. McGlenen. 468 and 712 pp, indexed, paper.
$85.00 plus $6.00 s/h.
An exhaustive guide to New England ancestry is found in the book, #G2850.Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families, 1620-1700
by Frank R. Holmes. 274 pp., cloth (1923), reissued 1999. $27.50.
These books can be found in State Archives in the New England areas.
North Carolina. North Carolina's State Papers are an excellent resource for locating
information. Most State Archives have these volumes. Here is one example of what to expect
to find. Before the American Revolution, the Flora McDonald Clan, due to unwise political
choices and loss of economy, migrated to North Carolina. Before landing, they sent a message
to the Governor asking permission to embark, as well as for land grants. Substantial land
grants were given. Again, the Clan chose unwisely during the American Revolution, preferring
Great Britain, so, after the war, they were requested to leave.
South Carolina. This State is by far the most difficult one in which to do
genealogical research, because the earliest records were destroyed. You can
locate some of the first land grants by going to the South Carolina Archives. This information
is sketchy, as land descriptions are vague.
Some of the earliest records are found as follows: - Hackensack Reformed (Dutch) Church, 1695-1800; Schraalenburgh Reformed (Dutch) Church, 1724-1801;
Bergen County, 1795-1800; Bergen Reformed (Dutch) Church, 1664-1801; Essex County, 1795-1801;
Lyons Farms Baptist Church, 1795-1800; Second River Reformed (Dutch) Church, 1730-1774, 1794-1800;
Christ Church New Brunswick, 1758-1778; New Brunswick Reformed (Dutch) Church 1794-1799;
Middlesex County, 1795-1800; Piscataway Seventh Day Baptist Church, 1745-1776; Scotch Plains Baptist Church, 1758-1761;
and Chesterfield (Burlington County) Fris' Monthly Meeting 1686-1800.
New York is set up by boroughs. You may order
microfilm from Family History Centers, but the records are so extensive, that you
might have to rent several reels before locating the proper record. Although New York
received more immigrants than any other State, very few immigration records have been
published. See the Winthrop Fleet of 1630.
#G5750. New World Immigrants, 2 volumes, $60.00 plus $6.00 s/h.
This book consists of a
This collection gives access to material previously difficult to
locate for no library in the country can claim to have every issue of every periodical in this compilation.
Periodicals drawn on range from the obscure Pennsylvania Dutchman to the scholarly American
Genealogist, from bi-weeklies to annuals, and, within the general time frame 1618-1878. The
articles identify upwards of 27,500 emigrants, mainly English, Irish, Scottish, German, Swiss,
French, Dutch, Norwegian, and Russian-German. Note: This work does not include articles from
The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,
The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, or The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.
Sixteen volumes of Pennsylvanias colonial records is found in the Pennsylvania Archives. They were indexed by Jonathan
Stayer of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and include the following:
Minutes of the Provincial Council from 1683-1775.
Georgia. Oglethorpe's first passengers on the ship "Ann" arrived in 1732. This
list, which includes ages, was original part of the records of Earl of Egmont, one of
the English Trustees to the colony. A List of Early Settlers of Georgia by Coulter.
$15.00, paperbound. S/H $4.00.
When searching for Georgia's colonial records, see Candler's Colonial
Records of Georgia which is located at the Georgia State Archives, as well as many
Georgia regional libraries.
The first settlers lived in Savannah (Chatham County), Frederica (Glynn County) and
Ebenezer (Effingham County). All county records are not in tact, and for
first records, one should
consult newspapers, such as #JHA-101 Georgia Obituaries 1740-1935,380 plus pp. $45.00 plus $4.00
S/H. This record abstracts the Georgia Gazette and other
Savannah newspapers from the earliest times.
Since many counties were not formed until after the American Revolution, one must
begin by searching for the parent county.
Enlistments. The minimum age for enlistment was eighteen, however, recruiters were not
particular, so they signed up drummer boys as old as nine! Charles E. King, A Union
Soldier, enlisted at the age of
twelve into Company F, 49 PA Volunteers, and was considered the youngest combat soldier in
the war. He was killed at the Battle of Antietam. The average age of a soldier, in either
the Confederate or Union Army, was twenty-five, and the average height was 5 ft. 8- 1/2 inches tall,
with an average weight of 143 1/2 pounds. Two out of three Confederate Soldiers were farmers (or
sons of farmers). About half of the Union Soldiers were farmers, with a quarter of them
being foreign-born. A third of the Confederate Soldiers could neither read nor write. One in
Ten soldiers were wounded; one in thirteen died from disease; and the chance of dying during
combat was one in sixty-five. Union Soldiers ate beans, bacon, pickled beef (salt horse),
compressed vegetables for soup, and hardtack (biscuits), while Confederates ate "sloosh", which was
a cornmeal swirled in bacon grease, then wrapped around a ramrod and cooked over an open
fire. Both armies preferred coffee. Union soldiers crushed coffee beans with their rifle butts, and
drank four pints per day. In camp, soldiers shared reading materials, such as books and
Burial Grounds. A good place to search is National Cemeteries. Unfortunately, there is not a list of
such burials, so that you can just order it. Remember, soldier's bodies were frequently
re-interred, and the burials are not always where they should be. Battlegrounds, for
example, were scattered with dead bodies, however, later, relatives and groups re-interred
these bodies into local or home cemeteries. My CD, #JHA-115. The Confederate Dead Database
is an attempt to locate those graves during the battle years, as well as some of the
re-interments. It includes National cemeteries, as well as certain local cemeteries in
various southern states. I searched all over the place for several of my ancestors who died
during the Civil War. The search took me to battlefields, local tombstones, National
Cemeteries, and obituaries published in the Confederate Veteran Magazines. The effort was
monumental, and fearing the information might be lost, put it into a database. More than 23,000
names are listed alphabetically and all vital statistics (from these sources) is included.
2,645 pp. Easy to use, you just scroll down the page. On CD: $45.00. S/H $2.00.
Muster Rolls. Muster Rolls are records which reveal time periods and locations during
which soldiers were present in camp (during the war). Also, their regiment, company and
unit is listed. The usefulness of these records is to match the dates and locations with
specific Civil War Battles. Sometimes they reflect that a soldier was sick with dysentery, measles, or other common
war ailments. Also, they indicate when a soldier was furloughed out to go home on leave. This
happened due to family illness, or marriage. The
latter information is useful for ascertaining approximate birth dates of children. For example,
you might know that a child was born in 1863, but not know the month. Looking at the muster
records, it is reasonable to view the soldier's "leave" date with a discerning eye. Soldiers
did not always remain in the same compny, or even regiment. Also, abbreciations were sometimes
used instead of proper names. Such as D. A. Evans instead of David A. Evans. This might
be the same person. The best way to check this out is to examine a pension record, or
widow's pension record and carefully read the application forms, which frequently provide
birth and death dates as well as place.
After the war, the confederate soldier was granted a pardon. However, there were fourteen
"confederate profiles" which disqualified a soldier from receiving general amnesty. If
declared a rebel, he was excluded from amnesty. He then had to make application for a "Special
Personal Pardon" from President Johnson. The book, Special Presidential Pardons of
Confederate Soldiers by James Douthat, contains over 30,000 listings granted to individuals
in the southern states. Next to their names are such tags as "indicted for treason", "left a loyal district",
etc.> 2 volumes,530 total pp., 11 x 8.5, paperbound, $60.00 plus $6.00 s/h.
Pensions. One must search the pension records for the State in which the
soldier resided, especially since so much data can be gleaned from the application.
Widows also qualified for pensions, and their applications contain even more data,
such as the death date of soldier, place, and sometimes names of children. State
Archives have the pension records on microfilm.
Currently in the works is a database of all soldiers who served during the Civil War.
This database is being compiled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon)
and when complete will be distributed to all Family History Centers, as well as National
This is a difficult area. For one thing, the passenger lists do not always match other entry records. The Captain of a vessel kept his
record, which may not be consistent date-wise with the arrival lists,
the latter being located at the National Archives in Washington, D.
C. Time and time again, people come into the Family History
Center with the name of a vessel, captain, and date of arrival....then
try to check it against the arrival lists, without any luck. This is
because the ship's captain may not have given his record to Customs
on the arrival date.
Under the Act of 1819, all masters of vessels arriving at American
ports from abroad had to submit a manifest of all passengers to the
Collector of Customs district in which the ship arrived. This record
contained information as to age, sex, occupation, country to which
they belonged, and where they inted to live. The original
passenger lists, copies and quarterly abstracts were made by Customs
Collectors, and are known as "Customs Passenger Lists".
The original lists were kept by the collectors at the various ports of
entry. The State Department mainted quarterly reports, abstracts, and
copies of the lists. It was not until 1874 that the Customs Collectors
began sing copies of passenger lists to the Secretary of State.
All of the above records are in the National Archives in Washington,
D. C., arranged by port, date and ship.
Are they complete? No, however, in 1977, the five major ports
(Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans) were
put on microfilm, then transferred to the Temple University, Balch
Institute Center for Immigration Research in Philadelphia. The lists
from smaller ports of entry were not sent.
If the name of the port of entry and approximate arrival date is
known, it may be possible to determine the exact date and name of
the vessel from records of vessel entrances maintained at the ports.
For example, if a passenger left Stockholm for New York in a year
in which 500 passenger vessels arrived in New York, the search
could be narrowed to the relatively few passenger lists for vessels
sailing from Stockholm.
An excellent published source is "Passenger and Immigration Lits
Bibliography, 1538-1900 (arrivals in US and Canada) by P. William
Filby, first published in 1981, with 1982-1993 supplements. These
volumes contain passenter lists, naturalization lists, etc. However,
please note that the date and place appearing therein do not
necessarily equate to the date and port of arrival because the editors
decided that all names, including alternate forms of the surnames
would be indexed unless there was a definite reason for
omission. The volumes include about 1,500,000 names, including
900 sources. This project belongs to the Gale Researh Company, and
there are 1700 sources remaining to be indexed. This set of books is
available at most genealogy-orientated libraries.
Family History Centers contain a number of passenger lists which
arrived at various ports, as well as some naturalization records.
The National Archives (also available at local federal archives) have
other ships lists.
Suggested reading is #G5750. New World Immigrants, 2 volumes, $60.00 plus $6.00 s/h.
This book consists of a
This collection gives access to material previously difficult to
locate for no library in the country can claim to have every issue of every periodical in this compilation.
Periodicals drawn on range from the obscure Pennsylvania Dutchman to the scholarly American
Genealogist, from bi-weeklies to annuals, and, within the general time frame 1618-1878. The
articles identify upwards of 27,500 emigrants, mainly English, Irish, Scottish, German, Swiss,
French, Dutch, Norwegian, and Russian-German. Note: This work does not include articles from
The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,
The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, or The New York Genealogical
and Biographical Record.
Interviewing Relatives, the first steps
Before visiting Aunt Mary, you will head up her Family Group Sheet, listing all information you
can. This will be her parents (your grandparents). When you visit, this shell will assist in asking
questions. Take blank Family Group Sheets, as you plan to ask for the names of Aunt Mary's
grandparents (your great grandparents). It is easy to follow a format, as it is a memory-enabler.
Relatives have information. It may not be concise or accurate, nevertheless it exists somewhere
in the recesses of their minds. A simple test, for you.
What was the date of John F. Kennedy's assassination?_________
- What was the date that Neil A. Armstrong, astronaut, landed on the moon?_________
Your information might be complete, half-accurate, or void. The purpose of the quiz, then, was
to deal with Aunt Mary's imperfect memory. There are, however.....methods.
When visiting Aunt Mary, you should ask if she has a family bible which contains births, etc.
Don't forget to ask to see old family photographs. Aunt Mary will enjoy identifying her people.
She will also l them to you for reproduction, if you ask nicely.
- Aunt Mary, what year was your sister born?
- I can't recall.
- Were you older than she?
- Yes. I think, by two years.
- Then, since you were born in 1902, that make her date of birth 1904. Does that sound right?
- Well, it was the same year that my father had to take a job in North Carolina. There was no work
then...he had to travel around the countryside, find work where he could. Times were hard.
So he wasn't home when she was born?
- That's right. Mother said he was picking tobacco when she was born.
What month did they pick tobacco?
Oh, that must have been August or September.
Typically, Aunt Mary will tell you that she is not the relative to see, that her sister, or brother
knows everything about the family. She might even go to say that her memory is fading. Do not
leave. She does too have information, probably just as much or more as her sister or brother. She
thinks she doesn't know anything. As the above example establishes, Aunt Mary can provide
dates, and history as well! Her past is a part of her, she has much to give. Too, you are inside her
house. She is receptive, ready to be interviewed. You don't know what the situation is with her
sister, or brother.
- Aunt Mary, tell me more about your father. He was my grandfather, you know, and died while I
was little. Perhaps you have a photograph of him?
The door to her memory has opened. Aunt Mary digs out the photographs. Relates experiences.
How about your grandfather? What was his name? (Note: from her on out, you and Aunt Mary
share progenitors. Her grandfather was your great-father).
- His name was Jonathan Briggs.
- And what was your grandmother's name?
- Do you recall her maiden name?
- No, I just can't remember things any more.
- Was anyone in the family named after Carrie?
- No, but I don't recall.
- Didn't you have an Aunt Frida?
- Yes, yes, Aunt Frida! But she died while I was in school. I think I was about seven years old. I
can't remember anything about her much.
- I found her on a census record listed as Frida Gordon Briggs. Can it be possible that her mother
was Carrie Gordon before she married Jonathan Briggs? After all, she was the first-born in the
- I heard something about Gordon. My sister, or brother, would know the answer.
The process should continue, asking about others, trying to zero in on death dates, so that death
certificates can be ordered. Since most States will do the search for prescribed fees, say a
three-year or ten-year search, you need Aunt Mary's best guess.
When at Aunt Mary's you asked where certain people were buried. She may have remembered
only one cemetery. Nevertheless, her one relative is probably surrounded by scores of relatives.
A visit there should enable you to write down all burials with your family surnames. This will
prevent shuffling back later after you've discovered new relatives.
As we travel with our ancestors from state to state (or territories), we find
that we need some good maps.
For one thing, we look at the old trails, waterways, Indian paths, etc., as
guidelines to determine where people resided. As we review the trails, we
can begin to understand the migrations. Most settlers left their family seat
in search of rich, fertile soils. In Virginia, tobacco has worn out the soil long before
the American Revolution, so people moved south, into North Carolina,
South Carolina and Georgia. By the 1840’s, after removal of Indians, settlers
were moving westward into Alabama and Mississippi.
Whatever counties developed along migratory trails is where we need to
search. A family seat located in Ohio, for example, might cause one to search
into Pennsylvania and Virginia, after viewing the trails.
Remember that the boundaries were always changing, from wild lands, or territories, into
Counties. Thus, it is important to understand the migratory trails from the
Colonial Days to The Trail of Tears.
Here are some Maps
Maryland and Delaware. This map was taken from the land surveys of 1795. 10 x 12".
An inset provides a continuation of the Potomac River from Fort Cumberland. $3.00 plus $1.00
Western Settlement, which was proposed or organized between 1775-1785. This
map begins as far north as Ft. Pitt, PA and goes as far south as the Coosa River in
Ga. Includes State of PA, MD, VA, NC, GA. 9 1/4 x 10". $3.00 plus $1.00 s/h
Virginia in 1796, Existing counties in 1796, bordering KY and the Northwestern
Territory, 10 x 12". $3.00 plus $1.00 s/h
Map of Cherokees and Indians in GA, TN, NC and AL Helpful in locating Creek and
Cherokee towns, pre-1840. 10 x 12". $3.50 plus $1.00 s/h
Ohio Major Migration Routes. Helpful in determining migratory trails via PA, VA, NC.
10 x 12". $3.00 plus $1.00 s/h
Revolutionary War Soldiers: Narratives and Diaries
Here are some diaries located at the National Archives for Revolutionary War Soldiers:
Sometimes you have to keep badgering relatives for tid-bits of information. Although
their information may be scant, any hint which would lead them down memory-trial, would be
welcome. One any in which to search for cousins is simply to use the phonebook, and telephone
all those surnames who still reside in the counties where our relatives hail from. Tedious,
yes, but a frequent winner! Genealogy is still the No. 1 National Hobby. In addition to
the phone books we can find locatlly, regional libraries usually have a fiche
collection of phone books for various states and counties.
The Narrative of John Blatchford by John Blatchford, ca 1762-1794, film #0924682
Memoir of Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman by Tench Tilghman, fiche #6089077 (3 fiches)
Memoirs of the Marshall Count de Rochambeau , fiche #6089061
The Narrative of Abraham Leggett, film #1320669
Letters of William Lee 1766-1783 by William Lee, film #0924664
Captain Thomas Cook 1752-1841, a soldier of the Revolution, film #1017021
Moses Fellow, 1755-1846, a soldier of the Revolutionary War, film #0015506
Diary of Colonel Israel Angell, 1740-1832. Film #1597857
Personal Recollections of Captain Enoch Anderson, fiche #6093773 ( 1 fiche)
The Montresor Journals, (Rev War, French-Indian War, etc., film #0845290
National Archives' Addresses
The National Archives (Federal Records Center) has microfilm of all census records, free to
public use. Also, they have volumes of published indexes....at this time up to about 1860. From
1880 on, the Soundex (on microfilm) index system is utilized.Addresses of Regional
- National Archives and Records Admn
- Eighth and Pennsylvania Ave., N. W.Washington, D. C. 20408
- 202-523-3218, 202-523-3286
Hours: Mon-Fri. 8:45 to 10:00. Sat: 8:45 to 5:15
- National Archives and Records Center
- National Records Center Building
- 4205 Suitland Road
Suitland, MD (location)
- 202-501-5402 Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:45 to 5:15
- National Archives-New England Region
- 380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02154
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00-4:30 first Sat: 8:00-430
National Archives-Northeast Region
Building 22--Military Ocean Terminal
Bayonne, NJ 07002
National Archives-Mid-Atlantic Region
5000 Wissahickon Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144
Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:30-4:00
National Archives-Great Lakes Region
7358 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60629
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00-4:30
National Archives-Southeast Region
1557 St. Joseph Avenue
East Point, GA 30344
Hours: Mon-Fri. 8:00-5:00
- National Archives-Central Plains Region
- 2306 East Bannister Road
Kansas City, MO 64131
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00-4:30
National Archives-Southwest Region
501 West Felix St.P. O. Box 6216
Ft. Worth, TX 76115
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00-4:00
National Archives-Rocky Mountain Region
Building 48, Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00-3:50
National Archives-Pacific Sierra Region
1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, CA 94066
Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:45-4:15
National Archives-Pacific Southwest Region
24000 Avila Road, P. O. Box 6719
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00-4:30
National Archives-Pacific-Northwest Region
6125 Sand Point Way, N. E.
Seattle, WA 98115
Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:45-4:15
National Archives-Alaska Region
Federal Office Building
654 West Third Ave., Room 012
Anchorage, AK 907-271-2441
Available is A Map Guide to the US Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by William Thorndale and
William Dollarhide. (For sale at)To order
Also, see Guide to Genealogical Records in the National Archives by
Meredith B. Colket, Jr. and Frank E. Bridges.
For Burial Information of Veterans from National Archives -
Unfortunately, the National Archives does not have a complete record of burials of veterans in
national cemeteries. However, requests for information should be directed to -
- Director, Cemetery Service (41A)
National Cemetery System Veterans Administration
Washington, D. C. 20420
The Monument Service issues standard Government headstones or markers for the graves or
crypts of deceased veterans. Applicants must furnish relevant information concerning the
deceased veteran, but copies of service records to not have to be included with the application
since the VA verifies service. Write:
The Monument Service (42)
810 Vermont Avenue, N. W.
Washington, D. C. 20420
The best way to identify your immigrant is with Naturalization
During the Colonial period, colonists were British subjects and
only Continental Europeans were naturalized. That means that
there are less naturalizations during the Colonial period.
In 1740 the English Parliament passed a naturalization law
affecting the colonies...requiring seven years' residence in a
colony and an oath before a Magistrate. In the case of Quakers,
an affirmation was required.
Under the above Act, lists of persons naturalized in the
American colonies was published in the Publications of the
Huguenot Society of London, volume 24, as follows:
- Jamaica 1740-1750
- Maryland 1743-1753
- Massachusetts 1743 -
- New York 1740-1770
- Pennsylvania 1740-1772
- South Carolina 1741-1748
- Virginia 1743-1746
Most of these naturalizations took place in Pennsylvania.
From 1775 to 1790, the states handled their own naturalizations,
after which the first US naturalization law was eneacted. This
law affected white people only, requiring two years' residence,
until 1798 when the residence was raised to 14 years. In 1802
it was revised and 5 years' residence was required. In 1906
there was a complete revision of the laws, due to Irish vote
frauds in New York City, which required an alien to appear
before a court and make formal application.
There are three parts to a naturalization record:
- Declaration of Intention
- Proof of Residence in the US for five years
- Certificate of Naturalization.
Here is what type of information to expect:
- Allegience to what country?
- Arrived at (place and date)
- Declaration of Intention (place and date)
- Emigrated from (place and date)
- Proof of residence (place and date)
- Naturalization granted (place and date)
Naturalization records are found in the county courts,
in the custody of the county clerk. To obtain information,
write the clerk of the county where the oath of naturalization
was taken, or to the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization,
Washington, D. C. As a rule of thumb, these records may be
abstracted but not copied verbatim, or photocopied
States vary in which the required their births, deaths and marrages to be filed (Bureau of
Vital Statistics). An example is the State of Georgia. Although some records were
recorded as early as 1919, Georgia did not begin mantatory filing until 1929.
This means we have to turn to other sources, such as newspapers.
The best way to find what is available is to go to your local
(regional) library and ask to see their catalog on newspaper collections.
Then, sit down and order microfilm via their inter-library loan system.
There is a surcharge for each film, about $3.00, and you can expect the
library to receive it in about 2 weeks. When the film arrives, the library
will phone you, and you can use their microfilm readers to read and make
In the instance of the State of Georgia, the University of Georgia has
a large collection of newspapers on microfilm, and they have documented
their holdings in a catalog.
Other collections are found at historical societies, universities, memorial
libraries, and even regional libraries. For example, the Atlanta Public Library (downtown) has its own special collection of newspapers on microfilm. So, one
Needs to scout around. A much smaller library, the Clayton County Regional
Library, has collected the Atlanta Journal and Constitution since late 1800’s,
and they even have a collection of books which document the subject-matter.
Let’s not forget about the actual newspapers which are still sometimes found
inside the record rooms of courthouses.
The search is tedious, because fatalities are frequently scattered throughout newspapers, sometimes in stronge
columns. One-liners can be found in hometown news columns. Therefore, one must read every
page of the newspaper several weeks before and after the possible death date.
Many early newspapers no longer exist, like The Covington Star and Georgia Enterprise (Newton
County, Georgia). About thirty years ago, I found these newspapers stacked behind some
cabinets at the courthouse, and proceeded to abstract them. Even though Newton County
was an unlikely place to locate an obituary for Atlanta, I actually found one of my
relatives! This stack of newspapers is now non-existant. (
#JHA-130. Newton County Newspapers (1868-1904) by Jeannette Holland Austin,
173 pp., floppy disk. $15.00. S/H $2.00.
Although some newspapers have been microfilmed, few have survived. My personal habit is to purchase books of abstracted newspaper records in the
general local of my geographical interest, where relatives may have resided. I am interested in
all persons having a common surname in the scope the state and counties where I'm working,
because families ted to marry their neighbors. On the Pedigree Char, names double with each
generation. This means that I will have new names to search for, usually within the same counties.
Since a limited number of copies is printed and sold to the regional libaries or State Archives
which have an interest (or budget) for genealogy, once the printed copies are sold out, there is no
company to reprint it. Genealogical Publishing Company and Clearfield Company are geared
towards copying books which contain a wider scope of interest, so as to attract the most
sales. I figure that $35.00-$45.00 for a book is going to become invaluable to me, considering
the hours and years involved in trying to find something.
Georgia Obituaries 1740-1935 is another example of obituaries gleaned from the earliest
newspapers I could find, mostly from microfilmed collections, but also from some looseleaf
newspapers. This book is paperbound, and in the format of a database, containing the name
and what vital data (births/deaths/marriages) was found. Unfortunately, the only existing
format is dot matrix, as I lost the data when my computer crashed! Therefore, it is
photocopied. 380 plus pp. #JHA-101,
1740-1935, $45.00, S/H $4.00.
Walker County (Georgia) Newspapers by Jeannette Holland Austin includes
births/deaths/marriages from 1916-1921. This is a north Georgia county and includes some
obituaries from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Paperbound, 380 pp. $25.00
Ordering Vital Records: Birth and Death Certificates
Aunt Mary provided names, but not real dates or places. You tried to zero in on death dates.
Now is the time to write for them. They will provide birth dates/place, death date/place, spouse,
time of death, physician, cause, burial place, and who gave the information. What more could
you ever wish to know?
The drawback here is that birth and death records were not always mandatory in certain
counties. The State of Georgia, for example, did not begin keeping death
records until 1919. This means that you will have to work within the framework of certain
To locate the address of where to obtain birth/death records, search the following books which
may be at your local library, archives or family history center.
- The Vital Record Compium by John O. and E. Diane Stammons
- Genealogists' Address Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley
The Source by Arlene Eakle and John Cerny
Vital Records Handbook by Thomas J. Kemp
Where to find State, County and Town Sources
The Handy Guide for Genealogists by George Everton, Sr.
Genealogists' Address Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley
Where to find Courthouse Addresses
County Courthouse Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley
Census Records, a genealogical reservoir.
Your next stop begins here. You have your Family Group Sheet shells....wanting additional
blanks to be filled. This is where the little ole' lady (or man) steps behind the dusty books. But
first, let us review a rather thorough explanation of the Census Records. The census which you
will most frequently use will be the population census, as this provides names, dates, places.
Passenger Lists (Locations)
Baltimore, Maryland --
Passenger Lists from 1820 to 1897 are indexed and located at the
Field Office of Immigration and
Naturalization Service, Post Office Building, Baltimore, MD.
Missing from these lists are 1821 to
1826 and 1850 to 1855.
Philadelphia, PA --
Lists from 1798 to 1899 are indexed and in the National Archives.
New York City --
Lists from 1820 to 12/31/1919 are in the National Archives.
Boston, Massachusetts --
Lists from 1813 to 1883 were destroyed by fire; lists from 1/1/1883 to 1/1900 are
in the National Archives.
Mobile, Alabama --
Lists from 1830-1862 are in the National Archives
New Haven, CT -
Lists from 182-1899 are in the National Archives.
Salem and Beverly, Massachusetts -
Lists from 1798 to 1800 are in the National Archives.
Galveston, TX -
Lists from 1846 to 1871 are in the National Archives.
Key West, Florida --
Lists from 1837 to 1868 are in the National Archives.
Wilmington, Delaware --
Lists from 1820 to 1849 are in the National Archives.
San Francisco, California --
Almost all lists during the 1800s were destroyed in 1940 by accident.
Atlantic and Gulf Ports --
Lists from 1819 to 1919 and some from 1798 are in the National Archives.
In Colonial days when a man began the process of securing a land grant, he first made
application for it. Such applications gave place of residence, length of time he lived
there, and sometimes included depositions from neighbors. Then, a warrant was issued
which conferred the right to a certain amount of land, which did not specify the place.
A survey was made establishing boundaries...scant at best, including water sources,
stumps, trees, etc. The patent was actually the grant. The warrantee was the person who receiverd
a deed of ownership, and he sometimes sold his rights. Thus, if a person ever owned
land, his name can be found in the public records.
So what is the Public Domain? It is the property which belongs to all citizens. In
other words, our landed estate. It covers three-fourths of the United States, including all
of Alaska...one billion, eight hundred million acres, or, two million, eight hundred
thousand square miles. And it includes all the lands west of the Mississippi River (except
Texas), south and west of Tennessee and Georgia, and north and west of the Ohio River.
At the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, US boundaries were established by a treaty
with Great Britain. However, the thirteen original states did not have fixed bounderies and
seven claimed wilderness areas. The government obtained such lands by certain acquisitions, i.e., the
Louisiana Purchase (1803), Spanish Cession (1819), Oregon Compromise (1846), Mexican
Cession (1848), Texas Purchase (1850), Gadsden Purchase (1853), and the Alaska Purchase (1867).
The Public Domain States are:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
After the Proclamation of Indian Rights in 1783, American Indians received lands from
the Public Domain, and this meant that other settlers were prohibited from using the Indian
From 1785 to 1891 the average price of land was $1.25 per acre. Then, in 1854, land which had remained
unsold for thirty-five years could be sold at 12- 1/2 cents per acre. The Homestead Act of
1862 gave settlers the right to a land patent of 160 acres after cultivated, a home was built,
and the person resided on it for five years. Unil 1855, 160 acres were granted for service in military
engagements, including the Indian wars. But after the Civil War, veterans received grants under
the Homestead Act.
However, due to the system of surveying, settlers had to take the poor lands along with
the good. The rectangular system of surveys did not follow natural boundaries. Even so, such
a system actually caused an ordering settlement of the wilderness country. A township, six miles
on each side (total of 36 square miles), were laid, with boundaries running north-south and
east-west. The system coordinates were called "principal meridians" and "base lines". A principal meridian is a line running
north and south from an initial point. When using a public land survey map, you can recognize the
township by first locating its principal meridian and base line. To do this, count the
number of townships called "ranges" east or west from the principal meridian. The combined results
of these counties will locate any township. You will understand this better when viewing a public
land survey map.
The Public Domain land was registered in the recorder's office, Office of the Register of
Deeds. Sometimes they are referred to as "abstracts". Such abstracts begin with government
ownership, then show the grantee's name. If the abstract was begun prior to government
ownership, it is designated as "partial abstract". The heading might begin with "Homestead
Expect to find a miscellaneous varity of information, such information as marital status of grantor and antenuptial agreements (if a man and
woman plan to marry). These records are filed in county court houses, along with deeds and
mortgages. Don't forget to search tax digests as this will assist in determining the
amount of acreage, location, and what happened to the land.
Revolutionary War (1776-1783) : Pensions
The American Revolutionary War began in Massachusettson April 19, 1775. The
date of the Declaration of Indepence in Philadelphia was July 4, 177
General Cornwallis surrered at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781, with the peace
treaty being signed in 1783.
After the war ed, provisions for benefits to veterans were established, in 1789. Many of the
first applications, however, were destroyed by fire in 1800 and again in 1814. A partial record of
earlier pensioners does exist for 1792, 1794 and 1795, in Reports to Congress. Here is how the
- Invalid pensioners who were disabled prior to 8/26/1776 (and since 4/19/1775). The Act of
1782 exting the provisions found that there were 1500 (invalid) pensioners on the rolls.
- Half-pay for life went to officers, and widows of those officers. This began in 1780; then in
1788 Congress granted seven years half-pay to officers who served at the of the war.
- 2,480 officers received Commutation Certificates, however, delayed payments existed.
- The Law of 1818 provided that every indigent person who had served to the war's close, or for
nine months or longer, would receive a pensions. When the law was rewritten in 1820, many
names were removed from the pension rolls because they were not indigent.
- In 1832 most of the benefits were stripped.
By 1867 most of the pensioners on the rolls were dead, even though two names went on the rolls
thereafter. The last old soldier to die was Daniel F. Bakeman, who died 4/15/1869, at the age of
109 years. In 1869, there were 887 widows on the rolls. And, believe it or not, in 1906, there was
still one widow on the pension list. She was Esther S. Damon, who died 11/11/1906.
Estimates are that 20,485 soldiers were granted pensions in 1818, and 1,200 in 1828, and 33,425
In 1789 the Federal Government assumed responsibility of the State's invalid pensions for
soldiers on the Continental Line, and in 1804 they assumed all S. C. Invalid pensions,
When a person left a foreign country to travel to the U. S., his name appeared on the passenger
list, known as the List Or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration
Officer at Port of Arrival, commonly referred to as the ship manifest. The type of information
you can expect to find is (1) the passenger number, (2) list number, (3) date of arrival and (4)
name of ship.
The manifest is actually two pages and has 35 column categories. One might expect to learn that
a new name was taken once in America, and sometimes there is a name change between the
departure from the old country and the arrival in America, so that presents a problem. Just be on
the alert. Also, age, spouse's name and children, or, even, that a spouse remained in England,
for example. Also, where born, ethnic origin, physical description, state of health, coor of eyes,
whether he paid his own passage, money he carried at the time of his entry into America, read or
write, so on.
Passenger Lists can be found in the National Archives in Washington, D. C. For U. S. Ports,
which include Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Galveston, Los Angeles,
New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle. Also, Canadian ports of arrival. These lists may be
viewed on microfilm at the National Archives.
Passenger Lists are arranged chronologically by the date of arrival. You can expect to learn more
details from the 20th century arrivals, than the 19th century. You may have to view several reels
of microfilm, as they contain several volumes, with several days of arrivals.
One way to find the exact arrival date, is to see the microfilmed indexes beginning in 1820
through 1948. If your ancestor arrived 1847 to 1897, there is no index.
You can request the Application for Naturalization in the county court records where your
ancestor was naturalized, or, from the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington,
D. C. The benefit of this is that it shows the original name, as well as the new name.
World War I Draft Registration Cards
World War I began in 1914, and ed November 11, 1918. The US
did not enter the war until 1917. The range for this draft was
for men between 17 to 45 years of age.
The National Archives has a collection of several million World
War I Draft Registration Cards for the United States. The cards
are arranged by States, then draft boards, and lists name, date
of birth, address, place of birth, next of kin.
Another source to consider is the Summary Cards. The Georgia State
Archives, for example, has an alphabetical list on microfilm,
and they contain enlistment dates, draft and service information, etc.
After the war, the veterans went to their local courthouses and
registered their discharge. Another place to look.