Monday, May 28, 2012

Websites Family Search

Family Search provides a constantly updated genealogical database for free.  The site provides four different ways of conducting searches which include records, trees, catalog and books.  All of them prove to be valuable tools in conducting our genealogical search.

When accessing the Family Search page you will see the option of entering a name to conduct a search in the records.  If this is your first time visiting the site it is important to become a registered user.  The icon to click is in the upper right corner.  You will need to select a users name and password.  An email will then be sent to you that you will need to confirm your information.  By registering you will be allowed access to the scanned records like census page and vital records.  There is a big advantage to see the original source for the transcription.

Once you have become registered you will need to go back to the starting page.  You are given several options on this first page.  You have the four selections of records, trees, catalog and books.  Included on this page you can search by location or also look at the many databases that are available. 

The records search allows you to access many of the databases.  They are all location specific.  Providing as much information for the historical search is important so you are able to look at a smaller group of choices.  Records here are census, vital, migration, military, probate and other.  The more specific that you are with the details the smaller your group of people will be, but you can vary your search parameters.  One that I like to do is searching for a surname in a specific location like Wayne County, Michigan.  This gives you a list of people that go by the same last name in a specific location during certain time periods.  I have found this good when looking to search collateral lines.  Information when searching this way helps you in connecting families and to find more things that you would not be able to find in a very specific search.  When you are not certain of the specific location, but know a state for instance you can get a much larger group.  This does not work as well for popular names.  I will talk about various search methods in upcoming articles.

A note on the records search options is that not all the databases are available in the search option.  Example of this would be the Archdiocese records for cemeteries and parishes in the Toledo, OH area.  This source can be accessed by clicking on the “All records Collection” that is located just below the search function on the first page.  All records are listed by location.  Here you would have to move down to Ohio in the listing and look for the Toledo Archdiocese records.  Descriptions of the databases are included on the databases first page.  This section is by far the most updated and you should look at it regularly.  As I mentioned many records are not included in the Records search database, but are located on the site.

Now go back to the records search and look at what we got with our name search.  The returns for your search will cover all the databases included in the search.  For the sake of discussion we will be looking for a death record in Lenawee County Michigan.  We are given the option to look specifically for the death date.  Once you reach the second page which is the results of your search you need to look at the options of the databases searched.  If you conduct a narrow search for the name in the location and the way you have the name spelled the results will be very narrow.  If there is a chance the name could be spelled several different ways in a specific location narrow the search by making it location specific. 

To see what databases have been searched click on the word “Collections” in the filter section along the left side of the page.  Here you will see all the databases that were searched and how many were found.  You should come up with three different databases specific to Michigan which is divided by time period and the SSDI index.  By clicking on one of the four it will narrow the amount of names.  Search each database.  Information can vary.  Once you get to a record that you feel applies click on the name.  Here it will have a transcription if available of the actual record.  You can not look at the scan if you are not registered.  Much more information is included on the actual scan of the document.

The key here is to have a plan for what you are searching for and trying to learn.  Narrow the search by location.  Don’t be afraid to try different methods for searching the databases.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

War of 1812

The War of 1812 is referred to by many as our Second War for Independence. For the genealogist it provides another source for family history information during a period of time in our country’s early history that generally lacks good data.

As the western edge of civilization at this time, Ohio was the site of many important battles. Recent settlers defended their land against both Native American and British forces. Survival skills gained by early settlers—fighting a harsh environment and wielding a gun—played an important role in minimizing the duration of the war.

Northeast Ohio and the area around Cincinnati were important areas for recruitment for militia. Soldiers were organized by the U.S. government from local units originally created to defend against the local native population. Service tended to be short term and men had several short stints of service. They were called up when a threat was apparent or a campaign was being organized. Men were also organized into federal units that primarily occupied the forts that were created during this period.

A series of trails and forts were created in the state to help defend the frontier. The trails would become important routes of migration and trade in later years. For example, a trail ran from Cleveland down through Fremont and then to Perrysburg, where Ft. Meigs was located. This was a very big fort for its day and played an important part in the war. From here you could go further west down the Maumee River to Ft. Wayne or directly north along the western half of Lake Erie to Detroit. The route between Cleveland and Perrysburg would become Route 20 in Ohio and the northern route followed closely I-75 up to Detroit from Toledo.

From Cincinnati a trail was made that reached all the way to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, a major trading post at the time. All along this trail, a series of blockhouses were built that would provide protection for troops during potential Native American attacks. The locations of many of these outposts would later become towns.

In northwest Ohio, the Black Swamp acted as a barrier from the east and the south. Troop movement in this area was difficult. There was really no good time of the year to travel through this area. In the rainy season you had to travel through several feet of water along with large swarms of mosquitoes. In the winter, a solid sheet of ice ran for miles. This was a major reason for the direction of the trails created during this time. The Black Swamp also created a need for very hardy soldiers.

Finding Your Solider

How can you determine whether your ancestor served in the War of 1812? This war tended to accept a much larger age group for service. Check for those who lived in the area that were between the age of 18 and 50. Remember men were in short supply in the frontier so everyone was needed.

A microfilmed index to service records for soldiers and sailors can be found at the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) (M-602, 234 rolls). This listing is for volunteers. Actual service records are currently in the process of being filmed. The records for the Regular army are in “Registers of Enlistment in the US Army 1798-1914” (NARA M223, 81 rolls). In the index, you will find name, rank, organization of unit, dates he was mustered in and out and the state from which he served. Editor’s note: Some muster rolls and other records of Ohio military activity are available in Ohio repositories. See related article, “Selected War of 1812 Resources in Ohio.”

Pension records can be found in two places:
·         The “Old Wars” series covers death and disability claims (covered under special Congressional acts) for service during the entire period. The records are organized alphabetically and there is an index (NARA, T-316, 7 rolls). Included is the name, rank, military or naval unit and period of service. If the person applied for a pension, it will include age or date of birth, residence and sometimes place of birth. When a widow applied for a pension it shows her age, place of marriage to the veteran and maiden name. If the veteran left orphans, the names of the children, ages, and place of their residence will be listed.
·         The “The War of 1812 series” (NARA, M-602, 234 rolls) resulted from Congressional acts passed in 1871 and 1878. Due to the late passage of these benefits, most the people affected had passed on. Included in these records is a subseries that includes death and disability claims as well as bounty land warrants. This makes this source a valuable item due to the increased amount of soldiers covered and closeness to the actual war. The soldier’s information included in this file shows name, age, place of residence, if married, maiden name of wife, place and date of marriage, rank, military or naval unit, date and place of entering the service and date and place of discharge. The widow’s declaration includes name, age and place of residence of the widow, date and place of marriage, name of official conducting the ceremony, date and place of the veteran’s death, his rank, his military or naval unit, the date and place of his entering the service, and the date and place of discharge. This series is indexed on Ancestry .

Bounty land records are the final piece of War of 1812 documentation. For those who may have had family that relocated to the territories of Missouri or Illinois where the bounty land was given, this information is very important. The normal amount was 160 acres. Unlike other wars, land grants awarded from War of 1812 service could not be sold. This will help in understanding the migration pattern and hopefully will move you on to your next step in your genealogical research.
Find War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858 (NARA M-848, 14 rolls) indexed on Ancestry.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Portable Scanners

Have you ever been researching in a library, court house or archives where you need to make copies of documents?  This can be a challenge with having the correct change, standing in line for the copier or the facility may not have the capabilities to make reproductions.  Having your own hand scanner can resolve this problem.

Technology today has developed where you have the ability to copy pages in a book or copy photos using a hand scanner.  One of the nicer ones on the market today is the Flip Pal.  This scanner has a 4 x 6 inch scanning area.  You have the ability to copy pages in a book and download it into your computer.  It does not plug into the wall, but uses batteries for power.  This makes it very easy to use and allows you to work in areas without a electrical outlet or your computer.

Another excellent feature of this product is it's excellent reproduction quality of photos.  The image can be scanned directly off the image or over the protective cover the picture is stored in.  Recently I saw a demonstration using this product that allowed it to scan a much larger picture and stitch the smaller images together to make the larger picture.  The fascinating part was you did not see the seems.

So when taking a look at a scanner take a look at the Flip Pal.  For further information please contact me

Friday, May 18, 2012

House History

So take some time and look at your home.  Do you live in a old home?  Are your curious about the families that have lived there before?  A excellent idea is to check out the purchase history of your home since it was built.  Researching your home and the families that lived there will give you a deeper appreciation of what you have.  Many changes happen to a home over it's life.  Changes occur architecturally as well as the families that live there.

Many homes that we live in today were built before electricity and in some cases indoor plumbing.  The many changes that the families had to go through in the life of our house.  Can you imagine not have lighting?  Yes life did exist before air conditioning.  Many changes have taken place over the past two hundred years.

Researching the sales transactions of a home can be a fascinating process.  Included with this is researching the families that lived in the home prior to you.  What did they do for a living?  What did they do later in life?  What events occurred during their time of living in your home?  The history that has gone on before may surprise you.

arch the homes that our ancestors lived in.  Do they still stand?  What is unique about the homes architecture?  What neighborhood did they live in?  Did they live in the country?  All interesting elements that paint a more complete picture of our ancestors lives.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

1940 US Census

As we all know the 1940 US census is out.  A monumental task is the indexing of the census.  Have you signed up to help with the transcribing?  The picture quality of this census is excellent.  It makes it much easier to read and to transcribe.  Please join us in this task.  You can sign up with Family Search, Ancestry and New England Historical and Genealogical Society.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

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