Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Compendium of American Genealogy

Think your ancestors were one of the First Families of America? Use this source to help find out. This set was begun after The Great War (WWI) with volume 1 being published in 1925. The first three volumes were published under the title The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy First Families of America: A Genealogical Encyclopedia of the United States. Later “Abridged” was dropped from the title as the entries were expanded to include additional information such as formal education titles, photographs, and organizational memberships. The purpose of the set is to present the basic pedigree, including marriages and children, of each of the documented first families to settle in America. There are a total of 7 volumes (volume 7 was printed in 1942) which use a large variety of sources to back up their lineage information, and name roughly 288,000 individuals. Each volume has its own index, which is great since the names are not in any order that seems logical. Come take a look to see if your family is one of the First Families of America. Submitted by Tracy Luscombe, Genealogy Librarian

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hidden Sources

We all know about searching the various Federal Censuses, vital events records, and may even have thought about state censuses. However, did you ever think about records of the Army Corps of Engineers? Or Almshouse Records? Or even Orphan Asylum Records? How about Apprenticeship Agreements? These are just a few of the sources discussed in the book Hidden Sources: Family History in Unlikely Places by Laura Szucs Pfeiffer (copyright 2000 by MyFamily.com). In this book you’ll find short explanations of each type of record that will help you determine whether a it might contain information you need. Clues are given as to the location of each type of record, and internet URLs are given for many record types so you can find out more information about them.

You’ll find this book at R Gen 929.1 PFE at our library. Take a look and see if you can find a type of source that might help you make more progress in your research.

Tracy Luscombe, Genealogy Librarian

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Land & Property Research in the United States

There are at least 3 reasons why land and property records are important when researching your family history. The first is that “written evidence of people’s entitlement to land and property goes back in time further than virtually any other type of record”. The second is that “in America, land and property records apply to more people than any other type of written record”. And third “there are fewer losses of land and property records than any other type of record”. These are quoted from the Foreward written by William Dollarhide for the book Land & Property Research in the United State by E. Wade Hone. (with Heritage Consulting and Services, copyright 1997)

This book starts with chapters on Pre-U.S. possessions, providing a chapter on each of the countries that staked a claim on land, and information on the repositories of those records today. Once we became the United States, states were either State-Land States (where the distribution of land was handled on the State government level), or Federal Land States (where the distribution of land was handled on the Federal level). There were different survey systems for the two types, so researching and interpreting the records will be handled differently. The book offers strategies for researching each type of record. There is also a chapter on Individual Lands, which refers to land transactions that take place after the initial transfer of ownership from the government, and a chapter on Native American Land Records.

This can be an invaluable source to keep you from making shots in the dark in your land research. You'll find it at R Gen 929.1 HON in our library.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Red Book

The Red Book by Ancestry is a very valuable resource for genealogists. The subtitle is American State, County, and Town Sources. In its 3rd edition this book is divided by state. Within each state's "chapter" you'll find information about where to research vital records, what various types of censuses were taken, information about maps, land records, probate records, court records, tax records, cemetery records, and military records. A list of suggested periodicals, newspapers, and manuscripts, to consult is offered. The book can be a great resource for planning a research trip as it includes detailed information on archives, libraries, and societies in the state. A map of each state shows the county locations and county seat for each. To me the best part of the book is the chart at the end of the chapter. It shows an alphabetical listing for each county with the address for the county seat government center, the date the county was established and which county it was formed from, the earliest date of birth, marriage, and death records and the earliest date for land, probate and court records. Before you spend time and money requesting a record from a particular county, check to be sure that county actually existed in the specified time period of your ancestor. You may need to contact the parent county. The person could have been born in one county and died in another without ever having moved from one home to another.