Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Texas Resource

We just received the 3 volume set of the Guide and Index to Texas Confederate Pension Application and Payment Records 1899-1979 by Anthony Black, Robert de Berardinis and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission Staff (copyright 2009 Heritage Books, Inc.). Their preface notes that they are “in addition to rather than in place of the online index to Confederate pension applications and TARO finding aids of the TSLAC.” The indexes are divided by type: pensioners, widows receiving pensions, totally disabled pensioners, Confederate Home pensioners, and rejected applications. There is also a miscellaneous category that includes such items as applications for mortuary warrants, or physician’s statements regarding disability. There is a primer on Texas Confederate Research. An important thing to remember in researching a Civil War pension is the application was submitted to and, if approved, paid by the state in which the veteran or veteran’s widow was living at the time of application, not the state where they mustered in to serve. This will be a good source to consult before you contact TSLAC and spend time and money researching their records. It can be found at R Gen 929.3764 BLA in our library.

Monday, March 22, 2010

History for Genealogists

This posting is a day early this week because tomorrow morning I leave for the Public Library Association Annual Conference. Hopefully I will bring back some great new ideas and information on genealogy services and materials to better serve you.
Meanwhile, have you prepared time lines for the people in your family tree? This is a great way to see gaps in the information you have for each person and make a research list. Also, you can compare these to actual timelines in history so you can get clues as to where you might search for more information on your ancestor. In the book History for Genealogists: using chronological time lines to find and understand your ancestors by Judy Jacobson (Clearfield Publishing, copyright 2009) you can take a look at time lines for each state, military action, migration, or social shift and see where your people might fit in. For example one time line shows a heavy migration of loyalists from the colonies to Canada in 1784, and from Virginia and the Carolinas to Alabama in 1810-20. Another gives the dates of the inception and key events of each labor union in the colonies and United States. In 1649 the shoemakers and coopers in Boston formed guilds. If you had an ancestor there at that time you could seek out the records for this group and see if he was a member. The state timeline for AL notes that in 1702 the capital of Louisiana was moved by the French near what is now Mobile, AL. In 1810 migrations from TN to Northern AL began. In 1803-11 a federal road was constructed from Milledgeville, Ga to Fort Stoddert, north of Mobile.
Come take a look at this source to see what you might be missing in the lives of your ancestors. You can find it at R Gen 929.1 JAC

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Abbreviations and Acronyms

I belong to a listserv of genealogy librarians. One type of question is posted often. It starts with something like this, "my patron was consulting a (named) source and found the notation "____", and ends like this, "does anyone know what this means?" You might run across the unknown notations in just about any type of record or census. One source that might help with these issues is Abbreviations and Acronyms: a guide for family historians by Kip Sperry. We own the revised 2nd edition. The entries are listed in alphabetical order and included is a brief explanation or description of the abbreviations, acronym, or initials. Here are just a few to give you an idea of the entries. ALOH = American Legion of Honor. capt = captive or captured. HC = (1) Havana, Cuba (2) Harvard College (3) Haut-Canada (4) heads of cattle (5) Holy Cross. KG = (1) Knights of the Order of the Garter (2) Knights of St. George. SGDL = step-granddaughter-in-law. So when you run up on a notation in a source come take a look at this book to be sure you know how to interpret it correctly.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

He died of what?

Have you ever obtained a death record or other medical record of an ancestor, looked at the diagnosis and thought, "what was that"? For example - Bright's disease, white flux, herpes zoster or dumb ague. A small, but valuable source in the library's collection that will help you decipher these is A Medical Miscellany for Genealogists by Dr. Jeanette L. Jerger (Heritage Books, 1995). It tells me that Bright's disease is akin to nephritis, a kidney disease that "ranked high as the cause of death in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries". White flux was cholera. Herpes Zoster was shingles. Dumb ague, which had several other names, was a "form of malaria characterized by irregular attacks of fever without chills." Come take a look at this source for these other interesting terms: eclectic medicine, dropsy, Egyptian chlorosis, English disease, ship's fever.
The book can be found at R Gen 610.14 JER

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

American Migration

Immigration is not a new issue. People migrated from other countries to this land to form a new country. After they got here they migrated from one area of the land to the others. They often traveled in ethnic, religious, or neighborhood groups. As cities became industrialized people migrated to create the suburbs. Tracing these movements can help you find your ancestors, and put more than names and dates to their lives. One source that can help you is The Atlas of American Migration by Stephen A. Flanders (Facts on File, Inc. 1998). Unlike most atlases it is not just maps. There is discussion of the reasons for American migration such as natural disasters, as well as American Slavery. The promise of land and the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, and "white flight" in the 20th century are all addressed. Methods of transportation and the "vanishing farmer" are also discussed. This book can be an especially valuable source for telling you why someone ended up with an event that seems out of place in their lives. Come take a look at the where and how of American Migration.