Monday, November 1, 2010

Original DAR Document Loaned to Library's Genealogy Department

Pictured from Left:  Mrs. Marjorie Crosby Jones, Mrs. Sharon S. Wyatt, Regent, of the John McAlmont Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Jana Blankenship, Reference Manager at Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Public Library hold the 100-year-old document. 

A one-hundred years old original Daughters of the American Revolution document has been recently brought out of storage, framed and presented on loan to the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Public Library.  

The document, dated June 2nd, 1911, was given to Mrs. Julia McAlmont Noel, then State Regent of Arkansas, by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.  Mrs. Noel has been elected Regent of the Arkansas State Society on April 21st, 1911.  

The large, fifteen by thirteen inch, fragile certificate with seal and ribbon still attached, was discovered by Mr. Stewart Sanders while going through the DAR memorabilia of his late mother, Mrs. Harlow (Pauline Drake) Sanders, who died in 1991.  Mrs. Sanders was a former member and officer in John McAlmont Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Mr. Sanders gave the document to Mrs. Marjorie Crosby Jones who had helped his wife, Ceil Sanders, prepare her papers to become a member of DAR.  Mrs. Jones, having written a History of John McAlmont Chapter, NSDAR Wataseka District while serving as historian of the chapter, knew the significance of the document.  Mrs. Jones, after much research, had the document framed using archival techniques.  She also had a copy made and framed to be enjoyed by the John McAlmont Chapter DAR. 

The Little Rock Chapter Daughers of the American Revolution, organized in 1894, and the Mary Percival Chapter of Van Buren, chartered in 1900, were the first two DAR chapters in Arkansas.  The State Regent, Mrs. Lucien Coy, who served from 1905 to 1907, recognized the need for a chapter in Pine Bluff.  She persuaded a member of the Little Rock Chapter, who was a resident of Pine Bluff, to take a membership-at- large in order to be appointed Organizing Regent of the new Chapter.  Her name was Mrs. James William (Julia McAlmont) Noel. 

The organizational meeting of the John McAlmont Chapter was held May 12th, 1906.  The charter granted by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was presented October 25th, 1906. 

Mrs. Julia McAlmont Noel helped organize the first State DAR Conference held at the Marion Hotel, Little Rock, Arkansas, on February 22nd, 1909. 

The document may be viewed in the Genealogy Department of the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Public Library in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pine Bluff History in Postcards

For ancestors who lived during the 20th century, postcards are a delightful way to learn more about their lives and communities. 'Picture' postcards were very popular worldwide by the dawn of the 20th century due to their novelty and the fact that postage was cheap. From automobiles to street scenes and hairstyles to people, postcards provide enticing glimpses into the past.

If you are lucky enough to have postcards sent or received by your ancestors you may learn tidbits of information about the family, gain handwriting samples and even find addresses to help you track family movements. Even if you aren't fortunate enough to have access to a family postcard collection, you can often find postcards depicting your ancestor's hometown, clothing styles of the time period, etc.

Start with the local historical society in the area in which your ancestor lived or at local antique stores. Many postcard collections can be found posted online, and postcards can also be obtained through online auction sites.

Look to postcards as a wonderful way for illuminating the lives of your ancestors, as well as for spicing up your family history books, scrapbooks and other genealogy projects.

Please visit a wonderful site which will walk you through the History of Pine Bluff in Postcards from 1882 to the present.  This is a wonderful site, posted by Paul Perdue, which gives a visual history of the beautiful city we call home.

Acknowledgments by Paul Perdue

Welcome to

Who knew there were so many postcards from Pine Bluff?  I began collecting them over 20 years ago and now have more than I ever thought possible.  In the first few years, I found the postcards the old-fashioned way – at flea markets & antique shops.  Just when I thought I must have every old card from Pine Bluff, another five would turn up.

I only had about 20 PB postcards when a co-worker told me about this little on-line auction thing called “eBay”.  After mastering eBay my collection doubled, tripled and quadrupled, eventually surging out of control (and out of my little plastic card file) with no less than 468 postcards, with, apparently, no end in sight.

Old Pine Bluff postcards are everywhere.  I'll bet I’ve bought them from eBay dealers from every state in the nation.  After all, the last place to look for a used postcard is in the place of origin, right?  (And besides, I live in Dallas, Texas.)  And without eBay, most of these little pieces of Pine Bluff would be catching dust in antique shops all over the country, never to be discovered (by me, anyway).

I would be remiss in not thanking the new friends I've made the last several years who have also helped me fill out my collection.

Ray Hanley, that guru of Arkansas postcards, unselfishly opened his collection and provided great copies of many cards I did not have.

Regina Priest, between shifts at JRMC, gave me access to her collection, providing me with some great ones I had never seen.

Karlyn Spencer, who came to Pine Bluff all the way from Tennessee to share her collection.

Sue Trulock at the Jefferson County Historical Museum for loaning me cards to copy.

Allen Whitwell, my favorite Pine Bluff postcard eBay competitor, has provided me with lots of good ones.

Ernie Wallis provided the wonderful card of the three couples in the hot air balloon setting – one of which is my Great Aunt Evelyn Perdue.

Johnie Martin (Design By Jmar), who has a done a great job with designing and building this site.

And there’s more!  I already have a stash of new acquisitions to add, and have agreements with other collectors to get theirs onto the site, as well.  Plus, there will be new features added to this site after I catch my breath.  So add to your favorite sites and keep checking in.

We’d love your comments and suggestions (or fact errors) on the comments page. And if some of these postcard scenes jog your memory, please tell us about that, too.  This site could eventually serve as a memory book for all Pine Bluffians, past and present.

And if you have any old Pine Bluff postcards that I don’t, please contact me.  (If you don’t want to part with them, I only need a color copy or scan.)

Paul Perdue
Copyright © 2007  Pine Bluff Postcards. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Funeral Cards

Uncovering death information about an ancestor can frequently reveal details about his or her life and family that would be difficult to find in any other source. Obituaries frequently include birth, marriage, and death dates and places of the deceased, the maiden name of a wife, children names, parents’ names, occupations, places of residence, and highlights of his/her life. 

Funeral cards are an overlooked genealogical resource. Funeral cards and mourning cards sent to friends and relatives to announce funeral times and dates and the death of an individual often contain both the birth and death date.  
Unfortunately, not every ancestor had an obituary published revealing these details for the benefit of descendants. Instead, some people discover printed memorial or funeral cards in collections of their parents or relatives. While these cards don’t give the range of detail often found in obituaries, they can still be of great value in furthering research. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lineage Societies: the Well-Known, the Obscure -- How to Apply Successfully

By Carolyn L. Barkley
     Membership in a lineage society is a research objective for many genealogists. A successful application requires a great deal of research not only into the specific lineage involved, but also into the society’s reason for being. While status is one reason for joining a lineage society, membership can also provide recognition for and validation of your research by a society genealogist, can facilitate access to otherwise unavailable information, and provides a means to preserve your research and make it accessible to others. In addition, you may be able to meet researchers with common interests at local or state chapter meetings and receive informative publications or attend educational programs that will further your research. This week’s article discusses various types of lineage societies and provides some general strategies for completing a successful application.
     Your first step will be to identify a lineage society for whose membership you qualify. The most comprehensive printed source for society information is the Hereditary Society Blue Book (Genealogical Publishing Co. 1994, currently on sale at Entries in this title include the insignia of the organization, its founding date, a brief description of eligibility, membership total, and a contact address and phone number. The volume also indicates when membership is by invitation only.
An independently created web site lists the societies from the Hereditary Society Blue Book and provides links to “sites that were created by societies having their own page in the Blue Book.” This web site does not duplicate any of the information contained in the Blue Book, other than the list. At least two cautions should be noted for its use, however. First, I could not determine the date of the creation (or update) of this site. In addition, when I followed the link for the Society of the Cincinnati, I found that I was connected to a page that promoted the purchase of a book. Only after scrolling down the page to other links, did I find membership information (although I was not linked to a Society of the Cincinnati web site). Perhaps the information is included in this fashion in order to make general information accessible to the user in one location. For example, when I then Googled “Society of the Cincinnati,” I discovered that state chapters of this organization have their own individual web sites.
     A site that I found very useful is “” which provides the ability to search for lineage societies in a variety of categories, including by state (drop down box on right hand side). URLs are provided when available.
     The links I have provided below, however, are to the membership or general information pages of specific societies found by searching (via Google) for the actual name of the society after I had identified it in the Heritage Society Blue Book.
     Perhaps some of the best known lineage societies are those whose membership is tied to an ancestor’s military service: the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Society Sons of the Revolution, the Society of the Cincinnati, the National Society United States Daughters of 1812, the Military Society of the War of 1812, the Aztec Club of 1847, the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, among others.
Some societies base their membership on colonial descent. Examples include the National Society Children of the American Colonists, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the National Society of Old Plymouth Colony Descendants, the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century, such state-level organizations as the Sons and Daughters of the First Settlers of Massachusetts, the Order of First Families of Virginia, and the Dutch Colonial Society of Delaware.
     Other society memberships may be based on such criteria as: settlers of specific states (the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and the Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers); royal lineages (the Hereditary Order of the Descendants of the Kings of Scotland, and the Plantagenet Society); colony founders (Society of the Ark and Dove[Maryland], and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants); historic events (the Baronial Order of the Magna Charta); political office (the Hereditary Order Descendants of Colonial Governors); occupations (the Flagon and Trencher, and the Order of Descendants of Colonial Physicians and Chirurgiens);  and country of origin (Holland Society of New York, and the Swedish Colonial Society).
     Some of my favorite lineage societies are the quainter or more obscure (at least to me) organizations such as: the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches, open to “women sixteen years of age or older who are able to prove descent from an ancestor or ancestress accused, tried or executed for the practice of witchcraft prior to 31 December 1699,” with a membership (in 1994) of 100; and the Order of Daedalians. The Hereditary Society Blue Book indicated (in 1994) that this latter society had, as “founder members,” anyone who served as a “commissioned officer in any component of the United States Armed Forces holding a rating as a military pilot of heavier-than-air powered aircraft,” prior to 12 November 1918. “Named members” include any “commissioned military pilot of heavier-than-air powered aircraft…active or retired, who is accepted as a member to perpetuate the membership of a Founder Member.” “Hereditary members” are the descendants, real or adopted of a Founder Member. This group had a membership of 17,000. The order’s current web site clarifies membership requirements stating that “U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine or Navy pilots of heavier-than-air, powered aircraft, active, retired, Reserve or Guard who hold or held a commission, warrant or flight officer status, or WASP are eligible for membership in the Order. Membership is not restricted with respect to age, sex, race, etc.”
     Clearly, lineage societies appeal to a wide variety of interests and eligibility. Once you have selected a society to join, however, several steps are necessary to insure a successful application. Remember, that while your genealogical research skills enable you to complete the application process, the individual society may also make requests of you with regard to the organization and format of information to be submitted.
  • Learn about the society you have selected. While published or online compiled information is a valuable first-step, make sure that you are using up-to-date information. Where is the society located? Does it provide access to member applications? If so, how can you access these applications? Does it provide research assistance? Some societies have individuals who can help you with problem-solving related to your application. Does the society have resource materials for research use?
     Learn about the society’s eligibility requirements and membership application process. If the society has a web site, consult that site to determine who is eligible to join and how to apply. Many sites provide specific forms for you to complete and specific details for the justification that is required to accompany the application. If a web site created by the society is not available – or appears to be out-of-date – search other sites to obtain the society’s current address. Write a letter requesting membership information and any applicable forms. Read the information you receive from either the web site or by mail very carefully and follow them “to the letter.”
     Some societies require a preliminary application and grant a conditional acceptance before inviting your formal application. In such a case, note the cost required. Do you send it with the preliminary application, or only with the full submitted application? If with the former, is any amount of the cost refundable if you are not accepted?
     If the society is a membership-by-invitation-only type of organization, inquire how to identify possible sponsors. Are there any members in your local or state society? Do any friends or neighbors belong or know someone who does?
  • Organize your documentation carefully, numbering and labeling each item with your name, the name of the individual and event to which a document pertains, and the source of the information. Clear identification of your work allows it to be linked easily to the appropriate portion of your application form. Submit only photocopies of documents, not originals. Neatness is, as always, a virtue.
  • Provide documentation from original sources as often as possible.
  • Verifying genealogists in lineage societies review many applications and associated documentation. Make the information you are submitting as easy to understand as possible. If the document contains information unrelated to your application, mark your documentation by underlining it with a red pen; do not use highlighter. If your application is later photocopied or microfilmed by the society, highlighted information will be rendered illegible. In addition, include a cover sheet summary of your documentation indicating the number of the generation, the name of the individual(s), and the titles of that documents that prove that specific element of the lineage.
  • If you feel that the application process exceeds your research comfort level, consider hiring a genealogist who specializes in lineage research. You can identify such individuals on the Association of Professional Genealogists web site. Hiring a professional may be particularly helpful if you have had an application rejected and returned for additional documentation.
     These five steps are very basic.  For more in-depth help, read “Lineage Papers,” Chapter 24 in Professional Genealogy (Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009).

(I hope that this information will encourage you to identify a lineage society that is applicable to your research and provide you with the skills to complete a successful application.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Using Service Records in Your Genealogy Research and the National Archives Release New Vietnam War Photos and Records Online
-Over 27,000 Photos And Records Are Added To The Largest Online Vietnam War Collection

Lindon, UT – February 4, 2010 – announced a major addition to its Vietnam War Collection: Army Photos and Unit Service Awards.  Now totaling over 100,000 photos and documents, this collection helps visitors gain a better perspective and appreciation for this often misunderstood event in U.S. History.

Army Unit Service Awards include documents relating to Presidential Unit Citations, Valorous Unit Awards and Meritorious Unit Commendations.  These were usually awarded to units going above and beyond the call of duty, and in most cases, showing exceptional valor.  These documents contain:
·        Dates of service
·        Duties performed
·        Letters of recommendation

The Army Photos feature various activities of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.  In nearly every case there is a caption or description of what was happening and the names of the soldiers featured in the photos.  Everything ranging from daily duties to Bob Hope’s Christmas program is captured, providing a glimpse into what life was like for the soldiers.  

In addition to these new records, the Footnote Vietnam War Collection also includes:
·        The Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorialfeaturing service records for each name on the wall will continue to work with the National Archives to add more Vietnam War content online.

The Vietnam War Collection will be made free to the public during the month of February.  To view these documents, visit

About Footnote, Inc. is a subscription website that features original historical documents, providing visitors with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit  

Free Site for Vietnam Interactive Wall

 Information about the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
in Washington, DC, USA

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, USA, "The Wall" now has carved into it the names of the 58,260 American military personnel (eight were women) who were direct casualties of the war, including about 1300 who are still considered Missing In Action (MIA).

When The Wall was built, there were 57,159 names. A few names have been added each year: those where lost records of wartime death were found later or those names of men who died after the war from physical injuries as a result of the war. Each of the branches of the Department of Defense made and continues to make the determinations of eligibility.