Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Digital Copy of 1871 Map of Jefferson County Coming Soon

Following article posted with permission from the Arkansas Toothpick

Arkansas Civil War Resource

The members and spouses of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Patrick R. Cleburne Camp from Pine Bluff, Arkansas applauds Dave Burdick, Director of the Jefferson County Library System and Jana Mitchell, Reference Manager who works at the Main Branch of the Jefferson County Library. Per the request of Crystal Hall on behalf of the Cleburne Camp, they have been able to contact the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and are in the process of obtaining a digital copy of the 1871 Wilson Map of Jefferson County. The original map is in the archives at the Jefferson County Main Branch, and over the years, it has deteriorated. 

The 1871 Wilson Map appears to be the most detailed map available of Jefferson County during reconstruction (1865-1877). They have taken the Library copy and placed it into a protective box in the Frank Williamson Room in an effort to further protect it, and have ordered a printed copy of the section that is missing from the Library’s copy. The digital copy will be made available to library patrons likely in their online database of Genealogy Resources for Jefferson County. 

According to a representative of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Southern Brigade Commander Ron Kelley noted that “Over the years, the SCV has lead the efforts in Jefferson County in historical preservation and restoration. It is our mission to ensure that the history and heritage of our county remains for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.” 

The Cleburne Camp encourages anyone who is interested in perpetuating the history and heritage of our county to become involved in the multitude of current preservation projects in South East Arkansas, including a study of the Battle of Pine Bluff. The SCV meets every second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM at the Watson Chapel Fire Station on Sulphur Springs Road. 

Their web address is www.arkansastoothpick

Thursday, October 13, 2011

1940 Census Opens April 2012

Today’s post is brought to you by Constance Potter, Archivist in the Archives I Research Support Branch, and Jennifer Dryer of Archives II, who is currently cross-training at Archives I.
The release of the 1940 population census schedules is approaching! It will be released digitally on April 2, 2012. You will be able to access all 1940 census records online at any of the public computer workstations at National Archives facilities, as well as from any computer connected to the internet.
On April 2nd, you will be able to search by state; county; city; township or minor civil division, and enumeration data. There will be no name index on April 2nd.

As recorded in the 1940 census, the population of the continental United States rose 7.2% by 8,894,229 people from 1930 to 1940 (122,775,046 in the 1930 census to 131,669,275 in the 1940 census). Between 1930 and 1940, most states increased in population, with the largest increase being in Washington D.C. with a 36.2% increase of 176,222 people. South Dakota had the largest decrease in population with a 7.2% decrease of 49,888; however, the populations of North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma also decreased, most likely indicating people moving away from the Dust Bowl of the Midwest.
If you need information about yourself or a deceased person from the 1940 or later censuses, fill out Form BC-600 from the Bureau of the Census Age Search Service or write to: U.S. Census Bureau, National Processing Center, 1201 East 10th St., Jeffersonville, IN 47132.
For more information you may visit the National Archive’s 1940 census webpage.

Using the Official Register to find Federal employees

Most people who research information about relatives or ancestors who were Federal employees probably don’t make enough use of government publications.  So, it might interest you to know that the Federal Government actually produced its own employee directory, the Official Register of the United States, which spans the early 19th to the mid-20th centuries (1817-1959).  Available in most U.S. Government depository libraries (including our own Archives Library Information Center at the National Archives) as well as many larger public and university libraries that carry government publications, the Official Register offers information in varying detail about the Federal workforce from the highest level appointments to the average bureau clerk.
On April 27, 1816, Congress authorized publication of the Official Register, to be produced every two years in conjunction with the sitting of each new Congress.  The Register contained comprehensive listings of all civilian, military, and naval employees, officers, and agents of the Federal Government, with the lists arranged by department and then by agency, bureau, or office.  Congress also required the Secretary of the Navy to provide the names, force, and condition of all ships and vessels belonging to the United States, including when and where they were built.  Subsequent acts of Congress expanded the scope of the Register’s content to include the names of all government printers, a statement of monetary allowances to mail contractors from the Postmaster General, as well as correct lists of all presidents, cashiers, and directors of the Bank of the United States and its branches.  Other departments, agencies, and bureaus were added to the Register as they were created.
Information about government employees was initially presented in a tabular format, which provided an overall picture of the organizational structure of each department.  The tables contained such pertinent information as the employee’s name, job title, state or country of birth, the location of their post, and their annual salary.  The military lists provided the names of officers, rank, and place of birth, while the naval lists also included date of commission and current duty station.  From 1907 to 1921 the publication opted for a directory format or standard alphabetical listing.  Eventually, as the size of the government grew, the Official Register became too large and expensive to publish.  The information was scaled back to include only the top-level administrators and supervisors of Executive and Judicial departments until the yearly directory went out of publication in 1959.
Sample of the Official Register showing employees of the Post Office Department, 1907.

As a convenient starting point for genealogy research on civilian employees of the Federal Government, the Official Register of the United States can show, at a glance, whether or not an ancestor worked for the government in a given year, and also identify the department, bureau, or office they served.  In many cases, the breakdown of department listings into specific jobs provides additional detail on the nature of work performed.  Genealogists can also readily identify the place of birth for most employees, and the Congressional district from which they were appointed.  The lists of annual salaries and contractor allowances provide a general picture of the economic conditions under which Federal employees served.  Essentially, the Official Register offers an initial snapshot of life as a Federal employee from 1816 to 1959.
Posted by on July 29, 2011, under Family Tree Fridays, Genealogy / Family History, Research.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Release of 1940 Census

1940 Census

For many genealogists, the countdown to access the 1940 Census has already begun.

The official date for the 1940 Census was April 1st, but since that day will fall on a Sunday in 2012, it is unclear whether researchers will have weekend access to film at the National Archives or will instead need to wait until Monday to satisfy their genealogical curiosity.

Countdown to 2012
On this page, we provide details about why the 1940 Census is private until 2012 and how you will need to prepare for your research when the big day finally arrives. Also included are summary data for the 1940 Census and some interesting facts about how this Sixteenth Enumeration of the United States population differed from the one taken a decade prior.

1940 Census Questions1940 Census Questions Questions Asked on the 1940 Census
The Bureau of the Census (Department of Commerce) provided standardized forms in 1940 for all Enumerators as in previous years. The standard Population Schedule had 34 questions and more than a dozen Supplemental Questions asked only for those persons who were enumerated on specified lines. This was the means used to ensure a random nature in obtaining supplemental information. Learn more about Questions Asked on the 1940 Census.

1940 US Map 1940 US Map 1940 Map of the United States
By 1940, the outline of the United States and the individual borders for the 48 contiguous states had become familiar to many, both in America and elsewhere throughout the world. The American Flag would display 48 stars, one for each state, for more than four decades. Those researching their family history are encouraged to understand the geographic area where their ancestors lived. This is especially true if your ancestors lived in the northeast or in border towns. It's possible that a move just a few miles away could result in a new state of residence. View 1940 Map of the U.S..

1940 History 1940 History What were things like in 1940?
On April 7, 1940, just days after the official date for the 1940 Census enumeration, Booker T. Washington became the first African American to appear on a United States Postage Stamp. At the time, the domestic letter rate was just 3-cents per ounce. The World was also at war in 1940, but it would be more than eighteen months before the United States would enter World War II following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. By the time this decade drew to a close the war was over, but the entire world learned of unspeakable war crimes that would forever change the world.
Learn more about the history of 1940.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Digging Up Family Roots

By Deborah Horn

     At some point during most holiday dinners, the conversation shifts to family history -- some are just short recollections about the time cousin Bobby fell out of the large oak in grandma's front yard, while others are detailed, like the time Charles, a divorced uncle living on Guam, worked with famed researcher and filmmaker, Jacques-Yves Cousteau.  
     Passed from generation to generation, some stories are lost, while others become the fodder of legend.
      Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Public Library Reference Manager, Jana V. Mitchell, says researching family histories, including written accounts, is fast becoming America's number one hobby. 
     "It's not a glamorous hobby but it's addictive," she says.  And for those who have no idea how to start a genealogical search, she says, "It's easy.  Start with yourself, then your parents and grandparents."
     In addition to documenting any oral information they have to offer, such as family stories, ask them to share any documentation they have, including old Bibles, photographs, newspaper clippings, old boxes filled with "stuff" (a treasure chest for the serious genealogist) and birth, marriage and death certificates.

      So, at the next family reunion, talk to your relatives and ask them to share any information, whether oral or otherwise.  If they're not willing to part with their hard copies, Mitchell suggests making copies. 
     Storage is key, she says.
     While Mitchell likes keeping her family history research organized in a binder, because it's easier for her to access, she says, "There's no right or wrong way to store your information.  I've seen people keep their information in a shoebox.  The main reason for careful storage is so a person doesn't repeat their research."
      Speaking of research, Mitchell says the Pine Bluff Library has an entire section, known as the Arkansas Section in the Genealogy Department, devoted to the state's history.  It also includes a number of family histories, geographical information, the Pine Bluff Commercial on microfilm and more.
     Don't overlook the value of online research.
     While Mitchell says Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com) and Search For Ancestors (www.searchforancestors.com/archives/google.html) are great resources, there are local sources worth checking out, such as the library's genealogy and obit website (http://pbjclibrary.state.ar.us/obits and http://pbjclibrary.state.ar.us/genealogy.html).
     While locals come year-round, Mitchell says many of the people who visit the Genealogy Department come during the summer when their kids are out of school.  She suggests planning ahead so a family researcher can make the most of their visit.
     Facts and dates are great but Desha County Museum Director, Peggy Chapman, suggests visiting graveyards where members are buried, and for a more personal look at the era when your grandmother came of age, she suggests checking out local museums.
      It's not institutions like the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas at Pine Bluff that specialize in art, but smaller museums that are often the benefactors of household and commercial goods and other items.  For instance, at the Desha County Museum, there are a number of buildings outfitted like an old grocery store, church and old homestead.  Inside the main building, there are clothes from the famous flappers, handmade baby garments, and an early Victrola record player and telephone -- each the latest technology of its day.
     "If nothing else, your kids can experience life before cell phones," Chapman says.
     Also, she says she tries to collect information on important locals like Robert Moore, House Speaker of the 88th General Assembly. 
     She also keeps local publications on file, as well as a couple copies of Goodspeed.  Basically, this book is a condensed history of the state, its counties and individuals. 
     "These are often extremely useful when researching your family history", she says.
     Like Chapman, Mitchell says people should not be shy about asking for assistance when starting their genealogical journeys.  "We're happy to help, " she says.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sad News

Diana Lott, Assistant Library Director, passed from this life yesterday at the Jefferson County Medical Center.  She was an employee of the PBJC Library for many years.  Diana was a kind and gentle spirit and will be missed.

Because I could not stop for Death, 
He kindly stopped for me. 
The Carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality 
~Emily Dickinson 

REST Miss Diana 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Social Networking for Genealogists

     The Internet is in the process of changing from a collection of corporate, organizational, and personal websites to a social network of dynamic services full of user-contributed content (think Wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube, etc.).  The benefits of participating in this universe of expanded and shared information are incalculable and will lead, potentially, to the greatest exchange of information in history.  Genealogists in particular will thrive in this new Internet environment of sharing, exchanging, and interacting.

     There are a wide array of social networking services that are now available online that can be used by genealogists to share information, photos, and videos with family, friends, and other researchers.

     You may want to incorporate some of these powerful new tools into your family history research if you not already utilizing them:

  • Blogs
A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. 
  • Collaborative Editing
Collaborative editing is the practice of groups producing works together through individual contributions. Effective choices in group awareness, participation, and coordination are critical to successful collaborative writing outcomes. 
  • Genealogy-Specific Social Networks
What is social networking? According to Wictionary, it is the interaction between a group of people who share a common interest.
  • General Social Networking (Facebook)
General social networks or friends-based social networks are those that do not focus on a particular topic or niche, but rather put the emphasis on staying connected to your friends. The more popular of these being  Facebook, but there are a number of popular friends-based social networks on the internet. 
  • Message Boards and Mailing Lists
While mailing lists and message boards are similar in purpose, the difference lies in the way the information is distributed. With mailing lists, with every message that is posted to the list, a copy is sent to all of the list's subscribers. In addition, most lists have an online archive where past messages can also be searched.

Message boards are online forums where each message is posted to the board. Users can choose to receive notifications when items are posted to boards of interest. Message boards are also searchable.

  • Photos and Video Sharing
Photo sharing is the publishing or transfer of a user's digital photos online, thus enabling the user to share them with others (publicly or privately). This function is provided through both websites and applications that facilitate the upload and display of images. The term can also be loosely applied to the use of online photo galleries that are set up and managed by individual users, including photo blogs.

The first photo sharing sites originated during the mid to late 1990s primarily from services providing online ordering of prints (photo finishing), but many more came into being during the early 2000s with the goal of providing permanent and centralized access to a user's photos, and in some cases video clips too. Webshots, SmugMug, Yahoo! Photos and Flickr were among the first.
  • Podcast
A podcast (or non-streamed webcast) is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication. The word replaced webcast in common vernacular due to the fame of the iPod and its role in the rising popularity and innovation of web feeds.
  • RSS Feeds
    RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site's email newsletter. 
  • Sharing Personal Libraries
Here's a way for genealogists to share their personal libraries with others by using a web site that allows you to catalogue all the books in your personal library, tag them by subject, rate them, review them, and search them from any computer with internet access or even a cell phone. But the best part of all is, you can share your catalogue with all your friends. 
  • Tags

Tags are like keywords or labels that you add to a photo to make it easier to find later. You can tag a photo with phrases like "catherine yosemite hiking mountain trail." Later if you look for pictures of Catherine, you can just click that tag and get all photos that have been tagged that way. 

You may also have the right to add tags to your friends' photos, if your friends set that option in the privacy settings for their photos. 
  • Virtual Worlds
 A virtual world is a genre of online community that often takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment, through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects. 
  • Wikis
A wiki is a website that anyone can contribute to by creating new pages or editing existing pages. A wiki makes it easy for a dispersed community to work together, furthering common goals and sharing information.  One way to use wiki’s is to share research tips with others. 

We’ve all learned things as we’ve researched our family history – how to research in specific places, where to find and how to use certain kinds of sources, how culture, ethnicity, and occupation can provide additional leads, etc. Why should people starting out have to learn these same lessons all over again? What if there was a way for you to share what you’ve learned with others – giving them the benefit of your experience as they start out? 

It seems that if we make family history research easier for beginners to get involved in, then more people will take it up as an interest, which benefits everyone. More people doing family history means more people available to transcribe records, greater incentive for business to provide better software and access to information. 

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011


    By Mary Penner, genealogist 09 May 2011

    http://c.mfcreative.com/offer/us/amu/2011/05/feature image1.jpg
    Even when all of the signs seem to indicate that a certain great-great-aunt was married, it can still be tough trying to determine when, where, with whom and how many times she tied the knot. It’s even tougher when marriage records are AWOL from a county courthouse or when you just don’t know where to look.
    It turns out there are great sources at Ancestry.com that hold clues to past trips down the aisle. Here are five of my favorites:
    1. Census records. Marital status hints first appeared in the 1850 census when residents were asked if they had married within the year. Census takers posed this same question in 1860, 1870 and 1880. It’s a handy detail to have. For example, in 1860 William and Adeline Knapp were newlyweds, but a nine-year-old boy with a different surname lived with them. Does that mean there was a previous marriage for Adeline? (Check the 1850 census for an Adeline using the same surname as the little boy to see if you’re onto something.) In 1900, census takers asked for the number of years married. In 1910 they clarified that question by asking for the number of years in the present marriage. In 1930 they inquired about your ancestors’ age at first marriage. A little math will help you determine if that was the same marriage as the one they’re in during 1930.
    2. Draft records. The military wanted to know if potential soldiers were single or married. You may land upon a clue to a previous marriage when a draft registration from the Civil War or World War I lists a single man with dependent children.
    3. City directories and gazetteers. These forerunners of phone books are dandy sources for spotting widows. That’s because they often noted which women were widows, and sometimes were kind enough to include the name of the deceased husband, too.
    4. Death records. Most death certificates include the deceased’s marital status; some include the spouse’s name. Pay close attention to the informant’s name: it could be the spouse, since he or she was the one who often provided the death certificate details.
    5. Newspapers.  Historical newspapers frequently chronicled the vital events of our ancestors’ lives including engagement and marriage notices. Divorces often made the news, too. Review obituaries for your ancestor and other family members as well – you may learn maiden names or the name of a deceased spouse.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Genealogy Research Using Google Filetype Searches

    Google has a nifty tool that allows you to locate a particular type of file.  This can be very helpful if you're looking specifically for file types, such as PowerPoint, (ppt) Word, (doc) or Adobe PDF. 
    To restrict your search to a certain file type use the filetype: command.  For example try searching for:
    genealogy WorldCat filetype:ppt
    and all of the results will be powerpoint presentations that have "WorldCat" and "genealogy" in their text.

    More on FileTypes:
    There are 13 main file types searched by Google in addition to standard web formatted documents in HTML. The most common formats are PDF, PostScript, Microsoft Office formats:

    • Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf)
    • Adobe PostScript (ps)
    • Lotus 1-2-3 (wk1, wk2, wk3, wk4, wk5, wki, wks, wku)
    • Lotus WordPro (lwp)
    • MacWrite (mw)
    • Microsoft Excel (xls)
    • Microsoft PowerPoint (ppt)
    • Microsoft Word (doc)
    • Microsoft Works (wks, wps, wdb)
    • Microsoft Write (wri)
    • Rich Text Format (rtf)
    • Shockwave Flash (swf)
    • Text (ans, txt)
    You can also eliminate a filetype from your search (for example, PDF), simply add a minus (-) sign before the word "filetype."  For example:

    Genealogy PowerSearch using Google

    Learn how to find your family tree on the Internet with these tips for advanced genealogy searching. Special genealogy search techniques teach you how to find what you are looking for - surnames, place names, birth dates, timelines, photos, history,

    Using Google you can use a range of commands — some basic and others more advanced — to obtain more relevant results for your family history research. Below are just a few examples.

    Genealogy Power Search
    Genealogy PowerSearch #1
    This first Genealogy PowerSearch uses five basic Google commands in conjunction with one another to yield one of the most important queries you can submit for any of your ancestors.

    Try this PowerSearch
    Try this PowerSearch

    Image Search for Genealogy
    Genealogy PowerSearch for Google Images
    An adaptation of PowerSearch #1, but with results directed toward Google Image Search. This search makes use of six Google commands in conjunction with one another to deliver relevant image results for your family history search.

    Try this PowerSearch
    Try this PowerSearch

    Genealogy BlogSearch
    Genealogy BlogSearch
    There are a number of outstanding blogs dealing with different aspects of genealogy and family history. If you wish to search a particular person, place or subject and limit your results to just these sites, you can use either the site: command or Google Blog Search. In the example below, you can see the syntax that would be used to find any mention of "Connecticut Genealogy" in the popular Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter (site:eogn.com).

    Try this PowerSearch
    Try this PowerSearch

    GEDCOM Search
    GEDCOM Search and Other File Types
    Google enables you to specify the name of an ancestor, narrow results to a specific geographic area, and a file format for the most relevant results. In the example below, the search is looking for the exact name "Patrick Lynch" with mention of Connecticut. The filetype:ged directs Google to return only those results that include a file in the standard GEDCOM file format used for exchange of family tree files (GEnealogical Data COMmunication).

    Try this PowerSearch
    Try this PowerSearch

    GEDCOM Search
    Genealogy PowerSearch using Google Maps
    Google Maps is tightly integrated with a service called Google Local. By specifying sites of genealogical interest and the place name where your ancestors lived, you can quickly plot their locations on a map and obtain address information and driving directions. In the example below, Google was instructed to find cemeteries in or near Boston.

    Try this PowerSearch
    Try this PowerSearch

    GEDCOM Search
    Genealogy Database Search on Leading Sites
    By using a combination of basic commands, you can direct a Google Web search to find databases for a topic of interest on one or more of the leading content sites for genealogy. In the example below, Google is directed to search Ancestry.com pages using the site:ancestry.com command, seeking the terms database and texas death records. This is a quick way to determine if leading content sites have records that may be of special interest for your search.

    Try this PowerSearch
    Try this PowerSearch

    GEDCOM Search
    Directed Search on Government Archive Web Sites
    You provide the topic of interest then select one of the various International government archive websites from this list provided. We'll initiate a query using Google's powerful site: command.

    Try this PowerSearch
    Try this PowerSearch

    GEDCOM Search
    PowerSearch for the Directory of Archives in Australia
    The Australian Society of Archivists have a wonderful website with links to many of the archives located throughout the country, state by state. A customized PowerSearch using the Google 'site:' command extends the capabilities of searching this great site. Hopefully you will find this useful as well.

    Try this PowerSearch
    Try this PowerSearch