Woodmen of the World stone in Harnett County, North CarolinaEnter a caption
IN THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF a summer afternoon, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is filled with a quiet life. Dark birds flitter and squawk among blocks of granite, black-eyed Susans burst into flower beside catacombs, and fresh-cut grass scents the air. Most of the stately gravestones are shaped into obelisks or headless angels or urns draped with stone cloth. Among these classic markers of memory, though, are surprises—grave markers that simulate the natural world that surrounds them. They are shaped like tree stumps. Continue reading “Why Some Gravestones Are Shaped Like Tree Stumps”→
I am occasionally asked what it costs to hire a professional genealogist. The answer: it depends. What do you want done?
A Person to Look Up Local and Courthouse Records — obituaries, birth, marriage, death, land and probate. Lookups at a distant location will cost $15 to $25 per hour, plus the cost of copies. The cost of a courthouse copy varies by locality and is not cheap—$10 plus or minus. You may be able to have your record searcher send you a photo or extract of the record and save the cost of a copy. You can find record searchers at local genealogy society websites. Click on “about us” or “lookups.” Continue reading “Thinking About Hiring a Professional Genealogist?”→
“Our family has always spelled our name that way.” This is a common refrain from those new to family history research. Indeed, your family may have always used the same spelling of your surname. That doesn’t mean the people recording your name in documents heard and spelled it that way.
If you are using a genealogy search engine—Ancestry and Family Search are the most common—the documents have been indexed by volunteers trying to decipher American English longhand. The census and other historic documents are usually filled out by hand in the longhand or cursive writing of the day. The census, immigration and courthouse records from the second half of the 1800s still contain the lowercase “s” that looks to us moderns as a lowercase longhand “f”. People of that era usually had very legible penmanship, but they often wrote capital letters with a flourish that is difficult to read today. All of this is made harder to read correctly by the sometimes poor condition of the documents. The result can be an indexed name that doesn’t even start with the correct letter.Continue reading “Be Aware of Alternate Spellings of Your Surname”→
NOTE: This is a slightly updated version of an article I published about a year ago. A newsletter reader sent a message to me recently expressing dissatisfaction with records that once were available online but recently have disappeared. I am offering this republished article as an explanation about why we should not be surprised when that happens. I believe that every genealogist should understand why this happens so this article bears repeating every year or two. Please feel free to republish this article in newsletters, message boards, or forward it in email messages as you see fit.
I will also offer a suggestion as to making sure you keep your own copies of online records that are valuable to you.
A newsletter reader sent an email message to me recently expressing dissatisfaction that a set of images of vital records has been removed from one of the very popular genealogy sites. Indeed, removal of any online records of genealogical value is sad, but not unusual. Changes such as these are quite common on FamilySearch, MyHeritage, Ancestry.com, Fold3, FindMyPast, and many other genealogy sites that provide digital images of old records online. Removal of datasets has occurred dozens of times in the past, and I suspect such things will continue to happen in the future. I thought I would write a brief explanation.Continue reading “Why Was the Information Removed from Online?”→
David B. Appleton — My Favorite Ancestor 8 June 2017 CHGS Meeting
James Chilton, at age 63, was the oldest passenger on the ship Mayflower in 1620, and he and his wife both died during that first hard winter for the Pilgrims, leaving their youngest daughter Mary, my 10th great-grandmother, an orphan in wild and unsettled New England.
James Chilton and his family had lived in and around Canterbury, and later Sandwich, in the County of Kent, England, for some years in the late 16th and very early 17th Centuries before they moved to Leiden in The Netherlands and then in 1620 boarded the Mayflower to voyage to New England.Continue reading “Chasing Chiltons”→
The tornado of 1856 still holds Cedar Hill in its grip. Perhaps not much is known about it outside the city limits, but it continues to come up in regular conversations with anyone who has lived in Cedar Hill for a decent length of time.
In the 1930 Census my parents are shown as inmates. A fact about my parents I would never have known if I had not been researching my family. But it’s not as bad as it may sound. My parents were both orphans and grew up in Buckner Orphans Home in Dallas. In the 1930 Census, they, along with all the other orphans, were listed as inmates instead of orphans.
You just never know what you may learn when you start researching your family. You’re likely to learn some surprising things, and probably, you will go places and do things you would never have thought you would do. Continue reading “My Parents Were Inmates”→