January 3, 2013
Michael Hait recently announced the release of a free PDF e-book, U. S. Census Pathfinder. Yes, my friends, this is a free resource for those who want to find information about U. S. censuses on the web. But don’t take my word for it. Reviews are abounding, including a thorough one by Judy G. Russell.
If you haven’t poked around Michael’s professional web site, please take the time to do so. In addition to a list of publications, with links to online articles where available, many free to the public, Michael has generously placed several case studies and other free resources on his web site as well. There are plenty of fascinating and informative tidbits available there for researchers of any stripe.
December 19, 2012
One of my favorite resources for genealogical research is historical newspapers. At one time, old newspapers were difficult to find and scattered between various courts, archives, libraries, and historical societies, or even held privately. The U. S. Newspaper Program, with branches in all fifty states and some territories, sought to gather these disparate collections together so that various issues could be preserved, first through microfilm and eventually through digitization.
November 12, 2012
A while back, I posted a comparison of the 1850 federal census’ free population schedule to the 1849 through 1851 tax records for the Roberts family of Jackson County, Georgia. While doing research in the poor school and academy lists for Jackson County, I found the following record naming two children of Shiner [China] Roberts who were school-aged in 1852.
July 30, 2012
A quick reminder that I will be in Conyers, Georgia, on August 12 presenting “Poor People, Rich Records: Researching Georgia’s 19th Century Poor” to the Rockdale County Genealogical Society. The meeting is free and open to the public, and I would very much like to see my Atlanta-area research friends there.
This is a topic I’ve been hoping to develop into a lecture for a while now. When the program director for the RCGS contacted me to see if I would be interested in speaking to that group, I jumped at the opportunity. Initially, I offered her the choice of two lectures, but we eventually settled on this one.1
July 16, 2012
The Rockdale County Genealogical Society has invited me to speak at their monthly meeting on Sunday, 12 August 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Flat Shoals Road in Conyers, GA. The topic will be “Poor People, Rich Records: Researching Georgia’s 19th Century Poor.” The meeting is free and open to the public.
This lecture will include a brief overview of research strategies as well as information on specific records useful to researching the poor.
April 30, 2012
A while back, someone asked me about the estate records of Benjamin Odell. I’ve made partial indexes of many of the early probate books for Rabun County, so I was able to quickly go to the right pages in two of those books to find information recorded on Benjamin’s estate. I’m not going to post the entire estate proceedings here (that would take a lot of room), but I did want to point out a few interesting items that could be used to answer the questions many researchers might have about this family.
April 2, 2012
James R. Roberts (1828 – 1891) was my great-great-great-grandfather. His ancestry is a brick wall I’ve been chipping away at for several years. So far, I’ve identified at least two and possibly three siblings, but I still don’t know who his parents were.
One of the first records sets used to research 19th century ancestors in the US is the federal decennial censuses. James was married in 1853 in Jackson Co., GA, and all indications point to him living there for the remainder of his life. His brother, William, was enumerated in Jackson County from 1850 through 1880, and James was enumerated there in 1860, 1870, and 1880, but I have never been able to find him in the 1850 free population schedule. This bothers me quite a bit. If only I could find him in 1850, I often think, then perhaps I would find the evidence I need to link him to his parents. But there he is not, no matter how often I look or how thoroughly I search.
Fortunately, Georgia researchers have other records to draw from, including the many extant county tax records. Jackson County has a rich set of tax digests extending from the county’s earliest days through most of the 19th century with very few gaps. I had a little time last week, so I hopped on down to the courthouse in Jefferson, Jackson County’s county seat, and spent the afternoon reading those digests. I focused on the years 1849, 1850, and 1851, because those years’ tax records act as a substitute and supplement for the 1850 federal census.
October 31, 2011
One of my favorite resources for North Carolina research is the Guide to County Records in the North Carolina State Archives published by the North Carolina Office of Archives and History. The current edition was published in 2009 and constitutes a major update to the previous edition.
After a short introduction, the Guide goes on to describe both original records, bound and loose, and microfilmed records held at the Archives for each of North Carolina’s 100 existing and four defunct counties. The whole is rounded off by a Glossary where one can find short explanations for the various terms used.
May 30, 2011
Brick walls in our ancestry can come in many forms, but they usually boil down to the inability to extend a lineage. Often, a thorough search of extant records can help break down this barrier. Sometimes, however, the solution can be much less arduous. Such is the case with Ethel Lee (Penland) Ritchie.
December 30, 2010
I have recently had the privilege of sorting through the loose estate records for Macon County, as held by the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, for an indexing project sponsored by the North Carolina Genealogical Society. Along the way, I’ve found several interesting items on my own family that I hope to share here over the coming months with other area researchers.
One of my more recent finds was located in the file folder for James M. Peek. According to Elizabeth Peek Crutchfield in the article “David Peek”, James was the son of David Peek and Mary Henderson.1 They had the following children, including James:
- Eda Peek, born about 1880 [sic] in Laurens Co., SC, married John Jackson Ammons
- Phoebe Peek, born about 1804 in Laurens County, married James Holland
- William M. Peek, born 12 January 1809 in Laurens County, married Polly Avaline Mull
- James Peek, born before 1820 in Laurens County, “[...] with wife unknown. He migrated to Alabama.”
- Ruth Peek, born in 1815 in Laurens County, married Milton Moss
- Judy Elizabeth Peek, born in 1819 in Laurens County, married Milton McCoy
- Jane Caroline Peek, born 10 February 1820 in Macon Co., NC, married Andrew Madison Bryson
- Mary “Polly” Peek, born in 1821 in Macon County, married Martin McCoy
- Louisa, born in 1822 in Macon County, never married
- David Lee Peek, born in 1828, married Jane Moss