rwhite's blog

New York Digital Maps

The New York Public Library now has online a collection of digital maps from the 1800's for browsing. They're of good quality and offer the capability through the use of a 'zoom' feature to view the maps up close. These maps cover all three levels of state, county and city.

Family Tree Magazine Podcasts

The folks at Family Tree Magazine have created an exciting addition to their website for genealogists. Now, not only will they be providing the informative articles in their monthly magazine, but online visitors can now listen to 30-minute in-depth discussions of those articles through podcasts. The latest in genealogy news is also included in the format. Your host is Lisa Louise Cooke, author of Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Strategies from Season One of the Genealogy Gems Podcast. Take some time and give a listen!

Ancestor Searching Newsletter, Volume 3, # 6

Freedmen's Bureau Records: The Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company was incorporated by an act of Congress approved March 3, 1865 as a banking institution established in Washington, D. C. for the benefit of freed slaves. There were two military savings banks, one in Norfolk, Va. and the other in Beaufort, S.C. that were merged into the Trust Company soon after it was founded. From 1865 through 1870 a total of 33 branches were established, including an office that was opened in New York, N.Y., in 1866. In 1874 the Company failed.

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Genetic Genealogy

As DNA genealogy becomes more common place and used by researchers, many are looking for guides and assistance. One such site that aids in learning the terminology and where help can be found is the International Society of Genetic Genealogy website. From there, can be found links to DNA information on the Internet, 'Famous DNA' information, speakers and meeting notices, and a connection to joining a Yahoo DNA forum group. The best thing about it is it's FREE. As they say, 'Genetic Genealogy has helped thousands! Read more »

Virginia Tax Lists

Unfortunately for genealogical researchers, the 1790 and 1800 censuses of Virginia were lost forever. The good news is, though, that through the use of tax records that still exist 'substitute census' information can be utilized to locate individuals and families in those critical years. Now available FREE online are the Land Tax lists and Personal Property Tax lists for each of the individual counties and cities in Virginia. Read more »

Megan Smolenyak to speak!

You may know her as the lead researcher for the PBS Ancestors series where she delved into over 5,000 genealogical stories and developed much of the content for the companion website. She has subsequently consulted for other television programs, including They Came to America and African American Lives for PBS, and BBC’s Timewatch (regarding the identification of sailors’ remains recovered from the USS Monitor).

Alabama Survey Maps

The Alabama Secretary of State has posted for free access on the Internet survey maps by township and range of all of Alabama. The Eastern Division of the Bureau of Land Management has also posted similar records on its site but so far those records lack the surveyor's field notes found in the Alabama copy.

Harvard University Online Resources

The collection covers the years 1789-1930 with over 1800 books, pamphlets, 9000 photographs, 200 maps and 13000 pages from manuscript and archival collections. The primary focus is the documentation of voluntary immigrations from the signing of the Constitution up to the early stages of the beginning of the Great Depression. An added feature is an immigration timeline with embedded links to the complementing online resources. 'Search' and 'Browse' options are available. Read more »

1790 Census Online

The US Census Bureau website now contains in downloadable format the 1790 census returns for the then new country. They are available in PDF format as well as ZIP. Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to read the files in PDF format. The Reader is FREE for download.

Ancestor Searching Newsletter, Volume 3, # 4

State Census Records have many uses for family historians. First, they can fill in the gaps between federal censuses and they can replace information lost when a federal census, such as 1890, was destroyed. Secondly is that state censuses are not closed to public scrutiny for 72 years as are the federal censuses. And finally, is that state censuses often ask different questions than were asked on federal censuses. These local censuses may have been authorized to provide some specific regional data to the local officials. Read more »

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