Bones Collector

Thank you for visiting our latest innovative genealogy tool that will keep you up-to-date on all the happenings in the genealogy world both locally and elsewhere. As your guide and 'Head Bones Collector' for this blog, the primary goal is to provide information that can be referred to over and over again. We're very glad you stopped by! Visit us in person on 3rd floor of the Main Library in the Heritage Room!

Happy Birthday, Main Library! (2007)

The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library is having a birthday party and the public is invited! Drop by Thursday, April 26 at the Main Library and celebrate 20 years at the 915 Monroe Street location.
The celebration will last all day and into the night with special programs highlighting the library and all of the wonderful things it has to offer. Mark your calendar for:

Behind the scenes tours of all departments
Special programs to highlight the collection
Contests such as “Guess that quote” from beloved books and “Guess that line” from the DVD collection
Popcorn, Cokes, and birthday cake
Genealogy programs
Live concert by SlipJig in the Atrium at 6 p.m.

We look forward to celebrating 20 wonderful years! See you there!
Schedule of events:
All day

Bookmobile and Ready Reader Van tours in the parking lot
“Guess that quote” contest, Circulation Desk
“Guess that line” contest, Audio-Visual Desk
Refreshments on the second floor
20% off in the Friends bookstore for everyone, not just Friends!
All About Court Records: Utilizing Genealogical Resources in the Madison County Records Center (third floor)
Tours of the Madison County Tax Records Room (third floor)

9 -9:30 a.m.

Behind the scenes in Technical Services (second floor)
Tour the Computer Training Center and library website (third floor)

9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Genealogical and Historical Resources in the Huntsville Public Library (Heritage Room, third floor)

9:30 – 10 a.m.

Simple Words to Communicate in Spanish (International Media Center, second floor)
Booking a Cruise (Adult Services, second floor)

10 – 10:30 a.m.

How to Find What You’re Looking For (Circulation Desk, first floor)
Consumer Health Information (Reference, second floor)
Mending and Keeping Books (Technical Services, second floor)
Discovering Your African-American Ancestor (Heritage Room, third floor)

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Coffee Break and Tour of Internet and Technology Services Department (third floor)

10:30 – 11 a.m.

Anniversary Storytime (Youth Services, first floor)
Simple Words to Communicate in French (International Media Center, second floor)
Day Trips from Huntsville (Adult Services, first floor)
The World of Acquisitions: Where Books Come From (Acquisitions, second floor)

11 – 11:30 a.m.

How to Search for Magazines @ the Library (Reference, second floor)
Behind the Scenes (Technical Services, second floor)
Photographing Old Documents and Court Records Using a Digital Camera (Heritage Room, third floor)

11 a.m. – Noon

American Citizenship (International Media Center, second floor)

Noon – 12:30 p.m.

The World of Acquisitions: Where Books Come From (Acquisitions, second floor)
Tour the Computer Training Center and library website (third floor)

1 – 8:30 p.m.

Tour of the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped with demonstrations of cassette players, talking books, and other games (second floor)

1:30 – 2 p.m.

Caring for Crepe Myrtles (Adult Services, second floor)
Keeping and Mending Books (Technical Services, second floor)

2 – 2:30 p.m.

How to Write Children’s Books with Hester Bass (Youth Services, first floor)
Simple Words to Communicate in Chinese (International Media Center, second floor)
Behind the Scenes (Technical Services, second floor)
Searchin’ Serials: Using Genealogical Periodicals in Family Research (Heritage Room, third floor)

2 – 3:30 p.m.

Coffee Break and Tour of Internet and Technology Services (third floor)

2:30 – 3 p.m.

How to Find What You’re Looking For (Circulation, first floor)
Microwave Cooking (Adult Services, second floor)

3 – 3:30 p.m.

How to Search for Magazines @ the Library (Reference, second floor)
Tour the Computer Training Center and library website (third floor)

3:30 – 4 p.m.

How to Find What You’re Looking For (Audio Visual, first floor)
The World of Acquisitions: Where Books Come From (Acquisitions, second floor)
Finding Your Ancestor Online (Heritage Room, third floor)

4 – 4:30 p.m.

Huntsville Weather for Kids with James Paul Dice (Youth Services, first floor)
Consumer Health Information @ the Library (Reference, second floor)
GPS for Genealogy: Using Maps and GPS to Track Down Cemeteries (Heritage Room, third floor)

5:30 – 7 p.m.

Birthday Cake in the Atrium (first floor)
Concert by Slip Jig (Atrium, first floor)

6 – 6:30 p.m.

Locating Your Revolutionary Ancestor (Heritage Room, third floor)

7:30 – 8 p.m.

Just Because It’s Old Doesn’t Make it Rare: Collecting Rare Books (Heritage Room, third floor)

Illinois Trails: History and Genealogy

If you happen to have ancestors from the state of Illinois, be sure to check out the website, Illinois Trails: History and Genealogy at It's a FREE website with information from census, county data, history, maps, military data, newspapers, research help and a mailing list. For those interested in helping, they even have a section with 'Volunteer' information.

Family Tree Magazine - 101 Best Genealogy Sites

Family Tree Magazine has come out with its 2007 list of the top 101 best genealogy web sites on the Internet.

To quote from their web site "These 101 roots resources represent the pinnacle of online genealogy—let them lead you to the peak of family tree success."

Categories include:

  • Mega Data Sites
  • International and Immigration Destinations
  • State and Regional Resources
  • Web Tools
  • History Havens
  • Geographical Aids
  • Specialized Research Resources
  • Blogs

To view the sites, click here, select a category and click on the various site links of interest within each category. Great resources for research!

Researching British ancestry?

Now with literally millions of records online for England, Scotland and Wales as digital images or transcriptions, it can be difficult at times to decide where to begin looking. The following sites offer a large variety of useful records and information for anyone researching British ancestry.

  • offers online access to digitized images of all census returns from 1841 to 1901 for England, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, and are in the process of adding these for Scotland as well. Other available records for British genealogy include early parish registers and a copy of the FreeBMD database mentioned above.
  • Find My Past: Previously known as, this Web site offers pay-per-view and subscription access to the Civil Registration Index for England & Wales, census records, city directories, and their most unique database - Passenger Lists of Ships Leaving the UK (1890-1919 presently available).
  • FreeBMD: A large portion of the Civil Registration Index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales have been transcribed by volunteers and can be searched online for free at FreeBMD.
  • The Genealogist: Pay-per-view all-inclusive subscriptions are inexpensive here, and the credits are good for up to three months or a year, depending on the subscription you choose. This site from S&N; Genealogy Supplies offers excellent value for its wealth of genealogy databases, including the full BMD index (births, marriages, and deaths), census records, parish registers, directories, and a variety of specialty databases. The BMD site is also affiliated, as is the volunteer indexing site UK Indexer.
  • The International Genealogical Index (IGI): This huge (and FREE) database from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) contains numerous baptisms and marriages transcribed directly from parish records around England and Wales. Check the source to see if the information was taken from the original parish records, Bishops Transcripts, or was provided by a church member researching his/her own family history. Most of these parish records are from the 1850s and earlier.
  • National Archives of England & Wales: The National Archives offers a wide variety of digitized public records including Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) wills from 1384 to 1858, WWI Campaign medals, service registers of Royal Navy Seamen (1873-1923), the Domesday Book, and census returns for England and Wales, 1841-1901. In general, index searches are free and you pay individually for each document you choose to download and view.
  • Scotland's People: I could only wish that other regions had as much available online as Scotland. Through Scotlands People you can access online indexes to births, marriages and deaths from 1 January 1855, as well as images of the actual records on a pay-per-view basis. They also have all census records for Scotland from 1841-1901, old parish registers of baptisms and marriages from 1553-1854, and Wills and Testaments held by the National Archives of Scotland.

Ancestor Searching Newsletter, Volume 2, # 3

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing over 264 million acres of land -- about one-eighth of the land in the United States -- as well as 300 million additional acres of subsurface mineral resources. Most of these lands are located in the western United States, including Alaska, and are easily recognized by their vast range lands, forests, high mountains, arctic tundra, and deserts. Under the BLM umbrella are a wide variety of commercial, cultural, recreational, and wilderness resources in these federal public lands.

"Creativity is the key to maximizing the potential of land records. Land records were not designed to give specific answers to genealogical researchers. The answers need to be extracted." E. Wade Hone, Land and Property Research.

Of course, the early years and records of land management in the United States are the more important and most sought after for genealogical research. From 1776 when Congress promised land to Hessian deserters and for the next 25 years, it experimented to find a workable public land policy.

BLM's roots go back to the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. These laws provided for the survey and settlement of the lands that the original 13 colonies ceded to the Federal government after the Revolutionary War. As additional lands were acquired by the United States from Spain, France, and other countries, Congress passed legislation that allowed these lands be explored, surveyed and made available for settlement. By 1803, the major characteristics of the federal land system had been set. Georgia in 1802 was the last of the original states to surrender its western claims to the federal government. Before the federal grants could be made, Indian title had to be removed and the land surveyed into townships.

Congress established the General Land Office in 1812 and placed it under the jurisdiction of the Department of Treasury to oversee the disposition of these federal lands. As the country entered the 19th century, the available "land base" expanded further west with Congress continuing to encourage settlement in the public land by enacting a wide variety of laws, including:

  • military bounties
  • grants for the construction of wagon roads, canals, and railroads
  • the Homesteading Laws
  • the Mining Law of 1872
  • the Desert Land Act of 1877
  • the Timber and Stone Act of 1878

All these statutes served one of the major policy goals of the young country -- settlement of the Western territories. With the exception of the Mining Law of 1872 and the Desert Land Act (which was amended), all have since been repealed or superseded by other statutes.

The late 19th century marked a shift in Federal land management priorities with the creation of the first national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. By withdrawing these lands from settlement, Congress signaled a shift in the policy goals served by the public lands. Instead of using them to promote settlement, Congress recognized that they should be held in public ownership because they had other resource values.

The BLM provides a wide variety of duties in managing public lands. As researchers, the main area of focus is those records that were created and have been maintained during the earlier years of our nation’s history. Records which recorded original property and cadastral survey records of the United States. This is definitely a source that should not be overlooked in that not only does it give information on applicants who received lands but also those whose applications were rejected.

Genealogy Workshop

Fact: To perform computer searches for land patent and survey records, visit the BLM's General Land Records Office ( website.

Tip: Two excellent websites for more information can be found on Wikipedia ( and, of course, the Bureau of Land Management Facts site (

Genealogy News

The Huntsville Genealogical Computing Society's June meeting will be held Jun 18, 2007. The program is 'What DNA can tell you' and will be presented by John McKinley of the society.

Mark your calenders for October 27th! The Cherokee/Native American Research Seminar is coming! You don't want to miss it!

Natchez and Mississippi Court Records

Ancestry has just added The Natchez Court Records, 1767-1805 and Mississippi Court Records, 1799-1835 to their online collection of databases. The Natchez Records are from the book compiled by May Wilson McBee in 1953 and reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1979. The Mississippi Court records are from J. Estelle Stewart King's work published in 1936 and also reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1992.

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