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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!
From the New Zealand Archives comes the following news:
"BLUE BOOKS 1840 TO 1855 NOW ONLINE
A detailed insight into times past is revealed in this country’s Blue Books 1840 to 1855 which are now available online, Archives New Zealand Chief Executive Dianne Macaskill said today.
“All 24 books which are a wonderful source of information about the workings of the early New Zealand government have been digitised,” Dianne Macaskill said.
“The Blue Books were produced in all colonies of the British Empire in order to provide Imperial officials with the necessary knowledge for good government.
Early public records are always fascinating – these statistics about population, revenue, trade, shipping, public works, legislation, land transactions, churches, schools and prisons are a useful insight into times past and our collective history – they have a real story to tell.
Historians and genealogists will be able to find out more about the individuals who worked for government, their date of appointment and salary.
Other statistical returns provide information about fees that needed to be paid for various services along with the wages of the day for domestic employment and labourers, the cost of various products like butter and flour and how these varied from region to region, and many more categories that give life to the environment in which the ancestors lived.”
Dianne Macaskill said digitisation had helped to preserve the originals, by ensuring high-quality copies were now available to more people online.
“Previously only five volumes were available to view and many were faded and in poor condition. Digitisation means they are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
This includes one volume held by the Auckland City Library which was loaned to us for the digitisation project.”
See the Blue Books at http://www.archives.govt.nz/"
War of 1812 Genealogy: The War of 1812 generated a large volume of records and, fortunately, a sizable portion of them contain genealogical information on more than 280,000 military participants who fought on the US side. During the two and a half year war, records compiled included enlistment papers, muster rolls, pay rolls, attendance lists, regimental rosters, descriptive lists, account books (clothing, weapons, and ration issued), and discharge papers. Such items as name, rank, date, organization, enlistment date, term of service, promotions, reasons for absence (illness, wounds, death, missing, desertion, furlough, discharge), birth place and date, place of civilian residence, civilian occupation, height, age, color of eyes and hair, and sometimes a signature. Not all of these will necessarily be found for a particular individual’s record but many of these pieces of information will be.
In the War of 1812 there were several categories of personnel who engaged in military activity. It’s important to know about these categories because the location of the records on each of them is different. The six basic categories of servicemen participating in the conflict were: 1) members of the volunteer US Army, 2) members of the regular US Army, 3) members of the US Navy, 4) members of the US Marines, 5) members of the various state and territorial militia organizations who were never made members of the volunteer US Army, and 6) unofficial or semi-official (city, county, region) groups of private citizens who acted against the British or their Indian or Spanish allies.
Pension records exist for the period between the end of the Revolutionary War and the beginning of the Civil War, primarily dealing with the War of 1812, the Indian Wars, and the Mexican War. All of the indexes to these pensions have been published. These records are classified in three groups as the Old War Series Pension Records (available in the Heritage Room). The records pertain to pension applicants who were disabled or killed while serving in any war after the close of the Revolutionary War and before the start of the Civil War, except for the War of 1812 pensions included in the regular War of 1812 pension application files. The original applications are located at the National Archives where copies can be requested. Ancestry.com also now has these records available. The pension applications have been indexed and the index is available through the Family History Library.
Pension application files for veterans of the War of 1812 include applications of veterans still living after 1871, when Congress authorized pensions to veterans who did not later support the Confederate States of America. Applications for death, disability, regular service, widows, and other claimants are included in the same collection. A second act of Congress in 1878 authorized pensions for veterans who saw as few as fourteen days active duty. Virgil D. White’s three-volume Index to War of 1812 Pension Files (National Historical Publishing Co., 1989) indexes applicants eligible for pensions or bounty lands under these two acts (also available in the Heritage Room). Note: A large number of War of 1812 bounty land applications were placed in the pension record files. For those bounty land applications not located with a pension file, the National Archives collection Post-Revolutionary War Series of Bounty Land Applications will be the place to search.
These pension files give the veteran’s name, age, and place of residence. If he was married, the marriage date and the maiden name of his wife are stated. The unit in which he served, the date and place of enlistment, and the date and place of discharge are also given. The widow’s pension file will provide her name, age, and place of residence, their pertinent marriage information, the date and place of the veteran’s death, his enlistment date and place, and the date and place of his final discharge.
Other less thought of and mostly not indexed records held by the National Archives include prisoner of war records, privateer records, muster rolls, military post records, orderly and company records, inspection returns, Naval rosters and registers, Marine rosters and registers, desertion lists, medical records, deaths, ship logs, and cartographic records. Data can be mined from these less obvious records with a moderate-length search even though they are not indexed. Also, don’t overlook the various state archives which were either states or territories during the 1812 - 1815 time period. While some of these records may duplicate those held by the National Archives, they may also contain new and different information. These records usually relate to militia which never did become attached to US forces or to militia activities before they officially became US troops. Finally, there are also some other archives and combined libraries/archives which have War of 1812 materials. These collections, in many cases, relate to military units which were raised in the local area. Original manuscripts make up a portion of these special, local/regional institutions.
Fact: Records relating to British and American prisoners of war for 1812 to 1815 include miscellaneous correspondence and lists of prisoners sent from the Treasury Department to the Adjutant General’s Office and from the Navy Department to the Adjutant General’s Office. Some of the records have been microfilmed by the National Archives as M2019, Records Relating to War of 1812 Prisoners of War (one roll). The records are indexed in M1747, Index to War of 1812 Prisoners of War (three rolls).
Tip: There is also an Index to US Military Pension Applications of Remarried Widows for Service Between 1812 and 1911 that covers applications involving service during those years in the US Army, US Navy and US Marine Corps.
Don’t forget the first computer class offering for Footnote.com will be held in the Computer Training Center on Third floor of the Main Library on Tuesday, April 28th from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. As mentioned last month, Footnote has partnered with the National Archives to begin making available online the multitude of original documents from the Archives vast collection.
The Spring Quarter schedule of genealogy computer classes is now set. Here is the schedule for the three-month period:
Genealogy Research Online
Classes are from 2 to 4 PM in the afternoon.
Apr. 22nd, May 20th and June 24th
The following classes are from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.
Footnote.com - Apr. 28th
Ancestry.com - May 26th
New England Ancestry - June 29th
**NOTE: Basic Genealogy and Computer Skills Required. All classes are FREE and held in the Computer Lab on Third Floor of the Main Library. Register for classes in person or by calling 532-2356!
Coat of Arms: Heraldry is the medieval art and science that deals with the creation, use, and recognition of visual displays that identify an individual person, guild, town, office or other entity. This was typically done through much of the Middle Ages using a painted shield which consisted of a unique arrangement of division lines, and objects known as "charges". Early in the Medieval period, this "coat of arms" was unique to an individual, only becoming associated with a family towards the end of the Renaissance.
The oldest son would often inherit his family's coat of arms without any changes but the younger brothers would add symbols to identify themselves. The symbol a younger son added was usually a smaller picture placed in the middle of the shield. When a woman married, the coat of arms of her family was often added to her husband's arms. Many times the coat of arms were quartered, or divided into different parts.
In modern day times, heraldry is basically governed by the rules set by the heralds of the College of Arms with whom anyone may apply. Provided the applicant is a "worthy person" and has no criminal record, a coat of arms will be rarely refused. However, they charge fees for their services. Many coats of arms have belonged to the same family, being handed down from father to son for generations. Royalty were the first to have heraldic coats of arms. There is some controversy in the genealogy world about authenticity of coat of arms because in olden times they were presented to individuals, and as previously mentioned, passed down through the generations. So it is important to find a historically correct coat of arms. No matter what the final product is, one thing is clear for many researchers – It's always exciting for family members to see the coat of arms or family crest for their family name. In modern times, coat of arms are still used as a means of identification by many companies, clubs, organizations and town and County Councils. Also, there are reputable companies who will search your last name and find the coat of arms for your surname and may even offer a wide variety of interesting products with a family coat of arms on them.
There are numerous online web sites that either provide information or assistance in researching a coat of arms. Some likely sites to look at, for example, are Traceit.com, About.com, Your Irish Roots and AAG International Research. These are by no means the only sites but a sampling of what may be found on the Internet that may be useful to researchers.
The following classifications are the most generally valid categories in use from the past and today.
- Succession - These are arms that are taken up by those who inherit certain estates by bequest, entail, or donation.
- Community - These are arms that are associated with bishoprics, cities, universities, academies, societies, guilds and corporate bodies. Many of these go back to a very early period.
- Dominion (or Sovereignty) - These are the arms of the kings or sovereigns of the territories they govern, which are also regarded as the arms of the State. Thus the Lions of England and the Russian Eagle are the arms of the Kings of England and the Emperors of Russia, and cannot be altered by a change of dynasty. In America several states have official arms of Dominion that derive from the earlier old rulers of the colony, such as in Maryland which bears the arms of Cecililus Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, who was the proprietor of the colony.
- Pretension - These are arms of kingdoms, provinces, or territories to which a prince or lord has some claim, and which he adds to his own, though the kingdoms or territories are governed by a foreign king or lord: thus the Kings of England for many ages quartered the arms of France in their escutcheon as the descendants of Edward III., who claimed that kingdom, in right of his mother, a French princess. Nearly all early sovereigns bore arms of this type as they constantly disputed territories.
- Concession - These are arms granted by sovereigns as the reward of virtue, valor, or extraordinary service and deeds. All arms granted to subjects were originally conceded by the Sovereign.
- Family (or paternal arms) - These arms as such are hereditary and belong to one particular family, which none others have a right to assume, nor can they do so without rendering themselves guilty of a breach of the laws of honor punishable by the Earl Marshal and the Kings at Arms. The assumption of arms has however become so common that little notice is taken of it at the present time. These types of arms sometimes are modified over time by various family members.
- Alliance - These are arms gained by marriage.
- Patronage - These arms are of the type the lesser gentry bore as subjects to governors of provinces, lords of manors or feudal lords. They usually derive from the coat of arms of the lord and indicate a level of dependence on such, as well as the connection to that manor.
- Office - These are arms born by those holding certain offices such as the King of Arms in England or the Butlers of Ireland, ancestors of the Dukes of Ormond.
In conclusion . . .
Avitoe glorioe memor ~ Mindful of ancestral glory
Fact: There is no such thing as a ‘coat of arms for a surname'. Many people of the same surname will often be entitled to completely different coats of arms, and many of that surname will be entitled to no coat of arms. For any person to have a right to a coat of arms they must either have had it granted to them or be descended in the legitimate male line from a person to whom arms were granted or confirmed in the past.
Tip: It's been a popular misconception that the word ‘crest' describes a whole coat of arms or any heraldic device. It does not. A crest is a specific part of a full achievement of arms: the three-dimensional object placed on top of the helm.
NBC is set to add the "Who Do You Think You Are?" Genealogy TV show to their schedule starting in April. The popular British television show has been exported to other countries with each country producing their own shows, featuring local television personalities and stories. The program will air on Mondays at 8 PM beginning April 20th. The American version will feature American celebrities, including Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon, as they unearth their family trees. Quoting from Dick Eastman's Online Newsletter, "The series will examine a star's family tree . . . uncovering stories from the family's past . . . and weaving the story into the larger narrative of American history."
The first computer class offering for Footnote.com will be held in the Computer Training Center on Third floor of the Main Library on Tuesday, April 28th from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Be sure to watch for it on the Class Training Schedule in April. Footnote has partnered with the National Archives to begin making available online the multitude of original documents from the Archives vast collection.
Information Available from Passenger Lists: Probably more time is spent hunting for our ancestors on ship passenger lists than any other type of research. Many assume these records will reveal exactly where in the "old country" ancestors came from. It is not always that simple. Depending on when immigrant ancestors arrived, American ship passenger lists may or may not provide this information. In some instances determining the ancestral home can be discovered by tracking down naturalization papers, rather than ship passenger lists.
While there is nothing that can match finding ancestors on ship passenger lists, be prepared to do some serious digging. There are three major time frames important to researching American ship passenger lists. They are: 1891-1954, 1820-1890 and pre-1820. The two major repositories for these microfilmed records are the National Archives and the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library (FHL).
If ancestors arrived between 1891 and 1954, Immigration Passenger Lists are valuable. Immigrants were asked to provide information such as:
- Marital status
- Last residence
- Final destination in the U.S.
- If ever in the U.S. before, when, where and for how long.
- If going to join a relative, the relative's name, address and relationship
In 1906 and 1907 more questions were added to the above list, including:
- Personal description: height, complexion, color of hair and eyes, identifying marks
- Place of birth — the exact city, town or village.
- Name and address of closest living relative in native country.
However, if ancestors landed between 1820 and 1890, a search of what's known as Customs Passenger Lists will be necessary. These contain only the following data:
- Name of ship
- Name of its master
- Port of embarkation
- Date and port of its arrival
- Each passenger's name, age, sex, occupation and nationality.
Contrary to popular belief, the National Archives does not have copies of all ship passenger lists. It does have a microfilm copy of the passenger lists that were turned over to it by the Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service when this federal repository was established in 1935. Inbound federal ship passenger arrival records at the National Archives date back to 1820 for most East Coast and Gulf Coast ports and a few lists dating back to 1800 for Philadelphia. The archives staff will search available indexed lists for you (first request NATF Form 81 from Reference Services Branch (NNIR), National Archives, 8th and Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20408). You also can search indices and passenger lists through the Family History Library system and Ancestry.com.
When requesting a search by the National Archives, be sure to supply the following information on NATF Form 81:
- Full name of the passenger
- Port of entry
- Approximate date of arrival
Major indices exist for the ports of:
- Baltimore, 1820-1952
- Boston 1848-91, 1902-20
- New Orleans 1853-1952
- New York City, 1820-46, 1897-1943
- Philadelphia 1800-1948
- Minor ports, 1820-74 and 1890-1924
Fact: There were no federal laws requiring ship passenger lists be recorded prior to 1820. However, some lists exist and have appeared in print in various publications. The best source for these pre-1820 records is the multi-volume series, edited by P. William Filby, entitled Passenger and Immigration Lists Index — which can usually be found available in public and academic libraries. These volumes give information about passenger lists which appear in books and periodicals, and a librarian can help locate such references.
Tip: Passenger List Websites
GenSearch - Ports
Contains a list of nearly every port in the United States that has published immigration records (passenger arrival lists) 1820-1957, organized by state. Included are Canadian border crossing records, which are called "St. Albans Lists" and are listed under the state of Vermont (even though the actual border crossing may have taken place elsewhere). Mexican border crossing records are also listed for California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The rest are for ship passenger arrival records.
A group of volunteers dedicated to making ancestors' immigration records easy and convenient to find. Their mission is to make ships' passenger lists available online, at no cost to the researcher. Traditional methods of research in immigration records are time-consuming and expensive, so they created the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild to provide a forum for volunteers to present transcriptions of passenger lists and related materials. So far they have transcribed more than 5,000 ships' passenger lists, citing over 1/2 million passenger arrivals.
Footnote.com working in conjunction with the National Archives is making digitized images of original historical documents available online. The database is the newest library addition for historical and genealogical researchers. Beginning in April, a new computer class offering will be available to researchers. The class will be a one-hour presentation on maneuvering around the site. Be sure to watch for the April Computer Class schedule later this spring for the exact date and time. NOTE: The database is only available in-house (library locations).
A new web site begun last year is now available to researchers looking for early War Department records. Papers of the War Department - 1784-1800 offers digital online images of over 55,000 documents painstakingly gathered together after visits to more than 200 repositories and the consulting of more than 3,000 collections in the United States, Canada, England, France, and Scotland. Excellent research material!
"The Homestead Act of 1862 changed the world with its offer of free land. Millions of people immigrated to America seeking their fortune, shifting populations along with the power of governments." Source: Homestead National Monument of America.
Beginning in September 2008, a searchable online index of over 65,000 homestead record images from the Broken Bow, Nebraska Land Office are available to the public. Credit goes to Homestead National Monument of America (HMNA) and the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. The index is also available on the university's website. Eventually, over 30 million pieces of paper covering the complete files will be online.