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!

Westport Historic Private Cemeteries

The town of Westport, Massachusetts now has online information from 102 local cemeteries thanks to the tremendous efforts of the genealogy and historical enthusiasts there. Information on the site includes the WSP number, cemetery name, location and access information, square footage, assessor's map and lot number, number of gravestones engraved and number of unmarked field stones, most recent and earliest dates of death, a digital photograph, GPS readings, a burial ground sketch map and historical and genealogical narratives. For those interrened, there is birth, death, age and gravestone information. Visit Westport Historic Private Cemeteries to begin searching.


Some ask, "Where can information be found on obtaining a legitimate Coat-of-Arms?" Anyone desiring to learn more about the serious study of heraldry and any rights to display a coat-of-arms will find there are a number of online websites devoted to the accurate use of a coat-of-arms. Visits to the following sites will provide a wealth of information on the subject: The American College of Heraldry, The College of Arms - the official repository of the coats-of-arms and pedigrees of English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Commonwealth families and their descentants, The Court of the Lord Lyon - Scotland, The Canadian Heraldic Authority, Heraldica and The Augustan Society.

Britain, Ireland and the Colonies

For those researchers who may be searching for records not typically found elsewhere, it may prove worthwhile to visit Original Record.Com. Ancestor searches can be performed into the approximately 1,000 years of unusual records that were previously unaccessible before and now available on-line to all. Searches are completely free; there is no subscription to use the site, the only charge is for scans of the actual pages where your entries appear should you wish to purchase. Thousands of ancestry and genealogy historical records, books and documents containing 10 million entries from Britain, Ireland and the colonies have been included in their database.

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.

The Freedmen's Bureau was created not only to offer funding, but also to "socialize" newly freed slaves into American society. Under the leadership of General Oliver Howard, Congress passed legislation that was to help assure that the ex-slaves received land, equal opportunities under the law, and to receive an education. During the five-year span between 1865 and 1870, the Freedman's Bureau spent five million dollars on developing schools for newly freed slaves.

Information contained in many of the registers from the Trust Company consists of account numbers, name of depositor, date of entry, place born, place brought up, residence, age, complexion, name of employer or occupation, wife or husband, children, father, mother, brothers and sisters, remarks, and signature. Some of the early books also contain the names of former masters or mistresses and names of plantations. Other registers contain only partial information and not all the requested data is available. Copies of death certificates have been pinned to some of the entries. In those cases the certificate has been filmed immediately after the page that shows the registration of the person's signature.

The registers are first arranged alphabetically by name of State. Then, entries are arranged alphabetically by name of city where the bank was located, chronologically by date when the account was established, and numerically by account number. Many numbers are missing, a few are out of numerical order, and in some cases blocks of numbers were not used. Many registers seem to be missing. The volume for Philadelphia, Pa., dated January 7, 1870, to June 26, 1874, contains signatures of officers of societies.

An index on film has been created that gives the location and the date of organization of the various branches. The first part of the index gives the account numbers and the numbers of the rolls of microfilm on which the registers are filmed. There are no account numbers or registers available for the branches listed in the second part of the microfilm index. These records are part of the records in the National Archives designated as Record Group 101, Records of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Closely related records in the same record group include indexes to deposit ledgers of which there are 42 volumes. The ledgers are arranged alphabetically by name of State, then name of city, and next by name of depositor. As the indexes to the deposit ledgers include the depositor's account number they can serve as a finding aid to the registers of signatures reproduced in the microcopy, which are not indexed. Other related records include loan and real estate ledgers and journals, 1870-1916, arranged roughly in chronological order; inspectors' reports, minutes of meetings of committees, and a journal of the board of trustees, 1865-74. Also, dividend payment records from 1882-89, arranged alphabetically by name of city and then by depositor's account number; and letters received by the commissioners of the Company and by the Comptroller of the Currency as ex officio commissioner, 1870-1914. Interspersed among these records are legal papers, canceled checks, payrolls, expense checks, and passbooks.

The so-called signature records hold the most interest for genealogists. These records were completed upon opening an account. The forms provided thorough identification of the depositor as well as family members in case of depositor's death. During the years of operation, there are many instances of individuals from other counties crossing county lines to make deposits in one of the branches. While the Freedmen's Bureau was primarily involved in assistance to the newly freed African slaves, assistance was also available to war refugees and others affected by the Civil War.

Genealogy Workshop

Fact: Some excellent resources on African-American genealogy research tips can be found on the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church website.
Tip: Other valuable links of interest are Freedmen's Bureau Online, NationMaster's Encyclopedia area concerning the Bureau, BookRags Student Essay Summaries and Citizendium's Compendium.

Genealogy News

REMINDER: There's still plenty of time to sign up for the DNA Seminar on October 18th! Megan Smolenyak will be the Speaker. The four topics for the day are "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Beyond Y-DNA: Your Genetic Genealogy Options," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones" and "Welcome to Roots Television!" This isn't a program you want to miss! The cost is $50 and more than well worth it. Register on third floor of the Main Library M-F from 9 AM to 5 PM or by mail to: Huntsville Public Library, DNA Research, PO Box 443, Huntsville, AL 35804. For questions or more information, call 256.532.5969.

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