Sunday, February 27, 2011

Resource: DocumentsOnline

Now that this blog is a month old, I'm going to be easing from my post a day approach. I'm going to try for once or twice a week in order for me to write better posts (in theory). It's also entirely possible that I will post more or less depending upon my schedule and/or health.

This website is part of the National Archives (UK) which allows you to search through several databases, including Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, seals, and Ancient Petitions. You can download images of records, some for free and some, like the wills, for a reasonable fee. Really, I recommend looking around to see what you find. I've purchased a few wills that way and I likely will purchase a few more if I ever make any progress on my dissertation.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I just wanted to drop a quick note about commenting on entries. I don't know if blogger contacts you when I respond because, as far as I can see, I can't respond directly to your comment. I can only just comment to the entry and it appears below yours.

I do try to respond to the comments I get though!

Who Do You Think You Are, Season 2 Episode 4

Celebrity: Kim Cattrall
Aired: 25 Feb 2011
Original Airing Date in the UK: 12 Aug 2009

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Resource: St. Louis Globe-Democrat Clipping File Collection

Since I'm still feeling pretty bad, I'm not going to be posting the Season 1 Episode 2 review today as I intended. I will get to it as soon as my head stops hurting so much. Hopefully somewhat normal service will resume soon.

This is a searchable clipping collection that was compiled by the staff of the St. Louis Globe Democrat of their newspaper from the 1930s to 1986 and is made available through the St. Louis Mercantile Library at UMSL. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Resource: Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project

I'm almost over the cold I caught, but since the pressure in my head still isn't conducive to thinking or writing much, I'd thought I'd share the link to the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project that was shown on Sarah Jessica Parker's episode of Who Do You Think You Are.

Hopefully tomorrow I might actually watch episode two of season one, and actually write about it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Resource: Welsh Wills Pre-1858

The National Library of Wales has a very helpful database of wills proved before 1858. I'd suggest looking all over this website for plenty of excellent genealogical resources and tips though, but I felt the wills to be a particularly useful resource.

National Library of Wales

(Note: Having spent a lot of time there last year, I recommend having one of their paninis should you visit and need some lunch. Also, take the bus up to the University and walk down the hill. Trust me.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents Day: Presidents in the Census

Since it's President's Day, I thought I'd share links to the census records (1850-1930) that include the President at the time and his household. If possible, I've linked to free sites that don't require paid subscription, but there are a few that require subscriptions.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quick Tips: Siblings

I suppose one of the benefits of working like this is that when I come down with a cold, I can easily relax for a bit while still managing a little work.'s quick tip is going to be fairly short and sweet as I plan on crashing on the couch for the evening to watch whatever is on TV.

The Importance of Researching Siblings:

When trying to go backwards in your lineage, it may prove beneficial to go forwards by looking into your direct ancestor's siblings. For instance, one sibling might actually have told their children their mother's maiden name, and said name appears on that sibling's death certificate. Pictures and stories may travel down one particular line while nothing is ever mentioned or labeled (personal experience) on the other.

For a more concrete example, I found that a woman's brother in the mid-19th century mentioned her in his will. Now, by the 1850 census this girl was married, but her brother still lived with his parents. Thus, I was able to tie her to the brother and the brother to their parents.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My New England Ancestors

Since I watched Sarah Jessica Parker's Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA) episode yesterday, I was thinking about my ancestors that would be in that database. New Englanders kept some of the best and earliest records you can get in the US. I'm going to be looking through the Migration Project files for the following people and a few of their spouses:

Matthew Griswold
Francis Willoughby
Christopher Latimer
William Brewster
Henry Wolcott
William Hyde
Thomas Lee
Simon Lynde
John Newdigate
George Dennison
Robert Lay
Daniel Wetherall
William Oldham
Anne Griggs
Robert Latimer

This is going to take awhile...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are, Season 1, Episode 1

I'll be periodically going through the first season of the US "Who Do You Think You Are" to catch up on what I've missed.

Celebrity: Sarah Jessica Parker
Originally Aired: 5 Mar 2010

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are, Season 1 Reviews (Coming Soon)

I finally got my DVD of the first season of Who Do You Think You Are in the mail as well as my region free dvd player. As soon as I get the connector I need to connect the player to the old tv, I'll be posting my reviews of the previous season and hopefully my reviews of the second season will be all the more detailed!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Resource: Find My Past

For those of you with ancestors in England, this website is extremely useful. It operates on a paid credits system, which is a bit different to ancestry, or a subscription. The site has the 1911 English census available, which Ancestry does not yet have. It also claims to have the most complete BMD (birth, marriage, death) index from when they began national registration in 1837 to 2006, indexes of parish registers, and some military records.

Information on how much the credits and subscription costs can be found here. For those that need a quick currency exchange to know how much it will cost, I've found this tool to be useful during my travels: Link.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

Since it's Valentines Day, I thought that I would post a letter that my 9th great-grandfather Matthew Griswold wrote to my 9th great-grandmother Phebe Hyde sometime before their marriage in 1683 that was printed in a magazine article about the Griswold family in The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries, Volume 11 published in 1884 (Link: Book Passage). I discovered this last weekend, but I fully intend to see if I can find where this letter currently is:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quick Tips: Cemetery Photography

Here are a few tips for visiting cemeteries in search of your ancestors:

1. Get permission from the cemetery owners to visit if you're visiting a private cemetery. Keep in mind state laws regarding cemeteries on private land in order to know their rights and yours. For instance, Missouri requires that the property owner allow you reasonable access to the cemetery during reasonable hours of the day. (Link)

2. Get a long mirror to angle the sun towards the stone. This will help make the inscription clearer. Turn off your flash as that tends to only create a glare, and be prepared to write down what you see in case no amount of computer editing makes the photo reveal the whole inscription. (Note: I've found taking color pictures and then converting to black and white can help legibility.)

3. If you have to clean the stone in order to see the inscription, use water (the less chemicals in it the better) and a SOFT bristle brush. Gently wipe away the residue.

4. DO NOT use shaving cream to read the stone. Chemicals will only increase the weathering of the inscription.

5. Upload the photo to Findagrave for other relatives to find.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Resource: Scotland's People

I haven't had much of an opportunity to use this website for research, but I wanted to make note of it because you can see the census images for Scotland as compared to just an index of the census records on The site also has indexes for parish registers, vital records, and wills. Credits can be bought to view search results. Also, the 1911 Scotland Census will be available on this site on the 5th of April.

Link: Scotland's People

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Moral, Religious, and Political Societies

While studying for my Archives Administration degree in Wales, I had to complete four miniature papers on various record types, which I figured I'd share here in order that the files could see the light of day again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Old Poor Law (Part II)

While studying for my Archives Administration degree in Wales, I had to complete four miniature papers on various record types, which I figured I'd share here in order that the files could see the light of day again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Old Poor Law (Part I)

While studying for my Archives Administration degree in Wales, I had to complete four miniature papers on various record types, which I figured I'd share here in order that the files could see the light of day again.

Part II will include the documents produced because of the poor law. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Resource: Texas Land Grants

Not all land grants your ancestors may have been a part of date from the period that the United States owned the territory, and states such as Texas and Missouri, to name a couple, were owned by other countries who gave out land to settlers. I discovered this website when I was considering a Texas based research project. It is similar to the BLM Land Grant site , just specific to Texas.

Link: Texas Land Grant Search

Tomorrow, I plan on posting about England's Old Poor Law.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quick Tips: Marriage Records

Being that it's Super Bowl Sunday, I didn't feel like writing more than a brief post today. I'm not into sports at all (In fact, I picked which team I'm rooting for by the fact I like the colors and the city of one team over the other.), but I like watching the commercials.

Since I'll be focused on the TV tonight, I'm going to write about some success I've had with marriage records:

Marriage records are incredibly useful in regards to tracing your female ancestors, but there is something else you can determine from the marriage record that can be useful for finding early records of your family. If your family wasn't married by a Justice of the Peace (J.P.), I recommend taking note of who married the couple in question since you can possibly determine what denomination or religion your ancestors practiced.

Once you have the name, do a quick online search using the name of the pastor with the words 'church' and the general location of where your ancestors lived or were married. If that doesn't work, I'd try heading to a library to check out the local history books or indexes of local clergy. Once you know the church, then you can see if they have any baptism, marriage, or death records to further your research.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are, Season 2 Episode 1

(Apologies for how disjointed this review is, I'm still trying to get the hang of it and this is the first time I've watched the US version of the show.)

Celebrity: Vanessa Williams
Aired: 4 February 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Resource: The Old Bailey Online, 1674-1913

Anyone researching their family history may have to prepare themselves for the fact that at some point one's ancestors were not always squeaky clean models of society. I myself have a rumored horse thief on my father's side and possible counterfeiters on my mother's side.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Resource: General Land Office Records

Public Domain Land

After the American Revolution, the United States took control of the lands that had been previously claimed by each of the colonies west of the Ohio River. In 1785, Congress passed the land Ordinance Act allowed the public domain lands to be sold for profit. When the land was sold, patents were issued to the person buying the property from the U.S. government. The land sold to the settlers form the bulk of the Eastern States Land Records held by the Bureau of Land Management. More than a billion acres of land and 7.5 million transactions are recorded in their office.

Homestead Act of 1862

The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Lincoln on May 20, 1862. This allowed any U.S. citizen or intended U.S. citizen who had not borne arms against the United States to file a claim to 160 acres of land. The homesteader had to live on the land for five years, during which he had to 'improve' the land by building a house and growing crops on the land. Due to the difficult conditions of prairie life, however, many people did not stay the full time. 

The Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 repealed the Homestead Act after millions of applications had been processed for government land. (Note: The Act was extended for ten years in Alaska with the last title under the law being given in 1988.)

For those of you fond of the Little House on the Prairie books, Laura Ingalls Wilder's father Charles Ingalls and her husband Alonzo Wilder filed claims for land under the Homestead Act. NARA has an article about them on their website: Link

You can look up land patents at the Bureau of Land Management: Link

(My 3rd great-grandfather Solomon Osborn Atchley purchased 40 acres in Indiana in 1838.)

Historical Note: Not all land west of the Ohio will have a land patent on this website. Missouri, for instance, was owned by the Spanish and French, and many people went west and got patents from those governments instead.

Bureau of Land Management. "Our Record Keeping History."|01_Our_Record_Keeping_History.

National Park Service. "Homestead National Monument of America.""

NARA. "Teaching with Documents: The Homestead Act of 1862."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ancestry Expert Connect Closing at Midnight

First of all, I'd like to welcome anyone coming to this blog. If you've come because of Ancestry's closing of Expert Connect, I have a few links at the end of this post to alternative sites that accomplish a similar purpose of hiring genealogists for research.

I started with Expert Connect about eight months ago and completed 38 projects in total, which were a mixture of record lookup, custom research, and ask an expert. All of my business came through them, and I am grateful that it gave me a start in researching professionally. The Expert Connect system allowed me to cultivate a growing client base, and I've never had any trouble with any of my clients. It also provided me some much needed income while I am looking for a job as an archivist.

About ten days ago, sent the providers an email stating that, though not considered a failure, the company would be closing Expert Connect to new client requests as of February 3rd. A further email stated that on February 3rd, the Expert Connect page would be replaced with links to ProGenealogists (a company bought) and the Association of Professional Genealogists.

I've had to rearrange what I was doing to get business, hence the creation of the blog. I can't pretend to know their reasons for closing EC, but I'm moving forward. Eventually I plan on joining the Association of Professional Genealogists, and a portion of my fees will be going towards professional development (conferences, equipment, and genealogy courses).

If you are looking for genealogical research and want bids from more than myself I have signed up at two websites that allow for genealogists to bid on projects:

My Profile:
Genealogy Freelancers
My Profile:

Also, Directory of Genealogists is a new site listing for quite a few experts that were previously on Expert Connect and will be live soon:
Directory of Genealogists (At the moment, the list of genealogists resides at GeneaPro: Link)

Education in the United Kingdom (Before 1800)

While studying for my Archives Administration degree in Wales, I had to complete four miniature papers on various record types, which I figured I'd share here in order that the files could see the light of day again.