Monday, January 31, 2011

Resource: Civil War Faces (Library of Congress)

The Liljenquist family donated a large collection of Civil War Soldier photographs to the Library of Congress and the LOC has posted several on a Flicker account here: Link

There have even been attempts to identify some of the soldiers, like this photo of someone's beloved son: Carl, died April 1, 1865...

Though I haven't done it yet, I am sorely tempted to purchase as many old portrait photographs as I can at antique malls regardless as to whether I'm related or know who the person in the photo is. I think the only thing that has prevented me from doing it so far is lack of funds while in college. Seeing them makes me feel sad, like the photos are all orphans that need to be adopted. Anybody else get that urge to buy them like I do?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Baptists of the United Kingdom and Their Records

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. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Resource: Memorials & Monuments in Portsmouth

I found this website when I googled my 11th great-grandfather Colonel William Willoughby. Coincidently, I found this when a year before, I had been in Portsmouth Cathedral and the Royal Dockyards on a pleasure trip. I find him extremely interesting because I already had a minor interest in the Royal Navy at the time, and after generations of my family being in as few records as seemingly possible, as I'm sure you all understand, to find him and his son (Francis Willoughby, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts) in several government documents was absolutely fantastic to find.

All I'm saying is do a quick Google search of any ancestors with a few location or date parameters, sooner rather than later!

Friday, January 28, 2011

News and a Future Presentation

I wanted to spell out exactly what I'll be doing on this blog in the near future. This is probably more of a help for me I guess, given the blog's sudden and necessary creation, but it'll give a head's up to anyone wanting to keep an eye on this page. This will be my main web presence advertising my family history research service (hence the blog address) for the time being, but I fully plan on posting a variety of genealogical and historical topics.

For instance, I've bought the first season of the American version of "Who Do You Think You Are" on DVD and plan on catching up with what I'd missed, since I'd been in Wales when it was originally airing. When the show starts airing its second season on NBC beginning February 4th, I'll be catching each one and providing a recap for anyone interested enough to read it. Later on, when I've gotten some more business, I'm going to be purchasing the United Kingdom version of the show on DVD and reviewing all four series/seasons of that show as well.

In addition to that, I'm currently brainstorming several different articles that I hope are a mix of being informative and helpful for researchers and other visitors. This is my first run at a public blog, so pardon the dust and bad writing while I'm getting settled into this!

Meanwhile, I've got my first non-school related speaking engagement! I'm busy getting things ready for it right now. I'm very excited and nervous, but I think I'll have that well in hand by March. (Hopefully!)

Here are the details:

Presentation @ the Jefferson County Genealogical Society (Website: Link)
Date: March 19th, 2011
Time: 9:30 a.m. (Speaker begins between 10:15 and 10:30)
Location: Jefferson County Library, 5680 Hwy PP, High Ridge, Missouri
Presentation Title: Records of England and Wales: An Introduction
Description: Focuses on some of the basics of English and Welsh Genealogical Records for Researchers.
Public Welcome!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Your Ancestor's Social Security Application

I have seen a common brick wall for researchers in ancestors born in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Whether it's the partial 1890 census creating a brick wall, a common name, conflicting death certificate information, or the lack of a birth certificate, I would suggest seeing if your ancestor applied for a Social Security Number.

Though we're now given Social Security Numbers at birth, many people had to register for a number when the Social Security Board began giving them out in November 1936. Interestingly enough, the Social Security Administration states on their website that the first "Social Security Record" was created for a John David Sweeney Jr. of New York State. (Source: History of the First SSN Card)

Applicants had to fill in the SS-5 form with the following data:

1) Name
2) Maiden Name
3) Current Address
4) Birth date
5) Birth place
6) Father's full name
7) Mother's full name, including her maiden name

In my case, I had a brick wall in my great-grandmother, Irene (Stephens) Rodgers who was born in 1902 before Missouri's statewide birth certificate registration really took hold, and of course, there was more than one Irene Stephens/Stevens of similar age in Missouri during the 1910 census.

I knew her date of death (1973) and where she was buried, but I hesitated in spending money on ordering a death certificate for one very good reason. The thing about death certificates is that the information on the deceased's parents is only so good as the informant giving the information.

Enter the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). I had trouble finding Irene Rodgers in the database, and then I found a woman with a different surname but correct death date. That was when I found out about her other two marriages that I never knew about. Armed with her social security number, I decided that I would order her Social Security Application. It cost $27.

A couple of weeks later, I received a copy of the form in the mail. The application provided me with the information I needed, and as a result, I found her parents' death certificates, photos of her parents (my great-great grandparents) on findagrave, and extended my family tree back a few more branches. I would definitely recommend giving this a try.

Social Security Death Index (SSDI) (Via Family Search Record Search):
Social Security Application Ordering Form (Via Social Security Administration)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Forming a Research Request

An article I wrote, "5 Tips for a Successful Research Request," appeared in the Nov/Dec 2009 edition of Ancestry Magazine. I submitted it because I saw the need to make a research request quick and easy on the patron and archivist/librarian/volunteer doing the research.

Given that I am now procuring business for genealogical research through this blog, I felt it time to write further on the matter to promote clear communication between myself and clients. If you want me to give you an estimate on a project I suggest using this template in an email so that I can get back to you quickly. Please click the contact me button at the top of this blog to fill out the contact form.

Client Name:
Known Facts:

Here is a sample bid request:

Client Name: Megan Atchley
Objective: Who are the parents of Irene (nee Stephens) Rodgers?
Locations: Stoddard, Missouri, USA; Mississippi, Missouri, USA
Known Facts: 
Irene Stephens
b. Abt. 1902 Missouri
m. Samuel Pleasant Rodgers 22 Feb 1917 Stoddard, Missouri
d. 26 Dec 1973 Bernie, Stoddard, Missouri

I don't know if she had any siblings, and I can't with certainty find her with her parents in a census! Can you help find out their names and basic information?

Link to Family Tree:
Deadline: Open.
Budget: $150-200

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


About Me: 
I started this blog as a way to keep my business researching genealogy for clients. I previously completed research through the soon to be closed Expert Connect feature on, where I maintained a five star rating. I have completed research projects based in various localities for clients all over the United States and the United Kingdom.

As I'm sure many people will begin an interest in Genealogy with a new season of Who Do You Think You Are about to appear on our tv screens, I welcome projects from the long time genealogist with a brick wall to new people just starting to research their family history.

My educational background includes a Bachelors in Historic Preservation, utilizing  historical research in American Records and my graduate education in Archives Administration included courses in the historical records of England and Wales.

What I Do: 
I specialize in Missouri records and basic genealogies up to at least 1850. However, I have and can complete research projects for other locations and time periods.

My services include:
-Record Retrieval
-Multi-Generational Research
-Preparation of Lineage Society Applications (ex. DAR, SAR)
-Consulting and Research Advice

My basic rate is $40 an hour plus copy costs. I require a 10% deposit of the final project fee along with my estimated copy costs (i.e. If I know we need to order death certificates ahead of time, I will include that in my bid.).

If you think I can help you with your family history research, please let me know by clicking the 'Contact Me' link at the top of this blog and filling out the form. I am happy to provide bids for any project you propose.