Featured Success Story From our Reader Celebrating our 200th Episode

The Genealogy Gems Podcast recently celebrated our 200th episode and 10th anniversary! Can you believe it? We couldn’t have made it without you, our Gems listeners and readers…thank you! We asked you to share with us how Genealogy Gems has helped you along your personal family history journey and to share your triumphs. Today we are proud to feature the inspiring success stories of a true Genealogy Gem, Robin!

Celebrating The Genealogy Gems Podcast 200th Episode

My name is Robin and I am from Nevada and I just love Lisa’s amazing podcast and website.

Lisa and her team are an amazing source of information for a hobby genealogist. A daily inspiration for me as I listen to the podcast. They have given me the courage to step outside my comfort zone and to keep contacting distance relatives in my search for photos or family history.

I have utilized so many of the Gems here on the website. Here are a few of my favorite Gems that have helped me with my searches.

  • Diahan Southard (a Gem all on her own)
  • Genealogy for Beginners (I devoured this page)
  • Google Earth
  • Google Toolbox (My favorite tool to use! Love, love, love!)
  • How to get started in Evernote
  • Organize your Genealogy Files
  • How to interview your relatives
  • All of the podcasts
  • Learning about Animoto and using it to make a video of all my cousins

I enjoy listening to Lisa read the letters from other people on the podcast so much and have wanted to send in an email, but I kind of felt a little awkward talking about myself and about what I had accomplished these past couple years. So, when Lisa invited everyone to write in for the Genealogy Gems 200th podcast episode, I thought to myself, what the heck, go for it.

My First Success Story: Keep It Safe

I wanted to share with your readers a couple of my stories. I am not a trained genealogist, but I really enjoy the search on Ancestry, Newspapers, and USGenweb, and many others. I came across the Gems website when I was researching Scrivener and how to incorporate it into my research. I read one of the reviews and they mentioned Genealogy Gems. Well, let me say, I have been hooked ever since then!

My mother, sadly, passed away last April of Alzheimer’s. She got me interested in genealogy as a teenager and I became hooked. I’m in my 40s now and recently got back into researching about four years ago. When my Mom was first diagnosed, she came to me and handed me a box of her papers and asked, “Can you keep them safe for me?” I shoved them to the back of a closet–my only thought was to keep them safe.

A couple years ago, I remembered the box I had in safe keeping and pulled it out. The box contained newspaper clippings my grandmother kept of family members of her mother which later helped me to confirm my great-grandfather’s parents names. Also contained in the box were several funeral books with family names, and birth and death certificates. It’s almost as if she knew I would come back to doing genealogy. It’s been an amazing adventure and I am so very thankful to my mom for giving me this wonderful gift of adventure.

My Second Success Story: Making a Lost Family Connection

In the last couple years, I have solved an old family mystery of my missing (paternal) great-grandfather after WWI. He had been presumed dead in the war, but I found he actually got out and married another woman.

I was able to track his daughter down and had a great conversation with her before she passed away eight months later within a week of my own father’s passing. His daughter was able to verify that he was indeed our lost great-grandfather. My dad and Uncle were shocked when I told them! I knew my dad enjoyed my calls to update him on my newest finds and solving the mystery when he showed up at my door out-of-the-blue with a box containing his baby book and other items as a kid. I have to say, that was one of the best days I ever spent with my dad. We sat and poured over the items and drank coffee spiked with a little Carolan’s liquor. He was going through chemo and radiation at the time and wasn’t allowed to drink. He claimed his doctor gave him special permission for a little in his coffee!

My Last Success Story: Participating in a Denmark Museum Exhibit

Mors Museum. Picture provided by Robin.

My most exciting moment was in November of 2015. I had emailed a library in Nykobing, Mors, Denmark for info in reference to the Morso Stove Factory. My husband’s ancestor worked there in the early 1900s.  My email was forwarded to the local Museum Mors director to answer my inquiries. I had included a photograph of my husband’s great-great-grandfather who worked at the stove factory. The director replied with my answer and asked if I would like to contribute to the new exhibit coming up in March of 2016, “The Emigrants ” with any photos, documents, family stories. Of course, I said yes, totally delighted and grinning from ear to ear!

As I considered what items to send to the Mors Museum director, I remembered that earlier in the year, I had contact with a fellow ancestry member named Dan (distant cousin of my husband) regarding a family book he referenced as a source. He sent me a copy via Google drive. The author, a lady name Connie, put this family book together and spent several years gathering information and typing it up on a typewriter, yikes. It’s over 250 pages of pure information on my husband’s ancestors. I tracked down Connie and spoke to her for the first time. I think she was shocked and honored that her book on her (former) husband’s family was going to be a part of a museum exhibit.

I then contacted Dan and he had some materials to contribute as well since he was the grandson of the youngest ancestor that immigrated to America.

Mors Museum Exhibit. Picture provided by Robin.

I had so much fun being a part of this and putting all the materials together to send by Google Drive to the curator. I have included several pictures from the museum exhibit. I believe the exhibit ends in October of this year. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but they were so kind to share the photos with me.

I have to say, even though this was a hard year, due to my parents passing, I think they both left me a gift to help me get thru this difficult time.  It’s been an amazing adventure and I have grown and learned so much from my family history.

I really want to say thank you so much to Lisa and the Genealogy Gems team, because I couldn’t have done half of the research I’ve done this past year without their guidance. Thanks for letting me share my story, too!

Congrats on the 200th podcast episode and I hope you all have a wonderful celebration.

Happy searching and many blessings,

Robin

Enjoy the Benefits of Premium Membership

Genealogy Gems - Family History Podcast and WebsiteRobin utilized our Genealogy Gems Premium Membership to help her navigate genealogy records, learn about DNA, organize with Evernote, and much, much more. Become a Genealogy Gems Premium Member today and get exclusive access to incredible content to help you further your research – all for one low annual price! Click here to learn more.

About the Author

About the Author

Lisa Louise Cooke is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and producer of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast.

American Slave Records in New and Updated Genealogical Collections

American slave records contained in the Digital Library on American Slavery at the University of North Carolina Greensboro have recently been updated. Also in new and updated genealogical record collections this week, records from Australia, United States, and Ireland.

dig these new record collections

United States – North Carolina – American Slave Records

An expansion of the University of North Carolina Greensboro University Libraries’ Digital Library on American Slavery has added bills of sales. These records index the names of enslaved people from across North Carolina. When complete the project will include high resolution images and full-text searchable transcripts. This digital library also includes other important record projects such as:

Race and Slavery Petitions Project – A searchable database of detailed personal information about slaves, slaveholders, and free people of color. The site provides access to information gathered over an eighteen-year period from petitions to southern legislatures and country courts filed between 1775 and 1867 in the fifteen slave-holding states in the United States and the District of Columbia.

North Carolina Runaway Slave Advertisements, 1750-1840 Project – Online access to all known runaway slave advertisements (more than 2300 items) published in North Carolina newspapers from 1751 to 1840. Digital images, full-text transcripts, and descriptive metadata, are included in this searchable database.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database – Among other things, this database identifies 91,491 Africans taken from captured slave ships or from African trading sites. It includes the African name, age, gender, origin, country, and places of embarkation and disembarkation of each individual.

People Not Property – Slave Deeds of North Carolina – When complete, People Not Property – Slave Deeds of North Carolina will include high resolution images, and full-text searchable transcripts. Though still in the working stages, they hope to open the project to states beyond North Carolina, creating a central location for accessing and researching slave deeds from across the Southern United States. Keep a watchful eye on this exciting endeavor!

Australia – Victoria – Court Session Records

Over 3 million Victoria Petty Sessions Registers records have just been released in association with Public Records Office Victoria to coincide with Australia Day (January 26th) 2017. This collection includes both transcripts and scanned images of original court registers. If your ancestors had a run-in with the law, you may find them here.

Victoria petty records and american slavery records

Snapshot of Victoria Petty Sessions Record from Findmypast.

This collection covers both civil and minor criminal cases. The Court of Petty Sessions’ brief was wide, making these records a powerful resource for those with Australian ancestors. Your ancestors may appear as a witnesses, defendants, complainants, or even as a Justice of the Peace. Cases include merchants who had not paid duty on their goods, to workers suing for unpaid wages. Debts were also collected and disputes settled. Public drunkenness was a common offence, as was assault and general rowdiness.

The registers available in this collection cover the years between 1854 and 1985. Transcripts will list the event date, your ancestor’s role (whether plaintiff, defendant, etc.), cause or reason for the case, the court it was held at, the date, and a brief description. Images may provide additional details.

Australia – Queensland – Passenger Lists

Also at Findmypast, Queensland Custom House Shipping 1852-1885 passengers and crew with over 107,000 records of passengers and crew that made voyages between 1852 to 1885.

These transcripts list information taken from original documents held by the National Archives of Australia and will allow you to discover your ancestor’s age, nationality, occupation, date and port of arrival, date and port of departure, and the name of the ship they sailed on.

United States – New York – Passenger Lists

The collection New York, Book Indexes to Passenger Lists, 1906-1942 at FamilySearch consists of images of the indexes to passenger manifests for the port of New York. The indexes are grouped by shipping line and arranged chronologically by date of arrival. Additional images will be added as they become available.

United States – Ohio – Tax Records

The records included in the Ohio Tax Records, 1800- 1850 at FamilySearch contain both the index and images to taxation records as recorded with the County Auditor of each county. The records in this collection cover the years 1800 to 1850. However, the majority are from the years 1816 through 1838. Entries are recorded in voucher books and one person per page. Included are the following Ohio counties:

  • Ashtabula
  • Belmont
  • Carroll
  • Columbiana
  • Guernsey
  • Harrison
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Monroe
  • Trumbull
  • Washington
tax records and american slave records

Snapshot of an Ohio Tax Record via FamilySearch.org

Governments created tax records that vary in content according to the purpose of the assessment. Most are based on personal property, real estate, and income. They are particularly useful for placing your ancestor in a particular area year after year, hopefully leading you to other helpful records.

United States – Massachusetts – Revolutionary War Index Cards

FamilySearch has updated the Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783 collection this week. These index card abstracts are of accounts, muster and pay rolls, and descriptive lists and accounts, of soldiers who served in Massachusetts companies and regiments during the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783.

Examples of Card Abstract Types

  • An Account -Mass. Archives Depreciation Rolls
  • Company Return – Coat Rolls Eight Months Service
  • Continental Army Pay Accounts – Continental Army Books
  • A Descriptive List – Mass. Muster and Pay Rolls
  • Lexington Alarm Roll – Lexington Alarms
  • List of Men Mustered – Mass. Muster and Pay Rolls
  • List of Men Raised to Serve in the Continental Army
  • Muster and Pay Roll
  • Muster
  • Order for Bounty Coat – Coat Rolls Eight Months Service Order
  • Order – Mass. Muster And Pay Rolls
  • Pay Abstract – Mass. Muster and Pay Rolls
  • Pay Roll
  • Receipt for Bounty – Mass. Muster and Pay Rolls
  • A Return
  • Statement of Continental Balances

Ireland – Newspapers

How to Find Your Family History in NewspapersThis month’s enormous Irish Newspapers update at Findmypast contains over 1.2 million articles. Seven brand new titles have also been added including the Leinster Leader, Donegal Independent, Kildare Observer & Eastern Counties Advertiser, Wicklow News-Letter & County Advertiser, Longford Journal Wicklow People, and the Ballyshannon Herald.

Newspapers are a great source for vital information when records cannot be found. To learn more about using newspapers for genealogy research, read Lisa Louise Cooke’s top-notch tips in Everything You Need to Know About How to Find Your History in Newspapers.

How to Use the Dawes Collections for Native American Research

Here are the step-by-step instructions you need to know to effectively navigate the Dawes Applications for Native American research. Many American families have a tradition of Native American ancestry. Now through Nov. 15, 2016 Fold3 has made access to their Native American records collections free. Read on to gain a thorough knowledge of how to properly use these records and achieve research success! And sign up for our free Genealogy Gems newsletter (see the box on this page) for our upcoming posts on this important subject. 

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Dawes Applications for Native American Research

In 1893, an act of Congress approved the establishment of a commission to negotiate agreements with the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Cherokee Indian tribes. The commission became known as the Dawes commission. The commission was to divide tribal land into plots, which were then divided among the members of the tribe. The Commission either accepted or rejected applicants for tribal membership based on whether the tribal government had previously recognized the applicant as a member of the tribe. Applicants were categorized as Citizens by Blood, Citizens by Marriage, Minor Citizens by Blood, New Born Citizens by Blood, Freedmen (African Americans formerly enslaved by tribal members,) New Born Freedmen, and Minor Freedman.

Researching the Dawes Packets is tricky. One problem arises when researchers find their family members in an index and assume that means their family was a legitimate member of a tribe. That is not the case. You will find doubtful or even rejected applications as well.

The good news is that in applying, our ancestors provided lots of genealogically valuable details of their birth, residences, and family ties.

Let’s see how to use this special collection.

Dawes Packets are Listed By Application Number

It would take forever to go through the applications one by one to find your ancestor. You really need to check an index first, but Fold3 doesn’t have the index for the Dawes Packets collection available…at least as far as I have found.

Instead, I would suggest going over to Ancestry.com. There, click on Search and choose  Card Catalog from the pull-down menu. In the keyword search at the card catalog, type in Five Civilized Tribes. This will give you the option of several databases, but the one we want to check first is the one titled “U.S., Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914.”

Now, search for your targeted ancestor by name. In my example, I am going to search for David O. Scott.

dawesrolls_1

The results indicate that David O. Scott appears in two entries. One entry gives the number of #9446 and the other is #616. I can view each of these records directly from Ancestry. The first image you see is a jacket cover, so just click the right arrow key to scroll through the digital pages contained in David’s file.

Remember, if you don’t have access to Ancestry.com, many local libraries and family history centers have free access for patrons. But, we are talking about using Fold3, so let’s pop back over there.

Go back to Fold3.com to access their Native American records. You will do this by clicking on Browse at the top of the Fold3 homepage. Next, scroll through the options and choose Non-Military Records. A new list of options will appear and you will click on Native American Collections, then Dawes Packets. The Dawes Packets that appear here on Fold3.com are first broke down into tribe, then by number.

dawesrolls_5

David O. Scott’s search on Ancestry listed him as Cherokee, so I want to choose that tribe. One of his numbers was #616.

dawesrolls_a

Did you notice the numbers have a “D” in front of them? These are the applications deemed “doubtful.” If you scroll down, the letter changes to “R.” These applications were rejected. We don’t know if David’s number 616 is in the doubtful category or the rejected category, so we will check both.

David’s #616 matches the D616 and now I know that his application was marked doubtful. David’s pages of information were packed with genealogical detail like family names, dates, and residences.

The 1896 Applications

Here’s another tip: Your ancestor may have applied in the first wave of applications submitted in 1896. Those applications were later deemed invalid and thrown out, but wow…you don’t want to overlook them! Whether your ancestor applied again in 1898 and you already found their Dawes Packet on Fold3, try looking at this collection as well.

The research center at the Oklahoma Historical Society webpage allows you to search the 1896 overturned applications index for free. I typed in the name of my third great-grandfather, Jacob Cole.

dawesrolls_3

You can also search by tribe, however, I suggest you do not do that. Sometimes, individuals actually applied to more than one tribe because they were not sure which tribe they might belong to. By adding that criteria, you may miss your ancestor’s application all together.

Only one result appeared for Jacob Cole. On this result, you notice the tribe affiliation as Cherokee and the case/application number of 639. I will need that tribe and number to find the application at Fold3. [Note: As I mentioned earlier, this index does not tell me if Jacob’s application was accepted or rejected, but it really doesn’t matter because these applications were deemed invalid anyway.]

dawesrolls_4

You won’t find Jacob’s overturned application of 1896 on Fold3 at this time, but it is available at Ancestry.

Where Can I find Overturned Applications for 1896?

Overturned applications from 1896 are still very valuable records. They can be found at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington D.C., or at Ancestry.com.

Let’s look at Ancestry. Once at the homepage, click Search at the top, then choose Card Catalog from the pull-down options.

nativeamericanresearch_7In the keyword field on the right, type in Five civilized tribes. You will see many options, but you want to click on the collection titled “U.S. Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes (overturned,) 1896.”

dawesrolls_8

This next step is a bit tricky. You will be directed to a page that allows you to seemingly search for your targeted ancestor’s application. But, the search only searches an index for the applications. To find the entire application packet, you need to browse the microfilm by hand.

To do that, look over to the far right where it says Browse this collection. Choose from the drop-down menu which tribe your ancestor applied to…so, I will choose Cherokee Applications. Then, choose the roll number based on the application number of the packet. I can determine the correct roll number because Jacob’s application number was 639 and Roll 25 includes all applications between the numbers of 486 and 681.

dawesrolls_9

Click ALL and a digital image of the microfilm pops up. You will need to browse image-by-image until you find your ancestor’s application number. Be patient. With more than 1800 images, it will take some time.

[Special Note: On the very last roll of microfilm, Roll 54, there are some miscellaneous files and applications that were received past the application deadline. These records were not included in the Master Index. If you did not find your targeted ancestor in the Master Index, check these miscellaneous records.]

I found Jacob’s application on digital image number 1405. His application packet was nine pages long. I learned the ages and names of his current wife and children, how he believes he is Cherokee through the blood of his grandfather, Hawk Bowman, and I read two witness statements about Jacob and his family.dawesrolls_6

In particular, because this record was made in the 1890s, I was able to learn of two daughters that I had never known about. Martha had been born after the 1880 census and married before 1900, never having appeared with her father in a census. The second daughter, Mary J., had been born in 1895 and died before 1900, also never appearing with her family in a census record.

More on Native American Research

We will be creating further blog posts regarding each of the Native American collection sets at Fold3.com. We want you to be able to take advantage of this awesome opportunity to view the records for free for this limited time. In the meantime, be sure to read this how-to post on using Eastern Cherokee Applications.

Eastern Cherokee Applications for Native American Research

FamilyTree.com also offers a crash course in Native American Genealogy. Learn more about these great classes, here.

nativeamericangenealogy_bundleclass

Is that Memory Real? Understanding Relatives with Dementia and Memory Loss

dementia understanding memories

“Old Memories,” by H. Bullock Webster, 1881, via Wikimedia Commons.

When a loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can be difficult to gather their memories–or to understand how “real” the memories are. Lisa gathered some great advice from an expert!

Many of us have (or will have) loved ones who Alzheimer’s or dementia and memory loss. When they start to become memory-impaired, can we still gather and preserve any of their memories?

Lisa Louise Cooke posed this question in a special interview with Kathy Hawkins, a therapist and Master Trainer with Timeslips Creative Storytelling. Kathy explains that it depends on how advanced their condition is. Meanwhile, we can definitely do some things to improve the experience of asking memory-impaired loved ones about the past. For example:

  • When asking questions about the past, don’t use the phrase, “Do you remember?”Ask instead questions like “who, what, where,”….etc. People may shut down when they feel like they’re being given a memory test. So don’t put that kind of pressure on them.
  • Your tone of voice and overall approach are so important. Don’t be sing-songy or condescending. Treat them like an adult.
  • The emotional integrity of someone’s story is still often intact, even with memory-impairment. Meaning, the emotion attached to a memory or a person will likely be real. But the chronology or details may get confused with other similar events that were also true. Whenever possible, verify facts (especially dates) with other sources.
  • Don’t make every conversation (or even most of them) about what they remember (or don’t). Be interested in who they are now: their thoughts and creativity.

Kathy Hawkins head shotYou can listen to Lisa’s entire interview with Kathy Hawkins in the free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 186. Kathy also shared some information about the organization she works with, Timeslips Creative Storytelling. Click here to see a pdf with some creative storytelling and arts materials created by TimeSlips.

More Family Memories Tips from Genealogy Gems

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Sunny Morton

Sunny Morton

Sunny Morton, Contributing Editor. Her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast. She’s known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her latest favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

Deck the Halls with Family Photos: Family History Wreath

A few years ago, I created a video series that demonstrates how to make a family history wreath (watch below). I was reminded of that series this year when I received a nice email from Genealogy Gems Premium member Mary Ann. She sent in these photos of wreaths she made after finding my instructions through the Genealogy Gems podcast (episode 32).

family history Christmas wreath red

Her female cousins have a tradition of exchanging gifts at Thanksgiving, she says. She made the red wreath for that exchange two years ago. “I made the silver one for my mom’s birthday,” she adds.  “The photos on the wreaths are of my grandparents and great-grandparents.”

These are beautiful wreaths and I’m so pleased Mary Ann shared them with us! Below is the four-part video series I created with instructions on how to make these. Happy heritage crafting!


Find more beautiful family history displays and crafts on the Genealogy Gems Pinterest boards. We have boards for family history displays, crafts, quilts, heritage scrapbooking, ideas for family history activities with kids and more! Will you take a second and share this post (or one of our Pinterest pins) with someone who would just love it?

family history Christmas wreath silver

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