Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 233

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 233

with Lisa Louise Cooke
September 2019

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In this Episode

Today we’re going to take a look at what so many records and record collections have in common: they are often Lists. Now that may sound pretty straight forward, but there’s a lot more to Lists than meet the eye.

A list of names, places or other information has a lot to tell us and can be used in unique ways. Professional genealogist Cari Taplin joins me in this episode for a conversation about what is so lovely about lists.

My Summer Vacation

If you’ve been following me on Instagram – you can find me here on Instagram or by searching for genealogy gems podcast in the free Instagram app – then you know that I’ve spent a bit of my time this summer getting a taste of some of the work many of my ancestors did and probably that many of your ancestors did: farming.

Bill and I have a close friend who owns his grandfather’s 1904 homestead in North Dakota. A few years back Bill went up there to help them open it back up and get things up and running. This year we helped them harvest their crop of oats. (They even have a sign in the field that says, “These oats will grow up to be Cheerios”)

Cheerios in the farm fields

Of course, we used equipment that our ancestors may not have had. I learned to drive the combine, and I turned the field with the tractor. But in many ways, things haven’t changed all that much.

One of the things that really struck me was how the farming community out there pulls together.

Now to put this in perspective: the 240-acre homestead is about two miles down a dirt road from Canada. The house has fallen into disrepair over the decades, so our friend bought an old farmhouse in the nearby town where he grew up. That town has a population of just over 50 people!

North Dakota Farmland

North Dakota farmland. Photo Credit: Lisa Louise Cooke, Genealogy Gems

So, we’re talking about a pretty remote location, and folks are scattered on various farms miles apart. But when a tractor was in need of repair, within the hour a neighbor would be pulling up ready to crawl under it alongside our friend to work on it till it was fixed. When a piece of equipment was needed that he didn’t have, it would soon be rolling down the road from a neighboring farm to pitch in.

Everyone had one eye on the sky at all times to watch the ever-changing weather, and there was such a commitment by all to make sure no neighbor was left with unharvested crops before a storm hit.

So even though the combines of today are motorized massive machines with air conditioning and stereos, the work ethic, the commitment and the community was unchanged from when his granddad first filed his homestead claim. Bill and I felt really blessed to be a part of it.

Think of us next time you eat your cheerios.

Farm selfie

Farm selfie

MyHeritage

MyHeritage.com is the place to make connections with relatives overseas, particularly with those who may still live in your ancestral homeland. Click the logo above to get started.

GEM: Interview with Cari Taplin

If you’ve been doing genealogy for any length of time, then you have probably encountered a list. They come in all shapes and sizes, and at first glance they may seem very straight forward.

Cari Taplin, a certified genealogist out of Pflugerville, Texas, says it’s worth taking the time to really examine lists carefully because there may be more there than meets the eye.

Cari Taplin genealogist

Cari  currently serves on the boards of the Association for Professional Genealogists and is the Vice President of Membership for the Federation of Genealogical Societies. As the owner of GenealogyPANTS, she provides speaking, research, and consultation services, focusing on midwestern and Great Lakes states and methodology.

Types of Lists

Nearly every time we sit down to do genealogy research we run into a list. There are loads of them out there. Here’s just a starter list of the lists you might run into:

  • indexes of any kind
  • city directories
  • tax lists
  • petitions
  • censuses
  • church membership
  • members of a club or society
  • fraternal organization member lists
  • community groups
  • committees
  • lists in newspapers like hotel registrations, letters at post office
  • hospital admittances and discharges
  • cemetery books
  • event participants
  • jurors
  • estate sales
  • militia rolls
  • voter lists
  • land lottery winners
  • school class lists
  • yearbooks
  • agricultural lists
1850 census

Census records are examples of lists

Significance of List Construction

Of course, not every list is alphabetically organized by any means. We might run into a list of prison inmates listed by number, or burial sites listed by plot or location. The information can be organized in many different ways.

Cari says that the way the list maker decided to organize the list tells us a lot about the information.

For example, a list that is alphabetized might be an indication that it is a recreated list. Other ways that lists may be constructed include chronologically or by location.

Here are follow up tasks you can do:

  • Evaluate for potential error
  • Locate the original source

 

List Explanation or Instructions

Understanding the thinking behind how the list was constructed is also important.

The U.S. Federal Census is a great example of a list that has other background documents such as the enumerator instructions. We don’t see these instructional documents unless we go looking for them. The instructions provide background on the creation of the list, and that can help us get more out of it.

Research Tip: Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000. From that page you download the PDF of enumerator instructions.

Here’s an example of how understanding the census enumerator instructions can help you better understand how to interpret it:

In 1900 the census was answered as if it were a particular day. This means that if someone died a few days later, they may still be listed as alive in the 1900 census. If you know that they died that year, you now have more information that it was after the enumeration date.

Genealogy websites like Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage often provide background on the creation and purpose of their record collections.  

Tax List example: there are laws behind them. Look up the statute. Google to find summations of tax laws at the time. Keep in mind that they might be in order of location.

When analyzing a list, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What was this list created for?
  • Why is it in this order?
  • What does that then tell me about these people?

What’s we’re really talking about is educating ourselves
so that we’re not contributing to the errors that get out there.
It’s an investment in accuracy.

Context

It can be tempting to just scan the list, grab your ancestor out of it, and move on. But if we do that, we could be leaving a lot of genealogical gold behind.

“Evidence mining requires attention to detail, including details that might initially seem insignificant.” ––BCG, Genealogy Standards, #40, p. 24

Here are some ideas as to what we should look for:

  • Sometimes it’s just a name (example: petition lists)
  • There might be columns at the top – pay attention to those details for more understanding
  • Other people in the list: the FAN Club (Friends, Associates, Neighbors.) Look for those names in other documents.

 

Organizing Your Research and the Data Collected from Lists

Cari uses spreadsheets to organize her genealogical research project data.

Come of the benefits of using a spreadsheet are that you can:

  • easily sort the data
  • easily manipulate the data
  • visualize the data in different forms

Free Download: Read How German Address Books at Ancestry.com are Helping Bust Brick Walls and download the free spreadsheet template.

Addresses found in German Address Books marked in the spreadsheet

Addresses found in German Address Books marked in the spreadsheet

Explore the Bigger List

Often times you do a search, and you find a single record. But that single record is actually part of a massive internal list, an indexed list from which the search engine is pulling.

An example of this is when you run a search for your ancestor at the Bureau of Land Management website (BLM).  After finding your ancestor’s record, you can then run a search by that land description to find other people who owned land and possibly lived nearby.

Watch the FamilySearch video on the batch search technique that Lisa mentioned.

What Constitutes Proof?

“Evidence mining requires attention to detail, including details that might initially seem insignificant.” – BCG, Genealogy Standards, #40, p.24

Review the Genealogical Proof Standard in the show notes for Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 232.

2 men with 1 name

When everyone in the family wants to name their children after Grandpa, you can end up with a lot people in a county with the same name. You need to tease them apart.

Questions to ask:

  • Who did they associate with?
  • Who were their siblings?
  • Where were each of them located?

All of these things can help differentiate them. A spreadsheet is an excellent tool for this.

The Yearbook List Example

Very often the list of names is the full list of students. However, not every student necessarily had their photo taken. Count the names and then count the photos to verify you have the right person. Search the Ancestry Yearbook collection to try and find another photo of the person to compare.  

Cari’s Main Message

Don’t skip over a list because it’s lacking some identifying information. You still need to record it. You may come back to it one day!

Visit Cari Online: Genealogy Pants

 

Profile America: The Gregorian Correction

Wednesday, September 11th. This was a day that didn’t exist in Colonial America in 1752, as the familiar calendar underwent what is called the “Gregorian correction,” switching from the ancient Julian calendar to adjust for errors accumulated over centuries.

After September 2nd, the next day was September 14th. The British parliament’s Calendar Act of 1750 had also changed New Year’s Day from March 25th to January 1st. As a result, the year 1751 had only 282 days. Since then, with leap years built in as in 2020, the calendar has remained constant.

Sources: 
Calendars timeline, accessed 6/6/2019  
Calendar Act  
Calendar riots  
Printing services, County Business Patterns, NAICS 32311  
Printing employment, Annual Survey of Manufacturers, NAICS 32311  

News: Watch Lisa’s new MyHeritage Education Center

Visit the MyHeritage Education Center to watch videos and read article to help you get more out of using MyHeritage. Watch the presentation at the MyHeritage Education Center: How to Find Your Family in Newspapers with SuperSearch

Download the Show Notes PDF in the Genealogy Gems Podcast app. 

 

Time to Explore New Online Genealogical Records

You’re going to want to make some time in your schedule this week to explore these new genealogy records that just might help you discover a new branch of your family tree! This week we highlight a wide variety of intriguing records including historical maps, oral histories, workhouse records, and historical newspapers. (Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for helping us bring these free articles to you!)

Bird’s-Eye View Maps Are Now Online

Maps are often things of beauty, and many of the maps at the DSpace online repository are no exception. Like many libraries, the State Library of Massachusetts has a large collection of bird’s-eye view maps. These maps have now been digitized and are available online.
 
Though the collection focuses on Massachusetts, the maps are not limited to just that state. A search of “New York” retrieves this Bird’s-eye view of the city of New York from 1853:
new york map 1853
 
This online collection currently includes 120 maps and most of the maps date from the late 1800s up to the early 1900s.
 
Keep an eye on this collection, particularly if you’re genealogical research takes your family tree into Massachusetts because the word is that there will be many more added in the near future. 

You can search and browse the collection in the State of Massachusetts’ DSpace online repository here.  

 

Ohio World War II Oral Histories Digital Collection

World War II ended in 1945 making a man who enlisted at the age of 18 that year, 92 years old today. A new digital archive at Bowling Green State University is striving to digitize old cassette tapes and video tapes that contain interviews with over 100 veterans from Ohio. 

According to the website,  the exhibit “provides full digital access to the History 303 World War II oral histories (MS-0871). The oral histories were collected from 2000-2004 for a “History of World War II” (History 303) course taught by Drs. Walter E. Grunden and Kathren Brown in the BGSU Department of History, who assigned students the project of recording an interview with an individual who directly experienced the war, whether as a military veteran, Holocaust survivor, refugee, or non-combatant on the home front.”

WWII Ohio oral histories

BGSU’s World War II veteran oral histories include both men and women. who served.

The project is part of a $6,700 grant the university received from the Ohio History Connection. A helpful finding aid is available for the collection here at the BGSU website

You can search and view the interview here. If you’re like me, you’ll find these interviews with many of the Greatest Generation compelling to watch even if you don’t have relatives from Ohio.

 

Findmypast: New and exclusive Donegal Workhouse records

Findmypast has added over 400,000 Donegal, Ireland records to their growing collection of Irish Workhouse records.

The Donegal Workhouses Registers and Minute Books have been digitized and published online for the first time by Findmypast in partnership with the Donegal County Council. 

The records consist of both transcripts and images of original admission and discharge registers as well as board of guardians’ minute books spanning the years 1840 to 1922.

The collection covers the unions of:

  • Ballyshannon
  • Donegal
  • Dunfanaghy
  • Glentis
  • Inishowen
  • Letterkenny
  • Milford
  • and Stranorlar.

As well as registers and minute books, users can also expect to find:

  • accounts
  • death registers
  • dispensary notices
  • letters
  • notices
  • notifications
  • petitions
  • relief registers
  • supplier contracts
  • Union receipts, and more.

From Findmypast: “High levels of poverty in 19th century Ireland meant that hundreds of thousands of Irish people passed through the workhouses. Irish workhouses were generally built to accommodate around 800 inmates although it soon became clear that more space was needed and programme of building took place throughout the 1840s and 50s.

former workhouse taken in Dunfanaghy, Donegal

Former workhousein Dunfanaghy, Donegal Flickr user nz_willowherb [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Life inside was grim. At first, there was no so-called outdoor relief, as would have been common in England. Outdoor relief was when the poor could simply use the workhouse facilities as needed by undertaking a day’s work. Indoor relief was initially the only option and required the poor to prove they were destitute before they were admitted.”

This new collection is part of an existing archive of Irish Workhouse records which now includes over 3.1 million records covering Dublin, Clare, Sligo and Waterford.

British & Irish Newspaper Update

Findmypast has added 137,896 new pages to The Archive. These have been added to 18 existing publications spanning 128 years from 1871 to 1999.

The historical newspapers with new additions include:

  • Staffordshire Sentinel: 1906-1910, 1918-1919
  • Newcastle Evening Chronicle: 1894, 1913, 1919
  • The People: 1946-1949
  • Newcastle Chronicle: 1875-1896, 1899-1900
  • Surrey Advertiser: 1909
  • Limerick Chronicle: 1825
  • Aberdeen Press and Journal: 1983-1984
  • Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle: 1873-1911, 1925-1933, 1958-1969
  • Pinner Observer: 1999
  • Harrow Leader: 1998-1999
  • Ealing Leader: 1998-1999
  • Hayes & Harlington Gazette: 1998-1999
  • Acton Gazette: 1871-1880, 1885, 1888-1892, 1894-1903, 1910-1917, 1921-1939
  • Amersham Advertiser: 1998
  • Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette: 1991
  • Dumfries and Galloway Standard: 1874, 1884
  • Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough: 1901-1902
  • Hamilton Advertiser: 1889-1892, 1894, 1897, 1901, 1903-1904, 1906-1908

New Free Historical Records at FamilySearch

Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below. The number shown in parenthesis is the number of indexed records added. 

Australia: Australia, South Australia, Prison Records, 1838-1912 (81,971) New indexed records collection

Belgium: Belgium, Namur, Civil Registration, 1800-1912 (402) Added indexed records to existing collection

Canada: Nova Scotia Births, 1864-1877 (183,455) Added indexed records to an existing collection

Canada: Nova Scotia Marriages, 1864-1918 (18,885) Added indexed records to an existing collection

England: England, Herefordshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1583-1898 (594,707) New indexed records collection

Germany: Germany, Saxony-Anhalt, Halberstadt, Civil Registration, 1874-1982 (12,060) Added indexed records to an existing collection

Lesotho: Lesotho, Evangelical Church Records, 1828-2005 (302) Added indexed records to an existing collection

Liberia: Liberia, Marriage Records, 1912-2015 (2,475) Added indexed records to an existing collection

Luxembourg: Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1796-1941  (73,901) Added indexed records to an existing collection

Peru: Peru, Cemetery Records, 1912-2013 (42,164) New indexed records collection

Scotland: Scotland Presbyterian & Protestant Church Records, 1736-1990  (109,064) New indexed records collection

United States: Arkansas Confederate Pensions, 1901-1929 (33,779) Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States: Arkansas, Church Records, 1922-1977 (306) New indexed records collection

United States: California, Church Records, 1864-1985 1,941 New indexed records collection

United States: California, Santa Clara County, San Jose, Oak Hill Cemetery Headstone Inscriptions, 1838-1985 (61,966) New indexed record collection

United States: Colorado, Church Records, 1692-1942 (35,030) New indexed records collection

United States: Connecticut, Vital Records, Prior to 1850 (8) Added indexed records to existing collection

United States: Massachusetts, City of Boston Voter Registers, 1857-1920 (32,996) New indexed records collection

United States: Michigan, Civil War Centennial Observance Commission, Committee on Civil War Grave Registration, Burial Records (15,951) New indexed records collection

United States: Minnesota, County Deaths, 1850-2001 (8,672) Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States: Nebraska, Box Butte County, Funeral Home Records, 1919-1976 (3,491) Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States: Nebraska, Church Records, 1875-1899 (151) New indexed records collection

United States: Pennsylvania, Berks County, Reading, Charles Evans Cemetery and Crematory Burial Records, 1887-1979 (106,043) New indexed records collection

United States: Texas, Bexar County, San Antonio Cemetery Records, 1893-2007 (4,981) Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States: United States Deceased Physician File (AMA), 1864-1968 (78,215) Added indexed records to an existing collection

Share Your Story

Did you find an ancestor or bust a brick wall using our list of new online genealogical records? Please leave a comment below and share your story and inspire others. And while you’re at it, please share this article using our social buttons (at the top of this article) with your genealogy friends. We thank you, and they will too!

share on facebook genealogy hoarder

Video #3 of our 25 Websites for Genealogy – Newspapers!

VIDEO & SHOW NOTES: Video #3 of our 25 Websites for Genealogy Playlist. In this video, my guest presenter Gena Philibert-Ortega covers digitzed newspaper websites that are must-haves for family history research. Even though some sound specific to a certain area, don’t be fooled. They have resources available for all genealogists including even more than newspapers.

Websites 13 through 17 of our 25  Websites for Genealogy

Some of these websites will be new to you, and others are going to be very familiar to you. In talking about the familiar websites, I want to get you thinking about them differently, explain a little bit more about what you can do at these websites, and how to get the most out of them.

In this series of 25 Websites for Genealogy, we’re going to be looking at websites in different categories. Our third category is the newspaper websites (#13 through 17). 

Download the ad-free Show Notes cheat sheet for this video here. (Premium Membership required.)

Websites #13: Newspapers.com

https://www.newspapers.com

Newspapers.com is a subscription service owned by Ancestry.com. The two websites are connected so that you can attach your Newspapers.com finds to your Ancestry tree. Newspapers.com includes newspapers found at Ancestry but all newly newspaper pages are added to Newspapers.com. They also offer a Publisher’s Extra subscription that expands your access to additional newspaper records. 

Learn more:

newspaper websites for genealogy

Website #14: GenealogyBank

https://www.genealogybank.com

GenealogyBank.com is a subscription service offering one of the largest collections of digitized U.S. newspapers, dating back to 1690. You’ll also find additional genealogy resources such as the Social Security Death Index, obituaries, government publications, and historical books.

Website #15: NewspaperArchive

https://newspaperarchive.com

NewspaperArchive includes digitized newspapers from around the world.

Website #16: Chronicling America

Original Website: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov
New website: https://www.loc.gov/collections/chronicling-america

The Library of Congress offers this huge free collection of digitized newspapers from across the United States. The papers range from 1756 to 1963. Expand your search with the U.S. Newspaper Directory 1690 to present.

the new chronicling america website

The new user interface at Chronicling America.

Website #17: Fulton History

https://fultonhistory.com

Fultonhistory.com features over 1,000 New York newspapers, plus newspapers from other states and Canada. It’s a vast free collection curated by one man!

Resources:

Download the ad-free Show Notes cheat sheet for this video here. (Premium Membership required.)

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