What If He Wasn’t a Volunteer? Some Sources for Regular Army Research 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Friday, August 24th, 2012 by Erica | No Comments

by: Carolyn L. Barkley

Military records provide interesting details about the life of an ancestor. Don’t stop your search too soon, however, if you failed to locate a specific ancestor in the consolidated service records for volunteer soldiers. He, like Mash’s Sherman Potter, may have been “regular army.”

Research into regular army records is not quite as simple as volunteer service. For one thing, unlike with volunteers, the United States War Department did not compile Regular Army service records. You will need to aggregate this information from a variety of places; fortunately, there are several major resources that will assist you.

The most important source for information about officers is Francis B. Heitman’s Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army from its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903, 2 vol. (1903, reprinted, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994). This title includes a series of lists. Of particular interest is the list in part II of volume I identifying “…all commissioned officers of the Army, including officers of the volunteer staff and all brevet major or brigadier-generals of volunteers…”1 This list furnishes information about both George Armstrong Custer and his brother Thomas Ward Custer. Information about the former includes his graduation from West Point, his unit assignments, battles, and promotions, and his date of death (but does not mention his 1867 court martial trial whose transcript is available on Fold 3); the record of the latter includes information about his award of the medal of honor for capturing a battle flag at the battle of Sailor’s [Sayler’s] Creek, Virginia, during the Civil War. Other entries, such as one for Richard Cutts, of Massachusetts, are much briefer. The Cutts record indicates only that he was the superintendent general of military stores on 3 June 1813, and the fact that this office was abolished on 3 March 1817. Another informative list is found in part III of volume II that enumerates regular army members killed, wounded, or taken prisoner in action after 1789. A sample entry is that of Nelson H. Davis, 2nd Lt. in the 2nd Infantry, who was wounded at Churubusco, Mexico, on 20 August 1847. Another list indicates that Archie H. Barkley was either an acting assistant or a contract surgeon with the U.S. Army with service at some time between 17 April 1898 and 1 January 1903. Heitman should be savored as it has much to offer.  I own the print edition as I find it easier to use in that format and definitely simpler to browse through. An online version is also available at the Internet Archive site, but it is much more useful when looking for a specific piece of information. Ancestry.com provides database access to both volumes, but provides only very abbreviated entries for volume 1 information or simply page referrals for volume 2. It is not a substitute for the original.

If you are interested in searching for an enlisted man, the best source is the National Archives microfilm publication (M233), Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914 (also available on Ancestry.com). If you are using the microfilm, be sure to read the DP (descriptive pamphlet) for this publication to understand what is available on each roll (rolls 1-13 cover 1798-17 May 1815; rolls 14-17, 17 May 1815-30 June 1821, etc.). These records are arranged chronologically, and then by surname and then by date of enlistment. In browsing through roll 1, I also noted that first names are not always included – a definite drawback. Hopefully, some piece of specific information in the entry will help you confirm that you have located the correct person. Sample entries include one for a Barkley, a private in the second company of 4th U.S. Infantry (Col. William King’s regiment), who was left sick at Craney Island (in the James River in Virginia) on 31 October 1818; and another which offered much more detail about a Beardlsey, a private in the artillery, standing 6’1” (and thus much taller than soldiers in other entries), with black eyes, brown hair, and a dark complexion. He was a 38-year-old blacksmith, who was born in Stratford, Connecticut, and who enlisted for a period of five years on 28 January 1814. He was discharged by surgeon’s certificate on 4 September 1815.

On Roll 23 of publication M233 is a list of Mexican War enlistments between January 1847 and June 1849, but unfortunately the quality of the microfilm copy that I examined rendered the records almost unreadable. I was able, however, to read a few entries including one for Henry Meyers, aged 34, a gunsmith from Hanover, Germany, who had grey eyes, black hair, and a fair complexion, and who stood 5’ 5½” tall. He enlisted at Baltimore on 20 March 1847 and was discharged on 25 August 1848 at the expiration of his enlistment. Entries for later periods include interesting insights into the employment of enlistees, including farmers, laborers, wheelwrights, gasfitters, carpenters, storekeepers, bricklayers, mariners, students, boatmen, weavers, miners, printers, and gardeners, as well as place of origin (from most of American states, plus such foreign countries as Ireland, Canada, France, Belgium and Germany). Roll 27 (1859-1863) includes an entry for Johann Blank, a 48-year-old musician from Boblitz, Prussia, who resided in Erie, Pennsylvania, and on 5 August 1861, enlisted in Co. G of the 6th Cavalry for a period of five years. M233 also includes a list of Indian Scouts from 1866-1914 (rolls 70 and 71) and a record of prisoners (roll 80) from 1872-1901. The latter individuals were usually incarcerated for desertion and/or larceny, as in the example of Frank Mitchell, of Co. B of the 7th Cavalry, who served four years (an additional three years of sentence were remitted) in the Minnesota State Penitentiary. Some, however, had been found guilty of more serious crimes such as Charles H. Dorsey, of Co. M of the 9th Cavalry, who killed a sergeant during a mutiny in 1875 and received a life sentence on 15 July 1875. He served thirteen years in the Kansas Penitentiary, but was pardoned under S.O. 230 AGO/888 on 7 October 1888.

Other microfilm publications offer more specialized information. M744, Returns from Regular Army Cavalry Regiments, 1833-1916 and M617 Returns from United States Military Posts, 1800-1916, for example, provides information about the records of the men involved in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The post return for the beginning of June 1876 notes that the unit is “in the field, camped at the mouth of the Big Horn River.” The post return for the beginning of July 1876 acknowledges (and names) the thirteen officers and 237 enlisted men who died at the hands of “hostile Sioux,” who were estimated to have numbered between three and four thousand. The return mentions the leadership role of George Armstrong Custer, but does not mention the actions of any of the other officers, such as Benteen and Reno, who also played major roles in the battle. Of particular interest is the list (by name) of members of the 7th Cavalry who were otherwise occupied at the time of the Little Big Horn battle (in confinement, detached service, on furlough, sick, or, in one instance, in an insane asylum). Their absence saved them from the massacre.

Finally, it is also important to look at records such as Letters Received by the Appointment, Commission, and Personal Branch of the Adjutant General’s Office. M1125 covers the period 1871 to 1894 and includes further documentation concerning the career of George Armstrong Custer including documents pertaining to his brevet rank of major general during the Civil War; a list of papers collected for a legal case dated 1 January 1863; a legislative bill to award Custer’s wife with $100 per month in lieu of the pension payment she was then receiving; and letters written by his father to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in December 1865 concerning his son’s regular army appointment and by his Custer’s wife expressing her belief that he had not disobeyed General Terry’s orders with respect to his actions at Little Big Horn.

These examples illustrate the depth of information that can be found in regular army records. If you do not find your soldier in the volunteer service records, due diligence prompts you to investigate whether he served in a regular army unit. If you can document such service in Heitman or in enlistment records, you will not be disappointed in the variety of additional information that may be available to enrich your understanding of an ancestor’s service to his country.

1 Heitman, Francis B., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army… (1903, reprinted, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994), I:147.

Beyond Amo, Amas, Amat: Latin for Genealogists 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Thursday, August 16th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley

I attended junior and senior high school in the 1960s, a decade in which Latin was an accepted part of the curriculum. (Is it even offered any more?) I took Latin for three years and can still remember selected sentences of Julius Caesar – selected because my rather predictable teacher went up and down the rows with each student translating, in turn, a sentence in the text. This practice allowed me to count heads and sentences and concentrate on the translation of “my” sentence without paying any attention to those that preceded it. Definitely not a good way to learn, but it did get me through those translation exercises with a minimum of stress. My Latin experiences, however, made the years of Spanish that followed seem easy by comparison, and even later, provided me with a facility to decipher crossword puzzle clues. More importantly, however, my (now somewhat diminishing) Latin vocabulary knowledge also prepared me for genealogical research.

 Many individuals are doing modern-era research with limited forays into medieval documents. Knowledge of Latin, however, is important in reading accurately many legal documents. I am reminded of the story about an individual who, when completing a pedigree chart, entered the mother’s name as “Uxor,” not realizing that the James et uxor statement in the will meant James and wife! The example speaks for itself.

There are many resources available to genealogical researchers who want to learn basic Latin terminology to assist them with legal documents. In all likelihood, we may all be familiar with the meaning of such more common Latin phrases or words such as “anno Domini,” “pater,” and “mater.” But, were you aware that “signum fecit” means he/she made a mark or signed [a document], or that “ultimo” means of the preceding month, or that “spurious” means illegitimate? Cyndi’s List provides links to several useful sites with lists of Latin terms with genealogical applications, including GenProxy Internet Services for Genealogists, Genlinks – Genealogy Help, and Genealogy Quest. If you are confused by the content included in an original document, and you believe it to be a Latin phrase or word, one of these lists may prove very helpful. To further complicate your work, the Latin word or phrase may also be abbreviated. “Etc.” and “et al.” are familiar terms, but how about “dsp” (decessit sine prole: died without issue) or “dvp” (decessit vita patris: died in the lifetime of the father)? Two helpful sites that explain Latin abbreviations are “Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Contractions in Genealogical Documents Written in Latin,” found on Steve’s Genealogy Blog, and Wikipedia’s “List of Latin Abbreviations,” although the latter offers a more general treatment (i.e., not just genealogically-related abbreviations).

 If your research leads you into documents written totally in Latin (the years will differ depending on the country), several other sources will provide more in-depth assistance. A good place to start is the “Latin Genealogical Word List” found on the FamilySearch Research Wiki. In addition to the actual word list, this site also discusses basic grammar, word variations, key words, numbers, and dates and times. If you are interested in still more, check out “Beginners’ Latin,” an online tutorial for beginners offered by the National Archives (UK). This twelve-lesson practicum is described as “a beginner’s guide to the Latin used in documents [in England] between 1086 and 1733.” It requires no previous knowledge of Latin and includes translation exercises from actual documents. Another possibility is Latin 121: Latin for Genealogists offered as an online course by the BYU Independent Study Program. The fourteen-lesson course is described as “Development of a reading knowledge of simple Latin prose found in parish, notarial, and other records of interest to genealogists, family historians, and archivists; introduction to the organization, structure, and content of such records.” An additional instructional source is Denis Stuart’s Latin for Local and Family Historians. (I bought my copy (1995, Phillimore, reprinted 2000) in England several years ago, but the title is available on Amazon (History Press, 2010).) This book is quite detailed with many translation exercises (with answers in the back of the book). By the time you finish this book, you will be able to translate easily such Latin text as “Dominus ecclesie dedit prata que in parochial tenebat” (“The lord gave the lands which he held in the parish to the church”).

 If you decide to forgo the joy of translating a document yourself, translation services are available. One example is The Latin Translator which charges $25.00 for 100 words (discounts available for longer documents) and offers a twenty-four-hour response time. I was amused to find that this site proclaims “Latin, the language of the Roman Empire; Latin, the noblest tongue known to man; Latin, the first word language; Latin, the language of scientific and artistic endeavour; Latin, still after two and a half thousand years, the official language of a sovereign state!” I have also found helpful books such as Peter Goldesbrough’s Formulary of Old Scots Legal Documents (Stair Society, 1985), which provides translations of the “boiler-plate” language of many different legal documents, with the original Latin on one page and the translation on the facing page. I discovered this title while researching in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and found it to be very helpful. With its help, I was able to quickly identify the unique information (name, date, place) in a document without having to translate every word myself to find this information. A similar title is John Thorley’s Documents in Medieval Latin (University of Michigan Press, 1998).

 Whether you just need a quick translation of a Latin term or abbreviation that appears in the middle of your otherwise English-language document, or whether you want to be able to read and analyze documents in their original Latin, resources are available to assist you. Now, trusting in an online English to Latin translator: Spero vos mos tendo illa facundia quod amplio vestri potestas ut lego Latin tabellae. I’m also trusting that some of you will be able to read that sentence and will let me know if I’ve actually said something bizarre! Have fun!


Remember the Memoirs 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Thursday, August 9th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley 

We are the keepers of stories. My musings last week about music, specifically sheet music and its role in our family histories, crystallized my awareness that I am now the eldest person in my family who can remember stories of our past. My mother’s memory is fragile at best, and my son and his family have not shared the same multi-generational experiences as I have. This awareness comes with a clear obligation to write about these stories, even as I am also aware that I didn’t listen carefully enough and that some of the details have already been lost. For me, this preservation of the fabric of my family’s life must be emphasized equally with genealogical research, which I will (arguably I know) define here as the search for, discovery of, and documentation of specific events, their dates and locations. Such genealogical data creates the backbone upon which to hang, if you will, the stories that flesh out the lives of our ancestors and allow their reconstitution as three-dimensional characters.

This process of memory preservation does not need to be overwhelming. Memories normally pop into our consciousness in bite-sized pieces, prompted by an association with a smell, taste, location, or some similar trigger. When that happens, we need only to write about that specific memory. It can fit into a larger whole at some later date.

Here’s an example of a “moment in time” memory which I wrote for a creative writing class some years ago:

They seemed ageless to me, heroes of my fourteen summers. They weren’t as old as my grandfather, but old enough to have taught my mother to drive a Ford truck in the hayfield. They were mysteries to me, three bachelor brothers living on the farm next to my grandfather’s summer home: Ralph, Everett and Charlie.  They were my link to a past way of life which, for those warm summer country months, was my present: a wood stove, a pump in the sink, kerosene lamps in case of a storm, a four-part-line phone, and the huge horses from up the hill to pull the mowing machine, tedder, and hay wagon.

The rhythms of those past summers linger as I picture Ralph and Everett sharpening their scythes in the shade of the barn, and then slicing effortlessly through the hay where the cutter bar couldn’t reach. Haying was beautiful work, the long rows of hay mounded into shaggy piles by wooden-toothed rakes. With a single downward thrust of the pitchfork, they could pick up each mound cleanly and swing it onto the towering hay wagon, shifting its landing to balance the load. There was pleasure in watching and, I imagine, a pleasure in doing, in the satisfaction of an empty field, the hay safely in before the rain. For me, the best part was tagging along with my miniature rake, confident in the infinite patience of these men for my questions, enthusiasms, and help. The reward in such a day was a ride back in the wagon, leaning into the turns, safely held in Ralph’s lap. The warmth of the barn at the end of the day, filtered light dancing through the hay mow window, and the scampering of the barn cats are memories rich with the quiet patina of nostalgia.

Ralph was my favorite, his evening visits a daily anticipation. I would sit in the dusk of the parlor listening to his conversations with my grandfather about people and events I knew only through those evening stories. Their voices held me motionless, attentive. No one thought of lighting the lamps, the darkness increased the spell. A special night would include music at the piano, hymns or sentimental songs, with Ralph’s voice added to the accustomed family ones. When he left to walk home, I would watch him cross the long lawn to the road, following the light of his cigarette and his flashlight, twin fairy lights bobbing in the darkness.

I think of those three often, even now that I am probably the same age that they were then. I stopped going to “the farm” during high school and so unthinkingly allowed a door to close. I never said goodbye; just let the connection drift away, but I find upon reflection, a special place in heart and mind that cherishes the memory still.

This vignette touches on several topics and seeks to evoke images and almost tangible impressions to illustrate a particular time and place in my life. In fewer than 500 words, the intent is to offer richer information than that which might be gleaned from the factual statement that I spent the summers from my first in 1948 to those of my teenage years in the early 1960s at my grandfather’s summer home on Norwich Hill, Huntington, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. Diane Ackerman, in A Natural History of the Senses (Vintage, 1991), succinctly summed up one facet of the power of memory: “Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.”1

In addition to many useful sites available through Cyndi’s List under the category “Writing Your Family’s History,” there are numerous books to assist you in writing memoirs. These titles include the following:

Legacy: a Step-by-Step Gide to Writing Personal History by Linda Spence (Swallow Press, 1997).

Old Friend from Far Away: the Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg (Free Press, 2009).

To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family History for Generations to Come (Doubleday, 1993).

Turning Memories into Memoirs: a Handbook for Writing Lifestories by Denis Ledoux (Soeleil Press, 2005).

Write the Story of Your Life by Ruth Kanin (1981, Clearfield, reprinted 1997); currently out of print.

Writing Life Stories: How to Make Memories into Memoirs, Ideas into Essays and Life into Literature by Bill Roorback (Writers Digest, 2008).

Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, 2d. ed., by Judith Barrington (Eighth Mountain Press, 2002).

You Can Write Your Family History by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (2003, Genealogical Publishing Co., reprinted, 2008).

The next time a memory comes to mind, if you don’t have time to write about it immediately, at least jot down some notes so that you can come back to it later in the day, or the next. By capturing the complex essence of an event or the personality of an individual, you offer current generations, not just those in the future, a rich connection to the generations of individuals who have preceded them. My mother was reduced to tears when she originally read the reminiscence I’ve shared above. She was unaware that I remembered any of it. My writing is a way to preserve stories for future generations, but also can serve to remind a current generation that such memories had not already been lost.


1 “Quotations about Memory,” Quote Garden (http://www.quotegarden.com/memory.html : accessed 09 August 2012).

Contemplations on Music and Family 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 by Erica | 1 Comment

By: Carolyn L. Barkley

My recent fourteen-day road trip across country and back gave me plenty of time to muse about a variety of matters and how they may have affected our lives and those of our families. Time and again, my mind pondered the role of music in my family and the continuity it provided among generations.

The presence of a piano in the house was a constant as I grew up – first at my grandfather’s year-round and summer homes, and later at my parents’ house. The latter piano now graces my own living room, although I play it far too seldom. Gathering around the piano on a summer’s evening is what my family did for entertainment, as much of a cliché as that may seem. The music would begin while it was still daylight, often stopping only long after there was no light in the room save for the pool of light shed by the gooseneck lamp over the piano. The homely pleasure of hearing music spilling out into the yard would often tempt Ralph, one of the bachelor farmers who lived down the road, to join us, making six voices in the intimate darkness. It remains a lovely memory of a much simpler time.

During these evenings I learned to sing alto, playing not only hymns but the music of the older three generations in the room. I now sadly realize that I am the last in my family to have knowledge of much of this music. These evenings also provided insights into family history: stories about the gospel hymn books that my great-grandmother had purchased when attending Baptist revivals in Springfield, Massachusetts; why we skipped over music that had been sung at my grandfather’s wedding; and the fact that we did not sing Aloha ʻOe (Farewell to Thee) because my uncle had remained in Hawaii after the war and his absence was fraught with layers of unspoken emotions.

I now have ten conservation boxes of sheet music, with the earliest music purchased by my grandmother (before her marriage in 1920), on which she had written her name, Mildred Carolyn Abbe. As a child I was fascinated by this signature, left behind by a person I would never know (she died in 1927, leaving two small children) and who was almost never mentioned “to spare my grandfather’s feelings.” Some of the music belonged to my mother, both before and after she was married, and some is mine from a later era. This music provides an interesting insight into what kinds of music the family liked, but also offers a rich insight into the cultural history of the United States through the decades.

My grandmother’s music is often tattered and fragile, with old Scotch tape holding pages together. Nevertheless, this music features beautiful cover artwork. Just a few of the titles include the Missouri Waltz (1914), a song much on my mind as I crossed this river several times over the past two weeks; I Will Always Love You As I Do To-Day (1915); My Isle of Golden Dreams (1919) featuring the Dolly Sisters on the cover; Tuck Me to Sleep in My Old ‘Tucky Home (1921); and Among My Souvenirs (1927), later recorded by Connie Francis in 1959 and Marty Robbins in 1976.

My mother’s music looks more modern, slowly changing from art on quality linen paper to slick paper with photographs of stars and orchestra directors. One of the earliest pieces, with her maiden name written clearly on the cover, is God Bless America (1939) which includes a cover note stating that its first performance was by Kate Smith on Armistice Day, 1938. The war years are well represented with Remember Pearl Harbor (1941); Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition (1942); I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen (Irving Berlin, 1942), produced for This is the Army, “the new all-soldier show produced for Army Emergency Relief;” Sing With Lucy Monroe: A Community Song Book for Home, Schools, Civic Recreational Groups, Army Camps and Training Stations (1943), and Bell Bottom Trousers (1944). Other music includes songs from motion pictures of the era with cover photographs of singers and actors such as Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Bob Hope, Perry Como, and Rosemary Clooney. The cover of Galway Bay (1947) features an impossibly young picture of Bing Crosby.

My music is much more eclectic, ranging from Ballad of Davy Crockett (1954) – did you know that song has seventeen verses? – to the Everly Brothers’ Let It Be Me (1955) and Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings (1982).

I did find one intriguing booklet among the boxes, one that may have belonged to someone in the family but could also have come from an auction or other source now long forgotten. Published by Oliver Ditson (Boston, 1887), it is a copy of the new and correct edition of  Bugle, Fife, and Drum Signals and Calls as Used in the Regular Army and Militia of the United States. The introduction offers the following information: “On August 1st., 1867, the War Department ordered that ‘Upton’s Tactics’ be adopted by the Army of the United States, and by the Militia, as standard authority in place of all others. These tactics provide uniformity of system in all branches of the service, and therefore many changes have been made, which will hardly be recognized by the old soldier of twenty years ago. The bugle (or trumpet) signals and calls, as well as those of the fife and drum, have consequently undergone a change like the other systems, and are now the same in all branches of the service, excepting such signals as pertain to some individual act of the cavalry or artillery soldier which cannot be performed by the infantryman … In this new book we give these calls, together with the old ones which were in use during the civil war…” From their bugles to our ears…”

Your family archive may not include the wealth of family sheet music as does mine. If not, EBay is a perfect site on which to search for vintage sheet music. A quick look identified thousands of items. Most are auction-priced around $9.95 for a single piece of music – sometimes for multiple titles. I saw several that I already own and several that I’d like to add to my collection. Another commercial site for vintage sheet music is Kampko Vintage Sheet Music Shoppe, while several others provide information about vintage sheet music art and collecting.

There is little online about the connection between genealogy and music. Some websites1 have listed music with genealogical themes including Mark Cohn’s The Things We’ve Handed Down, I’m My Own Grandpa, Iris DeMent’s Let the Mystery Be, and Bon Jovi’s Who Says You Can’t Go Home, but some of the titles represent a bit of a stretch with regard to topic. These songs, however, do not really get at the heart of the music and genealogy connection.

For me, an individual piece of music has the capacity to create a personal connection back to a specific time and place in my life with all its personalities, atmosphere and feelings. Two quotes seem to sum up my thoughts on the music and family connection. In Thoughts of the Cloister and the Crowd (1835), British historian Arthur Helps stated: “Music recalls a state of feeling, and not merely a series of incidents. When we listen to the long-forgotten melody, we do not review the scenes and actions of our childhood in succession, but we become for the moment children once again.” Daniel J. Levitin, in This is Your Brain on Music: the Science of a Human Obsession (Dutton, 2006) stated, “Whenever humans come together for any reason, music is there: weddings, funerals, graduation from college, men marching off to war, stadium sporting events, a night on the town, prayer, a romantic dinner, mothers rocking their infants to sleep … music is a part of the fabric of everyday life.” We should always include such memories as we depict our family history, populating it with details of American cultural life as they relate to our family. Fact is, when we pursue this musical connection to our family’s history, those melodious memories add depth, warmth and understanding to our personal histories.


1 Randy Seaver, “More Genealogy-related Songs,” Genea-Musings (http://www.geneamusings.com/2007/11/more-genealogy-related-songs.html : accessed 31 July 2012); James Gilmore, “Music Ideas for a Family History CD,” E-How (http://www.ehow.com/list_6628999_music-ideas-family-history-cd.html : accessed 31 July 2012).




Observations from the Road – Week 2 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Thursday, July 26th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley

I have now traveled over 5,000 miles in a car with two other people and we’re still talking to one another. Last week’s article offered some observations and questions from the trip from Virginia to Portland, Oregon. Tonight I am writing from St. Charles, Missouri, just two days from home (and my own bed). I have spent so many single nights in so many hotels, I cannot remember what my room number is each night or how to get to the elevator – but wonderful food and experiences, not to mention some great local beer, balance that momentary disorientation. Here are some observations and a few questions from the last half of the trip.

1.      Last weekend, I attended the Clan Barclay International annual general meeting at the Portland Highland Games in Gresham, Oregon. I have been attending Scottish festivals for over twenty years, but find that they have changed over the years, and not necessarily for the best. Where once they were characterized by people in traditional and mostly correct Scottish attire, attendees now wear wildly inappropriate attire, blending various eras, countries, and fantasies. Somehow, the essence of Scottish tradition and customs has been diluted. If I sound like an old fogie, well then so be it, but I think that if it’s your heritage, you should honor it by being accurate.

2.      The Columbia River Gorge is absolutely beautiful with soaring waterfalls, cool temperatures, and green pine forests. Don’t miss driving through it if you are in the Portland area (and no hail on this trip!).

3.      Why do Americans need signs explaining things should be the obvious? For example, we are all familiar with McDonald’s warning us that our coffee is hot. In Oregon, however, I saw signs that stated, “Don’t pass snowplows on the right.” Really? Do we need to be reminded not to do this?

4.      I have a picture from a trip to Colorado several years ago in which I stood with one foot on either side of the continental divide. During this trip, I crossed the 45th parallel, which marks the half-way point between the pole and the equator – equally an impressive occasion.

5.      Some signs seem out of the ordinary, or even comic. One sign, instead of stating “deer crossing,” said “deer migration crossing.” Does this mean that we should look for a whole herd crossing as opposed to a single deer? A sign outside of Bliss, Idaho, advertised hot springs and included a tag line “caution: alligators.” That might give me pause about indulging in a dip in the hot springs! A highway sign, indicating locations near an Oregon highway exit stated “Boring” on the first line and (with no punctuation) Oregon City” on the second. Not a great advertisement enticement to visit! My all-time favorite announced that we were passing through No Name, Colorado, located off I-70 in Garfield County. Wikipedia states that it is named for No Name Creek and No Name Canyon, but that really doesn’t seem to explain the name.1 The real story, however, is that the area was named after the construction of I-70. When the Colorado Department of Transportation noticed that the area had no name, an employee marked “No Name” for Exit 119. The name became accepted by local residents who resisted attempts to establish a more formal name. 2 Supporting the unusual name are No Name Canyon, No Name Creek, and No Name Tunnels.

6.      We made two interesting stops on the way from Portland to Salt Lake City. The first was at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon. The multi-media displays are well done and very informative. Not only did I get my National Passport stamped (see last week’s post for more information), but I purchased two books that look as if they will provide very interesting reading: William E. Hill’s The Oregon Trail Yesterday and Today (rev. ed., Caxton Press, 2008) and Randolph B. Marcy’s The Prairie Traveler (1859, reprinted Applewood Books, 1993). This later title was originally published by the authority of the U.S. War Department as a handbook for pioneer’s traveling west, providing information about routes, first aid, recommendations for clothing, shelter, provisions, wagon maintenance, selection and care of horses, and information about the Native Americans who would be encountered along the way. The other stop was at the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Promontory, Utah. The two locomotives which met for the historic placement of the final spike, the Jupiter (Central Pacific) and No. 119 (Union Pacific), have been beautifully replicated and are on display and daily live demonstrations are offered during summer months. Of course, I bought a book in the gift shop: Derek Hayes’ Historical Atlas of the North American Railroad (Univ. of California, 2010).

7.      Reminder: Never ever forget to check the holiday hours of research institutions when you are planning a trip. When we planned this trip, we decided to include a stop at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Ignoring research planning tips that I include in lectures, I simply made the hotel reservations for the two nights that worked for our trip. Well…….. it turns out that Utah has a really really big state holiday – Pioneer Day – held annually on 24 July. I did not discover this fact until I walked through the door of the Family History Library late in the afternoon on 23 July, only to find a sign indicating that they would be closed all day the following day. Always, always check about holiday hours!

8.      Perhaps the high point of the return trip was our visit to Arches National Park outside of Moab, Utah (the positive outcome of not being able to spend Tuesday researching in the Family History Library). The sandstone landscape is awe inspiring, with soaring cliffs, impossibly balanced rocks, strange shaped pillars, and graceful arches. Once again, however, the American tourist reared her (in this case) head. The following was overheard in the visitor’s center (again, I could not make this up): Tourist: “Where are these [sites] on this map?” Ranger helpfully begins to point out locations of various rock formations and arches on the car-tour map. Tourist: No, no, I’ve already driven the whole route and didn’t see anything!” How did she miss the signage pointing out (and descriing) the features along the route, let alone, how did she miss huge rock formations rising on all sides of the road? It was a perfect visit, followed by a lovely ride along the chocolate-colored Colorado River and the canyon lands. What a beautiful part of the country! After this visual treat, we passed back into the flat, tan, plains of Kansas. Enough said (with apologies to readers who live in Kansas!)

This trip has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am completing the trip with a new appreciation of the variety and beauty of this country’s landscape as well as a new understanding of events in its history. Above all, I have a heightened appreciation of the courage with which individuals (your ancestors, perhaps) left all they knew to go in search of a different, and hopefully better, life. I cannot imagine traveling across the plains in a covered wagon, and I can’t imagine, having done so, deciding to stop in Kansas and establish a farm on the plains. To me, the enormity of the landscape would have been more daunting than continuing to travel westward (maybe that decision was made by wives saying, “I’m not going another step!”). Instead of the months of dusty, uncomfortable, dangerous travel that these hardy individuals endured, I’ve traveled for two weeks – two weeks of air-conditioned driving, comfortable hotel beds, and great food. While I’m looking forward to being home again, the images and experiences of this trip will endure, as will the echoes of those who went before.


1 “No Name, Colorado” Wikipedia (http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Name,_Colorado : accessed 25 July 2012).

2 Fidin, Dave, “The History of No Name, Colorado,” (http://www.ehow.com/about_5209556_history-name_-colorado.html : accessed 25 July 2012).




Observations from the Road – Week One 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Friday, July 20th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | 1 Comment

by Carolyn L. Barkley

The first week of an extended road trip from Virginia to Portland, Oregon, and back has been completed. My several days in the car, traveling through states which I have never visited previously, have provided me with several interesting observations, while also posing some (possibly unanswerable) questions. I thought I’d share some of them with you here.

1.      When Horace Greeley said, “Go, West, young man,” no one in my family was listening. Apparently the voyage from England to the colonies had exorcised any desire to travel further, and they all remained tucked up snugly in their New England farm houses. Thus, as I traveled for my first time through Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, I was clearly free of any genetic memory. I have lived in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and now make my home in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Nothing, however, prepared me for the amazing variations in landscape. encountered during this trip. I love living in the mountains where the land and the sky seem to enfold a person. I find that the vastness of mid-western farmlands, prairie grasslands and open plains where the land stretches endlessly to a very distant (and usually flat) horizon with a sky that seems impossibly high, is overwhelming. Instead of feeling a part of this large-scale landscape, I feel dwarfed by it.

2.      Why is it that all of the houses I could see from the interstate in Illinois and Iowa had some variation of brown siding? Is this the only color available? Isn’t there some rogue home owner who wants a blue or green – or even white – house? That being said, there is something intriguing about gazing across the seemingly endless fields of corn and soy beans and realizing that each clump of trees signifiedsa house, or that larger or longer groups of trees may outline a stream or riverbed. Each group of trees seems like an oasis amidst the never-ending fields. Does this perception of isolation create a different definition of community than in the more cheek-by-jowl living spaces of the East Coast – one somehow, not so effortless, but perhaps more valued?

3.      I think that is a major miracle that this country works geographically or politically. The folks who live, for example, in the wide open expanses of Buffalo, Fergus County, Montana, population 50, can’t possibly have anything in common with those folks living in the densely-populated, ocean-side city of Virginia Beach, Virginia, population 439,172. Does this disparity partly explain why Congress is less than effective? How can they possibly be expected to find common ground and agree on anything, when even the hay bales (rectangular and round) are stacked in different configurations in different states? And while I’m questioning things, why is the fine for not wearing a seatbelt in Washington State $97.00, but $94.00 in Oregon? Why not just round it up to $100?

4.      The United States has some really odd place names and attractions. For example, Gnaw Bone, located in Brown County, Indiana, caught my eye while navigating for my friend who was driving as we traveled through Indiana. Despite its rather gruesome sounding name, this unincorporated place is said to have been named for a French settlement in the area, “Narbonne,” which was, in turn, named for a city in southern France.1 I spent a night in Crawfordville, Montgomery County, Indiana, whose claim to fame is that in 1880 one of its citizens, Civil War Gen. Lew Wallace, wrote Ben-Hur, a Tale of the Christ. Thus, I was amused to see an advertisement for the Ben Hur Go-Kart Speedway and wondered how many individuals in younger generations even remember the movie with Charlton Heston. Then I read a road sign for Correctionville, Iowa. What we wondered was being corrected? Was there a prison nearby? It turns out that the name derives from its site on a surveyor’s correction line which adjusted for the convergence of meridian lines so that all public land sections would be the same size. If that explanation doesn’t completely satisfy your curiosity, perhaps you’d like to know that Correctionville is the longest single-word place name in the state of Iowa! 2 There is also La Mar, Iowa, which claims to be the ice cream capital of the world (and the home of Blue Bunny Ice Cream). Finally, my travelling companions and I were amused by Crazy Woman Creek in Johnson County, Wyoming.  There has to be a story behind the name, and sure enough, Travel-to-Wyoming.com provides several.

5.      Verizon cannot “hear me now” very well in many areas of Montana.

6.      Wind turbines are really huge, but oddly graceful, as these three-bladed “windmills” turn slowly on their ridgeline locations. In western Iowa, a west-bound rest stop on I-80, between Adair and Casey, features information about this method of power generation. Particularly compelling visually is the wind turbine blade sculpture that has been installed in front of the rest stop building. When you see wind turbines in the distance, you intuitively realize that they must be very large, but the immensity of their scale defies understanding. The single blade in this sculpture is standing on end and rises 148 feet into the air (that’s equivalent to a fifteen-story building). It is 11.2 feet wide and weighs 23,098 pounds. The rotor diameter of one turbine is 300 feet (the length of a football). These figures provide a new appreciation of the size of wind-mill farms. 3

7.      Why is it that in South Dakota regular gas costs more than middle grade or, sometimes, even more than premium?

8.      The Badlands of South Dakota present an otherworldly landscape which is quite beautiful, and an opportunity to ride through the area should not be missed. The day of our visit, the temperature outside the car registered 113 degrees, adding to the sense of unreality created by the landscape.

9.      Why are Americans such uncultured tourists? Overheard at Mount Rushmore (and I’m not making this up!): “Is that the big rock you were talking about?” “You know, the closer you get, the bigger it is!”

10.  On the day of our visit to Mount Rushmore we were reminded that Mother Nature has an interesting sense of humor.  Following our visit with the presidents, as well as to the Crazy Horse monument nearby, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Alpine Inn in Hill City, South Dakota, and then headed for Devils Tower National Monument, north of Moorcroft. The sky turned an angry black ahead of us and we anticipated a downpour. What we got instead was a hail storm with nickel-sized hail (it may have been larger; it certainly sounded huge). We moved the car off the road under the trees in the hope of some protection. After the storm lessened we set out once again and a little further down the road, found a winter scape, with the ground completely white for some distance. We particularly felt badly for the many motorcyclists on the road. If the hail sounded that loud inside our car, imagine what it sounded like hitting a motorcycle helmet! For a brief time, the temperature dropped to almost 50 degrees less than the previous day in the Badlands. In addition, the Wyoming welcome center was “enjoying” a veritable plague of grasshoppers and it was difficult to dodge them at the entrance. Yuck!

11.  Why are all watercraft required to stop for inspection at a rest area between Hardin and Billings, Montana? Watercraft? Really? How many can there be?

12.  I found our visit to the Little Big Horn Battlefield to be a very moving experience. Unlike other battlefields, such as Gettysburg, where the dead were removed to a national cemetery, at Little Big Horn, both the soldiers and the Native Americans who died there were buried where they fell. Somehow, the white markers (soldiers) and brown markers scattered individually or in groups of two or three across the landscape poignantly illustrate the progress and outcome of this battle. The large number of grave markers at Last Stand Hill evokes the savagery and desperate loss that occurred there. (And for those of you who commented on Johnny Horton’s Battle of New Orleans recording mentioned in a previous article, you may also remember his Comanche, the Brave Horse (recorded in 1960) about a horse in Custer’s detachment of the 7th Cavalry who survived the battle). An exhibit in the visitor’s center included facial reconstructions of two of the soldiers killed there which  provided a fascinating insight.

13.  Why does the Wyoming/Montana border have a “Port of Entry?” Is this somehow related to the watercraft inspection?

14.  Our national forests are more fragile than we realize. It was disheartening to see the wide-spread destruction of pine trees caused by insects throughout the Black Hills (and indeed in other locations such as the Colorado Rockies) as well as the damage caused by forest fires in many of the areas through which we traveled.

15.  What is it about speed limits? In several of the states through which I traveled, the speed limit is 75. If I am going my standard five miles over the limit, why is everyone passing me and disappearing into the distance?

16.  We should all be in the irrigation equipment supply or repair business.

17.  The National Park Service provides a wide array of interesting books at its visitors’ centers (and I have several new purchases to prove it!). Another great service is the “senior pass.” This admissions pass, available to individuals sixty-two and older, costs a mere $10.00 and is valid for life! It can admit an entire carload of people for free, not a bad deal in this day and age. Finally, don’t miss out on the opportunity to obtain a “National Passport.” Since 1986, this program has provided a way to help you plan trips to national parks and monuments, as well as a place to record your visits. You can purchase a passport booklet at a National Parks visitor’s center. Each booklet has five pages for each of nine geographic regions. At each visitor’s center you visit, you can stamp (free of charge) the appropriate page of your passport with a date/place stamp readily available at the ranger’s information counter. You can also purchase annual regional stamps to add further information to the regional pages. This process can be addictive. I’ve had one friend tell me about sending her passport with friends to get a stamp from a park or monument which she had visited prior to obtaining the passport! A “kid’s companion” is also available with information and activities for younger family members. Finally, there is now a Passport to Your National Parks app, available from iTunes, which allows you to search for a specific park or monument site by name, region or state. Once you have located a desired site , a link is provided that will take you to the National Park Service’s official web site for that site. In addition, it provides you with the ability to create a list of parks to visit or those that have been visited. I have enjoyed using it over the past few days.

I am now in Gresham, Oregon, outside of Portland, for the next three days. Then I will be back on the road, headed to Salt Lake City to do some research, after which I will begin the trip home to Virginia. Stay tuned next week for the “rest of the story.”


1. Wikipedia, “Gnaw Bone, Indiana,” (http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnaw_Bone,_Indiana : accessed 18 July 2012).

2. Wikipedia, “Correctionville, Iowa,” (http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correctionville,_Iowa : accessed 19 July 2012).

3. Pat Curtis, “Wind Turbine to Serve as Sculpture at I-80 Rest Area, RadioIowa, 25 January 2012 (http://www.radioiowa.com/?s=Wind+turbine+sculpture : accessed 18 July 2012).


War of 1812 – Resources for the Bicentennial Year 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Thursday, July 12th, 2012 by Erica | No Comments

By: Carolyn L. Barkley

Did you grow up during the 1950s? If so, perhaps your first introduction to the War of 1812 may have been Johnny Horton’s classic Battle of New Orleans which scored #1 on the Billboard charts in 1959. Perhaps you also learned about some of the other iconic images from this period: the burning of the White House and Dolly Madison’s last-minute rescue of Washington’s portrait; the penning of the words to The Star Spangled Banner; and the famous exhortation, “Don’t give up the ship,” uttered by the dying captain, James Lawrence, of the USS Chesapeake in 1813 (often incorrectly attributed to Oliver Hazard Perry as it was featured on his personal battle flag). However, like the Korean War, the War of 1812 has become one of the forgotten wars in American history. Considered from a global perspective, what we Americans term “the War of 1812” was overshadowed by the Napoleonic Wars in Europe that occurred between 1793-1801 and 1803-1815. (Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, after all, has nothing to do with the United States, featuring, instead, the Marseilles and the Russian hymn, God Save the Tsar). Ironically, today the War of 1812 bicentennial is clearly eclipsed by the sesquicentennial commemoration of the American Civil War. The bicentennial, however, offers us an opportunity to understand its effect on American history and to learn about records about that are available concerning individuals involved in this conflict.

James Madison’s request for a declaration of war was brought about by several issues, all of which stemmed from Great Britain’s reluctance to respect United States sovereignty. With the Revolutionary War still a recent experience for many, feelings ran high. Conflict arose due to economic issues (blockades and embargos), as well as those that were of national security (British involvement in Indian unrest in frontier areas) and naval concerns (impressments of seamen and neutrality rights violations). While there were land-based actions (principally seen in U.S. attempts to invade Canada and the British burning of Washington, D.C.), the war was predominantly one of naval actions. Theodore Roosevelt would summarize the naval aspect of the war in his The Naval War of 1812 as follows:

…the whole history of the struggle on the ocean is, as regards the Americans, only the record of individual cruises and fights. The material results were not very great, at least in their effect on Great Britain, whose enormous navy did not feel in the slightest degree the loss of a few frigates and sloops. But morally the result was of inestimable benefit to the United States. The victories kept up the spirits of the people, cast down by the defeats on land; practically decided in favor of the Americans the chief question in dispute – Great Britain’s right of search and impressment – and gave the navy, and thereby the country, a world-wide reputation. I doubt if ever before a nation gained so much honor by a few single-ship duels.1

It is interesting to note that many of the very issues that prompted the formal declaration of war on 18 June 1812 actually had been resolved by the British (but word had not yet reached the U.S.) and the last battle (New Orleans) was fought in January 1815, several months after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent which ended the war on 24 September 1814 (but word had not yet reached the U.S.). The outcomes of the war would be seen in increased economic instability, increased nationalistic fervor, establishment of a standing army and navy, and in rising friction between geographical regions (principally north and south) and between political parties (Federalist and Republican), the aggregation of which would continue to effect American politics and culture throughout Civil War ante-bellum period.

As always, when pursuing genealogical research, it is important to understand the historical context within which our ancestors lived. The Naval History and Heritage Command website includes a section on the War of 1812, as part of the official bicentennial observance. The site includes biographies of famous individuals of the time (Matthew Fontaine Maury, David Glasgow Farragut, Stephen Decatur, and others), photographic images of naval actions of the USS Constitution, the USS Hornet, the USS United States, and other vessels, videos, and an “Interesting Reads” section that includes “Navy Regulations 1814,” “Uniform  Regulations 1814,” and documents pertaining to the Battle Record of “Old Ironsides” (USS Constitution). Links are provided to other related sites such as the War of 1812 Bicentennial – Canada.

In searching for an ancestor who may have served during the conflict, you will want to check a variety of sources, particularly those that provide information from compiled military service records and pension files. Luckily, many are now available online.

Ancestry.com provides access to the War of 1812 Service Records, 1812-1815 database, which lists almost 600,000 men “mustered into the armed forces…each record includes the soldier’s name, company, rank at time of induction, and rank at time of discharge.”2  My standard Barkley surname search identified a list of 500 individuals (of many variant Barkley spellings) who served from a wide cross-section of states, including Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, and Georgia, to name just a few. Also available at Ancestry.com is the War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815, which contains pension applications for veterans or their survivors, under provisions of either the pension act of 14 February 1871 (pensions granted for 60 days of service plus other requirements) or the pension act of 9 March 1878 (pensions granted for 14 days of service plus other requirements). Earlier pensions had been granted only for service-related deaths and disabilities. Please note, however, that many who had served (and survived without war-related disabilities) would have probably died prior to 1871. In each record, the name of the veteran (or widow), pension claim or file number, and the specific organization or type of service is provided. When available, files may also include personal identifying information. A Barkley surname search in this database identified Archibald C. Barkley, a corporal in Capt. Isaiah Renshaw’s company in the Tennessee militia. The index card states that Archibald, resident of Catawba County, North Carolina, enlisted on 10 December 1812, and was discharged on 20 April 1813. He married Elizabeth Hill on 10 January 1811 in Beatties Ford, North Carolina. His widow applied for and received a pension in 1872. Archibald had died on 10 April 1866 in Catawba County, North Carolina; Elizabeth died on 29 September 1880. The index also provides bounty land information. I knew very little about Archibald prior to searching the index, but found a great deal of useful information in the index alone. Analyzing the actual pension application file and attached papers (index remarks indicate “soldier’s discharge certificate and family record”) may provide more detailed information.

Online records pertaining to the War of 1812 are also available at FamilySearch and at Fold 3. It is also useful to identify War of 1812 records that are available at the state level. For example, the Library of Virginia collection includes militia pay rolls and other records from the Auditor’s Office in Richmond, militia muster rolls, registers of furloughs, quartermaster’s account books and registers of public service claims, business papers, a record book for the Society of the Soldiers of the War of 1812 for the second district listing veterans living in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Elizabeth City County, Norfolk County, Nansemond County, and Princess Anne County in the years 1854 to 1866. Ancestry.com provides databases of pension abstracts for individual states including North Carolina, Kentucky, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

Records exist both for sailors who applied for the seaman’s protection certificate (that was supposed to save them from impressments) and for sailors who were impressed. A more detailed look at these records is available in a two-part blog article, which I wrote in 2010, “For Those Who Go Down to The Sea in Ships.” In addition, Ancestry.com provides access to War of 1812, Prisoner of War Records, 1812-1815. While I did not find a Barclay included in this database, I was able to locate a register of soldiers taken prisoner and released near the Canadian lines “taken from information provided by Col. Barclay.”

Print material is also available including Benson J. Lossing’s classic The Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812 (Harpers, 1869) and John R. Elting’s Amateurs to Arms!: A Military History of the War of 1812 (Da Capo, 1995). Two of my most recent personal acquisitions include Patrick G. Wardell’s War of 1812: Virginia Bounty Land and Pension Applicants (Heritage Books, 1987, printed 2007) and a great background and travel title, John Grant and Ray Jones’ The War of 1812: A Guide to Battlefields and Historic Sites (Western New York Public Broadcasting Association, 2011), published as a companion to the PBS television special on the war. This book is one that you can dip into a little at a time. In addition to describing what happened at war-related sites in seven different theaters in which the war occurred (the Northwest, Niagara, Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence/Champlain, Northeast, Chesapeake, and Southern), it tells you what you can see if you visit the site today.

A selection of War of 1812 titles available from Genealogical.com includes (check the website for a full listing):

A Chronicle of War of 1812 Soldiers, Seamen and Marines by Dennis F. Blizzard and Thomas L. Hollowak (Clearfield, 2001).

Kentucky Soldiers of the War of 1812 by Kentucky Adjutant-General’s Office (1891, reprinted by Clearfield, 2007.

Known Military Dead During the War of 1812 by Clarence Stewart Peterson (1955, reprinted by Clearfield, 2008).

A List of Pensioners of the War of 1812 [Vermont Claimants] by Byron N. Clark (1904, reprinted by Clearfield, 1996).

Louisiana Soldiers in the War of 1812 by Marion John Bennett Pierson (1963, reprinted by Clearfield, 2003).

Muster Rolls of the Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War of 1812-1814 by John B. Linn and William H. Engle (1890, reprinted by Clearfield, 1994).

Muster Rolls of the Soldiers of the War of 1812 by Maurice Toler (1851, reprinted by Clearfield, 2006).

Mississippi Territory in the War of 1812 by Eron Opha Rowland (1921, reprinted by Clearfield, 2005).

The Roster and Register of the General Society of the War of 1812 by Dennis F. Blizzard et.al. (1972, reprinted by Clearfield 1999).

Roster of Ohio Soldiers in the War of 1812, Ohio Adjutant-General’s Department (1916, reprinted by Clearfield, 2008).

Virginia Militia in the War of 1812 (1851, reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, 2001).

The following genealogical.com books are currently out-of-print. Check with your local library for the nearest library location with this title, or click on the “Notify Me” button on genealogical.com to be notified when the title will be back in print.

British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812, Kenneth Scott (Clearfield, 1999)

[New York]: Index of Awards on Claims of the Soldiers of the War of 1812 by New York Adjutant-General’s Office (1860, reprinted by Clearfield, 2005).

Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Called Out…to Suppress a Threatened Invasion During the War of 1812-1814 (by Gardner W. Pearson (1913, reprinted by Clearfield, 1993).


1  Naval History & Heritage Command, War of 1812, (http://www.history.navy.mil/commemorations/1812/quotes.htm : accessed 12 July 2012), citing Theodore Roosevelt, The Naval War of 1812 (1882, reprinted Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1987).

2 “War of 1812 Service Records, 1812-1815 ,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 July 2012).


Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | 2 Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley

I think that great genealogical minds (and modest ones at that) think along the same lines.  Thus this article, which I have had scheduled since the end of May, coincides with Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings Tuesday’s Tip, dated 3 July.1

I spend much of my time either editing or designing family history-related books for aspiring authors. Many of the writers with whom I work are older than – oh, let’s say forty to be on the generous side. The number of these individuals who are able to cite their sources correctly (in either end/foot notes or bibliographies) is sadly small. Okay, my father was an English teacher and my mother was a librarian – as was I – which might account for my orientation to bibliographic description. I know that these skills were taught in the American school system (remember having to use Turabian?), but apparently they were not skills that remained relevant. This fact is unfortunate as quality genealogical writing requires that we correctly cite not only books and journals, but original records, photographs, online sources, and much more.

Luckily for us, Elizabeth Shown Mills has devoted several years to defining the world of genealogical citation. Her first book on the topic, Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997, reprinted 2006) was soon followed by the more comprehensive Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (2d. ed., Genealogical Publishing Co., 2010) and by a series of QuickSheets: Citing Online Historical Resources Evidence! Style (1st rev. ed. 2007); Citing Online African American Historical Resources Evidence! Style (2010); and Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images (1st rev. ed., 2012).

A new addition to this body of work is a website: Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Source and Citation Usage. The website is one that should be used by anyone researching family history or writing a family history, a blog article, a client report, or any other type of genealogy-related writing.

At a recent conference, I had a long conversation with a visitor to the booth who was interested in publishing what sounded like several volumes of a compiled genealogy. In talking with her, she said, “Oh, my husband doesn’t see any need to use [Evidence Explained]…the citations are too long and take up too much space.” I explained that quality citations were the mark of quality research, and perhaps I was able to persuade her to talk to her husband. Thus, one of the first things I do in discussing a project with an author is to explain that, as necessary, I will revise all end/footnotes and bibliography entries to conform to the standards outlined in Evidence Explained. This statement usually leads to questions about why I use Evidence Explained rather than Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, APA, or any of several other citation guides. The website’s home page very helpfully includes a chart outlining the distinctions between Evidence Explained and traditional guides. This chart illustrates Evidence Explained’s emphasis on original records, citation models (the bibliographic, first reference note, and subsequent reference notes), digital materials, government documents and legal publications, and input information (details noted while using a record that assist in understanding and analyzing the source). By contrast traditional citation guides emphasize published materials, stylistic information and emphasis on publication information, with limited coverage of digital materials and government documents and legal publications.2 I find that I use Chicago Manual of Style for stylistic decisions (commas, abbreviations, hyphenation, and other usage issues) and Evidence Explained for all citation decisions.

One of the most useful sections of the website is “QuickLessons.” A good example of what is offered in these articles can be found in QuickLesson 3: “Flawed Records” which presents a case study outlining why thorough research and thorough analysis are important in creating a full understanding of available records, and what, when looked at holistically, they can tell us about an individual and the historical context within which he existed. (Note that at the end of each QuickLesson, the exact format for citing the article is provided.)3 Another example is found in QuickLesson 6: “Mindmapping Records.” This article explores another case study using a process of analyses that is anything but linear. Instead, it encourages a more free-flowing approach to our research that allows for those surprising detours and discoveries that continually alter the direction of our research. This lesson is one that will benefit from multiple readings and perhaps will lead to exploring at least one of the suggested readings: Tony Guzan’s How to Mind Map: The Thinking Tool that Will Change Your Life (Harper Collins, 2006).4 As I write, there are currently nine lessons available: “Analysis & Citation,” “Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof, “Flawed Records,” “NARA Citations & Finding Aids,” “Analyzing Records, “Mindmapping Records,” “Family Lore and Indian Princesses,” “What Constitutes Proof?”, and the most recent, “Census Instructions? Who Needs Instructions?” If you are a Facebook reader, you can “like” its Evidence Explained page and read daily posts about records and evidence and source issues, and receive posts announcing the availability of new lessons.

The Forums tab in the upper navigation bar provides visitors to the site with the ability to post questions to be answered by “EE.” One questioned how to best “digest the elephant in the room (or digest an 885-page book)? The answer outlines four very good ways to read and learn the basic principles included in the first two chapters of Evidence Explained and then how to use the index and citation models effectively.5 Another question asked for clarification and assistance with Family Tree Maker citations which are based on Evidence Explained formats.6

Other sections of the website provide links to chapters in Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, sample pages, and sample citation model templates.

EvidenceExplained.com is an essential tool in our continuing education process. Its lessons illustrate the very best in applied methodology, and its forum questions and answers are informative and offer the opportunity for interaction among researchers and experts. You will want to make reading this well-organized site a regular activity; you will be a better research and writer for doing so.


1 Randy Seaver, “Tuesday’s Tip – Check Out the Evidence Explained Website,” Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings, 3 July 2012 (http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/07/tuesdays-tip-check-out-evidence.html : accessed 3 July 2012).

2 Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Evidence Explained vs. Traditional Citation Guides,” Elizabeth Shown      Mills, Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage, 2012 (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/ : accessed 3 July 2012).

3  Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 3: Flawed Records,” Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained:  Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (http://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-3-flawed-records : accessed 3 July 2012).

4  Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 6: Mindmapping Records,” Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained:  Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (http://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-6-mindmapping-records : accessed 3 July 2012).

5 Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Forum Discussion: FTM Citations & EE,” Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/ftm-citations-33 : accessed 3 July 2012).

6 Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Forum Discussion: How Does One Eat an Elephant (or Digest an 886-page Book),” Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/how-does-one-eat-elephant-or-digest-885-page-book : accessed 3 July 2012).


Genealogy at A Glance – Don’t Go Anywhere Without One 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Friday, June 29th, 2012 by Erica | No Comments

By: Carolyn L. Barkley

One of the my disappointments in that past couple of years was the transfer of the Family History Library’s original print Research Outlines to digital versions on the FamilySearch Wiki. Yes, I know that the digital version means easy access no matter where I am, but sometimes a physical copy is easier to work with when I’m working in an archive, or at home or at a hotel while outlining or refining my research plan. Shows my age, I guess, but there you have it!

I’m very happy, therefore, to be able to use Genealogical Publishing Company’s series, Genealogy at a Glance, in my research.

Considered collectively, there are many positive things to say about the series. The first is its shelf footprint. Placed side by side, the sixteen available topics inhabit less than two inches of the reference shelf beside my desk (even less if squeezed on a tight shelf). The second is size (again), now coupled with weight. If I were flying to a research site and, for the sake of this discussion, let’s say I were to take all of them with me, they would take up only 8.5 x 11 x 2 inches in my suitcase (again, less if squashed by the rest of the contents of the suitcase) and would add well under a pound of weight to my luggage – a real plus in this day and age of inconvenient airline regulations. Even better, one or two will also easily slide into my laptop case. Finally, each title costs under $10.00 – a wonder in today’s genealogical publishing market.

There are sixteen titles currently available in this series; one more definitely is scheduled for later this year, with four more possible as well. Each title is four pages in length, laminated for durability. If you combine this seemingly brief format with content provided by genealogical experts, the result is a concise, surprisingly well-rounded presentation of the most important resources and methodologies to assist you while researching.

Current titles and authors fall into several categories:

Each title features two boxes at the top of the first page; one lists Contents, the other Quick Facts and/or Important Dates that pertain to the topic.  Background information provides context for research and records, followed by discussions of specific record sources and methodologies. Throughout the four pages, tips are provided to assist with (or avoid) research problems. Genealogy at a Glance: German Genealogy Research discusses German emigration, passenger lists, places, maps, surnames and given names, vital records (church records and civil registration), document centers, census records, reference titles, and online resources. I quickly counted over forty references to either print or online resources. Sharon Carmack’s Genealogy at a Glance: American Cemetery Research includes background information on “Finding Your Ancestor’s Final Resting Place,” and discusses types of cemeteries, planning a cemetery field trip, photographing markers, rubbing tombstones, and finding living relatives. Craig Scott’s Genealogy at a Glance: Revolutionary War Genealogy Research includes information on lineage societies, pension records, compiled military service records, muster rolls, settled accounts, bounty land, manuscript collections, and federal census records. Carol McGinnis’ Genealogy at a Glance: Michigan Genealogy Research discusses the history of Michigan settlement and the ancestry of its settlers (including the Canadian connection), record sources (vital, church, cemetery, land, and military records), census returns, supplementary sources such as county histories and newspapers, and major repositories and online resources.

The next title scheduled for 2012 publication outlines how to plan for successful research in Salt Lake City’s Family History Library; possible 2012/13 titles include Slovak Research in the ethnic category, and Tennessee, North Carolina, and Maryland Research in the state category.

These titles are not intended to be comprehensive – they are, after all, four pages long. Nevertheless, for me, Genealogy at a Glance titles are invaluable, particularly when researching in an area that is not in my area of expertise. The Revolutionary War offers a fine example. For some reason, despite several lectures and explanations over many years, the details about records such as settled accounts just don’t seem to stick in my brain. I know I need to look at them, but the process doesn’t always come to mind easily. If I have my At a Glance with me, however, I can quickly remind myself of the essentials and continue my research successfully – or at least more confidently.

In summary, these titles take up almost no space on the shelf, weigh almost nothing in your luggage, cost relatively little, and offer concise, expert advice on a specific research topic. What a powerful combination! Add them to your library today!


Mocavo.com™ – Don’t Search Without It 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Friday, June 22nd, 2012 by Erica | No Comments

By: Carolyn L. Barkley

Mocavo is an interesting word. It rolls comfortably around the tongue, evoking images somehow dark and mysterious. In actuality, it represents a breath of fresh air in the world of search engines and genealogical research. If you are tired of Google searches which yield thousands of hits, most of which are extraneous to your research needs, look no further than Mocavo. This powerful search engine searches only family history resources – no more hits on Facebook sites, etc.

Mocavo is a new company, with its site launched just over a year ago (16 March 2011), but has strong genealogical leadership. Its CEO, Cliff Shaw, founded GenForum in the late 1990s, and went on to found Pearl Street Software and BackUpMyTree, as well as Smart Matching™, an ancestor-matching algorithm technology. Other members of the team include, most notably, Michael J. Leclerc, Chief Genealogist, who joined Mocavo after many years with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, as well as individuals with experience with Facebook, Adobe, and various other publication and social media sites.

The site’s strength lies in its search capabilities. The company’s blog announcing the March 2011 launch1 stated “Starting today, the general public can use Mocavo.com for free. Visitors to www.mocavo.com are simply required to type in the names of interest and click on Search. All related results from industry sources such as genealogy message boards, family trees, state and local historical societies, the Library of Congress, National Archives, Ellis Island, Find A Grave, the Internet Archive, various U. S. state archives, and many tens of thousands of genealogy sites built by individuals will be displayed. Similar to other search engines, Mocavo.com honors site owners by linking directly to their content.” Cliff Shaw was also quoted2: “Genealogy has always had the problem of information and potential clues being spread across thousands of disparate web sites and sources. Imagine a world where you have all of the Web’s free genealogy content at your fingertips within seconds. That is Mocavo.com.” By the end of 2011, Mocavo had debuted Mocavo Plus, a subscription-based search engine ($79.95 per year) with enhanced features.

Here’s an example:

I am interested in an ancestor named Royal Buffington, born in Windham, Connecticut, on 17 July 1791, who married Eunice Morse in 1810; they had nine children. During his lifetime, Royal lived in Palmer, Massachusetts. Having completed little research on this branch of the family, I do not, at this time, know when or where he died. If I do a Google search for “Royal Buffington,” I am presented with a list of 367,000 results. However, the top four results relate to a Buffington Design LLC in Royal Oak, Michigan. It is only when I get to the fifth and sixth results that I find genealogically-related information. Out of the first ten results, only three are related to my search.

With Mocavo, a basic, or keyword, search for “Royal Buffington” provides 10,899 results. Many of these, however, do not pertain to my Royal Buffington. With Mocavo Plus, however, I can search using the Advanced Search Feature to limit my search more specifically to the desired individual. This feature allows me to enter first name alternates, select “sounds like” for a surname, enter a birth, marriage, death or “any” event date (year, month, date) and location. I can also indicate that I want an entire county searched. In addition, I can indicate exclusions (words or websites), so that if I don’t want to look at individual family trees that have been posted on a family tree site, these results will be excluded.

Turning to Macavo Plus, I entered all the information I knew (and yes, I know that less information is probably the better search, but I wanted to know what would happen). I entered given name, surname, birth date, birth location, and general death location (Massachusetts). There were no results. However, a very useful service is the ability to enter your email address in order to be contacted if information matching your search is found on the site at a later date. I then tried the search removing the birth place –  still no results. Once I removed all birth information (date and place), I received a list of nine results. Among this list was a list of selectmen from the town of Palmer, Massachusetts, which included Royal Buffington in 1839 and 1840.3 Also included was information from a compiled Upham genealogy,and several family trees. Most useful, with new information, was a link to a Find a Grave memorial4 which stated that Royal Buffington died on 23 December 1877 and was buried in Hillcrest Cemetery in Belchertown, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. While the entry stated that his birth date was unknown, the rest of the information seems to coincide with what I knew about the family, as his daughter and my third great-grandmother, Cynthia Jane Buffington, lived in Belchertown by at least 1836, and died there in 1899. The family tree links provided as a result of this search have not provided specific information on Royal, himself; they include him, but do not trace him further. Nevertheless, there is useful sibling information included for several generations, plus references to Swansea, in Bristol County, Massachusetts, which open up further avenues for research.

The real message here is that I did not need to narrow a Google search with 367,000 results, nor a basic Mocavo search with almost 11,000. I could narrow my results to just nine, and for each entry I could (1) mark that I had read it before; (2) indicate if it was the person about whom I was interested; and/or specify (3) perhaps a good match; (4) not the person I was looking for; (5) or a broken link. This search has piqued my interest in further analysis of these Royal Buffington results in order to document information more exactly. In addition, my next trip to Massachusetts will include a trip to Hillcrest Cemetery. As many of the known individuals connected to this family are buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Belchertown, I am curious who else of interest might be in Hillcrest.

I also searched for Royal’s wife, Eunice Morse, in a search that included only her name, her birth year (1794), and birth place (Uxbridge, Massachusetts). I received a list of forty results. As many of these did not seem to pertain to my Eunice Morse, I edited the search to include her death date (1864). This revision narrowed the results to thirty-three. I then redid the search excluding results dealing with Framingham, Massachusetts. This reduced the number to three, but none seemed pertinent. I made one last search – this time for Eunice’s father, Joseph, born in Uxbridge, in 1761. Two hundred twenty results were listed, so clearly I am going to have to continue to refine this search. By adding a marriage date, I narrowed the results to 176, some of which, at a cursory glance, look applicable.

I hope that these sample searches provide you with an idea of the usefulness and power of the Mocavo search engine. Be sure to investigate some of the other functionality on the site, “like” Mocavo on Facebook (or your favorite social media site), and read Michael LeClerc’s blog articles regularly. Finally, if you subscribe to Mocavo Plus, you may want to upload your tree and receive email updates containing new possible matches to your ancestors. I will definitely use Mocavo on a regular basis to quickly locate family history information quickly without the irritation of non-genealogical results.



1 “Mocavo.com Launches as World’s Largest Free Genealogy Search Engine,” Mocavo Genealogy Blog, 16 March 2011 (http://www.mocavo.com/blog/read/mocavo-com-launches-today : accessed 20 June 2012).

2 Ibid.

3 Temple, J. H., History of the Town of Palmer, Massachusetts, Early Known as the Elbow Tract… (Palmer, Mass: Town of Palmer, 1889), 330, Digital images. Mocavo (http://www.mocavo.com/docs/History-of-the-town-of-Palmer-Massachusetts-early-known-as-the-Elbow-Tract-including-records-of-the-plantation-district-and-town-1716-1889-With-a-genealogical-register-1889/374#374 : accessed 20 June 2012).

4 Memorial Page for Royal Buffington, d. 23 December 1877, buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Belchertown, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, Find A Grave 10 January 2011 (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page-gr&GRid=64016613 : accessed 20 June 2012).