Research in the Lone Star State “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Friday, June 15th, 2012 by Erica | No Comments

By: Carolyn L. Barkley

I was eight years old when the movie “Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier,” starring Fess Parker, was released in 1955. At that age I regularly devoured juvenile historical novels, particularly a series of titles of the “you were there” variety. One of these told the story of the siege of the Alamo, and I spent a summer happily recreating history while wearing my red felt Davy Crockett cowboy hat with the fringed brim (but how I yearned for a coonskin cap!). I remembered that hat last Thursday as I visited the Alamo in San Antonio. While I have “GTT” (gone to Texas) on three other occasions, San Antonio has always been on my bucket list of places to visit and I was not disappointed.

Somehow, Texas always seems exotic to me – a place far away (particularly to that eight year old) with a history quite different than that of Massachusetts or Virginia, the two states in which I have lived the longest. It has held an allure for individuals for a long time, if evidenced only by discovery of the number of Barkley families who left North Carolina, travelled through Missouri, and settled in Texas. Whether it was land, refuge from the law, or some other reason, many families have Texas connections. If our family trees include such migration, knowledge about Texas genealogical resources will be important for the success of our research.

As always, I recommend acquiring an historical overview of a new geographical location before starting to search in the records. History has a way of creating a need for a specific type of record or record content, and it is important to understand why specific records were created. Texas history is more complicated than that of the original thirteen colonies, for example, so a working knowledge of its chronology is essential.

The Spanish settled the area we know as Texas in 1682 as part of New Spain, creating a string of missions and military outposts, with San Antonio becoming the military headquarters by 1718. Nine years later, the province of Texas was established, although its boundaries were not clearly delineated, and settlers began to arrive. Because of the rather vaguely drawn boundaries, border disputes with the United States were inevitable, beginning as early as 1803 and the completion of the Louisiana Purchase.

In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and naturally claimed Texas as its own. Although Mexico much preferred Catholic settlers, they did authorize some American settlers and these began to arrive in large numbers throughout the 1820s. Conflict was inevitable. After the Texans successfully drove Mexican forces out of Texas, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, led his army against the Texas forces. The resulting siege at the Alamo lasted from 23 February to 6 March 1836, and while that battle ended in defeat for the Americans, the rebels proclaimed the Republic of Texas on 2 March. The Texan victory at the Battle of San Jacinto followed quickly on 21 April. The war was over.

The Republic of Texas would last for nine years, culminating with its acceptance into the Union in 1845 as the twenty-eighth state. This action would again provoke war. President Polk declared war against Mexico the following year and it would last for two years, providing the American army with a rehearsal for the catastrophic conflict which would begin not quite twenty years later. Texas seceded from the Union on 1 February 1861 and joined the Confederate States of America on 2 March of that year, just twenty-five years to the day after the formation of the Republic of Texas. It would not be readmitted into the Union until 30 March 1870.

Each of these historical events created records which may prove essential to your research into a family whose members you have documented as having “GTT.” To begin to understand the records themselves, an essential source is Imogene and Leon Kennedy’s Genealogical Records in Texas (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987, reprinted 2005). This title, in text and maps, provides detailed information on the legal and historical background of the state, the origin of each county, the location of the records for each portion of the county before it was organized into its present boundaries, and the specific records available in the various county courthouses, the Texas State Library, the Texas State Archives, and the Texas General Land Office. Other online background resources are also useful, including the FamilySearch wiki page for Texas, Texas Genealogy Records, the Texas GenWeb ProjectTexas Genealogy and History” and the Texas Genealogy and History Guide. Cyndi’s List provides links to 9,102 links concerning Texas. A thorough search through these various online sites will provide access to a great deal of useful information.

Ancestry.com includes a number of Texas-related databases. One Ancestry database caught my eye: Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909, 1966-2002. My standard Barkley surname search identified 3,055 Barkleys. Entries identify the date of the marriage, spouse’s name, and the county in which the marriage occurred. For example, Alfred Barkley married Elizabeth Hanna on 11 May 1844 in Harrison County, Texas. A major caveat, however, is that no digital image is available for these records on Ancestry. Instead, you are provided with the Family History Library film number and an opportunity to go to the VitalCheck website to order a copy of the original document (at a cost equaling the fee charged by the state or county agency owning the record plus the VitalChek.com’s $5.00 to $16.00 processing fee). Another Ancestry database, Texas Land Title Abstracts, 1700-2008, provides “abstracts of original titles located in the archives of the Texas General Land Office in Austin … [These] records provide information about lands granted and transferred within the state of Texas including those dated in the 1700s. Fields of information include the district name (a three-letter code), the county, page in original document, grantee, patentee, date, volume, description/location, acreage, class, file, and any additional data found in the record.” My Barkley search in this database identified a grantee, John A. Barkley, certificate 699, who patented 640 acres of land in Robertson District, Hill County, on 4 August 1853. His patent is available in file 587, patent #262, patent volume 2. I also located Stephen F. Austin (born in Virginia, raised in Missouri), who had one of the first legal grants of land in Texas and led a group of 300 American families into the Texas territory in the early 1820s. His land holdings were vast. In January 1830 alone, he patented 23,028 acres of land.

Major genealogical and Texas history collections can be found at the Dallas Library, the Clayton Library in Houston, the Texas State Library and Archives Division in Austin, and the Texas State Historical Association in Austin. Individuals interested in a related lineage society might consult The Sons of the Republic of Texas website.

One of the highlights of my trip to San Antonio (amid wonderful food and great margaritas) was the after-hours tour of the Alamo that was arranged by the group whose annual meeting I was attending. The grounds are much more extensive than I realized, the landscaping very lush, the mission building much smaller than anticipated. It was redolent, however, with atmosphere, and it was enough just to stand in the mission building or in the reconstructed long barracks and imagine its early surroundings and the events that took place there. I was particularly pleased to be there with a friend who has an ancestor who died there: Micajah Autry, born in 1794 in Sampson County, North Carolina, but by the time of the Alamo siege, a resident of Tennessee. An expert marksman, Micajah was a private in Harrison’s Company, Volunteer Auxiliary Corps.

Before leaving the Alamo grounds, I was drawn to the shelves of books for sale in the gift shop. Never one to ignore the lure of adding to my already overflowing shelves, I purchased two that would provide me with a good overview of Texas history. The first, Going to Texas: Five Centuries of Texas Maps (The Center for Texas Studies at TCU, 2007), provides maps and explanatory text covering the period 1519 to the twentieth century. Its visual representation provides a good understanding of Texas history, but in some cases, maps were readable only with magnification. After pouring over a number of appealing titles on the Texas Revolution, I opted for Gary S. Zaboly’s An Altar for Their Sons: the Alamo and the Texas Revolution in Contemporary Newspaper Accounts (State House Press, 2011), which provides a unique first-hand account of this turbulent period in Texas history. Information is provided from contemporary documents, broadsides, field reports, letters, diary excerpts, personal interviews, as well as from reprints of materials from later newspapers and journals. One of the latter is an interesting report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 22 February 1914 describing the discovery of rows of cypress and cedar posts from the palisades of the mission discovered by workers while excavating for a San Antonio telephone company.

Here are some other titles about Texas and Texas research available on genealogical.com:

Austin [Texas] Colony Pioneers by Worth Stickley Ray (1949, Clearfield, reprinted 1995).

Character Certificates in the General Land Office of Texas by Gifford White (1985, Clearfield, reprinted 2007)

Early Texas Settlers, 17002-1800s [CD]

Kentucky Colonization in Texas: a History of the Peters Colony by Seymor V. Connor (1953, Clearfield, reprinted 2007).

Mayflower Descendants in the State of Texas and Their Lineages, Vol. III: Lineages 735-1400, compiled by Barbara Lewis Williams (Gateway, 2002; available from the author)

Mayflower Descendants in the State of Texas and Their Lineages, Vol. V: Lineages 1401-2385, compiled by Barbara Lewis Williams (Gateway, 2005; available from the author)

New Homes in a New Land: German Immigration to Texas, 1847-1861 by Ethel H. Geue (1970, Clearfield, reprinted 2006).

A New Land Beckoned: German Immigration to Texas, 1844-1847 by Chester W. and Ethel H. Geue (1972, Clearfield, reprinted 2006)

Republic of Texas Poll Lists for 1846 by Marion Day Mullins (1974, Clearfield, reprinted 2003).

Stephen F. Austin’s Register of Families by Villamae Williams (1984, Clearfield, reprinted 2000).

 

 

 

Cousins Over the Breakfast Table and Other Serendipitous Moments 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Friday, June 8th, 2012 by Erica | No Comments

By: Carolyn L. Barkley

Sometimes we genealogists take ourselves just a bit too seriously. Don’t misunderstand me – I am a firm believer in best practices, solid methodology, conclusive analysis, and quality writing. At the same time, I also am a believer in those inexplicable moments when genealogical connections are made, or illusive information is found, seemingly without any reason. I used to be more skeptical about these moments. After reading Hank Jones’ Pyschic Roots: Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy when it was first published (Genealogical Publishing Company, 1993, reprinted 2008), and then its sequel, More Psychic Roots: Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy (Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997, reprinted 2007), however, I now try to keep my mind open to possibilities that may occur outside of the rigors of the normal research process. Sometimes moments are merely interesting, with connections that can be discerned easily; others seem to come “out of the blue” (a little like those ancestors of ours who seem to arrive in a location with no prior existence, as if in an alien landing).

New York State seems to be serendipity central for me this year.

Last week I drove from Virginia to Massachusetts. In mid-afternoon, I was driving along a section of I-84 between Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Newburgh, New York. I have driven this road many times, but this time one of the exit signs caught my attention, where previously I would not have given it much notice. The sign said that the exit led to Blooming Grove (Orange County). It was one of those great “aha” moments. I am currently editing and designing a book for a client, and the members of one of the major family lines in that book all lived in Blooming Grove and I had been typing that name hundreds of times over the previous week. I resisted the urge to take the exit to see Blooming Grove for myself – maybe another time.

Within a day or two of that experience, I received an email from a woman looking for Barclay/Barkley information. She had found my email address in an old listing and took a chance that it would still be a valid one. We shared several emails back and forth as we refined her specific interest. In one of these messages, she noted a relationship to the Barkley and Moffat families who arrived on the George and Ann in 1729 and who then settled in Blagg’s Cove, Orange County, New York. I was startled! Another client, whose book I am also working on, has Moffats from Blagg’s Cove in her ancestral line. Yet another client connection – and another Orange County, New York connection too! What, I wondered, were the odds?!

These two recent experiences reminded me of a far more exciting New York-related discovery that occurred while I was in Salt Lake City at the end of this past January. I was spending the week prior to RootsTech researching in the Family History Library. My daughter-in-law, a recent convert to the joys of genealogy, had been researching her birth mother’s family. I emailed her one evening to see if there were individuals in her ancestral lines about whom I could do some research while I was in Salt Lake. She had replied with information, and as I sat over breakfast with my roommate, Karen, I shared with her a very general description of Kim’s reply. I had only read the email quickly prior to leaving the room, so my memory of the specifics, without my notes to remind me, was a bit lacking. I did know, however, that Kim’s request involved a Revolutionary War soldier who had served from New Jersey, and who had moved to New York with his family after the war. More recent generations of the family have lived in Minnesota. In reply, Karen said that she too was descended from a Revolutionary War soldier who had served from New Jersey and moved to New York. She then referred to him by name – Noah French – and suddenly my memory clicked in and a serendipity moment was staring me in the face. The person from my daughter-in-law’s email was also named Noah French! Karen said that I should start by looking at Noah’s pension record on Fold3 and I rushed off to the library to do just that. By the end of the day, I had documented the French family through several generations from New Jersey to Minnesota. Even more exciting was that fact that Karen descends from the oldest child of the first marriage and my daughter-in-law descends from the youngest! I had found a link between two people who I had absolutely no reason to believe would be related!

One last, non-New York, example comes (with permission) from the April 29th posting “We Paid in Blood,” written by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, for her regular The Legal Genealogist blog. In her article, Judy discusses her experiences while watching the recent Who Do You Think You Are episode in which Rob Lowe yearns for a Revolutionary War ancestor and finds one – just not a Patriot, but the Hessian soldier, Johann Christoph Oeste, instead. While listening to the discussion of the Battle of Trenton in which Oeste was involved, Judy realized that Rob Lowe’s ancestor was in that battle against her own ancestors, David and Richard Baker, members of the 3rd Virginia Regiment of Foot. Judy states, “And that’s what gave me my shock of the evening: an absolute gut-level visceral reaction I never would have expected. Logic went out the window, and pure emotion took over.”1 Her statement captures of the essence of a truly serendipitous moment, when two seemingly unconnected items come together to form a piece of a genealogical or historical story.

We’ve all experienced similar situations – the book discovered out of place on the shelf that includes a piece of long-sought-after information; the chance stop in a cemetery and the discovery of a stone with information that resolves confusing information; a chance conversation that provides details that prove significant when applied to a research problem. Perhaps it’s just luck; perhaps it’s our ancestors helping us with our research. Whatever the reason, such serendipitous moments are not to be taken lightly.

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  1. Judy G. Russell, “We Paid in Blood,” The Legal Genealogist, 29 April 2012 (http://legalgenealogist.com/blog/2012/04/29/we-paid-in-blood/ : accessed 29 April 2012).

 

 

New York Emigrants Savings Bank Records – A Resource for Irish American Research 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Thursday, May 31st, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley

Banks seem to have undergone a transformation in America, moving from staid and secure sounding titles like First National Bank of (fill in the blank) to such seemingly meaningless names as “Sovran,” and “Cigna.” When I was in Cincinnati recently, I was amused by the “Fifth Third Bank” – what happened, I wondered, to the first, second, third and fourth Third Bank? That in turn reminded me of George Carlin’s riff on business names in which he stated, “Attending college at a place called Bob Jones University is like putting your money in Nick & Tony’s Bank.” In case you are beginning to wonder how these comments are pertinent to a genealogical article, read on.

Late last summer I was traveling through mid-town Manhattan en route from JFK to the Holland America cruise line terminal. As I looked out of the airport shuttle window at various businesses along the way, I noticed a building with a sign reading “Emigrants Bank.” Somehow, this sign seemed to encapsulate the essence of New York City and its melting-pot history. My later research about this storied bank underscored just how important it was to the Irish emigrant community in New York, and specifically in New York City. As such, its records, now housed by the New York Public Library (NYPL), hold a wealth of genealogical information.

The Emigrants Industrial Savings Bank was established in 1850 near the end of the mass migrations due to the Irish famine (1844-1851). The bank’s formation was a result of efforts on the part of the Irish Emigrant Society (which assisted new immigrants through its strong emphasis on employment, appropriate moral and spiritual behavior, self-sufficiency, and mutual aid), and John Hughes, himself an Irish immigrant, who would later become the first Catholic archbishop of New York. It would prove to be an institution that safeguarded the hard-won savings of the Irish immigrant population living in New York City, although those living outside of the city may also have established accounts in order to send money to family members still living in Ireland.

The bank’s records are divided into five types of books:

  • Index Books provide access to all of the individuals in the records. These entries provide the name of the depositor, the date of the record, and the account number. The account number is important as it allows you to identify index entries pertaining to a single individual.
  • Test Books (1850-1868) are perhaps the most significant volumes genealogically. The bank recorded information about the depositor and, often, about his family because, in an age without picture IDs, it was important for the bank to be able to distinguish one depositor from another of the same name. Information includes the date of the record, name of the depositor, account number, occupation, residence in this  country, and remarks. This latter section is particularly important as it often listed a date and place of birth, date of emigration, name of the ship on which an individual arrived, and the names of parents and/or spouse. In some cases the number of children is also noted. These test book records often provide information, often unavailable elsewhere, that will lead you to other U.S. records and may provide access to research in Ireland.
  • Transfer, Signature, and Test Books (1850-83) contain no new depositor records. Instead, they document changes to previously established accounts. Such changes might include a new signature, a new address, or a change in the account holder. By consulting the listed changes, including the transaction date, residence, occupation, birth year, birthplace and family information, you may be able to construct an immigrant’s timeline.
  • Deposit-Account Ledgers are arranged by account number and contain the transaction history for each depositor.
  • Real Estate Books record loans, mortgages, bonds and other real estate transactions as the Irish community became upwardly mobile. As such, they include date of approval of a loan or mortgage, name of the mortgagee, house number, size of the lot, description of the building, amount of the loan, name of the attorney, and usually a plat map of the block.

Emigrant Savings Bank records were donated to NYPL in 1990. While they are accessible there on microfilm, Ancestry.com has digitized the Index, Test, and Transfer, Signature and Test Books, as well as the Deposit-Account Ledgers in its database, New York Emigrant Savings Bank, 1850-1883. (Please note that access to this database requires a personal membership or access to AncestryPlus at your local library.) The Real Estate Books may be accessed on microfilm at NYPL.

When searching Ancestry.com, you can structure your search by name, birth year and location, an additional event and location, and a keyword. As with any initial search, however, I believe that less is more. In some cases, an individual may be in the database, but will prove to be irretrievable as the information in the database does not match closely enough the search terms you have entered. My initial searches, therefore, begin with a surname, or a surname/first name  combination only. If such a search results in too large a list, I can then use selected additional search terms to help narrow the choices.

For purposes of illustration, I chose three individuals: Rose Holdcraft, William Barclay and John Conroy.

Rose Holdcraft’s index entry indicated that she was from co. Louth in Ireland. As my previous research into James Patrick Holdcraft has identified that his mother’s name was Rose McCabe and that the Holdcraft family lived in co. Louth, I have always been intrigued about the identity of this New York City Rose Holdcraft, whom I have encountered from time to time in my broader Holdcraft research. A search in the bank database for Rose Holdcraft resulted in an Index Book entry which indicated that she held account number 35986. It is useful, when looking at the record abstract, to click on “View Other Records Associated with this Account Number.” By doing so, I located the Test Book entry1 for account 35986. The transaction, dated 7 August 1863, indicated that Rose lived at 10 E. 37th Street and was employed as a domestic. She had emigrated in 1861 and, if I am reading the script correctly, arrived in New York City aboard the Lord Dufferin. (After only a quick search, however, I have been unable to locate her passenger arrival record.) Rose was single, born in 1833 in co. Louth, Ireland, the daughter of James H. and Mary (Chrighton/Creighton) Holdcraft. (It would be interesting to conduct further research to discover if James Patrick Holdcraft, born in co. Lough in 1836, and Rose Holdcraft, born there in 1833, might be related.) Don’t stop your search in the records too soon, however. There is also a Rose Holdcraft indexed as holding account #69388. Looking at the records associated with that account number, I located a January 1869 Transfer, Signature and Test Book entry2 that appears to pertain to the same Rose Holdcraft, as all information is identical, with the exception of the account number and the fact that only her mother’s name was listed, perhaps indicating that her father had died between 1863 and 1869. There is no index link between the two accounts.

William Barclay held account number 25300. The index led to a Test Book entry,3 dated 7 September 1860, indicating that William was born ca. 1837 in Sligo, Ireland, the son of Robert and Sarah (Alford) Barclay. He arrived in New York City on 29 September 1857 aboard the Prince Albert. At the time of the 1860 bank entry, he was single, living at 13 Elm Street, and employed as a waiter.

John Conroy held account number 40612. His Test Book entry,4 dated 11 May 1864, stated that he was born in Galway, Ireland, in 1830, arriving in New York City in 1850 aboard the Guy Mannering. A tanner by trade, John lived in  Shindeacon [sic] in Ulster County, New York. He was married to Elizabeth Kelly and had three children. I decided to see what other records I could locate based on the clues provided in the Test Book record.

  • I easily located John and Elisabeth [sic] in the 1860 federal censusliving in Shandaken, Ulster County, New York. John was 28; Elisabeth was 23; and they had a son, Thomas, aged four months. By trade, Thomas was a “hyde dresser.” I was unable, in the time available, to locate the family in subsequent censuses. Further research may locate them.
  • I then checked for a passenger arrival record, as the bank record had provided a specific ship’s name, the Guy Mannering, and an arrival date, 1850. Three John Conroys arrived in New York City aboard this particular ship, one on 16 June 1851,6 one on 11 April 1857,and one on 20 December 1860.The earliest of the three arrival records states that John Conroy was born ca. 1831, was a 20-year-old farmer, sailing from Liverpool with a destination of Albany, New York. The next record documents John Conroy, a 26-year-old laborer, also sailing from Liverpool. Unfortunately, this arrival record does not provide any destination information. Although the first record was close to the date specified in the bank record, the description of “farmer” does not seem to match John’s occupation of tanner, let alone the fact that, geographically, Ulster County is located at some distance from Albany. Although the second arrival record is dated six years later than the year indicated in the bank record, this John was a laborer, and thus a better fit with “tanner.” In addition, he arrived on the same ship with a Thomas Conroy, born in 1833, and also a laborer. It is therefore interesting to note that John and Elizabeth’s first child was named Thomas. The third John Conroy was a 21-year-old laborer, again sailing from Liverpool. He was, however, accompanied by Mary Conroy, a 35-year-old spinster, and Biddy Conroy, a 17-year-old spinster. Without further information, however, it is not possible to prove which arrival record might belong to John Conroy of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York.
  • Ancestry.com’s database, New York Genealogical Records, 1675-19209 includes a John Conroy, laborer, living in Rondout, Ulster County, New York, in 1857. This record would seem to rule out the arrival record of the John Conroy who arrived in 1860.
  • I was also able to locate John Conroy’s Civil War Draft Registration Card10 which lists his age, as of 1 July 1863, as 37 (therefore born about 1826). It further indicated that he was a laborer living in Shandaken, New York, located in the 13th Congressional District. Further research in Union Provost Marshal Records (Record Group 110), as well as in service and pension records at NARA or Fold3 may provide additional information about potential Civil War service. (Please note that his occupation as tanner might have provided him with an exemption from military service.)

Today, Emigrant Bank remains in business as the oldest bank in New York City, with assets, as of 31 December 2009, of $12.9 billion dollars, in addition to more than $900 million in total equity capital.11 For genealogical researchers, however, Emigrant Bank records contain a much rarer and priceless asset, the documentation of Irish emigrants to New York City and New York State, providing often difficult-to- locate information about the individual prior to his or her emigration from Ireland. Once that information is established, a world of new research possibilities will unfold before you.

_____

1 “New York Emigrant Savings Bank Records, 1850-1883,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012), image for Rose Holdcraft, account no. 35986 (1863); citing “Test Books, NYPL microfilm *R-USLHG*Z1-815, roll 7, New York Public Library, New York City.”

2 “New York Emigrant Savings Bank Records, 1850-1883,” digital images, Ancestry.com  (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012), image for Rose Holdcraft,  account no. 69388 (1869); citing “Transfer, Signature and Test Books, NYPL  microfilm, *R-USLHG*Z1-815, roll 11, New York Public Library, New York City.”

3 “New York Emigrant Savings Bank Records, 1850-1883,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012), image for William Barclay, account no. 25300 (1860); citing “Test Books, NYPL microfilm *R-USLHG*Z1-815, roll 6, New York Public Library, New York City.”

4 “New York Emigrant Savings Bank Records, 1850-1883,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012), image for John Conroy, account no. 40612 (1864); citing “Test Books, NYPL microfilm *R-USLHG*Z1-815, roll 6, New York Public Library, New York City.”

5 1850 U.S. census, Ulster County, New York, population schedule, Shandaken, page 947, dwelling 1504, family 1454, John Conroy; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012), citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 872.

6 “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012), List 727, line 6, image for John Conroy, age 20, arrived 16 June 1851 aboard the Guy Mannering; citing National Archives microfilm M237, roll 100.

7 “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012), List 302, line 34, image for John Conroy, age 26, arrived 11 April 1857 aboard the Guy Mannering; citing National Archives microfilm M237, roll 172.

8 “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 May 2012), List 1206, line 28, image for John Conroy, age 21, arrived 20 December 1860 aboard the Guy Mannering; citing National Archives microfilm M237, roll 207.

9 “New York Genealogical Records, 1675-1920,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012), image for John Conroy; citing The Kingston and Rondout Directory (N.Y., N.Y.: William H. Boyd, 1857).

10
“U.S., Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012), 13th Congressional District, volume 3 of 3, Class 2/3, A-Z, image for John Conroy (June 1863); citing various National Archives and Records Administration series.

11 “Emigrant Savings Bank. About Us. Emigrant Bank and Its Regional Banks Combined Statement of Financial Condition, December 31, 2009,” (http://www.emigrant.com/aboutus.shtml : accessed 30 May 2012).

National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers Research 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Thursday, May 24th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley

In October of last year, I read a review of James Marten’s Sing Not War: the Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2011). As I am always interested in Civil War-related books, I ordered the e-book edition to read while on a trip. Then, this last February, when developing my list of upcoming blog articles, my earlier reading prompted me to write about the records and history of the National Home for Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS) homes. Finally, while selecting lectures to attend at the recent NGS Family History Conference, I noted that Rick Sayre was presenting a lecture on this very topic. Clearly it was a sign that the topic was an important one to discuss here.

The Civil War introduced Americans to a level of destruction unparalleled in United States history. The impact of the war would affect American life for decades. Today as a society, we are more cognizant of war’s toll on veterans’ physical and psychological health, and programs exist to treat both their visible and invisible wounds and to assist them in their acclimatization back into civilian life. Following the Civil War, however, families were expected to take are of their own. While some families were capable of such often difficult and long-term care, others were either unable or unwilling to provide it.

I often wonder about my own great-great-uncle, George H. Duncan, a veteran of the 10th Massachusetts Infantry. I know little about his war-time life beyond his compiled service record and pension file. He has always been a “person of interest” to me, however, in that I knew my grandfather had done some research about him – and then abruptly stopped. I, of course, wanted to discover the full story. Census and city directory research covering the period from the war until George’s death in April 1880 outlined the life of an individual whose employment changed frequently, and who, with his wife and children, often lived with his parents or in-laws. I uncovered the final piece of the puzzle in a Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts) police blotter published a few days after George’s death. It reported that he had died while in the “city lockup” after falling and hitting his head on the floor “following an extended spree.” His death record states only that his cause of death was “accidental,” providing no further details. I have been able to find no obituary or death notice and this event, with its public declaration of an apparent alcohol problem, was never spoken of in a family who discussed past generations frequently. It would also suggest, perhaps, why my grandfather was reluctant to pursue (or even discuss) his research. After reading Marten’s book, I realized the extent to which George was not alone in his difficulties in dealing with his post-war problems. Indeed, he was one of thousands for whom peacetime held no refuge.

As the Civil War came to a close, Congress moved quickly to enact legislation establishing a series of asylums to provide assistance to wounded and/or disabled veterans who had volunteered during the conflict. An 1867 federal law established national asylums. Three regional branches were established in 1867 (Central Branch in Dayton, Ohio; Eastern Branch in Togus, Maine; and the Northwestern Branch in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and one in 1870 (Southern Branch in Hampton, Virginia). Veterans who qualified for residence lived in a quasi-military environment which was intended to provide discipline in and structure to their lives. Their access to pension or other funds, furthermore, was often restricted to prevent them from squandering it on alcohol and women while off the asylum. Rather than feeling a sense of entitlement, many Civil War vets believed themselves failures in having to rely on the charity of others. In part because of those feelings, and in part because of the general population’s increasingly enlightened understanding of their needs, the name “Asylum” was later changed to “Home.” Eventually the number of branches would be increased to fifteen, and in 1930 they would be consolidated into the Homes Division of the Veterans Administration.

Records of the NHDVS are housed in the National Archives (NARA) in Record Group 15, Records of the Veterans Administration. Registers of veterans living in the several NHDVS facilities have been microfilmed and can be viewed in NARA microfilm publication M1749. These microfilm records are indexed, but separately by regional home. This arrangement can lead to frustration if you searching for a specific individual as each person was able to request a specific home, and it may not have been the one located where you might most logically expect to find him. He may have chosen one near friends or relatives (or, conversely, as far away from them as possible), or perhaps he may have chosen one in which other members of his former unit were living.

This indexing issue is addressed by Ancestry.com’s online database U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 which provides you with an ability to search for an individual across twelve national homes (Bath Branch, Bath, New York; Battle Mountain Sanitarium, Hot Springs, South Dakota; Central Branch, Dayton, Ohio; Danville Branch, Danville, Illinois; Eastern Branch, Togus, Maine; Marion Branch, Marion, Indiana; Mountain Branch, Johnson City,  Tennessee; Northwestern Branch, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Pacific Branch, Los Angeles, California; Roseburg Branch, Roseburg, Oregon; Southern Branch, Hampton, Virginia; and the Western Branch in Leavenworth, Kansas). This database includes images of the registers for each of these facilities. The registers are divided into four sections – military history, domestic history, home history and general remarks for each resident. The military history section provides information on time and place of enlistment, rank, company and regiment, time and place of discharge, cause of discharge, and disabilities when admitted to the home. The domestic history section provides information on birth place, age, height, complexion, eye and hair color, ability to read and write, religion, occupation, residence subsequent to discharge, marital status and name and address of nearest relative. The home history section notes rate of pension, date of
admission, readmission or transfer to the home, condition of re-admission, date of discharge and transfer, cause of discharge, date of death, and cause of death. The general remarks section includes a list of the papers presented to qualify for
admission, effects at the time of the resident’s death and to whom they were paid, and location of grave. Please note in using this database that only names and some of the above descriptions have been indexed. It is possible, however, to view images of all of the records–including applications, admissions, deaths, burials, and hospital records–by browsing the collection.

My standard surname search for “Barkley” identified fifty-one individuals. Looking at one of these records, I learned that John Barkley, a resident of the NHDVS in Hampton, Virginia, enlisted at Monongahela City, Pennsylvania, on 9 August 1862, and served as a private in Co. E, 140th Pa. Infantry. He was discharged in Alexandria, Virginia, on 31 May 1865, with the rank of 1st Sergeant. After listing the general order under which he was discharged, the register notes that his disability stemmed from a gunshot wound to his right arm sustained in December 1862, and chronic bronchitis contracted at Falmouth, Virginia. He was born in Pennsylvania, and at the time of admittance was 75 years old. He was 5’8,” with a dark complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair (“wig” is written above these words!). John could read and write, was a Protestant, a laborer by occupation, and single. His nearest relative was Edward Barkley, who lived in New Eagle, Washington County, Pennsylvania [an abbreviated note seems to identify Edward as his brother]. John was admitted to the Hampton NHDVS on 7 June 1900. He was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month, and died of meningitis a little over three months later at 7:00 p.m. on 27 September 1900. Finally, the register notes that John’s pension certificate was #644386 and that his personal effects, $30.00 in cash and personal items appraised at $3.75, were dispersed to his nephew, Edward Barkley of New Eagle, Pennsylvania. John was buried in “New” National Cemetery (my assumption is that this refers to the National Cemetery in Hampton, Virginia) in grave #8002. Wow! Don’t you wish that John was your ancestor? Just think of all the additional records to which these register entries point!

The NHDVS were specifically for veterans who served as volunteers. Other homes were provided for regular army veterans as well as for veterans of the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. The various states of the former Confederacy also provided homes for their veterans.

If you had a Union volunteer soldier in your family, NHDVS records are well worth your research. If you identify an ancestor living in one of these homes, you may learn a great deal about him from these registers.

 

NGS Family History Conference 2012 – A Look Back 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Thursday, May 17th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley

It’s hard to believe that another NGS Family History Conference is over, but a look at my pile of receipts and new books, tells me that it is. Perhaps now would be a good time to look back at the conference and summarize some of my experiences.

I happily spent the majority of my conference time working in the genealogical.com booth in the exhibit hall. After years of library customers complaining about their ten cent fines, I enjoy selling books to individuals who happily exchange their hard-earned dollars for an interesting book. Although the booth featured a wide array of many bestselling titles published by Genealogical Publishing Company and Clearfield Company, clearly the favorites this year were the several Genealogy at a Glance and Quick Sheet titles. These laminated four-page sheets are attractive because they provide concise, useful information, are reasonably priced, and best of all, weigh almost nothing, thus making them the perfect resource to include when preparing for a research trip. (Please refer to Randy Seaver’s recent GeneaMusings article which reviewed the series.)

The most popular of the Quick Sheet topics proved to be The Historical Biographer’s Guide to Cluster Research (the FAN Principle) (Genealogical Publishing Co., 2012), which quickly sold out thanks to its being mentioned in various speakers’ lectures. In this title, Elizabeth Shown Mills shares her view that “to prove identity, origin, and parentage, [a researcher should] study individuals in the context of their ‘FAN Club’ Family, Associates, and Neighbors.”1 If you don’t have a copy of this title, you are missing out on an interesting concept and methodology that will certainly prove helpful in your brick wall research.

Although I returned home with several books from the booth, I also did quite well by other book vendors in the exhibit hall, arriving home on Sunday with twenty-four new titles for my home research library. Warning: Multiple book purchases may occur when you drive to a conference. Next year in Las Vegas, will not be a repeat of such abandon with regard to number, weight, and size of purchases! Some of my new titles are updated editions of books I already own; others represent new topics which will force me to shift my shelves yet again (and I thought I left that action behind when I retired from the library). I am looking forward to exploring these titles during my daily lunch/reading hour.

While at the conference, I was able to attend several lectures, with a concentration on those about the War of 1812. Lectures by Craig Scott and Paul Milner added much to my understanding of this rather forgotten war. (I also purchased CDs of these lectures from JAMB Tapes, Inc. If I play them enough while driving to research locations, I may actually be able to abs the information provided in the lecture!) Similarly, one of my new book purchases, John Grant and Ray Jones’ The War of 1812: a Guide to Battlefields and Historic Sites (Western New York Public Broadcasting Association, 2011), is a companion book to the PBS Television special on the war. Following a very informative introduction, Grant and Jones explore battlefields and sites in several theaters of the combat. I particularly like the fact that a concise synopsis of each battle is followed by a description of “What You’ll See Today.” Complementing the text are maps and illustrations.

One great exhibit hall feature is the opportunity to attend twenty-minute presentations on genealogically-related products. My favorite demonstration was Michael LeClerc’s presentation on Mocavo. I’m going to save my comments on this genealogy search engine for an upcoming blog article, but suffice it to say that I will now search Mocavo before, not after, Google.

My conference experience is always enriched by networking and social interactions. These opportunities are frequent for those of us who work in a vendor booth as we don’t have to go looking for you; instead you come to us! I cannot overstate my appreciation to all of you who came by the booth, realized that I am the blogger for genealogical.com, and shared with me your appreciation for my weekly efforts. It’s rewarding to know that you are on the other side of my computer screen, reading the blog every – well, maybe almost every – Friday. Also enjoyable were those moments when I could talk with an individual interested in writing a book for publication, or who had a research question that one of us in the booth could answer. These interactions sometimes extend beyond exhibit hours with conversations over dinner or a glass of wine. Cincinnati has great restaurants, and I spent the week enjoying sticky toffee pudding (three times!), mussels, cashew crusted tilapia, and Graeter’s ice cream. In fact, one of my favorite things was the exhibit hall vendor who baked chocolate chip cookies throughout the day. The aroma, wafting over the booths, proved irresistible!

The annual NGS Family History Conference provides a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills, be exposed to new resources, reconnect with friends, meet new people, make new professional connections, add to your home library, update your software – and eat well. I’m already looking forward to the 2013 conference in Las Vegas.

____________

1 Elizabeth Shown Mills, QuickSheet* The Historical Biographer’s Guide to Cluster Research (the FAN Principle) (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2012), 1.

Blogs and Genealogy 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Sunday, May 13th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley

Hi! My name is Carolyn and I write blogs. Since 2008, when this blog first began to appear, I have written  a weekly article. Sometimes they are written easily in the middle of sunny Sunday afternoons, a glass of wine (or two) on my
desk; sometimes my muse approaches late on Monday evening; more often she appears at 5:30 a.m. on the day the article is due. About every two months, I wrack my brain in order to create the list of topics for the upcoming eight
weeks. Needless to say, this latter task becomes more challenging as time passes. Have I written about this topic before? Will anyone be interested in the topic? Do I know anything about the topic? My friends are resigned to the
fact that I will pick their brains for topic ideas when we meet at conferences.

If I have made the writing process sound onerous, please be assured that it is not. Each week I can enjoy an opportunity to share my thoughts, my research, and always, to learn more about a specific topic. While the registration process to submit comments through this blog is imperfect, readers often contact me via my personal email to share their comments on an article. In this fashion, I have “met” several individuals who have ties to a family I’ve used as an example, and have shared their information with me. Thank you to all of you who have shared that you are regular readers.

More importantly, however, writing a weekly blog has offered me a deep appreciation for the time and effort of other genealogical bloggers, particularly those who write several posts per week. Their efforts provide rich, although informal, mentoring and life-long learning opportunities.

In March 2011, I wrote an article entitled “Blog Sites Not to Miss.” After reviewing it, I thought I would summarize some of its information, and then share with you a few additional blogs that I have discovered and now read regularly.

Your most difficult task may be to discover what genealogical blogs exist. Genealogical Blog Finder is one of the best sites offering lists of current genealogical blogs. It now tracks 1,784 blogs categorized into a long list of topics: genealogy news; personal research; localities; tips, resources and reviews; technology; specific nationalities, ethnicities or religions; genetics; podcasts; libraries; associations and societies; queries, professional genealogists, cemeteries; and many more. I recommend that you browse through some of the other categories as well. Once you identify a specific blog, you can then subscribe to its RSS feed. In the past, you have been able to suggest a blog to be added to this site, but they are no longer offering this service. GeneaBloggers also arranges genealogy blogs into categories. Its categories, however, are more specific than those on Genealogical Blog Finder, and include categories for individual states and countries, as well as such well-defined areas as genealogy vendors, recipes and tools, humor, DNA genealogy, forensic genealogy, diaries, and many more. GeneaBloggers provides access to approximately 2,500 different blogs and also offers helpful resources for bloggers.

Now that I’ve joined the ranks of webinar attendees, GeneaWebinars is proving to be a very important blog, and one I consult regularly. Many webinar opportunities exist, but I found that I was learning of them only at the last minute – or even after the fact – when someone mentioned them on Facebook. Now, by checking the GeneaWebinars blog at least once per week, I can learn about upcoming webinars, register for them, and then link them to my Outlook calendar. What a concept! When I checked this site prior to writing this description, I was able to review a list of eleven webinars between today (11 May) and 22 June. Please note: I immediately stopped writing this article long enough to register for an upcoming webinar, and will probably sign up for a couple more after I can check my calendar more closely. This site is a must if you are interested in free, convenient continuing education, accessible from the comfort of your own home.

I have recently begun to read some new (at least to me) blogs. One of these blogs is The Legal Genealogist, written by lawyer and genealogist Judy G. Russell. Her blog features daily postings and her topics are varied – sometimes personal observations or reminiscences, sometimes strictly informative. Recent topics include opinions on the continued attacks on the SSDI, and the terms of use of the Ellis Island website (a must reading for all users of that site). Judy also recently presented a webinar on copyright for genealogists, one of the best lectures I have heard in a long time. Regardless of the topic, you will always learn something new from this well-written blog.

Another blog newly added to my regular reading list is Meldon J. Wolfgang’s Mnemosyne’s Magic Mirror. Pondering over this title, I finally had to look up the reference. It turns out to be a lovely title for a genealogical blog as Mnemosyne was the Greek goddess of memory, as well as the mother of the muses. How fitting! Mel’s topics are eclectic in nature, but never fail to entertain and inform. The current topic (5 May) is “Kentucky Derby 2012: From Pedigree Charts to a Family Connection.” Other recent topics include such interesting topics as “Archives? Who Needs All That Old Stuff? A Look at Our Northern Neighbors?;” and the intriguingly titled and entertaining “Triple-Washed Veggies, Old Erie Canal Style.”

A blog that sounds more narrow in scope, but that is actually quite inclusive, is Massachusetts Meanderings and More written by “Bonnie” who lives, of all places for a blogger about Massachusetts, in Washington State. In looking at her March 20, 2012 posting (this blog has an “occasional” posting schedule) of an article about the side of her family that migrated from Canada to Washington State, I was delighted to find a link to The Barclays of Pine River, concerning the “lives of George and Amarilla Barclay,” that I will definitely find time to read soon. Another article, written in April 2011, concerns Springfield (Massachusetts) Cemetery, where several of my ancestors are buried, and a July 2011 article is a review of a book for which I did the layout and indexing, Abel Goss of Lower Waterford, by David Philip Goss (Otter Bay Books, 2011). I have enjoyed the several connections that I have found with the topics of such articles.

Two final blogs of interest, both occasional in their postings, are Craig R. Scott’s As Craig Sees It, in which he writes about a variety of topics such as recent posts on “My Favorite NARA Record Group” (RG 217, Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury), and “Genealogical Theories: I am Collecting Them,” and Stump Craig, a more active site at which you can post a research question and get very useful methodologies and comments (sometimes funny) to help you resolve your particular problem. This latter blog is a great opportunity to learn from an expert.

Blogs are a continual source of information about resources, families, institutions, cemeteries and more. Every time I read one, I discover something of value which either adds to my understanding of genealogy or history in general, or which applies specifically to my ancestral families and locations. Sometimes blog articles make me smile at a well-written turn of phrase or an entertaining observation or treatment of a topic. Others make me think or reexamine my understanding of a topic. Genealogical blogs are worth every minute that I spend reading them and I am inspired by them. I hope you will be too!

 

NGS Conference – Final Day 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Saturday, May 12th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley

At approximately 3:00 this afternoon, the lights dimmed in the exhibit hall and the “pipe and drape” guys quickly – and noisily – began to dismantle the booths. Soon everything was packed safely into boxes and we were ready to leave the exhibit hall. For me, that is the moment which seems most like the last day of camp when we were kids. I may be glad to be headed home, but I hate to part with friends in the close-knit community of fellow exhibitors, speakers, and friends.

I will not be attending FGS in Birmingham (or cruising with TMG) this year because of the timing of my late-summer trip to Scotland, so it will be another year before some of our paths cross again. As I set in my hotel room this evening, savoring my Graeter’s (a Cincinnati favorite since 1870) black cherry chip (think chunk rather than chip) ice cream, I look back on a successful and enjoyable week.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by the booth to say hello and tell me that you enjoy reading the blog…you made my day each and every time this happened.

Please stay tuned for an interim post this coming Monday, and then we will be back on the normal Friday posting schedule on the 18th.

Put NGS Family History Conference 2013 (Las Vegas) on your calendars now. I will look forward to meeting you then.

NGS Conference – Day Three 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Saturday, May 12th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

by Carolyn L. Barkley

Conferences take on a life of their own, with an ebb and flow in the exhibit hall that is driven by the session schedule. Periods of intense activity alternate with quieter hours during sessions. On Friday, individuals who had been browsing all week, began to make their final selections. Some were more cautious as they were flying home (and genealogical books are notoriously heavy); others, who were driving home, were less concerned by size and weight.

I must admit that my fondest desire is to have speakers, when preparing their lectures, contact the publishers (or at least the booksellers who normally have booths at genealogical conferences) and share with them the specific titles that they will be recommending during a lecture. No book seller wants to disappoint potential buyers with “Sorry, we don’t have that title at the conference;” or “Sorry, that book is out of print;” or “Sorry, we’ve sold the one copy we brought with us.” Granted, book sellers can sometimes anticipate popular topics based on early views of the syllabus, but that direct contact between speaker and bookseller would be very helpful.

Several people played hooky from Friday’s 9:30 session to stop at the genealogical.com booth and talk with Elizabeth Shown Mills during a book-signing. If you have not seen her new web-site Evidence-Explained.com, be sure to (and I’ll be writing more about it soon).

I spent the day looking forward to the 100th anniversary of NGSQ reception, for which I had purchased a ticket. Afterwards, I was left wondering why it was not a more festive (meaning celebratory) event. To provide full disclosure, I arrived half-an-hour late (my conference bag was heavy and therefore I took it back to my hotel room). However, a full hour of the reception’s scheduled time remained when I did arrive. Yes, there were lots of people, but they must have been very hungry, as most of the buffet items were completely depleted (often never to be replenished). While I do understand the very human behavior of large groups at buffet tables, I was surprised by the lack of a celebratory atmosphere, almost as if we had forgotten how to throw a party – or at the very least how to congratulate ourselves.  While I’m not asking for clusters of balloons and noise-makers, I was surprised by the lack of formal remarks and introductions to mark the occasion (did I miss them due to my absence during the first half-hour?). The anniversary brochure was nicely done, but the small TV-sized monitors showing pictures of editors and early title pages were lost among the crowd. In this day of dwindling print journals of this stature and longevity, NGSQ’s significant achievements deserved more. In my humble opinion…

NGS Conference – Day Two 

Filed under: Genealogy Tips on Friday, May 11th, 2012 by Carolyn L. | No Comments

Day two in Cincinnati at the NGS Family History Conference. Some of the best opportunities at the conference are the various twenty-minute demonstrations held in the back of the hall. I attended one such presentation on the basic features of the genealogy-specific search engine, Mocavo, and another on the Flip-Pal‘s capability of scanning large documents in separate pieces which the software included with this handy scanner then “stitches together” to create one high-quality digital image of the original. While a twenty-minute session does not provide an opportunity for a comprehensive presentation, it can provide sufficient information to support a confident attempt to put into practice what was demonstrated in the short time available.

I also attended a second lecture on the War of 1812, this time from the British army’s perspective. For anyone interested in both British and  military research, Paul Milner’s presentation was excellent.

The highlight of my day was touring the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. I have never toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., but I imagine that the impact might be similar. The museum’s mission of sharing “stories about Freedom’s heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom today” is well portrayed through informative exhibits housed in a spacious and well-designed building in a riverside setting. For me, one of the most moving exhibits was the 177-year-old slave pen building that was preserved by and discovered in a tobacco barn in Kentucky. Excavated and reassembled at the museum, its austere plainness is evokes its original use and time period.

My pile of additions to my home library is growing steadily higher in the corner of my hotel room and I imagine that day three will see a few more additions.

NGS Conference – Day One 

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

Today was the first day of the 2012 NGS Family History Conference in Cincinnati. For those of us working in the exhibit hall, the day went from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye. One minute we weren’t open yet; the next hundreds of people were streaming through the main exhibit entrance.

As always, early visitors to the genealogical.com booth came well-prepared, book lists in hands, intent on purchasing their books early. All the book vendors, however, were crowded, calling into question the often touted death of the printed word – it definitely is not among this group! That being said, several individuals asked about the availability of titles as e-books (the majority mentioning the weight of the title in question!).

For the several days of the conference, the exhibit hall is a small and tightly-knit community offering an amazing depth of knowledge of methodologies and resources. Individuals with questions that staff in one booth may not be able to answer are referred to other booths whose staff may have the specialized knowledge to assist. Networking and informal mentoring occur throughout the day. Today I was part of conversations on as disparate topics as Scots in Jamaica (genealogical.com did have a book on the topic) and Irish immigrants who came to the United States via Trinidad in the early 1800s (which resulted in a referral to an Irish expert). A chance conversation in the lunch line may lead to a future client project and I enjoyed conversations with former library friends and colleagues, and meetings with genealogical friends whose company I enjoy, but regrettably see only a few times a year.

I was able to leave the booth long enough to attend a very informative (and enjoyable) lecture on the War of 1812 presented by Craig Roberts Scott, who offered me a significantly clearer understanding of how to determine if I might have a War of 1812 ancestor and how to proceed with research concerning this military period.

After a full day in the booth, I was happy to adjourn to Nicholson’s Gastropub, one of my favorite Cincinnati restaurants, in part because it looks almost exactly like The Mitre on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, and in part because of the great food. My pint of Strongbow cider, mussels in white wine and garlic sauce, and sticky toffee pudding put a fine point on the day.

Tomorrow will include more lectures and exhibit hall demonstrations, so stay tuned for tomorrow evening’s conference blog installment. If you are attending the conference, please stop by the genealogical.com (Genealogical Publishing Company/Clearfield) booth and say hi.