cemetery, locating cemeteries, finding gravestones

Locating and Visiting Cemeteries

Editor’s note: The following post is by William Dollarhide, who has not only provided excellent tips of both the serious and witty variety, but is an accomplished Genealogical Publishing Company author. As Mr. Dollarhide excels not only an author but also as a gifted speaker and award winning genealogist, we are always delighted to share his advice, wisdom and wit with our readers. This is part one of his coverage of the topic of locating and visiting cemeteries. 

Locating and Visiting Cemeteries – Part One

DOLLARHIDE GENEALOGY RULE #21: To understand the living, you have to commune with the dead–but don’t commune with the dead so long that you forget that you are living! (From “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”)

Although I would not consider myself to be obsessed with death, burials, or other ghoulish activities, I have had some wonderful experiences in cemeteries. I am sure I am not alone. Since visiting cemeteries is part of what we do to find information about our ancestors, every genealogist has a cemetery story. These stories may include the weird problems associated with cemeteries as well as the wonderful discoveries that can be found there.

To most genealogists, the first problem is always that of finding the exact location of a cemetery where an ancestor was supposed to have been buried. But once the cemetery has been located, other problems prevail, such as finding a gravestone in an old unkempt graveyard with no finding aids available.

Here are some thoughts on finding and visiting cemeteries that may be of use to genealogists:

Finding-Tools for Locating Cemeteries

Death Certificates and Funeral Homes

A death certificate may give the name of a cemetery where the deceased was interred, as well as the name of a funeral home. The funeral home (or its successor) is probably still in business and should be contacted. To do this, use the “Yellow Book” (a directory of funeral homes) to find a funeral home today. Funeral home directors are clearly the best experts on the location of cemeteries in a particular area.

The “Yellow Book” is distributed annually to every funeral home in North America. Anyone should be able to call or visit a local funeral home and request to use their directory to find an address and phone number for any other funeral home. Fortunately, the same “Yellow Book” database is now on the Internet at www.funeralnet.com where the address and phone number for virtually every funeral home in the U.S. and Canada can be found online.

GENEALOGY RULE #3: When visiting a funeral home, wear old clothes, no makeup, and look like you have about a week to live–the funeral director will give you anything you ask for if he thinks you may be a customer soon.

Obituaries

Another possible source for locating a cemetery where an ancestor was buried is to see if a printed obituary for the deceased person includes information about where the body was interred. Obituaries are found in newspapers published near the place where a person died. Many old newspapers are available to genealogical researchers on microfilm, and they usually are located in a public library, college library, archives, genealogical society, historical society, or some other institution near the place of death of the subject.

A two-volume publication, “Newspapers in Microform,” published by the Library of Congress, is the best listing of what newspapers might be found on microfilm. The publication acts as a means of identifying and then borrowing rolls of film, which can be used at a local library through the national Interlibrary Loan System at more than 6,000 libraries in the U.S.

In addition, state libraries or state archives usually have the best collection of newspapers for a particular state. Most state archives now have a website on the Internet, where you may discover a detailed review of county newspapers.

The Internet is also a good place to search for obituaries that may have been published for a particular area. Check www.cyndislist.com under that category, or use your browser to search the web for the keyword, “obituaries.”

Using the GNIS to Find a Cemetery

There is another great tool for locating a particular cemetery that may not be obvious to researchers. The most complete listing and locations of named cemeteries in the U.S. can be found at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website at http://nhd.usgs.gov/gnis.html.

This site has the USGS’s Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), which encompasses some two million place names (map features) in America, of which about 107,000 are cemeteries. The GNIS includes the largest list of named cemeteries published anywhere. (A few years ago, a very expensive printed publication advertised as the “most complete list of cemeteries in America” was produced, showing about 25,000 cemeteries–less than one-fourth the number that can be found in the GNIS listing.)

The GNIS cemetery names were taken from the detailed maps of the 7.5 x 7.5 minute series published by the USGS. (Each map in this series covers 7.5 minutes of latitude and 7.5 minutes of longitude, a rectangle representing an area about 6-7 miles wide by about 7-8 miles deep.) For the 7.5 series, more than 50,000 maps were required to show the entire U.S. and its possessions.

In addition to cemeteries, all other named features from the maps were extracted, including cities, towns, villages, hills, mountains, valleys, oil fields, airports, post offices, streams, lakes, and any other place on a map with a name. For years, genealogists were compelled to pay up to $3.00 per map for the USGS 7.5 series maps. Today, they are all accessible from the Internet and can be downloaded directly to your printer.

Image credit: By Kevin M. Byrne (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Aberdeen Scotland

The People of Aberdeen, Scotland

Genealogical Publishing Company is pleased to announce another excellent publication from author and expert,  David Dobson, The People of the Scottish Burghs: A Genealogical Source Book. The People of Aberdeen, 1600-1799. Many genealogical researchers are familiar with other publications from Dr. Dobson, such as Irish Emigrants in North America and Scottish-German Links, 1550-1850, just two titles of over twenty acclaimed works in the Genealogical Publishing Company collection.

Mr. Dobson’s new book, The People of the Scottish Burghs: A Genealogical Source Book. The People of Aberdeen, 1600-1799, is now available for purchase on the Genealogical.com website.

Aberdeen during the early modem period contained two distinct burghs–Old Aberdeen, the original settlement, and New Aberdeen. Old Aberdeen was an important ecclesiastical town and, with King’s College, an educational center in the medieval and early modem period. Additionally, a Royal Charter of 1179 confirmed the commercial rights of the burgesses of the old town, the social and economic elite of any burgh. A mile or so distant lay another settlement known as Aberdeen. This was the commercial center of north east Scotland, with trading links all around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. New Aberdeen was a Royal Burgh with a major port and, from 1593, was the home of Marischal College, an important center of learning. The two Aberdeens functioned separately until they formally merged in 1898. The two colleges–King’s and Marischal–amalgamated in 1860 to form Aberdeen University.

During the 17th and 18th centuries Aberdeen was an important administrative center and market in north east Scotland. Its vessels traded increasingly across the Atlantic to the West Indies and the Thirteen Colonies. Aberdeen was also a major fishing port and participated in whaling around Greenland. Emigration from Aberdeen was mainly to Scandinavia, Poland, and the Netherlands and latterly to the Americas, as is shown in this source book.

The People of Aberdeen concentrates on the period from 1600 to 1800 when Aberdeen was one of the main cities in Scotland. By the middle of the 17th century it had a population around 5,000; however, by the close of the 18th century the population had nearly tripled to 17,500. Dr. David Dobson, the compiler of this collection of Aberdeen’s inhabitants during the era of New World emigration, consulted a range of documentary sources, including testaments, deeds, sassines [property], marriage contracts, bonds, court records, and others, all of which provide a useful insight into the lives of the people of the period. Dr. Dobson identifies each of the nearly 2,000 inhabitants of Aberdeen by name, occupation, a date, and the source. In many instances he also provides additional facts, such as the name(s) of family members, if/when traveled to the Americas, contestants in civil suits, and so on.
Nb. The People of Aberdeen, 1600-1799 should be used in conjunction with Frances McDonnell’s Roll of Apprentices, Burgh of Aberdeen, 1622-1796 and her Register of Testaments, Aberdeen, 1715-1800, both published by the Clearfield Company.

Image credit: Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland. By Photochrom Print Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

white slave children

White Slave Children of Maryland and Virginia

Picking up where he left off in his acclaimed book Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records, Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips has now taken the story back even further — back to the scenes of the original crimes–kidnapping of children to be sold into slavery (ca. 1660-1720).

In his original book, Dr. Phillips identified 5,290 “servants” without indentures, transported against their will. He culled that evidence from the Court Order Books of colonial Maryland and Virginia, where the county courts were authorized to examine the children, adjudge their ages, and sentence them to slavery for a number of years. The younger the child, the longer the sentence. In this book, White Slave Children of Colonial Maryland and Virgina: Birth and Shipping Records, compiled from shipping records found in the Library of Congress, the Bristol [England] Record Office, and elsewhere, the author has identified 170 ships that carried white slave children to the plantations of colonial Maryland and Virginia. The shipping records itemize the unfortunate kids as “cargo” and specify the import duties paid to the Royal Naval Officers for each child. The white slave ships sailed from no fewer than seventeen ports of departure in England. Continue reading…

Bernardo Galvez, chronology of Spanish troops in the revolutionary war

Chronology of Spanish troops in the Revolutionary War

Leroy Martinez’ new book, From Across the Spanish Empire: Spanish Soldiers Who Helped Win the American Revolutionary War, 1776-1783, provides the first comprehensive list of Spanish soldiers who served in North America during the U.S. War for Independence.  Separate chapters list those who served in Arizona, California, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. In most cases Mr. Martinez identifies each soldier by name, military unit, rank and date, and the source, as well as sometimes by age, place of origin in Europe, theater served in, and other factors. Mr. Martinez  extracted his lists of servicemen from original sources found in the Archives of Spanish Naval Museum in Madrid, the U.S. Library of Congress, and in state archives in Texas, Arizona, and California. In all the author sheds light upon 7,500 Spanish combatants who served in North America during the American Revolution, any one of whom could qualify a descendant for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution or related lineage organizations.

Besides the rosters comprising the heart of his work, the Martinez has included a number of illustrations of military uniforms, original documents, and other artifacts from the era – including the records of his own ancestors. In addition, the book contains a very useful chronology of events involving Spanish forces during the Revolution, which could trigger clues for researchers possessing Hispanic ancestors.

Chronology of events involving Spanish forces during the Revolutionary War

Reprinted from From Across the Spanish Empirewe hope the following chronology from Chapter II Events from 1565-1784 is helpful to our readers. It includes foundational events, as well as a timeline of activities related to Spanish soldiers involvement in the Revolutionary War:

1565 St. Augustine, Florida settled by Pedro Menendez de Aviles followed by earlier explorations.

1598 Onate Expedition to settle New Mexico Province followed by earlier explorations. This included Texas, Southern Colorado, Southwest Kansas, Oklahoma panhandle, part of Utah, and part of Arizona.

1610 New Mexico capital moved to Santa Fe from the San Juan Pueblo area. 1762 Spain enters war with Britain and is allied with France in Seven Years’ War. 1762, August 23 Havana, British capture Cuba from Spain.

1763, February Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years’ War in America : Spain loses Florida as part of the treaty, but the King of France cedes Louisiana west of the Mississippi River to Spain to compensate Spain for its loss of Florida.

1769, July-August Spain takes formal possession of Louisiana with regiments from Havana, detachments of Aragon and Guadalajara, America New Spain dragoons, and Havana militia.

1775, November 29 Continental Congress establishes a committee to seek foreign aid mostly from France and Spain.

1776, May 1 Spain and France secretly agreed to send money and future aid to the Continental Army.

1776, May American George Gibson and William Linn sent to Spanish New Orleans for arms and supplies.

1776, August General Charles Henry Lee, second in command, sent Capt. George Gibson and 16 colonists from Fort Pitt to Spanish New Orleans for additional aid.

1776, September Spain sent 9000 pounds of gunpowder up the Mississippi River to Fort Pitt, and 1000 pounds of gunpowder by ship to Philadelphia. This plan was intended before July 4, 1776.

1776, November 25 King Carlos III orders Gov. Bernardo Galvez to secretly provide intelligence about the British.

1776, November 26 Spanish Governor Bernardo Galvez received orders to send gunpowder to the colonist via the Mississippi River. The gunpowder total cost was about $70,000. Secret commissioners were sent to English colonies as spies.

1776, December 24 Spanish royal order to aid American colonists in secret because both France and Spain wanted to remain neutral for the time being.

1777, Spain sent 2000 barrels of gunpowder, lead, and clothing up to the Mississippi River to the colonists. Also, Spain sent 1 million “Livres” and additional provisions for reaching Fort Pitt (Pennsylvania) .

1777 Secret Committee Chairman Benjamin Franklin requested and was granted 215 cannons, 4000 tents, gunpowder, 13,000 grenades, 30,000 muskets, bayonets, uniforms, 50,000 balls, and gunpowder.

1777 October Patrick Henry wrote two letters to Galvez thanking Spain for its help and requesting more aid. He suggested that the Floridas should be returned to Spain after the war.

1778-1779 George Rogers Clark obtained supplies from Galvez in New Orleans. These supplies were used in attacking the British at Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes.

1778, January Patrick Henry wrote another letter to Bernardo Galvez requesting more supplies.

1778, February The treaty of alliance between France and the United States obligated Spain to assist France against the English. Galvez began to recruit an army and militia in Louisiana.

1778, March James Willing left Fort Pitt with 30 men to New Orleans and received more supplies for the war. They were welcomed by Galvez in New Orleans, and Willing left to return to Fort Pitt. James Willing was protected from the British by Galvez in New Orleans.

1779, May 8 Spain formally declares war against the British and becomes allies with all of the British enemies e.g. France and the Continental Army.

1779 Spain seizes Baton Rouge and Natchez from the British. Soldiers included detachments from regiments Louisiana, Louisiana militia (men 18- 60 years), and the New Orleans Carabineers.

1779-1782 Spanish ranchers in Texas area provided up to 15,000 cattle to support Galvez’ soldiers, along with several hundred horses, mules, bulls. Some of these cattle were sent to the Continental troops at Valley Forge.

1779 Males over 18, including Indians, in New Spain were required to become members of the militia in Louisiana in the Southwest.

1779, June 21 Spain declared war on England .. Spani’s King Carlos III ordered all Spanish subjects around the world to fight the English wherever they could be found.

1779, August 27-September 7 Galvez Spanish Army in New Orleans travels 90 miles up the Mississippi River to attack Fort Bute, in Manchac, Louisiana.

1779, August 29 King Carlos III proclaimed that the Spanish troops in America was to drive the British out of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River.

1779, September 20 Galvez’ Army captures the British Baton Rouge and Fort Natchez. 1779, November 8 Jefferson wrote to Galvez thanking him for Spain’s assistance.

1779, November Fort Omoa, Honduras, is recaptured by Spain against the British. Combattants include the Guatemala Dragoons and militias. Spain originally crossed over land to reach the Pacific Ocean.

1780 Carlos III issued a royal order requesting a one-time voluntary donation in New Spain, called “Donativo,” amounting to two Pesos per Spaniard and one peso per Native American throughout Spain’s New World Empire. Almost I million pesos was received in New Spain and half that amount was later forwarded to the Continental Army for aid in the American Revolution .

1780, January 28 – March 14 Galvez led the attack on the British Fort at Mobile, today’s Alabama.

1780, May 26 Spanish military at Fort San Carlos, St. Louis, aided Clark in the conquest of the territories northwest of the Ohio River, and against the British Indian attack on St. Louis in 1780.

1780, May Spanish Fort in Upper Louisiana, (today St. Louis, Missouri), repulses the British and Indian attack from losing the Mississippi River location. Spanish soldiers were the regiments of Louisiana and the St. Louis militia.

1780, October 16 Galvez led the Spanish fleet of 15 warships and 59 transport ships from Havana to attack Pensacola.

1780, November 22 Fort Carlos Spanish Commander Balthazar de Villiers went across the Mississippi River with a detachment of Spanish soldiers to capture the English Fort Concordia.

1781, January 2 Spanish soldiers travel up the Mississippi River to British Fort St. Joseph, Illinois, to capture the fort and destroy the British stockade.

1781, January The British failed in attacking Las Adeas Fort, near Mobile. Spanish defenderss were regiments from Havana, Principe, Espana, Navarro, and Louisiana militia.

1781, March 9 Spanish siege of Pensacola, West Florida. Soldiers were regiments of Soria, Corona, Aragon, Rey, Guadalajara , Hibernia, Flandes, Napoles, 2″d Catalonian Volunteers, Espania, Navarra, Zamora, Extremadura, Leon, and Principe. Detachments were from Toledo, Mallorca, Louisiana, and Havana: Louisiana dragoons, America dragoons, detachment of Louisiana militia, Havana Grenadiers of Mulatto and Moreno militia .

1781, June 28 Natchez recaptured from the British, after it was taken in May 1781. Soldiers were from the detachments of Regiment Louisiana and Louisiana militia.

1781, August Washington and others drank a toast thanking the Spanish King and French King at the home of Robert Morris, Philadelphia.

1781, October 19 General Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. Funds to pay the French soldiers and money came from private citizens of Cuba.

1782, May 8 Bernardo Galvez’ army, aided by American Navy Commander Alexander Gillon of the South Carolina frigate, captured Nassau, Bahamas. Soldiers were from Guadalajara, Espana, the New Spain’s Corona regiment, Havana Pardo and Moreno regiments.

1783, April 18 British retake Nassau, Bahamas, the British naval fleet location used during the American Revolution against the colonists and Spain.

1783, April Spanish capture the Arkansas post. Spanish soldiers and militia defeated the British.

1783, September 3the signing of the Treaty of Paris 1783 ended the war between England, the United States, Spain, and France. Ratifications were not finished until 1784.

1784 U.S. Congress formally cited Galvez and Spain for their aid.

1784 Congressional records indicated that a portrait of Galvez be placed in the Congressional assembly room.

2014 Congress votes to admit Bernardo Galvez as a Citizen of the United States.

2014 Efforts have been addressed to replace the portrait of Galvez and have it placed back in the halls of Congress.

Image credit: The Spanish General Bernardo de Gálvez, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

canada

Celebrating Canada’s Anniversaries

Editor’s Note: The following post celebrating notable Canadian anniversaries, such as the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada, is by Genealogical Publishing Company author Denise Larson. We’ve featured her writing here on the blog before, in such posts as Maine Genealogy Parts I and II, and Genealogy Isn’t Just Finding Dead People.

Ms. Larson’s published work related to Canada includes Companions of Champlain: Founding Families of Quebec, 1608-1635, as well Genealogy at a Glance: French-Canadian Genealogy Research. “Companions” provides readers with a concise historical overview of the founding of Quebec and French-Canadian culture and with the research tools necessary to link their family lines with those of the original 18 pioneer families who inhabited Quebec during the lifetime of the city’s founder, Samuel de Champlain.

Please enjoy the post below by Denise Larson:

Sesquicentennial, Sesquarcentennial, Quadricentennial – All Add Up to Celebrating Canada as a Nation

Next year, in 2017, Canadians all across the continent will be celebrating the sesquicentennial–150th anniversary–of the Confederation of Canada. Under Confederation, “Canada” became the official name of the federal union of the provinces of Ontario (formerly Upper Canada), Quebec (formerly Lower Canada), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. The act provided for the union of the four provinces into the Dominion of Canada under the Crown of the United Kingdom. Provisions were made for the admission of the other provinces as well as Rupert’s Land and the Northwest Territories. The British North America Act of 1867 was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain and went into effect July 1 of that year. July 1 is known as Canada Day. Continue reading…