TSGS Cruiser Blog

Saturday, August 11, 2012

1833 Eagle Map of the USA

This is a really cool map that can be viewed by zooming-in on it!

The Eagle Map of the United States engraved for Rudiments of National Knowledge by Isaac W. Moore c1833.  Relief shown pictorially. Shows the image of an eagle superimposed on the United States.  Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1832 by J. Churchman in the Clerk's Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Explore the full map at http://zoom.it/bQKe
NOTE: the link to Accessible Archives takes you to their Face Book Timeline site that has many, many interesting photos to enjoy & share.  They provide full-text searchable access to vast quantities of archived early American historical publications for an annual fee.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Open letter to a Cousin"

Dear Cousin,

A few pointers about family history research.   As you might know I have been learning about my family for over 50 years with the more serious (trained) researching beginning in 1978, providing me nearly 35 years of trial & error work and many workshops & seminars to learn about pitfalls to our research. Here are a few I have found: 1.) Always be like a detective wondering why, where, when, etc.; 2.) look for evidence that proves the facts you find; 3.) family members are good sources for general info, but their memories may not always be completely correct... the facts that they were given or discovered may not be correct; 4.) documents are not always completely accurate - many rely on informants with typos & miss-spellings; 5.) the census is a good source and gives a nice picture of a person's life & family since it is taken every 10 years, but, again relies on an informant and the census taker (both capable of errors, plus the difficulty with some census being able to read the handwriting or faded ink!). With the census a person's ages are not always about 10 years apart from one census to the next which means you need to treat the ages as being approximate ages and sort of averages out over several census reports. Always try to get at least 3 documents or sources to establish facts. It is important to cite your sources and where you can find them again! It is always a possibility that records are intentionally falsified to protect the innocent and/or guilty! Names are changed to start a new life.  Remember that names were recorded by others in records and according to how the recorder thought it should be spelled and over time the name's spelling would evolve to a different spelling.  Names often vary in spelling from generation to generation, from location to location and many times from individual to individual... look for all possible variants of how the name might be spelled.  Many times the name was spelled as it sounded (just think how accents might play into that problem!)  Avoid assuming that someone has died because you can no longer find any records about them... from experience these people have a tendency to show up 20, 30 or 40 years later!!! You can suggest that such and such happened, but avoid assuming that it is fact!  One final point... not everything written in stone is correct!  Grave markers are ordered by someone to mark the grave of themselves (before they die) or by another person taking that responsibility (usually after someone was buried - sometimes many years later!!!).  The information on it is subject to the knowledge of the person ordering the marker.  Do not rule out that the engraver may have made a mistake, as well.

I suspect that you are far enough along in learning about your family to know about much that I have said, but I hope it helps you to avoid some of the common problems with researching your family history.  All of us that are learning about our family history should try to avoid these common problems.  That includes me for sure!  Often the longer we are learning about our family lines, the more we tend to forget basic problems.  Sincerely, your cousin John

Readers, do you have some other common "pitfalls" to avoid?  Please share them with all of us!

- Written by JGWest

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tombstone Thursday - Brewer

Waubonsie Cemetery
Mills County, Iowa
Candis Brewer
Wife of Amos Williams
1807 - 1873

Candis Brewer is the grand daughter of John G. West's ancestor Thomas West, Jr. and her husband Amos Williams was the brother of John G. West's ancestor James Williams, Jr. 

Amos and Candis were married in 1826 in Christian Co., KY and both died in the 1870's in Mills Co., Iowa.

- Photos taken by Kay Baldwin and K. Hyland Smith that were posted on Find-A-Grave Memorial # 15002827.

[Tombstone Thursday is dedicated
in memory of Donald G. West 1952-2000]

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Indiana Bones Shares Cemetery Stories

Indiana Bones Presents
"Cemetery Stories"
at the Kuhlenschmidt/Hartig Family Reunion

Indiana Bones had just cautioned everyone that he was not Indiana Jones eventhough he lookes almost exactly like Harrison Ford... the 40+ crowd seemed to think that statement was funny!  Bones read about 5-6 short cemetery tales that were modified versions of some of the TSGS Cruiser Blogs.  Indiana Bones has become quite popular on the speakers circuit lately.  TSGS will have him as the monthly meeting program for September and the Daughters of the American Revolution have requested him to speak in April 2013.  Who would have known that a "cemetery geek" could become so sought after!

- Photo taken by Warren Deutsch.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

1940 Census Index Completed on Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com has announced that the company has now completed the indexing of the 1940 U.S. Census records and that the index is available for everyone to use. Go here to learn more: http://www.ancestry.com/1940-census

The1940CensusPROVO, UTAH – (August 3, 2012) – Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, is proud to announce that it has completed the records indexing process for the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, now fully indexed.  Search every name, state and territory for FREE.

On April 1, 1940 history was made as the 16th U.S. Census was taken in America and its territories. And today, each of the 134 million records is ready for you to explore here on Ancestry.com. Simply search for your family member by name and you could find records that include details like address, age, occupation, income, education level and more.  
“We are so excited to be publishing our index to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census for free on Ancestry.com,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. “As one of the most anticipated family history resources ever, the 1940 Census is a fantastic way for almost every American to get started making discoveries about their family history as well as a key new resource for so many of our two million existing subscribers. Experienced through our new Interactive Image Viewer, the stories and discoveries inside the 1940 Census really come to life.” Almost 90% of Americans has a relative in the 1940 Census. See who you can discover, right now. Search the 1940 Census.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Marker/Plaque/Monument Monday

Plaque in the Fellowship Hall
McCutchanville Methodist
Community Church
William Atcheson, Jr.

 [Click on Photos to get larger image.]
Photo of William Atcheson, Jr.
- Photos taken by Indiana Bones

Sunday, August 5, 2012

"The Burning of a Cemetery"

Before I tell you about the burning cemetery, I want to tell you about Glenda Trapp working as a Judge of the 4-H Family Tree Projects at the Vanderburgh County 4-H Fair. I have served as the County Superintendent of this project since it began and the second year Carol Lantaff became my Assistant (later, it would be Mary Deutsch). That year Glenda was roped into being a Judge of the 4-H Fair Notebook Exhibits. She was assigned the Clover Division (the youngest age group), these kids were the beginners and Glenda soon set the way these projects would be done and how they would be judged by the judges of the other two divisions. No one ever questioned her leadership in this matter, simply because it made everyone's job a little easier and more consistent year after year. Glenda entertained all of us involved with the judging of these projects with her keen sense of humor and wit as she discovered again and again the funny side of what a kid did or said in the exhibit. She never belittled them, she just saw humor anywhere she looked for it. She was a Judge for at least eight years. No one will ever be able to judge these projects with the intense serious level that she maintained and still point out tons of humor to us all. There is a reason for telling this story before telling the story of the burning cemetery, so now I can go back to it.

Several of us that were working on the Cemetery Committee found ourselves in Union Township again and Glenda was passing out axes, tree trimmers and chain saws to clear out an overgrown cemetery, so we could read the monuments that were hidden in the underbrush and thicket of small trees, briars and ivy. We worked and worked trying to clear all this mess when the farmer who owned the land suggested that we just burn it out. There would be no safety hazard to be concerned with since the cemetery was surrounded by a large concrete wall to protect it from flooding from the Ohio River. So, I was assigned the job to spread the gasoline around and light it to start a blazing fire to burn away the underbrush. Glenda was good at delegating such duties. The fire took off very rapidly, and me and my jug of gasoline quickly retreated to the wall of which I had a little difficulty negotiating my freedom, but as the fire shot up the 20 foot trees and I began to feel the heat of the fire I easily climbed over the wall. There was no doubt about it we were going to always go the extra mile to transcribe the information on these stones. We would probe for buried markers, dig them up, turn them over, chop down brush to get to them and even burn the cemetery down to copy its hidden information. Glenda took hundreds of photos of us doing all these odd tasks of "unearthing" or "burning" out a cemetery's secrets.

One Christmas, the Tri-State Genealogical Society asked Glenda to make a presentation concerning the Cemetery Committee's work. Out came the slide projector and some very interesting slides on what it takes to really do a thorough job of getting this very useful genealogical resource available in book form. For years as the TSGS 4-H Coordinator for the 4-H Family Tree Project TSGS Awards Program, I would invite the Champion 4-H exhibitors and their notebooks to the Christmas meeting. Glenda was aware that these kids and most of their parents all knew me, so she pointed me out in the slides from time to time, showing how involved I was in doing genealogy work. As she concluded her presentation, she wanted to show just one more slide. It was of me with the most outlandish look on my face fleeing from that fire as I was struggling to climb over that wall. That was at least 25 years ago and 4-H'ers and TSGS members are still talking about that slide and they are still laughing about it!!!

- Reported by Indiana Bones