Family History Research

Tuesday’s Tip – Search all Libraries

Last week I drove from Chicago to Springfield, Missouri, stopping in Rolla and Marshfield to do research. I ended up back in Marshfield again Thursday morning to finish up. I found a lot of great information on the Shannon family I have been working on and some on the McCoy and Hayes families for a friend.

I spent the night at my best friend’s house on Tuesday as I drove down and took some time to visit the Rolla Public Library. The Rolla library has a very small genealogy area but has some surrounding county information. I found a few county history books that gave me some great information on the McCoy and Hayes families. The Missouri S&T library didn’t yield anything but it was worth a stop to look.

Wednesday I spent the day in Marshfield first at the Webster County Library and then historical society. The library was full of great resources. So many county histories from the area, microfilm of the Marshfield Mail newspaper and self-published genealogies. I found a book called The Shannon-Martin Marriage that was all about the Shannon family I was researching. A lot of what is in the book, written in the 1980s, I already knew about. It did contain a few pieces of information I did not know which will take my search further.

The Webster County Historical Society Research Center was run by three volunteers that day. One was Jo Slingerland, a RAOGK volunteer. She was extremely helpful in locating information before I arrived and is still looking for information since I uncovered new data last week.

I finished up at the Webster County Library on Thursday and took a walk through the Marshfield Cemetery. Found the graves I was looking for quickly and easily. The cemetery is small and thankfully the Shannon family marked their graves with large stones that said “SHANNON” on them.

Great visit and I highly recommend as you travel, to search the library catalogs for areas near the places in which your ancestors lived. You never know what you will find in a small town library.

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Wisdom Wednesday – ProGen Update

Last week this was me on vacation. This picture was taken in St. Thomas. My family took a cruise for spring break on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas ship.We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, to Nassau where we snorkeled with the stingrays and played on the beach. Headed to St. Thomas where we spent a day on the beach. Then St. Maarten where my mother in-law and I took my twins to the beach while my father in-law, husband and son went deep sea fishing. They caught two barracuda and some massive sunburns. Grrrrr. But overall the trip was a success. My three boys had a blast and that was the point.

The ship is enormous! You can see it pictured here on the left. Our room was in the front of the ship and the food and fun was in the back so we did a lot of walking every day.The shows were fantastic, the food was ok, the staff we encountered were wonderful and the people we met at O’Hare waiting for our plane we saw many times on the ship. Funny how there can be over 6,000 people on a ship but when you meet a handful of them you seem them every day, somewhere. Even with 6,000 people on board it never felt crowded, except a couple of lunches in the Windjammer buffet. Other than that, people had so many places to explore that the ship felt almost “empty.”

Now that I’m back in the land of reality, it is time to focus on April’s ProGen assignment. This month we are talking about Transcripts and Abstracts. The reading assignment is long so I’ll need to start on that this week. Then I have to transcribe a deed or will then abstract that same item. I believe I have a hand written will in my research files to use so that will be good. I did get some additional transcription practice this weekend as I reviewed and rewrote a letter from a Civil War Pension File I received, but more on that in another post.

It will be interesting to read everyone’s transcriptions this month, more so if they are wills. I like to see what people owned and willed to their heirs. It gives me a better sense of the life they lived, at least at the end in some cases. This will be a fun assignment I think.

Thursday evening we have our monthly chat and will discuss the time management assignment from March. Most everyone submitted their assignments while I was gone so I have to catch up before Thursday on reviewing and commenting. Reviewing each other’s work is a major part of ProGen. I learn so much every month looking at someone else’s assignments.

Well back to reality!

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Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors book

I was in my local library last week looking for a book called House Histories A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home, recommended to me by Marian Pierre-Louis of Fieldstone Historic Research. Marian researches house histories as part of her business so we chatted about that for a bit.

At the library after finding this book I ran past the genealogy section which is sadly, very small. I did find a book I had not seen before, or just didn’t “need” before called Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors by Bertram Hawthorne Groene. It is a thin book with small print and I read almost half of it last night. What a fantastic book for anyone researching their Civil War ancestors!

As I read I should have been taking notes but decided after I read through it once, I’ll go through it again and take notes and see what I missed. There is so much great information!

Bertram outlines where the records are, what they contain, how to get them and a few tips about requesting them. He also talks about artifacts he has located and how he researched the people behind them if a name was engraved on the artifact. Very interesting.

Take a look at this book if you are researching your Civil War ancestor. You will not be disappointed!

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Talented Tuesday – Presentation Time

Well in just over a week I will be giving my first genealogy presentation in years and years. This is also the first one since I started my Generations business last summer. Let’s be honest, I love to research, read and write. Plus I’m really good at that. Public speaking has not been a favorite pastime for me ever. I’m sure once I make it through this first presentation I will probably think about creating another one. At least that’s what Thomas MacEntee told me when I told him I was doing this months ago and was nervous about it. He said I may really enjoy presenting. We’ll see. I trust Thomas and know he would not steer me in the wrong direction.

I will be presenting April 9th at the Fountaindale Public Library’s Genealogy Day. I’m the first presenter. My presentation is “Visualizing Your Genealogical Data” and showing people how to use Excel, OneNote, Maps, and Blogging to view your data differently to break down brick walls and further research.

Here’s hoping it all goes smoothly!

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