Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A year in Review

This time last year I set 5 goals for myself. They were really only supposed to run for the month of January, because I could never imagine setting a WHOLE YEARS WORTH of GOALS for myself like many of you diligent genealogy people out there. But of course, they ended up running for the entire year, so no harm done. Here was my list from Jan 2011 and my progress to date (along with any future goals I might add to each):

1) To scan all of the genealogy documents that my cousin Richard sent me on the Binns and Brooks sides of my family and enter the information into my genealogy database:

I scanned all 95 pages he sent me. Most of it was genealogy his Aunt Rubye (Binns) Brashears had compiled back in the 1950s and then his own additions from the 80s. These were scanned in .tif format and pages from the same group were also saved as a .pdf file for easier reading. Much of this information I already had in my database. I didn’t find any new information in what he sent me. One of the files was a type-written genealogy of the Binns surname and information about the family coming from England compiled by “The Media Research Bureau” – whatever that is. This compilation did mention my particular line. It had a very short bibliography, but no references cited in the text, so it would be hard to determine what information came from what source, but I might be able to use them as a future guide, especially for research in England. A future goal might include typing up a transcript of this text (or finding an online version of it which is searcheable; or possibly converting the scan to OCR text – something I’ve never done before).

2) To enter all of the Binns, Anthony, and Pye names references from the Wilkes County Georgia books I copied from the Library into my excel spreadsheet. Determine the major Binns family lines in Wilkes Co. GA

Ok first of all, let me say that I didn’t even know I had a spreadsheet! But alas I see that I did, in fact, start one in Jan of 2010!!! I don’t see anything with a 2011 date, so it doesn’t look like I added anything from 2011. In fact, I think most of this stuff in on my “To SCAN” list. So chances are this was not even started. Guess it will be marked as a future goal.

Oh and guess what? I bought one of the books from a genealogy conference I went to (NGS in Charleston) which mentions my Binns family in VA! Reviewing that deed book will be added to a future goal.

3) To read Christine Rose's Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures book

Yeah, I read this off and on throughout the first 6 months of the year and then I got bored with it. I didn’t learn anything new. So I ordered myself 3 new books – Helen Leary’s North Carolina Research book, Val Greenwoods, The Researcher’s Guide, and something else, probably Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained (the big one) that would probably be more interesting. Add those to goals for 2012, especially since it sounded like the bookclub in Second Life was really good this year with “The Researcher’s Guide.

4) Get back to working with some cousins on James Godwin Sr and Jr (not necessarily father and son) of North Carolina, including putting all relevant documents online on the Wiki site

This was our best accomplishment. I worked with 5 other researchers on this project throughout the year. We pulled land grants, deeds, wills, and estate files from Sampson and Johnston Counties (North Carolina) and abstracted them. I created an online abstract form using Google Docs (thanks to Thomas MacEntee’s webinar on Google Forms), which saved the information into an online, shared spreadsheet. And then I created a Word Doc which pulled the information from the online spreadsheet into an abstract Word Doc (automatically) which we then were able to save to our Godwin wiki site. As it turns out the Sampson County (North Carolina) deeds are now online at the Sampson County Register of Deeds.  Whoo hooo     !!! That was a big help. So far we have over 100 deeds transcribed.

My colleagues on this project are all descendants of this line except for me and Lori – to me it is worth it to work with excellent researchers such as Lori, Sara, Tracy, Charlie and Ashley even if I am not related to this line because by finding records and Godwins who belong to their line, we are finding ones that do NOT belong to ours!

One of them started mapping land grants and deeds with a Deed-Mapper like software. We also incorporated Google Earth to see where the land would sit in modern day. We also managed to sort out who all of the progenitor’s (James Godwin who died in 1801, Sampson Co., NC and who married to Elizabeth Dawson?) children were. I thought this was a huge accomplishment. We challenged each other in all sorts of aspects. And it was a joy to work with them and I hope it continues. Oh yeah and we’ve incorporated DNA into the mix as well. That’s how we know that Lori and I are not related to their lines.

5) Continue evaluating some Family Finder DNA test results of some Godwin relatives.

It has proven to be quite a challenge to keep up with some of my Godwin Family Finder testers. I actually took the test myself in July, thinking I would have more time to “play” with it while I was on summer break from school. Boy was I in for a big surprise! I caught on pretty quick though and figured out how to work with it. Unfortunately I wasn’t very proactive with blogging about my experiences, so that will definitely be high on the priority list for 2012!  There were also a lot of challenges because ftDNA kept making changes to its site and things “stopped working.” Fortunately as a project administrator I was only helping 1 person with their results and she caught on pretty quickly with how to deal with her brother’s results; she also caught on to when things “stopped working.”

I’m going to leave my goals for 2012 for the next post. Oh and as a side note, did you know that when I write a post and set a goal in it, I tag that post with the label of “goal?” That way I can easily find all the goals that I posted and shared with you, my readers. You can see the label on the right side of the page under the “Other Misc Items” category. Speaking of, that reminds me, one of my goals for next year is definitely going to be to create a very cool family history / genealogy related blog header!!!

What about you?

Did you set some genealogy goals for yourself in 2011?
How did you do in working towards them?
What worked well for you in achieving them?
What didn’t work well for you?
Did you work with a genea-buddy?
Please feel free to write your own blog post and link back to it in a comment below or tell me about it in a comment below.
I look forward to hearing about your goals!

Photo - Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on (This is what the website told me to write. It is copyrighted, but the website says I can use it as long as I link back to their site). 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Rooted Technology (a Meme)

With the RootsTech2012 Conference quickly approaching, Jill Ball of Geniaus started the following meme “My Rooted Technology” to share all of the technology we currently use, would like to know more about, or have no use or interest in. She has invited her readers to share their thoughts. Here is my technological profile:

Here are the rules:
·         Technology you already use: bold face type
·         Technology you would like to use or learn more about: italicize (color optional)
·         Technology you don’t use, have no interest in using or no longer use: plain type
·         Explain or give opinions in brackets [  ] at the end of each bullet point.

Here are my answers:
1.       I have a tablet computer such as an iPad that I use for genealogy [I wouldn’t mind giving an iPad a spin for genealogy applications].
2.       I have downloaded one or more apps to a Smart Phone or similar device. [I downloaded them onto my first android phone, but not to the 2nd one as I was running close to going over my 2GB data plan limit.]
3.       I belong to a genealogy society that uses social media. [I am the one who brought my society to terms with social media.]
4.       I use GEDCOM files and understand the various compatibility issues involved. [These have especially come in handy with trying to find paper trail connections to my Family Finder DNA matches.]
5.       I have added metadata to some of my files and digital photos. [I would love to do more of this, but I fear it will disappear or not transfer.]
6.       I have utilized an API from a genealogy-related application or website.
7.       I have taken a DNA test related to my genealogy research. [Both of my Grandfathers have taken the Y-DNA test and I have taken the Family Finder DNA test and I just recently purchased kits for my parents.]
8.       I have used the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
9.       I have a Facebook account and use it regularly for genealogy.
10.   I use tech tools to help me cite my sources in genealogy research. [Probably not in the way you are referring, but I have my methods ;-)]
11.   I have developed a genealogy-related app for a Smart Phone or similar device.
12.   I use a genealogy database program. [Rootsmagic]
13.   I use cloud computer resources to store my genealogy data. [some of it is stored in the cloud – I try to keep my tree updated in and I use Dropbox a lot.]
14.   I have made one or more contributions to the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
15.   I have attended a genealogy webinar.
16.   I have organized and administered a DNA testing group related to my genealogy.
17.   I use apps involving GPS and Geo-caching for my genealogy research.
18.   I have a Google+ account and use it regularly for genealogy.
19.   I have created and published a family history e-book.
20.   I have created a wiki related to my genealogy research.
21.   I have conducted a genealogy webinar as a presenter.
22.   I read genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research. [Yes, I love reading about new technologies and how people solve problems.]
23.   I have one or more genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research. [I have 3.]
24.   I have a Twitter account and use it regularly for genealogy.
25.   I have one or more genealogy-related websites which I run and administer. [Sounds like too much work! – I know the wiki is enough for me!]
26.   I have created a screencast or video related to genealogy and posted it at a video sharing site (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.).
27.   I use one or more digital tools to capture and record my family history. [I have used the video feature on my camera. I do not use my phone because I don’t know how to get them out of my phone.]

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reverting back to Blogger Profile

Yesterday I wrote about the option to switch your Blogger Profile over to your Google+ Profile. I found the major disadvantage to this being that when I left a comment on someone else's blog, the comment linked back to my Google+ profile instead of linking directly back to my blog. This kind of defeats the purpose of blogging which is to attract readers. Actually the link from comments was going back to my blogger profile and from there you could click on the link to my blog. This still seems better than going out to Google+, then having to come back to blogger?

The seamless or automatic updating of my Google+ profile with my new blog post did work well. When I clicked the "Publish" button, I was prompted with a dialog box and asked for a description or comment of the blog I was about to post. And it showed me a preview of the blog post (text). What showed up on my Google+ profile was a brief snippet of my most recent post and the comment I had written in the dialog box prior to posting.

Dialog box prior to posting on profile

Previously, manually pasting a link to my most recent blog post would not include a brief snippet of the post, but rather a snippet of the blog itself and was always the same no matter what new post I had written. It always said "I was researching Godwin and related families, etc..." I could probably fix this problem on my own just by removing the text from the header of my blog. I just hadn't gotten around to it. This is what my posts used to look like when I manually posted the links to Google+:

Manually updated link to my blog post

This is what my automatic post looks like on Google+:

Automatically updated blog post

Even though the new automatic posting process includes the post snippet, no where does it say that it comes from my Genealogy By Ginger blog! In fact, this "link" looks just like any other link I've shared on my Google+ Profile. How will people reading my news feed know if this is a post *I* made or if it is one that I shared?

And what about scheduled posts? How do you think Google+ will handle those? I had this post scheduled for Tuesday morning at 9 am. We will see what happens.
**Update Tues 9:32 am: This scheduled post did NOT automatically update to Google+. It did, however, automatically update to Facebook!

1) When I leave comments on other blogs, readers are directed back to my Google+ page instead of my blog or blog profile, where they have to look for and find my blog address
2) Automatic posting of new blog posts is nice because it gives my most recent post snippet and allows me to write a comment; but it doesn't even say the name of my blog and makes it hard to discern between my blog post and other peoples' posts I've shared; Also, it does not automatically post scheduled posts.
3) I can alleviate the problem of manual posting not adding a snippet by removing text from my header
4) Last, but I'm sure not least, another reader told me that she didn't like that with the switch, the entire contents of the Google+ "Introduction" section of the "About" page were reproduced on her blog(s)' sidebar.

So what do you think? Is this really a choice or do you think we will all be forced to switch over to our Google+ profiles in the near future?

Oh and what if you want to revert back to your blogger profile? You do have 30 days to do so. Here's how you do it. Go to your Blogger dashboard (or whatever you call it). And click on the gear symbol below your name. There should be a link that says "Revert to Blogger Profile." See screenshot below (click on image to make it bigger).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blogger Profile Switch to Google+ Profile

Back in October, Blogger started allowing us to connect our blogger profile to our Google+ accounts (See the news here). This was supposed to offer a seamless approach to automatically post our new blog posts to our Google + profiles much like Networked Blogs does on Facebook.

Well today I finally took the plunge and converted my blogger profile over to my Google + profile. From what I've read, most people were excited to do this because now their photo will show up next to their blog page when it comes up from a Google search. Well that's not news to me, as my photo has been coming up with my blog all over the internet. Except it does get confused when I change my photo sometimes.

When I created a Google+ account, blogger got really confused because I posted a different photo than what was on my blogger profile. It started showing a black box with the outline of a triangle in the photo that was supposed to stand beside my name when I left comments on other people's blogs.

Speaking of leaving comments. The first thing I noticed is that now that my blog is connected to my Google + account, when I leave a comment on someone else's blog, it shows my photo and my name, however, now when people click on my name, they are taken to my Google+ profile. Prior to switching to Google+, doing so would take them directly to my blogger profile which had my blog link directly on it. I think I like the former way better. And to be honest, this is how I visit many of my readers' blogs - by clicking on their names when they leave comments on my page. I'm not really interested in their Google+ profiles, but I am interested in their blogs!

So I think I might like to switch back to my blogger profile. After all, it did say that I have 30 days to do so. The purpose of this post is to try out the automatic posting feature that Google+ is promoting. I would also like to see if it actually gives a description of my blog post rather than just repeating the text that is in the header of my blog every time. That was the complaint I had with manually posting the link to each new blog post to Google+. I didn't have that problem with Facebook.

So here goes!
What will YOU decide to do?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Looking for *Estates* in all the Right Places...

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how the North and South Carolina wills and probate record images have been scanned and placed online for users to browse on the website.

Today I was trying to find the probate record for Susan McCoy in Greenville County, SC (1847-1850) and grew increasingly frustrated when I realized that the index (if one existed) was not posted to the site. Without an index, I could not figure out what "apartment," "file," or "no." her probate records were filed in. I looked through a bunch of the images to see if I could determine if they were filed by date or by surname, but they were not. I simply needed an index.

On a whim, I went to the Greenville Co., SC USGenWeb site thinking they MUST have an index posted somewhere. Although I didn't find an index I did find a link to the Greenville County Governement Online - with a page dedicated to historical records and there I found an Index to Estate Papers, 1787-1976. I clicked on the "M" link for "McCoy" and it brought up the browsable image index for all the "Ms." This is what I found:

McCoy, David - Apartment No. 5, File No. 339, Year filed 1822, Robert Cox, Admr.
McCoy, Susan - Apartment No. 11, File No. 74, Year filed 1847, Robert Cox, Exor.

Here's what the scanned image looks like:

This is exactly what I was looking for!

Now I have TWO - actually THREE Options: 1) I can go back to and look for these probate records in the browsable images 2) I can stay on this site and look for these records or 3) I can do BOTH!

Option #1: 
Searching for Estate Records at

Now I can go back to the browsable images posted on the website:

South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964

Click on the link for Greenville, click the "Probate Court, Probate Records" link, the "1787-1868" date range.

A list of file numbers come up. Since I am looking for file no. 5, I click the link for "Files 04-06, Nos. 215-420."  (Although the link has been included here, I cannot guarantee it will continue to work longterm, so please follow my description of how I found the files.) 

This is the hard part. This set of images only contains file nos. 4, 5, and 6. I have to find file no. 5 in there somehow. I know no. 5 is in the middle somewhere. At the top, it says I am on image 1 of 730. So there are 730 images in this set. That means the middle is probably about image no. 375. I can type in 375 into the Image No. box and press enter to go directly to that image.  This gives me the estate record for Jesse Moody. Going back one page brings up the first page of his estate record which says it is file no. 338. So all I need to do is fast forward until the end and that should take me to David McCoy's file no. 339.

I only had to go 2 more pages to get to David McCoy's file. The first page was missing, however, so I might want to order the entire record from the South Carolina State Archives if I feel as if it is not complete.


Option #2: 
Stay on the Greenville County Government Site and Searching for Estate Records:

Click on the Estate Records link

Start going through images as above. This is system is much slower and the images are of poorer quality. 
HOWEVER, I retrieved only 9 images from the site and I retrieved 22 images from the Greenville County Government site!!! 

So my recommendation is... 

Option #3:
DO BOTH!!! - This just goes to show you that even in the realm of genealogy, things really are changing relatively quickly. Sometimes we have to check several places before we give up and then check them again because new things are being added all the time. 

A word of caution: **If** you do pull records from both, please make sure you cite them properly. If you found one loose piece of paper listing all of the children of the deceased off of one site, but that same piece of paper is NOT uploaded to the other site, then it is YOUR responsibility to note that. 

Now if you have ancestors from Greenville, South Carolina, be sure to check out the Greenville County, SC Government Online Historical Records page !!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Matrimony Monday - Lou Ella Godwin to Roland A Rye

Lou Ella Godwin and Roland Rye applied for a marriage license on September 18, 1947 in Alma, Crawford County, Arkansas. Roland swore that he was 21 years of age and Lou Ella swore she was 18 years of age. They were issued a Marriage Bond the same day in the amount of $100 promising that they would follow through with their lawful marriage. Also on the same day, they were issued a Marriage License obtained in order to solemnize and publish the "banns of Matrimony." On the Marriage License, it is listed that Roland is from Alma, Crawford County, Arkansas, and Lou Ella Godwin is from Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas.

Lou Ella was involved in her husband's construction business and was the President of the Home Builder's Auxiliary in 1966. She and Roland were divorced in 1975 in Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas. Lou Ella Godwin Rye was my grand-father's sister. She died in 1988. Unfortunately, I was too young to remember her.

This is the only photo I have of Lou Ella and Roland Rye and their daughter Linda Lee. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Charley King

Photo of tombstone taken by Ginger R. Smith, May 1, 2006, and is copyright 2011 by Ginger R. Smith.

The inscription reads: 

Charley Son of W. F. & Mary King, Born Dec. 7, 1895, Died Nov. 27 1898
Sleep on sweet babe and take thy rest God called thee home. 

Charley King was the son of William Fletcher King and Mary French. William Fletcher King was the brother of my 2nd great-grandmother, Dora King who died around 1912 of a snake bite. Charley and his brother Alvy King died at a very young age and are buried next to one another at Joliff Cemetery in Rover, Oregon Co., MO. Other tombstones I have photographed in this cemetery include French, House, Huddleston, Joliff, Judd, Kimbrough, King, Nichols, Peters, Richards, and Willard.

This cemetery is approximately 1 mile north of Koshkonong on Highway 63. From Highway 63, take M Highway and go approx. 10 miles on M Highway to 160 Highway. Go approximately 3/4 mile east on highway 160 to first dirt road south. Keep bearing east for approximately 1 1/2 miles. Look for a sign post for the cemetery. 

Information on William Fletcher King can be found here

This post is part of the daily blogging theme hosted by GeneaBloggers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Matrimony Monday - Alvin Godwin and Ella Davis

Alvin Godwin was my 2nd great-grandfather. He was married 2x that I know of. Lou Ella Davis was his first wife. It took me a long time to learn what Lou Ella's maiden name was and this marriage license was a key find in determining that her maiden name was Davis.

According to the license picture above, Alvin Godwin was 22 years of age when he applied for a marriage license and living in Sharp County, Arkansas. Ella Davis was 19 years of age and living in Hardy, Sharp County, Arkansas. They applied for their marriage license on March 14th, 1899 in Sharp Co., AR and were allowed to marry on March 17, 1899. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last long, as they were divorced by the 1920 census report. They had two children, Lorine and Orville Godwin, the latter being my great-grandfather. I have not been able to locate any information about Lorine Godwin, however the family does have a photograph of her and her two children, one boy and one girl.

Source: Arkansas County Marriages, 1838-1957", database, FamilySearch; from Arkansas Courts of Common Pleas and County Clerks. digital images of originals housed at various county courthouses in the State of Arkansas. Marriage records. FHL microfilm, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. Accessed by Ginger R. Smith on 30 Jun 2010.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Follow-up Friday - Nov 3 2011

Last weekend I had a pretty good genealogy day over the weekend because I finally got my new desk set up. I heard that many of my genealogy pals got some good genealogy time put in over the weekend as well. I don't know if it's because the weather is getting cooler and we are staying inside more or if it's just because things are starting to slow down or what. But I definitely have a happy face on, despite the trials and tribulations I've been experiencing at work.

So in my genealogy news, I've been working on finding the parents of William Peters who was born in 1874 in Thomasville, Missouri. One of my DNA Family Finder matches believes the Peters line is our connection, however I don't have a leg to stand on because I can't get past William Peters. I did find a Martha Peters on the 1880 Oregon County, Missouri Census Report who could have been his mother as she had a young William living with her that fit my William. But then I got distracted by trying to trace this Martha to a James Peters family out of Anderson County, Tennessee. Turns out this family moved to Missouri and James disappeared leaving Martha to fend for herself and their 2 (or 3) children. Descendants of this family are not receptive to the idea of them having a son named William though, nor to the idea that Martha was living in Oregon County, Missouri in 1880! Another find I had is a newspaper article in which a John Peters was shot and beaten to death on his employer's farm by a gang of brothers in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I had heard my William was beaten to death but his death certificate said he died of a heart attack in Pocahontas, Arkansas. I wonder if maybe this John was William's father (or close relative) and he was the one the family remembers who was beaten to death. Only problem was that the 1880 Council Bluffs census says John Peters was single (William was born in 1874), he was living in Iowa and not in Missouri or Illinois where William was rumored to have been born, and John was from Denmark. Surely I would have heard something about Denmark in the family! Well the nice thing is that I've been able to comb through a bunch of newspapers that my University subscribes to.Click on this post to view newspaper article for the death of John Peters of Council Bluffs Iowa.

In addition to working on my Peters line, I have done some research on my Dunlap family in Stokes County, North Carolina.  Jesse Dunlap left North Carolina about 1820 and moved to Tennessee and then moved to Texas and then finally settled in Arkansas about 1840. His two sons, Jesse Dunlap, Jr and Lorenzo Dow Dunlap were killed in the Mountain Meadow Massacre of 1857 in Southern Utah. You might have heard about it. Click the above link for more information. Anyways, I started off my search in the totally wrong direction and it took a nice genealogist named Rex Bertram to set me straight. He sent me back to the North Carolina original records. So I have been combing through the Stokes County, North Carolina deeds (they are online – whoo hoo!), using the NorthCarolina State Archives online catalog called MARS to find land grants and wills, and compiling census records in order to piece together the history of the Dunlap family prior to their removal from North Carolina. This was also prompted by a Family Finder DNA match.

Lastly, I finished transcribing the estate files of John F. Dry of Perry County, Illinois. I happened upon these scans as I was making a list of files that I needed to scan during the next Scanfest. If you don’t know what this is, it happens the last Sunday of the month and it’s a time when genealogists all over the world get together in a chat room and chat while they scan their photos and documents. I usually do a pretty good job of keeping up with my scanning, but I always have a lot to catch up with after a trip to the library. These estate files were scanned once but at a very low resolution. I must have had a problem with the scanner. So they have not been transcribed. I did manage to rescan this set of estate files, so I was able to transcribe them. And then, my biggest feat of the week is that after reading Michael Hait’s blog post on Do you understand source citations? I decided to try my hand at writing an “official” citation to the estate file I was sent copies of and transcribed as mentioned above. It is probably missing several pieces because I was not the actual person who went to the courthouse and made the copies. In fact, I probably would have copied where the book sat on the shelf!

Anyways, here’s the citation I came up with (complete with footnote note):

John F. Dry Estate File No. 128, dated 1847; Perry County, Illinois Probate Records, Box 307; Perry County Courthouse, Pickneyville, Illinois. This estate file was copied by Stella Runyon,, Illinois, USA, in February of 2007 and sent to me by snailmail. Note that Stella told me this was file no. 158, however according to the Perry County Probate Index that is online at, and accessed 03 November 2011, (this is Stella’s homepage), it is file no. 128. I have change it to File No. 128 because I believe this index was compiled since 2007.

Check out Michael’s post if this citation doesn’t make sense to you!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Using Google Images to find your Ancestors

I think by now, we've all heard about TinEye, the reverse image search feature where you upload an image or type in a URL pointing to an image and it will show you all the places where that image has been used in the past or is currently being used on the Internetz.

And I'm sure you've all used Google Images to find that neat and great-looking image to use on your next blog post to spice it up a bit, but do you know...

How to identify an image using the Google Image search box? You can actually drag and drop a photograph you took or one that is in your collection directly into the Google Image search box and it will bring up on web pages containing that image.

Google has already let the cat out of the bag. You can follow along with their directions from their Google Image site. Here is a screenshot telling you how you can drag your image directly into the search box. (Remember you can click on any image to make it bigger, then click the back button in your browser to go back to the blog post).

So let's get started! 

I opened up my folder with my images in it. Then I opened up the Google Images webpage and I put the folder and the webpage side by side. The first image I chose was an image of Albert Einstein that I pulled off of the internet. As you can see the image was named "Albert Einstein.jpg" and it is a very popular image which is all over the internet, so I would expect google to find multiple instances of it. 

I simply drag the Einstein image from the folder into the Google Image search box. When I started dragging, the search image box got bigger and it told me to "Drag Image Here." I managed to capture this in the below screen shot: 

Google Images had no problem finding information on Albert Einstein and finding additional images of him. It reported that there were 89,800 results, so surely you could find whatever you were looking for. 

So I have shown how Google Images can pull up information based on an iconic figure, but what about my ancestor, T. J. Benson? I have saved a copy of his photograph in my Image photo and I named it "Image.jpg." I want to see if Google Images is searching by file name or by visual image characteristics. So I drag the photograph of my ancestor into the Google Image Search box and this is what I see for results:

At the top of the page it displays the image I searched with, then below that, it displays "Pages that include matching images." And of course, the only page it comes up with is my very own blog. Unfortunately, for some reason, it does not display the actual blog post, however it does display the Archive for the Month and Year in which that blog post was made. Users can then click on the link and scroll down through the list of posts for July 2010 until they come upon the post about T. J. Benson. 

How is this good for genealogy? It has been my experience that oftentimes several descendants have the same photographs of ancestors hanging in their living rooms while they were growing up. There has been at least two instances where I've received copies of photographs in the mail from cousins and then had the same photographs show up from different cousins several years later! (And no, it wasn't because the photos were distributed and copies all over!) So I can see the benefit of running some of your ancestor's photos through the Google Image analyzer to see if any other copies of the photo has surfaced. Who knows, maybe one of your unknown cousins wrote a blog post about them! 

And what about those unknown people? Put those photos out there! You never know when you might find your photo on DeadFred!

Speaking of, I was NOT able to pull up photographs that I knew were saved in public trees on has their information locked up tight behind a membership wall. Likewise, I was not able to pull up headstone photographs from FindAGrave either. I was kind of surprised by that. I guess I kind of take access to FAG for granted.

I am not quite sure how exactly Google Images does this. But I can tell you that it doesn't seem to have a strong aspect of facial recognition because when I put random pictures of myself in the search box, it came up blank. One of my end of semester projects will be on exactly how queries are processed based on images submitted to a search box, so I might be able to answer this better come Christmas time. In the mean time try it out. Submit your photos of heirlooms, ancestors, and the cool stuff you see while on vacation and let me know about your experience!

Oh and feel free to share, tweet, etc. You know the drill!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Tabitha House

Tabitha "Bitha" House was born in Thomasville, Oregon County, Missouri in the 1840s or 50s and died February 9th, 1937 in Birch Tree, Missouri. She married 1st to Robert "Bob" King and 2nd to Samuel H. Watson. She had two children with Bob King, including my 2nd great-grandmother, Dora King and her brother William Fletcher King and eight children with Mr. Watson. Tabitha House was the daughter of Mr. Hollingsworth House who purchased land from the State of Missouri in the Land Case Files I wrote about previously and Millie Thomas.

Additional Posts:
Tabitha House Watson's obituary
Tabitha House's marriage to Robert King, her first husband, and my 2nd great-grandfather, July 28, 1870 in Howell County, Missouri
Tabitha King's marriage certificate to Samuel H. Watson, her second husband, in 1879, Highland Township, Oregon County, Missouri and a list of their children
Information about her son, William Fletcher King

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Land Case Files – Part 3 – Cash Entries

Last week I started a series of posts about my trip to the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, D. C. where I obtained copies of several ancestors' Land Case Files. Although the final Land Patents are available to download from the Bureau of Land Management website, the Land Case Files that are housed at NARA are the original documents pertaining to your ancestors and sometimes contain information about your ancestors that is of genealogical significance. Last week I covered Military Scrip Warrants and this week I am going to cover Cash Entries. You can read my original post on Land Case Files if you are interested in learning about how to order Land Case Files onsite from the Archives.

Cash Entry Files:
On December 8th, 1856, my ancestor, Hollingsworth House, made an application to purchase 142 acres in Lot No. 4 in the Northwest quarter of Section No. 1 in Township No. 24, North of Range 6 West and the Southeast quarter of the Southwest quarter of Section No. 35 in Township No. 25 North of Range 6 West in Oregon County, Missouri. 

Application of Hollingsworth House for 142A of land in Oregon Co., MO, 08 Dec 1856, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

In many instances, applicants had to fill out an affidavit attesting to what they planned to do with the land, and then another witness had to testify to the validity of the applicant’s statement.

Affidavit of Hollingsworth House, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

In his affidavit, Hollingsworth House swore that the land will be used for the purpose of “actual settlement and cultivation under the Provisions of the Act of Congress of 4th August 1854.” He also swore that he had been occupying the land since the 1st day of January 1851 and that he has a dwelling house, kitchen, cribs, stables, and other buildings thereon about 35 acres of said land which is now in cultivation. Lastly, he swore that he was 21 years of age. 

An additional affidavit stating he was 39 years of age and currently residing in Oregon County, Missouri, was a male and head of house. One small note here is that his age does not actually match up with the date of birth I have for him of December 25, 1816. He should have actually been 40 years old at the time this application was filled out in 1856. [1]

Affidavit of Hollingsworth House, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

Benjamin A. Huddleston was a corroborating witness who swore that Hollingsworth House was the same guy who had been residing on said land since the 1st day of January, 1851.

Affidavit of Benjamin A Huddleston, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC
Hollingsworth House paid $17 for this transaction. Here is a copy of his receipt:

 Recipt for land purchased by Hollingsworth House for $17, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

He also received a proof of purchase that he was instructed to bring to the Commissioner of the Land Office (Jackson, Missouri):

Proof of Purchase of Hollingsworth House for land purchased, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

Here is a copy of the final patent that my ancestor received after he had filed an application, proved he was going to cultivate the land, paid his money, and presented his receipt to the Land Commissioner:

Land Patent certificate No. 24495, copied from the BLM Website, Holingsworth House
I was a bit skeptical at first about the worthwhileness of my trip to NARA because it seemed like most of the Land Case Files I pulled consisted of the patent (which I already had a copy of thanks to the BLM online records) and a receipt, which didn't even offer a signature. However, it only takes coming across one "thick" file to make it all seem worthwhile. In this packet, I found an adequate description of the land, when my ancestor had moved to it, what he had done to the land, how old he was, and who his closest friend or acquaintance was, enough to paint a nice picture of my ancestor's life on the land. 

Cherie wanted to know the link for ordering the Land Case Files from the NARA website. You can access information on ordering Land Case Files from the NARA (Washington, D. C. site) here. Thanks Cherie for the suggestion!

 [1]  This date of birth came from his grave marker in Union Hill Cemetery, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Inside the National Archives

Liz of My Tapley Tree...and its Branches wrote about her experience at the National Archives and I wanted to give readers my take on it as well. It was a week day, so the line getting into the Archives was not that long. We had to walk through security first and foremost: put our bags through the metal detector thingie, empty our pockets, remove our coats if we had one, and walk through the metal detector, just like you do at the airport. Then at the desk, we show our picture id and hand over our equipment – cameras, scanners, and laptops – to the security officers who then record the serial numbers of our equipment on our “equipment receipt.” This receipt is good for 90 days and is presented to the officers each time you enter the Archives. Once our IDs are confirmed and our equipment is logged, we are given a yellow badge and then we sign our names into the log.

**Note: I have heard that renovations are currently going on at the Archives, so what I’m about to describe may or may not be standard procedure at the Archives during non-renovation times.

Upon entry into the Archives, we are greeted by a main desk and archivist who directs us where to go. For land records, we are directed to the “Finding Aid Room” to the left; for microfilms (AKA military Records), we are directed straight ahead. But first, as first time visitors, we are directed to the microfilm room where we are required to obtain our “Researchers Card.” The archivist there tells us to sit at a computer, watch a powerpoint presentation, fill in the form at the end, and then we will have our picture taken and a card made up. It took us about 10 minutes to complete this process on a Thursday morning around 10 am, however a peek back at the orientation room a little later on showed a bit of a back log of persons waiting to receive their researchers card, so make sure you get there early.

Land Case Files

We decided to go ahead and tackle the Land Case Files first because they required records to actually be pulled (ie, they are NOT on microfilm). I do not remember if we knew this ahead of time, or if the lady at the desk told us this when we first walked in. The reason it is important to tackle the original documents first is that these documents are only pulled at certain times of the day – 10, 11, 1:30 and 2:30 (and 3:30  W-F). And then you have to wait at least an hour for the records to arrive. So you have to plan accordingly. We walked into the Finding Aids Room right before 11, so we had to fill out our request forms in a hurry. Luckily the archivist on staff at the time showed us exactly how to fill out the forms. The BLM records we had printed out ahead of time had all of the pertinent information we needed to fill out the forms and we got most of our requests in by the 11 o’clock pull time. The other requests were submitted for the 1:30 pull time. The archivist reviews the forms and hands them over to another archivist who keys the information into the computer. Read my previous blog post on Day 1 at NARA – Land Case Files – Part 1 if you would like more information on ordering Land Case Files.

Military Records and Microfilm

While we were waiting for the Land Case Files to be pulled, we visited the microfilm room. Another Archivist greeted us here and we swiped our researchers card when we walked in. This was when things got confusing. You really have to go on the website to understand exactly what they have for military records onsite at the Washington, D.C. Archives and what is on microfilm and what is original records. Here are some of the lessons I learned about military records and microfilms:

  • Most of what NARA  has is already on and now, with the exception of the pension records
  • has more information than I found on NARA microfilm
  • The NARA microfilm is easier to use than
  •  NARA has microfilm of the 1812 pension index
  • The 1812 pension records are original records, not on microfilm
  • NARA has Revolutionary War Records and Pensions on Microfilm
  •  NARA has Compiled service records of Union and Civil War soldiers
  • NARA has Civil War Pensions of Union soldiers only (Conf. Pensions in State Archives)
Archivists or Reference Librarians, whatever you call them!

Before I move on to the Research Room I want to say a few things about the Archivists. I’m not sure if they are Archivists or Reference Librarians because each person rotates through each post every two hours. One advantage of this is that each person gains experience in each aspect of the entire library. However, one disadvantage is that you run the risk that you end up with no one person who is especially skilled in one area over another. The first person we encountered in the microfilm room told us to look our stuff up on the internet. This kind of frustrated me at first. Why did I drive 5 hours to visit a place to learn about records I could have easily downloaded from the internet? Well I learned later that he also neglected to tell us that there actually WERE more to the 1812 records than what we saw in the microfilm – that is, you had to actually order the 1812 pension records because they were original records! By the time we were told this, it was too late to get our order placed before the last pull time, but they assured us the records would be waiting for us in the Research Room the following morning.  So the moral of this story is that be sure to ask the next librarian or archivist, whatever they call themselves, the same question you asked the last person on duty, especially if you did not get the answer you were looking for!

The Central Research Room

Finally, we ordered Land Case Files and 1812 Pension records which we learned at the end of our first day were actually original records that had to be ordered and viewed in the Central Research Room. This is a room located in #203 on the 2nd floor accessible by the elevator or stairs. Access to this room and the rules around it were also confusing, but I will try to explain it the best I can.

First of all, you have to put your bags and coats and stuff in your locker before you go into the Central Research Room. You are only allowed to take in your electronics like the camera, tripod, laptop, scanners (flatbed only), pencil and looseleaf paper. Each piece of paper has to be stamped, so only bring in what you need.

You are greeted by a security officer who scans your researcher card and looks through your looseleaf papers and asks you to open your flatbed scanner. You then have to get your looseleaf papers stamped at the desk. If it is ok with you, they will staple them and then stamp just the back copy. **Note: I did notice that each archivist does things a little differently. Some will ask if it’s ok to staple your papers, others will not; some will staple them, others will not and just stamp every page. Just be aware of this. ** Once you get your papers stamped you find a researcher’s desk and wait for your name to be called. When your name is called, you go up to the desk and you sign one of the request forms you filled out (one form is usually good for the whole pack of them you filled out, if they are all for the same kind of record), date it and put the time on there. Then you sit back down and wait for the records to arrive. The archivists retrieves your records and brings the cart to your desk. You are allowed to place one box at a time on your desk and take out one record at a time. Use a place holder!

You can scan the document, photocopy it, or take pictures of it (without a flash). The photocopiers use your researchers card. So before you go up to the Central Research Room, stop at the cashier’s office on the first floor and put money on your researcher’s card. I added $10.00 to mine. Then when you want to photocopy, just swipe your card, make your copies and the money is automatically deducted. We could not figure out a way to tell how much money we had remaining on our cards, but if you go over, you simply pay the cashier the remainder of your balance.

Copies are made on the blue copy paper you may have heard about. Although it doesn’t really look blue and I’m guessing it won’t affect your ability to re-scan your copies once you are at home. (I have not tried this yet).

You are allowed to leave the Central Research Room at any time. They will keep your records for up to 3 days. You can keep your stuff at your desk for up to an hour’s time absent, so if you want to go get lunch and come back you can. You want to leave your looseleaf papers your desk so your don’t have to get them restamped.

Your copies are not allowed to leave the room unless they are put in a locked green bag! If you do have to leave for a few hours, then you can have them put in a locked bag and then have the archivists hold your bag for you until you can come back later. This is a nice convenience for its patrons. Once you are ready to leave the Research Room, your documents are locked in your green bag, your green bag is checked by the security officer, along with your looseleaf pages, and then you are allowed to leave. You can put your locked green bag in your locker if you have other research to do. When you are ready to leave the Archives, you collect all of your personal belongings from your locker and you go through security like you did when you came in. You give your locked green bag to the security officer and they open it and pull your items out, go through them one last time, then hand them over to you.

I think I’ve covered everything, but I’m sure there’s more that I’ve forgotten. I have included a couple of photos below from inside the Central Research Room #203. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions below. 

Liz looking for George Scwalls
Fellow genealogist Craig Scott at NARA

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 2 at NARA - Land Case Files - Part 2 - Scrip Warrants

Box Label for Cash Entries, National Archives, Washington , D.C. October, 21, 2011
In yesterday's post, I discussed how to order the Land Case Files for my ancestors at the National Archives in Washington, D. C. The archivists pulled about 20 records for me yesterday, consisting of Cash Entries (pictured on the left), Military Script Warrants, and Homestead Acts. Today I had another 15 or so records to pull.

This time there was a different archivist showing me how to fill out the forms a little differently. I must have filled them out  incorrectly because I didn't receive 3 boxes and 2 boxes were not the correct ones.

Luckily the archivist who was pulling the records caught me as I was submitting the 2nd request and asked me some questions about my requests and we were able to get them sorted out and he got the records to me finally. I didn't bother with the 2 boxes that were pulled incorrectly because I was land-record'd out!

Let's look at the Military Scrip Warrants. These are land patents that were granted to soldiers for their service in particular wars. The soldiers then had the option to keep or sell the land. My Ancestor, Agrippa Spinks Godwin received one such patent in 1853 from Reuben Clark.

Here is what I pulled up from the Bureau of Land Management website (Agrippa Godwin, Sharp County, Arkansas):

Here is what was in the Land Case Files for document number 27441:

This is document number 27441 and it is a patent for Bounty Land given by the United States of America Department of the Interior Office of the Commissioner of Pensions under the Act of September 28th 1850 entitled "An Act granting Bounty Land to certain officers and soldiers who have been engaged in the military service of the United States."

Patent was granted to Reuben Clark, Private in Capt Elmore's Company, Kentucky Militia, War 1812, Also Private in Capt. Bowyer's Company, Illinois, Volunteers, Black Hawk War, and Private in Capt. Carny's Company, Tennessee Volunteers, Florida War.

Patent was signed the 27th day of January 1852. No where on this patent does it mention my ancestor's name, however it is still pretty cool to look at and to run my fingers over the raised seals. The reverse side of the patent has information written by Reuben Clark in which he is transferring the patent over to my ancestor, Agrippa Godwin. It says the following:

"For value received I Reuben Clark, to whom the written warrant No. 27441 was issued do hereby sell and assign unto Agrippa S. Godwin of the County of Lawrence in the State of Arkansas and to his heirs and assigns forever this said Warrant and authorize him to prorate [?] the same and receive a patent therefore.
Witness my hand and seal this 3rd day of May A. D. 1852. Reuben Clark [with seal].
Attest: E. T Burr & C. B. Magruder"

The middle part of the page says the following:

"State of Arkansas, County of Independence:
On this 3rd day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight hundred and fifty two personally appeared Reuben Clark to me well known and acknowledge the above assignment to be his act and deed: and certify that the said Reuben Clark is the identical person to whom the within warrant issued and who executed the above assignment thereof.
Jesse Pearry Justice of the Peace"

Here is the Warrant that Agrippa had filed with the Batesville, Arkansas land office:

Land Warrant No. 27441
Register and Receiver's No. 238
Land Office, Batesville Arks May 3rd 1852.

"We hereby certify that the attached Military Bounty Land Warrant, No. 27441 was on this day received at this office, from Agrippa S. Godwin, of Lawrence county, state of Arkansas.
J. A. Patterson, Register
C. F. M. Nolond, Receiver.

I, Agrippa S. Godwin, of Lawrence county, State of Arkansas, hereby apply to locate and do locate the Southern half of the North West quarter of Section No. Eight /8/ in Township No. Eighteen (18) N of Range No. Six (6) W in the District of Lands subject to sale at the Land Office at Batesville Arks containing Eighty (80) acres, in satisfaction of the attached Warrant numbered 27441 issued under the act of 28 September, 1850.

Witness my hand this 3rd day of May A. D. 1852
Attest: J. W. Patterson, Register.
C. F. M. Nolond, Receiver

Signed Agripa S. Godwin

I request the patent to be sent to Batesville Arkansas Land Office, Batesville, Arks, May 3rd 1852.
We hereby certify, That the above location is correct, being in accordance with law and instructions.
C. F. M. Nolond, Receiver
J. A. Patterson, Register."

The Scrip Warrants are instances of where additional information will probably be included in the Land Case Files that are stored at the National Archives. The image that I downloaded from the BLM website is the final patent awarded to my ancestor, Agrippa S. Godwin, however the papers I pulled from the Land Case Files were all the documents relating to the land and the warrant/patent itself. In this case, the original patent which was distributed for the 80 acres to Reuben Clark for his military service was included; hand written on the back of that was Reuben's agreement to transfer the patent over to Agrippa Godwin and a Justice of the Peace verifying he did such and he was who he said he was; And then Agrippa's warrant that is transferred to the Batesville, Arkansas land office. You should also be able to see all the folds and creases in the papers. They really are kept and housed folded up in a "shuck" which is really just the outside page folded up around the inside pages and the whole thing is no bigger than about 8.5 x 2 inches. 

In my next posts I will describe the Homestead Acts and show some examples of Cash Entries. Tomorrow we are off to visit the Library of Congress, head back to the National Archives to view the Declaration of Independence and maybe take a tour or two. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 1 at NARA - Land Case Files - Part 1

         Ginger R. Smith waiting for the train at Huntington Station in Alexandria, Virginia.  
Photo courtesy of Liz Tapley,  October 20, 2011. 

Photo of our destination train stop - Archives - Navy Memorial - Penn Quarter
 - from inside the Yellow line Metro Station. Photo by Ginger Smith, October 20, 2011. 

For this trip, we are staying in Alexandria, Virginia. Our hotel is about 1 mile from the Huntington Metro Station (Yellow line). It was a 22 minute train ride to the National Archives / Naval Memorial / Penn Quarters train stop. We got off the train, took the escalator up and crossed the street to get to NARA.

Photo of the National Archives (NARA) building at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue.  
This is the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance side where researchers enter. 
The "touristy" entrance is around to the left - 
that is where visitors go in to view the Constitution. 
Photo by Ginger R. Smith, October 20, 2011. 

Day 1 of the archives consisted of getting our researcher's card, learning our way around the finding aid room, the microfilm room, and the 203 reading room (and locating the cafe in the basement).

We started off in the finding aid room (First floor to your left) to submit forms for the Land Case Files we wanted to look at. These are original records that are pulled at certain times throughout the day. Since I had so many of these, I wanted to get as many ordered for the next pull time that I could - by 11 am.

Land Case Files

Before you arrive at NARA, you should have printouts of all of the land records your ancestors made transactions with. You can obtain this information by going to the Bureau of Land Management website and searching for your ancestor. You should print out the first page that contains pertinent information such as the Land Office, State, Document number, and Authority. You will need this information to fill out your order form. Here is one of my examples of what I printed off before I visited NARA:

We managed to snag a copy of the form you have to fill out so I can share with my readers what it looks like and what you should expect. But don't worry because there is always trained staff on hand to walk you through the process and of course they will check your forms to make sure they are filled out correctly. Here is what a completed form looks like (This is reconstructed to suite this example):

This form includes your name. Liz filled this one out for me. And then your researcher ID number. This is the number that is on your researcher ID card that you keep with you at all time. The date goes at the top. All land case files are in record group 49 which you can see on the left side of the form. The meat of the information goes in the big white space - this is the land office and the state. This is NOT the county, but the LAND OFFICE. This is very important. Below that goes the authority which is usually Cash, Homestead, or Military Script Warrant, and then the document number.

In my first pull, I had 12 files I wanted to see. I wrote one up incorrectly. It was for Cash and I wrote it up for Homestead by mistake, so I have to reorder this file tomorrow. I also tried to take a short cut and printed out the summary page which had a list of all the patents that one ancestor secured. I realized when I went to order them that I did not have all of the information required to order the records like the land office and the authority. So I will be looking them up tonight and placing another order tomorrow. I had an additional 8 records that I pulled for the 2nd pull time today. So in total about 20 files were reviewed and about 17 boxes were pulled for me. Tomorrow I will request an additional 15 land case files!!!

In my next post I will discuss what kinds of information I found in these land case files. Most of them contained only the original patent and a receipt which may or may not have been signed by my ancestor. A couple of documents contained affidavits about what they planned to do with the land and how long they had lived on it.

I will have to deal with the issue of getting the images out of the cameras that I used today. My kodak camera died right away which is pretty typical so I used my phone to upload most of the images. However, the land case files are housed in a box and they are folded, so I found it hard to get them to lie flat long enough for me to take a picture of them. I did not even think to bring my flat bed scanner. I tried Liz's flipPal scanner today but found it slow and the I kept hitting the button when I didn't want to. I did load my researcher's card up with money so I could use the photocopy machine, however, sometimes that did not work so well either, especially if there was any blue paper items in the shucks (which there were)! Oh and in case you are wondering, copies are $0.25 a page, they print out as 8x14, and they are $0.50 for microfilm copies (I will definitely discuss microfilm and military records in another post).

So more land records tomorrow and we will receive the 1812 service records we ordered tomorrow as well. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on Google+ or Facebook. Part 2 is forthcoming...