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It has been a busy summer with both jobs and as such, my genealogical pursuits have been put on the back burner though they are almost constantly in my daydreams and thoughts and last weekend was no exception.
For the last five years, I have been volunteering as a photographer for the ‘3 Day, 50 Mile MS Challenge Walk.’ held the weekend after labor day, on Cape Cod. My Wife has now walked 2 of her last 8 years helping out, and we do so for her father who has Multiple Sclerosis.
To my knowledge, my 9th great grandfather, John Young died in Eastham Massachusetts in 1690. He was born in England and married Abigail Howland in Plymouth. From there, 4 generations of Young’s’ had been born in Eastham before migrating to the Bar Harbor area of Maine. My Grandfather Merton finally returned the family to Cape Cod around 1935 after my Father had been born.
It just so happens that the midpoint of the second day of the walk is in, you guessed it, Eastham. I know very little about my Great Grandmothers from that time – and I would have liked to been able to do some on the ground digging however the much needed ‘rest’ after an event as such took precedence over anything. It also seems that my research pulled up that neither the library, or historical society itself was open on that Monday I had ‘free’.
Really though, two main things were against me. The first is that I had not researched what resources were open this time of year and I may have been able to make a special appointment. The Library was closed, as was the Historical Society and any of their assets. I did not think to check the town hall and my brain could not think of anything else to check at the time.
Another item working against me was that the only information I had with me, was the online tree at Ancestry.com. While a good resource, I should have printed hard copies of some family record sheets. This would have helped me focus on names that I did know, and not the Snow’s, and Freeman’s, and Doane’s that I thought might be in the tree but… oh those names sound so familiar.
For those of you with Cape Cod Ancestors, I would like to mention the site Cape Cod Gravestones – Gravestones Dated 1683 – 1880 or Later in Barnstable County, Massachusetts The site has, Forty Four Thousand Names with Gravestone Inscription Information, Four Thousand Color Photographs, One Hundred Thirty Five Old Burial Grounds, Forty Six Gravestone Carvers, Eight Hundred Colonial Epitaphs, Cemetery Survey Reference Sources, and more.
While the site does not have a search function, the following is taken from their home page:
If you want to search for a specific name on this large web site, go to the Google search engine at www.google.com. In the search box enter capecodgravestones+name. There should be no space before or after the + sign. For example, if you are searching for Marcy Freeman, enter in the search box capecodgravestones+Marcy+Freeman. The search result will be a listing of links to Marcy Freeman
At the end of the day all I can do is begin to plan next years trip, and assuming I can get the time to research, I will have what I need, and know where I can go to get it.
On my most recent project with Nathan Simmons, I wanted to explore a new (to me) method for keeping research. I wanted something that I could use anywhere and anytime as my work schedule is a bit wonky. I also wanted the ability to have something that kept my genealogy information separate from other notes. Lastly, it needs to be easy to use else in the long run it will not get used.
My current solution of Google Drive is ugly though parts of it do work well. Drive is great for storing files and I was keeping master ‘Sheets’ and ‘Docs’ (Google’s version of Microsoft Excel and Word) with notes and items. It works from my home, office and phone. On the downside I made some of the research log sheets so crazy though that I felt I spent more time sorting than researching.
What I am keeping of this system though are the folders of images of documents, maps, and photographs. Within a master folder I have four main folders. Documents, Photographs, Catalogs, and an Inbox.
The Documents folder is broken several sub folders such as Births, Census – US, Census – State, City Directories, Marriages, Newspapers, Obituaries, and more. I do find that I need to add folders from time to time as needed. Each file is named starting with the Surname followed by First name or head of household for certain documents. I then add the birth year of the person and lastly the type of document (and a sequence number if there is more than one page to a record.)
YOUNG Leonard b1843 – Pension Record 01.jpg
The Census records are an exception to this naming convention. For these I have chose to name them starting with the Year, Location, Family Surname, and Head of Household.
1850 – US, MA, Bristol, Dighton – SIMMONS, Nathan.jpg
The Photographs folder is broken down by different families. If the photo is of a person, each file is named by the Surname, First name, Year of Birth, description, and date of photo if known. Similarly, if the photograph is of an item belonging to a person it gets the same naming treatment. Exceptions to this might be if the picture is of a place where I will always try to begin the file name with the location.
YOUNG Leonard Ivy b1843 – Portrait with Abbie Maria (Pitts) and dog
YOUNG David b1931 – Plane Crash Debris – 1970
Mount Desert Island Maine – Photograph of Mount Young – 2014
This whole system will not work without a list of the items however and that is what is in the Catalogs folder. I have two spreadsheets, one for documents and another for photos. The spreadsheets are a way for me to list additional information about each item such as the names of those listed on the document, where the document was originally found as well as a citation, if I have entered the item into Roots Magic or Ancestry, and any additional notes.
[Note – WordPress doesn’t really display tables such as this too well so I have to work this ‘sideways’ compared to what I am used to. Normally my headers run across the top with each record on its own row.]
File Name – [The Name of the File]
Inbox – [More in a moment]
Folder – [The sub folder the file is in]
Doc Date – [The Date or year of the document]
Description – [Usually a brief description but I have been known to put full transcripts]
Names – [The names of the people in the document]
Source – [A High level look at where the item came from]
Link – [If found online where to find it again]
Citation – [The Source citation – I usually copy and paste from the website when I can ]
Roots Magic – [Has this been input into Roots Magic?]
Ancestry – [Has this been attached to someone in Ancestry]
Family Search – [Has this been attached to someone on Family Search]
File Name – 1850 – US, MA, Bristol, Dighton – SIMMONS, Nathan.jpg
Inbox – No
Folder – Census – US
Doc Date – 1850
Description – Census Record for Dighton MA
Names – Nathan Simmons, Nancy (Pierce), Albert
Source – FamilySearch.org
Link – https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MD9N-G31
Citation – United States Census, 1850, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MD9N-G31 : accessed 24 April 2016), Nathan Simmons, Dighton, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States; citing family 118, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
Roots Magic – Yes
Ancestry – No
Family Search – No
The photographs spreadsheet looks very similar. I have kept the source and citation fields in case the photograph did not come from my collection.
The last Folder to talk about is the Inbox. This is loosely sorted collection of documents and images that I have not had the time to fully catalog yet. I try to not let them stay in the inbox for too long and generally once I fill out a line item for it in the spreadsheet, I will move it out of the inbox. An inbox is very useful to keep your research moving while you are on a roll and not break your pace but you need to remember to log your items.
This system has worked for me and I find I have to tweak it every now and again. I have read that others organize first by surname and while I think that direction has a lot of merit, my thinking is that one document is more likely to have many names on it yet each document itself is generally only one type. Take a marriage record for example. At the minimum it would (should) have the Husband and Wife listed but many have the parents names as well.
In the next article in this series, I will introduce you to the next step in my (current) process – One Note by Microsoft – and how it has opened up a new door for me.
After attending the 2016 26th Annual Pro Video & Lighting Trade Show Thursday, Sue and I found ourselves 30 minutes North of Taunton MA, birthplace of my father and his father. I have many other ancestors from the neighboring towns in Bristol County as well. The Old Colony History Museum is the local historical society and sounds like a place we just had to explore.
We were greeted by a wonderful woman who took us for a tour of their amazing collection as well as a bit of the history of the building. Pro-Tip #1 – ask about the museum’s photography policy at the beginning of the tour and not at the end. I suppose that not taking photographs of every little thing did leave me less distracted.
The first floor gallery and meeting room was much larger than we had expected I think. Among the items on this floor there were a couple that stood out for me. The first of which were several grandfathers clocks made in the area by local tradesmen. They looked amazingly similar to one that stands in my Mothers house right now, handed down by my Grandfather, made by his cousin William Davis. The other item, a writing desk, also bears a resemblance to a piece in the front hall of her house as well.
The second floor was simply amazing with what must have been thousands of objects to see and discover. Everything from dolls to clothing to furniture. Some amazing old photographs, cameras and paintings. Taunton was home to many cast iron stove makers and several were also on display. They had an old pump fire wagon, a descent sized multi harness loom, and a display of Native American finds.
Of the many items in this room though there was a lone daguerreotype of a steam engine from the late 1800’s. My 2nd Great Grandfather Leonard Ivy Young used to work for the railroads in this area and of course this made me wonder if I was looking at something he himself had seen – or even worked on.
A separate room holds military artifacts and for my re-enactor friends several articles of clothing, hats and, accouterments. Our tour guide told us an amazing story of a slave who fought with the Continental Army in the revolutionary war as a part of a cannon crew. When he returned he was granted his freedom and gifted a cannon by General Washington himself or at least that is what the rumor and town lore told. I learned more about Camp Myles Standish mentioned briefly in one of my Grandfather’s WW2 Greenland diaries.
In the last room an amazing display of locally made silver goods. Among the normal items there was a silver handled and ebony sock darner, a small silver clad pencil, an elaborate silver and glass pickle jar and my favorite – the Ketchup, Mustard and Relish containers – appropriately etched just in case you forgot which was which. One name stood out in this room, Albert Pitts, a local silversmith that I will have to keep in mind as my research continues.
The last stop on our tour took us into the William T. and Mary L. Hurley Library also located on the second floor. Wow. That’s all. Wow. Now, I know I didn’t come here prepared to do any research – nor did we have the time really however I will now offer out Pro-Tip #2. Have a genealogical travel kit. I’m not sure how – but I am going to get working on one.
From the Old Colony Historical Museum website about their library:
Our research collection, which includes more than 7,000 volumes in our non-circulating library and over 400 linear feet of archival material, embraces a wide range of topics.
Some of the largest collections include:
• Family histories (published and unpublished works)
• Family papers
• Unpublished manuscripts
• Cemetery gravestone transcriptions
• Local church and municipal records
• Proprietors’ records for the Taunton region
• Military records and accounts from the 17th to 20th centuries
• Materials related to prominent local industries (textiles, machinery, locomotives, stoves, iron, pewter, silver, pottery, nails, tacks, bricks, shipbuilding, etc.)
• Collection of maritime records including diaries, papers, ships’ logs, etc.
• Account books of local merchants, businesses, and citizens
• Selected Bristol County Court records (17th to 20th centuries)
• Newspapers: Taunton Daily Gazette (1848-2001) on microfilm; other newspapers on microfilm and in bound copies as early as 1824
• Vital records for the Commonwealth of MA and the State of RI (prior to 1850)
• Maps and atlases for Taunton and Bristol County
• Taunton municipal records, dates vary (Fire Department, Police Department, Public Schools)
• Taunton City Directory, 1850 to 2002
• Yearbooks from Taunton High School (1891-1990, incomplete), Msgr. Coyle High School, Bishop Cassidy High School, St. Mary’s High School, St. Anthony Parish, St. Jaques Parish
I am looking forward to returning, taking some photographs, and of course delving into the library but first – I must prepare.
Our thanks again to the Old Colony History Museum for a wonderful afternoon.
Old Colony History Museum
66 Church Green
Taunton, Massachusetts 02780
Open Tuesday – Saturday
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Last weekend Sue and I attended the ACGS Spring Conference in Manchester NH and had a fantastic time. The 5 different speakers presented on:
- The Resources at the Manchester Historical Society by Jeffrey Barraclough
- The Resources of the Manchester City Library by Eileen Reddy
- The Resources of the NH State Library by Brian Burford
- The Resources of the NH State Archives by Deborah Moore
- A talk about Lineage Societies and the Daughters of the American Revolution in particular by Janine Penfield of the ACGS
Each presenter was full of information and very knowledgeable on their repositories even though the woman from the Manchester Public Library was new to the position.
Of the items that the presenters discussed, there were a few items that stuck out for me.
Manchester NH was built by, and around the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. As such, the Manchester Historical Society is the repository for their records including Employee Files which can include some interesting additions for your Manchester ancestor.
Included are accounting records, engineering reports, correspondence, production records, and fabric sample books, as well as documentation for the locomotives and steam fire engines produced by the Amoskeag Machine Shop. Beginning in 1911, there are employment cards for each person who worked in the mills which provide information about the person’s age, address, and job. – from http://www.manchesterhistoric.org/
This collection sounds amazing and how I wish I had ancestors from Manchester so I could make use of them.
The ‘NH Room’ at the Manchester City Library includes many resources including Census Materials, Local histories, New Hampshire Regimental Histories and the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolution.
The NH Vital Records and State Archives took a tag team approach to their presentation. Vital records are open to the public and you can obtain those for Birth, Marriage, Death and Divorce. Birth records are available up until today’s date – 1916, while the other categories you can obtain up to 1966.
The Archives also holds the NH Association Test – Sate Papers vol 30.
In 1776, at the outset of the American Revolution, the New Hampshire Committee of Safety directed that all males over the age of twenty-one sign the Association Test–a kind of loyalty oath to the Patriot cause. In effect this resulted in a unique census of the adult male population inasmuch as the names of both signers and non-signers were recorded, and it is the most comprehensive list of New Hampshire residents available before the Census of 1790. Previously available in two separate, unindexed booklets, the present publication has placed all the names–well over 9,000–in one alphabetical sequence to enable the researcher to find a person and his town of residence at a glance. – Description from Ancestry.com [Link]
These papers will become important for Sue’s research – but that’s for another day.
Janine Penfield of the ACGS talked about Liniage Societies and the DAR in particular but also briefly reviewed La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan [Link] and the more local Piscataqua Pioneers [Link]. She reviewed the benefits of joining a society, the basic requirements to join, and lastly spoke regarding French Canadian Soldiers in the Revolutionary war of which the 2nd Canadian Regiment was one of them [Link]
Ooh Look, Squirrel! Looking over the Archives website just now though they have also made available 40 Volumes of the Sate Papers as PDF files as well as an Index File at http://sos.nh.gov/Papers.aspx. A look through the index and a trip down the rabbit hole led me to page 32 of Volume 39…
I have yet to download the remaining volumes which also list a Mark Noble… I probably shouldn’t look for Moses either… Oh well, so much for a nap.
As a sidebar for this free conference it was suggested that you bring a friend – so we did and I dragged Dick Gagnon, the Access Nashua Station Manager and long time member of the ACGS (and my boss) back out of the shadows to attend. He hates me now for pulling him back into the Rabbit Hole of Genealogy but wait until I can talk about the project that he picked back up.
Thanks again to the American Canadian Genealogical Society for putting on such a great conference and I can not wait until the next one.
A couple of months back I had the pleasure of interviewing the former, and current directors of the Nashua, NH Family History Center. It took some time for us to connect and on the day of taping here in the studio – we had a power outage.
Well, not wanting to be held back by this Brick Wall – we grabbed a location kit and drove across town to the Family History Center itself and had a chat about the resources that they have to offer, research tips, and stories to help inspire you.
The Family History Center in Nashua is located at:
110 Concord Street
Nashua NH 03064
The Family History Center in Nashua, NH is holding a workshop on Wednesday, April 27 from 7pm to 8:30pm on how to use your Family Search Account.
They will cover the basics of;
1. Logging in
2. Navigating Your Family Tree and its various views
3. The “Memories” tab
4. The “Search” tab and best practices for its use
5. “Tree Connect” to add sources to your ancestors’ records from the internet
6. Printing documents from FamilySearch
The Family History Center is located in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
110 Concord Street, Nashua, NH
I am going to try to attend as I do have a few questions regarding using their online family tree. I do hope to see you there!