Sunday, November 14, 2010

New York Genealogy PDF files

I have started to collect New York Genealogy PDF files and these cover several counties, New York City and other things related to genealogy. Over the next several months, I will be adding more PDF files, so check back at least once a week.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dorothy Lange Marsh 1923-2010

Dorothy Mae Lange was born 16 April 1923 in Calumet, Minnesota. Dorothy was the youngest child of Earl Lange and Ruth Finnerud, who were immigrants from Norway. She was a graduate of Greenway High School in Coleraine and worked for Dr. O. C. Braun in the early years.

She married John Preston Marsh 22 June 1946 in Nashwauk, Minnesota. They lived in Splithand Township, Grand Rapids, Minnesota, from 1947 to 1961.

In 1961 the Marsh family moved to Fort Pierce, Florida. Dorothy was looking for something to do and purchased a small pet shop. Happyland Pet Shop sold household pets, as well as exotic animals from South America, such as monkeys, baby skunks, lizards, turtles and snakes. The pet shop prospered and had to move to a large location. John Marsh left Vaughn & Wright Auto Parts in 1966 to join his wife in the pet shop business. The pet shop soon became a complete family business, with all of the children working at the store after school and loving it. Dorothy clipped and groomed dogs in the back of the shop. She and her family also enjoyed raising Miniature Schnauzers and Irish Terriers.

John and Dorothy Marsh retired from the pet shop business in 1983 and, much to the disappointment of their children, moved to Mena, Arkansas, in 1983. In her retirement Dorothy made a number of lovely quilts for her family, all hand pieced and hand quilted. She was known for her expert bread and bun making, including her famous Norwegian Christmas Bread. Dorothy still had a love for animals, especially dogs. Dorothy Marsh passed away on the evening of October 19, 2010.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cemeteries Field Worried Calls

Cemetery directors across the Midwest have been bombarded with anxious callers worried that a ghoulish scandal in a suburban Chicago burial ground isn't an isolated incident.
Authorities recently arrested four employees at Burr Oak Cemetery, alleging they dug up and dumped as many as 300 corpses to resell the used burial plots. The gruesome details have unnerved families as far away as Milwaukee and Kansas City, who have then flooded cemetery directors with concerns. So far, no other deception has turned up.
"We've been inundated with visitors trying to find loved ones that are buried here," said Vickey Hand, president of Washington Memory Gardens outside Chicago. "People are walking in here, one after the other, who haven't been here in 40 or 50 years, with this look of apprehension on their face."
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart learned of the alleged grave-reselling scheme about two months ago, when Perpetua Inc., the Arizona-based owner of Burr Oak, saying that the company was concerned about financial irregularities there, contacted his office.
Sheriff Dart said that when detectives initially went to the cemetery, they discovered a pile of bones from more than 100 bodies decomposing above ground in a fenced, overgrown area. He said the corpses were dug up so that their plots could be reused. He estimates the scheme generated about $250,000.
Burr Oak, founded nearly a century ago, was one of the first predominantly African-American cemeteries in the Chicago area. Among the historic figures buried there are civil-rights icon Emmett Till, blues legend Dinah Washington and heavyweight boxing champion Ezzard Charles.
On Friday, sheriff's deputies continued to scour four sections of the cemetery, which holds about 100,000 graves. They are searching for additional remains and trying to match discarded headstones to burial plots. Disintegrating and incomplete interment records and maps have slowed the process.
Since news about the cemetery broke, Sheriff Dart said he has been flooded with more than 55,000 requests from families looking for information about loved ones buried there. He said he isn't optimistic all the human remains will be identified.
"That will be very, very difficult," Sheriff Dart said Friday. He compared the process to identifying victims of a plane crash, but without the passenger manifest. "We don't even know who the universe of people are."
Illinois lawmakers this week considered additional regulation to require the exact location of interments on death certificates. But the legislative session expired before any action was taken.
Elsewhere in the Midwest, a Detroit Memory Gardens employee said there has been a small influx of people who have come by to inspect their family plots. In St. Louis, Richard Lay of the Bellefontaine Cemetery said he has "heard a couple of comments that were joking in an offhand way, and I took it offensively," he said. "There are a lot of upset families, and I take it very seriously."
Harvey Lapin, general counsel of the Illinois Cemetery and Funeral Home Association, said cemetery owners around the state have been peppered with calls from different parts of the country asking, "You're not doing anything like this, are you?"
Linzay Kelly, an amateur genealogist in Houston with relatives buried in Burr Oak, said he has been concerned that something like this might happen for some time.
"There's just a panic out there that this isn't the only place this was happening," said Mr. Kelly, who has unsuccessfully tried to track down the graves of several family members who died in the 1940s and were buried in Illinois. "I've been to cemeteries where entire sections aren't there. It makes you suspicious."
Paula Everett, president of Mount Greenwood Cemetery, which isn't far from Burr Oak, said she has received about 150 calls and visits from anxious relatives since the news broke on July 8. "I can understand why people are nervous," she said. "I tell them to come down, we have every record back to day one in 1879."
Information provided by Douglas Belkin and Carrie Porter from the Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Albert Leo Sullivan 1922-1942

Sullivan, Albert Leo, S2, was born on July 8, 1922 and died on November 13, 1942
American Military Figure. Son of Thomas and Aleta Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa, he was serving as a Seaman Second Class, United States Naval Reserve, on board the USS Juneau when it was sunk during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Also serving on the Juneau and also lost in the sinking were his four brothers George, Frank, Joseph and Matt. They are buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (ABMC) in Manila, Philippines. There is no know grave, names is listed on the Tablets of the Missing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Abel Madison Sullivan 1919-1942

Sullivan, Madison Abel “Matt” S2 was born on November 8, 1919 and died on November 13, 1942
American Military Figure. Son of Thomas and Aleta Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa, he was serving as a Seaman Second Class, United States Naval Reserve, on board the USS Juneau when it was sunk during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Also serving on the Juneau and also lost in the sinking were his four brothers Frank, George, Leo and Joseph. They are buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (ABMC) in Manila, Philippines. There is no know grave, names is listed on the Tablets of the Missing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Joseph Eugene Sullivan 1918-1942

Sullivan, Joseph Eugene S2 was born on August 28, 1918 and died November 13, 1942
American Military Figure. Son of Thomas and Aleta Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa, he was serving as a Seaman Second Class, United States Naval Reserve, on board the USS Juneau when it was sunk during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Also serving on the Juneau and also lost in the sinking were his four brothers Frank, George, Leo and Matt. They are buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (ABMC) in Manila, Philippines. There is no know grave, names is listed on the Tablets of the Missing.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Francis Henry "Frank" Sullivan 1916-1942

Sullivan, Francis Henry “Frank” A Coxswain, was born on February 18, 1916 and died on November 13, 1942
American Military Figure. Son of Thomas and Aleta Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa, he was serving as a Coxswain, United States Naval Reserve, on board the USS Juneau when it was sunk during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Also serving on the Juneau and also lost in the sinking were his four brothers Joseph, George, Leo and Matt. They are buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (ABMC) in Manila, Philippines. There is no know grave, names is listed on the Tablets of the Missing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

George Thomas Sullivan 1914-1942

Sullivan, George Thomas, GM2 was born on December 14, 1914 and died on November 13, 1942
American Military Figure. Son of Thomas and Aleta Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa, he was serving as a Gunner's Mate Second Class, United States Naval Reserve, on board the USS Juneau when it was sunk during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Also serving on the Juneau and also lost in the sinking were his four brothers Frank, Joseph Leo and Matt. They are buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (ABMC) in Manila, Philippines. There is no know grave, names is listed on the Tablets of the Missing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Five Brothers Who Died Together on November 13, 1942

This is such a sad story. My Uncle William Marsh who died in World War II, is buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila Philippines. I recently learned about cluster genealogy and decided to see if I could find any of William's military buddies that died in 1945. I did not find any of his friends, but I did find these five brothers who all died on November 13, 1942.

At first the Navy Department did not release any information on the loss of the Juneau or any of the other ships lost at Guadalcanal for security reasons, but when mail from all five brothers stopped arriving at the family home in Iowa, their parents began making inquiries. Finally, on January 12, 1943, a team from the Navy Department consisting of a doctor, a Lieutenant Commander, and a Chief Petty Officer officially notified Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan. The Lieutenant Commander is reported to have said to Mr. Sullivan, "I have some news for you about your boys." Mr. Sullivan said, "Which one?" The officer said, "I'm sorry -- all five."

The story of "The Fighting Sullivan Brothers" became a national cause -- President Roosevelt and Pope Pius XII sent personal letters of condolence, the Iowa State House and Senate adopted formal resolutions honoring the brothers, Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan made a number of appearances at war bond rallies and other speaking engagements in support of the war effort, a Fletcher-class destroyer was named USS The Sullivan’s (DD-537), and in 1944 a Hollywood film, The Sullivan’s, was made about their story, featuring Thomas Mitchell as Mr. Sullivan. Even though it was official Navy policy that brothers not serve aboard the same ship, the policy was often ignored; after the sinking of the Juneau the War Department adopted a stricter "Sole Survivor" policy.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

NARA Publications and Other Items for Genealogy Research

1. There are several National Archives publications that researchers should examine before using some of the records described herein.  These are: Using Records in the National Archives for Genealogical Research (General Information Leaflet [GIL] No. 5, 1990); Military Service Records in the National Archives of the United States (GIL No. 7, 1985); Information About the National Archives for Prospective Researchers (GIL No. 30, 1990); and Genealogical Records in the National Archives (rev. 1985). Many of the microfilm publications are available in the Regional Archives System throughout the United States. To identify the facility nearest you, see the list in the back of Prologue or refer to The Regional Archives System of the National Archives (GIL No. 22, 1991). Titles of microfilm publications containing relevant War of 1812 - era indexes and records can be found in National Archives Microfilm Resources for Research: A Comprehensive Catalog (1990) and, more specifically, Genealogical and Biographical Research: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications (1983) and Military Service Records: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications (1985).

2. A good genealogical overview of the period is George K. Schweitzer, War of 1812 Genealogy (1988). Recent historical works relating to the war in general are John K. Mahon, The War of 1812 (1972); J.C.A. Stagg, Mr. Madison's War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early Republic, 1783 - 1830 (1983); and Donald R. Hickey, The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict (1989). In addition, many states have published rosters of their troops called to duty during the War of 1812. Many of these volumes are out of print, but they can be consulted in the appropriate state archives. The National Archives has some of these publications, but the best source is probably the Local History and Genealogy Room of the Library of Congress.

3. See Laws of the United States Governing the Granting of Army and Navy Pensions (1923).

4. Copies of compiled military service records can be obtained through the mail by completing NATF Form 86. Copies of pensions and bounty land warrant application files can be obtained using NATF Form 85.  Each record must be requested on a separate form. Forms and information about other records can be obtained by contacting Old Military and Civil Records (NWCTB), National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408.

5.  Related State Department records are on "War of 1812 Papers" in the Department of State, 1789 - 1815 (M588, 7 rolls).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NARA - Other Naval Records from the War of 1812

Record Group 45 also contains a large series of records relating to naval and other American prisoners of war captured and incarcerated by the British in England, Nova Scotia, or on cartel POW ships. The lists show the names, dates of capture, ship from which taken, and the location of the prisoner (Subject File, 1775 - 1910, series RA). Additional records relating to POWs are the registers of U.S. prisoners in Halifax, Barbados, and Jamaica, which consist of three volumes listing name, date, and place of capture; and a register of U.S. prisoners of war at Quebec that shows name, ship from which taken, place of birth, and date of discharge. An interesting series of records (Subject File, RN) shows the names of British aliens or other noncitizens reporting to U.S. marshals under federal law. These are apparently copies that were sent to the State Department and include such information as name of alien, residence, names of wife and children, place of birth, age, and occupation. Two other series of records in Record Group 45, a register of aliens in New York (1813) and a register of suspected aliens along the Atlantic Coast (1813), supplement the larger series. Records of the Judge Advocate General (Navy) (Record Group 125) may provide sources of information concerning naval or Marine Corps personnel summoned before courts of inquiry or other disciplinary courts-martial for this period. Name indexes as well as the proceedings of such courts can be found on Records of General Courts-Martial and Courts of Inquiry of the Navy Department, 1799 - 1867 (M273, 198 rolls).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NARA - Naval and Marine Corps Records War of 1812

Records of naval officers' service are more numerous than those for enlisted personnel. The names of naval officers are printed in a useful work by R. W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the U.S. and the Marine Corps From 1775 to 1900 (1901). The basic National Archives record showing naval and Marine Corps officer service in the War of 1812 can be found in Abstracts Of Service Records of Naval Officers ("Records of Officers"), 1798 - 1893 (M330, 19 rolls, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24). Of the fifteen volumes filmed in this series, volumes D and E show officers' records of service for the War of 1812. The entries are arranged chronologically and indicate the dates of acceptance, resignation, appointment, assignment, transfer, promotion, and ships on which the officer served. Other records containing additional information about navy and Marine Corps officers can be found in Records of the Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library (Record Group 45). There are several series of records for the War of 1812 period that show letters of resignation (three volumes), letters indicating receipt of commissions and enclosing oaths of allegiance "acceptances" (five volumes), and letters from midshipmen accepting commissions and enclosing oaths of allegiance (one volume). There are no such compiled summaries to show service for naval enlisted men for this period. If the ship on which a seaman served is known, the muster and payrolls for that vessel can be examined to determine the dates of enlistment and service. If the ship is not known, then the research becomes laborious because the muster and payrolls of all ships operating at that time must be searched, and the names on the rolls are not necessarily arranged alphabetically. The best sources, however, for ascertaining naval service are the pension and bounty land application files. If a seaman applied for one of these benefits, the ship's name and dates of service will be indicated on the application, making the search for pertinent muster rolls less time-consuming.

Records of the U.S. Marine Corps (Record Group 127) include comprehensive card indexes listing all officers and enlisted men who served before 1900. The information is slim, but they do show the dates of appointment and enlistment. There are, however, service records for enlisted Marine Corps personnel for the period 1798 - 1895. These papers are arranged by year of enlistment, there under by initial letter of surname, and consist of enlistment and other papers that might establish date of service, age, place of birth, and occupation. The size rolls (similar to muster rolls) for the period 1798 - 1906 supply much the same information as the army enlistment registers, but one must know the approximate date of service to use them. The record group also contains card indexes showing names of Marine Corps casualties for the War of 1812 period.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NARA - Other Military Records from the War of 1812

The Adjutant General's Office also includes several useful, but lesser known, series of records that may prove useful to the genealogist.  The certificates of disability for the War of 1812 are documents signed by a surgeon attesting to the disability and discharge of regular army soldiers. Arranged by regiment and then by name, the certificates include information such as name, age, rank, unit, enlistment date, place of birth, and personal description. If no enlistment register entry exists for an individual, then this series might help. In addition to the large series of enlistment papers already discussed, a small series of enlistment papers and discharges also exists for the War of 1812 period. If no information is found in the larger series, then these papers should be examined. Often overlooked, but potentially useful, are Miscellaneous Manuscripts of the War of 1812 and its accompanying name index. The manuscripts contain a great variety of information about regulars, volunteers, and civilians. The records are arranged numerically and appear to be grouped by state and federal units. Among the records are vouchers, returns, receipts for supplies signed by officers in the field, and impressments of articles and services from civilians such as ferrymen, landlords, farmers, and seamstresses. The records appear to document mostly the activities of volunteer units and should be searched whenever the subject is a volunteer soldier, especially an officer. Records of the Adjutant General's Office also contain several small series of records relating to American POWs originally compiled by the Navy and Treasury departments. These are indexed and can be useful in determining if an American soldier was a POW in Canada. Records of the Judge Advocate General (Army) (Record Group 153) contain the proceedings of general courts-martial from the War of 1812 period for both volunteers and regulars. A card name index and a computerized name index give access to these records. The proceedings can provide an interesting and fascinating glimpse into army life.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NARA - Regular Army Enlistment Registers and Papers from the War of 1812

If a soldier's name does not appear in the index for volunteer soldiers, he might have served in the regular army. If the soldier served as an officer in the U.S. Army during this period, his name should be in Francis B. Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the U.S. Army (1903). There are no consolidated "service records" for officers before 1863. Aside from entries in Heitman, one can examine the correspondence of the Adjutant General's Office for pertinent documentation relating to these officers. Most of the names of regular army soldiers who served during the War of 1812 appear in the fifteen volumes of enlistment registers that show the names of soldiers enlisting for the period 1798 - 1815. Despite the dates indicated, most of the names in these registers are for those who enlisted during the War of 1812 period. The initial letter of surname arranges the names alphabetically, and there under alphabetically by given name, e.g., the name of Aaron Atkins would come before George Abbott, regardless of when each enlisted. The registers are somewhat more useful to the genealogist than the information provided on the compiled service record because they can show the age, place of birth (either city, county, or state), physical description (to include height), occupation, place and date of enlistment. The registers also indicate when, where, and under what circumstances the soldier was discharged. 

These registers were compiled in the late nineteenth century by the Adjutant General and are based on a variety of original records such as muster and payrolls, inspection and descriptive rolls, and other miscellaneous records in the Adjutant General's Office. As with the compiled service records, the information on these original records was transferred to the register, so no additional information is available from rearranging the original records. Fortunately for the researcher, these registers have been microfilmed on Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798 - 1914 (M233, 81 rolls). Another series of records, the enlistment papers, may also be useful. Unfortunately, the original enlistment papers for the War of 1812 period are fragmentary and incomplete. The papers are arranged alphabetically for the period 1798 - 1894. Much of the same information, however, can be found in the registers of enlistments.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

NARA - Compiled Military Service Records War of 1812.

The great majority of soldiers who served during the War of 1812 were volunteers, or members of state militia who were federalized for portions of the war period. There were also volunteer units directly raised by the federal government. The service records of these soldiers consist of compiled military service records or those records of service that were compiled from the original muster and pay rolls by the clerks in the Adjutant General's Office after the war (Records of the Adjutant General's Office, Record Group 94). State or federal volunteer unit arranges the records and they’re under alphabetically by name of soldier. A microfilmed index to these records is available on Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers who served during the War of 1812 (M602, 234 rolls). The actual service records have not been filmed. The service records show the soldier's name, rank, regimental unit (usually showing the last name of the regimental commander), the company commander's name, dates of service and pay, whether the soldier was a substitute, date of discharge, and sometimes, distance to the soldier's home from place of discharge. 
Other information such as date of death, if applicable, and periods of sickness, if recorded on the muster rolls, is noted. The service record reflects the information found on the original muster and payrolls; all information from these original rolls has been transferred to the compiled service record, so there is no need to examine the original rolls to obtain additional information. Because so many volunteers served only a few days or weeks, the information available is frequently meager. These records will not ordinarily show place of birth, age, or parents' names. They may show, however, disciplinary action resulting in dismissal or court-martial, if such information was noted on the muster roll. Compiled service records for officers show much the same information but usually include original vouchers and receipts for supply, pay, and transportation. Some of these papers may enable a researcher to determine where a unit served during the war.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NARA - Military Service Records War of 1812

The National Archives has some kind of military service record for most soldiers who served during the War of 1812. Genealogical information found in these records varies greatly depending on the type of service rendered. Naval service for enlisted men is more difficult to establish, especially when the soldier was an enlisted man.  Establishing service for a Marine Corps soldier is somewhat easier.

Friday, May 21, 2010

NARA - Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files #1

Perhaps the most genealogically rich records for this period are the pension application files in the records of the Veterans Administration (Record Group 15). There are two primary series of pension application files that relate to War of 1812 veterans. The first series ("Old Wars") consists of pensions to veterans of the army, navy, and Marine Corps based on service resulting in death or disability from the end of the Revolutionary War period up to the Civil War. The files include not only information about the veteran's service but also are likely to contain family information such as children's names and data about the widow's maiden name and marriage. The records are arranged alphabetically by veteran and can be accessed by using the name index that has been microfilmed as Old War Index to Pension Files (T316, 7 rolls). The index also indicates the veteran's name, unit, and state from which the claim was made, and type of claimant, whether widow, child, or other heir. Related records (YI), also arranged alphabetically, pertain to navy and Marine Corps veterans.
Pension application files for most War of 1812 veterans, however, will be found in the second series of pension files, i.e., those based on the acts of 1871 and 1878. These acts, based on length of service alone, relate mostly to militia veterans called to federal service. The 1871 act provided pensions to veterans who had served at least sixty days or to their widows if they had married before 1815. The 1878 act provided pensions to those veterans, or their widows, who only served fourteen days.  By the time these acts were passed, most applicants were widows or minors rather than veterans themselves. A typical file usually contains the soldier or widow's application file, a statement of service usually provided by the Pension Bureau, and other papers prepared by the Third Auditor's Office. Of the two, the widow or minor's application is potentially the richest in genealogical information. This is because the widow had to provide proof of marriage, including the date or place of marriage, and usually the maiden name.  Important data about marriages before 1815 found in some of the files may not be available anywhere else. Interfiled among these pensions in some cases are some bounty land application files.  While the pension files are not on microfilm, an informative index showing much data has been microfilmed as Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files (M313, 102 rolls). Supplementing the index is a remarried widow's card index, which covers the period 1816 - 1860.  The alphabetically arranged index cards show the new remarried name of the veteran's widow and the former veteran's name.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NARA - Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files #2

Although the process is somewhat involved, it is sometimes possible for a researcher to determine when a pension payment was last paid to a veteran or his heir. Among Veterans Administration records are the field record books (1805 - 1912), which can be used to determine when pension payments were made and when they stopped. To extract such information, one must know under which act a veteran was entitled to receive a pension and the city where the agency was located paying the pensioner. The search can be time-consuming, but information indicating the pensioner's date and place of death could be the reward.
War of 1812 veterans, and later their widows and heirs, could also apply for bounty land under the act of May 6, 1812, and a variety of subsequent federal laws. Most veterans were entitled to 160 acres, but in a few cases some received 320 acres, called double-bounties. Until 1842, the land lay within the states of Illinois, Arkansas, and Missouri, and until 1852 the land was not transferable. A typical bounty land application warrant file contains the veteran's name, age, unit, residence, period of service, and if applicable, the widow's (or heir's) name, age, and place of residence. Applications for bounty land claimed under different legislative acts will be filed under a single veteran's name. In many cases, bounty application files from regular army, navy, and Marine Corps veterans consist only of a discharge certificate. These files are arranged alphabetically by name of veteran, but they are unindexed. Researchers of these files should search the pension files in addition to searching the more numerous bounty land files. Less informative are the actual bounty land warrants, which were not issued to the veteran or his heirs. They do show, however, where the land to which the veteran was entitled was located and the date and name of the person to whom the land was given. Since many veterans sold their rights to bounty land to other persons, their names do not appear on many of the warrants. The warrants have been filmed on War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815 - 1858 (M848, 14 rolls).

Friday, May 14, 2010

NARA - Genealogical Records of the War of 1812

National Archives records created during and after the War of 1812 offer the genealogist a diverse and fertile ground in which to obtain invaluable family information. These records were created by a variety of government agencies to include various bureaus and offices of the War, Interior, and State departments in response to specific federal laws. Most War of 1812 - era records in the National Archives having genealogical value were created by the War Department, particularly those generated by the Adjutant General's Office (Record Group 94).  The General Reference Branch and the Military Reference Branch of the Textual Reference Division now service the records. Unlike many records of genealogical value from the Revolutionary War era, similar records for the War of 1812 period have not been microfilmed and are not available through interlibrary loan. The notable exceptions are a number of name indexes for the compiled military service records and pension application files.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

National Archives in Riverside, California

On Tuesday, May 11, 2010, I drove out to the National Archives in Riverside, California. I arrived around 11:00 a.m. and I was the only one there. The parking was free and as I walked into the front door, a very nice lady greeted me and asked me what I was looking for.

I told her I was researching an ancestor’s military records from the War of 1812. She asked me to sign in and then she called someone from the back to help me out. After a few minutes, two gentlemen meet me in the front office and I explained to them what I was looking for. They invited me into the research room and the three of us sat down, I explained what research I had completed and what I was looking for. After a few minutes, one of the gentlemen excused himself, and the other guy named Terry help me find the index to the War of 1812 records and told me where I could order the full records.

I also found out that all the records from the National Archives in Laguna Nigel were transferred to the National Archives in Riverside. This is a modern one-story building, well lighted, and has a very friendly staff to answer your questions. They also have Ancestry on all the PC’s there and printing is free. I asked Terry how they could do this and he replied that it was my tax dollar at work.

I really enjoy my day at the National Archives in Riverside and I would highly recommend this place to anyone researching in Southern California.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Franklin Marsh as a Witness

My ancestor Franklin Marsh was a witness in a famous murder trial that was of national importance regarding the Masons (which was a catalyst for the formation of the Republican Party, ultimately). Franklin testimony is in the book “Letters on Masonry and Anti-Masonry”, which you can read on Google Books. For more information on the Anti-Masonry, go to:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cluster Genealogy Research

Why Cluster Genealogy? 
Even if you don't really care who your ancestors siblings, cousins and associates were, cluster genealogy can still be a very effective research technique:

The records of siblings, cousins, and other family members may provide clues to the next generation that you haven't been able to find in the records left by your direct ancestor.

Neighbors may actually turn out to be relatives. Family groups often migrated to the same town, lived near each other, attended the same school or church, and were buried in the same cemetery.

Knowing and recognizing the names of other family members can sometimes help you locate your own ancestor when he has been missing an indexed or had his name mangled in a record where you expect to find him, such as the census.

Tracking ancestors as they move from place to place can often be a daunting task. Knowing the names of relatives and neighbors who may have moved with him can make it easier to identify him in a new location.

Researching more people means an increased chance of making connections and possibly sharing research with other genealogists.

How Cluster Genealogy Works 
The cluster genealogy technique involves expanding your genealogy search beyond your direct line ancestors to include their brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends. Check for as many of these individuals as time and finances will allow in major records, including birth, marriage and death records; census records; land deeds; published family histories, etc. Collect information on them just as you do for your direct ancestors and record it all in your notes or genealogy software program.

Don't neglect the spouses of these "cluster" individuals. Even if your family tree appears to be sadly lacking in genealogists, perhaps theirs were not. Published family histories for spouses of siblings can often provide an unexpected gold mine of information.

Census records and estate records are especially useful for identifying additional family members, including brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Land deeds, newspapers, and church membership rosters can often prove useful for pinpointing neighbors and friends.

By increasing the pool of individuals whom you are researching, cluster genealogy improves your chances of locating records and details on your ancestors. In the process, you'll also learn more about the place and time in which your family lived.

Since a single record is often not enough to "prove" an ancestral connection, cluster genealogy offers additional documents to support accurate research.
Our ancestors did not live in isolation, although we often research them as if they did. They were part of a family, with siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and other relatives. They were also part of a community, with friends, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers. This "cluster" of family, friends and neighbors can provide valuable clues to the lives of our ancestors.

Cluster genealogy, sometimes referred to as whole family or extended family genealogy, is the practice of extending your research on a person to the individuals and families to which he was connected. These connections could range from his brother or spouse, to the neighbor who appeared as a witness on a land deed.

Collateral Research leaves the focus of the individual and expands to include siblings, cousins, and in-laws. Include neighbors and associates and you've expanded to Cluster Research. Cluster research is implied in my Death Record Research Flowchart. 

Cluster Genealogy is also known as whole family research and involves branching out beyond your pedigree ancestors to research individuals connected to your direct line ancestors and collaterals. The connections may be close, as in marriage, or loose, as in witnesses to a will.

Remember, Collateral = Direct Line Siblings and Cluster = Other Family, Friends and Associates. Genealogists who research by clusters are the most successful in extending their ancestral lines.

You've heard the expression, 'We're all in this together.' Try thinking of your ancestors the same way. Just like you, your ancestors were not isolated individuals:

They were part of a family, with siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents. Groups of relatives often lived near each other, worshipped together, witnessed each other's documents and were buried in the same cemetery.

Like you, ancestors had friends and neighbors. Often their spouses came from neighboring families or were the siblings of classmates and military buddies.  They and their friends were lodge brothers or officers in the ladies' literary society.

Your ancestors had business partners and co-workers, were clients of local doctors and lawyers and bought dry goods from the local mercantile store. They were known in their communities and occasionally got their names in the local newspapers.

Sometimes, even small communities had several families by the same surname.  When you start researching, you may not know whether these same-name families were related to yours. They may have been, and it could be to your benefit to find out.

Studying your ancestors in the context of this community of relatives, friends, neighbors, associates and same-name families are practicing Cluster Genealogy."
Consider Family Groups rather than individual direct-line ancestors.  Use your ancestor chart as an index to your family group sheets, your main organizing form.
 Complete Family Group Sheets for ALL family members.
Collect family information: birth, marriage, death, burial, census, obituary, published family histories, land and probate records, etc. on ALL relatives, especially siblings of direct-line ancestors before extending your pedigree chart.  This could help you avoid "barking up the wrong tree," to use another common expression.
When reviewing locality records such as census, tax list, church, newspaper obits, search for and note ALL occurrences of your surname of interest.
  Search neighboring localities, usually townships and counties, if your initial search reveals nothing.
 Widen search to neighbors, witnesses, and so on if documents on collaterals are unproductive.  Look for unrelated people who lived near your ancestors and who may have lived near them in their previous home, too.
 Look for patterns. Migrating families often went due west, and they looked for valleys to settle in that reminded them of the place they'd just left. They moved in clusters, with one family member or even a neighbor being the first to try a new area, and others in the cluster following later. Children of migrating families were more likely to eventually migrate again themselves.

If you do whole-family publishing, a "descendants-of" family history, in which you begin with a "source couple" and cover all of their descendants for a number of generations, you MUST employ Cluster Research.

When publishing information on a whole family, you can't exclude anyone. You must include everyone. And you cannot apply any lesser standards to analyzing their information. You may also find you must rearrange other family groups.

The Internet sites have greatly changed how much information we can access, the facility of that access, and how rapidly data can be acquired. Databases such as those on, on CD-ROMs with census images, or on printed material save literally hours of library research time. Some online family trees may reveal information about missing members of our family, such as where they went when they disappeared from our records (may haps taking both grandpa and the family records with them). These data are constantly being revised, updated and augmented online.

It always pays to do the Collateral Research before moving on to the next generation. Cluster research includes the associates as well as the family while collateral specifically is about the siblings of your direct line. Doing them all will give you more solid footing before moving on to the quicksand of the next generation.

In order to progress back to the previous generation, one must stand on firm ground knowing about the ancestral couple *and their brothers and sisters*. After all the siblings have the same parents as your ancestral couple and what was not said or published or preserved for your direct line might be said, published or preserved for their sibling. And if about their parents then it is also about the parents of your direct line. Only after researching the siblings as hard as the direct line should movement backward be done and is also greatly more possible with many more clues to string together if not an outright document of facts of relationships.

Honing in on only one record group, for example church, or cemetery or birth records, is to limit our search and chain us to our expectations. What if the record doesn't exist and we ignore all the clues around the siblings and children of the couple in our zeal for that "one clue"?

What about the neighbors and associates? Tax lists and deeds should be researched extensively along with the census in order to place everyone in their proper physical places in the neighborhood. They had to get within kissing distance (couples) and usually stayed within hugging distance (relatives). While building a community around our ancestors we will discover who they are and where they came from and why they did what they did. They were real people with real expectations and real reasons for migrating and making their life's choices. By opening ourselves up to them and discovering them through the records -- all the records -- they may yet surprise us with their unique selves who caused us to be what and who we are.

 Copyright © 2010 by Gus J. Marsh

Monday, April 5, 2010

Orange County California Genealogical Society Meeting

Last week, I received e-mail from Joan Rambo, the president of the Orange County California Genealogical Society that a reported from the Orange County Register would be there on April 3, 2010 to interview several people. Joan asked me to bring over my family history posters and I spent the last week printing up new posters.

Saturday arrived and I drove over to the Huntington Beach Library. During our meeting, Joan asked several times if the reporter from the Register had arrived, but no one replied. I was there from about 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and finally left, very disappointed.

Monday, March 1, 2010

iTunes and Genealogy PodCast

Genealogy Podcast via ITunes

If you are like me, you probably heard someone talk about pod cast and it perked your interest. The big advantage is that it’s a genealogy radio show available online, all the time! Listen from your computer or MP3 player. You'll hear research strategies, the latest Internet search techniques and advice from the top genealogy experts.

The mode of delivery differentiates pod casting from other means of accessing media files over the Internet, such as direct download, or streamed webcasting. A list of all the audio or video files currently associated with a given series is maintained centrally on the distributor's server as a web feed, and the listener or viewer employs special client application software known as a podcatcher that can access this web feed, check it for updates, and download any new files in the series. This process can be automated so that new files are downloaded automatically. Files are stored locally on the user's computer or other device ready for offline use, giving simple and convenient access to episodic content. Commonly used audio file formats are Ogg Vorbis and MP3.

Download iTunes for Mac or PC

You will need to install free iTunes and possibly some type of MP3 player, so you can listen to genealogy pod cast at you leisure. If you don’t have iTunes installed, go to On the left hand side click on Download iTunes 9, free for Mac + PC. When you have iTunes installed, you may have to restart you Mac or PC.

Your favorite movies and TV shows. Apps, games, pod casts, and more. ITunes is home to everything that entertains you. Go to iTunes Store and on the right hand side, type in the word “Genealogy” and enter return. You will then be presented with a list of over 50 genealogy related pod casts. There are pod cast for almost any genealogy for you. I currently subscribe to four Genealogy pod cast.
Finding Podcasts
Go on a free podcast spree.
The iTunes Store puts thousands of free podcasts at your fingertips. To find them, select Music Store in the iTunes source column; then click “Podcasts” to journey Inside the Music Store. Or, here’s another way to get there: select the little podcasts icon in the Source column, then click the arrow next to “Podcast Directory” at the very bottom of the iTunes window. Once you’ve downloaded or subscribed to a podcast, click the Music Store button to return to the home page of the Store.
Search podcasts by popularity.
Of course, before you subscribe, you’ll want to find podcasts that appeal to your interests. And you have several ways of tracking them down. For example, you can tell iTunes to find them for you. Although you could use the iTunes search box in the upper right-hand corner of the jukebox window, iTunes provides a search window specifically for podcasts in the left column. You can use it to search by podcast title, podcast authors, or by all podcasts. And once it returns a list of podcasts that meet your criteria, you order your results by popularity. Just control-click or right-click the column headers and select “Popularity” to see the most popular podcasts that contain your search term.
Choose a subject.
Looking for a specific podcast category? Try browsing podcasts in the iTunes Store’s featured podcast rooms. Each room lists popular podcasts that iTunes editors have selected for special feature by subject.
See what tops the podcast charts.
Take a look at the right side of the podcasts page on the iTunes Store. The “Top Podcasts” list displays the top 25 podcasts based on recent subscriptions. Click “Today’s Top Podcasts” to see the entire top 100.
Find more from your favorites.
If you find a podcast artist that you like, there’s an easy way for you to see — and preview — other podcasts she’s created. Just mouse over the Author’s name and, if that author has created more than one podcast, you’ll find a link that will whisk you off to a page with more podcasts.
Playing Podcast's
Listen up.
To preview any podcast in the Music Store, just double-click an episode for a sample. If you like what you hear, click the “Subscribe” button at the top of the podcasts page. Or, if you’d rather download only certain episodes, click the “Get Episode” button next to the episode you want.
Get caught speeding.
If you find you understand spoken audio content at a faster playback rate, it’s easy to speed things up. Just right-click or control-click your podcast episode and choose “Show song file.” From there:
Open the selected song file with Quicktime.

Choose “Show A/V Controls.”

Move the “Playback Speed” slider at the bottom of the window to your preferred speed.

Watch the way you want.
When you play a video podcast, playback starts in the “Now Playing” window in the lower left-hand corner of the iTunes window. To see the video at the optimum playback size, just click the video image to open a larger, resizable player. You can even play video back in full-screen mode by clicking the “Fullscreen” button at the bottom of the player.
Save it for later.
If you can’t finish a podcast in one sitting, never fear. You can always pause playback in either iTunes or on your iPod and resume playback later from the point you left off. Listen to the first half of a podcast on your way to work, and on your way home, pick up right where you left it.
By default, podcast files are set so that iPod and iTunes will remember playback position. You can turn the feature off by clicking on a podcast file, choosing “Get Info” from the contextual menu, and unchecking “Remember Playback Position.” You can even turn the same option on for non-podcast files, letting you resume playback on any track in your library.
Trouble? Shoot.
When iTunes encounters a problem downloading a podcast episode, it displays a small “Exclamation Point” icon to the left of the episode title. Click on the point to reveal more detail about the error. Generally, such errors are related to the feed set up by the podcaster. In most cases, the episode will be available again in about a day.
Play it again (and again).
Once an episode is finished downloading, a blue dot appears to the left of the podcast, indicating that it has not yet been played. As soon as you begin to play the podcast, the blue dot disappears. When the blue dot disappears, it’s a reminder that the episode will be automatically removed from your iPod the next time you sync it with your computer. If you want to make sure the episode stays on your iPod, right-click it and choose “mark as unread”.
Enhance your spoken word experience.
ITunes and iPods with displays allow you to change the EQ settings for playback. If you listen to a lot of podcasts, the “Spoken Word” EQ setting may enhance the sound quality for you. This EQ setting reduces bass frequencies — especially handy for amateur podcasts, where mic pops and other noise might otherwise distract.
Managing Podcast Subscriptions
Get smart playlists.
When a podcast finishes playing, iTunes does not play the next podcast episode in your Source List by default. To keep a steady stream of episodes playing, consider creating a smart playlist. A smart playlist of podcast episodes allows you to listen to episodes continuously and to further refine your podcasts. For example, you might create a smart playlist for news podcast episodes longer than 40 minutes.
To build an all-podcast playlist, Choose “New Smart Playlist” from the file menu. From the first drop-down box, select “Podcast” and leave the second drop-down set to “is true”. To include only podcast episodes you haven’t yet listened to, click the “+” symbol to add a new rule and choose “Play Count”, “is”, 0. Add additional filters to further refine your smart playlist.
Keep podcasts forever (or just for a day).
It’s easy to tell iTunes how long to keep podcasts in your library. When browsing the podcasts you’ve downloaded, you’ll see a Settings button at the bottom of the jukebox window. Click it, and iTunes takes you right to the podcasts tab of the iTunes Preferences dialog. See the “Keep:” drop-down menu? It lets you decide exactly how long to keep podcasts, helping you keep your library neat and tidy.
Not in the Store? Not a problem
If while surfing the web, you ever come across a podcast that you can’t find in the iTunes Store, here’s an easy way to subscribe to it anyway. From the Advanced menu, choose “Subscribe to Podcast...” and enter the podcast feed URL. ITunes will subscribe you to the podcasts and begin downloading immediately.
Hold on to your hits.
If you like the auto-remove feature for most podcasts but want to keep all episodes of a particular podcast, you’re in luck. Select a podcast (either at the episode or podcast level) and from the right-click menu, choose “Do Not Auto Delete.” iTunes holds onto that podcast’s episodes until you manually delete them.
Expand or collapse.
Once you subscribe to a podcast, iTunes checks for new episodes at regular intervals. In time, the list of available episodes could grow out of control. To hide or reveal all available episodes, click on the display triangle for that podcast. You can also hide or reveal all of your podcasts at once by pressing cmd+] or by holding down the command key and clicking.
What’s the frequency?
You may subscribe to podcasts that update more often than once per day. Just go to podcast preferences and edit the rate at which iTunes checks for new podcasts to “Once per hour.”
Time to unsubscribe.
Podcast's are like audio or video magazines. Once you subscribe, you can expect a new “issue” of that podcast at a regular interval. But if you find you have more than you can handle, it’s easy to unsubscribe. Just highlight the podcast you want to unsubscribe from, and click the “Unsubscribe” button in the lower left hand corner of the screen. To unsubscribe and delete all files related to the podcast, simply press the Delete key after selecting a podcast.
Take notes.
Many podcasters write extensive show notes — text that accompanies their programs. To access a window that displays the full show notes, click the “i” icon in the right side of the podcast’s “Description” column.
Sharing Podcasts
Links to share.
When you find a podcast you love, you may want to share it with others. You can grab links to a podcast in the iTunes Store by hovering over the “cover art,” right clicking, and selecting “Get iTunes Store URL.” With the URL in your clipboard, you can paste it into an email, a chat, or a web site. Use the same process to get links for subject rooms, podcast episodes, artists and today’s top podcasts.
Or, if you already subscribe to a podcast you want to share, simply drag it from your podcast’s source to your desktop. That creates a standalone Podcast file that you can email to friends as an attachment. If they have iTunes, clicking on the Podcast file will automatically subscribe them to the podcast, and iTunes will immediately begin to download the most recent episode.
Share your whole playlist.
You can export a list of all of your subscriptions, either as a personal archive for yourself or to share with others. This option comes in handy when you’d like to introduce someone you know to podcasting because it allows you to send a file of “starter podcasts” for your newbie friend to subscribe to — all at once.
To export a list of your subscriptions, mouse over “Podcasts” in the source menu, right-click or control-click, and choose “Export.” Choose “OPML” as the format. (OPML is a generally recognized format for sets of subscriptions.) Name and save the file wherever you want. At any time, you can re-import that file and iTunes will re-subscribe you to all of the podcasts inside. Or email it as an attachment to your uninitiated pals.
To subscribe to the podcasts in an OPML file, choose “Import” from the file menu and choose the OPML file. ITunes will begin downloading immediately.
Make subscriptions one-click simple.
The simplest possible link you can send or post to your site is the podcast feed URL. It usually looks something like:
Many bloggers and site owners post the link as-is. 
To make a one-click subscription link, instead of “http”, add "itpc” in front of your podcast’s url to make subscription one-click simple
ITunes immediately takes over and begins downloading the first episode.
Genealogy Guys, Genealogy Gems, African Roots and others.

The oldest and most respected is the genealogy guys, George G. Morgan and Drew Smith. They produce a genealogy pod cast about every 10 days, depending on travel and other commitments. Their web site is:

Lisa Louise Cooke has been producing pod cast for several years and has a great following. She has several, including Genealogy Gems Podcast, Family Tree Magazine Podcast and Family History: Genealogy Made Easy. Her web site is:

Another good one is the African Roots Podcast:
By Angela Y. Walton-Raji

There are more than 50 other genealogies Podcast available, even special ones for Polish, Irish, Italian and German and many others.