Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wow wow wow!!

Ok, this must be some kind of record. I got TWO sets of records over the past week from the two places I thought I would be most likely to wait the longest for turnaround time. I got the naturalization papers from the Cook County, IL archives and I got the CMSR (compiled military service record) for James Bromagem from NARA. Both of which were sent in just a couple of weeks' time and managed to beat out my order for microfilm from the FHC which I ordered around a week or so before both of them and am still waiting for.

There's really too much to talk about with Julius Bolda naturalization records so I'll save that for the next post. Some of you may have seen the discussion about it on the message board but wow, was it an interesting weekend working on that!

As for the service record, it was for the NGS Home Study Course Lesson 14 on military records. The assignment was to order a record from NARA, which I did online and which may be the reason for the quick turnaround time, and then write a report telling what information is given. The report is to be thorough enough without being just pages and pages of transcription. What it actually sounded like to me, was gaining experience in writing a research report on a record as you would for a client. It just gave me that kind of vibe, very much like something we did in ProGen. So that's basically what I did. I also needed to provide a citation for the CMSR.

This was my first real in-depth work with a Civil War CMSR and it was pretty much as I expected. My experience was what I would term mediocre-not the worst outcome but not necessarily the best either, it falls somewhere in between. The reason I say this is because when I worked at the National Archives, one of my jobs was to give people the files they ordered to be pulled. So when I was working in the research rooms and the pulls would come in, I saw many, many sour faces when they saw the CMSRs come to them. They were more often than not, only a couple of cards and didn't really say anything. We were actually trained to tell people that if they're looking for information on their Civil War ancestors, that they needed to order the pension files rather than the CMSRs for that very reason. It was very very rare that we saw one that was filled to the brim with information. So when I ordered CMSR for my ancestor I was already prepared not to expect much. I already had his pension so I was pretty much only getting the CMSR for this assignment and anything else was a bonus. And, as predicted there is no new vital information given in his service record. It did however, serve to confirm some bits of information that were touched upon in the pension file, such as where he enlisted and a few of the places he had gone with his unit. Also, there was some confusion in the pension file about his unit and the service record helped clear that up by explaining that the initial unit he was in changed names in 1864. So he wasn't in two separate units, it was just one unit that had two different names.

Most importantly, it cleared up the issue of whether he had been taken as a prisoner of war. This was a serious matter of contention in the pension file because his widow claimed that he died as a cause from his getting sick while he was in the service, probably due to poor treatment while held prisoner. There was very little proof shown in the pension however, just one sheet with a remarks section that says there had been suspicion of his being taken in 1862. The service record was a bit more in-depth on the matter because the muster rolls from the time he went missing, in December 1862, until the time he was returned in June 1863, had remarks saying he was missing in action, then presumed taken prisoner, and finally that he had been exchanged and was returned to duty. The packet also contained copies of pages entitled "Memorandum of Prisoner of War Records". These pages told when and where he had been taken prisoner, in this case at Murfreesboro, TN on 31 Dec 1862 (the Battle of Stone River), where he was held, and what camps he was in before returning home. These were pages that I hadn't seen first hand in the service records before, so I was very glad to be able to see what kind of information is available in the CMSRs for those who experienced being POWs.

One thing that I wondered about after going through the packet however, was how in the world a newspaper man ended up being taken prisoner. It was very clear from his service record that James was able to continue his civilian occupation as a printer during his time in the service. I wouldn't think that this would place him in the position of being taken prisoner. That is, until I read this This website describes the battle as being an attempt by the Confederates to cut off the lines of communication. And there you go, that would be why a printer would have been taken prisoner. That is, if he were acting in his capacity as such at the time of the raids. His unit, the 9th IN cavalry, was also there at the time so he could very well have been an active part of the battle. Either way, without the service record, I wouldn't have had this information and I wouldn't have had the details on what he had been doing during the war. This was pretty interesting.

One other tidbit. I have no photos of James or his wife. I have no photos of his parents or his siblings, at least none that I know of. Thanks to one of my very kind, Bromagem cousins, I do have a scan of one of his extended family members, as well as a photo of one of his daughters (my Great Great Grandmother Lillian, who is also the woman in the photo of my google icon) thanks to the son of my Great Uncle Stevens. None of these few images equal the physical description that was given in James' CMSR. Though brief, it is pretty much the only thing I have to devise a picture of him in my mind. He was described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall at age 29-31, with light eyes and light hair, and a sandy complexion. If you look at the photo of Lillian from my google icon, she's got dark hair and dark eyes so I'm guessing those were not features she inherited from her father. But I really do treasure that description. I'm a firm believer that seeing what someone looks like adds a dimension of "realness" to all these facts and dates and information you pick up along the way. Without looking at their face, it can sometimes be hard to make that connection to them and to really feel like they lived. With James, I've felt a connection for some time before now, but that's primarily because I've found so many details about his life and he's been more than just random facts for so long now. But now I have a physical description of the real man and that really adds to the connection I already had.

So while I can warn you that you may not find much more than a single muster roll card in your ancestor's compiled military service record, I can say that there are times and there are instances where that one page may tell you enough.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Same Birthday as yours?

Yes, yes, I know I don't usually do the group posting things but this time I have one that I know of right off the bat. The parts for this mission, as posted by Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings, are:

1) Is there a person in your genealogy database that has the same birth date that you do? If so, tell us about him or her - what do you know, and how is s/he related to you?

2) For bonus points, how did you determine this? What feature or process did you use in your software to work this problem out? I think the Calendar feature probably does it, but perhaps you have a trick to make this work outside of the calendar function.

Ok, so my ancestor who shares my birthday is my great great great grandfather, Simpson Gilkeson (1830-1899). We share September 19th as our birthday though his was just under 150 years before mine. He was born in Kentucky, I'm not 100% positive in which county yet, and according to his obituary, he and his family moved to Parke County, IN when he was around the age of 4. Not too much is known about Simpson himself. Since his father was the one that we have been tracking because of the migration, and his son was my Grandpa's Grandpa who died in a train accident which my Grandpa was also a party to and told me stories about, Simpson has kindof gotten lost in the shuffle as far as details about the man. Another issue is that there really hasn't been a whole lot to find about him, other than a lively obituary that helps to fill in some of the blanks of his life. No civil birth certificate, no evidence of baptism, no death certificate, no city directory entry, no tombstone or known grave site. All we have are several decades of census enumerations, an obit for one of his children who died young, and his own obit. And thank goodness for that since it's the only documentation we have for his date of birth and any telling of who he was. His obit says that everyone who knew him liked him and called him "Uncle Simp". His marriage certificate is the only civil evidence we have of him right now. That said, we do have the Parke County probate packet indexing going on now, so by the time we get to 1899 I might get some more insight into his life that way.

.......just as a heads up in case you're waiting for the update to that info. We're currently on the 1835-1841 date range so it's probably going to be a while before we get all the way to 1899 :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not having much luck

While I'm waiting for all of my records and microfilm to show up, I thought I'd try to find some additional passenger lists on ancestry. While most of my immigrant ancestors, the Kleinerts, the Boldas, the Siegmunds, all came from parts of pre-20th century Germany, I also have one branch of French Canadians who came over and settled in Kankakee County, IL. There has already been some extensive research on this family, the Dellibacs, including a good deal of research on their Quebec origins. But I was hoping to find a passenger arrival record for the immigrant ancestor, believed to be Moise Dellibac. I've done a quick search on ancestry and came up dry so this one will be a little more complicated than finding the record for Julius Bolda. Maybe this can be my interim know, another one. Apparently I just can't sit still and wait. In any case, this sounds much more interesting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Want to see Julius?

With all of this talk about finding the parentage and origin of Julius Bolda, I thought maybe it would be fun to post a photo. At least, this is a photo we think is Julius. I say we "think" it's him because there is no identifying info anywhere on this photo (which is in the possession of my aunt) and we haven't come across any other photos of this person with identifying info to confirm our suspicion. The only reason we think it's him is because the woman he's sitting next to is known to be Marie/Mary Ptak Bolda, his wife (and the informant on his death certificate). Mary lived until the 1940s so we have several photos of her, some of which identify her by name, and with that very prominent widow's peak of hers, she's pretty easy to spot. So with her in the photo we believe this to be Julius sitting next to her. We haven't been able to identify the others in the photo with them yet but it's very possible that these could be the families of Julius and/or Marie, including perhaps their siblings considering the ages of the three people on either side of them. That is something else more research on both of these individuals might be able to help with.

In any case, Julius should be the man in the middle with the hat. Not much of a smiler was he? :)

Waiting waiting waiting..In the meantime...

I'm impatient, I know that about myself but it doesn't make all of this waiting any easier. I'm waiting for naturalization film from the FHC so I can finish my NGS HSC assignment on naturalization records. I'm waiting for the naturalization file for Julius Bolda from the Cook County Archives (I'm already well aware that I'll be waiting a looooong time for that one) and I know there are other things that I'm waiting for that I've already been waiting for for so long that I've forgotten what they were.

In the meantime, thanks to Jen over at the Chicago Family History blog I remembered the "They Became American" program at NARA Great Lakes in Chicago in November. The speaker is going to be Lou Szucs and since moving back to IL last year it's been hard not to hear everyone talking about how wonderful her lectures and programs are. Even my local library with its virtually non-existent genealogy section has a book or two by Lou in their collection. So I called over to NARA today to see if they still had seats available and fortunately, was able to snag one. The program is on Saturday Nov. 13 at the Pulaski location in Chicago.

So now I'll be waiting for something else but at least this will be fun waiting, as opposed to "when is that envelope finally going to show up" or "I hope my file didn't get lost in the mail" waiting. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Finding out about Michigan vital records

So far, I've figured out that Michigan is a pricey records state. Death records are ordered from the Department of Health , for the whopping sum of $26. That's more expensive even that Cook County, IL and I've been complaining about their $15 charge for a some time now. Also, I don't have an exact date of death for Veronica or Frank so there are additional charges in the search fee there. The couple appear in 1910 but are gone by 1920 so that's a 10 year range at about $3/$4 per extra year they have to search which takes the grand total up to $66 for one record. Yikes!! And there is no online database that I've been able to find to help me out with the year/s of death for this couple. There is an index to deaths online, here , but it only goes up to 1897.

So obviously I need to narrow things down a bit. I've already decided that the Detroit area is going to be the best bet to start with because that is their last known location and they had been settled there for some time. So the main problem here is the time frame. The Family History Library Catalog has a film listing for deaths occurring in Wayne Co., MI between 1867 and 1917. While this doesn't cover our entire search area, it does cover enough of it to be a resource worth checking out. So I'll start there and see what happens. If neither one of them are listed in that film, it's a good bet that they either died in those last years between 1918 and 1920 or maybe they did in fact move.

Another way to go about this would be to try to view the indexes to wills and or probate/estate cases opened in Wayne Co. between 1910 and 1920. Unfortunately, the FHL films covering this topic do not seem to be very comprehensive, one film set only goes to 1914 and the other possibility has next to nothing in the catalog as far as topical info to let me know what years are covered, and without a more concrete date range I don't think I'll be able to find what I'm looking for unless I can find a researcher who can go to the probate court and search the indexes in person. And just to be sure I covered all the easy bases first I checked Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness for possible volunteers to do this and Find a Grave for Frank and Veronica Bolda and came up short on both sites.

This is all just my initial thoughts though. I've still got some reading and researching to see how things in Michigan work and what options are available to me. I will find these people though, and I know I'll be able to figure out what was going on and get some kind of confirmation on whether they were Julius's parents or not. I'm getting there, it's just going to take some more work. It's fun though, so that's ok.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Not to get off the subject but...

I've just gotten confirmation that I'll be taking on the "Always a Hoosier" project for the Indiana Genealogical Society. This project documents the bios and the burial sites of those born before 1930 and who were buried in the state. Essentially what will be built is giant database to those buried in Indiana, along with some biographical info.

For more info, and to find out how to add your ancestors to the database, check out the IGS website here

So go to the website and get your Indiana ancestors added to the list and into the IGS periodical!

Ok, now back to the Bolda stuff! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Brainstorming with the Boldas

So after getting the death certificate for Julius Bolda, I've got some conflicting evidence regarding his parentage. His wife, Marie/Mary, was the informant on the record and while she did give confirmation that Veronica, the woman Julius was traveling with upon arrival to Baltimore in 1887, was his mother, the information she gave regarding his father's name was not the name of the man who was Veronica's husband at the time of their arrival and in subsequent census records. I need to try to find out if this is just a case of a mistake, which is a very often occurrence on death certificates since the person who would be able to identify their parents is not around to name them, or if Veronica had been married previously, or if Franz/Frank also used the name Joseph.

Right now I'm still undecided about whether this is a mistake or not. I knew already that Veronica and Franz, the man she and Julius arrived with in 1887, settled in Detroit and they are found there in 1900 along with their other children,

Several of the children who appeared with Franz and Veronica on their passenger list have since died according to this census, and Veronica claims to have only three children now living-the three living with her. Julius would make the fourth and I'm looking at it (right now) that she was counting her surviving children who were living with them. But that's just one inconsistency found in this census enumeration. Another is the marriage date. Franz and Veronica claim to have been married 29 years. That would mean they would have gotten married around 1871-ish, depending on the time of year and taking into account the June date of enumeration. Julius' birth date, (and this too is a source of conflict) though conflicting, generally falls within the 1868-1869 date (though his death certificate and naturalization index card give 1860-1861 as his date of birth). So far, the earliest record giving his birth date is his passenger list which states he is 18 in 1887 and this is consistent with the est. 1869 birth date. No matter whether he was born in 1861 or 1869, both dates predate Veronica and Franz's given marriage date. As does the existence of another young male traveling with the Bolda family during their arrival in Baltimore.

Josef Bolda, appears to be aged 24. It's also interesting to note that Joseph was the name Mary cited as Julius' father. He's obviously too young to be so but that could be the explanation for where she had heard that name before. Another thing to notice is that the family is arranged first by the head and spouse, followed by children in descending order according to age. In this light, Josef could be seen as being 14 years old instead of 24 which would then make it more plausible for Franz to be Julius' father because without his age to push further beyond the 1871 marriage date from the census, we don't have much more than a couple of years difference between the marriage and the estimate birth date for Julius. A couple of years is much more easily explained then nearly 10. It should be noted though, that when you look at the handwriting on the page, the connecting flair of the first number is more common when the number is a "2" than when it is a "1" so it does look more likely to be "24" than "14" from that perspective.

With the information we have right now, and most of it is pretty speculative at this point, I don't really have a feeling one way or another as to whether Franz, known as Frank in Michigan, was Julius' father. At least not yet. I feel like it's entirely possible for him to have been a child from a previous marriage, and it's not completely unlikely that if that was the case, the father could have been a sibling or a some other relation to Franz, which would explain why Julius was a Bolda even if Franz wasn't his biological father, not to mention the possibility of adoption. But that's thinking that the name issue was more than a mistake. It very well may be just that. Marie may have just gotten the names mixed up, especially since this couple lived out of state and it was unlikely that Julius and Marie would have spent a lot of time together, if any at all. She did use a name that we know was used in the immediate family so I think it's very possible that she just mixed up the names. But at this point, who knows.

There is quite a bit to figure out so I'll be working on things for a while. Now that I have more evidence that Veronica is his mother though, there is definitely going to be more time devoted to tracking the family in Detroit. It's time to start getting acquainted with Michigan records. This will be my first endeavor in that state and right now I'm clueless. I was able to find out a bit about ordering death records from Michigan....

Good news more good news and another mystery

Ok, so yesterday I headed out to one of the Cook County, IL court offices hoping to get a copy of Julius Bolda's death certificate. The satellite offices of the county can be a great way to avoid the long turnaround time that can happen when ordering vital records through snail mail. The problem though is that not all offices have access to all the records so your success can be hit or miss.

So last time I was at the office in Rolling Meadows I was able to get 3 out of the 4 records I was hoping for. This time I only got 1 out 3, but the one I got was the one I wanted. Julius' record was available and here it is

If we do a quick rundown of the info, we can see the Ward St address that matches both the census records and the naturalization card, and also, as predicted, Mary, his wife, is the informant. So we can be assured that this is the right person. With that out of the way, we can take a look at the info provided. What I was really interested from this record was place of birth information and parentage. Unfortunately, this record isn't much help for the place of birth because Mary just put "Germany". So we'll have to wait for the naturalization paperwork from the county and hope that more details will included there.

Regarding the parentage information, this is where we get another bit of good news, as well as the mystery. Mary confirms that to her knowledge, Julius' mother was Veronica. This is consistent with the theory that the older couple who arrived with Julius in 1887 in Baltimore were his parents. But instead of seeing the name of the head of that family from the passenger list, Franz, here we see that Mary has given the name of Julius' father as Joseph. So there's the mystery. Was Mary just mistaken about Julius' father's name, or was Franz not his father afterall? If this was the case, then that would mean that Franz was Veronica's second husband, but then why would Julius' surname be the same as Franz and not his real father? Unless his real father was related or Franz legally adopted him....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Off to Rolling Meadows today...keep your fingers crossed for me

Hey all, I'm heading out to the Cook County Clerk satellite office in Rolling Meadows, IL today. I'm going to try to beat the system by going to request Julius Bolda's death certificate in person rather than sending in the request via snail mail. Cook County, like so many other county clerk's offices around the country, tends to have a pretty long turnaround time for records. Fortunately, they have more than one office. Though the main clerk's office is in downtown Chicago, not the easiest place in the world for me to access, there are also suburban offices in the North, Northwest, and in the South so no matter where in Chicagoland you are, there should be a clerk's office somewhat close to you. Rolling Meadows is the Northwest office and while it is definitely more accessible to me, it's still a good 35-40 minutes or so away. But, if they have the records there you can avoid the turnaround time of the snail mail method. The hitch here though is that the satellite offices do not have ALL of the records available to them. The last time I went down there I had a list of about four people for whom I needed death certificates and I was able to get all but one of them. The other one is only available from the downtown location. I'm hoping that won't be the case for Julius.

For those who need vital records from the Clerk's Office, Cook County offers one other option. is the clerk's office genealogy portal site. From that address you can check for the record you need online and if it is available you can download it directly onto your computer. Millions of records have been uploaded to the site, but not all of them are currently available. Out of all of the records that I've ordered from Cook County, I think only about three or four were available for download through that site. So it is still a work in progress but it's worth a shot, especially if you do not live locally and can't access the satellite offices.

So keep me in your genealogical thoughts today guys, I need some good luck to get this record today! :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Passenger Lists and Naturalizations- I found him! I found him...maybe

Ok, in the last post I mentioned that I had just started working on the NGS HSC Lessons 12 and 13, Passenger Lists and Naturalization Records. While they are two separate assignments, and could be done for two different people, for me they kindof meshed into one lucky, and potentially big, find.

So I started out with the passenger list lesson and wanted to take the opportunity to poke around and try to find something new, rather than going with an earlier find I discovered a few years ago. Out of half a dozen 19th century immigrant lines that I know of right now, I only have one potential passenger list for one family group. So this is an area that I definitely needed some improvement and basically, more time to investigate and this lesson absolutely fit the bill. I started trying various name searches on ancestry for the surnames I was looking for in their immigration collection- Dellibac, Kleinert, and Bolda from my side and Norwodworski and a few others from my husband's side- and found some promising hits for Julius Bolda, my paternal grandma's grandfather. He first appears in the 1900 census enumeration living in Chicago, on Ward St, with his wife and family and giving an arrival date of 1892. Great, right? This should be no problem. Well, except there is no Julius Bolda who arrived from Germany in 1892. There is one who arrived in Baltimore in 1887 with a large family, including an older couple presumed to be his parents, and his age is compatible with Julius' estimated birth in 1869. However, the older couple and several of their children were found to have settled in Detroit, MI, not Chicago. It's close, true, but there is nothing in this passenger list to tell me that it's the same Julius. So I decided to search a little deeper.

In 1900 Julius is an alien; he is not naturalized. In 1910 however, he claims to have been naturalized. So, in theory, since he was living in Chicago between 1900 and 1910 and claimed to have been naturalized between those census years, there is a great chance that his naturalization papers went through the Cook County, IL court system. The federal government did not take over naturalizations until 1906 so there are a couple more years on the side of a local court. Fortunately, ancestry has recently updated their naturalization holdings and the place and period needed for a search for Julius are now available and here is what I found:

Julius Bolda, arrived in Baltimore in APRIL in 1892 and lived on WARD St. in Chicago. I put the important stuff in caps because I wanted to make sure I explained them. As for the month, this is one of the important points I read about in the lesson material for the course. When immigrants were asked later on when they arrived, they often got the years mistaken but the months correct, or at least the seasons, because while they may not have kept track of the passing of the years they would have been aware of the seasons, especially those with a farming background whose year would have revolved around the planting and harvesting of crops, which occurred seasonally. So here we see Julius says he arrived in April on his naturalization card and the passenger list we found, showing the Julius Bolda who arrived in Baltimore with the large family, also arrived in April, though 5 years earlier than claimed on the Soundex card. The other key point here is the address. The subject Julius lived on Ward St in Chicago in the 1900 and 1910 census enumerations that we had already confirmed as being the correct person. We also know that the subject Julius was naturalized between 1900 and 1910 so we have a good case.

The address pretty much tells us that the Julius on the naturalization card is the correct Julius. If that's the case, then we can then say that the Julius on the card is probably also the same Julius from the Baltimore passenger list who arrived in APRIL 1887. If this turns out to be true, then we now have the names of several of Julius' siblings as well as his potential parents, Franz and Veronica as seen here:

One way we can try to confirm whether Franz and Veronica were his parents is to order his death certificate. He died in Cook County, IL in 1915 and the form should ask who his parents were. Of course, we have to keep in mind that the informant, whoever that person was, may not have known who his parents were. However, even if the informant didn't know, all is not lost. Considering the size of his family, there is the slight possibility that the informant on his death record could be a sibling who could then be identifiable from the passenger list or census enumerations for Franz and Veronica in MI. I have to say though, I have a sneaking suspicion that the informant for Julius was probably his wife, Marie (Ptak) Bolda, who lived until the 1940s. There's no telling if she knew the names of Julius' parents so it's going to be a gamble. If she didn't, I do have one other option but it's not going to be a fun one. Julius was Catholic so there may be a baptismal record for him somewhere but I would need to order his naturalization papers and hope that he gave his hometown, or at the very least the area from which he came. As far as I can tell so far, his ship, the Donau, left Germany from Bremen which doesn't tell me a thing about where he came from. Getting confirmation of his parentage this way is not going to be easy at all so I'm just going to have to keep my fingers crossed that Marie knew the names of her in-laws. That or that one of Julius' siblings came into town for the funeral and helped out with the informant information.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ProGen 3 is now finished...NGS HSC CD 3 here I come

Well, yesterday was the last day for my peer group and I in ProGen 3. We are now finished with the course. Our last topic was on marketing strategies and business record keeping. We spent some time talking about what has worked for those with running businesses and those who are not currently "in business" yet got to ask some questions. We also spent some time talking about filing systems which was pretty eye-opening. I have to admit, I'm not much of a stickler with the filing. Oh, I have the file folders, and most are labeled, but they're scattered around the house rather than in one primary location. Next to the desktop computer, next to the netbook and printer, on the coffee table under the good reading get the picture. It's not my fault though, really. I use my "files" everyday, whether it's for the ProGen assignments or the NGS HSC assignments, or just for my own project at the time. Ok, I could put them back in the file box or at least keep them all together, but what fun would that be? Besides, I like to be able to sit down, see a file and start getting back into it.

Speaking of the NGS HSC, I've gotten caught up on that now too. I finished up CD 2 with lesson 11 which was on migration. For the first assignment in that section, I had to print out/copy a few maps charting the migration of a family through three generations. I found some wonderful maps at David Rumsey's site, as usual, and was able to chart the Bromagem movement from Monongalia County, VA (now WV) to Montgomery Co., (and later, thanks to county boundary changes, Bath County) KY, to Greene County, OH, to Darke County, OH, to bordering Indiana counties including Randolph, Jay, Wells, and Blackford. I had to look at possible paths to and from each of the locations which was really interesting, to sit in front of maps that were pretty near contemporary to the subject I was tracking, and try to figure out how they would have gotten from one place to another. I found that the Ohio River was probably a major player for the Bromagems because they could pick it up outside Pittsburgh (Monongalia County is currently considered part of the Pittsburgh metro area) and take it into central Kentucky, near where they briefly settled. Then they could hop on the Little Miami River to head up to Chillicothe, OH and from there pick up a short road to the Greene County, OH area. If you still aren't familiar with David Rumsey's map site, at, you need to head over there, bookmark it, and return as much as possible. The maps on the site are absolutely beautiful, plus pretty essential tools for the family historian.

The second assignment for this section was a pretty big one. I had to choose an ancestor and one census year in which he/she appears. Then compile a spreadsheet with at least 100 of that person's neighbors in that year and do the same for the next census year. So overall, you have a spreadsheet covering two census enumerations with at least 200 total included. Then, you go over both statistics looking for similarities, anything that can help you to group the people and figure how your subject fit into the mix when historical context is mixed with the social background you've just compiled. If your subject moved between the two census years, then you need to find out more, such as what was going on in that particular geographic location that may have contributed to a move. Was it religious? Social? Was there a conflict going on at the time? I chose to follow Emsley McMasters, the Methodist living in the North Carolina Quaker Belt during the Civil War. Obviously I had already discovered that the Quaker Belt area was struggling with some serious, violent and unstable internal warfare during the Civil War, as if being a country at war wasn't bad enough. So I knew that his move was likely to provide a safer and more stable home for his large family (there were 8 children living under his roof at the time of the 1860 census). Indiana would have provided the land but his destination in particular, Parke County, would have provided a strong North Carolina community as well as a community with an established Quaker contingent, so the values would presumably have been similar to what he, and subsequently, his children would have grown up with. It was also accessible to him from the very well traveled Wilderness Road which he could pick up outside Salisbury, NC and take west into Kentucky, where he could pick up the Ohio River and from there, the Wabash River, which runs along Indiana's western border and have several waterways branching off of it in the Parke County area.

All of this information was to be recorded in a report to complete lesson 11. I ordered the final CD of the course last week and it's already arrived so I've been taking a look at the workload and figuring out what needs to be ordered. The lessons this time cover, immigration, naturalization, military records, evidence analysis and kinship, and writing the biography of an ancestor. I did start poking around on ancestry a bit for the immigration and naturalization lessons and I think I got lucky. I'll post about that next...