As a serious genealogist there is no doubt that you have earned your position at the research table in many libraries and historical societies in many of your ancestral regions.
You most likely also have subscribed to various online services such as ancestry.com, genealogybank.com and various subscription genealogical societies.
I have written about footnote.com on this blog several times in the past but now I want to call your attention to the massive amount of new information that is available to you on footnote. You will also note that many of the groups of records that are online at footnote also allow you to interact with the original records by submitting your own notations and additional documents, photos and research notes.
Footnote pioneered this interactivity a few years ago by allowing people to interact with the 1930 census and the Vietnam Wall records. Footnote does charge a reasonable annual fee to obtain full access to all of the data on their site, but they also provide many collections that are totally free to use by anyone.
Earlier this week I went to a local church supper and the program was a slide show and talk presented by my sister-in-law Janet Hillenbrand who presented an extremely interesting talk about her father Charlie Bennett who was a B17 pilot during World War II.
Charlie was on his 13th bombing mission on April 13th 1944 and though they had an engine shot out by flak over the ball bearing factory target, they were on their return and only a couple of miles from allied controlled Luxembourg when another flak burst along with a cannon shot through the cockpit from an ME109 forced the crew to bail out and the plane crashed.
One man was badly wounded and sent to hospital and all of the others were captured and spent the rest of the war in POW camps. The crew was split up and as Charlie was an officer he was sent to the north east part of Germany and actually was treated with more respect that he had expected.
Charlie always gave thanks to the Red Cross for the food packages that they received and claimed that in some cases the prisoners fared better than the boiled cabbage food rations that their captors were given.
It was an excellent program and the family has all of Charlies old uniforms and medals, letters, diaries and photos in an archive that is just great. Charley received the Distinguished Flying Cross and returned after the war to take over his family owned hardware business. Salt of the earth American history story for sure.
When I got home after the program I went to footnote.com and noticed that they have a large collection of World War II Air Force photos online in their free section that you all have access to and I found many images that were of interest regarding B17s.
Then I logged in to my account and searched on Charly’s name and found three documents that were original government documents called Missing Airmen Reports that gave all of the details about Charley and his crew mates.
This is just one small case of the sorts of things you will find on footnote. You can go to www.NARAgenealogy.com to learn more about the other categories of original records available online at footnote. You really need to exploit all types of original documents to flesh out your own genealogy and to help you find new clues that are in the National Archives Genealogy records
- DNA And Genealogy Research Are Made For Each Other (dnanews.org)
- FindaGrave.com (myfamilyjules.com)
Have had a rather exciting find for 2011. My father’s family of HILLENBRANDs in Syracuse started with grandfather Jacob HILLENBRAND coming from Markelsheim, Wuerttemburg in 1885. I have mentioned this before on this blog, and his photo can be seen on my main website at www.UNYG.com.
Well last month I received an email from my new best friend, a genealogist that actually lives in Markelsheim and she offered to help! Wow, you should all be so lucky.
This very kind lady went through the church record books and was able to take some of my Markelsheim lines back almost to the 1500′s. I had done the best I could with my self-taught Genealogical German when I used these same records on microfilm at LDS in Salt Lake city some 25 or 30 years ago.
The earliest HILLENBRAND ancestor that I had recorded previously was a Caspar HILLENBRAND, a baker of Markelsheim with an estimated date of birth of about 1760 with no known location in Germany. His wife’s name was Barbara (PFAU), with no further information that I had been able to discover.
So now with a native German researcher going through the same Catholic Church records she was able to locate his parents names and place of birth as another Caspar HILLENBRAND, also a baker of Röttingen, Wuerttemburg, Germany, which is only about 8 miles up the Taube River from where Markelsheim is located.
So now I will be ordering the microfilms of Röttingen to see what I might find. This caused a light to go on in my noggin as Röttingen is right on the border with Bavaria. The reason that is so exciting to me is that there was another family of HILLENBRANDs in Syracuse that came in 1866, and for many years I have always told every one that we are not likely related as they were from Bavaria and my direct line was from Wuerttemburg .
So fortunately I have been working on the “other” HILLENBRAND family off and on, with quite a bit more research in the past month as I bought the book, “Unbroken” by the best selling author, Laura HILLENBRAND, (she also wrote “Seabiscuit”), and it turns out she is a descendant of this same “other” HILLENBRAND family in Syracuse.
Now we get to the title of this Blog post and what it has to do with the World War I Draft Registration Cards. This excellent collection of some 24 million names of men that registered for the draft has been available on Ancestry.com for quite a number of years now and it has been very helpful in finding dates of birth and many other details like nearest relative, occupation and more.
If you have used these draft cards online before you will have noted that they are often quite hard to read as the image quality is very poor. Usually you are able to read it well enough to get some of the data and it is helpful.
So I found a card on Ancestry of an Anthony HILLENBRAND and lo and behold it listed his father’s place of birth as [unreadable] Bavaria, Germany. So I downloaded the image and ran it through photoshop, and enhanced it the best I could by sharpening the edges and altering the brightness and contrast and still the best I could guess at were names something like; Nissisedicl, Rissiuqid, Kissiseaicl, and about a half-dozen other total meaningless spellings.
Then I decided to dig deeper on these draft cards, and discovered that the National Archives southeast Region Branch near Atlanta has high quality scans available to purchase online. It is really quite easy. All you have to do is set up an account and this same account may be used for future purchases.
I ordered a digital download copy of Anthony’s card for five dollars and was told that it would be 4 to 5 days. I ordered yesterday, Sunday, and the order was ready today, Monday!
Well Bingo! The card is very clear to read and the name of the town is “Kissengen”, Bavaria, Germany. It is too soon to be sure but at first check of Google maps and an old World Gazetteer it is most likely Bad Kissengen which is just a little northeast of Würzburg, and as Markelsheim is just a little southeast of Würzburg, so we just might have a connection after all.
I will be trying to locate church or civil records of Bad Kissengen and for some reason it does not seem to be a place name that is in the LDS film catalog by doing a place search. I will find it for sure, this has all just happened today! Turns out the two towns are only about 68 miles apart.
In reading the description of the National Archives WW I Draft Cards they note that there were three different series of these cards issued in 1917 and 1918, and only one short group asked for the name of the father’s birth place, so we were indeed fortunate that Anthony registered when he did.
Here are comparisons of the two different scans.
Note the ancestry version is so compressed digitally that much of the card is hard to read, but a good high def scan of the original record is excellent. Five dollars well spent and you all might want to do the same on some of those hard to read draft cards.
Yesterday’s post about the Broome County Library Vital Records Index caught the eye of Phyllis Rogan, a reference librarian at Steele and she wrote to say that they have the Vital Records Index also.
So then she sent me an announcement about some happenings at Steele and I am very happy to pass this information on to our readers.
It is with great pleasure that the Genealogy Department of Steele Memorial Library announces the acquisition of local early Catholic Church Records on microfilm. Beginning in 1848 to1910, most film consists of Chemung County Churches but also includes churches in Addison, Waverly, Trumansburg, and Watkins Glen. The records are available for immediate use and can be found on the second floor of Steele Library in the microfilm department. This provides researchers with early records previously unavailable.
Sherry Nichols and I will conduct a free workshop, Beginning Genealogy, at the Hornell Library on Tuesday October 26, 2010 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. We will discuss what you can find in your central library’s (Chemung County Library District) website, on the web, and in the two databases that Steele and Hornell subscribe to – Ancestry.com and Heritage.com. This is open to all interested.
Phyllis Ryan Rogan
Head, Genealogy Dept.
Steele Memorial Library
101 E Church St., Elmira, NY
On an additional matter about Steele, and I probably wrote about this several years ago on this blog, but it bears repeating. Back in the 1980′s I used to go to Steele on a frequent basis as they were the only place in Upstate New York, or at least closest to Syracuse, that one could find “ALL” of the U.S. Federal census on microfilm through 1880, and for NY State and Pennsylvania, through 1930.
This was a goldmine of data available all in one spot and I did not have to drive to Washington, DC or Salt lake City to access these films. I asked once why they happened to have such a huge collection and was told that after they suffered enormous damage to their collection in the Corning – Elmira Flood of 1972, they were in the process of rebuilding their collection and a local citizen came in and asked, “What would you like to have for your library?”
The librarian’s response was something like, “Well we could always use some more federal census microfilm”. So this anonymous donor purchased the complete collection for them from the National Archives. Amazing!
In these days of automated digitization of the census film and being online at places like Ancestry, HeritageQuest, Footnote, FamilySearch and other locations, I might just add that it still pays to go and take a look at the actual microfilm yourself. You might just pick out some little hidden fact or clue that the super duper electronic digital gadget missed. There is no technology quite as good as an analog set of eyeballs!
Binghamton in Broome County, NY now has the NYS Vital Records Microfiche Index. For those of you that reside in the Southern Tier of the state, you no longer have to drive to Albany, Syracuse, Rochester or New York City (the nearest locations that have the index), but just go to the Broome County Public Library in Binghamton to have access to the fiche set yourself.
There are some limitations on use of these index fiche as this department is staffed by volunteers and at this time, starting as of October 12th, they are only open on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 pm, and also on Tuesdays from 4 to 8pm. Each library in the state that has the index has their own rules as to how to use the fiche.
So for births, deaths and marriages that occurred in the Upstate New York regions commencing in 1880, you might find the name of the individual, the date of the event and the village, city or town that the event occurred in. Thanks to reader Esther Griffin for the heads up on this Broome County announcement.
Broome County Public Library
185 Court Street
Binghamton, NY 13901
I would like your patrons to know that the Steele Memorial Library, [in Elmira,] Chemung County Library District also has the NYS Vital Records Index.
We are open M-T 9-9 F 9-5 Sat 9-5 and Sunday 1-5. [Phyllis Ryan Rogan]
To read a lot more about the NYS Vital Records Index please refer to our other previous posts on this subject:
1) – How to Obtain Copies of Vital Records for Genealogical Purposes in New York State
2) – New York State Vital Records Microfiche Indexes Update
3) – Vital Records Lookups, Update to the Update
[Please be sure to read all three articles]
If you hear any genealogy news in your neck of the woods, please let me know and I might be able to use it here on the UNYG Blog.
The New York State Library is going to be open on Saturdays, starting this coming October 16th. This story sounded too good to be true, but it has been verified.
For those of you that work during the week this is a golden opportunity to be able to take advantage of the unique collections and fingertip access to some of the best published and non-published resources for New York State ancestors.
Update: Oct 13, 2010 – Additional information.
This may not be permanent. Some say yes, but one person that works at the library said that this might only be for a couple of months. So readers, if you want to take advantage of this great opportunity you had better plan to go sooner, than later.
One other bonus of visiting on a Saturday is that the two end parking lots outside are free parking.
If it is your first trip to Albany or if you have not visited the seventh floor of the Cultural Education Center in some time, then you will want to ask for a quick orientation when you get to the Genealogy/Local History reference area.
Here in metal filing cabinets you will find those hard to come by New York State census microfilms arranged by county/town for all of the NYS census that has survived. A few of the counties have all or parts of the 1825 and 1835 census, many of them have the 1855, 1865, 1875, and 1892. For those interested in more modern times there are also films for 1905, 1915 and 1925 available.
For a complete list of films available you will want to check out the main website at www.unyg.com and click on the tab marked: NY Counties & NYS Census. Take a look at the far right column for a list of all of the known state census extant.
The state library is also where you will have ready access to the many microfilmed copies of old newspapers that are in the NYS Library Newspaper Project. Nothing like going right to the center of your ancestor’s community to read about the events of the day just as they read them so long ago.
To those who have Civil War Union ancestors that served from New York State, you will discover that the NYS Library and Archives might just have more information on your guy than the National Archives in Washington, DC does. Ask for help from a librarian for the best way to search for Civil War data.
Another huge resource of unpublished data is in the hundreds of volumes of manuscript or typescript books that were assembled by the various NYS chapters of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). These wonderful ladies started as long ago as the late 1800′s, collecting bible records, church records, documents and surveyed thousands of NYS cemeteries and sent their lists in to Washington. Then a duplicate copy of these mostly typewritten sheets were also deposited at the NYS Library.
There is a card file index and also a compiled general index to the DAR collection that was done by Mrs. Jean Worden. You may search by county/town, surnames, etc. Most of these thousands of unique DAR records have never been published anywhere.
Check out their website before your trip and you will be able to plan your research goals before you arrive. http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/gengen.htm – If an item is in storage they only pull books at 10 am and 2 pm, so it would be good to know ahead of time what you might need when you arrive.
For directions and a map of the parking areas check this link: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/locpar_ce.htm
If you have any questions you may call ahead of time at the Local History/Genealogy desk: 518-474-5161.
One other nice benefit of going to the state library is that during the week, the Capital District Genealogy Society (CDGS) mans a volunteer help desk. The nice people of the society are there to assist patrons and help the librarians, but I have not been able to find out yet if there will be a CDGS volunteer there on Saturdays.
Good luck in your search and have fun!
The Bombay Historical Society announces the formation of the Bombay Genealogical Society. Due to the recent surge in genealogy research, Becky Latulipe, president of the historical society, gave the explanation that the genealogical society would be able to serve the public, under the umbrella of the historical society.
The Bombay Genealogical Society will have their own elected officers. Latulipe said, “We want people to be aware of the pioneer families and community members that have lived here, but it will take some time and research.”
The point she made about genealogy being about 90% of what the historical society is all about seems to be a common theme in most historical societies.
This is from a press release in the Plattsburgh Press Republican newspaper.
New Genealogy Organization Formed
There are contact phone numbers in the article if you are interested in joining.
The Troy Irish Genealogical Society (TIGS) is charging forward with their massive indexing project of all things Troy. Your ancestors certainly do not have to have been Irish to be included in these collections. TIGS members are working hard constantly making things easier to find the obscure clue that you might need to locate your ancestor that is hiding behind that brick wall.
I particularly like the note at the bottom about one of my favorite Vice Presidents. Well most interesting anyway.
This has been posted on several NYS mail lists and I know that Bill has asked me before to make announcements for them.
THE TROY NEWSPAPER PROJECT
A multi volume Index of Death and Marriage Records
transcribed from various Troy, NY newspapers
“A. The Troy Daily Press is the THIRD newspaper to be added to the Troy Irish Genealogy Website. The records for this paper cover 131 deaths and 460 names on the marriages during the period February 11, 1833 through June 30, 1834. These records will be of great interest to genealogy researchers since the information in this data base predates the 1880 New York State law requiring the reporting of death and marriage records. These records may help with breaking down some of those “brick walls” that you have been struggling with. Also, the residence reported on the marriage records will be of interest as it shows numerous cities and towns throughout New York State as well as Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other states.
B. You can view these records by going to the Troy Irish Genealogy website at: www.rootsweb.com/~nytigs/ and click on PROJECTS and then click on THE TROY NEWSPAPER PROJECT. It should be noted that these records, like most of the TIGS data series, cover the general population in the area and are NOT restricted to Irish surnames.
C. Transcribers are currently working on the Troy Post paper covering the years 1846-1851, also the Troy Sentinel covering years 1823-1832 and the Daily Whig for years 1834-1851. If anyone would like to be a transcriber on this project they can send an email OFF LIST to firstname.lastname@example.org
D. Your attention is called to one of the interesting marriage records listed. On July 5, 1833, at the age of 77, Col. Aaron Burr married Mrs. Eliza Jumel. Eliza was the extremely wealthy widow of Stephen Jumel. When she realized her fortune was dwindling from her husband’s land speculations, they separated after only four months. The divorce between Burr and Jumel was completed on September 14, 1836, the day of Burr’s death.
TIGS Project Coordinator
Clifton Park, NY”
As an additional bit of information, you might be interested to know that Aaron Burr and one of the pioneer settlers of Onondaga County, Col. Comfort Tyler, were friends and banded together in 1807 with Tyler as Burr’s chief of military and they were headed down the Ohio River in 1807 to take over what is now parts of Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico with a plan to start a new country.
The whole bunch of Burr’s militia were all arrested by federal troops near Blennerhassett Island and put in stockade. Burr was tried for treason in Virginia and was released when the court found insufficient proof, at which time Comfort Tyler and about 40 to 50 of their soldiers, mostly Revolutionary War veterans from Onondaga and Cayuga counties, were released and allowed to return to their homes.
Tyler soon moved to Montezuma, New York and started making salt there. Burr became one of the primary investors in the Cayuga Bridge Company which allowed goods, including Tyler’s salt, to reach out to the hungry western markets.
You may read our other post about the Troy Irish Genealogy Society by clicking the link provided.
In 1945 General George S. Patton was on leave to visit family in California and he presented the Huntington Library with a set of documents that might have been the most important set of documents ever signed by the most evil man in the world, Adolph Hitler.
These documents were known as the Nuremberg Laws and were the actual documents that stripped all Jewish people of their rights as German citizens and opened the door for Hitler’s Holocaust atrocities.
Patton had been given orders to turn all such important documents over so they could be used in prosecution against the Nazi perpetrators, but for whatever reason Patton, perhaps the consummate souvenir hunter, decided to give them to the Huntington for safe keeping, perhaps to hold until he could return and decide later as to what to do with them.
Unfortunately General Patton was killed in an accident later that year, and the Huntington has had these for 60+ years.
Just recently the Nuremberg laws official proclamation was turned over to the U.S National Archives and Records Administration by the Huntington.
The video tells the story.
Thanks go to Dear Myrtle for the heads up.
If you have ever wonderd if your signing of online petitions has any impact, we suggest that it does.
Last September we told you that the State of Michigan was in a budget crisis and was planning on closing the state library. We told you how to Save the Library of Michigan.
Well todays news is reported in the Lansing State Journal that the library is not only alive and well, but that the legislators have also voted to keep all of the non-Michigan books and research media available to genealogists as well.
Recently they had contemplated downsizing the state’s obligation to house some 44,000 volumes of books and 97,000 volumes of microfilm that did not relate to Michigan.
Well the activity created with the petition and increased awareness of this situation must have had some positive impact because the state has agreed to keep all of their collection intact and available.
Read the full story here: Library of Michigan.
Thanks to all who participated.
Those of you Upstate New York Genealogy researchers that are working on Rochester, New York , Monroe County and the western part of New York State in general, are very fortunate.
The Monroe County Library System has been hard at work making much of their large genealogy / local history collection available online. A discussion on one of the recent message boards caught my eye and decided we better review this site again. See our previous posts about the Rochester Library.
There are many information pages and categories but if you go directly to this link regarding the Rochester City Directories at: http://www3.libraryweb.org/lh.aspx?id=960 – You will find that the decades are arranged very easily to select from. You will need a pdf reader to view the files but they are the exact scanned directory pages arranged in alpha groups.
There are other local and county type business directories available on that page that represent various years from the 1860′s to the 1930′s.
As we have noted in our New York State Vital Records Index articles you should know that the Rochester Library is one of the repositories for a set of the microfiche indexes. You will have to go there to use them.
You will no doubt find many other items of interest by going to the main website and just start clicking on all of the drop down boxes. A fabulous resource indeed.