I’ve discussed deeds in this blog before and why they should be a cornerstone record in researching the lives of your ancestors. In this post, I show how using deeds connected a family from the 1850s through the mid-twentieth century. Levin Waters Levin Waters and other ancestors lived in Somerset County, Maryland in a little community called […]
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Category: Records, Resources and Tools
The Ku Klux Klan Hearings
In 1871, the U.S. Government held hearings on the rampant violence in the South by the Ku Klux Klan and other white terrorist organizations. The official name of these records is the “Report of the Joint Select Committee Appointed to Inquire Into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States.” However, they are often referred […]
Thomas S. Sudler Account Book
I’ve written before about the information that can be found in what I call Community Papers. These Papers include account books, diaries, ledgers, loose papers, family records, etc. These are the papers of (usually) prominent men and families. They might be large slaveholders, doctors, merchants or lawyers. Almost every library and archives has these kinds of […]
Perry Simpson Found in Freedmen’s Bureau
Finally- I found a needle in a haystack. I found my 4th great-grandfather, Perry Simpson, in Freedmen’s Bureau records! I have probably looked through thousands of pages of these records through the years and that is no exaggeration. I found his name in a Register of Letters Received in the Field Office Records for Maryland […]
DNA Bombshell: John Smith Origins Uncove...
This story is several months old. I had to let the emotion wear off to think clearly enough for a post. I knew of the amazing discoveries some people made with DNA testing in recent years. Last summer, my AAHGS chapter (shout-out to Central Maryland) had a series of introductory sessions on the topic. I’d […]
Who’s Your Daddy? Bastardy Records
One of the hidden gems inside court records are the aptly named “Bastardy Bonds.” These records, like much in genealogy, are another reminder that human behavior hasn’t changed much. Anything that happens now also happened in the past. Children born out of wedlock, like today, was a common occurrence. People also had kids with other people while […]
Follow the Witness: They May Have the An...
Many of our artificial brick walls are caused by our inability to extract every clue from each source. One of my favorite suggestions is to tell people to Follow the Witness. Many of the most common sources we use, such as deed records, probate records and marriage records, are legal documents that in many cases needed […]
A Walk Through County Court Minutes
Have you ventured into the waters of county court records yet? I am a big fan of court records. Today, I’d like to show you what you can find in these records. As I’ve mentioned before, court records are an intermediate/advanced resource. I wouldn’t recommend them for beginners. Why Court Records Can Be Difficult […]
Researching U.S. Colored Troops
For many years now, I’ve been interested in researching U.S. Colored Troops who served in Union forces from the communities where my family lived. Almost 200,000 black people, slaves and free blacks, served in the Union Army and Navy. The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation began the process of large-scale recruitment of black men into the service as […]
Are You Using Your Genealogical and Hist...
Your local Genealogical and Historical (G&S) Society could be holding the key to important pieces of your research. Although the web has certainly enabled us to find things we may have found otherwise, the truth remains that the bulk of genealogical records are not online and likely never will be. This example illustrates how the […]