Family Tree Climbing

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Historical Maps of Illinois and Algonquin, Illinois

I found these two historical maps today while digging around for some locality information for Algonquin, Illinois.  Maps have always fascinated me and they are particularly interesting when you can compare one place across time. 
 
http://www.mapofus.org/_maps/atlas/1822-IL.html
1818 Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Illinois
 
 
http://www.mapofus.org/_maps/atlas/1836-IL.html
1833 Map of Illinois
 
 
This is a collection of plot maps for McHenry County, Illinois.  I believe it is for various years, though it is not the most image friendly website.
http://landplats.ilsos.net/McHenry.html
Above is a screen shot of the Algonquin Twp plot map.  You will need to use the above link (or click on picture then Algonquin) to be able to read anything on the map which includes interesting information about the survey.
 
 
Several more historic Illinois maps from 1835-1885 can be found HERE


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Robert Benedict Alderson

I am working on the Descendancy research of James Cole Alderson, my 3rd great grandfather through William Wesley Alderson.  I am stuck on William Wesley's brother Robert Benedict Alderson. 

What I do have:
The Alderson Cousins site gives his birthdate as 16 November 1848 in Maury, Tennessee.  Robert is with the family in the 1850 census in Maury, TN and in the 1860 census in Marion, Illinois.  After that I can not pin down a record for him. 

Possibility:
There is an interesting possibility that he enlisted in the Civil War.  There is an enlistment for February 1865 for a Robert B Alderson from Arrowsmith, Illinois (McLean County) that joined the K 155th Illinois Infantry.  It seems that same Robert died in Nashville, Illinois on 6 April 1864(5).  Oddly though, I can't find the cemetery record on the Nationwide Gravesite Locator even though I have two separate records that suggest it should exist.

United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865: Robert B Alderson
Familysearch # LCT2-CZL


Robert would have been 16/17 years old in 1865.  Young but I guess not unheard of. 

There are only two other Robert Alderson's that show up in Illinois in the 1860 census.  (My Robert B acutally shows up as Bennedic).  A father and a son living in Macoupin, Illinois ages 50 and 10.  The same Robert Alderson seems to show up in the 1865 Illinois State Census also in Macoupin, Illinois.  The census was supposedly taken on 3rd July 1865, suggesting he is not the Robert Alderson that died in April.  I guess there is still the possibility that the 10 year old, now 15, could be the one who enlisted.


I feel like I'm just dancing around it... There just isn't quite enough information to pin the two together.  ARG!

MRN (more research needed)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dodd Genealogy Books

The Dodd's were a very influential family in early America and are mentioned in many local history books and even have a few books just to themselves tracing the descendancy of the first Daniel Dod. 

Here are a few of them with snippets about Ambrose Dodd, my 4th great grandfather through his daughter Emily Augusta Dodd:


Genealogy and history of the Daniel Dod family in America, 1646-1940 
Available on familysearch.org and ancestry.com.  The ancestry version is easier to navigate though you likely need a membership to access it.  Ambrose Dodd is on image 107 (book pg 84) with some interesting tidbits about his migration west and family.  This book is the best of the three.  If can't access the one on ancestry.com go here on familysearch and type in the above title.  The book also includes a wonderful Descendancy chart from the original Daniel Dod.
Love the side note about Emily Augusta and her soiled pantalettes! Can you imagine that being the only personal story about yourself recorded in a published book?


Genealogies of the male descendants of Daniel Dod 
Available on google books It is not as detailed.  It includes Ambrose Dodd, no children.




The Dodd's (including Ambrose, no children) are also mentioned in Family Records Or Genealogies of the First Settlers of Passaic Valley a preview is available on google books. You can also find the entire book on familysearch.org

Illinois Railroad Maps

These come from the Illinois Digital Archives.  They are particularly interesting to me because I had multiple grandfather's that were engineers for the C&EI railroad including Charles Everett Condon and Henry Dodd Bigelow. 


 Illinois Railroad Maps

Blog: The Ancestor Hunt

I came across this website, The Ancestor Hunt, through Pinterest (which is a great place to find family history related information).  I've poked around there a little bit and there are a few treasure troves to be found. 

Particularly for newspapers and photos


The photos for Illinois specifically lead me on a wonderful tangent that resulted in me locating a photo of my 4th great-grandfather that I have never seen before!  Gold mine!  (more to come from that story)

Lesson: Never hesitate to poke around on random websites, you never know what you will unearth!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Grandma!

My grandmother turned 89 today.  She is one of the sweetest most giving women you could ever meet and has been a wonderful example to me.  It is her and her own love of history that started me down the road to family history.  I will be forever grateful for her and her influence in my life.
Age 14

Age 89


Historical US Newspapers Onilne

Penn Libraries has a compiliation of newspapers available online on their website .  You can see a list with a brief description of all the newspapers organized by state.  They also have a nice map feature that helps you visually see what newspapers were published where throughout the country. 
 
 
If you narrow it by state you can see what newspapers are available online for specific locations.  Sadly there is nothing for Marion or Clay county Illinois.
 
The website seems to be well done and I'm excited to keep checking back in looking for updates on my family locations. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Alderson Cousins

I have been working on the Descendancy of James Cole Alderson, my great great grandfather, and came across an old goldmine today. 

There is a book available on familysearch.org called Alderson: Alderson families living in North America thru 1920 by Cross, James Allison, 1928-.


Turns out there is also a webpage called Alderson Cousins that is dedicated to the three main Alderson lines that first immigrated to the United States.  One of which I am descended from: Richard Alderson Richmond, VA mid-1600s.

There is also an old newsletter available on the website that was published for multiple years.  I have only skimmed through the first four issues but found information relating to my family.

Volume 1, Number 4  includes marriage records from the early 19th century in Maury, TN, including some of my relatives.


There is also a website dedicated exclusively to the descendants of Richard Alderson.  My great grandmother is even included!

I'm excited to go through and verify as much as the information I can and make sure it is included in my family tree.  Seems like there is always more work to do!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Illinois Newspapers

Story has it that my great grandfather, John Chester Bigelow, and his mother, Mary Elizabeth Richards Bigelow, contributed to the local paper of Salem, Marion, Illinois in the 1940-50's.  I forget how, but I have it in my head that the paper was the Salem Times-Commoner.  I have tried and tried over the years to figure out how to get my hands on that paper and today google came through and I finally found a lead!

Turns out there is a website called the Illinois Newspaper Project (SCORE!) pulled together by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Library in Urbana, Illinois.  When I did a search for Salem, Marion, Illinois I came up with many hits, one of which was for the Times-Commoner.
http://www.library.illinois.edu/inp/results_full_public.php?oclc=17556747
 
 
Another paper of interest because of the years it covers is the Salem Republican.  Again not available online (YET).
 
http://www.library.illinois.edu/inp/results_full_public.php?oclc=25384205

Frankly there are many papers on the list for Salem that would be worth looking into.  My family is in Marion county for many years and multiple generations and family lines...  There are 51 newspapers that come up currently for Marion county alone.  I can only imagine the treasure trove of information to be uncovered.  Obituaries, marriage notices, birth announcements, graduations...  In fact one of those papers, looks like the Democrat, published this article in 1949 about my great great grandmother, Mary (Minnie) Elizabeth Richards Bigelow. (Newspaper clipping in possession of my grandmother)


And another newspaper published the wedding notice of my great grandparents: John Chester Bigelow and Charleen Margaret Condon.  They were married in 1920.


Now all I need to figure out is how to get to one of these libraries and then I'd have to move in for a few months.  Not likely going to happen in the near future... one can hope they digitize it though, right?!?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Why Family History is Important

Family history work, the seeking out of my ancestors, is important to me for many reasons.  One of those reasons is because of what I believe. 
 
I am a Mormon.
 
The following comes from the website http://mormon.org by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

 

Why Family History is Important



Those of us who have been bitten by the family history bug know how fun it can be. But this isn’t why we have the largest genealogical library in the world and why 15 million Mormons are encouraged to research their family roots. Rather, we are driven by our doctrine that teaches that marriage and families can continue beyond this life. But this can only happen when families are sealed together in one of the Lord’s holy temples around the world and united for all eternity.
That’s fine for all of us today who have the chance to be sealed in a temple, but what about our ancestors who die without the opportunity to receive ordinances like baptism, or the blessings of being an eternal family? Does it make sense that God would simply say, "Too bad, tough luck?" Of course it doesn’t. When Christ organized His Church anciently, it included vicarious work for the dead and the practice of performing ordinances for deceased relatives "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" (1 Corinthians 15:29). Christ’s restoration of his original Church to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith included the ancient practice of performing these ordinances for our deceased relatives in holy temples. The gospel of Jesus Christ includes the same blessings today in holy temples.


Genealogical or family history research is the essential forerunner of temple work for our deceased ancestors. We do it to obtain names and other genealogical information so these temple ordinances can be performed for our kindred dead. Our ancestors then are taught the gospel in the spirit world and have the choice to accept or reject the work performed for them. Mother Teresa once said that "loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty." The thought that this poverty of loneliness—this being unwanted and separated from loved ones—could extend beyond this life is truly sad and something temple work can prevent.

Read more about the importance of ancestry at Mormon.org.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Small and Simple Things



Simple things you can do NOW to get yourself and your family involved in family history work and thus gain access to the promised blessings that come with it.

These tips come from a class I taught a few months ago. 


1. Interview Family Members and Share Their Stories Online
There is a lot of information available online about interview relatives as well as fabulous tools to make it easier.  I encourage you to learn more.

 A few simple tips are:
•Decide who you want to interview.
•Prepare a list of questions. 
•Avoid questions that can be answered Yes or No.
•Make an appointment beforehand.
•Keep the interview to a reasonable amount of time.
•Use a digital recorder, smartphone app, or camera to record your interview
•Take notes. 
•Transcribe and share notes as a courtesy and to check accuracy.

FamilySearch.org has made it easy to upload and share memories -stories and photos- online.  Be sure to check them out at https://familysearch.org/photos/


2. Take and Share Photos
This goes along with sharing stories.
Taking photos of living relatives, heirlooms, and so forth, can provide powerful experiences for future generations.  Sharing photos in your possession is an important part of preserving them.  Technology has made it really simple to do.

The photo sharing application on familysearch.org allows patrons to upload photos and add names, descriptions, and other information. https://familysearch.org/photos/


3. Discover Your Fan Chart
Fan charts allow you to see four+ generations at one time.  They are a helpful tool that is easy to understand that you can use when sharing your tree with fellow family members.  They also easily allow you to see holes in your family tree.

There are various places where you can get your fan chart printed.  One website that pulls your information from familysearch and creates a fan chart for you that you can print is www.createfan.com.



4. Record Your Life
Remember that telling your own story is a part of doing family history.  Keeping a record of your life is important.  Your way of capturing your own story can be as unique as you are.


5. Get Involved in Indexing
FamilySearch indexing unlocks access to the world's records by making them searchable for free at familysearch.org.  This is a monumental effort that anyone can participate in.  Every little bit helps and we all benefit. 

Check it out at https://familysearch.org/indexing


6. Find Your Cousins
Also known as descendancy research this is the process of finding the descendants of your ancestors.  There are many benefits to doing descendancy research.  Some of these include:

•Researching forward in time can help you break down your brick walls
•Find relatives researching the same line
•Find relatives who know stories and have photos of your common ancestor
•Records are more readily available as you move forward in time


7.  Search Out Your Ancestors
Probably obvious, but always continue to research your ancestors.  Record availability is always changing and doors open every day. 

Just keep climbing...

 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

RootsTech 2014

There are many wonderful people in my life that made it possible for me to attend RootsTech this year.  (Biggest thank you's go to my husband and my mother-in-law for taking care of my peeps).  I was also blessed to be able to attend with my mother.  Happy day(s)!

https://rootstech.org/?lang=eng

It was very exciting to be back in the thick of things as far as family history happenings.  Rootstech is the place to be to learn and experience the new technologies and techniques involved in family history work.  In the forefront of the event was familysearch.org with all of their amazing updates and the hottest news of their recent partnerships with ancestry.com, findmypast.com and myheritage.com.  Exciting things to come!

The big focus of this years' conference was on stories (as expressed by the video I posted earlier that was visible throughout the conference).  Many of the classes focused on the power and importance of stories.  Personally this is one of my weaknesses.  I am NOT a born storyteller, my parents are not storytellers, there are not many stories that have been passed down through the ages (that is except for my grandmother's stories about her dogs).  I now feel the pressure and know that it is my position (dare I say responsibility... uh lets go with opportunity) to create and preserve the stories of my ancestors.  That's a challenge to be tackled in pieces... 

For those of you unable to attend Rootstech you can take virtual classes online through their video archive.  https://rootstech.org/videos?lang=eng

I look forward to next year!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Every Family Has a Story


I was able to attend Rootstech 2014 and this is a video that familysearch  shared.  Literally it was everywhere: on multiple big screens before the keynote speakers, in the expo hall, even on screens set up in the halls throughout the conference center.    Some might have been annoyed with this.  I on the other hand took it in at every chance.  I am touched by this video every time.

There is power, peace, perspective, strength to be found in Family History. 

Every Family Has a Story: Discover Yours!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Familysearch.org and Family Tree

My ward (congregation) has sure put me to work.  Since my assignment as family history consultant I have given a presentation about small and simple things you can do in family history for a women's class, started teaching a seven lesson class once a week, given a brief presentation to about 100 people about familysearch, and I am now preparing to teach two more classes to youth groups in the next couple weeks.  Oh and I'm working in our local family history center a few hours this week.

I'm feeling BUSY!

It's a good busy and it is exciting to be a part of it all!

Amid all these assignments I have had to quickly become very familiar with Familysearch.org.  And lucky me it had recently gone through a complete overhaul shortly before I was called.  I have worked with new.familysearch.org and I have searched records on labs.familysearch.org but both of those are old hat to this new system. 
There are so many wonderful features on familysearch.org now.  Be sure to check them out!

Family Tree:
This is where you can keep track of your pedigree.  It is similar to new.familysearch.org but so much smoother and user friendly.  The ability to add sources is greatly improved over the new system.  Especially with sources that are coming directly off of familysearch.org.  I've been spending a lot of time just adding sources to the information that is already on my tree.  It makes me feel so much better when information can be supported and verified by sources!

Photos and Stories:
This new feature is AWESOME!  You can find and/or share heritage photos on the website and link them to your family lines.  This is a great way to preserve and share important photos that you have inherited. I have been slowly working on adding the photos I digitized at my grandma's a few years ago.  My husband has benefited from other family members uploading photos and stories onto his family line.  He has a second cousin that is transcribing a personal history and we have been able to read the stories and share them with our children.  It is amazing to read about Josh's pioneer heritage and the sacrifices they made for their families and the gospel.

Search:
This is where you can gain access to all the millions of records being indexed by thousands of volunteers worldwide.  It is an amazing collection that is FREE and growing daily.

Familysearch.org has also made it really easy to find, prepare, request and manage the temple work for our ancestors.  So much better that when I started doing family history and you had to go to a FHC and work on a dos program. :P

Another thing I am really impressed with is familysearch's helpcenter.  They have dozens of videos to help you with familysearch, teach you how to do family history research, online research help, etc...
This has been particularly helpful as I have been learning about familysearch.

The ease and accessibility of this website and many more popping up all over the internet is a testimony to me of the importance of family work.  It is a blessing to be a part of this work that is accelerating a such an exciting speed.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Where Have I Been?

Goodness, it's been almost 4 years since my last post on this blog.  A lot of personal history has been made in those four years including a few highlights like moving across the country, buying our first home, and three additions to the family-- two children and a dog.  I've also been very actively involved with the youth group in my church.  Let's just say it hasn't been exactly the "season" for Family History Work.

Well, the seasons are changing a bit.  I am sadly no longer working with the youth but I have been reassigned as a family history consultant.  The external push I needed to get back into the swing of things!  I've dived back in but my skills are a little cold and the water is more like a river that has been constantly changing; I'm still trying to get my bearings.

I guess what I'm trying to say is
I'm Back!