Happy Birthday to Virginia!
The first colonists arrived in Jamestown, Virginia on May 14, 1607 and with ups and downs the Commonwealth has prospered ever since.
GenealogyBank.com is packed with early Americana – including millions of Virginia items go back to the 1700s.
GenealogyBank has more than 100 Virginia newspapers – containing more than 2.3 Million articles. There are multiple titles going back to the 1700s and early 1800s.
Click here for a complete list
Also – GenealogyBank has more than 4 Million Virginia obituaries and death records in the America’s Obituaries and Social Security Death Index (SSDI) sections.
Other Virginia Resources in GenealogyBank
Search for Virginia documents in:
American State Papers and US Serial Set in the Historical Documents section.
There are thousands of Virginia documents in the Historical Books section that are unique to GenealogyBank.
For example – here is a petition to Congress signed by the local Virginia residents south of the James River that were seeking improved conditions on the Turnpike to Richmond.
Here is an example of an early Virginia funeral sermon – for Mrs. Ann Boyd who died 1819.
Beyond GenealogyBank – here are other useful sites for Virginia research
Virginia Census Records
1850, 1880, 1900 – Free Online – FamilySearchLabs
Virginia Digital Books Online
American Memory Project
Documenting the American South
Making of America
Library of Virgina – Virginia Land Records
Virginia Historical Society
Current issue of Virginia Magazine of History & Biography
Be sure to see their online research guides
Virginia Vital Records
See the collection at the Library of Virginia
Virginia Department of Vital Records
FamilySearchLabs.org has begun putting the 1860 Federal Census and the Civil War Pension Index Cards online.
The 1860 Federal Census includes all new indexing and new digital images of the census pages. The FHL-Labs site is just beginning to put the 1860 census online – and has loaded the first 5% of the census. They are putting the index up for free but the census page images may only be viewed with a separate subscription to Footnote.com
The Civil War Pension Index Cards are 90% complete. According to the site, “each card gives the soldier’s name, unit, the application number, the certificate number and the state from which the soldier served.” This index is free on the FHL-Labs site.
FamilySearchLabs.org has changed their site so you no longer have to register to login.
You can find additional Civil War pension information in GenealogyBank. Look at the US Serial Set in the Historical Documents section. See also the example I posted earlier about the Civil War pension of Henry B. Platter and his widow Rachel (Bittinger) Platter.
Private William Christman was buried in the rose garden in front of General Robert E. Lee’s home in Arlington, Virginia. He was serving with Company G, 67th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Click here to see his headstone.
In May 1863 Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered the creation of the “Freedman’s Village for the protection of the Black man and his family, upon the Arlington estate, belonging to the Rebel General Lee.” The Liberator, 15 July 1864.
June 15, 1864 Secretary Stanton ordered that the grounds around the Lee home be used as a military cemetery – which would soon be known around the world as Arlington National Cemetery.
The newspapers of the day loved it that the Lee home and grounds were used to house and give the freedmen a new start and a military cemetery to honor the nation’s war dead.
“How appropriate that Lee’s lands should be dedicated to two such noble purposes – the free living Black man whom Lee would enslave and the bodies of the dead soldiers who Lee has killed in a wicked cause. Let this record stand to the everlasting credit of Secretary Stanton.”
The Liberator, 15 July 1864.
In GenealogyBank you may read many more articles about the creation of Arlington National Cemetery and the Freedman’s Village. Look for them in the Historical Newspapers and in the Historical Documents which includes the US Serial Set – where there are also numerous government reports detailing the progress of both operations.
There are a lot of anniversaries in May.
In May 1863 the government organized the Freedman’s Village on the grounds of General Robert E. Lee’s home in Arlington, Virginia.
It had “fourteen dwellings, and a church a hospital and a home of the aged and infirm, with streets regularly laid out and named, and a park planted in the centre.” The grounds were laid out and the village was built under the direction of Brigadier General Montgomery C. Meigs, he was named the Quartermaster of the Army in May 1861.
The Village quickly took shape and within a year had more than 3,000 residents, former slaves and their families.
By Decemeber 1865 there were 53 schools, 112 teachers and 5,618 students located at the Freedman’s Village and on government lands in Alexandria, Georgetown and Maryland.
In 1888 the Freedman’s Village was closed. Read more about the Freedman’s Village in GenealogyBank. Look for artilces in the Historical Newspapers and for the many government reports that detailed the progress and ultimate closing in the US Serial Set found in the Historical Documents section.
Tomorrow I will blog about the other May anniversary.
Clementine (Robicheaux) Breaux, the widow of Paul Breaux, must have set a record.
As of March 19, 1915 – she was still going strong at age 110 – the mother of 13 children and the matriarch of more than 1,000 descendants born in her lifetime. She lived in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana and her family lived there in Thibodaux and “scattered over the entire state” of Louisiana.
Even though she was 110 years old according to the article in the Duluth (MN) News Tribune (19 March 1915) she was still active. Her eyesight was still good enough “to permit the threading of a needle” and she enjoyed “getting out in the yard and feeding the chickens and poultry.”
You learn the most amazing things about your family in these old newspapers.
So – here’s to our mothers everywhere, of all generations.
Happy Mother’s Day!
The April-June 2008 issue of the NGS Newsmagazine (National Genealogical Society) just arrived in the mail.
Alpert, Janet A. President’s Message. pp. 2-3
Kerstens, Elizabeth Kelly. Editor’s Corner. pp. 4-5
Freilich, Kay Haviland & Ann Carter Fleming. Research in the States Series Expands. pp. 10-11.
Jennings, Arlene V. Reconstructing family history from museum visits. pp. 18-22.
Mieszala, Debbie. Courage on the Seas: Records of the United States Life-Saving Service. pp. 23-27, 51.
Smith, Gary M. & Diana Crisman Smith. Reaching Genealogists through Words (ISFHWE, Genealogical Speakers Guild). pp. 28-31.
Hovorka, Janet. Care and Repair of Photographs. pp. 33-37.
Gray, Gordon. What is APG? pp. 38-41.
Pierce, Alycon Trubey. Adding final pension payment voucher records to the researcher’s toolbox. pp. 42-48.
Smith, Gary M. & Diana Crisman Smith. Research dilemmas of broken homes. pp. 49-51.
Swanson, Andree Brower. Not so plain Jane (Jane Crawford). pp. 52-54.
Schneck, Barbara. Review of Family Tree Maker 2008. pp. 55-58.
Smith, Drew. Papa’s got a brand new genealogy bag. pp. 59-61.
Hinds, Harold E., Jr. A paradigm shift? Biology vs. lineage. pp. 62-63.
Genealogists researching Philadelphia just got even more help in finding their ancestors.
FamilySearchLabs has just added digital copies of Philadelphia (PA) death certificates from 1803-1915.
So – what will you find in these records?
One gives the basic facts and the other tells us the rest of the story.
The coroner’s return has the grim story: Edward Hendrickson, age 11, killed on 20 April 1905 at the B&O Railroad tracks “while trespassing.” A sterile almost harsh report.
But there is more to the story. The Philadelphia Inquirer (21 April 1905) called him a “little hero” – who had “sacrificed” himself to save his younger brother Gilbert, age 8.
Edward and Gilbert were walking along the B&O Railroad tracks when he saw that Gilbert had stepped onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train. The paper reported that Edward “jumped toward him, pushing him down a small embankment” saving Gilbert’s life, but the train took his.
Yes – the coroner’s report gave us the core facts but aren’t we glad to have the newspaper account to give us the full story.
This new FHL resource includes Philadelphia Death Certificates, hospital returns, undertaker certificates and similar death records from 1803 to 1915. It may be searched for free.
Typical entries include the person’s name, date of death/burial; place of death/burial; names of the parents; attending physician; undertaker; age of the deceased; occupation of the deceased; race; former residence; and cause of death.
The FamilySearchLabs site is easy to use.
Go to FamilySearchLabs.org
Under: Current Projects – Click on Record Search
Under: Search an Indexed Collection – click on:
Pennyslvania Philadelphia City Death Certificates 1803-1915
A simple search box appears.
You may search by first or last name; names of the parents; name of the spouse or location.
The FHL index let’s you search on any one or these entire search options.
To search the nearly 280+ Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania newspapers go to GenealogyBank and begin searching.
Halvor Moorshead after a lifetime of publishing in the genealogy industry is retiring.
The first genealogy published in America appeared in a newspaper 284 years ago – today – May 7, 1724.
The first genealogy published in book form was in 1771 – the Stebbins Genealogy and by 1876 and the nation’s first centennial there were less than 1,000 genealogies published.
With a push from President Ulysses S. Grant the idea really took off. It was 132 years ago on May 25th that he issued a “Proclamation” to the American people asking them to remember their history, write it down and distribute it widely.
He wrote that he wanted to see “a complete record” of our history … be kept and placed in each county and in the Library of Congress”. If the Internet were available then I am sure he would have suggested that they be put online too.
According to the 16 Mar 1912 issue of the San Jose Mercury “Genealogy Study Rapidly Growing. In Recent Years Americans Have Been Making Great Study of the Family Tree”. By the year 1920 there were 2,000 published genealogies and by 1972 there were 50,000 family histories in print.
With the publication of Roots in 1976 genealogy really took off.
By the late 90s the Internet was becoming a common tool for genealogists. By 1998 there were over 90,000 published genealogies. Today, just ten years later that number has jumped to over 150,000 published genealogies.