Obituary key to finding missing heir – Tulsa, OK man receives $200,000

Nicholas Grod of Portland, Oregon used an online obituary to track down the rightful heir to a fortune in US Government bonds that he found hidden in his basement.

KATU-TV (Portland, OR) reports that last year Grod was cleaning out the basement of his Portland, Oregon home and found a homemade box wedged under a shelf. In it he found $200,000 in US Bonds, family photographs, a letter and clues to the person who had left them there.

Nicholas Grod used the Internet to track down the details about the previous owners of the house. He had reached a dead-end in the census – but “but an online obituary led Grod to a grandson named Thomas Fagg who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”

From that online obituary Nicholas Grod made contact with Thomas Fagg, now 2,000 miles away, and sent him the box and valuables that he had found hidden in his basement.

Wow – Thomas Fagg was thrilled to receive those family photos – he didn’t have any pictures of his grandfather – he was also pleased to receive the bonds. “There are no words in the English language that can express the gratitude and admiration I have for this man for being so, so honest,” Fagg said.

You can see the entire KATU-TV interview with Nicholas Grod and Thomas Fagg at: http://www.katu.com/news/39350242.html?video=YHI&t=a

GenealogyBank.com Celebrates Second Anniversary Online — Reports 67% Growth in Family History Records

GenealogyBank has added over 80 million historical newspaper articles, recent obituaries and other vital records in the past two years – growing 67% – going from 160 million records to over 240 million articles, records & documents.

To celebrate its expansion and success, GenealogyBank is now offering a 30-day trial for only $9.95 along with membership savings up to 50% after the trial period.

GenealogyBank, a leading provider of historical and recent newspapers for family history research, is celebrating its second anniversary online.

GenealogyBank has added over 80 million historical newspaper articles, recent obituaries and other vital records added in the past two years, GenealogyBank is the fastest growing newspaper site for family history research and an ideal resource for exploring the real stories behind the lives of past generations.

“We now have 67% more family history information online today than when we launched and we only plan to continue growing, with new documents digitized every month.”

GenealogyBank‘s 3,600+ newspapers provide a firsthand glimpse into the everyday lives of millions of Americans who lived from 1690 to the present day. In addition to names, dates, places and events, newspapers offer real-life stories of the triumphs, challenges and turning points that formed communities and shaped lives. GenealogyBank‘s exclusive newspaper content — from all 50 states — can help family history researchers dig deeper into their family’s past.

“Most importantly,” adds Kemp, “GenealogyBank provides substantial runs from big-city dailies, regional weeklies and small-town papers from across America. There is literally coverage from every day of the week across a 300-year span.”

“And with the most complete Social Security Death Index available–as well as government documents, rare books, military records and more — GenealogyBank has truly become the ‘go-to’ source for family history information.”

Special Anniversary Savings – Save up to 50% on memberships
To celebrate its expansion and success over the past two years, GenealogyBank is now offering a 30-day trial for only $9.95 along with membership savings up to 50% after the trial period.

Subscriptions to GenealogyBank include access to more than 240 million records including an estimated one billion names from all 50 states, each of which can be viewed as a single document and printed.

Millions of additional records are added monthly.

National Archives, Library of Congress Documents Go Online

The National Archives and the Library of Congress announced today that they have begun loading digital copies of their materials on a new site called the World Digital Library.

Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced today that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has become a founding partner in the World Digital Library (WDL).

NARA will contribute digital versions of important documents from its collections to the WDL, which will be launched for the international public in early 2009.

These documents include Civil War photographs, naturalization and immigration records of famous Americans, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, and photographs by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Lewis Hine. Examples of the images that NARA is contributing to the World Digital Library are now available online.

Example of a naturalization document – Declaration of Intent of Maria von Trapp, 01/21/1944 – that was put online by NARA. NARA ARC Identifier 596198.

The WDL will include representative examples from these document categories – not the complete backfiles of these documents.

The complete run of the American State Papers is already available on GenealogyBank. See GenealogyBank’s Historical Documents collection where you will find military records, casualty lists, Revolutionary and Civil War pension requests, widow’s claims, orphan petitions, land grants and much more including the complete American State Papers (1789-1838) and all genealogical content carefully selected from the U.S. Serial Set (1817-1980). More than 146,000 reports, lists and documents. GenealogyBank has the most comprehensive collection of these US Government reports and documents available to genealogists online. GenealogyBank is adding more documents to this collection every month.

Proposed in 2005 by the Library of Congress in cooperation with UNESCO, the WDL will make available on the Internet significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world. The project’s goal is to promote international understanding and to provide a resource for use by students, teachers, and general audiences.

“We are pleased that our fellow Federal cultural institution, the National Archives, is joining the Library of Congress in the early stages of this project,” said Billington.

“NARA’s participation not only will ensure that the World Digital Library contains a full record of the American experience, but it also will encourage archives around the world to join with their counterparts from the library world in this important initiative.”

“The mission of the National Archives is to make U.S. Government records widely accessible,” said Weinstein. “The World Digital Library will be a valuable conduit for us to share some of our nation’s treasures with others around the world. We look forward to working with the Library of Congress on this important project.”

In addition to NARA and the Library of Congress, the WDL project partners include cultural institutions from Brazil, China, Egypt, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and many other countries. Click here for more Information about the WDL.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest Federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections. The Library seeks to spark the public’s imagination and celebrate human achievement through its programs and exhibits. In doing so, the institution helps foster the informed and involved citizenry upon which American democracy depends. The Library serves the public, scholars, members of Congress and their staffs through its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill. Many of the rich resources and treasures of the Library may also be accessed through its
award-winning web site and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized web site.
.

New York City – APG Chapter takes detailed tour of GenealogyBank

I had the opportunity Monday night to speak to the New York Metro Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

I have been a member of APG from the beginning – and a member of the New York Metro Chapter for many years.

Living in Connecticut I welcomed the opportunity to go to the city and speak about GenealogyBank.

It was a good group – the room was full and it was clear that most members of the group were already actively using GenealogyBank. We spent the evening walking them through the many types of records found in GenealogyBank and in particular showing them examples of records that they might not have used before … obituaries published in government reports, marriage announcements, Civil War pension records from the 1920s, passenger arrival notices/lists; rare documents and more – showing them clear examples of what could be found and their value to genealogists.

Many thanks to the Chapter leadership Joy Rich & Eileen Polakoff for a job well done in arranging for tonight’s meeting.

Our Honored Dead …

When Abraham Lincoln gave his stirring remarks at Gettysburg in 1863 word spread quickly across the nation.

The San Francisco (CA) Daily Evening Bulletin of 18 Dec 1863 captured the impact of Lincoln’s words that still move us today.

Newspapers report what happens every day giving each of us the emotion, context and impact of the news as it happens.

GenealogyBank with more than 3,400 newspapers over four centuries gives us the news as it happened.


Gripping accounts of the attack at Lexington & Concord appeared within days giving us the emotion and details of that day.
(NH Gazette & Historical Chronicle. 21 April 1775).

As we look back and remember our “honored dead” it is a good time to pause and reread Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Four score and seven years ago
our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation,
conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether
that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battle-field of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field,
as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives
that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense,
we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—
we can not hallow—this ground.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here,
have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather,
to be dedicated here to the unfinished work
which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be
here dedicated to the great task remaining before us
—that from these honored dead
we take increased devotion to that cause
for which they gave the last full measure of devotion
—that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain
—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom
—and that government of the people,
by the people,
for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.
This familiar version cited from Wikipedia

Now compare that with the version published in the San Francisco (CA) Daily Evening Bulletin of 18 Dec 1863

There were in fact multiple versions of the Gettysburg Address that were written down by reporters, others at the event and Lincoln himself.

See a discussion of this on the Library of Congress website loc.gov including a copy of the only known photo of Lincoln taken that day.

Private William Christman – first burial in Arlington Cemetery May 13, 1864

The first burial on the grounds of what would become Arlington National Cemetery was on May 13, 1864.

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.

Freedman’s Village – Robert E. Lee Estate in Arlington

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.



Finding People with Common Names

Finding people with unusual names can be very difficult but it is easy to find them on GenealogyBank.

Today I was looking for Henry B. Platter and his good wife, Rachel (Bittinger) Platter. The Bittingers are my cousins and many of them are from Garrett County, Maryland.

Now, Platter is an unusual name. It would be easy for a search online to bring back every record that spoke about cooking, kitchens, plates or platters.

On GenealogyBank, I was able to instantly zero in on records
about them.

With just a few clicks I was able to find a dozen documents
about the Platter family. I began opening them one by one.
The first hit came from the historical documents and was a pension request by Henry’s wife, Rachel Platter. I quickly discovered Henry had served in the Civil War, a private in Company A, Second Regiment, P.H.B. Maryland Infantry and received a pension of $72 a month (certificate No. 1045070). (This is from: Pensions and increase of pensions for certain soldiers and sailors of the Civil War. Feb 5, 1925: Serial Set Vol. No. 8392, Session Vol. No.A68th Congress, 2nd SessionH.Rpt. 1385).

This is a terrific document – it gave me a lot of details about the family. The record showed that he and Rachel had married on March 12, 1867. That would have been hard to find anywhere else.

It also states that he died on October 4, 1923 leaving her in need of assistance; how long he had served in the Civil War and that his disability was caused during the war.

This document showed that she owned her own home, the value was $500. Perhaps her house looked like this one. It is a picture of her nephew Charles “Wooly” Henry & Sarah (Hoover) Bittinger and their family in front of the family home in New Jerusalem, Garrett County, MD.

It was taken in 1937 just a few years after Rachel Platter had requested a pension. Perhaps Rachel had a similar home.
(Photo by Arthur Rothstein; Library of Congress Photo LC-USF34- 026095-D).

Wow. It’s great that
GenealogyBank has been digitizing so many documents. I never would have found this one on my own. It was easy to find it online at GenealogyBank.

Their names, marriage and death dates, military service; details about their house, their income – bingo, there it was – all this family history in one document.

GenealogyBank added over 42.5 Million family history records last year and added another 2 million just this week. It now has over 216 million historical newspaper articles, obituaries, government and historical documents online. records and documents online.

Give it a try right now. It’s available at a great “get acquainted” rate – only $9.95 for 30 days.

I found documents that gave me the details I needed for my cousins in the back hills of Maryland ….. what will you find?

GenealogyBank – Added Over 42.5 Million Records Last Year!

GenealogyBank reported explosive growth in 2007 increasing its digital archive with over 40 million historical newspaper articles and modern obituaries.

GenealogyBank is quickly becoming the fastest growing newspaper archive for family history research with over 3,300 U.S. newspapers in all 50 states. The exclusive collection features newspapers from the 1600’s to the present day with over 106 million historical newspaper articles and more than 26 million obituaries now available for family history research. Each article is a single digital image that can be printed and preserved for family scrapbooks.

To celebrate, GenealogyBank is currently offering a 30-Day trial for only $9.95.

“We are excited about the rapid growth of our newspaper collection and the vast breadth of family history information we now have available” says Genealogy Director for NewsBank, inc., Tom Kemp. “GenealogyBank provides exclusive access to more than four centuries of important genealogical information such as obituaries, marriage and birth announcements as well as interesting and often surprising facts about our ancestors.”

Latest additions to the GenealogyBank historical newspaper collection features big city dailies and regional weeklies including: San Jose (CA) Mercury 1886-1922, Baltimore (MD) Sun – 1837-1901, Kansas City Star (MO) 1815-1922, NY Herald 1844-1863, Philadelphia Evening Post – 1804-1912, Philadelphia Inquirer 1860-1922 And many more. View entire list.

Kemp added, “Toward our stated goal of creating the single most comprehensive resource of newspapers for family history research, GenealogyBank will continue to digitize millions of family history records in the upcoming months that will greatly expand and increase the depth of our collections. We will begin releasing Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980 in February along with hundreds of additional historical newspaper titles.”

About GenealogyBank: GenealogyBank, a division of NewsBank, inc., supplies individuals interested in family history research with over 300 years of U.S. newspapers, government documents and other historical records in all 50 states. GenealogyBank contains over 214 million family history records including obituaries, birth, marriage, death notices and much more.

Wow, at this great price – give it a try right now. I have been finding hundreds of articles, articles with critical new information about my family – write me and tell me what you find.

Try it right now – click: GenealogyBank