Halvor Moorshead Retires

For more than two decades Halvor Moorshead has been in the forefront of genealogy.

Consistently on target his four publications Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, History Magazine and his newest title Discovering Family History are the best in the field. Readable and useful, you save each issue, mark them up and act on the suggestions, tips and ideas. I wish we could say that about every genealogy magazine.

Halvor has the pulse of genealogy. He knows where we need to be researching, the tools of the trade and the “next big thing” – and he knows how to present it. As publisher we all could see his hand in framing each issue so that it would be up to date and on target.

I personally have been grateful to know him and benefited from his candor, knowledge of the field and smiling good humor.
And hey, he’s a heck of a nice guy too.

Halvor is not leaving the stage just yet – he will be a consultant for the new publishers and he will be at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Kansas City in May. I am organizing an event there in Halvor’s honor and will post the details to this blog. Be sure to be there to wish him well.

Here is the official announcement from Halvor Moorshead:

I am retiring on Friday, 29 February 2008I wish I had the capacity to e-mail everyone with whom I do business – and my friends –individually about the following but this is not practical so I am sending out this general announcement about important changes affecting our publishing company.

I have sold Moorshead Magazines – which includes Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, History Magazine and the new Discovering Family History and will be retiring. The sale finalizes on Friday 29 February 2008.

This is not quite as radical as it first sounds. I am selling the company to two of the staff – Ed Zapletal and Rick Cree. They have made it clear that their main reason for buying the company is that they do NOT want any changes. There will obviously be some differences as I will be out of the picture, but there will be no staff changes. Victoria, Marc and Jeannette will be continuing in the same roles.I turned 65 in November and want time to travel and do other things with Marian (my wife) while we are still capable (I also plan on spending a lot of time researching my own genealogy!). I also want to do more lecturing.

I am intensely proud of what we have done with Moorshead Magazines – we have dedicated loyal and highly experienced staff. Ed and Rick have both been with me for 24 years – way, way before we published Family Chronicle. We work very well together and we have been pretty successful. Things are going well – Discovering Family History looks as though it will become another success story and this is important to me; I very much want to retire on a high note. Part of the sale agreement is that I will act as a consultant related to the magazines for three years so I am not entirely cut off. In addition, I plan to be at the NGS Annual Convention in Kansas City in May, largely to say good bye personally to the many friends I have made in the genealogy field over the years.

Halvor

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?