Using the Congressional Serial Set for Genealogical Research

Using the Congressional Serial Set for Genealogical Research
By Jeffery Hartley


(This article appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Prologue. It has been excerpted and reprinted here with the permission of the author.

The Historical Documents section in GenealogyBank includes over 243,000 reports from the US Serial Set and the American State Papers).


Click here to search the American State Papers and US Congressional Serial Set in GenealogyBank.com

Genealogists use whatever sources are available to them in pursuit of their family history: diaries, family Bibles, census records, passenger arrival records, and other federal records. One set of materials that is often overlooked, however, is the Congressional Serial Set.

This large multivolume resource contains various congressional reports and documents from the beginning of the federal government, and its coverage is wide and varied. Women, African Americans, Native Americans, students, soldiers and sailors, pensioners, landowners, and inventors are all represented in some fashion. While a beginning genealogist would not use the Serial Set to begin a family history, it nevertheless can serve as a valuable tool and resource for someone helping to flesh out an ancestors life, especially where it coincided with the interests of the U.S. federal government.

Since its inception, the U.S. government has gathered information, held hearings, compiled reports, and published those findings in literally millions of pages, the majority of which have been published by the Government Printing Office (GPO).

These publications include annual reports of the various executive branch agencies, congressional hearings and documents, registers of employees, and telephone directories. Their topics cover a wide range, from the Ku Klux Klan to child labor practices to immigration to western exploration.

In 1817, the Serial Set was begun with the intent of being the official, collective, definitive publication documenting the activities of the federal government. Following the destruction of the Capitol in 1814 by the British, Congress became interested in publishing their records to make them more accessible and less vulnerable to loss.

In the early Federal period, printing of congressional documents had been haphazard, and the Serial Set was an effort designed to rectify that situation. Although initially there were no regulations concerning what should be included, several laws and regulations were promulgated over the years. The contents, therefore, vary depending on the year in question.

In 1831, 14 years after the Serial Set was begun, the printers Gales & Seaton proposed that a compilation of the documents from the first Congresses be printed. The secretary of the Senate and the clerk of the House were to direct the selection of those documents, 6,278 of which were published in 38 volumes between 1832 and 1861. This collection was known as the American State Papers.

Because it was a retrospective effort, these 38 volumes were arranged chronologically within 10 subject areas: Foreign Relations, Indian Affairs, Finance, Commerce & Navigation, Military Affairs, Naval Affairs, Post Office, Public Lands, Claims, and Miscellaneous.

Although not technically a part of the Serial Set, the volumes were certainly related, and therefore the volumes were designated with a leading zero so that these volumes would be shelved properly, i.e. before the volumes of the Serial Set. (1)

The Congressional Serial Set itself includes six distinct series: House and Senate journals (until 1953), House and Senate reports, House and Senate documents, Senate treaty documents, Senate executive reports, and miscellaneous reports. The journals provide information about the daily activities of each chamber. The House and Senate reports relate to public and private legislation under consideration during each session.

Documents generally relate to other investigations or subjects that have come to the attention of Congress. Nominations for office and military promotion appear in the Senate Executive Reports. Miscellaneous reports are just that­widely varied in subject matter and content. With the possible exception of the treaty documents, any of these can have some relevance for genealogists.

The documents and reports in the Serial Set are numbered sequentially within each Congress, no matter what their subject or origin. The documents were then collected into volumes, which were then given a sequential number within the Serial Set. The set currently stands at over 15,000 volumes, accounting for more than 325,000 individual documents and 11 million pages.

The Serial Set amounts to an incredible amount of documentation for the 19th century. Agency annual reports, reports on surveys and military expeditions, statistics and other investigations all appear and thoroughly document the activities of the federal government.

In 1907, however, the Public Printing and Binding Act provided guidelines for what should be included, resulting in many of these types of reports no longer being included as they were also issued separately by the individual agencies. The number of copies was also trimmed. With that stroke, the value of the Serial Set was lessened, but it nevertheless stands as a valuable genealogical resource for the 19th century.

So what is available for genealogists? The following examples are just some of the types of reports and information that are available.

Land Records
The Serial Set contains much information concerning land claims. These claims relate to bounty for service to the government as well as to contested lands once under the jurisdiction of another nation.

In House Report 78 (21-2), there is a report entitled “Archibald Jackson.” This report, from the House Committee on Private Land Claims, in 1831, relates to Jackson’s claim for the land due to James Gammons. Gammons, a soldier in the 11th U.S. Infantry, died on February 19, 1813, “in service of the United States.” The act under which he enlisted provided for an extra three month’s pay and 160 acres of land to those who died while in service to the United States. However, Gammons was a slave, owned by Archibald Jackson, who apparently never overtly consented to the enlistment but allowed it to continue. That Gammons was eligible for the extra pay and bounty land was not in dispute, but the recipient of that bounty was. Jackson had already collected the back pay in 1823 and was petitioning for the land as well. The report provides a decision in favor of Jackson, as he was the legal representative of Gammons, and as such entitled to all of his property. (2)

Land as bounty was one issue, and another was claims for newly annexed land as the country spread west. In 1838, the House of Representatives published a report related to Senate Bill 89 concerning the lands acquired through the treaty with Spain in 1819 that ceded East and West Florida to the United States. Claims to land between the Mississippi and the Perdido Rivers, however, were not a part of that treaty and had been unresolved since the Louisiana Purchase, which had taken the Perdido River as one of its limits. The report provides a background on the claims as well as lists of the claimants, the names of original claimants, the date and nature of the claim, and the amount of the land involved. (3)

Other land claims are represented as well. In 1820, the Senate ordered a report to be printed from the General Land Office containing reports of the land commissioners at Jackson Court House. These lands are located in Louisiana and include information that would help a genealogist locate their ancestor in this area. Included in this report is a table entitled “A List of Actual Settlers, in the District East of Pearl River, in Louisiana, prior to the 3d March, 1819, who have no claims derived from either the French, British, or Spanish, Governments.” The information is varied, but a typical entry reads: No. 14, present claimant George B. Dameson, original claimant Mde. Neait Pacquet, originally settled 1779, located above White’s Point, Pascag. River, for about 6 years. (4)

Annual Reports
Among the reports in the Serial Set for the 19th century are the annual reports to Congress from the various executive branch agencies. Congress had funded the activities of these organizations and required that each provide a report concerning their annual activities. Many of these are printed in the Serial Set, often twice: the same content with both a House and a Senate document number. Annual reports in the 19th century were very different from the public relations pieces that they tend to be today.

Besides providing information about the organization and its activities, many included research reports and other (almost academic) papers. In the annual reports of the Bureau of Ethnology, for instance, one can find dictionaries of Native American languages, reports on artifacts, and in one case, even a genealogy for the descendants of a chief. (5)

These reports can often serendipitously include information of interest to the family historian. For instance, the annual report of the solicitor of the Treasury would not necessarily be a place to expect to find family information. The 1844 report, however, does have some information that could be useful. For instance, pages 36 and 37 of this report contains a “tabular list of suits now pending in the courts of the United States, in which the government is a part and interested.”

Many on the opposite side of the case were individuals. An example is the case of Roswell Lee, late a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, against whom there has been a judgment for over $5,000 in 1838. Lee was sued in a court in Massachusetts and in 1844 still owed over $4,000. In a letter dated May 5, 1840, the district attorney informed the office (6)
that Mr. Lee is not now a resident of the district of Massachusetts, and that whether he ever returns is quite uncertain; that nothing, however, will be lost by his absence, as the United States have now a judgment against him, which probably will forever remain unsatisfied.

Another set of annual reports that appear in the Serial Set are those for the Patent Office. The annual reports of the commissioner of patents often include an index to the patents that were granted that year, arranged by subject and containing the names of the invention and the patentee and the patent number. The report included a further description of the patent, and often a diagram of it as well. Each year’s report also included an index by patentee.

Unfortunately, the numbers of patents granted in later years, as well as their complexity, led to more limited information being included in later reports. The 1910 report, for instance, simply contains an alphabetical list of inventions, with the entries listing the patentee, number, date, and where additional information can be found in the Official Patent Office Gazette. (7)

The Civil War gave rise to a number of medical enhancements and innovations in battlefield medicine, and the annual report for 1865, published in 1867, contains a reminder of that in the patent awarded to G. B. Jewett, of Salem, Massachusetts, for “Legs, artificial.” Patent 51,593 was granted December 19, 1865, and the description of the patent on page 990 provides information on the several improvements that Jewett had developed. The patent diagram on page 760 illustrated the text. (8)

This annual report relates to a report from May 1866, also published in the Serial Set that same session of Congress, entitled “Artificial Limbs Furnished to Soldiers.” This report, dated May 1866, came from the secretary of war in response to a congressional inquiry concerning artificial limbs furnished to soldiers at the government’s expense. Within its 128 pages are a short list of the manufacturers of these limbs, including several owned by members of the Jewett family in Salem, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C., as well as an alphabetical list of soldiers, detailing their rank, regiment and state, residence, limb, cost, date, and manufacturer. Constantine Elsner, a private in B Company of the 20th Massachusetts living in Boston, received a leg made by G. B. Jewett at a cost of $75 on April 8, 1865. 9 This may have been an older version of the one that Jewett would have patented later in the year, or it may have been an early model of that one. Either way, a researcher would have some idea not only of what Elsner’s military career was like, but also some sense of what elements of life for him would be like after the war.

Congress also was interested in the activities of organizations that were granted congressional charters. Many of the charters included the requirement that an annual report be supplied to Congress, and these were then ordered to be printed in the Serial Set.

One such organization is the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). As one would expect, the DAR annual reports contain a great deal of genealogical and family history information. The 18th annual report is no exception. Among other things, it includes, in appendix A, a list of the graves of almost 3,000 Revolutionary War soldiers. The list includes not just a name and location, but other narrative information as well:
Abston, John. Born Jan. 2, 1757; died 1856. Son of Joshua Abston, captain of Virginia militia; served two years in War of the American Revolution. Enlisted from Pittsylvania County, Va.; was in Capt. John Ellis’ company under Col. Washington. The evening before the battle of Kings Mountain, Col. Washington, who was in command of the starving Americans at this point, sent soldiers out to forage for food. At a late hour a steer was driven into camp, killed, and made into a stew. The almost famished soldiers ate the stew, without bread, and slept the sleep of the just. Much strengthened by their repast and rest, the next morning they made the gallant charge that won the battle of Kings Mountain, one of the decisive battles of the American Revolution. Washington found one of the steer’s horns and gave it to Abston, a personal friend, who carried it as a powder horn the rest of the war. (10)

Another organization whose annual reports appear is the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, which later became Gallaudet University. These reports, found in the annual reports of the secretary of the interior, contain much of what one would expect: lists of faculty and students, enrollment statistics, and other narrative. While that information can help to provide information about one’s ancestor’s time there, there are other parts of the narrative that include information one would not expect to find.

For instance, the 10th annual report for 1867 has a section entitled “The Health of the Institution.” It concerns not the fiscal viability of the institution but rather the occurrences of illness and other calamities. One student from Maryland, John A. Unglebower, was seized with gastric fever and died: “He was a boy of exemplary character, whose early death is mourned by all who knew him.” Two other students drowned that year, and the circumstances of their deaths recounted, with the hope that “they were not unprepared to meet the sudden and unexpected summons.” (11) Both the faculty and the student body contributed their memorials to these two students in the report.

Other organizations represented in the Serial Set are the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, Veterans of World War I of the United States, proceedings of the National Encampment, United Spanish War Veterans, the American Historical Association, and the National Convention of Disabled American Veterans.

Lists of Pensioners
The history of pensions provided by the federal government is beyond the scope of this article. However, the Serial Set is a source of information about who was on the rolls at various times. For instance, an 1818 letter from the secretary of war was published containing a list of the persons who had been added to the pension list since May 28, 1813. The list provides information on the likes of Susanna Coyle, certificate of pension no. 9, heiress of deceased soldier William Coyle, alias Coil, a private who received pay of four dollars per month. (12)

Sundry lists of pensions appeared in 1850, related to the regulation of Navy, privateer, and Navy hospital funds. The report included four lists: those placed in the invalid list who were injured while in the line of duty; those drawing pensions from wounds received while serving on private armed vessels; widows drawing pensions from their husbands who were engineers, firemen, and coal-heavers; and orphan children of officers, seamen, and marines pensioned under the act of August 11, 1848. (13)

One of the most widely consulted lists is that for 1883, “List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883” (Senate Executive Document 84 [47-2]). This five-volume title, arranged by state and then county of residence, provides a list of each pensioner’s name, his post office, the monthly amount received, the date of the original allowance, the reason for the pension, and the certificate number.

An example is the case of Eli G. Biddle, who served in the 54th Massachusetts. Biddle can be found on page 439 of volume 5 of the “List,” and a researcher can learn several things without even having seen his pension file: his middle name is George, he was living in Boston in 1883, and he was receiving four dollars each month after having suffered a gunshot wound in the right shoulder. His pension certificate number is also provided 99,053­ and with that one could easily order the appropriate records from the National Archives.

Registers
The Serial Set serves as a source of military registers and other lists of government personnel as well. Both Army and Navy registers appear after 1896. The Army registers for 1848–1860 and the Navy registers for 1848–1863 are transcripts of the lists that appeared the preceding January and include pay and allowances, with corrections to that earlier edition for deaths and resignations.

The Official Register, or “Blue Book,” a biannual register of the employees of the federal government, appears for 10 years, from 1883 to 1893. If one’s ancestors were employees at this time, their current location and position, place from which they were appointed, date of appointment, and annual compensation can be gleaned from this source.

The Serial Set often provides unexpected finds, and the area of registers is no exception. There is a great deal of material on the Civil War, from the 130 volumes of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion to other investigations and the aforementioned registers and lists of pensions. There are not, however, large amounts of compiled unit histories.

One exception, however, is the report from the adjutant general of Arkansas. Shortly after the Civil War, the adjutant general offices of the various Union states prepared reports detailing the activities of the men from their states. The same was done in Arkansas, but the state legislature there, “under disloyal control,” declined to publish the report. Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, brought it to the committee in 1867, and it was ordered to be printed in the Serial Set so that the loyal activities of these 10,000 men would be recognized. (14) The report includes brief histories of each unit as well as a roster of the unit and rank, enlistment date, and other notes on each soldier.

Accessing Information in the Serial Set
The indexing for the Serial Set has long been troublesome to researchers. Various attempts have been made to provide subject access, with varying degrees of success. Many of the indexes in the volumes themselves are primarily title indexes to the reports from that Congress and session. The Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789–1909, does provide information about what reports listed therein do appear in the Serial Set, but the researcher has to know the name of the issuing agency in order to access that information. The Document Index provides some subject indexing by Congress, and other efforts such as those by John Ames and Benjamin Poore can also be used, but none index the tables and contents of many of the reports that have been discussed in this article. (15)

The best comprehensive print index is the Congressional Information Service’s (CIS) U.S. Serial Set Index, produced in conjunction with their microfilming of the volumes through 1969 beginning in the mid-1970s. In this index, a two-volume subject index covers groups of Congresses, with a third volume providing an index to individual names for relief actions, as well as a complete numerical list in each report/document category. The index, however, does not index the contents of the documents. For instance, although the title given for the Archibald Jackson land claim includes James Gammons’s name, the latter does not appear in the index to private relief actions. In addition, users must often be creative in the terms applied in order to be sure that they have exhausted all possibilities. In the mid-1990s CIS released these indexes on CD-ROM, which makes them somewhat easier to use, although the contents are essentially the same.

The indexing problems have been rectified by the digitization of the Serial Set. At least two private companies, LexisNexis and Readex, have digitized it and made it full-text searchable.

[The Serial Set and American State Papers are available in GenealogyBank. Click here to search them online]

This article can only hint at some of the genealogical possibilities that can be found in the Congressional Serial Set. It has not touched on the land survey, railroad, western exploration, or lighthouse keeper’s reports or many of the private relief petitions and claims. Nonetheless, the reports and documents in the Serial Set provide a tremendous and varied amount of information for researchers interested in family history.

Author
Jeffery Hartley is chief librarian for the Archives Library Information Center (ALIC). A graduate of Dickinson College and the University of Maryland’s College of Library and Information Services, he joined the National Archives and Records Administration in 1990.

Notes
1 For a more complete description of the American State Papers, and their genealogical relevance, see Chris Naylor, “Those Elusive Early Americans: Public Lands and Claims in the American State Papers, 1789–1837,” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration 37 (Summer 2005): 54–61.
2 H. Rept. 78 (21-2), 1831, “Archibald Jackson” (Serial 210).
3 H. Rept. 818 (25-2), 1838, “Land Claims between Perdido and Mississippi” Serial 335.
4 S. Doc. 3 (16-2), 1820, “Reports of the Land Commissioners at Jackson Court House” (Serial 42).
5 H. Misc. Doc. 32 (48-2), 1882, “3rd Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology” (Serial 2317).
6 H. Doc. 35 (28-1), 1844, “Annual Report of Solicitor of the Treasury” (Serial 441), p. 37. 7 H. Doc. 1348 (61-3), 1911, “Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1910″ (Serial 6020).
8 H. Exec. Doc. 62 (39-1), 1867, “Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1865″ (Serial 1257-1259).
9 H. Exec. Doc. 108 (39-1), 1866, “Artificial Limbs Furnished to Soldiers” (Serial 1263).
10 S. Doc. 392 (64-1), 1916, “Eighteenth Report of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, October 11, 1914, to October 11, 1915″ (Serial 6924), p.155. 11 H. Exec. Doc. 1 (40-2), “Tenth Annual Report of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb” (Serial 1326), pp. 429–430.
12 H. Doc. 35 (15-1), 1818 (Serial 6), p. 17.
13 See H. Ex. Doc. 10 (31-2), 1850, “Sundry Lists of Pensioners” (Serial 597).
14 See S. Misc. Doc 53 (39-2), 1867, “Report of the Adjutant General for the State of Arkansas, for the Period of the Late Rebellion, and to November 1, 1866″ (Serial 1278).
15 A good discussion of how some of these indexes work can be found in Mary Lardgaard, “Beginner’s Guide to Indexes to the Nineteenth Century U.S. Serial Set,” Government Publications Review 2 (1975): 303–311.

GenealogyBank.com has 1883 Pensioner List Online

GenealogyBank.com is pleased to announce that it has the five volume List of Pensioners – 1883 online. This basic reference set is actively used by genealogists.

List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883; giving the name of each pensioner, the cause for which pensioned, the post office address, the rate of pension per month, and the date of original allowance. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1883. Senate Document. Serial Set Vol. No. 2078, Session Vol. No.5; Report: S.Exec.Doc. 84 pt. 1-5.

The List of Pensioners – lists the pensioners by State/Town. Volume 5 includes the lists of pensioners that lived overseas.

Each entry gives:
Name of Pensioner
Pension Certificate Number
Date of the Original Pension
Reasons why the person received the pension
The monthly pension payment
Post Office where the pensioner receives their mail

Tip: This is a crucial source for identifying pensioners from all wars still living in 1883 and it pinpoints where they were living – anywhere in the US or around the world.

Connecticut; District of Columbia; Maine; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; Rhode Island; Vermont

New York; Pennsylvania;

Illinois; Iowa; Ohio

Alaska; Arizona; California; Colorado; Dakota; Idaho; Indiana; Kansas; Michigan; Minnesota; Montana; Nebraska; Indian Territory (Oklahoma); Nevada; New Mexico; Oregon; Utah; Washington; Wisconsin; Wyoming

Alabama; Arkansas; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Mississippi; Missouri; North Carolina; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; West Virginia.

Countries of the World – including Hawaii which was listed as the “Sandwich Islands”.

Africa; Austria; Belgium; Brazil; Denmark; England; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Madeira Island (Portugal); Malta; Mauritius; Mexico; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Peru; Romania; Russia; Scotland; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Wales; West Indies; Foreign – Address Unknown.
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GenealogyBank.com adding more content for 16 states

GenealogyBank.com is adding 8,122 back issues — newspapers from 16 states – filling in gaps; 12 new titles.

This new content will go live on GenealogyBank.com this week.

New titles are indicated by an asterisk *

Berkeley, CA. Grito. 1 Issue. 6/1/1970
Los Angeles, CA. Amigo del Pueblo* 1 Issue. 1861-11-30
Los Angeles, CA. Clamor Publico. 5 Issues. 1856-01-12 to 1857-02-14
Los Angeles, CA. Eco Mejicano* 1 Issue. 1885-10-29
Los Angeles, CA. Heraldo de Mexico. 1 Issue. 11/17/1927
Oakland, CA. Mundo. 99 Issues. 1/7/1971 to 4/2/1975
Sacramento, CA. Post (El Informador)* 2 Issues. 11/4/1967 to 12/2/1967
San Francisco, CA. Hispano America. 7 Issues. 11/22/1919 to 11/27/1920
San Francisco, CA. Nueva Mission* 22 Issues. 11/27/1967 to 10/1/1969
Santa Barbara, CA. Gaceta. 2 Issues. 1879-11-01 to 1881-06-25

Colorado Springs, CO. Gazette-Telegraph. 3 Issues. 11/23/1913 to 6/28/1915

Chicago, IL. Latin Times. 1 Issue. 4/23/1960
Chicago, IL. Vida Latina. 1 Issue. 6/21/1961

New Orleans, LA. Times Picayune. 277 Issues. 1861-12-10 to 1897-02-01
New Orleans, LA. Times Picayune. 364 Issues. 12/20/1902 to 8/20/1920

Boston, MA. Boston Journal. 458 Issues. 1874-01-01 to 1889-12-31
Boston, MA. Liberator. 2 Issues. 1897-03-21 to 1897-04-04

Baltimore, MD. Baltimore American. 4 Issues. 9/9/1905 to 1/7/1912

Portland, ME. Gazette of Maine. 104 Issues. 1825-01-01 to 1826-12-26

Grand Rapids, MI. Grand Rapids Press. 869 Issues. 1893-01-11 to 12/26/1922

Trenton, NJ. Trenton Evening Times. 1,509 Issues. 1883-09-15 to 12/26/1922

Las Cruces, NM. Flor del Valle. 14 Issues. 1894-02-03 to 1894-10-11
Las Cruces, NM. Gaceta Popular. 1 Issue. 12/1/1919
Las Cruces, NM. Tiempo. 81 Issues. 9/20/1902 to 11/13/1909
Las Vegas, NM. Chronicle* 1 Issue. 1886-10-19
Las Vegas, NM. Las Vegas Daily Optic. 1 Issue. 1893-05-04
Las Vegas, NM. Revista Catolica. 3 Issues. 1888-10-14 to 1893-02-26
Maxwell, NM. Maxwell Mail* 53 Issues. 1/7/1915 to 12/30/1915
San Marcial, NM. San Marcial Bee. 1 Issue. 1893-04-29
Santa Fe, NM. New Mexican Mining News* 1 Issue. 1881-12-21
Wagon Mound, NM. Combate. 4 Issues. 10/31/1914 to 11/21/1914

Albany, NY. Albany Evening Journal. 125 Issues. 1854-04-11 to 1874-06-29
New York, NY. Cuba Libre. 3 Issues. 1895-07-27 to 1895-09-12
New York, NY. Estrella de Cuba* 9 Issues. 1870-04-16 to 1870-06-29
New York, NY. Grafico. 1 Issue. 5/21/1917
New York, NY. Hodge’s Banknote Reporter* 65 Issues. 1861-01-01 to 1863-01-15
New York, NY. Iberica. 4 Issues. 1/15/1956 to 12/15/1964
New York, NY. New York Herald. 723 Issues. 1867-05-24 to 1870-12-24
New York. NY. New Yorker Volkszeitung* 2, 561. Issues. 1889-01-06 to 1898-12-31
New York, NY. Nueva Democracia. 3 Issues. 1/1/1922 to 12/25/1933
New York, NY. Papagayo. 1 Issue. 1855-03-16

Cincinnati, OH. Cincinnati Commercial Tribune. 419 Issues. 1879-09-01 to 1887-04-30

Philadelphia. PA. Public Ledger. 270 Issues. 1859-01-01 to 1869-11-26

Brownsville, TX. Cronista del Valle. 1 Issue. 10/28/1926
Brownsville, TX. Heraldo de Brownsville. 2 Issues. 9/29/1937 to 2/25/1940
Corpus Christi, TX. Weekly Labor Herald. 1 Issue. 6/19/1942
El Paso, TX. Clarin del Norte. 3 Issues. 11/17/1906 to 2/9/1907
El Paso, TX. Continental. 2 Issues. 3/4/1960 to 3/5/1960
El Paso, TX. El Paso Daily News* 6 Issues. 2/11/1901 to 7/3/1902
Kingsville, TX. Eco. 1 Issue. 12/1/1934
Laredo, TX. Cronica. 1 Issue. 12/28/1911
San Antonio, TX. Prensa. 2 Issues. 3/19/1932 to 3/21/1932
San Antonio, TX. Prensa. 8 Issues. 8/13/1925 to 8/8/1948
San Antonio, TX. Regidor. 13 Issues. 11/24/1910 to 10/31/1912
San Antonio, TX. Revista Mexicana. 1 Issue. 7/13/1919

Salt Lake City, UT. Salt Lake Telegram. 1 Issue. 2/23/1904

Milwaukee, WI. Milwaukee’r Socialist* 3 Issues. 1876-09-22 to 1877-09-21

Armed Forces Day – "United in Strength" – Saturday, May 16, 2009

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department — the Department of Defense.
(Courtesy, US Dept. of Defense)

This month GenealogyBank Blog has been featuring the military history resources in GenealogyBank.com


Military History Books
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903. 2 volumes. (Serial Set Vol. No. 4535, Session Vol. No.96; Report: H.Doc. 446 pt. 1 & 2).
Click Here to Read Volume 1
Click Here to Read Volume 2

The Centennial of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1904. 2 volumes. (Serial Set Vol. No. 4751, Session Vol. No.125; Report: H.Doc. 789 pt. 1 & 2).
Click Here to read Volume 1
Click Here to read Volume 2

US Navy Register
Click here to see the listings for 1950-1961

US Army Register
Click here to see the listings for 1900-1909
Click here to see the listings for 1910-1919
Click here to see the listings for 1920-1929
Click here to see the listings for 1930-1939
Click here to see the listings for 1940-1968

GenealogyBank.com is packed with military information: Books, newspapers and historical documents.

GenealogyBank has the resources genealogists actually use and rely on to document their family tree.
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GenealogyBank.com: core military history books

Cadets graduating at West Point

All month GenealogyBank.com has been highlighting its extensive military resources.

GenealogyBank has the core military reference books that you will rely on in documenting your ancestors with military service.

For example GenealogyBank has the two volume set:

Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903. 2 volumes. (Serial Set Vol. No. 4535, Session Vol. No.96; Report: H.Doc. 446 pt. 1 & 2).

This handbook has the military record of all Army officers from 1789 to 1903 and the details on all battles fought by the Army during that same period.

Another standard reference book for documenting US Army officers is:

The Centennial of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1904. 2 volumes. (Serial Set Vol. No. 4751, Session Vol. No.125; Report: H.Doc. 789 pt. 1 & 2).

GenealogyBank.com is packed with military information.

Books, newspapers and historical documents.

GenealogyBank has the resources genealogists actually use and rely on to document their family tree.
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Genealogist Obituaries – genealogists in 26 states pass away

Genealogists in 26 States pass away. AL, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, ID, IN, LA, MA, MI, MO, NC, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI

Antram, Jeanne. (1930-2009)
Roswell Daily Record (NM) – May 12, 2009

Becker, Julia Drane. (1920-2009)
Tulare Advance-Register (CA) – May 9, 2009

Brown, Dale Sturtz. (1936-2009)
Times Argus (Montpelier-Barre, VT) – May 11, 2009

Carrington, Hiram D., Jr. (1930-2009)
Voices (Woodbury, CT) – May 12, 2009

Cherney, Edna D. (Pieper). (1923-2009)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) – May 12, 2009

Clark, Elaine Hincks. (1936-2009)
Hartford Courant (CT) – May 8, 2009

Crane, Ora Mae. (1923-2009)
Modesto Bee (CA) – May 8, 2009

Dimick, Doris Lee Banks. (1949-2009)
Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT) – May 7, 2009

Culberson, John L. (1927-2009)
Daily Herald (Columbia, TN) – May 7, 2009

Dodson, Burt, Jr. (1931-2009)
Charlotte Observer (NC) – May 10, 2009

Doty-Smith, Frances Earline. (1917-2009)
Evening News and Tribune (Jeffersonville-New Albany, IN) – May 8, 2009

Edwards, Mary Kathryn Smith. (1947-2009)
St. Joseph News-Press (MO) – May 11, 2009

Fielding, Evelyn Juanita Goodchild. (1911-2009)
Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA) – May 10, 2009

Fonville, Lorene Davis. (1911-2009)
Montgomery Advertiser (AL) – May 8, 2009

Galusha, Brian W. (1944-2009)
Washington Post (DC) – May 10, 2009

Gowan, Marjorie E. (Horton). (1918-2009)
Taunton Call (MA) – May 12, 2009

Guthrie, Martha Dee Schwartz. (1913-2009)
Dallas Morning News (TX) – May 10, 2009

Hartman, Jean. (1927-2009)
Lansing State Journal (MI) – May 7, 2009

Hickerson, Virginia Barr. (1935-2009)
Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) – May 8, 2009

Howard, Roberta Caroline. (1920-2009)
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN) – May 9, 2009

Huffman, David Linn. (1939-2009)
Alexandria Daily Town Talk (LA) – May 8, 2009

Jamieson, Margaret Jean. (1924-2009)
Dayton Daily News (OH) – May 14, 2009

Kania, Betty Slicer. (1923-2009)
News Journal (Wilmington, DE) – May 12, 2009

Kaulaity, Charlotte York. (1951-2009)
Lawton Constitution (OK) – May 11, 2009

Landry, William E. (1940-2009)
Morning Call (Allentown, PA) – May 7, 2009

Lane, Margaret Taylor. (1919-2009)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA) – May 12, 2009

Limber, Gertrude. (1919-2009)
Monterey County Herald (CA) – May 10, 2009

Newberry, Emily Jane. (1928-2009)
Times (Shreveport, LA) – May 13, 2009

Newman, William Gold. (1921-2009)
Albuquerque Journal (NM) – May 11, 2009

Osborne, Zetta Frances Wilkinson. (1920-2009)
Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, CO) – May 13, 2009

Peeler, Juanita Worthy. (1931-2009)
Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC) – May 11, 2009

Proudfit, Louis A. (1943-2009)
Augusta Chronicle (GA) – May 8, 2009

Reid, Mildred Chase Lustig. (1924-2009)
Watertown Daily Times (NY) – May 10, 2009

Roberts, Earl. (1910-2009)
Knoxville News Sentinel (TN) – May 9, 2009

Rowley, Virginia Adam. (1928-2009)
Erie Times-News (PA) – May 10, 2009

Shea, Barbara Brown. (1924-2009)
Washington Post (DC) – May 8, 2009

Simonds, Nancy. (1930-2009)
Malden Observer (MA) – May 12, 2009

Taylor, Mildred Nye. (1917-2009)
Idaho State Journal (Pocatello, ID) – May 9, 2009

Thiele, Vicki. (1944-2009)
Waco Tribune-Herald (TX) – May 10, 2009

Tressler, Grace Helmich. (1915-2009)
Yakima Herald-Republic (WA) – May 8, 2009

Passenger Lists to America

Newspapers routinely published the list of passengers on board ships bound to and from America. Here are just a few examples of the thousands of passenger lists published in newspapers that can be found in GenealogyBank.

Newspapers published not just lists of immigrants coming to America but also regularly published passenger lists of American’s going overseas; American’s returning home to the US and American’s traveling within the United States by ship.

Notice in this example from the Irish-American newspaper, The Shamrock (17 Aug 1816) – published in New York City – that these passengers left from the port of Sligo, Ireland on board the brig Juno and landed in New London, CT. There they boarded the “sloop MacDonough” which in turn set sail for New York City – where they arrived on 16 August 1816.

This pre-1820 passenger list tells us that these immigrants landed twice on their trip to America, that they took two ships to finally reach their destination – an alert that their names will appear on two different passenger lists. Once on the passenger list for the brig Juno that landed in New London, CT and again on the passenger list for the sloop MacDonough that landed in New York City.

Notice also that this passenger list gives the hometown or county of origin of each passenger. Critical information that is almost never given in the Federal post-1820 passenger lists.

Tip: Passenger lists were not collected by the government until 1820 – these early lists can be difficult if not impossible to find. Newspapers are a terrific source for Colonial passenger lists.

Click on these links to see a few examples of the thousands of passenger lists, published in newspapers that can be found in GenealogyBank.

Passenger Lists of Columbus, GA
3 April 1894. Steamer Queen City.
Columbus (GA) Daily Inquirer. 3 April 1894.

Passenger Lists New Orleans, LA
20 February 1869. Steamship Crescent City. From New York City.
Times Picayune. 20 February 1869.
23 October 1872. Steamship Saxonia. Left for Hamburg (Germany) by way of Havana (Cuba), Santander (Spain) and Havre (France).
Times Picayune. 23 October 1872. p. 1
29 April 1873. Steamship John G. Meiggs. Left for Aspinwall (Panama); Port Limon (Costa Rica); and Havanna (Cuba).
Times Picayune. 29 April 1873. p. 8
25 August 1875. Steamship City of Merida. Arrived from Vera Cruz, Tuxpan, and Tampico – all ports in Mexico.
Times Picayune. 25 August 1875. p. 1

Passenger Lists New York City, NY
11 June 1819. Ship Amity. Left for Liverpool (England)
Philadelphia Inquirer. 12 June 1819. p. 3
11 June 1819. Ship Atlantic. From Liverpool (England)
Philadelphia Inquirer. 12 June 1819. p. 3
11 June 1819. Ship Magnet. From Liverpool (England)
Philadelphia Inquirer. 12 June 1819. p. 3
12 June 1848. Steamship Washington. From Southampton (England), by way of Halifax (Nova Scotia).
New York Herald. 16 Jan 1848. p. 2

Passenger Lists Philadelphia, PA
5 Nov 1881. Steamship City of Savannah. Departed for Savannah (Georgia).
Philadelphia Inquirer. 7 Nov 1881. p. 2
13 July 1883. Steamship Niagara. Marine Disaster. Burned off the coast of Florida.
Philadelphia Inquirer. 14 July 1883. p. 1
23 June 1891. Steamship Polynesia. Enroute from Hamburg, Germany.
Philadelphia Inquirer. 23 June 1891. p. 4
10 September 1901. Steamship Alleghany. Enroute from the South.
Philadelphia Inquirer. 10 September 1901. p. 16

Passenger Lists San Francisco, CA
6 September 1871.
San Francisco Bulletin. 6 September 1871. p. 3

Click here to download and search the complete 1819/1820 Passenger List for all US ports. This free resource is a good example of genealogical content in the historical newspapers, books and documents that can be found in GenealogyBank.
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Minnesota newspapers 1849-1922, 1986-Today online

Minnesota is 151 years old today.

Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858.

The vote wasn’t unanimous – the New York Herald (12 May 1858) reported that the vote was 157 for and 38 against admitting Minnesota into the Union.

(Illustration is from GenealogyBank Historical Books; an advertising card by Henry Beard, printed in St. Paul, MN in 1881).

That’s the wonderful thing about GenealogyBank – we are able to read newspapers from across the country and get the details of the history of our state as that history was made. GenealogyBank has Minnesota newspapers dating from 1849 – before statehood.

Cloquet, MN
Pine Journal (Cloquet, MN). 5/17/2006-Current

Duluth, MN
Budgeteer News (Duluth, MN). 6/9/2006-Current
Duluth News-Tribune. 5/16/1881 – 12/31/1922
Duluth News-Tribune (MN). 1/1/1995-Current
Lake Superior News. 7/4/1878 – 1/27/1881
Lake Superior Review and Weekly Tribune. 1/6/1876 – 2/10/1889
Minnesotian-Herald. 4/24/1869 – 5/11/1878

International Falls, MN
Daily Journal (International Falls, MN). 8/25/2000-Current

Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis Journal. 1/1/1895 – 12/31/1900
Star Tribune (MN). 1/21/1986-Current

St. Cloud, MN
St. Cloud Times (MN). 2/4/1999-Current

St. Paul, MN
St. Paul Daily Pioneer. 4/28/1849 – 12/29/1872
St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN). 3/25/1988-Current

Two Harbors, MN
Lake County News-Chronicle (Two Harbors, MN). 5/11/2006-Current

Genealogist Obituaries

Bock, Terri Ann (Van Sickler) (1956-2009).
Kalamazoo Gazette (MI): May 3, 2009

Gooch, Jane Bradford (1912-2009).
New York Times: 3 May 2009

McCullough, Frederick Charles (1914-2009).
Oak Ridger (TN): April 29, 2009

Price, Oberia Garrett Estrada (1926-2009).
Alexandria Daily Town Talk (LA): 27 Apr 2009

Plattsburgh, NY newspaper archive (1796-1922) live on GenealogyBank.

Plattsburgh, NY newspaper archive (1796-1922) live on GenealogyBank.

GenealogyBank has added the Northern Herald (1812-1814) to its online collection of Plattsburgh, NY newspapers. These digital facsimile editions include complete copies of each issue and are searchable from a special new link:

Click here to search all of the Plattsburgh, NY newspaper archives.

Click on the individual newspaper titles to search just those titles:
American Monitor 1809-1810
Clinton Advertiser 1810-1811
Northern Herald 1812-1814
Plattsburgh Herald 1815
Political Observatory 1803-1811
Republican 1796-1922

GenealogyBank has over 300 New York (1719-1999) newspapers.

Click here to search all New York newspapers.