The Treasure Trove in Legislative Petitions - free webinar by Judy Russell now online for limited time

2016-09-14-petitions-image500-blog

The recording of Wednesday's webinar, "The Treasure Trove in Legislative Petitions" by Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL is now available to view for a limited time for free at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com. 

Webinar Description

As colonists and as citizens of the new United States, Americans were fiercely protective of their right to petition their government. Whether the issue was forming new counties, building bridges and highways, or some matter of public concern, our ancestors made their voices heard in legislative petitions that are a treasure trove for genealogists.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 31 minute recording of "The Treasure Trove in Legislative Petitions" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership.


Black's Law Dictionary on CD - 29.95

A Dictionary of Law Containing Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern (First Edition, 1891)
 
CD: 2,485 pages
 
Cd_blackBonus: Also includes a free copy of the Second Edition (1910) on the same CD.
 
Every genealogist, regardless of their time and place of interest, must have a copy of Black's Law Dictionary in their library. Legal terminology differs from place to place and time to time, and successful genealogical research depends on the clear understanding of this changing terminology.
 
The publishers of Black's Law Dictionary are now producing their eighth edition, and the newer editions have added information on the developments in the law in recent decades. But for genealogists the earlier editions retain their value, since they have a higher proportion of information on older law, especially the English feudal law, which is essential for the interpretation of documents from the American colonial period and from the England that the colonists left.
 
While these volumes contain just the sort of legal verbiage that one would expect, there are many other reasons for consulting these volumes. Terms from legal Latin and legal French are included, as well as words and phrases from Scottish and Welsh law. There are dozens of Latin and French terms of kinship, which appear in older wills and lawsuits. There are definitions from the lexicon of agriculture, such as "treet," meaning fine wheat, and "tremesium," meaning the season or time of sowing summer corn. And much more.
 
In the second edition, also included here, Black included more citations to law reports and case law, in support of his definitions, and also added many more terms of medical jurisprudence.
 
Summary by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, for Archive CD Books USA:
 
This CD is fully searchable and can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 4 or later recommended) on any Windows, Macintosh, or Unix computer. The data on this CD is completely self-contained, and requires no installation.

4 pages | Published 2012 | PDF Edition
 
 

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Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Clooz - A Document-Based Software Companion by Richard Thomas. September 16.
  • Finding Evidence of Kinship in Military Records by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA. September 20. Hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  • How to Use FamilySearch.org for Beginners by Devin Ashby. September 21.
  • Beginning Polish Genealogy by Lisa Alzo and Jonathan Shea. September 28.
  • AHA! Analysis of Handwriting for Genealogical Research by Ron Arons. October 5.
  • Time and Place - Using Genealogy's Cross-Hairs by Jim Beidler. October 12.
  • Finding Your Ancestors' German Hometown by Ursula Krause. October 14.
  • Educational Preparation for Certification: Many Paths to the Same Goal by Angela Packer McGhie, CG. October 18. Hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  • Social History Websites That Bring Your Ancestor's Story to Life by Gena Philibert-Ortega. October 19.
  • Flip for Flickr - Share, Store and Save Your Family Photos by Maureen Taylor. October 26.
  • Analysis and Correlation - Two Keys to Sound Conclusions by Chris Staats. November 2.
  • Publishing a Genealogy E-Book by Thomas MacEntee. November 9.
  • Dating Family Photographs by Jane Neff Rollins. November 16.
  • Nature & Nurture - Family History for Adoptees by Janet Hovorka and Amy Slade. November 18.
  • Multi-Media Story Telling by Devin Ashby. November 30.
  • Becoming a Genealogy Detective by Sharon Atkins. December 7.
  • From the Heartland - Utilizing Online Resources in Midwest Research by Luana Darby. December 14.
  • Tracing Your European Ancestors by Julie Goucher. December 16.
  • An Introduction to BillionGraves by Garth Fitzner. December 21.

Click here to register.

Print the 2016 webinar brochure here.

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Register for Webinar Friday - Clooz: A Document-Based Software Companion by Rich Thomas

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This presentation focuses on using the Clooz software to capture document information of interest, and then after performing the proper analysis of the data, transferring events extracted from that information into Legacy Family Tree. Census and vital document examples will be demonstrated. This approach would provide an alternate way of entering data into Legacy by essentially transcribing document information, and following a workflow in line with the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Logotransparent

Join us and Rich Thomas for the live webinar Friday, September 16, 2016 at 2pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. Before joining, please visit www.java.com to ensure you have the latest version of Java which our webinar software requires. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion.

 

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RichThomas-144x144About the presenter

Richard received his Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State University in 1973, and Masters degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1978. He had a career of 36 years with the National Weather Service, with the last 10 or more years leading a software branch. In 2011 he retired from the weather service to pursue his personal passions, software development and genealogy. Early on, he crossed paths with Joe Bissett who had just acquired a program called Clooz developed by Elizabeth Kelly Kerstens. They both were users of the software, and were attracted by its document orientation. In 2012, they formed Ancestral Systems, LLC, and issued a much needed update to the Clooz software. Richard is the Chief Operations Officer for Ancestral Systems, and is the lead software developer.

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We look forward to seeing you all there!


FamilySearch Records Update - new records for Australia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Korea, Sweden, United States, and Virgin Islands

FamilySearch Records Update3
 
Searchable records are becoming more and more available across the globe. The most recent published collections are great evidence of that. From the large indexed 1911 census in Denmark to browsable images from Korea, see the interactive table below for these and more historic records added this week at FamilySearch.org. Join our online indexing volunteers anytime and help make more of these exciting collections discoverable to more people. Find out how at FamilySearch.org/Indexing
 

Collection

Indexed Records

Digital Images

Comments

Denmark Census 1911

2,792,790

447,167

New indexed records and images collection

Hawaii Obituaries Index ca. 1980-present

9,943

10,000

Added indexed records and images to an existing collection

Iowa State Census 1925

15,530

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Czech Republic Church Books 1552-1963

9,497

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Germany Schleswig-Holstein Kreis Schleswig Civil Registration 1874-1983

135,479

192,128

New indexed records and images collection

United States Freedmen's Bureau Land and Property Records 1865-1872

102,418

70,540

New indexed records and images collection

Wyoming Star Valley Independent Obituaries 1901-2015

101,038

8,671

New indexed records and images collection

BillionGraves Index

431,746

431,746

Added indexed records and images to an existing

collection

Korea Civil Service Examinations and Records of Officials and Employees 1392-1910

0

933

Added images to an existing collection

Korea Collection of Genealogies 1200-2014

0

4,296

Added images to an existing collection

Maine Crew Lists Arriving at Robbinston 1947-1954

3,025

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Massachusetts Boston Passenger Lists 1820-1891

8,450

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Australia Tasmania Miscellaneous Records 1829-2001

13,934

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Hungary Civil Registration 1895-1980

50,279

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Sweden Gävleborg Church Records 1616-1908; index 1671-1860

5,124

577

Added indexed records and images to an existing collection

Sweden Jönköping Church Records 1581-1935; index 1633-1860

4,942

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Arkansas Oakland and Fraternal Historic Cemetery Records 1867-2013

84,121

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Maine Civil War Enlistment Papers 1862-1865

34,697

96,711

New indexed records and images collection

West Virginia Naturalization Records 1814-1991

242

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Virgin Islands US Church Records 1765-2010

12,967

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Ohio Crawford County Obituaries 1860-2004

45,287

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Texas Laredo Index of Arrivals 1903-1929

616,001

623,774

New indexed records and images collection

North Carolina Discharge and Statement of Service Records 1940-1948

196,206

205,954

New indexed records and images collection

 

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world's historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org/indexing.


Serendipity - the Plot Thickens

If only I would have known days earlier...

Yesterday I wrote about my latest serendipitous genealogy experience involving an unseen foot at the airport, blood, an ambulance, and my discovery of Marsden Brown's son-in-law, Loring Lowell who lived in both Alaska and Seattle from where I had just returned from our cruise. Shortly after I posted the article, Charles Hansen informed me that many of Washington State's death certificates were recently published at FamilySearch, and thanks to his guidance, I quickly found Loring's 1945 death certificate.

Death1

On a normal day, this would have been my day's highlight. Yesterday was no normal day, thanks to webinar speaker, Mary Kircher Roddy. Less than two hours after my initial post, she had discovered and sent me four newspaper articles about Loring, all from the Seattle Times:

  • his wife's 1914 obituary
  • his wife's 1914 funeral notice
  • Loring's 1945 91st birthday announcement
  • Loring's 1945 obituary

In addition to this photograph of Loring...

Loring1

I also learned this:

  • he was the last direct descendant of the pioneer New England family which founded the town of Lowell, Massachusetts
  • he and his wife, Mary (Asa Clark Brown's granddaughter), took up a homestead in Alaska, where the town of Seward now stands. Their rights were purchased by Ballaine Bros., who financed the first section of what is now the Alaska Northern Railroad
  • he opened the first restaurant in Skagway, Alaska in 1887 and did the cooking there
  • he prospected for gold during the gold rush

Seward

Seward, where Loring and Mary homesteaded, is where we got off the train and boarded our ship.

2016 09 02_0206_edited-1

Alaskan Northern Railroad

The Alaskan Northern Railroad, for whom Loring worked for a time, was the train we took from Anchorage to Seward.

2016-09-02 12.42.36_edited-1

Skagway

And Skagway, where Loring opened its first restaurant, was where I faced my greatest fear.

2016-09-05 11.54.08

Had I known...

During my entire week in Alaska I had pondered this section of Marsden Brown's divorce papers which identified the name of his daughter Mary's husband.

Divorce

Ask anyone that attended the classes on the ship and they'll tell you that more than once I mentioned that "I can't wait to get home to discover who this person is." It turns out that I probably literally walked in Loring Lowell's footsteps - in Seward, in Skagway, and even in Seattle. Had I known I had an Alaskan pioneer who friends knew as "Colonel Loring Lowell" I would have seen Alaska through a different lens. Yet this experience is more evidence that, like Megan Smolenyak said, "our ancestors want to be found as much as we want to find them." It's just too bad it took an emergency trip to the hospital for my buddy Chris to give me the kick I needed to discover Loring Lowell's identity.


Register for Webinar Wednesday - The Treasure Trove in Legislative Petitions by Judy Russell

Register

As colonists and as citizens of the new United States, Americans were fiercely protective of their right to petition their government. Whether the issue was forming new counties, building bridges and highways, or some matter of public concern, our ancestors made their voices heard in legislative petitions that are a treasure trove for genealogists.

Logotransparent

Join us and Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL for the live webinar Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 8pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. Before joining, please visit www.java.com to ensure you have the latest version of Java which our webinar software requires. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion.

Download the syllabus

In preparation for the webinar, download the supplemental syllabus materials here. The syllabus is available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers. Log in here or subscribe here.

Registerbut 

Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

Not sure if you already registered?

Login to view your registration status for this webinar (available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers).

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

JudyRussell-144x144About the presenter

A genealogist with a law degree, Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and holds Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer credentials from the Board for Certification of Genealogists where she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, until recently Judy was an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. Judy is a Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side. Visit her website at www.legalgenealogist.com.

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With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at:

  • 8pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 7pm Central
  • 6pm Mountain
  • 5pm Pacific

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at www.java.com.
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there!


Trouble and Missed Flight Leads to Serendipity in Seattle

Thank goodness Chris tripped, was rushed to the hospital, and we missed our flight or I may have missed out on this discovery.

2016-09-09 19.51.02Late Friday evening my wife and two friends departed from the Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia for the last leg of our Legacy Genealogy Cruise. After a week's absence, we would soon be greeted by our families at the airport in Boise, Idaho. When our delayed flight landed in Seattle and we knew that we may miss our connection, we began to run for the next gate. The next thing I knew, Chris was on the concrete walkway, face down, dripping blood from his forehead. Somehow he tripped and landed face first. Dazed, and no doubt in pain, we made it into the terminal where the paramedics were soon on the scene. The large gash above his left eye needed immediate attention and so before we knew it, Chris and his wife boarded the ambulance and were rushed to the airport. He gave a thumbs up on his way out. Yesterday he had a headache and some new stitches, and is doing much better.

Later, we discovered who tripped him. Because of what happened next, we're placing the blame on my ancestor, Loring Lowell.

The day before we left for the cruise, the divorce case papers for my ancestor, Marsden Brown, arrived in my mailbox. While it was a sad case to read, it gave me what I hoped for - the names of his two daughters' husbands. They've been very difficult to find, and when I wasn't eating, sleeping, teaching or rappelling on our cruise, I was thinking of how excited I was to return home to follow my new leads.

In the midst of the excitement (probably the wrong word though...) at the airport, my flight was rescheduled for a couple of hours later, while our friends wouldn't return home until the next morning. So while our trip didn't end on a happy note, my ancestors seemed to keep calling.

Tanya and I sat down and tried to decipher the name of Mary E.'s husband from the divorce papers. Take a look, what do you think it is:

Loring

Studying the other a's and 0's in the document, I concluded that his name must be Larin Lowell. Tanya thought it read Lorin Lowell. To prove that I've actually learned something in our 19 years of marriage, I went with her recommendation and began searching for a Lorin Lowell on my phone. 

I first found a Loring W. Lowell in the 1880 census, age 26 (born 1854 in Maine), living in Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota. He was listed as being married, but wasn't living with his wife. Most interestingly, Marsden Brown, his possible father-in-law, was also living in Brainerd.

1880

Next, I found who appears to be the same person, Loring N. Lowell, in the 1930 census living in Alaska. He was widowed at this time.

1930

Interesting - we just spent 7 days in Alaska.

Next, I found Lorang Lowell in the 1940 census living in Seattle, Washington. Seattle! That's where I was sitting right then. Again, based on the age and birthplace, it appeared to be the same person as before.

1940

Next, I found Lorning N. Lowell in the Washington Death Certificates index. He died in Seattle on May 18, 1945 at the age of 91 years 4 months and 4 days, suggesting a birth year of 1854.

Finally, I found an 1878 Minneapolis marriage record of Loring N. Lowell to Mary Brown - both of Hennepin County, Minnesota where Marsden's divorce case was filed.

Marriage

I'll of course follow up on these findings with other research, but it appears that I've identified the correct husband and marriage record for Marsden Brown's daughter. Amazing the research we can do with our phones now, isn't it? Maybe it helped that I was wearing the right shirt too.

20160909_204344_edited-1

While I likely would eventually have found Loring Lowell later at home, it seems he couldn't wait. He was on my mind as we explored Alaska. He was on my mind as we waited in Seattle. He lived in both places. Did he have a hand (or a foot) in Chris' fall Friday night in the airport causing all of us to miss our flight? Maybe, maybe not. But it sure seems like a coincidence to me. Some might call this serendipity. At the very least, we made lemonade out of lemons that night.

 


Legacy Genealogy Cruise - We're Back!

We have returned from our 13th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise and had the time of our lives! We sailed on board Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas for 7 days throughout beautiful Alaska.

2016-09-05 11.38.05

We saw glaciers...

2016 09 04_0060_edited-1

...and waterfalls.

2016-09-09 11.17.46_edited-1

We saw wildlife in the ocean...

2016 09 04_0096

...and in the sky.

2016 09 06_0041_edited-2

We enjoyed pool...

2016 09 03_0184

...and lots of ice cream.

2016 09 02_0213

We found cemeteries...

2016 09 06_0051-edited

and of course learned lots in classes...

2016 09 03_0116

And to top it off, I made an exciting genealogy discovery while waiting for my flight home.

20160909_204344_edited-1

We ended the classes as we always do by drawing lots of names for door prizes. We then announced that all Legacy cruisers would get a free annual webinar membership and a free copy of Legacy 9 (whenever it's released...). Thanks to all of you who joined us! Thanks to all the rest of our Legacy Family Tree staff who kept our Support, Customer service, and Shipping departments open while we were away. And thanks to our cruise coordinator, Christy, for all she did for us too!

Next year's cruise

It's never too early to begin thinking about next year's cruise (our 14th annual) to the Pacific Coast. Registration is not yet available, but save these dates: September 22-29, 2017. We will visit:

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Astoria, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California
  • Victoria, British Columbia

Write to Christy for more information at legacyfamilytreecruise@gmail.com.

Back to work

Now that I've officially announced our return, it's back to work! We've got great things planned for our Legacy Family Tree software and for our webinar series. I LOVE my job!


5 More U.S. Military Records For Genealogy You Might Not Know About

 

As promised, part two of this blog series is now here. While the good news is that the U.S. Military kept an absolute plethora of records and spent considerable time extracting and organizing information, they can be difficult to navigate. For this reason I wouldn’t recommend using it as the first place you check for your ancestor. First, examine clues from family papers, photographs, letters, newspaper articles, and other genealogical sources to reconstruct some biographical information and perhaps even create a timeline of their military service. The more specific information you have, the easier it will be to find records of interest. Part 1 focused on medical records, while this post examines specific series of service records and government publications.

Descriptive Lists 

An officer within each company of a regiment was required to keep records of soldiers while in the field. Within the field books are included muster rolls, morning reports, and casualty lists, but the series with the most biographical information about each soldier are called “descriptive lists” or "descriptive rolls." Each entry in the descriptive list will include at least their name, age, place of birth, date, place, and term of enlistment, basic physical description, and amount of pay and effects such as clothing provided to each individual. Descriptive lists can be among series in National Archives Record Group 94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s -1917. These have been consulted by the War Department to make compiled service records for volunteer units, but are useful to consult because they include extra remarks possibly about the soldier’s character, promotions, nature of death, and role in that company.

Rg-109-chapter-8-volume-80-5-misc-0026

Fig 1. Descriptive Roll of Company K, 32nd Tennessee Volunteers, 1861-1862.[1]

U.S. Military Academy Records – There are extensive series of records at the National Archives that can help to reconstruct your ancestor’s experience attending a military academy. The U.S. Military Academy was established at West Point, New York in 1802 and the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1846. Many of the 19th century records for applicants, cadets, and midshipmen have been microfilmed and are viewable on Ancestry.com. Military Academy Cadet Application Papers, 1805-1866, includes 242 rolls of microfilm arranged by year and there under by file number. Each applicant’s files include letters to the Secretary of War requesting appointment, letters of recommendation from relatives, friends, and members of congress, and letters of acceptance from the Secretary of War.

The Naval Academy records are held in Record Group 405, Records of the U.S. Naval Academy. Microfilm Series include actual academic records, such as records of conduct and registers of delinquencies, which includes their overall class performance, exam grades, and lists of demerits accrued by each cadet. Naval Academy registers include biographical information for each cadet including place and date of birth, city or town of residence at the time of enlistment, previous education, religious denomination, and the name, address, and occupation of the parent/guardian. Up until 1889, registers also include the cadet’s signatures, who was required to attest to the information given.

Proceedings of U.S. Military Court-Martials and Military Commissions – Soldiers who violated what are known historically as the “Articles of War,” would be tried under court-martial for capital offenses such as desertion, mutiny, murder or other acts of violence. A special military commission would be assembled if the offense was considered unusual. Court-martials are useful for genealogists because they are records with a helping of information. A court-martial proceeding will usually include detailed testimonies of individuals involved. They usually don’t provide a lot of biographical information about our ancestors, however you could gather additional clues for more records. Pvt. Charles Billingsley, executed by the U.S. Army for deserting his company, reports that he had several aliases during his lifetime. These names could lead to further documentation of that person. The National Archives has court-martial records in different record groups. Union General Court-Martials from the Civil War era, originally filed in Record Group 153, Records of the Judge Advocate General (Army), have been microfilmed along with Navy Court-Martials from 1799-1867. While only a select collection of proceedings have been microfilmed, Army court-martials for 1890-1890 have a case no. index on microfilm. The best way to locate a series of interest is to research entries in the National Archives’ Online Catalog.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 2.48.36 PM

Fig 2. General Court Martial Proceeding for Private Charles Billingsley.[2]

Francis B. Heitman’s Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army – is important to know if your ancestor who served in the army was volunteer or regular army, because the War Department did not compile service records like they did for volunteer soldiers. You have to search enlistment papers and without knowing the ancestor’s unit, you will have a hard time. Therefore, this publication is a great reference to locate basic information so you can have better success searching in NARA’s collection for the army. While Heitman's register is more useful for service information regarding officers, it is still an important source for accessing history of regular army regiments and battles. Both volumes have been microfilmed by NARA as publication M1858, but are also available on Internet Archive and Google Books. Other publications compiling service data for different branches of the armed forces, exist as well.

Congressional Serial Set – Have you considered using published U.S. government documents for genealogy? While not necessarily a starting place, records of congressional hearings and government documents can provide useful bits on your ancestor. Many congressional documents pertain to information on military personnel. Among the documents in the Congressional Serial Set are lists of pensioners that will include the name of the pension claimant (widow/next-of-kin), original claimant (soldier), soldier’s rank, date of allowance, and pension certificate number. Researchers can also find registers of soldiers, casualty/hospital lists, and annual reports from the Daughters of the American Revolution, which provide list of members, gravesites for Revolutionary War Soldiers, and a description of their service. Records of the first 14 sessions of Congress are called the American State Papers but still belong to the Congressional Serial Set. Library of Congress’s website “A Century of Lawmaking” has free copies of the American State Papers and the Serial Set up until the 64th Congress. The most complete online collection of the Serial Set in on ProQuest.

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[1] Image Source: National Archives Catalog.

[2] Image Source: National Archives and Records Administration, Microfilm M1523, Proceedings Of U.S. Army Courts-Martial and Military Commissions of Union Soldiers Executed By U.S. Military Authorities, 1861-1866.

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Jake Fletcher is a professional genealogist, educator and blogger. Jake has been researching and writing about his ancestors since 2008 on his research blog. He currently volunteers as a research assistant at the National Archives in Waltham, Massachusetts and is Vice President of the New England Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG).


Legacy Genealogy Cruise Day 4 - Rappelling in Skagway

Whew. We're alive!

Today, in Skagway, Alaska, the 4th day of our Legacy Genealogy Cruise, has gone down as the day that I faced one of my biggest fears head on, and I was triumphant. There honestly was a little part of me that questioned if I would be here afterwards and wow does it feel good to have accomplished what we did.

I'm certain that somewhere in my recent DNA test it shows that I have an extraordinary fear of heights. After today, I'm convinced that I must also have a courage gene, and it took every bit of that courage to do what we did.

As my wife and I stood together at the top of the 200-foot cliff and were preparing to step over its edge and rappel down its face, I didn’t think of my kids back home. My life didn’t flash before my eyes. I thought of nothing other than how scared I was. I tried to keep a smile on my face though as I got to face this fear with Tanya by my side.

Tanya volunteered to go first. She bravely turned around, stepped over the edge, leaned back, and made her way down. I wasn’t quite as graceful. I crawled out to the edge, turned around, grabbed on to my guide’s shoulders, then his legs, and slowly straightened my legs and leaned back. My confidence grew when the guide verified that the rope was holding my weight. Not looking down once, I slowly rappelled down, stopped for a picture about halfway, and then celebrated when my feet touched the ground.

I won’t say that I’ve overcome my fear of heights, but I accomplished something that I never thought I would. If my body didn’t hurt so much tonight, I’d probably be standing a little taller than I normally do. So, kids, if you’re reading this, just know that not everything in life comes easy. In fact, the most worthwhile things in life take tremendous effort – and they should.

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Legacy Genealogy Cruise Day 3 - Juneau

There is a chance that this may be the last blog post I ever write. In about an hour I will leave for my rock climbing and rappelling excursion in Skagway, Alaska. It's been a fun ride everyone, and I'm glad I "did genealogy first!" While I'm a little (a lot) nervous about today's trip, yesterday's whale watching excursion was a "blast"!

We first found a colony of stellar sea lions. Most were bathing in the warm Alaskan sunshine, but a few were wrestling in the water. So fun to see.

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We also caught up with a family of humpback whales.

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Next stop was the amazing Mendenhall Glacier.

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All along, Alaska's mountains seemed to be showing off to us. Truly remarkable scenery!

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Returning to the ship, my quick 15 minute nap turned into 3 hours, so we missed the nightly formal dinner with our group. So we made our way to the buffet on floor 11 and enjoyed curry chicken on rice, ham salad, and chilled strawberry soup. Yum, yum.

The evening's entertainment consisted of a medley of instruments and singers. My favorite was a violin and guitar duet medley of songs from "The Sound of Music." Once again I was reminded of my mother who introduced music to me. It's been one of the joys of my life.

By ten o'clock, the night was still young so we took in "The Jungle Book" in the cinema with our friends Chris and Trini. I tried really hard, but the movie watching turned into the second nap of my day, and so afterwards I was refreshed enough to go outside for a view of the northern lights. By 12:15am or so we hadn't seen any and so we tucked ourselves into bed. This morning Chris told me that they went back out at about 12:45am and got some great pictures of the lights.

This is the last-ever blog post before I do the scariest thing I've ever done. It's been a good ride, I've loved nearly every step of my life's journey, and I have a great family. I hope to be writing here again tonight, but if not, life is indeed short - do genealogy first!