Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy

Thank you to Genealogical Publishing Company Genealogy Pointers e-newsletter 11-29-11 for use of the following review:

The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy / by Val D. Greenwood. -- 3rd ed. -- Genealogical Pub. Co., c2000.

"Wills, and probate records in general, may be the most valuable of all genealogical sources. Val Greenwood's highly respected textbook, The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy goes over these in detail.
Wills are fabulous for establishing relationships, and they can help fix the time period an ancestor lived if no other records survived. They can also provide clues to an ancestor's former places of residence, help to distinguish among persons having a common name, alert the researcher to the existence of other kinds of records, establish when a death occurred, and lead the genealogist to elusive information about an ancestor in the records of the executor or sureties to the will.

If you are new to will records, confused about the legal terminology found in wills, or just don't know where to look for probate records, let Val Greenwood come to your rescue. The author of The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, who is an attorney as well as a genealogist, has written two excellent chapters about wills and probate records that should answer all your questions. For example, you will learn what characterizes the various kinds of wills (conjoint, holographic, nuncupative, and unsolemn, etc.), the legal requirements of probate, the proceedings of contested wills, and much more. If you don't know a legator from a legatee or a testator from a testatrix, Greenwood's 12-page glossary of legal terminology is all you'll ever need. And, if you want to know where each of the 50 states maintains its probate records, there's a handy state-by-state table specifying which courts have custody.
Written in a style that is clear and easy to follow, filled with examples from actual records, The Researcher's Guide should be your place of first resort for understanding wills and probate.

The Glenview Public Library owns a copy of The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood.  See it at 929.1 GRE.

World Memory Project

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.com are collaborating to make information about victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution available online through the World Memory Project

The Museum owns millions of historical documents containing details about survivors and victims.  By using Ancestry.com technology, the World Memory Project collection can be searched online for free.

The World Memory Project was launched in May 2011, and since then thousands of contributors around the world have indexed hundreds of thousands of records.  You can contribute to this effort by volunteering to become an indexer.

To search other Ancestry collections at no cost, visit Ancestry Library Edition on the Glenview Public Library website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Finding Your World War I Ancestor

THANK YOU to Genealogical Publishing Company for the use of the article below. 

The Glenview Public Library owns a copy of The Great War: A Guide to the Service Records of All the World's Fighting Men and Volunteers by Christina K. Schaefer, c1998 Genealogical Pub. Co.

Below are some insights into how this book can help you research your WWI ancestors:

"Finding Your World War I Ancestor

Suppose family legend has it that your great-grandfather served in the Polish army during World War I. If his service records have survived, you assume you will be able to find them without any trouble. In reality, however, it is not quite that simple.
Between October 1914 and September 1917, for example, some Polish combatants served in the Russian Army. Why? Because, prior to the Russian Revolution, Poland existed as the Duchy of Warsaw within the Russian Empire. Following the establishment of a provisional Polish government in September 1917, the Poles serving for Russia were regrouped into a new Polish army. Or, your ancestor could have been a member of the insurrectionary "Polish Legion" established in Vienna to serve the Empire of Austria-Hungary. Still other Poles served with the German army in Upper Silesia and East Prussia as the Polnische Wermacht, or with a Polish army on the side of France. In short, great-grandfather's service records could conceivably be in Russia, Germany, France, or Hungary, as well as in Poland.
The dispersion of Polish military service records for "The Great War" was not altogether unusual. Following the armistice, the victorious powers carved up the defeated nations and/or their territories. For example, if your Alsace-Lorraine ancestor fought for Germany, his records would have come under French jurisdiction after the Treaty of Versailles. For its part, Denmark acquired Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein from Germany. Similarly, the nations of Finland and Lithuania achieved their independence at the Soviet Union's (Russia's) expense.
Clearly, anyone on the trail of a World War I service record is more likely to be successful if she/he is equipped with a roadmap to the records of that tragic conflict. And roadmap, indeed, is exactly what genealogist Christina K. Schaefer has created in her guidebook The Great War: A Guide to the Service Records of All the World's Fighting Men and Volunteers.
Organized by country, The Great War provides at-a-glance information on the existence of records and how they can be accessed. Each chapter begins with an outline history of a given country's involvement in the conflict as it impacts on the records. The author then lists all extant record groups for that nation's army and navy. So, for example, we are provided with a list of every German army regiment, followed by another list of the capital ships and U-boats that served the Kaiser. The lengthy U.S. chapter lists the national repositories and then record holdings state by state. Each chapter concludes with a breakdown of that nation's military archives and its holdings and a bibliography of suggested further reading.
For researchers who can profit from a brushing-up on their World War I history, Mrs. Schaefer begins the book with a detailed timeline of events from 1914 to 1918. The volume concludes with a number of very useful features: (1) records pertaining to the aftermath of the war (e.g., service records of the Red Cross); (2) a table of the political changes ushered in by the war; and (3) a list of World War I sources available on the Internet at the time of the book's original publication in 1998. "

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Adoption Law

A law signed May 10, 2010 allows adopted adults born in Illinois before January 1, 1946 to request non-certified copies of their Original Birth Certificate (OBC), listing the names of their birth parents.

If you are an adopted person born after January 1, 1946, you can now (as of November 15, 2011) request your OBC .

Learn about the new adoption law and how to obtain a non-certified copy of the original birth certificate.

1940 Census: 133 Days And Counting

Family Search has a web page devoted to the 1940 Census.  They will start publishing it for free on April 2, 2012, the day the census is released by The National Archives.
FamilySearch will also provide digital images to tens of thousands of volunteers to start transcribing the records so they become searchable.
Complete publication of the index will depend on how many volunteers can help.

You can help Family Search index the 1940 Census to make it searchable sooner.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bridgett Schneider and RAOGK

Dick Eastman's Genealogy Blog carried sad news today about the death of genealogist Bridgett Schneider, the creator of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK).

This extremely valuable website, which is run by a system of volunteers, helped me immensely in retrieving priceless information I could not have obtained any other way.  The last time I planned to demonstrate RAOGK in a class, I was disappointed to discover it was missing.

RAOGK might return some day.   In the meantime, some people are helping individuals through the RAOGK Facebook page.   But Bridgett Schneider will be greatly missed.