Author Archive

31 May 2020

How to Find Passenger Lists for Databases without Images

Sometimes we run into a simple problem. We find an index with data that does not link to an image that we can examine. As basic as that problem may be, surmounting it can be a significant
30 May 2020

Moving Beyond Published Abstracts

For years, genealogists have depended on published abstracts of records to gather data they would otherwise have difficulty accessing. As we get greater access to digitized original records, however, the weaknesses of abstracts are becoming more apparent.
30 Apr 2020

Runaway Advertisements

In colonial America’s earliest years, those with runaway slaves, indentured servants, apprentices, military deserters, escaped prisoners, husbands, wives, or children had to rely on broadsides or word of mouth to advertise a reward for their return. Unsurprisingly,
30 Apr 2020

The 1870 Federal Census’s Second Enumeration

By all reports, the 1870 federal census was a mess. It was the last census for which U.S. Marshals were used as census takers. As there weren’t enough Marshals, a number of men were made Assistant Marshals
26 Mar 2020

Fee Tails and Entailment

In her 1989 NGSQ article, “The Adeustone-Rogers Families of Virginia: Tracing a Colonial Lineage through Entailment and Naming Patterns,” the late Margaret Hickerson Emery provided a definition of the term that was key to solving her genealogical
26 Mar 2020

Taking Your First Steps Around the 1870 “Brick Wall” in African American Research

For African Americans who were enslaved until the 13th Amendment was passed in 1865, the 1870 census was the first federal census to name them. Since the slave schedules of the 1850 and 1860 censuses only referred
29 Feb 2020

The Creation of Leap Year and Its Effects on Genealogy

This Saturday is February 29th, a relatively uncommon occurrence as days go. It’s a leap day in a leap year. Unless you’re like Dinah Shore, Tony Robbins, or Ja Rule, all of whom share a birthday that
29 Feb 2020

Little-Used NGS Resources: The Book Loan Collection

I don’t blame you. I really don’t. I’ve never used it myself. So who am I to point a finger? When the National Genealogical Society was founded in 1903 in Washington, DC, it established a library for
31 Jan 2020

Hearing Voices

Former NGS board member B. Darrell Jackson had an unusual request for his birthday. He asked his three adult children to read one of the six books he has written on their family history and write about
31 Jan 2020

Three Updates at the National Archives

Record Group Explorer The National Archives houses billions of pages of records, a volume so significant that researchers can easily be overwhelmed. A new tool released by the Archives makes it easier to browse those records by