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# Tuesday, June 28, 2011
150 Years Ago Today in the Civil War: First US Naval Officer Killed
Posted by Diane

June 28, 1861, the Pawnee arrived at the Washington, DC, Navy Yard carrying the body of Capt. James H. Ward, the first US Naval officer killed during the American Civil War

The previous day, Ward, who was in command of a flotilla in the Chesapeake Bay, send a landing party to meet Southern forces at Mathias Point in King George County, Va. They met resistance, and Ward was shot after he moved the ships in to cover for the landing party as it retreated.

At the beginning of the war, the US Navy had just 90 ships; it grew to 670 ships and 50,000 sailors by mid-1964. The Confederate Navy had 130 warships and 4,000 men at its largest.

Dramatic events such as battles and shore bombardments were the exception to the rule for sailors, according to the book Life in Civil War America:

“Sailors spent the majority of their time performing routine duties or combating the effects of tedium. Running a ship required constant if monotonous activity; unlike soldiers, seamen tended not to have much idle time on their hands. An exception to this was, of course, Union soldiers on board blockading ships, who often complained of boredom in journals and letters.”

You’ll use different resources to trace a Civil War sailor than you would if researching a soldier. Start with the resources in this free FamilyTreeMagazine.com article on tracing Union and Confederate sailors.


Civil War | Military records
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 4:51:55 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
Get 'Em While You Can! Tips on Research Trips, Organization, SC Genealogy
Posted by Diane

I wanted to give you all a heads-up that we’re down to the last few days you can get these three ShopFamilyTree.com genealogy helps, at least at deeply discounted prices:

ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 9:44:32 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, June 27, 2011
Pointers for Finding Your Ancestors' Naturalization Records
Posted by Diane

Fitting that July 4, the day we commemorate adoption of the Declaration of Independence, is a popular day for citizenship swearing-in ceremonies. Big ones happen every year at Monticello, the Virginia home of Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson, and at Seattle Center, among other places.

(My immigrant great-grandfather, who wasn’t naturalized on the Fourth of July, gives his birthday on most records as July 4, 1881—I don’t know if he was actually born that day, or he just knew it was a big day in his new country.)

Here are some pointers on finding your ancestors’ naturalization records:

  • Not all immigrants became citizens, and some waited until long after they first arrived in the United States. Typically, men who were birds of passage (they traveled between their homeland and America several times before settling here) didn't rush to become citizens.
  • Your ancestor could file papers at any courthouse. He could even begin the process in one court and finish it another. Aliens more often applied at county and state courts than at the federal level because the fee was usually lower and it was often closer to home. To find naturalization records before 1906, you’ll need to check municipal, county, state and federal courthouses where the immigrant lived. 
  • After 1906, courts had to file copies of naturalizations with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now US Citizenship and Naturalization Services, or USCIS). You can order copies of these records for your ancestor from the USCIS Genealogy Service
  • Online sources of naturalization records and/or indexes to naturalization records for various parts of the country include subscription sites Ancestry.com and Footnote.com, and the free FamilySearch.
  • Many naturalization records and the indexes have been microfilmed. Search for them in the Family History Library Catalog by running a Place search for the state and county (the city, too, if it's a large urban area), then look under Naturalization and Citizenship. You can rent film through a branch FamilySearch Center near you.

You can see how I found my great-grandfather’s naturalization records here

Other naturalization records how-to resources from Family Tree Magazine include:


immigration records | Research Tips
Monday, June 27, 2011 4:30:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, June 24, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, June 20-24
Posted by Diane

  • The National Genealogical Society has created The NGS Weekly, a “newspaper” that pulls feeds from various genealogy blog posts. You can subscribe to get e-mail notifications when the page is updated.

Civil War | FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 24, 2011 1:21:58 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, June 22, 2011
150 Years Ago Today in the Civil War: Religion
Posted by Diane

On a site called Baptists and the American Civil War: In Their Own Words, I found a diary entry by John Beauchamp Jones, a novelist and reporter who went to work for the Confederate government in Richmond. (The site is a digital project by historian Bruce T. Gourley, executive director of the Baptist History and Heritage Society.)

June 22, 1861, Jones wrote about a chance meeting with Confederate president Jefferson Davis. It begins “Fighting for our homes and holy altars, there is no intermission on Sunday.”

He goes on to describe a chance encounter with Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the office on a Sunday, helping Davis find a letter in his secretary’s office. You can read the entire diary entry here.

A bit from Life in Civil War America about the Baptist denomination of the time:

On the eve of the Civil War, Baptists were one of the largest denominations in the country and among those that were considerably more widespread and influential in the South than in the North.

At the time of the war, there were some 11,219 Baptist churches in the country, with about two-thirds in Southern states (an especially telling proportion when one considers that the white population of the North was about three-and-a-half times larger than that of the South). Value of Baptist church property was an estimated $19,746,378.

In 1845, Northern and Southern Baptists split over the issue of slavery, and the latter formed a separate denomination under the Southern Baptist Convention. 

Other large denominations at the time included Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans and Roman Catholics, though Americans were active in many faiths. Interestingly, Abraham Lincoln was the first US president to use the phrase "One nation under God," but he wasn't baptized and never joined a church.

Here's our listing of organizations for researching religious records.

You can nominate a Civil War event for this series—just click Comments below or e-mail me.


Church records | Civil War | Social History
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 3:45:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Research Trip Tips in the Latest Family Tree Magazine Free Podcast
Posted by Diane

Hit the road with us this summer! The June episode of the free Family Tree Magazine podcast, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems, offers up advice for taking research trips and preserving your ancestors' souvenirs.

We’ll also discuss rapper 50 Cent’s journey to South Carolina to learn about his roots, the Early American Roads and Trails website, and our state research webinars.

You can listen through iTunes and on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

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Genealogy Web Sites | Podcasts | Research Tips
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 1:19:11 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Organize Your Family History Value Pack
Posted by Diane


I’m one of those people who get a little stressed out by clutter. When there’s too much stuff jumbled around—whether it’s papers on my desk, icons on my desktop, family photos or genealogy documents—my anxiety level ticks up ever so slightly. (My friends tease me about the day Leo becomes mobile and starts emptying the kitchen cabinets onto the floor.)

That’s why the Organize Your Family History Value Pack is this week’s Editor’s Pick. That and the price, steeply discounted through June 30

Whether you work on paper or do everything online or a combo of both, getting your research and your workspace organized is important to keeping track of your family tree.

Here’s what’s in the Organize Your Family History Value Pack:

  • Organize Your Genealogy Family Tree University Independent Study course digital download

  • Organization Made Easy: 5 Simple Ways to Get Your Family History in Order on-demand webinar

  • Organize Your Genealogy Life! CD

  • Organize Now! A Week-by-Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life by Jennifer Ford Berry 

It’ll help you research more efficiently—you’ll develop a system for filing notes, documents and photos (on paper and your hard drive); learn how to plan and accomplish your next research step; and make the most of your limited research time. And until the last day of June, the whole kaboodle is $49.99—72 percent off full price.

Click here to learn more about the Organize Your Family History Value Pack


Editor's Pick | Research Tips | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 11:20:37 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, June 20, 2011
Photo Gift Ideas
Posted by Diane

So I promised to share the photo gift my son (with some help from me) gave his daddy for father’s day:


I had a picture I snapped of Leo with his dad printed on canvas (that’s why there’s a shiny spot on the left side of the picture—it’s the flash reflecting off the canvas), so it resembles a painting. I took advantage of a great sale at CanvasPeople.com, but other photo-gift sites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish can do this for you, too.

The frame (minus the glass and backing) came from our local Michael’s store, and the canvas is hung from a picture hanger tapped into the canvas stretcher.

You’ll get more ideas for displaying family photos from our Family Photo Essentials CD

We also suggest family history-themed gifts in this free “Giving Trees” article on FamilyTreeMagazine.com


Genealogy fun | Photos
Monday, June 20, 2011 12:37:27 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [15]
# Friday, June 17, 2011
150 Years Ago Today in the Civil War: East Tennessee Convention
Posted by Diane

A second round of East Tennessee Convention meetings was held June 17-20, 1861, in Greeneville, Tenn. Delegates from East Tennessee and one county in Middle Tennessee drafted a memo to the Tennessee government asking permission to leave the Confederacy and form an independent state aligned with the Union.

The Tennessee legislature rejected the convention’s request, and the governor stationed Confederate forces in East Tennessee.

Late in 1861, Scott County resolved to break away from Tennessee and form the Free and Independent State of Scott. The law remained on the books until it was re-discovered and repealed in 1986, though neither the Union nor the Confederacy had ever recognized the state.

As early as the 1840s, Andrew Johnson, then a Tennessee state senator, introduced state legislation—which failed—calling for East Tennessee to separate from the rest of the state. After the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln, Unionists and secessionists campaigned for their causes throughout the state. Early referendums failed on whether to hold a convention discussing secession, but June 8, 1861, Tennesseeans voted in favor of an ordinance to secede. Most eastern counties remained heavily against.

According to Life in Civil War America, more battles were fought in Tennessee than any other state except Virginia. After the Union victory at Fort Donelson in 1862, Johnson became the state’s military governor.

Remember, you can nominate a Civil War event for this series—just click Comments or e-mail me.


Civil War
Friday, June 17, 2011 12:22:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
Genealogy News Corral, June 13-17
Posted by Diane

  • The renowned genealogy portal site Cyndi’s List has been upgraded with improved navigation, a custom database, and a custom administrative interface to make using the site quicker and easier for both visitors and Cyndi. Visit the site at CyndisList.com.

Genealogy societies | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 17, 2011 11:38:07 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]