Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Preserve The Pensions! Project

The Federation of Genealogical Societies has announced a fundraising plan to help preserve and digitize pension records for the War of 1812.

A goal of $3.7 million has been set to digitize more than 7.2 million documents in more than 180,000 files. As anyone who has used pension files int heir research can attest, these records contain a wealth of information for Family Historians and Genealogists. Not only do the files list the service of the veteran, it also provides details about the spouse and dependents.

If you want more details, or are interested in supporting the project, contact Curt Wilcher, the Vice President of Development, FGS, at 260-421-1226, or go to the FGS web page at:

Fire Destroys Twiggs County Library

In the bigger scheme of things, the loss of the 15,000 volumes in the Twiggs Library fire is small, but it is a tremendous tragedy to a community to lose any library holdings. No mention has been made of historic documents that have been lost, but we will wait and see.

Read the attachments and lets hope for a quick recovery in Twiggs County.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Update on Button Gwinnett Signature

Just as a brief update on the news of auction of the Button Gwinnett signature at Sotheby's. The report is that the document sold for $722,500!

New Digitized Newspapers

A new resource that is very cool has come on-line. I haven't had much opportunity to work with it, but the Digital Library of Georgia has posted a collection of Atlanta newspapers on their webpage. The newspapers seem to be every word searchable which is a great resource for genealogy and family history. You may want to explore the page for yourself at:

This is interesting stuff.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Census News

With the coming of the census, more and more excitement seems to generate about the census, both current and past. It is all interesting, yet difficult to keep up.

Just in recent headlines, a copy of the first census report, signed by Thomas Jefferson, recently went up for auction. It sold for $122,000. You can read more about it at the Boston Globe website:

Or, if you are interested in the latest reports about the current census and plans to scan each page before disposal. Each page will be scanned then shredded (Archivists refer to this as "digitize and dump"). I don't know if that is a good idea, but we will find out in 72 years when it comes time to make the information available.

Anyway, there are some exciting bits of news about the census. It will be well worth our time to keep up on this news. If nothing else, it is interesting.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For ...

Here is another interesting article for Genealogists and Family Historians. Regarding the conflict and sharp emotions that may be exposed in family research, I can attest to the reality of it all, through personal experience.

Early in my career I had discovered my Great Grand Mother had a less that admirable past. Although members of my immediate family found the information interesting, I had an uncle who was shocked and upset by the details of her life. Only out of respect for him I stopped searching for details in her life. I still remember his statement twenty years after the fact, "some things are better left unknown," he said.

Although, we have to recognize that the further back in time, scandals are less upsetting and more interesting.

It all creates an interesting balance for researchers.

Button Gwinnett Signature: What's It Worth?

There was an interesting article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper about the auction of a signature of Button Gwinnett. For those of you who don't know, Gwinnett was one of three Georgia signers of the Declaration of Independence. He wasn't prolific with a pen. He didn't ever write many letters, or they didn't survive.

A recently discover letter signed by Gwinnett and other members of the 2nd Continental Congress is scheduled for auction. because Gwinnett's signature is on the page the value of the letter has soared! According to the auction estimates, the absence of other letters makes this one particularly valuable.

We know very little about Gwinnett. We don't even know exactly where he is buried!

The link to the web page is not working. Until I can try to fix it, you might go to and search for Button Gwinnett. The auction of his letter is scheduled for Wednesday, 14 April 2010. You might check out this story.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Bad Economic News For Family Historians

News coming out of Houston, Texas is that hours are being cut for the Clayton Public Library, this includes access to the Genealogy Library. In an announcement posted yesterday, the Clayton Library Friends posted the new hours. Remarkably, the libraries are closing on Friday!

Below is a portion of the announcement:

On Thursday, April 1st, 2010, Dr. Rhea Lawson, Director, Houston Public Library, presented a report to the City Council concerning a required reduction of operating hours in all Houston libraries (including special collections) due to drastic budget cuts city-wide. This proposal had already been approved by Mayor Parker prior to its presentation to council.

Effective April 17th, 2010, open hours at Clayton Library for Genealogical Research hours will be:
Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 10-6;
Wednesday 10-8;
Saturday 10-5;
Library CLOSED on Friday and Sunday

I don't even pretend to understand the reasoning behind this decision. In my experience, Friday and Saturdays are the busiest days for library research. Why they are closing on Saturday is an unfortunate mystery.

For the full announcement go to:

and, thanks to Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter for bringing this to my attention.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Never Too Late To Start

Here is another example, from the Nashua, NH, Telegraph newspaper that it is never too late, or too early, to start searching for your ancestors. And, as the story concludes, the process is addictive.

Thanks to the NEHGS newsletter for bringing this article to my attention.

Friday, April 2, 2010

United States Archivist in Chief

Here is a brief profile of the 10th Archivist of the United States. It is interesting that this is the first Archivist to have degrees in Library Science.

Check it out at:

Well worth reading.