All posts by Nancy Bernard

A family celebration

My mother, in the process of reorganizing her office, recently gave me a stack of family pictures and documents. I had already seen many of these photos of her parents and grandparents, but there was one that was unfamiliar and amazing: a large photo of my..

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A woman's nationality

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Between 2 March 1907 and 22 September 1922, the Expatriation Act of 1907 required a woman who married a foreigner to take the nationality of her husband, and therefore she lost her own citizenship. The Cable Act (also known as the..

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Revolutionary privateering

Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Continental Congress & Constitutional Convention Broadsides Collection

In attempting to prove Revolutionary War service for a man from Norwich, Connecticut, who did not show up in any militia lists,..

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Forbidden trails

At the New York State Family History Conference held in September in Syracuse, I attended two excellent lectures about the Erie Canal: “Canal Fever: Life, Work, and Travel on the New York State Canals, 1818–1918” and “Gateway to the West: Interstate Migration on..

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Overseas military naturalizations

For a recent research case, I was trying to locate a naturalization record which had been listed in an index to the Declarations of Intention, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York 1917-1950, at However, when searching through the actual..

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Buckman's Tavern

Buckman's Tavern. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Along with the Boston Marathon and a home Red Sox game, today Massachusetts observes Patriots’ Day. This holiday, the third Monday in April since 1969, commemorates the Battle of Lexington on 19 April 1775.[1]..

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Research in organizational records

One of my recent research cases involved searching for information within societies and organizations. It began with searching in newspapers for an 1849 obituary in order to gather more biographical information about my research subject, but I also looked for any..

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Manhattan bodies in transit

Courtesy of Cornell University Library and Wikimedia Commons.

In one of my recent cases, I was searching for a woman who had been living in New York in the 1860s, and then removed to Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband and children. After several years in..

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The legend of Israel Bissell

Listen, my children, to my epistle Of the long, long ride of Israel Bissell, Who outrode Paul by miles and time But didn’t rate a poet’s rhyme...[i]

I was in Lexington the other day, conducting research in the town’s library. I was researching the Lexington Alarm,..

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Census records for tracking economic mobility

For a school assignment, my daughter had to identify a family member who rose in social and economic class through means of employment and education opportunities. I immediately thought of her..

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