Tag Archives: Brick Walls

The 1950 census: just the beginning

My colleague Chris Child wrote a controversial post last month about the merits of the 1950 Census. The title of the post was triggering, but I must admit that I agree with his overall argument. According to Chris, “…the census has spoiled us. Because it is often so quick to search, we might overlook other valuable resources because of how long looking through those records might take us. This is not meant to diminish the importance of the census, only to partially explain why it is used more than other records.” Continue reading The 1950 census: just the beginning

Land records in Bohemia

Two years ago, I wrote about my success using Bohemian church books to further my research into my grandfather’s Czech ancestry. Church records are key for Czech/Bohemian research, as is true for genealogical research in many European countries. However, they are not the only source of genealogical material available to us. Recently, FamilySearch.org has been adding collections of land records for many locations in the Czech Republic. As of this writing, many of these collections are still marked as “preliminary,” to “allow immediate online access.” Recent uploads appear to be from the State Regional Archive in Litoměřice. Continue reading Land records in Bohemia

Searching the 1950 census

The Truman family fills out the 1950 census.

The 1950 Census was released right on time, exactly 72 years after 142,000 enumerators set out to record the booming post-war population of the United States. Today, in 2022, we will be able to search for the names of our family members among more than 150 million other Americans.

At midnight on April 1, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) made available the 6.4 million digitized pages of the 1950 Census. Continue reading Searching the 1950 census

Renew and Return

Courtesy of Nathaniel Lane Taylor

In my recent post on the Round family of Swansea, Massachusetts, I noted that the forename of my ancestor Renew (Carpenter) Round, was frequently repeated (or renewed). Renew was named for her paternal grandmother, Renew (Weeks) Carpenter, who died in 1703, and was buried in a part of Swansea that is now in Barrington, Rhode Island. She was “Renew the first,” and after my last post I learned from Nathaniel Lane Taylor, editor of The American Genealogist, that her footstone has a story of its own. Continue reading Renew and Return

Lost and found

Grave of Edmond Freeman at the Saddle & Pillion Cemetery, Sandwich.

Back in 2015, I was delighted to learn that my Elder William Brewster lineage for membership in the Massachusetts Mayflower Society had been approved. I had traced my descent through Brewster’s daughter, Patience, who married Gov. Thomas Prence, and their daughter Mercy Prence, who married Major John Freeman, the son of husbandman Edmund Freeman (1590-1682) and his first wife, Bennett Hodsoll (1596-1630).[1]

I particularly appreciated how the lineage had interwoven the Freeman family – Edmund and his second wife Elizabeth (1600-1676), who, in 1637, were among the founders of Sandwich, Massachusetts – with my Wing family, who were also among the town’s first settlers.[2] Continue reading Lost and found

Children in assessment records

Click on images to expand them.

Assessment records are among the least utilized resources in genealogical research. They were developed to support a tax that would fund various functions on a local, town, and state level. Their location and access is often unknown, since many assessment records are not readily accessible online. The typical assessment, other than a person’s name, could include acreage, often distinguished between improved and unimproved land, a house, cattle, horses, oxen, sheep, and other information.

What is included in an assessment can vary widely, as each taxing jurisdiction required different information to be collected. In some instances, occupations, marital status, and other pertinent information could be included. Assessment records can be an important resource to help determine when someone may have arrived in a particular location as well as the wealth of that person. Continue reading Children in assessment records

Karmic roses

Clayton Echard. Courtesy of stylecaster.com

Please, let’s just keep this between us: Sometimes I watch television for my wife.

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I have to say, though, that while I’m always happy to spend time with her, the idea of being sucked into one of those romance reality TV dramas she enjoys can really be tough. Let’s just say that they aren’t my go-to choice for entertainment. Continue reading Karmic roses

The 1950 census – who cares?

What IS this?

Okay, I know the title of this post is not going to be popular amongst many of our readers. My original title contained at least one curse word! It’s not that I do not care about the 1950 census, it’s more of an overall appreciation of how many more records are now available at our fingertips, as well as the rise, and partial fall, of the U.S. census as a go-to resource in genealogy. Continue reading The 1950 census – who cares?

The game’s afoot

About three months ago, I was contacted by a man hoping I could help track down some information about someone in my family tree.

“I found something interesting about a possible past relative of yours named Helen Elizabeth Wilson. I found her in a Cornell University magazine, and she wrote an article about Sherlock Holmes which may be the first of its kind ever written anywhere in the world. I am a Sherlock Holmes researcher and would love to know a little more about her. Is this something we can discuss? I appreciate your time.” Continue reading The game’s afoot

The ‘last’ aunt

There was no mention of Emily. No mention of her in any yellowed letters or penciled-in pedigrees, or in any “clippings” of scandal or gossip. Indeed, the only snippet of her was as a young girl “with ague” found among census records. There she was, “Emily A. Ginder” in 1870, and 1880 again, living in the household of my great-great-grandparents Jacob and Martha (Lacy) Ginder. Yet there wasn’t the slightest clue as to who Emily was, or what had become of her. There seemed to be no further trace of Emily Ginder. Surely she’d married early on or, as we genealogical types like to say when we don’t have the answer, she simply ‘died young.’ Continue reading The ‘last’ aunt