Another Ancestor, Another Newly Discovered Birthplace

Ancestry.com sent me an email with new hints for ancestors among the Texas death certificates. Amid this information, I learned the supposed birthplace of my 2G-grandfather, Anson G. Bennett — Warsaw, Mo. I say “supposed,” because Anson obviously wasn’t there to verify the information. I haven’t done a lot of research on my Bennett line — this gives me a new lead to work from.

Might a New Clue = A Chink in a Brick Wall?

I had a breakthrough on one of my lines over the weekend. I found a passport application for my paternal great-grandmother Ida Champ Ferris, which listed her birthplace as Brownsville, Penn. (Her name was mis-indexed, which is why I’d never come across it before.) I had always thought that she was from the Philly area because that’s where she went to college, but turns out that she was born closer to Pittsburgh. I don’t know much more about her parents except that they came from England shortly before she was born. Hopefully this new information will lead to more clues about them!

Genealogy Research Tools News to Me

Recently, I attended WebSearch University in Washington, D.C. The conference is geared toward research professionals of all ilks. I attended pre-conference workshops on public records and finding business information in the “deep web” (those sites that aren’t indexed/searchable by services like Google). I learned about how to search without leaving a trace. There were sessions on Big Data, MOOCs, multimedia searches and other online resources. I was attending on behalf of the engineering company that I work for full-time, but a list of tools that I could put to use as a genealogist came to light as well. Here’s just some of what I learned:

Death Indexes Online — divided by state; online searchable death indexes and records. (Interesting side note: I found out about this resource in a session taught by a Department of Justice researcher who LOVES to use FindaGrave to search for next of kin in cases where there are assets to disperse.)

Western States — have an ancestor who lived in The West? This BYU-established resource may have marriage information for them.

GenWed — marriage records arranged by states

VitalRec.com — comprehensive database providing access to birth, marriage and death records.

Geonames.usgs.gov — this place name repository provided by the USGS can help you identify the county in which a place your ancestor lived in or frequented is located

NETROnline — find what public records are available online for a particular location

Public Records Search Directory — another resource divvied up by state and topic

Google tip — search for your ancestor by searching for “lastname firstname” AND “firstname lastname” to make sure you are finding all records (a good tip for other databases too)

Another Google note: I learned that Google disabled the use of the tilda (~) for searching back in June when it did away with almost 70 different services. At an earlier genealogy conference, I had learned to add ‘~genealogy’ to search terms on Google to help narrow results to only those that would be relevant to genealogy. According to Google, their built-in synonymizer should provide the same function, but you lose control over the search by turning it over to them. Just a word of caution.

Black Book Online — a site geared towards private investigators that may also prove useful to forensic genealogists and others trying to find living relatives

EInvestigator — another site that serves PIs; check out their link for genealogy resources

Archaeology on The Hill 2013

Below are photos of this year’s archaeological dig on The Hill in Easton, part of an effort to prove The Hill is the oldest community in the nation established by free blacks. This year’s dig is taking place on the property of the Women’s Club of Talbot County (18 Talbot Lane). Residents of The Hill are believed to have lived and worked on the property and the archaeology students from the University of Maryland and Morgan State University are looking for evidence of their presence during the dig. The dig will continue through Friday, July 26, and the public is welcome during the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each weekday.

The scene at the dig. Today was a special weekend open house for the public.

The scene at the dig. Today was a special weekend open house for the public.

One of the students was sifting through the dirt that had been dug out of the test pits.

One of the students was sifting through the dirt that had been dug out of the test pits.

He found several pieces of pottery. He would lick them to see if they were porcelain. Porcelain pieces won't stick to your tongue.

He found several pieces of pottery. He would lick them to see if they were porcelain. Porcelain pieces won’t stick to your tongue.

He also found a porcelain button.

He also found a porcelain button.

Other students were working in the test pits. Morgan State student Brittany explains what they've found so far in this photo.

Other students were working in the test pits. Morgan State student Brittany explains what they’ve found so far in this photo.

This test pit was a tricky one to work in due to the tree roots.

This test pit is a tricky one to work in due to the tree roots.

The students are finding a lot of oyster shells in the test pits. They say that oyster shells were given to chickens in the yard. The chickens would eat the shells to aid in their digestion. They have found other evidence of a chicken coop during the dig.

The students are finding a lot of oyster shells in the test pits. They say that oyster shells were given to chickens in the yard. The chickens would eat the shells to aid in their digestion. They have found other evidence of a chicken coop during the dig.

One of the most exciting finds so far this year is this 1794 metal coin.

One of the most exciting finds so far this year is this 1794 metal coin.

The back of the coin.

The back of the coin.

The students had some of their finds on display, including a metal toy gun, marbles, a door hinge and other objects.

The students had some of their finds on display, including a metal toy gun, marbles, a door hinge and other objects.

Tools of the trade.

Tools of the trade.

The students also had a washing station where they were rinsing finds from another dig in Talbot County. Following are photos of those artifacts:

Rinsing station.

The rinsing station.

The students found this glass bottle with the word 'Baltimore' stamped on it.

The students found this glass bottle with the word ‘Baltimore’ stamped on it.

A piece of porcelain.

A piece of porcelain.

Metal objects.

Metal objects.

Funds for the dig were raised by Historic Easton. You can learn more about The Hill on the Historic Easton web site. If you would like to help support future digs, please click the ‘Donate’ button on the Historic Easton homepage.

Student Archaeologists Dig up Easton’s Past – WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Student Archaeologists Dig up Easton’s Past – WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -.

More coverage of the archaeological dig happening in Easton at the link above!

UMD Uncovering Oldest U.S. Community of Free Blacks?

UMD Uncovering Oldest U.S. Community of Free Blacks? | UMD Right Now :: University of Maryland.

I hope everyone in the area can come and be a part of the archaeological dig on The Hill here in Easton. See the link above for more information.

New Golden Rule: Read Shades from Cover to Cover

Friend No. 43

Friend No. 43

Be sure to check out the latest issue of Shades of the Departed magazine. Not only is the issue chock full of school days memories and vintage photos, but I was given the opportunity to tell the Friends Album story (see page 36). Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Obediah Basham (b. 1760)

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

One of my 4th great grandfathers was Obediah Basham, who was born on April 7 in 1760 (or 1758, according to some records) in Cumberland County, Virginia. He was a Revolutionary War soldier and there is a lengthy pension file about him (I still need to transcribe it). Numerous folks have used him as entree into the DAR. He has a FindaGrave page, but no photo of his gravestone in Kentucky (his wife’s is available and it is crudely engraved). Obediah’s daughter Delilah married into the Corley family.

I Completed My March Goals!

April Fools!

I didn’t really come close. Here are my monthly goals (only one of which I met):

  • Processing one document/source per week (if not more) into my RootsMagic database.
  • Writing at least one blog post per week.
  • Reading one genealogy book per month.
  • Exploring one new technology per month. 
  • And taking one genealogy-related trip every two months.

I did get in enough blog posts to average out to one per week, but that’s about it. I only got in a few hours of personal genealogy time last week — the rest of my genealogy research time went to a client project.

Here is the main reason why I didn’t accomplish anything else:

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Maggie came into my life 3 weeks ago and has been occupying a lot of my time (not that I’m complaining). She’s a 1.5-year-old Lab-mix rescue and she is the best dog on the planet.