Monday, March 3, 2014

Germanic Latin and Extraction Aids

Germanic Latin and Extraction Aids is a collection of Germanic extraction materials provided by the Records Extraction Section of the Genealogical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Tucson Branch Genealogical Library in April, 1982.

The introduction tells us that “in many areas of Germany and Switzerland, parish records were kept in the Latin language. For the most part these parishes were Catholic; however, this was not always the case, especially in early records. Many Protestant parishes kept their records in Latin. At times the parish priests were not adequately trained in the Latin language. Because of this, if they did not know a term or phrase in Latin, they would substitute the phrase or term in a German equivalent. For this reason it is necessary to understand both German and Latin when working in Germanic Latin records.”

I recommend this book for anyone who is beginning research in German records.  There are several pages of reading exercises to help you see the handwriting you will have to deal with.  The challenge is for you to translate the handwriting in the exercises. I would make copies of the exercises to take home with me to work on and bring them back to check the answers in the back of the book to see how well I did. Because of this book, I was able to learn an invaluable skill which I find useful to this day.

Call number: 943 D2gla

Contributed by: Edie Sly

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Collection of German Research Helps

We have over 1500 CDs, films, fiche and books to help genealogists with their German research. We know that everyone has a limited amount of time to spend researching their family history. In an attempt to help others manage their time, below is a list of four books that I found to be very helpful with my German research.

1. Meyers Orts-und Verkehers-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs by Raymond S. Wright III and E. Uetrecht (Location and transport lexicon)

This three-volume set is an important gazetteer describing 210,000 cities, towns, hamlets, and dwelling places in the German Empire prior to World War I.  It is written in German, using the old Gothic font.  Therefore, to get the full value of what is available, one needs to become familiar with the old Gothic font and be willing to work through translations.  Another slight hindrance is the use of abbreviations.  In the very front of each volume is a list of these abbreviations and their meanings—first in German and next in English.  There is an explanation of the books and an introduction in English, which begins on page [1] of Volume I.  Page [2] includes a list of the Gothic alphabet used within the books.  Page [4] tells how to use the volumes to find records in archives, record offices, and libraries.  Like in the United States, many name places are used multiple times.  These volumes help the researcher determine which one is relevant for their ancestors.  For many of the larger cities there are maps and a list of streets.  Volume I includes places which begin with A-K.  The second volume includes places which begin with L-Z.  Volume III is a supplement.

Published by: Genealogical Publishing Co., c2000
Hardcover: 3 vol.
Call number:  943 E5mo 2000,v1, v2, and v3

2.  German-English Genealogical Dictionary by Ernest Thode, referred to as Thode

Not only does this volume include helpful translations of German genealogical terms, but it also includes handwriting helps.  It gives several samples of various ways of writing each letter of the alphabet, both capital and small letters.

Published by: Genealogical Pub. Co., c1992
Paperback: 286 pages
Call number:  433.21 T352g 1992

3.  A Genealogical and Demographic Handbook of German Handwriting, 17th-19th Centuries by Norman J. Storrer and Larry O. Jensen
Inside front cover

Anyone beginning German research would be well-advised to spend some time with this book.  It gives several exercises one can do to help become familiar with German handwriting.  There are also seven appendices, two of which are glossaries:  of terms, and of given names.

Published by: Storrer, c1977
Hardcover: 157 pages
Call number:  943 G3sj

4.  If I Can, You Can Decipher Germanic Records by Edna M. Bentz

This helpful book includes:
  • Alphabets – German and Danish
  •  Use of Umlauts in Surnames
  • General Information
  • Relationships
  • Terminology and Symbols – German
  • Common Abreviations (sic) – German
  • Church Year and Feasts – German
  • Months of the Year and Days of the Week
  • Germanic Latin and Danish Terminology
  • Glossary of Illnesses – German, Latin and Danish
  • Glossary of Occupations – German, Latin and Danish
  • What Was Going on In the World and Community of Your Ancestor When?
  • Alphabet Song

This book is not copyrighted and you may want to copy many pages from it.

A page from Occupations Glossary
A page from the Alphabet

Published by: Bentz, c1982
Softcover: 85 pages
Call number:  943 G3be

Contributed by: Ann Kersten

Thursday, January 2, 2014

African American Genealogy for Beginning Researchers

BLACK ROOTS :  A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree by Tony Burroughs is a very good help guide for researchers of African American Genealogy. It gives step-by-step searching tips for African American as well as general American researching. The author also talks about organizing your work and where to search for slaves in the nineteenth century.

An internationally known genealogist who teaches and lectures on genealogy throughout the United States, Burroughs bases his book on his own experiences and that of other professional genealogists. In his Introduction, he states that his book:
  • takes a step-by-step approach 
  • emphasizes method 
  • gives real-life examples 
  • illustrates and analyzes documents 
  • illustrates live charts 
  • integrates black history with black genealogy 
  • points out traps 
The book is divided into three parts, starting with Preparing to Research, then Beginning steps, and finally Stepping into the Future which includes computers and the internet. It also includes a glossary, bibliographic references, and an index.

Mr. Burroughs has written a book which is easy to read and also packed with information for both the beginning and more advanced genealogist.

Published by: Simon & Schuster (2001)
Paperback: 464 pages
Call number: 973 D27bt 2001

Contributed by: Nona Johnson

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Family Tree Problem Solver

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors by Marsha Hoffman Rising (Family Tree Books, Rev. 1st ed., 2011, Paperback, 255 pages). TFHC Call no. 929.1072 R494.

“This book is not intended for those who are just beginning their genealogical research…[it] is intended to give each reader new ideas for tackling those knotty problems that have been sitting on the backburner of the research schedule for months or even years.” (Introduction, p. 13).

Rising assumes that we are very familiar with the use of land records, probate records, pre-1850 census records, tax lists, etc. She relies heavily on using collateral lines and cluster research and teaches us how to use those records in that context. In addition to the wonderful ideas presented by Rising, the book includes a Forward and an appendix on how to Find Your Ancestors Online by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, an appendix on DNA Facts and Myths by Lauren Gamber, a Glossary of Genealogy Terms from the editors of Family Tree Magazine, and 18 pages of blank forms that the author uses in her research. Each chapter is loaded with examples and case studies from her own research to illustrate the techniques she is teaching.

I am not a beginning researcher, but I am not an advanced researcher either. I have to admit that I did not understand everything that Rising discussed. I did, however, understand enough to put some of her techniques into practice on breaking down some of my brick walls. And for those record types in which I am weak, she recommends several books to help us learn more about them. This is one of those books that I will want to go back to as I encounter new obstacles in my research—an excellent reference book for the experienced genealogist.

Table of Contents. Click image to enlarge.

Contributed by: Sherri Hessick

Monday, November 4, 2013

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America by James Webb (Broadway Books, 2004, Hardrback, 369 pages) is a captivating book that surveys the history of the Scots-Irish. They are a fiercely independent group of Scots originating in the border region with England, who later moved to the Ulster Plantation in Ireland, and from there to America, the greater part arriving in the 1700s before the Revolutionary War.  The book begins as the Celtic tribes in Scotland effectively stop the advance of the Roman invaders, who eventually give up their conquest and construct Hadrian's Wall to seal off the territory they could not control.  Subsequent chapters in the first third cover highlights of Scottish military, civic, and religious history in struggles with England and later in the Ulster Plantation--revealing much more complexity than I had been aware of in the face-off among Scots-Irish, English, and native Irish, that eventually led to the great exodus of Scots-Irish to the new world. The latter two-thirds of the book covers the history and migration patterns of the Scots-Irish in America, beginning with their settlement in the rugged hill-country of the Appalachian Mountains, and following them as they were consistently among the first settlers to push the frontiers westward.  The author reveals how many cultural, religious, and civic traditions have their roots in Scots-Irish beliefs and traditions.

The author weaves his personal heritage and family stories with the greater history of the Scots-Irish, giving the book a deeply engaging and personal feel.  This is not your typical family history reference book, as important and useful as those are!  It is a fascinating story to be enjoyed by anyone interested in the undercurrents and hidden forces at work in the history of Britain and America.  

That said, however, in many ways it does serve as a useful reference tool.  In addition to better understanding my ancestral cultural and religious heritage, I found myself learning something in every chapter that gave clues to the potential migration patterns of my Scots-Irish ancestors.  I bought my own copy of the book and have marked relevant information and insights on most pages.  As a result, it no longer seems so puzzling that my Scots-Irish great-great grandfather, a prosperous farmer in Missouri, moved to the western border of Idaho two years before his death in 1922.

A reviewer on the back cover, Tom Wolfe, effectively captures the spirit and content of the book: "James Webb reveals the all-but-invisible ethnic group that has created the core beliefs of democracy American-style: our rights come from God, not the Government; all of us are born equal, and 'born aristocrats' don't exist; and tread on either of those two truths, and we'll fight you down to the last unbroken hyoid bone."

If you have Scots-Irish ancestry, take a look at this book to gain a better understanding of who they were and why they did what they did. Go to call number 973 F2wjs on our shelves and spend a few hours reviewing the content of this fascinating book.

Contributed by: Mary Lee Call

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Genealogical Researcher helps beginners to grow

This is one of the first books I looked at when I started at the Family History Center. The Genealogical Researcher: Neophyte to Graduate by William C. Kleese, PH. D. (Family History Land, 2003, Softcover, comb binding, 135 pages) is derived from seminars given by the author from 1988 through 2002. This book does just what its title promises to do – introduces the new genealogist in beginning research methodologies then expands into more advanced topics used by the experienced researcher.

As a beginner, I liked this book because it explains how to start and record your genealogy. Dr. Kleese provides many examples of different types of records and what information can be extracted from them. The chapter on U.S. Church Records contains diagrams illustrating the evolution of non-Catholic Christian churches beginning with the Church of England in 1534. Other chapters explain how to read a land map and definitions of some census abbreviations and much, much more.

The Genealogical Researcher provides the neophyte genealogists with the knowledge needed to conduct reliable and thorough research into their family history. The book is shelved under call number 929.1 k29x 2003.

Table of Contents. Click image to enlarge.

Contributed by: Scott Williams

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files

Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files abstracted by Virgil D. White (National Historical Publishing Company, 1990-1992, Hardcover, 5265 pages) is a set of 4 volumes which includes an index and lists every Revolutionary War Pension file in alphabetical order by the applicant's name. The pension file number is given and is preceded by S, R, or W (Service, Rejected, or Widow's) indicating the category of the pension file. Following the file number is a summary of genealogical information in the pension file. The State from which the man served, his birth location and date, where the applicant applied, where he served, and where the applicant lived since the Revolutionary War are generally in the file and listed in the abstract. Sometimes reference will be made to the names of the wife and children of the applicant. Occasionally, the wife’s maiden name is listed.
The actual pension records are available online but the  
original records are handwritten and sometimes not very legible or faded out. White’s Abstract is valuable because an expert genealogist has examined the files in light of what they reveal about the history of the patriot, his movements after the war, his health at the time of filing the pension applications and often names wives, widows and family members. Consulting White’s volumes can be a time-saving first step to narrow down the online search for more detailed records. It is also useful for determining at a glance where other patriots with the same surname were located and where they settled after the War.
An example of what information you can find in Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files (click on image to enlarge)
Look for these volumes under call number 973 M28g V. 1-4.

Contributed by: Jeri Martinez