Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Incarcerated in Iowa - An Historical Prison Project

This post isn't directly related to genealogy, although if you happen to be related to anyone incarcerated at the Fort Madison State Penitentiary in the past century and a half, it may have something to do with your genealogy. I still believe it's an important and interesting project.

 
My cousin, Mark Fullenkamp, is involved in a project, scanning in old glass negatives, some as much as 150 years old, found in the old Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa. You may remember my post regarding photos Mark took at the St. James Cemetery in St. Paul, Iowa that demonstrated a bit of genealogical serendipity. You can find that article here: http://matthewkmiller.blogspot.com/2013/07/who-finds-who.html


The poster, created by Mark, incorporated one of the photos he found.
He selected this one due to the way his eyes capture the viewer.
Other than inverting the colors and adjusting the overall hue,
the eyes are exactly as shown in the original photo.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

DNA Test Request

Are you related to me? Have you had a DNA test done? If you can answer "Yes" to both of these questions, please let me know! If you're willing to have a DNA test done, again, please let me know!

I have literally hundreds of matches in my FamilyTree DNA Family Finder test results. Of these hundreds, I have genealogical research proving my relation to a total of 2 (two) of them. I am relatively closely related (up to 5th cousins) to two additional matches but we can't even figure out what branch we're related on.

The next step is to try to triangulate the matches by having other relations test. If I can get a couple of first and second cousins tested on both my mother's and father's side, it may help me figure out how I'm related to these other matches. If I can figure out what branches these matches are related to me, I may be able to get an area to search for the more stubborn branches of my tree.

For example, if I can get a cousin on my father's side to test and they match in a similar area as another match, that will tell me what branches I'm related to them on. If they have genealogical work done on that branch, it could tell me what area in Europe to look.

If you're related to me and have had a DNA test done, please let me know.

If you're related to me and are willing to have a DNA test done, again, please let me know. Thank you!

--Matt

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Free Access to New Records at Ancestry - Offer Has Expired

Ancestry has made available for free through September 1, 2014, access to their newest collections. I urge everyone to create a free Ancestry.com account now if you don't already have one and take advantage of free access to these new records.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

County Historical Societies - Nancy Dunnigan Obituary

I just received a copy of Nancy Dunnigan's obituary, found in the September 14, 1894 Carthage, Illinois Gazette. I received it from the Hancock County Historical Society. They have the Hancock County Museum in Carthage, right across the street from the jail where Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church was killed. I had sent them a question regarding local cemeteries and where I might find the various Thomas Dorans buried in Carthage. In my email, I spelled out the current understanding of the Doran family.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Buying family history items on Ebay

 How can you find someone that has an item that has historical significance to your family? I know I always wanted to have some small physical piece of my family history so I kept doing searches on Ebay, hoping some elusive object would come up.

One item I tracked down was a personal journal written in the late 1800s. I looked up the name on Rootsweb and found someone that had this person in their family tree. I let them know about the item being auctioned off. They put in a small bid but didn't think the person was connected that closely to them. If I found a journal written by my direct ancestor, I know I'd be willing to spend way too much on it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Biography of Benedict Bixenman

Benedict Bixenman was born on March 21, 1829 in Treherz, Donaukreis, Wurtemburg, now a part of Germany, to 40 year old Eusebius Bixenman and his wife, 31 year old Maria Anna (Reidmiller) Bixenman. His parents had already had five other children, at least three of which were still living at the time. They were Joseph, if he was still alive, who would have been 9 years old. and 8 year old Francesca. We only know the birth date and nothing further about these two. It's possible they died prior to Benedict's birth. The rest of the children were 6 year old Johannes, 5 year old Theresa and 3 year old Leopold.
 
Benedict Bixenman's baptismal record from the church book in Treherz

Monday, July 21, 2014

Scan Those Old Photos and Documents - Old Bixenman Photos

Do you have old family photos and documents sitting around in a box in a closet somewhere? I guarantee that even if you're not interested in them, someone is! Please either scan them in to your computer or contact your family historian (If you're related to me, that would be me!) and get them scanned in.

Why do I feel it's important? I have two good reasons. First, to share the old family photos with others in the family! In the past, you'd have to worry about the price of duplicating a photo and physically sending a copy to whoever would like a copy. Now, the only cost is your time. The second reason is to preserve history. What would happen if tragedy happened and you lost your house to fire, flood or tornado? Those family photos would be gone!

Finally, once you get them scanned in, make certain to back them up! Write them to a CD or DVD and mail them to other family members! Put them on a blog or website! What I do is use Bittorrent Sync to automatically back up my family history documentation folder to relatives who volunteer to be the backup location in order to also have a copy of it. You can see my writeup about this program here.

I enjoy bringing my flat-bed scanner to relatives' houses and scanning in their old photos and documents. As I scan them in, I create a text file documenting who is in each photo. This way I can document who they are as I enter them into my family history database.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Old Newspapers

I was looking through a microfilm containing images of old Carthage, Illinois newspapers, hoping to find some information regarding my Doran family line. Unfortunately, all I could find was Fanny (Doran) Neason being listed on delinquent tax rolls. Given the size and frequency of these lists, it doesn't appear unusual for someone to be listed on them.


Searching through old newspapers on microfilm can be difficult. The small text, being not too dark on the paper and slightly out of focus for the imaging makes for strained eyes. Add to that ads mixed in with articles where you can't tell very well what is an article, what is opinion and what is an ad, very few headlines and wording that can be labored and it makes for a long night looking at these pages. However, sometimes you can find some good information.

Where can you find old newspaper articles? There are several newspaper archive web sites:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day - Free Census Records at Ancestry

Today is Independance Day in the United States. Have a happy and safe 4th! Ancestry is giving free access to their US Census records through July 6th. Be sure to take them up on the offer and fill in any blanks in your tree.

Ancestry Free US Census Records

--Matt

Friday, June 20, 2014

Examine Every Detail - Marriage of Hugh Kelly and Catherine Murphy

When you're stumped on what to research next, really study the information you have and see what you can use to track down other information. Here's my recent example.
I have a court record (actually two records stating the exact same thing) of Hugh Kelly and Catherine Murphy, living in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois, being married in Clark County, Missouri. It doesn't give any further information regarding the location. How could you figure out where they were married?