There are several upcoming webinars sponsored by the Department of the Interior Library that should be of interest to genealogical researchers. For information, see https://www.doi.gov/library/programs/training-sessions. It is necessary to contact the DOI Library in advance of each session for access information.
Civil War Talk Radio with Gerald Prokopowicz recently had two informative episodes that featured guests with connections to the National Archives.
On 23 February 2022, archives specialist Jackie Budell discussed Civil War widows’ pension files, photographic materials in pension files, research at the National Archives, and related subjects.
On 2 February 2022, retired senior military archivist DeAnne Blanton discussed the origins of the Society for Women and the Civil War, of which she served as first president, and her book, They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War, on the 20th anniversary of its publication.
These and all other Civil War Talk Radio shows remain available for listening at Impediments of War.
National Archives Hosts Genealogy Series in May & June
Participate in our genealogy series – free and online!
WHAT: WASHINGTON, April 19, 2021–In lieu of the autumn 2020 Virtual Genealogy Fair that could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to offer a new Genealogy Series! Instead of a single-day event, the program sessions will be broadcast individually during May and June. You are invited to watch and participate in real time with the presenters and family historians from around the world on YouTube.
Over the two months, the sessions will offer family history research tools on federal records for all skill levels. The May sessions are broad and will appeal to the beginner and beyond. The June sessions are focused on specific topics and may be better suited for the experienced researcher. All are welcome! Session descriptions, videos, handouts, and participation instructions are available at the Genealogy Series web page.
WHEN: May & June—all sessions begin at 1 p.m. ET
May 4 — Preserving and Digitizing Personal Photo Albums and Scrapbooks
May 12 — Finding Genealogy Resources and Tools on Archives.gov
May 19 — Tips and Tools for Engaging Family with Your Research Finds
June 1 — From Here to There: Researching Office of Indian Affairs Employees
June 8 — Civil War Union Noncombatant Personnel: Teamsters, Laundresses, Nurses, Sutlers, and More
June 15 — Merchant Marine Records at the National Archives at St. Louis
WHO: Staff experts in government records from National Archives facilities nationwide.
WHERE: Anywhere! The series will be broadcast on the U.S. National Archives YouTube channel.
HOW: Visit the Genealogy Series web page to watch the broadcasts on YouTube. Participants can watch individual sessions, download materials, ask questions, and interact with presenters and other family historians. No need to register—just click the links on the schedule to view the sessions! Videos and handouts will remain available after the event.
Captioning: Live captioning will be available online with StreamText. If you require an alternative or additional accommodation for the event, please email KYR@nara.gov.
Background: The National Archives holds the permanently valuable records of the federal government. These include records of interest to genealogists, such as pension files, ship passenger lists, census, and Freedmen’s Bureau materials. See “Resources for Genealogists” online.
Follow the National Archives on Twitter @USNatArchives and join the Genealogy Series conversation using #GenieSeries2021.
Yup, you already knew that. Check out “Twenty Reasons You May Have Trouble Finding an Ancestor in the Census” on the History Hub. Undoubtedly, there probably other reasons that ancestors are hidden in census records besides these, which focus on reasons pertaining to the 1850-1940 censuses.
Staff members at the National Archives at Chicago are tagging various records series in Record Group 21, Records of District Courts of the United States, to make them more accessible to a wider audience.
One of these series is the U.S. District Court, Detroit, Repatriation Records, 1918-1970 (National Archives Identifier 1150838). Between 1907 and 1922, women lost their U.S. citizenship if they married a foreign national. Later, many women wished to regain their U.S. citizenship. Depending upon when they applied, the women were required to file either a Petition for Naturalization or take the Oath of Allegiance. This series primarily includes the latter document. The records consist of eight legal-size archives boxes, and each box contains approximately 700 repatriations. To date, NARA staff has created over 23,000 tags for the series.
For more information about women and naturalization laws, see the excellent two-part article by Marian L. Smith, “‘Any Woman Who is Now or May Hereafter Be Married…’ Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940,” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration, Vol. 30, Nos. 2-3 (1998). Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2.
I recently wrote about District of Columbia police mug shots of criminals (primarily from 1883-1890) held by the National Archives in “Mug Books: An Unusual Avenue of Genealogical Inquiry” on “The Unwritten Record” blog of the National Archives. As one commenter noted there – “they are all dressed well…” – hence the title for this post.
Most of the mug shots were created by the DC police, but there are others collected from the police departments of New York City and Philadelphia. One of the most striking things about this series is that over 100 of the 717 cards in this series are for persons were arrested on March 4-6 of 1885 or 1889. This was not a coincidence. The presidential inaugurations of Presidents Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison occurred on March 4, 1885, and March 4, 1889, respectively. One can imagine professional pickpockets and other con men going to Washington, DC, to ply their trade in the well-off crowd visiting the capital for the big event. This was most likely true of famous professional criminal Charles Hallert, alias “Red Hyle” or “Cincinnati Red,” and his friend Charley Williams, alias Shane Campbell, who were both arrested on March 6, 1885. Red Hyle, “one of the most celebrated hotel thieves in this country” is profiled by NYC Chief of Detectives Thomas Byrnes in Professional Criminals of America (New York: Cassell & Company, Ltd.), at pages 109-110.
The significant “inaugural connection” of this series is not immediately obvious at a casual glance. It is an example of an archival truth – it can take deep immersion in a body of records to truly understand them. In this case, while laboriously tagging each photo in the National Archives Catalog, it eventually struck me that I was seeing “March 4” over and over again. I knew March 4 was inauguration day in the 19th century. Then I checked which years the “March 4” cards were from. With but one exception, they were from 1885 and 1889. Inauguration Day.
I hope that researchers will thoroughly study this series. There are undoubtedly many other interesting things that can be learned from it.
Stories about local personalities, estate sales, local events, long-forgotten conflicts and more…. You just never know what you will find by digging in unusual records. Find out more in “Mrs. Hartshorne’s Estate Sale and the Joking Neighbor of Patrick McGroury of Manalapan, New Jersey.”
Finding a great archival record whose significance has not been recognized is one of the things that makes working with archival records a joy. Although the 1863 Gettysburg Address audience photo in this story had never been forgotten, it was clearly under-appreciated until Josephine Cobb made the effort in 1952 to examine it closely and with thoughtfulness. Great archivists have curiosity and a deep understanding of history and their subject specialties. Hurrah, Josephine Cobb, and may there continue to be more like you.
Follow the link below to read the full story!
March is Women’s History Month! Visit National Archives News to see how we’re celebrating. Today’s post comes from Michael Hancock in the National Archives History Office. According to the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. But in the case of Josephine Cobb and her 1952 discovery in a Civil War–era photograph, it’s worth…