October 30, 2012

Early American Roads and Trails: Tuesday's Tip

An old mile marker on the National Road near Hebron, Ohio

Have you ever wondered how your ancestors got from one place to another? Most families moved to a new locality within America at least once. Today I’d like to spotlight a resource that can help you figure out the migration path they might have taken. It’s a free website created by Beverly Whitaker, MA, called Early American Roads and Trails. Beverly, a professional genealogist in Kansas City, Missouri, has assembled individual guides to 18 of the most popular frontier migration routes.

Early American Roads and Trails gives a brief overview of each route, to help you determine which one(s) might be of interest to you. Once that’s done, you can download a free two-page PDF document that details the trail’s traffic, features, timeline, route, and map. Each document provides a gold mine of information to help put your ancestor’s move into historical perspective, and to use as a springboard for more in-depth research.

For example, my immigrant German ancestor, Johan Adam Rausch, signed his oath of allegiance in Philadelphia upon his arrival there in 1736. The next solid record I have for him is a land grant he received from Thomas Lord Fairfax for 400 acres in what is now Shenandoah County, Virginia, in 1773. How did he get from southeastern Pennsylvania to the Shenandoah Valley? The answer becomes clear in the PDF guide to The Great Valley Road, which brought hundreds of German and Scots-Irish families into the region during that time period.

In addition to the detailed trail guides, Beverly Whitaker offers some suggestions for further migration route research, and provides a link to her personal bibliography. Her companion site, American Migration Patterns, provides helpful links to a number of other websites and resources. Think your ancestors might have traveled by river or canal, rather than over land? Check out all the resources listed on yet another of her sites, American Rivers and Waterways. Trust me, you can lose yourself in this stuff for days at a time.

Together, Beverly’s websites can help you find the information you need to connect the pieces of your ancestor’s puzzle as he moved from place to place. Kudos to her for sharing these resources so freely.

What routes did your ancestors take in their journey through America?


Related Posts:

October 24, 2012

Willard Bishop's Chrysler-Plymouth Garage: Wordless Wednesday

W. H. Bishop auto dealership, Garrettsville, Ohio

My husband’s grandfather, Willard Hiram Bishop, owned and operated an automobile dealership and garage in Garrettsville, Ohio. He sold and serviced Chrysler and Plymouth vehicles. This snapshot is undated, but it was probably taken in the mid-1930s. I was able to enhance some of the detail from the original photo (below) using the editing tools in iPhoto, and I’m pleased with how well you can see the gas pumps and signage on the revised version.

I wonder what car sales were like in northeastern Ohio during the height of the Great Depression? That would make an interesting family story. Hmmm, another question to ask my father-in-law...


October 20, 2012

And Now We Are Two: My Blogiversary

Today marks the second anniversary of the day I mustered up my courage and pressed the “Publish” button on my new blog for the first time. Does time fly, or what? In retrospect, I needn’t have worried. I’m not sure anyone saw that first post except me.

After I got a couple more posts under my belt, I gathered my courage again and announced my blog to Geneabloggers, which I envisioned as the Great All-Seeing Oz. I hadn’t yet met the real Thomas MacEntee, the hard-working yet fun-loving face behind the curtain. In fact, I hadn’t yet met a single genealogy blogger in person. I was thrilled whenever a new icon popped up in my gallery of “Followers” (confession: I still am). And I was even more thrilled when I began to get comments from readers. Somehow, out of the vast arena of cyberspace, people were actually seeing what I wrote, and taking the time to read it and respond. Amazing!

Now, over 160 posts later, I can honestly say I’m glad I took the plunge and started writing A Sense of Family. This blog has somehow become part of who I am and what I do. It makes me happy when something I’ve written connects with my family and friends. And it’s incredibly satisfying when someone lets me know they’ve learned something from what I’ve written. I’ve also met a lot of wonderful people through blogging, many of whom I now count as good friends. And there are many others who I hope to meet in the future when our paths eventually cross. In the meantime, we get to know one another through our blogs, and through casual interactions on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a great community, and one I’m glad to be part of.

Two years of blogging certainly doesn’t make me an expert on anything, but I would like to offer a bit of encouragement to any newer geneabloggers out there. And that’s simply to keep writing and keep connecting with people. Write what you’re passionate about, and your passion will draw others in. Go to genealogical seminars and conferences and introduce yourself to people. Learn, and share about what you learn. Read other blogs and leave comments when something connects with you. In short, reach out, and don’t get discouraged over numbers or stats. Heck, my stats aren’t going to impress anyone. But that’s not why I blog. I blog because I like to share—my stories, my experiences, my thoughts, my discoveries, and my journey into genealogy. It’s all about the journey.

I hope you’ll travel along with me as I head into another year. Thank you, sweet readers!


Related Posts:
Celebrating a Year of Firsts: My Blogiversary

October 18, 2012

Save the Date: John Colletta Coming to Central Ohio

I’m excited to announce that John P. Colletta, Ph.D., will be presenting an all-day seminar in Columbus, Ohio, on April 6, 2013. The seminar is being sponsored by the Ohio Chapter Palatines to America and will be held at the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Full details are still being worked out, but Dr. Colletta will be giving four lectures and a catered lunch will be included. As I understand it, three of the presentations will be topics of interest to all family historians, and one will be of special interest to those researching ancestors from the Alsace-Lorraine region.

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing John Colletta speak a couple of times before, and he’s a delight to listen to. I love his sense of humor and his passion. He’s engaging and knowledgeable and…well, you’ll just have to come and see what I mean for yourself.

I know this is far in advance, but because spring is always a busy time for conferences and events, I thought you might like to know so you can mark your calendar now. I think you’re going to like the price, too. I serve as publications chairperson for Ohio Chapter PalAm, so I’ll keep you up-to-date as arrangements are finalized. In the meantime, if you’d like more information, check out John Colletta’s website at www.genealogyjohn.com. And if you haven’t yet read his book Only A Few Bones, you might consider adding it to your holiday wish list. You can order it from my friend Martha at Maia’s Books. Hope to see you in April!


October 15, 2012

Castle Garden Immigrants, 1882

More often than not, as I scroll through microfilmed newspapers looking for information on my ancestors, I get distracted by the other interesting things I find. Even though they have nothing to do with my original task, I find myself engrossed with the articles and ads. Many of them offer a fascinating glimpse into the events and thinking of the day. After all, newspapers are a great source of social history to fill out our family stories.

This article, which was published in the Ohio State Journal on Friday, June 23, 1882, describes the immigrants arriving at Castle Garden in New York City. The story isn’t a local one; it probably came as a wire report, with no indication of the author, as was the practice then. Although it reflects some of the ethnic biases of the times, I thought it made interesting reading. Those with Swedish or Danish ancestors may find it especially helpful.

Scenes and Incidents Among the
Hordes of European Emigrants

Castle Garden, on the whole, is a sad place. Among the myriad of swarthy faces which meet one’s gaze, it is rarely that one encounters a smile or a laugh; the immigrant, though he has just set foot in “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” is still an immigrant, without a home, and among strangers. The Italians, of whom vast numbers are now crowding in upon us, have a pensive look, especially the women, that is especially touching.

The Swedish and Danish immigration this week is beyond all precedent. As a rule, the women are as strong and as sinewy as the men; if poor, they are generally neatly and comfortably dressed, and there is a frank, open expression in their countenances that at once informs one that they have escaped the centuries of serfdom which have taken the spirit of independence from other populations that have been less fortunate. They can look you right straight in the face without being ashamed. Their children, with which every family is liberally provided, look as tough as pine knots and are just the kind of human machinery that is needed to develop a new country. Swedish girls, for domestic service, are in active demand by city people, and all that offer are readily taken at wages ranging from $12 to $16 a month. Their imperfect knowledge of the vernacular is a serious drawback, as it necessitates frequent pantomimic performances in the kitchen, and at the dinner-table, but then as they soon learn, the little difficulties are soon forgotten. The Norwegians are a people of a coarser fiber than the Swedes and Danes. Their industry is almost a match for that of the heathen Chinese, but it is not a skilled industry, and must find its appropriate sphere in the field and the forest rather than in the workshops and manufactory. Hence, the great majority of them push on “out West” as soon as they leave the ship.

Can’t you just imagine those “pantomimic performances in the kitchen”?

I had an ancestor from Germany who may have passed through Castle Garden two years earlier in 1880. Guess I’ll just have to keep looking until I stumble upon an article that describes those immigrants. Does anyone else get sidetracked in old newspapers?


Source: “Castle Garden,” Ohio State Journal (Columbus, Ohio), 23 June 1882, p. 2, col. 4.

October 9, 2012

Rosel Edwards of Delaware County, Ohio: Tombstone Tuesday

Edwards ancestors Delaware County Ohio

Rosel Edwards and his wife, Naomi Jane Barrick Edwards, were my great-great-great-grandparents. I am still getting to know them little by little through the records they left behind, which I’ve recently started to gather. It appears that Rosel was a fairly prosperous farmer who was born and lived his entire life in Delaware County, Ohio. His name is rather unusual, too. That makes his paper trail much easier to follow. His wife usually went by her middle name, Jane.

My lineage leading to Rosel and Jane Edwards stems from my paternal grandfather, Lloyd Ballenger. It can be traced as such:
Lloyd R. Ballenger (1911-2002) was the son of
Charles C. Ballenger (1882-1953) and Irene P. Clark (1887-1965);
Irene P. Clark was the daughter of
Marshal K. Clark (1857-1914) and Rose E. Edwards (1867-1942);
Rose E. Edwards was the daughter of
Rosel Edwards (1841-1912) and Naomi Jane Barrick (1843-1934)

Their shared tombstone rests in Sunbury Memorial Park in Sunbury, Delaware County, Ohio. I love that it is inscribed with their full birth and death dates. It reads:
SEPT. 12, 1841 – JULY 30, 1912
JULY 15, 1843 – JAN. 8, 1934

Rosel Edwards 1912 Naomi Jane Edwards 1934 Delaware County Ohio

Their daughter, Rose, is buried nearby, along with her first husband, Marshal Clark. Marshal met a rather awful and sudden end, which I wrote about earlier in The Tragic Fate of Marshal Clark.

The roots of both the Edwards and Barrick families seem to stretch way back into early Ohio history. I’m excited about exploring them further to determine just how far they go, and where they might lead me to. 

October 6, 2012

Wondering About Webinars?

I love genealogy webinars. They introduce me to new technology, demonstrate different ways of doing things, explain the ins and outs of various resources, and give me new tools to use in my research. All of that in a friendly, easily accessible format, most of them either free or available for a nominal charge. What’s not to love?

If you’re not familiar with webinars, you may want to check out my September article in The In-Depth Genealogist newsletter, “Webinars + Genealogy = A Winning Equation.” It explains what webinars are, how they work, and who produces them. In this post I want to build on that a bit by providing links to various webinar resources.

The main website you’ll want to bookmark or subscribe to (if you haven’t already) for webinar information is GeneaWebinars. There, Dear Myrtle, aka Pat Richley-Erickson, writes blog posts announcing upcoming webinars and maintains a running calendar of events. It’s a great overview site for keeping up-to-date and in-the-know for all things webinar related. Thomas MacEntee also posts the calendar at Geneabloggers under Upcoming Events.

Here’s a handy list of genealogy webinar sites:  

Ancestry.com webinars
Association of Professional Genealogists webinars
       Blog: http://apgen.org/blog/
       Members’ archives: log in, click “Professional Development”
Dear Myrtle webinars
       Blog: http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/
FamilyTree Magazine webinars
Illinois State Genealogical Society webinars
Legacy Family Tree webinars
Michael John Neill webinars
RootsMagic webinars (primarily on their software usage)
Southern California Genealogical Society webinars
Utah Genealogical Association webinars

I’ve also added these webinar websites to my earlier post “15 Websites for Genealogy Education” here at A Sense of Family. That pushes the total way beyond 15, of course, so just think of the extras as a bonus. And I’ve added the whole list of genealogy education websites to my Research Tools page for easy access. So if you need a quick link to an institute, study-at-home program, national conference, skill development website, or webinar host, you can find it anytime just by clicking the Research Tools tab in my header. I hope that creates an easy resource for you (and me!) to use.

Do you know of any webinar sites I might have missed? If so, let me know, and I’ll add them to the list. Meanwhile, be sure to check the GeneaWebinars calendar for the next webinar offerings. Happy viewing!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...