Aug 202014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

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WordPressThere are several free online blogging platforms out there, but the best, in my opinion, is WordPress.com:

Open source WordPress is the most popular online publishing platform, currently powering more than 20% of the web. We wanted to bring the WordPress experience to an even larger audience, so in 2005 we created WordPress.com.

We’re a hosted version of the open source software. Here, you can start a blog or build a website in seconds without any technical knowledge.

A WordPress.com site is totally free and very easy to set up. You will be online in minutes!

Features include:

  • Publicize- connect to social media
  • Stats- anyone stop by today?
  • Customize- spice up your site with themes, add functionality with widgets
  • Mobile- iOs, Android and Blackberry are welcome
  • Safe- secure, super-fast, always available
  • Private- or public, it’s up to you
  • Multilingual- supports over 50 languages
  • Support- forums, support pages, chatting if you need help
  • Media- put those pictures online!
  • Spam- Akismet pretty much catches all that garbage
  • Contributors- as many as you want

And most importantly for the genealogist: WordPress is a Content Management System. That means you can use it to create an entire website, just like CNN, TIME and TechCrunch and many others have done. Currently, WordPress alone powers about 23% of the Web.

Ruth’s Genealogy is proudly powered by WordPress.

Come on, join in the fun today!

Aug 022014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

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Do you have ancestors from Georgia? If so, there is a massive amount of original documents just waiting to be found at Georgia’s Virtual Vault:

This is your portal to some of Georgia’s most important historical documents, from 1733 to the present. The Virtual Vault provides virtual access to historic Georgia manuscripts, photographs, maps, and government records housed in the state archives.

Collections include:

A couple of documents that I have found recently include the marriage license for my second great-grandparents Harrison Wardlow McBurnett and Margaret C Brown, from 2 Dec 1875,

HarrisonWMcBurnett (9)and the Confederate Pension Application (a total of 18 pages) of my second great-granduncle James McBurnett from 1897.

James McBurnett Confederate Pension

“Sirs, you have no reason to be ashamed of your Confederate dead; see to it they have no reason to be ashamed of you.”
Robert Lewis Dabney, Chaplain for Stonewall Jackson

 

 

Jul 202014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

***

The Portal to Texas History is a wonderful resource for researchers studying Texas ancestors:

The Portal is a gateway to Texas history materials. You may discover anything from an ancestor’s picture to a rare historical map. From prehistory to the present day, you can explore unique collections from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, and private family collections. The Portal continues to grow as additional partners contribute digital versions of their collections. We hope you’ll return often to discover our latest additions.

Portal to Texas History

This is a vast site, so be prepared to spend some time just looking around and getting the “feel” of the place. The search function is a bit difficult to master, but be patient. There is a wealth of genealogical data to be mined at The Portal to Texas History.

Some of my findings include 1909 and 1920 city directory pages listing my 2nd great-grandfather Miles Francis Stanley I and numerous 1800′s newspaper articles mentioning my 4th great-grandfather John Hamilton.

 

 

Jul 172014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

***

An ancestor’s census enumeration sheet is probably one of the very first documents a budding genealogist learns to look for. The United States Federal Census had been recorded every 10 years since 1790. These records have been carefully stored by the National Archives and Records Administration and are available for free to researchers through the 1940 edition, with the exception of the 1890 census, the majority of which was destroyed by fire.

There is, however, a catch. The records are available for free, but if you want access to online indexes and a search function so that you may more easily find your 4th great-grandfather, then you might have to pay to view these documents.

Ancestry.com has the complete set, 1790-1940 (only a very few of the 1890 records survive), with the 1880 and 1940 records available for free at this time. To see the rest, you must have a subscription.

FamilySearch.org also has the complete set, but only the actual images for the years 1850, 1870, 1900 and 1940. For the other years, the data is available and searchable, but you have to hope that whoever transcribed them was correct, as you can’t view the documents themselves.

There is a third alternative, and it is the Internet Archive.

The record of the population census from 1790 to 1930. Scanned from microfilm from the collections of the Allen County Public Library and originally from the United States National Archives Record Administration.

The Internet Archive United States Census complete set 1790-1930 is available to view and download for free, but there is no index or ability to search.

But, if you know where to look, the images are there!

FamilySearch.org can provide you with the location (state, county, enumeration district, page number), which you can then use to find the sheet you want in Internet Archive’s census collection.

Here is an example. I have an image of the 1910 census sheet for my great-grandfather, William Earl Hall. I downloaded it from HeritageQuest many years ago. But, as you can see, it’s not a very clear image.

WilEHall-1910old.jpg

 

So tonight, armed with the state, county, ED and page number of that document (information which I knew from my old image, but which is also available from FamilySearch.org), I went to the Internet Archive US Census collection and within about 10-15 minutes was able to locate and download my great-grandfather’s 1910 sheet.

WilEHall-1910new.jpg

 

And the second image is actually of a much better quality than the first.

For free!

Jul 162014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

***

If you have ancestors from the Republic of Texas, before it became the 28th state to join the Union in 1845, then you might want to check out the Texas General Land Office Land Grant Database:

The Land Office Archives contains documents issued by the new Republic of Texas after winning independence from Mexico in 1836. Some of the most popular documents in the Archive relate to the land grant certificates issued to Texians who rendered military service in battle during the Texas Revolution, including William B. Travis, David Crockett and Sam Houston.

After annexation by the United States in 1845, Texas retained control of its public domain, unlike other western states, and continued to distribute its land. Prior to 1900, Texas was a cash poor state, and used land to secure and pay off debt, reward veterans, encourage economic development, finance public education and even in building the State Capitol.

I have one such ancestor: my 4th great-grandfather, John Hamilton, Jr, born in Ohio about 1810 and “arrived in this Republic in April 1836 as a Vol and has served a tour of duty in The Army of Texas…”

This document, dated 2 Apr 1838, notes John Hamilton’s arrival in Texas, his service with the Army of Texas, his subsequent entitlement of land… even his marital status.

JohnHamiltonLand.png

 

Priceless!

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