Notes from the past…


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Bennett finds at Wyoming Newspaper Project, Google Books

Last night, I was looking for an interesting image to post for Wordless Wednesday. I ended up at Wyoming Newspaper Project:

Discover the stories that formed Wyoming, through the Wyoming Newspaper Project. For the sheer volume of information they contain, newspapers are the single most important printed record of human activity. Historians, genealogists, and other scholars rely on them to provide a first-hand and sometimes the only account of local news. Available through this website are all the newspapers printed in Wyoming between 1849 and 1922, in an easily searchable format.

I first searched this database several months ago and was thrilled to find the obituary of Charles Bennett, my fraternal second great granduncle. So last night, I decided it was time for another visit.

After about 45 minutes of searching, then browsing, I was able to find two more Bennett obits, this time Alice Bennett and Jennie Bennett:

JennieBennettobit

Jennie was the second wife of Charles Bennett.

I also found several articles concerning the estate of Charles Bennett. His third wife Daisy requested the sale of property to meet financial obligations, and then later notices of sale of land due to nonpayment of taxes. Interesting…

A few years ago, I found a reference to older brother George Bennett in a Wyoming history book, Progressive Men of the State of Wyoming, printed in 1901. A reference only, as I haven’t been able to locate the actual book. But last night’s searches led me to Google Books, and guess what I found?

Progressive Men of the State of Wyoming! And there on pages 605 and 606, was the story of George Bennett:

GeoBennettbioThis entire book is available at Google Books, and as a .pdf download. Of course I downloaded it!

I realize that this book has no sources or original documents, so it’s not gospel. But it is still interesting and valuable, as it discusses names, places and events that I have already verified through other sources.

I will continue to periodically revisit both the Wyoming Newspaper Project and Google Books, as each site continues to add to its database.


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Looking for published family histories?

How about ones that are 100 years old or more? Want to be able to read them online? For free? For real?

See anything that interests you?

famhist1

(click on above image for better view)

The above screenshot is from The Open Library, “One web page for every book ever published. It’s a lofty, but achievable, goal.

To build it, we need hundreds of millions of book records, a brand new database infrastructure for handling huge amounts of dynamic information, a wiki interface, multi-language support, and people who are willing to contribute their time, effort, and book data.

To date, we have gathered about 30 million records (20 million are available through the site now), and more are on the way. We have built the database infrastructure and the wiki interface, and you can search millions of book records, narrow results by facet, and search across the full text of 1 million scanned books.

Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive, and is funded in part by a grant from the California State Library. We have a small team of fantastic programmers who have accomplished a lot, but we can’t do it alone! This is an Open project – the software is open, the data is open, the documentation is open, and the site is open.”

I just entered the search term “family history” and got back 1946 books that are available in their original form to read online! For free!

Here is the History of the Loutzenheiser Family, published in 1894:

famhist2famhist3

This particular book is 39 pages long.

How about something written about the Stanleys, one of my surnames. (I haven’t read through this, yet, so I don’t know if my Stanleys are discussed.)

The history of the house of Stanley, from the conquest, to the death of the Right Honorable Edward, late earl of Derby, in 1776, printed in 1793:

famhist4famhist5

I don’t know about you, but I know what I’ll be doing this evening… :)


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A wealth of new info has appeared…

…from an unlikely (to me, at least) source: Ancestry.com.

Why unlikely? Because the info was found using Ancestry’s “new” search.

Their “new” search has been available for some time now, but only rarely have I ever found anything of value using the “new” search. For whatever reason, I can find many more goodies using the “old” search.

In the past I have experimented with both searches by using the same term, usually a name or location. The “old” search would usually yield much better results than the “new” search, so after a while, I just automatically clicked on “Old search” when using Ancestry.

I have been away from genealogical search in general and Ancestry in particular for a couple of months now as I awaited the arrival of my new grandson. But things are finally returning to normal and I have taken up my research again where I left off, with the McBurnetts.

So last night I went to Ancestry, logged on, and there was the “new ” search awaiting me. Since I’ve been gone for a bit, I decided to enter “Daniel McBurnett” into the search box…

Daniel was my 5th great-grandfather and the furthest back that I have been able to go with that surname.

What did I find?

Only 25 pages from “The McBurnett Story” that had been copied and uploaded to Ancestry’s Public Member Photos & Scanned Documents section! The “McBurnett Story” was written in 1994 by Betty Jo Parsons and is no longer available to purchase. The Family History Library does show 1 copy in their catalogue, but I haven’t had the time to get to my local Family History Library to order the book. From what I understand, this book contains an excellent discussion of the McBurnetts in America, complete with sources and documentation.

The 25 pages that I found and downloaded contain 2 late 1700′s original documents. The excerpts indicate a book that seems to be very well written and documented. Even more amazing, of the book’s 240 pages, the 25 that are on Ancestry deal directly with my McBurnett line, Daniel>James>Nicholas>Harrison Wardlow McBurnett, my 2nd great-grandfather! Dates, locations, spouses and children, documents- they’re all there. Pretty exciting!

The moral of this tale? Always use every option available when conducting genealogical research!