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Archive for February 2010


GA/AL Root Diggers Meetup 2PM Feb. 28th East Point Library

GA/AL Root Diggers Meetup ~ 2PM Feb. 28th East Point Library

Georgia/Alabama Root Diggers Genealogy MeetupI am so stoked the day for our first Georgia/Alabama Root Diggers Genealogy {GARDG} Meetup is almost here!

Tomorrow at 2PM GARDG members will meet at the East Point Library for intros and some good genea-chatting!:-)

I look forward to the GARDG group expanding {we're off to a GREAT start with 10 members!} and to rolling-up our sleeves with some good ole fashioned Georgia Root Diggin'!

So if you're in Georgia and/or Alabama {c'mon, it's just a short drive!:-} bring your SURNAMES, brick walls, research tips and questions and join us every month!

Want more good news? The February Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society {AAHGS} meeting will immediately follow tomorrow's Meetup at the same East Point Library location so feel free to join us for an afternoon of extended genealogy fun!

Looking forward to seeing you! We have roots to dig and a host of Ancestors to find!:-)



Technology Tuesday: Google Alerts

Google Alerts

This week, a quick tip on how to use Google to tell do automated searches for you. You'll need an account with Google to set up alerts. If you don't have an account already, go to and sign up by clicking "Sign in" in the top right of the page. You'll see a box that asks you to sign up if you don't have an account already.

  1. After logging in, go to
  2. Fill out the form. You can elect to receive alerts by e-mail or create a feed that is viewable in Google Reader or another feed reader.
  3. Click "Create Alert".

That's it! Now, Google will tell you when something pops up about your ancestor. Try using some of the search tips listed on Google's site to make your searches more effective.

Searching for Land Records in Florida: Federal Land Grants

In my last post on the Florida State Census, I talked about finding your ancestors between censuses. Another way to keep up with your ancestors between censuses is to follow them through their land records.

Our ancestors bought, sold and leased land to family members and other members of the community. Through land records, you can discover who your ancestor had relationships with and start to see what role he or she played in the community. There are many types of land records, including mortgage deeds, records of sale, and liens. For part one of this discussion, well talk about finding Federal Land Grant records on a free website, the Bureau of Land Management.

Bureau of Land Management

Head to the BLM General Land Office Records site to search land patents for a patent record belonging to your ancestor. Land patents document the transfer of land ownership from the federal government to individuals. For our purposes, we will focus on land patents filed just after the Civil War. Lets use my fourth great-grandfather, Major Reddick, as an example of how to use the BLM site. Use the screen demonstration or the instructions below to find your ancestors land patent.

  1. Go to the General Land Office Records site at
  2. Click "Search Land Patents".
  3. Type in your zip code and click continue.
  4. Select the state to search. For Major Reddick, select Florida.
  5. Type in a last name, like Reddick. Remember to try different variations of the last name.
  6. To narrow your search, type in a first name, like Major.
  7. Click "Search".
  8. The results show the state, county, issue date, land office and the identifying numbers for the parcel of land.
  9. Click the patentee name to view more information about the patent. You'll need this information if you want to request original documents (the patent application) from the National Archives.
  10. Click the Legal Land Description tab. Note the Aliquot Parts, Sec./Block, Township, Range, Meridian, State and County. In the next post, we'll show you how to interpret this description and map it using Google Maps.
  11. Click the "Document Image" tab to view the scanned image of the land patent. You can save this image to your computer (right-click and select "Save image as...") or print it. You can also order a certified copy of the document.

State Census Records Fill the Gaps

Although genealogy experts recommend that we start our research with records at home, those of us doing research away from our ancestral home often start with the internet. And, of course, that usually leads us to census records.

The United States Census Bureau has conducted a census, or a count of the population, since the late 1800's. The census is conducted every 10 years, providing not only a count, but demographic information on every citizen in the country. The most recent US Census available to the public is the 1930 census (1940 will be available in 2012). You can access the census records on many sites, both for free and for a fee. In another post, we'll discuss the differences between the free and paid websites and why you might want to pay for information.

You'll find rich information on your ancestors in the Census records, but what if you want to know what happened in the 10-year gap? What if the US Census records you need were among those lost to fire? What if you can't find someone that you are absolutely sure lived within the 10-year gap? Try the State Census records.

Florida is one of several states who conducted a State Census every 10 years, between the years of the US Census. Not all counties are included, but it's worth taking a look at the 1885, 1935 and 1945 State Census records for Florida. Take a look at the sites below to access them: Free index with registration, fee for images
FamilySearch (pilot) Free (1885 not indexed, images only)

Spread The Word! We're Having A Carnival!:-


Spread The Word! We're Having A Carnival!:-)

Good News! I am thrilled to see the Carnival of African-American Genealogy (CoAAG) come into fruition and honored to serve as its first Host!:-)

On March 19th Restore My Name Slave Records and Genealogy Research, will kick-off the first of an ongoing series of African-American themed carnivals, intended to be a gathering place for the community to share and learn about African-American genealogy.

Our first CoAAG discussion theme will deal with how records of slave ownership are handled by the genealogy researcher. Contributors will be asked to write a blog post (at their own blogs) on one or more of the following aspects:

* What responsibilities are involved on the part of the researcher when locating names of slaves in a record?
* Does it matter if the record(s) are related to your ancestral lines or not?
* As a descendant of slave owners, have you ever been pressured by family not to discuss or post about records containing slave names?
* As an ancestor of slaves, have you been able to work with or even meet other researchers who are descendants of slave owners?
* Have you ever performed a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness involving slave ownership records? Or were you on the receiving end of such kindness?

Submissions will be accepted starting today through March 12th 11:59 PM EST. Once youve created your blog post, use the blog carnival submission form to make sure it is included in the CoAAG post on 19 February 2010.

Were also in search of hosts for future CoAAG Carnivals so if you have interest, please give me (@OurGeorgiaRoots) and/or GeneaBloggers (@GeneaBloggers) a *tweet*!:-)

If youre new to carnivals and needing a quick how to so that you can join the fun, no worries checkout these two resources:

* Blog Carnival FAQs
* How to Submit a Post to a Carnival

Weve all witnessed the benefit yielded from coming together as a community to openly share our varying perspectives around slavery and its impacts to both past and present culture.

Lets commit to keeping this very relevant {and healing} dialogue going and use it as a catalyst to continue to grow and learn.

We must be the change we wish to see in the world ~ Mohandas Gandhi



Faces of America

Faces of America

Without a doubt there is a major movement stirring in the genealogy community!

I can remember in 1998 going from a researcher with no idea of how to make contact with other WINGFIELD researchers to being immediately *connected* to 2,000+ WINGFIELD descendants worldwide via the birth of message boards and mailing lists!

Now today, genealogy has gone mainstream! Thanks to technology offerings that support our research needs, the evolution of social media and successful television programs, like the PBS African-American Lives series, people are finding that researching family history is easier than ever AND extremely rewarding.

Tonight on PBS (check local listings), Dr. Louis Henry Gates Jr. will bring us Faces of America, which explores the genetics and genealogy of 12 well-known Americans including musician Yo-Yo Ma, actress Eva Longoria Parker and royalty Queen Noor!

Following suit and equally anticipated is the upcoming NBC (yes - NBC!) genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? airing March 5.

These are exciting times in the world of genealogy friends and the FIRST time in history where African-American researchers can [easily] make significant strides in researching our very complex lineage.

Don't miss out on the fun -- your Ancestors are calling!:-)

Shaking the tree at the root!


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