Newspaper Research Can Be Very Tale-telling

If you are conducting historical or genealogical research, you may be doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t researching old newspapers. In recent years, many old newspapers have been digitized and are accessible online. Check out FamilySearch’s list of online newspaper databases here. Newspapers can enrich your family stories by painting a fascinating or revealing …

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Striking Gold with Freedmen’s Bureau Records

On 3 March 1865, Congress established the Freedmen’s Bureau, formally known as the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, to help millions of freed African Americans and poor whites in the South and the District of Columbia in the aftermath of the Civil War. The Union’s win of the Civil War had emancipated over …

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A Google Success Story: Finding Grandpa Jack’s Folks

When I started researching my family history in 1993, I easily traced one of my father’s lines back to my great great grandfather, John “Jack” Bass of Warren County, Mississippi. According to the censuses, he was born around 1845, in North Carolina. Like many, I hit that infamous 1870 Brick Wall after finding him in …

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Diggin’ Up Family Dirt

Let’s face it.  A good amount of our family histories aren’t “peachy keen.”  History involves humans, and humans aren’t perfect.  Consequently, many – no, everyone – will encounter some family dirt when they embark on a journey to unearth their family’s past.  Some family dirt can be quite earth-shaking that it may cause an array …

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Research Tip: Check Your Assumptions

Researching and documenting many of my ancestors have not been accomplished without mistakes from time to time. Mistakes can easily come from drawing the wrong conclusions from one (or more) sources. In other words, some historical conclusions, assertions, or assumptions may be drawn from what many may feel to be from "obvious" research findings. However, …

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That Infamous 1890 Sinkhole

In 1921, a huge chunk of the stored 1890 census was destroyed in a fire at the Commerce Building here in Washington, DC. More can be read about that fire here. Genealogist Robyn Smith calls it “The 1880 Donut Hole,” as she brilliantly demonstrates its effect on her research in her blog post. However, I …

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Veterans Day Tribute: Honoring My Look-Alike and Others’ Service in World War I

When I first posted this picture of my great-uncles, John Wesley Davis and Jessie Franklin Davis of Panola County, Mississippi, a number of people, including family members, remarked that I bear a strong resemblance to Uncle John Wesley. I see some resemblance, but I wasn’t surprised by their observation. I am known to bear a …

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