Sunday, June 10, 2007

Anne J. Miller speaks at SDGS meeting

The San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) monthly meeting was Saturday, June 9th, with Anne J. Miller from Temecula speaking on two topics:

1) "Overcoming Obstacles that Interfere with Finding Your Ancestors"

2) "Less Commonly Used Resources in Genealogy"

Since Anne will be speaking on the first topic to Chula Vista Genealogical Society on June 25, I won't cover that talk in this post, but will after the CVGS meeting.

In her second talk, Anne went through a list of 26 "uncommon" resources that can be used to find genealogy and family history data about your ancestors. The list was (from her handout):

a) Land and property records (deeds, mortgages, homesteads, patents)
b) Assessment and tax records
c) Probate records, including wills and guardianship records
d) Court records, including divorce records
e) Town/District Road records
f) Mortality schedules (1850 to 1880 census records)
g) Burial permits
h) Obituaries (not just the deceased - look for parents, siblings, children)
i) Cemeteries (not just the inscriptions - look for plot owners, neighbors, contracts, etc.)
j) County histories
k) City and county directories
l) Passport applications
m) Military records (especially pension applications)
n) Maps (including land ownership maps)
o) Poorhouse records
p) Prison and/or criminal records
q) Profession or job-related records
r) Church records
s) Voter registration records
t) Diaries (including midwives diaries)
u) Newspapers (not just obituaries - look for news stories, anniversaries, visitors, etc.)
v) Biography or journal of a contemporary to your ancestor
w) Family Bibles
x) County or township historian or archives
y) Genealogical and historical societies (in area being researched)
z) Library files (in area being researched).

For many of these records, she showed examples from her own research, especially from the 1800 to 1860 time frame. One of the most interesting was a midwife's diary showing the birth of a previously unknown child. Another was a probate record with not only a will (which named several children) and inventory, but also a separate record naming all the descendants, including grandchildren.

Some of those records are on the checklist I use to try to find "all of the records" for my ancestors, but quite a few are not. They will be soon!

Anne did a nice job with both talks - she spoke without notes using the slides on the screen to discuss the details of the records.

I look forward to hearing the first talk again in two weeks, and having the opportunity to speak with her at some length about both talks.

UPDATE 6/12 8 PM: Craig Manson at his Geneablogie blog is providing research tips on where to find these unusual resources - see his first blog post (covering resources down through Passport Applications) at

Thanks - Craig - great advice and an example of how genealogy bloggers are "cross-pollinating" the genealogy world.

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