Friday, April 30, 2010

52 Weeks Post May Be Delayed

I have been working on my "52 Weeks...Kansas" post for some time now, but encountered some technical difficulties. Because of my busy weekend, I may not be able to complete it before Sunday morning. I will post it as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience!

Funeral Card Friday: Adrian DeVRIES

Funeral program (with inserts) of Adrian DeVries, Grand Rapids, Michigan, citing death on 6 January 2007; DeVries Family Papers, digitized and privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. 2010.

The funeral card--or should I say funeral program--of my maternal (step) grandfather Adrian DeVRIES differs greatly from those of his family members featured the last month. His is a mini-biography, complete with photographs from his childhood to his elder years. The size of it is much larger as well. Included in the program was a lined sheet in which extended family members and friends could write their favorite memories of Adrian to leave with the family. Also included for the mourner's convenience were three copies of hymns which were sung at Adrian's funeral, one of which, In the Garden, is my favorite.

Thanks to Dee Akard Welborn for this great Friday theme! Dee encourages others to highlight their funeral card collection on the first Friday of each month. Since I have so many, I've decided to highlight mine every Friday.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

75,000 New WWI Records Go Online at

Leading UK family history website has today expanded its collection of British military records with the release of the Royal Marine Medal Roll 1914-1920. The record set provides a listing of all Royal Marines who received medals for their service in World War 1, including those awarded the 1914 Star, the Clasp to the 1914 Star, the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Royal Marine Medal Roll 1914-1920

Containing records of over 75,000 Officers, NCOs and other ranks, the Royal Marine Medal Roll 1914-1920 comprises both transcripts and images of the original WW1 Campaign Medal Rolls for the Royal Marines. Aside from the medals awarded, the records detail the Marine’s name, rank, service branch, service number and also a description of where or to whom the medals were issued. In addition to this, many of the transcripts contain extra service details for the Royal Marine, often highlighting those that died of wounds or were killed in action during WW1. These details are available online for the very first time.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at, said: “We are delighted to be able to add the Royal Marine Medal Roll 1914-1920 to the collection of World War 1 records available at the website. These records are a fantastic new resource, allowing family historians to uncover many more details about the lives of ancestors who fought for their country.”

John Marshall, author of the Royal Marine Medal Roll database, said: “Today sees the first of any WW1 Naval Medal Rolls to be made available online, providing a complete listing of all Royal Marine Officers and men who served in the Great War. This database is dedicated to the memory of CH/19403 Private John (Jack) Clegg RMLI, 1st Royal Marine Battalion, Royal Naval Division, who was “wounded and missing” at the Battle of the Ancre in 1916.” Previews Mac Version of Family Tree Maker Software

No. 1 Selling Family Tree Software Planned for Mac Users By The End of the Year

PROVO, Utah, April 28, 2010 –, the world’s largest online family resource, today revealed a Mac® version of Family Tree Maker® at the 2010 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. The new version of the world’s No. 1 selling family history software is planned for release later this year.

“Every innovation or update we make is driven by what customers tell us they need to further their family history research,” said Eric Shoup, Senior Vice President of Product. “The Mac version of Family Tree Maker was the obvious next step forward to add to our family of products and is a much anticipated product for our Mac-based customers.”

Family Tree Maker has helped users organize their family history research for more than 20 years. The software provides users the tools they need to build a family tree, record memories and organize photos, stories, videos and audio clips in a way that will help easily capture and share the story of their ancestors.

Family Tree Maker accesses the robust collection of family history records and powerful search features from - without leaving the software. When connected to the Internet, Family Tree Maker automatically searches for historical documents about the individuals in the user's family tree. subscribers can easily view and import these historical records into their family tree with just a few mouse clicks.

Family Tree Maker 2010 is the current PC version of the software. The Mac version of Family Tree Maker will be built on the functionality of Family Tree Maker 2010 and constructed from the bottom up to take full advantage of the Mac platform in terms of technology and user experience.

Early this year, expanded to another Apple® platform: the iPhone®. With the launch of its  Tree To Go iPhone application in January 2010, now gives users access to generations of family history at every turn. From their iPhone, users can easily upload photos, update sources and edit trees. The Tree To Go iPhone application is available for iPhone and iPod touch® for free through the iPhone App Store or iTunes®. also announced today the launch of its new Wiki. This wiki will feature a living version of the company’s two largest reference books, The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy and Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources. These books, which are exhaustive guides to American genealogy, will now be made available for the family history community to update, expand on and even add to, making it a go-to resource for guidance and information. The beta version of the Wiki is available to the public for free at

About Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than one million paying subscribers. The company has digitized and put online more than 4 billion records over the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created over 14 million family trees containing nearly 1.5 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site at

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Reuben Wohlford and Elizabeth (NEARHOOD) SNOOK

Reuben Wohlford and Elizabeth (Nearhood) Snook. C. 1873 or later.Original photograph privately held by Troy Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Vancouver, Washington. 2010.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 2010 Scanfest

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: Iowa

This is the 16th post in a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

Iowa State Archives/State Historical Society of Iowa Libraries and Special Collections - - while there aren't digital archives on this site, there are plenty of descriptions of the on-site collections, as well as tips on using them and lists of what is in their holdings. On-site collections include books and periodicals, newspapers, county government records, manuscript, audio-visual and map collections, and census materials

Iowa Heritage Digital Collections - - "an online repository of Iowa history and culture created by bringing together in digital form documents, images, maps, finding aids, interpretive and educational materials, and other media from collections held by a wide range of organizations throughout Iowa."

State Library of Iowa Library Services - - Iowa Publications Online, The Iowa Collection (descriptions of books pertinent to Iowa history and culture), Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights, Iowa Inventors Database

Iowa Genealogical Society - - newsletter, Hawkeye Heritage, county research guides, vertical file index, Iowa Pioneer Certificates databases, naturalizations (mainly Polk County), obituaries, Old Settlers (Polk County), and queries

Iowa WPA Graves - - database of Iowa graves registration conducted by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression


Archives of Northwestern College (Iowa) - - student newspaper, publication and alumni magazine, photos, historical documents, postcard collection, Vietnam Veterans oral history project

Coe College Archives - - student newspaper (1890-1980), college films and songs, digital exhibits (includes college history, student life, photos, mascots, posters); also includes the records of Western Leander Clark College, which was absorbed by Coe in 1919

Grinnell Pioneer Digital Image Database - (requires you to click Guest Login button) - Historic Iowa Post Cards

Iowa State University Library Special Collections - - besides finding aids for on-site collections, some of the photos can be accessed through their Flikr site. The Digital Collection includes photos of student activities, a Fashion Plates collection, the George Washington Carver collection, and other art and drawing collections.

University of Iowa Libraries -  Iowa Digital Library - - "features more than 300,000 digital objects created from the holdings of The University of Iowa Libraries and its campus partners. Included are illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, fine art, political cartoons, scholarly works, and more." Collections include arts and literature, book and printing history, business and industry, campus and Iowa history, multicultural groups, music, politics and government, science and geography, travel and transportation, and women and women's history.

University of Northern Iowa Rod Library Digital Collections - - history of the university, yearbook, photos, Cedar Valley Historical Collections (maps, centennial, history), Iowa Historical Collection (blue book, native history, audio collection), honors theses/projects, and much more!


Ames Public Library Research Collections - - Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive (photos, postcards, advertisements, news articles), Ames Tribune index

Burlington Public Library Local History and Genealogy Resources - newsletter and lists of area genealogical resources

City of Cherokee Oak Hill Cemetery Database -

Council Bluffs Public Library Daily Nonpareil Newspaper Index -

Davenport Public Library Quad City Memory - - Local Index Databases (obits, Scott County marriage certificates and license returns, pre-1836 to c. 1925, marriage announcements, state censues, military info, Gazette newspaper), Local News Index, Photograph Databases (includes Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive), Local History

Des Moines County Genealogy Society - - lists and maps of area cemeteries, photo gallery, unknown photos

Des Moines Public Library Newspaper and Obituary Index -

Drake Community Library Obituary Database -

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum - - searchable Hoover papers online, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane collection, oral histories, student research projects

National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library - - oral histories

Sioux City Library Sioux City Journal Index -

Spirit Lake Public Library Dickinson County Cemetery Records -


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Carnivals and Almanacs

This is a very overdue post. I wanted to let my readers know that there have been some wonderful genealogy carnivals posted so far during the month of April. To view those that have been published, as well as the topics and due dates for future posts, please read my April 2010 Calendar of Events post.

Also, I discovered back when I wrote that Calendar of Events post that I had not updated the March 2010 Calendar of Events nor the February 2010 Calendar of Events with the latest published carnivals. Those have now all been updated, so if you are behind (as I am) on reading some great articles, you now have updated lists of them to peruse in all of your spare time (wink!).

Last, but certainly not least, I want to highlight a wonderful addition to the genealogy blog community: Denise Levenick of the award-winning genealogy blog, The Family Curator, last month created the first ever Genealogy and Family History Blogger's Almanac, and has done so again in April. This FREE beautifully and artfully designed downloadable almanac comes with blogging tips, history, and weekly blogging prompts. This month, Denise also has a contest for a free copy of RootsMagic4 genealogy software! I'll be highlighting the Almanacs in all future Calendar of Events posts!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Funeral Card Friday: Millard DeVRIES

Funeral card of Millard DeVries, Grand Rapids, Michigan, citing services on 14 February 1957; DeVries Family Papers, digitized and privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. This item was passed from the estate of Adrian and Ruth (Hoekstra) DeVries to their granddaughter, Miriam Robbins Midkiff in 2008.

Millard "Uncle Mel" DeVRIES died in a tragic auto accident while vacationing in Vera Cruz, Mexico. He was the second of the five children of George and Josephine (BUSH) DeVRIES, and the sibling just older than my (step) grandfather, Adrian DeVRIES. He was the only DeVRIES child in this family group to have never married or have children, and worked as a jeweler and watchmaker in Denver, Colorado for 20 years prior to his death. His body was returned to Grand Rapids, Michigan to be buried in the family plot in Garfield Park Cemetery in nearby Paris Township.

Thanks to Dee Akard Welborn for this great Friday theme!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Scanfest is Coming!

The April 2010 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories next Sunday, April 25th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.

What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family document and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth  and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Cover It Live, a live blogging format that you access right here at AnceStories.

On Sunday at 11 AM, PDT, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the CoverItLive live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

Up to 25 individuals can be invited to be Producers. Producers are participants who have the extra capability of sharing photos, links, and other media within the forum (great for sharing the photos you're scanning!). You must have Internet Explorer 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Producer.

We can also have up to 25 other Participants who can comment freely in our conversation, but will not be able to share media. You can have any kind of browser to be a Participant.

In addition, any other readers of this blog can drop on by and view/read what is happening at Scanfest. If the 25 Participant spaces are full, those readers will not be able to comment, unless someone else drops out.

Confused? Have questions? Go to CoverItLive and check out 6. Try It Now to see live blogs in action or 7. Demos to see videos demonstrating how to use CIT (especially the ones titled "How do my readers watch my Live Blog?" and "Adding Panelists and Producers").

If you would like to be a Producer, please e-mail me no later than Saturday, April 24th at 4 PM, PDT and I'll send you an invitation. Preference will given to previous Scanfesters. You must set up an account (free!) ahead of time to be a Producer. This account will be good for all future Scanfests. You can do some practices ahead of time by going to My Account and clicking on the link under Practice your live blogging. Again, you must have IE 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Panelist.

As a Producer, Participant or simply a reader, if you would like an e-mail reminder for Scanfest, fill out the form below and choose the time frame for which you would like to be reminded (if you're reading this through Google Reader, Bloglines, or some other RSS feed reader, you will need to go to my blog and view this post there to see and utilize the form).

It really is easier than it sounds, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all there and getting some scanning done!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Barbara Nuehring to be Featured Speaker at Spring Seminar 2010

Barbara Nuehring will be the featured noted lecturer at the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society's Spring Seminar held Saturday, May 15th at the Country Homes Christian Church, 8415 North Wall Street in Spokane, Washington (see map at bottom of post). Ms. Nuehring has a B.S. in Business from the University of Maryland and after a successful career as a comptroller withing the U.S. Department of the Army, she has spent her time researching her family history and taking active roles in several organizations.

Currently she and her husband travel full-time in their motor home, which gives her ample opportunity to do on-site research and make regular visits to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Barbara is the Secretary/Treasurer of the 200+ member Escapees Genealogy Group and writes feature columns for their newsletter and for the Green Valley [Arizona] Genealogy Society Past Tracks. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society; Genealogical Speakers Guild; International Society of Family History Writers and Editors; Palatines to America; and several local societies.

Barbara has been a guest lecturer at genealogical seminars and society meetings, teaching courses on a wide variety of subjects that couple traditional genealogy methodology with computer technology. The seminar's theme is "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" and Ms. Nuehring will be presenting the following four topics:
  • Exploiting Maps to Track Down Your Ancestors
  • Dealing with Stumbling Blocks: Calendars and Penmanship
  • On Site Research: Ready, Set, Go!
  • Across the Pond: Researching Your European Ancestors
In addition to the lectures, door prizes will be handed out and a raffle will be held. There will also be a contest to name EWGS's new digital publication. Registration is only $15 each for members; $18 each for non-members. No registration form is necessary; to ensure a syllabus, simply mail your check made out to EWGS and marked "Spring Seminar" by April 30th to the address below. Payment will also be taken at the door, but syllabuses are not guaranteed.

P.O. Box 1826
Spokane, Washington 99210-1826

Registration and check-in begins at 9:00 AM. The meeting will begin at 9:30 AM, with the first lecture starting at 10:00. A potluck lunch will be held at 12:15 PM. Members are asked to bring the following items according to their surname (coffee, tea, and water will be supplied):
  • A-F: potato or pasta salad, or rolls and butter
  • G - L: fruit tray or dessert
  • M - P: green salad with dressing or veggie tray with dip
  • R-Z: meat or bean dish or casserole
The last lecture will conclude at 3:30 PM.

Ms. Nuehring was EWGS's featured speaker at the October 2008 workshop and her presentations were met with much enthusiasm. This is a seminar you won't want to miss! For further information, please contact Miriam Robbins Midkiff by phone (484-6759) or e-mail.

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: Indiana

This is the 15th post in a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

Indiana Commission on Public Records, State Archives, Online Indexes - - Naturalizations Records Database; Registry of Negroes and Mulattoes, 1853-54, Clark, Franklin, Orange, Switzerland,and Vigo Counties; Indian Lands Noted On The LaPorte-Winamac Land Office; Governor Oliver P. Morton Telegraph Books; Indiana Soldier's and Sailor's Children's Home; State Supreme Court Cases; Posey County Circuit Court Records; Index to Life Prisoner's Statements: State Prison at Michigan City; Land Office Records and Homestead Awards Database; Internal Improvements Projects: Contracts for Canal Structures, 1930's - 1950's; and Indianapolis-Marion County Employees

Indiana Historical Society Digital Image Collections - - African-American Indiana History, Lincoln Collection, Military History, Notable Hoosiers, Photo Studio and Photographer Collections, Prints, Postcards and Maps, Selected Images of Indiana

Indiana State Library Databases - - biography indexes, cemetery locator, marriage indexes, WWII Servicemen, newspaper indexes, and Marion County Death Index

Hoosier Heritage (Indiana Digital Library Collections) - - serves as a mega-search engine; the list of contributing institutions and their collections can easily be viewed here.

Indiana Memory - - another mega-search engine; the list of contributing institutions and their collections are shown here.


Ball State University Digital Media Repository Collections - - various military groups oral histories (audio and video); campus maps and photos; chapbooks; Indiana county courthouse photograph collection; Delaware County  aerial plat maps; church records and photos; WWII scrapbook; covered bridge photo collection; historic atlases; architectural drawings; women's history collection; digital newspapers; Sanborn Fire Insurance maps (Muncie); WWI posters; WWII films and government publications; and much, much more, documenting life in East Central Indiana

Butler University Digital Image Collections - - include photos, prints, and documents from Butler University Libraries' Special Collections (botanical collections and images from the Indianapolis Free Kindergarten and Children's Aid Society)

DePauw University Libraries Digital Library - - a variety of photographs, publications and other objects spanning the history of DePauw University, Putnam County, and Indiana United Methodism

Earlham College Libraries Special Collections and Archives - - contains digital archives (photos, social justice documents, Quaker works from 17th and 18th centureies, Josiah Parker Papers), college archives, digital Quaker collection; American Friend Obituary Index, and much more

Indiana State University Archives - - finding aids, photographs, yearbooks

Wabash Valley Visions and Voices - - an Indiana State University Project, collaborating with libraries, museums, and educational professionals and focusing on the Wabash Valley region in west central Indiana and east central Illinois. It "contains artifacts, administrative and personal papers, manuscripts, photographs, texts, yearbooks, maps, oral histories, and other audio/video files. Genealogical resources are not included." Although genealogical resources are not included, this simply means birth, marriage, and death records. There's plenty here to interest the family historian. Be sure to check out the Browse and Special Collections links.

Indiana University Digital Library Program - - university records, faculty council and board of trustees minutes, legislative reports, photo and film collections, art and music collections, Indiana Authors, Indiana Magazine of History (1905 to the present, searchable index), U.S. Steel Gary Works Photo Collection, and much, much more

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) - - Library and University Projects (collections of the intellectual, cultural, and social life of IPFW); Sights and Sounds (audio and video recordings of concerts, lectures, and athlethics); Faculty and Student Research Projects; Northeast Indiana Regional Archives (collections related to the history and culture of northeast Indiana)

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Digital Collections - - includes Muslim American History and Life; German-American cultural organization; Civil War: Governor Morton Telegraph Books; Indiana climate and weather; architectural archives; historic clothing and textile collections; traditional crafts; Crispus Attucks High School Museum (Indianapolis African-American high school yearbooks, newspapers, graduation programs, and historical documents); atlases, maps, plat books, and Sanborn Maps; various photo collections; Indiana historic sites and structures; Indiana Muster War of 1812 Pay and Receipt Rolls; Indianapolis City Directories; military oral histories; rare books; cookbooks; wildflowers and birds of Indiana; medical history

Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) - - a digital collaborative effort highlighting collections of private colleges and universities in Indiana

Purdue University Calumet Photo Galleries -

Purdue University Library e-Archives - -  Amelia Earhart papers, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Collection (industrial management - remember Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes?), Helen Gouger Collection (suffrage); Krannert Alumni Magazine, art, medieval manuscripts, PUrdue atheletics. administrative, history, alumni, buildings, faculty, students, history in print and photos, oral history, university newsreels; Purdue Pharmacist; George Winter writings and paintings (forced relocation of Native Americans from Indiana

University of Indianapolis Krannert Memorial Library Archives Digital Collections - - strong focus on university history, publications, photos, and alumni news

University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries Digital Projects - - Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts; North American Manuscripts (Colonial through American Civil War); Numismatic Collections (coin and currency); and Philatelic Collections (stamps); medieval seals, heraldic dictionary, and bookplate database

Valparaiso University Archives - - yearbooks, presidents' inaugural addresses, photos and history of library building

Vicennes University Digital Collections - - eText collections (online books on university's history), yearbooks, photos


Alexandria Monroe Public Library Obituary Database -

Allen County Community Album - - Historic Center Digital Collections (photos, documents, maps, manuscripts, etc.); Historic Photos Collections; Fort Wayne and Allen County History Collection; Franklin P. Randall Collection; Fire Fighter Photographs; Monroeville/Ternet Collection; Woodburn Historical society (postcards, aerial views, snapshots); A Day in Allen County (photo journals)

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center - - vital records indexes, cemetery records and obituaries, court records, ethnic resources, government records, history records, institutional records, maps, military records, school records, family files, family Bible records, and much more!

Anderson Public Library Indiana Room Databases - - obit index, cemetery database, naturalization records, high school student database, Madison County casualties of WWI and WWII; Madison County Servicemen and Women of WWII

Batesville area Historical Society Photo Gallery -

Bremen Public Library Obituary Index -

Brookston-Prairie Township Public Library Obituaries - - 1986 to 2004

Crawford District Public Library Local History Databases - - Cemeteries of Montgomery County; newspaper index; Guardian's Docket (1825-1874); Hawcreek Church of God Records (1839-1853); 1876 Illustrated Historical State Atlas; postcards and photos; vertical file index; persons and organizations index; marriage affidavits, records, and licenses (1888-2001); Masonic Cemetery Records (1976-2000); Montgomery County magazine; Register of Negroes and Mulattoes (1851-1853); Teachers' Examinations and Contracts (1881-1912); Veteran Cemetery Records; index to vital records in local papers; Waynetown Masonic Cemetery (1862-2008); Yearbooks (1902-present); school staff index; Confederate Veterans burials; index to probate records, and much, much more!

Elkhart Public Library Local History - - obituary index, and local history index to Elkhart Truth

Evansville Public Library - Obituary Database: (early 1900s to present) and Local History Database:,1,1,B/l856~1525770&FF=&1,0,,1,0

Fayette County Public Library Connersville High School Yearbook Project -

Frankfort Community Public Library - Obituary Database: and Clinton County Archive Project (court records):

Fulton County Public Library Genealogy Databases - - cemetery records, family histories, obituaries, marriage records, county census, telephone directories, births, deaths, poor farm records, newspaper excerpts, school enumerations, biographies, wills, historical trivia

Garret Public Library Obituary Database - 

Hannah Lindahl Children's Museum and Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library Archives - - online photo archive and school enumeration records (1901-1924)

Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library - - "the digitized collection of local writer Joan Lyons' newspaper articles on the rich oral history of the Zionsville community"

Jackson County Public Library History and Picture Archive  - - photos and digitized books

Howard County Memory Project - - cemeteries, Continental Steel files, court records, yearbooks, local history (African-American life, church records, funeral home records, funeral notices, long-term lovers, Norman Bridwell, Ryan White), maps, newspaper collection, Ryan White Files, vital records (death mortality schedules, general vital records)

Kokomo-Howard County Public Library - - check out the links to Databases, History, and Images. There is some overlap with the Howard County Memory Project.

Madison-Jefferson County Public Library Harry Lemen Historic Photo Collection -

Michigan City Public Library - - Local History Texts Online, Obituary Index, Historic Slide Collection Index, Oral History Tapesac

Monroe County Public Library Indiana Room - - 1930 Census Index of Monroe County, Civil War Regiments, coroner's reports (1896-1935), local newspapers index (1985-2005); obituary index; oral history files index; yearbook index (search by name for faculty, staff, and students)

Morgan County Public Library - - census records, 1890 enrollment of soldiers, land sales from U.S. Government

Morrisson-Reeves Library Digital Collections - - Clarence Morrow Photographs (1890s area photos); Richmond Aviation History; library history; Richmond and Wayne County postcards; Singin' Sam (music collection); and Wayne County Historical Texts - also check out their Local History Index (non-digital)

Muncie Public Library, Delaware County Record Search - - cemetery, court, and funeral home records; obituaries, deeds, and wills

New Albany-Floyd County Public Library Indiana Room - - newspaper index, historical images, local history, historical sites, local military history, river heritage, biographies (including African-American vignettes), geographic info, crime, diaries and correspondence, oral history; each of these topics has a clever title, such as "A Very Fine House" for historical sites and "Trouble With a Capital T" for local crime history

North Madison County Public Library System Indiana Room- - articles, artifacts, photos, obituaries, maps, books (library catalog)

Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library - - cemetery records, family history index, Hendricks County Government Archive Scans, county marriage certificates and records, biography index, military records, obituaries

River to Rail - - The Rise and Fall of River and Rail Transportation in Madison, Indiana; a digital history project by the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library and the Jefferson County Historical Society; images and history

St. Joseph County Public Library Local and Family History Databases - - 1875 County Atlas, 1910 Elks Convention Book, 1910 South Bend YMCA Book, 1936 County Platbook, Obituary Index (1913-present), Service Notes Index (military)

Starke County Public Library Historic Photos and Documents - - school photos, phone books and city directories, maps, church photos, old advertisements, family history, local history, WWII, oral histories, plus the current newsletter and local historical links

Sullivan County Public Library - - obituary index (1929-present); Obit, Obsequies, Death Notices Index (1870-1905); Marriage Returns Index (1882-1899); Coroner Inquests; Will Books Index (1850-1930)

Switzerland County School Corporation Vevay Newspapers - - 1840, 1853-1901

Tippecanoe County Historical Association - - history, photos

Vigo County Public Library Archives - - local history books online, oral history projects, marriage and obituaries

Wakarusa Public Library Historical Room Collection - - articles, artifacts, photos, obituaries, maps, family history books

Wells County Public Library Indiana Room - - cemetery index, obituar index (1866-2000)

Willard Library of Evansville Online Resources - - photo and postcard galleries, indexes of biographies, churches, companies, high school photos, marriages, ministers, newspapers, radio scripts


Friday, April 16, 2010


I need to do a few shout outs to some awesome people:

Leslie Albrecht Huber mentioned AnceStories as one of the "15 Genealogy Blogs You Need to Read" in the April 2010 issue of Discovering Family History (one of my favorite genealogy magazines!). Thank you so much for the kind words, Leslie!

Pat of Genealogy Gals and Mavis of Conversations with My Ancestors were two more people who kindly awarded me the Ancestors Approved Award. Thank you, ladies!

Thank you so much for thinking of me, and for your patience in my public acknowledgment of your thoughtfulness!

Funeral Card Friday: Ruth June (GOOD) DeVRIES ANDERSON

Funeral card of Ruth June Anderson, Grand Rapids, Michigan, citing death on 27 February 1998; DeVries Family Papers, digitized and privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. This item was passed from the estate of Adrian and Ruth (Hoekstra) DeVries to their granddaughter, Miriam Robbins Midkiff in 2008.

Ruth June (GOOD) DeVRIES ANDERSON was married to Benjamin J. DeVRIES, whose funeral card was highlighted last week. They married in 18 January 1936 in Mattoon, Cole Co., Illinois. After Uncle Ben died in 1966, Aunt Ruth married Lester ANDERSON, who also preceded her in death. Although not cited in the card itself, the funeral took place 3 March 1998, according to Ruth's obituary. Because my maternal grandmother, Ruth Lillian (HOEKSTRA) VALK DeVRIES was married to Ben's brother Adrian, it meant there were at two Ruth DeVRIESes living in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

Thanks to Dee Akard Welborn for this great Friday theme!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Special Offer on Casefile Clues

I've been a subscriber for some time now to Michael John Neill's Casefile Clues. Last November, I wrote the following review, which is just as pertinent today:
Every week, I receive a copy of Casefile Clues in my email as a .pdf attachment. Each newsletter is about eight or nine pages long and focuses on a distinct research strategy and its process, whether it is determining if an individual with the "wrong" name in a census is actually the individual whom you are seeking; knowing when a record has missing information and why; or understanding whether it is time to hire a professional and exactly what you should ask him or her to research. Going to the Casefile Clues website provides document images and links that correspond with each newsletter.

There are several reasons I'm excited about Casefile Clues. First, it doesn't matter if you are someone who prefers offline research over online, or vice versa. Casefile Clues newsletters are timeless in that the strategies they offer can be used for any type of research, including ethnic records. The information is not going to change in three months! Another point is the focus I've seen on court and land records (although he discusses all record groups), areas in which I feel I am an "advanced beginner," having read a lot about these records but not having as much experience as I'd like in them. I'm looking forward to delving further into these record groups. The third reason I enjoy Casefile Clues is one I've seen listed in other bloggers' reviews: reading these newsletters is causing me to reexamine my own lines with a different focus. I'm very excited about this, as I have been working on some brickwall ancestors for the past couple of months and am now starting to chip away at some of the obstacles, just by the inspiration and tips I've received from Michael's writings!

A year's subscription--52 issues--is normally $17.00. However, in the next 24 hours, Casefile Clues is being offered for a discount of $14.50! Take advantage of this special offer now!

(if the button is not visible, please click here)

[Disclosure: Although I am a subscriber to Casefile Clues, I have not been compensated monetarily in any way for this review or for posting this special offer.]

Sunday, April 11, 2010

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: Illinois

This is the 14th post in a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

Illinois State Archives - - online databases include Public Domain Land Tract Sales, Illinois Servitude and Emancipation Records, Illinois Veterans (11 sub-databases under this category!), Statewide Marriage Index (1763-1900), Statewide Death Indexes (Pre-1916 and 1916-1950), Federal Township Plats of Illinois,as well as many county record indexes held by various Illinois universities. You can search all databases at once by using the Global Database Search!

Illinois Digital Archives - - community histories, historical documents (including Lincoln and WWII), community images, newspapers, state blue books, state constitution, aerial photographs, museum collections, county genealogical resources, maps, and cemetery records

Digital Illinois - - some overlap with the Illinois Digital Archives content; also includes postcards, yearbooks, telephone directories, political cartoons, French WWI posters, and German emblem books. NOTE: Images from Digital Past (http://www.digitalpast.og) have recently been moved to Digital Illinois, since Digital Past is now a victim of reduced funding for Illinois libraries and library systems. So far the metadata has not been updated, but the images are available to browse.Thank you to reader Sonia for this update.

Illinois Alive! - - Early Illinois Heroes and Heroines: A Multimedia Montage - photos and stories

Illinois Harvest - - "a free public gateway combining search, aggregation, and discovery services. We provide organized and thematic access to digitized and born-digital resources about Illinois, created by Illinois scholars, and from the digital collections of The University of Illinois Library." Use to search many of the collections listed in this blog post.

Illinois Periodicals Online - - 11 publications listing archived to current issues

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Oral History Program - - "dedicated to preserving the stories and memories of Illinois' citizens, not just those of the famous and prominent among us, but of people from all walks of life."


Augustana College Thomas Tredway Library Special Collections - - student newspaper (1902-present), college photos, historic images showcasing the Mississippi River region along the Iowa/Illinois border, Civil War diaries, early pioneer biographies, farm life, Native Americans, postcards, transportation, and more

Benedictine University Library Archives and Special Collections - - alumni directory (1887 - 1937), photos, videos, museum collection

Columbia College Chicago Digital College Archives - - history of the college with timeline, list of presidents, building histories, and honorary degree recipients; oral history college, 1893 course catalog, 1951 publicity brochure, alumni publications, and links to images on Flikr

DePaul University Libraries Digital Collection - - includes photots of university buildings (1907-present); photos of 200 historical buildings in Chicago's Lincoln Park Community (residences, commercial sites, and churches); digitized documents from the Lincoln Park Conservation Association and other Lincoln Park neighborhood collections held in the DePaul University Archives (1950s-present); postcards depicting the pictorial history of the spirituality and mission of the Vincentians (including hospitals, churches, and seminaries)

Eastern Illinois University Booth Library Digital Collections - - Art and Architecture in Illinois Libraries; Booth Library Postcard Collections; history of theatrical performance in downstate Illinois; yearbook (1919-1927); and historic photos pertaining to the university

Knox College Special Collections and Archives - - includes Lombard College scrapbook and history (established 1858 by the Universalist Church, but did not survive the Depression); photos of the 77th Illinois Volunteers; Blacks in Galesburg, 54th Massachusetts Infantry; Knox College history and more

Illinois Institute of Technology Archives Exhibits and Collections - - Charles Warner Pierce Collection (first African-American to receive a degree in Chemical Engineering); history of the Institute; digitized school newspapers

Illinois State University Milner Library Digital Collections - - database of images for the study and teaching of art, design, and visual culture; university history (photos, campus history books, board proceedings, Founders Day videos); Child Art digital image collection

Illinois Wesleyan University Argus Collection - - university newspaper, 1894-2003

Lewis University Canal and Regional History Special Collections - - digital images and documents highlighting the Illinois and Michigan Canal

Loyola University Chicago Women and Leadership Digital Collections - - social justice collection; Mundelein College student newspaper and college foundations collection

North Central College Chronicle -

North Park University Digital Collections - - historical photos; Swedish American Historical Quarterly

Northern Illinois University Libraries Illinois Historical Digitization Projects - -  info on prairie fires, Lincoln historical digitization project, Illinois during the Civil War, Illinois during the Gilded Age

Northwestern University Library Digital Collections - - click on the Duigital Collections link (Digital Image Library is for faculty use only)

Northwestern University Library - McCormick Library of Special Collections - - some digital collections listed; mostly art

Parkland College Library Archives - - online historical exhibit and slideshow

Roosevelt University Oral History Project in Labor History - - transcriptions of oral history interviews with Roosevelt founders and labor movement leaders

Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) Morris Library Digitized Collections - - student newspaper, university history, yearbooks, faculty papers, photo collections; Mordecai Garelik Collection (over 800 scene designs, costume renderings and illustrations by Broadway designer Mordecai Gorelik)

University of Chicago Library Digital Collections - - photos, Chicago's World's Fair, Chopin Early Editions, Enrico Fermi Collection, historical material documenting the Ohio River Valley (1750 - 1820), University centennial exhibitions, and much more

University of Illinois (Chicago) Library Special Collections Photography and Digital Images - - "100 years of photographs covering the development of the Health Sciences Center, the Chicago Undergraduate Division at Navy Pier, Chicago Circle Campus, and the University of Illinois"

University of Illinois (Springfield) Digital, Historical, Oral and Other Collections - - commencement programs, photos, student newspapers, local history resources, manuscripts, Railway Quarterly photo collection, oral histories, oustanding student masters's theses, Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln

University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) Library Digital Services and Development - - digital film archive, historical maps, and some overlap with digital websites listed above

Wabash Valley Visions and Voices - - an Indiana State University Project, collaborating with libraries, museums, and educational professionals and focusing on the Wabash Valley region in west central Indiana and east central Illinois. It "contains artifacts, administrative and personal papers, manuscripts, photographs, texts, yearbooks, maps, oral histories, and other audio/video files. Genealogical resources are not included." Although genealogical resources are not included, this simply means birth, marriage, and death records. There's plenty here to interest the family historian. Be sure to check out the Browse and Special Collections links.

Western Illinois University Digital Image Collection - - "Images in this database come from all corners of the WIU Archives and Special Collections sixteen county collection area, with a special emphasis placed upon Western Illinois University, the City of Macomb, and McDonough County. "


Barrington Area Library Barrington Review - 

Chicago History Museum Online Resources - - online catalog, Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago, Chicago Daily News photo database (1902-1933)

Chicago Imagebase - - this is a "project aimed at enhancing knowledge about the built environment of the Chicago region. On this site you will find a wide variety of images and other data along with information on how to use this data to study the city." Includes maps, photos, and indexes.

Chicago Public Library Digital Collections - - various image collections highlighting the history of Chicago; includes Civil War and the Chicago Examiner

Cook County Clerk's Office - Genealogy Online - - indexes to birth certificates (75+ years), marriage licenses (50+ years), and death certificates (20+ years)

Curt Teich Postcard Archives - - images of more than 10,000 towns and cities in North America and in many foreign countries; one of the nation's largest collections of Route 66, Lincoln Highway and other travel-related images; over 100,000 job files for the postcards produced by the Teich Company;  365,000 postcards that are computer-cataloged under more than 2,100 subject headings

Homicide in Chicago - - Chicago Police Department Homicide Record Index, 1870 - 1930; interactive database, historical contex, publications, and interviews

Lake County History Archives - - "More than 1,400 postcard views of Lake County towns and resorts; and over 200 postcard views of the former U.S. Army base at Fort Sheridan; Large photographic collection of Lake County schools, farms, residences, and individuals; and over 2,000 photographs of Fort Sheridan; Plat maps dating from 1861 showing land ownership in Lake County; School Collection including 52 separate one-room school histories written in 1918, and township school records with finances and minutes of school board meetings from 1841-1962."

Lake Forest College Digitized Railroad Collection - - Chicago Rail Maps (1848-1910), Paddock Images; North Shore Line images

Peoria Public Library - City Cemetery/Public Graveyard Data - - burials moved from City Cemetery to Springdale Cemetery; City Ordinance governing City cemetery; Sales Records, 1851; Plat Map of City Cemetery

Skokie Historical Society Document, Map, and Photograph Collections - - "several thousand photographs that depict the life and times of the people who settled and lived in the village of Niles Center/Skokie"

Village of Chatham Cemetery Search -


Friday, April 09, 2010

Funeral Card Friday: Benjamin J. DeVRIES

Funeral card of Benjamin J. DeVries, Grand Rapids, Michigan, citing services on 26 February 1966; DeVries Family Papers, digitized and privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. This item was passed from the estate of Adrian and Ruth (Hoekstra) DeVries to their granddaughter, Miriam Robbins Midkiff in 2008.

Benjamin J. "Uncle Ben" DeVRIES was my mother's paternal (step) uncle, oldest sibling of my (step) grandfather, Adrian DeVRIES. The yellowing on the interior of the funeral card is from the obituary having been stored within the card for over 40 years; a serious reminder to all of us to store newspaper away from other documents and photos and to spray clippings with a stabilizing agent, such as Bookkeeper deacidification spray.

Thanks to Dee Akard Welborn for this great Friday theme!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Allen County Public Library Historical Texts on the Internet Archive

Surely by now you know of the Internet Archive...a great place to read and download out-of-copyright historical texts, as well as access obsolete websites.

And surely by now--as a genealogist--you have heard of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which has one of the largest genealogical collections on the continent.

But did you know that many of these historical and genealogical texts from ACPL are being scanned and uploaded to the Internet Archive, so that the public can view them for free? You may not be able to take a trip to Fort Wayne, but you can visit via the power of the World Wide Web! can set up a feed on your feed aggregate such as Google Reader, Bloglines, etc. to view each and every book that is uploaded to the Internet Archive from the ACPL!  The feed link is here. (New to Google Reader or Bloglines? There are wonderful online free video tutorials for each which you can view here or here.)

Since adding this feed to my Google Reader, I have come across several genealogical books about my family lines, including one on Elder John Strong of Massachusetts. As the webmaster for the Online Historical Directories website, I can also keep an eye on historical directories that get uploaded.

Try it out!

Thanks to Taneya Koonce of Taneya's Genealogy Blog, who has been so faithful in sending me links to online directories at the Internet Archive!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Illinois Archives and Databases Post Delayed

Due to the busy holiday weekend, which--besides a trip out of town and family time--included a genealogical society board meeting and general meeting, my Illinois Archives and Databases post has been delayed.

The good news is that there are many, many, wonderful links, and that is why it has been taking so long to put together...I can't wait to finish it and publish all this great information!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Greetings

Ole Lerfald, unknown location to Rena Lerfald, Glendive, Montana, postcard, undated, unstamped and unpostmarked. Lerfald-Westaby Postcard Collection, digitized and privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. Original collection privately held by Troy W. Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Vancouver, Washington. 2010.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award

I have been honored and blessed to be the recipient of the Ancestor Approved Award from three five six fellow geneabloggers:

Denise Levinick of The Family Curator
Kelly McNeill of Family History Fun and

The Ancestor Approved Award asks that the recipient list ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlighted you and pass the award along to ten other bloggers who you feel are doing their ancestors proud.

Here are ten things I've learned about my ancestors:

1. My 4th-great-grandfather Uzza ROBBINS was hung after he poisoned his second wife and attempted to poison her adult daughter. There's a lot more to this story, and maybe I just ought to write it up!

2. While both my parents are from Michigan, as their ancestors were for many, many generations, my maternal grandmother, her parents and both sets of grandparents lived here in Washington State (albeit on the West side) for a time in the 1920s. While most of the family eventually returned to Michigan, one set of her grandparents remained in the Pacific Northwest.

3. For years, I thought one of my 3rd-great-grandfather's brothers had died in Washington, DC and was buried in Arlington Cemetery. They were both Civil War vets from Pennsylvania who had moved to Michigan and the story was passed down that Benson had "died in Washington and was buried in Arlington." Imagine my surprise at yet another Washington State connection when I discovered that Benson had died in Washington State and was buried in the city of Arlington, Washington!

4. And in still another surprising Washington State connection, I found out that yet another brother to Benson and my ancestor had lived in Stevens County to the north of me after moving west from Michigan. I found his 1916 obituaries printed in both my local newspaper in Spokane and in the newspaper my parents read in Stevens County!

5. My maternal (step) grandfather was a brilliant man whose IQ was definitely in the genius range. He attended the same high school that Gerald R. Ford did in Grand Rapids, Michigan (a few years behind the future president), and actually skipped at least one grade because he was so bright. When he graduated high school, he didn't immediately go to college. He worked hard and saved money to attend the University of Michigan one year at a time. He never completed college because he ended up loaning his parents money they desperately needed (this was during the Depression), and then World War II came along. After the war, he married my divorced grandmother (a social no-no in conservative West Michigan), raised my mother as his own, and had two children with Grandma. He treated all three children equally and willed his estate equally among them. He invested well and even though he lost money during the dotcom bubble burst, this man who lived very frugally in an older middle-class neighborhood died with a small fortune to his name. Definitely one of the Greatest Generation!

6. My paternal grandfather was a hard working man who left high school after 10th grade to support his parents during the Depression (his father suffered frequent illnesses from his service during WWI). He also served during WWII, and after the war, bought land at the edge of town to build a home and business (body shop). He and my grandmother raised five children and countless foster children. They took in at least one of his younger siblings for a while, and also employed his father and his brothers in his body shop. He loved children and worked a church summer camps for years. Although he made a working class salary, he and my grandmother managed to take family road trips all over the country to see famous historical and geographical sites. When he was 67 years old, he completed his high school education and received his diploma (I have one of his notebooks from his classes). Another one of the Greatest Generation!

7. My 2nd-great-grandmother on mother's side, Jennie (TON) HOEKSTRA, was the daughter of Dutch immigrants. Both her parents died young and she ended up working as a washer woman at about 10 years of age. She had a very hard life with her step-father who married again soon after her mother died, so she lived with an uncle and aunt. She never had more than a 3rd grade education and she married my 2nd-great-grandfather who could be a bit of a tyrant. She is one of those ancestors I think about whenever I'm tempted to whine about my "hard" life!

8. Although not a direct ancestor, I'm inspired by the life of my grandaunt, Barbara Dorothy VALK. A missionary to various countries in Central Africa, she remained single so that she could be an independent woman. Her amazing story can be read here.

9. I always thought of my great-grandmother, Marie (LEWIS) ROBBINS, as simply a homemaker, raising five children during the Depression, cooking, gardening, and sewing. But I discovered that she was much more three-dimensional than that! She was a charter member of the American Legion Auxiliary in Conklin, Michigan, and served as its first president. She also ran a gift shop to help support the family (her husband suffered illness from serving during WWI) and I found an advertisement for it in one family member's high school yearbook!

10. Another amazing female ancestor was my 2nd-great-grandmother, Mary E. "Mae" McARTHUR. She had the courage to leave her abusive husband (who came from a locally prominent family) in 1904. It cost her so much, because she was only allowed to take her daughter with her, while her two sons were raised by her husband. It must have been heart-wrenching not to be able to take her sons with her, and even harder over the years to watch them as they both led hard lives, the youngest (my great-grandfather) ending up in prison a couple of times.

And now, a list of 10 fellow geneabloggers who are deserving of this award:

1. Apple of Apple's Tree
3. Jessica of Jessica's Genejournal
4. Lisa of 100 Years in America (and other blogs)
5. Evelyn of A Canadian Family
6. Jennifer of But Now I'm Found
9. J.M. of Tracing My Roots