Friday, August 1, 2014

Follow Friday: Godfrey Library Blog

  I often see questions come up on genealogy listservs about the Godfrey Scholar and the genealogy resources they offer. What's the best way to find out? Turns out they have a blog. Check out their new updates at

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Those places Thursday: Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut

   Researching Polish genealogy in Connecticut can be a major challenge. Most immigrants arrived in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and while they "made" the census, they may have left few other records of their lives. Most were Catholic industrial workers. In cities, you'll have better luck. Catholic churches were established by about 1910, so church records become an option. City directories and newspapers may provide more details. Small towns are much more of a challenge. Most of these options simply don't exist.
   If you or your family is from the New Britain area, you may have another option for research: the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut. While the society's records are strongest for Poland, they do provide surname connections to other researchers. It's worth a try.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Did you know Connecticut had a precursor to Lewis and Clark?

    At least according to Bill McDonald. Peter Pond was a native of Milford and a western trader. He was one of the early explorers, although he was never recognized for his achievements. It's an interesting story, and one I knew nothing about. Read more about Pond on McDonald's site here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Those Places Thursday: Tracing Your English Ancestors

  Sometime the "oldies" are the best sources. I was recently asked about British genealogy, which I know almost nothing about. I followed my usual procedure of reviewing any genealogy book I could find in my local library. This is how I discovered Colin D. Rogers's Tracing Your English Ancestors: A Manual for Anaylsing and Solving Genealogical Problems, 1538 to the Present. It's an "oldie" (dating from 1989)but delves thoroughly into the available sources, possible problems with these sources, and how to overcome them. You can easily skip the outdated sections - and many resources are now available online. I would highly recommend the read!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Francois Weil Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America

   I finally managed to finish Francois Weil's Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America. I've heard many critiques of the books, as well as many positive reviews. I'd been waiting to read it myself for quite a while.
  Everything said and done, the book was an interesting read. Although it is not presented as such, the book functions as a history of genealogy in white, English America. Family Trees is strongest in its initial analysis. The book convincingly places the average 18th and 19th century genealogy effort within America's efforts to define itself: was the country to be white, European, aristocratic? It falls apart in the later sections. Weil suddenly jumps from European genealogy to the study of Roots. He also adds in a discussion of the professionalism of genealogy - a touchy subject in modern genealogical discussion. Begin the book as a colonial history, rather than a true history of genealogy, and you will enjoy it much more.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tech Tuesday: Ancestry Family Trees

  I've heard all the debate about trees: they make it too easy to copy bad information, people will add whatever they want, etc. Only rarely do I hear the good comment - that they offer great hints.
  I've been doing some research in a new region lately and had hit a brick wall. I always check Ancestry just in case. I figure that it never hurts... Well, surprise, surprise, a public tree referenced a publication on a family that sounds like it will be a huge help. Since I don't research in this region, I never would have checked that journal. What fantastic luck!
  The longer I research, the more open I become to open-ended searches. I've found graves in other countries than expected - and this time, a set of vital records that wasn't supposed to exist.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Those Places Thursday: Wadsworth Mansion, Middletown

  I've already talked extensively about Wadsworth Mansion, so I"ll save a reprise. But if you're related, take a look at their blog. It's a fun view into the new "life" of this historic home. And yes, historic buildings do not have to be replaced to be modernized...