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41January Genealogy Notes -- Next Meeting Feb. 19

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    Feb 9, 2006
      A few quick items before the January notes ... Root Cellar, the Sacramento
      Genealogical Society, is hosting a day-long spring seminar on Saturday, March
      25. The featured speaker is Dr. John Phillip Colletta, author of "They Came in
      Ships" and other books. If memory serves, Lester Smith has heard him speak
      at several conferences and raved about his presentations.

      Cost for the seminar is $27 if you sign up before March 1 ... complete
      details and a registration form are available online at www.rootcellar.org.

      - - - - - - - - -
      And here's a Web site I discovered today that may have information on your
      family members. You may recall learning about the Homestead Act of 1862
      providing up to 160 acres of land. The federal Bureau of Land Management has a name
      index to homestead claims from 1820 to 1908 at www.glorecords.blms.gov. Click
      on "Search Land Patents" at top left. I typed in only a last name and found
      two relatives with 1883 and 1891 purchases in California. Although an
      electronic image wasn't available for these, I understand some are and apparently you
      can get the extensive application the claimant filled out. I've included the
      text of a Vancouver, WA newspaper column on this at the end of this e-mail.

      Notes from January 22, 2006 JGSS Meeting

      Vice President Burt Hecht called the meeting to order and asked members and
      guests to introduce themselves and their areas of research. President Mark
      Heckman was in Los Angeles, where he had been invited to present talks on
      choosing genealogical software and making your own family history video.

      Allan Bonderoff presented the treasurer's report -- with the recent
      collecting of 2006 dues, there is now $1,234.58 in our account.

      Burt gave an overview of upcoming meetings: Barbara Leak will speak Sunday,
      February 19 on the GenSmart software program which allows you to organize data
      and photos. It can apparently be added on to any Family Tree-type program.

      On March 19, we'll have a genealogy "round robin," giving everyone a chance
      to bring their questions, roadblocks and successes to the group. Take advantage
      of our members' expertise and join our "share-athon."

      In April, David Hoffman will talk about the Grand Duchy of Lichtenstein.

      It was noted that longtime member Lester Smith had recently suffered a stroke
      but was now recovering at home. Calls and cards would be appreciated.

      January Speaker: Joyce Buckland

      Joyce Buckland, area genealogist, was our January speaker. Her topic was
      the British and Canadian censuses. She said she has greater familiarity with
      the British data but will share information on both with us.

      For England, the Internet is the place to do the research, she said. But
      just because you find something, it doesn't mean it's so, unless it's the
      original record. You want to prove that the information you find is accurate.

      In England and Wales, they handed out census forms to families, who were to
      record everyone in the household that night. If they didn't fill them out, the
      census enumerator would do it for them. The government then had the forms
      transcribed and the original forms destroyed.

      The major censuses now available to the public begin with 1841 and continue
      every ten years through 1901, although there are some censuses that were taken
      before 1841. The census has to be 100 years old to be released. The censuses
      are at http://census.pro.gov.uk/ ; Ancestry's Web site (ancestry.com) has those
      from 1851 to 1901, completely indexed. (Joyce noted that most were indexed in
      India or Pakistan, which has led to some errors she's found in her own family

      Joyce said British census records can be obtained by interlibrary loan from
      the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, and the FHC in Los Angeles has a
      complete collection of census records except for 1901. The records are sorted
      by locality.

      Except for 1841, the same census questions were asked in each of the census
      years, Joyce said. "It's kind of like British food, a little boring."

      Joyce said when you search a village, search the whole village. You're
      likely to find other relatives. And you can use the census records to go further
      back -- she found the grandfather of a relative listed along with his place of
      birth, allowing her to go back two generations.

      Family Records Center, London
      1 Myddleton Street
      London, EC 1

      Since 1997, all civil registration records and census records are located
      here. There is also access to Scottish archives. Among the records is an 1881
      index for those on vessels at the time of the census.

      Joyce makes use of the CD collection of British census records at the Family
      History Center, which she accesses through Family Search. This can also be
      done through Ancestry.com for a fee. (These Ancestry records are indexed and
      you can view and print out the original documents. Ancestry also allows you to
      click on "view other family members.")

      Joyce said Rootsweb (www.rootsweb.com) also has a census site, FreeCEN. They
      are seeking volunteers to help transcribe census records and put them on line.

      Joyce distributed a list of 20 Web sites for English and Welsh genealogy

      With regard to emigration from England to Canada, they didn't keep passenger
      lists until 1890. There is a Web site for immigrant ships --

      With regards to the Canadian census, various early censuses are available
      depending on the province or territory. For example, a census from 1666 and
      1167 is available for Quebec; the western provinces didn't have censuses taken
      until later.

      Through the National Archives in Ottawa, you can obtain film of the existing
      censuses, also available through interlibrary loan.

      Joyce said the most recent census to become available, that of 1911, is "a
      nuisance to search" and very difficult to read. It is found at
      http://data4.collectionscanada.ca or you can simply do a Google search for the 1911
      Canadian census. The version on Ancestry.com is apparently slightly enhanced. It
      lists everybody else in the household and you can save the document images to
      file to work on enhancing them.

      Joyce also mentioned that there was an agricultural census taken in 1861,
      which includes interesting information such as what the individuals grew, what
      kinds of possessions they had on hand (62 yards of flannel, etc.).

      The 1871 census is the only more recent one to be indexed, but only for the
      province of Ontario.

      Border crossings are another source of records. Often called the St. Albans
      records, for the St. Albans crossing from Canada into Vermont, there are also
      records from other areas filed under that name. Joyce suggests also checking
      records for Detroit and Vancouver crossings.

      Joyce also mentioned three books of interest:

      "My Ancestors Were Jewish," by Isobel Mordy
      "Jewish Ancestors -- Beginner's Guide to Jewish Genealogy," by the Jewish
      Genealogical Society of Great Britain (and in our library)
      "Genealogical Resources Within the Jewish Home and Family, " Rosemary

      Judy Persin mentioned that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) records
      for Great Britain might be another source of information. Burt Hecht noted that
      city directories in Canada are also a useful tool.

      Art Yates mentioned that many of the county names in Canada have changed
      since 1911, becoming amalgamated counties, so researchers should be aware of that.

      Joyce noted that along with the National Archives in Canada, there are
      provincial archives.

      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

      In business items, Art Yates noted that he attended the recent Sacramento
      council meeting of genealogy groups -- Barbara Leak (our February speaker) will
      remain as president, vice president is Pam Dallas. He also mentioned that
      there will only be one bus trip organized in 2006 to the Sutro Library/San Bruno
      National Archives; it will be sometime in October.

      - - - - - - - - - - - -

      President Mark Heckman passed on the details below regarding the annual
      awards given by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.
      Deadline for this year's nominations is April 1.

      Since 1998, the Jewish genealogy community has=20 acknowledged contributions
      by individuals and=20 groups with the annual awards presented by the
      International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. The names of some of the
      awards have=20 changed over the years, but the idea remains constant: to give
      credit and honor where it is due.

      The distinguished list of past winners appears below. To find out how you can
      play a part in choosing this year's winners, see the Call for Nominations at


      (Please be sure to click on each award category for criteria for that award.)

      Lifetime Achievement Award

      2005 - Susan King
      2004 - Warren Blatt
      2003 - Miriam Weiner
      2002 - Stanley Diamond
      2001 - Peter Land
      2000 - Sallyann Amdur Sack
      1999 - Arthur Kurzweil
      1998 - Gary Mokotoff

      Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet, Print or
      Electronic Product

      2005 - Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah
      Victims' Names
      2004 - Alexander Beider, for his contributions
      to the study of the origins and forms of
      proper names and surnames
      2003 - Stephen Morse, in recognition of his
      One-Step research tools
      2002 - JewishGen, in recognition of the Yizkor
      Book Project

      Outstanding Programming or Project
      that Advances the Objectives of Jewish Genealogy

      2005 - JGS of Los Angeles for events and programs
      marking the Society's 25th anniversary
      2004 - David Fox in recognition of the Belarus SIG
      2003 - JGS of Montreal for the Drouin Project
      (indexing the Jewish entries among the
      vital records of Quebec)
      2002 - JGS of Ottawa, in recognition of their
      Chernivtsi Cemetery Project

      Outstanding Publication by an IAJGS Member Society

      2005 - JGS of Greater Philadelphia for its
      newsletter, CHRONICLES
      2004 - JGS, Inc. (New York City) for _Genealogical
      Resources in New York_
      2003 - JGS of Palm Beach County in recognition of
      their Beginners and Intermediate
      Genealogical Workbook
      2002 - JGS of Los Angeles in recognition of
      2001 - Asociacion de Genealogia Judia de Argentina
      in recognition of TOLDOT
      2000 - JGS Society of Michigan in recognition of
      its journal, GENERATIONS
      1999 - Israel Genealogical Society in recognition

      Plus in these older award categories...

      Outstanding Contribution via Print
      2001 - Dan and Rosanne Leeson for their indexes
      of Alsatian Jewish census and vital records 2000 - Miriam Weiner for
      her book _Jewish Roots in
      Ukraine and Moldova_
      1999 - Miriam Weiner for her book _Jewish Roots in
      1998 - JGS of Great Britain for its journal, SHEMOT

      Outstanding Contribution via Electronic Media
      2001 - Nancy Goodstein for the Index of Jewish
      Records in the Family History Library

      Outstanding Contribution via the Internet
      2001 - Michael Tobias for Jewish genealogical
      database development
      2000 - Litvak SIG for the All Lithuania Database
      1999 - Jewish Records Indexing-Poland
      1998 - Susan King

      Outstanding Programming Award
      2001 - JGS of Palm Beach County, recognizing its
      extensive local publicity of Jewish
      Genealogy Month
      2000 - JGS of Greater Washington
      1999 - JGS of Michigan

      Outstanding Project(s) Award
      2001 - JGS, Inc. (New York), recognizing its
      indexes of Brooklyn naturalization records
      and NY area burial societies, and more 2000 - JGS of Canada (Toronto)
      for the Jewish Youth
      Genealogy Project
      1999 - JGS, Inc. (New York) for initiating the
      Jewish Genealogical Family Finder


      Genealogy Today: Filing claims for land yield plenty of info
      Wednesday, February 8, 2006
      CONNIE LENZEN for The Columbian , Vancouver, WA
      In the very early years of the United States, Congress declared it would sell
      or grant the unclaimed lands in "the West" for the common benefit of the
      United States.
      The states created out of the public domain lands were Alabama, Alaska,
      Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
      Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana,
      Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota,
      Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
      Numerous acts of Congress disposed of land in the public domain. There were
      acts for cash sales, donations, homesteads and military warrants for military
      service. In addition, people could apply for land for timber culture and
      The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed native-born or naturalized citizens to
      settle up to 160 acres of public land. They were required to cultivate and to
      reside upon the land for five years. This requirement was later reduced to three
      years. Subsequent acts permitted cash purchase of homesteads.
      The name index to homestead claims is on the Internet at the Bureau of Land
      Management (BLM), www.glo records.blm.gov. From time to time, the Web site goes
      down, but it is up as I write this. If you try the URL and can't get through,
      try later.
      The land claim files created under the Act of 1862 are a gold mine of
      genealogical information. The claimant (called entryman) answered 44 questions.
      These included age, post office address, description of the tract and house,
      date of first residence, number and relationship of family members,
      citizenship, crops and acres under cultivation. A copy of the naturalization papers was
      included if the entryman was foreign born. Two witnesses, usually neighbors,
      had to answer 28 questions about the applicant.
      The National Archives is the custodian of land files and will make copies. A
      request must be made on a form called "National Archives Order for Copies of
      Land Entry Files." By mail, request these from Textual Reference Branch-Land
      (NWDT1), National Archives and Records Administration, Seventh and Pennsylvania
      Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20408. An e-mail request for the form can be made
      to: inquirenara.gov. Include the number of the form (NATF Form 84), your name,
      and your mailing address.
      When you send the form to the archives, the minimum information that you must
      include is: name of claimant, state where land was located, approximate date
      of entry, and legal description (township, range, and section). It is ideal to
      have the serial patent number, final certificate number, and name of land
      office. All of this is found on the BLM Web site.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]