Carol Sanderson, Editor
Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor
Newsletter Archives | E-mail
October 1st was our local genealogical society fall workshop held at the Corbin Community Center. The week before I had gotten a research request for information on Louisa Corbin, the first wife of Daniel Corbin who owned the house that now houses the Corbin Community Center. Daniel Corbin built most of the railroads in the Spokane area and when he died was one of the richest men in our area.
The workshop consisted of 13 topics arranged in five blocks, so for each block, you had to choose to which topic you wanted to go. The first block consisted of a demonstration of the Clooz program for genealogists or writing a Family History, and since I have written my Family History already, and am still updating it, I choose the Clooz demonstration.
Clooz is a program that allows you to collect data on people that may be your ancestors and when you have entered the data, you can sort in many ways. One of the tips was to enter photos you do not know who is in the photo and when sorted by date and place it may help you figure out who is in the photo.
The next block is why I really do not like this type of workshop. I really would have liked to go to at least two of these sessions. There were three from which to choose. The first one was on the Family History Library Catalog On-line and in Person. Second choice was Vital Records, Birth, Death and Marriage. I chose the last one, on Probates: More than a Will, but I really wanted to go to the vital records one also.
Probates are very interesting, and the teacher showed several examples of probates she has collected over the years and the wonderful information included in them. One tip was that probates might be filed in a county where the person owned land and not necessarily, where they lived. She had one ancestor who lived all his life in Lincoln County here in Washington, but owned land in Douglas County also in Washington. The probate was filed in Douglas County.
The next block contained News and Notices: Gleaning from Newspapers on newspaper research, Where's the Dirt?, on land records, and Tombstones & Cemeteries: A Visual Look. I probably should have done the land records, but a close friend did the tombstones session so I did that one.
My friend lived for a while in Boston. She started out with pictures from the first cemetery in Boston, and the sad condition of this very historic cemetery, and went on to show more cemeteries from New England and even some from New Orleans before Katrina. The last pictures were from some of the cemeteries in the Spokane area. Next was lunch and after lunch another block.
This session had the choice of 52 Card Pickup: Is That How Your Note Keeping Looks. or Queries: More to Letter Writing than Licking The Stamp. Since I answer many queries, I picked that one. Before I went to the query session I was reading the outline for the 52 Card Pickup session and a very interesting part was mentioned of a very interesting Codicil that could be added to your will. This would request that none of your genealogical information you had collected be destroyed, and that your executor find someone to take custody of the materials, books, etc., you had collected. It also suggested people to check with first, and even check with the local genealogical society.
The session on queries started out telling the old way of writing a query to the courthouse, archive, historical society, genealogical society, etc., and how it was better to write what you are looking for concisely and to the point as few people are interested in your whole family. While the internet has changed almost everything, queries should still come to the point quickly.
The last block was City Directories: Line By Line & Year By Year or The Proof is in the Pudding: Citing Your Sources, and again I wanted to go to both, but finally picked the City Directories. It was very interesting as the teacher followed the Brown family from 1932 to 1947 in our city directories, showing what could be found out from these directories. She also showed what the abbreviations meant and then the possibility of which Brown's were related. Then she checked the 1930 census and confirmed many of the relationships.
It is always good to review the basics. Just reviewing them may help you punch a hole in your brick wall. Local workshops are always a great way to learn.
The resource I am writing about this month is one that has been in existence for a very long time. There are those who think of using it but only if they can go to it in person. There are those who don't even think of it. The resource has many things that a genealogist is looking for online. The resource is the Library of Congress. Its history in itself would be a good story.
It was founded in 1800 by Congress to be a research facility for them as they went about their duties of governing this country. The library was housed in the Capitol building and when the British burned that building during the War of 1812, they destroyed the small library. To re-establish the library Thomas Jefferson offered to sell them his own personal library which was a very extensive one with many areas of interest covered. Congress voted to accept his offer and purchased it for over $23,000 dollars. The mission statement for the Library echoes what Jefferson said in offering his collection to the United States. It was:
"I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer."
As the collection grew, the librarians in charge have included materials from all sorts of things and today this library is known for being the largest in the world. Scholars from around the world come here to use the materials found there. The Library has some information online and there are several pages that will give you leads to others sources off line and online. The entire website is well worth exploring but for those interested in genealogy once you get to the site you néed to click on researchers in the resource menu on the page. From there, you want to click on research centers in the research tools menu and then on Local History and Genealogy in the General Collections menu.
It would be to ones advantage to explore the whole site but even more after you reach the genealogy areas. After having done that, you will at least know some of what The Library of Congress may hold for you. They also have connecting links to other libraries that you may néed to use.
With more and more data being put online, this is a good way to find more for which one is searching. Keep the Library of Congress on your list of places to look. It is a good resource.