Tag Archives: Genealogy

WEBINAR – Finding Your Women Ancestors in New Jersey Records

Are you trying to research a female ancestor from New Jersey and don’t know where to start?  Regina Fitzpatrick, Genealogy Librarian at the New Jersey State Library will review how to find women in popular New Jersey genealogical collections.  Learn smart research strategies within individual collections and more about collections you may not have thought to check for your ancestor.

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Persist and Prevail: African American Family Achievements

Tracing African American lineage in the United States can be very difficult, especially if one’s ancestors were slaves.  While records were kept listing slaves as property, often times they did not include the name of the slave and if they did, it was only a first name.  Please join us as Muriel “Dee Dee” Roberts and Barbara Riley Polk discuss how a 1938 Works Progress Administration slave narrative helped answer their family questions and expanded their research.  They will also touch on how DNA testing was able to confirm their findings.

Dee Dee is currently serving her 4th year as Secretary and 9th year as Membership Chairperson for the New Jersey Chapter of the Afro–American Historical and Genealogical Society.   She is also a member of the Hudson County Genealogical Society and a charter member of SDUSMP, Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage.

Barbara Riley was a professional librarian for over 40 years and is an amateur historian and a collector of books of the African American experience.  She also volunteers in the Local History Department at the Plainfield Public Library.

 

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Picturing Your Research – Finding, Procuring, and Preserving Images

Did you realize that you have a UNIQUE, never shared before collection of archival materials in your house right now? Your family photos!  Your research can come alive with images, but finding, scanning, and preserving them can be a daunting prospect. In this talk, we’ll look at all three—from the perspective of a designer, photographer, researcher, and archivist (in training). Michelle D. Novak will give us an introduction on how to best scan the images you have, ways to find images in collections to supplement your research, new online resources to help identify those mystery people, and share some tips for protecting the photos and artifacts for future generations. (P.S., It’s her favorite talk and a hot-topic!)

Michelle D. Novak is a brand designer at [MND] (mnd.nyc) which serves finserv, education, and technology clients; genealogist; and teacher. She is a Master of Information student (formerly, MLIS) at Rutgers University in archives and digitization, holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and certificates from Boston University, Gen-Fed, and the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh, among others. Novak is Trustee and Webmaster for the Genealogical Society of Bergen County (GSBC), New Jersey, and a former Trustee of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey (GSNJ). She also serves as Project Administrator for the GSNJ-NJSA New Jersey Early Land Records Project (a joint project between the Genealogical Society of New Jersey and the New Jersey State Archives); Editor of the GSBC’s national award-winning newsletter, The Archivist; and is involved with numerous transcription, indexing, publicity, and digitization projects.

 

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Using Online Polish Archives for Genealogical Research

Elana Broch is an amateur genealogist who has spent much of her research efforts trying to find out about her grandfather, Saul Lichtman, a 1941 Holocaust victim.  Although Lichtman’s birth town (Bilshivtsi) is now in Ukraine, the town (Bolszowce) was Polish until after World War II.  Many Polish records of that era defy the rules of archival provenance and are in the Polish Archives in Warsaw (AGAD).  Her genealogical quest took her to the Polish historical archives in Warsaw in 2018. It was a long way to go to find out that the archival records aren’t freely available.  Fortunately, many of them are available online. Her presentation will focus on Ancestry.com and the Polish archives online at https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/en/strona_glowna.

 

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Genealogical Research Stories: The Basse Class

Thank you all for coming to Basse with me earlier this week! (The verb to Basse, of course, meaning to immerse oneself in all things related to Jeremiah Basse.)  I hope you enjoyed learning more about the genealogy of one of New Jersey’s earliest governors.

During the presentation, we not only reviewed biographical details of Basse family members, but some important resources for colonial New Jersey genealogical research.

Advertisement by Elizabeth Basse after the death of her husband Jeremiah and son-in-law Robert Talbot

The Extracts from American Newspapers Relating to New Jersey can be a gold mine of genealogical information.   Using this resource, I was able to find articles relating to deaths, land sales, and even a marriage announcement for Ann, one of Jeremiah Basse’s daughters.  This series covers 1703-1782, and is available in print both at the New Jersey State Library and the State Archives.  You may also find some of the volumes digitized online.

Colonial New Jersey Deeds are indexed in the Early Land Records Database.  Deeds may trace the history of property ownership or summarize a bequest left in a will.  If family members are selling land together, a deed will also often define the relationship between individuals selling land.  Using deeds, I proved that Katherine Pierce and Ann Pidgeon were sisters and also identified their parents and brother.  I was also able to connect Jeremiah Basse to his mother and some siblings thanks to a deed.

Deed: Ann Pidgeon and Katherine Pierce to William Smith Liber A-C p.370, 1771

I had fun detailing what I learned about the Basse family through my research and share some of the mysteries I still have to unlock.  If you’re curious to learn more about the Basses or need some brainstorming help on your own colonial research, please feel free to e-mail me.

Genealogical Research Stories: The Basse Class

Regina Fitzpatrick, our Genealogy Librarian, has a secret to tell…she has a dead boyfriend.  Jeremiah Basse, once a governor of New Jersey, has captivated her heart, but like all dead boyfriends, he doesn’t say much.  Regina has many questions for him – What does he look like?  Why did he name his son Birchfield?  Why was his wife living with his boss before they got married?  Over the years, Regina has done much research regarding Jeremiah Basse, especially his less documented family life.  Come join us as she shares the fruits of the her labor and explains the hows and whys about what she found about her long-lost love.

 

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Juneteenth Hack-a-Thon

Please visit the Hack-a-Thon website for additional important information prior to registering. 

In Celebration of Juneteenth, the New Jersey State Library is hosting a hack-a-thon on Friday June 28, 2019 from 12-2 p.m.  Freedom on the Move, a project spearheaded by Cornell University, has digitized thousands of advertisements from newspapers seeking enslaved individuals who fled to freedom.   During the hack-a-thon, participants will log in to the Freedom on the Move website and create typed transcriptions of these ads.  The State Library has limited computer equipment, so participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops!  Please contact  Regina Fitzpatrick or Andrew Dauphinee with any questions.

 

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History of Timbuctoo, NJ: African American Enclave

Beginning in 1826, Timbuctoo  was settled by formerly enslaved and free African Americans with the assistance of Quakers. African Americans bought land, as well as establishing institutions such as a school, a church, a cemetery, and a benevolent society.  Guy Weston, whose ancestors purchased a parcel in Timbuctoo in 1829, will discuss the fascinating details of researching his family and their participation in this community that was an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

Guy Weston is a family historian and cultural heritage specialist. At present, he is a Visiting Scholar at Rutgers University, and chairs an advisory committee established by Westampton Township to  advise its governing body on historic preservation issues related to Timbuctoo.

For more information about our Genealogy collection, including links to the research guide, blog, and future events, please visit www.njstatelib.org/genealogy.

 

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The New Jersey Digital Newspaper Guide Helps Researchers Find Local History Resources

screenshot of newspaper guide

The New Jersey State Library is proud to partner with Rutgers University and the New Jersey State Archives in the New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project, a collaborative effort to digitize, preserve, and promote New Jersey’s historic newspapers. Thanks to grant funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities, some 200,000 newspaper pages will be digitized, cataloged and made freely available to the public. screenshot of newspaper guide

As a part of the project, the New Jersey State Library has created a guide of all known digitized newspapers in the State. This guide features an interactive map of New Jersey to help researchers identify which newspapers are available for a particular city or geographic region. The guide also lists digitized newspapers by county and city, with links to the digitized collection.

While many of these newspapers are freely available online, others can only be accessed from public libraries or college/universities with a subscription to a commercial database. The guide indicates if a particular newspaper is freely available or available through one of these commercial subscriptions. State employees can check with the New Jersey State Library and members of the public can check with their local library to see if they have a subscription.

An Excel spreadsheet listing all newspapers in the guide is also available for download. Additional research resources, such as the New Jersey Newspaper Directory, 1765-1970, and the list of New Jersey local names have been made available as well.

To have your digitized newspaper project added to our list or to provide additional information about other digitized New Jersey newspapers, please contact Caitlyn Cook, New Jersey Reference & Digital Librarian

Diving Deeper into Genetic Genealogy Program Recap

A big thanks to professional genealogist Melissa Johnson for unraveling some of the mysteries surrounding genetic genealogy.  Using genetics as a tool for genealogical research is an ever-expanding field and Melissa did a wonderful job of explaining the many facets of the field for amateur and professional genealogists alike.  One of the most common questions is determining which DNA test will yield the best information and as with many answers, the simple answer is “it depends”.  Let’s cover the 3 types of DNA testing:

  • Y-Chromosome Testing
    • Tests the Y-chromosome that is only passed down through the male line
    • Mutations can occur which can help identify how closely related 2 Y-chromosome DNA matches are likely to be
    • Only shows that there is a male relation, but will not pinpoint which male it is (ex. brothers)
    • SNP Test (single nucleotide polymorphism)
      • designed to help identify deep ancestry and haplogroup
    • STR Test (short tandem repeat)
      • examines a specific number of markers (11, 37, 67, or 111)
      • Testing 37 or more markers is best for genealogical research
      • Family Tree DNA’s test shows non-matching STR markers, known as the “genetic distance”
        • Genetic distance of 2 or more may indicate common ancestor for 2 people is much farther back, outside of a genealogical time frame
    • Designed to answer a specific question, such as “Are Person A and Person B brothers”, rather than “fishing” for potential DNA matches
  • Mitochondrial Testing
    • We all have DNA from the mother’s side and this test looks at that DNA; however, this DNA can only be passed on by female children
    • As with the Y-chromosome testing, results will only show a female relation, but will not pinpoint which female it is (ex. sisters)
    • mt Full Sequence test is best for genealogy, while mtDNA Plus only tests 2 regions and is best for determining a haplogroup
    • Designed to answer a specific questions, such as “Are Person A and Person B sisters”, rather than “fishing” for potential DNA matches
  • Autosomal Testing
    • Most common type of test that looks at 22 of 23 chromosome pairs (excluding gender)
    • Shows patterns in our DNA that we have inherited from our ancestors, usually within the past 6 generations
      • A 50/50 split of DNA from mother and father rarely occurs
    • The test measures the amount of centimorgans that we have in common with other people, which will roughly determine their potential relation to us
    • This type of test is best if we are just trying to “fish” to see who we might be related to

With many DNA tests come a breakdown of our ethnicity.  These breakdowns will vary for each testing company, based on the sample DNA from populations determined to be native to different areas of the world.  These tests have little impact on actual genealogy and should not be used to focus your genealogical research or serve as the main answer to any genealogical question.

Genetic testing, even for genealogy purposes, poses some ethical questions to consider.  Some tests will also look for potential health-related risks that may make some people uneasy.  Additionally, testing other’s DNA may lead to hidden truths about their parents or ancestry that might pose a challenge, such as learning a parent had an affair.  Determining what people are willing to test for and what they want to know is important to consider when venturing into genetic testing.  Additionally, if you are going to be uploading results or posting information based off of someone else’s DNA results, please get their consent to do so.

If you have questions about DNA tests, genetic genealogy, or general genealogy, please contact Melissa Johnson at mjohnson@johnsongenealogyservices.com.  You can download a copy of the handout at Diving Deeper into Genetic Genealogy Handout.  Also, please visit our Genealogy Research Guide for many helpful tips and resources!

Diving Deeper into Genetic Genealogy

Genetic genealogy is becoming much more popular, allowing people to connect with unknown relatives and even becoming a tool for law enforcement to solve cold cases.  Please join us as professional genealogist Melissa Johnson dives deeper into genetic genealogy.  Learn more than the basics about DNA testing and how it can be useful to supplement the traditional paper trail for genealogical research.  Discover more about using the
testing companies’ websites to analyze and compare test results, how to use third party tools for analysis, and how to develop targeted testing plans to solve genealogical problems and brick walls.

For more information about our Genealogy collection, including links to the research guide, blog, and future events, please visit www.njstatelib.org/genealogy.

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Finding Your Women Ancestors in New Jersey Records

Are you trying to research a female ancestor from New Jersey and don’t know where to start?  Regina Fitzpatrick, Genealogy Librarian at the New Jersey State Library will review how to find women in popular New Jersey genealogical collections.  Learn smart research strategies within individual collections and more about collections you may not have thought to check for your ancestor.

 

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