Tag Archives: Genealogy

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.


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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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Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery Program Recap

Thank you to Margaret Jerrido and Dr. Judith Giesberg for showcasing their collaborate project Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery.  Several years in the making, Last Seen is a searchable database of “Wanted” ads from nineteenth and early twentieth century newspapers, focusing on slaves and former slaves.  These documents contain wonderful nuggets of information for anyone conducting genealogical research with slave ancestry as well as highlight the importance of reuniting families for African Americans in the decades after Emancipation.

For example, here is an ad from the Philadelphia Times from July 8, 1889 for woman from Red Bank, NJ looking for her son:

One of the great aspects of Last Seen is that is a free database; no payments or subscription fees required.  As such, the team behind Last Seen relies on the help of thousands of people who volunteer their time to transcribe the ever-growing collection of records.  If you would like to sign-up to be a transcriber, please visit http://informationwanted.org/sign-up.

Another great feature of Last Seen is the geographical overlay of all of the records.  Here is a screenshot of the Eastern Seaboard, showcasing many records and their corresponding locations:

If you have any questions about the project, records, or any other aspect of Last Seen, please complete the form at http://www.informationwanted.org/contact.

Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery

In honor of African American History Month, please join us for as Dr. Judith Geisberg and Margaret Jerrido showcase a wonderful resource for tracking down ancestors who were slaves.  Before slavery came to an end, enslaved families were routinely separated when “owners” sold mothers away from children, husbands from wives, sisters away from brothers.  The heartbreak of these separations has lived on to their descendants, who today try to fill in their family trees.  For two years, Dr. Geisberg and Ms. Jerrido collected “information wanted” ads taken out by former slaves searching for their loved ones lost in slavery.  The project began by collecting the ads found in The Christian Recorder, published by the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  To date the Last Seen project has identified more than 3,000 of these ads, digitized them, and made them available on the project website, where researchers and family genealogists can search the ads by proper name, location, circumstance of separation, and other events.  The site offers new avenues for genealogists to search their family history.


Judith Giesberg is Professor of History at Villanova University. Giesberg is the author of five books, Civil War Sisterhood: The United States Sanitary Commission and Women’s Politics in Transition (Boston, MA:  Northeastern University Press, 2000),“Army at Home:” Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front (Chapel Hill, NC:  University of North Carolina Press, 2009), Keystone State in Crisis:  Pennsylvania in the Civil War (Pennsylvania Historical Association, 2013), and Emilie Davis’s Civil War:  The Diaries of a Free Black Woman in Philadelphia, 1863-1865 (State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014.)  Judy’s latest book, Sex and the Civil War:  Soldiers, Pornography, and the Making of Modern Morality, (University of North Carolina Press) was published in 2017.  Judy is Editor of the Journal of the Civil War Era.

Margaret Jerrido received her BA, in history, from Temple University.  She received her MLS with a concentration in archival management from Drexel University. She has worked in the archival field for over 35 years.  She was the Director of the Black Women’s Physicians Project at the Medical College of Pennsylvania; Director of the Urban Archives in the Temple University Libraries; and is currently the part-time Archivist at Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia. She is a member of the Delaware Valley Archivists Group (DVAG) and the Mid-Atlantic Archives Conference (MARAC).  Ms. Jerrido has conducted workshops on how to preserve historical materials, lead discussion groups on how to begin an archives, and participated in panels and workshops on how to conduct oral histories to the PA Genealogical Society and the African American Genealogy Group.


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Using the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for Genealogical Research Program Recap

Thank you to Dr. Elana Broch from Princeton University for her presentation on the genealogical resources available at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as the International Tracing Service, including the Central Name Index.

The USHMM contains an archival repository that houses almost 300,000 records across 77 record groups.  While most of these records are not available online, there is an online listing of all their record groups and sub-groups to help researchers and genealogists identify potentially useful collections.  Each collection has a finding aid associated with it that will provide more details on the scope, breadth, and items in the collection.

These collections include Liberation of the Camps and Ghettos, Concentration Camps and Other Camps, and Jewish Communities.  Only about 10% of the nearly 3,000 sub-collections have lists of names.  However, the USHMM does have a Holocaust Survivor and Victims Database that you can search online, which will identify which lists a particular name are found in.

Additionally, the International Tracing Service, established after the war by the Allied Powers, is partially accessible through the USHMM.  The ITS contains roughly 30 million images of records; however, there is no full-text search capability to search by names or locations.  The ITS also contains the Central Name Index, which comprises approximately 50 million cards relating to the fate of 17.5 million individuals persecuted by the Nazis and their allies.

A copy of the presentation is available for download at https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/USHMM-Presentation.pdf.


Using the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for Genealogical Research

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is one of the preeminent institutions for Holocaust-era research. Known worldwide as a museum, it is also invaluable to genealogists. This talk will cover strategies for using the Victims and Survivors database, the International Tracing Service Inventory Search, and the museum’s archival holdings (particularly those that are available online) of artifacts, documents, photos, films, books, and personal
stories. Methods in which the print collection in Washington DC may be used will be described.  Finally, she will cover some fundamental differences between archives and libraries and tips for researching archives via available finding aids.

Elana Broch, PhD, is the Assistant Population Research Librarian at Princeton University. She is an amateur genealogist who has spent much of her research efforts trying to find out about her grandfather, a 1941 “euthanasia” victim. What little progress she has made would not have been possible without the help of researchers and librarians at the USHMM.


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Webinar: Genealogy Research Stories Recap

Thank you all for coming to the Webinar presentation of Genealogy Research Stories on Friday January 4th!  The link to the recording of the webinar is at the bottom of the post, for those of you who would like to review or share the presentation.  I will also add the recording to the Recorded Webinars page of the Genealogy Research Guide.  I hope you had a great time hearing some neat stories about my research.  I just wanted to quickly provide you with some citations for my research materials for the stories, in case any of you would like to see any of the original materials.

James Harris, Jr.

The Rapalje Children by John Durand

Find A Grave entries for JamesJames Sr., Ann, and David

Will of James Harris Sr.  Calendar of New Jersey Wills…V.8 p. 166 (abstract) 8443-8448 L Middlesex County (Full Text, available to order online or view on microfilm at NJ State Archives)

Will of James Harris Jr. Calendar of New Jersey Wills…v.12 p. 168 (abstract) 10405L Middlesex County (Full Text, same ordering or viewing options above)

Extracts from Colonial Newspapers articleplus one additional

Colonial Marriage Bond for James Harris Sr. and Anne VanBuskirk 21 June 1748 BK H (part 1) p.77 (available for online ordering or on microfilm at the NJ State Archives)

Supreme Court Case File King vs. Howell, Buskirk, and Harris Middlesex County 1770 #20872* (available for online ordering, also viewable at the NJ State Archives)

Supreme Court Case File King vs. Howell Middlesex County 1770 #20872** (for assault of John Giles, also on January 9th, 1770)

Frederick Dennelsbeck

Detail from Romeo and Juliet by Frank Dicksee

Will abstract of Frederick Dennelsbeck, Sr.  Full Text available via NJ State Archives Book 12 p.308 (recorded copy)

Colonial Marriage Bond for Frederick Dendlesbeck and Barbary Elwell 9th Dec 1766 BK D p.226

Family Search death record for Frederick and BarbaraDennelsbeck

Find A Grave records for Frederick and Barbara

Clara Madden

Women Holding Umbrellas to Provide Shade from the Sun

1870188019001905 (Emma Rayner), 1910(Emma Rayner), 1915 (Clara), 1920 (Emma and daughter Alice Itson), and 1930 (Alice Randall and husband Charles) Censuses

Clara’s death record was found by searching the 1916 death records under her last name “Madden”.  (Remember, New Jersey Death Certificates from 1904-1948 are organized in alphabetical order by last name within the calendar year.)

Here’s a Find a Grave page for Alice Randall, her husband Charles, and Emma Rayner, who died in 1929.  Ada Crist may be Alice Randall’s aunt and Emma’s sister, as one of Clara’s daughters was named Ada.


Please feel free to contact me for assistance with your research questions, and check out the Genealogy Research Guide.  I’d love to help you uncover some cool Genealogy stories of your own!


Webinar – Genealogical Research Stories

Regina Fitzpatrick Genealogy Librarian

Regina Fitzpatrick, Genealogy Librarian at the New Jersey State Library, is an expert researcher into New Jersey’s genealogical records collections.  She has found some truly interesting and jaw-dropping stories about residents who lived long ago.  Come hear about forbidden romances, lost relatives, pirates, and criminal activity!

*Please Note: This program is a webinar and space is limited to the first 100 attendees, not registrants*

Click here to register!


Documenting Your Past with iBiographer Program Recap

Thank you to Sofia Milner, founder of iBiographer, for her presentation and demonstration on how her product can help us all document and preserve our family stories.  iBiographer fills a gap in the storage of genealogical and familial information, allowing users to create family histories and family trees that are interconnected.  One of the biggest draws to iBiographer is that is free to use without any restrictions.   Some of the main features include:

  •   Family Trees
    • You can create unlimited amounts of family trees and you are able to link between family trees to ensure they are neat, less-cluttered, and more manageable
    • You can attach biographies to members on your tree to enhance the information related to each person in your tree
    • You cannot import family trees from other programs or websites
  • Biography Box
    • You can write your own biographies on anyone you wish
    • Biographies can be broken down into chapters that you can arrange in any order
    • You can upload photos, videos up to 1 minute, music, and documents to your biographies
      • There is no limit to the amount of material you can add to a biography or chapter
    • You can invite others to contribute to any part of your biography, for free, and they cannot make changes to anything you have done – a great way to involve family members from across the globe to more fully develop your biographies and family tree
  • Baby Bio
    • You can track the growth of children with the Growth Chart up to 14 years old
    • The Baby Health feature allows you to add all of your child’s medical information so that it is easily accessible and a quick reference for things such as immunization dates
  • Chatterbox
    • A chat feature where you can exchange messages with people that you have invited to contribute to your items, an vice-a-versa, as long as they are online at the same time

For more information, please visit the iBiographer website at https://www.ibiographer.com/.  To view videos about iBiographer and its features, please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJQWtiSyzsDtxmnrgGhIgsQ.  You can view the iBiographer pamphlet here.

Documenting Your Past with iBiographer

Genealogy is an ongoing process that requires time and dedication.  While we may feel a sense of relief after hunting down elusive documents or references, we often forget that we still need to compile this information in a way that is easy to share with others as well as survive the test of time.  Determining how to organize your research, whether for publication or personal use, as well as how to store your information can be a hassle.  Please join us as we conclude our National Family History Month programming as Sofia Milner, creator of iBiographer, presents a wonderful tool to help you wrap up your many hours of research and toil.  iBiographer is a free secure website for people to write biographies about themselves and their family members. You can create a family tree, upload photos, videos, music and documents to the biography. It’s a place you can preserve your family history for present and future generations to see.


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Some New, Free, and Exciting Genealogy Websites Program Recap

Lew Meixler from the Mercer County Jewish Genealogical Society at Beth El Synagogues showcased a wide variety of websites that can help genealogy researchers.  Through a paid Ancestry.com account, he demonstrated how to merge family trees others created into your own as well as how you can invite “Guests” to your account that have access to many of the same features a paid member can use.  Lew also covered the basic features of more popular sites such as FamilySearch and FindAGrave, including the ability on FamilySearch to view entire microfilm collections digitally.  Below, please find a list of some lesser known genealogy websites Lew covered, including a brief description.  You can also download a copy of his handout here.  You can download Lew’s presentation here.

GenealogyIndexer (Free) – Over 2 million digital pages, focusing mostly on Central and Eastern Europe, including documents in native languages

GenTeam (Free) – Indexed records for German speaking area, including over 18 million entries

MyHeritage (Paid) – Allows you to upload your DNA results and organize your genealogy resources, from frees to family photos.  You are also able to find related matches that people have uploaded in native languages.

SteveMorse (Free) – Provides links to a wide variety of free and paid genealogy websites including the U.S. Census, Vital Records, and Ellis Island.

ItalianGen (Free) – Indexed records related to Italian heritage, but include many U.S. records, including the N.Y. C. Bride and Groom Records Indexes.

Some New, Free and Exciting Genealogy Websites

The internet has made many things in our lives easier, including genealogy research.  As a result, there are many electronic resources out there for any caliber of genealogist.  Lew Meixler, Chair of the Mercer County Jewish Genealogy Society at Beth El Synagogue will present on a wide variety of online genealogical sites, both popular and hidden gems.  While many of the sites are free, he will cover some fee sites.  The talk will provide examples of how using a number of sites together help to provide information about family ancestors both here in the U.S. and in other countries.  While most of the examples will be centered on Jewish genealogy, the information is very applicable to all types of genealogy research.  Please join us and Lew as we continue to celebrate National Family History Month!


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