Tag Archives: Genealogy

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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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!