Kinsearching December 5, 2010




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Although most genealogists are extremely busy during the holiday season and do not have time to work on their family tree, they look forward to doing more research on their ancestral lines “next year.” Discovering new resources or looking through materials they haven’t had the opportunity to see before add to the excitement of the search. Perhaps some of the sources mentioned in this column will be helpful in the coming year.

     If any of your North Carolina ancestors were early settlers in the present-day counties of Anson, Buncombe, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Henderson, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Polk, Rutherford, or Union counties, you may find interesting and useful information on the website Almost 800 documents are contained in the Speculation Land Collection, which pertains to land ownership in the western part of the state in the early nineteenth century. The site provides valuable information, such as a brief overview of the collection, the historical background concerning rampant land speculation after the American Revolution, the geographical background (including land advertisements, details about daily life in the area, the discovery of gold, and immigration), a timeline (which begins in 1795), a glossary of surveying units and terms, and a bibliography. Items appearing in the collection are maps, surveys, land grants, and supporting documents.

     Did any or your ancestors or relatives reside abroad while they served in the military or worked as federal civilian employees? If they did, you will want to read the article, “U. S. Census Schedules for Americans Living Overseas, 1900 to 1930,” written by Constance Potter. It appears on pages 55-61 in the Fall 2010 (Vol. 42, No. 3) issue of Prologue, which is the journal of the National Archives. The interesting piece briefly discusses information found on censuses prior to 1900 before going into more detail about the 1900-1930 schedules.

     The November 2010 (Vol. 33, No. 4) issue of the Southwestern Archivist contains several articles that will be of interest to many genealogists. Appearing on page 14 is “Grant Provides Preservation for Civil War Records” by Jane M. Hooker. She writes that the Arkansas History Commission (AHC) “owns the largest and most comprehensive holdings pertaining to Arkansas in the Civil War available anywhere.” Among the results expected from the grant to the State Archives is greater access to the records by researchers.

     On page 15 of the issue, Lauren Goodley’s article, “Twichell Survey Records Available,” highlights the papers of Willis Day Twichell now in the Texas General Land Office in Austin. These records, which include land plats and correspondence with landowners, will become publicly available for the first time on 3 January 2011. Twichell was an important pioneer surveyor in the Panhandle and West Texas areas from 1885 until 1959. (Editor’s note: More information about Twichell can be found in the hardback or online version of the standard reference work, The New Handbook of Texas.)

     Following on the heels of the above articles is Anne Stewart’s piece, “Church Archives Opens in Comfort, Texas,” on page 16. The first church in Comfort in Kendall County, the Immanuel Lutheran Church was, in fact, the only one in the town until the early 1900s. Many details about its history and the materials encompassed by the archive appear in the article. (Editor’s note: More data about Comfort is available in The New Handbook of Texas.)

     “New Mexico Receives Grant to Digitize Newspapers” by Kathlene Ferris can be found on page 26. The digitization project by the University of New Mexico (UNM) Libraries will pertain to English-language New Mexico newspapers printed between 1860 and 1922. Presently, the UNM Libraries has the biggest collection of New Mexico newspapers available on microfilm.

     Genealogists will want to read the above articles and check out the North Carolina website to learn more about these valuable resources. Perhaps information in them will help you to find your “missing link” in 2011.

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