Browsing the Stacks

I’m not sure about you but one of the things I enjoy doing is going to different repositories and browsing their stacks.  Be it a public library, an archives, or a research room, I enjoy walking down the aisles to see what resources they offer.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to go behind the scenes of several repositories due to school assignments, volunteer work, and behind the scene tours.  Currently, I’m volunteering at the Atlanta History Center (AHC).  Being a native of Georgia and Atlanta born and raised, I know that the AHC will probably have some resources that will help me in my research journey.

Today, I decided to take advantage of the slow day to browse the stacks.  The layout of the Research Room can be bit a daunting at first and I have to admit, I still haven’t figured out most of it, but there is a Genealogy room where many of the genealogy related materials can be found. It was in there (after locating a book in another part of the collection), that I did my browsing.

The collections at the AHC are organized by Library of Congress Call Numbers.  This means for the most part that all of the call numbers begin with letters as oppose to the Dewey Decimal call numbers used usually in public libraries, which begin with numbers.

As a user of libraries that use both call number schemes, I’ve memorized the sections of the items that I typically find interesting. In Library of Congress call numbers, its the E185 section which is where you will find African American History. This isn’t the only place but its a great starting point. The same goes with Dewey Decimal – 929 is the genealogy section which is where you would find most of your genealogy how to books.

So with that in mind, I headed straight for the E185 section and was pleasantly surprised.

Book Part 1

 

Book Part 2

This is a picture of some of the titles in the E185 section in the Genealogy Room.  They are leaning because I took a few of the books out for a closer look.

Like the 4 volume set of Georgia Free Persons of Color by Michael A. Ports.

Ga Free People of Color

The book Lay Down Body by Roberta Hughes Wright and others.

lay down body A A Cemeteries

What about Black Marriage Records Hart County

Black Marriages Hart County

 

And last but definitely not least, An index of African Americans in the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Index of African America Freedmans Bureau

 

That’s it for now.  I hope you enjoyed the post. Happy researching!!

 

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Finding Alabaster Alley

In my blog post entitled Resource: Atlanta History Journal (Atlanta History Center) I talked about a quandary I had in relation to the location of where my 2nd great grandmother, Maggie Calloway lived with her 2nd husband, Foster Calloway.  In a quick recap, I discovered in the 1923 Atlanta City Directory a listing for Foster Calloway, listing his place of residence at h1 Alabaster Alley.  Although the Street Directory listed Piedmont as an intersecting street, but the question was, where exactly was the street located.

As mentioned in the previous post, I located an article in the Atlanta History Journal database on the Atlanta History Center’s website that gave me more clues as to the exact location of the “street”. On page 30 of the article, the author wrote “Running west from Piedmont Avenue between Baker Street and Forrest Avenue is a street on which there was once a small asbestos mine. The street was named Asbestos Street. It was change to Alabaster Alley; probably an ironical reference to the color of its residents.”

Though the last sentence can be taken as a slight to the residents living on the street, it provides a clue to the race of the people living there.  That statement aside, I have the name of two streets, narrowing the area of where the “street” is located.

Now what?

Well, in preparation for a webinar, I learned through the Digital Public Library of America that Georgia State University has digitize maps of the City of Atlanta Neighborhoods. These maps have the City divided up into different “planning units”. First, I had to determine what “planning unit” included the area of Piedmont Avenue I was looking for. This is the image of map. Click the map to visit the webpage.

Planning_Units_for_Atlantas_Neighborhoods_1976

After some trial and era (looking at other maps), I figured out that the area I was looking for was in the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) M.

City_of_Atlanta_NPU_M_Neighborhoods

Here’s a copy of the map with the area highlighted with a Red Circle.

City_of_Atlanta_NPU_M_Neighborhoods Cropped with Circle2

Hopefully you are still with me.  Before I remembered the Georgia State Maps, I did a Google Map search for Forrest Avenue and could not find the street in relation to Piedmont Ave. Luckily for me, I was able to locate the map which told me what I needed to know.

Over time, things change, including the names of streets, which was the case in this situation.  Using a nifty tool on the Georgia State University’s site for the Map, it allowed me to overlay the old map with a current map.  Using the opacity tool on the left, you can see the new through the old, to determine where the location is using today’s maps.  The pictures below illustrate the steps I took.

 

City_of_Atlanta_NPU_M_Neighborhoods Google Overlap1

City_of_Atlanta_NPU_M_Neighborhoods Google Overlap2

I’m not sure if the image is clear enough but the name of Forrest Ave changed to Ralph McGill Blvd. I know the Atlanta Civic Center should have been a clue but when you are focused on one particular thing, you block out everything else.

This post is the result of several years of wondering and discovering different tools as I went along.  Remember to take advantage of opportunities to learn about resources for Genealogy as they come because you never know when one might help you break down a brick wall like I did.

Happy Hunting!!

 

My Uncle Stanley Part 1

Yesterday, after running errands, my mother and I, along with my nephew, visited Southview Cemetery in Atlanta, Fulton. Georgia. Southview is the resting place for many of my family members. This being the case, since we were there, my mother and I took my nephew to the resting places for his great grandfather Henry Maddox, his great great grandmother Bessie Padgett Blake and his grand uncle Stanley Maddox. As we traveled over the grounds, my mother shared with him the names of other relatives who are buried there.

After we left, I couldn’t help but think there’s nothing like a visit to the cemetery to reignite the desire to do genealogy. I know others would argue and a say there were others ways to relight that interest in genealogy, but for me at this moment, it was this happenstance visit to the cemetery.

My uncle Stanley as his tombstone says, passed away on May 27, 1970. My mother remarked that his death day is a day after my sister’s birthday (she was born 13 years later). That’s definitely one way to cement a date in one’s mind, to relate it to a current event.

Since that visit, I haven’t been able to get my uncle off my mind. He was the oldest of my grandmother Maggie’s children with her second husband, Henry Charles.  He died at the age of 15 due to a form of leukemia.  He was a student in the Atlanta Public School System. I have a copy of his funeral program, a picture of his tombstone, possibly a copy of his obituary and a birth register. This is the extent of my knowledge of him.

Since this is the case and it seems that he has a hold on me, my goal for the next few blog posts is to examine the information I have for him and to create a research plan to find more information about him. Will you join me on this journey? I hope so. Thanks for reading and happy hunting!

Resource: Atlanta History Journal (Atlanta History Center)

Happy New Year!! I’m going to start the year off right and start blogging again.  I’m not making any promises other than I hope to post more than one in a year!

To kick it off, I wanted to share about an experience I had recently in looking for information about a street, really an Alley where one of my ancestors lived.  My 2nd great grandmother Maggie Calloway married Foster Calloway after being married to Albert Padgett.  In the early 1920s, the family moved from Morgan County to Atlanta. The earliest City Directory I found them listed was the 1923 edition. If its true that information contained for individuals in City Directories was collected the previous year, that would mean that my ancestors arrived roughly in 1922.

There is an entry for both Foster and Maggie Calloway in the 1923 Atlanta City Directory on page 322 in the print version (page 164 in the electronic version on Ancestry.com).  Foster’s address was listed as h1 Alabaster Alley.  When using the City Directories, its advised that you also look up your ancestor’s address in the Street Directory in the back of the book. This helps to identify the neighbors who could also be relatives.  This has been the case in several situations for my family so I recommend you spend the extra few minutes to look at the Street Directory.

So here is the quandary, where was Alabaster Alley? The 1923 Atlanta City Directory’s Street Directory only lists the name of the ‘street’ and its position to an extent to Piedmont Ave but where is it exactly?  I looked at a few resources but I wasn’t able find the answer.

I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with the Atlanta History Journal?  Bear with me, I’m getting there.

Recently, I visited the Atlanta History Center for an assignment and had to spend some time researching the institution.  As an Atlanta native, I know this institution is one that could possibly help me with my family research.  With that in mind, I came across the link to the Atlanta History Journal. So I thought, why not check to see if there is a mention of Alabaster Alley.  I was ecstatic to say the least when I got a hit. It was mentioned in an article in the April 1931 no. 5 edition of the Atlanta Historical Bulletin (the name of the Journal changed several times over the course of its publication).

The 10 page article entitled “Queer Place Names in Old Atlanta” by Eugene M. Mitchell included a paragraph that provided a quick history of the area where the alley was found and the name change it underwent. He also included a quip about the irony of the name of the street with reference to its residents.  The article also includes mention of other “queer” named locales including Beaver Slide, Snake Nation, Sandtown, Rough and Ready and Tight Squeeze.

In closing, (hopefully you’re still reading this), if you have ancestors who lived or spent time in Atlanta, the Atlanta History Center is an institution you should add to your to visit list and check out their online collections which can be found here – http://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/research/search-the-collections.  You won’t know what you can find, until you look!

Happy hunting!!

My Preferred Coloring Sheets

Right now, adult coloring is all of the rave.  Though I am intrigued by the coloring sheets and books that are flooding the market, I prefer sheets that are a bit older.

I’m in the middle of “processing” some recently printed documents related to the Swinger Family Line I’m tracing.  For some reason, this line has caught my eye and attention and is demanding my time so how am I to go against it.

So instead of working on my mother’s maternal line for the Genealogy Do-Over, I’m doing a new line and am trying to apply some of the strategies to this line as I go.

What does any of this have to do with coloring? Well, when I print off records like the Census, Obituaries, Tax Form, or even Georgia Convict records (I have a few of them too), I like to highlight (color) the section of the document that is relevant to the family line.  I use the tried and true yellow highlighter, preferably a Sharpie that doesn’t smear the ink.  I like the wide highlighters for the larger sections and the smaller highlighters for the smaller one.

So all that to say, color on and highlight the areas of those documents to make the information pop on the page!!

Happy Researching!

Resource: New Georgia Encyclopedia

NGEHi all. I’ve come across several resources recently that I want to make you aware of including the New Georgia Encyclopedia (NGE).

According to its about page, the NGE recently underwent a redesign and as a user who used it prior to the new look, I’m looking forward to exploring it.  Originally launched in 2004, the NGE now offers more than 2,000 articles and 6,000 images on Georgia History and Culture.

So why showcase it as a resource?  Well, if you’re researching Georgia, its another resource to check for information about the places where your Georgia ancestors may have lived, worked, and/or traveled.

Also, check out the Georgia Web Resources tab near the top.  It includes an interesting list of links of resources, some of which you may know and others that may be new to you like they are to me.  Definitely going back to check those out.

Need a quick refresher on your Georgia state stats?  Check out the Quick Facts tab that includes demographic information about our illustrious state as well as the state symbols, including the bird, flower, and song. Check out the picture of Ray Charles, ya’ll!!

The Topics area contains subject area links and of course, I choose History and Archaeology.  From there, a menu opens with various time periods in history.  Whatever time in Georgia history you’re interested in, there’s an entry in NGE.

Interested in an overview of Slavery in Antebellum Georgia?  There’s an article on that.  Want to learn more about Slave Women?  There’s an article on that.  Interested in learing about Black Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement?  There’s a Special Collection on that.  So as you can see, there’s much to see on NGE.

Need more convincing, well here’s a short case study.  In working on a friend’s genealogy, I checked the information about the county where many of her ancestors are from.  In reviewing the article, many of the locations that have shown up in the records for her ancestors were mentioned as were a few of the large landowners who also share the same surname.  Could they possible be the former slaveowner?  I’m not sure but I’m definitely going to add a copy of the article to her family’s research materials.  Who knows, the NGE may have helped me to identify the last slaveowner for once portion of her family tree.

So add NGE as another stone to turn in the search of your Georgia ancestors.

 

Happy Hunting!!!

Discovering Your Enslaved Ancestors – Some Links

The topic of discussion for the Wesley Chapel Genealogy Group’s May meeting is Finding the Slaveowner. In preparation of the meeting, I conducted a Google search using the terms “Slave Research” and came across several resources that looked promising.

However, after closer review, I found the Quick Guide to African American Records on the FamilySearch Wiki to be one that answered the question I’ve had for a very long time. Most resources jump from freedom to slavery but in my experience, the resources I consulted have not provided detailed suggestions on how to go about finding the owner of enslaved ancestors. The Quick Guide to African American Records entry in the Family Search Wiki does just that. It not only gives suggested steps, it also provides a list of resources to consult. Additionally, it includes a link to the online version of the Family History Library Bibliography of African American Sources. The Family History Library in Salt Lake, Utah is the largest genealogical repository in the world. That being the case, I’m sure that a bibliography of sources available in their collection as of 1994 related to African Americans is definitely something to look at.

And it was. The online version is about 422 pages and though I’ve only glanced at it, I’m definitely going to check out their listings for the states I’m researching. You should do so too.

**Side Note — If you find a title that you would like to look at, use worldcat.org to find the nearest repository that has a copy of the book. If there isn’t a library/archives nearby, search your local library’s, state archives, etc. catalog to double check because there are a number of research repositories who do not include their catalogs in worldcat.org. If the book really isn’t there, check with your local library to inquiry about getting the book through InterLibrary Loan. **

Now, jumping back on topic!!

As I continued preparing for the night’s discussion, in addition to the links below, I pulled out several genealogy books related to African American research to see what information they contained about the topic. I mentioned several of them in my previous post – Researching Slave Ancestry. Here are a few more.

African American SourcebookThe African American Genealogical Sourcebook by Paula Byers may be located in the Reference section of your local library. Contained within it is a great deal of information related to researching African American ancestors. Specifically on the topic of enslaved ancestors, this book has several sections that discusses researching them, including “Sources of Slaves” (pg. 5 – 6) which mentioned the percentages of the enslaved population that hailed from various locations on the African Continent. Additional topics such as “Slave Naming Practices” and an extensive section about Slave Oral History written by none other than Tony Burroughs. Also, included in the discussions of Census Records (pg. 19) and Court Records (pg. 25), are tips and suggestions about how to go about using those record types for researching enslaved people.

Finding A PlaceAnother book I totally slept on (and am not afraid to admit it) is Finding A Place Called Home: A Guide to African-American Genealogy and Historical Identity by Dee Parmer Woodtor. This book offers several chapters about research slave ancestors including ones entitled “A Long Way to Freedom: The Genealogy of Your Slave Ancestor” (Chap. 9) and “The Last Slave and The Last Slave Owner” (Chap. 10). Said to the bible of African American genealogy, if you have not taken a look at this book, make sure to do so by either visiting your local library or purchasing a copy of the book for your personal library.

I think is more than enough to help get you started on your search for your possibly enslaved ancestors or maybe some tips to help you make that connection. Below as promised are a few more links. I hope this blog has been helpful. Happy Hunting!!

**10 Great Databases for Slavery Research
http://genealogy.about.com/od/african_american/tp/10-databases-for-slave-genealogy.htm?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=shareurlbuttons

**Researching Slave Ancestry (Blog post)
https://gagenealogy.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/researching-slave-ancestry/

**RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees (Ethnic Groups)
http://rwguide.rootsweb.ancestry.com/lesson25.htm

**How Do I Trace My Slave Ancestors?
http://www.myslaveancestors.com/index.htm
(Site promotes professional genealogists services but the information provided can be useful)

**Lost Slave Ancestors Found
http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2013/11/tracing_black_last_names_advice_for_finding_slave_roots.1.html

**African American Family Research on Ancestry.com (2013)
http://c.mfcreative.com/offer/aa/2013/aa_guide.pdf

**How To: Finding Slave Recordshttp://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/ghl/resources/genealogy/slaverecords.html

**Slave Records Bibliography
http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/ghl/resources/genealogy/slaverecordsbib.html

**Research Slavery (Ancestry.com Wiki)
http://www.ancestry.com/wiki/index.php?title=Researching_Slavery

**African American Records (Interactive page – Ancestry.com)
http://www.ancestry.com/africanamerican

Couldn’t talk about Slave Research without mentioning Slave Narratives.

**Voices from the Days of Slavery: Stories, Songs and Memories
http://www.loc.gov/podcasts/slavenarratives/

**Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 – 1938
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/

** North American Slave Narratives
http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/texts.html

Freedmen’s Bureau Records

The Freedmen’s Bureau records are getting much attention today with partnerships forming to digitize and make the records available online. Also, others are working to create sites dedicated to mapping the offices of Bureau so people can see if there was an office near the home of their ancestors.

 

*~*~*~*~*Digital Collections and Transcriptions*~*~*~*~*

Familysearch.org is involved and some records have been digitized and are available on their site.  All of the collections may not be searchable (yet) but you can browse the images.

Here are the steps to get to the Freedmen Records on familysearch.org.

1. Goto familysearch.org

2. Click Search.

3. Under the blue search box, click Browse All Published Collections.

4.  In the Filter box, type in Freedmen to see a list of the collections.

At the posting of this blog post, there were 13 collections, including records from North and South Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, DC, Maryland, Delaware, and Texas.

There are other sites such as the Freedmen’s Bureau Website have transcriptions of some documents from this record set.

 

*~*~*~*~*Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau*~*~*~*~*

If you want to see if there was an Freedmen’s Bureau office near the place where your ancestors lived, there are a few resources in development to help you with that. One website will launch later this year but here’s one that’s available now – https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=110416325353435229667.00045740b293fb14f6f59&dg=feature

 

*~*~*~*~*Other resources are listed below*~*~*~*~*

Ancestry.com – U.S., Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878
http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1105

Family Search Wiki – African American Freedmen’s Bureau Records – https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/African_American_Freedmen%27s_Bureau_Records

Freedmen’s Bank Records – HeritageQuest (through GALILEO)
**You will need a library card with a Georgia Public Library to access it.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Records – Research Your Southern Ancestors (Article)
http://www.archives.com/experts/richard-l-diane/the-freemens-bureau-records.html
**Contains information about the Freedmen’s Bureau.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Website http://freedmensbureau.com/

Index to Mississippi Freedmen’s Bureau Records (Mississippi Archives) http://opac2.mdah.state.ms.us/freedmanblurb.php

Freedmens Bureau brochure-thumbnail

National Archives Freedmen’s Bureau Websitehttp://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/freedmens-bureau/
Site includes a link to the pdf version of a brouchure about the collection.

 

 

Hope this helps with your research efforts.  Happy hunting!!!

GGSQ Question Series

Previously, I posted a blog about the Georgia Genealogical Society and highlighted a few of the perks of membership.

One of those perks, the Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly (GGSQ), is a publication with articles on various topics of Georgia history, tips on tracing your genealogy in Georgia, county and local history resources, as well as articles on genealogy technology and scannings of genealogical serials available at the Georgia Archives.

One of my favorite features of the publication is the Questions and Answers section. The questions are submitted by readers and are answered by longtime historian, researcher, and professor, Robert S. Davis, Jr. To learn more about Prof. Davis, click here.

Since I enjoy them so much, I thought I would share some of the questions that I thought were interesting.  I plan to highlight the questions only of as many issues of the quarterly as I can in the hopes that you will be encouraged to seek out the issues to see the answers.  Hope you find them as interesting as I did. To see them all, you can click on the GGSQ Questions Category to pull them up or scroll through the blog posts.

Happy Hunting!

Researching Slave Ancestry

For many African Americans, the brick wall beyond 1870 can be one that is insurmountable.  Once you reach and find your people on the 1870 census, the next step for those who may have enslaved ancestors is to try to connect their ancestors to a possible owner and then by researching the owner’s family, you will inadvertently learn more about your ancestor’s life and their life experiences.

Personally, I’ve hit that wall on several lines and have attempted with limited success, been about to learn more about my ancestors prior to 1870.  This lack of success has lead to me seek out resources that speak specifically to the problems facing researching interested in tracing African American lineage before 1870.   So far I’ve encountered 2 books that speak specifically to this topic that I would like to share.  I have not read the books cover to cover (yet) but I am currently reading Slave Genealogy. I hope these resources will help you if you are tackling tracking enslaved African American ancestors. Happy hunting!

The links for the books will link you to the books’ WorldCat.org record.

Slave Genealogy

Slave Genealogy: A Research Guide with Case Studies by David H. Streets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slave Ancestral

 

Slave Ancestral Research: It’s Something Else by Mary L. Jackson Fears

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Resources

Slave Importation Affidavit Registers

Slave Importation Affidavit Registers for Nine Georgia Counties, 1818 – 1847 by Dawn Watson

If you have or are researching African American ancestors in Camden County, Columbia County, Elbert County, Franklin County, Jackson County, Jasper County, Morgan County, Pulaski County, and Wilkes County, you may want to take a look at this book.  It includes transcriptions of the Slave Importation Registers in the above mentioned counties.  There are also two indexes included in the book.

 

The Way It Was in the South

 

 

 

The Way It Was in the South:  The Black Experience in Georgia
by Donald L. Grant