One of the great things about attending an institute is connecting with your classmates. Meeting those shiny faces Monday morning - and maybe watching their features slowly deteriorate into the same haggard face you see in your own mirror Friday morning when your brain is so full you don’t think you can cram one more bit of learning in – you will forever share that bond.
And you’ll make great connections. Because institutes tend to attract people from all over the US as well as many foreign countries, you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with genealogists with expertise in many locales. Some of those places are sure to be where your ancestors or other research subjects lived.
In one course I took, I met Steve. He spearheaded a county court records indexing scheme in his local genealogy society. And when I needed a look-up in that index, I knew just who to call. In another course, I met Kathy, who lives all the way across the country from me. She was there when I reached out this week, trying to see what she knew about 1880s era newspapers in her state - their coverage, and even their fonts and column layout. She’s a great resource as I try to discover the identity of the mystery woman from the newspaper clipping in my great aunt Ida’s scrapbook. I hope a few of my fellow students over the years might feel the same about some of the help I’ve been lucky to share with them.
When you think about institutes, the top-notch instructors are only part of the learning equation. The students next to you are just as valuable. I hope I find one of you in a neighboring chair at my next institute.
For more about attending SLIG, click here.
Disclaimer – The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy has provided me a discount on my SLIG 2020 tuition for my participation as a SLIG ambassador.. The opinions expressed are my own.
I’m having a great time these days researching a convicted counterfeiter who served time in the 1930s in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. I dropped a bundle ordering his 191-page file from the National Archives in Kansas City, but it may be worth it in entertainment value alone. But I digress…
I’m looking at his file and trying to build a profile of him. Part of that includes developing a list of associates, what Elizabeth Shown Mills refers to as a “FAN club” (family and friends, associates, and neighbors.)
Several pages in his file have to do with his correspondence while in prison – who he wrote to and who wrote to him. One such contact was a woman, Mrs. Mary Davis of 5644 Halsted Ave, Chicago, identified as his aunt. The correspondence form was stamped “1929.” I thought I might try to find Mary Davis on the 1930 census to see if I could find a clue as to how she might have been his aunt – through his father’s side or his mother’s.
I searched on Ancestry for Mary Davis in Chicago, Cook, Illinois in the 1930 US Federal census and got 200 hits. Ugh. Some were far too young to be the aunt of my 42-year-old prisoner. But there were still a lot of hits to go through.
On Ancestry’s list of possible results there are six data columns shown: name, parent or spouse name, home in 1930, birth year, birthplace and relation to head of house. Another column on Ancestry’s display says “View Record.” If you hover your cursor over an item in that column, a pop-up window appears showing 15 additional data items plus a list of household members.
Ancestry’s basic display only gives six data points, but they have indexed another 15. Think about that. If they’ve indexed them, you can search on them. These additional fields include things like ward of the city and dwelling number (which most people wouldn’t know), but also parents’ birthplace. And street name!
I knew from the correspondence log from the prison file that Frank’s aunt Mary Davis lived on Halsted Avenue. I went back to Ancestry and edited the search, adding “Halsted” in the keyword box and now my top result is Mary Davis, born 1858 in Iowa, living at 5436 Halsted. The house number is slightly different than the one on the prison log, but this is a very likely candidate for my guy’s aunt.
The take-away – remember to use that Keyword box when searching on Ancestry. It will help you to quickly winnow down a long list of results. Many of those details you see in the pop-up window which appears when you hover over a potential result can be searched using Keyword. Play around also with checking the “exact” box which appears when you use the Keyword field.
Now, I’m off to learn everything I can about Mary Davis!
Don’t you just love the delicious scent of blackberries this time of year? When the afternoon sun warms the juice in that little clump of beads, the sweet smell fills the air.
My family has a special cake, Circus Cake, for which a key ingredient is that delicious fruit. I don’t know when it became a family tradition, but I know my Dad talked about eating it as a boy in the late 1920s.
Several years ago, I smelled those wonderful berries and I really really really wanted to make it. I could not find the recipe. I contacted all my siblings and cousins, but no one seemed to have the recipe. I scoured the internet in old cookbooks and newspapers but could not find what I was looking for.
Fast forward to May 2019. I received a sheepish phone call from my Auntie Helen, “Mary Beth, you’re going to be sooo mad at me. I was just cleaning out a drawer, and I found the recipe for Circus Cake. Do you still want it?” Um… YESSSSS!
And finally, it’s blackberry season. Yesterday my husband and daughters foraged in a local park and came home with a quart or so for me. I thought about making the cake last night but the time sort of got away from me (as time is wont to do), so I made it this morning.
Auntie Helen had sent a couple of other recipes. All had come from my Aunt Bertha. As I whirled together the egg whites, blackberries and sugar into a frothy confection, my thoughts turned to Bertha. The second of my grandparent’s eight children, she devoted her life to a religious vocation, spending her life as a Dominican nun. I have many fond memories of visiting her on Sunday afternoons at the picturesque Dominican convent in San Rafael. She had a beautiful, light-filled office which she shared with Sr. Daniel, whose two Irish setters lazed in the sunlight pouring through the paned windows. I recall San Francisco Giants’ baseball games on the radio on many of those lazy Sundays.
One August Sunday in my early 20s we had a party at our house to celebrate a momentous occasion, Sr. Bertha’s Golden Jubilee, 50 years a nun! I couldn’t imagine anyone doing anything for that long. Sr. Bertha lived another 17 years, adding substantially to that tenure devoted to her calling.
And this morning, as I whipped that delicious frosting and thought of Bertha, recalling that party in August 1982 celebrating her jubilee, I wondered just exactly what day that was. I checked my family tree calendar, and discovered exactly 87 years ago, August 4, 1932, Sr. Bertha took her final vows. I guess there was a reason I waited til this morning to make that cake. Happy Anniversary, Bert!. Miss you.
Here’s the recipe for the cake. I took the easy way out, and used a box angel food cake, but with the Circus Cake frosting:
For Berry Whip frosting, beat together until very stiff and holds its shape:
I am a descendant of my ancestors. The best way I can honor them is to take care of their descendants. Because of that sacred task, I am afraid we have had to cancel our trip to “bring my ancestors home.” Hopefully at some point we will be able to take that special trip.
Einbeck, Goslar, Mittenwalde, Mackenson, Kapellen, Clingen and all those other places will still be there when the time is right.
There are many reasons to think about attending an institute course. Here are my Top 5.
What are your favorite things about institutes?
For more about attending SLIG, click here.
 - Certified Genealogist and CG are registered trademarks and the designations CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® , used under license by Board certificants who meet competency standards.
Disclaimer – The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy has provided me a discount on my SLIG 2020 tuition for my participation as a SLIG ambassador.. The opinions expressed are my own.
In nine days, I leave for a three-week trip to explore one quarter of my ancestry. (As I read that sentence I see a lot of numbers – is there any doubt I’m an accountant?!)
My paternal grandfather, Charles Arthur Kircher, came from good German stock. All four of his grandparents came from Germany. He knew three of them, and was lucky enough to live near them into his 20s.
My dad’s cousin Thelma had done some work in the 1970s compiling some family information. Thelma had a few documents created in Germany including a marriage record, details from a couple of baptism records, and a Prussian passport from Carl Conrad Friedrich Kircher and his wife Wilhelmine Rosine Auguste Frühauf, my great-great grandparents. Their oldest son, Charles Conrad Kircher was Grandpa Charlie’s father.
Thelma didn’t have quite so many records on Charlie’s maternal grandparents, Johannes Sprenger and Caroline Louisa Hartman, and little in the way of specific locations, but she had some brief stories about her parents and grandparents growing up near Syracuse and Rochester, and names of some family members.
From Thelma’s notes I had baptism locations for Carl and Auguste. Carl’s stated location was close to the actual place and Auguste’s was spot on, down to the church in Berlin where she was baptized. In the last couple of years, I’ve done some pretty thorough detective work, and found baptism records for the other two, Johannes and Louisa.
And in nine days, my husband and I, joined by Carl, Auguste, Johannes and Louisa – in spirit (and photographs if not actual flesh and blood) – will embark on an adventure to take them back to homes they left a century and a half ago.
Meet my ancestors...
Carl Conrad Friedrich Kircher, born 17 November 1821 in Clingen, Schwarzburg, Sondershausen; died 1 February 1899 in Webster, Monroe, New York.
Wilhelmine Rosine Auguste Frühauf, born 8 June 1822 in Berlin, Brandenburg; died 8 May 1897 in Webster, Monroe, New York.
Johannes Sprenger, born 30 January 1827 in Kapellen, Bergzabern, Pfalz, Bayern (Bavaria); died 3 October 1867 in Liverpool, Onondaga, New York.
Caroline Louisa Hartman, born 3 June 1834 in Mackensen, Einbeck, Hildesheim, Hannover, Preussen; died 1 May 1905 in Union Hill, Monroe, New York.
And one more bonus picture of Louisa... I believe the above picture was taken in her "widow's weeds" after Johannes passed away. I have a tin-type showing her in happier days with one of her children. I'm not sure of the identity of baby, but I'd like to think it's my great-grandmother, Franklin Abelone, Sprenger.
Read along in the coming days and weeks as I share my plans and discoveries.
 Evangelishe Kirche, Diözese Sondershausen, “Kirchenbuch fur die Stadt Sondershausen enthaltend die Listen der Gebornen und Getauften 1821” [Church book for the city of Sondershausen containing the list of the births and baptisms 1821], p. 69-70, no. 107, Carl Conrad Friedrich Kircher, birth 17 November 1821; filmed at Staatsarchiv, Rudolstadt; digital images, “Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1813-1846,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/154757 : accessed 26 February 2019) > Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1821 > image 44 of 611.
 Monroe County, New York, Transcript of Death, issued 13 June 2017, Charles Kircher, (1899 death); citing unidentified information on file; Office of Vital Records, Rochester.
 Sophien Evangelish Kirche (Berlin, Brandenburg, Germany), “Geborne und Getaufte 1822” [Births and baptisms 1822], p. 42, no. 490, Wilhelmine Rosine Auguste Frühauf, born 8 June 1822; filmed as Sophien, Berlin, Brandenburg, Baptisms Evangelish, Vol. A837, Vol. I-III, 1822-1825; digital images, “Kirchenbuch, 1712-1874,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/285217: accessed 26 February 2019) > Taufen 1822-1825 > image 49 of 542.
 Monroe County, New York, Transcript of Death, issued 13 June 2017, Augusta R. Kircher, (1897 death); citing unidentified information on file; Office of Vital Records, Rochester.
 Evangelish-Reformierte Kirche Drusweiler, Taufen [Baptisms], Vol. 9, 1812-1839, unpaginated, 1827, no. 10, Johannes Sprenger, birth 30 January 1827; Family History Library microfilm 1,457,537, item 8.
 John Springer, burial details, ID no. 2902, “Cemeteries,” Onondaga County, NY USGenWeb (https://sites.rootsweb.com/~nyononda/cemeteries.html : accessed 24 November 2018). Website has links to two transcriptions of Liverpool Cemetery. “Liverpool Cemetery from James” shows plot-owner information.
 Detlef Bähre to Mary Kircher Roddy, e-mail, 25 February 2019, “Re: Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Kircher 1789 birth record at Kirchenbuchamt on Hildesheimer Str.,” Personal Correspondence Folder, [(E-ADDRESS), & ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Seattle, Washington, 2019. Note that a Find A Grave memorial indicates a birthdate of 3 June 1836. See Find A Grave, (http://findagrave.com : accessed 7 December 2018), memorial 25418634. Louisa Bauman (1836–1905), and digital image of Union Hill Cemetery (Webster, Monroe, New York), Louisa Bauman gravestone; memorial created 21 March 2008 by Russ Pickett, photograph added by Diane Schinsing Burlee. The baptism record found by Detlef Bähre close to the time of birth is more accurate.
 Monroe County, New York State death certificate no 1905-114, Louisa Bowman; Department of Public Health, Rochester.
When you register for a course at one of the institutes such as the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), plan ahead. Think about what you will do before and after to make the most of the education. If you plan ahead, you can prepare your mind to have as many hooks as possible on which to hang your new learning. And if you make in a point to schedule some follow-up on the course, you’ll go a long way toward cementing that knowledge in your brain.
As an example, I once took a course in genealogical documentation. In the months before the course, I worked on writing up an article, a case study with many examples of conflicting evidence. I had over a hundred source citations. I knew which types I could do pretty well with, those I struggled with, and too many where I had absolutely no idea what to do or how to do it. When I arrived at the institute my mind was primed with questions. With everything the instructor said I had at least some idea of how I could apply it. There were several “Oh, that’s how you do that!” kind of moments where I learned solutions to fix the problems in my case study. My preparation, writing my article, installed hooks in my brain to which I could attach my new-found knowledge.
With another institute course, “Gothic Script and Fraktur,” at SLIG 2019, I also prepared a bit. I made myself some flash cards and word-lists. But I also planned on some follow-up learning. I was lucky enough to return to Salt Lake City for research a few weeks later and I focused my research efforts almost exclusively on working on my German ancestors. Practicing over and over what Herr Bittner had taught us with my own family helped to make that education stick. I also attended the International German Genealogy Conference five months after that SLIG course. Though the conference sessions covered much more than script records, the examples in presentations I attended provided continuing practice for my new SLIG skills.
When you sign up for your next institute course or attend a conference, think about what you will do both before and after to maximize the value of that education.
For more about opportunities at SLIG, click here.
(1) - Evangelishe Kirche, Diözese Nordhausen, “Verzeichniss der Aufgebotene und Getrauten in der evangelischen Gemeine St. Blasii im Nordhausen im Jahre 1820” [List of the banns and marriages in the protestant community of St. Blasii in Nordhausen for the year 1820], p. 71, no. 2, marriage of Kircher and Schönemann, 30 July 1820; filmed at Staatsarchiv, Weimar; digital images, “Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1805-1874,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/149328 : accessed 26 February 2019) > Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1808 (St. Blasii) Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1810-1812 (St. Blasii) > image 56 of 815. Note, the FamilySearch description of the date coverage on the film is incomplete.
I recently ran across a graduation address, presented at a high school in New York. It captures the thoughts of a young man, on the verge of adulthood, beginning to make sense of the world and his place in it. In a few months he’ll be off to join the freshman class at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The Prevailing Discontent
Probably there is no one here tonight who does not know that the majority of our people are discontented. They are dissatisfied because their business is not profitable enough, their homes are not like those of their friend, their government is not carried on as they would have it, and their neighbors are not as good as they ought to be. In fact, they are dissatisfied with everything and everybody. So general is this feeling that perhaps there is not a person here tonight who is not more or less discontented with his present conditions and surroundings.
Would it not be profitable to spend a moment to ascertain the extent and causes of this feeling of unrest and discontent? The American people more than any others are affected by this feeling. In some ways it is a decided advantage to us. It spurs our ambition and prevents us from becoming slothful and indolent by keeping before us the examples of those who surpass us in business success. But is there not danger of carrying this feeling too far? There is such a thing as reasonable discontent as well as reasonable ambition. And at present it seems as if we are being seized by a very unreasonable spirit. On every side we hear the same cry of the tyranny of the rich and the privations of the poor. Why are the people so loudly complaining? Let us see if there are any good reasons for this clamor. What complaint do the different classes of people make?
The farmer is constantly complaining because the merchant or some other class of people are getting the best of this world. If he doesn’t make a certain sum of money each year, he thinks he would be better in the city. He does not realize that his table is furnished with the best that the soil can produce. He forgets that about four months in each year he has scarcely anything to do and that he is the most independent of all the different classes of people. He overlooks all this and considers his difficulties only.
The inhabitants of the city see the poor farmer come to market with a load of produce for which he receives a few dollars that he has probably earned three or four times over and thinks the man must be getting rich because he raises all he eats and does not have to pay house-rent.
But the city man sees the agricultural occupation in a different light than the farmer himself. He thinks the farmer has time to go fishing whenever he doesn’t feel like working because he is his own boss. He doesn’t see the seamy side of the farmer’s life. He never had to crawl around in an onion patch or a strawberry lot like a caterpillar or to take a day or two every little while tending potato bugs. Whenever a city man tries farming he generally goes back in a year or two quite satisfied with city life.
The common people read of the money which the Standard Oil Company and Sugar Kings are making but they do not realize that oil and sugar are much cheaper now than before the monopolies were formed. Nearly every person would join a trust if he could. The laborer joins the labor union to control the price of wages and if there was only a possible chance the farmers would build one of the greatest monopolies yet known.
The immigrants who are constantly being unloaded at our shores have a great deal to do with the dissatisfaction of our people. They work for less wages and therefore throw our people out of employment which not only makes them poor but gives them time to see someone who is acquiring wealth faster than they are. As a rule these immigrants are not of the best class but are criminals or some who were too lazy or quarrelsome to get a living where they were. They had the idea that if they could but reach America they would live like kings and their wives like queens, and being disappointed in this they straightaway turn anarchist and labor agitators.
Our people see their money lavishly spent by the government, for instance in the post office department the government pays to the railroads an average of 8 cents for the transportation of a pound of mail 448 miles. Besides renting 5000 postal cars for $3,600,000 annually which could actually be built for $2,000,000 and would last twenty years. Which the express companies carry milk a distance of 396 miles to New York at 1/6 cent per pound returning the cars free of charge. When the nation’s money is spent at this rate there is some reason for the people to be dissatisfied.
Much of this trouble is due the newspapers. Years ago these were scarce and people knew nothing of what the rich were doing. They did not hear of large balls upon which more money is expended than many a farmer sees in a lifetime. They knew only of what themselves and their neighbors possessed, and were satisfied with their condition.
Instead of looking at the true causes of this discontent people who are afflicted by this trouble can think of no other one to blame except the president and the prevailing political party. They think the political leaders sympathize with the rich men of the country and the monopolies and by taking advantage of this feeling as far back as many of us can remember, the leaders of the principal parties have succeeded in making the people believe something different each presidential election.
Yet no party satisfies us and we are no better off. The American people are today more prosperous than any other nation and although everything is not always as it should be even in America, instead of continually grumbling at our short comings why not spend more time in the enjoyment of the blessings which we already possess.
Charles A. Kircher,
Oration at the Webster (NY) Union School commencement, 22 June 1897
As you read the commencement address, did thoughts run through your head as to when it might have been written? (The money paid by the express companies to ship milk might have been a giveaway…) From the envelope in which I found these words I knew exactly when and why this address was presented. But the sentiments expressed are strikingly contemporary. With but a few changes, this exact same address might be given at any high school commencement in any city in America in the coming few weeks.
I was particularly struck with the author’s impressions of immigrants. Three out of the writer’s four grandparents were living at the time, joined by a step-grandfather on his mother’s side whom he had known his entire life. All four were 1850s-era immigrants, three from Germany and one from Switzerland. All his grandparents had come to America in their 20s. Many of the neighbors of his grandparents’ generation, the farmers in Webster on the eastern edge of Monroe County, were German immigrants. Their accents alone would have been a dead giveaway these people were immigrants. Did Charles see his grandparents and their contemporaries and anarchists and agitators? It’s doubtful.
Reading the thoughts of my grandfather reminds me again why I love genealogy so much. Though we may change our clothes or our hairstyles, the human psyche does not change. We as humans share the same hopes and dreams for our children and grandchildren, the same competitiveness against our neighbors and colleagues, the same fear and suspicion of “the other” as has every generation that has come before us. Every bit of history I read seems to reinforce this notion.
That’s not to say that individual attitudes might not develop and change as a person grows and sees more of the world. I know by my 18-year-old grandfather’s words what he believed in 1897. I only wish I could pick the brain of the same man in 1950, after all he saw in the ensuing 50 years. I look forward to engaging in such discussions with him (and his grandparents!) some day when I make it to heaven.
A few weeks ago I blogged about how to translate German newspapers on Newspapers.com.
Today, someone on facebook asked a similar question, but her paper was on GenealogyBank. I knew enough to know that if you can type a name in the search box and get a hit, somewhere behind the scenes there must be a little squirrel in a cage who matches what you type with the OCR files. But where the heck is that squirrel hiding on GenealogyBank? So I asked…
Yes, those live chat opportunities on your favorite websites can be a great source of info. I asked “Mike” at GenealogyBank and he didn’t know the answer, but got back to me a while later via email. And yes, it’s doable!
Find the article you want on GenealogyBank. I’m using a German-language paper, because generally I can read the English ones, but I need help with the German ones.
My target article is the one in the red box. I can read enough of the Fraktur font to know the first couple of words in my article are “John C Horstmann gestorben” and the last words are “Pastor Otto Buess amtirte.” That will be important…
Right click anywhere in that white header at the top where my red arrow is pointing. You’ll get the dropdown box shown. Click where it says “View page source.”
Get ready, folks… it’s not pretty. You can see the little gray bar on the right, showing how long this page is. And the entire thing is filled with this little teeny tiny print. Ugh.
But Ctrl+F is your friend. That will bring up a search box. Use that to search for one of the words in your article. I figured “John” was probably on the page a lot, “Christian” not so much, so I chose that.
GenealogyBank highlighted all the instances of “Christian” in yellow, so it was pretty easy to spot the one I wanted. Interestingly, though the newspaper page is laid out in columns, the OCR goes article by article. (I haven’t experimented enough to know if this is always the case, but for this example it definitely worked. Fingers crossed for your searches.) So it was pretty easy to highlight the whole article I was looking for. (Remember where I told you above that knowing the first few and last few words of your article would be important? Now you know why!)
I pasted that text into a Word document. I also put a clipping of the article in the Word document (as an image). When I click on the article image, Word brought up the Format tab. On that I clicked on the “Wrap Text” icon and selected “Tight.” This put the image and the copied text right next to each other.
There were a few errors in the text, but surprisingly not as many as I anticipated. But with the article image and the text right next to each other, it took me a only few minutes to clean it up. Once I had what I thought was correct, I copied that and pasted it into GoogleTranslate (https://translate.google.com). And I had my translation!
I know, I know, GoogleTranslate is not perfect, but it’s perfecter than I am with my rudimentary German skills. And it’s fast. I can quickly get the gist of the article and determine if it’s of interest.
So that’s my quick trick today to translate those pesky funny-font foreign language newspapers. I hope it helps you discover more about the stories of your ancestors.
 “John C. Horstmann gestorben,” Die Gasconade Zeitung (Herman, Missouri), 28 January 1921, p. 2, col. 4; digital image, GenealogyBank (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 8 April 2019).
Sometimes I blog because I want to share a story with my family and friends. Sometimes I blog because I have a cool technique I think other genealogists might benefit from.
And sometimes I blog just so I will remember that cool technique. Two days ago I spent hours trying to find a 19th century map of a tiny place in California, searching for the location of a land claim. Eventually I stumbled on a website that got me there. And then this morning, I realized I’d located the wrong property in the wrong location and I wanted to recreate the search to find the right location. And for the life of me, only two days later! I couldn’t remember how I did it. It took a while, but eventually I found what is hopefully the right 160 acre parcel for Mr. X.
Immediately after, I decided I needed to write down my search strategy so in two weeks or six months when I’m once again search for maps I won’t have to recreate the wheel. And I thought I’d share with you my process and screen shot so you, too, can peek into your ancestor’s 19th century life. . (And if I need a refresher in how to do it, I can just find this blog post!) Here goes….
4. Right-click on map location to select Map Township
The site has highlighted the township. NOTE: - not every township is clickable. I tried to right click on the township immediately to the south of the desired township and I got the message shown just above the map “We could not map a land description for the requested location.”
I did those same steps for a different location, this time in Amador County, and you can see I was able to right click and "Map Township" for 2 different townships
My initial click was the township on the left, but I decided I really wanted the one on the right. So now I have 2 maps I could look at. How do I know which is the right one? Well, I could rely on the fact that I clicked on the one I really wanted last, so it’s at the bottom of the list, or I could read the description which read:
CALIFORNIA, Mount Diablo - Twp 007.0N Rng 010.0E
CALIFORNIA, Mount Diablo- Twp 007.0N Rng 011.0E
I can recognize that Rng 011 is higher than 010, so further east. That's the one I want.
5. Right click on the orange “Search” button. That brings up this screen in a new tab.
Pro tip: The BLM site drives me a little crazy. If I back up a tick or two, it winds up back with a waaaay zoomed out view of the entire US and I have to click and move and zoom and pan just to get back to the little teeny town I was looking for. If I right click, that view stays open. So if I have the option on this website for any button, I ALWAYS right click!
On the above screen I could look at land patent documents. But that’s not what I’m after…
6. Instead click where it says “Surveys” to get this view:
This gives me several things I can look at. I want the first one, the “Original Survey.” (But at some point I'm sure I'll circle back and look at what else might be available.)
7. Click on the yellow plat image button to bring up this view.
I find this screen really hard to navigate around, with those blue arrows.
But in the lower right on the green band at the bottom there are a couple of buttons, including “PDF”. Click on that and it will spin for a minute while it generates the pdf –
And eventually say the pdf is ready for download.
If you left click on the word “DOWNLOAD”, it will overtake the window with the pdf, but if you right click on it, it will open the PDF in a new tab. Like I said, always right click.
I now have a map I can read all at once, move around in, and most importantly download to my computer for future reference.
These maps are so detailed I can “walk” with my Great-great grandfather John Fields as he left his home in Amador City to visit the grave of his dearly departed wife Mary. Maybe he stopped in at Tucker’s House for something cool to drink. And on his way home he passed Rosie’s field and Rosie’s vineyard, noticing the grapes ripening as summer wore on. The tiny details on this 145 year old map are a window into my ancestor’s world. Which ancestor are you going to shadow in these maps?
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.