As the little ribbon at the top of my Ancestry.com page reminds me: Free access to immigration and naturalization records until Sept. 2.
A nice holiday-weekend present if you don’t have a subscription and you want to take a look.
Hurry, hurry; get to a meeting or a seminar before everybody closes up and goes fishing for the summer. If you’re in New Jersey, you’re in particular luck. Check out the Spring Genealogy Seminar 2011 hosted by the Genealogical Society of New Jersey. It’s another full day of presentations, this time at the College of New Jersey campus in Ewing. Here’s the rundown:
• Megan Smolenyak, Trace Your Roots With DNA: Learn how Y-DNA and mt-DNA testing can shed light on your family tree, as well as what newer testing methods can tell you.
• Laura H. Congleton, Identifying and Researching Civil War Ancestors: How to best use federal, state and family records, and what common pitfalls to avoid.
• Carol Sheaffer and Nancy Nelson, Don’t Forget the Ladies: Finding and Identifying the Women in Your Past: Enhance your understanding of family history by uncovering the female legacy in a variety of sources.
• Laura H. Congleton, Welcome to the Club: An Introduction to Lineage Societies: A primer on things society-related, from membership requirements to record repositories.
Genealogical Society of New Jersey, Spring Genealogy Seminar 2011. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 4, 2011, The College of New Jersey Science Complex, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ. Register by May 28 to ensure lunch and sessions choices. For more information and to download a brochure, see the GSNJ website.
Immigration, Immigration, Immigration is the topic. (The Connecticut Ancestry Society wins the Forthright Program Title Award!) And if you are interested in immigrant ancestors, Saturday, May 21 looks to be a fine time to head to Southport, Conn. to hear a trio of lectures on their experience.
Maritime history expert Norman Brouwer will deliver two talks: Immigration in Sailing Vessels and Immigration in Steam Vessels. Each talk will focus upon the realities of travel in these respective eras, including food on board, hazards at sea and what records survive. Typical ports of departure and arrival will be covered, including Castle Garden and Ellis Island, along with immigration from the closing of Ellis to the present day.
For the third lecture, author Leslie Albrecht Huber will talk about Methodologies for Immigration Research — drawing upon case studies from her recent book The Journey Takers. Her talk will consider ancestors’ lives on both sides of the Atlantic and how to use and evaluate a variety of sources in researching immigrants.
Immigration, Immigration, Immigration. Sponsored by the Connecticut Ancestry Society. 10 am. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 21 at the Pequot Library, 720 Pequot Ave., Southport, CT. Donation suggested. More information: Connecticut Ancestry Society website (go to left-hand column and click on May 21 “Meeting Announcement” link).
Do you have old family photos that help tell stories of New Jersey days gone by?
Then check out MyJerseyRoots, a project being launched by the Rutgers University Libraries as part of Rutgers Day — Saturday, April 30, when all sorts of events run campuswide from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
According to Stephanie Bartz of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey list (and Rutgers University’s Alexander Library), MyJerseyRoots offers New Jersey citizens the opportunity to “document the everyday life of our cities, small towns and rural communities from past to present,” an excellent idea. Today’s family keepsake can be tomorrow’s historical treasure! If you think you can drop by the main campus in New Brunswick with some interesting old photos, read on.
On Rutgers Day you can bring up to five images to the Alexander Library (169 College Ave., 4th floor), where Rutgers Library personnel will scan, digitize and record information that documents the photos. The library says the sorts of images they’re seeking include:
- photos of people, families, and/or neighborhood groups
- street scenes
- pictures at street fairs, parades, and other events
- pictures of houses/farms/office buildings/businesses
- pictures in and of religious institutions
- school photos – either of classes or activities
- photos of clubs, organizations, and civic groups
An added bonus: The first 25 participants in the digitization program will receive a free USB flash drive. There will also be brochures prepared by library staff, containing basic tips for photo preservation.
For more information on MyJerseyRoots, take a trip on the New Jersey Digital Highway. Full press release on the photo-preservation event is here. And for other interesting programs at the Library on Rutgers Day, click here.
Not classic mystery authors, but descendants of Thomas Sayre (1597-1670), formerly of Leighton Buzzard, Bedforshire, England, who immigrated to America circa 1634 and co-founded Southampton, Long Island, New York circa 1640. I will let study coordinator Gregory Morley explain more:
Many researchers are supplementing their primary and secondary sources (paper trail) with Y-DNA analysis. My research aims to learn why at least two different haplogroups exist among the current population of Sayre descendants or paternal relatives of Sayre including spelling variations. The project is also open to those who have not participated in Y-DNA testing.
This project uses the first five generations of Sayre males beginning with Thomas Sayre (1597-1670). Thomas was the son of Francis and Elizabeth (Atkins) Sayre. Thomas and wife, commonly reported as Margaret Aldred/Aldrich, had four sons: Job, Daniel, Francis, and Joseph, representing generation #2. Up to three additional generations of known male descendants from each son are identified in the project.
If you believe your male ancestor was related to Thomas but was not one his sons, you are encouraged to include your lineage.
This link will open the Sayre Family Research project, a two question multiple choice survey, which should take about two minutes to complete. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5GJLWJD
h/t NJ-GSNJ email listserve.
Via Joan Manierre Lowry of the NJ-GSNJ listserve comes this announcement:
The New Jersey State Archives has now added several more years to the death
records available on microfilm at the Archives. Death records from 1941
through 1946 are now available in the microfilm search room! Another 9
years will be coming soon. These are provided as a public service to
researchers and can be copied. (And, yes, they DO include the cause of
Remember, however, that these records are available for in-person use only
and the archives staff cannot assist with mail or email requests for these
records at this time. (Archives staff can only provide copies from those
records for which they hold originals. At the present time that includes up
If you cannot get to the records in person, remember we provide a list of
professional researchers on the GSNJ website: www.gsnj.org – then click on
“Professional Researchers” in the left hand column.
As Joan says — happy hunting!
I missed this in the mad rush to Christmas Day!
On Dec. 23, the New Jersey State Archives launched a new database: World War I Casualties: Descriptive Cards and Photographs. It includes 3,427 entries for New Jersey soldiers killed during 1917-1918. These entries reflect data cards issued to adjutant generals for recording details about soldiers killed in action (or who died of other causes while on duty). Often, they include a photograph as well.
If you go to the link, you can search by surname. The list of results will tell you whether there’s a card there and whether it has a photo as well.
I don’t have any NJ-based World War I soldiers in my own tree, but I pulled up an entry to see what can be seen. It included a service photograph plus a nice clear scan of the index card, which includes spaces for the soldier’s name, residence of record, birthplace, age, service record, engagements fought in, rank, date of service, date of death and name of the person notified of the death.
Even if every space isn’t filled in (this particular card didn’t list the engagements fought), there is still lots of potentially useful information. And the photos are incredible.
(H/t to the NJ-GSNJ mail list.)