26 February 2010

Dred & Harriet Scott: Their Family Story by Ruth Ann (Abels) Hager, CG, CGL

A new book, Dred & Harriet Scott: Their Family Story by Ruth Ann (Abels) Hager, CG, CGL, has been published by St. Louis County Library and is available both online and at all of the St. Louis County Library branches. The price of the book is $25.00 + $3 shipping & handling. You can order it online from the library's Special Collections Department’s home page at www.slcl.org/branches/hq/sc/.

The library held an author event/book signing on Friday, 5 February. Lynne Jackson, great-great-granddaughter of Dred and Harriet and President of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation offered introductory remarks and introduced author Ruth Ann Hager. Ms. Hager talked briefly about the book that evening, showed some key documents via PowerPoint, conducted a question and answer session, and then signed books.

Below is an excerpt from a review of this book by Julius K. Hunter, an award-winning broadcast journalist, author, educator, lecturer, musician, and founder of the Julius K. Hunter & Friends African American Research Collection at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters.
Dred & Harriet Scott: Their Family Story, (St. Louis County Library, 2010) can save us from having to acknowledge what we didn’t learn in school about the landmark court case. In 2006, Hager distinguished herself by becoming the first historian of record to ever determine, beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly where Dred’s wife, Harriet, is buried and when she died. For more than a century, historians have recorded (and we have learned) incorrect information about Harriet’s life and death.

Thankfully, the new book is much more than hard, boring, cold stats. The author gives us up close and very personal looks at the man himself, his wife Harriet, and their two young daughters, Eliza and Lizzie. After reading the book, I feel I was thoroughly prepared to sit down with either, or all of them and conduct a good television interview. Not only did Hager’s research turn up heretofore unpublished court documents and personal letters relative to the Dred Scott Decision, she was able to locate living descendants of Dred and Harriet. They were able to give the author unprecedented access to family photos, documents and share priceless stories that have passed directly down through the Scott family in insular fashion since the mid 19th century.

Hager’s meticulous research chronicles a painful roller coaster ride of enslavement, freedom, outright status confusion, glimmers of hope, and the devastating ruling that slammed the Scotts and slaves all of the nation. The dagger was thrown down by none other than the U.S. Supreme Court. You’ll find many more photocopies of actual corroborating documents and handwritten personal letters in this book than you will find in many other works of this ilk. Appendices, indices, and solid references abound. But if you are like me, you’re a bit more interested in the people parts of this intriguing saga. What were the Scotts like as a married couple? Did Dred display any personal and private reaction at home to being in the ignominious spotlight for so long? What were the ongoing thoughts of the two young and impressionable Scott girls during the family’s years of infamy? Who were the several owners of the Scotts, the attorneys who fought for and against manumission, and what were the politics of the Dred Scott Case – emanating from the Oval Office of the White House itself? You’ll find tantalizing profiles of these real-life characters … and much more as you read this fascinating new book. You’ll even find some well-placed touches of juicy gossip – rumored and documented - regarding some of the principals!

To read Mr. Hunter's entire review, visit www.juliuskhunter.com/bookreview.htm.

To order Dred & Harriet Scott: Their Family Story by Ruth Ann (Abels) Hager, CG, CGL, go to www.slcl.org/branches/hq/sc/ or request it from other bookstores by referencing ISBN 0615327621.

24 February 2010

Early Bird Conference Discounts End March 8th!

Don't miss out on Early Bird discounts for the 2010 NGS Conference!

Whether you plan to attend the whole NGS Conference in Salt Lake City, 28 April - 1 May 2010, or just one of the days, you'll save money by registering before the Early Bird discount ends on 8 March 2010. Early Birds also have the best chance of reserving a seat in the special workshops, which are sure to fill up. Each of the 10 workshops is limited to 30-50 seats, and half of them are free. In addition, only Early Birds have the opportunity to order a printed syllabus (Everyone will receive a syllabus on CD.).

NGS members get even deeper discounts, so this is a great time to join. By joining now and registering before March 8, you get the best conference discount as well as the chance to experience other membership benefits long after the conference ends.

The conference tracks offer a wealth of information on most every subject you can think of: researching records in different locations within the U.S. as well as a variety of other countries of origin; best practices; smashing brick walls; working smarter online and offline; and so many more topics you just have to see them for yourself. You can either browse the full brochure at www.ngsgenealogy.org/galleries/new-gallery/Registration_brochure.pdf or search for specific topics and speakers at http://members.ngsgenealogy.org/Conferences/2010Program.cfm

You can register online by logging on to NGS at www.ngsgenealogy.org and clicking on the Register Now link on the home page. Be sure to allow more time if you're mailing your registration.

Don't miss these Early Bird discounts for the 2010 NGS Conference!

A Tribute to Marsha Hoffman Rising CG, FASG

The National Genealogical Society mourns the loss of Marsha Hoffman Rising, a former Vice President and director of NGS, as well as a contributor to the NGS Quarterly. In tribute to Marsha's character and contributions to the genealogy community, NGS President Jan Alpert noted, "In researching and writing Opening the Ozarks, First Families of Southwest Missouri, Marsha undertook a project of monumental proportions, which will benefit family history researchers for generations to come. I was fortunate to get to know Marsha and her husband Dean on several trips to England. Her perseverance, despite serious health issues, is an inspiration to us all."

The following tribute also offers an opportunity to honor Marsha's memory, established by her friends and colleagues, by donating to a project that Marsha heartily supported, the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions Fund.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Archives, and the genealogical community have started a project to digitize the War of 1812 pension files -- a fitting beginning to the bicentennial commemoration of this important war.

Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FASG, died 17 February 2010. A Certified Genealogist, Marsha was a Past President (2002-04) and Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists and a contributing editor to The American Genealogist. She was a Trustee of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (2001-03). Marsha was also a past board member of the National Genealogical Society and a Past President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. During her tenure with FGS, Marsha strongly supported the preservation of the War of 1812 pension documents. When informed of the 2010 pension digitization project and the Tribute in her honor, she was delighted. She remarked on how helpful the pensions had been when she was compiling her book, Opening the Ozarks. First Families of Southwest Missouri (4 volumes published by American Society of Genealogists). The information contained within the pension and bounty land files helped her add much family detail and identify places of origin for the settlers.

Friends and colleagues have established this special category of contributions to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions Fund, titled "A Tribute to Marsha Hoffman Rising." Donations received in Marsha’s name will go towards making these records available online for interested researchers. A donation of $25 will digitize 50 images; a donation of $500 will digitize 1,000 images. Mail to:
FGS, 1812 Fund – Rising Tribute
P.O. Box 200940
Austin, TX 78720-0940.

The names of donors will appear in FORUM Magazine and notification will be sent to Marsha’s family.

19 February 2010

Get Ready for the New Who Do You Think You Are? Television Series!

Stock up on the popcorn and get ready for the new NBC hit show Who Do You Think You Are? The family history-focused series will lead seven celebrities on a heart-warming journey back in time as they discover more about the ancestors who came before them. Lisa Kudrow, who executive produced the show, will be featured in the episodes, along with Sarah Jessica Parker, Spike Lee, Matthew Broderick, Susan Sarandon, Emmitt Smith, and Brooke Shields. Ancestry.com is a partner with NBC on the show.

What is wonderful about the show is that, with the celebrity appeal, the genuine emotion they experience, and the family storytelling nature of the show, Who Do You Think You Are? is perfectly poised to appeal to the masses – not just professional genealogists or family history experts.

Excitement for Who Do You Think You Are? – premieres Friday, March 5 at 8/7c – is already mounting. Here’s what people are saying about the show:
"Many people are interested in knowing more about their heritage, but have no idea how to begin. I hope Who Do You Think You Are? will encourage people to move from interest to action and take advantage of the many resources available.”
— Janet A. Alpert, President, National Genealogical Society

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime for genealogical organizations to advertise themselves and build their membership. This will do for genealogy what Roots did for it in the late 1970s.”
— Pat Oxley, President, The Federation of Genealogical Societies

Who Do You Think You Are? presents the genealogy community with a golden opportunity to grow and strengthen societies, to infuse our industry with younger audiences who can become the next generation of family historians, and to educate the public about how to successfully research their heritage. Really, this show presents the community with the opportunity to revolutionize, reshape, and redefine family history as a whole.

As members of the genealogy community, we can do a lot to ensure the show is successful in an effort to help grow interest in family history. Here are some ideas to help spread the word about the show:
* Post flyers, wallpaper, and more. Ancestry.com just launched a web page (www.ancestry.com/spreadtheword) that includes downloadable flyers, computer wallpaper, and other ideas that everyone can use to help tell their society members, institution patrons, friends, co-workers and more about this new television show.

* Host a Who Do You Think You Are? premiere party on Friday, March 5th, 2010. Consider hosting a “Who Do You Think You Are?” premiere party on March 5, inviting members of your society and local community – even friends and family – to watch the show together. Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers provided some great tips on hosting a viewing party. You can view those tips here: http://www.geneabloggers.com/plan-wdytya-viewing-party

* Share the Who Do You Think You Are? trailer. Consider posting a link to one of the Who Do You Think You Are? trailers on your society’s Facebook page, Twitter account, or website.

* Send an email to others. Email the trailer to other society members, friends, or family. In fact, the Spread the Word page (www.ancestry.com/spreadtheword) has a pass-along email with a video that includes the trailer and Lisa Kudrow talking about what prompted her to produce the series.

So spread the word – and don’t for get to tune in to NBC on Fridays beginning March 5 at 8/7c.

18 February 2010

NHS IC Launches U.K. 1939 Register Service

Editor's note: The following information comes from Laurence Harris, Immediate Past Chairman - JGS Great Britain and professional genealogist. I found the cautions to be particularly worthy of note, especially the fact that a death certificate may not be sufficient evidence when requesting a record, combined with the fact that no refunds of the
£42 ( about $66 U.S.) will be given once the search is started. Be sure to read all instructions and cautions before making your request.

The NHS IC, England's Information Centre for Health and Social Care, has launched a service that provides access to previously unreleased information on the 1939 National Registration. As Great Britain has a 100 year rule before releasing census information, and the last UK census released is 1911 (for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which released it in 2009, a bit ahead of the 100 years, this is a valuable genealogical resource for those who had ancestors living in England and Wales on September 29, 1939 -- the date of the enumeration. (See below for information on Scotland, which will not be released until 2011.) Data will only be released for those individuals who who have died and are now recorded as deceased.

According to the website, providing a death certificate may not be sufficient evidence. Because the entries are over 70 years, some of the entries may be incomplete or illegible, due to natural deterioration.

The National Health Service Information Center (NHS IC) is providing this information. The national registration was required by Parliament as an emergency measure at the beginning of World War II. This was the beginning of the requirement of identity cards that everyone was required to have. The registration number was assigned after everyone in the household after the following information was collected: names, sex, age, occupation, profession, residence, marriage status, membership in the military or civil defense.

For information on how to apply for the registration and more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/ydhsy67

The charge for searching for the information--regardless if it is found or not- is £42. No refunds will be given once the search is started.


The National Registration register has been kept secret because the 1939 Act prohibited publication of the information; but, thanks to an application under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act of 2002, that restriction has been reviewed, and details about people who have since died are now being made available. The fee is £13 plus evidence of the death of the person who is the subject of the enquiry. For information on where to send the inquiry, go to: http://tinyurl.com/yc3hpjs

01 February 2010

Follow Your Ancestral Trail at the 2010 NGS Family History Conference

Announcing International Workshops and Migration Track

The National Genealogical Society’s 32nd Family History Conference, “Follow Your Ancestral Trail,” will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, from 28 April to 1 May 2010. The convention center is just a few steps from the Family History Library, the largest genealogy library in the world.

The major focus of this year’s conference will be increasing research skills in foreign countries and following the trail to and across the United States. There’s something for everyone from the newly curious to the experienced genealogist. The International track features hands-on workshops that will explore the availability of records and offer research tips unique to each of the following cultures: Norwegian/Danish, Italian, Swedish, Hispanic, and Eastern European.

The workshops will be part lecture and part research-planning and problem-solving. Each workshop will have a corresponding lab at the Family History Library for workshop participants only. The lab will include an orientation to the records and guidance on how to continue with the research. Participants are encouraged to bring their personal projects to work on. No additional fees apply beyond the conference registration, but space is limited, so register early.

In addition to the workshops, there will be lectures that focus on a wide range of international research topics. Learn to research Italian marriage and other vital records, to solve research problems using resources in French repositories, and to use online resources for locating German immigrant origins. Learn about the unique materials held at Polish archives and how to use probate records in England and Wales.

Where did your ancestors go when they reached American soil? Did they settle on the east coast, or did they migrate across the country? On Wednesday the Migration track will offer lectures to help you understand the overland and water routes that were used to travel to the frontier. Among other migration topics offered throughout the conference, learn about the role of railroads in settling the west and where to find diaries that chronicled the journeys of pioneers.

Wherever your ancestors immigrated from, there’s something for you at this year’s conference. Registration details and the conference program can be found online at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/attendee_registration.