The October-December 2018 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 44, Number 4, has been mailed to members and is available online in the Members Only section of the website.
EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych
While every place has its own history and record-keeping practices, urban settings have unique challenges as well as research opportunities. Large populations complicate the effort of identifying a single person, and the multiple newspapers, churches, and cemeteries in cities increase the number of places to search for records.
In this issue, Meryl Schumacker explores some of the characteristics and strategies of urban research. She discusses studying geography and jurisdictional changes, identifying an ancestor’s place of worship, and using a selection of records important in urban research: censuses, city directories, tax lists, and municipal records. Jordan Jones recommends practical steps for organizing and accessing the mass of files and images that may accumulate during genealogical research, particularly while tracing urban ancestors.
Since most city-dwellers didn’t own property, deeds aren’t as helpful in urban research as they are in rural research. However, other types of records, such as city directories and Sanborn maps, are more common in urban areas than in rural locales. Sanborn maps make it possible to visualize ancestors’ homes and neighborhoods. Rebecca Lowery explains their content and techniques for locating and using these extremely detailed maps. The next issue will include an article by Terry Koch-Bostic on city directories.
Cities tended to have high concentrations of immigrants and ethnic groups. African Americans have been migrating to cities since the arrival of their ancestors, not just during the Great Migration from the South. Timothy Pinnick examines the history of African American migrations and presents resources that can be used to trace ancestors originating in the southern states. Kathy Petlewski profiles eleven ethnic benevolent societies founded in cities between 1729 and 1881 to assist immigrants, and demonstrates that some of their records—with genealogical information—are accessible.
In a column featuring National Archives sources useful for tracing urban residents, Claire Prechtel Kluskens highlights draft registration and naturalization records, District of Columbia records, and photographs.
Also in this issue, Ann Fleming reveals the breadth of the 2019 Family History Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, 8-11 May, and Scott Holl describes the extensive genealogical collections at the nearby St. Louis County Library, including the NGS Book Loan Collection. Tina Beaird portrays the three waves of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed more than sixty million people and outlines resources for researching the pandemic’s impact on communities.
Table of Contents
NGS 2019 Family History Conference—Your Journey of Discovery, by Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL, FNGS
St. Louis County Library: A Major Research Destination, by Scott Holl, MA, MLIS
City Folk: Strategies for Urban Research, by Meryl Schumacker, CG
African Americans in the Urban Landscape, 1865-1930, by Timothy N. Pinnick
Using Sanborn Maps for Family History, by Rebecca Lowery, PhD
1918 Pandemic: Fighting Influenza During the Great War, by Tina Beaird, MLIS
President’s Message, by Ben Spratling
Editor’s Note, by Deb Cyprych
NGS 2020 Family History Conference: Echoes of Our Ancestors Call for Proposals
Have You Visited the Fully Redesigned NGS Website? by Terry Koch-Bostic
2018 NGS Volunteers
Reference Desk: The Records of Ethnic Benevolent Societies in Urban America, by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
National Archives: Urban Residents in Federal Records, by Claire Prechtel Kluskens
Technology: Organizing Genealogy Files and Notes, by Jordan Jones