Monday, August 6, 2012

Genealogists, particularly professional genealogists, need to advocate for
records. We speak often about preservation, but we have to be just as
diligent about access. It is an important responsibility for all of us to
learn about the issues and to keep up-to-date on them.

A few months ago, we were able to view Capitol Hill subcommittee hearings
online to learn about efforts to end tax fraud. The bills to support those
efforts included language to close the SSDI (called the Death Master File by
the bureaucrats).

Those subcommittees called for an audit of the IRS to reveal the extent of
the fraud. The results are in and they don't look good. Because of this and
of the suggestions from the audit, the various bills were rewritten. The new
bills will probably move forward without delay.

The language in the original bills would have closed the SSDI permanently.
The new bills permit close it to genealogists for two years. During those
two years, only people involved in detecting fraud will have access. Of all
the options available in the original bills, this one provides for the least

Genealogists were shut out of the hearings that took place this spring.
Melinde Lutz Byrne, President of the American Society of Genealogists, was
present at one hearing but not allowed to testify.

MGC has blogged about this issue over the last few months. I'd like to call
your attention to our newest blog postings on the topic. The two postings

"New Legislation Would Close the SSDI for 2 Years"
> &view=entry&id=24&Itemid=127


"The Bottom Line on Tax Fraud? $5 Billion per Year"
> &view=entry&id=25&Itemid=127

The second blog posting contains a little information about whom you should

Those genealogists whose livelihoods or volunteer work depend on access to
the SSDI should consider communicating with their own Congressmen and
Senators. Work of this type includes those who work to return the remains of
Missing or Killed in Action servicemen, those who seek the next-of-kin for
Unclaimed Persons, and others in similar compassionate roles.

Explain why access to the Death Master File is critical to your work and ask
your legislator to contact the House and Senate subcommittee chairs with the
message to add investigative genealogists to the list of credentialed
people. The current bills open the records only to those stopping fraud. Our
compassionate work needs to be recognized. We were denied the opportunity to
testify at any of the subcommittee hearings. Our own legislators are now our
only path to having our voices heard.

Friday, July 27, 2012

You can catch more flies with honey!

Again, as I was cruising through message boards I found this interesting series of posts. When people post their genealogy posts they are looking for research not lectures, see the follow posts:

This is the first post looking for information:

looking for any references to Richard Branham... dates of birth and death are sketchy. He lived in Richmond, VA, where he married Alice, and had four sons. John T. Branham, b. 3-5-1712, Richard Branham Jr. b 11-28-1714, William Branham, b. 3-29-1716, and Benjamin Branham, b. 12-01-1728. Any decendents that would like to contact me, please do so... I have had some luck tracing down through his son John, but the others are in the dark...
Thanks alot. 

This is Kathy's response, well isn't she a know it all:

 Excuse me but there was NO Richmond, VA in the late 1600's. The place you are referring to is RICHMOND COUNTY, which is quite different from Richmond, Va. Before it was Richmond County it was called Rappahannock County, now called Old Rappahannock County because it is extinct. In the late 1600's, Rappahannock was split into Richmond on one side of the Rappahannock and Essex on the other.
If you are looking for records for the Branhams in the 1600's, start with York and work your way up the Rappahannock River as the counties can into being. Everyone followed the big river ports to make a living. Tappahannock in Essex, Naylors in Richmond, Port Royal in Caroline and then into Orange/Culpeper/Madison and from there into Kentucky.
If you're going to do Virginia genealogy research, you have to have a map. Everybody traveled by RIVER. 

Now, I was just wondering after reading this post about when exactly Richmond was founded, after a quick Google search this is what I found:

 "The site of Richmond, at the fall line of the James River, had been an important village of the Powhatan Confederacy, and was briefly settled by English colonists from Jamestown in 1609, and in 1610–1611. The present city of Richmond was founded in 1737. It became the capital of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia in 1780.(Wikipedia "The Free Encyclopedia"; Richmond, VA)"

And more on Richmond:

In 1607, after 10 days of travel up Powhatan’s River (later known as the James River), Captain John Smith and 120 men from Jamestown, Virginia, settled at the river's highest navigable location. Theirs was the first attempt to settle at the Falls of the James.
Four years later in 1611, the governor of the new Jamestown colony organized an expedition to sail up the James and settled below the falls in a place they called Henricus. The first hospital in North America was located there, serving also as the home of Pocahontas.
Struggles with the indigenous peoples began to simmer and then boil over after the death of Pocahontas in 1617, and her father Chief Powhatan the following year. Widespread Indian attacks during the Powhatan uprising of 1622 destroyed every English settlement along the James River except Jamestown.
Led by the more aggressive Chief Opechancanough, the tribe massacred nearly 400 white settlers during a surprise attack in 1644. Two years later, the tribe was forced to sign a treaty that granted the English possession of the land below the Falls of the James.
The neighborhoods of Shockoe Bottom, Shockoe Slip, and Church Hill, where St. John's Church had been built the prior year, coalesced into one entity when Richmond was chartered as a town, in 1742. They were governed by the Virginia House of Burgesses, located in Jamestown.(US History Website"Richmond, VA).

Well, I guess Kathy's response was partially true, the town where Richmond stands was not named Richmond but there was a town there. But it is very upsetting when someone who is posting a simple query gets such a rude response. This will turn  people off of message board all together. Why would someone post a message when they are going to receive this sort of response.

A good response would have been, "the city now named Richmond was not established under that name until (state date), at the date you have mentioned it was actually called(name here). I am wondering if you mean Richmond County? I know that places are very confusing and to help in my research I have purchased a map of Virginia made by (company name here), it has helped me a bunch."

Place names can be very difficult, especially in areas where towns change names regularly. When I run across this issue in my research I list the name at the time of the event but note the new name of the place.
What do you do in this situation?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July. Every year on 4th of July I start thinking about my ancestors that served in the military, I makes me very proud that they dedicated their lives so we could live our lives as the countries founding fathers envisioned. On that note I am reposting an email I received with tips on how to research you Revolutionary War Ancestor.

 Researching Your Revolutionary War Ancestor
by Kimberly Powell, Guide

The Revolutionary War lasted for eight long years, beginning with the battle between British troops and local Massachusetts militia at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, on 19
April 1775, and ending with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. If your family tree in America stretches back to this time period, it is likely you can claim descendency from at least one ancestor who had some type of service related to the Revolutionary War effort.

Did my Ancestor Serve in the American Revolution?
Boys as young as 16 were allowed to serve, so any male ancestors who were between the ages of 16 and 50 between
1776 and 1783 are potential candidates. Those who didn't serve directly in a military capacity may have helped in other ways - by providing goods, supplies or non-military service to the cause. Women also participated in the American Revolution, some even accompanying their husbands to battle.

If you have an ancestor you believe may have served in the American Revolution in a military capacity, then an easy way to start is by checking the following indexes to major Revolutionary War record groups:
    * DAR Patriot Index- Compiled by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the DAR Patriot Index contains data for both men and women who provided service to the patriot's cause between 1774 and 1783. Because this index was created from lineages identified and verified by DAR, it does not include every individual who served. The index generally provides birth and death data for each individual, as well as information on spouse, rank, area of service, and the state where the patriot lived or served. For those who did not serve in a military capacity, the type of civil or patriotic service is indicated. Soldiers who received a revolutionary war pension will be noted with the abbreviation "PNSR" ("CPNS" if the soldier's children received the pension or "WPNS" if the soldier's widow received the pension). The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution provides a free DAR Patriot Index Lookup Service.
    * Index to Revolutionary War Service Records- This four volume set [Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1995] by Virgil White includes abstracts of military service records from National Archives group 93, including each soldier's name, unit and rank. A simliar index was created by Ancestry, Inc. in 1999 and is available online to subscribers - U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783
    * American Genealogical-Biographical Index(AGBI)- This large index, sometimes referred to as the Rider Index after its original creator, Fremont Rider, includes the names of people who have appeared in more than 800 published volumes of family histories and other genealogical works. This includes several volumes of published Revolutionary War Records, such as Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution, Soldiers, Sailors, 1775-1783 and Muster and Payrolls of the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783 from the collection of the New York Historical Society. Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, Connecticut, pubishes this index and will answer AGBI search requests for a small fee. The AGBI is also available as an online database at subscription site,
    * Pierce's Register- Originally produced as a government document in 1915 and later published by Genealogical Publishing Company in 1973, this work provides an index to Revolutionary War claim records, including the veteran's name, certificate number, military unit and the amount of the claim.
    * Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots- The U.S. government places tombstones on the graves of identified Revolutionary War soldiers, and this book by Patricia Law Hatcher [Dallas: Pioneer Heritage Press, 1987-88] provides an alphabetical list of these Revolutionary War soldiers, along with the name and location of the cemetery where they are buried or memorialized.

Where Can I Find the Records?
Records related to the American Revolution are available in many different locations, including repositories at
the national, state, county and town-level. The National Archives in Washington D.C. is the largest repository, with compiled military service records, pension records and bounty land records. State archives or the state's Office of the
Adjutant General may include records for individuals who served with the state militia, rather than the continental army, as well as records for bounty land issued by the state.

A fire in the War Department in November 1800 destroyed most of the earliest service and pension records. A fire in August 1814 in the Treasury Department destroyed more records. Over the years, many of these records have been reconstructed.

Libraries with a genealogical or historical section will often have numerous published works on the American Revolution, including military unit histories and county histories. A good
place to learn about available Revolutionary War records is James Neagles' U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present [Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, Inc., 1994].

Sally Rolls Pavia
List Owner:
“To live in the hearts of those left behind, is never to have

Sunday, July 1, 2012

For all people who are researching the DeBusk and/or Related Families I have now updated my family website on tribal pages. the website is:

The site is password protected, only because of the large amount of personal information included there.

So, if you are related, visit the site, check the surname index, and if you family is there, click the contact link and send me your name, email and the family members you are researching. As long as everything matches up I will send you a password.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

So, here is one of my long standing brick walls.

It is my great-great grandmother Agnes Branham (nee Nelson), she married Thomas Branham and had the following children, Thomas Larkin Branham (my great-grandfather), Agnes Branham, and Dulcie Branham (born 2 Feb., 1893 died 26 Feb. 1914), there might have been other children but I have not found them at this time.
The family story is that Thomas Larkin ran away from home at a young age because after years of his father abusing the family Thomas got upset while his father was beating his mother and attacked his father with a board or piece of wood. He thought he killed his father so he ran away.
No one still living could remember any family information besides this story. I was able with the help of a cousin to find out that Thomas Larkin died in California so I got his death certificate from California but the parents' names were not included on it, luckily I was able to get his social security number from the death certificate.
I used the social security number to get a copy of his social security card application which listed Thomas Branham and Agnes Nelson as his parents.
I have been able to get the death certificate for Agnes Branham from the Missouri Death Index. But I am unable to attach the actual document here but if you would like to see it here is the link:

It stated that her parents are Thomas Nelson and her mother is Elizabeth Quisenbury/Quesenbury who was born in possibly KY (Kentucky). I can not make out where Thomas Nelson was born maybe Ireland or Virginia, I just can't tell.
So, there is a lot of information available on the web regarding the Quisenbury/Quesenbery family but I have been unable to link this up and I have been unable to find anything to work with on my Thomas Nelson.

Friday, June 22, 2012

So, lets try something new. I have had many brick walls on my tree, some I have busted through and some are still standing. So, lets have people start posting their brick walls (use comment section on this post). It doesn't matter what family you are researching lets just get these brick walls out in the open.
When posting please try to include any info you have and you might want to include what you have done in your research. Lets see if we can help each other out.
Hello again,

Well, it been a long while since a post, everyday life has gotten in the way of blogging. 
Now that its summer time and bumping 110 degrees here I will now be spending more time on genealogy, time to reorganize my stuff. I will try to find some interesting items related to genealogy to post here. If you see anything interesting please let me know by either emailing me or using the comment section to post the info.
Happy Hunting!