2018 Virtual Genealogy Fair – National Archives

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair 2018

October 24, 2018 – Save the date!

Sixth Annual Virtual Genealogy Fair

Every year, the National Archives hosts a virtual Genealogy Fair via live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Thousands of family historians participate in the live event.

As a virtual attendee, you can:

  • Watch the entire day on YouTube.
  • Join us – from wherever and whenever.
  • Participate with the presenters and other family historians during the live event.
  • Watch individual sessions and download the materials at your convenience — live or after the event.
  • Attend free of charge and registration!

Schedule (Eastern)

10 a.m – Welcoming Remarks

David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States of America

10:05 a.m. – Calling all Citizen Archivists! Getting the Most Out of the National Archives Catalog

Skill Level: All

Session: Join the National Archives Catalog Community Managers as they discuss genealogy resources available in the National Archives Catalog and how the Catalog can help you jump start and refine your genealogical research. The Community Managers will also discuss the many opportunities to participate in our online Catalog through citizen archivist projects such as tagging, transcription, and adding comments. They’ll talk about how you can contribute to these projects and how these contributions can help make content in our Catalog more discoverable to researchers.

Presenters:  Suzanne Isaacs and Meredith Doviak are the Community Managers for the National Archives Catalog,, working to manage, build and grow the community of users surrounding records and information in our Catalog through crowdsourcing missions

Suzanne holds a B.A. in American History and an M.L.S in Archives from the University of Maryland. Before arriving at the National Archives she was the Open Society Archives Western Fellow in Budapest, Hungary and the audiovisual archivist and assistant curator at the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland. Over 15 years at the National Archives she was the Supervisory Archivist for the Cartographic Section, Archivist in the Special Media Division, Digital Projects Coordinator for the National Archives Experience, and Item Level Description Coordinator in the Office of Innovation.  She was a project manager for the development of and blogged for Today’s Document on Tumblr (

Meredith joined the National Archives in 2009, first working in the Social Media Branch in the Office of Innovation, developing policy, strategy, and outreach initiatives for the National Archives’ social media accounts. Meredith also served on the governance workstream for the development and launch of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) project to create free and open access to the nation’s cultural and scientific record. Meredith holds a Master of Library Science Degree with a focus on Archival Administration from the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College.

11 a.m. – Federal Records that Help Identify Former Slaves and Slave Owners

Skill Level: All

Session: This presentation will highlight some of the most important federal records for identifying former slaves and slave owners, including:

  • Census
  • Civil War and later military service and pension records
  • Confederate slave payrolls
  • Bureau of Pensions Law Division case files
  • Freedmen’s Bureau records
  • Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company records
  • Southern Claims Commission claims files
  • Coastwise slave ship manifests
  • Fugitive slave case files

Presenter: Claire Kluskens is a reference and digital projects archivist at the National Archives in Washington, DC and specializes in records of high genealogical value. She spearheaded the completion of more than 330 National Archives microfilm publications and now works on digital and description projects for the National Archives Catalog. She lectures frequently and has published extensively in national, state, and local genealogical publications. Claire has been a National Archives and Records Administration staff member since 1992 and has done genealogical research since 1976.

12 p.m. – All’s Fair in Love and War: The Civil War Widows’ Pension Files

Skill Level: Beginner

Session: Earlier this year, the processing team here at Archives I in Washington, DC completed a years-long records maintenance project of The Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of the Army and Navy Who Served Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain (“Widows’ Certificate” [WC] Files”), Entry 12-A, National Archives Identifier 30020, in Record Group 15, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs. These files are a heavily used record series for genealogists and social historians, and contain records received by the Bureau of Pensions from widows to prove entitlement for pensions based on their deceased husbands’ military service, as well as records created by the Bureau that document actions it took concerning the applications. Far more than old papers housed in archival boxes, these records are a testament to the lives lived and the challenges faced by women in the face of a massive and byzantine bureaucratic network. Pension files contain records for all claims relating to the veteran and include corroborating evidence such as proof of marriage and/or divorce, certificates from examining surgeons, birth records of children, copies of veterans’ death certificates, and correspondence between parties to a claim and the Bureau of Pensions. The Bureau of Pensions would frequently dispatch special examiners to gather testimony from widows and those who had knowledge of the marriage, including neighbors, employers, friends, and extended family. Transcripts of these depositions, if they occurred, are included in the case file. In addition to the myriad names and dates so frequently found in the course of genealogical research, the widows’ pension case files may provide a more intimate and detailed perspective regarding the marriage and lives of veterans and their surviving family. The Bureau of Pensions’ correspondence and interrogation transcripts often include details of whether the marriage was happy or unhappy, whether the family was adequately provided for, the circumstances of divorce or separation, and the reputation of the veteran and/or his widow in their local community. Surgeons’ certificates provide information on veterans’ health, including disabilities due to war injuries and any health problems that arose after his service. Included documents might also show that a widow was denied a claim due to insufficient proof of divorce from a previous marriage or testimony from neighbors attesting to what they perceived as immoral behavior. Each case file holds the potential for uncovering elements of the lives of veterans and their survivors beyond a dry sequence of events.

Presenter: Alexandra Villaseran, Archives Technician located at National Archives at College Park

1 p.m. – How to Search for Photographs that Document Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camps and Activities

Skill Level: Experienced

Session: Learn how to navigate records held in the Still Picture unit that document CCC camps and activities. This session will provide researchers with a list of series that contain CCC photographs, as well as inform researchers as to what information they should gather prior to beginning their search for CCC imagery.

Presenters: Kaitlyn Crain Enriquez, Archives Specialist and Kelsey Noel, Archivist located at National Archives at College Park

2 p.m. – Tennessee Valley Authority Records: To St. Louis and Beyond!

Skill Level: Experienced

Session: With this year’s 85th anniversary of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), I will cover the wealth of genealogical resources the TVA’s Official Personnel Files (OPFs) provide to researchers. Additionally, I will provide information regarding the locations of other TVA records to be found in National Archives offices outside of St. Louis. The TVA was created in 1933 as one of the many “alphabet agencies” of the New Deal. It employed men and women alike for many different jobs from the well-known, dam constructions to science labs and textile plants. It was one of the first agencies with such an overstated regional focus. Within one short year of establishment, over 9,000 people were employed over the seven-state area of TN, AL, MS, KY, GA, NC, and VA. The TVA’s focus on employment as well as on the development and modernization of rural land makes the federal records that remain a sophisticated way to track families from that time and area.

Presenter: Cara Moore Lebonick, Reference Archives Technician located at National Archives at St. Louis

3 p.m. – America’s Military Made the Call: Hello Nurses!

Skill Level: Experienced

Session: During war and peacetime, military nurses tended to the medical needs of the United States Armed Forces stateside, overseas, and on the front lines. This presentation will provide brief histories of the Navy Nurse Corps and Army Nurse Corps, useful finding aids, and how to request records. The Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of Army and Air Force Nurses may have been lost, burned, or damaged in the 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire. Fortunately, the National Archives at St. Louis houses non-OMPF records that may supplement the deficit the fire caused. The National Archives collection of Navy Nurse Corps and Army Nurse Corps records contain genealogy rich content of place & date of birth, photographs, handwritten letters and typed correspondence to friends and families, awards and citations earned, job duties, facts pertaining to a death in service/killed in action, and beneficiaries.

Presenter: Anna Csar graduated with a Bachelor’s in History and minor in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and has worked for NARA since 2012. She is an Expert Archives Technician at the National Personnel Records Center and is currently cross-training in archival reference at the National Archives, St. Louis. She is a subject matter expert on Navy and Army Nurse Corps military personnel records.

4 p.m. – Closing Remarks

Ann Cummings, Executive for Research Services


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Southern States Online Free Historical Newspapers

In Case You Missed It – Southern States’ Online Historical Newspapers:

638 new and updated Free Links have just been added to the Southern States’ free newspaper link lists (now totals 7,994 titles for all 15 states). Check out all the new links!

We have added:

The source of information is The Ancestor blog access August 26, 2018

Alabama –
Arkansas –
Florida –
Georgia –
Kentucky –
Louisiana –
Mississippi –
Missouri –
North Carolina –
Oklahoma –
South Carolina –
Tennessee –
Texas –
Virginia –
West Virginia –


Alabama is one of the states that does not have a central online repository for searching historical newspapers. Several states use the Library of Congress Chronicling America site as their main central online site for searching old newspapers. Alabama does have a few online newspapers available on that site. Alabama currently has its online availability from different websites. Many are free and some require a subscription. Below is a list of where the titles are stored and the link so that you can access them.

There are over 2.000 newspapers that have been published in the Yellowhammer State. But there are quite a few that are indeed available. So go for it – find your Alabama ancestors and all the interesting articles that capture the stories of their lives.Please note that I have not always entered the dates that are included in the collections, as I suspect they will change as more items are digitized. Also I suspect that some of these links may change over time – so if there is a dead link – please use your favorite search engine to find their new location. (Updated August, 2018; recently added links are in BOLD)

Free Sites:

Statewide Collections:

Chronicling America – Alabama Newspapers 

Google News Archive

Alabama Civil War Newspapers 1861-65

  • Advertiser and Register
  • Advocate and American
  • Alabama Beacon
  • Alabama State SentinelY
  • Army Argus and Crisis
  • Athens Post
  • Autauga Citizen
  • Bangor Broad Axe
  • Birmingham Iron Age
  • Bluff City Times
  • Butler News
  • Cahaba Gazette
  • Chambers Tribune
  • Christian Herald
  • Clarke County Democrat
  • Clayton Banner
  • Confederate States
  • Daily Confederation
  • Daily Huntsville Confederate
  • Daily Mercury
  • Daily Montgomery Ledger
  • Daily Selma Times
  • Daily State Sentinel
  • Democrat
  • Democratic Watchtower
  • Eufala Weekly News
  • Eufala Weekly Times
  • Eufaula Express
  • Florence Gazette
  • Greenville Advocate
  • Huntsville Confederate
  • Huntsville Weekly Democrat
  • Huntsville Weekly Independent
  • Independent American
  • Independent Monitor
  • Independent Observer
  • Jacksonville Republican
  • Livingston Journal
  • Marion Commonwealth
  • Mobile Advertiser and Register
  • Mobile Daily Advertiser and Register
  • Mobile Daily News
  • Mobile Daily Tribune
  • Mobile Evening News
  • Mobile Evening Telegraph
  • Mobile Morning News
  • Mobile Register and Advertiser
  • Mobile Weekly Advertiser
  • Mobile Weekly Register
  • Montgomery Daily Advertiser
  • Montgomery Daily Mail
  • Montgomery Daily Post
  • Montgomery Weekly Advertiser
  • Montgomery Weekly Mail
  • Montgomery Weekly Post
  • Moulton Advertiser
  • North Alabamian
  • Observer
  • Opelika Observer
  • Opelika Weekly Times
  • Our Mountain Home
  • Pickens American
  • Russell Register
  • Selma Daily Reporter
  • Selma Evening Reporter
  • Selma Morning Dispatch
  • Selma Morning Reporter
  • Selma Weekly Reporter
  • Shelby Guide
  • Shelby Sentinel
  • South Western Baptist
  • Southern Advertiser
  • Southern Advocate
  • Southern Argus
  • Southern Champion
  • Southern Home Journal
  • Southern Messenger
  • Southern Plantation
  • Southern Republic
  • Southern Signal
  • Southern Statesman
  • Southern Watchman
  • Spectator
  • Spirit of the South
  • St. Clair Diamond
  • State Rights Advocate
  • The Eutaw Whig and Observer
  • The Independent
  • The Weekly Issue
  • Troy Messenger
  • Tuscaloosa Observer
  • Tusekegee Weekly News
  • Union Springs Herald
  • Union Springs Herald and Times
  • Union Springs Times
  • United South
  • Universalist Herald
  • Weekly Advertiser
  • Weekly Advertiser and Register
  • Weekly Montgomery Confederation
  • West Alabamian
  • Wetumpka Spectator
  • Wilcox News and Pacificator

County and Library Collections:

Birmingham Public Library Newspapers

Birmingham Public Library Newspaper Clippings

Huntsville–Madison County Newspaper Index 

Lamar County Newspapers

Marion County Newspapers

Montevallo Collection

Student Collections:

Alabama State University – Montgomery

Auburn University – Auburn

Auburn University – Montgomery

Jacksonville State University – Jacksonville

Montevallo High School – Montevallo

Spring Hill College – Mobile

Troy University – Troy

University of Alabama – Birmingham

University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa

University of Montevallo – Montevallo

University of North Alabama – Florence

University of South Alabama – Mobile

University of West Alabama – Montgomery

Miscellaneous Collections:

Old Fulton Postcards

Small Town Papers

Agriculture and Rural Life Newspapers

Southern School News Archive

The Olden Times – Alabama

Newspaper Abstracts – Alabama

For Obituary Indexes, transcriptions, and other death/obituary information from historic newspapers, please check out the Obituaries page.

Other Free Sites:


Fort Payne




Dreams Of Africa In Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda And The Story Of The Last African

This book is a must-read for Genealogist

Dreams of African in Alabama

In the summer of 1860, more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 men, women and children from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States as slaves. For additional reading please follow the link above to purchase the book.

Thank you to our readers who asked for more information. You will find many resources in the book.

Written by Sylvianne A Dioup

New Post on American Ancestors Database News

We offer this news post from Amercian Ancestors to help you research your ancestors who may have been living in the New England States. This may help to bridge the gap between what we think we know and the unknown for us to discover. I have found relatives living in the New England States as Freeman and Slaves. We travel the trail where ever it leads us.


New post on American Ancestors Database News

11 new Norwich sketches in Early Vermont Settlers, 1700-1784

by Molly Rogers

Summer in Vermont

Today we’re announcing 11 new sketches in Early Vermont Settlers, 1700-1784.  We’ve also updated three older sketches.  This study project by Scott Andrew Bartley is a work in progress, focusing on head of families in pre-Revolutionary War Vermont.  So far he has focused on Windsor and Windham counties.  This addition (including the updates) adds 1,088 new records and 4,352 new names.  The new sketches are listed below:

Baldwin, Daniel (Norwich)
Burton, Jacob (Norwich)
Burton, Josiah (Norwich)
Carpenter, Simeon (Norwich)
Hatch, John (Norwich)
Hatch, Joseph (Norwich)
Hopson, John (Norwich)
Huntington, James (Norwich)
Murdock, Thomas (Norwich)
Sargent, John (Norwich)
Smith, Phillip (Norwich)

Three updated sketches:

Burton, Elisha (Norwich)
Neff, Thomas (Randolph)
Wright, Benjamin (Hartford)

Please note: This database is available to Individual-level and above NEHGS members only. Consider membership.

Molly Rogers | August 22, 2018 at 11:28 am | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Civil War Slave Compensation Claims

Civil War Slave Compensation Claims in Compiled Military Service Records of U.S. Colored Troops

During the Civil War, an act of Congress allowed loyal slave owners in border states (where slavery was still legal after the Emancipation Proclamation) whose slaves enlisted or were drafted into the U.S. military to file a claim against the Federal government for loss of the slave’s services.  Since each slave compensation claim was based on the service of a specific soldier, a copy of the claim’s paperwork was placed in that soldier’s compiled military service record. The regiments of U.S. Colored Troops that have a large number of these claims are the regiments formed in the border-states (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri) or in neighboring states.

This index includes troops who served the following regiments:

  • Artillery—1st, 4th, 8th, 12th, and 13th Heavy Artillery Regiments, U.S. Colored Troops
  • Cavalry—5th and 6th Cavalry Regiments, U.S. Colored Troops
  • Infantry—4th, 7th, 18th and 19th Infantry Regiments, U.S. Colored Troops

See Guide to Civil War Slave Compensation Claims in Compiled Military Service Records of U.S. Colored Troops for more information about these records.

For more information about specific records found in this index, please contact the History and Genealogy Department at

Understanding DNA

Ten Helpful Tools For Teaching DNA or understanding DNA
Whether you are teaching genetics or learning genetics for the first, or the umpteenth time, our list of Ten Helpful Tools offers new ideas and techniques that will pep your understanding of DNA. Several image sources, interactive tools, and activities you will not want to miss!

Continue reading

Slaves Held and Sold by Jesuits Priest at Georgetown University

In 1838, Georgetown University and the Maryland Jesuits sold nearly 300 enslaved men, women and children to sugar plantations in southern Louisiana in order to recuse the college from bankruptcy.  Until late 2015, Georgetown University folklore said that all of them quickly succumbed to fever in the malodorous swamp world of Louisiana, leaving no trace and no descendants.   But this wasn’t true.

The Georgetown Memory Project was founded in November 2015 to discover what really happened to the Georgetown slaves sold in 1838.  The GMP was founded by Georgetown alumni, and receives no financial assistance whatsoever from Georgetown University or the Maryland Jesuits.

To date, the Georgetown Memory Project has discovered that 206 of the Georgetown slaves were transported to Louisiana in 1838, while 91 more were left behind in Maryland.  In addition, the GMP has identified, located and verified more than 6,178 of their direct descendants (living and deceased).  This is their story.

Richard J. Cellini, Esq. is the Founder & Secretary of  The Georgetown Memory Project

Richard Cellini graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in 1984, and a law degree in 1988.  He received a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge (UK) in 1994.

Richard founded the Georgetown Memory Project in 2015. The GMP is a non-profit research institute focused on the topic of university-sponsored slavery.  The GMP is currently working to identify 272 enslaved people sold by Georgetown University to southern Louisiana in 1838, and to locate their lineal descendants.  To date, the GMP has documented the lives of 211 of the original GU272, and traced more than 6,100 direct descendants (living and deceased).

Source: access 8/17/18-





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