Happy Birthday – Abe Lincoln! My 3rd Cousin 6x removed

Posted in Civil War, family tree,, free research, National Archives, new york city library, public domain, u.s. presidents | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

February Cards of Yesteryear…

More great finds at the New York Public Library Collections!

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“Flags of All Nations” – Old Cigarette Cards

I love looking through the online collections of the New York Public library!

Enjoy these fun old “Flags Of the Nations” National themed Cigarette Cards From the George Arents Collection!

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The National Newspaper Digitizing Project – Another FREE Resource!

I love Old Newspapers!! Here’s a couple of dandy little ads from 1890’s and 1910 fashion. I have found so many great things in old newspapers! Now there are a lot of newspapers in newspapers.com which is a subscription service but I have a great little tip for all of you on how to find the earliest newspapers that aren’t indexed in newspapers.com for Free!! {insert heavenly music}….That’s right those early newspapers that have been eluding you may just be online for Free!

The Library Of Congress has a bang up collection of American historical newspapers from 1690 to the present online in a searchable database! Thousands of newspapers, in the public domain are available for your use!!…..for FREE!! I’ll just let that sink in for a minute, thousands of newspapers are available under public domain for your research and use!!

The project, officially called Chronicling America, is sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for Humanities in a joint partnership called NDNP – which stands for the National Digital Newspaper Program.

Heres a page from 1789 in the Gazette of the United States

From the Library of Congress NDNP web site:

Chronicling America (ISSN 2475-2703) is a Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories.

More information on program guidelines, participation, and technical information can be found at http://www.neh.gov/projects/ndnp.html or http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/.

Building the Digital Collection

Newspaper Title Directory

The Newspaper Title Directory is derived from the library catalog records created by state institutions during the NEH-sponsored United States Newspaper Program (http://www.neh.gov/projects/usnp.html), 1982-2011. This program funded state-level projects to locate, describe (catalog), and selectively preserve (via treatment and microfilm) historic newspaper collections in that state, published from 1690 to the present. Under this program, each institution created machine-readable cataloging (MARC) via the Cooperative ONline SERials Program (CONSER) for its state collections, contributing bibliographic descriptions and library holdings information to the Newspaper Union List, hosted by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). This data, approximately 140,000 bibliographic title entries and 600,000 separate library holdings records, was acquired and converted to MARCXML format for use in the Chronicling America Newspaper Title Directory. Contact a CONSER member for updates and corrections to bibliographic records (see http://www.loc.gov/acq/conser/conmembs.html) through CONSER. The Chronicling America Directory bibliographic records are updated annually from the CONSER dataset hosted by OCLC.

Selected Digitized Newspaper Pages

Each NDNP participant receives an award to select and digitize approximately 100,000 newspaper pages representing that state’s regional history, geographic coverage, and events of note.

Participants are expected to digitize primarily from microfilm holdings for reasons of efficiency and cost, encouraging selection of technically-suitable film, bibliographic completeness, diversity and “orphaned” newspapers (newspapers that have ceased publication and lack active ownership) in order to decrease the likelihood of duplicative digitization by other organizations.

These newspaper materials were digitized to technical specifications designed by the Library of Congress. These specifications include the following basic elements (profiles describing the full set of specifications can be found at http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/guidelines/) : 

  • TIFF 6.0, 8-bit grayscale, 400 dpi, uncompressed, with specified tag values
  • JPEG2000, Part 1; 8-bit component; 6 decomposition layers; 25 quality layers; 8:1 compression; with XML Box with specified RDF metadata
  • Single page PDF with hidden text; downsampled to 150 dpi, using JPEG compression; with XMP containing specified RDF metadata.
  • Single page machine-readable text encoded in ALTO, v. 2.0 XML; in column-reading order (created with Optical Character Recognition).
  • METS XML data objects describing newspaper issues, pages, and microfilm reels; incorporating elements in MODS, PREMIS, and MIX formats.

Chronicling America provides access to these digitized historic materials primarily through a Web interface enhanced with dynamic HTML interactivity for magnification and navigation. Searches are available for both full-text newspaper pages and bibliographic newspaper records (the Newspaper Directory). Pages are displayed in JPEG format, dynamically-created from source files on user request and presented through the browser interface using a combination of Javascript, DHTML and AJAX Web programming.

Preservation Data Repository and Dissemination Application

The NDNP repository developed for Chronicling America is based on the Open Archive Information System (OAIS) Reference Model for preservation repository architecture and supported by a variety of modular components to enable long-term sustainability of data ingestion, archival management and data dissemination. The public website is built using the Python programming language, Django Web framework, RDFLib, Apache Solr search server, Apache Web server, and MySQL database engine. For more information, see http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/ or contact ndnptech@loc.gov.

Related Resources

Rights and Reproductions

The Library of Congress believes that the newspapers in Chronicling America are in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions. Newspapers published in the United States prior to 1923 are in the public domain in their entirety. Any newspapers in Chronicling America that were published after 1922 are also believed to be in the public domain, but may contain some copyrighted third party materials. Researchers using post-1922 newspapers should be alert for modern content (for example, registered and renewed for copyright and published with notice) that may be copyrighted. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

The NEH awardee responsible for producing each digital object is presented in the Chronicling America page display, above the page image – e.g. Image produced by the Library of Congress. For more information on current NDNP awardees, see http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/listawardees.html.

For more information on Library of Congress policies and disclaimers regarding rights and reproductions, see http://www.loc.gov/homepage/legal.html

Go straight to the NDNP Collection home page here:

The NDNP Home Page

**Be sure to explore both tabs at the top of the search page:

  • “US Newspaper Directory 1690-present”
  • “All Digitized Newspapers 1789-1963

More information on program guidelines, participation, and technical information can be found at http://www.neh.gov/projects/ndnp.html or http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/.

& Start searching!!

Posted in family tree,, free research, Free Resources, fun stuff, Genealogy research, library of congress, National Archives, newspapers, public domain, public records | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For those that love wines with their family tree crime stories….

Get the 19 crimes Wine Bottle Lamp on Amazon!

Posted in criminals geneaology, family tree,, fun stuff, Genealogy research, history of the west, National Archives, public domain | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The National Archives: Microfilm Digitizing Partners

You know I LOVE , Love, Love the National Archives!!

If you are looking for a certain public record held by the National Archives which has been indexed by one of their partners (Ancestry.com, Family Search, fold3, etc.) they have a wonderful index on their web site to give you more information on who has the documents in their index. The list is called “Microfilm Publications and Original Records Digitized by Our Digitization Partners” and can be found under the genealogy section of the National Archives web site.

I find this to be a huge time saver when I am searching for a specific record. To access that wonderful indexing list click the link below to go directly to the National Archives. This is also a great reference to help you find records you may not realize are available online.

Microfilm Publications and Original Records Digitized by Our Digitization Partners

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The U. S. Camel Corps: How a Camel Fought in the Civil War

Just when you think you’ve seen it all!
U.S. Camel Corps – The Texas Camel Experiment! That’s right…camels!


Illustration for Jefferson Davis’ report to the Senate in 1857 (Senate Documents, 34th Congress, 3d sess., serial 881, pp. 179) – loading the camels on the ship for the U.S. Texas Camel Experiment – public domain – wikipedia.com

Well, this is a nifty story! Back in the days when they were settling the Western States the U.S. government decided they need to try an experiment to see if they could find another animal that would be able to better endure through the dry, desert conditions and long distances between watering holes. Mules, burrows and horses, the governments’ main staple of transportation, were dying due to severe dehydration. During the years 1856-1866 the U.S. government ran a program called the U.S. Camel Corps – the Texas Camel Experiment.


Last known surviving Camel Corps Veteran – California – Rudolph D’Heureuse, who published a series of forty-one photos in 1863 – public domain – wikipedia.com


“Hi Jolly” and his wife – public domain – wikipedia.com

After the passing of the U.S. Camel Appropriation Act, on February 10th, 1857, the first camel corps arrived in the U.S. on the Ship USS Supply with 41 camels. Another trip to acquire more camels brought the total camels in the Camel Corps up to 70.  A Camp was established in Texas called Camp Verde where the camels and caretakers lived for approximately 10 years.


Camp Verde, Texas – historical marker – Creative Commons – wikipedia.com


A man named “Hi Jolly” or “Hadji Ali” was brought with the camels to the United States and hired as the main camel driver with 7 other men for the camel experiment. The experiment involved driving the camels, horses, burrows and mules across the Southwest desert from Texas to California and to observe how they could travel as pack animals with infrequent watering. The camels in the experiments faired well and survived the trips with very little problems, the mules and horses however often died during the trips.

The camel experiment failed primarily because the size of the camels would scare the horses and mules and often times cause horse stampedes. Another kink in the plan was that the current Secretary of State in charge of the Camel Corps was Jefferson Davis who in the middle of the experiment appointed himself as the President of the Confederate States. These two things lead to the conclusion of the experiment and the camels were sold off at auction.


One of artist Patrick Westphal’s series of murals, painted on walls of a lumber company in Ingram, Texas, reflecting the history of Kerr County. This one depicts the surprising arrival of camels at the U.S. Army’s Camp Verde in the county. The Army imported camels in 1856 and 1857, using them with some success in extended surveys in the Southwest. The camels did not, howevever, get along with the Army’s horses and mules, which would bolt out of fear when they smelled a camel. The soldiers, too, found the camels difficult to handle and they detested the smell of the animals. During the Civil War in 1861, Confederate troops captured more than 80 camels and two foreign drivers at Camp Verde. A Texas Ranger company was assigned the camp in 1862, and J.W. Walker was in charge of the camels, some of which were used to transport salt from San Antonio and Brownsville and San Elizario, while some transported cotton to Mexico. Wikipedia.com – Mural – The camels arrive in Camp Verde, Texas.

“Old Douglas” – the Confederate Civil War Camel – Mississippi – 43rd Infantry
(unknown – 27 Jun 1863)


Old Douglas memorial stone – Vicksburg, Mississippi  Cemetery – Creative Commons

This story would not be complete without a nice little antidote. The camel experiment was during the Civil War years and a camel named “Old Douglas” somehow wound up in Mississippi. He served in the Mississippi 43rd Confederate Infantry. “Old Douglas” was a dromedary camel and he was officially assigned to the band unit carrying instruments and packs. He survived several Civil War battles including the Battle of Corinth.



Old Douglas pictured in the Civil War (Doug Baum photo Collection – public domain.)

Apparently there may have been other camels that were used in the Civil War. Old Douglas was killed by the Union army in the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863.


A military headstone was placed in his memory in the cemetery at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Click below to see Old Douglas’ findagrave.com listing!

Old Douglas the Civil War Camel – findagrave.com

“Hi Jolly” continued to live in the American Southwest and tried to start a camel freight service but was unsuccessful. He became a U. S. citizen in 1880 and released his camels into the desert near Gila Bend, Arizona. He continued to work for the U.S. government handling burrows for the Geronimo campaign. Camels from this project were known to be living in the Southwest desert for many decades to follow. He is buried in Quartzside, Arizona.

HadjiAliMonument20080707 creative commons

“Hi Jolly” monument in Quartzide, Arizona – Creative Commons.

You might be surprised but there IS a lot of information about the Camel Corps!
Additional Reading can be found in the following links:

The Last Camel Charge: The Untold Story of the America’s Desert Military Experriment by Forrest Bryant Johnson – Amazon.com

The U.S. Camel Corps: An Army Experiment by Odie B. Faulk – Amazon.com

Camp Verde – Texas Frontier Defense by Joseph Luther – Amazon.com

Old Camp Verde – wikipedia.com

The U.S. Camel Corps – Wikipedia.com

“Hi Jolly” – Wikipedia.com

And if you LOVE Camels in the Desert – there is a really nice Archival Print of El Morro National Monument – Camel Drive available here – El Morro Camel Print – Amazon.com

Posted in Battle of Corinth, MS, Civil War, family tree,, gravestones, history of the west, texas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Resources: New York Public Library on Flickr

Flickr! Another great FREE resource for those of you that LOVE old photos and historical photo collections! I have to encourage everyone to stop by Flickr.com sometime soon and go into the Flickr Commons Photos! This is another free huge treasure trove of history that you will love!

I stopped by to see what I could find for out of copyright Halloween images and stumbled across these old “Haunted Postcards” from the New York Public Library! If you love old photos; those library collection historical images – then go there now!!

You can create a free account and search high and low for old images! How great of New York Public Library to share these images on the Internet! Even better – most of the images are out of copyright so you are free to download and use them as you like. Head there now to see if you find something neat!!

Check out Flicker.com

Images from the New York Public Library – Flickr Common

Posted in ancestry.com, flickr, flickr commons, free research, genetic genealogy, history of the west, National Archives, new york, public domain, public records | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Everyone’s an Armchair Geneticist…DNA; our new found past time.

Great news everybody!!! We have a new found past time that is very popular these days. We are obsessed with our DNA!!!! Every one can play along and comment and critique as they desire with whatever they know or heard or read or think!! It’s an all inclusive participation activity! If you really want to play this game to its maximum, then be sure to get on Facebook and join ALL of the family tree DNA forums where thousands of people sit on their screens and argue all day about the following: cMs, DNA testing, Y-DNA, mT-DNA, GedMatch, FamilytreeDNA, AncestryDNA, Ancestry DNA Circles, how to deal with “surprise family members”, adoptions, exposing family secrets and oh so much more! Who knew vials of spit and bar graphs together could be this FUN?!?!

I find it really amazing how many of your average people have recently become Masters in Genetics!! I’ll admit I’m fascinated with the DNA aspect of genealogical research but I’m a musician and not a scientist and I can never pretend to completely understand the sciences behind DNA. There are some simple things I know and I’ll just stick to the basics.

In these forums that start out as innocent online groups, things generally get heated in comments when a well meaning person asks a question about something and as per usual everyone puts in their 2 cents,….here come the experts! This weekend, someone asked about the ancestry DNA circles. I currently have 40 DNA circles and so stupid me!…I commented on this persons post as to how I came about these results.

Well, I should have known better, it wasn’t long before someone was disagreeing with me and so I just simply posted the 43 page white paper written by ancestry.com (by 13 authors) on how they do it and said “we can only pretend to understand it”. Well that really torked off the person who was trying to argue with me. I never go into these comments to try to argue, but man, people are angry these days! I was posting a post about some lost dogs at my farm and I was trying to give this original poster some tips on how I get results but apparently in today’s world you can’t just give someone a piece of advice…especially! when it pertains to DNA. I’ve got to stay off the FB! {I know this! I know this!}

So,….if you are trying to understand how ancestry.com creates those really fun DNA circles, (I am not going to pretend to understand it all), just read the white paper – 43 pages of scientific formulas. I have some things I do which relate to the data entry process (see previous posts).

You can read all the specifics including those really simple mathematical formulas in the white paper if you follow this link:

Ancestry.com DNA Circles – white paper

If you want to know some basics about DNA this is a great article:

Wiki – autosomal DNA

If you want to get a little more info about DNA like a “DNA for Dummies”….you can do that,….they have that! Click this link to add it to your Amazon.com cart.

Genetics for Dummies Book

If you really want to “get into your DNA”, then I suggest finding one source or person to learn from. What are you trying to discover? Go in that direction. People have devoted their entire lives and careers to DNA genetics. I am not those people, I do not know it all, I am not a scientific brain. I’m a musical, writing, story telling brain. I am grateful to my cousins, Mike Lacopo and Carol Dove for their generous help in DNA study in our family tree lines.

DNA is a tool, it takes time, it’s evolving, it’s growing, it’s changing. DNA leads to a lot of “Estimates”. Let’s say that again….DNA includes a lot of “ESTIMATES”. We can’t expect DNA to do it all. And everyone needs to RELAX!! Why are we in such a hurry to know it all?!? What is with this obsession?? We need to take a lesson from those that came before us, take time, be accurate, use all the tools to find the answers. Make sure you’re tracing the right person, triple check your work. Some things WILL remain unknown.

I’ll end this post with a recent quote from another cousin that reminds me in this process that the old and the new ways really do need to go hand in hand.

“DNA by itself is worthless; DNA with Records is PRICELESS!”

Posted in ancestry.com, DNA Testing, family tree,, free research, Genealogy research, genetic genealogy, public records, releasetherecords.org, Uncategorized, US Census Records, User Tips Ancestry.com | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

InternetArchive.org – Treasure Trove of FREE Records & Information!

I love FREE records on the internet!! One of my favorite resources online for old books, family history records, censuses, birth indexes, old maps, historical records and so much more is the InternetArchive.org!

The InternetArchive.org is a giant repository of information. It contains millions of books, records, maps, media, web pages and so much more. And it’s all FREE!! That’s right, it’s all free and much of what it contains is in the public domain so you are free to use it as you wish.

The best way to use it is to set up a free account and start searching! If you have an account you can save items into your own library account which is really handy for researching. Many items from the National Archives can be found here including the full muster rolls of the Armies and Regiments of the Civil War. The New York Public Library has contributed a massive amount of materials to the InternetArchive.org Want to borrow a book online? Or maybe you want to follow a group like ReclaimtheRecords? You can do all of that with your free account.

Every day the repository of the InternetArchive.org grows! It’s a tremendous resource for your family history research! You’ll be surprised at what you can find there! Check it out!

Posted in ancestry.com, Civil War, family tree,, free research, Free Resources, Genealogy research, National Archives, public domain, public records, releasetherecords.org, Uncategorized, US Census Records, User Tips Ancestry.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment