Anyone who is researching Pennsylvania ancestors will appreciate the new free guide made available by Family Search. At http://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Pennsylvania research articles cover such topics as vital records, census, emigration and immigration, cemeteries, probate records, and land and property records.
Each category includes helpful ideas, links to data that is available online, and may even include references to sources not generally known. For example, the article on cemeteries mentions (and provides a link to) Harry Senft’s cemetery pictures taken in the Pennsylvania counties of York, Adams and Cumberland, and also Carroll County, Maryland. Indices are being released as soon as they are completed, but many are already online. Family information for the Hartman family (cousins of Senft) includes links to many other families such as Dierdorff/Deardorf, Trimmer, Glattfelder/Glatfelter, Clodfelter, Hollinger, Meyer, Price, Shirk, and Sturm are found at http://midatlantic.rootsweb.ancestry.com/familyhart.
The topic Pennsylvania Census includes a helpful chart showing available online Pennsylvania census indexes and images from 1790 through 1940. Some databases are free (e.g., FamilySearch); some are also free at some libraries (usually with a library card), and some require a payment. The chart listing online federal non-population census schedules include 1840 (pensioners), 1850 (mortality and agriculture), 1860 (mortality), 1870 (mortality), 1880 (mortality), 1890 (veterans), and 1927 (agriculture).
There are articles on tracing American Indian ancestors, including Delaware, Iroquois, Shawnee and Tuscarora.
There are links to information on military records from the Indian Wars and Revolutionary War, to the Spanish American War, and WWI and WWII.
Be sure to click on the link to Further Reading, since many works provide more detailed information about researching Pennsylvania records.
Other state guides
From the homepage of the Pennsylvania guide, click on the words “United States” at the top of the page to be taken to “Getting Starter with United States Research.” From that page, one can click on any state, which provides a link to a free guide to research in that state. It is not known if every state has a guide at this date, but obviously there are plans for such. Since these guides consist of “wiki” articles, the information can (and does) get updated and improved as considered necessary.
The U.S. page can be accessed directly at http://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States.
Lucky 13 rescues
Noted genealogist and author Megan Smolenyak has a new project, Lucky 13. She plans to give 13 grants “for the purpose of purchasing family treasures from pawn stores, doing the detective work to track down descendants of the original owners, and returning the item to that family.”
She announced this new project at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. She explained that anyone making such a rescue should apply for one of her grants (called Seton Shields Genealogical Grant, named after her mother), and “over time (she) will select a minimum of 13 such applications and cover the costs … (and) at least 13 lucky strangers … will get a piece of their past back.”
Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing JBGriffis@aol.com