Launched in 2008, The Commons is a website enabling “access to publicly-held photography collections and to provide a way for the general public to contribute information.” The participating institutions include the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the New York Public Library and far too many more to include in this article. Judy Russell’s (The Legal Genealogist) article, at , says “it takes seven full screens to list the participating institutions.”

Visit The Commons website ( to learn more and conduct a search. For example, a search for Danville, Ill., resulted in many views of that city and also a photo of “Girls in Danville,” a photo on cardboard, taken before 1910, of 27 girls, with 19 names on the back: Janice Johnson, Josephine Jackson, Cecile, Alton, and Jessie Clapp, Elsie and Esther Johnson, Ethel Swisher, Grace and Martha Seiters, Merle Justice, Cecile Edwards, Lela Campbell, Opal and Ruth Kelley, Neva Olmsted, Ruth and Dora Kinney, and Mabel Jackson.

Also a search for Covington, Ind., resulted in several Fountain County views as well as a photo of “Covington’s Claim to Fame” who grew up there; General Lew Wallace was an attorney, senator, soldier, and author of the classic book, ”Ben Hur,” which has “never been out of print and filmed three times.”

War of 1812 guide updatedAn updated edition of the Genealogy at a Glance: War of 1812 Research is now available. This guide tells what records exist, what they contain, whether they are indexed, microfilmed, or digitized, and where they can be found. A checklist for finding militiamen is also provided. Online resources have greatly expanded since the original version of this guide. Also anyone who has Revolutionary ancestors is likely to “also have ancestors who fought in the War of 1812.” This guide could help document such service.

Genealogy at a Glance: War of 1812 Research, Updated Ed. is a 4-page, 8 ½” x 11” laminated guide, ISBN 978-0-8063-2108-0, that can be ordered as Item #1782 from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 229, Baltimore, MD 21211 @ $9.95 plus shipping ($5.50 first item; $2.50 each additional item. Orders totaling $10 or less, $4.50.) MasterCard and VISA orders may be placed toll free at 800-296-6687 or at the publisher’s website at

Native American Veterans Memorial completedA memorial dedicated to Native American veterans was recently held at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Alicia Ault’s article in Smithsonian Magazine, at, tells of that Veterans Day November 11, 2020, event and the beautiful memorial. There is also a link to information about the Smithsonian book, “Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces.” Ault also has an interesting related article at .

Video tells Mayflower storyAs November 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower, it is appropriate to call attention to a video, “The Story of the Mayflower,” at

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

Trending Video

Recommended for you