Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Update on DNA and a Couple of Questions

I ordered the 37 marker yDNA test from FamilyTree DNA on 15 Feb 2013.  My uncle received it on 21 Feb 2013 and he mailed it back on 22 Feb 2013.  Now the wait begins…

Anonymous asks:
”Is there is difference between Historical Societies and Genealogical Societies?”

Historical societies normally focus on the place and genealogical societies normally focus on the people. Some organizations are a combination of the two. Here in Columbia County, Georgia we have the Columbia County Genealogical Society and a separate Columbia County Historical Society. They are two completely different groups. Over in Dawson County they have the Dawson County Historical and Genealogical Society which covers everything.

Nan asks:
“You've mentioned Georgia's Virtual Vault several times.  I wonder if you could give us some tips, tricks and hints  to better use this resource.  I had folks in Georgia from about the 1790's to 1830's.  I've managed to find some county records, but am not sure how to go about printing them or saving them.  Any help will be appreciated.”

I LOVE Georgia's Virtual Vault.  The link I gave you is to their old site because their new web site is not functional.  I spoke with the archivist that handles the Virtual Vault and she is unable to update it right now because she is doing the job of three people thanks to budget cuts.  The Archives has big plans to get more of their holdings digitized and online.  Right now there are two Universities vying for control of the archives.  This is a good thing because this means they will no longer be under the Secretary of State.  A university can provide them with more money and a better organizational structure.    They will be able to do things like expand the Virtual Vault.  The new Virtual Vault web site will fix the problems I have listed below.

Now back to the original question.  One of the problems with the Virtual Vault is how you navigate the images.  It isn’t like Ancestry,com or FamilySearch where you can easily zoom in and pan the image.  Instead, you have to use arrows to go up and down and left and right and it is a very slow process.  You have to blow the image up as much as you can to be able to read it and then start moving around.  It is very cumbersome.  Each of these moves is saved so you can’t just use your back button to get back where you started unless you want to hit it 112 times.  The way to do it is once you get to the page you want, use the “open link in new tab” option (right click).  That way you can easily flip to the other tab to get to your original page.  Saving images is actually easy.  There is just one thing you need to know.  Before you save the image make sure you completely zoom out.  If you save it while you are zoomed in you won’t get the entire image.  Just right click and hit “save image as.” 

One hint with the marriage books.  The indexes (indices) are… interesting.  Most of the marriage books have handwritten indexes.  Pay really close attention because your letter may be on more than one page.  Read the entire index list carefully.  Here is an example index from Columbia County’s Marriage Book A.

S (cont.)-T
B,W,Y (cont.)
F,L,M,N,S,T (cont.)
M (cont.)-N (cont.)
A,F,H,I,T (cont.)
J,P,Z (cont.)
D,L,R (cont.)
C (cont.)-W (cont.)
B (cont.)-F (cont.)
C,G,K (cont.)
E,H,S (cont.)
B (cont.)-C (cont.)
D,G,M,R,W (cont.)

There are a few counties with a few books that have typewritten indexes but not many.  Also, if you can’t find your person in the index don’t give up.  Some of the indexes are very hard to read and there are some omissions from time to time.  You might have to flip through the pages one at a time but be aware that the pages are not in strict date order.  They are more in order by the filing date and not by the marriage date and even that isn’t totally strict.  This is when you will go completely batty.  Each page takes a while to load and because of the way you have to zoom and pan with arrows, it will take you a couple of minutes to figure out who is on each page, especially if it is a double page with 6 marriages.  I keep hoping that the Virtual Vault will get the money they need to update.

They have several very useful collections.  They have death certificates to 1930.  This one is really important because in the state of Georgia only the immediate next-of-kin can get a copy of a death certificate.  The only ones that have been released to the public are these.  They have images of the headright and bounty plats for some counties and indexes for all counties in existence at the time.  There are several important military collections including Confederate enlistment oaths and discharges, Confederate pension applications, Spanish-American War summary cards and a Georgia Militia enrollment list.  I am excited to see what might appear next.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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