Review – Revolutionary War Pensions

Revolutionary War Pensions

The title Revolutionary War Pensions – Awarded by State Governments 1775-1874, the General and Federal Governments Prior to 1814, and by Private Acts of Congress to 1905 may seem long and a mouthful but it does not even begin to describe this gold mine of a genealogy research resource.

The author, genealogist and Revolutionary War expert Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck has spent considerable time and energy taking many different sources to hammer together this tome with close to 1,100 pages. While a researcher could access the many different federal and state resources Bockstruck used to reconstruct Revolutionary War pension records, Revolutionary War Pensions is a convenient way to research your ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War.

Reconstructing Lost Pension Files

So why is this such a valuable and long-awaited resource? As Bockstruck describes in his introduction, Revolutionary War Pensions is:

” . . . an attempt to identify and recreate the Revolutionary War pension files generated prior to the disastrous conflagration  in the War Department on 8 November 1800, which destroyed nearly a quarter-century of records. Despite the best efforts on the part of the War and Treasury Departments to reconstruct the files . . . .

“. . . a second and even more disastrous fire occurred during the War of 1812 on 24 August 1814 with the British invasion of Washington. The second fire effectively destroyed all the pension files from 1776 to 1814.”

Bockstruck has been able to effectively “reconstruct” the files for over 16,500 pensioners. In doing so, he used various sources including pension records from the governments of each of the original thirteen states as well as acts of Congress between 1792 and 1840.

Besides the more than 16,500 pensioners listed, over 15,000 additional individuals are mentioned including widows and family members. Entries also include service dates, dates of battles and engagements, wounds received, and more.

Conclusion

The soft cover book is fully indexed by surname and also includes Bockstruck’s background information on each resource. Especially helpful is the breakdown by state of each resource and what acts of each state legislature were enacted to create pensions, disburse payments and collect information.

Revolutionary War Pensions is a “must have” for any professional genealogist whose client research involves Revolutionary War soldiers. In addition, individuals with extensive early American roots should consider purchasing Revolutionary War Pensions.

Disclosure statement: I was contacted by Genealogical Publishing Co. via mail to review Revolutionary War Pensions and a complimentary copy was delivered to me. After reviewing the book, I will be giving the copy away in a contest here at GeneaBloggers and in conjunction with GeneaBloggers Radio.  To review the other material connections I have with genealogy vendors, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Review – Online State Resources for Genealogy

Online State Resources for Genealogy

Recently I received a copy of the e-book Online State Resources for Genealogy by Michael Hait and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that even an old dog like me could learn about new and free resources available to the genealogy and family history researcher.

Not The Usual List of Resources

In Online State Resources for Genealogy realize that you won’t find the “usual suspects” in terms of free resources – namely Ancestry.com, Roots Web, or many of the other sites that are well-known to researchers.  Hait takes us down “new roads” rather than the well-trod path of resources.

Like most other reviews, in order to test the quality and quantity of resources listed, I went directly to my area of expertise which is New York State. I was happy to find several obscure resources in the listings for the New York State Archives, the New York State Library and more. Also important are the many free databases available at the Italian Genealogical Society, especially for those of us who have New York City and downstate ancestry.

There are two areas which I feel need improvement and if included in future editions would help improve the guide’s usefulness:

  • Eliminate the use of justified paragraphs. When using long hyperlinks, there are large gaps of spaces in many paragraphs. Also consider placing the hyperlink on its own line at the beginning of the entry.
  • Hyperlinked index. The index at the end of the guide allows the reader to view resources in groupings such as African-American Resources. Hyperlink the page numbers making it easier to jump to those sections.

Ebook – A Visionary Format

What I like more about Online State Resources for Genealogy is the format as an e-book. As someone who has published his own work using print on demand vendors such as Lulu.com, I commend Michael for taking the e-book route. In the future the genealogy industry will need to produce more guides and books in this format not only for the sake of efficiency and convenience, but also to speak to a younger demographic entering the genealogy industry.

Conclusion

Priced at $15.00 (which includes one free update to the book in the future), Online State Resources for Genealogy is reasonably priced and in a convenient format for the researcher on the go. In the near future, a mobile app version of the book would serve as a useful tool while working in archives and repositories, at least for the way I research. I encourage readers to take a closer look at Online State Resources for Genealogy and I’m sure you’ll be surprised at the “finds” in this research guide.

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Disclosure statement: I was contacted by Michael Hait of Michael Hait Family History Research Services via mail to review Online State Resources for Genealogy and a complimentary copy was delivered to me. After reviewing the product, I will retain the e-book for my own personal use.  To review the other material connections I have with genealogy vendors, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Review – Quicksheet – Citing Online African-American Historical Resources

QuickSheet African-American Resources

Readers here at GeneaBloggers already know that I am a big Elizabeth Shown Mills fan and I especially love the various QuickSheets she has produced for Genealogical Publishing Company. And while I don’t often have the opportunity to use African-American resources unless I am working on research for one of my clients, I jumped at the opportunity to review QuickSheet: Citing Online African-American Historical Resources.

Basic Principles

Mills offers the basics of how to use sources, the types of sources and why properly citing sources is so important to reconstructing history. The formats offered in brief are the same ones offered up in detail in Mills’ Evidence Explained.

Basic Template: Databases

For me, the visual “break down” of the citation components has always been helpful.  It reminds me of diagramming sentences in English class (hey I was an English language geek and stillam!).  Knowing each of these parts and how they work is essential to understanding the difference between a Source List Entry, a First or Full Reference Note and a Subsequent or Short Reference Note.

Models for Common Resources

This section makes up the majority of the four pages in the QuickSheet and includes columns for Source List Entry, Full Reference Note and Short Reference Note formats.

The resources covered are essential to online searching for African-American ancestors and they include:

  • Afrigeneas
  • Articles
  • Blogs (the blogs used as examples are Lowcountry Africana Blog and The Family Griot)
  • Books
  • Census Databases
  • Census Images
  • Freedman’s Bureau Records
  • Gravestones
  • Military Records
  • Slave Manifests
  • Slave Narratives
  • SCC Files (Southern Claims Commission)

In addition, for Census Databases and Census Images, Mills makes sure to use a variety of sources including FamilySearch, Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

Surprisingly,  I did notice several typographical errors which were unsettling, including the use of the word “bogger” twice which may be due to spell check or some other  issues.

Conclusion

Quicksheet – Citing Online African-American Historical Resources is another “must have” resource for the serious genealogist. All of the quicksheets produced by Elizabeth Shown Mills are handy, laminated, bi-fold reference cards that are easy-to-use.  And when they aren’t sitting on my bookshelf, they are in my backpack during genealogy research trips!

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Disclosure statement: I was contacted by Genealogical Publishing Co. via mail to review the Quicksheet – Citing Online African-American Historical Resources and a complimentary copy was delivered to me. After reviewing the product, I will giving the quicksheet away in a contest here at GeneaBloggers.  To review the other material connections I have with genealogy vendors, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee