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Family History & Genealogy Research

Archive for October 2011

Finding Philippine Insurrection Military Service Records

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National Archives and Records Administration

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In March 1899, the United States Congress authorized the Secretary of War to recruit and enlist up to 35,000 volunteers to go to the Philippine Islands to put down an uprising. More than 125,000 soldiers from California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming were involved, and over 4,000 of them died in the conflict. Two battalions of Philippine scouts and a squadron of Philippine cavalry were also involved. Soldiers from the Regular Army also served.

The National Archives and Records Administration has an alphabetical card index to Philippine Insurrection volunteer soldiers’ compiled service records. The index entries give information about the soldier’s name, rank, and unit, or units he served with. The service records referred to by the index are organized by regiment and then by soldier’s name. Details about Regular Army soldiers who served in the Philippine Insurrection will be included in other records.

The records this index refers the user to include a jacket-envelope for each soldier, labeled with his name, containing

  • card abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found primarily in original muster rolls and returns, but occasionally in other records such as pay vouchers, and
  • the originals of any papers relating solely to the particular soldier.

A separate group of personal papers follows the compiled service records. These may include personal papers referred to in the index. These papers were accumulated by the War Department to be filed with the regular series of compiled service records. The papers were not inter-filed for one reason or another. There are no compiled service records for soldiers whose index cards contain cross-references to the miscellaneous personal papers.

Pension application files may be available from the Veterans Administration.

Finding Names in the Index

The best thing to know about finding a soldier in this record group is to know the unit or units he served with. A volunteer soldier who served during the Philippine Insurrection may not be listed in the index because he

  • may have been in Regular Army unit
  • may have used a different name, alias, a different spelling
  • proper service records may not have been made
  • his service record may have been lost or destroyed
  • there may be only vague references to the soldier in the original records

Knowing any nicknames or other variations of the soldier’s name helps. Knowing the Soundex code variations on the name may also improve search results. Good sources of name variations include personal papers, other military records, newspaper accounts of the conflict, and local histories.

NARA has fact-sheets about these records

  • M872 – Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served during the Philippine Insurrection. 24 rolls.
  • T288 – General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. 544 rolls.

A microfilm copy of these indexes is located at NARA’s Pacific Alaska Region Seattle facility.

Written by N. P. Maling

31 October 2011 at 05:30

Where to Find Washington State’s Naturalization Records

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National Archives and Records Administration

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Between 1850 and 1974 the U. S. government kept records of declarations of intention and petitions for naturalization in Washington Territory and State. These records can contain genealogically significant information. The records are organized by surname and declaration date and petition date. Some records in this group may not exist due to destruction or they may simply be missing. Additionally, the earlier records may not be indexed at all.

Microfilm copies of these records are kept at the NARA Pacific Alaska Region facility in Seattle, Washington.

The National Archives and Records Administration has fact sheets about these publications:

  • M1541 — Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, 1890–1972
  • M1542 — Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, 1890–1957
  • M1543 — Naturalization Records of the Superior Courts for King, Pierce, Thurston, and Snohomish Counties, Washington, 1850–1974

Written by N. P. Maling

27 October 2011 at 10:35

Where to Find Oregon’s Naturalization Records

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National Archives and Records Administration

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Between 1859 and 1956 the U. S. government kept records of declarations of intention and petitions for naturalization in Oregon Territory and State. These records can contain genealogically significant information. The records are organized by surname and declaration date and petition date. These records are arranged chronologically and grouped by type of entry, as listed above. Some records in this group may not exist due to destruction or they may simply be missing. Additionally, the earlier records may not be indexed at all.

Microfilm copies of these records are kept at the NARA Pacific Alaska Region facility in Seattle, Washington.

The National Archives and Records Administration has fact sheets about these publications:

  • M1242 — Indexes to Naturalization Records of the U. S. Circuit and District Courts for the District of Oregon, 1859–1956
  • M1540 — Naturalization Records for U. S. District Courts for the State of Oregon, 1859–1941

Written by N. P. Maling

27 October 2011 at 10:30

Defining Genealogy

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Tamura Jones, of Modern Software Experience fame, has examined the many, often divergent, definitions of genealogy. There are so many, in fact, that the highly comprehensible and erudite scholar has had to make two pages to discuss the matter in an atypically elegant way.

Part 1

Part 2

My own, incredibly ignorant, compared to the above, definitions were posted here, and have been superseded in full by the above links.

Written by N. P. Maling

26 October 2011 at 15:03

Resources to replace a deceased FHC

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Green Lake Branch, Seattle Public Library, Sea...

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Family History Centers, or FamilySearch Centers, are a less and less used resource. Why? One writer, Mike Voisin, discusses the realities of their use, and I’ve also written about the subject — The New (Ir)Relevance of FamilySearch. One critical example of their resources I’ve used is in A Brief Genealogy of the Maling Family.

Some areas of the country may or may not have access to the resources I do, but here are some sources I use that we can all share.

Private foundations can be handy. Seattle has the Fiske Library, cataloged on WorldCat.

Local and regional genealogy and history societies are great resources. The Seattle Genealogical Society has an improved website and their catalog is online.

The Seattle Public Library has great, nationally recognized genealogy and special collections departments.

The University of Washington’s Suzzallo/Allen Library history and special collections are geared toward academic use, but contain lots of useful material.

The National Archives and Records Administration facility here in Seattle, is a national resource.

Sites like the Internet Archive, and Google Books have content which FamilySearch is trying, and failing, to duplicate.

A great example of how these resources are used is HistoryLink.org. Researchers working with HistoryLink.org’s site focus on materials found in all the above resources, and more. Are these resources available to researchers at an FHC? More likely than not, no. Are they better resources? More direct, original, and primary? Yes.

The librarians and collections curators at these research facilities are far more knowledgeable about their materials and other resources than the volunteers you find at the Family History Centers. These folks will help you decide what is appropriate material, given their area of expertise, and point you to other potential resources. I’ve never been able to get that kind of help from an FHC volunteer.

Will I miss the demise of a local FHC? No.

Handy Publications for Researchers

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Written by N. P. Maling

26 October 2011 at 05:31

Where to Find Washington State’s Passenger Lists

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National Archives and Records Administration

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The United States government kept custom house records and passenger lists for alien, immigrant, and citizen arrivals in various locations in Washington Territory and State between 1890 and 1957.

These records constitute direct, original, and primary information about individuals entering the United States. Indirect information, such as age, sex, marital status, and destination may also appear in these records.

Copies of these records are kept at the National Archives and Records Administration’s Pacific Alaska Region facility in Seattle, Washington, where I am a professional genealogy researcher. Contact me to start a discussion about the possibilities of researching your family’s history. Likewise, if you would like more information about my genealogical research services, including information about fees, and range of materials available to research, I’d love to hear from you.

For more detailed information about these records, please see the NARA publications for:

  • M1365 — Head tax certificates of aliens arriving in Seattle, WA, 1917–1924. For passengers arriving from Vancouver and Victoria, BC. 10 rolls.
  • M1383 — Seattle, WA Passenger/Crew Lists, 1890–1957. 357 rolls.
  • M1398 — Seattle, WA Passenger Lists, 1949–1954. 5 rolls.
  • M1399 — Seattle, WA Crew Lists, 1903–1917. 15 rolls.
  • M1484 — Pt. Townsend/Tacoma, WA Passenger lists, 1894–1909. 1 roll.
  • M1485 — Seattle, WA Passenger lists from insular possessions, 1908–1917. 1 roll.