Monthly Archives: January 2006

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

If you are looking for antique maps online, and would like a great source, check out the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. It’s one of the premier online map collections (and it’s free) and it covers areas around the world, and it includes maps that date back pretty far. The formats are mostly in JPG and GIF graphic formats (easily viewable through any browser). Most of the maps are in the public domain, so you are free to copy (see the FAQ for more details).

If you can’t find a map you are looking for, they have an extensive directory of links to other map sites online, as well as map dealers.

Crockett Name Lives on in Tennessee

Dan Whittle writes about the current-day descendants of Davy Crockett, the frontiersman, and congressman, and how there are many still living in the areas of Tennessee where Davy spent his early years before winding up at the Alamo, where he died a hero’s death. The family has kept in contact over the years, including forming the “Direct Descendants & Kin of David Crockett” group. Aside from the Alamo, and his legend on the frontier, Davy Crockett’s tale is an interesting one, as it intertwines with the tragedy of the Trail of Tears (the forced Indian removal to lands out west, including present-day Arkansas and Oklahoma), which he was opposed to, and which led to his falling out with Andrew Jackson and politics in general.

Excerpts from the article:

Smyrna history buff Charles Robertson has documents, showing his family ties to David Crockett.

“Mom, who died in 2005, was a great-great-granddaughter of Davy Crockett,” said Robertson, a member of the Direct Descendants & Kin of David Crockett group with the purpose of preserving the heritage of Davy Crockett. “The linkage is preserved in a letter Davy wrote in Texas, after leaving Tennessee. That letter exists in State Archives.”

via Eastman’s

Family Letters Over The Past 200 Years

The New York Times has an awe-inspiring article by Kirk Johnson – awe-inspiring because it’s about a family that held on to their letters over the past 200 years, to the tune of at least 75,000 documents (we are talking hundreds of thousands of pages) that cover everything. When many of us scramble for every little bit of correspondence we can find, these people were having to find all kinds of places to store all of this.

Excerpt from the article:

Beginning more than 200 years ago, Mr. Cowan’s family has kept the messages — people called them letters in those days — written to one another, as well as correspondence with eminent outsiders like Ralph Waldo Emerson, sermons given by preachers in the family and multipart essays sent home while traveling.

The collection, at least 75,000 documents totaling hundreds of thousands of pages filling 200 boxes, is one of the largest private family troves that has turned up in recent years, genealogy experts say. It has been stored in attics, sheds and storage lockers over the years, and most recently in the Cowans’ home here in Boulder, where they were interviewed on a recent morning. Its contents cover the scandalous (a relative jailed for embezzlement), the intriguing (a runaway slave seeking refuge in the North) and the historic (the settling of Chicago).

Simply amazing. They are working on donating it to a historical society. The amazing thing about these (in addition to the numbers), many of them are series that were kept as intact as possible – while most letters we inherit skip around – they are kept because of a few things, many of these letters made up series of events, allowing wide-ranging stories and events to be told.

Registration maybe required.

Norwegian Roots and Genealogy

The Norway Post is putting together information about genealogy resources for those of Norwegian ancestry. You can access it here at norwaypost.no. Some of the sites they’ve collected include:

The House of Emigrants
The National Archives of Norway
Passenger Ships and Emmigrant Lists (a very neat site)
The Norwegian-American Historical Assocation
Norwegian Name Statistics

If you have resources they don’t have listed on the page above, they would like you to contact them.

Genealogy Research Reveals Aboriginal Past

The Courier-Mail (Australia) has an article by Patricia Karvelas, about the newly installed Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough, and the revelation that he has aboriginal ancestry. He discovered this after researching his family genealogy, and if his genealogy research holds up, it would make him the “first federal Aboriginal indigenous affairs minister”.

Excerpt:

“People who are interested in the family tree have looked back and they come to a stumbling block, they come to a stop point. That’s just the way it is.”

Mr Brough said this was a common experience for people around the world.

“This is a common experience for people regardless of their heritage because obviously records weren’t so good, and I guess people often try and look back to see where they came from.”

It doesn’t matter where you are from, or who you are descended from, it seems like genealogists the world over have the same basic problems – brick walls.