Digging History Magazine: Sharpen Your Genealogy Skills – Read an Old Newspaper (or two or ten)!

Today I was putting the finishing touches on an article for the August issue of Digging History Magazine.  The article, originally published in November 2013, is being “re-purposed” (as I like to call it these days).  In the case of this particular article it involved almost a complete re-write of the original article.  The subject, Nellie Ross Cullens-Norwood, is the same, but her story has been updated with a far more interesting story than the original.  Why’s that? Quite simply, online newspaper research — something I didn’t have much access to back in 2013 as I was just starting the Digging History blog and beginning to assist clients with family history research.  Since then, I’ve learned the rewards (despite the subscription costs) of newspaper research. Genealogists love combing through old newspapers to (hopefully) find an obituary — the kind that provides the vital information we all look for:  birth date, birth place, parents, children and more.  Some items, however, amount to little more than a death notice, announcing a funeral service.  Those are disappointing for sure. Don’t despair, though!  Try a different tack and look for items which mention your ancestor before their death.  You might be surprised as to what you’ll find. In the case of the “Dash” article for the August issue, I found the more I dug around in old newspapers the more I learned about Nellie.  What had first caught my eye back in 2013 was the fact she appeared to have moved Alaska (about 50 miles from the Arctic Circle) sometime between 1924 and 1930.  She was born in 1859 so she would have...

Why?

I’ve been thinking lately about why I take the time to write and publish Digging History Magazine every month.  Yes, I have subscribers and thus I must write!  I also want to continue writing (which entails a lot of digging and a lot of work!) because I’m finding it’s not only a good discipline, it makes me a better researcher for clients who hire me to find their ancestors. Case in point:  The July issue included an extensively researched article about a long-forgotten event in early American history, the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  I stumbled upon this document and its premise while conducting ancestry research for a client about a year ago.  I made a mental note — that would make a great article!  Little did I know just how beneficial it would be.  While conducting a short research project for a client this past week I was studying a Revolutionary War record, a list of soldiers who were members of the North Carolina Rangers. In addition to spotting a possible ancestor of the client’s, I observed a couple of other surnames which just might lead to clues as well.  I recognized the surnames of Davidson and Brevard, two names prominent in Mecklenburg County and surrounding areas during the Revolutionary War — not to mention a possible association with the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  Other researchers had placed my client’s ancestor farther west in Buncombe County, which by the way wasn’t organized until 1791.  Many trees on Ancestry.com have perpetuated this for so long that I now consider it a brick wall which needs to be bulldozed in...

Digging History Magazine: July 2018 Issue

The new issue is out and features several stories about early America and the Revolutionary War era.  Stories include: Declaring Independence:  May 20, 1775 or July 4, 1776? Radical Presbyterianism:  Seeds of Revolution? The First and Last Men of the Revolution Feisty Females:  Women of the Revolution Overmountain Men, America’s Humble Heroes Drawing the Line:  Quakers in Conscientious Crisis Nineteenth Century Rainmaking (Part II) July 4, 1876:  It Was a Blast! The Dash:  Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego Pierson AND MORE! Download a July 2018 Sample. Want to try an entire issue?  Just go to Digging History Magazine, scroll to the bottom of any page, type your email and subscribe.  A free issue will soon be on its way to your...

July 4, 1876: It Was a BLAST!

July 4, 1876 – The United States was celebrating its first centennial eleven years following the end of the Civil War. In Philadelphia, soldiers from the North and South, “the Blue and the Gray”, marched together. There were lively and soul-stirring festivities held throughout the country, speeches galore, fireworks – or “Gunpowder and Glory”.  As cannons were fired and firecrackers lit, explosions and costly fires marred the festivities for some. In Philadelphia one headline read “A Salute That Cost Several Hundred Thousand Dollars.”  “A Dynamite Horror” occurred around the same time elsewhere in Philadelphia.  In Brooklyn headlines read: FIREWORKS DESTRUCTION:  What the Centennial Cost Brooklyn It was America’s 100th anniversary and it was time to celebrate!  All the celebrating rattled more than a few nerves, however.  The Fourth was truly a blast (after blast, after blast)!  For more on this story, see the July issue of Digging History Magazine on sale here or celebrate the Fourth with a subscription...

Victorian Fashion: Bicycles, Bloomers and Suffrage

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” So declared Susan Brownell Anthony, social reformer and women’s rights activist, in 1898. For hundreds of years women had been dependent on a man to take them wherever they needed or wanted to go. Suddenly, with a little practice on the new-fangled two-wheeled machine, they were free to go wherever and whenever they pleased. It truly was liberating! Young and old alike, women were discovering the joys of bicycling. At the age of fifty-three, following her mother’s death, Frances Willard – activist, social reformer, suffragist and one of the founding members of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union – decided she had new worlds to conquer. She would learn to ride a bicycle. The rest of the story (plus all the controversies and perceived detriments to women’s health – what exactly was “bicycle face“!?!) can be found in the June issue of Digging History Magazine.  Subscriptions are also available (month-to-month, 3-month, 6-month and 1 year) — easy to subscribe and receive an issue every month in your inbox (60-70 pages of colorful graphics, history and genealogy focused articles and virtually ad free.  In other words, just history!).   Keywords: Amelia Bloomer, bicycle face, bloomers,Digging History Magazine,Frances Willard, safety bicycle, Susan B. Anthony, Women’s Christian Temperance Union, women’s suffrage, bloomerism. Mary Gove Nichols, Victorian...