Tuesday, February 5, 2013

James Price Becomes Ill, Recovers, and Talks of Getting Discharged

James wrote out the words to a favorite song "Weeping Sad and Lonely"
To hear a modern rendition of this song click here.
     James became truly ill with Typhoid Fever from November of 1862 through February of 1863, never going to the hospital but staying in a nearby home where he was nursed. He managed to send a few letters home during that time, mostly replying to Melissa’s letters and trying to help settle matters and attend to the requests of the family of his recently deceased friend, Robert Wilson.
     Finally, in March of 1863, James was well enough to return to his unit, and his thoughts immediately turned to finding a way to shorten his time of service. He has two methods in mind: he might volunteer to go out to the front because he has heard that men who do so can get discharged sooner. James also mentions that three different surgeons have promised him a medical discharge which he thinks he is certain to be granted.
     This is the final letter we have from James until September of 1863. In that time there will be many changes, many battles, some cause for pride, and enormous tragedy in James’ life.

Camp Halls Farm, VA 
March 5th ‘63 
Dear wife, 
Once more I am about to indulge in the pleasure of writing to you although I have received no letters from you for more than a month. I received one from Louisa and she said you had wrote that your letters have been miscarried. The last letter I received from you was dated January 26, 1863. 
Meliss I am thinking about going out to the front again. There is a detachment going out in a day or two and if I do not get worse than I now am I will go along and I presume I will receive all your letters that you sent when we join the regiment. Meliss I think I will get my discharge but it will be sometime yet before I get it. They do not do that kind of business here in a very great hurry. Meliss do not mention this to any of my brothers or sisters or anybody else for fear I do not succeed. The reason I am going to the front is because I think I can get my discharge sooner than if I stay here. There has been several cases of small-pox in this camp. Three died yesterday. Meliss I suppose Leon is pretty good company now, Louisa wrote me that he was running around. 
Meliss you may look for me home before many months for I have been promised a discharge by 3 different surgeons and I think I am sure of getting it. 
There are no war news of importance to write that I know of. I sent $20.00 to you a month ago and I never heard whether you had received them or not. You need not write until you hear from me again, Nothing more at present. I remain 
Your ever aff. Husband 
James F Price 
Friday March 6 
A cold windy morning, snowing, raining and sleeting. Oh how I feel the want of a comfortable home. Answer this as soon as it comes to hand. 
Meliss if you don’t get time to write be sure and send a letter. 
Hoping this many find you and Leon enjoying the blessing of health, I will draw to a close. 
Still your Aff. Husband 
James F Price

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Part Six: James Returns from Furlough

     Sometime after the traumatic events of the summer James was granted leave to go home. We know this from the next letter we have from James, in which he discusses his return to duty after spending some time at home. In the letter he writes that he wished he had remained with Melissa and Leon two or three days longer since the 1st Maryland was doing nothing more onerous than guard duty in Washington D.C.
     It is curious to read of James’ casual discussion about staying longer, since I had always assumed that the military was strict about furloughs and soldiers returning. My curiosity was aroused further when I saw his military record and the note that he was “absent without leave since September 25 ’62.” It appears that James was supposed to have returned a week earlier than he did, and yet he was not imprisoned, court-martialed, stripped of his newly-acquired rank, or disciplined in any way.
     Further research into furloughs and being AWOL showed me that, while the military had specific rules governing soldiers who were not accounted for, it was really a matter for the commanding officer to deal with. Some officers were strict and followed the letter of the law, others dealt with each situation on a case-by-case basis. In James’ situation, no doubt James’ loss of so many friends, as well as the loss of his mother, were taken into account.
     What we do know is that James does not appear to have been punished and he makes no mention of any discipline in his letter to Melissa.
     James also mentions visiting Melissa’s step-father, Henry Ernest, and tells her that Henry is healing but has a very crippled hand. Henry will be discharged later that fall on account of his injury. He will apply for and receive a medical pension for the rest of his life.
     Among the others items of his letter – his repeated desire to be home again, his mention of a wayward Elick or Alex, and more news passed on from other soldiers – is a single line that could easily be overlooked: I was very sick coming on the road but I feel better now. James was, indeed, very sick and would spend the rest of 1862 fighting for his life.

Halls Farm, Va 
Oct 2nd 1862 
Dear Wife, 
I arrived in Washington on Wednesday [October 1] evening and had to cross the river right away and had no chance to write to you. Maliss I wish I had stayed 2 or 3 days longer for we have not moved from Centreville. Maliss this does not seem like home to me any longer. 
I was down at Alexandria and seen Henry. His hand is crippled I was very sorry to see him have such a bad hand. Henry is very tired staying in the hospital he is heading home as soon as he gets out of the hospital. 
Maliss I wish I was coming home with him to stay. You must not be surprised if you see me walking in some of these days before long. Maliss I am going to try and do what I told you. If I had not bought my ticket I would have got off at the corner when I saw you & Leon. Maliss don’t you forget what I told you. 
I was very sick coming on the road but I feel better now. 
Maliss I saw one of the prisoners of the 46th Penna and he said he saw Harry Rollins laying dead on the field. The man that told me was Mat. Frazier. I seen all our men that were taken prisoners and they look very bad some has no shoes and some no shirts. They have very little respect for a solder. I think there will be a settlement before long. 
I seen Elick over in town the evening I came in. Maliss he is a pretty bad boy Maliss I don’t think he will ever do much good. Maliss don’t tell Maria that I told you anything about Elick. You can tell her if you see her that I saw him and that he is well. 
I wish I went out to Will’s with you and Leon and stayed 3 days longer. It costs so much traveling over the road that the next time I come I am going to stay and I don’t think that will be long. 
Good bye Maliss for this time. Write soon. Tell Leon he must quit biting or him and me will have a fight when I come home. Maliss tell Rach that I was very sorry that we had not time to go over together. 
My love to you and Leon. 
I remain your husband. 
James F Price

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Film Your Living Ancestors

[Note: The story of James F. Price of the 1st Maryland Cavalry will be continued tomorrow]

     One of my great joys is volunteering at a local retirement community where I offer monthly “genealogy” classes. To be honest, there isn’t a lot of teaching that happens in class. The ladies and gentlemen who participate mostly tell me stories about their lives and ask that I find things for them: father’s immigration records, a missing uncle who was rumored to have been in trouble with the law (he was – the feds were after him for bank fraud!), mother’s siblings, etc. 
     It gives them pleasure to hold a single document tying them to their past, and it gives me the opportunity to do a lot of “quick and dirty” genealogy: get in, get the document, and get out. They provide the story.      Late last fall I toted my trusty camera with me and filmed the members of my class telling their stories. The purpose was two-fold: to show my students how easy it is to be on camera, and to show their families how simple it is to record their living ancestors telling the stories of their lives. 
     One of the gentlemen who has faithfully attended with his daughter was Gil. He had a hard time hearing me, but he told me the best stories about his life, and he was secretly my favorite student. 
     The flu, my car accident, and Christmas intervened so that I was not able to get the DVD copies of the stories to my class but they know I am bringing them with me today. Sadly, Gil won’t be there to receive his. His daughter emailed me to let me know that Gil passed away a few weeks ago. So today I will hand his daughter a memory: one of the last times her father was healthy and happy and sharing his stories. 
     Over and over I preach to my clients (and to my readers and my friends) the importance of filming their living ancestors telling their stories. While intellectually we know that these loved ones won’t be here forever, we often put off recording them telling their stories until it is too late. 
     If you have older family members still alive let me suggest that you head off to visit them this weekend and film them telling your favorite stories. Trust me, you will treasure every minute of your recordings.

     Thank you Gil for sharing your life and your stories with me.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Using the Historical Method to Cite Your Genealogical Sources

My reply to Mr. James Tanner's blog "What are sources and why should I care?" http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-are-sources-and-why-should-i-care.html

     Mr. Tanner, you said, “As genealogists we need to forge a new methodology with a new terminology based more on evaluation of evidence and seeking for historical truth or reality...” 
     I would ask you, “Why re-invent the wheel?”
     There is a perfectly good methodology for choosing, using, and citing sources which has been in place for hundreds of years: the methods employed by historians.
     As Bowdoin College explains:
“A citation is the part of your paper that tells your reader where your source information came from. This is one of the most important elements to your paper. In order to evaluate your argument, your reader must be able to consult the same sources you used. Proper citing is crucial to making a credible and persuasive argument, and to conforming to professional standards of proof.” http://www.bowdoin.edu/writing-guides/citing%20sources.htm 

     When, as a historian, I cite a source I am doing so in order to show you where I found the information so that if you wish, you may find the same book, record, or document and determine if it is, indeed applicable, appropriate, and accurate. This seems to me to be the whole point of citing genealogical sources. 
     If you tell me that Maud was the daughter of Francis and Herbert and I think her parents were Nellie and Albert, then I want to know where you got your information. If we are talking about the same Maud, then clearly one of us is wrong, and I want to make sure that I have the correct information in the family trees and histories which I produce for my clients.
     If, upon closer examination of the sources we both cite, I find that my source is family lore but your source is Maud’s birth certificate or her baptismal record or her obituary (or all three!) then clearly you have superior information to mine, and I can correct my error.
     But if I find that we are both relying on family lore, or that you are basing your information on someone else’s tree, then unless that family tree has a more reliable source attached to it, I can safely ignore your information – for now.
     You stated that genealogy is in search of Truth, with a capital “T.” That is also the goal of history: to discover and evaluate all documents and records available to determine the facts relevant to a specific person or event and arrive at the Truth regarding that person or event. Genealogy is a branch of history, and as such, should be using all of the tools and techniques available to the rest of the historical world. 
     There is no reason to spend time and effort creating some “genealogical” method for citing sources when the historical method is ideally suited to our task.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Part Five: "There was 600 of Them and 90 of Us"

Madison Court House, Virginia 
August 8th, 1862 
Dear Wife, 
     I take the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we have been in a fight today and have lost our good friend Robert Wilson. [Also] Robert King, Samuel McCoy and Samuel Hawk of our company besides 3 wounded & 8 taken prisoners with Captain John H Stewart & Capt John Hancock. 
     Malissa as soon as you receive this please go and tell Robert Wilson’s mother and go up & tell Louisa to tell Robert King's children that their Father is killed. 
      We have no way of sending home them and the weather is so very warm we have to bury them tonight. We will bury them and mark their graves so if any of person their friends comes after them they can find them. 
     Robert Wilson was shot through the neck and I fetched him 9 miles on a horse to our camp. 
     Robert King was shot through the neck. Samuel McCoy was shot through the head, the ball entering at the mouth. Samuel Hawk was shot in the back near the heart. 
     I have no more of importance to write as I am very tired after walking 9 miles so you will excuse this short letter and I will remain as ever, 
Your affectionate husband, 
James F Price 
Malissa if you see Sallie Wood tell her Charley McCoy is safe.

     And so the war began in earnest for James Price and the men of the 1st Maryland Regiment Cavalry.  Outnumbered two to one, the Union forces suffered over 25 casualties with more than 300 men killed.
     The fighting continued over the next two days and we have what appears to be James’ next letter home. His shock and grief are apparent as he re-tells of the demise of his friends, mentions other family and friends, underestimates the wounded by more than half, and blames the officers for the debacle. James finishes his letter home with a few homely notes about his friends’ burials and the disposition of their effect and then his traditional reminder of his love to his wife and son.
     Although Private James F. Price was promoted to Corporal the previous day, there is no mention of it in his letter.

Culpepper Court House, Virginia 
Aug 11 ‘62 
Dear wife, 
     I take the opportunity of writing a few lines to let you know that I am safe. We had to leave Madison Court House the same night after the fight and arrived here this morning where they have been fighting since Saturday and a very heavy loss on our side and some wounded. They are busy fetching the wounded here and it is awful to hear them suffering with pain. There is 700 wounded and they are going to commence fighting again this afternoon at 3 o’clock. 
     The 46 Penna is cut up very bad only 2 companies left of it. I was trying to see but could not find out where they are. I could not find Henry.  
     I carried Robert Wilson 9 miles on my horse and he fought bravely till he got shot and there was 2 balls in him 1 went through his neck and through is lungs he must have died instantly. 
     We heard of 4 more being found by the 1st Michigan cavalry after we left 2 killed and 2 wounded laying in the fence corner making in all 4 killed and 3 wounded and our captain and the rest taken. Five were out of our company. 
     Robert King had the lower part of his face torn off he was the first killed.  
     The rebels searched their pockets and took all they had even their boots was pulled off and taken. 
     You can tell Mrs. Wilson I will send Roberts clothes home as I can and Robert King's along with them. 
     Robert Wilson and King and Samuel McCoy and Sam Howk were buried that same night after the fight in a grave yard at Madison Court House. I have not seen Elick for 2 weeks but he was not [illegible]. 
     It was our officer’s fault the way our men was cut up so badly. Capt. Stewart run and plead for God's sake not to shoot him. 
     This is all I have of importance to write. Give my love to Leon and the same to you tell Leon to be a good boy and I remain 
Your Husband 
James F Price

     For the next five weeks James and the other men of the 1st Maryland were involved in battle after battle:  Fords of the Rappahannock 21-23 August 21-23, White Sulphur Springs, 23 – 24 August, Gainesville 28 August, Groveton 29 August, The Second Battle of Bull Run 30 August 30, Chantilly 1 September, Frederick 6 September, and Boonsboro 7 September. 
     Finally, he was able to write home. Almost the first thing James wrote about in this letter was a more detailed account of the fight at Cedar Mountain, the loss of his friends, his long trek with his dead friend back to camp, the hurried burial, the renewed attack by the Rebels late that same night, and more. 
     The Battle of Bull Run receives only scant notice but James carefully enumerates their friends and family and the news he has on the health and welfare of each. Sandwiched in between the Battle of Bull Run and a plea to his siblings to remain safely at home we learn that James lost his mother during the last month.

Arlington Heights Virginia 
Sept 13th 1862 
Dear Wife, 
     I received your letter yesterday evening dated the 14th and was glad to hear that you and Leon was well. Maliss we have had a pretty hard time of it. We have been fighting for 14 days. The fight we had at Slaughter Mountain we lost 4 men killed in our company and 11 taken prisoners some of which was wounded and crept into the woods and most likely have died. 
     King was the first shot. He had the lower part of his face blowed off. Wilson was shot through the neck and breast. 
     There was 600 of them and 90 of us. We ran into Jackson’s left wing while on his way to Cedar Mountain. We fought them as long as we could; they had us entirely surrounded and we had to cut our way through them. 
     They left shortly afterward and I went back and put Robert Wilson on my horse and carried him 9 miles to camp. We had to bury him that same night at 12 o’clock we dug them a nice grave and wrapped them up in their blankets. We could not get no coffins. The rebels came in on us and we had to leave before morning. 
     Meliss I lost 2 good friends, poor Bob fought to the last when I picked Bob Wilson up he had a smile on his face.  
     Meliss Henry [her step-father] was wounded at the Battle of Cedar Mountain he is at Alexandria and he is getting better. 
     The Battle of Bull-Run I seen many a pitiful sight. 
     Meliss we had to lay down on the ground and tie our horses to our leg and sleep. Our horses had the saddles on for 14 days steady and we had nothing to eat for 5 days but green apples and roots. The rebels burnt our supply train. 
     Meliss there is a letter for Robert Wilson from his wife and I will send it to you and you give it to his wife or his mother. 
     Meliss I saw Harry Evans and Roof and they are well. 
     Maliss I did not receive your other letter as is stated in your letter. 
     I have not seen Elick before the Battle of Bull Run but I believe he is safe. 
     Maliss we expect to get paid on Monday and I will try and get home if I possibly can. I was very sorry to hear of Mother’s death it would have been impossible for me to have got home at that time. 
     We missed 5 men at Bull Run we think they are taken prisoners. 
     Charles McCoy is in the hospital sick at Washington. 
     Meliss tell Ad and Will not to come out soldiering without they are forced to come or can’t help it. 
     This is all I have of importance to write. I send my love to you and Leon. Good bye for this time. 
Your husband 
James F. Price
[there is what appears to be a bloody smear on the bottom of this letter]

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Part Four: "Oh My Bleeding Country"

     The spring and summer of 1862 brought some health concerns from home. James had obviously received a letter from Melissa in which she told him that their infant son was unwell. While we do not know the nature of his illness, it is interesting to note that Melissa sent a photograph of herself in the letter and she, too, showed signs of sickness or exhaustion. James expresses his concern for his little family and asks that Melissa update him immediately on their son’s health.
     In this letter James mentions his cavalry unit being sent out on a seven mile march with the brigade. No doubt that was a learning experience for the 1st Maryland Cavalry to spend several hours on foot!

Camp Carroll 
May 8 ‘62 
Dear wife, 
I received your letter yesterday. I was very sorry to hear that Leon was sick…. I am almost certain of being home within a month. There is great rejoicing among the boys of the late Victories. 
I don’t think you look near as well as you did when I left you. Have you been sick? 
You can look for me again next pay day if we do not get discharged. 
On last Saturday General Cooper’s Brigade (to which we are attached to) went out on a march a distance of seven miles to learn the men how to march in brigade form. 
Our new Captain has done very well so far. I think this kind of soldiering suits him first rate. 
Answer this right away and let me know how Leon is. Let me know in your next letter how all the folks are. I send my love to you and Leon. 
From Your Husband 
James F Price

     Leon’s illness was quickly over according to James’ letter of 18 May, although his anticipated furlough was prevented by the regiment’s movement south into Virginia (West Virginia today).  Through the remainder of May, through June and into July the 1st Maryland was kept busy around Winchester and Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.
     The last two letters we will look at today are poignant in their simplicity and lack of worry. James and three others were set to guarding the company’s supply wagons and got separated from the rest of the regiment by a flooded river. While they scouted for a safe place to cross or waited for the floods to subside they stayed in the homes of slave owners where the Maryland cavalrymen held church services.
     The four men discovered that they were good singers and seemed to enjoy singing for appeared to be an appreciative audience. James’ language may seem shocking to our politically correct ears, but the words he used were common throughout the United States and did not have the same powerful implications that they do today.
     Once again James’ sense of humor is evident as he suggests that their nearly one-year-old son was at least as big as 5’9” James, or he talks about enormous pancakes.
     Today’s final letter is only partially legible but mentions James’ best friend, Robert Wilson, who recently returned from furlough with a new photograph of  Melissa and Leon who were both looking much healthier than in May. Robert will be a very important part of James’ next letter home.

July 23 ‘62 
Dear wife, 
….We have had a pretty good time stopping at plantations to board. We get lots of slave masters. We generally sing three or four hymns before retiring to our beds of floor. We have three good singers with us Mr. Hall, Mr. Orem, and Mr. Wilson and me myself which forms quite an Opera Troupe. 
Mr. Hall preached to the colored individuals on last Sabbath at 10 o’clock. Mr. Orem led with a prayer after with the grand Excelsior Choir sent forth its melodious strains which sent the Niggers on their way rejoicing. 
The meeting was concluded by retiring to the house and refreshing ourselves by eating a hoe cake as large as a common size cheese.... 
I would like to see Leon. I suppose he is at least as big as I am. 
….I send my love to you and Leon. Write soon. I have good health at present. I hope you have the same. 
From Your Husband 
James F Price 
Camp Carroll Aug 5 1862
Dear Wife, 
I received your three last letters the one Robert Wilson fetched and your likeness I am glad to see that you and Leon look so well.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Part 3 "Oh My Bleeding Country"

     1862 began on the same note as 1861 ended. James’ letters were cheerful and spoke of a desire to return home, his daily routine, and his concern that Melissa and Leon were well and have sufficient money.
     Sometimes the letters included unfamiliar names of men and women. In this one, the first of 1862, James mentioned seeing a man named Henry Ernest: 

Jan 31st ‘62 
Dear wife, 
I received your letter I was very glad to hear that you was all well. I have got good health also at present. I saw Henry Ernest this morning. He was well. …. I don’t think it will be long before we will be at home. Keep in good spirits. Give my respects to all the family. I send my love to you and Leon.... 
From Your Husband 
James F Price

     Some research provided the information that Henry B. Earnest, Co. B of the Pennsylvania 46th Infantry, was mustered in on 24 August 1861 and was discharged on 31 October 1862 on account of wounds he received in action.

     I assumed that Henry was a friend of James and searched for him in the 1860 U.S. Census. Unable to find him there, I broadened my search and made an amazing discovery: there in the 1850 US Census was Henry Ernest with his wife Lucinda, sons William and James, and daughter Melissa. I knew that Melissa Clark (James’ wife) had two brothers and that her mother was named Lucinda. I also knew that Lucinda had remarried after divorcing her first husband, the father of her children.

     Census enumerators often assumed everyone in the family shared the surname of the head of the household, so it made sense that Lucinda’s children were listed as Henry’s children. Additional research verified my hypothesis and another brick wall in my research came tumbling down.
     James’ letters continued. Sometimes they exhibited a sense of humor: 

Halls Farm 
February 25th ‘62 
Maliss I will take a letter home myself some of these days and see if I can get an answer for it. 

     Other letters remind us that during the first part of the Civil War company level officers were not appointed by the military establishment but were elected by the men of their company and the people they knew from the neighborhood:

Camp Carroll Patterson 
April 22 ‘62 
Dear wife, 
…. I don’t think it will be four weeks before we are at home our Captain has resigned and we keep drumming men out of camp every day which will soon break the regiment up we have no captain yet. Lt. Steward wanted to be Captain but the men would not agree. 
     Benjamin Johnston said if he had a boy like Leon he would not go to out to war Meliss I am tired of soldiering the way we are soldiering now …. give my respects to William and Rachel I send my love to you and Leon first….

     The following letter highlights the dilemma faced, no doubt, by many soldiers: whether or not to use some of the money they normally sent home to purchase train fare to travel home while on furlough. This letter also explains the perilous journey made by letters from the front to home and demonstrates the importance of photographs to soldiers of the Civil War.

Camp Carroll 
April 30 ‘62 
Dear wife, 
I received both of your letters. I was very glad to hear that you and Leon was well. I could get a furlough but it costs so much to go home that I would rather wait awhile and see if we get discharged for I do not think they will keep us here much longer. 
     ….We is lazing about two miles from the Post Office and we have to leave our letters in the Adjutant’s office then there is a man engaged to take the letters down, which through carelessness these are either lost or mislaid. My likeness was laying upwards of two months in the likeness wagon and is not very good.  I will get another taken and send it to you. I want you to send yours and Leon’s with Robert Wilson. 
     I am agetting very tired of lazing around camp I would rather be home for I am so tired of soldiering this way. I have nothing this time to write particularly. …. 

     James was finally engaged in his first real fight in the spring of 1862. In this letter he describes the retreat from Winchester, West Virginia and the rigors he endured as his company was dispatched to cover the rear of the retreating army. I appreciated the display of humor that James included and his reassurances to Melissa of his health and safety.

May 2 ‘62 
Dear wife, 
     …. Henry has arrived - so far I have not seen him yet but the regiment is in Williamsport. I have not had time to go to his camp. 
     We have been very busy since we left Balt[imore] and have had hard times. It was for four days and three nights without anything to eat and was in our saddles all the time. The women in Winchester shot at our men as they were leaving town and the Rebels, from what we can hear, killed all our sick that we left …. 
     On Saturday night we left our camp at midnight. We had been out no more than an hour before the Rebels fired volleys into our camp - they thought we was sleeping in our tents. Some men of company C & Bs men could not be waked [and] up the Rebels killed them. One man escaped - he said he heard one man begging for his life but they shot him …. 
     The retreat was no very good order. Some of the men would give out and lay down as soon as the Rebels would come up they would shoot them all. 
     I got hurt. I got my big nose hurt in the woods by some brush. 
     It will take some time before the division can be formed again. I think we will lay here until they get them fixed up again. The Rebels killed a great many of our men but I think we killed as many of them. 
     I send my love to you and Leon. You need not worry about me. I think I will get through yet. 
     I am going down to see Henry tonight. Write immediately. I have good health. 
     From Your Husband 
     James F Price

     Sadly for James, this was not the worst fight he would experience this year.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oh My Bleeding Country: Part Two

     In the first real action that James saw, he and the rest of Union forces began to advance at midnight and quietly drew within four miles of the Confederate forces by daylight. It amazes me to think that 5000 men and several hundred horses could move so quietly that no one was alerted to the presence. The Confederate pickets left their posts at 8:00 and the Union forces actually entered the Rebel camp, surprising them at breakfast.
     The Confederate guns proved difficult to fire – perhaps the habit of literally sleeping on their arms to prevent the rifled muskets from collecting dew in the night had not been ingrained in them. 
     The firefight continued well past noon until General Reynolds ordered the Union forces to break off the fight. Both sides claimed a great victory, inflating the size of the enemy forces and the number of enemy killed. In reality each side lost fewer than fifty killed and wounded. 
     We do not have James’ letter to Melissa following the 3 October 1861 Battle of Greenbrier, West Virginia. But a few weeks later he wrote complaining that while he had sent her five letters he had only received one from her. He also explained what happened to his civilian clothes after his mustering-in.
     James continues with the traditional soldiers’ complaints: severe officers and miserable weather. Although he report having a “very good time” he tells Melissa to warn off his two brothers, Will and Adam, from volunteering.
     This single line helped me to locate James in the 1860 U.S. Census. I could now look for William Price and Adam Price living in the same household and found them all, including the young glass blower, James.
     His letter concluded with James asking about Melissa’s daily activities and a new glass work that he assumed was about to open. He asks her to have baby Leon’s photograph made in tin and sent to him and then closes his letter in what came to be his signature sign-off for the next year: “My love to you and Leon.”
Oct 15 [1861] 
Dear Melissa 
      I received your letter on Sabbath evening from Charles McCoy. This makes the fifth letter I have wrote to you and have only received one answer.
     You asked me what became of my clothes. I concluded I would not send them home and therefore I gave them to our cook…. 
     We have a pretty hard time of it at present on account of our officers is so severe but we can live. Yet I would like to see you and Leon and I hope the time will not be long before I shall.
     While I was at Hancock I had one hard night The rain while I was asleep run down my back. It was a terrible night, the worst we have had yet. I stayed six days in Hancock and had a very good time considering that night. 
     Tell Will and Adam to not think of coming out….Get Leon’s likeness on tin and send it in your letter. Write and tell me all about the times and also all about the Glass Work and if they are started yet. Write as soon as you get this letter. 
     I send my love to you and to all the folks and to little Leon and tell him to be sure and be a good little boy. 
     From Your Husband 
     James F Price 
     James’ next letter was written almost a month later. He recounts being “plagued” but Rebels but there were no casualties to the Union forces. The tables were turned when a cannon was delivered, scattering the Rebel pickets from the other side of the river. 
     Payday was an important day in the army. A private received $13 per month, or about $4400 in today’s money. But they were usually paid every quarter. The system was no doubt devised to minimize the work of the paymasters, but it also provided an enormous amount of money in a large number of young men’s hands all at once. Since the military provided the troopers with food, clothing, and housing, there wasn’t much money needed on a day-to-day basis. Most of the soldiers’ pay was spent on gambling, liquor, and the purchase of more tasty foods. 
     But James had a wife and child to support, and sent home $25 ($8500) via Lt. John Stewart. The paragraph in which James explains to Melissa how and where to collect her money was an eye-opening one. With no ATMs, no direct deposit, and no branch banks, James and the other men were forced to send someone home with the money. But then what to do with it? It would be unreasonable to expect someone on furlough to spend his leave time visiting from house to house to deliver the money.
     In James and Melissa’s case the solution was elegantly simple: Lt. Stewart would carry the money to a local Pittsburgh storekeeper who agreed to hold the money for the wives and mothers. James told Melissa which store, where it was located, and what day to go pick it up. The storekeeper was willing to be the go-between in hopes that the ladies would in turn shop in his store. A good deal for everyone.
     At the end of his letter James noted that time was passing quickly. He had been in the cavalry for three months. He had two years and nine months left to serve. 
Nov 24/61
Dear wife,
     I have sent a letter to you two weeks ago and have never received any answer yet. We have been plagued by the Rebels a great deal within the last few days. We had a fight with them across the river the other day there was from three to four hundred Rebels to one hundred of us. We fought about six hours steady. Our loss was none killed or wounded although pretty narrow escapes by some of the men. The Rebels lost six killed and seventeen wounded all this from noon. 
     The hills opposite us was pretty full of pickets from the Rebels this morning. We received a cannon this morning which open out on them this forenoon and made them scatter. There is none to be seen now…. I can’t come home until we drive the Rebels out of this district which will soon be done. 
     We got paid on Sunday Lieut Stewart [eventually Capt. John H Stewart] is taking charge of the money which he is a goin to Bradley’s where you can get it – Bradley’s store warehouse … you can go and get it on Tuesday. I gave in his charge twenty five dollars. And let me know what’s agoing on in Pittsburgh and vicinity. 
     Malis I want you to write and let me know how you and Leon is agetting along I send my love to you and Leon and to the rest of the folks. Hoping to see you soon. Write and let me know if you received the money. 
     Time passes away pretty fast now on account of having so much to do with the Rebels. 
     From Your Husband 
     James F. Price

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh My Bleeding Country: The Story of James F. Price, Part 1

“I have some old letters from my Civil War ancestor. They aren’t much. Mostly he talks about money and how he wants to go home.”
     This comment made by one of my students began a fascinating odyssey for me. The student was taking “Discovering Your Civil War Ancestor” a community education course I teach at the local community college. Her casual comment made me salivate. While I have plenty of Civil War ancestors, and a fair number of mementos from one of them, I do not have any Civil War-era letters.
     Eventually we embarked on a project to preserve her letters and share their contents with her entire family. As I read and transcribed the letters I discovered the letter writer, James F. Price of Co. G, 1st Regiment Maryland Cavalry, was a loving and devoted husband, father, and friend. 
     He began the war as a private and ended as a sergeant, proving his devotion to his cause and his leadership abilities. Along the way he saw terrible slaughter and endured devastating losses. Yet James continued on steadfastly in spite of his loss and privation:
“It is all for our blessed country and must be endured without murmuring….Oh my bleeding country, it is for thee I suffer and endure the hardships and privations of a soldier.”
     James Price was born in October of 1838 in Pennsylvania. His beloved wife, Melissa Jane Clark, was born ten years later. James became an apprentice glass blower in Pittsburgh, where the two met and married at the First Reformed Presbyterian Church on 7 February 1861. Later that year their first son, Leon, was born. 
     On 5 August 1861 James F Price and a number of his friends and neighbors answered a Maryland recruiter’s call and, as was customary during the Civil War, all were enlisted in the same company, G, of the 1st Maryland Cavalry.
     It is interesting that James, a city boy who could not have had many opportunities to ride horses, ended up in the cavalry. Particularly because, according to the company’s Descriptive Book, James was five feet nine inches tall, much taller than the average cavalry trooper. The Descriptive Book also tells us that James had a fair complexion, blue eyes, and light colored hair.

     On 25 August 1861 James was mustered into service, kissed Melissa and Leon goodbye, and headed off to war. All of James’ letters have not survived to today, but the first letter we have was written just a month later from Williamsport, Maryland. In his letter James sounds like he is on an adventure, laments that he has not yet killed a Rebel, and, in a delightful display of his sense of humor, reports that he is optimistic that he will be home before Christmas. 
Williamsport, Maryland 
Sept 28th/61 
Dear Malissa,
We left Washington on last Wednesday a week and traveled only fifteen miles the first day. We had our wagons with us and had to ride slow which made it so wearisome. We travelled three days afterwards before we arrived at Williamsport….
     There is one company of cavalry and one of infantry. Also a mile from us is the first Maryland Regiment. We have to go out skirmishing each day. There was a boy shot by the Rebels the other day while he was driving along the tow path. 
     Some of our men while out on picket the other day captured a wagon full of boots, shoes and saddles.And also our lieutenant took four of our men and a captain of another cavalry company took the same they … went to a town name Hancock Town. They stayed there three days and captured three men. The ladies treated them very nice. 
     We expect to go again very soon. I think I shall go this time. I have been out on picket but did not have the luck to kill any Rebels yet. I hope I shall. 
     You may get a large turkey for Christmas for I think we will all be home that time. I have got plenty to eat here and good health and food found. … 
     I will tell you more the next time. I would like to see Leon and see if he has growed any since I left. Write and tell me how you are agetting along…. 
     I send my love to you all and hope to find you all well. Write soon. 
     From your husband 
     James F Price
James F, Price in uniform, There is a small hole caused by an imperfection in the glass
in the  center of the glass plate. I wonder what James the glassblower thought of that?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sometimes It Doesn't Have to be Pretty!

     (And you don't have to read the language to learn what the document says.)
     These are an Italian marriage record with a translation via Google Translate. No one at History & Heritage reads Italian. Latin, French, German, Middle and Old English - those we have covered. But Italian is out of our ken. So the first lesson is that you just have to be able to read the letters, not understand them when you have something like Google Translate available.
     Second lesson is that even if you can't read everything perfectly, you probably can puzzle out enough to understand if this is the right person. We couldn't read the handwriting well enough to understand everything in the certificate, and the translation might not be perfect, but everything makes sense and this document tells us what we hoped to learn, and more!
     Sometimes you have to use common sense and intuition for this. Don't know what a numeral one with a superscript letter "o" means? Type it into the translator and see what comes up. In this case we are looking at "Primo" and "Secundo."
     Numbers can be a bear to read, so find an ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and cardinal (1, 2, 3) list of numbers in that language to help you determine if that combination of letters might actually mean something.
     If you just can't read the handwriting, substitute some Xs for the missing word and see if you can determine the word after the translation. In our example we can figure out that the happy couple arrived to be married on the 26th DAY of November at 9:20 in the morning.
     Focus on the parts that have the words or names you seek. In this example we omitted the second paragraph (Avanti di me...) which simply tells us who this official is, and skipped down to the part that clearly said "BONGO ANDREA."
     Pay attention to the details you can figure out. The insertion of the word "fu" and the later insertion of "in vita" tells us that good old Giuseppe was dead by the time Andrea married Maria and that dad was a resident "in life" of Ariano. One more detail to add to our tree.
     Speaking of which, from this one record we learned that Andrea was a famer born in c. 1860, his father was Giuseppe Bongo who died before 1860, mom was Maria Rosaria Carpiniolla and they all lived in Ariano. He married Maria Tolino, a farmer born in 1874 and the daughter of Luigi Tolino and Maria Giovanna lo Blundo, all of Ariano. A treasure trove!
     So the next time you find yourself faced with a document in a language you don't speak or read, give it a whirl - try to translate it and see if you can learn what you need to know. It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to be discovered!

PS - wondering about the "lo Blundo" in mom's name? there is a reason for it...see if you can figure it out!

Friday, January 18, 2013

How to Hire a Genealogist

     Yesterday someone wrote to tell me a sad tale and to ask how to avoid it in the future:
I hired a profession group based on the recommendation of a highly respected genealogical association. After paying $1400 and waiting a year all I got were copies of what I had sent them and an article about the history of the area that anyone could get off the internet. My question is: what questions should I be asking a professional to avoid such a costly farce?
     First, let me apologize on behalf of all of us out here who are maintaining high standards and excellent business practices. There is always one bad apple, and I hope that you complained to the business, the genealogical association who recommended them, and the Better Business Bureau. 
     You can find lots of articles and blogs out there telling you what to ask and how to choose a qualified professional. But I think it is really a very easy task once you think about this like hiring any other professional contractor. Let me explain: 
     The most important thing you ought to do is have a very clear contract. Your contract will spell out exactly what you expect, what the researcher is to do, what s/he is NOT supposed to do, what the objectives are for this project, what you will pay and when, and the due date for the completed project. 
     You wouldn’t hire someone to replace your roof by saying “I want my roof fixed” and then handing over a pile of money. You would want a contract specifying whether the old shingles are to be shingled over or removed. What weight of roofing felt is to be used? What is the specific brand and color of shingle to be used? How many nails per shingle? What about flashing around gutters, skylights, chimneys, vents, etc.? What if weak spots or leaks are discovered? When do they start work? How long will it take? How much do you pay up front? How much do you pay at the end? And on and on. 
     So, too, should you have a detailed contract with your genealogist. It is not unreasonable to spell out exactly what you expect and what they can expect from you. Let me give you an example. 
     Beauregard has hit a brick wall and cannot find the parents of his great-great-great-grandpa: Buford. 
     He has found a land record for Buford, his baptismal record, his will, and his headstone. But the baptismal record simply bears his name and date of baptism. Beauregard decides to hire Brick Walls R Us Genealogy. 
     The contract specifies that Brick Walls R Us Genealogy are to find the parents of Buford. No other family members are to be pursued unless that is a necessary task in order to find Buford’s parents. Beauregard agrees to pay X dollars up front and another Y dollars upon completion plus no more than Z dollars for documents. Brick Walls R Us Genealogy agree to provide “H” hours of research and report writing and if Buford’s parents are discovered before the completion of “H” hours they will attempt to find Buford’s siblings and/or grandparents. Finally, Brick Walls R Us Genealogy agree to have the completed report to Beauregard by such-and-such a date. It will be in the form of a PDF which they will email to Beauregard and will contain a written report detailing their search, the results, copies of all documents or the originals purchased for him, and a calendar listing where they looked and what, if anything, they found in each database and repository. 
     Yes, it sounds like a lot, but it is actually very beneficial to both of you. You know exactly what you are paying for, and they know exactly what to do and what to ignore. You aren’t expecting a pedigree chart extending back a thousand years for $18.95 and they aren’t expecting to merely search in one place for 25 minutes and receive a check for $1895. 
     Next, until you have tried one and found him or her to meet your standards and expectations you probably should only hire them for a small part of the job. If you are satisfied with their work you can hire them to work on the next segment. If you are not satisfied with the work, and they failed to meet the objectives of the contract and can offer no valid reason for their failure, take your business elsewhere. 
     You wouldn’t hire a contractor to do a $100,000 remodel all in one fell swoop (you wouldn’t would you?). Rather you would have him or her remodel the spare bathroom first and if that turns out well you can opt to hire him or her for the remaining work. And once you know how you two work together you can write a more precise contract for future work. 
     I hear you: and what is a valid reason for failure? There are several, but not THAT many. 
     One reason is that there are no documents remaining from that place and time. If the client’s ancestors lived in a war zone (Virginia during the Civil War, Germany in WWII) or if the records repository suffered a fire or natural disaster (such as the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center which destroyed over 16 MILLION files) and those documents are required to successfully complete the research, then you have a valid reason for failure. But it shouldn’t take up the entire budget of time to make that discovery. 
     Another reason is that some records are not available online and the repository does not search for and copy records for free or a fee. This means that the only recourse is to hire someone to go to the archive or other repository and copy or transcribe them. 
     A third reason is that – how shall I say this politely? – your tree is a mess and by the time the genealogist has straightened it out and determined what information is reliable and what information is bogus, your time had expired. 
     Finally, the records might be out there and available, and your tree may be a thing of beauty and historical accuracy, but your ancestor’s name was Imagnacious Pterradiddle (the “P” is silent) and finding THAT name practically requires going through census records page by page. Unfortunately your brick wall was John Terradiddle and it never occurred to anyone that he changed his surname. And no one EVER thought that Imagnacious could be a name. The researcher assumed John’s dad would be William or George or John and so reasonably estimated the time based on those assumptions. 
     A good researcher should request that you provide your sources, documents, and family tree before they offer an estimate. If they aren’t interested in what you have done, or what you already know, find someone else. I like devoting part of that initial free hour to going over a potential client’s tree. It helps to know how sturdy the foundation is, and whether I have to redo the work before I can start my own research.
     Go ahead and shop around and compare. You didn’t hire the first guy who came over to give you an estimate for your roof. You compared the cost and services each roofer offered. Genealogists should understand it is up to us to earn your business. 
     What about references? Let’s be honest, references are not all that helpful – only happy people are going to be offered as references. 
     One more very important point: YOU must have realistic expectations for the amount of time this project will take, the cost of completing it, and the outcomes that will be produced. If it took you ten years of research to get this far, do you really think it is reasonable to expect me to break down that 17th century brick wall in two weeks for a hundred bucks? 
     When you hire a genealogist you are paying for our time, and there are no guaranteed results. That being said, if I took on a project for $1400 I am positive that I could realize this was going to be a bust LOOONG before I spent that many hours on the project. It would be my professional responsibility to tell you: Hey, I have spent this many hours and have looked here, here, here, and here and I keep finding the same brick wall. I can continue to research with no guarantees, or I can stop here, you pay me for my time, I will provide you with a write-up about what I did and where I looked, and perhaps in a few years the documents necessary will come to light. When that happens, I will contact you and we can talk then. 
     And finally, please don’t get angry with me when I tell you things you don’t want to hear. I don’t get to write history to suit my clients. I have had folks angry with me when they read that their wealthy Georgian family owned slaves in the 1820s. I have had folks angry with me when I told them great-grandpa deserted in 1863 and had the documents to prove it. And I have had folks angry when I had to tell them that great-aunt Gertrude who was born and raised in Quebec in 1830 was a not full-blooded Sioux Indian but a rather proper French-Canadian young lady. 
     I always tell my clients
At History & Heritage we believe that the purpose of family history research is to know, understand, and celebrate the events that relate to our families. While delving into the past may produce some less-than-savory ancestors, or put an end to a family legend, a sense of humor and a desire for truth will enable us to celebrate our families as they really were and are. 
     I have used almost 1700 words to say this: 
  • Get a contract. 
  • You’re the boss. 
  • Be reasonable. 
     Oh, and one more thing: History & Heritage is always accepting new clients!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Part Two: When Do I Need to Hire a Genealogist?

     Yesterday I talked about three real-life situations (names have been changed to protect the innocent) that might require the assistance of a professional genealogist. Here are the final three. See if any of them sound familiar.

Lopsided Branches
Cheri had a family tree which included almost no female lines. Mothers rarely had full biographical information and often had only a given name and no surname. An initial attempt to fill in the maternal lines showed her what many of us already know: women can be difficult to trace.
Once again I provided Cheri with an initial hour of free research. In that hour I checked the paternal lines to verify their foundational strength and discovered that the previous researcher had done nice work, but inexplicably ignored every maternal line. Next I created a list of her maternal lines in order of the least to the most effort required to extend that branch.
Cheri chose to take some one-on-one training with me to learn the basics of genealogical research then set out to find and document as many of her “grandmothers” as she could find. A few months later she contacted me with her list of brick walls and we have begun researching them for her. To date she has “evened out” more than half of her tree.

Unorganized Papers
Stephanie had dabbled in her family’s genealogy for years, and had acquired binders full of documents, but there was no organization or system to her collection and she couldn’t tell you what she knew and what she still needed to find. Well into her retirement, Stephanie worried that if she didn’t whip those documents into shape her family might simply throw out all of hard work.
Stephanie shipped the paperwork to me (for less than $25!) and emailed me a GEDCOM file of her tree. Organizing and arranging paperwork is great fun to me, and I spent a day sitting on my office floor sorting, organizing, and arranging her papers. I also wrote up a descending list of missing or conflicting items that required her attention and shipped everything back to her ready to go into new binders.
Note: I have also provided this service for local clients and we spend an afternoon organizing and arranging their papers. This is very useful because not only do they end up with copies of sources which they can now find and use, but they also learn the process and are better able to maintain their neat and tidy binders of documents.

Joining the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution
(or the Sons of Union or Confederate Veterans of the Civil War or any other genealogical-based society)
Tim wanted to join the Sons of the American Revolution and had always heard that he had an ancestor who fought in that war but no one ever said which ancestor. Tim was not interested in building on or extending his family tree; he simply wanted to join the SAR.
After the initial hour of free consultation I was able to verify that Tim had several branches of his tree which included men and women who were of the proper age and location to qualify for membership. At his direction I began my search with his paternal direct line ancestors and discovered an ancestor who served in the Pennsylvania State Militia.
To meet the remaining criteria for membership I also provided Tim with the necessary pedigree and supporting documents to verify his relationship back to that soldier ancestor. Finally, after explaining the process for applying to the SAR, I put Tim in touch with a local chapter.
     It is true that some folks will never need or want to hire a professional genealogist. Some of you prefer to work this puzzle on your own, no matter how long it might take to get past each brick wall. I know, because I am one of them!
     But for those of you who wondered if your problem or difficulty is something that you can ask a professional to take on, I hope that this helped to answer your question. If you still are wondering, feel free to ask me. Send me an email at kate@historyandheritage.co. I will be happy to tell you if your situation is something which I can handle or, if necessary, I will refer you to a colleague. And remember, the first hour of research is always free.

Let History & Heritage shed some light on your family tree.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When Do I Need to Hire a Professional Genealogist?

Carl wasn’t comfortable researching his family once his tree expanded outside of the United States.

Mary had an Irish great grandmother who seemed to magically appear in the United States. Her death certificate told her maiden name but there were no other records for her life in Ireland.

David had seen and admired his wife’s family tree and was ready to start working on creating his own. But he had no idea where to start or how to go about building his family tree properly.

Cheri had a family tree which included almost no female lines. Mothers rarely had full biographical information and often had only a given name and no surname.

Stephanie had dabbled in her family’s genealogy for years, had acquired binders full of documents, but there was no organization or system to her collection and she couldn’t tell you what she knew and what she still needed to find. 
Tim wanted to join the Sons of the American Revolution and had always heard that he had an ancestor who fought in that war but no one ever said which ancestor.

     Each of these are examples of clients with whom I worked over the past year. Each one illustrates a situation when you should hire a professional genealogist/family historian.
     If you check the internet you can find a number of lists detailing when you should hire a professional. Most of them have openly copied (without proper attribution I might add) the list found on the Association of Professional Genealogists’ website.[1] I encourage you to click on the link to their website and read their list.
     But I like my list because it provides some very real examples of the kinds of situations that I believe are most common out there in the genealogical world. Let’s look at these examples a little more closely and I will explain what you might expect a professional genealogist to do for you in each scenario. Because this list is rather extensive, I will make this a multi-part blog so that your eyes don’t fall out reading it all in one day! 

Foreign Research 
Carl wasn’t comfortable researching his family once his tree expanded outside of the United States. His New England family crossed the border from Canada and ended up in Massachusetts in the early 1900s. Although some of the records were in English, he quickly became uncomfortable trying to work in French while puzzling through a different monetary system, understanding unfamiliar land measurements found on deeds, reading an unfamiliar style of handwriting, and generally working in a geographical area that was unfamiliar to him. 
We discussed where he wished to begin and what he hoped to find. Carl sent me a GEDCOM file of his well-sourced family tree and I spent my typical hour of free research looking at what he had, determining the strength of his foundation, briefly scouting out the documents available and possible avenues of research, and estimating the amount of time and number of documents that might have to be purchased.

We worked backwards in chunks, first developing this branch and then that branch until I had traced his family back to England and France. Carl was happy to have his family’s history traced to the era of Louis XIV and ended the research at that point.

If you have traced your family beyond the borders of the United States and are uncomfortable working with documents in another language, or are uncomfortable dealing with a “foreign” world even if the documents are in English, this might be the time to hire a professional.

The Dreaded Brick Wall 
Mary had an Irish great grandmother who seemed to magically appear in the United States. Her death certificate told her maiden name but there were no other records for her life in Ireland. Mary’s research was further complicated by the fact that in each census in which great grandmother appeared she had a different age. And then she discovered that great grandmother’s maiden name was very common. Finally she ran into one of the great annoyances regarding Irish research: very few documents are available online. 
Mary provided me with access to her Ancestry.com family tree and added a lot of family lore to the mix. Once again I provided a free hour of research while I reviewed her foundation and determined the scope of the project, including an estimate of the length of time and costs involved. We worked out a payment plan (necessary due to her financial constraints) which meant that it took nearly a year to finally find her great grandmother in County Kerry. She is currently contacting living family members and arranging a trip to Ireland later this spring. 
If you have a brick wall that you can’t seem to get past, even with the help of people from places like the Rootsonomy Research Group, and have followed all of the steps that I (and others) have outlined for how to work on breaking down your brick walls and still find that pesky thing standing, maybe it is time to hire a professional to help you knock down that wall so you can continue in your research. 
Just Getting Started 
David had seen and admired his wife’s family tree and was ready to start working on creating his own. But he had no idea where to start or how to go about building his family tree properly. He knew there were online databases, both free and for-fee, but did not know which ones were most useful to him. His parents were still living and could potentially provide information, but he did not know what to ask them.
When David came to me we discussed his goals and plans. It quickly became apparent that he wanted to do the work himself, learning about his family and learning the art and science of family history. Ultimately he decided to work one-on-one with me, meeting weekly via the phone (Skype is a great tool for this as well as a number of online meeting sites) for five weeks while he took a personalized “Genealogy 101” class.
David learned how to use various programs and databases to search for documents, how to critically analyze documents, and how to create a system for organizing and using each source to its fullest extent, among other subjects. Each lesson was based on his strengths and weaknesses as well as the area and time period in which he was working. At the end of the five weeks David was confident about his skills and had mapped out a plan for developing his own sturdy family tree. We will have one final meeting in the spring where he can ask any questions that have arisen, or work out a way to get past his first brick walls. 
If you are ready to get started on your family tree but aren’t quite sure what to do and where to go, this is a good time to hire a professional genealogist. For a relatively small investment in time and money you can learn how to work like a professional from a professional.

     Tomorrow I will talk about the last three situations that might warrant hiring a professional genealogist. Thanks to my buddy Jim, owner of our partner firm, Rootsonomy, for suggesting this topic!

[1] “Hiring a Professional” http://www.apgen.org/articles/hire.html, accessed 16 January 2013.

History & Heritage can help you bridge the gaps in your family tree
so that you can move on to the next adventure.