Iowa Calendar: June 2014

postcards_summerSunday, June 1
Log Cabin Day
Shelby County Historical Museum, 1805 Morse Ave., Harlan. Annual “historic blowout” featuring historic demonstrations, Civil War encampment, music, food and much more. Hands-on activities for all ages and a Family Genealogy Center where you can conduct research.

Contact: 712-755-2437; shelbyco.museum@gmail.com. Website: http://www.shelbycoiamuseum.org . Continue reading

Migration Routes: The National Road

National Road line map

The National Road, by Philip D. Jordan. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1948. 442 pp. Hardcover. Illustrations, photographs, map, source notes.

If your ancestors came to Iowa in the 1800s from eastern states, it’s possible they traveled the National Road. Extending 600 miles from Cumberland, Maryland, it crossed the states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, terminating at Vandalia. The Road served as a major migration route for pioneers heading west in the first half of the 19th century. Continue reading

Migration Routes: Online Resources

Learn more about America’s migration trails online:

Beverly Whitaker, Early American Roads and Trails (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gentutor/trails.html :   2014).pioneers

“Zane’s Trace,” Touring Ohio, the Heart of America (http://www.touring-ohio.com/history/zane-trace.html :   2014).

Cyndi Howells, “Migration Routes, Roads & Trails,” Cyndi’s List (http://www.cyndislist.com/migration : 2014).

Many historic maps identify trails and wagon roads:

Cartography Associates, David Rumsey Map Collection (http://www.davidrumsey.com : 2014).

University of Alabama,”Historical Maps of Ohio,” Alabama Maps (http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/us_states/ohio/index2_1891-1895.htm : 2014).

Library of Congress, “Maps,” American Memory (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?category=Maps : 2014).

Carleton's 1850 Sectional Map of Iowa

Carleton’s 1850 Sectional Map of Iowa

One of my favorite Iowa maps, found digitally at American Memory, is Guy H. Carleton’s 1850 Sectional map of the state of Iowa, compiled from the United States surveys also exhibiting the internal improvements, distances between towns & villages, lines of projected rail roads &c. &c. (Dubuque: Guy H. Carleton, 1850).

Detail Davis County, Carleton's 1850 Sectional Map of Iowa

Detail Davis County, Carleton’s 1850 Sectional Map of Iowa

It’s a great map, showing the layout of Iowa’s counties, section lines, waterways, communities, and major trails as they existed in 1850. You can zero in to see specific counties in greater detail. Many of the communities have long since disappeared; this is a wonderful resource for picturing the “lay of the land” as your ancestor might have experienced it.

Iowa Calendar: May 2014

spring flowersTuesday Apr 8 – Sunday May 25
Apron Strings: Ties to the Past
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Carl & Mary Koehler History Center, 615 1st Ave. SE,
Cedar Rapids.

The newest temporary exhibit at The History Center, “Apron Strings: Ties to the Past” celebrates the rich and varied craft history while delving into the societal changes displayed through their design. Delicately embroidered aprons of the 1920s reflected a time of economic ease while aprons of the 1930s serve as a stark reminder of The Great Depression. Don’t miss this fascinating exhibit.

Admission is by donation. Contact: 319-362-1501; history@historycenter.org. Website: http://historycenter.org . Continue reading

Iowa Genealogical Society Road Trip

Midwest Genealogy Center

Midwest Genealogy Center

Monday, June 9 – Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Iowa Genealogical Society is sponsoring a research road trip to the Midwest Genealogy Center in Kansas City. This trip affords IGS members and friends a great research opportunity and time together to get to know local people with a strong interest in genealogy. MGC volunteers will be available to assist participants with their research. Continue reading

Soldier & President: Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier & President, by Geoffrey Perret. New York: Random House, 1997. 542 pp. Hardcover. Maps, source notes.

18th President Ulysses S. Grant 1869-1877

18th President Ulysses S. Grant
1869-1877

Choosing a biography of Grant is almost as difficult as choosing one for Lincoln. Books abound for both men. Many authors choose to focus on Grant’s military career and not his presidency with good reason: Grant’s two-term presidency was rocky at best. Geoffrey Perret explores Grant’s life from beginning to end, but devotes less than a hundred pages to his presidency.

Grant’s life is truly an American story. Born on the Ohio frontier in 1822, Hiram Ulysses Grant was the first child of Jesse and Hannah (Simpson) Grant. Ulysses experienced childhood much as many of our ancestors did. His ambitious, self-educated father was a tanner who rose above the hardships of frontier life and provided a solid, prosperous lifestyle for his family. Jesse adored his oldest son and supplied Ulysses with as many educational advantages as possible, including a slot at West Point. Continue reading

Iowa Calendar: April 2014

Easter - CopySaturday, April 5
Visit the State Historical Library & Archives
9:15 – 1:15. State Historical Society of Iowa, 600 East Locust, Des Moines. The SHSI is pleased to announce that Ancestry.com is now available at the library for patrons’ use. Learn tips for using this genealogical website. Special exhibits of library, archives and special collections holdings will be on display in the Library & Archives Reading Room. Scheduled activities:

  • 9:15 – 10:15 – Reading room orientation visit 
  • 10:45-11:45 – Presentation about online sources (focus on Ancestry.com and Family Search) 
  • 12:15-1:15 – Archives storage area visit

Free. For more information, contact: Jeffrey.dawson@iowa.gov. Website: http://www.iowahistory.org . Continue reading

Minnesota Genealogical Society Northstar Conference

Genealogy techtrekGenealogy TechTrek:  April 25-26, 2014
Hennepin Technical College, 9000 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Special guest presenter: Thomas MacEntee. Thomas specializes in using technology and social media to improve genealogy research and connect with the family history community.

Friday April 25: Evening reception and lecture by Thomas MacEntee
You Use WHAT for Genealogy? Wonderful Uses for Unusual Tools

Saturday April 26: Full day of educational sessions!
Three plenary sessions from Thomas MacEntee:

  • Building a Research Toolbox
  • Managing Your Genealogy Data
  • Google for Genealogists

20 breakout sessions presented by Midwest genealogy educators on social media, images, genealogy programs, genealogy websites, getting printed materials via the Internet, websites for Czechoslovak and Pommern research, and geography/mapping. Continue reading

Iowa Genealogical Society Spring Tech Conference

j0438865IGS Spring Technology Conference
Saturday, April 12, 2014
8 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Iowa Genealogical Society, West Wing, 628 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines. Topics include:

  • Tribal Pages – Personal Website. Learn how to setup and use a personal website, Tribal Pages, to allow others to see and contribute to your family tree. As the webmaster you control who can see or contribute to the site. It can be everyone on the web or only people that you invite. Tribal pages has great visual presentations of your data and printable charts. There is both a free and a paid version. This can be as simple or complex as you want but still is easy to setup.
  • Using the Cloud. What is the cloud? Think of the cloud as offsite storage, programs or applications. Learn how to use various cloud storage sites to backup your data, to have access from many devices and to share or collaborate with others. Free verses paid options.
  • Purchasing a New Computer/Tablet. How fast is it or how much memory a computer has may not be the first questions to ask yourself when considering a new computer. “How will you use the computer?” is the best first question as it will determine the previous questions. For genealogists you don’t need the fastest or fanciest computer. In fact you may want a tablet version of a computer. The next question usually is Apple or Windows operating system. All these things and more will be discussed.
  • Useful Utilities
  • GenSmarts Utility-GenSmarts is a utility that uses artificial intelligence to analyze your existing genealogy file and gives you research recommendations. It is a Windows-only program, versions 98 through 8.1. Live demonstrations of the use and benefits of using GenSmarts will be given.
  • Animaps Utility-Animaps extends the “My Maps” feature of Google Maps by letting you create maps with markers that move, images and text that pop up on cue, and lines and shapes that change over time. When you send your Animap to friends and family it appears like a video – they can play, pause, slow and speed up the action!

Continue reading

Iowa Calendar: March 2014

Clover postcardSaturday, March 8
Researching Your Home’s History & Abstract Party
1 – 4 p.m. North Side Library, 3516 5th Ave., Des Moines.

Unless you live in a brand new home, you’ve probably wondered what your home looked like when it was first built or what the people who lived there were like. Common questions like these and some pointers on how to find the answers will be the topic of a joint program and workshop hosted by the Des Moines Historical Society and the Des Moines Rehabbers Club. Continue reading