Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just A Reminder ...

I just want to remind everyone that the deadline for the next edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy is week from Sunday. The topic for this carnival is a carousel.

Family History Center Visit 2

Earlier today I visited the local Family History Center, and I took a look at the two microfilms that had come in on Tuesday. The microfilms that came in were the church records for a Catholic church in Elizabeth, New Jersey and tax records for Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

One of my great-grandfathers grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was raised in the Catholic Church. This ancestor happens to be a bit of a brick wall to me because I am not completely sure as to who his parents were, and I thought viewing the records for the church he attended as a child might provide some answers. Well, I did take a look at the records, but I was unable to determine if the first communion records and confirmation records were of my great-grandfather as there were other boys listed that had the same name and the parents were not listed. So, I'll have to do a little more digging to figure out which one might be my great-grandfather, and until then, searching in this microfilm will be inconclusive.

Although I did not have as much success in searching through the church records, I did have more success with the tax records. Although my ancestors mainly lived in Walker and Juniata Townships, I knew from the 1830 Census that Benjamin Oswalt did live in Hopewell Township at one point, and I decided to order the microfilm that contained tax records for Hopewell Township. The microfilm included the tax records for the years 1823 to 1833 for the township, and to my surprise, I discovered that the tax payers were listed in alphabetical order by last name. (The only exception to that was the single free men section.) I do not have very much experience with tax records, so I am uncertain as to whether or not this is typical. Either way, the alphabetical order of the names made my job of searching the tax records a lot easier.

So, what did I find? Well, I found the listings for my ancestor, Benjamin Oswalt, and another Adam Oswalt. (From looking at the 1820 and 1830 censuses, it appears that this Adam Oswalt was older than Benjamin Oswalt, to the point that he was enough to be Benjamin's father, and therefore, I suspect that Adam might be his father. Of course, at the moment, I am only speculating as I do not have proof yet.) The tax records listed the number and type of animals and amount of land that a tax payer might own. For Benjamin, that happened to be mainly one cow and sometimes one horse, but for Adam, the tax record listed that he owned between 150-164 acres of land, one horse and one cow at various points. Of course, the ownership of land is news to me, so I have another lead to chase down on my Oswalt ancestors, possible and confirmed.

The tax records also contained for some of the years the papers giving a resident of the township the authority to assess all of the residents of the township, and it also listed how much each item was worth. Another column listed the total value of a person's taxable property, and how much the person had to pay in taxes. At the end of each year's assessment, the names of people who owned unseated land, single free men and the names of poor children were listed. Unfortunately, I did not copy any pages from the tax record at this visit, so I do not have any images to show as examples. On my next visit, I'll try to copy some of the pages and post a few examples.

So, that is what I accomplished on this visit. Although I did not find all of the answers I wanted to, I am still happy that I was able to find my Oswalt ancestors on the tax rolls. I know have a better idea of where they were living in between the 1820 and 1830 censuses. I did not order another microfilm as I am still waiting for the third film to come in, but on my next visit, I'll probably order some more microfilms.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jessica's Genejournal's Best Of The Best 2008

It is February again and that means it is time for the Second Annual iGene Awards. Although this is only the second time that I have participated in this event, I still find it difficult to decide which articles are my best. So, here are my choices for the categories:

Best Picture - I posted several photographs this past year, but I think the best photograph posted was the photograph of my great-grandparents. (Please look on the right side of the page for the picture.) I posted this picture originally for the second edition of the Smile for the Camera, and you can read my post here.
Best Screen Play - This category was difficult for me to choose because I really did not go into detail enough about my family's stories, but I finally decided that the closest article I had to a screen play would be the article on my ancestor, Anton. This article was one of the very few that I happened to post that gave any personal details about my ancestors. Personally, I think the story of his life could probably be made into a movie, although the information in my post is sparse. I can't think of anyone who might portray him, though.
Best Documentary - Again, this was another difficult category for me, but I think the best article for this category was Poverty and My Ancestors: Blog Action Day 2008 Post. In this post, I explored my ancestor's experiences in living with poverty.
Best Biography - I think the article closest to being a biography was A Probable Ancestor: The Independent and Spirited Christoph Friedrich Cotta. Although I did not give too many details on his life (since I am still doing research on him), I think I was able to sum up his life in a couple of paragraphs.
Best Comedy - I think the best article for this category would be the Ten Signs You're Addicted to Genealogy. Of course, I cannot remember if I mentioned this article in last year's iGene awards, but since this was published in 2008, I'm including it even if I already used it last year.
Well, those the articles that I believe were my best? Do you agree with my choices? Which articles would you have chosen? As always, you can leave a comment with your thoughts or ideas. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Family History Center Update

Earlier today I received a phone call from the local Family History Center and learned that two of the microfilms, that I ordered, have arrived. I am unsure of which of the two microfilms came in, but I hope to be able to look at the microfilms soon. I just hope that I find some more information on my ancestors. I'll let everyone know if I have found something.