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The BIA Guide to Researching Native Americans available online

Although The Bureau of Indian Affairs does not conduct genealogical research for the public, its website maintains a small set of pages to help you with your genealogical research. There are good basic steps to beginning your research, tips on how to proceed as you seek documentation, and some good information on tribal enrollment. There is even a special page on Cherokee ancestry. But, best of all, the pages are dotted with links – both online and off – to repositories and agencies that can help with research. Go to the web site: www.doi.gov/bia/ancestry/genealog_research.htm.

Thanks to Larimer Cunty Genealogical Society, PO Box 9502, Fort Collins, CO 80525.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness Web Site

A good place for people who are looking for relatives is Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK). This is a volunteer driven search site, where several people a month receive help in looking-up local pictures of graves. Ken Humphrey says he volunteers about an hour a week and has been able to put several families in touch with long lost relatives. Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) is hosted by RootsWeb.com at: http://raogk.rootsweb.com/.

Thanks to Gems of Genealogy, Bay Area Genealogical Society, Inc., PO Box 283, Green Bay, WI 54305-0283.

Laws of Migration?

A 19th Century cartographer in England’s War Office – Ernest George Raverstein – formulated the following "laws of migration" on his retirement, which laws should help in tracking elusive ancestors.

  1. The majority of migrants go only a short distance.

  2. Migration proceeds step by step.

  3. Each current of migration produces a counter current.

  4. Females are more migratory than males within the county of their birth, but males more frequently ventured beyond that county boundary.

  5. Most migrants are adults; families rarely migrate out of the county of their birth.

  6. Migrants going long distances generally go by preference to one of the large centers of commerce or industry.

  7. The natives of town are less migratory than those of rural areas.

  8. Large towns grow more by migration than by birth rate.

  9. Migration increases as industries and commerce develop and transportation improves.

  10. The major direction of migration is from agricultural to industrial or commercial centers.

  11. The major causes of migration are economic.

When researching, use Law 1 to spread out from a known parish or town to a radius of about 10 miles. About half the migrants into town come from this radius; ¼ come from between 10 to 20 miles. If a place of birth and final destination are known (but there is a gap in the middle), draw a line on a map and research the small towns along that line.

People may migrate, but they often go home again even it only to marry or to have children. Alternatively, they may go back only a step. Females often moved to become domestic servants in the nearest town or large house, so continue to search locally for them, but extend your search to neighboring counties for males.

Law 5 points you to a missing child, now grown up, who has fled the nest. Of course, researchers will find exceptions to these rules, but they can be very valuable.

Thanks to Foothills Genealogical Society, 31127 Joanie Road, Golden, CO 80403-8455.

Help save The Westford Knight

Clan Sinclair Charitable Trust is trying to save "The Westford Knight", an effigy of Sir James Gunn, dated prior to Christopher Columbus at Westford, Massachusetts. The proposed shelter will be a gazebo-type enclosure and will be protected from the elements by a Plexiglas covering to allow for viewing. One half of the plexiglass will have an engraving of what the looked like before the elements faded his image.

Each person who contributes to this effort will receive a color copy of an original painting by David Wagner depicting the Knight being carved. Contributions over $50.00 will receive an 8 x 10" matted and framed copy of this painting.

Contributions are tax-deductible. Make checks payable to Clan Sinclair Charitable Trust (marked for the Westward Knight), 3211 Big Woods Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

National Burial Index for England and Wales

The National Burial Index for England and Wales indexes more than 5.4 million burials from 1538-2000. It is not a complete index but is a major resource that is now available on a two-CD-ROM set produced by The Federation of Family History Societies. It does not include full transcriptions of the records so further research would be required.

The information provided in the National Burial Index is taken from parish, non-conformist, Roman Catholic and cemetery registers. It includes (where available): county of burial, parish or cemetery where the event of burial was recorded, date of burial, forename(s) of the deceased, surname of the deceased, age, and the society or group that transcribed the record.

You can search by almost any combination of surname, forename, county, place name, year (plus or minus up to fifty years) as well as by religious denomination. For first name and last name, you can specify exact spelling, look for variant spellings or include "wildcard" characters in the name box.

The National Burial Index also includes mapping software that interacts with the data. The maps display: parishes covered by the National Burial Index including a table of Counties, Places/Parishes, Church/Chapel, date range covered, parishes that match the results of your last search, and regions.

In addition to a variety of reports, the information can be exported in GEDCOM and database formats.

The National Burial Index for England and Wales is produced by the Federation of Family History Societies and costs approximately $50 in US funds. It is available from a number of sources including TWR Computing at http://www.twrcomputing.co.uk. Payment by credit card avoids the difficulties of sending currency or checks to other countries.

Thanks to The Live Oak, East Bay Genealogical Society, PO Box 20417, Oakland, CA 94620-0417.


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