Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Navy support books are "yearbooks" for naval units based on land rather than onboard ship. For example, this collection includes books for the U.S. Navy Preparatory School, Navy ROTC programs at various colleges and universities, U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School, U.S. Naval Training Centers, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, mobile construction battalions, recruiting depots, naval air stations, and others.

Content of support books varies. Some contain labeled individual head shots or group photos of unit members, while others contain only candid (unlabeled) photographs of unit members at work and play. Some contain photos documenting significant events in the history of that naval unit, and most include short biographies of prominent currently-serving officers. Photos are sometimes color, sometimes black and white (sometimes both types in one support book). A majority of these books date from World War II era forward.

It is possible to search or browse these books. The following searches are possible:

  • First & Middle Name
  • Last Name
  • Keyword
  • Year (covered by Support Book)
  • School, Station, or Unit

You can also browse by:

  • Location (state or territory)
  • City
  • Year (covered by Support Book)

I browsed through a Support Book for the Parris Island Recruit Depot (South Carolina), 1973. This 128 page item includes a photo and bio sketch of the commanding officer, an historical sketch of Parris Island, and a photo essay (in color) concerning the training of Marine Second Battalion, Platoon 226. This unit began training on 19 March 1973, and graduated on 5 June 1973. The photo essay begins with the arrival of these recruits at Parris Island, and ends with their graduation ceremony. These photos are not labeled, but are generally sharp and clear, so that it would be fairly easy to identify recruits of interest. Next are labeled black and white head shots of training officers and enlisted men, followed by labeled head shots of graduating recruits.

ANCESTRY.COM SPOTLIGHT: U.S. Navy Cruise Books, 1918-2009

This data collection within Ancestry.com contains U.S. Navy cruise books for various ships and years from 1919 to 2009. It includes volumes in the Navy Department Library, which owns the nation’s largest collection of cruise books. You can locate this collection by searching in Ancestry’s Card Catalog using Navy in Title or Keyword.

Cruise books are similar in some ways to high school yearbooks. They are put together by volunteers on board ship to commemorate a particular deployment. They generally include a history of the vessel in question, plus labeled portraits of high-ranking officers. There is generally a biographical sketch of the current commanding officer. Some cruise books also include portraits of sailors and other personnel aboard the ship, accompanied by the individual’s surname and naval rate. When provided, portraits are generally organized alphabetically by surname within each division or department. Other features usually include candid photographs (often not labeled) of crew members at work and recreation.

I browsed through a cruise book for the U.S.S. Missouri (BB 63, 1946). It included a section on the commissioning of the vessel, a history of its cruise, and a special section on the acceptance of the Japanese surrender on the vessel, which was anchored at the time in Tokyo Bay. There is also a section on President Truman’s visit to the U.S.S. Missouri while it was anchored in New York Harbor after its return from the Pacific.

Cruise books are not official Navy publications, so the Navy does not sell or republish these books. This can make copies of some cruise books, especially older volumes, rare and difficult to locate.

This collection is searchable by ship name, ship ID, year, and name of crew member.

Given that photographs are often unlabeled, it may be necessary to page through cruise books for vessels on which a sailor was stationed should an index search prove unsuccessful. You can sometimes discover which vessels a WWII-era sailor was stationed on using a separate Ancestry.com data collection, U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949.

Friday, August 26, 2016


Your Genealogy Today 2:3 (Jul/Aug 2016) includes a number of articles of likely interest to our genealogists.   

Picture This! (p. 13) discusses use of photos on blogs, websites, and in printed publications. The short answer to “Can I use this photo?” is it all depends…

Breaking through Brick Walls with Bricklayers’ Union Records (pp. 14-20) discusses resources available for persons researching bricklayer ancestors in the U.S. and Canada.

America Discovers America: the Federal Writers’ Project (pp.24-26) looks this 1930s work relief program that employed thousands of writers, editors, historians, and researchers, and produced more than 1,200 publications.

Finding the Reeds (pp. 31-35) shows how census records can be used to help track the movements of a family that rarely stayed in one place for very long.

How to Approach Family History Research Like an Historian (pp. 38-39) demonstrates how genealogists can employ techniques similar to those utilized by professional historians in order to create more engaging and better-documented family histories.


Internet Genealogy 11:3 (Aug/Sept 2016) includes a number of articles of likely interest to our genealogists.
Researching Northern Ireland (pp. 7-11) outlines the steps and sources that helped one researcher trace his McGinn family ancestors.
Tippling and Temperance in the Family (pp. 13-16) looks at records associated with alcohol and the temperance movement that researchers may find useful when taking a closer look at the lives of certain ancestors.
The International Classification of Diseases: a Key for Deciphering Death Certificates (pp. 18-21) looks at this system of medical coding that can sometimes assist the researcher in determining cause of death.
A First Look at rootstrust (pp. 22-26) is a review of a new desktop genealogy application that works cross-platform, i.e., with all major operating systems.
Create Your Own Online Family Archive (pp.47-49) demonstrates how genealogists can use Omeka.net to upload, organize, and share video and audio files, images, and information with others on the web. A basic personal account is free, although users can choose pay options that provide additional themes, storage, and programmatic options.


Internet Genealogy 11:2 (Jun/Jul 2016) includes a number of articles of likely interest to our genealogists.
Free UK Genealogy (pp. 12-13) looks at three valuable free websites that offer lots of information, including indexes of births, marriages, and deaths, historic parish registers, and 19th century English and Welsh censuses.
Tell Their Stories! (pp. 14-16) discusses how FamilySearch.org is helping researchers to preserve and share the stories of their ancestors’ lives.
Online Genealogy Sources for Researching the Great Depression (pp. 18-21) enumerates some easily accessible records that can help you flesh out the lives of Depression-era (1929-1941) American ancestors. For example:
  • 1930 U.S. Census
  • 1940 U.S. Census
  • State census (1935 available for a few states)
  • School census (exist for a few states)
  • City directories and telephone books
  • Civilian Conservation Corps records
  • Farm Security Administration photos
  • Office of War Information photos
  • Historic American Buildings Survey
  • Federal Writers Project
  • State Emergency Relief Program database (OK)
  • Old Age Pension database (ID)
The author provides a description of and URL for each of these potential genealogical gold mines.
Supreme Court Cases and Your Family History (pp. 42-44) looks at legal reference materials that may offer research results of great interest to family historians.


Family Tree Magazine 17:4 (Jul/Aug 2016) includes a number of articles of likely interest to our genealogists.

The End of the Paper Trail (pp. 21-26) provides 12 strategies for reducing your paper clutter and sharpening your genealogical focus.

Getting There from Here (pp. 27-32) shows you how to efficiently tackle research problems by determining your destination and mapping out a route to get there.

Workbook: Local Histories (pp. 33-42) demonstrates how to locate and make the most of county and local histories in your family research endeavors.

Ancestry Boutique (pp. 42-47) looks beyond the big collections on Ancestry.com (like census records and the public trees) to highlight nine lesser-known “specialty” databases. Included are tips on using the Card Catalog, and tips on doing effective keyword searches.

On the Right Track (pp. 54-61) provides research tips and useful websites for tracking down elusive South American ancestors.

Genealogical vs. Genetic Family Trees (pp. 62-63) explains the differences between these types of trees, and dispels some of the more common misconceptions about genetic trees.

Export Your Tree from Family Tree Maker (pp. 70-71) demonstrates step-by-step how to export a family tree file from Family Tree Maker 2012 or Family Tree Maker 2014.


American Spirit 150:4 (Jul/Aug 2016) includes a number of articles of likely interest to our genealogists.

Photosharing Etiquette (p. 10) provides five guidelines for sharing images on the web.

The Regulation Movement (pp. 26-30) details conflicts in colonial North Carolina between farmers and corrupt local officials over British laws, policies, and taxes. The conflicts took the form of petitions for reform, disruption of local courts, and even an honest-to-goodness battle (1771).

Playing in the Colonies (pp. 32-35) looks at toys and games colonial-era children used to amuse themselves.

Marylanders at the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill (pp. 41-48) discusses a little-known battle in South Carolina that pitted colonial patriots against Loyalists and British regulars. The author believes that the battle deserves wider recognition since it helped set the stage for eventual Patriot victory in that state.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Registration is now closed--thanks to all who registered!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


The following magazine articles are available online to our cardholders in the History Reference Center database.

5 REBELLIOUS LONG ARMS. Civil War Times (August 2016) Vol. 55, Issue 4.

Southern arms manufacturers turned out thousands of serviceable, reliable muzzle-loading muskets to issue to Rebel troops, including the five discussed in this article.

TEMPEST AT COOL SPRING. Civil War Times (August 2016) Vol. 55, Issue 4.

Union pursuers caught up with Confederate soldiers under Jubal Early’s command along the Shenandoah River in July 1864. A bloody contest ensued.

THE SOUTH'S ACHILLES HEEL. Civil War Times (October 2016) Vol. 55, Issue 5.

How did the South’s agricultural strength become a devastating weakness? R. Douglas Hurt, head of the History Department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, tackled that question in his 2015 book Agriculture and the Confederacy: Policy, Productivity, and Power in the Civil War South (UNC Press). His research is the first comprehensive look at the topic since 1965. A Civil War Times staffer interviews Hurt in this article.

THE DARK TURN. Civil War Times (October 2016) Vol. 55, Issue 5.

It has become fashionable among scholars to emphasize the "dark side" of the Civil War. Troubled by what they consider a literature gone stale with sanitized questions and topics, these historians seek to revitalize the field by examining the conflict's often disturbing underside. The “overlooked” war, they note, featured brutality, atrocities, cowardice, vicious guerrilla activity, and physical and psychological wounds that left many veterans profoundly damaged.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


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Click on image to be taken to Overdrive page for this eBook.

Monday, August 1, 2016


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