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The Fredericksburg Regional Genealogical Society


EDITOR’s MESSAGE By Trip Wiggins

Hello anyone, As  we  bid  adieu  to  2012,  it’s  a  good  time  to  see  what  we have done and what to expect in the future. First, as to 2012, we had some great speakers come and share some of their expertise with us, including our own Ray Maki. How many are out there in newsletter-land who would like to provide a program on some aspect of our hobby that they  have  developed?

And in 2013, we have some promising leads of regional speakers so I look forward to another great year filled with some talented people both within and outside our little society.

We continue with the publishing of local records that appear nowhere else except the public library, the state library and the Stafford Court House – and none on line yet. Yes, we continue with the Stafford Death Register. This time 1856-57. Slowly we are chugging along to get them ALL done in the next few years. Then on to Fredericksburg and Spotsy!

Until next time, Good Hunting!

Trip Wiggins

Got an idea for an Article or Program? Articles or ideas for articles/programs are always welcome by the Newsletter editor. If you have any, please send to David Dorsey (email address on the cover of this newsletter) or Trip Wiggins at the address/email  on  the  renewal  application.  We’ll  take  complete   articles (with source information) or ideas. Always looking for ideas for upcoming meeting topics.

These important changes in the law became effective on 1 July 2012.  The  change  in  the  “closed”  periods for marriage and death records should provide immediate access to more records; turning the open records over to

LVA and creating an on-line index may take several years to accomplish.

A quick check on Ancestry and FamilySearch show NO results  of  deaths from 1970  to  the  present.  We’ll  see  how long it really takes to occur.

Library of Virginia


As with many archives and libraries, the LVA also has a collection  based  on  Virginia’s  involvement  in  the  War  of  1812   as  we  are  in  the  bicentennial.  If  that’s  something  of   importance to you, check it out.

Also in their digital collections (renamed Virginia Memory) is something called Lost Records Localities Digital Collection. The  blurb  on  their  site  says:  “

An ongoing project to digitize the records found in the Lost Records Localities Database, this collection consists of copies of records from counties or incorporated cities that suffered significant record loss due to a variety of reasons. The collection is divided into sub-collections related to the localities which suffered record loss. The "Source" of each item is listed, which tells the researcher the collection in which the original "lost" record was found. Record types include wills, deeds, marriage bonds, free negro registrations, and many others. Check back often for additions to the collection.

A quick check for our area shows:

Update on the Library  of  Congress’  Chronicling of America project, a free national database and repository of digitized and searchable historical newspapers. The Library of Virginia, as part of the Virginia Newspaper project has contributed over 300,000 pages of scanned newspapers to the project including the following:

Richmond Planet 1889-1910 Alexandria Gazette 1900-1910 Big Stone Gap (Wise Co.) Post 1898-1910 Clarke Courier (Berryville) 1899-1910 Clinch Valley News (Jeffersonville)1896-1910 Daily Dispatch (Richmond) 1880-1884 Daily Press (Newport News) 1898-1910 Richmond Daily Times 1886-1889 Fredericksburg Free Lance 1899-1926 Highland Recorder (Highland Co.) 1893-1910 Richmond Labor Herald 1886 Lexington Gazette 1898-1912 Mathews Journal (Mathews CH) 1905-1912 Peninsula Enterprise (Accomack Co) 1900-1908 Tazewell Republican 1900-1912 Virginia Citizen (Irvington) 1900-1910 Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg) 1897-1913* Shenandoah Herald (Woodstock) 1878-1910 Highland Recorder (Monterey) 1900-1910 Virginia Citizen (Irvington) 1900-1910 Richmond Times 1890-1903 Richmond Dispatch 1884-1903 Richmond Times-Dispatch 1903-1911 Farmville Herald 1899-1910

Currently there are nearly 1900 issues covering the period of 1899-1911 for the Fredericksburg Free Lance. It slowly grows.

Note: The Virginia Gazette from 1737-1780 is digitized and on-line at the Colonial Williamsburg site (

If you are interested in other newspapers, please go to their website listing of ALL newspapers in the digital collection at:

National Archives


Not sure if you are a user of Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. If so,  you  know  it  is  THE  guide  to  the  Archives.  We’ll,  they   have published a web version on their site to assist you with using the Archives to your best advantage – and  it’s  FREE. 

Remember there is lots of good information for genealogists on the National Archives site.

LDS Family History Library on-line   (

RootsTech 2013 Conference; 21-23 Mar 2013; Salt Lake City Big 5-day conference blending genealogy and technology to get the most out of your searching in the 21st Century.

2013 Slate of Officers

FRGS will hold its annual election of officers at the January meeting. The slate is:

The National Archives actually has CSRs for most Union troops and quite a few Confederate troops.

The archives, partnering with the National Park Service, also has an online database to search for soldiers and sailors of the Civil War. It is located at It lists name, state, regiment, company, enlist date/rank and discharge date/rank. Nothing more. Not very helpful for a search on John Smith, but can help narrow down the field. Ancestry and Footnote (now Fold3) also has some military service records online.

Pension records. This is the gold mine. Normally the CSR is sparse to say the least, but if you wanted to get a pension (or better yet, if the widow wanted to get the pension), they had to prove  to  the  government’s  satisfaction  that  they  were  truly   entitled to it. That means LOTS of paperwork and affidavits to prove you are who you are! These are normally THICK and not online or on microfilm. If you are a Confederate, the Federal government did not provide you a pension. For these you must contact the state where the soldier lived – start with the state archives. The Library of Virginia has wonderful online holdings of Virginia pensions.

Ordering the records from the National Archives. Get on their site ( and they have loads of info. If you are  in  the  area,  it’s  much  FASTER  to  go  up  yourself,  put  in  a   request, and copy it all there on the spot. You may use digital cameras (no flash) – so copying charges are FREE. If you ORDER there is a copying charge by the page and it will normally take about 3 months to get your order filled. (Especially now that we are in the sesquicentennial of the Civil War when EVERYONE is doing Civil War research.) Of course if you are out of the local area, you could also hire a researcher to go to the archives. The Archives has a list available of local researchers listed on their site

Other Records to consider: Newspapers (Draft lists, casualty lists, etc.). [Note by Trip: I was doing research on the 92nd Ohio Vol Infantry and came across a series of letters reprinted in the Marietta (Ohio) newspaper for the Civil War Centennial. It was a tremendous help in piecing together the unit’s  history.] Letters. Did your ancestor write any letters? Are they in the family? They may be in some archive for the state in which he served. Photographs. Many organizations have photos including the National Archives and the Library of Congress. Many regimental histories have photos included in the book. Book Histories. Public libraries and Google Books come to mind.

Some useful Websites: Civil War Archive ( Military Indexes – Civil War ( The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

Genealogy & the Internet (Oct)

President 1st VP 2nd VP Treasurer/Corre Secy Secretary

David Dorsey Trip Wiggins open Paul Gunther Terry Sowala

We’ll  take  further  nominations  from  the  floor  at  the  meeting,   then vote for our 2013 officers.

Meeting Recaps

Civil War Ancestor Research (Apr) Local librarian Holly Schemmer gave a good overview of

finding your Civil War ancestor. Identifying Civil War veterans (records listing such if you

do not already know through your family history): U.S. Federal Census for 1910 and 1930 asks about military service.  Additionally,  if  you  are  lucky,  the  Veteran’s  Schedule   to the 1890 census lists regiment and company of all veterans.

Obtaining Records from the National Archives. Compiled Service Records (CSR). These were pieced

together decades ago and are mostly small in size and still in paper format. (Most not even on microfilm let alone digital.) It will normally have enlistment and discharge information and muster records (every two months – when they were paid)

We held a discussion about what sites are popular with genealogists. First we looked at a couple of Internet sites that rank order other Internet sites. “No 1 Reviews” noted that when it comes to ranking they look at the following: Information & Records (what do they have), Updates & Info Quality (is it OLD, is it correct?), Searches & Filters (clunky, accurate,  etc.),  what’s  their  Focus  & Geographical Location (Fredericksburg or the entire world? Just Military records or just Census records?), Family Trees (do they have any, are they easy to load and update?), Help (do they have any; is it good? Is the site free/cost?), Navigation and Ease of Use.

Based on these, what are “No  1  Review’s” rankings? ($ = Pay site; F = Free site) $ $ (Ancestry UK) $ (Ancestry Australia) $ (another part of $ (another part of $ $ Origins $ (several sites) $

FamilyTree magazine holds its own review each year. Their picks for 2012: $ $ (now part of Ancestry, but a separate subscription) F Fold3 $ (military records) GenealogyBank $ HeritageQuest Online $ (free with most library cards) Library of Congress F National Archives & Records Administration F World Vital Records $

Going through several of these types of ranking sites, pretty much all have,, and

Pluses and minuses. Ancestry is the oldest and BIGGEST (over 8 BILLION Records). Archives is its newest member (only 2 billion records now). Both cost. Ancestry about $150/yr (US records only) or $300/yr (worldwide – important if your ancestors came from someplace else). Then there is FamilySearch, run by the LDS Family History Center in Salt Lake City. Billions of records and all are FREE. As they continue digitizing and indexing microfilm records, there are many new images of records coming on line daily.

One of my pet peeves concerns Searching. Most of these sites have less than desirable search engines. How many times have you searched for some with birth and death dates before 1900, yet you still are inundated with Social Security Death Index names and 20th-Century census hits!!! And why do they even  include  a  woman’s  maiden  name  when  they  don’t  search   for it! Hopefully some of these sites will spend more time on making their search engines better.

Finally we went around the room to see what WE use. Ancestry and FamilySearch again came out on top. Fold3 was used  by  several.  Nice  touch  on  Fold3.  It’s  ALL  military   records. Without being a member you can still search and see

thumbnails of what they have. You can easily determine if it is something you already have or something new. One of these days they will have all Civil War pension records online, but that  is  SEVERAL  years  away.  For  now,  if  you  don’t  have  the   opportunity to drive up to DC and visit the National Archives, Fold3 might be a great alternative.

Others mentioned by members as useful sites: – a  “How  to”  site – Free – Lots of good stuff on Virginia counties – Free – Many are now providing family info with links to parents/children headstones – lots of newspapers (remember the Chronicling of America newspaper project by the Library of Congress also – and  it’s  FREE)

Don’t  forget  state  libraries  and  archives. Many are posting more and more online. Google books and MANY out of print (and out of copy right limits) and all for FREE

To do your own comparison shopping, try Googling “genealogy  site  comparison”  or  “genealogy  site  review”  and   you might  be  surprised  at  the  amount  of  data  you’ll  have  to   sift through.

Finding Maiden Names (Nov) Ray Maki shared with us some of his search techniques to

discover the  women  in  our  families.  Men’s  surnames  are  fairly   easy to track, but women, once married, tend to give up their maiden names forever. So how do we find them?

Ray gave several places to start that have worked well for him.

First: The CENSUS. Specifically look for those residing in the household that are listed as mother-in-law or brother-in- law. Once you get a hit on that, then backtrack in the census to an earlier time before she was married and see if it adds up correctly.

Obits. If you can find one, you may strike gold. More family info is included the more recent the death. 1900s – pretty good; 1800 – not as good.

Cemeteries. Many are now indexed and on-line with notes on the persons.

Marriage License for the couple in question OR their kids.

Wills of woman or others in the family. If the local wills are indexed and abstracted, you may find her with her married name  listed  in  her  father’s  will.

Death Certificates. Again, not just for her but her kids as they sometimes list maiden names for the parents.

Google it! Never know what you are going to find. Remember that Google also has Google Books – thousands of out of print and out of copyright local histories of communities that might also have information related to the one you are searching.

Never  use  just  one  “fact.”  Check  against  other  known  info   and backtrack using census and other records to see if what you found makes sense.

Do you have some genealogy tidbit to share with the group? If so send it to Trip Wiggins at See you next time.


Our society was organized in August of 1993. Our goals are to:

Promote fellowship and cooperation between beginner and professional genealogists. Collect, preserve, and disseminate genealogical knowledge and information. Instruct members about research methods and standards.

Encourage the preservation of genealogical records and resources in the Fredericksburg area. Our society offers the following benefits:

NEWSETTER: We e-mail or mail our members a quarterly newsletter containing society news, research tips, local records, humor, and queries. We encourage members to submit articles and queries for publication in our newsletter.

MEETINGS: Our society holds monthly meetings on the second Wednesday of each month (except July & Dec.) at the Salem Church Library in Fredericksburg. This meeting includes a roundtable discussion, society business, and a topic presentation.

LIBRARY: Our society maintains a library of genealogical research aids that can be checked out by our members.


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NOTE: Your membership expires at the end of each year. If you join after Sept. 30th, we will extend your membership until the end of the following year. Please make your checks payable to the Fredericksburg Regional Genealogical Society. Please mail your application and check to FRGS, P.O. Box 42013, Fredericksburg, VA 22404. If you have questions, please contact Trip Wiggins at (540) 371-3906 or Web site:

Fredericksburg Regional Genealogical Society P.O. Box 42013 Fredericksburg, VA 22404

©2012 by the Fredericksburg Regional Genealogical Society. All rights reserved. - 10


PRESIDENT: David Dorsey

1st VICE-PRESIDENT: Trip Wiggins


TREASURER/Corre.  Sec’y:  Paul Gunther



(2nd Wed. of month [except July/Dec.]; 7 pm, Salem Church Branch of Central Rappahannock Regional Library

January 2013 is our ELECTION meeting. Please try to attend.

2013 Maki Designs