Tag Archives: GeneaGems

GeneaGem: The Home Lots of the Early Settlers of the Providence Plantations by Charles Wyman Hopkins

Today’s GeneaGem is more location-specific than most of the GeneaGems about which I spotlight. However, if you have early Rhode Island ancestors, you should definitely take a look at this book, which can be found in digital format online both at Internet Archive and the FamilySearch Library.

Published way back in 1886, the book is in the public domain and, although it is definitely an oldie, it is very much a goodie! The Table of Contents makes it simple to determine whether you have an ancestors covered in this 120-page book:

The book provides a concise history of both the purchase of Rhode Island lands from the Native Americans and the early settlement of the area. John Sweet, one of my ancestors, wasn’t long in Providence, but here is his entry:

My favorite parts of this book are the historical maps, which show the location of the lots received by each person. No, I’m not going to include the maps! I am hoping that anybody interested will use one of the links I’ve provided above to click and open the book to read for him/herself.

Mr. Hopkins did an excellent job compiling this information and, if you look at the bottom of my John Sweet entry, just above, you’ll see short footnotes, all relating to Providence records, which can then be viewed as primary documents.

This is a fabulous resource for anyone descended from any of the fifty-two individuals listed in the Table of Contents.

New GeneaGem: Mamie McCubbins Collection, Rowan Public Library, North Carolina

Do you have ancestors who lived in Rowan County, North Carolina? Rowan County was home to thousands of 18th century ancestors who migrated westward into Tennessee and Kentucky.

Many of those early residents were Scots-Irish or Germans who first settled in Pennsylvania and Maryland, so Rowan County is a vital link connecting early families with descendants who moved on.

My husband has several ancestral links who, at one time, lived in Rowan County, so I’ve spent a fair amount of time trudging through county records.

Rowan County was formed in 1753 from the northern portion of Anson County. However, it was much larger in area back then than it is today. All, or portions, of the present-day counties of Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davidson, Davie, Guilford, Iredell, Lincoln, McDowell, Madison, Mitchell, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, Yancey fell within its bounds at that time – which is most of western North Carolina!

Birth and death records weren’t kept until the 20th century, but Rowan County is nevertheless rich in early records as it has had only one courthouse fire in 1865, in which some records were lost.

Today’s GeneaGem is a terrific collection of records compiled by Mamie McCubbins and housed at the Rowan Public Library since 1954.

The best part of this collection is that not only has it been digitized and is accessible for free online, but family information has been organized with a Surname Index. It makes searching a simple task!

Some of the Rowan County names in my hubby’s family tree include Douthit, Thompson, Jarvis, Roland and Stoehr (Starr). I even have one tie to the South, through my Loyalist Dutch ancestor Philip Crouse, who can be placed in Rowan County in the 1770s.

Every one of those surnames has a folder in the McCubbin collection and has been save in PDF format.

Information varies from surname to surname. One might find correspondence with family information, handwritten index cards, typed abstracts of deeds and even war information.

The Lopp folder contained a list of Rowan County males who didn’t sign the Oath of Allegiance in 1778. Most of the images are quite legible, although my 1778 list shows faded ink.

However, my Philip “Crose” is easily read in the third column.

If you have ancestors who lived in, or even passed through Rowan County, North Carolina, the Mamie McCubbins Collection should be in your online genealogy toolbox!


New East Texas GeneaGem: The History Center in Diboll, Texas

Today’s new GeneaGem is more locale-specific than many of the previous GeneaGems, but East Texas covers a lot of miles and counties.

The History Center of Diboll (pronounced DIE-bawl), Texas not only has many online resources, but it looks like a fun place to visit in person, too.

Let’s start with the on-site exhibits. There were 17 at the time this post was written, ranging from local lumbermen to the Diboll Garden Club to the H.G. Temple High School for African Americans. There is also a community history display as well as an outdoor railroad exhibit. Lots to see and learn in person.

For those, like me, who live too far away to pop in and visit, there are quite a few digital online resources to view from home.

First, to learn more about The History Center collections, browse through the Finding Guides. You’ll find everything from photo and scrapbook collections to aerial surveys, lumber and railroad papers, parent-student-teacher association collection and baseball, rotary clue and garden club collections.

The Finding Guides can be downloaded. You’ll learn a lot about local history just from browsing the Finding Guides.

There are 350 oral histories recorded – if you have family from East Texas, you might be able to listen to an ancestor talk about his/her life.

Next, check out the Online Collections.

I decided to look at the Civilian Conservation Corps from the Depression era. There was a terrific annual (PDF) covering the work for 1936, which devoted pages to each town and to the people in charge of the project. There was even a photograph of the captain and staff of the Lufkin District. I wish I had an ancestor who participated!

There was also a PDF of newspapers articles that explained the work that was being done.

Here are the Family History Collections, consisting of items belonging to individual families who lived in the area:

Other online collections include the Lufkin Negro Chamber of Commerce, School Collections and School Publications (including school yearbooks) and a collection of Historical Maps.

There is such a variety of topics and collections at The History Center that anyone with East Texas family lines should definitely pay a visit to the website.

The History Center collections appear to date from the second half of the 1800s up to modern times.

It can be difficult to access details about social and cultural events in the 20th century, particularly if local newspapers aren’t available online.

The History Center staff has put a tremendous amount of effort into creating a really interesting collection of resources that tell the story of life in East Texas. I’m impressed!