The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Starting the US: Institutional Records Course

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series US: Institutional Records
Historic American Buildings Survey, photo-copy of engraving by John Andrews, showing Dexter Asylum in 1869. - Dexter Asylum, Hope Street & Lloyd Avenue, Providence, Providence County, RI. Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/hhh.ri0177.photos.145474p/

Historic American Buildings Survey, photo-copy of engraving by John Andrews, showing Dexter Asylum in 1869. – Dexter Asylum, Hope Street & Lloyd Avenue, Providence, Providence County, RI. Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/hhh.ri0177.photos.145474p/

 

by Shannon Combs-Bennett, student

When you think of an “institution” what comes to mind first? For me, it is prisons or asylums. But guess what, this word can cover a whole bunch of other places as well. Places which most of us had ancestors in attendance. Not to say all ancestors were black sheep, just that they had reasons to attend an established facility.

The 6-week course US: Institutional Records  does cover researching prisons and asylums as well as a variety of other institutions. Places like poorhouses, orphanages, schools, and veteran’s homes. In addition, the course author, Amy Johnson Crow, also covers where to find the records and how to trace the clues. Both of which are crucial to a successful search.

I do not have any black sheep ancestors, much to my personal disappointment, but I and my husband do have ancestors which fall into other categories. This gives me hope that I can fill in more details about their lives for my research. Maybe even break down a wall or two in the process.

On that note, I am very excited to get started. Off to read the first modules.

See you online!

Oh the Records You’ll Find for Institutions

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series US: Institutional Records
Richmond, Virginia. Almshouse. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/cwp2003005601/PP/resource/

Richmond, Virginia. Almshouse. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/cwp2003005601/PP/resource/

by Shannon Combs-Bennett, student

Well, color me surprised. You don’t have to have a black sheep ancestor to get a lot out of the course US: Institutional Records. In fact, several of mine and my husband’s ancestors have institutional records. That means you do too! Which, by happy chance, led me to even more records and information on these people.

In Module 1 we covered how to dissect the various US census schedules to learn more about where institutionalized ancestors were. Many researchers forget about the various schedules that were created for the census beyond the population schedule. If you have not explored them you are truly doing a disservice to your research!

From there we moved on to  different types of institutions. Many of these places hold different records, but they all include similar types of information. I really have an obsession with  jail records. Honestly, I don’t know what it is, but they fascinate me to no end!

From these records, you not only learn about a person’s offence (or repeat offences) but you can also glean data to help with your genealogy research. Beyond the vital information data you can also learn about their last address, what they did while in the clink, and even where they were going upon release. For women, you can often times learn their maiden names.

Another record set that I am delving more into is orphan and poor house records. My husband has a collateral line ancestor who died in the New York City Almshouse in 1920. While he is not a direct line ancestor he had a significant impact on my husband’s family. He is one of those missing link people who I just have to find more information about. Because of this course I was able to learn  where the records are located. Now, I just need to get myself up to the municipal archives in New York City.

I hope you are as fascinated as I was about the amount of information you can learn from this course. The records, and how to search for them, really took my research to the next level. I know it will enhance your research too!

On to the next course!!
See you online!

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