Thank you for following Travelogues of a Genealogist and the monthly newsletter. It feels as if the time when I need to remind myself  to write a newsletter comes quicker and quicker. Fall is traditionally a busier time of year and I am attending as many genealogy seminars as possible. Seminars allow us to be around others with a shared interest. Personally, I experience a feeling of solidarity with other researchers regardless of their expertise. I am happy to be bringing you this newsletter with exciting news about my multiple genealogy projects. I hope in the coming months to add more content about my ancestors, which will allow me to present my methodologies and techniques for solving brick walls.

There are a couple new features of the blog page that deserve mention. I have added a calendar that allows you to access my archive of blog posts. I am available for webinars and live lectures on many topics in genealogy. Check out the lectures page and contact me if you would like to present on a topic for patrons of your organization.

Maritime Genealogy

I have received several inquiries about ancestors who worked on ships. Researching maritime ancestors can produce some fascinating family stories, but are among the most difficult or time consuming to locate evidence of their occupation. Many of us can recall a sea captain or shipmaster in our past, but we do not have any actual record of it. My interest in the subject stemmed from a volunteer project at NARA Northeast Branch in Waltham, Massachusetts where I am creating an inventory of records of the U.S. Customs Service in Salem, Massachusetts. These federal records are overlooked and could certainly hold the clue to your ship captain. What I have compiled is a working bibliography that could get you started on finding your mariner in a crew list or view his protection certificate. Head over to the publications page and download the pdf, “Maritime Genealogy Bibliography”. I would also suggest downloading the Maritime Terms Glossary to assist you in understanding the documents related to your seafaring ancestor.

If you enjoy genealogy talks on maritime ancestors and researching at the National Archives (NARA), check out my upcoming lectures. Members of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists  are welcome to attend my webinar 19 Jan 2016, now titled, “Using Records of the U.S. Customs Service to Locate Seafaring Ancestors”. For those live in northern Worcester County, the Central Massachusetts Genealogical Society will be hosting a live talk where I will present on “Maritime Research at the National Archives”. The date of this talk is scheduled for 23 Feb 20161 and will be held at the American Legion in Gardner, Massachusetts.

  1. Date subject to change

Recent Travelogues

Obituary of Owen O’Neill and wife, Ellen Russell,” posted 9 Oct 2015.

Thoughts on Fall Conference in Chelmsford,” posted 27 Sep 2015.

Determining the “Purpose” of a Source

One of my theses as an undergraduate history student looked at published memorials made in commemoration for fallen soldiers of the Union Army. While this thesis discussed their function in northern Protestant culture during the Civil War, I decided to put a genealogist’s spin on it. The resulting blog post demonstrates that my topic’s connection to genealogy comes from the importance of how re-evaluating analyzing the original purpose of a genealogical source can add new clues to our research. Judy G. Russell, a prolific genealogist and lecturer, offered a venue for my blog post with her own blog The Legal Genealogist. Follow Judy Russell and enjoy her thoughts connecting the law and its history to genealogy. You can view my guest post here.

Recommended Links

FamilySearch Wiki – Wherever my genealogy research paths may take me, the FamilySearch Wiki is there to provide answers on new locales, records, and many more genealogy subjects.

Periodicals and the Periodical Source Index [PERSI] – Many researchers are frustrated with dead ends and not being able to find documented proof of your ancestors. Periodicals of different genealogy societies are a great source of literature because societies require research articles include documentation for their finds. PERSI is the go-to repository for finding a genealogy article and the most up-to-date collection is searchable at findmypast.com

Virtual Genealogy Fair – Access the expertise of NARA archivists and historians. Lectures are 21-22 Oct and are available on NARA’s Youtube channel.

Facebook Group “New England Witchcraft Trials” – A group on the New England Witchcraft Trials to include history and genealogy of the accused, the accusers, and the investigators.

What the Heck Does it Say? Five Tips for Deciphering Old Handwriting

Call for Volunteers – The NextGen Genealogy Network

ISFHWE 2016 Excellence in Writing Competition Information – Writing contest for family historians

http://genealogy.julietarr.com/blog/ – This is a great blog to visit if you are just getting started with genealogy.

http://ellengtodd.com/wp/ – Ellen Todd has been a genealogist for 30 years in the New England area. Her blog focuses on her Ohio and Mid-Atlantic Ancestors.


Jake Fletcher

Genealogist, Historical Researcher, Blog Author

Lunenburg, MA


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`Jake Fletcher, “Oct 2015 Newsletter,” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 20 Oct 2015. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/october-2015-newsletter/

Copyright (c) 2015 Jake Fletcher. All materials protected under the laws of copyright. Do not copy or reproduce without the author’s permission.