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Hi Everyone and Happy Spring! This month has been exciting thanks to the diversity of client cases I’ve undertaken and I have a lot to look forward next month regarding lectures and public appearances. There’s never a dull moment in the world of genealogy! Be sure to check out the Lecture page to find out where I will be speaking next this spring. For anyone in the North Central Massachusetts area, I’d suggest making plans to visit the Queen Bee Festival in Shirley, MA on April 30th. I will be vending a table and offering genealogy consultations. I will also have a sign-up sheet for those who want to receive a FREE Genealogy Research guide, including:

  • 10 Best Sources for Researching Female Ancestors
  • 25 Essential Free Websites for Genealogy
  • Charts, Templates, and more!

RSVP to the Facebook event and come out to support other local business owners!

Legacy News

In honor of Women’s History month, I posted an article on how to research female ancestors using military records by the National Archives. Even before women were able to enlist in WWI, women served in many important capacities as nurses, stewards, and volunteers in order to support the cause. Earlier this month, I wrote about the value of city directories for genealogical research, specifically on how they can be utilized to find information about your ancestor’s neighborhood and community. Visit the Legacy News page to access all of my articles.

Record Spotlight – Reports of the U.S. Steamboat Inspector General


Source: LOC Prints and Photographs Division.

I love being exposed to new types of sources in my research for clients and am compelled to share an example of this. I’ve come to value the importance of published government records in genealogical research. The Steamboat Inspection Service was created in 1852 and was designated to perform routine inspections of vessels registered in U.S. ports as well as administer navigation policies in their district. The Inspector General would submit annual reports to the Secretary of the Treasury, which could prove valuable to those interested in maritime history. The inspector for each of the seven districts within the United States was required to report on maritime accidents, casualties, and investigations. For individuals who died at sea, these reports are useful as a substitute source for vital records. For example, the annual report of the Steamboat Inspector in San Francisco mentions that on 24 Oct 1894, “Dennis Donovan, deck hand on steamer Apache…fell overboard on the gang plank and was drowned.” [1]

The location of these reports are somewhat scattered but some can be viewed for free online. Hathitrust Digital Library has digitized copies from 1880 and 1894-1931. Some personnel information can also be found in the Lists of Officers of Merchant Steam, Motor, and Sailor Vessels that were compiled by the Steamboat Inspection Service. Hathitrust Digital Library holds volumes for 1897 and 1907-1915.

The National Archives has records of the Steamboat Inspection Service including correspondence, letters, and reports in Record Group 41, Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation. Be also sure to check archives and city libraries for any files they may have on the Steamboat Inspection Service. For examples, the Boston Public Library holds reports of the Steamboat Inspector General for Boston in their Manuscripts Department from 1872-1884.

For those who want to delve deeper into maritime research, visit my publications page to download a free copy of my “Maritime Genealogy Guide and Bibliography.”

Past Travelogues

Denis J. Oliver’s Gift to Pope Pius IX,” posted 27 Mar 2016.

St. Patrick’s Day: The Birthday of General Connor and Many Other Irishmen,” posted 17 Mar 2016.

Land Records and Estate Files for Owen O’Neill of Belmont, California,” posted 12 Mar 2016.

Three Cheers: How The Oliver Family  Met Theodore Roosevelt,” posted 7 Mar 2016.

Facebook Finds

Kay Caball. “Kerry Land & Estate Records.” My Kerry Ancestors, 12 Feb 2016. Shared by Kimmitt Genealogical Research.

Amy Cohen. “The Brother Who Stayed Behind: Adventures in Genealogical Research.” Brotmanblog: A Family Journey, 11 Mar 2016. Shared by Amy Cohen in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook Group.

Cape Cod Captain Elijah Cobb Meets the French Guillotine and Lives to Tell Of It.” New England Historical Society. Shared by New England Historical Society.

Jennifer Beeson Gregory. “Who’s the most photographed man of the 19th Century? HINT: It’s Not Abe Lincoln…” The Washington Post, 15 Mar 2016. Shared by Marian Pierre-Louis 

Pamela Guye Holland. “Finding Historical Images Online.Finding the Stories of Your Ancestors, 29 Feb 2016. Shared by Pamela Guye Holland.

John Laidler. “Turning hard-to-read cursive into computer type.The Boston Globe, 18 Mar 2016. Shared by Kate Lowrie.

Donna Moughty. “Creating a Reference Library for Irish Research.” Donna’s Irish Genealogy Resources, 22 Feb 2016. Shared by Stone House Historical Research.

Judy G. Russell. “Educable Children.” The Legal Genealogist, 10 Mar 2016. Shared by Judy G. Russell.

Frederick Wertz. “What you need to know about original and derivative sources.” FindMyPast Blog, 23 Mar 2016. Shared by FindMyPast.


  1. U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service. Annual report of the Supervising Inspector General to the Secretary of the Treasury for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1895. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1895,) 20.

Copyright © 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “March 2016 Monthly Update.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 29 Mar 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/march-2016-monthly-update