Saturday, January 22, 2011

Check 'Em Out Websites

Okay, I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but it’s a lot of work writing posts for this blog. Sometimes, just citing my sources takes F  O  R  E  V  E  R. Obviously, I think it’s important for anyone reading a post to know where I came up with my facts. You know, so you can look for yourself. So you can decide for yourself. Especially if you’d like to delve a little further into a particular subject for self-same self. So, I regard the sourcing of my material as important, but it can be a drag. Really, a big, don’t make me do it ma, drag.

This is my lame excuse for not continuing my civil war soldiers’ project – for the moment. I intend to cover a little bit of info on each of the soldiers, but I’m having trouble psyching myself up for the task. Still, I hate to see the blog just sitting here, idling in neutral, while my perseverance is lagging – “perseverance” as in the spirit is willing but the perseverance is weak.

Instead, I thought I’d do a post on some helpful websites for anyone who is thoroughly obsessed with the whole statistical/historical/geographical aspects of genealogical research. (Okay, maybe I am the only statistical/historical/geographically obsessed nutcase in existence but just in case there’s another cuckoo out there with the same affliction …)

Below I’ve listed four websites for you to check out:

1. If you’ve accessed this site because of your Thacker/Napper/Dorton/Freeman ancestors then you probably already know we have roots in Louisa County Virginia. If you’ve done any researching at all you’ll realize that the first census for that county that is widely available is the 1820 census. In the vernacular of my middle child, that bites.

There are a lot of theories on what exactly happened to these missing schedules, but what it all boils down to is that they are indeed missing. So, while we can’t know the specifics for Louisa County, we can still access the statistics.

The University of Virginia’s Library has a Historical Census Browser, which allows you to look at the statistics for both the state and county levels for such topics as race, place of birth, agriculture, general population, and education for every census conducted from 1790 to 1960. This is how I know that in 1790 there are only 14 people listed as “All other Free Persons” in the Louisa County Census. The website allows me to “Map It” for all the counties in the State of Virginia.

This browser is how I also know that in the 1950 census, the one that Calvin Beale referred to in his 1957 article; there were 8 Negro Females and 12 Negro Males in Vinton County, Ohio. Of course, I’ll have to wait until 2022 to know if these individuals are really part of our “clan,” but still, it’s interesting data to contemplate.

The website also has, and you have no idea how much I love this, the APA Style of citation listed. All I have to do is copy, paste, and do a little updating. Very cool. Very easy. I’m in love (or at the very least like, because as my mother always pointed out – “You love people, you like things.” )

2. Family History 101 has something called “Rotating Boundary County Maps” for all the states except Alaska and Hawaii. Click here for the link to the Ohio Map page.

Before you shrug your shoulders and roll your eyes, check it out. There are 55 interactive maps – one for every year there was a boundary change in the state of Ohio. In addition, there is a separate interactive map to let you see the boundaries of each county for every year the federal census was taken. You can see graphically why you can’t find any census schedules for Vinton County in the 1840 census – because the county didn’t exist until 1850!

3. Paul Heinegg’s work, “Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware is online. Paul has done extensive research based on 1790 -1810 census records, as well as tax lists, wills etc. to come up with the information for this book. Our Branham and Gibson families are mentioned, which makes it interesting reading. Additionally, there is a link to Personal Property Tax Lists from 1782-1814 for Louisa County, Virginia. No Thackers, Nappers, or Freeman’s appear on these lists, however, you will find Branham’s, Gibson’s, Lemay’s and Dalton’s all represented.

4. Last on my list of websites for you to check out is the Free Persons of Color forum on the AfriGeneas website. AfriGeneas is devoted to all aspects of African American Genealogy. They have a number of forums, which work similarly to the message boards of Ancestry and Genforum of The forum managers for the Free Persons of Color forum are Paul Heinegg and Erin Bradford.

These websites have proven to be handy resources, whether I am working on a particular project related to this blog, or any one of my other genealogical pursuits. Enjoy!


(2011). Historical Census Browser. Retrieved [All Other Free Persons, Virginia Counties 1790], from the University of Virginia, Geospatial and Statistical Data Center:



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