FGS Forum 20:1 (Spring 2008) includes several articles of interest to Missouri genealogists. “Railroad Lands and Your Ancestor” talks about government grants of land to railroads, and the subsequent sale of portions of that land to speculators and the public in order to finance construction of the railroads. Finding a record of your ancestor’s purchase of railroad land can be complicated by the facts that:
· Railroads as private companies were required to keep few specific records
· Railroads were not required to file notice of purchases of land with the federal or local governments at specific intervals
· Purchasers of railroad land also weren’t required to file notice of their purchase with local government (although the tax assessor usually found them soon enough anyway)
· Railroads weren’t required to keep land purchase records indefinitely
· Railroads that still own land purchase records aren’t required to share them with the public
· Few indexes exist for railroad land records
The article contains tips for finding out if the records for a particular railroad still exist (and who owns them).
There is also an article on the St. Clair County (IL) Funeral Cards Project that was previously reported on this blog. The article includes some tips for other societies wishing to start their own funeral card projects.
A third article discusses the use of GPS devices by the genealogist. The author, Pamela K. Boyer, has fallen in love with her GPS device, a Garmin Nuvi. The device has a name, Jill, and it talks to Boyer (no, Ms. Boyer hasn't gone "funny in the head"-- it’s supposed to talk). Jill tells Ms. Boyer how to get where she’s driving to. If you are directionally challenged, or are just tired of having a glove compartment stuffed with ten-year old highway maps, you just might be ready to purchase a new “techno-friend” of your own.