Friday, August 29, 2014


This online collection of 845 photographs contains aerial and general views of all phases of the Bagnell Dam construction project. It also documents workers; buildings erected for housing and other needs; and views of areas around the dam site. The collection is located at the Missouri State Archives.



Courtesy of the Missouri State Archives:



What records does the Missouri State Archives have on microfilm for each Show Me State county? Now you know:



An interactive exhibit, “A State Divided: The Civil War in Missouri,” will open at the William S. Harney Mansion in Sullivan this Saturday, Aug. 30, and remain on display through Oct. 26.

Hours for Saturday are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food and drink will be available for purchase throughout the day.



The Board for Certification of Genealogists believes in education and would like to share with the public some of the expertise represented in BCG through a series of webinars.

Open to everyone who wants to improve their skills, these live webinars are set for 8 pm Eastern for the following dates:

Monday, September 22, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, will present “Fine Wine in a New Bottle: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories.” Updated, retitled, and reorganized, genealogy standards first published in 2000 are now available in a new edition. The webinar will describe the changes and what they mean for all family historians. Dr. Jones teaches at three genealogy institutes, co-edits the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and is the author of Mastering Genealogical Proof.

To register for the September 22 webinar, please use this link.

On Wednesday, October 15, Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, will explain “Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation.” Requirement 7 of the BCG certification application asks for a Kinship Determination Project in which the applicant writes a three-generation narrative and explains how the relationships are documented. All genealogists do this regularly while placing relatives with their appropriate connections in the family tree. A familiar speaker at conferences across the country, Judy will coordinate the Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis course at the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research in 2015.

To register for the October 15 webinar, please use this link.

Look for future announcements on other upcoming webinars on their blog. You may sign up on the sidebar for email notifications when a new post is written.


Registration is now open for the FGS 2015 National Conference scheduled for February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah. This highly anticipated genealogy event puts the FGS and RootsTech conferences under one roof at the Salt Palace Convention Center (SPCC).

Registration opens with a special early bird price of $139 for a full FGS conference registration. That pricing is available through September 12, 2014. Attend only FGS or add-on a full RootsTech pass for an additional $39. Register now here.

FGS President, D. Joshua Taylor, shares "FGS 2015 will undoubtedly be part of the largest family history event in North America. We are delighted to partner with RootsTech to bring the best of tradition and innovation to the family history community."

Conference Highlights

• Conference Sessions: The program features lectures for genealogists of all experience levels. Attendees will learn from a variety of tracks including Tried and True Methods, The Most Useful Records Hidden in Plain Sight, Compiling Singular Records into Lively Stories, A Retro Look at Organizing and Planning, and Modern Access to Vintage Resources. See the full program and list of speakers at
• General Sessions: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings will kick off with a joint general session for all FGS and RootsTech attendees.
• Expo Hall: Both conferences will share an expo hall covering more than 120,000 square feet, which will offer at least 240 booth spaces and a Demo Theater featuring special vendor presentations.
• Research Opportunity: The Family History Library is the reason that Salt Lake City is the dream destination of genealogists everywhere. The library is a located in walking distance of the Salt Palace Convention Center and the four conference hotels.
• Focus on Societies: Sessions on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 will give society leaders and volunteers ideas and tools to help societies promote themselves, increase membership, and develop sources of revenue.
• Librarians’ Day: On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, ProQuest will sponsor a full pre-conference day of sessions designed for librarians, archivists, and other information professionals serving family history researchers.

Visit the FGS conference website for additional details including links to the conference hotels. Watch for future announcements about general session speakers, special activities and more on the FGS Voice Blog and through FGS social media channels (links available on the conference website).

Monday, August 25, 2014


It played a big role in 19th century American history, and these awesome photos help explain why this was so:




The Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library is a special library within the St. Louis Mercantile Library, at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, which is one of America's great historical research libraries, serving St. Louis and the nation since 1846. The Mercantile Library was founded by a group of businessmen who possessed a deep interest in the close relationship to the nation's inland rivers, particularly the Mississippi. Throughout its history, individuals active in waterways businesses have been associated with the Library. In 1985, the Mercantile Library built upon this long heritage of association with the rivers by greatly expanding its waterways-related holdings, and establishing the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library.

The Collection

Collection focuses on America's inland rivers and some coastal waters both as natural resources and as developed waterways for transportation and other uses.



Established in 1984 as a special collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library, the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library stands today as one of North America’s largest and finest railroad history collections. Named after noted 20th century railroad executive, John W. Barriger III (1899-1976), whose collection forms its heart, the Library has grown to become a major resource for the history of railroad business and technology as well as the study of railroading’s multidimensional influence on the American economy, society, and culture.



Finding aid for African American materials available at the Missouri State Archives:



National Archives has Indian Student Case Files; military and pension records; and American Indian photographs and artworks:


Thursday, August 21, 2014


Meet Jessica Hopkins and Jennifer Audsley-Moore, two of Missouri State Genealogical Association's 2014 Certificate of Appreciation recipients.

Jessica and Jennifer are staff members at NARA--KC charged with developing and coordinating onsite genealogy workshops. They have developed a course catalog for onsite workshops and recruit additional staff to present. Both speak to groups off site often outside their typical work hours.

After budget cuts in 2013, Jessica & Jennifer created a genealogy webinar series for 2014 to continue their outreach to societies, libraries and other groups. The onsite and online genealogy workshops are just one facet of their busy job responsibilities.

We would like to thank both for going above and beyond in their contributions to Missouri genealogy and family history.


Scott Holl of the St. Louis County Library is a 2014 Certificate of Appreciation recipient from the Missouri State Genealogical Association.

Scott expanded the Special Collection Department’s German collection to include more than 550 local family genealogical registers and other published sources for German genealogy. He also edits, handles layout and contributes articles to PastPorts, the monthly newsletter of the Special Collections Department.

Scott presents on topics related to German genealogy as well as arranging for other speakers to present at the St. Louis County Library.


Like a good mystery? Then take a look through Fold3′s collection of old FBI Case Files. Written between 1908 and 1922 when the FBI was still just the Bureau of Investigation, these files document the fledgling organization’s investigations into crimes against the United States and violations of federal laws.

The case files (via the National Archives) cover a vast range of topics, though common ones include investigations into suspicious or anti-American activities of German aliens during WWI and Mexican aliens during the Mexican revolution; conditions at the US-Mexico border; instances of draft-registration avoidance; violations of Prohibition and its precursors (like the Reed Amendment and Wartime Prohibition Act); and alleged communist, socialist, or otherwise radical activities.

With more than 2.3 million records, the majority about individuals, this collection can also be a good place to look for your ancestors, especially if they’re of German or Mexican descent. Not only do the case files give details on the individuals being investigated, but they also commonly mention interviews with family, employers, and neighbors, giving you a more rounded look into an ancestor’s past rather than simply the bare facts.

A few cases you might find interesting include the following:

• An investigation by O.L. Tinklepaugh into a probable violation of Mexican neutrality in Texas. A rancher reported that Mexican bandits stole his cattle, but the truth of the situation isn’t what you might expect.
• An investigation by Arthur Denison into an unusual crossing at the California-Mexico border. Discover why Denison was worried about “engendering a misunderstanding with the Mexican border officials.”
• An investigation by Charles Scully into a report of mysterious signals flashing at night from the house of Howard Vibbert in Connecticut. Could Vibbert be a German spy? Or does he just have a nosy neighbor?
• An investigation by H.P. Shaughnessy into a man pretending to work for the Secret Service to con a woman in Boston into a fake engagement. Find out in the report what was more important to Shaughnessy than the young lady’s broken heart.
• An investigation by J.W. Bales into a letter reporting irregularities in a Delaware draft board’s classification decisions. Decide for yourself whether the actions of the draft board were suspicious, or if the letter writer had a personal grudge.

Explore the issues that interested the Bureau of Investigation in the first quarter of the 20th century—and maybe even find an ancestor along the way—in the FBI Case Files.


Note: You can also access additional FBI Case Files in that organization’s online Vault:


Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Bek, William G. The German Settlement Society of Philadelphia And Its Colony, Hermann, Missouri. Philadelphia, 1907.



General Society of Colonial Wars (U.S.). General Register of the Society of Colonial Wars. New York: Published by authority of the General Assembly, 1902.



Illinois State Historical Library. A List of the Genealogical Works In the Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield, Illinois. Springfield, Ill.: Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers, 1914.



A blog of interest to persons who enjoy military history:


Monday, August 18, 2014


Photos of WWII German POWs at Camp Crowder (Neosho, MO)—-use the “prisoners of war” link in "How to Use This Collection”:



View a list of nearly 750 surnames being researched by MoSGA members. You can send an email to persons pursuing a family line of interest:



Duncan, R. S. A History of the Baptists In Missouri: Embracing an Account of the Organization And Growth of Baptist Churches And Associations; Biographical Sketches of Ministers of the Gospel And Other Prominent Members of the Denomination; the Founding of Baptist Institutions, Periodicals, &C.. St. Louis: Scammell & Company, Publishers, 1882.



University of Missouri. A Directory of the Alumni: Containing the Names of All the Graduates of the University of Missouri (except the School of Mines, At Rolla) In an Alphabetical Register, Together With Their Present Addresses And Occupations. [Columbia]: University of Missouri, 1911.



Military records might not be the first placed you’d think to look for that elusive female ancestor you’re researching, but these records can actually be a valuable resource. Although women themselves didn’t formally serve in the military for much of America’s history, they sometimes had male relatives who did, and the military records of these men can contain varying amounts of information about the women in their lives.

One of the richest potential sources of information about women is Fold3′s pension or widows’ pension files from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War (as well as others, like Navy Widows’ Certificates, Navy Survivors Originals, and Mormon Battalion Pension Files). Pension files are a good source because applicants provided a vast range of information and documents during the process, including things like deeds, wills, diaries, journals, letters, marriage certificates and affidavits, and newspaper clippings—any of which might contain information about our female ancestors. Although widows’ pension files and those submitted by a living husband are especially promising sources for finding out about our female ancestors, the pension files of a woman’s father, brothers, sons, or other male relatives may also turn up unexpected information.

In fact, looking beyond a husband’s records and into those of other male relatives holds true for all the military records you search. For example, in the WWII “Old Man’s Draft” Registration Cards, an unmarried man may have listed a mother, sister, or aunt as their contact “who will always know [their] address”—and that contact information may provide you with the clues you need to track down more information about the woman.

Some other Fold3 military records where you might find your female ancestors via their male relatives include the WWII Draft Registration Cards; New York 174th Regiment Service Cards; New York National Guard Personnel Jackets; WWII Missing Air Crew Reports; and WWII Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualty List.

Sometimes you can find documents and information about women in their own right (rather than via their male relatives) in military collections. On Fold3, these include the Civil War Subversion Investigations, Confederate Amnesty Papers, Confederate Citizens File, and Union Citizens File, as well as the WWII US Air Force Photos; the various Civil War photo collections; and the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps Vietnam War photos.

Remember, although many of Fold3′s records are indexed using OCR, it’s not true for all of them, especially older, handwritten documents. So if a search doesn’t turn up the names you’re looking for, it’s time to put on your detective’s hat and start browsing through the records for the information you want. If you want to learn more about finding female ancestors or searching military records, has helpful videos on those topics, among many others. Happy hunting!



Two days filled with genealogy education, nationally-known speakers, meals, and the opportunity to network with other genealogists and family historians! Featured speakers include:

J. Mark Lowe, CGSM, FUGA
Full-time professional researcher & educator, formerly APG President. You will find him researching for clients including Who Do You Think You Are?, African American Lives or Biography’s uneXplained.

Tony Burroughs, FUGA, Author
A founder and CEO of The Center for Black Genealogy. He is author of Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree and is Vice-President of the Illinois State Genealogical Society.

Patricia Walls Stamm, CGSM, CGLSM
Serves as NGS Education Manager and research trip leader for Washington, DC and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Pat also teaches at St. Louis Community College and is an IGHR course coordinator. She lectures at various state and national conferences.

LaDonna Garner, M.A., CGSM
Consultant in Southeast Missouri. Her M.A. is in Historic Preservation focusing in nonprofits and cemetery preservation. Currently she is the African-American SIG Chair, St. Louis Genealogical Society; Small Conference Committee, Board for Certification of Genealogists, and Webmaster, Jefferson County Genealogical Society.

Gwyneth Podeschi, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Gwen Podeschi is a Reference Librarian in the Printed and Published Department of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. As well as the public service responsibilities associated with this position, she currently serves as Chair of the Library’s Book Discussion Committee and is currently the library’s liaison to the Board of the Illinois State Genealogical Society.

Conference Details

Program: Click here for full program details and Conference Brochure (PDF).

Dates: Friday, October 24th and Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Location: Hilton Garden Inn St. Louis Shiloh/O’Fallon
360 Regency Park Drive, O'Fallon, IL, 62269
Telephone: 1 (888) 853-6895
Reservations: Available here.

Friday, August 15, 2014


This WPA (1935-1942) survey had two purposes:

1. to list manuscripts, church records, and public records in county offices in a reference volume for the use of county officials and the general public, and

2. to locate, classify, and catalog all extant county and city records in order to make them more easily accessible to county officials, historians, and research workers:



At least, Kim Komando thinks there is. It may not be the next great American novel (or even a work of fiction), but it doesn’t need to be in order to get published and make a little money for you:



This publication of the GPO provides a brief history of slavery in America from 1450-1865. Also describes how slaves were brought to freedom through the Underground Railroad with a map of escape routes.



How did they defend Washington, DC during the Civil War? This book from the GPO has all the answers:


Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Britton, Wiley. The Aftermath of the Civil War: Based on Investigation of War Claims. Kansas City, Mo.: Smith-Grieves Company, 1924.



Are you researching an ancestor who served during a war with an American Indian tribe? The GPO has a special American Indian Wars Collection:



United States. Department of the Army. Scientists in Uniform, World War II: a Report to the Deputy Director for Research and Development, Logistics Division, General Staff, U.S. Army. Washington, D.C., 1948.



The study of military history has evolved into a multidisciplinary effort to go beyond the history of military operations to consider broader political, cultural, and social questions. It spans across several disciplines and genres, including sociology and political science, biography, war and battle narratives, the history of technology, foreign affairs and international relations, and various national histories. From ancient military history to contemporary studies of international conflict, a great deal of this work has moved online with the most recent scholarship, research, and statistics appearing in online databases and often only discoverable through online search tools. With advances in online searching and database technologies, researchers can easily access library catalogs, bibliographic indexes, and other lists that show thousands of resources that might also be useful to them. In this situation what is most needed is expert guidance. Researchers at all levels need tools that help them filter through the proliferation of information sources to material that is reliable and directly relevant to their inquiries. Oxford Bibliographies in Military History will offer a trustworthy pathway through the thicket of information overload.


Monday, August 11, 2014


Markham, Richard. A Narrative History of King Philip's War and the Indian Troubles in New England. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1883.



Flandrau, Charles Eugene. Narrative of the Indian War of 1862-1864, And Following Campaigns in Minnesota.



National Roster of Scientific and Specialized Personnel. June 1942. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. Print. Off, 1943.



Martha Henderson received the President’s Award at the Missouri State Genealogical Association’s annual conference held in Columbia Missouri:


Friday, August 08, 2014


Missouri History Museum finding aids can be read online or downloaded (as PDFs) to your computer:



Anyone interested in Cedar County history and genealogy is welcome to attend and/or join the society. Annual dues are $10 for individuals, $20 for families and $75 for life memberships. Our museum and research area is open to the public on the first Saturday of each month (April through October) from 1-5 p.m., and by special appointment. We also do genealogical and historical research for $10 per hour. Contact us online at; by email at; by mail at P.O. Box 111, Stockton, MO 65785; or by contacting any officer or member.



I won’t be able to attend one of these talks, but certainly wish I could:

Ghosts, murder and heartbreak were just some of the challenges facing Queensland lighthouse keepers and their families as they struggled to survive in isolated areas.

Lighthouses were recognised as lifesavers, especially in the days before ships were fitted with sophisticated technology. Without them, the Queensland coast would have experienced far more than the 1800 shipwrecks that occurred.

Mairi Popplewell from the National Archives has been delving into the archival vaults to discover the history of Queensland lighthouses. She is sharing her findings in two free public talks Lighting the darkness: Lighthouses in Queensland at the National Archives in Brisbane on 15 and 20 August.



The remains of two missing airmen have been accounted for 70 years after they disappeared when their plane went down over Papua New Guinea during World War II, U.S. military officials said.


Note: As we continue our national debate about what this country owes its veterans, I think a story like this helps keep things in perspective. I’m thinking specifically of the mother who refused forever after to discuss her missing son, clinging to the hope that he would one day show up at her door and all would be well again. Would any of you argue that she made any less of a sacrifice than many of our WWII vets?


Please join us as we pay honor to members of the 56th United States Colored Troops in a Service of Remembrance and Recognition to be held at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on August 15, 2014 at 10 am.

We gather to honor the work of these men and to remember their faithful service and sacrifice made for their country during the war of the rebellion.

We will be honoring them during the month in which they died, and are dedicating the installation of their memorial marker.

Invited guests will include Gov. Nixon, Mayor Slay, County Supt. Dooley, Senators McCaskill & Blunt, and Representatives Clay & Wagner.

Ceremony is free & open to the public.

St. Louis African-American History & Genealogy Society

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Received from PR Department:

By Ken Chahine, Ph.D., J.D.

AncestryDNA customers with significant Jewish ancestry have witnessed the challenges that we and other genetic genealogy testing companies have faced when predicting genetic relatives. Most Jewish customers find that we predict them to be related to nearly every other Jewish customer in the database! So while we all know that the cousin matches for Jewish and some Hispanic customers were over-estimates, detecting which cousin matches were real and which ones were bogus has always been a challenge for these populations.

The AncestryDNA science team has been unsatisfied with the cousin matches we have delivered to many of our customers and as part of our continued commitment to bring innovative genomics to you, we are pleased and proud to tell you that we have found the first solution to the “overmatching” experienced by Jewish, Hispanic and other customers.

When you take a step back, matching isn’t as simple as it might first appear. After all, we are all 99% identical. In other words, determining which parts of our genome make us “human” and which make us “recent cousins” is tricky and at the heart of the cousin matching issues for customers of Jewish and Hispanic ancestry.

In DNA matching, we are looking for pieces of DNA that appear identical between individuals. But there are a couple of reasons why it could be identical. For genealogy research we’re interested in DNA that’s identical because we’re both descended from a recent common ancestor. We call this identical by descent (IBD). This is what helps us to make new discoveries in finding new relatives, new ancestors, and collaborating on our research. However, we also find pieces of DNA that are identical for another reason. At one extreme we find pieces of DNA that are identical because it is essential for human survival. At the other, we find pieces of DNA that are identical because two people are of the same ethnicity. We call these segments identical by state (IBS) because the piece of DNA is identical for a reason other than a recent common ancestor. This, we have found, often happens in individuals of Jewish descent. Given the historically small population size of the Jewish community, two Jewish individuals might have a lot of DNA that looks to be identical. But that identical DNA might only be because of their shared ethnic history – in other words, identical by state, not identical by descent.

The challenge in DNA matching is to tease apart which segments are IBD, and which ones are IBS. How did we do it? By studying patterns of matches across our more than half a million AncestryDNA customers, we found that in certain places of the genome, thousands of people were being estimated to share DNA with one another. This isn’t a hallmark of thousands of people actually being closely related to one another. Instead, it’s likely a hallmark of a common ethnicity. Our scientific advancements using such insights from more than half a million people have allowed us to effectively “pan for gold” in our matches – by throwing out matches that appear to only be IBS, and keeping those that are IBD.

What does this mean for you?

While the problem was more pronounced in customers of Jewish and some Hispanic descents, we observed this problem across all ethnic groups. So, all customers will see increased accuracy of their DNA matches, and significantly fewer “false” matches.

Eager to see your new set of DNA matches? It will be available in the coming months, and we’re planning to email our existing AncestryDNA customers when the new matching results are ready with more information about what to expect and what it means for your research. So when the time comes, we’re excited to hear about the new family history discoveries you’ve made or distant cousins you connected with through the advancements of our updated matching service. I’m expecting a lot of great stories will surface, and we can’t wait to hear yours.


With the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Pilot Knob scheduled for next month, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Ste. Genevieve Camp No. 326 will have a presentation on the battle during their next meeting, 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 12 at the Orris Theatre in downtown Ste. Genevieve.

Gary Scheel, a member of Camp No. 326, will give the free presentation on the important Civil War battle beginning at 7 PM in the Orris Theater.



Make plans to swing by Central Library on August 12 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to join us in celebrating the Grand Opening of Urban Eats Café Central.

The Grand Opening promises to be lots of fun. For starters, we’re not having an old-fashioned ribbon-cutting ceremony. We’re having a super-sized, stuffed muffin cutting to be handled by Mayor Francis Slay. The mayor, other dignitaries, and you will get to sample the “ceremonial muffin” and other items from Urban Eats Café Central’s eclectic selection of smoothies, coffee & tea, wraps, salads, snacks, and treats.

In addition, pianist Jerry Robushka will tickle the ivories, and a commemorative work of art from a local art guild will be presented to Café management. All in all, a great way to spend your lunch hour!

Located in the west wing of the Locust Street Atrium (ground floor), Urban Eats Café Central features many of the same tasty foods and drinks with an ethnic twist that St. Louisans have come to love at Urban Eats’ south city location.

The food is savory, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the setting is unmatched. Urban Eats Café Central is the perfect place to recharge your body and mind.

To find out more about everything that Urban Eats Café Central offers, including catering and box lunch service, or to place an order, call 314-206-6723.



A comment from blog reader Steve was interesting enough that I am posting here. Thanks, Steve!

Another resource that has just "opened up" in a big way is genealogy books in ebook format.

Amazon recently introduced its Kindle Unlimited program, which allows you to borrow and read as many Kindle ebooks as you like, for $9.95 a month. I wonder if genealogists have grasped what a godsend KU may be for many of us. Here's why:

In the genealogy section of the Kindle ebook store on Amazon, along with the how-to-climb-your-family-tree books, there's a huge number of reference and raw-data collections, from histories of specific families to ships' records, newspaper abstracts, etc. The problem with such books in the past has been that you didn't know until after you purchased one (whether a print or a digital copy) if it contained information relevant to your own research.

With Kindle Unlimited, this pig-in-a-poke problem vanishes.

Here's what you could do to further your research without gambling on books that may or may not have anything of use in them (to you). With a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you could borrow ten genealogy ebooks (the maximum allowed at one time). Then you could flip through them, or use your Kindle device's search feature, to find any information of use to you. If you don't find anything, then you can simply return them and borrow ten more.

I know that these days, there are tons of information for ancestor hunters available for free or for a subscription fee at the dedicated genealogy websites such as

But there's still a lot of data locked up in various small-press books and books by individuals writing their own family's story. Kindle Unlimited gives us genealogists a virtually cost-free way to unlock those books -- at least the ones that have been committed to ebook format (and you might be surprised how many there are).

By the way, you don't even need a Kindle device to read Kindle books. You can download a free Kindle reading app for your smartphone or laptop that will do the trick.


Monday, August 04, 2014


Deiler, J. Hanno. The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana And the Creoles of German Descent. Philadelphia: American Germanica Press, 1909.



This August 24 and 25 mark the 200th anniversary of the British burning of Washington DC during the War of 1812.

Prior to the burning, 4,500 British soldiers went up against 5,000 Americans (mostly militiamen) in a battle at Bladensburg, Maryland, just 4 miles northeast of Washington. Though the Americans had the advantage of numbers and artillery, the untried and poorly led militiamen didn’t stand much of a chance against the better trained and disciplined British soldiers. Three hours of battle had the Americans fleeing as fast as they could, while the British commanding officers, General Ross and Admiral Cockburn, led a portion of their men into Washington, which was now undefended.

Leaving private homes and property alone for the most part, the British began burning government buildings, starting with Capitol building, which at the time also housed the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. They then proceeded to the White House, which had been abandoned by President Madison and his wife shortly before. (Mrs. Madison is famous for staying at the White House as long as possible and directing the rescue of a portrait of George Washington, among other valuables.)

The following day, Cockburn and Ross organized the burning of other buildings, like the State and War departments and the Treasury, which had started to burn the night before but had been doused by a rainstorm. Cockburn ordered the destruction of the printing presses of a newspaper that had been particularly critical of him, but the U.S. Patent Office was saved from destruction by the pleas of its superintendent. The British went to the Navy Yard, but it had already been burned the previous day by the Americans to keep it from falling into British hands. A contingent of soldiers also went to Greenleaf Point Federal Arsenal to destroy the gunpowder and cannons there but ended up causing an explosion that killed or maimed many of them.

Later that day, a huge storm blew in that wreaked havoc on the city, downing trees and ripping roofs off buildings. After the storm had died down somewhat, the British officers ordered a retreat of their men during the night, before the American forces could regroup.

Discover more about the burning of Washington DC, and other events and people of the war, in Fold3′s War of 1812 collection.



New book about the turbulent, dangerous Missouri Civil War homefront:



Genealogy Roadshow will be in St. Louis on August 23 and 24 to record episodes that will air on Nine PBS in early 2015. Over 800 people from this area have submitted their family stories for consideration, and many have been contacted for more information by researchers. The taping location in St. Louis has not yet been revealed. There will be no seated audience, but people will be welcome to visit the set during production and browse the information tables that will be there. Check back to this page for the latest news about Genealogy Roadshow’s upcoming trip to the Gateway to the West!



Con-tact: Using Jail and Prison Records for Genealogical Research

Tom Pearson discusses book, manuscript, microfilm and Internet sources of information on convict and POW ancestors. To register or for more information, contact Tom here.

Buder Branch Library, 4401 Hampton Avenue, STl, MO 63109

Thurs, Aug 14, 2014, 6:30 PM

SLPL Events Calendar