IN THIS EDITION -- January 3. 2002


National Black Heritage Museum Gains Ground

For years, legislators have been trying to get Congress to fund a National Museum of African-American History and Culture, with no success. But recently, proponents of the idea got a boost: The House of Representatives passed a bill to establish a planning commission for the museum. The Associated Press said the 23-member group is charged with creating a blueprint for the museum's completion, and will issue a report in nine months. The proposal's authors say the museum's existence would serve an important purpose by showing the significance of African-American history to American history.

Don't Overlook Your Local History Museum


A tip from Kelly Sutkamp of Louisville, Ky.:

"Many towns may have their own local history museum; some large, some small. You never know until you go in what treasures may be in store for you pertaining to your ancestors! What you may not realize is that these museums may hold pictures, items, maps, records, etc., all relating to people once living in that particular area. There is a tiny museum in my area that most people do not even know exists. I could not believe it when I finally went in there just to look around and found out that they had things such as the town doctor's death record book from the early 1900s, a map dating to the 1800s showing the original land owners' names, a local church's membership record book from the 1800s and many, many other items genealogists would love to get their hands on. Thankfully, items like these were donated to the museum instead of getting sold at estate sales. Check in your area to see if any such museums exist. Sometimes they may be a part of the local library."


1901 English Census Now Online

Are your English or Welsh ancestors among the 32 million names indexed in the 1901 census of the United Kingdom? Find out by searching this new index at created by the Public Record Office. The index is making its online debut this week. First, do a free search by name, place, address, institution or vessel. If the results look promising for your research, for a fee you can view the digital image of that record (75 pence or about $1.09) and its transcribed details (50 pence or about 73 cents). Next on the PRO's digitizing agenda: census records from 1891 and 1881.

Grave Matters in Kentucky

Instead of rolling over in their graves, your Kentucky ancestors are probably applauding the state's latest initiatives to preserve its cemeteries and make them accessible to descendants. The Task Force on Preservation of Kentucky Cemeteries has recommended to the General Assembly that it should be a felony crime to purposely dig up a grave without authorization. The task force also said lawmakers should allow descendants and researchers specific rights of access to cemeteries on private property, the Associated Press reported. These recommendations come on the heels of cases of neglect and fraud at three historic cemeteries in Louisville, Ky. Having identified nearly 14,000 cemeteries throughout the state, the task force also called for better cemetery record keeping and a statewide grant program for funding maintenance and preservation projects.

Messages That Grow Over Time


Attaching a special message to a family tree before it is passed along can help bring facts alive and turn dry information into vivid communications for generations to come. And when a family tree includes more than names, cities and dates, it can help others connect more fully with their own personal histories, appreciate their family's traditions and understand where they fit into the bigger picture of life.

Today there are literally hundreds of books, Web sites, clubs, magazines and computer programs that make putting a family tree together as simple or as complicated as you'd like it to be. No matter what kind of family tree you may be interested in creating, adding in little details and attaching a personal note can help you make a touching and lasting gift of the heart.

-JacLynn Morris & Paul Fair, authors of From Me to You: The Reluctant Writer's Guide to Powerful, Personal Messages