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Shaking Your Family Tree!

Stumbling on Trail to Wagon Master


Question: Where can I find information about an ancestor who was a wagon master? He worked out of either Independence or St. Louis, Mo., and led wagon trains to California.

Answer: Check with Society of California Pioneers, 456 McAllister St., San Francisco 94102 to see if they have any biographical material pertaining to him in their Overland Records collection.

The State Historical Society of Missouri, 1020 Lowry St., Columbia, Mo. 65201, can direct you to any Missouri organizations that specialize in wagon train histories, which might include information about your ancestor. Also write to National Museum of Transport, 3015 Barrett Station Rd., St. Louis, Mo. 63122. It has an archives and may have information about wagon trains.

Q: I have traced my father's family back to a village called Guadenthal in Bessarabia, Russia. I've checked for information at the library in Orlando and have written to the Mormon Library in Salt Lake. Where do I go next?

A: Genealogy is a do-it-yourself hobby. The famous LDS (Mormon) Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City won't send you your family history. While it may have information about your families in its microfilmed and printed records, you will have to dig it out.

You are lucky. Evidently you are one of the approximately 1 million descendants of the Germans from Russia. Much genealogical and historical information has been compiled and written about these families.

Contact Germans From Russia Heritage Society, Box 1671, Bismark, N.D. 58501. Its primary collection deals with the Black Sea Germans (where Bessarabia is located). Also, there's the fine American Historical Society of Germans From Russia, 631 D St., Lincoln, Neb. 68502. Either or both organizations are worth joining. They have publications (books and periodicals) that will be invaluable to your research.

Q: How can I locate descendants of my ancestor's brother when his only daughter remarried and I don't know their family name?

A: When you get stuck on a line--ADVERTISE. Let others know you are seeking descendants of the Jeremiah Jones family and give enough specifics and dates that others can determine which Jeremiah Jones you're related to, and if it is their line.

Run a small ad in "The Genealogical Helper" and "Heritage Quest" magazines. Place queries in all the genealogical societies (county, state and national) publications that you can. Get the word out so your cousins can find you and share their research and records.

Q: From time to time you mention genealogy magazines. How can I subscribe to them and what is the price? I've never seen these advertised.

A: "The Genealogical Helper" is the oldest magazine devoted exclusively to this hobby. Back issues should be available in a nearby library.

It is published bimonthly by Everton Publishers, P.O. Box 368, Logan, Utah 84321, and currently its annual subscription rate is $17.

"Heritage Quest," edited and published by Leland and Stephen Meitzler, Drawer 40, Orting, Wash. 98360-0040, is a large, bimonthly magazine featuring American and European research tips, articles and queries. It costs $25 per year.

Additionally, there are more than 1,500 genealogical societies in America and most of them publish periodicals. Many historical societies and organizations also publish magazines and newsletters that are of interest to genealogists. Consult latest edition of "Directory of Historical Societies and Agencies in the United States and Canada" at your local library to learn more about specific historical societies' publications.

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