Saturday, January 5, 2008

Today's Activities

  • This morning I added several sites to my blogroll on the left that I have been reading, but hadn't yet made it to the list.
  • Then I headed to the first meeting of the St. Louis Genealogical Society of the year. Interstate 40/64 for a several mile stretch in St. Louis has shut down on January 2nd for a year for construction. Next year, another stretch will be shut down. Many people in the area are in a total mess of confusion. The dividing spot West of which is shut down this year, and East of which will be shut down next year, is where I live. So while I normally would take the interstate to the meeting, I had to find another route. It added a little excitement to my morning, but I made it.
  • The meeting was interesting. It was on 'creating a master plan' as it relates to solving genealogical puzzles. The speaker led us down two case histories where she researched two 'apparent aliens' who had landed on Earth, and their descendants had no clue what planet they had come from. Hearing the processes she went through gave me some ideas.
  • This evening I finished up some blind letters I had been working on to send to some distant likely-relatives.
  • A few minutes ago I was looking through the list of topics the St. Louis Genealogical Society will be discussing each month in 2008. September's topic caught my eye. "Voting Records." I hadn't thought about those. "Are they available?" I asked myself. I figured the answer was probably, 'Yes,' or the September presentation would be awfully short. I didn't want to wait eight months though. So I went to the Stlgs website and found the information there.
Voter registration records may provide important naturalization information, a birth date, and a signature. In August 1920, women were given the right to vote, thus a large number of registrations occurred that fall. The women that registered were U.S. citizens by birth, those who were naturalized via marriage to a U.S. citizen, or women who were naturalized at the same time as their father or husband. In 1922 women were required to naturalize as individuals, without their father or husband.

Before 1937, voters had to register every four years. The microfilmed ledger books show the voter’s signature, address, and voting record over that period of time.
City records, where most of my family lived in the first half of the 20th century, are available from 1897-1977 in the same library I was at this morning. It might help me track my ancestors' locations between censuses. County records are available from 1924 on in different locations.

Three out of four sets of my father's great-grandparents were in St. Louis by 1897. The Newmarks arrived in 1909. If it went back a few more years, it could help fill in for the missing 1890 census. (At least for the fraction of the citizens who could vote). St. Louis also has city directories which are helpful for those years, but the voting records will have signatures, which could be helpful for those whose names seem to change from one directory to another, unless the signature is just an X. It should also be interesting to discover how regular my ancestors were in voting.

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