Tuesday Tips for the New Year: Research News You Can Use in 2014

InfantPhotographyThe Infant Photography Giving the Painter an Additional Brush, about 1856 albumen print by Oscar Gustave Rejlander (British, b. Sweden); Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program 

Greetings, and happy new year’s eve –  I thought the Infant Photography was a fine symbol announcing the arrival of 2014. I will close the year 2013 by discussing some new resources and some additions to older ones. You and I will want to check them out in 2014, as we go about day-to-day research. These newer resources include those (a few of each) related to genealogy, photography, newspapers, maps, and even one related to naming practices.

My thanks to Low Country Africana (see below), and to Caroline Pointer (4YourFamilyStory.com) for directing me to some of this information.

Genealogy-related Resources

Both Family Search and USGenWeb have been busy this year. These sites are invaluable to me, and I am not currently doing family research, but I am researching the lives and families of Georgia photographers and their associates. These people were of all ethnicity and came from everywhere imaginable.

Family Search has recently made available the digitized 106 rolls of the microfilm series Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-72. https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2127881

A wonderfully informative site you should know about, Low Country Africana at http://www.lowcountryafricana.com/ (“dedicated to research of African American culture in the rice-growing areas of South Carolina, Georgia, and extreme Northeast Florida”) gives you the “Steps to Accessing and Navigating the Records” at http://tinyurl.com/mgkra9c

Check their site for other hints about using this newly digitized resource. It is information that may come in handy to research other states in the South that the Freedman’s Bureau served post-War.

See the National Archives site for more information on the Bureau http://tinyurl.com/347azw and see The Freedman’s Bureau Online to find resources available for other states via several online projects http://www.freedmensbureau.com/ Remember that the Bureau, in addition to helping former black slaves, to a lesser extent helped poor whites, and some of those whites were immigrants.

Keep you fingers crossed that Family Search will make similar records available in 2014.

Georgia researchers, don’t forget to look at another part of the Family Search site https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Georgia (state) Also look for other state’s sections on their wiki.

And, in 2013, UsGenWeb volunteers uploaded numerous files related to Georgia and other southern states including abstracts of obituaries, other newspaper articles, and census records. As of the 30th of December, most of these nineteenth and twentieth century uploads do not yet appear to be noted on the state’s index page.

Savannah panCentral of Ga. R.R. docks #1, Savannah, Ga., Haines Photo Co., 1909; digital image from Panoramic Photographs collection., LC Prints & Photographs no. DLC/PP-1909:43750

Photography-related Resources

Exciting news for photo historians was recently announced, and it came from the UK.  The digitization (oh, my, they would use “digitisation” wouldn’t they?) of two photographic journals, the world’s oldest, is the first of two piecess of very good news from across the pond.

The Royal Photographic Society’s Photographic Journal, which dates from March 1853, and the British Journal of Photography which dates from January 1854, will be made available in digital forms to researchers and the public. Both these journals are still in publication.

Using the RPS will be free to all, and digitization of its Journal from 1853 to 2012 is complete.  It will be made available in a searchable form when The Society’s new website launches in January 2014.

The BJP announced a digitization project in their January 2014 issue (p. 98).  Apparently they will be digitizing BJP’s entire archive throughout 2014 and after, but they have not yet reported if access to those issues will be free: http://tinyurl.com/p2rc5dx

A number of times I have found a British photo periodical cited for “my” photographer or associate, so they are either mentioned or their photos are reproduced there. I am very, very excited about these two journals going online, can you tell? Keep those fingers crossed – again!

And now the second of the two pieces of good photo-history news out of the UK. The British Library has put 1,000,000 Images into the Public Domain, free to use. These images are now on Flickr Commons. There is a good description of the collection, with a link to it, on Open Culture http://tinyurl.com/l7jlkfd 

Although these are not American, there are all kinds of images and a lot of them are generic enough that you will want to use them in your articles, blogs, etc. on U.S. subjects, to make them more visually interesting and appealing. Below is one I have downloaded to use within this post, and I apparently have to learn about sizing them.


From “Reprints of Rare Tracts Imprints of Antient Manuscripts … chiefly illustrative of the history of the Northern Counties: printed at M. A. Richardson, Newcastle” p.236; 1847.  Courtesy  British Library HMNTS 1077.f.84-90

I was recently into the site Forgotten Old Photos and found that it includes a list of “other old photo blogs” (although not all are photo-related only). Many blogs listed here are great fun, and I already “follow” several.  Some may interest you, too. The list is found near the very bottom of each blog post.

Names and Naming:

On a website called God’s Little Acre: America’s Colonial African Cemetery (“God’s Little Acre is the beginning point to a rich cultural tapestry that is Newport’s African and African American history”) at http://www.colonialcemetery.com/ you will find a lot of fascinating information. The entire site is definitely worth visiting, but one portion is particularly interesting to me, and probably to others.

Found under the drop-down menu for Names/Markers is “Naming Traditions” which lists various African names given to children according to the day of their birth. This includes their phoneticized or Anglicized spellings and other types of names.  Although this is a cemetery in New England (Newport RI), I know I have come across some of these names in my research on photographers, and I am eager to get back to work and explore those naming roots.

Newspaper Resources

Two exciting additions to existing sites for historic newspapers were announced this year.

The Vienna News, 1902-1918 has been added to the South Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive via the Digital Library of Georgia. You can search this newspaper directly by narrowing your search to that title only on  the South Georgia newspapers site: http://sgnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/sgnewspapers/search

I am so anxious to delve into this newspaper that just the thought is making me — crazy? I have only done a cursory search in this newly added newspaper, but I have already located my favorite peripatetic photographer. This man is one I’ve already located in nine other Georgia cities, and I find he was also working in Vienna and surrounding area. Once I complete my search there, it gives me another clue to find out more about him elsewhere. Did he pay taxes in each of these cities and or county? I hope to find out, and I want to write about him here when I know more.

To see all the Georgia newspapers that the DLG has to offer, go to http://tinyurl.com/yfoajuk

The second piece of my “news on newspapers” is that the Old Fulton New York Site http://www.fultonhistory.com/ recently added several newspapers from outside the state of New York.  This addition to their site includes titles from North Carolina (1890-1917 Biblical Record), Mississippi  (1955-1961 Jackson, Missisippi Citizens’ Council) and Tennessee (1815-2012 Rogersville [Tennessee] Review). Don’t worry, you will be able to search without logging in.

Maps as Resource

Something brand new in 2013 is the Atlas of the Historical Geography of United States, coming to us from the University of Richmond. The maps on this site are from a book of the same name by Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright, published in 1932. It remains one of the most useful atlases available for the study of American history. http://dsl.richmond.edu/historicalatlas/

You will find maps here on the environment, transportation, politics, settlement, commerce, education – just about any aspect of American history that could be related to your research. This is a wonderful online addition for our use; it increases our ability to flesh out ongoing research projects via the web, and prepares us to do further research offline.

And if you were ever curious about it, I found out on the  Atlas that, for “Rates of Travel from New York City for 1830” from Georgia, it took “one week and one day” of travel. Wow, think of that.

Another site, which is not that new, is Old Maps Online, which is a gateway to free historical maps in libraries all over the world. Find out how it works via their FAQ at http://project.oldmapsonline.org/faqs

A search for maps of the state of Georgia (which in this search engine is “Georgia, USA”), results in several hits – quite a number of maps of our state are available here: http://tinyurl.com/knq5jad

In closing, I can only wish you the healthiest, happiest 2014 possible. May our research be everything we hope for, and may our Hunting and Gathering go according to plan!

© E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without  written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. The piece can be re-blogged, and excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. On the last day of the year I have the luck to find you and your blog. I am an avid collector of 19th century photos of Atlanta and Puerto Rico. I am a researcher like you and would want to correspond with you about the Atlanta Photographers. I have two groups in FB dealing with Atlanta photographers and Atlanta Expositions. Also have a flickr page dealing with Atlanta Collectibles. You are welcome to visit. Please contact me via the gmail address. Thanks, Fred Rodriguez

    1. It would be so interesting to find out more about the Puerto Rico photographers. I have run across a few in GA who may have roots there, but I have not pursued it. If you post anything about them, please let me know!

  2. Just wanted to say your work is inspiring. I happened to run across your blog after seeing it on the geneabloggers pinterest site. I clicked to see more because of the interesting photo you picked for this post. I have just begun a small project of documenting photographers in the Cattaraugus County, New York area during the time when cabinet cards were popular and ironically have used the newspapers from the old Fulton history site mentioned in this post for further information. Thanks for further information and ideas on organizing this type of project.

    1. Thank you so much for your nice comments. It is important that we document these photographers, so many of whom are “unknown”. There is so much information there if we only go look for it. Let me know how you are doing with your project, and if you post any of your work. We researchers and the photographers we research are all connected!

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