Making Connections

Making Connections

Readers respond to Family Tree Magazine.

A-List Ideas

The October 2005 issue just arrived, and I put everything else to the side. I’m eager now to start searching again for military service records. I enjoyed the article on organization and am already mulling over a few of the suggestions to determine which are best for me.

I’ve made my research binder even more user-friendly by adding alphabetical lists of surnames with dates and locations (I use a separate page for each letter of the alphabet), and individuals by locality (I have a page for each county where I’ve already found someone and a page for each state with relatives whose counties I can’t pinpoint). For the women in my family, I created a cross-index of maiden names to married names. These three tools make research more efficient, as I can concentrate on one location or surname and have less chance of missing someone.

Thanks for a wonderful publication.

Cindi Dietrich

Pension Precaution

In the military records article in the October 2005 issue, you list the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) <> as a source for veterans’ service records and pension files from the Spanish-American War. This is incorrect for the pension records. My grandfather was a member of Troop A of the Rough Riders. I was told to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in my state (Missouri), which I did. At first they denied having the records, so I contacted NARA, who again told me to contact the VA. Finally, after three letters to the VA in St. Louis, I received 149 pages of his pension file. It’s correct that NARA has service records for Spanish-American War veterans, but not the pension records. The service records cost $37, while the VA sent me the pension record free.

Otherwise, it was a very good issue with lots of info. I enjoyed it very much.

Judy Brown
via e-mail

Editor’s Note: According to NARA officials, the National Archives does have some Spanish-American War pension records. For pensions that were still active after 1934, contact the VA <>.

Hitting the Jackpot

Wow! This issue (October 2005) was the answer to my quandaries (yes, plural). Organization, school records, military records, suggestions for < > and best of all, the Michigan state research guide. Thanks so much for including so many great Web sites for things I’ve been looking for. I love this magazine, and share it with those who use my local Family History Center in Gaylord, Mich.

I’ll continue to subscribe, as your magazine holds the most helpful information of any genealogical periodical. To all your feature writers, keep up the marvelous work—and of course, it’s the editing that keeps it all together.

Dianne Newman
Waters, Mich.

Not-So-Fond Memories

Your Time Capsule article regarding the Fonda family (October 2005) reminded me why Jane Fonda would have been refused homestead land. According to the Homestead Act of 1862, applications were denied if it could be proven that the applicant had “given care and comfort to enemies.” The famous photo of Jane Fonda consorting with North Vietnam soldiers would certainly have been sufficient proof.

It makes one wonder how many of her early American pioneer relatives rolled over in their graves as she strolled through the Fonda cemetery with her children.

Roger A. Smith

Upon looking through my copy of the October 2005 issue, I was quite upset when I saw the article on Jane Fonda. “Hanoi Jane” is a traitor to the United States. She should be serving a life sentence in a federal prison for giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and for the irreparable harm she caused to our country and military during the Vietnam War, particularly the prisoners of war. There are many good, interesting people who have worked very hard on their family trees and could have been the subject of Time Capsule rather than her.

Vincent D. McCormick
via e-mail

I have just discovered this wonderful magazine, and was reading the article on Jane Fonda with much interest, as I have run across the Fonda name many times in my search of the Dutch areas in New York.

If I’m in error, apologies, but the name she gives, Douw, sounds very much like an original of the many spellings leading to the current spelling of Deyo. I’ve been searching Deyos for the Maria who married Peter Geer, and find the Dutch and French Huguenot families all intermarried, Deyo being French.

Another interesting factor is the name Jayne being passed down. The Jayne family (also French Huguenot from Dejeanne) entered in Long Island and moved up into the same Dutch areas. I wonder if perhaps the name is a family one carried through the first names. She may find even more interesting facts in the Jayne line.

Jeanne Gould Freireich
via e-mail

Editor’s note: The book excerpts in our Time Capsule column come from recently published celebrity memoirs, and we limit our selections to content that discusses a well-known person’s ancestry or relates to family history in some way. We don’t choose material based on the celebrity’s personal or political views—or the views of our editorial staff. Instead, we aim to include a diverse range of celebrities whose stories we think may be of interest to our readers. As with all articles in Family Tree Magazine, we appreciate your feedback on the Time Capsule selections, and welcome your suggestions for new celebrity memoirs you’d like to see us excerpt.

Ancestry Addenda

I read with great anticipation your article about getting the most out of (October 2005). Though you did a pretty good job of pointing out many of the important databases included, you failed to mention some of’s best features—namely, the search options. I’m a professional genealogist, and one of my favorite workshops I present is “Do All of Your US Census Work Online,” where I give a detailed explanation of how to and what sets it apart from its competitors.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

1. allows you to do a first-name-only search for anyone.

2. The wildcard search (using the Exact Search option) is by far the most amazing and least-used search option within’s bag of tricks. No longer do we have to worry about how an ancestor’s given name might have been spelled; simply use the first three characters followed by an asterisk, and you’ll be amazed by what you can find.

3. From the Advanced Search window, you can put the state and city in the Keyword box. This is a boon for census searches because county lines tended to move, though city names remained unchanged.

4. Finally, the absolute best part of is its census images. These are, for the most part, far superior to any digitized census pages you’ll find elsewhere on the Web, and I always tell my students/audiences that no matter where they do their census searching, always print the images from .

Although I hear lots of complaints about , it’s still the best thing going in terms of US genealogy.

Lisa B. Lee
Oakland, Calif.

I love your magazine! Another option available is a one-month subscription that includes the US Records Collection, US Federal Census Collection, UK & Ireland Collection and Historical Newspaper Collection. This option isn’t shown on the Web site, but I asked when I called customer service. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to research and didn’t want to spend a lot of money. It worked for me and was well worth the money. You do have to remember to cancel, or your credit card will automatically be billed.

Ranae Eugene
via e-mail

Lo and Behold

To my astonishment, I opened my October 2005 issue, turned to the article entitled “At Your Service” by David A. Fryxell—and right there in the article, he said his great-grandpa was in the 37th Alabama Infantry. Guess what? So was mine! This is certainly a great surprise.

Thanks for your excellent magazine. I learn something from every single issue. I have all the issues, and I treasure them!

Bobby Linzey
Cumming, Ga.

Draft Card Dodging

I read Mr. Fryxell’s excellent article on military records (October 2005). In addition to the WWI resources cited, researchers can use Army Adjutant General record cards.

Following the war, the Army Adjutant General’s Office abstracted the records of all men who served in World War I on 3×5-inch cards and sent them to the various states’ Adjutants General where the soldiers enlisted or were drafted. For people researching WWI veterans, these records serve as an alternative to the ones lost in the 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire. You can find these records at the state archives or Adjutant General’s Office.

Thomas P. Jones

From the February 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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