President’s Message for January 2022

2021 has passed into the books and 2022 is here providing new opportunities for your genealogical research. In 2022 we can look forward to the 1950 United States Census being released and the 1921 United Kingdom Census. First up, however, is the advent of free access to the Periodical Source Index (PERSI). PERSI is the largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodical articles in the world. Our own Nassau County Genealogist is indexed within it. This index has moved multiple times through the years from website to website, first being located at, then and to its present location at It is however moving again, and this time will finally be free at the Allen County Pulbic Library Genealogy Center website. The BIG reveal occurs on a virtual genealogy program occuring Tuesday, 11 Jan 2022 at 2:30 pm EST. I plan to attend! Details on their website! As I prepare for the classes I instruct in our Beginner’s Course this year I am reminded of the importance of Land Records, a record which often is overlooked by genealogists as non-genealogically important. I discovered one of my 3rd Gr-Grandfather’s land records includes a list of personal items that he sells to his son along with his land parcel, thereby he didn’t need a will to close out his estate. There are no estate records for him. If you have ancestors for which you cannot find estate records, and they died in old age, perhaps you should check …

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President’s Message for November 2021

We had a successful general meeting in October with Theron Rogers presentation about Find-A-Grave and his ramblings around the country while riding his Harley and photographing cemeteries. I thank him profusely for making the trip down here from Gainesville Georgia and I hope he enjoyed his stay while here! I understand he even ventured into Bosque Bello and photographed a few gravestones. Speaking of gravestones, I came across a photograph on Facebook, of all places, of my 5th gr-grandfather’s grave. John Predom travels around Vermont photographing and documenting Revolutionary War Soldiers memorials and places them in an album he keeps on Facebook. The first photograph he placed back in 2019 was of a grave where etched into the stone you can barely make out the name of David Rich. My genealogy tentacles stood up when I scrolled past the photo as I thought, I have a David Rich in Vermont who served in the Revolutionary War! Sure enough, it was my David. A lot of Revolutionary War soldiers served for brief engagements when the enemy neared their home location. That was the way it was for David. He first served as a scout in what was deemed the “Strafford Alarm” of July 1777 where almost the entirety of the inhabitants of Strafford fled the town, pushing their stock to the Connecticut River where they hoped they would find safety around Hanover, New Hampshire. Once there, David and three other men from Strafford accompanied the scouts back into the woods to …

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Land Records - OR Index North

President’s Message for October 2021

Land records are considered one of the most underused resources for amateur genealogists. September’s meeting featured AIGS own land record guru, James “Jim” Shroads. Jim made a living, late in life, by digging into these types of records for his legal practice. When you find people like Jim who are willing to share their knowledge of specific types of records, you should seek them out! Jim took what could have been a difficult subject matter and brought it down to a level that we could all understand. Well done Jim! If you missed his presentation, it was not recorded. Sorry! However, he instructs during our Beginning Genealogy Classes, and Land and Courthouse Records is one of the topics, so I expect he’ll repeat this presentation during January’s classes. Speaking of which, we are now taking reservations for our 2022 Beginning Genealogy Classes! Limited to only 24 seats, these classes fill up quickly. More details can be found here: Beginning Genealogy Course – First Session. Opportunities exist in our society for members to seek out and get assistance with their family history research. From our 1,000+ genealogy book collection at the Fernandina Beach library, our general meetings featuring specific genealogy topics, to our new Special Interest Group subjects, you can find a vast array of educational opportunities to increase your genealogy knowledge throughout the year. If ever you have a question, the library committee staffs the question and answer sessions at the library, and are more than willing to assist you …

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Timucuan Village by Theodore de Bry

President’s Message for September 2021

August General Meeting Highlights I want to personally thank Prof. Keith Ashley for an outstanding presentation about the ongoing archaeological excavations on Big Talbot Island. If you were unable to attend our first in-person meeting since Covid_19, then you also missed one of the best speakers we’ve been able to schedule! If your perception of what a Timucuan village looked like back in the 16th Century is tied to Theodore de Bry’s engraving, pictured here, then you have been deceived. The excavation is showing that the depiction is largely the fanciful artistry of de Bry, where he reused features found in other tribal villages and applied it to whatever tribe he was engraving at the time. History shows us that tribes were distinct and reliant on the resources around them. Their utensils, tools, food, and homes were all dependent on the resources available. The findings at Mocama are based on three themes described by Prof. Ashley: Hereditary Leaders Ranked Clans Social Inequality Mocama is not the only dig Prof. Ashley is leading, we hope to have him back in 2022 to discuss the findings from the other excavation! July General Meeting Highlights I missed commenting about our virtual meeting held in July as I was still working on a personal family writeup, the fruition of that presentation. As we did in June, we featured a video lecture from Prof. John Philip Colletta, part of the genealogy DVD series by The Great Courses called Discovering your roots : an introduction to …

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President’s Message for August 2021

We are back! I am happy to announce that we will begin in-person general meetings starting this month with a presentation by Prof. Keith Ashley of UNF on 17 August 2021 at 7pm in the Fernandina Beach Library community room. Prof. Ashley’s presentation will update us on the dig he and his team have been conducting on Big Talbot Island. While not genealogy specific, an understanding of the historical aspects of the area your ancestors lived in is important when researching. It helps us place those family facts in an historical context. Don’t have family from Nassau County? Neither do I, but I’ll still be there, as this is sure to be an intriguing presentation! Due to the active spread of Covid in our community we strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask, as we will not be able to socially distance ourselves. I am excited that the programming committee was able to book him. Great job! Speaking of committees, we are in the process of re-activating two different committees. One of the things I noticed when redeveloping the AIGS website was that the cemetery project was incomplete. It’s actually been over a decade since any group has traipsed the cemeteries of Nassau County in order to record those interred there and make a survey of all markers, including photographs. If you like to get out and walk around cemeteries then perhaps this is a good fit for you? Please contact our Vice-President James Shroads if you’d like to help …

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