Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The family History Center will be closed the afternoon of May 29.  The morning shift is still available to help you with your genealogy.  Shift time 10 am - 4 pm.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


The Thursday Shift, May 24, will be closed today.  The Center will be operating on regular schedule next Week with our Tuesday shifts, 10 am - 1 pm and 1pm - 4 pm.  Please check the Athens Family History Facebook page for real time closures.  Emergencies do happen.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


The Athens Family History Center's Tuesday afternoon shift will be closed, May 8.  The center will be open for it's morning shift 10 - 1 pm.  The center will be open Wednesday 6:30 - 8 pm and Thursday 5:30 - 8 pm

Friday, May 4, 2012


Genealogists are rightly excited about the 1940 census being released. It is available to everyone through the web site of the National Archives and Records Administration:
Unfortunately, the name index is a work in progress. You can see how much of your state has been done on the web site: www.familysearch.org/1940census . You go to the appropriate county and state, and then search the enumeration districts. The latter usually has some form of index by street. City directories, if available, can be a big help but it can be a slow process. 

Efforts are being made to create a name index and, so far, the District of Columbia and Nevada have been done. (In 1940, even Cullman County had more people than the entire state of Nevada.) The 1940 census never had a soundex index.  The federal census has been compiled roughly every ten years since 1790 for determining the population for purposes of apportioning the members of Congress. In 1885, a census was taken for the few states willing to help pay for it, such as Florida , to reflect their growth in population. The 1920 census was taken but was ignored by the then Republican Congress and President because it would have given the Democrats new districts as Americans were moving from the country to the cities in greater numbers). 

Some of the census records, such as for Alabama in 1820, have been lost from before 1830. State censuses, tax lists, federal land records, voter records etc. can sometimes supplement or substitute for federal census records. The censuses for 1790 through 1840 are only lists of heads of households with statistical descriptions of each household, including counting members of the household who are older than the head of the household and people living in the household who are not family members. Indians were usually excluded from the censuses before 1870.   Censuses began listing each free person starting in 1850. When a census is 72 years old, it is opened to the general public although anyone can purchase a copy of any federal census record where the person appears, even for 2010.

The census is intended to reflect the population of the United States on a specific day of the year. For 1940, it was April 1. On that day, the census takers began going door to door asking questions of people at home and, for those people not at home, of neighbors. It took weeks and weeks to compile the census and sometimes the information more accurately reflects the household on the day that the census taker visited than on April 1, 1940. If the person being interviewed was a member of the household, that fact is indicated on the census.

Aside from the usual questions about age, race, sex, place of birth, marital status, occupation etc., the 1940 census reflected the Great Depression and President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Special questions were asked about employment status, income, residence in 1935, participation in government work programs, military service etc. Five percent of the families had a longer supplemental questionnaire to provide the government with statistical data. 

Bob Davis


Our genealogy collection will be closed May 8 through 12, May 26-28,and June 2.

We will be offering genealogical seminars this summer including:
June 8-9            Introduction to Genealogy
June 22              Southern Genealogy
June 23              Civil War Genealogy
July 13               Advanced Genealogy
July 14               Book Publishing

Each class starts at 9 AM and ends at 2PM. The cost is $35 for any or all of the above together. You can pay and register when you come to class. The classes will be taught in the library depending on space available. We meet in the basement.

Our old friend Frazine Taylor, formerly the head of the search room at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, was on the national television show Finding Your Roots last Sunday night.

This Saturday I will be speaking on the Revolutionary War battle of Kettle Creek, Georgia, February 14, 1779, at the Grove Hill Methodist Church in Grove Hill, Alabama, from 215 PM to 315 PM. It is part of a day long symposium being put on by the Clarke County Museum , 251-275 8684.

Bob Davis

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Nearly 4 million new Welsh records on findmypast.co.uk

March 2012
We have just published almost 4 million Welsh parish registers on findmypast.co.uk
This is the first time that the complete Welsh parish baptism, marriage and death records have been published online and is fantastic news for anyone with Welsh ancestors.
The records cover Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Glamorganshire. Further details are as follows:
  • Baptisms: 1,418,921 records covering 1538-1911
  • Marriages: 950,254 records covering 1539-1926
  • Banns: 340,002 records covering 1701-1926
  • Burials: 1,169,685 records covering 1539-2007
Coming soon are records for the following counties: Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire.
We are proud to be working with the National Library of Wales and the Welsh County Archivists Group to bring you these records.