30 July 2013


I'm not sure how "Platt" maps got their name. 

(If any of my readers know the answer to that, please leave a comment!)

Platt maps are maps that often feature the property lines of farms or rural areas, areas that may now be cities or suburbs.  In a way they are like zoning maps today.

Platt maps have the names of the owners of that land on a specific year and can tell you so much about the early settlers of an area,  and lead you to more information such as who got Land Grants, names to search for in early wills and land sales, etc.

Something that can be a fun early genealogy research lesson for kids is to find the Platt map for where you live now and see how many of the roads, lakes, and other geographical features bear the names of those early settlers say right before and after the Civil War.

I like the big old fashioned maps that have been replaced by digitalized editions on the internet as I find them far easier to read, but if you live far away from a library that houses the big maps this is a good option.  Locally, you might find that a historical society or university library has a collection that you can use without being a member or student.

After the American Revolution, many soldiers who fought for little or no pay and lived were rewarded with land.  These are called "Reparation Lands."  Not exactly "40 acres and a mule" but something like that.

Looking at the same area before and after the Civil War is also an interesting history lesson.

25 July 2013


I've been visiting local historical sites.  But I have to tell you that when I first moved to Southern California and met people who were born and raised here (people who seem to be in the minority) they told me that there was NO HISTORY HERE. 

How could that be?

Hadn't they been taught some American History or some local history in school?

So I set out to learn the history of California, of the South West, and of my local area on my own.  I toured adobe houses, missions,  museums, and learned about what had been torn down via books.  Now I revisit some of these places.

First there is the history of Spanish Mission Building.  There is also the history of Native American Tribes: California had so many natural resouces that it was an area of diverse tribal cultures.  Then there was the Rancherio period; Spanish Land Grants which were later divied up.

One of the most interesting things I learned was that during the Spanish Land Grant and Rancherio period, before there was that surge of immigration from the east coast west, a few explorers and adventurers made their way west.  Most of these people were men, they were often Scottish, and when they MARRIED INTO SPANISH FAMILIES THEY BECAME CATHOLIC AND SPANISHIFIED THEIR SURNAMES.

Over the next couple posts, I urge you to learn your local history, especially as it becomes your family history at one point or another!

03 July 2013


This is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle of Gettysburg. 

Here is the link to the park and the special celebrations: GETTYSBURG PA - CIVIL WAR - 150th ANNIVERSARY  JULY 1-4 amazing events!