Friday, September 20, 2013

"The Way We Worked" Exhibit @ the Library

Guest Speakers to Discuss Exhibit on Wednesday, September 25th at the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library
Two opportunities to join the conversation @ 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

"The Way We Worked" is a stunning, locally created exhibit focusing on the history of local Poplar Bluff and Butler County industry, commerce, and education. The story unfolds in striking pictures depicting how the river, railroad, cypress forests and agriculture shaped our community.

Join the Library for a meeting of memories, as Dr. Frank Nickell, retired SEMO History Professor, and John Stanard, retired journalist, author and local historian, discuss the exhibit and provide further insight and story behind the pictures.   

"The Way We Worked" is on exhibit at the Library now until Monday, October 7th.

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Books For Genealogy Reference On Display

What do you do at home with an oddball piece of furniture that just doesn't seem to "fit" anywhere or have a real purpose?  Throw it out?  Await divine inspiration? Keep moving it until its "out of sight, out of mind"?  Libraries have this same problem with furniture.  Fortunately, librarians can be a resourceful lot and re-purpose many things.

Such is the tale of the pictured bookstand.  It's moved all over the building for a number of years.  Yes, bookstands generally hold books.  But what books? And where?  Then it hit.  We should display new Genealogy/Reference books!!  We already do this for fiction, non-fiction, videos, audiobooks, etc., so why not in Genealogy?  A new book is easily overshadowed by all the other items in that collection and may go unnoticed for quite sometime because researchers believe they've seen all the books we have on a certain location or topic.  Just look at all the wonderful new resources that might have been missed but are now on display:
  • 1890 Genealogical Census Reconstruction: Ohio Edition, Volume 1
  • 1890 Genealogical Census Reconstruction: Mississippi, Volume 1
  • 1890 Genealogical Census Reconstruction: Mississippi, Volume 2
  • Blacks Found in the Deeds of Laurens & Newberry Counties, South Carolina: 1785-1827
  • Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 1630-1699
  • Canary Islands Migration to Louisiana, 1778-1783. the History and Passenger Lists of the Islenos Volunteer Recruits and Their Families
  • Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776
  • Index to Alabama Wills, 1808-1870
  • Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Baltimore, 1820-1834
  • Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Charleston, 1820-1829
  • Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia, 1800-1819
  • Pioneers and Makers of Arkansas
  • Some Alabama Pioneers
  • State Census of North Carolina, 1784-1787
Genealogy books aren't cheap.  These 14 titles cost approximately $500!  Wondering where the funding for these new items came from?  Money generously donated to the library as a memorial by friends and family allowed these to be purchased in memory of the dearly departed.  We hope their gifts to the library benefit you in your research on your next trip to the library as well as future researchers in the the years to come.

Monday, July 29, 2013

1949 Aerial Photograph of Poplar Bluff

Have you visited the Genealogy Department lately and noticed a new photograph?  If not, take a look on your next visit!

This photograph was donated to the library by Mr. and Mrs. Harold Jackson of Poplar Bluff (former owners of Jackson Dodge).

What you are seeing is an aerial photograph of Poplar Bluff taken in 1949 as Butler County celebrated its Centennial of existence after being carved out of Wayne County in 1849.

This is a great example of how well the community had recovered from the devastating impact of the 1927 Tornado 22 years earlier.  You'll find familiar landmarks that help you orient yourself to the city's past.  Along the bottom of the photograph is Black River with the bridges of Pine and Vine crossing it.  Follow the right bridge (Pine St.) up to the top and you'll see the "dog-leg" curve with Sacred Heart Church and at the top is the "intersection" of Highways 60 and 67 along with the old water tower.

The library has had this photograph reframed with UV resistant glass to protect it from fading by sunlight and to preserve it for future generations to admire.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Genealogy Society Meetings

For the months of June, July, and August, the Butler County Genealogy Society will hold their meetings at the First United Methodist Church at 500 N. Main St. instead of at the Twin Towers. Use the parking lot entrance and follow the posted signs to find the meeting room.  Meetings will begin at the regular 2 PM starting time on the fourth Thursday of the month.

If you're planning on attending, stop by and visit the library before or after the meeting.  After all, we're just a couple blocks away!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Opening the Ozarks

We're happy to once again bring to you, our loyal readers, a new resource in the Genealogy Department!  Opening the Ozarks will be a great help to anyone with roots in Missouri prior to statehood.  The publisher does an excellent job of describing the contents, so with that said, I'll turn the remainder of this posting over to them!
"As the oldest European settlement in Missouri, Ste. Genevieve was the funnel through which the eastern Ozarks (the 5,000 square miles beyond Ste. Genevieve’s location on the Mississippi) was established. A magisterial account of the settlement of this area from 1760 through 1830, Opening the Ozarks focuses on the acquisition and occupation of land, the transformation of the environment, the creation of cohesive settlements, and the building of neighborhoods and eventually organized counties.
"The study begins with the French Creole settlement at Old Ste. Genevieve in the middle of the eighteenth century. It describes the movement of the French into the Ozark hills during the rest of that century and continues with that of the American immigrants into Upper Louisiana after 1796, ending with the Americanization of the district after the Louisiana Purchase. Walter Schroeder examines the cultural transition from a French society, operating under a Spanish administration, to an American society in which French, Indians, and Africans formed minorities.
"Schroeder used thousands of French- and Spanish-language documents, including the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain, as well as documents from Ste. Genevieve and St. Louis to gather his information. He also utilized thousands of land records from the American period, including deeds of land sales and sales from the public domain, and plats from both the Spanish and American periods. In addition, Schroeder performed years of fieldwork and perused aerial photography of the area, interviewing residents and searching for vestiges of the past in the landscape.
"As the only study to deal with the cradle of Missouri and the first trans-Mississippi expansion of the Anglo-American frontier, Opening the Ozarks will be invaluable to anyone interested in America’s geographical history, particularly that of Missouri."
Until next time, good luck in all your research!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Stop and Smell the Magnolia Blossoms

Corner of 2nd St and Oak St
As Spring approaches, the area's landscape will be awash in a rainbow of colors heralding its arrival after the long, dark nights of Winter.  The magnolia tree sitting on the southeast corner of the block occupied by the library will be a part of this yearly ritual as it has been doing for over 80 years.

According to the marker placed near the base of the tree last year by the Poplar Bluff Garden Club, it was planted in 1930 upon the completion of the Poplar Bluff Hospital by Dr. H. M. Henrickson.

This historic tree has stood by seeing the rise of the original portion of the library (completed in 1936) and two major renovations while also outliving the Poplar Bluff Hospital building which was demolished in 1994 and the Henrickson Clinic that was also located on this block.

If you have family in Poplar Bluff or connections to the city's past, how many of them have walked or driven by this tree over the years?  Maybe they were visiting someone in the old Poplar Bluff Hospital and on a hot summer day enjoyed its shade.  Or possibly some energetic children were chasing one another around the trunk playing a game of tag or climbing the low limbs while waiting for their parents.  And who knows, maybe one Spring day they stopped to smell the blossoms just as you can on your next visit to the library.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Family Maps of Wayne County, Missouri

The library would like to thank the Butler County Genealogy Society on its latest donation, Family Maps of Wayne County, Missouri by Gregory A. Boyd, J.D.  This book contains 342 pages with a total of 86 maps.  This donation was made in memory of Betty Hanks and Amy Berry.  Ms. Hanks was a founding member of the Genealogy Society and anyone researching Butler County has probably seen her name listed on many of the society's projects such as the cemetery books and other transcribed records.

The following description of Family Maps of Wayne County, Missouri is from the website of the publisher, Arphax Publishing Co. They cover counties in several states with publications of this type but nothing for Butler County as of yet.
  • Locating original landowners in maps has never been an easy task-until now. This volume in the Family Maps series contains newly created maps of original landowners (patent maps) in what is now Wayne County, Missouri, gleaned from the indexes of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. But it offers much more than that. For each township in the county, there are two additional maps accompanying the patent map: a road map and a map showing waterways, railroads, and both modern and many historical city-centers and cemeteries.
  • Included are indexes to help you locate what you are looking for, whether you know a person's name, a last name, a place-name, or a cemetery. The combination of maps and indexes are designed to aid researchers of American history or genealogy to explore frontier neighborhoods, examine family migrations, locate hard-to-find cemeteries and towns, as well as locate land based on legal descriptions found in old documents or deeds.
  • The patent-maps are essentially plat maps but instead of depicting owners for a particular year, these maps show original landowners, no matter when the transfer from the federal government was completed. Dates of patents typically begin near the time of statehood and run into the early 1900s.
Don't forget the Butler County Genealogy Society meets at 2 PM on the 4th Thursday of the month in the Snyder Activity Room at the Twin Towers.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

School Days - Yearbooks @ the Library

We now have copies of four consecutive years of yearbooks for Westwood Baptist Academy's yearbook, The Talon, covering the 2007/08 through 2010/11 school years.

The library also owns copies of yearbooks for each of the following:
  • Eugene Field Knights for the five school years of 1987/88 through 1993/94
  • The Little Mule (Poplar Bluff Junior High) for the years 1977, 1979-1981, and 1994
  • The Bluff (Poplar Bluff Senior High) beginning in 1920 and through 2007, with gaps in the more recent years.
  • The Reflector (Three Rivers Community College) for 1968-1972
These items are available for viewing in the Genealogy Reference section under the call number of "G-R 920" with the exception of the 1920-1949 copies of The Bluff.  These items are fragile and are designated as "RARE ITEMS".  Viewing those years requires an appointment be made in advance since they are housed in the director's office.  Viewing them also requires the presence of a staff member, the wearing of cotton gloves to protect them from further damage, and photocopying is not allowed though photographing is acceptable.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1962 Death Certificates Now Available Online At The State Archives

In less than 72 hours, volunteers of the Missouri State Archives have managed to index all Missouri death certificates for 1962!  Yep, it's that time again, over 42,000 new documents just became available and are waiting to be researched.  While not receiving the fanfare of last year's release of the 1940 Census, the latest batch of death certificates are now available to the public for research.

To the non-genealogist, the idea of using death certificates in research may seem morbid, but this is (usually) the last record created documenting the life of a relative, aside from an obituary and possibly probate records.

Personally, I've found choosing just a county and a year (in this case, 1962) one of the best ways to search for information.  Using this method, I can browse the index and discover surnames of interest for individuals I might not have been aware of previously and is a great work around for spelling errors on the original document or a mistake in the trascription process.

These single sheets of paper can be a treasure trove of information.  The majority contain the date, place and cause of death, along with date and location of birth.  If the "informant" providing the information was close to the deceased, parent's names (including the ever-elusive mother's maiden name!!), spouse's name, address of usual residence, occupation, and social security number might be available.  Other information included is the funeral home taking care of the arrangements along with the date and place of funeral and burial.

The Missouri State Archives website explains:
"The Missouri Death Certificate Database, containing death records created after 1910 and over 50 years old, makes that information available online through a searchable index that links to a digitized image of the original death certificate. The index can be searched by first name and last name, county, and by year and month.  Once a name is selected, a digitized image of the original certificate can be retrieved."
Once retrieved, the image may be printed and/or saved to your own computer in PDF format.  The best part? It's FREE!!  To begin your search, go to: Missouri Death Certificates Database.

If you have questions or comments about these records, please contact the Missouri State Archives at  For death certificates less than 50 years old, contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services through their website here.

Until the 1963 death certificates are released and indexed next year, happy hunting and good luck with your research!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

First Wednesday Computer Classes February & April

Mark your calendars! The regular computer class held the first Wednesday of each month will be mobile device oriented for the genealogy crowd.  If you have an iPad, iPhone, or Android device bring it along or play with one the library owns.  Not into genealogy? No problem! Ideas being presented in the February 6th class will have other practical uses for the non-genealogists.

Please sign up by calling the library (573-686-8639) or stopping by prior to the date of the class since space and available devices are limited!

February 6th, 10 AM, Conference Room - Genealogy on the iPad

iPads are changing the way genealogists go about researching.  No longer are the bulky binders and messy folders of loose, random notes necessary.  Find out how going digital can help streamline and organize your research whether your travel destination is near or far. Don't have an iPad? Many of these ideas easily translate to use on other smartphones and tablet devices!

April 3rd 10 AM, Conference Room - App Training

Genealogy - there's an app for that!  That's right, has an app for you to carry around those thousands of cousins you've collected over the years in the palm of your hand and access them with the touch of finger.  Attend and find out how!  Works for iPad/iPhone and Android devices!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Take Two And Call Me In The Morning - Historical Flu Pandemics

The news lately is filled with stories of the latest flu outbreak across the US.  These outbreaks, called pandemics (or wide spread epidemics), crop up from time to time.  There have been four influenza pandemics since the "Spanish flu" of 1918/1919 when an estimated 50 million people died. Other pandemics occurred in 1957/1958, 1968/1969, and 2009/2010.  For additional information on these individual pandemics and other years a potential pandemic was feared, visit the government's website: Pandemic Flu History.  This site contains links to additional resources, including a PBS documentary, information from the National Archives, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

If during your research you encounter numerous death dates occurring close together in a family or community, disease might be the common denominator and but not necessarily from influenza.  Malaria, yellow fever, small pox, measles, and dysentery are but a few other possible diseases that might have swept through your family's community.  If death certificates are not available to determine cause of death, try checking newspaper reports for any mention of local outbreaks or an obituary might possibly provide a clue as to the cause of death and the duration of any illness.

When studied on a larger family scale across generations, "medical genealogy" can provide clues to health risks that run in families, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, etc and can indicate increased risks of developing those conditions.  That's why doctors often ask if there is a family history of certain conditions.  Communicable diseases such as the flu would not fall into these often genetically linked conditions unless the immune system was already compromised but it's still a good idea to know your medical background for your own personal well being.

May you enjoy good health and success as you continue your research!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Scots in Georgia and the Deep South, 1735-1845

The Butler County Genealogical Society has donated Scots in Georgia and the Deep South, 1735-1845, in memory of Henry Allen. His widow, June, currently serves as the president of the BCGS.

I hope you find it immensely useful in your research as the library continues to work in cooperation with the BCGS to bring you additional, unique resources to the library's genealogy collection.

Below is's description of what you can expect from this newly available resource on your next trip to the library.  
   "During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the area now known as Georgia was a buffer zone between British-governed South Carolina and Spanish-governed Florida. Settlement of the region by the British did not take place until 1732 when James Oglethorpe established the colony of Georgia as a refuge for English debtors, paupers, and discharged prisoners. Scottish immigration to the colony commenced almost at the same time, however, and was made up of two distinct categories of immigrants: Lowlanders and Highlanders. Lowlanders immigrated for purely economic reasons, as farmers and later as merchants; while Highlanders were recruited to the colony for strategic purposes, basically to guard the southern frontier from Spanish incursions.
  "Somewhat later, at the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763, the Spanish withdrew from Florida. The removal of the Spanish threat and the acquisition of new lands by the British led to an influx of settlers, including Scots, into Florida and as far west as Mobile. Many of the earliest settlers in the area were former Scottish soldiers and indentured servants, awarded land on the condition that they develop it and settle other immigrants on the land within a few years.
  "This new work by the prolific Scottish author David Dobson contains the names of several thousand Scots who immigrated to Georgia and the Deep South, settling in the area sometime between 1735 and 1845. Based on probate records, court records, family papers, newspapers and journals, naturalization papers, church registers, gravestone inscriptions, printed sources, and census returns, the information provided in this book is of a broad and mixed character, generally giving some or all of the following details: name, place and date of birth, occupation, place and date of settlement in Georgia or the Deep South, and names of wives and children.
  "If you're looking for a Scottish ancestor who hasn't shown up in any of Mr. Dobson's other books, this could be your answer."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Midwest Genealogy Center & to host conference

If you're up for a road trip to Blue Springs / Independence, MO in March, this should be an excellent conference to attend!  Pricing and registration information is available by clicking here.

Sponsored by and the Midwest Genealogy Center, Ancestry Day will be held on March 16, 2013, from 9:00 to 4:30 p.m. Ancestry Day will feature sessions taught by staff members, Anne Mitchell and Lou Szucs, and staff from the Midwest Genealogy Center focusing on all levels of genealogy research. Held at the Adams Pointe Conference Center in Blue Springs, Missouri.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Sessions include How to Use, Getting the Most from, Military Records at and Fold3, and Using for Finding Family in Local History Sources. The day will end with Stump the Experts, a panel discussion featuring staff from Midwest Genealogy Center and the Ancestry experts.

A welcome reception at the Midwest Genealogy Center [3440 S. Lee's Summit Road, Independence, MO] is offered on Friday, March 15, 2013, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., for attendees to network and meet the Ancestry speakers. Limited space is available. Register now for this free event.

Make your Ancestry Day an Ancestry Weekend. The Midwest Genealogy Center is offering FREE classes and events on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, as well as being open for research. Check for information on location and hours.

Early Bird Registration is $30. After March 1, 2013, $35. Refunds given up to March 9, 2013. If you have questions, please call 816.252.7228 and ask for Angela or Janice or email them at