American Indian Genealogy Research

I took a class on researching American Indian ancestors at the Huntsville Madison County Public Library.  It was an introductory course, but I learned a great deal about the topic.

The instructor showed us how to use Ancestory.com to research federal and state census records.  We also researched the Indian census rolls conducted by the Department of Indian Affairs.  This department was founded in the late 1800’s, and was responsible for tracking the Indian population.

The teacher explained the significance of the Dawes Commission Records and showed us how to access that information.  The Oklahoma Historical Society website has the completed records and provides an easy search engine for research purposes.

The class ended with a discussion about other records that might help people find information about their American Indian ancestors, such as:

  • Indian Removal Records
  • Indian School Records
  • Will and Probate Records
  • Church Records
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs Records
  • Military Records
  • Employment Records

Sloss Furnace – Birmingham, Alabama

Sloss Furnace began operation shortly after the Civil War and continued until 1970.  It was a huge producer of iron and steel, which was used in buildings all over the United States.  Sloss Furnace also provided the necessary material for weaponry during times of war and even produced common household products.

Sloss Furnace is also considered the most haunted place in Alabama.  An untold number of men lost their lives at Sloss Furnace, due to the dangerous working conditions.

In the 1990’s, a foreman named James “Slag” Wormwood was in charge of the night operations at the furnace.  In spite of limited visibility and extremely dangerous working conditions, Slag wanted his shift to produce at the highest level.

Slag refused to allow the men to have any breaks.  He would push them to work beyond their limits and completely disregarded the safety of his crew.  As a result, substantially more men were killed in workplace accidents whenever Slag was in charge.

Slag died one night when he “fell” into the largest furnace at the facility.  The workers claimed Slag slipped off the walkway; however, Slag would have no reason to be on that walkway and the story was viewed with great suspension.

In spite of the lack of evidence, everyone believed the night crew murdered Slag by throwing him into the furnace.

Various people have claimed to see Slag haunting the area.  He appeared to them as a badly burned man or as a man on fire.  They said Slag would push them and yell for them to “Get back to work!”  A few people that claimed to have seen Slag, also suffered severe burns when touched by him.

The hauntings at Sloss Furnace have been investigated by numerous paranormal investigative teams, including Ghost Adventurous, Ghost Hunters, and psychic investigators from AIRLINE.

Alabama War Museum

The Alabama War Museum is located in Madison, Alabama.  The museum is small; however, it has an impressive variety of artifacts and historical items.  They have rotating exhibits that change several times a year, so each visit is an adventure.  Also, the gift shop is amazing and full of unique items.

 

 

Parking Meter History

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Several years ago, I decided to read about the history of parking meters.  I know, it doesn’t exactly sound like a thriller.  However, it was interesting.

What really surprised me was the location of the first parking meter.  I would have guessed an extremely large city like New York or Chicago.  I was wrong.  The first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Go figure….

 

 

Burritt On the Mountain

Burritt on the Mountain is wonderful place to visit.  It’s located on Monte Sano Mountain and it overlooks the city of Huntsville, Alabama.

The historic park is filled with homes, antiques, and a barnyard from the 19th century.  Most of the homes are open, allowing visitors to freely explore.  There are a lot of informational signs posted around the park, which is designed to educate visitors on how people lived during that time period.

The park even has play areas for children, so they can dress up as pioneers, pan for gold, or climb on carriages.

The Burritt Mansion is part of the park and is also open to visitors.  Dr. William Henry Burritt built the mason in the 1930’s.  Dr. Burritt was born in 1869, in Huntsville, Alabama.  He worked as a homeopathic physician and he spent his retirement years at the mansion.

The mansion is gorgeous and was built with a variety of architectural styles, including classical, revival, federal, and art deco.

If you ever visit Huntsville, make sure to check out Burritt on the Mountain.

 

Fun Flag Facts

Today is flag day, which got me thinking about the history of flags.  I went to wikipedia.com and found some interesting facts about flags.

  • Flags were used in the middle ages to identify a knight.
  • Ships began using flags in the 17th century to show their country of origin and to communicate.
  • The flag of Denmark was designed in 1478, and is the oldest national flag still in use.
  • Flags are also used for religious purposes, such as the Buddhist prayer flags.