BGS Meeting — May 26, 2012 — The Era of Patent Medicines

The Birmingham Genealogical Society meets the fourth Saturday of each month (ex. Nov. & Dec.) at the Downtown Birmingham Public Library. Guests are always welcome!

Next meeting: Saturday, May 26th at 2 p.m.; Board Meeting at 1:15 p.m.

Meeting Room: Arrington Auditorium, 4th Floor, Linn-Henley Building

Speaker:  Michael A. Flannery, Associate Director of Historical Collections at UAB

Program Topic: The Era of Patent Medicines

It is hard for most of us to imagine a world without the Food & Drug Administration, no knowledge of bacteria and germs, and lack of qualified medical practitioners, but that was the case 100-150 years ago.  Mr. Flannery will discuss both the myths and the facts of the era of patent medicines in the United States.

Michael Flannery is the author of 8 books, most recently Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life (2011). Most of his research and published work has been in the history of pharmacy. In 2007 he edited and reissued Nicholas Culpeper’s English Physician, which he published with the University of Alabama Press. He is professor and Associate Director for Historical Collections at UAB. Although a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, since 1999 he has been happy to call Alabama his home, where he lives with his wife and three mischievous cats in Shelby County.


BGS Participating in the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project

BGS has joined forces with genealogy societies and organizations around the country as part of the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. The initiative aims to publish a free, online searchable name index of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census.   This online index will be free forever, offering family history researchers a rich genealogical data set for their ongoing use.

For complete details on how to participate and support BGS, see our 1940 U. S. Census Community Project page.

BGS Meeting — March 24, 2012 — Counterfeiters in Alabama

The Birmingham Genealogical Society meets the fourth Saturday of each month (ex. Nov. & Dec.) at the Downtown Birmingham Public Library. Guests are always welcome!

Next meeting: Saturday, March 24th at 2 p.m.; Board Meeting at 1:15 p.m.

Meeting Room: Arrington Auditorium, 4th Floor, Linn-Henley Building

Speaker:  Miriam Fowler

Program Topic: Counterfeiters in Alabama

Many early Alabama settlers were running from something in a checkered past looking for a new start. When Tom Davis arrived in Alabama he was not looking to change his ways but he was running from the law in Georgia. He had broken jail in 1816 in Warren County after being arrested for passing counterfeit money and found refuge in Brown’s Valley in Blount County among the renegade Creeks, Cherokees and white outlaws hiding from the law. From newspaper accounts giving warnings of the circulation of bogus money, it is believed that Davis worked his counterfeit gang all up and down the East Coast in the early 1800s. By his own words, “he had been 38 years engaged in that business during which time he had made from $600,000 to $1,000,000.” Some of the men associated with him and Alabama may have been involved in other places as well, but maybe seem to have been a personal charisma that drew to him all that had a bent for larceny. So it was not difficult to find men to help him operate his counterfeiting ring in Alabama. Please join us as Miriam Fowler presents “Counterfeiters in Alabama.”

AGS Spring Seminar March 31, 2012

From our friends at the Alabama Genealogical Society:


The Alabama Genealogical Society Spring 2012 Seminar

Using Tax Lists to Solve Genealogical Problems
U. S. Territorial Papers, 1789-1873
Estate Records: More Than Just Wills
More Than Land Descriptions: Treasures Among the Deeds

Presented by Linda Woodward Geiger

Saturday March 31, 2012
Brock Forum Auditorium Dwight Beeson Business Building
Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

To reserve a seminar packet your registration must be received by March 24. Use the link below for more information and a registration form.

Recent Additions at

While we were all busy celebrating the holidays with family and friends, the folks at were busy posting new collections of data.  You can see all the recent collections here:

Genealogy Blog

One that will be of interest of most viewing this blog are the “Alabama, County Estate Records…” — not every county is represented at this time, but there are enough to allow you to spend days downloading and viewing estate records. The records in this collection seem to be from the microfilm of the “Loose Records Project” completed in all counties just a few years ago.  The records are not fully searchable, but are organized by County and Last Name.  I have noticed in more than one county that the papers imaged under a particular name, may not always be for that individual.  Of course, there are the “mixing” of same names, but I have also seen a Robinson estate mixed in with the estate of a Williams.  Additionally, check for records filmed under the name of the administrator/executor or even under the heirs.

Alabama, County Estate Records

Good luck and happy searching!

Request for 2012 Conference Presentations – Black Belt Genealogy Conference

The following was received from our friends at the Black Belt African American Genealogical and Historical Society. Please contact them with any questions.

Request for 2012 Conference Presentations

The Black Belt African American Genealogical and Historical Society is accepting proposals for presentations at our 6th annual conference and family history fair, February 17 & 18, 2012 in Historic Selma Alabama. The conference location is the Hank Sanders Technology Center at Wallace Community College Selma. The conference format includes a Friday evening pre-conference meet and greet event and Saturday morning and afternoon concurrent sessions with a keynote speaker and awards luncheon and an afternoon plenary session featuring a panel discussion exploring the dynamics of the great migration from the Black Belt and the motivations and consequences for those who left and for those who chose to stay.
Proposed presentations should support the following conference goals:

  • Promote the mission of BBAAGHS and stimulate thought, reflection and dialogue on the inspiration and wisdom to be gained from the knowledge of our heritage and genealogy in terms of present and future action for individuals and/or communities.
  • Explore the proposition that: (1) there are positive and negative remnants of our heritage still impacting the African American community in significant ways; (2) knowledge of the collective African American heritage (as related through individual family histories) can be of benefit for the African American community to overcome the negative remnants and maximize the positive remnants; (3) strategies must be identified and implemented to maximize the positive remnants and overcome the negative remnants of our heritage in order to build a legacy for future generations.

Specific areas of focus for presentations include but are not limited to:
The Black Belt as a Collage of Cultures – the intersection of African American, European and Native American peoples and their contributions, accomplishments and cultural influence on the region
The Black Belt as a Repository of Resources – the wealth of natural, physical, genealogical and historical resources, well –known and little-known;
The Black Belt as a Hallmark of History – the historically significant events of the region that shape past, present and future generations
Proposals must include the following information:

  • Title and brief abstract for a 60-minute presentation including a 10-minute question and answer session
  • Format (PowerPoint, overhead, other )
  • Description of target audience
  • Audio-visual requirements
  • Brief resume of your expertise and experience with presenting the topic you have selected
  • Brief bio and photo for conference brochure (150 word limit)
  • Complete contact information including email address, home and cell number

Presenters receive an honorarium and conference registration. In-state presenter honorarium is $50. Out-of-state presenter honorarium is $100. Travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility of the presenter.
Submit proposals electronically by November 30, 2011 to or mail to the Black Belt African American Genealogical and Historical Society, Inc. at:
P.O. Box 971
Selma AL 36702
ATTN: 2012 Conference RFP Committee

AGS Adds Walker County Records to Loose Records Project Index Online

The following was received from our friends at the Alabama Genealogical Society.
October 20, 2011

From eleven microfilm reels, AGS member Caroline Horton has finished transcribing a twenty-five page index of 556 Walker County Probate Court estate case files. Her computer file included 1,009 primary key names of decedents and estate administrators, and numerous heirs and legatees. They have been added to the LRPW database that now has 57,322 searchable names culled from loose court papers of twenty-four Alabama counties.

Supplemental index-keys are included to cover variations in spelling and to enhance the use of wild-card searches. As with other entries in the LRPW database, a found record will also report the probate date-range of each case and the reference number of the film reel available at the Alabama Dept. of Archives & History in Montgomery and FamilySearch Centers worldwide.

To read more about the LRPW project and to search the database visit

For an example of a record, click on the Search Index button in the banner at the top of the LRPW home page.

On the search page enter the surname Hutto (in SEARCH ALL COUNTIES).
From the list of “hits” click on Hutto,, E. S. in Walker County.