Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshops set for Birmingham Public Library

The Birmingham Public Library in April is launching a series of Saturday workshops, “Beyond the Basics of Genealogy,” at the downtown Southern History Department.

The one to two-hour classes cover various genealogical research topics and will be conducted by the department’s staff. Classes are held at 10 a.m. in the Board Room of the downtown Central Library.

Registration is $5 and is limited to the first 18 respondents.  To register, contact the Southern History Department at 205-226-3665, or send an email to

Here is the workshop schedule:

April 13 – “What’s Up Doc?: Government Documents in Genealogical Research.” –

•May 18 – “The Bases Are Loaded: Birmingham Public Library’s Catalog, Worldcat, and Other Databases.” –

June 15 – “Loving the LDS: An In-Depth Guide to Using”

•July 27 – “Getting the Good Dirt: Using Land Records in Genealogical Research.” –

Aug. 17 – “Bring Out Your Dead: Cemeteries in Genealogical Research.” –


New features are coming

An updated version of will roll out soon, with several enchancements, such as better ways to collaborate on your genealogy, live help and the ability to add photos to your family tree.

The changes were announced on, which posted examples of the improvements  for preview. A specific launch date wasn’t named.

Users will notice an overall fresher, more modern look to FamilySearch, the free genealogy service connected to the LDS, or Mormon church. Found in the collection’s millions of records are 2.5 billion names – many are accessible online.

Bike tours of Alabama’s first set capital set for Saturday

Old Cahawba, site of the state’s first capital, will hold its annual bike tour on Saturday, March 30.

The two-hour guided tour is from 10 a.m.-noon and will take cyclists past graveyards, building ruins and other relics left behind when the once-thriving town was abandoned. The length of the tour is 4 miles.

Cahawba was the state capital from 1820 to 1826, before the capital moved to Tuscaloosa. The Old Cahawba site, set in an archaeological park, contains a rich history dating back to the time before the first European contact in the 16th century.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own bikes. A few bicycles will be available, but you’ll need to reserve one by calling 334-872-8058.

Old Cahawba is at 9518 Cahaba Road in Orrville, Dallas County. That’s about about 14 miles southwest of historic Selma.

Health of Civil War black soldiers is topic of April 25 university lecture in Birmingham

Intensely Human: The Health of the Black Soldier in the American Civil War,” will be the topic of the Reynolds Historical Lecture at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on April 25.

The free program, by Dr. Margaret Humphreys, is from noon to 1 p.m. at Lister Hill Library, 1700 University Blvd. in Birmingham. The lecture will take place in the Edge of Chaos Atrium on the library’s fourth floor.

Humphreys is the Josiah Charles Trent Professor in the History of Medicine at Duke University.

Copies of her book, “Intensely Human: The Health of the Black Soldier in the American Civil War,” will be available for signing by Humphreys immediately after the lecture.

The lecture is open to the public. A limited number of box lunches will be provided on a first come, first served basis. For more information, call 205-934-4475.

Birmingham Public Library posts links to its Alabama county holdings

The Birmingham Public Library has an exciting new online resource available for those researching any of the state’s 67 counties. Selected Resources for Alabama Counties is now live.

Each county has its own page and a listing of the library’s resources for that county, according to information from M.B. Newbill of the library’s Southern History Department.

The catagories are:

  • Cemeteries and Church Histories
  • Census Records
  • City, County, and Family Histories
  • Court Records
  • Death Records and Obituaries
  • Land Records
  • Maps
  • Marriage Records
  • Newspaper Abstracts and Periodicals

For each category a list of titles is given with links to the library’s online catalog.

Alabama Civil War Round Table meeting to be March 7 in suburban Birmingham

Dr. Harry Reeder will be the speaker at the March 7 meeting of the Alabama Civil War Round Table.

Reeder’s topic will be Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the Maine college professor who became a Union hero during the Civil War.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on the second floor of Hoover Fire Station No. 7, at 100 Inverness Parkway. Parking is behind the station.

Members can pay their dues for 2013 at the meeting. Dues are $25 for an individual and $40 for a couple or family.

Lincoln, Reconstruction in Oxford scholar’s Tuesday talk at Samford University

Abraham Lincoln, the moral issues he faced in the Civil War and the effect of his death on the Civil War and civil rights will be among the topics covered when the president of Corpus Christi College at Oxford University comes to suburban Birmingham on Tuesday.

Dr. Richard Carwardine will offer the free lecture, “Abraham Lincoln and the Challenger of Emancipation,” at 10 a.m. at Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive in Homewood, Ala. It’s one of several programs the university is offering as part of its Black History Month celebration.

Carwardine’s book, “Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power,” won the 2004 Lincoln Prize for the best nonfiction work on the Civil War, according to a press release from Samford University.

While the lecture is free, registration is required. Call 205-726-4634.