REPRINT from my newsletter: FindingFamily at

Welcome to Finding Family!

Genealogy is one of the fastest growing pastimes in the United States, and possibly the world. Hundreds of thousands of us are looking for our family history.

While visiting yet another genealogical library, I realized how many hundreds of family histories have already been written. A family member will donate a copy to a genealogical library – and there it sits. Many of these libraries have no online search tool. Unless you have done enough research to figure out where your family history information might be, you might not even know there is an existing family history waiting for you to read!

I had to do some research for this one – but I finally realized how a family could find, read, and even own their own family history. So I thought I would share this information with you!

The goal of Finding Family is to help people find books already written about their family. You can submit a family name request to and I will try to add it to my list, but I don’t guarantee a search – and certainly not a find! There are just too many families out there! If I find the information you are looking for, I will post it to the Finding Family newsletter.


FINDING FAMILY vol. I number 1 April 21, 2008



  • Chase, Philander. Bishop Chase’s Reminiscences: An Autobiography. Boston: J.B. Dow, 1848.

A book that spans the early 1800’s in New York, Louisiana, Vermont, Connecticut, Ohio, a jaunt in the United Kingdom before returning to the United States – and that’s just Volume One! Bishop Philander Chase’s autobiography does just that and mentions numerous individuals along the way. If you have been to Peoria, Illinois, you may be aware of nearby Jubilee College State Park. There was, at one time, an actual Jubilee College at the site founded by Bishop Chase.

Volume One begins with the genealogy of New England including the arrival of the first white woman on the banks of the Connecticut River above Fort Number Four.

If you are interested in this book, you’ll find a free copy of Volume One online at Google books. This is an interesting scan. This particular copy was a gift to Harvard University libraries and the scan was taken from a volume found in Harvard’s Widener Memorial Library.

The scanned copy was donated to the library by George Dexter, a tutor at Harvard University in 1858. He donated the book to Harvard on October 5, 1870, some forty years before Widener Memorial Library was founded.

Dexter earned his L.L.B. degree in 1860 and A.M. in 1864. He was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society and, no doubt, recognized how valuable Chase’s reminiscences were. There have been at least 14 editions of this book published, keeping alive those reminiscences. They are fascinating reading, which keeps them in circulation.

The scanned copy of Volume Two online at Google books was taken from Rhodes House Library at the University of Oxford. In this volume, Chase writes about Washington, D.C., Kenyon College, Michigan, Illinois, South Carolina, and Georgia.

If you would like to find a copy of the book in a library, search for it in book or microform format at Worldcat to locate a library nearest you. It is unlikely you will be able to check this book out of any library! Anticipate you will need to visit the library and read it in the Reference area.

According to Worldcat, there is also A voice from Illinois: extracts from Bishop Chase’s reminiscences.

If you would like to own a copy, you can buy reprints of Bishop Chase’s Reminiscences Volume I iconor Bishop Chase’s Reminiscences Volume II icon are available between $40 and $50.


  • Leavenworth, Elias W., and William Leavenworth. A Genealogy of the Leavenworth Family in the United States, With Historical Introduction, Etc. Syracuse, N.Y.: S.G. Hitchcock & Co, 1873.

Any edition with an index scores high points in my book! Here is a great one, if you are researching the Leavenworth family name.

Google Books has A Genealogy of the Leavenworth Family in the United States, With Historical Introduction, Etc. online. The “Etc.” actually consists of “Being a Revision and Extension of the Genealogical Tree Compiled by William and Elias W. Leavenworth, then of Great Barrington, Mass., in 1827.” Whew. Okay, I’ll accept the “Etc.”!

Not only is the title long, but so is the book. It is 349 pages of research! Thank goodness for that index. Actually, there are two indices: one is an index of Leavenworth family and the other is an index of “other names.”

The scanned copy online was a gift from – it is difficult to read – but it appears to say “Albert Wells, Esq. from John T. Perry, Albany, October 30, 1875.” But I’m not sure.

This copy appears to be from the New York (Genealogical) Society Library. Inside, the signatures of Thomas Leavenworth’s widow, brother and son are printed. There have apparently been as many as six reprints of this genealogy.

You can locate this book in as many as 77 libraries through Worldcat.

If you would like to own a copy, you can pick it up for about $40 new, and even less for a used copy. I found several copies of A Genealogy of the Leavenworth Family in the United States, with Historical Introduction, Etc. iconavailable online, both used and new.

Next Edition: What is a Gazetteer and why do I need one?