Several months back, I wrote on this blog about how I had decided not to renew my membership to Ancestry.com. Well, with the money I’m saving from that, I decided to subscribe to genealogybank. Genealogybank is a collection of scanned historical newspapers, recent obituaries, and some other content. I was particularly interested in the historical newspapers and the obituaries. I was familiar with genealogybank and actually had access to some of the historical newspaper content through my Godfrey Scholar subscription a few years ago. I also had access to genealogybank when they made their content free for a few days as a promotion a while back. And so I was very anxious to plug in a few of the surnames I research and see what I could find.
First off, I was able to find a very good account of the execution of William Henry Howe. William was, I believe, the only union soldier executed at Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia during the Civil War. His story is particularly tragic and I have been researching it because he was married to Hannah Shaner – a distant cousin. I will be posting more about him shortly in the Shaner section of my website.
Then I found a real shocker — the husband of one of my Keeley (many times) great aunts was arrested for counterfeiting!!!! Wow!! With a little more digging, I come to find that counterfeiting was rampant in the early to mid-1800′s, with one source saying that up to 1/3 of the currency was fake! This was the era before we had a national currency, and thus individual banks were printing their own. This whole business has set me off on a tangent, trying to get more background information on the monetary system back then. I even went so far as to get a book on it from the library. (Obsessive, I know!) Anyway, I’ll probably also be posting more on this later – either here or on the website.