West Oaks Branch Library & Genealogy Center

Orange County Library System

Heritage Quest: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses

Having trouble locating what county your ancestors hail from? try using Heritage Quest’s “Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses“.

You can utilize the Census Map in Heritage Quest to find the county lines and county names throughout the history of the census records for each state. Navigate to Heritage Quest Online through the Orange County Library Systems website at www.ocls.info and click on “Databases” displayed in the green tabs on the left of the page. Click on “Genealogy” and then click on “Heritage Quest Online”. Near the center of the page, there will be a link for the “Census Map Guide” that should look like this:

Map Link

When you click on the link your browser should display the following:

HQ Maps

Click on the state you would like to find the counties for:


Then click on the census dates on the left of the page to see how county lines were divided for the given decade.


Humor in Military Records

Our ancestors had quite the sense of humor. It is interesting and at times serendipitous to see how comments in genealogical records can provide us with insight into the marital dynamics of our predecessors.

William Deter was a private in the Civil War who served a three year term in the 93rd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Infantry  from the 20 September 1861 until he was discharged on 31 December 1863. Following his discharge he immediately reenlisted as a veteran volunteer and served until 27 June 1865.

Prior to 1890 Civil War Veterans were only granted a pension based on an inability to perform manual labor because of an injury or illness that was incurred in the line of duty during the war. William Deter claimed that he was injured during the war as he received a kick in the chest from a mule while detailed as a teamster on a march near Winchester, VA in August of 1864. His pension file was initially rejected.

When the laws changed in 1890 to allow Union veterans the opportunity to apply for a pension based on an inability to perform manual labor due to a non-service related disability, William Deter applied again several times and was eventually granted his pension. In complying with the pension laws he had to  submit forms on an ongoing basis ranging from surgeon’s certificates to questionnaires.

Oral family history doesn’t speak very fondly about the marriage between William Deter and his wife Elizabeth Billet despite the ten (10) children they shared. She supposedly was a domineering woman who could easily intimidate others including her husband and he apparently had a strong affinity for the bottle.

In one of the many questionnaires that William Deter completed and returned to the Bureau of Pensions he was asked if he was married, and if so when, where and by whom was he married, and also what type of record exists to prove his marriage. His smart witted reply to the question:”What record of marriage exists?” was “She still lives.”

To learn more about what you can find in military records on your ancestors be sure to attend our upcoming session Marching through Military Records on Wednesday, June 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at the West Oaks Branch Library and Genealogy Center.

William Deter Pension

Where in the World: Stories from around the Globe


Children learned genealogy basics and enjoyed folktales and games from different cultures at the July 6th  program “Where in the World: Stories from around the Globe.”  Participants discussed the concept of ancestry, talked about how nearly everyone in the U.S. has roots in other countries, and shared where their families are from. They played the Austrian game “Detective” and the Nigerian game “Animals Have Horns,” and made a bookmark craft. After several rounds of trivia about different countries, each child went home with a prize.