Monday, April 29, 2013

Legacy Webinar: May 1

If you have ancestors that trace back to Rhode Island, this is the presentation for you! The webinar for Wednesday, May 1 is titled "Researching Your Roots in Rhode Island."

As always, be sure to check the time for wherever you happen to be this week, and remember the website has a new address.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ask A Librarian

Patty Foley suggested this service last fall. She used it to request an obituary in the state of Washington. Of course, she had the specific death date; you wouldn't expect someone to search a year's worth of newspapers. The obituary came as a PDF file via email.

When I Googled the phrase, results included the Library of Congress as well as many state libraries. I've also seen "Ask a Librarian" on the home pages of different public libraries. So, if you have the actual death date of an ancestor, try the public library in the city where the death occurred to see if this service is available.

Thanks, Patty!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tips for English research

These three tips came from Family Tree Magazine's internet newsletter:

Know the county: Be sure to check when county boundaries changed, so that you're looking in the right place for your ancestor's records.

Know the parish, too: As in most countries, you'll need to know the parish to find your ancestors in church records. Many of the websites of county record offices list the parishes found in the county.

Check civil registrations: Civil registrations began in England July 1, 1837. At that time the country was divided into 27 regions, then into 618 districts, then into subdistricts with local registrars.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Another Google Success

This week I searched on Google for one of my daughter-in-law's ancestors using his name + genealogy + New York, where we previously had a dead end. One of the results came from an Ancestry message board where someone had posted his biographical sketch from the book, "History of Wabasha County, MN" published in 1884. This posting included both his and his wife's parents and also listed his son's four children and their spouses. Quite a find.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Legacy Family Tree Webinar

This week's webinar on Legacy Family Tree is called "What's New at Family Search?" It would be interesting to see whether it is up to date, considering what's happened with the website in the past week.

The website address has changed slightly. You can register to watch in real time on Wednesday, April 24, or check on archived webinars at

Monday, April 22, 2013

Family Search reaches a billion

FamilySearch announced they have reached a major milestone of one billion records indexed and arbitrated since the launch of FamilySearch indexing in September of 2006.

Have you seen the new look at family search yet? The home page reminds me of the distracting billboards that switch from one ad to another. I finally was able to locate the Wiki but don't remember the process! The videos and webinars are not easy to find, either. I would guess that there will be adjustments made before long.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Research in Iceland

According to an article from Friday's USAToday, three software engineers from the University of Iceland created an app using the database of Iceland residents that alerts users if they have a common grandparent by "bumping" phones.

If only we all had ancestors from Iceland: the Islendingabok, or Book of Icelanders, is an online database of residents and their family trees stretching back 1200 years. Most of the population shares descent from a group of 9th-century Vikings.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Germans to America

So you're asking: "What is Germans to America?" (Or perhaps one of you is.)

Germans to America is a series of books which index ship passenger arrival records of German immigrants between 1850 and 1897. Each volume contains a chronological listing of the passenger lists for the year, followed by an alphabetical index of each passenger. One problem: the authors determined who was "German." Many of the volumes included only ships where 80% of the passengers were deemed to be German.

There are approximately 70,000 names in each volume. The following information is generally given for each passenger: name, age and sex; and when given: occupation, country or province of origin, village of residence (most say "unknown"), and destination (many say "unknown" or simply "US"). Also listed is the name of the ship, date of arrival, and ports of departure and arrival. The amount of information given may vary for each listing. I recently read a critique that gave examples of passenger lists that included the village of origin, but if the authors could not decipher the name they used "unknown."

You will find people who listed their country of residence as Germany, Prussia, Bavaria, or numerous other German states (like Baden, Hesse, Saxony, Brandenburg, etc). Passengers from Switzerland, France and Luxembourg are also sometimes included. You will generally not find passengers from Austria, Hungary or other nearby areas. 

Despite errors and some omissions, Germans to America can still be a helpful research tool for tracking down German immigrant ancestors, and finding the ship passenger list. This set of books has now been added to the family search database.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Family Search Update

The Family Search website has been changed again. The home page looks completely different, and when you reach the search page fonts have changed and information is rearranged. However, the search field looks similar. I only took time to try one search and the results field is also familiar. It was interesting to see that the search included a Germans to America index. I had not realized that database was added last December. The Family Search website is linked from our blog.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Canada's 1921 Census

Rick Wood sends this information along regarding the release of the 1921 Canadian census. Check the link below for more details. It sounds as if they will digitize as soon as possible after June 1 but plans for indexing are not in place as yet.

“The 1921 Census was taken on June 1st, which means that it will be in the custody of Library and Archives Canada on June 1, 2013. Our intention is to make it available to researchers online, in the same format as previous censuses, as soon as possible after that date.”


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Legacy Webinar

The Legacy webinar for April 17 is called "A Treasure Trove of Irish Websites." Remember to check the time for your area if you register for the actual presentation.

OGS 2013 Conference

For any of our Canadian members in the vicinity of Oshawa, Ontario: The Ontario Genealogical Society is holding its 2013 conference in Oshawa at the combined campuses of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College from May 31 to June 2.

This year's theme is "Pulling Up Stakes, Putting Down Roots."  For more information visit:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Website for U. S. research

The above site is a directory of links to websites with online death indexes, listed by state and county.

Some of the links send you to subscription sites, but many are free.

Depending on the website, you may find county history biographies and obituaries, as well as death indexes.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Legacy Webinar: April 10

"That First Trip to the Courthouse" should be helpful to anyone just getting started and to those who have not had the opportunity to visit a courthouse. Be sure to check the time in your area if you want to register for the actual session.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Civil War Confederate Records

Got Southern ancestors? Military records website Fold3 has announced that to commemorate Confederate History Month, it's offering free access to all of its Confederate records for the entire month of April.

Those free records include:
Confederate soldier service records
Southern Claims Commission records: claims filed by Southern citizens for property seized by Union troops
Confederate Amnesty Papers: Confederates' applications for pardon to President Andrew Johnson
Confederate Citizens File: claims filed with the Confederate government by Southern citizens
Union Citizens File: Union Army records of provost court papers, orders, passes, paroles, claims for compensation, etc.
Civil War subversion investigations
Confederate Casualty Reports
Confederate Navy Subject File: papers including paymasters' vouchers relating to ships, personnel and more

You'll need to register for a free Fold3 account in order to view the records.

Irish Research Link

Famine Irish Immigration Data: 1846 – 1851: This site contains an extensive searchable database of records on over half a million passengers who arrived at the United States between 1846 through 1851 and identified their country of origin as Ireland or ethnicity as Irish:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Legacy Webinar

Today's webinar is titled "Evidence: Guidelines for Evaluating Genealogical Evidence." It will most likely cover how to judge the information you've located, especially if you haven't found original records.

As usual, you can watch on your own for the next week or so.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Research in Scotland

April's newsletter from the Mesa family history center has a focus on Scotland with research helps and links to websites. Go to to read their monthly newsletter, or you can request to be added to their mailing list for this monthly treat.