Friday, March 30, 2007

Proving Marriage Relationships

A common problem for researchers is the elusive marriage certificate. In her article, "You Know They Were Married, but . . .," Karan Pittman provides insights for canvasing records and locations for marriage records. She also offers alternative sources for proving the marriage relationship when the marriage record cannot be found.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Canadian early historical records online

Good news for Canadian researchers -- great new historical records go online, complimenting available census and vital records. and today announced a partnership to digitize and bring online nearly 300 years of's early historical records spanning from the 1600s to the 1900s. The new collection includes more than 6,200 publication titles and 1.6 million pages of family histories, local histories, biographies, civil service records and other early historical documents. is digitizing and making these records available online along with its existing and highly complementary collections such as the fully indexed 1851, 1901, 1906 and 1911 Censuses of Canada. The Genealogy and Local History Collection to 1900 is the largest family and local history collection of its kind in Canada. Such records go a long way toward helping researchers build the "story" of their ancestors.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Genealogy in the Virginias

This year the state of Virigina celebrates its 400th Anniversary. In her article, "Genealogy of the Virginias," Melissa Slate explains the relationship between Viriginia and West Virgina and tips for locating records of your Virgina ancestors. In the early formation of our country, not only county, but state boundaries changed, as well. Understanding the geography of an area is important to help you make sure you are looking in the right place at the right time period in your quest for records.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Make it happen -- volunteer for the LDS Archive digitation poject

According to an article in the Deseret News, "Another revolution in genealogy," the LDS Archive digitation project is ahead of schedule, and by the end of the year, users will see interface changes on the web site. Derek Dobson is the family-search indexing-product manager for the LDS Church's Family History Department, said "Using the Internet, from their homes or laptops, people around the world are about to have access to more documents than they ever dreamed possible." More than 25,000 volunteers are currently at work indexing the records. It is predicted there will be 100,000 volunteers by the end of this year and many hundreds of thousands in the years to come.

Of course, the more volunteers the sooner these records will come online. It's easy to volunteer and the work can be done online, and there are built-in controls to ensuring accuracy. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, go to This is an opportunity for young people to get involved, as well. No longer is genealogy research limited to the older set. Advances in technology, not only make it more accessible and "do-able" for anyone with an interest, but also make it more engaging. As this mulititude of new records come online, it will be like opening windows to new worlds. Compelling at any age.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Genealogists Discover Descendants on Anti-Slave Trade Petition

The UK Parliamentary Archives web site at has seen a flurry of activity since it went live, March 19, 2007. The site features a digitised, transcribed version of the petition from Manchester 1806 which is the biggest surviving parliamentary anti slave trade petition. Already individuals are finding names believed to be ancestors. David Prior of the Parliamentary Archives said: "I am bowled over by the feedback we are receiving from people who have recognised names on the petition. Anyone whose ancestor signed the petition will have a unique insight into that person's opinion on this issue at that time."

The 1807 Act of Parliament to abolish the British Slave Trade was the culmination of one of the first, and most successful public campaigns in history. The petition supported the Foreign Slave Trade Abolition Bill of 1806 and was signed by inhabitants of Manchester. It was laid before the House of Lords on 14 May 1806. Also available online is part of the 1807 Act itself and a much smaller pro slave trade petition. These documents along with others will feature in a comprehensive web site being launched by the Parliamentary Archives in May. Both the Manchester abolition petition and the 1807 Act will be key exhibits in The British Slave Trade: Abolition, Parliament and People exhibition in Westminster Hall from 23 May to 23 September 2007. It will be open to the public, free of charge. For further information please contact Ruth Cobb, at 24 Hour Museum.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ancestry withdraws free access

An article in BYU NewNet reports,, may no longer provide free access to its full range of services for the Family History Library and family history centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as of April 1. According to a statement by the LDS church, they were informed two months ago about Ancestry's decision to discontinue free access. Since then, the two groups have tried to reach a consensus that would benefit both parties. Thus far, efforts to work out an agreement on licensing have been unsuccessful. Howard Bybee, family history librarian at BYU, said the change represents the end of a long-standing collaboration between the LDS Church and

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Friday, March 23, 2007


PERSI is a great resource, and yet, "PERSI, the Periodical Source Index, could perhaps be one of the least used resources by genealogists." One reason for this limited use may be that the articles are not immediately accessible, and it takes some effort to request them or otherwise dig them out. For those who take the time, however, the effort can be rewarding. In her article, "Using PERSI," Gena Philibert-Ortega reminds us how useful PERSI can be, gives a few tips for conducting successful searches, and provides a direct link to the PERSI ordering form, just to make it a little easier.

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New book details "Cemeteries of San Diego"

According to an article in the SDSUniverse, "Tales from the Crypt," San Diego State University anthropology professor Seth Mallios unearthed the secrets buried in San Diego's cemeteries for his new book which reveals the results of the San Diego Gravestone Project. Mallios has spent the past five years directing the San Diego Gravestone Project surveying, inventorying and analyzing all of the region's historical grave markers. The findings are detailed in Mallios' new book "Cemeteries of San Diego" which went on sale Monday, March 19, part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series which celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns and cities across the country.

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Resource for Irish Genealogy

Before we leave the month of March behind, this article from the Cincinnati Post, "Directory of Irish Genealogy," suggests those who are researching their Irish ancestry or seeking to learn more about the island nation's culture and history might find the Centre for Irish Genealogical and Historical Studies' web site to be a useful resource. According to the article, this free online site is a non-commercial entity based in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. Sean J. Murphy, the director of the site, is also the editor of the "Directory of Irish Genealogy." Though Ireland has typically been somewhat behind on digitization efforts, researchers may access 1901 census record images for Counties Clare, Leitrim and Roscommon. While these records are often too late to be of assistance to genealogists whose ancestors emigrated before the late 19th century, they often contain valuable details on family members who remained in Ireland.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Life on the frontier

In her article, "Appalachia: Culture of the First Western Frontier," Melissa Slate provides insights into the day-to-day life of early settlers of the American West. "The culture of the new frontier was as varied as the people that settled it. This new American West comprised much of the land that we now call Appalachia." Understanding how people lived and the challenges they faced helps us appreciate our ancestors, their lives, and our own lives today.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Just a little Irish trivia to help you celebrate. Irish is the second most claimed ancestry in the U.S. (German being the first), according to the U. S. Census Bureau, Thirty-four million Americans claim Irish ancestry, almost nine times the population of Ireland.

Many of those, and others who wish they were Irish, will celebrate today.

In Massachusetts, nearly one in four residents claims some Irish ancestry. Census data show that Americans who claim Irish ancestry average more formal education and higher incomes and are more likely to be homeowners than the at-large population.

The day commemorates St. Patrick, believed to have died on March 17, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. In the U. S., March is Irish-American Heritage Month, first proclaimed in 1995 by Congress. Each year, the U.S. president also issues an Irish-American Heritage Month proclamation. Although not an "official" holiday, in the
U. S. the day is celebrated as something of a festival. You wonder at its mystique -- people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick's Day, as far away as Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Russia. In Ireland, it is a national holiday and traditionally a religious observance.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Researching the Kansas State Census

Not all states conducted what are referred to as "state" censuses. Only a handful did, but for those who have ancestors in a state with a state census, it can provide a goldmine of information. In her article, "The Kansas State Census," Gena Philibert-Ortega provides insights for using state census records, which may sometimes be more informative than their federal counterpart. The approach for searching the Kansas state census can certainly be applied to researching other states, as well.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Vital records in Northern Ireland

Speaking of things Irish, the Omagh branch of the Northern Ireland Family History Society has announced the release of, "Hatches, Matches and Dispatches,"recording the notices of births, marriages, and deaths of people in Omagh and surrounding districts in the 19th century. The record includes some 2,000 notices, with births from 1827-1873; marriages 1815-1873 and deaths from 1820-1873, plus . . . a number of notices from the late 16th century.

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Iowa state census records online 1836-1926

Those with Iowa ancestry will be happy to hear, Iowa state census records from 1836 to 1925 are now "digitized and indexed all readily available ," according to an press release today. In total, the collection features more than 14 million Iowa State census records and more than 3 million images, making the first and only online source to provide access to all publicly released Iowa State census records. Ancestry is offering free access to this collection through March.

"Census records are the backbone of family history. They're more than just names and numbers. If you look closely, they tell stories," said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for "The Iowa state census records, in particular, provide a wide range of snapshots into the lives and lifestyles of Iowan ancestors. With these records now available online, Iowans can dig deeper into their state and family histories."

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

All that glitters . . .

City officials in Logan, Utah are lamenting accepting the Everton Collection, indicating its use has not warranted its display. According to an article in the Provo Dailey Herald, "Logan's lonely genealogy library," the city reports less than 200 people visited the collection between its opening, Oct. 10, and the end of 2006. Oficials are wondering if the benefits were exaggerated when they initially agreed to accept and display the collection.

Long revered in the genealogy community, Everton Publishing Co. collection was one of the largest privately owned genealogical archives in the country when Logan acquired it two years ago.

"Maybe it's too early to tell, but it doesn't seem to be panning out from the projections," Councilwoman Tami Pyfer said. "I think it validates our initial concern with accepting this donation."

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In a press release announced today,, the largest Canadian family history web site, announced a partnership with the Universite de Montreal to index the complete Drouin Collection, long considered by the genealogical community to be the best resource for French-Canadian family history records. The Drouin Collection contains nearly 12 million records from 1621 to the 1940s, and includes 37 million French-Canadian names and 3.6 million images. The collection represents all vital records from Quebec -- including baptism, marriage and burial -- as well as a compilation of church records from Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and various New England states in America. Records of the Drouin Collection are now digitized and available on and are expected to be fully indexed by the end of 2007.

"Providing Canadians with online access to the Drouin Collection will be a major milestone for family history research to help everyone from professionals to beginners research their French-Canadian roots," said Tim Sullivan, CEO, The Generations Network, parent company of "Examining a cross-section of's record collections, you can see the multicultural heritage and history of Canada, which includes people of English, French, Scottish, Irish and African heritage." is in the final stages of developing a French interface enabling native French speakers access to the more than 5 billion names found in its entire collection of historical records.

In reporting the story, the Montreal Gazette notes,"While some services are free, Canadian clients can expect to pay $9.95 a month or $47.40 a year for access to Canadian registry alone," but adds, given the right tools, "descendants of French Quebec will easily be able to trace their families back 10 or 12 generations."

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Civil War POW Records

For those with Civil War ancestry, Melissa Slate, in her article, “Civil War POW Records,” has pulled together a number of resources on Civil War POW prison camps. Some of the prisons mentioned in the article had a familiar ring. My second-great-grandfather, serving for Confederacy, was captured in Missouri and imprisoned at Rock Island, IL Not long before the end of the war, as part of a prisoner exchange, he was transferred to Point Lookout, MD and then on to Richmond, VA where he was furloughed in March 1865.

I first learned of this through his military service record, ordered many moons ago from the National Archives. Later, with the advent of the Internet, I was able to learn more about Rock Island Prison, his regiment, and maneuvers that brought about his capture. The military record -- more readily available today -- is a good place to find the regiment numbers Melissa mentions in her article, to help you in locating your POW ancestor and learning more about his place of imprisonment.

One resource mentioned is the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, which allows easy searching for those serving on either side of the battle. It’s a credible resource, drawing on reliable sources and credible volunteers.It's a facinating search, and we are always happy as more and more of these collective records become available.

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Knowledge of State and County lines is key to research

In her article, "State and County Lines May Lead You to Your Ancestors," Karan Pittman points the importance of knowing state and county creation dates, as well as boundary changes. Not only can county boundaries change, as one new county is carved from two or more others, but state boundaries have also been known to change. A family could become residents of a new state or territory, without ever moving a stick. So it was with the "Western Lands" of North Carolina -- in 1784 settlers in the western lands created the small, independent State of Franklin, in an audacious move that did not set well with North Carolina and was dissolved just four years later. However, the writing was on the wall, and in 1790, North Carolina ceded her western lands to the U.S. Government, and the area, known as the "Territory of the U. S. South of the River Ohio," was later to become the state of Tennessee. As Karan points out, knowledge of these geographical divisions is key to directing your research and understanding the social, economic, and political dynamics surrounding your ancestor's lives.

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Thursday, March 8, 2007

New online passenger lists reflect some 30 million passengers

As noted in the New Zealand Herald, "Boon for family tree buffs as shipping logs put online," the records of all long-haul ships leaving Britain and Ireland for Australia are now available online at

In cooperation with the UK National Archives, the site provides passenger lists for all vessels leaving the UK and Ireland between 1890 and 1909, with full lists reaching up to 1960 to be uploaded in the coming six months. "The site will be a resource not only for those of British and Irish ancestry but also those from continental Europe -- particularly post-war -- as many went through UK ports en route to Australia." The collection represents over 1.5 million pages and 30 million passengers, covering emigration to "long-haul destinations" such as North and South America, Africa, Asia Australia and New Zealand. According the site, "passengers include not only immigrants and emigrants, but also businessmen, diplomats and tourists."

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Researching female ancestors during the American Civil War

This month as we focus on women in history, Gena Philibert-Ortega provides information on researching women in the Civil War era. On both sides of the battle, with so many husbands, sons, and brothers at war, women "took over for the men on the home front." Seems this pattern repeats itself each time a nation goes to war. Researching the women on our family tree is always a challenge, as a woman's individual identity is absorbed in taking her husband's name. In her article, "Researching Women Ancestors in the American Civil War," Gina directs us to a variety of sources to help identify these courageous women and understand more about their life and times.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Plan now for upcoming Pennsylvania German Conference

Mark your calendar for September 15. The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center on the campus of Kutztown University, in response to a well-received genealogy conference in the fall of 2005, has announced another in the works. According to an article published in the Lebanon Daily News, "Plan ahead for fall Pa. German conference in Kutztown," it's an event "worth planning for in advance." The keynote speaker will be Roland Paul, a noted German genealogist and former Director of the Institute for Palatine history in Kaiserslatuern. Paul’s address will focus on letters sent home to Germany by 18th century immigrants in America, with insights into the "chain and cluster migrations" that helped bring additional settlers to the American colonies. Other well-known Pennsylvania German researchers include Corinne Earnest and John T. Humphrey.

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Indiana naturalization records online

An item in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, "Genealogy: State Archives house all naturalization records up to 1951," advises the Indiana State Archives is the place where all naturalization records in Indiana, from its beginning to the year 1951, are to be housed and preserved. The Archives obtains these records from the individual counties, microfilms them, and then adds them to a searchable on-line database. This database is located at the Indiana Commission on Public Records web site. The article provides information on limitations of this database and sources for finding additional information in Indiana and the Great Lakes region.

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Celebrating Women's History Month

In addition to celebrating the "luck of the Irish," March is Women's History Month. These special months are set aside to recognize and honor or create awareness of some significant aspect of our society. As Melissa Slate reminds us in her article, "Celebrating Women's History Month," what better time to learn more about and honor women in history, as well as women in our own lives and those to whom we own our heritage. Melissa offers some ideas for brushing up on your knowledge and honoring the women who have touched your life.

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Saturday, March 3, 2007

Logan, Utah Genealogy & Family Heritage Jamboree

Join us for "Pirates of the Pedigree, March 24, 2007, at the Logan, Utah Genealogy & Family Heritage Jamboree. Sponsored by the Logan Regional Family History Center and My Ancestors Found, the event will be held at the Eccles Conference Center, on the campus of Utah State University, Logan, Utah.

This one day event is drawing speakers and vendors from all over the U.S. It will feature 36-plus terrific classes to choose from, more than 20 vendors and exhibitors, and the latest genealogy products and technology. Drawings for prizes will take place all day long with grand prize drawings at the end of the conference! Admission to the exhibit hall and keynote address is FREE to the public, and classes will be offered for a minimal fee. Conference highlights include DearMYRTLE, "your friend in genealogy," as keynote speaker.

Pre-register for classes at the low admission price of $37, which includes box lunch ($42 at the door). Registration at the door begins Saturday at 7:30 am. Online registration and a complete class schedule and exhibit hall map are available at See you there!


Friday, March 2, 2007

Where in the world is Grandpa Jones?

Wonder no more. With the aid of modern GPS technology, you may be able to pinpoint Granpa's location down to a hair's breadth. In his article, "GSP and Genealogy," Alan Smith provides a little background and information on Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and gives researchers some idea of how this very cool satellite technology can be applied to genealogy. An important point Smith brings into the discussion is documenting, suggesting there may come a time when "GPS location" becomes a standard notation in our genealogical records — one more bit of key information to pass on down the line.

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BYU 10th Annual Computerized Family History & Genealogy Conference

It's spring once more (well, almost), and time for BYU's 10th Annual Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference, March 16-17. The aim of he conference is help participants integrate computers and genealogy. The theme this year is,"Strengthening Ties that Bind Families Forever"

"The conference is to help people improve their skills and using the computer to trace their family tree," said Kip Sperry, professor of family history and doctrine and co-director of the conference. "For many years computers have made family history research much easier, especially with the introduction of the Internet," as quoted in a recent BYU NewsNet article.

This conference is designed for general computer users, teaching at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. To register, see the Conference web site.


Heads -up . . .

This heads-up from the Lebanon Daily News, "Cities in Midwest, South to host ’07’s national conferences." For the last three decades, there have been two annual conferences that bring together just about the entire genealogical community — one sponsored by the National Genealogical Society and the other by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. These conferences rotate around the country, and this year brings the NGS event to Richmond, Va., and the FGS gathering to Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Richmond conference will be held May 16 through 19 in the Greater Richmond Convention Center. More information about the conference is available at the NGS Web site. Richmond was picked for the conference because this year is the 400th anniversary of the founding of nearby Jamestown. The choice by FGS of Fort Wayne [August 15 -18] as its conference site might seem less obvious unless one knows about the genealogical riches of the city's Allen County Public Library. The genealogy and local history collection of this library is probably second only to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. For more information, see the FGS Conference Web site.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Wanted: Liverpool's oldest family family tree

In a recent news item, "Wanted: Liverpool's oldest family tree," the Liverpool City Council announced a competition to "root out Liverpool's longest established family," with the winners becoming special VIPs on the city's 800th birthday, August 28. To assist families in their research, a special Liverpool 800 family history pack has been produced, which can be picked up at any of the city's libraries or downloaded for free at the Liverpool Record Office web site.


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