Friday, February 5, 2010

Brief refresher of online genealogy resources

A recent article on, "Genealogy: Internet handy for genealogy research," by Tamie Dehler, provides a nice little refresher on some very useful, free online genealogy resources, with some emphasis on land records, but touching on vital records, as well.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Life, Death, and Everything in Between

“Everyone knows to look for federal, state, and county censuses. But what else is on that paper trail between Life and Death?” In her article, “Life, Death, and Everything in Between,” Judy Rosella Edwards reviews the kinds of documents that might be generated over a lifetime, with insights into researching these records in various state and local archives.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Cook County, Illinois -- Genealogy Online

A new Web site offered by the Cook County Clerk's office aims at helping users research their ancestry, according to a recent article. Cook County Genealogy Online, a recently unveiled online database will make available more than 6 million historical Cook County vital records, with free index searches. For a fee, genealogists can download high-resolution scans of original documents. The site does not provide access to all vital records, however. As noted in the article, by Illinois law, genealogy records are defined as birth certificates 75 years or older; marriage licenses 50 years or older; and death certificates 20 years or older. For more information visit the Cook County Genealogy Online web site.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Added Value of Delayed Birth Certficates

Vital records are important sources of information, and one type of vital record may be particular interest, as discussed by Gena Philibert-Ortega in her article, "Delayed Birth Certificates." A delayed birth certificate is proof of birth available to those who birth, for whatever reason, was not registered at the time of the event, most commonly those who were born before civil (government) registration of births became mandatory. In applying for a delayed birth certificate various documents and affidavits had to be presented as proof. It is these accompanying documents and affidavits that give delayed birth certificates their added value.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

UK vital records web project halted

As reported August 16 on the, "Ancestry hunters stuck in the past as web project fails," genealogists reacted with anger . . . after it emerged that a government website, which promised direct access to 171 years of family records, had been delayed indefinitely following the failure of a Whitehall computer project.

An attempt to scan, index and digitise 250m records of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales from 1837 to the present day was supposed to result in a new public website that would let people trace their ancestors at the touch of a button next February. Now, three years after the government awarded the £16m contract to German computer giant Siemens, the deal has been terminated with only half the work done. It was hoped that the online record would slash costs and speed up the process of tracing ancestry. The collapse means family tree enthusiasts must continue asking for copies of documents by post, which can take seven days and costs £7 or £10 a time.

The failure drew strong criticism from genealogists who were already dismayed that last October the government removed access to paper ledgers that contained indexes of births marriages and deaths at the family records centre in London when it decided to launch the website.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Update to U.S. vital records online

Vital records are those primary source documents genealogists have spent many hours, many dollars, and, at times, much frustration researching and acquiring. Today, the task is much easier (though not always less expensive), and the hope of finding a key record is much higher, thanks to the massive digitation efforts underway in many camps across the globe. In her article, United States Vital Records Online," Gena Philibert-Ortega observes, provides an update on vital records available in the U. S., noting, at this time, she is referencing only actual vital records documents, not all documents in which vital information may be found. So take heart -- even if the information you seek is not in vital records documents, it may well be someplace else. Among the records available online, a great many are indexes, which are subject to error. As the author points out, the information in indexes may vary across information providers. Information in one index may not include information revealed in another index, or information in one may be in error and another more accurate. So it's not all cakes and pies, kids. Even though more records are increasingly made available, considerable research is still required -- it's just a little easier today.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

French-Canadian and Quebec vital records online

As repoted on, "Genealogy website offers centuries of French-Canadian records," has launched what it says is the largest collection of French-Canadian and Quebec vital records, spanning 346 years of history. . . . its searchable collection of baptism, marriage and burial records extends from the year 1621 to 1967. is an online database of family and social history in Canada with 400 million names pulled from collections such as the 1851, 1901, 1906 and 1911 censuses of Canada, Ontario and British Columbia, vital records from as early as 1813 and U.S./Canada border crossings from 1895 to 1956.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Australian records online at WorldVitalRecords

Announced in a press release Friday, Archive CD Books Australia and Gould Genealogy have partnered with, Inc. to make 344 Australian and New Zealand databases more accessible to a worldwide audience at (a service of, Inc.).

“We are delighted now to be part of’s new international focus. The benefits we see are many,” said Alan Phillips, Managing Director, Archive CD Books Australia and Gould Genealogy. “For us, it is a great way to market our content online. For, it is an opportunity to provide more significant Australian content than from any other single source. For Australian content owners, is a great avenue to get their data online. For libraries, it brings joy to those who have no love of CDs. For ‘Down Under’ researchers, it provides the best Australian and New Zealand content online. For end users overseas with Australian and New Zealand interests, at last they can have some great accessible content.”

Initially Archive CD Books Australia will provide with half of the Archive CD Books Australia product list. . . .This initial data launch from Archive CD Books Australia will be followed during the year by data from Gould Genealogy, which will include birth, marriage, and death notices, shipping records, biographical databases, cemetery records, and obituaries. . . . The content databases provided by Archive CD Books Australia and Gould Genealogy comprise’s first major collections from Australia.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

UK National Archive nonconformist records go online

As posted on, "National Archives aids genealogy with new web birth, marriage & deaths service," the UK National Archives' collection of nonconformist birth, marriage and death records from 1567 has gone online for the first time. A new partnership project between The National Archives and S&N Genealogy Supplies means that you can now access images of these records online. BMD Registers provides access to the non-parochial and nonconformist registers 1567-1840 held in RG 4 and RG 5.

The National Archives holds 5,000 registers of a huge variety of nonconformist congregations, including Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Protestant Dissenters (known as 'Dr Williams Library') and Independents. There are also registers from a small number of Roman Catholic communities. Basic searching is free of charge, but there is a fee for advanced searching and to download images.The entries are rich in detail and may include material about up to three generations of a family.

When the project is complete you will also be able to access further miscellaneous birth, marriage and death records from the series RG 6-8, RG 32-36 and BT 158-160. These include records of Quakers, of foreign congregations in England and of clandestine marriages before 1754, as well as miscellaneous foreign returns, and records of life events occurring at sea.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Old Cook County vital records to be online

As noted in the Chicago Tribune, "Old county records being put online," professional genealogists and people interested in researching their family tree will soon be able to access key records from home instead of ordering by mail or traipsing down to a musty office in the Loop, Cook County Clerk David Orr said Thursday. If all goes as planned, newly digitized versions of county records such as birth and death certificates and marriage licenses will be available beginning in January on one searchable Web site that will revolutionize how such research is done, Orr said.

The Web site is part of a massive yearlong effort to digitize the county's 24 million vital records, which date to 1871, when record-keeping began after the Chicago Fire wiped out previous stockpiles, clerk's office spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said. The records have stacked up for decades in the basement area of the county's administration building at Clark and Randolph Streets, where conditions have not been ideal. . . . The process is expected to be complete by the end of the year, Quinn said.

Documents available online will be birth certificates that are at least 75 years old, marriage certificates more than 50 years old, and death certificates more than 20 years old, Quinn said. . . . Users can pay a fee to download records and print them at home. Certified copies, which are required to obtain official documents such as a driver's license, will not be available online. No Social Security numbers will be available on the online documents, she said.

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Searching for Family Bibles

No question about it, Family Bibles are a treasure. I had the good fortune early in my genealogical career to personally view several family Bibles and photocopy important pages. The information is priceless. In her article, "Family Bibles Are Worth the Wait," Karan Pittman suggests taking a proactive approach to locating family Bibles and offers a variety of avenues to explore in your quest.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

WorldVitalRecords and NewspaperARCHIVE announce partnership

Announced in a press release today,, the largest newspaper database available online, has partnered with World Vital Records Inc. to provide increased access to records from newspapers ranging from 1759-1923. has allowed us to extract this information from their newspapers that cover the first 160-years of their collection,” said Yvette Arts, Director, Content Acquisition, World Vital Records, Inc.

Once the material from has been launched, the data will be available for free at for a ten-day period. Beyond that trail period, the collection will be available to subscribers at

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

England & Wales Birth Marriage and Death Indexes 1837-2005

Noted on the web site is the addition of its Birth, Marriage and Death Index collections - registration records of every Birth, Marriage and Death recorded in England and Wales for 2005. With 1 million plus names, is currently believed to be the only site where you can view the complete Birth, Marriage and Death records for 1837 to 2005 inclusive.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

LDS Church in New Zealand makes appeal on proposed legislation

According to an article on Scoop Independent News, "LDS Champion access to Ancestry," the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand warns the proposed public records legislation, BDM amendment, could deliver unplanned negative consequences.

In a submission to the Select Committee, on the proposed Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Amendments Bill, Elder Spencer J Condie, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New Zealand Area warned politicians that the amendment could place a barrier to efforts to strengthen family bonds.

According to Elder Condie tracing family ancestry is an important cultural and spiritual experience for many New Zealanders. “The concept of forming links between the generations – what the Maori call ‘whakapapa’ is fundamental in Christian theology (Hebrews 11.40),” he said. “That’s why we have invested to support genealogical research.”

The Church has established over 50 Family History Centres across New Zealand as well as joint operations with the Auckland Library, the National Library and the Panmure Genealogical Society. These centres are staffed by both LDS and non LDS volunteer consultants who assist patrons to access the millions of names available through microfilm, CD Roms and Internet sources. Access to these resources is provided free of charge.

In its submission to the select committee the Church, acknowledges the intentions of the sponsors of the bill, but warns that unintentional negative consequences could result from its passing. The submission argues that the bill could create a barrier to strengthening family bonds or even make bonafide genealogical organisations at risk of criminal prosecution.

The article continues with the complete text of Elder Condie's statement to the Select Committee.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

FamilySearch databases online -- a summary

An article in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, "GENEALOGY: Family Search putting three new databases online," summarizes databases recently added to FamilySearch web site, including Nova Scotia birth, marriage, and death records. As the article reports, Nova Scotia is the first Canadian province to digitize its vital statistics and offer them for free on-line viewing. Utah death certificates, 250,000+ certificates from 1905 to 1954 linked with index and images. Birth records in the county will be put on line after 100 years and death records after 50 years, to comply with privacy laws. Additionally, the Personal Ancestral File database also adds the ability to view names in family tree format. The article also notes details of the West Virginia vital records online access, added in 2005. More than 1.4 million scanned records of births, marriages, and deaths from the counties of Calhoun, Gilmer, Hardy, Harrison, Mineral, and Pendleton.

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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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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Well, not really.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle, "What happens in Vegas," makes the point has created a special section focused on marriage and divorce in the Nevada city. The collection is based on records of the more than 9 million people who got married and got divorced in Nevada between 1956 and 2005, most of them in Las Vegas. You may be able to resolve some long-held curiosity. Or, if you're interested in divorce and marriage celebrity-style, the index also includes celebrity union and disunion. If you are actually looking to document family marriages, as noted on the Ancestry site, be sure to verify the information you find in the database by comparing it with the original source. Indexes are secondary sources and when even primary sources can be in error, verification is the rule of thumb.

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