Most Recent Genealogy Records for European Countries
Below is a list and discription of the most recent genealogy records for European Countries (see list of most recent records for other countries). Many of these records can be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
2013 October to December
Belgium – FamilySearch.org has added a variety of indexed civil registration records from various regions of Belgium. Included is Antwerp (1609 to 1909), Brabant (1582 to 1912), East Flanders (1598 to 1906), Hainaut (1600 to 1911), Limburg (1798 to 1906), Liége (1621 to 1910) and West Flanders (1582 to 1910). In total, some 850,000 indexed records have been added to the collection. Access to these records is free. [Historic Belgium Civil Registration Records]
Hungary – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 572,000 Catholic Church records from Hungary. These are primarily baptism records that date from 1636 to 1895. Access is free. [Hungary Baptism Records]
2013 July to September
Italy – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 172,000 civil registration records from Napoli. These records come from the state archives and span the years from 1809 to 1865. These are birth, marriage and death records with some marriage banns and baptism records as well. This collection can be searched by first and last name. Alternatively, users can browse through some 2.9 million images. [Napoli Civil Registration Records]
Belgium – FamilySearch.org has created a new collection of some 10.2 million images of Belgium civil registration records. These are civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths. The records are browsable by region (plaats). The largest collections come from Brabant (1582 to 1912), Hainaut (1600 to 1911) and Antwerp (1609 to 1909). Access is free. [Brabant Civil Registration Records] [Hainaut Civil Registration Records] [Antwerp Civil Registration Records]
Spain – FamilySearch.org has seriously expanded their Spanish collection with an addition of some 7 million searchable municipal records. These records span the years from 1251 to 1966 and consist of everything from local censuses, military records and civil registration (birth, marriage, death) records. The main provinces of Spain included in this new update are Alicante, Almeria, Barcelona, Cádiz, Huelva, Jaén, Coruna, Leon, Lugo, Murcia, Segovia, Sevilla and Valencia. These records can be searched by name. Access is free. [Spanish Genealogy Records]
2013 April to June
Italy – Calabria Exchange continues to add records to their website and now has some 160,000 images and extractions of birth, marriage and death records. The website focuses on the towns in the province of Reggio di Calabria. Also contained on the website is a link to a list of people who are researching particular surnames. Access to some functions appears to require a donation. [Calabria Exchange]
Belgium – FamilySearch.org has added some 3.2 million images of civil registration records from the province of Liège in eastern Belgium on the border with Germany. These records date from 1621 to 1910 and are primarily birth, marriage and death certificates. In addition, there are some marriage proclamations and marriage supplements. The images are organized by region. Access is free. [Belgium Civil Registration Records]
2013 January to March
Netherlands – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection of church records from Noord-Holland Province, which includes Amsterdam. This collection of some 672,000 images is primarily composed of baptisms, marriages, church memberships, deaths and burials from 1553 to 1909. Access is free. [Historic Amsterdam Church Records]
Ukraine – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 521,000 church records from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. These are baptism/birth, marriage and death/burial records for Orthodox parishes in the Diocese of Kiev. These records span the years 1840 to 1845and can be searched by name. Access is free. [Historic Kiev Birth Records]
Slovakia – FamilySearch.org has added some 518,000 indexed records from churches and synagogues in Slovakia. These records span the years from 1592 to 1910 and include births/baptisms, marriages and burials from various Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reform and Jewish congregations. These records can be searched by name. Access is free. [Slovakia Church Records]
Netherlands – FamilySearch.org has added some 725,000 images of church records from Zuid-Holland Province in the Netherlands. These images span the years from 1367 to 1911 (most are pre-1811) and consist of records of baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials and church memberships. The images are organized by religion and then by municipality. Several religions are covered in this collection. Access is free. [Historic Zuid-Holland Church Records]
Italy – FamilySearch.org has added 555,000 images of Catholic Church records from Catania (Diocesi di Caltagirone). These are images of the following: baptisms, marriage, death, church censuses, orphan records and children’s deaths. The collection also includes some marriage supplemental documents. These records span the years from 1502 to 1942 and are organized by region/town. Access is free. [Catania Church Records]
Czech Republic – FamilySearch.org has added an additional 56,000 images of Czech census records dating from 1843 to 1921. This brings the total number of images in the collection to some 917,000. These census images are from Northern Bohemia, Eastern Bohemia, Southern Bohemia and Northern Moravia. Access is free. [Czech Census Records]
Israel – Israel’s Antiquities Authority has launched a new online archive that covers the period of the British Mandate from 1919 to 1948. The website is in English and it is full of texts, pictures, maps and drawings from the period. At the moment, there are only a few hundred items on the website, but the intent is to eventually feature tens thousands of documents and photographs. Access is free. [Israel British Mandate Archive]
Luxembourg – FamilySearch.org has created a collection of 1.1 million images of Luxembourg census records that date from 1843 to 1900. In addition to listing all household members, these records show name, age, gender, marital status and profession. Some records also show additional detail such as full date of birth, place of birth, nationality and religion. The images in this collection can be searched by municipality and then by year. Access is free. [Luxembourg Census Records]
Denmark – FamilySearch.org has added some 2.6 million additional images to the existing collection of Danish estate records. These records date from 1436 to 1964 and can be searched by county. The records are full of genealogical information and contain everything from details on property management to military conscription lists for certain regions. Access is free. [Historic Danish estate records]
Spain – FamilySearch.org has added 831,000 images of Catholic Church records from the Diocese of Segovia. These records include baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, indexes, church censuses, testaments and land records. [Segovia Church Records]
2012 October to December
Norway – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 59,000 records from the 1875 Norway census. Access is free. [1875 Norway Census]
Spain – The Spanish website Routes of Sefarad has created an excellent mapping system that allows people to explore their Jewish ancestry in Spain. Basically, the website provides an interactive multimedia experience for anyone who wants to trace their Sephardic heritage. The website is in English and it is definitely worth exploring. [Jewish Ancestry in Spain]
Malta – The Archdiocese of the Malta Catholic Church has launched online a digital archive. The archive contains diocesan and parish manuscripts that date back as far as the 1400s. Typical records include baptism, marriage and funeral records as well as records of pastoral visits and property registers. Access is free, although you have to register. There is a modest charge to print/download pages from the archives. This well laid out website is a gold mine for anyone with Maltese ancestry. [Maltese Genealogy]
Estonia – FamilySearch.org has added an additional 143,000 images to an existing collection of Estonian population registers. These are a diverse collection of lists of names of family members, taxpayers, citizens, Jews, Germans and prisoners of war that were created between 1918 and 1944. This was a critical period of time for the country, which spans the period from after the Russian Revolution to near the end of World War II. The text of the records is written in either German, Estonian or Russian. Access to this collection is free. [Estonian Genealogy Records]
Ukraine – The National Historical Library of Ukraine has begun the process of digitizing local history and rare books in its collection. The first stage has seen the digitization of some 120 books, half of which are already available on the library’s website. Ukraine has had a challenged history when it comes to preserving its past. [National Historical Library of Ukraine]
Italy – FamilySearch has added over 8.3 million new browsable images of civil registrations from all over Italy. The main new additions come from Ancona (1862 to 1929), Bari (1809 to 1910), Cagliari (1866 to 1941) and Udine (mainly 1871 to 1900). Most of these records come from various state archives across the country. The link will take you to the main index list so you can make your own regional selection. Access is free. [Italian Civil Registration Records]
2012 July to September
Europe – GenealogyInTime Magazine has added 400 million new records to their two free search engines. The Genealogy Search Engine (which covers ancestral records) now searches an additional 100 million more records, while the Family Tree Search Engine (which covers genealogy forums and online family trees) searches approximately 300 million more records.
In total, the two search engines now cover 5.7 billion records across more than 1,000 different websites (split between the Genealogy Search Engine covering 1.9 billion records and the Family Tree Search Engine covering 3.8 billion records – there is no overlap of records between the two search engines).
GenealogyInTime Magazine now gets over 40,000 queries per month for the two search engines. This makes them one of the most popular alternatives to the FamilySearch website for people wanting to look for free ancestral records. Significant holdings exist for the United States, Canada, England/Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand with minor holdings for the Caribbean, South America and South Africa.
Some of the highlights of the latest addition to the Genealogy Search Engine include:
• 55 million new records for the United States and 6 million new records for Canada. These are primarily ancestral records held in digital archives of public libraries and universities across North America. Many of these new records are historic photographs.
• 23 million new records for England, Ireland and Scotland. These are primarily twentieth century obituaries.
• 14 million new records for Europe. These are primarily birth/marriage/death records from Central and Eastern Europe.
• 2 million more ship passenger records.
In this latest release, the search routines for both search engines have also been strengthened to provide better results. In addition, the number of returned records for a search query has been increased from 8 pages to 10 pages. Finally, results are delivered even faster than before.
Access to both search engines is free and the underlying records are also free. [Genealogy Search Engine] [Family Tree Search Engine] GenealogyInTime Magazine also has a number of genealogy articles to help you become better at online genealogy searches.
GenealogyInTime Magazine is the world’s most popular online genealogy magazine. It is also now the fifth largest free genealogy website in the world (according to Alexa, the internet traffic people, the largest free genealogy websites in order are FamilySearch, Find A Grave, Geni, GeneaNet and GenealogyInTime Magazine).
Germany – FamilySearch.org has added 105,000 records from the 1867 census of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The 1867 census lists first and last name, gender, year of birth, religious affiliation, marital status, occupation/social standing, citizenship and distinguishing physical characteristics. Any visitors to the region at the time of the census were also listed. FamilySearch also has census records from the region for 1890 and 1900. Access to the records is free. [Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census Records]
Germany – Ancestry.co.uk has updated the Lubeck, Germany censuses for the years 1871, 1875 and 1880. In total, this collection comprises some 165,000 records. These records are in German and typically list the first and last name, street address, head of household, occupation, marital status and religion. Access is by subscription. [Lubeck Census Records]
Czech – FamilySearch.org has added to its collection of Czech census images spanning the years 1843 to 1921. The collection now totals some 455,000 images and covers the regions of Northwestern Bohemia and Southern Bohemia. The key genealogical facts in these records are head of household, names of members of the household (including servants), ages, occupations and religions. Some records also list date and place of birth. Access is free. [Bohemia Census Records]
Slovakia – FamilySearch.org has added about 1.1 million indexed church and synagogue records for Slovakia. These are birth, baptism, marriage and burial records spanning a broad period of time from 1592 to 1910. Most of the records are from the early 1700s and later. This collection contains both Catholic and Protestant church records in addition to Synagogue records. Access is free. [Slovakia Church and Synagogue Records]
Italy – FamilySearch.org announced this week that its partnering with the National Archives of Italy has started to pay some serious dividends. To date, more than 24 million images from the historic Italian civil registration have been digitized and published and about 4 million names have already been transcribed and made available for searching. The link provides a complete current list of the various Italian record collections. Access is free. [Italian Civil Registration Records] Also included is a portal link to the main components of the Italian archives (in English). [National Archives of Italy]
2012 April to June
Austria – FamilySearch.org has added a new browsable image collection of registers of births, marriages, deaths (and some burials) for the Jewish community of Vienna (Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien). The collection spans the years 1784 to 1911 and consist of some 350,000 images. The records are in German. Access is free. [Historic Vienna Jewish Birth Records]
Belgium – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection of Antwerp city police files. Specifically, these are files listing foreign nationals residing in the city. The collection spans the years 1840 to 1930 with some 1.3 million images or about 650,000 records. These records are in French and are structured as an interview. Typical questions include name, place and date of birth (or age), occupation, place of residence, last city/town of residence, when arrived into Belgium, last Belgium residence, nature of identification papers, authorization to be in the country, etc. Historic online police records are rare and the probing nature of the questions can help generate new leads. Access is free. [Historic Antwerp Police Records]
Russia – FamilySearch.org has released an interesting browsable image collection of Russian tax lists that covers about 95% of the population. The tax lists are primarily for the years 1782, 1795, 1811, 1816, 1833-34, 1850-51 and 1857-58. Access is free. [Russian Tax Lists]
Denmark – Probate records from the islands of Sjaelland, Bornholm and Maribo are now online from the Danish State Archives. Many court records are also now available as well as more records from Copenhagen, including death records and fire insurance records. Access is free. A free Java application must be downloaded to view the records. [Danish Probate Records]
2012 January to March
Estonia – FamilySearch.org has put online an interesting collection of various population registers from Estonia that span the years from 1918 (after the Russian Revolution) to 1944 (near the end of World War II). The collection consists of some 100,000 browsable images of various lists such as taxpayer lists, lists of citizens, lists of Jews, lists of Germans and lists of prisoners of war. The records are written in German, Estonian or Russian. Depending on the list, the type of information that can be found include name, date of birth, marital status, occupation, address, military duties and (for tax lists) taxes paid. These lists are currently not searchable but can be browsed by city/town (see image below). Access is free. [Historic Estonian Population Registers]
Czech Republic – FamilySearch.org has added to its collection of censuses from the Czech Republic. Currently, the collection covers the region of Northwestern Bohemia and consists of some 240,000 images spanning censuses from 1843 to 1921. A typical Czech census record (see example below) lists the house number, head of the household, and the names of everyone in the household (including servants) including their ages, occupations and religion. The relationship to the head of the household is also listed. Some Czech census records also list the date and place of birth of the individuals in the household. These census records are organized by region, town and census year. Access is free. [Historic Czech Census Records]
Hungary – FamilySearch.org has added about 915,000 records to its collection of Hungary Reformed Church christening records. The collection spans the years 1624 to 1895. With this latest update, some 57% of the records in the collection have been indexed. These records appear in Hungarian, Latin and German. Access is free. [Hungarian Christening Records]
Ukraine – JewishGen has massively revised its website devoted to tracking down Jewish ancestors from Ukraine. Even if your ancestors were not Jewish, this is a great website to check for the detailed maps and information on various Ukrainian towns and regions. Almost 800 towns are covered by the project. Access is free. [Ukraine Ancestor Maps]
Sweden – FamilySearch.org has cross-linked its collection of Swedish church records to the Swedish National Archives. These are primarily birth, marriage and death records as well as some confirmation lists and lists of residents who have moved in and out of a region. Some of the records date back to the 1500s. If you are looking for these records, it is usually best to go directly to the web portal of the Swedish National Archives because it is more complete. It also has better search capability. Access is by subscription and it requires the downloading of the DjVu plug-in in order to view the images. [Swedish Genealogy Records]
Italy – FamilySearch.org has added some 2.3 million browsable images of civil registration records from the state archive of L’Aquila. These records include births, marriages and deaths from the period 1809 to 1865. Also included are marriage banns (notificazioni o pubblicazioni) and marriage supplements (processetti). The records in this collection cover the geographic region of the modern-day provinces of L’Aquila, Pescara and Rieti. Access is free. Note: the government of L'Aquila has now restricted online access to their records. Users must go to an LDS location to access these records. [L’Aquila Birth and Marriage Records]
Austria – FamilySearch.org has added an additional 1.4 million Austrian Seigniorial images to its existing collection, bringing the total collection to some 3.2 million images. These records cover a wide time period from 1537 to 1888 and include such items as birth, marriage, death, testaments and real property records. The feudal land records are particularly interesting because they list the names of the owners, description and location of the property, dates and tax payments. Access is free. [Austrian Seigniorial Records]
Gibraltar – The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGGB) has added a collection of genealogical records from the Rock of Gibraltar. The records are being hosted by JewishGen. The first batch of some 6,500 records covers births from 1808 to 1894, marriages from 1810 to 1883 and deaths from 1829 to 1931. Many more records are expected to be added over time as they are transcribed. Gibraltar’s Jewish community is unique and is composed primarily of Sephardi Jews of Spanish, Portuguese and North African ancestry. Access is free. [Gibraltar Jewish Genealogy Records]
Sweden – FamilySearch.org has added over 4 million new church records from various regions of Sweden. The records generally date from the late 1500s up to 1935. Access is free. [Swedish Church Records]
Italy – FamilySearch.org has added some 6.2 million civil registration images from various regions of Italy. These are primarily birth, marriage and death records. The regions are Bologna (1866 to 1941), Catania (1820 to 1941), Cuneo (1795 to 1915), Genova (1866 to 1941), Napoli (1809 to 1865), Pistoia (1866 to 1929), Ravenna (1866 to 1929), Trieste (1924 to 1939). Access is free. [Italian Civil Registration Records]
Portugal – FamilySearch.org has added 5.3 million Catholic Church record images to its collection. These images are from various regions throughout the country. The records generally range in date from the late 1500s to the mid 1900s. Access is free. [Portugal Catholic Church Records]
2011 October to December
Russia – FamilySearch has added over half a million new images of church records from the province of Tver, which is north of Moscow. This brings the total collection to some 2.4 million images. These are records of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials performed by priests in the region. The records come from the local state archives and cover the period 1722 to 1918. The baptism records are interesting because they list the address of the parents. Some of the baptism records even list the names of the grandparents. Access is free. [Tver, Russia Baptism Records]
Germany – FamilySearch has created a new collection of miscellaneous city records from Nördlingen, Bavaria. This includes such records as census records, church records, citizenship rolls, city directories, emigration records, funeral sermons, school records and wills. The collection composes some 26,000 images and dates as far back as 1400 to 1943. Access is free. [Bavarian Genealogy Records]
Italy – FamilySearch has added two major civil registration image collections from Italy: one is from Catanzaro and the other is from Napoli. Both collections come from the state archives and combined the two collections comprise some 3 million images. Both collections cover the time period from 1809 to 1865. The types of records found in this collection are the standard birth, marriage and death records. In addition, these two collections also contain marriage banns (publicazioni notificazioni), baptismal records, ecclesiastical returns of marriages, marriage memorandums and records of marriages and deaths outside of the usual residence. Access is free. [Napoli Civil Registration Records] [Catanzaro Civil Registration Records]
Austria – FamilySearch has put online a collection of some 238,000 images of military records of soldiers and officers born within the state of Carinthia. The records span the years 1865 to 1892 and include the soldier’s name, date of birth, date of enlistment and military service. These records are written in German. Although the collection has not yet been fully indexed, it is listed in alphabetical order by year and surname, making it relatively easy to search. Access is free. [Historic Carinthian Military Records]
Slovakia – FamilySearch has almost doubled the number of scanned images it holds in its Slovakia church and synagogue collection. The collection now totals more than 1.3 million images. These are images of baptisms/births, marriages and burials from various Roman Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran, Reformed Church parishes and Jewish synagogues. The images cover a broad range of dates from 1592 (the beginning of church records in Slovakia) to 1910.
In Slovakia, most of the Roman Catholic registers started in the early 1700s, while Protestant church registers usually began in the late 1600s. A law in 1868 allowed different religious groups to use their preferred language in church records, so later records tend to be in many languages. Most of the early church records are in Latin, Hungarian or Slovak. Early Jewish records tend to be in German, Hebrew, Latin or Hungarian. Access is free. [Slovakia Parish Records]
Europe – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.com through the World Memory Project have put online a collection of information on 30,000 individuals who were victims of Nazi persecution. Included is information on displaced Jewish orphans, Czech Jews deported to the Terezin concentration camp or concentration camps in Poland plus details on French victims of Nazi persecution. This is the first searchable online collection from the World Memory Project, which was launched in May 2011. Access is free. [World Memory Project]
Czech Republic – FamilySearch has added over 220,000 land records from the Czech Republic spanning the period 1450 to 1850. These browsable images are full of genealogical detail and generally predate most Czech parish registers, making them particularly valuable. The total collection now has about 444,000 images. Access is free. [Historic Czech Land Records]
2011 July to September
Hungary - FamilySearch has added 6.7 million Catholic Church records from Hungary. These are primarily baptism records. The records span the years 1636 to 1895. This covers the period when Hungary was an empire (such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which lasted from 1867 to 1918). Thus, although this record collection is labelled ‘Hungary’, it really covers the Kingdom of Hungary. Because of changing political boundaries, you should check this collection if you have ancestors from any region that borders current-day Hungary (see the map below, which shows the Hungarian empire in 1910). In particular, check this record set if you have Slovakian, Romanian or Austrian ancestors. These records are in Latin, Hungarian or German. Access is free. [Historic Hungarian Baptism Records]
Russia – FamilySearch has managed to put online a rare collection of Russian Orthodox Church records from the province of Tver, which is just north of Moscow. The collection was acquired from the state archive and includes records of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. The records span the period 1722 to 1918 (the end of World War I). This is quite a find and will be of interest to anyone with ancestors from the region. It might even be worth checking out if you have ancestors from the Moscow region, just in case. Access is free. [Historic Tver Russia Birth Records]
Hungary – Genealogical records from Hungary are hard to come by. FamilySearch is helping to fill the gap with the release of some 2.3 million searchable Hungary civil registration images. This collection includes births 1895 to 1920, marriages 1895 to 1950 and deaths 1895 to 1980. Access is free. [Historic Hungarian Birth, Marriage, Death Records]
2011 April to June
Germany – FamilySearch has added about 1.5 million church records from Brandenburg and Posen to its collections. The records span the years 1794 to 1874. Access is free. [Historic German Church Records]
Sweden – Ancestry.com has just expanded their Swedish church record collection. Containing over 19 million parish records, the latest edition to the collection include birth, marriage and death records from 1860 to 1937 and extracts from various parish books for 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930. Note: these records are currently only searchable by location and year. Access is by subscription. [Historic Swedish Parish Records] We have also recently added a couple of million more Swedish records to our free genealogy search engine. These records can be searched by name.
Italy – The Gregorian University in Rome has been digitizing more than 6,000 historic manuscripts and codices of Gregorian University, the first university founded by the Jesuits in 1551. Included are many interesting historic documents, such as teaching lessons, codices and newspapers of the Council of Trent, church correspondence with Galileo and early Jesuit reports and maps on missions to China and other parts of Asia. The video below from Rome Reports provides further details.
(We are having trouble finding the actual digitized documents online. If you know the link, please email it to us at email@example.com)
2011 January to March
Finland – The National Library of Finland has taken an interesting approach to the digitization of historic documents from Finland. It has created a program called DigitalKoot (Digital Volunteers) that uses the power of crowd sourcing to correct transcriptions of historic documents. Basically, users log onto a website where they can play one of two games. Embedded in the game play are historic transcripts that the player needs to be corrected. Play a game and help genealogy. This might be of interest to anyone with Finnish ancestors. [Finland DigitalKoot Program]
Italy – FamilySearch had added approximately 86,000 records from the province of Teramo’s civil registration. The records cover the time period 1806 to 1940. Access is free. [Historic Teramo Genealogy Records
2010 October to December
Norway – The National Archives of Norway has put online the 1910 Norwegian census. Included in this census is the full name of the individual, date of birth, place of birth, family position, marital status and occupation. Access is free. Note this site is in Norwegian. [1910 Norwegian Census] Alternatively, readers who are not familiar with the Norwegian language can also search these census records through the free Genealogy Search Engine.
Belgium – FamilySearch has added about 4.3 million records from the Belgium civil registration (birth, marriage, death records) spanning the years 1795 to 1910. Access is free. [Belgium Civil Registration Records]
Netherlands – FamilySearch has put online civil registration (birth, marriage, death) records spanning the years 1796 to 1950. About 2.5 million records were added, with the bulk of the new additions coming from the Zuid-Holland region. Access is free. [Netherlands Civil Registration Records]
Italy – FamilySearch has added 385,000 church records from the Monreale Diocese in the Palermo region. The records span the period 1530 to 1919. Access is free. [Palermo Monreale Diocese Genealogy Records]
Belgium – Ghent University has uploaded over 100,000 historical books to Europeana, the European Union’s cultural heritage website. The 30 million newly added pages span four centuries of material in French, Dutch, German and other languages. There are many historical collections that would be of interest to genealogists with Belgium ancestors. For example, included in the upload is a comprehensive collection of works on the city of Ghent and the surrounding region. Access is free. [Europeana]
2010 July to September
Poland – Israel’s Holocaust museum Yad Vashem has received approval to access Polish government archives dating from the World War II era. This is a real step forward for genealogists trying to trace Holocaust victims. Of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, about 3 million were Polish Jews. Many have never been properly identified. Thus, access to polish archival records is an important part of the identification process. Yad Vashem maintains a free searchable database of Holocaust victims, including names and biographical details on some 3 million individuals. [Yad Vashem Database of Shoah Victims]
Netherlands – The National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheck, or KB for short) has partnered with Google to digitize 160,000 books from the 1700s and 1800s. The books will be fully searchable online through the KB website. In parallel, KB is also digitizing all Dutch newspapers from 1470 onwards. Although it will take several years to complete both projects, the information is expected to go online as it becomes available. This site is worth checking from time to time as it will almost certainly become a primary source of information for anyone with Dutch ancestry. [National Library of the Netherlands Digitized Newspapers] [KB - Google Book Digitization Project]
2010 April to June
Austria – The Austrian National Library has begun the process of digitizing all of its books from the 1500s to 1900. The collection spans some 400,000 works in total and is expected to take up to six years to complete. There will almost certainly be many books of genealogical interest. As the books are digitized they will become available through the internet via Europeana, which we talked about in our 8 May 2010 Genealogy This Week column. Access will be free.
Czech Republic – FamilySearch has put online 60,000 digital images of church records from the Litomerice State Regional Archive. These records date from 1552 to 1905. Note: these images can be browsed but they have not yet been indexed. Access is free. [Litomerice Genealogy Records 1552-1905]
Poland – Russia has published online six critical documents related to the 1940 Katyn massacre, where 22,000 members of the Polish elite were killed by Soviet forces. The documents are now available for viewing on the Russian State Archives website. These documents will be of great interest to anyone with Polish ancestry. Below is a sample image of the 1940 letter from the head of the Soviet secret police to leader Joseph Stalin recommending the execution of the Polish prisoners of war. [Link in Russian] [Link translated into English]
Russia – The Russian Defence Ministry has created a new online archive called The Achievements of the People in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. As the name would imply, this archive will contain documents related to Russia’s involvement in World War II. A total of over 200,000 documents are expected to be placed in this archive including details of military operations. We have not confirmed this but apparently descendants of Soviet soldiers killed in World War II will be able to access their wartime records. The first batch of documents is expected to go online before May 9th in honour of the 65th anniversary of the Soviet victory. This first batch will cover the first months of the war. Additional documents will be constantly added to the archive over the next two years. Note: We are having difficulty finding a permanent link. Please send us an email if you find it. [Russian World War II Records]Germany – The Buchenwald Memorial Foundation has published online a virtual memorial for those who died at the Buchenwald concentration camp. The virtual memorial lists some 38,000 victims and it commemorates the 65th anniversary of the liberation of one of the largest Nazi concentration camps in Germany. Over 56,000 people in total are thought to have died in Buchenwald and associated nearby camps. Victims were Jews, communists, gays, Roma, Sinti and others from central Europe. A page is dedicated to each victim and includes details such as date of birth and death. Genealogists are asked to send in additional details of relatives to complete the individual obituaries. Access is free. Note: the memorial is currently only in German with plans to add other languages at a later date. [Buchenwald Memorial Foundation Virtual Memorial]
Switzerland – A historic database of the Swiss daily newspaper Le Journal de Genève is now online. Covering the period 1826 to 1998, the collection has over 2 million articles. The database can be searched by keyword, date or issue. This collection is run as a partnership between several Swiss groups, including the Swiss National Library. Note that the search page is available in English but the results are in French for this French-language newspaper. Access is free. [Le Journal de Genève Historic Newspaper Archive]
France – The National Library of France has put into WorldCat 16.3 million French library records spanning fifteen centuries starting with the Merovingian times. Included are many records that would be of interest to genealogists such as historic newspapers, wills, manuscripts, maps and church records. WorldCat is essentially an online worldwide library catalogue. It is free to search but you will need to find a library with reciprocal transfer arrangements to view the original documents offline. [National Library of France Historic Book Catalogue]
France – FamilySearch has finished indexing most of the Protestant Register for France for the years 1612 to 1906. As the name suggests, this is a genealogy record base for people of Protestant faith in France (most of France is Catholic). Included in the Protestant Register are baptism, marriage and burial records. Access is free. [French Protestant Register 1612-1906]
2010 January to March
Norway - FamilySearch in collaboration with the Norwegian Historical Data Centre (NHDC) have put online the first part of the 1875 national Norwegian census. The NHDC also has the complete 1865 and 1900 national Norwegian censuses and the site provides excellent search capabilities. Access is free. [free Norway 1875 Census]
Netherlands – The Meertens Institute has put online all 314,000 surnames from the 2007 Dutch census. Also available are results for the 100,000 surnames from the 1947 Dutch census. The surnames are shown on distribution maps for the country. Also available are details on the origin of Dutch names, spelling variations, older forms of surnames and links to genealogy websites that specialize in the surname. See the sample search result below for the surname Jansen. This is a very useful site for tracking down Dutch surnames. Note: the main search page is available in English with the detailed search results available in Dutch only. The links are in red, as shown in the image below. [Dutch surname distribution maps]
Belgium – FamilySearch has now completed indexing and putting online the Belgium death registries. [Belgium Death Registries]
Germany/Europe – Google Earth announced a new historical imagery feature this week that allows you to compare historical aerial images taken during World War II to aerial images from today. The images cover much of central and Eastern Europe. Germany is particularly well covered. You can read all about it on the official Google blog. [Historic World War II Aerial Images on Google] You can also read a specific Google blog post written about aerial images of Warsaw, Poland taken in 1935, 1945 (before and after the war) and today. [Warsaw Poland World War II Aerial Images]
Europe: The UK's World War II aerial photographic archive has finally been opened to the public. Known as The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives (TARA), it contains more than ten million declassified aerial reconnaissance images taken by Allied forces during the war. Offering a fascinating way to view your ancestor's homes and landscapes at a pivotal point in history, this is a compelling website. Aerial photographs circa 1940s are currently available for the following countries: Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Poland. The site also offers mosaics, whereby historic city images are overlaid with with modern satellite images. This is a very useful tool to help people locate their ancestor's home. Access to most low-resolution images on this government website is free. Access to high-resolution aerial photographs requires a subscription. The website has a limited-time special offer of a two-year subscription for £15. [UK World War II Aerial Photographic Archive]
Europe: The US National Archives and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum have partnered with Footnote.com to create an interactive database with over one million Holocaust-related records. The collection includes interactive personal stories from the Holocaust Museum; Concentration Camp maps, stories and facts; reference to looted Holocaust valuables and original documents and photos from the National Archives. Access is by subscription. [Holocaust Collection]
Germany: Ancestry.com has put online German phone directories from 1915 to 1981. The collection covers 35 million people who lived in Germany's major cities. Access is by subscription. [Old German Phone Directories 1915-1981]