Newest Genealogy Records
GenealogyInTime Magazine maintains the most complete list available on the internet of the newest genealogy record sets from around the world. We tell you what you need to know.
Canada – Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced they are making good progress digitizing and putting online Canadian World War I soldier records. Known formally as the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service Files, these are the detailed service files of each Canadian soldier who served in the war. We have talked about this record set before.
These records are being digitized in an alphabetical manner. So far, all WWI soldiers with last names from A to Fitzpatrick have been completed. This represents about 1/3 of the entire collection. A typical soldier file might contain some 20 pages of detailed information about the soldier. This is a great resource for anyone who had a Canadian ancestor who fought in WWI. Access is free. [Canada World War I Soldier Records]
Canada – Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has launched a new database called Immigrants to Canada: Porters and Domestics 1899 – 1949. This database contains reference to some 8,600 individuals who came to Canada as porters or domestics (i.e. maids) between the years 1899 and 1949. It should be noted that many orphan girls from England were sent to Canada as domestic servants during this time period. If this fits the profile of one of your ancestors, then it may be worth checking out this database. Access is free. [Porters and Servants of Canada]
Canada – LAC has extended their database of naturalization records. The database now covers the years from 1915 to 1944, with work ongoing to extend the database to 1951. The database can be searched by first name, last name and country of origin. Access is free. [Canada Naturalization Records]
Russia – FamilySearch.org has added some 900,000 images to their collection of Russian Tatarstan church books. These are images of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials performed by priests of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Republic of Tatarstan, which is in the Volga region of Russia. The records span the years from 1721 to 1939. Online genealogy records from Russia are rare. With this latest addition, it almost doubles the size of the Tatarstan collection to some 1.7 million images. Access is free. [Tatarstan Genealogy Records]
UK – FindMyPast has put online nearly 10,000 volumes of English and Welsh electoral registers. These registers contain the names of eligible voters from various voting districts. A typical register will list the name of the voter and the reason why they were eligible to vote (typically because they were a land owner).
The registers span the years from 1832 to 1932. At the moment, the registers cannot be searched by name. Instead, it is possible to locate the register book by searching by year, constituency and county. In total, this collection contains some 5.4 million pages from register books that list approximately 220 million names.
We have talked extensively about UK electoral registers in our article Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors. We suggest you consult this article before diving into this new collection. Access to this collection is by subscription. [England Electoral Rolls]
Italy – FamilySearch.org has created a new collection of images of civil registration records from Forli. These are birth, marriage and death records from the State Archives of Forli. The records span the years from 1800 to 1815 and 1866 to 1930. In total, there are some two million images in this collection. Access is free. [Historic Forli Birth Records]
US – Readex has put online a collection of some 320 religious denominational newspapers from around the country. Most of the major religions are included in this collection, including Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Church of Christ, Congregationalist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reform Church. The newspapers span the years from 1799 to 1900. Some major titles in the collection include the Pacific (San Francisco), Methodist Advocate (Atlanta), Sandwich Island Gazette (Honolulu), New Covenant (Chicago), Catholic Standard (New Orleans), Christian Mirror (Portland, ME), Catholic Herald (Philadelphia), Christian Witness and Church Advocate (Boston), Christian Messenger (Dallas) and the Deseret News (Salt Lake City).
In addition to containing many names, this religious newspaper collection provides rare denominational insight into the news and opinions of the day on matters of local, regional and national interest to congregants. It could provide some unique information and insight to genealogists.
As we have mentioned before, Readex is available only through public libraries. They do not provide individual subscriptions. Check with you local public library.
England and Wales – We have some more information to share on the recent release of the 1939 National Identity Register by FindMyPast. Here are some important facts to know about this collection:
• The collection includes records on 41 million people. At launch, some 28 million records will be available online.
• There were 1.2 million pages that needed to be scanned, converted and tagged by hand to build this record set.
• At the time of the survey in England and Wales, the average age was 33 for men and 35 for women, with 53% of the population being female.
• The UK government had already begun evacuating London in September 1939. Women, children and the disabled were moved out of the city. At the time of the survey, only 2% of the population in London was aged 0 to ten. Therefore, if you are looking for a young ancestor from London at the beginning of the war in this collection, chances are they had already been moved out of the city.
Please note that this collection can be searched for free but access to the underlying record is by pay per view. This collection is not covered by a normal FindMyPast subscription. [1939 National Identity Register]
England – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 160,000 records or the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) records from 1917 to 1920. These are detailed service records on the some 7,000 women who joined WAAC. Each file contains name, date and place of birth, residence, marital status, number of children, occupation, age and date of enlistment. These records can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [WWI Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp Records]
UK – FindMyPast is launching the UK 1939 National Identity Register on Monday 2 November. This is huge news for anyone with UK ancestors. The video below provides some background:
We first talked about this digitization project in March 2014. Here is what else you need to know:
• Basically, the 1939 National Identity Register, although not a census, did have some similar information to a census. It was taken on the night of Friday 29 September 1939 just after the start of World War II.
• For genealogists, this 1939 register will help bridge the time gap between the 1911 census (the last census currently online) and the year 1939. The UK 1921 census is not allowed to go online for another seven years (in January 2022). The 1931 census was destroyed by fire in World War II and the 1941 census was never taken because of the war. So, the 1939 National Identity Register is hugely important for anyone tracing UK ancestors because it is the only large national resource currently available for the 28 year time period between 1911 and 1939.
• The British Government conducted the survey because it wanted updated statistics on the population so that identity cards could be issued. It was also required in case a draft was needed, in case of mobilisation, in case of mass evacuation of the general population and in case rationing was required (which was introduced just a few months later in January 1940).
• The details recorded in the 1939 National Identity Register include name, address, sex, specific date of birth (not just their age), marital status, occupation and whether the person was a member of the armed forces or reserves.
• The process for the enumeration worked as follows. On the night of Friday 29 September 1939, some 65,000 enumerators delivered forms to each household. Each household was responsible for filling out their own form. Two days later on the Sunday and Monday, the enumerators returned to collect the forms. The enumerators checked the forms and (if there were no problems) issued a complete identity card on the spot to each member of the household.
• There was a strong incentive for everyone to register correctly. Other than societal pressure given that war had just broken out, it was widely broadcast that anyone who “neglected” to register would not be eligible in the future for ration books.
• One thing to note is that due to privacy issues, information listed on individuals still alive today will not be included in the database.
• Access to the 1939 National Identity Register is by pay per view. Note: this is in addition to a normal FindMyPast subscription. [1939 National Identity Register]
US – The Midwest Genealogy Center, part of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Missouri has put online a free index to over 1.5 million pension records from the US Railroad Retirement Board. According to Cheryl Lang, manager of the Midwest Genealogy Center, “This is the first time this treasure trove of genealogical information is publicly available to search by name or date.”
For those who are not familiar with the Railroad Retirement Board, it is an independent agency of the US government that was formed in 1935 to administer retirement benefits to the country’s railroad workers (local streetcar workers and local city electric railway workers are not covered).
“Providing this public index of national railroad pension records has been a project in the making for more than three years,” Lang said. “This is a collaboration with NARA to make indexed information available to the public. Also, our staff and volunteers have been compiling indexes of various materials held by MGC that we would like to make searchable by the public."
Please note: only railroad workers who have been deceased for more than seven years will be included in the index. Access is free. [Railroad Retirement Pension Index]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 450,000 birth and death records from Montana. These are county courthouse records that span the years from 1840 to 2004. The counties covered are Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Powell and Silver Bow. The collection can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Montana Birth and Death Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection called United States Rosters of Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors. It spans the years from 1775 to 1783. The collection initially consists of some 18,000 images of published state rosters of revolutionary war soldiers from Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Virginia.
Some of the state records (such as the ones from Virginia) are a simple list of soldier’s names, while other states (such as Alabama – see image below) provide more elaborate descriptions of each soldier. Access is free. [United States Rosters of Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors]
England – The website Forces War Records has reached a milestone of 500,000 World War I hospital records. These are military hospitals admission and discharge registers from the National Archive. A typical record lists the soldier’s name, rank, regiment/sub unit, age, completed years of service, date of admission, date of discharge, injury/illness and any additional medical notes.
This collection also contains many records of women who also served in the war effort. There is an estimated one million more records in this collection waiting to be transcribed. Forces War Records now has some 4.2 million UK military records in total dating from the Napoleonic War (1793 to 1815) to post World War II. Access is by subscription. [WWI Hospital Records]
England – The website TheGenealogist has put online some five million historic ship passenger records from Britain. These are historical records of passengers who departed by sea from Britain for the years between 1896 and 1909. These records will be of interest to anyone who had ancestors that emigrated from Britain during this time period, particularly to America, Canada, India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
These records will also be of interest to anyone with ancestors who transmigrated through England during the time period. In particular, people from Norway, Denmark and Sweden often had to travel first to England in order to board one of the larger transatlantic passenger ships to America.
A typical record in this collection lists the first name, last name, age, gender, marital status, nationality, port of departure, date of departure, voyage length, name of the vessel and the port of arrival. Of course, not all the passengers in this record collection were immigrants. Some were travelling for other reasons, as the image below shows the passenger record of one Winston Churchill travelling to South Africa.
These records can be searched by name, port of departure, port of arrival and nationality. TheGenealogist uses technology in their search that will help group family members together in the search results, which can be incredibly useful when looking through this collection. Access is by subscription. [Historic English Ship Passenger Records]
England and Wales – FindMyPast has put online electoral registers from England and Wales that span the years from 1832 to 1932. In total, this mammoth collection consists of some 5.4 million images containing 220 million names. These records can be searched by first name, last name, year, county, constituency and polling district. This is a wonderful new collection.
Most genealogists are not that familiar with electoral rolls as a source of ancestral information. Fortunately, we have an article specifically devoted to this subject: Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors. Access to this collection is by subscription. [England Electoral Registers]
Caribbean – Readex has put online a new collection called Caribbean Newspapers 1718-1876. According to Readex, this is the largest online collection of 18th and 19th century newspapers from the region. It features more than 140 newspapers from 22 different islands. Most of the newspapers are in English, but some are in Spanish, French or Danish.
The countries/islands covered by this collection are Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guadaloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Bartholomew, St. Christopher, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Tobago, Trinidad and the Virgin Islands.
This collection provides a unique tool for genealogists to research their ancestors, study colonial history, the Atlantic slave trade and other aspects of Caribbean culture and history. In the absence of official records, newspapers are a great source.
For those who are not familiar with Readex, it is not available to individual subscribers. Readex is accessible through most public libraries. This is the largest genealogy record collection we have seen in the last five years for anyone with Caribbean ancestors. [Historic Caribbean Newspapers]
Bahamas – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 35,000 civil registration records from the Bahamas. These are birth, marriage and death records that span the years from 1850 to 1959. See an example of a birth record below. The records can be searched by first name, last name and life event (birth, marriage, residence, death and any). Access is free. [Bahamas Historic Birth Records]
Sweden – MyHeritage has put online 46 million Swedish household records spanning the years from 1880 to 1920. These are Lutheran Church parish records. Basically, the local parish priest would be responsible for conducting a mini census of his area every year. He would visit each home and collect information on births, marriages, deaths, changes of address, etc. Since this was done every year, it is in theory possible to trace a family as they moved to different locations within the country.
These so-called household examination books can be searched by first name, last name, year, place, address and keyword. Access is by subscription. [Historic Swedish Household Examination Books]
Honduras – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 179,000 civil registration records from Honduras. These are birth, marriage and death records spanning the years from 1841 to 1968. The collection can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Historic Honduras Birth Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 875,000 Baltimore ship passenger records. These records span the years from 1820 to 1948. After Ellis Island in New York, Baltimore was the second largest port of arrival for immigrants to America (see the article Ellis Island Immigration Facts). Access is free. [Baltimore Passenger Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional one million World War II draft registration cards. This new addition covers the year 1942. A typical draft card is shown below. This collection can be searched by first name and last name. One caution to note: when the National Archives originally scanned the draft cards for the states of DE, MD, PA and WV, the front image of one person's card was scanned with the back image of the previous person's card. So be very careful that you are reading the correct front and back sides for your ancestor. Access to this collection is free. [ US World War II Draft Cards]
Scotland – FindMyPast has added three Scottish newspapers to their collection from the city of Glasgow. Included are the Glasgow Free Press, the Glasgow Gazette and the Glasgow Morning Journal. In total, about 100,000 articles from these three newspapers have now gone online, primarily from the 1860s. Access is by subscription. [Historic Glasgow Newspapers]
Australia – FamilySearch has indexed some 335,000 cemetery records from Queensland. These records span the years from 1802 to 1990. The records are part of a 1.1 million image collection of indexes, cemetery transcripts and burial records. Cemetery records often provide more information than church death records, particularly on children that died young.
Australia cemetery records are also sometimes useful for finding the maiden name of women. The indexed records in this collection can be searched by first name and last name. The images can be searched by cemetery. Access is free. [Historic Queensland Burial Records]
Canada – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 318,000 death registrations from the province of British Columbia. These records cover the period from 1872 to 1986. B.C. started recording deaths in 1872, the year after the province joined Confederacy. Please note Chinese were excluded from the death registration until 1897 and aboriginals were excluded from registration until 1916 (with the exception of one brief period after 1897). Also note that in many circumstances, there were long delays between the date of death and the registration of the death given how isolated some communities were from the nearest government office.
A typical death record (see below) lists the name of the deceased, gender, date of death, where the person was born and cause of death. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [B.C. Death Registrations]
Norway – The National Archives of Norway has digitized and put online images of the entire 1891 census of Norway. Close to 2.5 million images are now available for viewing. The images are sorted by city and the municipalities (called a herred) that existed at the time of the census. At the moment, no master name index exists for this census, so the images must be manually reviewed.
Each individual had their own census sheet (see example below). For people looking for ancestors from the Oslo region, the 1891 address book for the region is also included. This will make it easier to pinpoint your ancestor in the census records.
This census is thought to be fairly complete. For example, for those who had mariner ancestors, it did include seamen. As well, in the cities (where most people could read and write), people were usually asked to fill out the census forms themselves. So if you find your ancestor, you will also be able to see their actual handwriting. Access is free. [Norway 1891 census]
Scotland – The website ScotlandsPeople has released the 1855 valuation rolls. The year 1855 was the first year that valuation rolls were available. It also coincides with the first year that births, marriages and deaths were statutorily required to be registered with the government. Thus, this valuation roll collection will make it easier for genealogists to cross reference an address of their ancestor to birth, marriage and death records. This is big news for anyone with Scottish ancestors.
The 1855 valuation rolls include over one million indexed names and addresses for anyone who owned, rented, or occupied property in Scotland. Details include the name of the owner/tenant/occupier, address of the property, location of the property and details on the assessed value of the land and dwellings.
The reason the Scottish government created the valuation rolls was for the purposes of collecting local land taxes. As a result, the valuation rolls tend to be fairly accurate. Please note that dwellings with a value of less than £4 were not included in the valuation rolls. This means that very modest dwellings of poor people would not be included in the survey. Valuation rolls from 1885 to 1925 are now available on the ScotlandsPeople website. Access is by subscription. [1855 Scotland Valuation Roll]
Ireland – The British Newspaper Archive website continues to add more historic Irish newspapers to their vast online collection. The latest additions include the Kings County Chronicle (1845 to 1871) and the Armagh Guardian (various years from 1845 to 1870). The British Newspaper Archive now contains some 509 titles and 11.8 million pages, including at least twenty titles from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
One of the nice things about this website is that you can browse publications by location. This is very useful since most people would not be familiar with what local papers may have existed in a given location back in the day. The British Newspaper Archive website has been built in partnership with the British Library. It can be searched by keywords such as a person’s name, a place or an event. Access is by subscription. [British Newspaper Archive]
Ireland – IrishGenealogy.ie, the official genealogy website of the Irish government, has updated their indexes to historic civil records. The indexes have been updated to include birth records over 100 years old (1914 and earlier), marriage records over 75 years old (1939 and earlier) and death records over 50 years old (1964 and earlier).
Please note: these are indexes only. However, the latest update has enhanced indexes for some of the older marriage records. This will be a great benefit for anyone with Irish ancestors. Access is free. [Historic Irish Civil Registration Records]
Ireland – The County Tyrone Genealogy Website continues to add new content to their website. This is an incredible website for anyone with ancestors from County Tyrone. It contains primary and secondary source documents as well as maps, photos and so much more. For example, the website contains birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, obituaries, parish records, deeds, criminal records, hearth rolls, school records, ship passenger records and on and on and on. Access is free. [County Tyrone Genealogy Records]
You can also search this site using the free Genealogy Search Engine. Simply use the site:cotyroneireland.com command in your search result. For example, if you were looking for an ancestor called Smith, you would type
Ireland – FindMyPast has added six new Irish newspapers to their collection of historic Irish newspapers. Included in the new additions is The Evening Freeman, a national publication. In total, FindMyPast’s Irish newspaper collection now covers 88 titles spanning the years from 1719 to 1950. This collection can be searched by first name, last name and by keyword. Access is by subscription. [Historic Irish Newspapers]
Italy – This week, FamilySearch.org has put online three new Italian civil registration record sets from Potenza (1697 to 1923 some 3,140,000 images), Rieti (1840 to 1945 some 395,000 images) and Trapani (1906 to 1928 some 230,000 images). These are birth, marriage and death records that come from the local state archives. The images can be browsed by commune or frazione and then by type of record. Access is free. [Potenza Civil Registration Records] [Rieti Civil Registration Records] [Trapani Civil Registration Records]
England – FindMyPast has put online 112 directories and almanacs. These are street directories, city directories, trade directories, county guides and general almanacs. Street directories are an excellent resource for anyone wanting to trace their ancestors between censuses. A typical street directory lists the name of the head of the household, their home address and their occupation. Most of the directories span the years from 1870 to 1939 and come from traditional sellers of old street directories (Anguline Research Archives, Gould Genealogy, Eneclann and Yorkshire Ancestors). The largest concentration of directories in this collection is from Yorkshire. Access is by subscription. [England Street Directories]
US – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection of Pennsylvania civil marriages. These are city and county marriage records. Most of the records come from Philadelphia starting in 1885. There are images from other counties in this collection that go as far back as 1677, but many of these images are not available to general members of the public. Access is free. [Historic Pennsylvania Marriage Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has created a new index of birth records from Richmond, Virginia. This collection of some 53,000 records covers the years from 1870 to 1912. Note: this is an index only and lists the name of the person, date of birth, gender, race, father’s name and mother’s name. It can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Richmond Virginia Birth Records]
UK – The genealogy website Forces War Record has released a rather unique genealogy record set. To mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Forces War Record has translated and put online for the first time what is known as Hitler’s Black Book (officially called Sonderfahndungsliste Gross Britannien). It lists 2,820 English people that the Nazi regime viewed as enemies of the state. These were the people in the UK who were targeted for execution if Germany was successful in winning the Battle of Britain.
Not surprisingly, this hit list is full of people whom the Nazis knew spied on Germany, such as Conrad Fulke Thomond O’Brien-french, the real-life British Secret Intelligence officer who served as the role model for 007 James Bond. Also included are well-known politicians such as Winston Churchill.
What is surprising are some of the other names on the list, such as Lord Baden-Powell (the founder of scouts), the author HG Wells and the entertainer Noel Coward. They were all on the Nazi hit list.
Most of the people on the list were politicians, writers, prominent émigrés, known intelligence agents, scientists, entertainers and artists. Check to see if any of your ancestors were on the list. The list is alphabetical by last name. Access is free. [Nazi Black Book]
US – FamilySearch.org has added 1.2 million images to their collection of Delaware vital records. These are birth, marriage, death, cemetery and bible records. The records come from the Delaware Public Archives and span the years from 1650 to 1974. This brings the total number of images in this collection to 3.1 million. Some of the images can be searched by first name and last name. Otherwise, the images can be browsed by type of record and last name. Access is free. [Delaware Vital Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 373,000 birth certificates from Cook County, Illinois. Cook County encompasses the city of Chicago. The birth certificates span the years from 1871 to 1940. The records can be searched by first name, last name, place of birth and year. Note that these are indexes only.
To search for and order the full certificate you must access the official Cook County genealogy website. Access to the index is free on FamilySearch. There is a fee for ordering the certificate on the official website. [FamilySearch Cook County Birth Certificates] [Official Cook County Genealogy Website]
US – Readex has improved their user interface for accessing their massive American Civil War collection. This makes it easier for genealogists to find information about their ancestors. For readers who are not familiar with Readex, it is an institutional service provided exclusively through public libraries. If you want to access Readex, go to your local public library.
The Readex American Civil War collection spans the years from 1860 to 1922. It consists of full-color searchable scans of over 13,500 printed works about the war. Much of the material is unique, such as broadsides, lithographs, stereographs and more. The video below describes how this is a valuable research collection in addition to the usual sources of Civil War material, such as the Library of Congress.
US – FamilySearch.org has a new index collection of South Dakota birth and marriage records. It covers some 700,000 records spanning the years from 1843 to 2014. The index was provided by the South Dakota Department of Health (see example below). The index can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [South Dakota Birth Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 1.3 million marriage records from Texas. These records span the years from 1837 to 1977. The records can be searched by first name and last name. See examples below. Access is free. [Texas Marriage Records]
Ireland – The website Irish Ancestors has launched a unique database called the Dublin Presbyterian Colporteur’s Notebook 1875. A colporteur was someone employed by a religious society who was responsible for distributing religious material. In this case, the colporteur was William Malone, who was tasked with the responsibility of making contact with non-affiliated Presbyterians in 1875 Dublin. Fortunately for modern-day genealogists, he kept copious notes on every family he met, including many who were Roman Catholics. In total, he provides biographical notes on some 10,000 individuals.
In the absence of nineteenth century census records for Dublin, this is an incredibly valuable resource. A typical record lists the names of the mother and father, their occupations, education, number of children, place of origin and general living conditions. Some of the entries are a bit chilling, such as the one below:
This database can be searched by first name and last name. Access is by subscription. [Dublin 1875 Presbyterian Records]
Italy – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 450,000 civil registration records from the state of Bergamo and an additional 355,000 civil registration records from the state of Cremona. Both sets of records come from the regional state archives and cover births, marriages, marriage banns, deaths, and some residency records. The Bergamo records cover the period from 1866 to 1901 while the Cremona records span the years from 1744 to 1942. The records can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Bergamo Civil Records] [Cremona Civil Records]
Italy – FamilySearch.org is on a role with Italian civil registration records. This week, they have added large browsable image collections from Enna (1866 to 1944 some 840,000 images), San Remo (1805 to 1910 some 235,000 images) and Pescara (1809 to 1929 some two million images). These images all come from the regional state archives. Births, marriages, marriage banns and death records are in these collections. The images are organized by commune or frazione and then by type of record and year. Access is free. [Enna Civil Records] [San Remo Civil Records] [Pescara Civil Records]
Canada – Ancestry.ca has put online a collection of World War II service files of war dead. These are essentially files on soldiers that died during the war years. In total, there are about 44,000 WWII war dead files, of which Ancestry has put some 29,000 online. Service files such as these often contain multiple documents on each soldier, such as details on the soldier’s enlistment and service record. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is by subscription. [Canada World War II War Dead Soldier Service Files]
Brazil – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 350,000 civil registration records from the state of Pernambuco. These are birth, marriage and death records that span the years from 1804 to 2014. The birth records list the mother and father’s occupation and place of origin. Also (unusual for a birth record) the names of the maternal and paternal grandparents are often also listed. These records are in Portuguese (see example below). The records can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Pernambuco Birth Records]
England – FindMyPast has put online one million prisoner of war records from World War II. These are predominantly records of Commonwealth and US prisoners held in German POW camps. The records cover the period from 1939 to 1945. A typical record lists the name, rank and nationality of the prisoner. Also included is the location of the POW camp along with the length of time spent in captivity. The collection also contains some 360,000 images comprised of photographs from the POW camps and pages from personal diaries of the prisoners.
This collection is being published in association with the UK National Archives to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Not surprisingly, British prisoners represent the largest number of records in the collection. There also appear to be a substantial number of records of Dutch, American and Australian POWs.
It is not clear if this collection consists of all or just a part of the WWII prisoner of war records held at the National Archives. Access to this collection is by subscription. [World War II Prisoner of War Records]
England – Deceased Online has added four new cemeteries in North Lancashire to their collection. The latest additions come from the towns of Fleetwood, Poulton le Fylde and Preesall and go back as far as 1840. This brings the total number of Lancashire burial records to 5 million from over 60 different cemeteries. A typical record in the collection provides a digital scan of the original burial register, details of the grave occupant and a map indicating the location of the grave in the cemetery. Access is by subscription. [Lancashire Burial Records]
England – FindMyPast has put online an additional 2.7 million school registers from across England. These records come from 25 different archives and cover over 3,600 schools spanning the years from 1870 to 1914. Details within the school registers include such things as school attendance records, visitors to the schools and the daily activities of school life.
A typical admission register lists the name of the student, date of birth, admission year and name of the school. Some admission registers include additional information such as the name of parents, father’s occupation, exam results and any illnesses that resulted in an absence from school. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic English School Records]
US – Ancestry.com has launched a massive US probates and wills collection. The collection consists of some 30 million records comprised of 170 million images from all 50 states. The collection spans the years from 1668 to 2005. In total, some 100 million people are mentioned in the collection, including the deceased, their relatives, friends, acquaintances and neighbors.
Wills and probates (the legal process by which a will is proved to be valid in a court of law) are a rich source of information for genealogists because they tend to provide a fairly comprehensive view of a person’s life. For example, a will often list a broad cross section of the relatives of the deceased. Some even provide insight into family dynamics based on who got what in the will. As well, it is often possible to infer the occupation and relative wealth of the deceased by their activity, personality and possessions. Finally, it is one of the few historical documents genealogists can access that list so-called FANs of a person (Friends, Acquaintances and Neighbors).
Ancestry has put in a lot of effort to make this collection accessible to everyone, including beginning genealogists. For example, it comes with its own research guide.
It should be noted this collection is the result of collaboration with FamilySearch that began a few years ago. So far, FamilySearch has made no corresponding announcement as to whether they will be separately publishing some of this information. If it follows the usual pattern, Ancestry will have exclusive access to the material for a period of time (possibly one or two years) before it gets published on the FamilySearch website.
The collection can be searched by first name, last name, year of death and location. Access to the collection is by subscription. [Historic US Wills and Probates]
US – GenealogyBank is reporting that their historic Hawaiian newspaper collection has grown to include 25 different titles providing coverage from 1836 to 1991. In total, there are more than 166,000 articles in the collection. The articles can be searched by first name, last name, keywords and date range. Access is by subscription. [Historic Hawaiian Newspapers]
US – The Plainfield Public Library has put online an extensive collection of city directories from Plainfield New Jersey. The collection of 75 directories spans the years from 1870 to 1982 and contains hundreds of thousands of listings. Access is free. [Plainfield New Jersey City Directories]
We have mentioned this before, but we have extensive resources to help people with old city directories, including a List of City Directory Abbreviations, List of First Name Abbreviations and List of Occupation Abbreviations.
US – The San Mateo County Genealogical Society (near San Francisco, California) has put online a unique set of genealogical records. These are an index of the sheriff’s booking registers. The registers cover the years from 1924 to 1953 (1943 to 1945 are missing). Basically, these registers record everyone who was booked into the county jail during that period.
One thing interesting about this collection is that prior to WWII it was not uncommon for homeless residents and transients in the area to use the San Mateo jail as a type of overnight lodging. They would be picked up late in the evening and then released the next morning without being charged. This would include people who were travelling into the county in search of work, but who could not afford more traditional lodging.
The index, which lists some 60,000 names in alphabetical order, provides the name of the individual, their age, book, page and line number of the full record (see image below). The full record (which is currently available offline at the local San Mateo library) provides further detail such as the day of incarceration, occupation, height, weight, amount of time spent in the county, where the person was picked up, the hour of arrest, the hour of release, the number of meals served, any fines paid and a column for remarks. This is a great resource to check if you had ancestors passing through the San Francisco region. They may have spent a night in the San Mateo jail. Access is free. [San Mateo Sheriff Records]
Ireland – Irish Genealogy News is reporting that the civil registration index of birth, marriage and death records previously held at Irish Genealogy appears to have been fully restored. This is great news for anyone with Irish ancestors. You can read more about it here.
Ireland – The Irish Newspaper Archive has added four new titles over the summer months: the Irish (Cork) Examiner 1841 to 1989; the Sligo Champion (from County Sligo) 1950 to the present; the Strabane Chronicle (from County Tyrone) 1908 to 1979 and various years from the Leinster Express in County Laois. Access is by pay per view. [Irish Newspaper Archive]
Ireland – FindMyPast has put online historic Irish school register records. In total, this collection contains some 142,000 records. The records span the years from 1860 to 1920. This collection can be searched by first name, last name, school, parish, county and religious denomination. According to FindMyPast, most of the records come from smaller, more isolated schools. Access is by subscription. [Irish School Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 2.7 million records from the 1915 New Jersey state census. This will be a very useful collection to search for many people with American ancestors since New Jersey was a popular settling point for many immigrants during the height of the immigration boom from 1892 to 1924. The collection can be searched by first name and last name.
The 1915 New jersey state census lists name, location, whether the occupant owned or rented, color, sex, date of birth, age, marital status, place of birth, birthplace of parents, number of years in the US, whether a naturalized citizen, occupation, English reading/writing/speaking proficiency, and (if the person was a child) what school they attended. Below is an example. Access is free. [New Jersey 1915 State Census]
Colombia – FamilySearch.org has added a million new images to their collection of Colombian Catholic Church records bringing the total size of the collection to an astonishing 10.5 million images. These images span a vast time period from 1600 to 2012. Included are baptisms, confirmations, pre-marriage investigations, marriages, marriage dispensations and deaths. Some of these records have been indexed and can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Colombia Catholic Church Records]
Mexico – FamilySearch.org has indexed over 12 million Mexican Catholic Church records. These are baptisms, confirmations, marriages, death and burial records. Some of the records go back as far as the 1600s and as recent as 1994. The link will take you to an article that provides an overview of the Mexican church records held by FamilySearch. Near the bottom of the article are all the links to the various collections. The records can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Mexican Catholic Church Records]
Philippines – FamilySearch has added four million more civil registration images to their Manila collection, bringing the total collection to some 5.9 million images. These are images of marriage and death records (no birth records). The records span the years from 1899 to 1984. Access is free. [Manila Marriage and Death Records]
Ireland – FamilySearch.org has put online a massive new collection of Irish petty court session records. There are 22 million records in total in the collection, which spans the years from 1828 to 1912. These records were indexed by FindMyPast, which had previously put them on their website. Now you can search for them for free at FamilySearch. This is a great resource for anyone with Irish ancestors since these records touch all levels of society.
Irish petty court records are basically minor misdemeanor records. Typical offenses would include such things as public drunkenness and trespassing offenses. Dog registrations are also included in this collection. A typical record lists the individual’s name, date, county and other information specific to the court case. This collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Ireland Petty Court Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed the Iowa 1925 state census. In total, there are some 5.6 million records in this collection. A typical record lists the name of the person, relationship to the head of the household, sex, color or race, age, marital status, owner or renter, number of years in the US, number of years in Iowa, education level, literacy level, name of father, place of birth of father, current age of father maiden name of mother, place of birth of mother, current age of mother, place of marriage of parents, military service history (branch of service, war participated in, state enlisted or drafted from), occupation and religion. This collection can be searched by first name and last name.
This is a fairly comprehensive census for the time period. The detailed information on the mother and father will be particularly useful for tracing back the previous generation. Access is free. [Iowa 1925 Census]
US – FamilySearch.org has created a new vital records index of Kentucky births, marriages and deaths. The indexes span the years from 1911 to 1999. There are some 9.9 million names listed in these indexes. This collection came from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. There are some gaps in the data, particularly for the marriage index. Please also note that when looking at the birth index, a number in the child’s middle name field means that no middle name was provided for the child (1=male, 2=female). Access to this collection is free. [Historic Kentucky Vital Records]
Italy – FamilySearch.org has created a number of new browsable image collections of civil registration records for different regions of Italy. This includes Cremona (1744 to 1942 some 1.3 million images), Grosseto (1851 to 1907 some 394,000 images), Pesaro (1866 to 1942 some 709,000 images), and Ragusa (1900 to 1940 some 111,000 images).
These collections all come from the regional state archives. They contain the usual civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths. Also included are some marriage banns and residency records. Access is free. [Cremona Civil Registration Records] [Grosseto Civil Registration Records] [Pesaro Civil Registration Records] [Ragusa Civil Registration Records]
Australia – The Ryerson Index has just reached the important milestone of 5 million names. For those who are not familiar with the Ryerson Index, it provides a free index to Australian obituary and probate notices found in historic newspapers. The notices go back as far as the Sydney Gazette of 1803 and as far forward as the present.
Although the Ryerson Index traditionally focussed on newspapers from New South Wales, it now covers much of Australia. A typical search will provide the last name, given name(s), type of notice (death notice, probate notice), date of death, age of person at death, newspaper, publication date and a reference to the town/city where the person last lived. Access is free. This is a great resource for anyone with Australian ancestors. [Ryerson Index]
US – The archives of the city of Providence, Rhode Island has put online a number of historic city directories from the area. The directories span the years from 1895 to 1935. Technically, these are house directories because householders are listed by street address only (normally, a city directory lists householders by street address and also alphabetically). The usual information is contained in these directories, namely the head of household, occupation, street address and whether the person was a border (b) or homeowner (h) of the property. Our City Directory Abbreviations and List of Occupation Abbreviations will help you when you are searching through these directories. Access is free. [Historic Rhode Island Directories]
US – GenealogyBank has made a massive new addition to their US digital newspaper collection. Over 450 additional historic newspaper titles have been added to the website. The new additions cover all 50 states and span the years from 1730 to 1900. This has resulted in millions of new obituaries, birth notices and marriage notices going online. Access is by subscription. [GenealogyBank]
Norway – The National Archives of Norway has digitized and put online the records from the silver tax of 1816. This is an unusual record set and one that is worth explaining.
In 1816 the central bank of Norway (Norges Bank) was established. However, the central bank lacked capital. An attempt to raise sufficient funds through a share issuance failed. Thus the king of Norway decided that a special silver tax would be imposed on the citizens. These records can be searched by first name, last name, gender, residence and parish. Access is free. [Norway 1816 Silver Tax Records]
Scotland – The website Deceased Online has begun the process of digitizing and putting online the burial records of some 200 cemeteries in the county of Aberdeenshire. These are cemeteries and burial grounds managed by Aberdeenshire Council. The records from some 20 burial sites have already been completed, with the balance of the records expected to go online over the next couple of months. In total, the collection will number some 600,000 records. The records span the years from 1615 up to 2010. A typical record lists the name of the deceased, occupation, address, date of burial, etc. The link provides the full list of available grave sites. Access is by subscription. [Aberdeenshire Burial Records]
Canada – The website Canadiana.ca has achieved the important milestone of processing some 21 million pages of Canadian historic records. This website chronicles the institutions and people that shaped Canadian history from the 1600s to the mid-1990s.
The non-profit organization behind the website is Canadiana.org. It was originally founded in 1978 to preserve Canada’s print heritage. There are 11 major collections on the website, including one specifically devoted to genealogy and local history and one devoted to the War of 1812. The website can be searched by keyword, collection and date range. Access is free. [Canadiana.ca]
US – Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has added an index of over 40,000 digitized family Bible records. Before the days of government birth, marriage and death records, family Bible records remain an important resource for genealogists. The index can be searched for free. [DAR Bible Records]
England – Ancestry has put online an interesting collection of some 11,000 historic Surrey England mental hospital records. These are admission records and span the years from 1867 to 1900. According to Ancestry, one of the shocking things about this collection is the number of patients that were admitted to mental hospitals at the time that were aged ten years or younger.
Each record lists the patient’s name, gender, marital status, occupation, residence, religion and reason for admission. Given the changed nature of the mental health industry, some of the reasons for admission might not be recognizable today. For example giving ‘weak-mindedness’ as a reason for admission is particularly vague. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic Surrey Mental Health Records]
England – FindMyPast has added to their collection of Kent parish records. The latest addition consist of 42,000 new baptism records spanning 450 years and 30,000 new burial records also spanning 450 years. With the newest additions, FindMyPast now has over 540,000 Kent baptism records and over 385,000 burial records. These records can be searched by first name, last name, baptism year, father’s first name and mother’s first name. Access is by subscription. [Kent Baptism Records]
England – Ancestry has added a new collection of British Army muster books and pay lists. This new collection spans the years from 1812 to 1817 and consists of over 467,000 records. This might be a good collection to search if you had a relative involved in the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.
A typical record lists the name, start date, end date, regiment, where stationed, rank and pay of the soldier. It covers cavalry, foot guards and regular infantry regiments. Also included are special regiments, colonial troops, various foreign legions, garrison battalions, veteran battalions and depots. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, keyword and regiment. Access is by subscription. [British Army Muster Books]
Australia – FamilySearch.org has started a new browsable image collection of the 1828 census from New South Wales. So far, 2,500 images are in the collection. A sample image is shown below from Botany Bay. The 1828 census lists the name of the family member (including servants), age, class (free or bonded), ship name and year of arrival, sentence (if applicable), employment, residence and religion. If the resident was a farmer, additional information was also collected such as the number of acres and livestock totals.
Two copies of the 1828 New South Wales census were created. One copy was sent to the public records office in England. This is the basis for the copy Ancestry keeps in its collection. The other copy is now resident in the Mitchell Library in Sydney, which is the basis for the FamilySearch version. It is worth consulting both versions since there appears to be slight differences between the two sets (particularly in name spelling).
The images in the FamilySearch collection can be searched by place. Eventually, it will be indexed by name. Access is free. [New South Wales 1828 Census]
Australia – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection of Tasmanian civil registrations of births. The collection consists of some 12,700 images and spans the years from 1899 to 1912. A typical record (as shown below) gives the name of the child, date of birth and sex. For the father it lists the name, age and birthplace. For the mother it lists the name, maiden name, age, when/where married, place of birth and other children.
The images in this collection are organized by place and then by year. For this collection there is often a long lead time between when the child was born and when it was registered. It is possible that children who died soon after birth were not put in the register in Tasmania during this time period. Access is free. [Historic Tasmanian Birth Records]
Ireland – FindMyPast has put online a collection of 1.5 million records of admission and discharge registers from the Dublin workhouses. These are the workhouses of both the North and South Unions. The records span the years from 1840 to 1919.
A workhouse was an early and rudimentary form of social security. It was essentially a place where a person or a family unable to support themselves were provided with very basic accommodation and often a menial job. Most workhouses were run by local parishes or societies, sometimes with the backing of the local government.
This collection will be of great interest to anyone who had ancestors from Ireland. After the Great Famine of the 1840s, the level of poverty in Ireland (which was already much higher than in England) skyrocketed. As a result, many families at one time or another ended up in a workhouse. These records are from the capital of Dublin, where families gravitated towards from all over the country in search of relief during the potato famine. Also, Dublin was the main point of embarkation for those who left the country en mass starting in the 1840s. Many migrating families heading overseas would have spent some time in these workhouses. As a result, there is a good chance you will be able to find your Irish ancestors in this collection.
A typical record lists the names of family members, age, occupation, religion, illnesses or infirmities, their original parish and the general condition of their clothes and/or cleanliness. A transcript of the record and an image of the original document are included with this collection. The records can be searched by first name, last name, date, gender, occupation and religion. Access is by subscription. [Dublin Workhouse Records]
Also included is a separate record set that provides minutes of meetings of those who ran the Dublin workhouses. Listed are members of staff, contractors and teachers who worked in the poor houses. These records also contain many individual case histories of paupers and abandoned children that were discussed at board meetings. In total, these minute books contain some 900,000 records and can be searched by first name, last name and year. Access is also by subscription. [Dublin Workhouse Minutes]
Canada – Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is making good progress on digitizing their collection of First War military personnel records. Formally known as the Canadian Expeditionary Force Personnel Service Files, these records are being digitized systematically by box number, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order. So far, LAC has digitized about one quarter of the boxes from A up to the surname Gilbert.
The pace of digitization is much faster than the original rate (as we discussed below last December) thanks in part to renewed emphasis from the new management at LAC. At the current run rate, all the records should be digitized and put online by the end of 2016. Access is free. [Canada WWI Military Records]
Canada – FamilySearch.org has created a new record collection of Newfoundland vital statics. These are church records of baptisms, marriages and some burials. There are some 192,000 records in the collection, which spans the years from 1753 to 1893. This collection can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Early Newfoundland Vital Records]
Australia – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection of Tasmanian government gazettes from 1833 to 1925. Government gazettes are a great source of information for genealogists because of the wide breadth of records they contain, as shown in the image below. This particular gazette lists everything from convict lists, to ship arrivals to details on property sales. The collection can be searched by date. Access is free. [Historic Tasmanian Government Gazettes]
UK – If you think one of your ancestors may have owned a tavern in West Yorkshire, then this record set is for you. Ancestry.co.uk has digitized a unique set of 75,000 West Yorkshire alehouse records dating from 1771 to 1962. These are basically lists of people who were licensed to own taverns in the area. Since 1551, England has kept records of alehouse licenses, but it is rare to see such a collection being digitized and put online. Access is by subscription. [Historic Alehouse Licenses]
Canada – The Ottawa Museums and Archives has started the process of creating a virtual online collection. The collection comes from several regional museums and the city archives. Items in the collection range from photographs to maps to letters to historic artifacts. The first batch of 34,000 records has already gone online. Hopefully, the entire collection will one day go online, which consists of some 3 million photographs alone. Search is by keyword. Access is free. [Ottawa Digital Archives]
England and Wales – FindMyPast has added a collection of birth, marriage and burial records from The Society of Friends (Quakers). The collection spans the years from 1578 to 1841 and consists of 234,000 birth records, 90,000 marriage records and over 250,000 burial records. Quakers were not baptised into their faith, so no baptism records exist. They were, however, known for their meticulous record keeping so these records should be fairly complete. The records can be searched by a variety of fields, including first name, last name, meeting house, county, etc. Access is by subscription. [Historic English Quaker Birth Records]
Norway – The National Archives of Norway has put online the 1815 census. A bit of background is required. The census was triggered by the union in 1814 of Norway and Sweden. Sweden wanted a statistical survey of the Norwegian economy. Thus, most of the results from this 1815 census are numerical in nature such as how many people lived in a particular village and the general age distribution. However, in some jurisdictions, census preparers made name lists of the inhabitants as an intermediate step towards preparing the statistical census summaries.
It is these so-called nominative or name lists that will be of interest to genealogists. An example is shown below. The lists have been scanned and put online. Some of the lists have even been transcribed and are clearly marked as searchable. These lists can be searched by first name, last name, gender, family position, occupation and year of birth. Access is free. [Norway 1815 Census]
Australia – FindMyPast has put online an index of Queensland wills. The index consists of some 514,000 records spanning the years from 1857 to 1940. The index was compiled from three former Queensland Supreme Court districts: the Northern District (based in Townsville); the Central District (based in Rockhampton) and the Southern District (based in Queensland). The index provides details of not only those who died in Queensland, but also those who registered their wills in Queensland and then lived elsewhere at the time of their death.
Each record includes a transcript of the original files. The index can be searched by first name, last name and district. Access is by subscription. [Queensland Will Index]
Ireland – This is a preannouncement. The National Library of Ireland has announced the date for when their collection of Catholic parish registers will become freely available to the public on a dedicated website. The date will be 8 July 2015. These parish records are the single most important source of Irish family history prior to the 1901 census. They span the years from the 1740s to the 1880s and consist primarily of baptism records and marriage records.
The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has been working to digitize these records for more than three years. It has been the most ambitious digitization program that the library has ever attempted. Genealogists will be interested to know that a typical baptism record in the collection lists the names of the person being baptised, parents, godparents and witnesses.
In the initial phase, the records will not be searchable by name. Instead, they will be searchable by parish location only. At the moment, the NLI does not have the financial resources to transcribe the records.
While you wait for this collection to become available, it would be a good idea to do some advance research to determine the exact historic Catholic parish where your ancestors lived. The best way (really the only good way) to do this is to use Brian Mitchell’s A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland, which you can buy from Amazon. This atlas is a key resource for anyone researching their Irish ancestry. Each Irish county is presented in multiple detailed maps: Roman Catholic parishes and dioceses; Church of Ireland parishes and dioceses; townlands; poor law unions and parishes and probate districts. A separate set of maps deals with the nine counties of Northern Ireland and shows the various Presbyterian congregations.
Basically, the atlas shows all the different kinds of historic subdivisions that have occurred in Ireland over the last couple hundred years. This atlas is invaluable for tracing your Irish ancestors.
Belgium – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 70,000 civil registration records from East Flanders, Belgium. These are birth, marriage and death records from the Belgium National Archives that span the period from 1541 to 1912. These records can be search by first name, last name and type of record. The underlying collection of some 2.8 million images can also be browsed. Access is free. [East Flanders Birth Records]
Canada – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 246,000 records from their existing collection of Ontario marriages. This collection spans the years from 1869 to 1927. Although some jurisdictions in Ontario began recording marriages as early as 1801, province-wide registration did not begin until 1 July 1869. Also note that in the 1800s, people who lived near the US border sometimes chose to get married in the United States where marriage requirements could be less strict than in Canada. This collection can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Historic Ontario Marriage Records]
England – Deceased Online has added cemetery and cremation records from the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough, which is near Birmingham in the West Midlands. The new records consist of some 300,000 burials and 130,000 cremations going back as far as 1858. Access is by subscription. [Sandwell Cemetery Records]
England – FamilySearch.org has a new image collection of Derbyshire parish records. This collection spans the years from 1537 to 1918 (basically from the formal start of parish record keeping under King Henry VIII to the end of World War I). The collection consists of some 53,000 images with the usual records on baptisms, marriages/banns and burials. Although some of the images can be searched by first name and last name, it is not clear if the entire collection is currently searchable. To learn more about English parish records, see the article A Date Guide to English Genealogy. Access is free. [Derbyshire Parish Records]
England – FindMyPast has seriously increased their collection of Yorkshire parish records. Over 1.2 million new baptism records from North Riding, East Riding and West Riding are part of the latest update. These records are from the original registers. In addition, 1.3 million new baptism records have also been added from bishop’s transcripts (basically transcribed records from the original parish records - these records were kept at the local bishop’s office). Both sets of baptism records span the years from the 1500s to 1914 (the start of World War I).
In addition, FindMyPast has added about 1.7 million parish marriage/bann records. These are both original parish records and bishop’s transcript records. Finally, there are about 1.8 million parish burial records that have also been added to their Yorkshire parish record collection. The records can be searched by first name, last name, place and year. Access is by subscription. [Yorkshire Parish Records]
South Africa – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 43,000 names in their massive collection of estate files from Orange Free State, South Africa. This collection spans the years from 1951 to 2006. The two items in this collection that will be of particular interest to genealogists are death notices and will records.
A typical death notice (see image below) provides the name of the deceased, date and place of death, place of birth, name of parents, name of spouse and name(s) of children. A typical will record lists the name of the deceased, name of spouse, name of heirs/family members, date and place of the will and the names of witnesses to the will. This collection can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Orange Free State Death Notices]
US – FamilySearch.org has added some 700,000 indexed marriage records to their collection of Alabama marriage records. This collection spans the years from 1809 to 1950. To date, some 41% of the collection has been indexed. The collection can be searched by first name and last name. Alternatively, the one million images can also be browsed. Access is free. [Alabama Marriage Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 460,000 records from Cascade County, Montana. The collection spans the years from 1880 to 2009 and consists of an incredibly diverse set of records such as probate records (1903 to 1926), court orders for dependent children (1903 to 1937), naturalization records (pre 1945) and land deeds (1880 to 1941). Other types of records in the collection are cemetery records, election records, military records, school records, pension records, voter registration lists, census records, probate records and obituaries. The collection can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Historic Montana Genealogy Records]
Czech – FamilySearch has put online an intriguing collection of some 66,000 school register images. These images span the years from 1799 to 1953 and come from the Opava State Regional Archive. They cover the Moravia region of the former Czechoslovakia. A typical record in this collection provides the full name of the child, date of birth, place of birth, religion, father’s full name and the place of residence. The records are in Czech and can be searched by district. A typical example is given below. Access is free. [Historic Czech School Records]
UK – The website TheGenealogist is releasing several new collections this week. First up are 4.66 million World War I medal records. Included are records for the 1914 and 1915 star, the British war medal (1914 to 1920) and the Victory medal (1914 to 1919). TheGenealogist has also added 750,000 new parish records from 22 different counties. Finally, additional tithe maps have been release for more English counties.
A typical map lists the names of the owner and the occupier of lands in addition to details about the amount of land, how it was used and the tithe rent due. Tithe maps are very useful for geographically locating ancestors who lived in the countryside. Access to these new collections is by subscription. [TheGenealogist]
Mexico – FamilySearch has indexed some 411,000 civil registration records from the state of Coahuila, Mexico. These are standard birth, marriage and death records and span the period from 1861 to 1998. The records can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Historic Coahuila Birth Records]
New Zealand – FamilySearch has added another 770,000 images to their collection of New Zealand probate records. This collection spans the years from 1843 to 1998. Some of the records are already indexed and can be searched by first name, last name, probate place and year. Access is free. [New Zealand Probate Records]
Ireland – The birth, marriage and death indexes at IrishGenealogy.ie are now back online and available to search. They had gone offline several months ago (soon after they were put on the internet) over privacy concerns. Birth records over 100 years old, marriage records over 75 years old and death records over 50 years old can now be searched. You need to go through a process of giving your name and agreeing to the fact the search is for genealogical purposes. Note: these are just indexes, not the full digitized image. Access is free. [Ireland Civil Registration Records]
Ireland – The Irish Genealogical Research Society has put online copies of their annual journal The Irish Ancestor. The journal has been published since 1937 and contains hundreds of articles on Irish genealogy. The articles can be searched by family name and first name. See if someone has already published information on your Irish ancestors. Access is free. [Irish Ancestor Journal]
US – The Plainfield Public Library of Plainfield, New Jersey has put online two new resources that will be of interest to genealogists. First is a collection of 75 local city directories that span the years from 1870 to 1982. The early city directories cover Rahway and Plainfield New Jersey, while the most recent directories appear to cover all of Union County.
This is an incredible resource for anyone who wants to track the exact address of their ancestors over many decades. The second resource is a collection of seven different early Plainfield newspapers that span the years from 1868 to 1916. Plainfield was officially incorporated in April 1869, so these two resources cover much of the area’s history. Access is free. [Plainfield City Directories] [Early Plainfield Newspapers]
Australia – FindMyPast.com has put online early editions of the government gazette of New South Wales. The collection spans the years from 1832 (the start of the gazette) to 1863. This was the official newspaper of record for the state government. It was used as a means of communication between the government and the general public. It recorded a broad spectrum of community matters such as land sales, court notices, petitions, licenses, contracts, police activity, etc.
The gazette also contains a considerable amount of detailed information on convicts. For example, the 1833 gazette provides lists of all male convicts, when they arrived in the colony, ship name, occupation and convict number. Records on government employees are also prominent in the gazette. There are some 1.2 million original transcripts in the collection. The collection can be searched by first name, last name and year. Access is by subscription. [New South Wales Government Gazette]
UK – FamilySearch has put online some 10 million records from Westminster rate books. A rate book was essentially a property tax book. In the early days, these books were prepared by local parishes, which were responsible for maintaining roads, sewers, lighting, etc. This collection covers the period from 1634 to 1900 from the city of Westminster (now an inner borough of central London). A typical record lists the head of household, the owner, the street address and the rate owed. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Since this collection comes from FindMyPast, the original image can only be viewed at a family history center. Access is free. [Westminster Rate Books]
UK – Harvard University has begun a multi-year project to put online their collection of early English manor rolls. These are court rolls, account rolls and other documents from various English manors. They range in date from 1282 to 1770. The largest collection comes from Cheshire, with additional rolls from Hampshire, Sussex, Staffordshire and Suffolk. At the moment, this collection is not searchable. Access is free. [Early English Manor Rolls]
US – FamilySearch has indexed some 1.3 million additional Texas marriage records. The records span the years from 1837 to 1977. They can be searched by first name and last name. This collection currently covers 183 out of 254 counties in Texas. A typical record lists the name of the bride and groom, date of marriage and who officiated at the marriage, as shown below. Access is free. [Historic Texas Marriage Records]
Ireland – The Irish Newspaper Archives has added 7 new historic newspaper titles from County Kerry in the south-west region of Ireland. The newspapers span the years from 1828 to 1920. Access is by subscription. [Historic Kerry Newspapers]
UK – FindMyPast has put online patient records from Bethlem Royal Hospital in London. Some 248,000 records dating from 1683 to 1932 are in this new collection. Many include photographs and detailed descriptions of the inmates’ lives. Bethlem is one of the oldest hospitals in the world dedicated to the treatment of mental illness. Access is by subscription. [Bethlem Inmate Records]
Scotland – The website ScotlandsPeople has added the 1865 Valuation Roll to their collection. It consists of some 1.3 million names. Valuation rolls are basically a list of property owners, tenants and occupiers across Scotland. With this new addition, valuation rolls from 1865 to 1925 are now available on the website. Access is available by subscription. [Scotland 1865 Valuation Roll]
US – The Archives of Michigan has announced that Michigan death certificates from 1921 to 1939 will now be available for free on their website Seeking Michigan. [Michigan Death Certificates]
Puerto Rico – FamilySearch has indexed some 4.8 million civil registration records from Puerto Rico. The records span the years from 1805 to 2001 and consist primarily of birth, marriage and death records. Civil registration in Puerto Rico began in 1885. The records prior to this date are from the few municipalities that began civil registration before 1885. The records can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Historic Puerto Rico Birth Records]
US – The Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast has posted on their website a Polish-American marriage database. The database contains the names of couples of Polish origin who were married in select locations in the Northeast United States. The information for the database was collected from a variety of sources, such as marriage records, newspaper announcements and parish records. The time period generally covered by the database is 1892 to 1940. The database is organized by state and then alphabetically by last name. Access is free. [US Polish Marriage Records] We have already indexed this database with the Genealogy Search Engine.
UK – Deceased Online have added records from two more cemeteries from Nottingham (Rock cemetery and Basford cemetery). This brings to five the number of cemeteries with online records from the Nottingham City Council. A typical record provides a digital scan of the original burial and grave registers and a map indicating the location of the grave. Access is by subscription. [Nottingham Cemetery Records]
UK/Ireland – The British Newspaper Archive has hit a major milestone. With the latest uploads, it just added its 10 millionth historic newspaper page this week. The website originally launched in November 2011 with 4 million pages. Since then, it has added major historic newspapers such as the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror from 1914 to 1918 to provide some fascinating news, photographs and illustrations from World War One. In addition, 58 new Irish newspapers have recently been added to the collection, bringing the total count of Irish newspapers now online to 65. Going forward, digitization efforts will focus on putting online pages from the World War Two period from across the UK. Access is by subscription. [British Newspaper Archive]
UK – TheGenealogist has added a very interesting collection of detailed town and parish maps for Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire. These maps (combined with TheGenealogist’s existing databases) make it possible to search more than 11 million records and pinpoint the exact location of a residence as shown in the image below.
The maps show the boundaries of fields, woods, roads, and rivers in addition to the location and shape of buildings. Details within each record often list how much land was owned or occupied, the exact location of the parish and if the land was rented then the amount of the tithe. With this first release, there are over 12,000 maps. Other counties will be added shortly. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Parish Maps]
New Zealand – Ancestry.com.au has added some 1.6 million cemetery records. These records span the years from 1800 to 2007 and come from a collection created by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists. It currently contains records from some 1350 to 1400 cemeteries and funeral directors. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, year and location. Access is by subscription. [[New Zealand Cemetery Records]
US – FamilySearch has created a new browsable image collection of Freedmen’s Bureau records. The collection consists of some 72,000 images that are mainly letters received by the bureau. The images are organized by date and by author of the letter. Not all of the records are asking for relief/assistance, as shown in the example below. Access is free. [Freedman’s Bureau Letters]
US – Ancestry has created a collection of California occupation licenses, registers and directories for the years 1876 to 1969. The collection, which consists of some 850,000 records, contains documents pertaining to attorneys and those in the medical field (doctors, dentists, physicians, surgeons, pharmacists, etc.). Details vary depending on the type of document, but can include information such as name, residence, date of birth, photo, licensing date and medical school. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, date, place and keyword. Access is by subscription. [Historic California Medical Licenses]
US – The San Mateo County Genealogical Society of California has put online over 57,000 indexed and scanned obituaries from the region. The obituaries come from a variety of local newspapers. San Mateo covers most of the San Francisco peninsula south of San Francisco down to the northern end of Silicon Valley. Access to the collection is free. [San Mateo Obituaries]
Denmark – MyHeritage has put online the entire 1930 Danish census. This consists of some 3.5 million records. These records are part of a new partnership MyHeritage has with the National Archives of Denmark. The plan is to index and digitize all the available Danish census records from 1787 to 1930. The 1930 census is the first tranche to go online. The balance of the records will be released during 2015 and 2016.
In addition to all the Danish census records, MyHeritage will also be putting online Danish parish records from 1646 to 1915. In total, some 120 million Danish records will go online over the next two years. This is good news for anyone with Danish ancestors. Access to the records is by subscription. [Denmark 1930 Census]
Sweden – MyHeritage has put online some 22 million records from the Swedish Household Examination Rolls spanning the years from 1880 to 1920. The total collection for these years consists of some 54 million records, meaning about 40% of the records are now online. The balance of the records in the collection is scheduled to go online by the end of June 2015. The records can be searched by first name, last name, year of birth, place and by keyword. Access is by subscription. [Sweden Household Examination Rolls]
Ireland – The Irish Genealogical Research Society has launched a new collection called the Early Irish Birth Index. The collection holds over 5,000 records containing more than 10,000 names of alternative sources for births in Ireland. These alternative sources range from early Irish census records, to registry of deeds memorials to newspaper listings to gravestone inscriptions to diaries and letters. This new collection complements the existing Early Irish Marriage Index containing ancestral information for the period from 1660 to 1863 (i.e. prior to civil registration beginning in 1864). The new collection can be searched free of charge. Access to the full index data is limited to IGRS members. [Early Irish Birth Index]
US – The Rochester (New York) Genealogical Society (RGS) has digitized and put online a number of historical church and town records from the region. The information is contained in some 200,000 pages of scanned documents. The church records can be browsed by individual church. Access is free. [Rochester Genealogy Records]
RGS also maintains another website containing some 70,000 baptism, marriage and death records. These records can be searched by name. Access is free. [Rochester Baptism Records]. Finally, the City of Rochester also has a web site with 170,000 indexed marriages from 1876 to 1943, with complete information available for the pre-1910 records. It is free to search. There is a charge to order the marriage license. [Rochester Marriage Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed another 1.4 million records from their collection of New York City passenger lists from 1820 to 1891. These records can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [New York City Passenger Lists] Since most of these records are associated with Ellis Island, it would be worthwhile reading the article Ellis Island Immigration Records to get the most out of this collection.
Germany – Ancestry has added birth, marriage and death records from Mannheim, Germany. The 152,000 birth records span the time period from 1870 to 1900. The 137,000 marriage records are from 1870 to 1920 and the 234,000 death records are from 1870 to 1950. Access is by subscription. [Mannheim Birth Records]
World – MyHeritage has announced another milestone in their partnership with FamilySearch. MyHeritage has added to their website the family tree profiles submitted by more than 22 million FamilySearch users. This is in addition to the 27 million family tree profiles already on the MyHeritage website. This combines together two of the world’s three largest family tree collections (the other large collection is held by Ancestry).
According to Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch “Partnerships are a major focus in FamilySearch’s strategy to increase family history discoveries for more people. We value our strategic partnership with MyHeritage and appreciate their global reach and contribution to technology in the family history space. We believe this integration is paramount to the greater good of the community....” Access is by subscription. [MyHeritage.com]
Belgium – FamilySearch.org has put online a large number of images of civil registration records from Belgium. The largest new addition is some 800,000 images from Limburg (1798 to 1906). Other regions with new additions include Antwerp (1588 to 1909), Hainaut (1600 to 1913) and West Flanders (1582 to 1910). These are primarily birth, marriage and death records as well as some marriage proclamation records. These records come from the Belgium National Archives. Records can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Historic Limburg Birth Records]
France – Gallica, the website of the National Library of France has put online the Fichier Laborde collection. This collection is basically a listing of Parisian artists and crafts people dating from the 1500s to the 1700s. The books were prepared by the Marquis Léon de Laborde, an early genealogist whose personal hobby seems to have been to write out the names and details of all the artists and crafts people that he found in parish baptism, marriage and death records from the period. It is an important list because many of the underlying parish records were subsequently destroyed when the Paris city hall burnt down in 1871. A sample of a listing is shown in the image below. Access is free. [Fichier Laborde]
US – The General Land Office of Texas has digitized and put online a collection of early Texas maps. Known as the Frank and Carol Holcomb Map Collection, it consists of rare maps of Texas and the southwest United States that date back as far as 1513. The maps can be downloaded for a fee from the website Save Texas History. [Early Texas Maps]
Czech Republic – The State Regional Archives in Prague has published an updated map identifying which Roman Catholic parishes have parish books digitized and put online. Currently, the archives are digitizing one or two books a month. The map will be a useful tool to alert you to when the parish books that interest you go online. Access is free. [Czech State Regional Archives]
Canada – The Archives of Ontario has digitized and put online some 4,100 patent plans for the province. These are basically Crown land records. You can start your search by typing in the name of a township or town. Access is free. [Ontario Patent Plans]
Canada – FamilySearch.org has put online browsable image collections of the Newfoundland 1921, 1935 and 1945 censuses. The images are organized by district. A typical record (using the 1935 census as an example) lists the name of the person, age, place of birth, gender, marital status, relationship to the head of the household, place of birth of mother and father, religion and occupation. At the time of these three censuses, Newfoundland was not part of Canada. Access to these collections is free. [Newfoundland 1921 Census] [Newfoundland 1935 Census] [Newfoundland 1945 Census]
Australia – FindMyPast has added a collection of Tasmanian birth, marriage and death records. The collection starts in 1803 and runs to 1899 for marriages and 1933 for births and deaths. There are some 211,000 birth records, 111,000 marriage records and 102,000 death records. The amount of information available varies depending on the type of record and when the record was registered.
In general, newer records contain more information. For example, on death records after 1908 the deceased person’s spouse was listed (or if single, the parents’ names). These records can be searched by first and last name, year and place. Access is by subscription. [Tasmania Birth Marriage Death Records]
Canada – It looks like Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is accelerating the pace at which new records come online. This week, LAC has put online 152 historic city directories for the cities of Hamilton (1853 to 1895), Kingston (1865 to 1906) and London (1875 to 1899) and farm directories for most of the counties in southwestern Ontario (1864 to 1898). At GenealogyInTime Magazine, we know a fair bit about these records because we have a substantial personal collection of these books.
Farm directories in particular require some explanation. A sample image from an Ontario farm directory is shown below. Ontario is one of the few jurisdictions in the world that had this type of directory, thanks to the Union Publishing Company. They are a great way to track your rural Ontario ancestors during the 1850 to 1900 time period.
For these farm directories, in the countryside it lists the name of each farmer and the location of their farm (by concession and lot number). It also listed whether the farmer owned the land (f=freehold) or rented (t=tenant). It also usually lists the nearest post office for each farmer. This gives you a rough idea of the nearest village in case you are not familiar with the concession/lot system in the area.
For residents of towns and villages in the region, it lists each business person and trades person in the village plus their occupation/trade. Farmers who had retired to the villages were usually not listed.
For the city directories of Hamilton, Kingston and London, most directories list the name, occupation and street address of each household. The earliest directories tended to list only businesses and trades people since these people were the primary audiences for these directories. The later directories were more inclusive.
If you start to see occupations such as labourer or retired or widow listed then you know the directory was fairly inclusive. Some names in early Ontario directories are bolded. These are thought to be businesses and business people that paid to be listed in the directory, nothing more.
With these new additions, LAC has more than doubled the number of historic city directories that they have put online. Access is free. [Canada City Directories]
City directories usually abbreviated common first names, address identifiers such as street or road and occupations in an attempt to cram more names onto a single page. Often these abbreviations are not very intuitive. Fortunately, we have some useful resources that can help you interpret city directory listings, such as a List of First Name Abbreviations, City Directory Abbreviations and a List of Occupation Abbreviations.
US – GenealogyBank has added 8 million more records to their US newspaper and obituary collection. The new additions come from 52 newspaper titles spanning 18 different states. Most of the new additions seem to be from small town newspapers. The link provides the complete list. Access is by subscription. [Historic US Newspapers]
US – The Troy Irish Genealogy Society continues to add new cemetery records to their website. The latest addition is St. John’s Cemetery in Albany New York. These interment records span the years from 1841 to 1887. This is one of the oldest Catholic cemeteries in Albany. At one time, it was thought the records from this cemetery had been lost. The website provides all the details. Access is free. [Albany New York Cemetery Records]
UK – The website TheGenealogist has significantly expanded their War Memorials photo database. This brings the total to some 179,000 records. These are essentially photographs of various war memorials throughout the country that have been photographed and transcribed. They tend to cover everything from the Boer War in 1901 to more modern day conflicts. Access is by subscription. [UK War Memorial Transcriptions]
Iceland – Ancestry.co.uk has put online the Iceland censuses for 1870, 1880 and 1890. These records come from the National Archives of Iceland. Please note that it appears information from some counties in the 1870 census was lost a long time ago. These collections can be searched by first and last name and location. Access is by subscription. [Iceland 1870 to 1890 Census Records]
Portugal – The website Tombo.pt maintains a complete list of new ancestral records for Portugal when they become available on over 20+ different Portuguese government websites. If you have ancestors from Portugal, then this is the website to check. The year 2015 has started off with several new collections of parish books going online. Check it out. [Tombo.pt]
Ireland – FindMyPast has released a new collection called Ireland, Poverty Relief Loans 1824-1871. These are historic records of short-term micro loans made to the “industrious poor” such as fishermen or tenant farmers. The collection consists of scans of ledger books identifying the details of the loans. Each loan was signed by the individual receiving the loan and two guarantors, who were often neighbours or close relatives. There are some 700,000 records in this collection. It can be searched by first and last name, year and place.
This is the first time this record collection has gone online. It is an incredibly important collection because it deals with the working poor. These are people who were too poor to be listed in street directories, but not poor enough to get listed in a poor relief record. Access to the collection is by subscription. [Ireland Working Poor Records]
Ireland – FindMyPast has added 1.1 million new articles to their Irish newspaper collection. This month, ten new titles were added (4 from Dublin, 3 from Munster, 2 from Connaught and 1 from Ulster). The collection now stands at 5.3 million articles across 60 different titles and spanning the years from 1749 to 1900. Access is by subscription. [Ireland Newspaper Collection]
Europe – A new website has launched called Prisoners of the First World War from the ICRC Archives. During WWI, some 10 million people were captured and sent to detention camps. This included both servicemen and many civilians. This website contains various records and reports that would be of interest to genealogists. Included are such things as cards on prisoners of war and reports of deaths and injuries at detention camps. These records cover several armies, including British (and the Commonwealth), French, Belgian, German, Romanian, Serbian, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Greek, American, Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian and Turkish.
This website will be interesting for anyone who had an ancestor who was a prisoner of war in WWI. It will be particularly useful if your ancestor came from a country that generally lacks genealogy records, such as Serbia or Bulgaria. The records can be searched by name. The objective is to put some 5 million records online. The website has already reached 90% of its target. The YouTube video below gives a good overview of the website. Access is free. [Records of Prisoners of the First World War]
US – A new genealogy website has launched called Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau – An Interactive Research Guide. It is designed to assist people in finding Freedmen’s Bureau records. Many of these records are online, but are scattered across the internet. This new website helps direct researchers to the available resources.
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (or Freedmen’s Bureau in short) was a federal government agency set up after the end of the US Civil War to aid freed slaves. The Bureau’s job was to help solve many of the everyday issues encountered by newly freed slaves. This would include such things as obtaining clothing, food, water, health care and jobs. The Bureau generated a considerable number of records that can now be used by genealogists.
The new website was created by Angela Walton-Raji and Toni Carrier. It has several interactive maps that researchers can use to determine what records are available near their area of interest. If the records are online, the map provides the appropriate links. The maps list the Freedmen’s Bureau field offices, contraband camps, Freedmen’s Bureau hospitals, Freedman’s Savings Bank branches and locations of United States Colored Troops (USCT) battles. Access is free. [Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau]
England – The website TheGenealogist has put online over 800,000 First World War records associated with British soldiers who were killed in action or missing in action. These lists are very useful to consult especially since the status of many soldiers changed during the war. For example, soldiers that were initially reported as killed in action sometimes had their status later changed to wounded or prisoner of war. Access to this collection is by subscription. [World War I Killed in Action Records]
England – FindMyPast has put online a collection of Nottinghamshire parish records. These records were transcribed by members of the Nottinghamshire Family History Society. Included are some 850,000 baptism records (1538 to 1980), some 690,000 marriage records (1528 to 1929) and over 240,000 burial records (1539 to 1905). These records are from the Church of England and can be searched by first name, last name and place. The baptism records can also be searched by the parents’ names. Access is by subscription. [Nottinghamshire Parish Records]
Ireland – The website RootsIreland has uploaded some 217,000 Roman Catholic parish records from County Carlow. These are primarily baptism and marriage records that go back as far as the 1700s for some parishes and up to 1899 for all parishes. The records can be searched by first name, last name and year. Access is by subscription. [Carlow County Genealogy Records]
South Africa – Ancestry.co.uk has put online voter indexes from South Africa. These indexes date from 1719 to 1996 and contain some 220,000 names. The information contained in each index is fairly extensive and lists the voter's name, residence, name of spouse, occupation, employer, gender, race, maiden name, date of birth and sometimes even the number of pigs owned. The indexes can be searched by first name, middle name, last name and location. Access is by subscription. [South Africa Voter Lists]