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.
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]
US – Cartographer Dennis McClendon has created a useful website called Chicago In Maps. It provides links to online maps of Chicago found on different websites. Click on the link titled Historic Maps to view an interesting collection of historic street maps of Chicago. The value of this website is that it saves you the effort of having to search all over the internet for historic Chicago maps. Access is free. [Historic Chicago Maps]
US – The Spokane Public Library in Washington State has put online a collection of historic high school yearbooks from the region. There are currently some 200 yearbooks online organized by the name of the high school and by year. The collection goes back as far as 1911 and as recently as the 1970s. Many of the yearbooks are available in multiple formats, including pdf, Kindle and EPUB. Access is free. [Historic Spokane Yearbooks] The website currently does not have any means to search the collection by keyword, such as name. You need to know the name of the high school and the year to begin your search.
UK – FindMyPast has put online the 1871 worldwide British army index. This collection of some 207,000 records identifies the men serving in the British army on the 1871 English census day (2 April 1871). It includes lists of both officers and enlisted men serving in the cavalry, artillery, engineers, guard, infantry and colonial units throughout the British Empire. A typical record lists the name, service number, rank, regiment and regional location of each person. The collection can be searched by name, service number, rank and regiment. Access is by subscription. [1871 British Army Records]
US – FindMyPast has put online the remains of the US 1890 Census. Most of the records from this census were destroyed in a fire in 1921 (at the time, the records were being stored in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C). However, about 1,000 pages and fragments of pages survived the fire. It is these records that FindMyPast has put online. The records come from specific counties in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota and Texas.
The US 1890 census enumerated each member of the household, including their name, age, gender, relationship to the head of the household, occupation, marital status, place of birth, parent’s place of birth, level of literacy, number of years in the United States and whether they were a civil war veteran or widow.
Although there is a low probability that your ancestors will be listed in the limited remains of the 1890 census, it is still worth taking a look if you happen to already have a subscription to FindMyPast. Access is by subscription. [US 1890 Census]
England and Wales – FindMyPast has added some 31 million records to their collection of England marriage records. These records come from the International Genealogical Index and span the years from 1538 to 1975. Most of the records list the names of the bride and groom, place of marriage, date of marriage and the names of the groom’s parents. Access is by subscription. [England Marriage Records] Also included are some 131,000 Welsh marriage records (1541 to 1900). [Wales Marriage Records]
Ireland – FindMyPast has completed their online collection of Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828 to 1912 with the upload of the last 710,000 records. This collection involves small offenses like trespassing and disorderly conduct. We have talked about this collection in some detail before (see below). With this last update, the total collection now stands at some 22 million records. [Ireland Petty Court Records]
Ireland – This is a preannouncement that will warm the hearts of anyone with Irish ancestors. The National Library of Ireland (NLI) plans to put online (for free) their entire collection of Catholic parish registers. It is expected that this massive and very important collection will be online by the summer of 2015. These records are the single most important source of genealogical information on Irish families in the 1700s and 1800s. The records date from the 1740s to the 1880s and cover some 1,091 parishes throughout Ireland.
The collection consists primarily of baptism and marriage records. According to NLI, “This is the most ambitious digitisation project in the history of the NLI, and our most significant ever genealogy project. We believe it will be of huge assistance to those who wish to research their [Irish] family history.” The collection consists of some 390,000 digital images. When this collection does go online, it will be free.
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.
Ireland – FindMyPast Ireland has added another large batch of some 3.6 million records of Irish dog license registers. This is an unusual record set, so a bit of explanation is required. In 1866, Ireland initiated a licensing program for dogs. The objective was to cut down on the number of stray dogs and to raise a bit of revenue for the government. Every dog owner was responsible for paying a 2 shilling fee to license their dog. The name of the owner, owner’s address, date of license, dog breed, sex of the dog and the colour of the dog was then entered into large handwritten registers. As an added bonus, in the first year of registration (1866), many clerks saw fit to also right down the name of the dog.
With this latest addition, the total collection at FindMyPast consists of some 6 million records that span the years from 1866 to 1914. This is a unique resource for genealogists. It is well worth checking out since all strata of society tended to own dogs. Also worth noting, the early dog records cover a time period when census records were not available.
Since dogs did not live that long back in the day, you could in theory use this collection to trace where your ancestors lived on a year-by-year basis and see what types of dogs they owned. You could even indirectly determine the social status of your ancestors by whether they owned breeds that were working dogs or house dogs. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic Irish Dog License Registers]
England – FindMyPast UK has put online some 3.4 million trade union membership records. There are nine different trade unions in this collection. The trades include boilermakers and iron shipbuilders, carpenters & joiners, lithographers and railway workers. The railway workers records in particular might be very useful as most families had at least one person who worked for the railways during the age of steam. The original records come from the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick.
No date range is given for this collection. The information contained in each record varies considerably from union to union. The most common fields include name, year of birth, year of admission to the union, age at admission, trade, union branch and county. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic English Trade Union Membership Records]
US – Ancestry.com has added the Iowa state census of 1905. The collection can be searched by first and last name as well as place of residence. Access to the collection is by subscription. Most of these records can also be found on the FamilySearch website for free. [Iowa 1905 Census]
England – The website Essex Ancestors run by the Essex Records Office (ERO) has uploaded an additional 22,500 historic wills. This brings the total number of wills on the website to some 70,000. The wills span the years from the 1400s to 1858. All the wills in the ERO’s possession up to 1720 have now been put online. Work is continuing on digitizing the remaining 28,000 wills dating from 1720 to 1858. Access to the collection is by subscription. [Essex Ancestors]
Watch the video below if you have ancestors from Essex and want to consult the digital archive or you think you might want to visit the ERO archive in person.
US – The State Library of Massachusetts has completed digitizing 8,400 images of World War I soldiers primarily from Massachusetts, with some images of soldiers from surrounding states. Many of the images are of individual soldiers and contain biographical information, as shown in the sample image below. This collection was donated to the state library in 1935 by the Boston Globe newspaper. It is a good collection to search if you had ancestors from the Northeast who were soldiers in WWI. Access is free. [Massachusetts WWI Soldier Images]
US – FindMyPast.com has added a collection of birth, marriage and death records for the city of Washington, District of Columbia. The some 109,000 birth and baptism records cover the period from 1830 to 1955. The 479,000 marriage records span the years from 1830 to 1921 while the 365,000 death and burial records are from 1840 to 1964. Access is by subscription. [District of Columbia Birth Records]
US – Ancestry has added to their collection of New York state prison records. This week, the famous Sing Sing prison registers have been added. This collection spans the years from 1865 to 1939. Sing Sing opened in 1826 as a maximum security prison. It was notorious for imposing absolute silence on the prisoners, a system that was enforced by brutal punishments. Sing Sing prison is still in operation today, but it is known as the Ossining Correctional Facility. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Sing Sing Prison Records]
Wales – A new website has gone online that is dedicated to World War I soldiers from Blaenau Gwent, a county in southern Wales. It is called Blaenau Gwent Remembers. Worth checking out if you have ancestors from the region. Access is free. [Blaenau Gwent World War I]
Australia – Ancestry has added a collection of court records from New South Wales. The some 200,000 records span the years from 1830 to 1945 and can be searched by name, location, year and keyword. This collection of court records are primarily criminal cases. Access is by subscription. [Historic New South Wales Criminal Court Records]
UK – FamilySearch has created an important image collection of United Kingdom World War I military service records. These records span the years from 1914 to 1920 and consist of some 43.5 million images. The images are arranged by last name, making it relatively easy to search for an ancestor. The images come from the National Archives. Access is free. [UK WWI Service Records]
UK – FamilySearch has also created an important image collection of United Kingdom World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps records that span the years from 1917 to 1920. This collection consists of about 265,000 records. Records are organized by last name. These images come from the National Archives. Access is free [UK WWI Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Records]
England – FindMyPast has added 1.7 million more records to their Devon parish record collection. The baptism records cover the period from 1444 to 1915 and have been put online in partnership with the Southwest Heritage Trust and Parochial Church Council. Marriage records cover the period from 1446 to 2001, while burial records are from 1320 to 1926. Also included in this update are 250,000 wills from the Devon Wills Index, which covers the period from 1844 to 1900. With this latest addition, FindMyPast now has the most comprehensive collection of Devon parish records available anywhere on the internet. Access is by subscription. [Devon Parish Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has created a new collection called United States World War I Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918. It consists of 24 million draft records of adult males, which according to FamilySearch “representing almost half of the male population of the United States at the time”. Given that this collection represents such a large proportion of the male population, it can be used as a proxy for census records. As shown in the example below (the draft card for Babe Ruth), a typical draft card listed the full name of the person, home address, date of birth, place of birth, occupation, employer, dependants, marital status, height, build, eye color and hair color. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access to the collection is free. [US World War I Draft Records]
US – A new genealogy website called Crestleaf has launched in the United States. It allows you to search historic records and create family trees. Family trees can contain photographs. The website has some 75 million records which list basic information such as name, date of birth and date of death. Each record is associated with a particular town.
Most of the records come from the US Social Security Death Index (1935 to 2011). The records can be browsed for free by state and town or alphabetically by last name. Up to 1GB of photographs can also be stored in a family tree for free (after which there is a monthly subscription fee). Check it out. [Crestleaf]
US – FamilySearch has added an additional 2.6 million indexed records from the New York state census of 1865. This census lists the name, age, occupation and birthplace of each household member. Most of the counties are covered, although some of the records have been lost/destroyed over the years. This collection can be searched by first and last name. If you suspect that the records for the county you are interested in are not available, then consider browsing the images by county first. Access is free. [New York State 1865 Census]
US – Ancestry has added several collections of Indian records from the Oklahoma territories. Included are marriage and citizenship records, land records, census cards and Indian rolls. The records in the various collections span the years from 1851 to 1959. The records can be searched by first name, last name, year and location. Access is by subscription. [Oklahoma Indian Records]
Austria – The genealogy website GenTeam has added some 400 new collections. Some highlights include citizen rolls from Bratislava, a marriage index for Vienna (starting in 1542), an index of Catholic baptisms in Vienna and Jewish indices of Prague for the years 1784 to 1804. The website currently has over 11 million records from Austria and surrounding countries. It covers most of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, as shown in the map below. The website is in English. Access is free upon registration. It is definitely worth checking out if you have ancestors from the region. [GenTeam]
France – FamilySearch has indexed an additional 36,000 Protestant Church records from France. This collection spans the years from 1536 to 1863 and is composed of baptism, marriage and death records from various Protestant parishes throughout France. The records come from La Société de l’Histoire du Protestantisme Français. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [French Protestant Church Records]
Ireland – FindMyPast has put online some 86,000 pages of Thom’s Irish Street Directories. These are not new records. They come from FindMyPast’s purchase of Origins.net early this year. Still, it is worth mentioning them since Irish street directories are a useful substitute for census records. These directories cover the years from 1844 to 1900. They can be searched by year and name. Access is by subscription. [Irish Street Directories]
Bahamas – FamilySearch has indexed an additional 33,000 civil registration records from the Bahamas. These records span the years from 1850 to 1959 and come from the Registrar General of the Bahamas. The earliest records in the collection are handwritten in narrative style. The later records are handwritten in a standardized record format. The Bahamas first created a formal registry office for births, marriages and deaths in 1862. The records tend to be much better after this date. These records can be searched by first and last name. [Historic Bahamas Birth Records]
UK – Ancestry has added a new collection of UK World War I service medal and award rolls. The collection covers some 6.5 million records. A typical record lists the name, rank, and unit of each award winner. Additional service details are sometimes also available. Most of the records concern soldiers who served in the army, although the Royal Air Force is also covered. A few records refer to civilians, such as doctors and nurses who served in military hospitals. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, year, location and keyword. Access is by subscription. [World War I Military Award Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has put online some 932,000 recent obituaries from Pennsylvania. These are newspaper clippings collected by the Old Buncombe County North Carolina Genealogical Society and span the years from 1977 to 2010. FamilySearch also has Pennsylvania newspaper obituaries from 1947 to 1958 in the same collection. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Pennsylvania Obituaries]
US – The New York Times has launched an interactive digital archive called TimesMachine. It allows users to search more than 11 million Times articles published between 18 September 1851 and 31 December 1980. The articles can be searched by keyword. Access is by subscription, but is free to anyone who has a current online subscription to the New York Times (which includes most libraries). [TimesMachine]
US – Yale University has created an incredible online archive of images from the Great Depression. The archive allows viewers to explore some 175,000 photographs of America taken in the 1930s and 1940s.
Most of the images were taken by government photographers under the Farm Security Administration act. Although all these images were already available online from the Library of Congress, what is amazing is how Yale University has managed to create a website called Photogrammar that organizes and visualizes the images on an interactive map.
Simply zoom in to the region where your ancestors lived in the 1930s and 1940s to view all the photographs from that region. Access is free. [Photogrammar]
UK – The British Newspaper Archive continues to grow. It has now reached 9 million pages and spans some 282 titles going back as far as December 1710 (remember that newspapers before 1752 in the UK fall under the Julian calendar – see Understanding Julian Calendars and Gregorian Calendars in Genealogy for more details). Historic newspapers in the collection can be searched by keyword and can be filtered by date range, newspaper title, region, county and town. [British Newspaper Archive]
Estonia – The National Library of Estonia has launched an online digital newspaper archive called DIGAR. The portal currently gives access to 85 Estonian newspapers covering some 175,000 pages. Included in the current release are ten newspapers from before 1944. The oldest newspaper we could find in the collection dated from 1821 to 1825, although most of the historic newspapers cover the period between the two world wars. The balance of the collection covers recent newspapers from 2013 to today. By the end of 2015, the National Library of Estonia hopes to finish digitizing their collection of newspapers from 1944 to 2013.
The collection can currently be browsed by date and newspaper title or searched by keyword. The main search page is in English, while the newspapers are obviously in Estonian. This is the first time we have seen Estonian newspapers go online. Access is free. [Historic Estonian Newspapers]
Belgium – FamilySearch has added 93,000 more images to their collection of civil registration records from the province of Hainaut, Belgium. This brings the total collection to some 3.8 million images. The collection spans the period from 1600 to 1913. In addition to the usual birth, marriage and death records, there are also additional marriage documents in this collection, such as marriage proclamations and marriage supplements. The records are in Dutch, Flemish or French depending on the time period.
Hainaut lies on the border with France. Please be aware that the southern parts of Hainaut have moved back and forth between Belgium and France over the years, as shown in the map below. These records can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Historic Hainaut Birth Records]
Slovakia – FamilySearch has indexed some 2.7 million church records from Slovakia. These include baptism, marriage and burials from the Roman Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran, Reform Church and Jewish congregations in Slovakia. These records come from various archives across the country and cover the time period from 1592 to 1910. The baptism records in particular tend to be very complete and contain such information as date and place of baptism, name and gender of the child, date and place of birth, residence and religion of the parents, occupation of the father, names of godparents, names of witnesses, (sometimes) names of grandparents and whether the child was legitimate. This collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Slovakia Parish Records]
Germany – Ancestry has added some 1.7 million birth records, some 2 million marriage records and some 1.8 million death records from Berlin. These records cover the years from 1874 to 1920 (1874 to 1899 for the birth records). The collections can be searched by first name, last name and location. Since the records are in German, make sure you use the correct German spellings. Access is by subscription. [Berlin Birth Records] [Berlin Marriage Records] [Berlin Death Records]
US – FamilySearch has indexed some 2.8 million records from the New Jersey state census of 1915. Key facts from this census include name, sex, color, date of birth, place of birth, birthplace of parents, occupation, whether owner or renter and if the person can read, write and speak English. This collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [New Jersey 1915 Census]
UK – FindMyPast has added some 389,000 new records to their Greater London Burials Index. The index now contains over 1 million names from both Anglican and non-conformist parishes. The records span the years from 1545 to 1905. A typical record lists the name, age, occupation, religious denomination and place of burial. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, date, county and parish. Access is by subscription. [London Burial Records]
Canada – Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has begun the process of digitizing the personnel service files of some 640,000 Canadians who served in the army during the First World War. Known officially as the Canadian Expeditionary Force [CEF] (since it was under the control of the British), a total of 424,589 Canadian soldiers served in Europe during the war. The initial contingent of 25,000 soldiers was sent overseas soon after the declaration of war in August 1914. By September 1915, the CEF had grown to the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions and the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. The CEF continued to grow until the end of the war in November 1918.
The service files in this collection contain up to three dozen different kinds of forms. It includes such things as enlistment records (attestation papers are already online), training records, medical and dental history, hospitalizations, disciplines (if any), pay records, medal entitlements and discharge papers or notifications of death. It also lists what regiment the soldier was located in, but not necessarily where the regiment fought (for that, it is necessary to consult the unit war diaries).
In total, there are some 32 million pages of records to be digitized from 640,000 personnel files. This means the average file per soldier is some 50 pages of records, making this a considerable resource. The first 76,000 files have already been digitized and put online. Regular uploads of about 5,000 new files are expected every two weeks. At the current run rate, this means it will take about 4.3 years for all the files to go online (or unfortunately about as long as it actually took to fight the First World War).
The digitized records are searchable by name, regiment and rank. Access is free. [Canada World War I Army Personnel Files]
Ireland – The Irish Genealogical Research Society has added an additional 2,500 entries to the society’s early Irish marriage index. This brings the total number of records in this collection to some 58,000 marriages listing approximately 127,500 brides, grooms and parents. The index can be searched for free. [Early Irish Marriage Index]
Ireland – The Ireland Genealogy Project continues to add more records to their growing collection. The October updates include Irish constabulary records from Tipperary and more cemetery records from Dublin and Fermanagh. Access is free. [Ireland Genealogy Project]
US – The Winchester public library in Winchester, Massachusetts has put online past issues of the Winchester Star newspaper. The collection spans the years from 1901 to 1951. Access is free. [Winchester Star Newspaper Archive]
UK – TheGenealogist has added some 1.3 million records of First World War casualty lists of British soldiers. The collection includes both soldiers who died from their wounds and those who recovered and returned to the front. A typical record lists the name of the soldier, regiment, rank and the date the casualty was registered. Many servicemen were wounded on more than one occasion. Access is by subscription. [World War I Wounded Collection]
Australia – Ancestry.co.uk has put online some 273,000 records of seamen from New South Wales. These are registers and indexes of seamen from the State Records Authority of New South Wales. This collection spans the years from 1859 to 1936. The information in each record varies. Typical information includes such things as name, age, date of birth, place of birth, vessel, vessel owner, engagement and discharge date. The collection can be searched by name, year of birth, place of birth and keyword. Access is by subscription. [Historic New South Wales Seamen Records]
Australia – Ancestry.co.uk has put online a collection of land grants from New South Wales. The collection consists of some 190,000 records spanning the years from 1788 to 1963. The records come from various land record offices in the state. The format of each record varies by time and place but usually include the date, location of the grant, description of the land, name of the person the land was granted to, the amount paid for the grant and names of witnesses to the document. The granting of free land in New South Wales ceased in 1831. After that time, land grants were sold by public auction. This collection can be searched by name, location and keyword. Access is by subscription. [Historic New South Wales Land Grants]
UK – FindMyPast has released some 500,000 records of London apprenticeship abstracts. These are lists of apprentices and their masters and parents. The records cover the years from 1442 to 1850. A typical record lists the apprentice’s first and last name, year, trade, father’s occupation and county of birth. One thing to note is that over 70% of apprentices in London actually came from somewhere outside of London. This collection can be searched by first and last name, year, trade and county of birth. Access is by subscription. [London Apprenticeship Records]
UK – Ancestry.co.uk has added a collection of Liverpool crew lists. This collection consists of over 1 million records spanning the years from 1861 to 1919. A typical record lists information on crew members for those ships whose home port was registered as Liverpool, England. Information includes name, age or year of birth, place of birth, nationality, residence and dates and details of engagement. The collection can be searched by name, year and place of birth and keyword. Access is by subscription. [Liverpool England Ship Crew Lists]
New Zealand – FamilySearch.org has added some 71,000 images to its collection of New Zealand probate records. This collection spans the years from 1843 to 1998 (although records issued during the past 50 years are not available for online viewing). This collection lists wills and other associated legal documents used to transfer property and possessions of a deceased person. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, place and year. Access is free. [New Zealand Probate Records]
Colombia – FamilySearch.org has added close to 1 million new images to its collection of Catholic Church records from Colombia. These records cover a wide period from 1600 to 2012. The collection consists of some 8.6 million images in total. Included are the usual baptism, confirmation, marriage and death records. Much of the collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Historic Columbia Catholic Church Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has begun the process of indexing the New Mexico 1885 territorial census. So far, some 59,000 records have been indexed from the collection. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [New Mexico 1885 Census Records]
Belgium – FamilySearch.org has put online an additional 188,000 images of civil registration files from Liège. These are birth, marriage, marriage proclamations and death records that span the years from 1621 to 1910. Liège is the easternmost province of Belgium. It borders Germany and Luxembourg. In total, there are some 3.5 million images in the collection. Most of the collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Liège Civil Registration Records]
Canada – The Canada Genweb website celebrates 10 years this month. Congratulations! The website has indexed some 1 million names. It also has more than 600,000 photographs and provides a directory to 20,000 known cemeteries in Canada. It is a great resource for anyone with Canadian ancestors. Access is free. [Canada Genweb]
The records on Canada Genweb are fully searchable using the Genealogy Search Engine [use the phrase site:canadagenweb.org in your search query]
US – AmericanAncestors.org has put online a free collection of Middlesex County Massachusetts probate records. The records are being made available through a partnership with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives. Middlesex County is one of the four original counties in Massachusetts. It originally encompassed the current Middlesex County plus Worcester County and Hampshire County. This collection of probate records covers some 45,000 cases between 1648 and 1871. It includes such things as wills, guardianships, and administrations. Access is free. [Middlesex County Probate Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has announced a partnership with GenealogyBank.com to one day eventually put online for free some 100 million obituaries from historic US newspapers. Some estimates would suggest that about 250 million people have died in the US since the country was founded. This would imply that this initiative would cover about 40% of all deaths in the United States, which is an impressive proportion. Here is the press release.
Of course, we should probably mention that you can already search for free right now a massive number of US obituaries using the Genealogy Search Engine. It covers obituaries in historic newspapers from many different websites, including Chronicling America. It is also the only ancestral search engine that covers the massive Google Newspaper Archive, which has an incredible number of US obituaries.
Canada – FamilySearch.org has put online a new image collection of Nova Scotia birth records. The first tranche of some 29,000 images dates from 1864 to 1877. These are the registration of births, not birth certificates. A typical birth register lists the following information: name of the child; gender; date and place of birth; father’s name; occupation; dwelling place (residence); mother’s maiden name; when and where the parents were married, and the name of an informant to the birth. Below is an image of a typical page from the birth register. This collection is organized by county and then by year. Access is free. [Historic Nova Scotia Birth Registers]
Italy – FamilySearch.org has put online a new browsable image collection of civil registration records from the State Archive of Caltanissetta. The records span the years from 1820 to 1935 and consist of birth, marriage and death records. Also included are marriage banns and some residency records depending on the time period and the locality. There are some 470,000 images in this collection, which are organized by commune (or Frazione), followed by event type and year. Access is free. [Caltanissetta Birth Records]
Netherlands – FamilySearch.org has increased their collection of civil registration records from Limburg Province. These are birth, marriage and death records (as well as some marriage proclamations and divorce records) that span the years from 1792 to 1963. The records vary somewhat by time and locality. Most of the records start in the 1880s.
Limburg is the southernmost province of the Netherlands and currently borders Germany, Belgium and France. Some of the records in this collection were once under the domain of France and/or Belgium (see example below) due to the wide date range of the collection and the various wars that have occurred in the region over the years. You might want to check this collection if you had ancestors living in the region and if you think they were either French or Belgium. Access is free. [Limburg Birth Marriage Death Records]
Portugal – FamilySearch has put online an interesting collection of priest application files from the district of Braga. These files span the years from 1596 to 1911 and consist of some 970,000 images. What is interesting about this collection is the amount of information that was collected by the Catholic Church to determine the eligibility of an applicant to the priesthood. Many applications include genealogies and pedigrees of the applicant’s family. Given that it was not uncommon to have at least one priest in the family, this could be a gold mine if you can manage to find an ancestor in this collection. Access is free. [Braga Priest Applications]
UK – FindMyPast has put online 4 million parish records from Yorkshire. These are searchable records dating from 1538 to 1989. The records cover much of Yorkshire, including West Yorkshire. FindMyPast has been working with the Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium (North Yorkshire County Record Office, Doncaster Archives, East Riding Archives, Teesside Archives and the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York) to digitize Yorkshire records. This release represents the first tranche. Further records will be released in 2015. Records can be searched by name, event (birth/death/other) and place. Access is by subscription. [Yorkshire Parish Records]
Ireland – The Church of Ireland has put online the 1914 editions of the Church of Ireland Gazette. Previously, the 1913 editions were also put online. This weekly publication published details on funerals, obituaries, school activities and community activities in addition to church activities. This is a nice publication to look through if you had family members active in the church during 1913 or 1914. The Gazette can be searched by keyword. Access is free. [Historic Church of Ireland Gazette]
Ireland – A new website has launched that will be of interest to anyone with ancestors from the Londonderry region. Called the Plantation and Penal Laws website, it is designed to explore the history of the city “from the beginning of the Plantation of Ulster to the implementation of strict Penal Laws against Catholics and Dissenters in the late seventeenth century”. This covers the period from 1534 to the late 1600s. The Archive part of the website contains the records from the First Derry Presbyterian Church in the 1800s and 1900s. In addition to baptism, marriage and (some) death records, there are also communicant rolls, Sunday school records and Sunday collection lists. The collection can be searched by keyword. Access is free. [Derry Church Records]
Ghana – FamilySearch.org has put online an image collection of the 1984 population census of Ghana. The census was conducted on 11 March 1984 (even though the form says 1982). The records are organized by “localities”, which can include everything from a city to a town to a village to a hamlet or even a single house. This was Ghana’s third census after independence (the two prior censuses were conducted in 1960 and 1970). Please be advised that some records have been lost from this census and therefore not all localities are represented. This collection can be searched by name, gender and place. The information in this census, however is somewhat limited (see sample image below), listing only the names of each member of the household, sex and (if you are lucky) the relationship to the head of the household. Access is free. [Ghana 1984 Census Records]
India – The UK National Archives has put online 171 World War I unit war diaries of Indian Infantry units deployed to the Western Front. These particular diaries cover the Lahore and Meerut Divisions and the Secunderbad Cavalry Brigade. For those unfamiliar with unit war diaries, they document the daily activities of specific military units. Unit war diaries can be a rich source of information on specific individuals. In addition to the usual daily information, these particular diaries document the long sea voyage from India to Europe and how religious requirements were accommodated on sea vessels and on land. The diaries are available on the Operation War Diary website. [India WWI Unit War Diaries]
UK – Deceased Online has added nearly 350,000 burial records from South Lancashire. This collection is from the Blackburn and Darwen area. It consists of individual cremation and burial records. A typical record has a digital scan of the original burial register, details of the interment for each grave and a map showing the location of the grave within the cemetery. Access is by subscription. [South Lancashire Burial Records]
Ireland – FindMyPast has put online a collection of burial records from County Fermanagh and a small number of cemetery records from Donegal, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Wicklow. The parish records feature transcripts of baptism, marriage and burial records dating from 1796 to 1875. The cemetery records go back as far as 1669 and contain transcripts and photographs of some 12,000 gravestones from the area. Access is by subscription. [Fermanagh Baptism Records]
Ireland – The Irish Archives Resource portal has significantly expanded the number of collections that can be searched on the website from 360 to over 500 different collections. It covers 34 archives in Ireland. Although this website does not provide ancestral records, it does provide index searches to many of Ireland’s key repositories. By searching keywords such as an ancestor’s name, it is possible to find out what archives hold what records. This is an important resource for anyone wanting to trace their Irish ancestors. This latest expansion makes the website much more powerful. Access is free. [Irish Archives Portal]
Canada – The website Canadiana has put online the militia lists of each unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as of August 1914 (the beginning of World War I). Each record lists the name of each member of the unit, rank, country of birth and date and place of enlistment. Some records also list next of kin and address.
Canada was unprepared at the start of World War I. It had only 3,100 men under arms. As volunteers were quickly recruited and organized in Canada, members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force were sent to Europe to help reinforce these newly formed units. Therefore, when looking for ancestors in this collection, be aware that they most likely left Canada under one unit and then were reassigned to a different unit as soon as they arrived in Britain. This collection can be searched by keyword (such as name) and date range. Access is free. [Canadian Expeditionary Force Records]
Ireland – A new website has been launched that contains historic Irish street directories and some historic maps of the country. The website also contains a townland database. According to Irish Genealogy News, the website is run by Joe Buggy and Shane Wilson. It is definitely worth checking out. Access is free. [Irish Street Directories]
We have three resources that will help you read/decipher listings in old street directories. These are City Directory Abbreviations, List of First Name Abbreviations and List of Occupation Abbreviations.
Ireland – Ireland Genealogy Projects has put online a national list of school teachers for the 1873-1874 school year. The list is organized by region and then alphabetically by the name of the teacher. The list also includes monitors, who were senior students aged 12 to 18 that assisted the teacher. Many monitors later went on to become teachers. Access is free. [1873 Irish Teacher List]
Ireland – The Clare County Library has added more school rolls to their collection. The latest addition involves the roll books and school register for Lacken National School, which was located east of Kilmihil village. The records for boys cover the years from 1865 to 1922 and the records for girls cover the years from 1889 to 1922. You can search the registers by either school year or surname. Each record lists the student’s name, year of birth, year entered school, home town and parent’s occupation. Access is free. [Clare County School Records]
Europe – The International Center of Photography in New York and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. have created an online database containing some 9,000 images of Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe prior to World War II. The images are from photographer Roman Vishniac, who documented in pictures the rise of Nazi power and its impact on Jewish life. Most of these images (see example below) have never been published before. The collection can be searched by date, location and keyword. Access is free. [Pre-World War II Jewish Life Images]
UK – FindMyPast has put online an additional 200,000 marriage records from Surrey. With this new addition to the collection, FindMyPast has some 497,000 marriage records from 167 parishes throughout Surrey. The records span the years from 1540 to 1841. The index was made available from the West Surrey Family History Society. Access is by subscription. [Surrey Marriage Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 725,000 records from the Iowa state census of 1905. This census names every person in the household. A typical record lists the name, mailing address, sex, color, age, place of birth, place of birth of parents, whether the person can read/write, number of years in the US and in Iowa, marital status, occupation, details of military service and level of education. This collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Iowa 1905 Census]
Australia – FindMyPast has added ship passenger lists for the State of Victoria, which includes Melbourne. The inbound passenger lists span the years from 1839 to 1923 (some 2.1 million records in total) and the outbound passenger lists cover the years from 1852 to 1915 (some 1.8 million records in total). These records come from the Public Record Office in Victoria and cover the gold rush period of the 1850s when thousands of English immigrants flocked to the area. A typical record lists the ship name, passenger name, estimated year of birth, nationality, original point of departure, departure port, destination port and month and year of arrival. Access is by subscription. [State of Victoria Historic Passenger Lists]
Germany – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 288,000 census records from the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany. The census was conducted in 1867 and consists of names of all household members, dates of birth, religion, marital status, occupation and nationality. FamilySearch also has records from the 1890 and 1900 census from the same region. This collection can be searched by first and last name, gender, marital status, place of residence and occupation. Access is free. [Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census Records]
Ireland – Ancestry.co.uk has added an index to Irish marriages that were announced in Walker’s Hibernian Magazine. There are some 30,000 records in this collection and the marriage announcements are cross-referenced by both the husband and wife’s surnames. The collection spans the years from 1771 to 1812. Access is by subscription. For those who don’t have a subscription to Ancestry, this book is also available for free on the Internet Archive. [Irish Marriage Collection]
Jamaica – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 1.7 million civil registration records from Jamaica. These are birth, marriage and death records than span the years from 1880 to 1999. The records can be searched by first and last name. This is a great collection for anyone with Jamaican ancestors. Access is free. [Historic Jamaican Birth Records]
Argentina – FamilySearch.org has added an additional 400,000 indexed records to their existing collection of parish records from Tucumán, Argentina. These are Catholic Church records that date from 1727 to 1955 and include baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Tucumán Parish Records]
UK – Ancestry.co.uk has started a new collection of UK naval officers and ratings (non-commissioned seaman) service records for the period from 1802 to 1919. This encompasses the World War I time period. This collection of some 89,000 records consists primarily of pension applications and supporting service records. Officers and ratings were awarded pensions after 20 years of service in the Royal Navy. Typical information includes the name of the sailor, rank or rating, a list of ships and service dates and remarks. Some records also include muster and pay registers. Please note: no service records are listed past 1912. That means you can’t use this collection to find out what ships your ancestors served on in World War I. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic Royal Navy Service Records]
Canada – Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has made a major upgrade to their 1861 census of Canada collection. In particular, they have corrected over 133,000 entries. The largest correction involves records from Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa and Toronto. These records were previously miscategorised. Several other major corrections to the database have also been made, primarily involving missing records and misplaced images. If you had previously tried to search this database, you should give serious consideration to rerunning your searches.
The 1861 Canada census covered Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. The database can be searched by last name, first name, age, province and keyword. Access to this collection is free. [Canada 1861 Census Records]
Canada – FamilySearch.org has indexed 3.4 million records from the Canada 1911 census. This is close to half the 7.2 million individuals who were enumerated in 1911. A typical record from the Canada 1911 census lists the name of each person in the household, place of residence, relationship to the head of the household, marital status, date and place of birth, year of immigration, year of naturalization, nationality, religion and occupation. In many instances, the image of the original census record is not available (see the Library and Archives Canada website to view the original images from the 1911 census). Access is free. [Canada 1911 Census Records]
Scotland – The website Hebrides People has added Loch Parish to their online database. The records for both Loch and Stornoway parishes (basically, the eastern side of Lewis) are now online and comprise some 63,000 entries. Most of the people who emigrated from Lewis ended up in Canada, either the Eastern Townships of Quebec (1838 to 1863) or Bruce County, Ontario (in the 1850s). The collection can be searched by last name, year of birth and parish. Access to the records is by purchasing credits. [Hebrides People]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 2.5 million newspaper obituaries from the southeast counties of Idaho. The obituaries cover the period from 1864 to 2007. They can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Idaho Obituaries]
US – American Ancestors (the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society) has created a new database of Middlesex County, Massachusetts probate records. The collection contains the records of some 45,000 probate cases in the county filed between 1648 and 1871. This collection includes wills, guardianships, administrations, etc. The collection can be searched by first name, last name and year range. Access is free. [Middlesex County Probate Records]
New Zealand – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 145,000 probate records from various probate courts throughout New Zealand. This collection spans the years from 1848 to 1991. It can be searched by first and last name and the place and year of probate. Access is free. [Historic New Zealand Probate Records]
US – The Tennessee State Public Library has put online a collection of some 1,500 family bibles that the library has been collecting since the 1920s. The collection consists of scans of all the pages in the bibles that contain notations such as dates of birth, baptism and marriage of various family members. In Tennessee, birth certificates were not required until 1908, making this collection particularly valuable for anyone with Tennessee ancestors (interesting fact: the US government still accepts a list of births in a family bible as one proof of citizenship).
When looking at this collection, be mindful that the information written into any bible has not been fact checked. Family records can deviate from official records in several ways. For example, it was not uncommon for families to alter the date of marriage in bibles to make it look like children were not conceived out of wedlock. Sometimes the cause of death is also different from the official record. This is particularly common if the individual died of the flu. Finally, some wealthy families also recorded the names and date of birth of their slaves. This collection can be searched by name. Access is free. [Tennessee Bible Records]
US – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 1.2 million records of ship passenger lists for Honolulu Hawaii. The collection spans the years from 1900 to 1953. A typical record lists the following information for each ship passenger: name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, able to read, able to write, nationality, race, last residence, final destination, height, hair color, eye color, distinguishing marks and place of birth. These records can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Hawaii Ship Passenger Lists]
Czech Republic – The Czech Archives has put online the first batch of records of Familianten Bucher – Jewish families primarily in Prague from 1811 to 1848. This is a rare and valuable collection for anyone trying to trace Jewish families in what is now the Czech Republic. The books are organized by region and then content. Below is a sample record, which is written in Czech. Access is free. [Historic Jewish Records from Prague]
New Zealand – Archives New Zealand and the National Library have put online the World War I service files of some 141,000 individuals. This collection constitutes essentially of all of the WWI service records in the government’s possession. Many of the service records are several pages long and contain detailed information on each soldier (see examples below). This collection is part of the government’s WW100 centenary program. The service records can be searched by name or service number. [New Zealand WWI Service Records]
Peru – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 51,000 civil registration records from Cusco, Peru. Cusco is the ancestral capital of the Incan empire and the modern-day launching point for trips to Machu Picchu (see image below). The records in this collection span the years from 1889 to 1997 and consist primarily of births, marriages and deaths. Also included in the collection are some baptism records. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Historic Cusco Birth Records]
Scotland – Deceased Online has now completed the digitization of all burial records from Aberdeenshire. The collection comprises some 200+ burial sites and around 600,000 records. The records are scans of registers and grave details that go back as far as 1615. Access is by subscription. [Aberdeenshire Burial Records]
UK – TheGenealogist has put online a unique collection of some 117,000 World War I military medal records. These are records of medals that were awarded to soldiers for “acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire” starting in March 1916. Many of the medals were also awarded to women who were ‘stretcher bearers’ – men and women who had to go out into the field and rescue injured soldiers. A typical record in the collections lists the following information; full name of the recipient, their rank and regiment, date of medal citation and details of their heroism in battle. This collection can be searched by first name, last name and year. Access is by subscription. [World War I Military Medal Records]
UK – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection of Durham wills, probate bonds and probate commissions. The wills form the bulk of the collection, numbering some 149,000 images. The collection spans the years from 1650 to 1857. A couple of things to note before looking at this collection: many of the earlier wills are difficult to read (see examples below). Also, this collection is not yet indexed by name, making it a slow process to go through the wills. Access is free. [Historic Durham Wills]
UK – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 13,900 records from their collection of Isle of Man parish registers. The collection was created as part of the development of Manx National Heritage. It includes baptisms, marriages and deaths spanning the years from 1598 to 2009. Most of the records are recorded in English, with a few recorded in Manx, the historical language of the island. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Historic Isle of Man Baptism Records]
South Africa – FamilySearch.org has added to their collection of South Africa Cape Province death records. These are civilian deaths that span the years from 1895 to 1972 (the compulsory registration of births and deaths in South Africa was enacted in 1894 and took effect starting in 1895). Some 92,000 indexed records have been added to the collection. The collection can be searched by first and last name. A typical death record lists the full name of the deceased, sex, place of residence, age, race, marital status, occupation, date and place of death, intended place of burial, and cause of death (see example below). Access is free. [Cape Province Death Records]
US – FamilySearch has created an interesting new browsable image collection of Freedmen’s records. These records date from 1872 to 1878. A bit of background: the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (often called the Freedmen’s Bureau) was created near the end of the American Civil War. It supervised relief efforts. This included a host of things, such as health care, education, refugee camps, food and clothing, etc. It also helped with the legalization of marriages, employment, labor contracts and pensions. This collection is very diverse and includes account books, applications for rations and relief, labor contracts, bounty claims, roster lists, court trials, property restorations and so on. The images are organized by state office and type of record. Access is free. [Freedmen’s Bureau Records]
US – Mocavo, the US-based genealogy search website, quietly announced in a blog post in late June that they were sold to FindMyPast.
Mocavo is based in Boulder, Colorado. The website initially launched in March 2011. Six months later in September 2011, they raised $1 million from local venture capitalists. This was followed up by a second round of $4.1 million of venture capital funding. The firm currently has 16 employees.
In the Top 100 Genealogy Websites of 2014 list, Mocavo ranked #28, relatively unchanged from their 2013 ranking of #25. Despite a major marketing push from several prominent genealogy bloggers, the website was never able to crack the top 10 list. With 16 mouths to feed and $5.1 million in venture capital funding, the window for any company in that kind of situation to gain traction and prove itself is somewhat limited.
Mocavo offered a service similar to the free Genealogy Search Engine, which was launched about 3 months before Mocavo in January 2011.
Cliff Shaw, the founder and CEO of Mocavo has been involved in other genealogy companies in the past. He founded both Pearl Street Software and GenForum. Pearl Street Software owned the once-popular genealogy software program called Family Tree Legends. They also owned the website Gencircles, an early online social website targeted towards genealogy. Pearl Street Software was sold in 2007 to MyHeritage. Since then, Family Tree Legends has slowly faded away (it is still available as a free download on the internet). MyHeritage seemed to have been primarily interested in incorporating the algorithmic matching software from Gencircles into the MyHeritage website. Gencircles no longer exists as a stand-alone website.
The other enterprise founded by Cliff Shaw (GenForum) was sold to Genealogy.com, which was then later sold to the A&E Television Network back in the days when A&E was interested in getting into the genealogy field. A&E then later sold Genealogy.com to Ancestry. Ancestry recently announced that GenForum will be shut down in September 2014.
This was the second purchase by FindMyPast in a short period of time. Earlier in June, FindMyPast also purchased Origins.net. It is not clear what FindMypast’s long-term plans are for either Origins.net or Mocavo.
FindMyPast’s purchase of two independent genealogy companies combined with Ancestry’s recent announcement that they were shutting down some of their websites clearly shows a consolidation trend going on within the genealogy industry. Ancestry, FindMyPast and MyHeritage continue to grow in size and strength.
It is starting to feel lonely here at GenealogyInTime Magazine. There are few independent voices left in the field of genealogy.
US – Ancestry.com has released four collections of New York state prison records. The largest collection (some 295,000 records) contains prison records from 15 prisons in the state. It spans the years from 1842 to 1908. A typical record lists the name of the convict, date of sentence, court, last name of the judge, county, the crime and the term of the sentence. Some of New York’s most famous prisons are in this collection, including Sing Sing. A couple of prisons for women are also included in the collection.
A second smaller collection of 44,000 records lists convicts who had their sentence commuted. This collection covers the time period from 1882 to 1915. The two other collections are much smaller. They cover state pardons and very old records from Newgate State Prison (1797 to 1810), New York’s first state penitentiary. Access to these collections is by subscription. [New York Prison Records]
Ireland – The General Register Office (GRO) of Ireland has put online enhanced indexes to Ireland’s civil registration records. The indexes have been uploaded to the IrishGenealogy.ie website. These include birth, marriage and death indexes. Getting these indexes online has been a primary aim of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organizations for a number of years.
The birth index spans the years from 1864 to 2013. After about 1900, the index seems to generally include the actual date of birth, as well as the mother’s maiden name (with some gaps).
The marriage index spans the years from 1845 to 2013 for non-Catholic marriages and from 1864 to 2013 for Catholic marriages. Marriages after 1912 are indexed by couple.
The death index is from 1864 to 2013.
In terms of geographic coverage, the indexes up to 1922 cover all of Ireland and from 1922 to 2013 cover the Republic of Ireland.
The details in these indexes have been enhanced with such things as date of birth. They are generally better than similar indexes found at FamilySearch, Ancestry and FindMyPast (which are based on microfilms FamilySearch prepared back in 1959). In other words, when looking at birth, marriage and death indexes for Ireland, you are better off going to the IrishGenealogy.ie website.
The indexes can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. Please note, when making a search you have to tick a box saying that you are making an application to search the index. This is here simply to satisfy the government’s legal requirement to allow the indexes to be put online. Also, when searching for Mc/Mac and O’ surnames, try searching with and without the prefix and with and without the space. Finally, some compound first names (like ‘Mary Anne’) sometimes seem to be missing the second part of the name (in this case filed under just ‘Mary’) [Ireland Civil Registration Records Index] ***Please note these indexes have been taken off line. Apparently, the indexes contained information that should have been redacted (blocked out), such as the date of birth of living individuals. Publishing such information is a violation of Irish privacy laws. It is not known when the indexes will be going back online (with the appropriate information redacted).***
There is also some speculation the full records may come online within a year, but no details have been provided.
Ireland – The Irish website dúchas.ie, a website dedicated to digitizing Ireland’s national folklore collection, has put online a school collection. These are approximately 740,000 handwritten pages of folklore and local tradition compiled by pupils in Ireland between 1937 and 1939 (see image below). This collection will be of interest to family historians who want to provide context to their family tree. The collection is composed of images organized by district and school. It is currently not searchable by keyword. Access is free. [Ireland Folklore Collection]
UK – FindMyPast has put online 2.8 million Anglican parish records from Staffordshire. The website eventually expects to have 6 million parish records online from the region. These records span the years from 1538 to 1900 and cover primarily baptisms, banns, marriages and burials. The records come from the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service. Access is by subscription. [Staffordshire Parish Records]
US – The blog The Ancestry insider has reported that Ancestry.com has quietly dropped access to cemetery records on BillionGraves from the Ancestry.com website. Previously, Ancestry users could directly search the BillionGraves database when they were logged into Ancestry. No more. BillionGraves became a competitor of Ancestry when Ancestry bought out the other major cemetery record website Find A Grave in October 2013 (see the article Ancestry.com Buys Find A Grave). If you attempt to do a search for BillionGraves records on Ancestry.com you will now get a message “Collection Not Available”
It is unusual, but not unheard of for Ancestry to remove access to records. As we discussed in the article Top 100 Genealogy Websites of 2014, the competitive landscape in genealogy is hardening.
BillionGraves and Find A Grave both depend on users to contribute free cemetery records to help their websites grow. It will be interesting to see if users stop contributing new content to Find A Grave given this recent maneuver from Ancestry.
In addition to going to each website separately, the free Genealogy Search Engine simultaneously searches both Find A Grave and BillionGraves (and over a thousand other websites). If you want to search just one of the websites at a time using the search engine (and say you were looking for an ancestor named Smith), you would enter:
Puerto Rico – Ancestry.com has put online nearly 5 million Puerto Rico birth, marriage and death records. The collection spans the years from 1836 to 2001 and comes from the Puerto Rico Department of Health. These records are in Spanish. Access is by subscription. [Puerto Rico Civil Registration Records]
Scotland – The National Library of Scotland has put online Rolls of Honour from World War I. These are lists of casualties and those who died while on active service. The collection includes rolls from schools, universities, clans, businesses, churches and towns. Some of the Rolls of Honour contain detailed biographies of the soldiers, as shown below. The collection can be searched by keyword, such as name. Access is free. [Scottish WWI Rolls of Honour]