7 Sources for Finding Immigrant Ancestors

If you have immigrant ancestors who arrived in the U.S in the 1900s, these 7 sources can help you track their journey—perhaps even to that overseas hometown, so crucial to your genealogy success!

(Thanks to Legacy Tree Genealogists for providing us with this guest blog post. Learn more about them below.)

Do you have an ancestor who came to the United States in the 20th century? If so, you’re in luck, as there are a variety of resources available to help you learn about their journey to the United States and where they came from. The biggest challenge in tracing the ancestry of immigrants is that you must first identify their exact hometown (not just country or region) before you can locate records in their home country. Luckily, there were a variety of records created when an immigrant came to the United States in the 20th century that can provide helpful clues for finding their exact place of birth.

7 record types for finding 20th-century immigrant ancestors

Naturalization and alien registration records

Naturalization records were created as part of an application for citizenship, while alien registration records were created for any non-citizens living in the United States. Both sets of records can contain a wealth of information about immigrants, including their hometown, family members, identifying information such as birthdates or physical descriptions, and when and how they traveled to the United States.

After 1906, there were three parts to naturalization records: a declaration of intention (sometimes called 1st papers), a petition for naturalization (2nd papers) and the naturalization certificate given if citizenship was granted. The declaration of intention is the most useful for genealogical purposes, as immigrants were required to state their birth dates, often family members’/spouses’ birth dates, and usually their hometowns.

Naturalization records were kept by the various federal, state, and county courts, and many have been digitized on various genealogy websites. Naturalization records can be found at the National Archives, FamilySearch.org, and Ancestry.com. After the Alien Registration Act of 1940, all immigrants to the United States were required to register and be fingerprinted. Alien Files began to be kept in 1944 and are now held by the National Archives.

(Editor’s note: Genealogy Gems Premium e-Learning members can also learn about World War I-era enemy alien affidavits, required for all non-naturalized U.S. residents, in the Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode #146.)

You can narrow down the time period your immigrant ancestor naturalized by checking various censuses which asked citizenship information (1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930). The 1920 census is particularly helpful as it asked the year of naturalization in addition to the year of arrival. There were three codes recorded in these columns: PA (has submitted papers), NA (naturalized) or AL (alien—never applied to become a citizen). Knowing where they were living at the time of naturalization will help you narrow down which court they may have used.

Keep in mind that until 1922, married women (and their children) were automatically given the citizenship of the husband (if he was a citizen, so was the wife; if a woman married a non-citizen she lost their citizenship until he became a naturalized citizen). Prior to 1922 wives did not need to apply separately, so there will almost never be naturalization papers for married women—you’ll need to look under their husband’s name.

Passenger lists

Passenger lists were created to document the travels of immigrants and are organized by ship. Some list the travelers’ hometown and their closest living relatives there, which can be extremely useful in linking families. Keep in mind that this will usually be the immigrants’ most recent place of residence (which is not always the birthplace).

When searching passenger lists, be sure to check both emigration and immigration records. Passenger lists created at the point of departure and the port of entry and may give slightly different information. For example, the Hamburg Passenger Lists for Germany recorded those leaving, while the New York Passenger Lists give arrivals—you may find your immigrant on both.

United States passenger lists will often also state the relative they are going to meet who is already in the United States—this can help in differentiating people of the same name. (Another bonus for Premium eLearning members: learn about emigration records in Premium Podcast episode #135.)

The port they came from or arrived in can also give clues as to where they were from in the Old Country—people generally immigrated and settled with others who were from the same place. While many of passenger lists have been digitized on the big genealogy websites such as FindMyPast.com, Ancestry.com, and FamilySearch, do not overlook smaller collections like the Immigrant Ancestors Project, which focuses on other emigration records from smaller ports.

Canada Border Crossings

If you are not finding your immigrant in United States passenger lists, see if they came through Canada. Many immigrants arrived in Canada first and then crossed the border to the United States. Keep in mind that only immigrants who came through ports or trains were recorded—if they crossed by horse or car they will not be included in the records. These records vary but often include the name of the immigrant, who they were going to join, their last residence and family member there, their place of birth, and any previous visits to the United States (4). Both Ancestry.com and the free FamilySearch.org have digitized records border crossings to the U.S. from Canada beginning in 1895 (FamilySearch’s go to 1956 and Ancestry.com’s to 1960).

Passport applications

Did your immigrant ancestor ever apply for a passport? Many immigrants went back to visit family in their home country for a few months or even years, before returning back to the United States If they had already become a citizen, they may have applied for a passport to travel. These records can give you a wealth of information about the person who applied but also sometimes their parents.

If you are stuck on an immigrant, look for records about their children—they may provide valuable clues. For example, my great-great aunt applied for a passport in 1918 to be a missionary in China, and she stated that her father had been brought over as an infant from Germany with his parents, who had then naturalized. However, on her passport renewal she stated he was born in Baltimore, so his exact birthplace is still a mystery. However, the passport provided an important clue—now I know to look in the area around Baltimore for naturalization records that could mention his parents. (Click here to read a Genealogy Gem listener’s success story using passport applications and more information on finding them.)

Church records

Many immigrants attended church in their new town along with others from their homeland. Records created at the church, such as baptisms, marriages, and burials, can often provide information about where they came from. Some of these churches even conducted services in the native language of their congregants (i.e. German). These records can be challenging to locate as many of them are still kept by the local churches and have not yet been digitized by the major genealogy websites, but they are well worth it. Try contacting the local church to see if they still have records or know where the records are now. It’s polite to offer a small compensation for their time. Click here to find a list of articles on this website about all different kinds of church records.

Foreign language newspapers

A little-known fact about immigration is that many immigrant communities published local newspapers in the language of their homeland in their new community as a way to stay connected. These newspapers often include birth, marriage and death announcements relevant to the community of immigrants and may list your ancestor. Many of these newspapers are listed on the Library of Congress website Chronicling America, covered in detail in an exclusive interview in the Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode #158. (If you’re not a Premium member, consider checking out Lisa Louise Cooke’s book How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers or click here to read articles relating to newspaper research on our blog.

For more help finding immigrant ancestors….

Thanks to Mckenna Cooper, a researcher for Legacy Tree Genealogists, for writing this guest article. Legacy Tree Genealogists is a worldwide genealogy research firm with extensive expertise in breaking through genealogy brick walls. To learn more about Legacy Tree services and its research team, visit www.legacytree.comExclusive Offer for Genealogy Gems readers: Receive $100 off a 20-hour research project using code GGP100! (This offer may expire without notice.)

If you prefer the DIY approach to finding your immigrant ancestors rather than hiring assistance, Genealogy Gems is here for you! We gave you lots of links above to further reading. You may have noticed that Genealogy Gems Premium eLearning provides even more resources for you–why not consider whether this may be a good option for you?

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

Relative Race Season 3: It’s Not Too Late to Catch It!

Relative Race season 3 is still going strong. Are you watching this family-friendly reality TV series? It’s also family-history friendly! If you haven’t tuned in yet, consider catching up by watching free episodes you’ve missed. Check details here for the rest of the season.

BYUtv’s acclaimed reality competition television series, “Relative Race,” has just crested the halfway point for season 3. Episode 6 airs tomorrow, Sunday, April 8 at 7pm MT/9pm ET.  According to the show’s producers, “‘Relative Race’ is ‘Amazing Race’ meets ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ This original family history-based competition reality show follows four dynamic duo teams as they race across the U.S. in search of long lost relatives, armed with only paper maps, a rental car, and a flip phone.

“Cameras follow all four teams as they embark on an emotional 10-day journey throughout the United States, stopping each day to complete two challenges and find (and stay with) a newly discovered relative in a different city. At the end of each day, the team that finishes last receives a strike; after 3 strikes, teams are eliminated and the remaining teams travel to the grand finale where there is a $50k grand prize for the winning team.”

Here’s a quick video promo for the season:

Watch Relative Race Season 3

In case you’ve missed previous episodes, you can watch them for free on BYUtv. You don’t even need to create a free guest account. The latest episode from Season 3 (episode 5) is already posted. And if you really want to binge-watch some genealogy TV, you can also catch all past episodes from Seasons 1 and 2.

Remaining episodes air tomorrow and following Sunday evenings on BYUtv. Why tune in live? Show producers posted a great reason on their Facebook page: “We run all kinds of giveaways during the show. So you should definitely check out our Instagram and Twitter pages.”

Relative Race: Behind the Scenes Exclusive

In the free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #189, host and producer Lisa Louise Cooke chatted with Relative Race season 1 contestants, who share their experiences criss-crossing the country, meeting their AncestryDNA matches. The podcast episode also includes persuasive reasons for testing your own DNA (if you haven’t yet) and expert tips for tracing your Irish roots. Click here to listen!

And I want to hear from you in the Comments below! if you’ve been watching season 3:

  • What do you think of Season 3 compared to previous seasons?
  • Which team are you rooting for?
  • Would you participate in something like this?
About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

Denmark Church Records and More Now Online

New online! Denmark church records, Yorkshire parish records, English and Irish estate records, French church and civil registration records, German vital records, Irish townland indexes, and U.S. collections for Georgia, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They’re all new at the Genealogy Giants: Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com and MyHeritage.com.

Featured: Denmark church records

Genealogy Giant MyHeritage.com has published an exclusive new collection, Denmark Church Records, 1813-1919. According to the site, these are “records of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, and other records kept by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. Church records are extremely important for Danish research as vital events of virtually every individual who lived in Denmark during the time period covered by this collection were recorded in these parish registers or church books (kirkebøger).”

The records include the typical birth or baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths and burials but also may include the following, as described on the site:

  • “Vaccinations (Vaccinerede) – The vaccination mandate began in 1810 required everyone to receive the smallpox vaccine, unless the person at already had the pox. Vaccinations typically occurred when children were quite young. These records usually list the name of the person receiving the vaccine, date of vaccination, their father’s name, and their age or birth date. A person’s vaccination date could also be recorded in their confirmation record, and if they ever moved, could be noted in their moving in or moving out record.
  • Moving In (Tilgangsliste) and Moving Out (Afgangsliste) Records – Began in 1812 and list individuals moving in or moving out of a parish. These records may contain name, age or birth date, occupation, residence, vaccination date, moving date, and where moving to/from.”

England parish records

Subscription giant Ancestry.com has published a new collection of indexed images, Yorkshire, England: Church of England Parish Records, 1538-1873. According to its description, “Parish records–primarily baptisms, marriages, and burials–provide the best sources of vital record information in the centuries before civil registration. Baptismal records generally list the date of the baptism, the name of the child being baptized, and the name of the father. Marriage records generally include the date of the marriage and the names of the bride and groom. Burial records generally list the date of the burial and the name of the deceased individual. Occasionally burial records will include other bits of information, such as where the individual was from or if he/she was a widow. Records from various parishes throughout Yorkshire will continually be added to this database for the next couple of months.”

UK subscription site Findmypast.com has published Prerogative Court Of Canterbury Administrations 1660-1700. Subscribers may “search over 88,000 transcripts and images of Index slips and related documentation created from original Prerogative Court of Canterbury administrations held by The National Archives at Kew. This collection includes a high volume of mariners; approximately a third of these records refer to a mariner. Each record will reveal the date of your ancestor’s will, the value of their will, the archive reference number and any additional notes.”

England and Wales electoral registers

Findmypast.com has released an exclusive new collection, England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1920. According to the site, “Electoral Registers are lists created annually of people who are eligible to vote and include their reason for eligibility, such as their residence or ownership of a property. These records from 1920 will include the men and women who first gained the right to vote in 1918….These newly indexed records can be searched by name, year, constituency, polling district and keyword.”

France church and civil records

Nearly 8 million records comprise a new, free collection at FamilySearch.org: France, Dordogne, Church and Civil Registration, 1540-1896. Among the documents included are baptism, birth, marriage and death records. According to the site, these can be an incredibly rich resource for identifying your French ancestors:

  • Birth records often include the child’s name, gender, birthdate, birthplace, parents’ names (including mother’s maiden) and marital status, father’s age, father’s occupation and residence and the names of witnesses or godparents, along with their ages, occupations, and residences.
  • Marriage registers may include the names, ages, birthplaces, occupations and residences of the bride and groom; marriage date and place; marriage certificate and banns date; names of the bride’s and groom’s parents (including mother’s maiden); and the witnesses’ names, occupations, and ages.
  • Death records may include the deceased’s name, age at death, cause of death, gender, marital status, death and burial date and place, birth date and place, name of spouse, and father’s name and occupation.

For help reading these French-language records, click here.

Germany vital records

Ancestry.com has recently published or updated several new collections of German vital records:

Ireland wills and townland indexes

Ancestry.com has published a new collection spanning nearly 300 years: Ireland, Index to the Prerogative Wills, 1536-1810. The source of this collection is a previously-published volume by the same name (ed. Sir Arthur Vicars; originally published in 1897, Dublin, Ireland; Genealogical Publishing Co., 1989). The collection description explains the historical process of proving wills in Ireland. This particular collection relates to a specific type of estate: “The Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Armagh, latterly established at Henrietta Street, in Dublin, proved the wills of testators dying with assets of value greater than £5 (“bona notabilia”) in at least two Irish dioceses. This court was also abolished by the Court of Probate Act 1857.”

Findmypast.com also has new Irish records: Ireland, Alphabetical Indexes To The Townlands and Parishes 1851-1911. Browse “2,900 records taken from indexes of townlands and parishes in Ireland spanning the years 1851 to 1911. In addition to townlands and parishes, discover details of baronies and electoral divisions in Ireland for a given year.”

U.S. genealogy record collections by state

Georgia. A new, free collection, Georgia, Houston County, Marriage Records, 1832-2015 is available at FamilySearch.org. According to the site, “Marriage records usually include: the name of the groom, the maiden name of the bride, the names of the officiator and witnesses, the marriage date [and] the marriage place.” The collection link above goes just to the index, but you can also click here to see a full list of the various digitized volumes in this collection in the FamilySearch Catalog (with links to the digital images).

The site also offers an important tip: “Many marriages recorded in the South are separated by race in volumes, books, or registers. Be sure to check to determine if you have the right set of marriage records.” For example, there is a volume dedicated to “Marriage certificates (colored), 1891-1951,” which you’ll find in the above-named list of volumes in the FamilySearch Catalog.

United States genealogy records by state

New York. Subscription-access giant MyHeritage.com has added over 6 million records to its collection of New York City Marriage License Index 1908-1972, bringing the index to nearly 10 million names. According to the site, This collection is an index to marriage licenses filed at the New York City Clerk Offices from the five boroughs from 1908 to 1972. The index contains the given names and surnames of both the bride and the groom, the date of the license application, and the license number. Images provided by Reclaim the Records.”

Ohio. FamilySearch has added over 150,000 free indexed records to Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977. The collection includes images of naturalization records from county courthouses in Ohio and a growing number of indexed names. According to the site, “The record content and available years vary by county, though most content falls between 1818 and 1954.” You can either search indexed names on the collection page or scroll down and select the option to browse through over a million images that may not have been indexed yet. (These images are grouped by county, then by record type, year range and volume, making it relatively easy to find the records you want. Click here for a tutorial on browsing records on FamilySearch.org.)

Pennsylvania. Over 200,000 records have been added to the free FamilySearch.org collection, Pennsylvania, Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1795-1931Again, this images-and-indexed names collection is not yet completely indexed, and you may search it by browsing. Petitions are arranged by year and petition number.

Millions of records on the Genealogy Giants

Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com, MyHeritage.com, and FamilySearch.org publish millions of new historical records online every month. Keep up with the new collections of these Genealogy Giants with me here at Genealogy Gems. Bring focus to your research: click here to learn what sets apart each of the Genealogy Giants, and learn strategies for getting the most out of them.  

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

Must-have genealogy tips featured in new Premium Podcast episode

Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 157 is ready for you! This episode features a variety of must-have tips for the family historian: courthouse research strategies, identifying old family memorabilia, and using YDNA to learn more about your paternal line.

Something I love about the Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast is host and producer Lisa Louise Cooke’s unique ability to bring together the best voices on “all things genealogy.” She truly knows how to pick the most valuable gems—both the topics and the experts—and string them all together in a way that’s easy to listen to and inspiring.

Premium Podcast Episode 157 Highlight

In this episode, I was especially intrigued by Michael Strauss’ segment on identifying old family memorabilia. He’s our Military Minutes contributor. The memorabilia he uses as an example is military-themed—a series of postcards from a soldier during World War I. They’re so intriguing: I’ve shown you just one of those here:

Michael’s tips apply to just about any kind of family artifact you might find in your possession. You’ll hear the questions he asked about these postcards and the kinds of genealogical documents he sought to answer those questions.

Another don’t-miss segment is a voicemail Lisa got from Ken. He’s a riot! And he has a good DNA question for Diahan, which she addresses directly.

Also in this episode: The Archive Lady Melissa Barker chimes in with tips for genealogists on visiting courthouses. I chime in, too, with comments about a fascinating new cemetery database that will bring together not just the data on tombstones but information about the stones’ physical surroundings. You’ll love this if you’re a nature lover–or if you just like the idea that when we are laid to rest, we become part of the natural landscape.

Click here to listen to Premium Podcast Episode #157 (Premium eLearning membership required).

The Perks of Premium eLearning

This and all Premium Podcast episodes are available to our Premium eLearning members. In case you missed the memo, Genealogy Gems Premium Membership is now Premium eLearning—and there’s MUCH more than there ever has been before for Premium members! Click here to learn more about the benefits of Premium eLearning, which we think is the best genealogy education opportunity around.

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

Find US Ancestors In These New Online Resources

See if you can find U.S. ancestors using these new online resources (many of them free!): U.S. Supreme Court cases; an African American research guide; newspapers serving Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina and Texas; orphan train riders and Rhode Island burials since 1647. Also, your help is requested to help build an important database of African American soldiers in the Civil War.

Featured collection: U.S. Supreme Court cases

“More than 225 years of Supreme Court decisions acquired by the Library of Congress are now publicly available online – free to access in a page image format for the first time,” reported a recent Library of Congress press release. “The Library has made available more than 35,000 cases that were published in the printed bound editions of United States Reports (U.S. Reports).”

This collection is comprised of “official reports of decisions for the United States Supreme Court dating to the court’s first decision in 1791 and to earlier courts that preceded the Supreme Court in the colonial era,” or in other words, cases originally published in bound volumes 1-542. “This collection of Supreme Court cases is fully searchable. Filters allow users to narrow their searches by date, name of the justice authoring the opinion, subject and by the main legal concepts at issue in each case. PDF versions of individual cases can be viewed and downloaded.” We noticed this in a tweet from The Legal Genealogist Judy Russell, who makes a case for the genealogical value of Supreme Court cases in this article on her blog.

Find US ancestors in more new online resources

A new African American research guide

The Maryland State Archives has published a new guide, Researching African American Families at the Maryland State Archives. (Clicking on the link will take you directly to a PDF version of the guide). The introduction states, “A strong tradition of record keeping from the earliest days of settlement has resulted in the preservation of a vast amount of material relevant to African American history. This material can be found primarily at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, where the permanent public records of state, county, and local agencies are conveniently centralized. Records concerning African Americans, once neglected by professional historians and genealogists alike, provide new insights into the Maryland experience for people of color.”

Even if your African American roots are not in Maryland (or if your Maryland roots are not African American), you can still likely learn about important record types and research tips!

African American Civil War Soldiers Database

The African American Civil War Soldiers project recently launched an effort to build “a comprehensive database of the estimated 200,000 soldiers who formed the United States Colored Troops” during the Civil War. According to the website, this project aims “to improve our knowledge of the African Americans who fought for freedom in the American Civil War, to provide descendants of the soldiers with access to information on their ancestors, and to present students of history with primary documents from a pivotal moment in African American history.”

Volunteers are requested to help transcribe “images of the soldiers’ military service records, which have been photographed and scanned by the National Archives and Records Administration and Fold3. From these, we are collecting detailed individual information such as name, age, height, place of birth and enlistment, as well as evidence of battles fought, injuries and causalities sustained, and honors and promotions won.”

It’s easy to start transcribing: there’s no software to download or learn, and you don’t even need to register. If you click “Get started,” you’ll be taken directly to an image to transcribe (a quick series of pop-up screens will give you a quick orientation about the type of document you’ll be transcribing and how to do it). The example shown below comes from a “Company Descriptive Book, the first card in each soldier’s file. This card contains information on the soldier’s origins and enlistment.”

As an aside, we also noticed that the web host of the African-American Civil War Soldiers Database, Zooniverse.org, also has another volunteer project to transcribe the handwritten conference notes of U.S. Supreme Court justices.

Newspapers across the U.S.

Illinois and Iowa. Subscription site Newspapers.com has published issues of the Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa) dating from 1855-2014. This paper covers southeast Iowa and northwest Illinois. According to an email news release, “Newspapers.com also has a host of papers from the Quad-City Times family tree, including the Daily Leader, the Davenport Weekly Leader, the Davenport Weekly Democrat and LeaderWeekly Davenport Democrat, the Democrat and Times, the Daily Times, the Davenport Weekly Gazette, and the Democratic Banner. Some of these papers go all the way back to the 1850s, giving you more than 160 years of Iowa and Illinois history!

North Carolina. Digital NC continues to post new, free newspaper content on its site. Recent additions include the weekly The Hertford County Herald (Ahoskie, NC) for 1914-1923;  More issues of the Watauga Democrat (Boone, NC, serving the western part of the state; coverage now spans 1923-1963); and the Cherokee Scout (Cherokee County)—now with nearly 2,500 issues from 1923-1971.

Texas. The Portal of Texas History website is adding more free newspaper content: the Cleveland Advocate and its sister publications, Dayton News and Eastex Advocate, and two other defunct newspapers – Illustrated Paperboy and Cleveland Journal.  A news report describes the Portal of Texas History as “a gateway to Texas’s earliest history with newspapers dating back to 1829, seven years before Texas became a republic,” with 5.7 million individual newspaper pages, and “the largest single-state free digital repository in the nation for newspapers.”

Orphan Train riders

A new collection at subscription giant Ancestry.com, New York, Orphans Placed in the New York Foundling Hospital and Children’s Aid Society, 1855-1925, gathers the names of nearly 18,000 poor, abandoned or orphaned children who were placed under the care of New York City orphanages and eventually shipped to families in the western United States to be adopted. These children are popularly known as “orphan train” riders. According to the collection description, “Information as to the identities of a large number of these children has been preserved in federal and state censuses taken between 1855 and 1925, as well as in the 1890 New York City police census, and represents a potential boon to the descendants of these foundlings. This collection contains a two-volume work that encompasses the “Orphan Train Riders” from NYFH.” Tip: Have fun learning the stories of some of these children in Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, a NYT best-selling novel and a Genealogy Gems Book Club pick.

Rhode Island burials

The New England Historic Genealogical Society has announced a new database on its subscription website, AmericanAncestors.org. Rhode Island: Historical Cemeteries, 1647-2000 “includes 450,000 individuals buried in Rhode Island,” states a company email. “More than 900,000 names transcribed from tombstones are included. This database provides tombstone transcriptions, and birth and death records. Some entries include tombstone images and GPS coordinates.” The project is part of a volunteer-driven collaboration with the Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project.

Find US ancestors in more new online collections

Did you miss these recent announcements about US records that are new online? Check them out!

New genealogy record collections from 15 U.S. states

New North American collections include military, passenger lists, yearbooks and more

Totally free US genealogy records from 8 states

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

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