July 29, 2016

Family Maps and Migration Routes Traced with New Tech Tools

family maps and migration routes are easyFamily maps and migration routes can sometimes uncover new record finds and answer brick wall questions. It’s fast and simple to use these free tech tools to map your family’s history! I used them to track my ancestors as they trekked from the eastern seaboard to the Midwestern United States and found some fantastic leads!

There are two online treasures I have just discovered. FamilySearch and MyHeritage family trees can now be mapped with some neat interactive tools. MyHeritage just launched their PedigreeMap saying it is an “innovative way to view your family history,” and I think they are right. I have used migration maps to help me overcome brick walls and questions in my research for years. Using these free online tools have made it really fun and not difficult at all.

Creating Family Maps and Migration Routes at MyHeritage

PedigreeMap is free for all MyHeritage users. To access it, log on or create a MyHeritage account. If you are new to MyHeritage, you will be prompted to begin creating your free family tree when you click Sign up at the top right corner of their homepage.

Once you have created your family tree, find it by clicking Family Tree and choosing Manage trees from the pull-down menu.

family maps at myheritage

To use the PedigreeMap feature, choose your family tree from the list and then click on Apps and choose PedigreeMap from the pull-down menu.

FamilyMaps_2

You will be able to see a map of the entire world in which your ancestors lives are plotted. From my map below, I can see the large concentration in the eastern half of the United States, but also the location of my ancestors from Europe.

Not only are genealogical events like births, marriages, and deaths plotted on your map, but if you put in a location of a picture, it will plot that too. You will notice, on the left-hand side there is a list of all the places that appear in your family tree. The numbers on the list match up to the number of each place in your family tree.

FamilyMaps_3

You can zoom in or zoom out, but my favorite part is clicking a location in the list to the left. For example, if I click on Marion, Linn, another list pops up on the right. This list shows me what events took place in Marion, Linn County, Iowa.

FamilyMaps_4

Additionally, I can see major roads, rivers, and hills. I can even click on the satellite view to see the street where my great-grandparents were married!

There are many more wonderful tools on PedigreeMap that you will want to check out. To learn more about all the unique features, read their article here.

Creating Family Maps and Migration Routes with FamilySearch

RootsMapper has been around awhile and is an interactive mapping website that works with FamilySearch. As you know, FamilySearch allows users to create a family tree online and search all their records for free. Like PedigreeMap, you will need to create your free account and family tree at FamilySearch. Then, go to the FamilySearch Apps page and click on RootsMapper. Now, click Get Started.

Family maps at RootsMapper

When you are redirected to the RootsMapper homepage, click Login to begin mapping. You will use your FamilySearch username and password. By clicking Accept, you give permission for RootsMapper to use your FamilySearch tree data.

The interactive map has various features. I particularly like the lines showing both the migration of my paternal line and my maternal line.

FamilyMaps_6

Did you notice my paternal line goes right through modern day West Virginia? Several years ago, I had “lost” my Walls family line. By plotting their known whereabouts on a map and connecting the dots, I could see possible migration routes. In fact, during that time frame, they likely took nothing but trails into Monongalia, Virginia. I did a search for records along this path and was surprised to find my fifth great grandfather on a tax roll for Virginia in 1790!

You can play around with the settings and map just one generation, five generations, or even ten generations. The options allow for pins, migration lines, changing the root person you are charting and much, much more.

It really is amazing how innovative genealogy research is today. The Genealogy Gems team delights in sharing new tech tools and tips to help you in your genealogy goals. Why not try out one of these family map and migration route tools today and share with us your thoughts? Leave a comment below!

More Gems on Mapping and Migration Routesfamily maps and migration routes with old maps

Mapping U.S. Migration Patterns

5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps (Premium Member Video)

3 Sources for Historic Maps That May Surprise You

New Genealogical Records for Immigrant Ancestors

dig these new record collections

Land ho! Your immigrant ancestors are waiting to be found in these new and updated record collections. Find naturalization petitions and passport applications first, then move on to the civil registration records to find the family members they left behind. Records for this week cover the United States, Italy, Peru, and Spain.

UNITED STATES – NATURALIZATION PETITIONS

Find My Past now offers more than 7.8 million digitized records for the U.S. Naturalization Petitions collection.  Records can be found as early as 1795, but may not hold much information other than a name and place of origin. Between the years of 1905-1950 however, the naturalization process asked many helpful questions for today’s genealogist. Not only will you likely find your ancestor’s arrival information and country of origin, but you will likely find a full name, birth date and place, name of spouse and their birth date and place, and names of children and their birth details. The best part is there may be a photograph included of your relative!

This collection includes the following publications from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA):

  • NARA microfilm publication M1545, Index to Petitions and Records of Naturalizations of the U.S. and District Courts for the District of Massachusetts, 1906-1966
  • NARA publication M1522, Naturalization Petitions for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • NARA publication M1248, Indexes to Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1795-1951
  • NARA microfilm publication M2081, Indexes to Naturalization Petitions for United States District Courts, Connecticut, 1851-1992
  • NARA microfilm publication M1164, Index to Naturalization Petitions of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1865-1957
  • NARA microfilm publication M1675, Alphabetical Index to Declarations of Intention of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1917-1950
  • NARA microfilm publication M1676, Alphabetical Index to Petitions for Naturalization of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1824-1941

UNITED STATES – PASSPORT APPLICATIONS

The U.S. Passport Applications and Indexes can now be accessed on Find My Past. This collection currently covers records from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. Records from others states will be added to the collection as they are obtained. Some records go back to 1795, however the most valuable in genealogical data will likely be those created in the 20th century and beginning in December of 1914, you may find a photograph of your ancestor as well. These applications are loaded with valuable genealogy information. Find out where your ancestors were going and who they were setting out to see!

ITALY – CIVIL REGISTRATIONS

Benevento, Civil Registrations for the years of 1810-1942 have been updated on FamilySearch.org. These civil records include births, marriages, and deaths. Though the records are not yet indexed, you can browse the digital images. The records are in Italian of course, but don’t let that stop you! Just use the handy Google Translate tool for Italian to English.

PERU – CIVIL REGISTRATIONS

The Peru, La Libertad, Civil Registration, 1903-1998 is a collection of digital images at FamilySearch. Some have already been indexed, but you can browse through the entire collection as well. Included within these civil registrations are birth, marriage, and death records. You will be delighted to find extra genealogically significant pieces of information like names of witnesses and parents, and even the ages of parents. [TIP: When you find the age of the parent, you can calculated the estimated birth year which will come in handy as you continue to fill your family tree.]

SPAIN – MUNICIPAL RECORDS

FamilySearch also offers the Spain, Province of Cadiz, Municipal Records for 1784-1956. Some of these digital images have been indexed, but it would serve you well to browse through the 1.6 million records. Remember, they are broken down into smaller locations which make searching over 1 million records do-able. The municipal records include what is traditionally considered civil records like birth, marriage, and death items. However, they go one step further and contain some interesting record sets such as censuses, military records, and nobility records.

WHY WE’RE HERE

Each week, we share what’s new and updated in genealogical record collections. We hope you will feel inspired to dig with us as we flesh out our long, lost ancestors. For more helpful tips and tricks for your genealogy success, sign-up for our free weekly newsletter found at the top right of this page or by scrolling to the bottom if you are on your mobile device. Have a great weekend!

MORE GEMS ON RESEARCHING IMMIGRANT ANCESTORS

U.S. Passport Applications: Finding Immigrant & Traveling Ancestors

Beginning Irish Genealogy: Tip & Free Records
Google Drive and other tips

How to Use Google Earth for Genealogy

 

Bring Some Sunshine to Your Family Tree

SunChart_FeatureImage

Family tree charts come in all shapes and sizes. Fan charts, bowtie charts, and the popular portrait charts are just a few of the many options. Many of our favorite genealogy software and apps allow us to create a printed version of our family tree. Creating and printing a beautiful family tree chart can bring a little sunshine into your own family tree!

Free Family Tree Charts at FamilySearch

FamilySearch Family Tree is free and available to everyone. When you have created your free account and add your family tree data, you are given four family tree viewing options. These options include the landscape, the fan, the portrait, and the descendancy views. Each of these viewing options are available to download or print in chart form.

I really like the portrait chart. If you have many pictures of your ancestors, I think you will love this option. To see the portrait view, click on the second icon at the top left of the family tree screen.

family tree chart traditional view

Landscape view of family tree at FamilySearch

At the new screen,  you will see the look of your family tree has changed. This is the portrait view. If you would like to print or download the chart, simply click the print icon at the right of the screen. This will open a default screen where you have the option to rotate, print, and download the chart.

family tree chart in portrait view

Portrait view of family tree at FamilySearch

Some of my friends have downloaded their charts to a thumb drive and then taken them to Staples or Office Depot to print them in poster size. Isn’t that neat? What a great way to share the family history at your next family reunion!

Family Tree Charts at MyHeritage

MyHeritage has always had a nice assortment of family tree chart options. One of my favorites is the “bowtie chart.” This bowtie chart shows the main person in the center next to their spouse. Ancestors are on either side, and their children are below. With eighteen style options, you can be sure to find one that is perfect for you.

bowtie family tree chart

Bowtie Chart by MyHeritage

MyHeritage offers some free access and some things that require a subscription. Creating a free account allows you to create a family tree with 250 people. By upgrading to the PremiumPlus subscription level for $9.95, you are unlimited in the number of people in your family tree. To read more about the pricing and subscription level differences and access our digital MyHeritage Cheat Sheet, click here.

Recently, MyHeritage added a beautiful Sun Chart option. Like in all cases, you must first upload a GEDCOM or create a family tree file. A Sun Chart is a type of descendant fan chart, however, unlike other’s it supports photos. The main person or couple is displayed in the center and the descendants are shown in the outer rings.

To create your own Sun Chart, click Family Tree at the top and choose Print charts & books from the pull-down menu. At the new screen, choose whichever chart you are interested in printing. In this case, I chose the Sun Chart.

step one of family tree chart

By scrolling down, you can customize your Sun Chart with a title, specific facts for each individual, photo size, and number of generations.

I customized my settings to large pictures size and included only three generations.

family tree chart sun chart

Sun Chart by MyHeritage

It may take several minutes for your chart to be generated. I had to wait about twenty minutues. MyHeritage also allows you to download, print, and even order a poster size of your chart directly from their website.

Create a Family Chart Today!

Whether you decide to share your family tree chart creation via email or printed poster, it will be sure to be a big hit. We would love to hear about your own favorite family tree chart creations and how you have shared them. Please let us know about them in the comments below.

More Gems on Family Tree Charts

Family Tree Builder for Mac Users

Alternate Family Trees Offer Unique Perspective to Family History

3 Ways to Talk About DNA at Your Next Family Reunion

Episode 193

The free Genealogy Gems PodcastThe Genealogy Gems Podcast
Episode # 193
by Lisa Louise Cooke

Episode highlights:

  • Genealogy milestones, anniversaries, new records, upcoming conferences and new free video tutorials;
  • Email response to The Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode #192: another tip on the U.S. Public Records Index, a family adoption story and his own research on the changing coastline of Sussex;
  • More response to the “Where I’m From” poetry initiative;
  • Announcement: the NEW Genealogy Gems Book Club title;
  • A key principle in genetic genealogy from Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard.

NEWS: FOIA Turns 50
What is the FOIA? The Freedom of Information Act opens federal records to the public. The FOIA applies to certain kinds of information about the federal government and certain information created by the federal government. It DOESN’T apply to documents that relate to national security, privacy and trade secrets, or to documents created by state or local governments.

FOIA for genealogy research: Use the FOIA to request:

SS5- applications (Social Security) and Railroad Board Retirement

Post-WWII Selective Service records: draft registrations and SS-102 forms (with more draft/military information on them), through the end of 1959;

Naturalization certificate files from 1906 to 1956;

Alien registration forms from 1940 to 1944;

Visa files from 1924 to1944;

Registry files for 1929 to 1944 (these document the arrival of an immigrant whose passenger or other arrival record could not be found for whatever reason);

A-files, alien case files for 1944 to 1951;

Certain FBI files and certain CIA records (here’s a link to the slides from a National Archives presentation on using FBI files for family history.

Click here to read an article on the 50th anniversary of the FOIA and more on FOIA for genealogy

 

NEWS: NEW RECORD COLLECTIONS ONLINE

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, Honeymoon and Visitor Registers, 1949-2011

The Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast #133: Peggy Lauritzen on “Gretna Greens,” quickie wedding destinations (Genealogy Gems Premium website membership required to access)

Announcement of Freedmen’s Bureau Project completion; In September 2016 you can access the full Freedmen’s Bureau Project at www.DiscoverFreedmen.org.

New videos to help find your family history in Freedmen’s Bureau Records

Where to find Freedmen’s Bureau Records online, and the Freedmen’s Bureau indexing project

 

NEWS: AncestryDNA Hits 2 Million Samples

Ancestry.com blog post: AncestryDNA Reaches 2 Million Samples

Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard talks about these AncestryDNA features in:

 

NEWS: UPCOMING CONFERENCES

Midwest Roots, July 15-16, 2016

The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #178 CeCe Moore talks genetic genealogy on genealogy TV shows

Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society 3rd Annual Conference, July 30, 2016

3rd Annual Northwest Genealogy Conference, Arlington,

3rd Annual Northwest Genealogy Conference

  • Hosted by the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society, north of Seattle in Arlington, WA  on August 17-20, 2016
  • Theme: “Family Secrets Uncovered — Lost History Found”
  • Keynote speakers include Blaine Bettinger, Claudia Breland and Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Free Day Wednesday afternoon: Beth Foulk will address beginner’s issues — which is also a good refresher for the more seasoned genealogists
  • Other features: Meet a distant cousin with the “Cousin Wall;” participate in the genealogy-related scavenger hunt on Free Day Wednesday, and enjoy the free taco bar at the evening reception. Wear a costume from your ancestors’ homeland on the Friday dress-up day.

 

GEMS NEWS: NEW VIDEOS ONLINE

How to create captivating family history videos: Animoto video tutorial series

Tech Tip Tuesday tutorial videos

NEW Genealogy Gems Premium Video: All About Google Drive (Genealogy Gems Premium website membership required to access)

Evernote blog post about changed pricing

 

MAILBOX: CHRIS WITH US PUBLIC RECORDS INDEX TIP AND MORE

Follow-up email regarding The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #192 from Chris, who blogs at Leaf, Twig and Stem

Chris’ post about a compelling story of an adopted child in his family

Chris’ post about the changing coastline in Sussex

U.S. Public Records Index

MAILBOX: “WHERE I’M FROM”

The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #185: Interview with George Ella Lyon

“Where I’m From” video and contest results

Tips for writing your own “Where I’m From” poem

Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society “Where I’m From” contest: “Anyone near and far may join our Contest. Each entry receives a gift from the. We will have a drawing from all entries of cash or a nice prize.  Deadline for entries is Aug. 31, 2016. More information on scchgs.org.”

NEW GENEALOGY GEMS BOOK CLUB SELECTION

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

It’s a story inspired by love letters exchanged between his grandparents during World War II, when they were each in dangerous places: he on the island of Malta and she in London, both of which suffered some of the worst sustained bombing campaigns of the war.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a fast-paced book. It begins in London in 1939 with Mary North, a wealthy young lady from a privileged family who, on finding out that war has been declared, immediately leaves her finishing school and signs on for the war effort without telling her parents. She fulfills an assignment as a school teacher long enough to make a meaningful connection with a school official and one of her students. Then her students (along with the rest of London’s children) are evacuated to the countryside, leaving her to figure out what to do next.

The plot gets a lot more involved from here. There’s a love triangle, a long-distance romance, a series of scenes that take place on the heavily-bombarded island of Malta, harrowing descriptions of the London Blitz, homeless children who return from the evacuation only to find themselves parentless, homeless and in constant danger. It’s intense and eye-opening, but it’s compassionate and it’s still very readable for those who have less of a stomach for blood and guts but still want to understand some of the human experience of living and loving in a war zone, and then picking up the pieces afterward and figuring out how to keep living.

Video: Chris Cleave on the U.S troops coming to Europe in World War II

Click here for more Genealogy Gems Book Club titles

 

DNA GEM: GENETIC PEDIGREE V GENEALOGICAL PEDIGREE

A key concept in genetic genealogy is that your genetic pedigree is different than your genealogical pedigree. Let me explain.

Your genealogical pedigree, if you are diligent or lucky (or both!) can contain hundreds, even thousands of names and can go back countless generations. You can include as many collateral lines as you want. You can add several sources to your findings, and these days you can even add media, including pictures and copies of the actual documents. Every time someone gets married or welcomes a new baby, you can add that to your chart. In short, there is no end to the amount of information that can make up your pedigree chart.

Not so for your genetic pedigree.

Your genetic pedigree contains only those ancestors for whom you have received some of their DNA. You do not have DNA from all of your ancestors. Using some fancy math we can calculate that the average generation in which you start to see that you have inherited zero blocks of DNA from an ancestor is about seven. But of course, most of us aren’t trying to figure out how much of our DNA we received from great great great grandma Sarah. Most of us just have a list of DNA matches and we are trying to figure out if we are all related to 3X great grandma Sarah. So how does that work?

Well, the first thing we need to recognize is that living descendants of Sarah’s would be our fourth cousins (though not always, but that is a topic for another post!). Again, bring in the fancy math and we can learn that living, documented fourth cousins who have this autosomal DNA test completed will only share DNA with each other 50% of the time.

Yes, only half.

Only half of the time your DNA will tell you what your paper trail might have already figured out: That you and cousin Jim are fourth cousins, related through sweet 3X great grandma Sarah.  But here’s where the numbers are in our favor. You have, on average, 940 fourth cousins. So if you are only sharing DNA with 470 of them, that’s not quite so bad, is it? And it only takes one or two of them to be tested and show up on your match list. Their presence there, and their documentation back to sweet Sarah, helps to verify the genealogy you have completed and allows you to gather others who might share this connection so you can learn even more about Sarah and her family. Plus, if you find Jim, then Jim will have 470 4th cousins as well, some of which will not be on your list, giving you access to even more of the 940.

This genetic family tree not matching up exactly with your traditional family tree also manifests itself in your ethnicity results, though there are other reasons for discrepancies there as well.

In short, this DNA stuff is not perfect, or even complete, but if you combine it with your traditional resources, it can be a very powerful tool for verifying and extending your family history.

Additional readings:

23andMe blog post: “How Many Relatives Do You Have?”

“How Much of Your Genome Do You Inherit from a Particular Ancestor?”

 

PROFILE AMERICA: First hamburgers at a 4th of July picnic
Check out this episode!

Free Videos: Genealogy Tech Tips with Lisa Louise Cooke

We are delighted to share genealogy tech tips with you each week in these new videos. It’s Lisa’s way to share tips and tricks for your genealogy and your overall internet research success. You don’t have to be a lover of all things genealogy to love a good tech tip and we think you’ll agree!

Our Google guru, Lisa Louise Cooke, has been busy creating short, informative tech tip videos for you. You will find these videos first posted to our Facebook page. Be sure to always see what’s new by “liking” The Genealogy Gems Podcast page.

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Additionally, you can comment, like, and share directly from Facebook. This is a great way to share these tips with your genealogy friends and society members.

You can also find our tech tip videos at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. Subscribe by clicking Subscribe in the bottom left corner of any of our videos or at the top right corner of our YouTube channel homepage.

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Each week, Lisa will share with you what’s new in the world of technology and especially those tips that will make you a better and more effective genealogist.

Lisa’s first video, Free Google E-Books for Genealogy and Family History, walks you through the steps of accessing free digital books from the comfort of your home. From county histories to family histories, Google e-books are a treasure trove of genealogical information. Using Google e-books helped me find several pictures of ancestors that I had never seen—and that was just the start.

We think you’ll also enjoy our most recent tech tip video entitled How to Use Google Chrome to Identify Old Photos and Images for Genealogy and Family History. Using Google Chrome for your internet browser can be an effective tool for identifying images that are more universally known. While this likely won’t be able to identify an unknown person in your ancestry, you may be able to figure out the location a postcard image was taken.

Join us each week as Lisa shares these great tips for genealogy and more! If you find the information helpful, why not share with your genie friends too!

More Genealogy Tech Tips from Lisa Louise Cooke

online file converter featured image genealogy tech tips tuesdayConvert Files for Free with this Online Tool I Use

Amazon Echo: Why Lisa is So Crazy about It

Chromecast: For Big-Screen Family History

 

 

 

 

 

How to Find Recent Genealogy Records That Are Not Online Yet

recent genealogy records not online yet square

Records that have been created recently are difficult to find and access. Some privacy laws protect, and hinder, our being able to find more recent birth, marriage, and death records we need. Here are some tips for finding these and other genealogy records not yet online.

Recently, Tom in Olympia, Washington wrote us with a question about how to find recent genealogy records that are not online yet.

“My wife’s mother was adopted in 1925. We have found her biological mother’s name and through Ancestry.com, I’ve found several bits of information about her from census records. She also was a crew member on three steamships in the 1930s. On two of the ship manifests, her U.S. passport numbers are listed. Do you know any search options for finding information from passports in the 1930s?”

Maybe you have had a similar question. We hope our answer helps everyone more easily find genealogical records that are not online yet.

Obtaining Recent Passport Application Records

Tom will be interested in obtaining a passport application record which may hold more information about his targeted ancestor. As Tom already discovered, U.S. passport records are online at Ancestry and FamilySearch, but only those records prior to 1925.

My original hope was that the National Archives Records Administration would have had the passport application records for the 1930s. I googled passport applications National Archives, and the first search result took me to an excellent article. I learned the U.S. State Department has passport applications on microfilm between the years and dates of 1795 to 1905 and January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925. Sadly, these were not the years Tom was looking for.

To find information about passport applications in the 1930s, I needed to go another route. I opened a new window and googled U.S. State Department passport applications request copy. The first search result took me right to the page I needed. The Passport Services maintain the U.S. passport records from 1925 to the present. These records are protected by the Privacy Act of 1974.

Passport records in this time frame for a third-party person are processed under the Freedom of Information Act. These records need to ordered by mail. Tom can make a request in writing and send that request to:

U.S. Department of State
Office of Law Enforcement Liaison
FOIA Officer
44132 Mercure Cir
P.O. Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166

I suggested he mention his desire for the information is for genealogical purposes and what his relationship is to the person in question.

Using the Same Strategy for Other Recent Genealogy Records

Remember, this same kind of strategy applies to other genealogical records you might be looking for that were created recently. You can use Google searches and follow-up phone to find out where more recent records are and the access policies.

As an example, a recent Indiana marriage license index can be searched and viewed online for free at the Public Access records website for the state. I found this little goody by googling Indiana marriage records.

Recent_Records_1

All of us at Genealogy Gems adore having the opportunity to find and share solutions like this one for overcoming the problem of locating recent genealogy records that aren’t online. If you haven’t done so already, sign-up for our weekly newsletter for more tips and tricks. Oh, and write to us anytime with your genealogy questions! We love to hear from you!

More Gems on Recent Genealogy Records

foia turns 50 featured image

Other recent genealogy records in the U.S. are also available via the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Click here to read about them! They include post-World War II draft registrations, immigration and naturalization documents and Social Security applications (SS-5).

Each chair at my table is different

Guests at my table family history inspirationMy Dear Gems:
I just feel moved to share a bit of my life and home with you today.

Hugs, Lisa

Each chair at my kitchen table is different; they come from various grandparents, both mine and my husbands.

As I walk past it throughout my day, I envision them sitting there, enjoying a cup of coffee and each other, and watching the fruits of their labor.

That keeps me grounded, and my life focused. 

More on my kitchen dinette:

These are colonial style chairs, vintage 1950s. They belonged to the families Mansfield,  Cooke, Burkett, and Moore. The green antique pie safe held my grandmother’s jams, jellies and canning for 50 years in her home. The small table in the corner belonged to my pateral grandparents.

 

Sydney Clint Helen Mansfield & Rose Raymond Cooke c1958

Dear friends: The Cookes and Mansfields

Exciting New Records Across the Southern U.S.

dig these new record collections

Exciting new genealogical records are popping up for the southern U.S. this week. If you haven’t found the record you need yet, try again…you may be surprised! Records for Arizona, New Mexico, California, Texas, Kentucky, and Georgia are listed below.

 

 

ARIZONA, NEW MEXICO, CALIFORNIA, AND TEXAS – BORDER CROSSINGS

Ancestry has updated their Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S., 1895-1964 collection. This database is an index of aliens and some citizens that crossed into the U.S. from Mexico via the states of Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Texas. Each port of entry used a slightly different form, so some data will vary. Information contained in these records may include: name, age, birth date and place, gender, ethnicity, the names of individuals accompanied by, and port and date of arrival.

KENTUCKY – MARRIAGES

FamilySearch has updated the Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954 collection this week as well. This database is unique because it contains digital images of the marriage books and ledgers. There are over 1 million digital images in this collection, and now they are almost completely indexed. It is much easier to search these records when they have been indexed. However, you can still have great success using browse-only databases by reading our simple how-to post here.

GEORGIA – MILITARY

The Georgia World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1940-1945 have been updated at FamilySearch, too. These draft cards cover a group of individuals born between 1897 and 1929. Usually, WWII draft cards contain the following information:

  • Name and Serial Number
  • Place of residence
  • Date and place of birth
  • Age
  • Name of person who will always know your permanent address (which is sometimes a relative)
  • Employer’s name and address
  • Physical description (height, weight, color of hair and eyes)

GEORGIA

This week, I found the Georgia Vault online at the Georgia Archives. The “vault” is an online website of digital material that pertains to the history of Georgia. Deed books, church records, colonial wills, and confederate pensions are just a sampling of the things you will find there. I think you could spend a few afternoons browsing their wonderful collections. There is so much to see!

Would you let us know of any new or updated record collections we may have missed? Just leave us a comment below. Afterall, it’s nice to share!

More Gems on Using New Genealogical Recordsshare

Browse Only Databases at FamilySearch: Easy to Use

 

Google Drive: A Challenger to Dropbox and Evernote

Google Drive Packs Powerful PunchGoogle Drive is giving some of their competitors a run for their money. This free google tool is just what genealogists are looking for to create, consolidate, and organize their files.

I have been using Google Drive for about a year now. I upload my family photos, GEDCOMs, and my family history notes to the drive. I love the ease in which I can save these things to the cloud and rest knowing my hard work is safely backed up. You can imagine my excitement when our Google expert, Lisa Louise Cooke, shared her new premium video: All About Google Drive. There is so much more I didn’t know Google Drive could do!

Lisa shares ten benefits to using Google Drive and how it packs a powerful punch. Used as a file hosting service, Google Drive can offer you more free storage than Dropbox. Further, Google Drive may be a viable competitor to Evernote for several reasons. You can store files, create files, and edit them all via Google Drive. What’s even better is that Google Drive works across all different computing devices like PC, Mac, Windows, Android, and Apple. This means that syncing and accessing it all has never been easier.

Getting More from Google Drive

But wait, there’s more! Just when you thought you have heard it all, Lisa shares the power of the companion tool, Google Docs, to create documents, drawings, forms, and more. Haven’t had the money to purchase Microsoft Office yet? Not a problem! Google Docs is free to use. Lisa walks you through how to create and save a document and other files by using Google Docs. It is so easy!

Google Drive and Google Docs

You will continue to be amazed at the Google Extensions that are available from the Google Store. I had no idea there were so many. I was particularly excited to hear how I could easily save and clip items from webpages. Imagine finding a digital image of your great-grandmother’s obituary you want to save. How do you do that without having to save the whole page? There’s a Google Extension for that!

Google Drive, Google Docs, and the many extensions available really pack a powerful punch. Watch All About Google Drive to learn more about these knock-out features!

The Genealogy Gems Premium website members have exclusive access to all our full length video tutorials on topics ranging from research strategies to technology tools. They also have access to the full audio archive of The Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast. Click here to learn more about The Genealogy Gems Premium Membership.

Watch a preview:

More Gems on Google Drive and Tools

How to Use Google to Search for Family History & Genealogy

7 Free Google Search Features Every Genealogist Should UseGoogle Drive and other tips

Google Keyword Search Tips

Celebrating Freedom and Records Access: 50 Years of FOIA and Genealogy

FOIA turns 50 FOIA and genealogy Happy July 4th–and Happy 50th to the Freedom of Information Act! Read more about the FOIA and genealogy records we can access because of it.

Today we in the United States celebrate our Independence Day with grateful hearts and parades. Well, genealogists with U.S. ancestors have an extra reason for fireworks: today marks 50 years since Congresss signed the Freedom of Information Act into law, and the U.S. became one of the first nations to open its records to the public.

The Freedom of Information Act

The FOIA opens certain kinds of information about the federal government and certain information created by the federal government. It doesn’t apply to everything, including documents that relate to national security, privacy and trade secrets. The FOIA also only applies to documents created by the federal government, not state or local governments.

Since it was passed, the FOIA has continued to be expanded and amended. Over the years, the numbers of FOIA document requests has skyrocketed, too. In the first five years after the FOIA passed, it only resulted in about 500 total requests for information–that’s an average of just 100 per year. Last year alone, there were more than 700,000 requests!

The FOIA and Genealogy

So, of course we have to ask the question: how well do FOIA and genealogy go together? As it turns out, quite well. My favorite FOIA request is for an ancestor’s Social Security application (the SS-5 form). This is the form that generated the assignment of a relative’s Social Security number and was the first step to receiving any Social Security benefits. It’s what the very limited information on the Social Security Death Index comes from, as well as the much-richer (but not comprehensively available) Social Security Applications and Claims database at Ancestry.com. That was released last year and caused a LOT of us to do a serious genealogy happy dance.

But if you want to see everything in that SS-5 application, you should order an image copy of the original (you can now also order a computerized abstract of it, which is cheaper but might not get everything right). Here’s what an SS-5 application looks like:

Osby Johnson SS5 FOIA and genealogy

This one confirms the names of an African-American man’s parents–parents who survived slavery and left few other records of their existence. This man was part of the first generation in his family to legally learn to read and write. His signature is on the record.

You can also access other key 20th-century genealogy records that haven’t made it online yet–and in some cases, haven’t even been sent to the National Archives yet.

These include the following (with links to where to learn more):

There is some fine print on some of these records request procedures, so read carefully what records are there, what you’re allowed to order and how to request it. Happy Independence Day–and Happy FOIA anniversary!

More FOIA and Genealogy Gems

Social Security Death Index SSDI FOIA and genealogy Try This Now! U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index

Search the SSDI for Your Family History

Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 21 about military record requests through FOIA

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