October 9, 2015

We Dig These Gems! New Genealogy Records Online

We dig these gemsHere’s our weekly list of new genealogy records online. It’s PACKED with European military records from WWII back to the War of 1812. Do any collections below relate to your family history? Please share with your genealogy buddies or with societies that might be interested!

BRITISH POWs IN JAPAN. Over 56,000 records pertaining to the 37,583 British and Commonwealth soldiers released from Japanese captivity in 1945 are now available on Forces War Records. ‘This collection…lists the soldiers, along with the occasional civilian, who endured these conditions. Prisoners were only obliged to provide their name, rank and number so the amount of military information is limited, however the records do include the date of capture, the camp in which they were held and the date of liberation, be that through release, escape or death.”

BRITISH JEWS IN WWI. Findmypast’s new British Jewry Book of Honour 1914-1920 “contains nearly 57,000 color images and transcripts of [an original] two-volume book published in 1922 to record and honor” contributions of more than 50,000 Jews to the British and colonial forces during World War I. “It describes Jewish enlistment, casualties, military honors, Jewish units and the work of Jewish hospitals and other Jewish institutions and agencies. Importantly, it contains alphabetical lists of those killed in action, those who were awarded military honors and the nominal rolls of Jews who served, listed by service and by regiment.”

BRITISH WAR OF 1812. The British Army Casualty Index War of 1812 now at Findmypast “contains the details of over 12,000 soldiers in the British Army who died, deserted, or were imprisoned during the War of 1812 (or the Anglo American War)….Each record consists of a transcript of the original source material that will reveal the soldiers name, birth place, former occupation, rank, regiment or unit, place or action, company officer, company number, removal date and manner of removal – this may include information on how a soldier died or whether he deserted or was a prisoner of war.”

SCOTTISH CHURCH RECORDS. A new Findmypast collection, Scottish Covenanters 1679-1688 contains over 81,000 records of The Covenanters, a “Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland, England and Ireland, during the 17th century….The records list the individuals who signed the Covenant…[and] a transcript created using sources held by The National Archives and the National Library of Scotland…[with] the Covenanter’s name, county, a description (often their occupation or relatives) and place.”

WWII in EUROPE. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has launched a new online database of British, Irish, and Commonwealth WWII casualties. It will now be possible for the first time “to see the original records of all 1.7 million individuals the Commission commemorates.” According to a press release, “The digitized records cover British, Irish and Commonwealth casualties from the Second World War, together with records for most other nationals commemorated at CWGC sites: this includes the records for German soldiers.”

We love seeing all these new genealogy records online every week! The trick is to get the word out about them. Will you help us by sharing this post with others?

Atten-TION! Calling all War of 1812 Graves

tombstone_message_11293 (2)Do you have a U.S. ancestor who participated in the War of 1812? Do you have a picture of the grave?

The Federation of Genealogical Societies and cemetery website BillionGraves recently announced a joint project to image all of gravestone markers for participants of the War of 1812.

“The images from these markers, coupled with the Federation’s current project to raise the funds to digitize the 7.2 million images of the pensions for those who participated in the War of 1812 are a natural fit,” said D. Joshua Taylor, President of FGS.

Hudson Gunn, President of BillionGraves said, “Our focus is to see that the nation’s military headstones are documented and preserved for future generations. Headstones from early American history are quickly deteriorating, making it only a matter of time before they are lost forever. We are very pleased to have the Federation lend its help to spread this message for the War of 1812 veterans.”

As many as 350,000 men may have served in the war. Although it is impossible to know how many may have cemetery markers, there could be as many as 50,000-80,000 markers for these veterans.

BillionGraves and The Federation of Genealogical Societies are asking anyone with knowledge of  War of 1812 graves to upload the image of the marker to the BillionGraves website  using their free mobile application during the month of July to honor and remember the service of those who served in the “Second Revolution.”

FREE FGS Webinars: War of 1812, Using Twitter in Genealogy

FGS logoFor a limited time, you can watch FREE genealogy webinars from the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2014 Webinar Series. These are top-notch experts in their fields who have a lot to share. These three caught my eye:

“Discovering Local and State Militia Records” by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA is available only until Sunday, April 27, 2014:

So is “Researching in the Post War Records of 1812” by Craig Scott, MA, CG:

Interested in social media? Don’t miss this webinar: “Capturing the Community: Using Twitter to Connect, Engage and Educate in Genealogy” by Jen Baldwin:

Check out the full webinar series here.

Digitized War of 1812 Pension Files on Fold3

General Andrew Jackson commands his troops during the Battle of New Orleans. (Credit: Library of Congress)

General Andrew Jackson commands his troops during the Battle of New Orleans.
(Credit: Library of Congress)

According to the National Archives, pension files for the War of 1812 rate among their most-requested materials. But the files haven’t been easy to use because they’re only at the National Archives–they haven’t been available in published, microfilmed or digitized form. You’ve either had to research the pension files onsite in Washington, D.C. or order copies from the Archives. Not exactly easy access.

This is about to change. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), The National Archives, Ancestry.com and Fold3.com are partners in a huge effort: to preserve and digitize 7.2 million pages of War of 1812 Pension Records and make them available for free online.

This mammoth undertaking commemorates the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, which has been called “America’s Second Revolution.” Many U.S. citizens joined the fight against the British Empire to permanently resolve issues the Revolutionary War was fought over. It’s a near-legendary era in U.S. history when “The Star Spangled Banner” was penned (during the defense of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry) and the White House was burned (during the only foreign occupation of Washington, D.C.).

The pension files are already being digitized, and completed images and their associated indexes are being posted incrementally. You can view them for free at Fold3.com. Follow the progress of this enormous undertaking at FGS’ Preserve the Pensions blog, where you’ll see updates and get inspired by research success stories. Commemorate the War of 1812’s anniversary yourself by looking here for any ancestors who may have served!

Genealogists Donate Over $40K to War of 1812 Records Preservation Campaign

The following press release from the ISGS is a wonderful example of the generosity and caring of the genealogy community:

December 11, 2012 – Springfield, IL. The Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) is proud to announce that it has completed its recently launched $10,000 War of 1812 Pension Match Challenge with strong support from ISGS members as well as the genealogical community.

On June 18, 2012, the 200th anniversary of the declaration of the War of 1812, ISGS announced its $10,000 War of 1812 Pension Match Challenge. ISGS made a commitment to match any contribution (up to the first $10,000) made to the Preserve the Pensions project before December 31, 2012. In addition, Ancestry.com announced that it would also match all monies donated during the campaign, resulting in all contributions being quadrupled. A total of $40,000 to be donated to the Preserve the Pensions project will result in 88,888 additional pages of the War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files being digitized over the next few months.

The Preserve the Pensions campaign (http://www.preservethepensions.org), sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (http://www.fgs.org) along with Ancestry.com, Fold3 and the National Archives, seeks to raise over $3.7 Million needed to digitize the War of 1812 pension files that are currently stored in the National Archives and make them freely available online. With over 180,000 Pension files in this historic record set and over 7.2 million pages, access to these records will benefit not only genealogists and family historians, but a variety of researchers. In addition, the digitization project will help preserve and halt further damage to these historical documents. The files are being digitized as funds become available and many files are already viewable by visiting http://go.fold3.com/1812pensions/.

ISGS President Jane Haldeman notes: “The ISGS board made a strong commitment to the preservation of the War of 1812 Pension Records when it issued the fundraising challenge earlier this year. ISGS thanks all who contributed, especially those members of the genealogy community who are not members of ISGS. Digitizing these records will benefit ALL genealogists and hopefully result in more people locating information about their ancestors.”