New! North American Genealogy Records Online

New North American genealogy records online this week! Featured are U.S. military, passenger and yearbook records (including WWII film footage); regional collections for New England and Great Lakes; Congressional statutes; and over 63 million Mexican genealogy records now free at FamilySearch.org.

North American genealogy records

New online recently are North American genealogy records from all four “genealogy giants,” plus tons of other websites, including the Library of Congress and the U.S. National Archives. For those with Mexican roots, you’ll also love the enormous new cache of Mexican civil registration records online, all free to search from a central portal listed below.

U.S. military collections

World War II film footage. The U.S. National Archives has uploaded over 16 minutes’ worth of silent film footage identified as outtakes from the 1944 documentary, “Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.” The film images are from 1942 and 1943. The shot scenes include combat missions and tour scenes.

Veterans History Project adds Guadalcanal coverage. The Library of Congress blog recently announced,The Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project (VHP) today launched its new “Experiencing War” website feature, titled “Guadalcanal: 75 Years Later,” recognizing the anniversary of the end of the major World War II campaign known as the Battle of Guadalcanal. The feature highlights 12 digitized collections found in the VHP archive, each of which includes the first-person narrative of a veteran who fought in this epic, six-month offensive in the South Pacific during 1942 and 1943.”

Military service rolls and records: Revolutionary War through Indian Wars. The always-free genealogy giant, FamilySearch.org, has added significantly to its resources about Revolutionary War soldiers:

Genealogy giant and subscription website Ancestry.com has added a new database, “U.S. Army Indian Campaign Service Records Index, 1815-1858. According to the collection description, this database contains alphabetical card indexes to compiled service records of Volunteer soldiers who served 1836-1939 from units in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee or the Volunteer Field and Staff of the Army of the Cherokee Nation. Also included are others who “served in various Indian wars or participated in the quelling or solving of Indian disturbances or problems, 1815-1858.”

More historical statutes online

The Library of Congress has posted new materials that will enable you to more easily research the laws relating to your ancestors’ lives. According to the site, “The individual statutes for congresses 68 through 81 are now available on the Law Library of Congress website. This addition closes the gap for the years for which the Statutes at Large were not available on the Internet. As with the volumes for previous congresses, each of these statutes is tagged with tailored, descriptive metadata to help users search and browse by facets.” Click here to explore these online collections for free.

U.S. passenger lists: Virgin Islands arrivals

FamilySearch.org has published a small but significant new collection of indexed records,  United States, Virgin Islands Index to Passenger Arrivals, 1906-1947. According to the collection description, “This collection corresponds with NARA publications A3404 and A3407, both of which are passenger index lists. Publication roll A3404 serves as an index to the series “Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, July 16, 1907- May 12, 1923” NAID 2953525 and “Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, June 5, 1925 to-June 30, 1948” NAID 2953511. Publication roll A3407 consists of microfilmed index cards, which contain passenger list information for ships arriving at Honolulu 1900-1952 (ARC identifier 4493348).” Note that the title doesn’t reference Honolulu arrivals but the collection description does.

U.S. yearbooks

MyHeritage has published US Yearbooks, 1890-1979, a new collection claiming 36,207,173 digitized pages in 253,429 yearbooks, “one of the largest collections of digitized US yearbooks in existence,” states the collection description. “Yearbooks are excellent genealogical records that include personal portraits and group photographs. These books can give a researcher insight into students, faculty, and staff who attended or worked at a school. The yearbooks in this huge compendium are primarily from high schools, which in the United States normally comprise grades 9 to 12 or 10 to 12.”

New England

The New England Historic Genealogical Society has published new resources for those with New England heritage:

  • “Thanks to our volunteers, we’re announcing three improved databases this week. These databases are now indexed by first name, last name, parents’ names, spouse’s name, location, date, and record type. They also now include images scanned from our manuscript collection. The improved databases are Guilford, CT Deaths, 1883-1890, Lincoln County, ME: Commissioners Marriages Records, 1759-1777, and Westfield, MA: Deaths in the First Church, 1728-1836.”
  • “The Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS is pleased to announce the launch of our new website, JewishHeritageCenter.org. This enhanced website will be another resource for patrons to explore the history of Boston and New England’s Jewish communities, and provide the Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS the opportunity to further tell the stories of families, organizations, and synagogues. The website offers subject guides, links to featured exhibits and events, collection finding aids, and a variety of other resources for those with an interest in Jewish history and genealogy. Make sure to bookmark our website, and check back often for updated content!”

Great Lakes rail history

The Lake States Railway Historical Association is working to build an online archive and expand awareness of its important historical collections. According to this article in the Baraboo News Republic, “The collections at the Lake States Railway Historical Association contain countless stories of early railroads and the people who worked on them, and the organization’s leaders want to share them with the world. The 5,000-square-foot historical archive on Lynn Street in Baraboo is home to thousands of books, negatives, photographs, blueprints, drawings and other historical documents that detail early railroads, with a principal focus on the Western Great Lakes Region from 1880 to 1916. Volunteers are in the process of cataloging the collections in an online database so railroad enthusiasts around the globe can see what resources the organization has to offer.” Click here to explore their online catalog to their collection.

More Mexico civil registration records now online

FamilySearch.org has recently added over 63 million Mexico civil registration records! Among them are records from Aguascalientes, Baja California (and Sur), Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Distrito Federal, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Yucatan and Zacatecas. Search them all from the main search portal for Mexican genealogy.

Please share these North American genealogy records

We scour the internet every week looking for the best new collections you’ll want to see, then group them to help you better find the ones you need. These Friday record roundups are some of our most popular posts. Please help us get the word out about these new North American genealogy records online! Share this post on your favorite social media site or email it to your genie friends and society buddies. Thank you for sharing! You’re a gem!

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.

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!

Party at the Genealogy Gems Booth: RootsTech 2018

We are rolling out the red carpet all week at the Genealogy Gems booth at RootsTech 2018! Don’t miss exclusive free classes, prizes worth over $2000, a Saturday prize wheel for Family Discovery Day, and more.

It’s time for genealogy’s biggest party of the year: RootsTech!

Tens of thousands of people from around the globe will descend on the world’s family history capital, Salt Lake City, Utah, for a week of learning and fun from February 28 – March 3, 2018.

Attendees can choose from hundreds of classes, attend star-studded keynote addresses and lively, family-friendly evening entertainment. All while rubbing shoulders with others who share their passion for discovering their roots.

The Genealogy Gems Booth at RootsTech 2018

We believe that RootsTech attendees are the real stars of this event, so we’re rolling out the red carpet all week long for YOU at the Genealogy Gems booth at RootsTech 2018.

We’ll open early this year in the Exhibitor Hall with a special preview night: Wednesday, February 28, 6:00-8:00 pm. Don’t miss our “Beginning DNA” presentation by Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard at 6:30 pm. If you haven’t done DNA yet, it’s time! Learn what you need to know before jumping on one of the many DNA test RootsTech specials. Better yet, be at her class in the first five minutes to win a chance at a FREE DNA TEST.

Stay at the booth for a double-feature: Lisa Louise Cooke will follow at 7:00 with her essential “Google for Genealogy Methodology” class. She has literally helped thousands learn to maximize the power of Google to find ancestral answers. Come learn Google search strategies you may be missing and enjoy a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

The rest of the week, the red carpet will be out for you to learn from Lisa Louise Cooke, her Genealogy Gems team and her friends from Family Tree Magazine. Ask our experts your burning questions, get a book signed, or take a selfie with one of the Gems team. And LEARN from them! Here’s their schedule of classes at the Genealogy Gems booth in the Exhibitor Hall (sign up at the booth for a free e-book with all the class handouts):

Throughout the week, at the beginning of each class, we’ll be giving away prizes with a total value over $2000, donated by our generous sponsors and friends. Among the prizes are four Kindle Fire tablets, 8 DNA testing kits, best-selling books, Premium Memberships, subscriptions to MyHeritage, Animoto, and Backblaze, and more! Attendees should arrive early to grab VIP seating in the Genealogy Gems booth and receive their free drawing ticket (no purchase necessary) as we’ll be handing them out in the first 5 minutes only. Visit the booth for official rules.

Be sure to stop by the booth on Family Discovery Day, Saturday, March 3. We will have a fun prize wheel that day. Spin the wheel, answer trivia questions about your family, and win prizes! It’s free to participate and totally fun for kids.

Not going to RootsTech 2018?

If you won’t be at RootsTech this year, sign up for our free weekly newsletter. Genealogy Gems keeps you up-to-date with the best new “gems” that come out of RootsTech every year! Over the coming weeks, we will share the best RootsTech news, presentations and exclusive interviews in the Genealogy Gems Podcast, on our blog and on our YouTube channel–and we’ll point you to them in the newsletter. From the Genealogy Gems homepage, click GET MY FREE NEWSLETTER & EBOOK.

5 Branches of US Military Records for Genealogy

Finding US military records for genealogy depends on which of the five branches your relative served in:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Marines
  • or Coast Guard.

Here, military expert Michael Strauss introduces each one and tells us where to look for their records, both online and offline.

Over the last 30+ years doing genealogy research, I’ve discovered that nearly all of my family members who served in the military were in the United States Army. But I have been occasionally surprised to find relatives who served in other branches of the military, like my grandfather’s first cousin, Russell G. Strauss, shown below.

His uniform indicated that he was a third class petty officer in the Navy during the war. I looked further at his uniform and noticed a diamond shaped “S” as part of the insignia. This military occupation indicated that he was a specialist that would require further research. I spoke with a couple of my older family members who knew Russell. All of my family interviewed said that he in the military police (M.P.) during the war. With additional research, I discovered that his insignia was that of the Shore Patrol. On Ancestry.com, I found his application for compensation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when he served in the Shore Patrol in Norfolk, Virginia as part of his military duty:

Finding US military records for genealogy

If you’d like to learn gems like these about your relatives, you need to know that US military records for genealogy research are organized separately for the five branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and the Coast Guard. Some branches have more online research resources than others. In a future article, I’ll talk about identifying military service details based on pictures like I did above. This article introduces the five branches and where to start learning about them.

US Army and its records

The largest of the five military branches dates back to June 14, 1775, during the early days of the Revolutionary War. Prior to the formation of the Army, each colony had companies and battalions of Associators and local militia. With the war, the need for a professional standing army to fight the British saw the formation of the Continental Army.

With the end of the Revolutionary War, the Army disbanded in 1783 after the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Later in 1796, the two legions formed under the command of General Anthony Wayne would later become the nucleus of the United States Army. The Encyclopedia Britannica published this nice article on the history of the Army from its inception to the present.

A number of excellent genealogical resources are available to search for ancestors who served in the United States Army since the beginning. These databases are found on Ancestry, Fold3, and FamilySearch. One of the largest collections of records covers the United States Regular Army enlistments from 1798 to 1914 (available by subscription at Ancestry.com). Searching the card catalogs of Ancestry.com, Fold3 and FamilySearch will yield many databases that contain information about soldiers who served and sacrificed their lives with the Army over the last two centuries.

US Navy and its records

For those who had ancestors who trod the quarterdeck of a frigate, the United States Navy has a fine tradition of service. On October 13, 1775, it was officially established by an Act passed by the Continental Congress. At the end of the Revolutionary War, it was disbanded but again was reestablished under the Naval Act of 1794, which created the Navy as a permanent branch of the military.

The earlier period of naval history is called the “Old Navy.” It was the age of wooden sailing ships. Still later came the birth of the ironclads (during the Civil War). The later period, called the “New Navy,” occurred with further innovations in the late nineteenth century, as the United States transformed into a global power.

The United States Navy website has a nice background history of the service. Numerous databases and searches for records of the Navy covering multiple war period detailing pensions, continental sailors, muster rolls, ships logs, and cruise books are located on Ancestry.com, Fold3, and FamilySearch.  Consult each database individually for records of interest.

Another organization related to the Navy is the United States Merchant Marines. Although not officially a branch of the military, the Merchant Marines sacrificed and lost lives since the days of the Revolutionary War, carrying out their missions of supply and logistics during times of war. Here’s an excellent website on the history of the Merchant Marines.

US Air Force and its records

Officially the youngest of the military branches, the Air Force was formed as part of the Security Act of 1947. But the Air Force and military aviation history began under the authority of the United States Army starting on August 1, 1907, when it was organized under the name of the Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps. Over the next 30 years the service changed names several times:

  • Aviation Section of the Signal Corps (1914-1918);
  • Division of Military Aeronautics (1918);
  • Air Service of the United States Army (1918-1926);
  • United States Army Air Corps (1926-1941);
  • United States Army Air Forces (1941-1947).

In that final year, it was separated as its own organization as it is known today. Click here for a complete history of the Air Force from 1907 to the present.

Two excellent online sources covering the early history of the Air Force from World War I and World War II are located on Fold3:

US Marines and its records

This elite branch of the military began with the organization of the Continental Marines on November 19, 1775. The mission of the Marines initially comprised ship-to-ship fighting, security on-board naval vessels, and assistance in landing force operations. This mission would continue to evolve over the years.

At the end of the Revolutionary War, the Marines were disbanded (like the Navy). But along with the Navy, under the Naval Act of 1794 the United States Marines were again re-established and would serve faithfully in every major war period and in peacetime between conflicts. The Marines will forever remain true to their motto of “Semper Fidelis” or “Always Faithful” as they continue to live up to their long-running tradition of honor and service. Here’s an interesting (and accurate) history of the Marine Corps.

Ancestry.com has an excellent online genealogical resource for discovering Marine Corps ancestors: fully searchable Marine Corps muster rolls from 1798 to 1958 for enlistees.

US Coast Guard and its records

Although first envisioned as a force of revenue tax collectors, the Coast Guard’s ability to conduct diverse missions during peacetime and war became the hallmark of this service. Its history dates back to August 4, 1790. Established as the Revenue Cutter Marines under the direction of Alexander Hamilton, the name was changed in 1894 to the Revenue Cutter Service. In 1915, Congress passed and signed the “Act to Create Coast Guard.” In so doing, the United States Live Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service came together. Later, in 1939, the United States Light House Service was added to form the modern-day United States Coast Guard.

The complete history of the United States Coast Guard from 1790 is online at its Historians Office. It includes information about each of the separate organizations that came together to form the Coast Guard.

Genealogy giant Ancestry.com has a collection of casualties of the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Very few additional online sources are available online for this branch of the service. Researchers must access these documents and records onsite at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

More on US military records for genealogy

As the Military Minutes contributor to the free Genealogy Gems Podcast, Michael Strauss is systematically guiding us through the world of US military records for genealogy. Click above to listen–or below to read up on what he’s already taught here at Genealogy Gems:

Intro to US military terminology: regular, volunteer, or militiaman?

Compiled Military Service Records: US Military Records before the 1900s

Official Military Personnel Files for WWI, WWII and beyond

US draft registration records: Civil War to WWII and beyond

Author: Michael Strauss, AG

Author: Michael Strauss, AG

Michael Strauss, AG is the principal owner of Genealogy Research Network and an Accredited Genealogist since 1995. He is a native of Pennsylvania and a resident of Utah and has been an avid genealogist for more than 30 years. Strauss holds a BA in History and is a United States Coast Guard veteran.

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!

New Genealogy Records Include UK Suffragettes and Travelers’ Records

New collections about Great Britain Suffragettes and travelers on the S.S. Great Britain headline this week’s roundup of new genealogy records online. Read here about more new genealogy records for England, Scotland and Ireland: parish records, newspapers and more.

Great Britain Suffragettes Collection free until March 8

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the first phase of women’s suffrage in England, genealogy giant Findmypast.com (together with The National Archives) has launched The Suffragette Collection. This new online collection of government records, digitized from originals at Kew, “reveals the struggles endured by the movement’s most ardent supporters and highlights the State’s response as it attempted to contain them,” says a company press release.

“Researchers can expect to find photographs, cabinet office papers, calendars of prisoners and Home Office papers on suffragette disturbances and prosecutions,” says Findmypast. “The collection also includes an index of women arrested between 1906 and 1914, the official police watch list recording the details of over 1,300 militant suffragettes, reports of prison conditions, force-feeding, police surveillance and much more….The collection brings together the stories of women from all classes who actively supported women’s suffrage, either by attending demonstrations and meetings or opting for militant ‘direct action.’”

Within days of its launch, the collection also added 271 issues of The Suffragette (later The Britannia, 1912-1918). “Edited by Christabel Pankhurst, it was the official organ of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU),” says Findmypast. It reported on “efforts made by the WSPU towards achieving women’s suffrage and detailing their support for the Allies during the Great War.”

S.S. Great Britain travelers and crew

You can now explore a free website with a searchable database of everyone who ever traveled on the S.S. Great Britain, both passengers and crew. Virtual exhibits on the Global Stories website also allow visitors to explore everyday life aboard the ship; what happened when people died, took ill, were hurt, or gave birth; what kinds of entertainment or discipline passengers could expect and more. You can even search departures and arrivals as the ship circumnavigated the globe 32 times and stopped at five continents between 1845 and 1970.

The Newark Advertiser Photo Archive

Thousands of images from The Newark Advertiser (UK) are now searchable online, thanks to volunteers who have been steadily digitizing and uploading images to the free Images from the Past gallery. According to a recent article in The Newark Advertiser, helpers “are working their way through thousands of old photographic negatives, some dating back to the 1940s. Because of their age, some of the negatives are becoming damaged or corroded so it is vital that they are digitized. They are also in a variety of formats, with the earliest on glass. The volunteers have worked through from the 1940s and are now nearing the 1970s.”

Newspapers

The British Newspaper Archive has recently added hundreds of thousands of digitized newspaper pages to current and newly-published titles. Here are some highlights:

  • North Star and Farmer’s Chronicle, 1895-1903 and 1905-1911 (NEW title)
  • Clifton Society, 1891-1892, 1894-1897, 1899-1916 (nearly 20,000 pages added) (NEW title)
  • Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday, 1885-1896 (NEW title)
  • Pearson’s Weekly, 1891-1911 (over 25,000 pages added) (NEW title)
  • Birmingham Daily Post, 1973, 1979 (nearly 15,000 pages added)
  • Neots Chronicle and Advertiser, 1855-1873, 1875-1886
  • Shipping and Mercantile Gazette, 1880-1881
  • Birmingham Daily Gazette, 1926, 1931
  • Lloyd’s List, 1889, 1894, 1896-1897, 1904, 1906-1909 (nearly 40,000 pages added!)
  • Northampton Chronicle and Echo, 1880-1882, 1884-1885, 1891, 1893-1894, 1896, 1899-1908, 1910, 1913-1915, 1918 (nearly 25,000 pages added)
  • Bristol Daily Post, 1860-1864, 1867-1873, 1875 (nearly 14,000 pages added) (NEW title)
  • Clifton and Redland Free Press, 1890-1895, 1898-1910, 1913-1931 (NEW title)
  • West Middlesex Herald, 1855-1858, 1860-1861, 1863-1870, 1890-1895 (NEW title)
  • Reading Observer, 1897-1898, 1900-1909, 1911-1914, 1921-1924 (over 12,000 pages added)
  • Kinross-shire Advertiser, 1850-1852, 1879-1884, 1890, 1892, 1900-1918
  • Leicester Herald, 1827-1842 (NEW title)
  • The Suffragette, 1912-1918 (NEW title)
  • Coventry Evening Telegraph, 1972-1979 (over 140,000 pages added!)
  • West Sussex County Times, 1874, 1877-1889, 1891-1892
  • Bristol Magpie, 1891, 1903, 1906-1907, 1911
  • Horfield and Bishopston Record and Montepelier & District Free Press, 1899-1911, 1913-1931
  • Middlesex & Surrey Express, 1887-1888, 1890-1895, 1899-1909 (over 11,000 pages added)
  • Croydon Chronicle and East Surrey Advertiser, 1870, 1875-1888, 1890-1892, 1894-1896, 1898-1908, 1911 (more than 14,000 pages added)
  • The Clifton & Redland Free Press, 1891-1931

England parish and probate records

The free genealogy giant, FamilySearch.org, has recently added significantly to its collections of England parish records:

The subscription-access genealogy giant Ancestry.com recently published the following collections:

Findmypast.com has updated its collection of Devon parish records, with over 30,000 new records in Baptisms, nearly 40,000 new records in Banns and nearly 80,000 new records in Marriages, about 31,000 new records in Burials, and all of these records (and more) browsable in its image collection of Devon, Plymouth & West Devon Parish Registers.

More new genealogy records from the British Isles

Ireland. Ancestry.com has published a new collection, Clare, Ireland, Church of Ireland Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1744-1991, with nearly 14,000 indexed records. According to the collection description, “This collection includes baptism, marriage, and burial records from parishes in the County of Clare in Ireland, with dates ranging from 1744 to 1991.”

Scotland. Ancestry.com has published three new collections for Scotland. They are small, but if they mention your ancestors, they’re important!

Start tracing your British Isles genealogy

The British Empire once spanned the globe and had a presence on every continent. Chances are that at some point you will need to extend your research back to the British Isles. Genealogical research in the British Isles has some unique characteristics. Guest blogger Kate Eakman, a Senior Researcher for Legacy Tree Genealogists, clarifies confusing terms and helps you get your research started on solid footing. Click here to read her tips.

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.

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!

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