Blog

New & Updated Genealogy Records Online Featuring Australia and China

New & Updated Genealogy Records Online Featuring Australia and China

Australian genealogy records are featured this week in new and updated collections online. Findmypast has two sets of records for Queensland and at FamilySearch, you can explore a big update to their free collection of immigrants ship papers.

Also featured this week is the launch of a new website supporting Chinese genealogy research and research services. Finally, we head to Ancestry.com for a new collection of church records for Kent, England. 

 

Featured: New & Updated Australian Genealogy Records

If you’ve got Australian ancestors, you’ll be delighted by these new and updated genealogy collections. Genealogy Giant Findmypast is known for British and Irish records, but they’ve been working hard to expand their offerings to cover other related countries including Australia. This week, they’re featuring two collections for Queensland, Australia that you will definitely want to explore!

WWI Queensland Soldier Portraits, 1914-1918

“Come face to face with your Australian military ancestor in this collection of over 24,000 photographic portraits from the First World War. Each result is provided with a link to view a portrait of your ancestor in his military uniform published in The Queenslander newspaper between 1914 and 1918. Transcripts may also reveal your ancestor’s service number and regiment.
All the portraits were taken by Talma Studios during the First World War. The studio set up a tent at a soldier’s camp at Enoggera, Queensland and photographed members of the Expeditionary Force. Uniforms were provided for every soldier. In some cases, the soldier had yet to be fitted out. This meant every soldier appeared in uniform in the portraits.
 
soldier portrait

G.N. Tullock, one of the soldiers photographed in The Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 1917.

 
The portraits were also republished alongside reports of wounded or missing soldiers. Not every soldier from Queensland was photographed, but this collection does represent almost half of the Queensland soldiers.” Click here to search these records.
 
Queensland, Hospital Registers
“Explore over 58,000 assorted Queensland hospital records from hospitals across Queensland including Brisbane, Croydon, Dalby, Mackay, and Wallagarra. These records are a wonderful genealogy resource and an essential search for anyone with Queensland ancestry.
 
The registers have been made available by the Queensland State Archives and some records have been transcribed by Judy Webster. The records include registers of patients diagnosed with consumption, admission and discharge registers, and quarantine records.” Click here to search this collection. 

There is also an updated genealogy records collection for Australia at FamilySearch this week. 

South Australia, Immigrants Ship Papers, 1849-1940
“Immigrant ships papers containing a record of births and deaths aboard, 1849-1867 and 1873-1885. Indexed records in the collection include passenger lists arriving and departing from South Australia.

Information on images varies but may include ship’s name, master’s name, tonnage, where bound, date, port of embarkation, names of passengers, ages, occupation, nationality, and port at which passengers have contracted to land.” Click here to browse this collection

New Chinese Genealogy Resource

A new site has launched that may help genealogists with Chinese ancestors. Beijing-based genealogy site My
China Roots recently launched in open beta, allowing users to search its proprietary database for lost roots.

From the recent press release: “Founder and CEO, Huihan Lie, was born and raised in the Netherlands with family from
Indonesia. Huihan came to China to seek out his roots and in the process discovered how challenging the journey to find one’s roots could be. After tracing his family back over 100 generations he set out to make it easier and more accessible to others as well.

‘I’m thrilled about this crucial foundation of our online platform, the first of its kind to give Overseas Chinese access to historical records and technology to connect with their roots,’ says Huihan, ‘we are now adding records by the day!’

With a simple, English language-based search using surnames and ancestral locations, users can find clan history books known as zupu. Users also receive search tips and learn about the historical context of their ancestors’ lives in China.”

While My China Roots primarily features research services, you can access the Beta search function by selecting it from the menu at the top (shown below):

New Church Records for Kent, England

Ancestry.com has a new collection for Kent, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1538-1914. Here are some of Ancestry’s tips for searching these records:

  • To narrow your search, estimate birth dates using information found in the Census and in other records.
  • Narrow your search for marriage records by looking at the age and birthplace of the first child. This information can also be found in Census Records. Start your search a year or two prior to the child’s birth and gradually widen your search back (and forward) in time until you locate the record.
  • Track your ancestor year to year in City Directories to help zero in on death dates and places. Husbands who predecease their wives will typically stop being listed after death and you’ll often find the wife in his place, listed as “widow.”
  • Court records like wills can help you estimate death dates.

Top Tips for Beginning Genealogy

Beginning your genealogy research is challenging, so it’s important to know the top tips on how to get started.

In this video, Amie Tennant and Lisa Louise Cooke discuss where to start, strategies for interviewing family members, and what to do with that information. Here are their top tips for how to set yourself up for genealogical success:

Tip #1: Start with yourself and work backward.

Tip #2: Interview relatives closest to you.

Tip #3: Then verify that information by through records.

Tip #4: Take one generation at a time.

Even if you’re not a beginner, it can be extremely helpful to get a refresher on these core principles of good genealogy research! That’s why I recommend Lisa’s free podcast Family History: Genealogy Made Easy. This is a step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. You can listen online or find it on your favorite podcast app!

Lacey Cooke

Lacey Cooke

Lacey has been working with Genealogy Gems since the company’s inception in 2007. Now, as the full-time manager of Genealogy Gems, she creates the free weekly newsletter, writes blogs, coordinates live events, and collaborates on new product development. No stranger to working with dead people, Lacey holds a degree in Forensic Anthropology, and is passionate about criminal justice and investigative techniques. She is the proud dog mom of Renly the corgi. 

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!

Findmypast Family Trees Opens Tree-to-Tree Hinting

Findmypast Family Trees Opens Tree-to-Tree Hinting

Findmypast, the leader in British online genealogy, is catching up in the area of family trees.

Findmypast has 18 million registered users across its family of brands, which include:

  • Findmypast
  • Genes Reunited
  • The British Newspaper Archive
  • Twile

These users have already been building their own family tree on the site. Now with the newly announced privacy settings change, users will have the option to receive tree-to-tree hints

Read on to learn more about what information is going to be shared, when the privacy settings change takes effect, your options to participate, and more. 

 

Read the Announcement from Findmypast

“We at Findmypast have spent the past few months continuously developing and testing a collaborative family tree and I am pleased to announce that we are now ready to turn on the first of many new community features – tree to tree hinting.

From July 1, the deceased ancestors in everyone’s trees will automatically become shareable. This means that some users will start to receive hints about deceased ancestors stored in the trees of others. When a good match is found, the ‘existing tree’ information will be offered to the new user as a suggested ‘branch’ to add to their research.

While most of the major family history platforms and services already do this, this is a step in a new direction for us and we want to reassure users that their privacy is of the utmost importance. Information on living individuals will remain strictly private and hints will only be shared between members who have common ancestry – likely, a distant relative.

Equally, the recipients of these hints will not be able to edit or see the original tree they were sourced from, ensuring users retain full control of their research.

We also want to make it clear that this change is totally optional – if users don’t want their ancestors to be shared, they can change their settings back to private before July 1st. This will be fully communicated in a series of emails and on-site notifications. We’ll also send everyone a friendly reminder nearer the time and have updated our privacy policy accordingly.

So, all we are essentially doing is changing the default settings from “private” to “shareable” on our existing Trees and giving customers the option to switch back to private if they so choose.

We hope this new feature will enable users of all levels to make new connections and discoveries through collaborative research and look forward to sharing further updates with you in the near future.

If you have any questions in the meantime or want to know how to switch a tree back to private, please see our Tree Change FAQ page: https://www.findmypast.com/tree-change-faqs.’

Hear More About Findmypast’s Online Family Trees

In the following video you’ll get the answer to the question “Will or does Findmypast have a family tree?”

Tamsin Todd, CEO and Ben Bennett, Executive Vice President at Findmypast.com provide the answer to that and more. They also talk about the new Travel & Migration records, and the Suffragette Collection.

If you have ancestors from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland don’t miss this interview by Sunny Morton, author of “Genealogy Giants – Comparing the 4 Major Genealogy Records Websites”. Learn more at here.

Get your copy of the Genealogy Giants quick reference guide at the Genealogy Gems Store.

About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke

About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke

Lisa is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and producer of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast.

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!

Planting Your Master Genealogy Family Tree

Planting Your Master Genealogy Family Tree

In this post I’m going to answer common questions about the best strategy for creating and maintaining your family tree data. 

master family tree

Should I build my family tree online?

This is a question I get in various forms quite often from Genealogy Gems Podcast listeners. But there’s really more to this question than meets the eye. Today’s family historian needs a master game plan for how they will not only build their family tree, but where they will build it, and where they will share it.

On the podcast I describe it this way:

Plant your tree in your own backyard and share branches online.

I’m going to explain what I mean by this by starting at the beginning.

When You Start Your Family Tree

If you’re new to researching your family’s history, you probably started out with one of the big genealogy websites, such as AncestryMyHeritageFindmypast, or FamilySearch. I refer to them as the Genealogy Giants because they have millions of genealogical records, and they offer you the tools to build your family tree on their website. (Learn more about what each of the Genealogy Giants websites have to offer here in this handy comparison guide.)

These sites make it easy to start entering information about yourself, your parents, and your grandparents either on their website or through their mobile app. But should you do that?

My answer is, “not so fast!” Let’s think through the long-term game plan for this important information that is your family’s legacy.

Family is Forever

Genealogy is a hobby that lasts a lifetime. It’s nearly impossible to run out of ancestors or stories to explore.

But have you noticed that websites don’t last forever? And even if they do, their services and tools will undoubtedly change over time.

And there are many, many genealogy websites out there. A large number of them will encourage you or even require you to start creating an online family tree on their site in order to get the most value from the tools that they offer for your research.

As you work with these different genealogy websites, you may start to feel like your tree is getting scattered across the web. It’s easy to find yourself with different versions of your tree, unsure of which one is the most accurate and complete version.

It’s this inevitable situation that leads to my conclusion that you build and protect a master version of your family tree. I’m not suggesting that you can’t or shouldn’t use an online tree. In fact, regardless of whether you do, you need a “Master Family Tree.”

Plant Your “Master Family Tree” in Your Own Backyard

What do I mean when I say that you should plant your “master family tree” in your own backyard? I’m talking about using a genealogy database software program that resides on your own computer. Let’s explore that further.

A master family tree has three important characteristics:

  1. It is owned and controlled by you.
  2. It is the final say on what you currently know about your family tree.
  3. It is protected with online backup to ensure it is safe.
master family tree

Your Master Family Tree

1. Your master family tree is owned and controlled by you.

If you create an online family tree on a genealogy website (or in the case of FamilySearch’s global online tree, you add your information to it) you have given final control of that information to the company who owns the website.

In order to own and control your tree, you will need a genealogy database software program installed on your own computer. I use RootsMagic (and I’m proud to have them as a sponsor of the Genealogy Gems Podcast) but there are other programs as well.

A genealogy database software program is installed on your computer. The program and the data you enter into it belongs to you and is under your personal control.

Genealogy databases allow you to not only easily enter data, but also to export it. If you wish to use a different program later, or add your existing data to an online tree, you can export your family tree data as a universally accepted GEDCOM file. (Learn more about GEDCOM files in this article.)

2. It is the final say on what you currently know about your family tree.

As you research your family tree, you will come to important conclusions, such as an ancestor’s birthdate or the village in which they were born. It can take a while to prove your findings are accurate, but once you do, you need one location in which to keep those findings. And most importantly, you must be able to cite the sources for that information. That one location for all this activity is your genealogy database.

However, the nature of genealogy research is that it can take some digging to prove the information is correct. During the process of that research you may find information that you aren’t sure about, and it can be helpful to attach it to the online tree that you have at the same website where you found the information. That gives you a way to hang on to it and keep researching. You can always remove it later. We’ll talk more about strategies for using online family trees a little bit later.

Once you are convinced that the information is correct, then its final resting place is your Master Family Tree. You enter the information and add source citations. This way, whenever you need an accurate view of where you are in your completed family tree research, you can turn to one location: your genealogy database software and the Master Family Tree it contains.

3. It’s protected with online backup to ensure it is safe.

Your family tree isn’t safe unless the database file is backed up to the cloud.

Who among us hasn’t had a computer malfunction or die?

It isn’t good enough to simply back up your computer files to an external hard drive, because that external hard drive is still in your house. If your house is damaged or burglarized, chances are both will be affected.

Another problem with backing up to an external hard drive is that they can malfunction and break. And of course, there is the problem of remembering to back it up on a regular basis.

Cloud backup solves all these problems by backing up your files automatically and storing them safely in an offsite location. 

Cloud backup is actually very simple to install and requires no work on your part once it’s up and running. (We’ve got an article here that will walk you through the process.)

There are many cloud backup services available. I use Backblaze (which you can learn more about here). As a genealogist I have a checklist of features that are important to me, and Backblaze checked all the boxes.

Regardless of which service you choose the important thing is to not wait another day to set it up. This protection is a critical part of your Master Family Tree plan.

Using Online Family Trees

Now that you have your own database on your own computer that is backed up to the cloud for protection, let’s talk about strategic ways that you can use online family trees.

First, it’s important to realize that you don’t have to create a tree on a genealogy website just because they prompt you to do so. While there are benefits for you to doing so, the company who owns that website actually benefits tremendously as well.

In today’s world, data is very valuable. I encourage you to read the terms of service and other fine print (I know, it’s boring!) because it will explain the ownership and potential use of that data.

While it’s not the focus of this article, it’s important to understand that other industries are interested in family history data, and data may be shared or sold (with or without identifying information, depending on the terms).

But as I say, there are benefits to using online family trees. These benefits include:

  • Hints – Online family trees generate research hints on the Genealogy Giants websites and some of the other websites that offer trees.
  • Cousin Connection – Online family trees offer you an opportunity to possibly connect with other relatives who find your tree.
  • DNA – Online family trees can now dovetail with your DNA test results (if you took a test with the company where your tree resides). This can offer you additional research avenues.

These benefits can be helpful indeed. However, problems can arise too. They include:

  • Copying – When you tree is public other users of the website can copy and redistribute your information including family photos.
  • Errors – If you discover an error in your tree, you may fix it, but chances are it has already been widely copied and distributed by other users.
  • Email – If you have your entire tree online and your email notifications are active, you may receive an onslaught of hints for people in your tree. Often these are very distant cousins that you are not actively researching. And let’s face it, the emails can be annoying and distract your focus from your targeted research. For example, as of this writing at Ancestry.com you can’t select which ancestors you want to receive email hint notifications for. You can only select hints for the entire tree.

So, let’s review my strategy:

Plant your tree in your own backyard and share branches online.

Now that you’ve planted your tree in your own backed up software, let’s explore the ways in which you can share branches online.

Targeted Online Family Trees

Many people don’t realize that you don’t have to add your entire tree to a website. You can just add parts of your tree.

For example, I may just put my direct ancestors in my tree (grandparents, great-grandparents, and so forth). This can still be a fairly larger number of people. I may want to include their siblings because they grew up in the same household. But I can leave out the far-reaching branches and relatives that really don’t have a direct impact on that line of research.

You can also have multiple trees that focus on specific areas of your research that are important to you.

Exploratory Online Family Trees

Some genealogists also create trees that represent a working theory that they have. This type of tree can help expose where the problems or inaccuracies lie. As you research the theory and as hints arise it can become very clear that a relationship does not exist after all.

An exploratory tree is an excellent reminder that we can’t and shouldn’t make assumptions about someone’s intent or purpose with their online tree. I’ve heard from many people who are angry about inaccuracies they find in other people’s trees. But we can’t know their purpose, and therefore, it really isn’t our place to judge.

However, it is a fair argument that a good practice would be to clearly mark these exploratory trees accordingly to deter other users from blindly copying and replicating the inaccurate information. An easy way to do this is in the title or name of the tree. For example, a tree could be titled “Jonas Smith Tree UNPROVEN”.

Creating multiple, limited trees can be an effective strategy for conducting targeted online research that only generates hints and connections for those ancestors that you are interested in at the current time.

And remember, you can remove any of your trees at any time. For example, you can delete an exploratory tree that has served its purpose and helped you prove or disprove a relationship.

Plan Now for Success

A family tree can seem like a simple thing, but as you can see there’s more to it than meets the eye. A bit of planning now can ensure that your family tree stays healthy and growing. 

About the Author

Lisa Louise Cooke is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and producer of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast.

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!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
MENU