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DNA and Genealogy Records Updates at Ancestry

DNA and Genealogy Records Updates at Ancestry

Ancestry dominates this week’s genealogy news with a new update for AncestryDNA genetic communities! Also new from Ancestry this week are big updates to collections for England and Canada. 

Featured: AncestryDNA News

Announced on Tuesday, February 19: “AncestryDNA has launched 94 new and updated communities for customers of African American and Afro-Caribbean descent. These updates mean that in addition to enabling the African American community to dive deeper into their family history, they can also discover how their family connects to historical moments in time, such as the Great Migration–the movement of 6 million African Americans out of the rural South during the mid-1900s.

AncestryDNA can connect members to communities of people who lived and traveled with their ancestors 70-300 years ago–including communities of people who were enslaved in the US and Caribbean then later flourished in the South or traveled northward in the 1900s during the Great Migration.

400 years after the first documented arrival of Africans in the English colonies, Ancestry can map out the forced and voluntary migration patterns of African American and Afro-Caribbean communities, then connect their descendants to that history using their DNA.

These new insights, provided using our unique Genetic Communities™ technology, can reveal the roles and unique impact your ancestors played in history. Ancestry’s unmatched combination of the world’s largest consumer DNA network and millions of family trees  allows our customers to see this level of precision and trace how their ancestors may have moved over time.”

New and Updated English Genealogy Collections

If your ancestors hailed from England, you will love these new and updated genealogy records that Ancestry has added to their collections!

New: London, England, Poor Law Hospital Admissions and Discharges, 1842-1918 — After the Poor Law Act of 1834, workhouses became the main vehicle of assistance for the poor. Conditions were very hard and many of those who entered workhouses needed medical care. Infirmaries attached to workhouses, and administered by the Poor Law Unions were used to provide some relief for the impoverished elderly, chronically ill and anyone who suffered from one of many ailments prevalent at the time. You might find your ancestor’s name, admission date, age, death date, discharge date, and Poor Law Union.

Updated: London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1930 — The records in this database relate to settlement and removals in the unions of Bethnal Green, Hackney, Poplar, Shoreditch, and Stepney. They include examinations and settlement inquiries, registers of settlement, orders of removal, and other documents. Details included in these records vary widely, depending on the document. An order of removal may contain a name, age, current parish, and parish being removed to. A settlement register may note number of children and marital status.

Updated: London, England, Poor Law School District Registers, 1852-1918 — These records are made up of lists of children who were admitted to and discharged from District schools across London. When education was required, children could be discharged from their schooling if they were needed to work to help support the family. The records vary by school and some are more detailed than others.

Updated: Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1531-1812 — This database includes records with dates ranging from 1531 up until 1812, after which George Rose’s Act called for preprinted registers to be used for separate baptism, marriage, and burial registers as a way of standardizing records. See the browse on the right to determine which parishes are included in this collection and the date coverage for each parish.

Updated Ontario, Canada Genealogy Records

Ancestry has also made updates to their vital records collections for Ontario, Canada! Discover your ancestors in the updated collections noted below.

Ontario, Canada Births, 1858-1913 — This database is an index to over 2 million births that were registered in Ontario between 1869 and 1913. Each name is linked to an image of the actual birth register or certificate in which the individual was recorded. Additional information may be found on the image that is not included in the keyed index.

Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1937 — This database is a collection of approximately 3.3 million marriages recorded in Ontario, Canada between 1826 and 1937. Additional information may be found on the original record. Be sure to view the corresponding image, if there is one available. If no online image is available, be sure to use the information found in this database to locate your ancestor in the original records that the index references – more information is usually available in the records themselves than is found in an index.

Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1947 — This database is an index to over 2 million deaths that were registered in Ontario from 1869 to 1947. The database also includes deaths of Ontario military personnel overseas from 1939-1947. You might discover your ancestor’s name, death date, estimated birth year, birthplace, and Ontario county of death. 

Bring your story to life at Ancestry

Ancestry has always been one of the genealogy giants in the family history community, and they continue to be one of the largest databases in the world for genealogists. With over 10 million DNA profiles, billions of records, and millions of family trees, it’s a goldmine of genetic and genealogical matches for you to discover those hidden ancestor gems. Start with a free trial, take a DNA test, or upload a tree to get started today. 

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!

MyHeritage LIVE 2019

MyHeritage LIVE 2019

Genealogists from all over the world – get ready to have some fun! MyHeritage has just announced the second annual MyHeritage Live! Conference. A brand new location, new speakers, and the hottest topics on all things family history makes this a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t want to miss. Read on for all the details about the event and how to register. 

Following the resounding success of MyHeritage LIVE 2018, their first-ever user conference, which took place in Oslo, they have decided to host it again in 2019! MyHeritage LIVE 2019 has just been announced and will take place on September 6-8, 2019 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands at the Hilton Amsterdam Hotel. This prime location is south of central Amsterdam, near the museum district, and MyHeritage has arranged a special rate for guests who choose to stay at the hotel.

In addition to a plenary session from MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, there will be genealogy and DNA lecture tracks, as well as hands-on workshops to walk attendees through MyHeritage tools and features step-by-step. The MyHeritage support team will be on hand throughout the conference to assist with any questions.

Special evening events and lunches will give everyone the chance to meet other MyHeritage users from around the world and mingle with MyHeritage staff and experts.

Here’s a recap of MyHeritage Live! 2018 in Oslo, Norway:

Conference tickets include access to lectures, workshops, coffee breaks, lunches on Saturday and Sunday, a Friday night drink reception, and the famous MyHeritage party on Saturday night, all of which you don’t want to miss!

Early Bird Registration is available through July 31, 2019 and spaces are limited, so book now and mark your calendar!

Click here to visit the event page for all the details and register now!

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.

3 Shocking Discoveries I’ve Made While Searching Cemeteries

3 Shocking Discoveries I’ve Made While Searching Cemeteries

There has always been something mysterious about cemeteries. Perhaps the knowledge that those interred took secrets to their grave has resulted in the enigmatic haze that seems to linger over these peaceful resting sites. But it’s not just the dead that hold secrets. Cemeteries themselves are often home to puzzling (and sometimes spooky) features. 

Joy Neighbors, author of the book The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide shares three of her most shocking finds while scouring cemeteries for genealogical clues.

Tombstone Tourist

We think of cemeteries as quiet tranquil places. As a “Tombstone Tourist,” I’ve spent years in cemeteries searching for genealogy clues, exquisite artwork, stunning vistas, and that perfect photograph. A trip to the graveyard is never boring. I’ve come back with tales of beauty, delight, and terror. Here are just three shocking discoveries I’ve made while searching in cemeteries.

1. Abandoned Crypts

There’s a cemetery in Kentucky that holds a baffling find; three 19th century mausoleums that have disappeared right in the middle of the grounds.

On a humid July day, I stepped inside a grove of trees to escape the searing heat. Inside that cool dimness stood three stately mausoleums, each with a façade protruding from a hill now enveloped in trees, vines, and shrubs. This thicket had been growing untamed for years.

The mausoleums stood side-by-side. The first was a small brick crypt with a surname above the entry along with a date “1895.” But the tomb had been bricked up for so long, trees grew on top obscuring its existence.

The middle mausoleum was built from pressed concrete with niches and arches along the walls. Again, the doorway and windows were bricked shut against the onslaught of trees and ropy vines that brushed and clung to its surface.

The third mausoleum was constructed of plainer concrete set off in a corner. No names or dates were visible but trees blocked any approach. It was visible only through a tangle of vines and foliage.

Who had these monuments been for?

Why had they been abandoned?

Had the bodies been moved when family members relocated?

Or were they simply forgotten?

Perhaps no one left payment for special care in perpetuity.

Apparently, what has been lost and forgotten shall remain so.

2. The Grave in the Middle of the Road

Having grown up in Indiana, I can assure you that Hoosiers are a practical lot. But there’s one roadside attraction that will cause the most stoic of residents to stop and ponder the audacity and fortitude it took to keep a grave in the middle of the road for close to 200 years.

The story began in 1808 when Nancy Kerlin married William Barnett, the great, great, great grandson of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.

Pocahontas and John Rolfe

Baptism of Pocahontas by John G. Chapman, 1840. (Public Domain Image)

They settled near what would become Amity, Indiana to raise their family.

Nancy died on December 1, 1831 and was buried on top of a small hill overlooking Sugar Creek, one of her favorite spots. Soon others were also buried here and over the years a small county cemetery developed.

But then progress reared its head around the turn of the last century and Johnson County decided that a road needed to be built to connect Amity with other thoroughfares. This meant the grave had to be relocated.

Nancy’s grandson, Daniel G. Doty had a problem with that.

Doty went to the county and voiced his opposition. Nothing changed so he decided to take matters into his own hands. When county work crews arrived they found Doty sitting on his grandmother’s grave – with a loaded shotgun. Again, Doty told the county that his grandmother would stay where she was. If they insisted on trying to move her grave, they would have to deal with him. With that prospect, county workers agreed to let things “rest” where they were.

A concrete slab was placed over the grave in 1912 to protect it.

An historical marker was added in 1982, and Nancy became an anomaly.

But three years ago, after numerous reports of accidents, something had to be done.

In 2016, Nancy’s grave was temporarily moved to widen the road. It was the perfect time for University of Indianapolis archaeologists to see just what was buried there.

Amazingly, they discovered that residents have been driving past not only Nancy’s grave but also the remains of six others – a man, a woman and four children. Was this the Barnett family? No one’s said for sure but the state has now designated this small spot in the middle of the road a family cemetery.

The Grave in the Middle of the Road

3. The Tree of the Dead

In Terre Haute, Indiana there stands the most massively disfigured cemetery tree I’ve ever encountered. Though its genus is no longer identifiable, it stretches at odd angles as if reaching out in despair.

It was a frigid January day when I encountered what I have since called  “The Tree of the Dead.”

I’d been taking photos when my husband waved me over to see his find. Over the years I have seen hundreds of ominous cemetery trees, but none like this. This tree was surely waiting for the headless horseman to plunge through that opening with a rush of fetid air as he continued searching for his head.

Stepping closer, I attempted to take a photo, but the tree was having none of it. My camera shut down immediately. There are several explanations for this common cemetery occurrence; the batteries are too cold, connections are corroded, post seals are damaged, or spirits are sapping energy attempting to manifest. Yes, well … but after changing the batteries two more times, I had yet to get one picture.

My husband thrust his camera into my hands and I was able to get two photos before the batteries died. One shows the tree in all of its appalling façade with twisted limbs reaching akimbo to the sky. (Notice the limb with a dragon’s head at the end?)

The second shot shows the opening in the middle of the tree: a bizarre heart shape. And the mishmash of tombstones scattered around the plot date to the late 1800s but names are indecipherable.

Who is buried here?

What happened to give the tree such an appearance?

Could it be caused by a decades-old drought?

Maybe arsenic used to embalm bodies back in the 19th century slowly leaching its way up into the tree?

Or could it be … something else?

A visual reminder of how perilously close fact and fiction are entwined in the graveyard.

 

Cemetery Secrets

Cemeteries hold a vast amount of secrets, most of which we may never know. But the genealogist’s pursuit of answers means we’ll never stop exploring and asking the questions, and perhaps one day, those secrets taken to the grave may be revealed.

Cemeteries are crucial for any genealogist’s search, and The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide by Joy Neighbors will show you how to search for and analyze your ancestors’ graves.

Discover tools for locating tombstones, tips for traipsing through cemeteries, an at-a-glance guide to frequently used gravestone icons, and practical strategies for on-the-ground research. And once you’ve returned home, learn how to incorporate gravestone information into your research, as well as how to upload grave locations to BillionGraves and record your findings in memorial pages on Find A Grave. 

Click here to order your copy today!

Learn more about using Billion Graves:

(Click on player to unmute sound)

About the Author: Joy Neighbors is a national speaker, author, freelance writer, blogger, and avowed Tombstone Tourist.  Her book, The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide focuses on how to locate cemetery records, what to do when you get to the cemetery and how to understand the silent language of the stones. She also shares a few stunning family secrets along the way. Joy also writes the weekly cemetery culture blog, A Grave.

Joy Neighbors

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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