5 Free Online Historical Maps for Genealogy

These free online historical maps may help you learn more about your ancestors’ daily lives and flesh out your family history. Find maps for Victorian and Edwardian England and Wales; indigenous people of Canada and the U.S.; European synagogues; the Soviet military during WWII and even shipwrecks in and around Ireland.

We’ve reported previously on fantastic interactive map tools to help you learn more about your ancestors’ worlds. The best interactive maps don’t just give you locations: they combine locales with statistics, historical timelines, images or stories to help you get a sense of that time and place. (One amazing site that comes to mind is Bomb Site, an interactive map of the London Blitz.)

Recently, several interactive map tools have come across my desk for consideration in our weekly Friday Records post, so here’s a nice roundup of them. Whether you have ancestors from these places or cultural communities, or whether you just love old maps as Lisa Louise Cooke and I do, we think you’ll enjoy these.

Featured Free Online Historical Map: Populations Past

Populations Past is a new interactive online atlas of Victorian and Edwardian populations in England and Wales. According to the site overview page, “The second half of the nineteenth century was a period of major change in the dynamics of the British population….[But] this transition was not uniform across England and Wales….This website allows users to create and view maps of different demographic measures and related socio-economic indicators every 10 years between 1851 and 1911. These include fertility, childhood mortality, marriage, migration status, household compositions, age-structure, occupational status and population density.” Brief explanations are included, and you can zoom in, compare maps and even download them. The atlas is hosted on the University of Cambridge website.

Map of Native Lands and People

Yes! Magazine has reported on the free Native Land website and app, which help you learn about the history of wherever you are (or wherever you want to learn about). According to the article, the site “seeks to map Indigenous languages, treaties, and territories across Turtle Island” (North America). As you can see from the screenshot below, though, other parts of the world are also included. When you enter any ZIP code, the map “will zoom in on your inquiry, color-code it, and pull up data on the area’s Indigenous history, original language, and tribal ties.”

The site’s About page stresses that the boundaries and names used are meant to come from the point of view of native people (rather than their conquerors) and that different perspectives exist. The site does actively solicit user feedback, though so much has been received that corrections are temporarily on hold. It’s certainly a fascinating lens through which to view the history of the land your ancestors lived on or settled—or perhaps even the property on which you yourself live now.

Map of European synagogues

Over 3000 synagogues have been mapped out at the free website, Historic Synagogues of Europe. The site aims “to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date inventory of the historic synagogues of Europe,” encompassing the 47 member states of the Council of Europe plus Belarus. Information about the various buildings, their historical and cultural significance, their current condition and their associated communities are included. Genealogists tracing Jewish ancestors might search extant synagogues located near an ancestor’s home, if known, to learn more about the building and at least to generally identify the communities that called it home. Sadly, though, according to this report on the site, only about 19% of European synagogues built before World War II are still standing.

4,000 Russian maps being digitized

A collection of about 4,000 topographical maps at Indiana University have traveled a long way (physically and culturally) since being produced by the Soviet military between 1883 and 1947. According to a press release, these maps of “the Eastern Bloc Borderlands project portray Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, and Western Russia – all areas greatly impacted by World War II and of strategic importance to Russia and the Soviet Union.”

These regions have changed greatly since the maps were created. In many cases, the maps identify villages and boundaries that no longer exist. The collection is being digitized because it contains such unique information that is of value to the international community. (What value may it have for your family history??)

About 1,000 of these maps have already been digitized and can be viewed at Indiana University’s Image Collections Online. The rest are forthcoming.

Shipwrecks around Ireland

Do you have relatives who may have been shipwrecked off the coast of Ireland? A new interactive map, the National Monuments Service Wreck Viewer, charts nearly 4,000 shipwrecks around the island. The data comes from the Wreck Inventory of Ireland Database, which catalogs thousands more wrecks that don’t have precisely known locations. In addition to a location, some wrecks report the name of the ship, the date of the wreck, the type of boat or ship and source of data (from Lloyd’s to a group of amateur divers). Many wrecks show very scant information but you may be able to use it in combination with other family history discoveries, such as newspaper articles or emigrant passenger lists, to add depth to your family history stories.

More Free Historical Maps Online!

Did I mention we love historical maps here at Genealogy Gems? Click on the articles below to read about more of our favorites. And for the ultimate historical maps education, join Genealogy Gems Premium eLearning, which gives you access to exclusive video classes by Lisa Louise Cooke on using historical maps and even Google Earth for genealogy! 

Vintage NYC Street Views on Google Earth

4 Must-Explore Ancestry.com Collections

Meyers Gazetteer Online for German Genealogy

These UK Suffragette Records Tell Amazing Stories

UK suffragette records tell amazing stories about the women and men who fought the British government for women’s voting rights a century ago. Nathan Dylan Goodwin, the popular Genealogy Gems Book Club author, shares three of his favorite sources for discovering suffragette stories like the one that unfolds in his new short story, “The Suffragette’s Secret.”

Thanks to Genealogy Gems Book Club author Nathan Dylan Goodwin for contributing this guest blog post.

My new short story, “The Suffragette’s Secret,” features a fictional main character, Grace Emmerson, a suffragette living on the South Coast of England in Brighton. But many of the events and supporting characters described in the story are real. In the story, forensic genealogist Morton Farrier uses real historical documents while working in the modern day to uncover Grace’s suffragette past. Many of these historical records (over 55,000 of them) are now available online in the FindmyPast Suffragette Collection.

Morton and I would recommend spending some time browsing this fascinating collection from a pivotal moment in women’s history. Even if your own ancestors did not make the headlines, they may have been involved at a more local level. And the lives of both women and men in your family may have been affected by suffragette activity, whether or not they are mentioned by name in the records. So it is a collection definitely worth exploring.

UK suffragette records I love

1. Suffragette Amnesty register (HO 45/24665)

With the threat of war and its having become inevitable in August 1914, most of the dominant suffragette organizations, including the Women’s Social and Political Union suspended all militant activity. In response, the British government gave an amnesty to more than one thousand women (and some men) who had been arrested for the cause. Their amnesty records are part of the Findmypast Suffragette Collection and also searchable at Ancestry.com (if your subscription includes UK records).

Alongside the names of those arrested comes the date and court where the charge was originally brought – an excellent starting point for further research.

In “The Suffragette’s Secret,” I referenced the real-life case of Nellie Godfrey. In the Amnesty Register of 1914, her name and references appear thus in the image shown here (the links lead to Google Maps references of the Bow Street magistrate’s court):

Godfrey, Nellie
Bow Street 9/7/09 180.782
Bolton 8/12/1909 186.626
Bow Street 27/11/11 203.651

Taking the second reference as an example of where this record can lead, this shows that Nellie appeared on the 8th December 1909 before Bolton Magistrate’s Court. 

Searching for these criteria in Findmypast’s Suffragette Newspaper Collection brings up the following story: ‘Nellie Godfrey, of London, was charged at Bolton yesterday with throwing a missile at a motor car in which Mr [Winston] Churchill rode to his meeting on Tuesday night, and was fined 40s or seven days. Defendant went to prison. It was stated that the missile thrown was a piece of iron wrapped in a paper bearing the words “Thrown by a woman of England as a protest against the Government’s treatment of political prisoners.”’

For most of these records, further information exists at the National Archives. Prefixing the reference number with HO (for Home Office) and typing it into the document search box (HO 186626) on the National Archives website brings up a link to a document which details Nellie’s arrest and time in prison. (Unfortunately, these records are not yet digitized, but can be ordered.)

2. Calendar of Prisoners

These records, about suffragette prisoners who were tried in the London courts between 1911 and 1914, feature some of the prominent names from the movement, including the famous Pankhursts (one of whom is shown in the Calendar of Prisoners image below):

One record found in Crim 9/58 is that of Emily Wilding Davison, shown here. She was killed when she threw herself under the king’s horse at Epsom on 8th June 1913. Among several interesting details found in a document pertaining to an earlier arrest in December 1911 are to be found the following facts:

Emily Wilding Davison, 36, a tutor, arrested for ‘unlawfully and maliciously placing in a Post Office letter box a dangerous substance likely to injure the same and its contents and attempt to commit like offence.’ She was jailed at Holloway for six months.

This type of militancy, placing dye or some other kind of corrosive liquid into a letter box in order to render the letters inside illegible, was common among suffragettes and an act often making the local newspapers, which can be read about as part of the Suffragette Collection.

Further records for Emily Wilding Davison exist in the FindmyPast Suffragette Collection, including HO 144/1150/210696, which details several of her actions and subsequent convictions.

3. Suffragettes’ Complaints against Police (MEPO 3/203)

During my research for “The Suffragette’s Secret,” I visited the National Archives and accessed the Suffragette’s Complaints against Police, which was then not available online. At 286 pages, “Complaints against Police” provides an illuminating account of how the police handled a large group of suffragettes who had converged on Downing Street, intent on gaining access to the Prime Minister’s (Herbert Asquith) residence. A sample appears here, to the right.

The file includes several accounts from the perspective of the police involved, in which they all strenuously deny any harsh treatment of the women whom they encountered there. In contradiction to this are the numerous and varied statements from men and women involved in the altercation in which physical abuse and violence by the policemen was described as wide-spread, as this statement from the file attests:

‘About 2.15 in Parliament Square PC A.R.82 struck a Women’s Social & Political Union member in the face. At about 2.30 between Parliament Square and Cannon Row, almost opposite Palace Chambers, PC R.R.21 twisted the arm of and shook furiously a lady he had arrested. She was not resisting arrest. During the raid in Downing Street yesterday evening PC 449B got his knee into the middle of one woman’s back and knocked her down. PC 456E afterwards banged the same woman’s head repeatedly against the railings. I can produce my witness at any inquiry.’

This Suffragette Collection from FindmyPast contains a wealth of information useful to genealogists, social historians and those interested in women’s history. Other records available include cabinet papers, the treatment and force-feeding of political prisoners and various actions and imprisonments of the women men and men involved in the fight to gain the ability to vote.

Nathan Dylan Goodwin is one of our favorite Genealogy Gems Book Club authors! He’s a must-read for anyone who loves a good mystery–especially when the solving is led by a skilled (and very likable) forensic genealogist. Nathan first joined the Genealogy Gems Podcast to talk about his book The Lost Ancestor, but he now has several Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist books out. The newest one is a 2-for-1 bonus: “The Suffragette’s Secret,” the short story, is published with his new full-length book, The Wicked Trade. Click on these titles to order them–or check out all his books (and other great titles) on the Genealogy Gems Book Club webpage.

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!

Denmark Church Records and More Now Online

New online! Denmark church records, Yorkshire parish records, English and Irish estate records, French church and civil registration records, German vital records, Irish townland indexes, and U.S. collections for Georgia, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They’re all new at the Genealogy Giants: Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com and MyHeritage.com.

Featured: Denmark church records

Genealogy Giant MyHeritage.com has published an exclusive new collection, Denmark Church Records, 1813-1919. According to the site, these are “records of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, and other records kept by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. Church records are extremely important for Danish research as vital events of virtually every individual who lived in Denmark during the time period covered by this collection were recorded in these parish registers or church books (kirkebøger).”

The records include the typical birth or baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths and burials but also may include the following, as described on the site:

  • “Vaccinations (Vaccinerede) – The vaccination mandate began in 1810 required everyone to receive the smallpox vaccine, unless the person at already had the pox. Vaccinations typically occurred when children were quite young. These records usually list the name of the person receiving the vaccine, date of vaccination, their father’s name, and their age or birth date. A person’s vaccination date could also be recorded in their confirmation record, and if they ever moved, could be noted in their moving in or moving out record.
  • Moving In (Tilgangsliste) and Moving Out (Afgangsliste) Records – Began in 1812 and list individuals moving in or moving out of a parish. These records may contain name, age or birth date, occupation, residence, vaccination date, moving date, and where moving to/from.”

England parish records

Subscription giant Ancestry.com has published a new collection of indexed images, Yorkshire, England: Church of England Parish Records, 1538-1873. According to its description, “Parish records–primarily baptisms, marriages, and burials–provide the best sources of vital record information in the centuries before civil registration. Baptismal records generally list the date of the baptism, the name of the child being baptized, and the name of the father. Marriage records generally include the date of the marriage and the names of the bride and groom. Burial records generally list the date of the burial and the name of the deceased individual. Occasionally burial records will include other bits of information, such as where the individual was from or if he/she was a widow. Records from various parishes throughout Yorkshire will continually be added to this database for the next couple of months.”

UK subscription site Findmypast.com has published Prerogative Court Of Canterbury Administrations 1660-1700. Subscribers may “search over 88,000 transcripts and images of Index slips and related documentation created from original Prerogative Court of Canterbury administrations held by The National Archives at Kew. This collection includes a high volume of mariners; approximately a third of these records refer to a mariner. Each record will reveal the date of your ancestor’s will, the value of their will, the archive reference number and any additional notes.”

England and Wales electoral registers

Findmypast.com has released an exclusive new collection, England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1920. According to the site, “Electoral Registers are lists created annually of people who are eligible to vote and include their reason for eligibility, such as their residence or ownership of a property. These records from 1920 will include the men and women who first gained the right to vote in 1918….These newly indexed records can be searched by name, year, constituency, polling district and keyword.”

France church and civil records

Nearly 8 million records comprise a new, free collection at FamilySearch.org: France, Dordogne, Church and Civil Registration, 1540-1896. Among the documents included are baptism, birth, marriage and death records. According to the site, these can be an incredibly rich resource for identifying your French ancestors:

  • Birth records often include the child’s name, gender, birthdate, birthplace, parents’ names (including mother’s maiden) and marital status, father’s age, father’s occupation and residence and the names of witnesses or godparents, along with their ages, occupations, and residences.
  • Marriage registers may include the names, ages, birthplaces, occupations and residences of the bride and groom; marriage date and place; marriage certificate and banns date; names of the bride’s and groom’s parents (including mother’s maiden); and the witnesses’ names, occupations, and ages.
  • Death records may include the deceased’s name, age at death, cause of death, gender, marital status, death and burial date and place, birth date and place, name of spouse, and father’s name and occupation.

For help reading these French-language records, click here.

Germany vital records

Ancestry.com has recently published or updated several new collections of German vital records:

Ireland wills and townland indexes

Ancestry.com has published a new collection spanning nearly 300 years: Ireland, Index to the Prerogative Wills, 1536-1810. The source of this collection is a previously-published volume by the same name (ed. Sir Arthur Vicars; originally published in 1897, Dublin, Ireland; Genealogical Publishing Co., 1989). The collection description explains the historical process of proving wills in Ireland. This particular collection relates to a specific type of estate: “The Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Armagh, latterly established at Henrietta Street, in Dublin, proved the wills of testators dying with assets of value greater than £5 (“bona notabilia”) in at least two Irish dioceses. This court was also abolished by the Court of Probate Act 1857.”

Findmypast.com also has new Irish records: Ireland, Alphabetical Indexes To The Townlands and Parishes 1851-1911. Browse “2,900 records taken from indexes of townlands and parishes in Ireland spanning the years 1851 to 1911. In addition to townlands and parishes, discover details of baronies and electoral divisions in Ireland for a given year.”

U.S. genealogy record collections by state

Georgia. A new, free collection, Georgia, Houston County, Marriage Records, 1832-2015 is available at FamilySearch.org. According to the site, “Marriage records usually include: the name of the groom, the maiden name of the bride, the names of the officiator and witnesses, the marriage date [and] the marriage place.” The collection link above goes just to the index, but you can also click here to see a full list of the various digitized volumes in this collection in the FamilySearch Catalog (with links to the digital images).

The site also offers an important tip: “Many marriages recorded in the South are separated by race in volumes, books, or registers. Be sure to check to determine if you have the right set of marriage records.” For example, there is a volume dedicated to “Marriage certificates (colored), 1891-1951,” which you’ll find in the above-named list of volumes in the FamilySearch Catalog.

United States genealogy records by state

New York. Subscription-access giant MyHeritage.com has added over 6 million records to its collection of New York City Marriage License Index 1908-1972, bringing the index to nearly 10 million names. According to the site, This collection is an index to marriage licenses filed at the New York City Clerk Offices from the five boroughs from 1908 to 1972. The index contains the given names and surnames of both the bride and the groom, the date of the license application, and the license number. Images provided by Reclaim the Records.”

Ohio. FamilySearch has added over 150,000 free indexed records to Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977. The collection includes images of naturalization records from county courthouses in Ohio and a growing number of indexed names. According to the site, “The record content and available years vary by county, though most content falls between 1818 and 1954.” You can either search indexed names on the collection page or scroll down and select the option to browse through over a million images that may not have been indexed yet. (These images are grouped by county, then by record type, year range and volume, making it relatively easy to find the records you want. Click here for a tutorial on browsing records on FamilySearch.org.)

Pennsylvania. Over 200,000 records have been added to the free FamilySearch.org collection, Pennsylvania, Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1795-1931Again, this images-and-indexed names collection is not yet completely indexed, and you may search it by browsing. Petitions are arranged by year and petition number.

Millions of records on the Genealogy Giants

Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com, MyHeritage.com, and FamilySearch.org publish millions of new historical records online every month. Keep up with the new collections of these Genealogy Giants with me here at Genealogy Gems. Bring focus to your research: click here to learn what sets apart each of the Genealogy Giants, and learn strategies for getting the most out of them.  

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!

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.

New Genealogy Records on the Genealogy Giants

Millions of new genealogy records for Australia, the British Isles, the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Central and South America have been added to Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com and MyHeritage.com, the “genealogy giants.

This week, we’ve sorted them by site, in case you’re just using one or two of them. But we do think you should know about them all! Click here for in-depth comparisons of the genealogy giants.

New genealogy records on Ancestry.com

Australia. Subscribers may search a new collection, Victoria, Australia, Asylum Records, 1853-1940. According to the description, “This collection is comprised of Asylum Records between 1853-1940 from the Public Record Office Victoria. The following information will typically be found: name of patient, age and birth place of patient, date admitted into asylum, reason they were admitted and photographs also occasionally appear.”

England. The new collection, Worcestershire, England, Extracted Church of England Parish Records, 1541-1812, “is a collection of historical parish registers from Worcestershire, England…The records include baptisms/christenings, burials, marriages, tombstone inscriptions, obituaries, tax lists, wills, and other miscellaneous types of records. All of the data was converted as it was originally presented in various published registers and books.”

Another new collection, Liverpool, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1970 “contains yearly registers listing names and residences of people in Liverpool, who were eligible to vote in elections. These year-by-year registers can help place your ancestors in a particular place and possibly also reveal a bit about property they owned.”

Poland. A new index, USHMM: Poland, Jewish Holocaust Survivors Registered in Warsaw, 1945-1946, “was indexed by World Memory Project contributors from the digitized holdings of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum…This database contains more than 31,000 registration cards completed by Jewish survivors in Warsaw after the war, in order to register with the Central Committee of Polish Jews (Centralny Komitet Żydów w Polsce). While the cards themselves were compiled in Warsaw, only 15,270 individuals have Warsaw listed as their postwar residence. The original documents are held by the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland.”

New York. A new collection, New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 “consists of indexes of marriages from the state of New York between the years 1881 and 1967. The collection contains only indexes to records, but the certificate number can be used to order a copy of the original certificate. Details vary, but may include names of bride or groom, marriage date, and place and certificate number.

Scotland. The new collection, Edinburgh, Scotland, Electoral Registers, 1832-1966, “contains yearly registers listing names and residences of people in Edinburgh, Scotland, who were eligible to vote in elections.” Another new collection, Fife, Scotland, School Admissions and Discharges, 1867-1916, “is a collection of School Admission and Discharges for schools in Fife, Scotland…These records are lists of children who were admitted to and discharged from schools. 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.”

United Kingdom. A new Ancestry.com collection, UK, Registers of Employees of the East India Company and the India Office, 1746-1939, “lists the employees, both civil and military, of the East India Company and later, the India Office. You may be able to find (where available): Name, Military Rank, Place of residence or military service, Date of death, Place of death, Date of marriage and Name of parents.”

New genealogy records on FamilySearch.org

Because there’s so much to find on FamilySearch.org (in so many different places), we recommend you consult an expert resource like the Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch by Dana McCullough.

Check out these collections—all of them free:

Australia. Over a half million indexed records have been added to the collection, Australia Cemetery Inscriptions, 1802-2005. The site describes the collection as “Cards of cemetery inscriptions from many cemeteries throughout Australia. The majority of the cemeteries are in Queensland, but there are some in New South Wales, Norfolk Island, Tasmania, and Western Australia. Some cards include information culled from local newspapers which sometimes include birth and marriage announcements.”

Austria. Nearly 200,000 digital images and nearly 300,000 indexed names have been added to Austria, Vienna Population Cards, 1850-1896. These are described as “population cards for individual residents of the city of Vienna, Austria. The cards include: name; birth date and place; marital status; old and new places of residence; and dates of arrival and departure. Frequently the names of the spouse and children are listed. Many people from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Eastern Europe passed through Vienna and may be included on these cards.”

Brazil. Nearly 100,000 indexed names have been added to Brazil, Santa Catarina, Catholic Church Records, 1714-1977. These are “baptism, marriage, and death records created by various Catholic parishes and diocese in the state of Santa Catarina. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable as part of this collection.”

Colombia. A new collection with more than 170,000 indexed names is Colombia, Diocese of Barranquilla, Catholic Church Records, 1808-1985. These are “Catholic Church records created by parishes in the Diocese of Barranquilla, Colombia. These records include: baptisms, confirmations, marriages, marriage investigation files, deaths, and indexes. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable as part of this collection. Additional indexed records will be published as they become available.”

El Salvador. Nearly 200,000 indexed names have been added to El Salvador Civil Registration, 1704-2001. According to the description, these records are “Births, marriages, deaths, indexes and other records created by civil registration offices in El Salvador.”

Peru. Nearly 275,000 indexed names have been added to Peru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874-1996. These are “births, marriages, deaths, indexes and other records created by civil registration offices in the department of Lima, Peru.”

Russia. Over 180,000 record images have been published online in a new collection, Russia, Karelia Poll Tax Census (Revision Lists), 1782-1858. These are “images of family lists for the tax-paying population (about 95% of the population) conducted primarily in the years 1782, 1795, 1811, 1816, 1833-1834, 1850-1851, and 1857-1858. Some outlying years are included. Localities reflect the places that existed during the period of the Russian Empire since the records were created at that time.”

New genealogy records on Findmypast.com

England: Derbyshire Parish Records. “Brand new records covering the parishes of Alvaston, Boulton, Chellaston, Holbrook, Longford, Newton Solney and Wilne have been added to our collection of Derbyshire Parish records, including: 255,626 baptisms; 126,083 marriages; and 16,902 burials.…Parish records generally begin from 1538 after the Church of England mandated the keeping of parish registers in 1537. Baptisms, marriages and burials were all recorded in a single volume until 1774, when the law changed to require a separate marriage register and another one for banns (or proclamations of an intent to marry). Standardized forms for these registers appeared in 1812.”

US Catholic parish records

  • Illinois (Archdiocese of Chicago). Search over 411,000 baptismal registers, over 153,000 parish marriage records, over 37,000 parish burial records and over 1.9 million cemetery records (burial index cards, burial registers, daily burial logs, and registers of cemetery lot owners). The parish records span from the late 1800s up to 1925 and the cemetery records from 1864-1989. In baptismal records, discover the date and location of baptisms, the names of parents and family residence. Marriage records include “the couple’s marriage date, marriage location, the names of their parents and the names of any witnesses.” All have both transcripts and images of original records. The Archdiocese of Chicago was first established in 1843 and serves the Catholic population of Cook and Lake Counties in northeastern Illinois.
  • Maryland (Archdiocese of Baltimore). Subscribers may now browse “over 54,000 individual baptism, marriage, burial, communion, and confirmation registers from the Archdiocese of Baltimore in their entirety. The registers span the years from 1782 to 1918 and can provide a variety of important biographical details about your ancestor.” Click here to start browsing!
  • New York (Archdiocese of NY). “Search brand new indexes of Sacramental Registers, released in partnership with the Archdiocese of New York, of both baptisms and marriages “covering the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island in New York City, as well as the Counties of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester. The records date back to 1785, span more than 130 years of the region’s history and come from more than 230 parishes across the Archdiocese.

New genealogy records on MyHeritage.com

Get the most out of MyHeritage.com, a genealogy giant with a global user base and free family websites! Check out our essential (yet inexpensive) MyHeritage.com Quick Reference Guide, available in the Genealogy Gems store.

England & Wales: 1939 Register. This huge addition was announced during RootsTech 2018 last week. According to a press release, “Prepared on the eve of World War II, with 33 million searchable records, the 1939 Register is the most complete census-like collection for the population of England and Wales between 1911 and 1951….For each household member, the 1939 Register records name, gender, address, birth date, marital status, place of residence, and occupation….The 1939 Register collection is not exclusive, but other than MyHeritage, it is currently available on only one other website [Findmypast.com]. The initial collection on MyHeritage includes an index, without images.”

Canada: Canadian Obituaries, 1997-2017 is a new collection of “2 million records, documenting obituaries and memorials from the 10 Canadian provinces, spanning mostly 1997-2017. It includes the name of the deceased, the date of death, the publication source including locality information, and the text of the obituary or memorial — in English or French depending on the source. When available, a photograph of the deceased is also included.”

Share with your friends!

Who do you know with ancestors in Australia? England? Scotland? Austria? The United States? Poland? Brazil? Peru? Russia? The other countries mentioned above? Why not take a second and share this post with them? Thank you–you’re a gem!

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!

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.

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!

New European Genealogy Records Now Online

Here’s a roundup of European genealogy records recently published online:

  • Danish military conscription rolls and the 1845 census;
  • English military, parish and burial records;
  • Irish police register and digital news archives;
  • records for Portugal,
  • Slovenia and Spain;
  • more Swedish church and household examination registers;
  • and a short documentary about digitizing the Nuremberg Trials.

Ready to explore more of your European genealogy? Millions of records have been published online recently! Scroll down to learn about free or subscription-access records for ancestors from:

  • the British Isles
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • and Sweden.

British Isles

Genealogy giant subscription website Findmypast recently announced several new additions for those researching their British family history. Here are the collections along with notes supplied by Findmypast:

British Armed Forces records:

  • British Armed Forces and Overseas Births and Baptisms. Over 92,000 records added. “This collection brings together records held by the General Register Office and The National Archives in one search and consists of birth records of children born to those working within the armed forces, merchant navy, and consular forces, as well as civilian ship passengers.”
  • British Armed Forces and Overseas Banns and Marriages. “Search through over 35,000 new additions and discover marriages pertaining to military personnel, British Consul staff, and other British nationals working overseas. Records will reveal a combination of your ancestor’s birth year, banns year, marriage year, marriage place, occupation, organization, marital status, father’s name, father’s occupation, the names of witnesses and spouse’s details.”
  • British Armed Forces and Overseas Deaths and Burials. “Search over 193,000 records to uncover the details of members of the British armed forces who died while serving their country overseas, British civilians who died while traveling or working overseas, and individuals, including seamen, who died at sea.”

Hertfordshire parish records. Over 87,000 records have been added to their collection of Search Hertfordshire Baptisms. (Transcripts list year and location of baptism, names of parents and father’s occupation. Images may include additional notes.) Nearly 62,000 records have been added to Hertfordshire Marriages. (Transcripts list the name of bride and groom, date of first banns reading, date of marriage, ages, and names of fathers. Images can include considerably more detail.) Over 66,000 records have been added to Hertfordshire Burials. Dating as far back as the 1400s, these records include burial date, age at death and burial place, and potentially more.

Burial inscriptions. The site has added thousands of burial inscriptions to multiple collections. These include 8,000 new records in Yorkshire Monumental Inscriptions (covering cemeteries in Rawmarsh, Thorpe Hesley, and Treeton); over 30,000 records covering 26 burial sites in Northumberland & Durham Monumental Inscriptions.

Denmark

Free genealogy giant FamilySearch.org has added over 71,000 records to their online collection, Denmark, Military Conscription Rolls, 1789-1792. According to the collection description, “The records usually include name, number, birth place, age, residence, height and other remarks.” The total records indexed are just under 150,000; images are included.

Subscription genealogy giant MyHeritage.com has published the 1845 Denmark Census, which also covered the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. “Information recorded in the census includes: name, residence, age, marital status, birthplace, position in family, occupation, and religious affiliation,” states the collection description, which also has additional helpful notes. To read it, click the down arrow next to the collection header when you’ve gotten to the collection page, as shown here. For example, you’ll find a description of how the census is organized in market towns and rural areas, and you’ll find a reminder about changing boundaries in Denmark since 1845.

Ireland

Nearly a century’s worth of the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) General Register has been published online as a free, browse-only record collection at University College Dublin’s Digital Library. “The Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) General Register covers recruitment and transfers within the Dublin Metropolitan Police,” states the collection description. “The first 252 pages of this volume are available through the UCD Digital Library. There are 12,567 entries on these pages, covering the period 1837-1925.”

Irish Times has reported on the digitization of two Irish news sources covering recent years:

  • An archive of 1500 hours of TG4 news bulletin broadcasts by TG4, an Irish-language program, of stories spanning 1996-2004. (Click here to read more on Irish Times.)
  • A new collection covering the Troubles and the 1990s peace process. The archive “features a wide range of material relating to the 1990s when Northern Ireland made the transformation from conflict, to a peace process, to the Belfast Agreement of April 1998.” Click here to read more on Irish Times.)

Portugal

Those researching Portuguese ancestors should know that FamilySearch continues to add to its collections of free genealogy records for Portugal. Updated collections in January 2018 are:

Slovenia

FamilySearch has nearly doubled the numbers of indexed names its free database, Slovenia, Ljubljana, Funeral Accounts, 1937-1970. The collection describes these records as follows: “Sheet recording the date and place of birth, death, and burial, as well as the cost of the burial for those dieing in Ljubljana, the capitol of Slovenia. The birth date and place are also reported. Includes an index which covers years 1915-1936 for which certificates were not acquired.”

Spain

Online Journalism Blog reports on the publishing of the first central database of victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime. The database has been created by the Innovation and Human Rights (IHR) association to document the “125,000 people [who] died, disappeared or were repressed in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and during the Franco dictatorship, according to historians. Many of their families still do not know, 40 years later, what exactly happened to them.”

FamilySearch.org has added nearly 140,000 indexed names to its free online collection, Spain, Diocese of Cartagena, Catholic Church Records, 1503-1969. According to the collection description, “These records include: baptisms, confirmations, pre-marriage investigations, marriages, deaths, indexes, testaments, and parish financial and land records. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable as part of this collection. Additional indexed records will be published as they become available.”

Sweden

MyHeritage.com announced the addition of three decades of records to its important collection, Sweden Household Examination Books, 1860-1930. This “primary source for researching the lives of individuals and families throughout the parishes of Sweden” now extends back two more decades (1860-1880) and forward an additional decade (1920-1930) not previously covered on the site. MyHeritage claims these records are uniquely available online at its site.

FamilySearch has added more than 35,000 indexed names to its collection, Sweden, Örebro Church Records, 1613-1918; index 1635-1860. Note that actual record images are available earlier and later than the timeframe of records currently indexed. As always, FamilySearch volunteers continue to index additional records and the site posts these updates as frequently as possible.

The Nuremberg Trials

Harvard Law Today recently reported on its progress digitizing some of the 20th-century’s most valuable legal history documents: a million pages relating to the Nuremberg Trials, held just after World War II to prosecute the Nazi regime. They have released this short video about the ongoing project.

More help for European genealogy

We make it easier to start researching your ancestors in a new country! Our free series of beginning genealogy articles introduce you to the key records and research strategies for your ancestors’ homelands, including these European nations:

Scots-Irish genealogy: Getting started (NEW!)

Beginning Swedish genealogy

Irish genealogy help: DIY and Pro

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!

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.

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