Scandinavian Genealogy Records and More

It’s a Scandinavian genealogy dream come true: over 135 million new free records at FamilySearch! Also new (and free): church records for England, France, Germany; Italian and Mexican civil registration; archival indexes for The Netherlands; South African court records; Kentucky death records; Michigan births and Utah delayed birth records.

Featured: Free Scandinavian genealogy records

The free Genealogy Giant FamilySearch recently announced the addition of 135.4 million free digital historical records from Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. “These new collections were digitized in partnership with MyHeritage and the National Archives of Denmark and Finland and can now be accessed at FamilySearch.”

Denmark: over 55 million new records added. These include census records (1834-1930); browse-only church record images (1686–1941); browse-only land record images of deeds and mortgages; browse-only estate record images (1436–1964) and estate record indexes (1674–1851); civil marriages (1851–1961) and another collection of Copenhagen civil marriages (1739–1964; indexed 1877–1964). Search all Denmark records at FamilySearch for free.

Finland: over 34 million new records added. These include nearly 300 years of church census and preconfirmation books (1657–1915) and 100 years of tax lists of Suomi-Henkikirjara (1819–1915). Search all Finland records at FamilySearch for free.

Sweden: nearly 47 million new records added. These include Sweden household examination books (1880–1920) and church books (Kyrkoböcker) from Kopparberg (1604–1860), Örebro (until 1860), and Östergötland (1555–1911). Search all Sweden records at FamilySearch for free.

More free records at FamilySearch

England. There are more than 2.5 million indexed records in a new collection, England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991. According to the description. “The records found in this collection span over 400 years and include: Banns, 1637-1931; Baptisms, 1533-1916; Burials, 1533-1991; and Marriages, 1533-1931. While the vast majority of the records include images of the original parish registers, there are transcripts that do not include images. The images captured by FamilySearch were provided by the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland. The indexes were provided by Findmypast.”

France. Nearly 30,000 records have been added to the collection, France, Haute-Garonne, Toulouse, Church Records, 1539-1793. “Church records (registres paroissiaux) of baptisms, marriages, and burials within the custody of the Municipal Archives of Toulouse (Archives municipales de Toulouse). Includes marriage banns (bans de mariages). Most records are for Catholics, although there are a small quantity of available records for Protestants. Availability of records is largely dependent on time period and locality.”

Germany. More than 1.3 million indexed records have been added to Germany, Bavaria, Diocese of Augsburg, Catholic Church Records, 1615-1939. These include baptisms, marriages and burials. Another 43,000+ indexed records have been added to Germany, Rhineland, Diocese of Trier, Catholic Church Records, 1704-1957, as well.

Italy. FamilySearch continues to add to its Italian civil records collections. More than 20,000 records each have been added to the free collections, Italy, Brescia, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1797-1943 and Italy, Pescara, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-1929.

Mexico. There a new browse-only collection with more than 1.4 million images! It’s Mexico, Sinaloa, Civil Registration, 1861-1929. The records include “births, marriages, deaths, indexes and other records created by civil registration offices” in Sinaloa.

Netherlands. More than 5.4 million indexed records have been added to the collection, Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Public Records. “Archives around the Netherlands have contributed indexes which cover many record sources, such as civil registration, church records, emigration lists, military registers, and land and tax records. This collection will cover events like notarial records, emigration and immigration, military enrollment and more. These indexes were originally collected, combined and published by OpenArchives.”

South Africa. More than a million indexed records have been added to South Africa, Cape Province, Probate Records of the Master of the High Court. These come from the original records kept at the Cape Archives Depot in Cape Town, South Africa.

United States. Two new collections have been added and one has received significant updates:

Genealogy Giants partnerships benefit everyone

The Genealogy GiantsAncestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast and MyHeritage-participate in partnerships now and then that lead to more online records for us. In this report, you see collaboration between the free site FamilySearch and subscription sites Findmypast and MyHeritage. We {heart} these win-win situations! Learn how these sites compare (and cooperate and compete) on our dedicated Genealogy Giants webpage.

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 York Genealogy Records and More

Work on your New York genealogy research with these new naturalization and marriage license records. Also: WWII draft registrations; family history records for AL, ID, KS, KY, LA, OH, VA; and records from Australia, Canada (including a mapped-out photo archive of Toronto streets), Denmark, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden.

Welcome to our weekly roundup of new and updated genealogy records online. Most of this week’s images come from Genealogy Giants Ancestry.com and the free FamilySearch.org, but there are few additional sites represented here, too! Happy researching!

Featured: New York genealogy records

Over three-quarters of a million indexed records have been added to New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824-1946. New York research is challenging for many reasons, not least among them limited access to vital records for your transient and immigrant ancestors in this state. Naturalization records are also typically difficult to find, as your ancestors in certain time periods could submit paperwork in any court they pleased. So this is a great collection! Let us know if you find any ancestors in this collection. We love hearing about your successes.

New York. The New York City marriage license index for 1996-2017, with 1.5 million records, is now free online, searchable and even downloadable. This announcement is from Reclaim the Records: “We successfully fought the New York City government for nine months to get the first-ever public copy of the 1996-2017 New York City marriage license index. It’s about 1.5 million records, which is about 3.1 million names. And you can now search this data, or even download it or reuse it, totally free. It’s in the public domain, no copyright. This 1996-2017 data is the continuation of the 1908-1929 and 1930-1995 data sets we won in two previous lawsuits from the NYC Municipal Archives and the NYC Clerk’s Office, respectively. (You can also check out the scanned microfilm images of the 1908-1972 portion of the marriage license data at the Internet Archive.)

More new genealogy records from around the United States

World War II draft registrations. Ancestry.com has updated its collection of U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1 940-1947. “This database contains images and indexes for registration cards filled out by men born between the years of 1898 and 1929 from Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina.” It also contains an index (with a link to images available on Fold3) for about half of U.S. states.

Alabama. Subscription giant Ancestry.com has added a new collection, “Alabama, Surname Files Expanded, 1702–1981.” According to the site, “This database contains various records providing biographical information on individuals who lived in Alabama. Staff members at the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) started compiling these records on Alabamians in 1901. They include a variety of items and record types arranged by surname: newspaper clippings, obituaries, local and family histories, donated family research and records, extracts from censuses, research requests made to the archives, and other items.”

Idaho. Ancestry.com has recently updated these collections of Idaho vital records:

Also for your Gem State ancestors, About 80,000 indexed records have been added to the free collection, Idaho, Southern Counties Obituaries, 1943-2013, at FamilySearch.org. According to the site, these obituaries come “from a variety of Idaho newspapers and [are] housed at different LDS Family History Centers throughout the state.”

Kansas. Search a new and free FamilySearch collection of Kansas, Cemetery Abstracts, already with more than 110,000 indexed records in it. Compiled by a voluntary missionary society, it includes records from “Allen, Butler, Chase, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Edwards, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Gove, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jefferson, Jewell, Kearney, Kingman, Labette, Lincoln, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Montgomery, Morton, Neosho, Norton, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Reno, Republic, Rice, Riley, Rooks, Russell, Saline, Scott, Sedgwick, Seward, Sherman, Stafford, Stanton, Sumner, Thomas, Wabaunsee, Wallace, and Wichita counties.”

Kentucky. Ancestry.com has updated its collection of Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1965. You can search the index or browse the images, which include death certificates, 1911-1965 as well as “mortuary records, registers of deaths, and death certificates for Newport, Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and Jefferson County, up to 1911.”

Louisiana. Subscription giant Ancestry.com has updated its collection of Louisiana, Soldiers in the War of 1812. “This compilation contains an alphabetical list of Louisiana soldiers who fought for the state militia during the War of 1812. Taken from the National Archives, each entry includes the rank and company to which the soldier was attached.”

Ohio. New (and always free) at FamilySearch is a collection of Ohio, Washington County Newspaper Obituarie s, 1884-2013. The collection already contains nearly 700,000 new indexed records. Washington County is key to Ohio history because it was the original county in this Northwest Territory state.

Virginia. Ancestry.com has updated its collection, Virginia, Birth Records, 1912-2014, Delayed Birth Records, 1854-1911. According to the site, “This database contains an index of birth details extracted from Virginia birth records for the years 1864-2014 as well as images of birth records for the years 1864–1914, which fall outside the 100-year privacy restriction. You’ll find basic details such as name, birth date and place, father’s name, mother’s name, and certificate number.”

More genealogy records from around the world

Australia. Nearly 34,000 new indexed entries and over 14,000 accompanying digital images have been added to the free FamilySearch collection, Australia, Victoria, Tombstone Transcriptions from Various Cemeteries, 1850-1988. According to the site, the cemeteries included so far in the collection are “Beechworth, Bowmans Forest, Bright, Bundalong, El Dorado, Greta, Hyam, Milawa, Old Chiltern, Rutherglen, Springhurst, Stanley, Tarrawingee, Tawonga, Una Boorhaman, Waygunyah, Winton, and Yackandandah. [Records come from] original transcriptions located in the Wangaratta Family History Centre.”

Canada. About 4,000 images have been added to a free digital archive of historic photos of Toronto. OldTo organizes these images in an easy-to-use map interface. Even if you have no personal connection to Toronto, it’s fun to play with this and look at the pictures, which date back to 1850.

Subscription giant Ancestry.com has updated its collection of Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935. “Passenger lists of ships arriving in various Canadian ports, as well as some eastern U.S. ports from 1865–1935, are indexed this database. This collection, covering 2.2 million people who arrived in these ports, has never been indexed before.”

Denmark. Nearly 9,000 indexed records have been added to the free FamilySearch collection, Denmark, Military Conscription Rolls, 1789-1792. The records are written in Danish. For tips and more information about using the records, see this article on the FamilySearch wiki.

Italy. About 85,000 indexed records have been added to FamilySearch’s free database, Italy, Napoli, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-1865.“Includes marriage banns (pubblicazioni; notificazioni); baptismal records; ecclesiastical returns of marriages; marriage memorandums (atti di memorandum); diverse records (atti diversi); marriages and deaths outside of the place of usual residence (matrimoni e morti fuori domicilio); and marriage supplemental documents (processetti).”

Portugal. Over 114,000 indexed records have been added to Portugal, Porto, Catholic Church Records, 1535-1949. “These records include baptisms, marriages, and deaths. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable as part of this collection. Additional images and indexed records will be published as they become available.” Tip: scroll down to the bottom of the page and click where it says you can browse over 1.2 million record images. That’s where you’ll find the pages that haven’t been indexed yet.

Sweden. About 13,000 indexed records have been added to Sweden, Örebro Church Records, 1613-1918; index 1635-1860. As the title of the collection indicates, only a portion of the records have been indexed (had the names extracted). That means, if you REALLY want to find your ancestor, you may need to browse the records as described above.

Learn more about naturalization records

Lisa Louise Cooke teaches a 3-part series on naturalization records in her free how-to podcast series, Family History: Genealogy Made Easy. Listen to episodes 29, 30, and 31 for all you want to learn about passenger arrival lists, certificates of arrival, passenger departure lists, annotations on passenger lists, and the Ellis Island experience.

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!

Millions of global records now at FamilySearch.org

Millions of records from around the world are new at FamilySearch this week, and are completely free! These new collections include Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and South Africa. PERSI also got a big update this week at Findmypast, as well as new and updated records for Canada, England, and Ireland.

new genealogy records at Familysesrch

New collections free at FamilySearch

Australia. The new South Australia, Immigrants Ship Papers, 1849-1940 collection includes immigrants’ ships papers, containing a record of births and deaths aboard, 1849-1867 and 1873-1885. Indexed records in this collection include passenger lists arriving and departing from South Australia. (Original records in the State Records of South Australia, Adelaide.) Get started with Australian genealogy research with these tips from an expert at Legacy Tree Genealogists!

Denmark. FamilySearch has been adding census records for Denmark recently, and the latest new collection is the 1921 Denmark Census. This collection includes over 430,000 images, and these census collections were all provided by MyHeritage and previously from the National Archives of Denmark.

Finland. Church Census and Pre-Confirmation Books, 1657-1915: This collection contains church census books and pre-confirmation books kept by the Lutheran Church in Finland. These records come from a database at MyHeritage, citing Kansallisarkisto (National Archives of Finland), Helsinki.

France. Explore over half a million indexed records for Saône-et-Loire, Census, 1856, a complete indexing of the population censuses.

Italy. The Salerno, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1806-1949 collection includes civil registration (stato civile) records of births, marriages, and deaths within the custody of the State Archive of Salerno (Archivio di Stato di Salerno). Almost 6 million images are in this collection, and availability of records is largely dependent on time period and locality.

South Africa. Lastly, this collection of Pietermaritzburg Estate Files 1846-1950 is also new at FamilySearch. Records include death notices, vital records, wills, distribution accounts, and succession duty accounts.

Need help using FamilySearch? The Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org by Dana McCullough provides the guidance you need to discover your ancestors and make the most of the free site’s valuable resources. Learn how to maximize all of FamilySearch.org’s research tools–including hard-to-find features–to extend your family tree in America and the old country.

PERSI update at Findmypast

The Periodical Source Index (also known as PERSI) has had another large update at Findmypast. Almost 11,000 new articles and 30,000 new images have been added, covering Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Toronto, and Yorkshire. PERSI is an excellent resource for discovering articles, photos, and other material you probably won’t find using conventional online search methods.

Click here to learn more about PERSI for genealogy research. Genealogy Gems Premium Members can also check out Premium Podcast episode #135 for more tips on PERSI (sign-in required). Not a Premium Member? Click here to get started!

Canada – New & Updated Collections

From Libraries and Archives Canada: Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Personnel Service Files. “As of today, 502,740 of the 640,000 files are available online in our Personnel Records of the First World War database…Library and Archives Canada is digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order.”

Ancestry.com updated two of their collections for Canada this week: Ontario, The Ottawa Journal (Birth, Marriage, and Death Notices) 1885-1980 and the Canada Obituary Collection, 1898-2017. Both of these collections come from microfilmed copies of the newspapers.

England Registrations

Recently announced on Twitter: “The General Register Office for England and Wales (GRO) is piloting a service from 12 October 2017 to provide portable document format (PDF) copies of digitized historical birth and death records. The pilot will run for a minimum of 3 months to enable GRO to assess the demand for this service over a prolonged period.” England and Wales records which are available as PDFs in this extended pilot include births (1837 –1916) and deaths (1837 –1957).

Ireland: Historical Newspaper

A new historical newspaper title was added to the British Newspaper Archive this week for Northern Ireland. The Coleraine Chronicle 1844-1910 was published by Alpha Newspaper Group in Coleraine, Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The collection features nearly 3,500 issues and over 26,000 pages.

genealogy giants quick reference guide cheat sheetGet the most out of your genealogy records websites subscriptions!

Use the jammed-packed Genealogy Giants cheat sheet by Sunny Morton to quickly and easily compare all of the most important features of the four biggest international genealogy records membership websites: Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com. Then consult it every time your research budget, needs or goals change. Tables, bulleted lists, and graphics make this guide as easy to use as it is informative. Available in print or digital download.

Disclosure: This post 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 the free Genealogy Gems podcast and blog!

Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 151

In Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 151, Lisa Louise Cooke shares tips for combing census records for an entire town. Learn how Google searches can help translate genealogy documents. Listen to the Book Club interview with Helene Stapinski (Murder in Matera) on researching Italian ancestors.

In Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 151, host and producer Lisa Louise Cooke brings together several voices to share their family history research questions, stories, and expertise. She kicks off the episode with a tasty morsel from a recently-digitized local history archive: a collection of old cookbooks! After she whets your appetite for ancestral discoveries, she’ll guide you through a feast of inspiring segments. Here are my favorites:

3 Things to Love in Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 151

1. Google translation tips. Lisa invited Katherine Schober, a German-language translator, to share some of the ways she uses Google to help with tricky translation tasks. Her ideas go way beyond Google Translate! Learn how she skillfully plays to Google’s searching strengths when she can’t make out a particular letter or word, or when an unfamiliar surname or place name appears. (Click here to read Katherine’s recent guest post on her favorite German translation websites.)

2. Genealogy Gems Book Club interview. Journalist Helene Stapinski joins the show to talk about writing Murder in Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family and Forgiveness in Southern Italy. In this family history memoir, Helene travels to Italy and back–and then again–in an effort to learn the truth behind an old family legend that her Italian immigrant ancestor was involved in a murder.

3. A “bigger picture” census strategy. Lisa addresses an interesting question from a Premium listener. How can you review census entries for an entire neighborhood or town? She explains why you’d do that and a few ideas for learning about your ancestors’ neighbors. Then she even throws in an extra bit of advice from census data guru Stephen Morse (of One-Step Webpages fame).

About the Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast

The Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast is a monthly podcast available to Genealogy Gems Premium members. For one low annual price, you get 24/7 access to the entire Premium Podcast archive and new monthly episodes. Tune in while you drive, workout, do household chores and more! Your Premium membership also gives you access to over 40 exclusive video classes, too. Click here to learn more about Premium membership.

New Online! English Genealogy Records and More

English genealogy records abound in this week’s roundup of new family history records online. Find England BMD, parish records, newspapers, and more. Also: an important addition to the British Newspaper Archive’s Irish newspaper collection,  over 1,000 years of Chinese documents and records, German vital records, parish records for Italy and Sweden, and new US collections for VA, OH and NY.
headed to England for genealogy records

English Genealogy Records Now Online

Ancestry.com subscribers can now search these English genealogy record collections:

          • Bedfordshire Petty Sessions 1854-1915 This collection includes details of over 100,000 individuals involved in petty session hearings in Befordshire. Details for each individual may include name, role in the case, date of the hearing, location of the court, and even the fines or punishments given to the defendant(s).
          • Bedfordshire Valuation Records 1838-1929 These records deal solely with the value of properties in Bedfordshire county. The volumes name the proprietor or tenant, describe or name the property and give an annual rental value. It will also sometimes give an acreage for the property.
          • Bedfordshire Land Tax Records 1797-1832 Details found within this collection include may include year of residence, name of occupier, name of owner, and parish of residence.
          • Shropshire Extracted Church of England Parish Records, 1538-1812. This collection of indexes is taken from various published versions of parish and probate records from Shropshire, England dating from the early 1500s (with some non-parish records earlier) to the late 1800s. “The records include baptisms/christenings, burials, marriages, tombstone inscriptions, obituaries, tax lists, wills, and other miscellaneous types of records,” states the collection description. “Also included are some records from non-conformist churches.”

At FamilySearch.org, you can now search a free collection of Staffordshire Church Records. In partnership with Findmypast’s expansion of Staffordshire records, this collection provides church records from 1538-1944. Nearly 5 million indexed records and over 278,000 images are included.

Over at Findmypast, subscribers can now search extensive new collections for Buckinghamshire. (The original records are held at the Buckinghamshire Archives.) New databases include:
          • Buckinghamshire Baptism Index 870,000 transcripts created from original records held at the Buckinghamshire Archives. You will also discover your ancestor’s birthplace, the date of the baptism, their father’s occupation and residence.
          • Buckinghamshire Banns Index Explore 101,000 records created from original parish registers and bishop’s transcripts. “Each transcript will reveal the name of your ancestor’s intended spouse, the couple’s residence, the dates the announcements were read and their intended date of marriage.”
          • Buckinghamshire Marriage Index Over 485,000 transcripts “will reveal the couple’s birth years, marital status, occupation, date of marriage, place of marriage, residence, occupation, father’s names, father’s occupations and the names of any witnesses.”
          • Buckinghamshire Burial Index More than 662,000 transcripts are included, created from original parish registers and bishop’s transcripts. “Each record will reveal your ancestor’s birth year, age at death, burial date, and residence. An archive reference is also included, allowing you to locate a copy of the original document.”

British and Irish Newspapers Now Online

Over 2.3 million new articles and 7 brand new titles have been added to the British Newspaper Archive’s collection of historic newspapers this month. New titles now available to search include:

  • Tenby Observer
  • Brechin Herald
  • Milngavie and Bearsden Herald
  • Alcester Chronicle
  • Abergavenny Chronicle
  • Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press
  • Eastern Daily Press and the Colchester Gazette

Click here to explore these and other historic British Newspapers.

More than 5,000 pages from the Leitrim Advertiser have been added to Irish newspapers at the British Newspaper Archive. From the description: “The paper was originally published in Mohill, Leitrim and known in later years and The Leitrim and Longford Advertiser.” The earliest issue dates back to 1886, through 1916. With this addition, the British Newspaper Archive now has a newspaper for every county in Ireland!

German Births and Deaths: Bischofswerda

Ancestry.com has added new collections for Bischofswerda births (1876-1902) and deaths (1876-1951). Bischofswerda is located about 22 miles east of Dresden at the edge of Upper Lusatia in the German state of Saxony. To local residents, it is also known as “Schiebock” and known for its large historic market square and town hall.

Italian civil registration: Padova

FamilySearch has published 42,000 newly indexed records and images in its free collection, Civil Registration Records: Padova 1621 – 1914. From the collection description: “Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths within the custody of the State Archive of Padova. Includes supplemental documents, residency records, ten-year indexes, and marriage banns. Availability of records is largely dependent on time period and locality.”

Swedish Household Examination Books

Also at FamilySearch are 1 million indexed records and images for Swedish Household Examination Books 1880-1920. According to the collection, “Each year until 1894 the Parish Priest would visit each home in the parish and test each individual’s knowledge of the catechisms. In addition, they would collect birth, death, and marriage dates as well as where families had moved to or from and when, etc. The priest would then come back each year and update or edit the information from the previous year and note any changes in the population of the home.” (These are also online at MyHeritage.com.) Click here to read a great article for getting started on your Swedish genealogy.

Chinese Records at the Library of Congress

An exciting announcement from the Library of Congress this week! “The contents of the Asian Division’s Pre-1958 Chinese Collection, totaling more than 42,000 items, are now fully searchable through the Library’s online catalog in both Chinese characters and Romanized script. This rich and diverse collection has served researchers and general audiences for nearly 90 years; until now, however, bibliographic records for these materials were only available through a card catalog.”

United States

New York. The Vassar College Digital Newspaper Archive is now available online. Provided by the Vassar College Libraries, this archive provides access to newspapers published by Vassar College students. Earliest issues date back to 1872, and cover a wide range of topics and events on and off campus. This collection currently contains over 85,000 pages.

Ohio. New at Ancestry this week are Ohio Soldier Grave Registrations, 1804-1958. This database contains grave registration cards for soldiers from Ohio who served in the armed forces, mainly from the time of the War of 1812 up through the 1950s. Records may contain an individual’s name, date and place of birth, date and cause of death, location of burial, next of kin, military service information, and more.

Also in Ohio, Kent State University has completed the digital Daily Kent Stater Archive. It contains 90 years of Kent State student publications, dated from Feb 1926 to Dec 2016. According to the press release, “it covers several historic events as well as some great memories for the Kent State alumnae.” Check out the introductory video!
Virginia. Two million pages of the Newport News Daily Press are now searchable on , with issues dating back to 1898.

Did you know? You can search the Genealogy Gems website for articles about your favorite genealogy categories–including records and research tips for several countries and ethnicities. Go to our home page and click on the dropdown menu under What do you want to learn about? Scroll down to see the various categories or start typing a few letters to jump down to that part of the alphabetical list.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links. Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

Free Genealogy Records from Around the World: Newly Online!

Free genealogy records, newly available online, may be able to take you around your ancestor’s world! This week’s record destinations include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, France, Italy, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Russia, and South Africa.

Civil registration records–key genealogical resources–from several countries are among the free new family history records online in recent days and weeks. But you’ll also find probate records, church records, military personnel records, and even a digital archive meant to preserve ancient aboriginal languages. Which might mention your ancestors?

Argentina

Over 100,000 indexed names have been added to FamilySearch’s free collection, Argentina, Entre Ríos, Catholic Church Records, 1764-1983. According to a collection description, it includes “baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials for cities in the province of Entre Ríos.”

Australia

An exciting new Australian website houses a digital archive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language materials. It includes texts, audio, video, and ebooks about Australia’s First Nations languages. The hope of the site is to be a digital repository for gathering, preserving, and sharing materials that in effect preserve these languages and revitalize their use. The site managers will continue to work with partners to bring more content to the site. Click here to read more about the site’s launch, and click here to access it directly.

Belgium

Two free Belgian civil registration collections at FamilySearch.org have been updated:

Both of these collections are comprised of civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths from the Belgium National Archives, as well as marriage proclamations, marriage supplements, and some original indexes. Additional images will be added as they become available.

Brazil

Several free Brazilian genealogy records collections have been updated at FamilySearch.org. Among them are the following:

Bolivia

Over 300,000 indexed names have been added to FamilySearch.org’s enormous free collection of Bolivia Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996. The collection hosts over 1.5 million digitized images of Catholic Church records created by parishes in Bolivia. “These records include: baptisms, confirmations, marriages, pre-marriage investigations, deaths, indexes and other 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.”

Canada

Library and Archives Canada continues to update its free Personnel Records of the First World War database. So far, the database includes “digitized files for many individuals of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and Newfoundland Forestry Corps (courtesy of the Rooms Provincial Archives).”

Newly digitized CEF files are added to the references every two weeks, states the collection’s landing page. To date, over 461,000 of an expected 640,000 files have been added. “Library and Archives Canada is digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order,” explains a blog post. “Please note that over the years, the content of some boxes has had to be moved and, you might find that the file you want, with a surname that is supposed to have been digitized, is now located in another box that has not yet been digitized.”

Chile

FamilySearch.org has updated its free collection, Chile Civil Registration, 1885-1903. These include “births, marriages, and deaths for various localities in Chile from 1885 to 1903. For a complete list of all the provincias and comunas included in this collection, see the Provinces of Chile – Civil Registration coverage table. Only records from a few localities have been indexed. More records and images will be added as they become available.” Need help reading these? FamilySearch suggests using this Spanish Genealogical Word List, which also links to other translation tools.

Dominican Republic

Over 175,00 indexed names have been added to FamilySearch’s free collection, Dominican Republic Civil Registration, 1801-2010. Spanning over 200 years, the collection includes images of births, marriages, and deaths as well as some divorces and indexes. “Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable as part of this collection,” states the collection description. “Additional images and indexed records will be published as they become available. These records were obtained from public access sources in the Dominican Republic.”

France

FamilySearch has updated its collection of indexed Catholic parish record images for Coutances et d’Avranche Diocese, 1533-1894. Baptisms, marriages, and burials are all included. “Parishes within this diocese are within the boundaries of the department of Manche,” states a collection description. “French commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL) does not allow publication of sensitive data below 150 years.”

Italy

FamilySearch continues to publish more Italian civil registration records! These are some of the latest:

Netherlands

Just shy of a million records have been added recently to FamilySearch’s free collection, Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Miscellaneous Records. “Archives around the Netherlands have contributed indexes which cover many record sources, such as civil registration, church records, emigration lists, military registers, and land and tax records,” says the collection description. “These records cover events like birth, marriage, death, burial, emigration and immigration, military enrollment and more. These indexes were originally collected, combined and published by OpenArchives.”

Nicaragua

There are now over two century’s worth of records in the free FamilySearch collection, Nicaragua Civil Registration, 1809-2013. It includes “births, marriages, deaths, and other records created by civil registration offices in various departments of Nicaragua.” Civil registration in Nicaragua didn’t begin until 1879, and it appears that most records in this collection date from that year or later.

Paraguay

Nearly 125,000 browse-only images have been added to FamilySearch.org’s free collection, Paraguay Miscellaneous Records, 1509-1977. According to the site, “These records include two complete collections: Sección Nueva Encuadernación (Rebinding Section) and Sección Propiedades y Testamentos (Properties and Wills Section). Copies of the original records are housed at the Archivo Nacional in Asunción, Paraguay. The “Propiedades y Testamentos” section can give a brief look at the personal wealth of clerics, economic bases of resident foreigners in Paraguay, or the fortunes of a given family over a period of time.”

Russia

FamilySearch.org has updated its free collection, Russia, Samara Church Books, 1779-1923.  It includes “images and partial index to records of births and baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials performed by priests of the Russian Orthodox Church in the province of Samara. These records were acquired from the state archive in that province.” Another brief statement in the collection description illustrates the incremental and ongoing nature of record additions to FamilySearch: “Currently this collection is 4% complete. Additional records will be added as they are completed.”

South Africa

Over 40,000 indexed records have been added to the free FamilySearch.org collection, South Africa, Transvaal, Probate Records from the Master of the Supreme Court, 1869-1958. The records are described simply as “probate records from the Master of the Supreme Court, Transvaal, South Africa. Original records are located in the Transvaal Archives Depot, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.

Spotlight on probate records

court record research wills probate records genealogyProbate records detailed the final settling of our ancestors’ financial assets. They often contain rich genealogical information and interesting insights into a person’s life. They are among the many records you might find at courthouses and government archives. More U.S. probate records are coming online (click here to learn more), but even if you have to visit a courthouse yourself or hire someone to do it for you, it’s often worth it. Click here to read why.

Thanks for sharing this post with those who will want to know about these free genealogy records online!

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