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!

New Digital Archives for Genealogy

Do you use digital archives in your genealogy research? You should! Check out these new digital archives relating to notable women in the U.S. and Sweden; Scottish WWI hospital records; the WWI Armenian genocide; Ohio; Irish-Americans; and African-American military service. Bonus: we also provide quick links to new archives for Kansas in WWI; historic Montana; post-WWII Manchester, England; vintage Tacoma, WA; and colonial Florida.

New digital archives: genealogy treasures

Irish-American resources at the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress announced recently on its blog the release of a new guide to researching the Irish-American experience and new images in its “Free to Use and Reuse” archive. The latter features “sets of themed content: travel posters, presidential portraits, Civil War drawings and all manner of dogs,” explains the article. “All the sets highlighted in the archive—and these are just a few examples—are fee to use and reuse, meaning there are no known copyright restrictions associated with the content, and you can do whatever you want with it.” New content comes from various Library of Congress collections relating to folklife, maps, music and prints/photographs.

Women’s obituary collection in the New York Times. “Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now, we’re adding the stories of remarkable women.” So states the home page of Overlooked, a new obituary collection at the New York Times website. The site goes on to explain how they will be adding belated obituaries—short biographical sketches—of women and others whose lives deserve recognition. You can read about many, search them and even suggest nominees for the series.

Oral history archive of Armenian genocide. The USC Shoah Foundation “has received one of the largest collections of testimonies from survivors of the Armenian Genocide” of World War I, PR Newswire recently reported. More than 1,000 oral history interviews comprise this collection. Only a small number appear online presently; more will be added as the files are digitally remastered and indexed. Click here to learn more about this collection.

Biographies of notable Swedish women. The Chicago Evening Post reported recently on a new online biographical dictionary of women in Swedish history. The site itself is Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexicon (it does have an English-language home page). Its home page encourages visitors to “Read up on 1,000 Swedish women from the Middle Ages to the present day. Use the search function to reveal what these women got up to, how they were educated, which organisations they belonged to, where they travelled, what they achieved, and much more. All of them contributed in a significant way to the development of Swedish society.” According to the Chicago Evening Post, the current collection of 1,000 biographical sketches will soon double (at least).

Scottish WWI hospital admissions. The records of a hospital that treated WWI wounded have been digitized and put online. “Erskine Hospital [in Renfrewshire, Scotland] – then called the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers – was set up in 1916 to treat soldiers who had suffered the loss of a limb during the war,” explains an article at BT.com. The original leather-bound admissions registers from 1916-1939 have been digitized and placed online at Erskine.org. In many cases, not just admissions are recorded, but patients’ progress, prosthetic fittings and other long-term care details.

Ohio Digital Network Collections. The State Library of Ohio recently announced that “over 90,000 new materials from Ohio Digital Network are now discoverable in Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).” Several institutions have partnered to contribute content, including the State Library of Ohio, Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK), Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN), and Ohio History Connection [the state historical society). “The Ohio Digital Network builds on strong digital collection efforts across the state including Ohio Memory and the Ohio Digitization Hubs project. Click here to start exploring Ohio Digital Network collections.

Digital archive of African-American military service. The Library of Congress has also launched the William A. Gladstone Afro-American Military Collection, named for a historian and author of books about black Civil War troops. According to the site, “The collection spans the years 1773 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from the Civil War period, 1861–65. The collection consists of correspondence, pay vouchers, orders, muster rolls, enlistment and discharge papers, receipts, contracts, affidavits, tax records, miscellaneous military documents and printed matter. Most items document African-Americans in military service, especially the United States Corps d’Afrique and the United States Colored Troops, which were organized during the Civil War. Also included are many documents concerning slavery and various other Civil War documents that mention African-Americans.”

More digital archives for genealogy: quick links

These smaller collections are more specific, so they won’t apply to as many of you. But if they DO apply, they may reveal unique family stories or documents.

Didn’t find anything here that applies to your family history? Let the diverse topics and record types in these collections inspire your searches for similar items about your relatives.

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 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.

Mayflower Ancestors and More in New Genealogy Records Online

Discover your Mayflower ancestors–or more about your family history from around the world–in new and updated genealogy records online. Among them are the Welsh National Book of Remembrance for WWI and various records for Indiana, Massachusetts, Montana, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden and Venezuela. Also: all Missouri adoptees may now order original birth certificates.

United States: Discover Your Mayflower Ancestors

In anticipation of the 2020 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (aka AmericanAncestors.org) has launched a new website, Mayflower 2020. This interactive website features the world’s first online gathering of Mayflower descendants, along with in-depth information about Mayflower passengers and their family trees, resources for finding Mayflower ancestors, and information on “Mayflower 2020” announcements and events.

The National Library of Wales has published online the Welsh National Book of Remembrance for the First World War. According to the NLW website, the book “contains the names of 35,000 servicemen and women, as well as members of Welsh Regiments, who lost their lives in the First World War. These individuals are listed according to regiment and battalion alongside the names of those who might well have died alongside them.” The original gilded volume contains about 1,100 pages of names, with about 40 names scripted in calligraphy on each page. The commemorative book was created as a “roll of honor” and companion to the Welsh National War Memorial in Cathays Park, Cardiff, which doesn’t include names of the deceased on it. Search or browse the gorgeous volume at the National Library of Wales digital archive.

U.S. state-level genealogy collections

Indiana. Over a million records appear in MyHeritage’s new collection, Indiana Newspapers, 1847-2009. According to MyHeritage, “This collection is a compendium of newspapers published in various cities and towns in the state of Indiana from the 1840s until 2009. Newspapers are an important resource for genealogy and family history research as they contain obituaries and other vital record substitutes such as birth, marriage, and death notices. Additionally, society pages and stories of local interest contain rich information on activities and events in the community and often provide details about the persons involved.”

Massachusetts. New at AmericanAncestors.org is Suffolk County, MA: Probate File Papers, with nearly 22,000 Suffolk County probate cases (1630-1800). According to the site, “The probate cases include wills, guardianships, administrations, and various other types of probate records. The complete Suffolk County File Papers collection will eventually cover cases 1-94,757, which includes all years through 1892. The cases are indexed chronologically, which allows us to present them in sections while digital photography occurs. Photography is expected to continue through 2020. We will add cases as they become available.”

Missouri. A new Missouri law, the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, now gives all adoptees access to their original birth certificates. Adoptees born prior to 1941 were already eligible to request copies of their original birth certificates as of mid-2016. On January 1, 2018, this right was extended to adoptees born in or after 1941. According to a local news report, the state representative behind the new law, Don Phillips, is himself an adoptee and was among the first to receive a copy of his own certificate when the new rules went into effect recently. If you would like to order a non-certified copy of an original birth certificate from the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records, click here to fill out the online application.

Montana. Ancestry.com has published Montana Birth Records, 1897-1919. The collection includes birth certificates that typically include the following information: name, gender and race of child; date and place of birth; and parents’ names, ages and birthplaces.

Free on FamilySearch: More global genealogical records

FamilySearch is always free, so take a quick peek at the newly-indexed names added to the following collections. Maybe your ancestors’ names have finally appeared!

Ireland. Look up your Irish ancestors in Ireland Civil Registration, 1845-1913. More than 653,000 names have been added.

New Zealand. Nearly a million indexed names have been added to New Zealand, Civil Records Indexes, 1800-1966. Search this index to official government records of births, marriages and deaths. Tip: see the collection description for important information about ordering copies of original records.

Sweden. Over 36 million indexed names have been added to a mammoth collection of digitized record images in Sweden, Household Examination Books, 1880 – 1920.  Other Sweden collections have been updated at FamilySearch, as well: Sweden, Göteborg och Bohus Church Records, 1577-1932; index 1659-1860, Sweden, Kopparberg Church Records, 1604-1900; index 1628-1860 and Sweden, Västernorrland Church Records, 1501-1940; index 1650-1860.

Venezuela. Nearly 800,000 indexed names have been added to Venezuela, Archdiocese of Mérida, Catholic Church Records, 1654-2015. These parish or diocesan records include “baptisms, confirmations, parish censuses, marriages, pre-marriage investigations, marriage dispensations, deaths, and indexes.”

Get the most out of FamilySearch.org

Of all the “Genealogy Giants” we cover in-depth here at Genealogy Gems, FamilySearch is the only one that’s totally free. It’s also an enormous site with multiple places to search for your ancestors’ names in old records and even additional resources for finding offsite or even offline records you want. So it’s worth a little investment to learn how to use FamilySearch effectively. For that, we recommend Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org by Dana McCullough. In it, you’ll find step-by-step strategies for searching their millions of historical records and family trees, and how to maximize all the site’s valuable resources.

Sunny Morton

Sunny Morton

Sunny Morton is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast. She’s especially 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 latest favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club. Sunny is also a Contributing Editor at Family Tree Magazine and the NGS-award-winning Co-Editor of Ohio Genealogy News.

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!

Listen to Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode #210

with Lisa Louise Cooke

In this episode:

  • You’ve heard of “burned counties,” a phrase used to describe places where courthouse fires or other disasters have destroyed key genealogy records? In this episode, a listener presents the problem of her burned city?Chicago.
  • Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard shares some of the latest buzz about DNA health reports you can get with your DNA tests for family history?and some opinions about them
  • News from the Genealogy Gems Book Club
  • Get-started Swedish genealogy tips from Legacy Tree Genealogist Paul Woodbury
  • The Archive Lady Melissa Barker shines the spotlight on archival collections that haven’t even been processed yet (and suggestions for getting to them)
  • Five years away from the release of the 1950 US census, Lisa has tips on researching your family in the 1940s and preparing for its release

MAILBOX: GEMS FOR YOU AND YOUR SOCIETY

   

Gail mentioned the free step-by-step Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast

Great news! Your genealogy society or group may reprint articles from Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems blog! Click here to learn more.

MAILBOX: GENEALOGY GEMS BOOK CLUB

    

Shannon by Frank Delaney and Ireland by Frank Delaney
(Thank you for supporting the free podcast by using our links to get your copies of these books.)

Book Club Guru Sunny Morton recommends the novels of Frank Delaney, beginning with Shannon (and now she’s reading Ireland). Frank is a master storyteller, and family history themes wind throughout his stories. Tip: he narrates his audiobooks himself. They are well worth listening to! But they’re so beautifully written Sunny is buying them in print, too.

MAILBOX: THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE

   

Resource: Newspapers.com

“Burned county” research tips

Sam Fink’s list (an index of Cook County marriages and deaths)

Recommended:

Family History Podcast episode #37: “I discussed a book specifically on Chicago research: Finding Your Chicago Ancestors: A Beginners Guide To Family History In The City Of Chicago by Grace DuMelle. As I recall, it was a very comprehensive book and could give you good leads on where to look.”

How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers by Lisa Louise Cooke

Premium Podcast Episode 143: Johnstown Flood story

Premium Podcast episode 145: Eastland disaster story and tips on researching disasters in your family history

Fire, Flood or Earthquake? 5 Tips for Researching Disasters in Your Family History (includes mention of GenDisasters)

Lisa Louise Cooke uses and recommends RootsMagic family history software. From within RootsMagic, you can search historical records on FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com and MyHeritage.com. RootsMagic is now fully integrated with Ancestry.com: you can sync your RootsMagic trees with your Ancestry.com trees and search records on the site.

Keep your family history research, photos, tree software files, videos and all other computer files safely backed up with Backblaze, the official cloud-based computer backup system for Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems. Learn more at https://www.backblaze.com/Lisa.

ARCHIVE LADY: UNPROCESSED RECORDS

As an archivist, working in an archive every day, I get very excited when someone walks through the door with a records donation in hand. Many of our archives would not have the genealogical and historical records they have without the generosity of others that make records donations. Archives receive donations of documents, photographs, ephemera, and artifacts almost on a daily basis.

Many archives have back rooms full of unprocessed and uncatalogued records collections. Sometimes they are even sitting in the original boxes they were donated. These records collections have not been microfilmed, they are not online anywhere but they exist and the genealogist needs to seek them out.

  

Images courtesy of Melissa Barker and Houston County, TN Archives.

Many times record collections haven’t even been processed yet but the archivist might let you look through a specific collection. Be prepared, sometimes the archivist doesn’t allow patrons to view unprocessed collections. But like I always say “It doesn’t hurt to ask!” The archivist should know what they have in those collections and should be able to help you decide if a particular collection will be of help to you and your genealogy research.

The answer to your genealogical question could be sitting in a box of unprocessed records. I like to always encourage genealogists to put “unprocessed records” on their to-do list. As genealogists, we should leave no stone or box of records, unturned.

DNA WITH DIAHAN: MORE DNA HEALTH REPORTS

Recently, Family Tree DNA offered its customers a new $49 add-on product: a wellness report that promises to “empower you to make more informed decisions about your nutrition, exercise, and supplementation.” The report comes via a partnership with Vitagene, a nutrigenomics company.

How does it work? When you order the report, Family Tree DNA shares the results of your Family Finder test with Vitagene and gives you a lifestyle questionnaire. According to the site, “this information, along with your DNA raw data results, will be analyzed using the latest research available in the areas of nutrition, exercise, and genomics. You can expect your results to be available on your dashboard within one week of purchase.”

At this point, the test is only available to those who have taken the Family Tree DNA Family Finder DNA test (we called to check with them specifically about those who transfer their DNA to Family Tree DNA, but the Wellness Report isn’t available to them, either). Those who qualify will see a Wellness Report upgrade option on their Family Tree DNA dashboard:

There are several components to the Family Tree DNA and Vitagene Wellness Report. The site describes them as follows:

Nutrition Report. “Personalized, actionable recommendations designed to help you reach your weight goals. Learn how your DNA affects traits such as obesity risk, emotional eating, weight regain after dieting, and more. Included Reports:  Obesity Risk, Alcohol Metabolism, Cholesterol Levels, Triglyceride Levels, Lactose Sensitivity, Gluten Sensitivity, Emotional Eating, Weight Regain After Dieting, Fat Intake, Sodium Intake.”

Exercise Report. “Outlines the optimal physical activities for your body to start seeing better results, faster. Included Reports: Power and Endurance Exercise, Muscle Strength, Muscle Cramps, Exercise Behavior, Blood Pressure Response to Exercise, Weight Response to Exercise.”

Supplementation Report. “Reveals which deficiencies you are more inclined to suffer from and recommends a supplement regimen that will help keep you healthy and feeling 100%. Included Reports: Full Supplementation Regimen, Vitamin D Intake, Vitamin A Intake, Folate Intake, Vitamin B12 Intake, Iron Intake.”

And what about your privacy? According to Family Tree DNA’s Q&A, “Your data is 100% secure and protected by industry standard security practices. We will not share your information without your explicit consent.”

This is just one of many services that are cropping up or will crop up in the future to offer additional interpretations of our DNA test results. (23andMe was the first major company in the genealogy space to offer these. Click here to read about their health reports, and click here and here to read about the company’s long road to FDA approval.)

Essentially, each DNA test you do for family history looks at a certain number of your SNPs, or little pieces of DNA (not your entire genome, which is costly and isn’t necessary for genetic genealogy purposes). A nutrigenomic profile compares your SNPs with SNPs known to be associated with various conditions or ailments. (These genetic markers have been identified by researchers, many in academia, and deposited in ClinVar, a large, publicly-accessible database that itself is part of an even larger genetic database, SNPedia.) In this case of Vitagene, they are likely mining ClinVar for specific places in your DNA that pertain to nutrition, and were also evaluated as part of the Family Finder test.

Of course, many factors affect your health, nutrition, exercise capacity, and other wellness indicators, not just your genes. The purpose of reports like these is to give you just one more piece of information to weigh personally or with your health care provider.

When considering whether to purchase a nutrigenomics report such as this, I’d look carefully at what’s promised in the report, as well as the company providing it and the cost. Vitagene does also sell vitamin supplements, so they have a clear motivation to tell you about what supplements to take. And, for your information, Vitagene also offers this $49 health report for AncestryDNA and 23andMe customers.

Of course, if it is health advice you want, for only $5 you can turn to Promethease.com and receive a health report?based on any testing company’s autosomal DNA report?that includes some nutritional factors. (I’ve blogged recently about Promethease and another inexpensive recommendation for DNA health reports. Click here to read it!) Or, I will just tell you right now, for free, without even looking at your DNA: Exercise more and eat more green vegetables and less ice cream. There. I just saved you some money. You’re welcome.

GEM: COUNTDOWN TO THE 1950 CENSUS: 5 TIPS

Get a copy of a census record for yourself or a relative (1950-2010). This costs $65 per person, per census year. In addition to genealogy uses, census records are legally-recognized documents to prove your identity, citizenship or age if you’re applying for a passport and you’ve lost your birth certificate or other situations like that. Order it through the “Age Search Service” offered through the US Census Bureau.

Video tutorial: How to obtain a copy of your census record

Find your family in all possible records before and during WWII

City directories, WWII draft registrations, military yearbooks, the US Public Records Index, military enlistments, and even alien registrations or internment camp records for foreign-born residents during WWII.

WWII-era newspapers: Searching for coverage

Finding family history in WWII-era newspapers: Narrowing the results

5 places to find city directories:

“U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995” at Ancestry.com (subscription required)

City Directories of the United States

Library of Congress

WorldCat.org to see holdings at different libraries (may require copy service request, since originals may not circulate through interlibrary loan)

Local public libraries/societies

Find your family in all possible records AFTER the war

City directories, yearbooks, deeds, divorce records (the divorce rate went up after WWII)

Post-WWII draft registrations: Click here to order copies of draft registration records for men born 1897-1957. Requires full name of applicant, address at time of registration (tip: get it from a city directory).

Help create location tools for the 1950 US Census

Steve Morse’s “Project 1950

Google your family’s history during the 1940s and 1950s

Google Earth for Genealogy (FREE)

Premium video: Ultimate Google Search Strategies for the Family Historian

The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox 2nd ed, by Lisa Louise Cooke (there’s an entire chapter on YouTube)

Follow-up your discoveries with Google and YouTube search questions. Example: You find your grandmother working as a telephone operator in the 1940s in a city directory. What would her job have been like? Search YouTube:

YouTube videos on 1940s telephone operators

LEGACY TREE TIP: START YOUR SWEDISH GENEALOGY

     

Click here to read Paul Woodbury’s tips on the Genealogy Gems website.

PROFILE AMERICA: THE OPEN ROAD

“The busiest spot on the Pennsylvania Turnpike,” Library of Congress photograph; image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Click here to see full citation.

BONUS CONTENT for Genealogy Gems App Users

If you’re listening through the Genealogy Gems app, your bonus content for this episode is a lightning-quick tech tip from Lisa Louise Cooke on how to undo that last browser you just closed and didn’t mean to! The Genealogy Gems app is FREE in Google Play and is only $2.99 for Windows, iPhone and iPad users

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Lisa Louise Cooke, Host and Producer
Sunny Morton, Editor
Diahan Southard, Your DNA Guide, Content Contributor
Hannah Fullerton, Audio Editor
Lacey Cooke, Service Manager

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