The following press release from the ISGS is a wonderful example of the generosity and caring of the genealogy community:
December 11, 2012 – Springfield, IL. The Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) is proud to announce that it has completed its recently launched $10,000 War of 1812 Pension Match Challenge with strong support from ISGS members as well as the genealogical community.
On June 18, 2012, the 200th anniversary of the declaration of the War of 1812, ISGS announced its $10,000 War of 1812 Pension Match Challenge. ISGS made a commitment to match any contribution (up to the first $10,000) made to the Preserve the Pensions project before December 31, 2012. In addition, Ancestry.com announced that it would also match all monies donated during the campaign, resulting in all contributions being quadrupled. A total of $40,000 to be donated to the Preserve the Pensions project will result in 88,888 additional pages of the War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files being digitized over the next few months.
The Preserve the Pensions campaign (http://www.preservethepensions.org), sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (http://www.fgs.org) along with Ancestry.com, Fold3 and the National Archives, seeks to raise over $3.7 Million needed to digitize the War of 1812 pension files that are currently stored in the National Archives and make them freely available online. With over 180,000 Pension files in this historic record set and over 7.2 million pages, access to these records will benefit not only genealogists and family historians, but a variety of researchers. In addition, the digitization project will help preserve and halt further damage to these historical documents. The files are being digitized as funds become available and many files are already viewable by visiting http://go.fold3.com/1812pensions/.
ISGS President Jane Haldeman notes: “The ISGS board made a strong commitment to the preservation of the War of 1812 Pension Records when it issued the fundraising challenge earlier this year. ISGS thanks all who contributed, especially those members of the genealogy community who are not members of ISGS. Digitizing these records will benefit ALL genealogists and hopefully result in more people locating information about their ancestors.”
In December the genealogy records website Findmypast.com released new and exclusive historical records that highlight significant life events of the past. According to the the company, more than 40 million new records are included. Here are all the details from their press release:
LOS ANGELES (Dec. 17, 2012) – …“The number of records released offers findmypast.com’s users a staggering amount of new data, ranging from exclusive United Kingdom records from as early as 1790 to modern-day vital records from the United States that will add new layers of information for researchers,” said D. Joshua Taylor, lead genealogist for findmypast.com, “Findmypast.com is constantly expanding our collections with thousands of new records being added each month. Moving into 2013, we look forward to increasing our record offerings to include rarer, more exclusive materials, in our dedication to provide the most comprehensive family history resource available.”
Many of the new records that can only be accessed through findmypast.com offer a unique glimpse into history. The Harold Gillies Plastic Surgery set, dating back to World War I, contains fascinating records of some of the world’s first restorative plastic surgery, while the White Star Line Officers’ Books include officer records from the Titanic.
Newly added employment and institutional records including the records of the Merchant Navy Seaman (aka the Merchant Marines) provide unique color to family history that can’t be created from just names and dates. Other record sets include probates and wills, such as the Cheshire Wills and Probates, which often offer crucial clues to link North American family trees back to the United Kingdom.
The full set of exclusive records recently released by findmypast.com includes:
United Kingdom Court & Probate
· Cheshire Wills and Probate
· Suffolk Beneficiary Index
United Kingdom Education & Work
· Cheshire Workhouse Records, Admissions and Discharges
· Cheshire Workhouse Records, Religious Creeds
· Derbyshire Workhouse Records
· Match Workers Strike
· White Star Line Officers’ Books
United Kingdom Military
· Army List, 1787
· Army List, 1798
· British Officers taken Prisoners of War, 1914-1918
· De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honor
· Grenadier Guards, 1656
· Harold Gillies Plastic Surgery – WWI
· Harts Army List, 1840
· Harts Army List, 1888
· Manchester Employee’s Roll of Honor, 1914-1916
· Merchant Navy Seamen (aka Merchant Marines)
· Napoleonic War Records, 1775-1817
· WWI Naval Casualties
· Paddington Rifles
· Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 British Navy & Air Force Officers
· Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 Officers of Empire serving in British Army
· Royal Hospital, Chelsea: documents of soldiers awarded deferred pensions, 1838-1896 (WO 131)
· Royal Hospital, Chelsea: pensioners’ discharge documents 1760-1887, (WO 121)
· Royal Hospital, Kilmainham: pensioners’ discharge documents, 1773-1822 (known as WO 119 at the National Archives)
· Royal Navy Officers Medal Roll, 1914-1920
· War Office: Imperial Yeomanry, soldiers’ documents, South African War, 1899-1902 (WO 128)
· WWII POWs – British held in German Territories
In addition to the exclusive records sets, this recent release includes additional records from the United States, Australia and Ireland. An update to the World War I Draft Cards collection provides registrations and actual signatures of more than 11 million young Americans from the beginning of the twentieth century.
Additional records released include:
United States Military
· Japanese-Americans Relocated during WWII
· Korean War Casualty File
· Korean War Deaths
· Korean War Prisoners of War
· Korean War Prisoners of War (Repatriated)
· U.S. Army Casualties, 1961-1981
· Vietnam Casualties Returned Alive
· Vietnam War Casualties
· Vietnam War Deaths
· WWI Draft Cards
· WWII Prisoners of War
· Kentucky Birth Records, 1911-2007
· Kentucky Death Records Index, 1911-1999
· Kentucky Marriage Records Index, 1973-1999
· Texas Divorce Records Index, 1968-2010
· Texas Marriage Records, 1968-2010
· Northern Territory Anglican Baptisms and Confirmations, 1900-1947
Would you like to get better search results at the FamilySearch website? A new video from the folks at FamilySearch explains two new search functions that help you reach the genealogy records you are looking for while getting irrelevant results out of your way.
FamilySearch.org remains at the forefront of genealogy research and is constantly adding new digitized genealogical records to the free website. If you are new to researching your family history, it’s a site you will definitely want to book mark!
The video below show examples of the following two search improvements:
1. When searching FamilySearch’s online historical records collections, you can now restrict your search to a specific country or specific record type.
2. When searching the FamilySearch catalogue, you can now use multiple search parameters, rather than being limited to one as before.
Want to learn more about how to find your family history? The RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City is the place to be. I’ll be there presenting several sessions, there’s a new “Getting Started” track for beginners, and the expo hall will be bigger and better than ever. Visit the RootsTech website for all the details.
Imagine the thrill of pulling up a page on from an old newspaper on your computer screen and seeing your ancestor’s name in print. It’s an event any genealogist would enjoy (and the reason I wrote the book How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers.)
Findmypast.com just made the possibility of that happening a little more likely by adding more than 6 million pages from British newspapers to it’s subscription website. Here are all the details from their recent press release:
LOS ANGELES (Feb. 6, 2013) – Findmypast.com, an international leader in online family history, today announced the addition of more than 6 million pages from British newspapers, including original images, to its extensive historical records collection. The British newspapers include local and regional titles from England, Scotland and Wales from 1700 to 1950, and encompass nearly 200 titles. The British newspapers are part of an exclusive partnership with the British Library to digitize 50 million pages over the next 10 years.
With this new addition, findmypast.com World Subscribers will have access to all of the records and articles they need to research their family tree in one website. Throughout the next 10 years, approximately 8,000 new pages will be digitized every day and every new addition will be included in existing subscriptions.
“This incredible collection of British newspapers breathes life into the past, from local happenings to events of international importance. Each page provides a unique look into the lives of our ancestors – how they lived, worked and died – through notices of vital events and daily activities,” said D. Joshua Taylor, lead genealogist for findmypast.com. “The collection is truly unique with its extensive number of local and regional newspapers each containing intricate details from the lives of our millions of British ancestors.”
The British have always had a particularly voracious appetite for newspapers, especially during the 19th century when nearly every town in the country had its own newspaper. From the man who decided to walk around the world in an iron mask to the coronation of Queen Victoria, British newspapers have captured every aspect of people’s lives.