We Dig These Gems! New Genealogy Records Online

We dig these gemsEvery Friday, we blog about new genealogy records online. Do any collections below relate to your family history? Please share with your genealogy buddies or with societies that might be interested!

ALABAMA MARRIAGES. Over 700,000 indexed records and accompanying images were added to FamilySearch’s free collection of Alabama county marriage records, 1809-1950. Click here for coverage and a description of the records.

DENMARK PROPERTY RECORDS. Nearly 1.4 million digitized images of deeds and mortgages for South Jutland, Denmark (1572-1928) are newly browsable for free at FamilySearch. Property owner and resident, land transfer dates, and other details of land transactions may be noted. The records are in Danish; the collection description links to tips on reading them.

ENGLAND (STAFFORDSHIRE) PARISH RECORDS. Over 1.2 million records were added to Findmypast’s collection of Staffordshire, England parish registers, an ongoing project to put 6 million records online. Among these records are baptismsmarriagesmarriage banns (announcements of intentions to marry) and burials.

OKLAHOMA MAPS AND NEWSPAPERS. The Oklahoma Historical Society has scanned and placed online nearly 2000 maps from among its collection of more than 15,000 maps dating since 1820. Search their full catalog of maps (including Sanborn and other genealogically-helpful maps) here. Additionally, the Gateway to Oklahoma History provides free browsable access to a growing number of digitized newspaper pages from the 1840s to the 1920s.

sign up newsletterKeep up on new genealogy records available online by subscribing to our free weekly e-newsletter! You’ll receive a free e-book on Google search strategies for genealogy when you subscribe. Just enter your email address in the box on the upper right hand corner of this page. Thank you for sharing this page with anyone who will want to know about these records!

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We Dig These Gems! New Genealogy Records Online

We dig these gemsHere’s our weekly list of new genealogy records online. Do any collections below relate to your family history? Please share with your genealogy buddies or with societies that might be interested!

ITALY CIVIL REGISTRATION. Over a million total indexed Italian civil registrations have been added to FamilySearch for Bario, Caltanissetta, Genova, Mantova, Pesaro e Urbino and Pescara. See and search (for free) all available records here.

MEXICO CHURCH RECORDS. FamilySearch also just updated their Mexican church records by the millions, from Aguascalientes to Zacatecas. The biggest updates are for the Distrito Federal (Mexico City) and Pueblas. Search these here for free.

SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL RECORDS. Nearly 3 million indexed names have been added to this free collection at FamilySearch. According to the database description, “School records, including teacher’s term reports, school census and attendance records located at the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre. Records are generally arranged by county, year and school district number.” It looks like this is a work-in-progress and more indexed records will be added.

US ALIEN CASE FILES. Nearly half a million In 1940, immigrants in the U.S. who had not naturalized had to register and be finger printed. Case files resulted! Nearly a half million indexed records from all over the U.S. are part of this new FamilySearch collection. (Residents of Guam; Honolulu, Hawaii; Reno, Nevada; and San Francisco, California are not part of this collection.)

US CENSUS RECORDS. Updates, corrections and additions to their U.S. federal census collections have been posted recently by both FamilySearch (1790 and 1800) and Ancestry (1880 and 1920 as well as the 1850-1885 mortality schedules). No additional detail was provided about specific changes to the collections. We blogged a few months ago about why FamilySearch was re-indexing part of the 1910 census; read it here.

sign up newsletterSign up for our weekly newsletter, and this weekly round-up of major new record collections will be among the “gems” you find in it! With your sign-up, you’ll receive a free e-book on Google search strategies for genealogy. Simply enter your email address in the box in the upper right-hand corner of this page. Thank you for sharing this post with anyone else who will want to know about these records (and this weekly blog post.)

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Want to Help Index De-Classified CIA Records?

classifiedBy now, many of us have tried our hand at volunteer indexing and transcribing projects. We can index censuses, civil and church vital records, gravestone images, and more with FamilySearch, BillionGraves, Ancestry’s World Archives Project and even with individual archives like The Congregational Library.

What about de-classified CIA records and other government documents? Love letters between President Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson? These are among the indexing projects currently on the National Archives (US) Citizen Archivist dashboard.

“We have millions of pages of digitized records available in our online catalog,” says the Citizen Archivist website. “Transcription is an important way for us to improve search results and increase accessibility to our historical records. Your contributions make a big impact.” Other current projects include Confederate government papers, interviews relating to the September 11 terrorist attacks and letters to President Eisenhower about integrating schools.

These are all historically vital important records for the U.S. that may also shed light on our ancestors’ lives. My grandfather worked on classified government projects and I’m hoping to find his name in formerly “top secret” papers someday! Why not give it a try–index a batch of records through the National Archives Citizen Archivist project?

how to start a genealogy blogLearn more about inspiring genealogy volunteers on our blog! On the lower left side of the Genealogy Gems home page, click the category “Volunteer.” See what others do to help–and perhaps you’ll get inspired yourself!

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Premium Episode 120 – What’s New with Google

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership and Podcast

Download the Show Notes

In this episode we’ll be discussing what’s new in using Google for your genealogy online searches. And in the mailbox Lisa will talk with you about a new genealogy blog, getting your paper organized, how to find topics that interest you on the Genealogy Gems website, and her upcoming appearance at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree 2015.


Shelley has a new blog:
“Hi Lisa, I have listened to every podcast you record, read every blog you write, purchased every book you write, needless to say, I am a fan. I love the new book club and wanted to recommend a book. It is called A Secret Gift by Ted Gup. His web site is:


This book is wonderful and full of amazing stories. I HIGHLY recommend it.

I also wanted you to know you inspired me to start a family blog. It is called My Northern Ancestral Souls www.northernancestralsouls.blogspot.com check it out if you have time.

Thanks for all you do.

My answer:
You are so sweet! I’m thrilled that you are enjoying Genealogy Gems! And thank you for the book recommendation. We will definitely take a look at it.

Your blog is excellent. I really like your attention to storytelling, and the large photos with white space. Your approach makes it easy to read on a mobile device which is how everyone seems to reading blogs these days. I will be happy to give your blog a shout out on an upcoming episode.

Beth recently became a Genealogy Gems Premium Member. She writes:
“Thank you for your warm welcome. I look forward to viewing all the videos, especially as I signed up for the premium subscription. I do have one question.

In a few days, I will be helping my father ready his genealogy materials to be passed on. Do you have any suggestions or resources on how to organize everything? When I searched your site, I only came across digital organization tips. We need to deal with all his paper files first. Help!”

Answer: Premium Podcast episode 4 is titled “How to Save Your Research from Destruction” which is all about preparing to pass your materials on. There are free download documents available from that episode’s web page too.

Check out Premium Podcast episode 114. It’s devoted to paper organization.

On the Genealogy Gems homepage in the bottom left corner you can search blog posts by topic. “Preservation” might be worth taking a look at.

From MaryAnn:
I ordered your new book within a few days of your announcement that it could be pre-ordered. I started listening to your podcasts in early 2012, listening to the new ones and also working my way forward from the oldest ones then available. I learned so much from you on my then “long” seven mile commute to work. When I got through them all I went back and listened again, because they are all so interesting and your presentation is so, for want of a better word, friendly. I eventually joined the Premium group, too.

At first, when hearing your Google tips, I was really only interested in the search tips. I could even make use of them at work! By the time I wanted to start with some of the other things you were sharing about Google, they (Google) were starting to cut back. I had just started setting up my…dashboard? (I used it so briefly that I can’t even remember what it was called)…when you broke the news to your listeners that it was going to be dropped. About that same time, I had been going to order your Google Toolbox book but decided to wait because of all the changes. That’s why I was so thrilled when you announced that you’d been re-writing the book, that it would be released January 31, and that we could pre-order. Hurray! Now I could have a ready reference close at hand. After the holidays were over I started looking forward to the end of the month, and now it’s buy pain relief medication online nearly here!

Thank you, Lisa, for everything you teach your listeners (and readers, and viewers). I hope that one day I’ll have the opportunity to hear you in person. Now that, after three years of only working 30-32 hours a week jobs, I have a REAL full-time job (a trained secretary/admin asst., I am now working as a church receptionist…only bad thing is that this drive is just three miles, leaving less time to listen to you during the commute), maybe this year I will be able to go to the Jamboree. It would be perfect if you will be speaking there…extra incentive to take a day off work.

Answer: Congrats on the new job Mary Ann! And that Google dashboard was called iGoogle, and I still miss it, but thankfully there are tons of other great Google offerings to keep us productive. It felt great to get the book all updated and to have a chance to add all the new goodies.

And good news, I will be speaking at Jamboree:

SA-007 Google Tools & Procedures for Solving Family History Mysteries.
In this session we will put Google to the test. Discover Google tools and the process for using them to solve the genealogical challenges you face. You’ll walk away with exciting new techniques you can us right away.

SA-022 Get the Scoop on Your Family History with Newspapers.
While a fraction of newspapers are currently digitized online, your computer is always your starting point. Discover cool new tech tools that make locating newspapers easier than ever whether they are online or in an archive.

SA-047 Update: Google! Everything New That You Need to Know for Genealogy.
One thing guaranteed about working online is that everything is subject to change! Get the scoop on all the latest changes you need to know about for effective genealogy searching.

I also plan on giving short sessions at my booth. I hope you will be there and come by and say “hi”!

GEM: What’s New in Google Search
Search Operators Changes:

OLD: Plus sign (+)

NEW: Quotation Marks (“ “)

Put the word or phrase in quotation marks to ensure every result will include it.

Example: “Lars Larson” “Winthrop” MN

OLD: Tilde (~) This used to be a synonym search.

NEW: You must now include the various synonyms in your search query. Use the OR operator to assist you in searching for alternative terms.

Example: Train OR Railroad OR Locomotive history

Best Operators for Genealogy


Application: When you want to allow a letter, word, or two words to be able to appear between two words. It can hold the place for an initial in a name.

Example: city * directory returns results such as city directory, city telephone directory, etc.

NumRange (..)

Application: When you want to narrow the search results within a certain timespan. This only works for your 4-digit years. Don’t include month or day.

Example: Jehu Burkhart 1790..1830


February 28, 2015

Saturday, February 28th. Although February is the calendar’s shortest month, it looms large in America’s history of railroad development. In 1815, the first state charter for a railroad was issued by New Jersey for a never-completed line between Trenton and New Brunswick. On this date in 1827, the famed Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was chartered to carry passengers and freight. And February 1830 saw the first charter for an interstate railroad to serve Virginia and North Carolina. The peak year for the number of railroads was 1907, with over 1,500 lines in operation, and the greatest extent of track mileage came in 1930 at nearly 430,000 miles. While the iron horse is no longer so singularly vital to transportation, nearly $16 billion worth of rolling stock are manufactured annually. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.

Chartered railroads: Kane’s Famous First Facts, 6317 & 6322
Baltimore & Ohio RR
Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1976, p. 728

NAICS 336510
Manufacturing: Industry Series: Product or Service Statistics for the United States: 2012 more information 2012 Economic Census of the United States

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Premium Episode 112 – Tech Talk and Solutions

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership and Podcast

Download the show notes

In this episode we’ll be enjoying some tech talk and exploring solutions. After we chat in the Mailbox segment, you’ll hear my interview with Devin Ashby of FamilySearch. We’ll be talking about some innovative ways to use some of the newest technologies for genealogy including a little known feature in Facebook that could do wonders for your family history. And you’ll hear from Your DNA Guide here at Genealogy Gems, Diahan Southard about some of the latest happenings in the world of DNA.

Who Do You Think You Are? season five (and second on TLC) will feature six popular celebrities from TV and film. The Wrap just posted an article announcing the following:

  • Valerie Bertinelli (a personal fave of mine from childhood days on One Day At a Time to Hot in Cleveland)
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (ABC’s Modern Family)
  • Lauren Graham (Wonderful in Gilmore Girls, and currently starring in NBC’s Parenthood)
  • Kelsey Grammer (best known for Cheers and Frasier )
  • Rachel McAdams (known for movies such as Mean Girls, The Notebook) and her sister, Kayleen McAdams.
  • Cynthia Nixon (HBO’s Sex in the City)  Watch sneak peek

Most family historians devoured the previous seasons, but if you missed any there is good news: TLC has been said to have acquired ten episodes from the show’s previous NBC seasons. You can look forward to episodes featuring:

  • Matthew Broderick
  • Lisa Kudrow(listen to Lisa talk about her episode and the series in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 81 and Premium members can hear exclusive audio in Genealogy Gems Premium episode 41
  • Rob Lowe
  • Reba McEntire
  • Tim McGraw
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Sarah Jessica Parker
  • Brooke Shields
  • Vanessa Williams (also featured in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 63)
  • Rita Wilson

Set Your DVR: Who Do You Think You Are? Season 5 begins Wednesday, July 23 at 9/8c.

Mailbox question from Beginning Genealogist


From Dolphe:
I’m a new listener and have just became a premium member. I’ve downloaded all your Premium Pod casts and have found the things you discuss and teach a great blessing to me and my work.

I listened to the Premium Pod casts 1,2, &3 and was intrigued by the WPA lessons. FDR was discussed and thought you might be interested that he was a member of the Holland Society of New York and was a mover and shaker in it. He was an avid genealogist. Below is how you become a member of the HSNY _

“To become a member of the HSNY you need to be a direct descendent of a person that came from the Netherlands and was in New Netherlands prior to

“You may be eligible to become a member if you are a descendant in the direct male line of an ancestor who lived in New Netherland before or during 1675. New Netherland ancestry is of many national origins, as evidenced by our most recently researched list of eligible Surnames on this page. Proven family lineages may facilitate an easier application process as many ancestor-linked requirements have already been satisfied. When applying for membership by way of proven lineage a Legacy application process is available, herein.”

From Debra:
I just finished the dishes as I listened to one of the latest podcasts! Oh my gosh, with each podcast that I listen to, I am not only inspired but so eager to continue my research. You so wonderfully continue to give us new ideas and all of the latest that is available. Thank you so much!

Question: My husband is faced with the daunting task of disposing of his parent’s belongings. His parents at age 92 and 86 have things that go way back!! We live in Tennessee and his parents lived in Texas so that in itself is a real chore to have to make numerous trips back and forth. My husband is so eager to get all of this finished but I am concerned that he will overlook or not be aware of any items that should be kept for his family history. I continue to work on researching his side of the family. I know that we should keep certain documents: birth certificates, marriage licenses, definitely old photographs, etc. but I fear that there are items that I might not think about as being important. Might you offer some suggestions for us and if there is a podcast where you have already addressed this then please direct me to that.

A fun tidbit: My family lived in Southern Indiana; many were early pioneers. Family stories have been passed down about our family’s connections to Abraham Lincoln’s family who lived in Southern Indiana between 1813 and 1830. I recently discovered a very old book that has to do with what was called “The Lincoln Inquiry’. The book I am referring to is titled “The Missing Chapter in the Life of Abraham Lincoln” written in 1938. It seems that a huge number of people wanted to prove their connection to the Lincoln’s, and to make it known that Lincoln’s early years in Southern Indiana did indeed have an impact on his life and the man he became. I was delighted to see that my 4th great Uncle Judge Zachariah Skelton was named in this book in the section having to do with the Lincoln Inquiry and that my Indiana Skelton ancestors did indeed know the Thomas Lincoln family! Such fun! Lisa, again thanks for all you do.

Lisa’s reply:
I’m so glad you are enjoying the podcast! I sympathize with your concern about overlooking things. When my Grandpa died I was pregnant with my last child and unable to go back and help clear out the house. I worried too about things being tossed without realizing they were important.

One area is bills & receipts – a lot of folks (like my Grandmother) kept receipts from way back. While on the surface they seemed prime to toss, I actually retraced their steps and homes through the 1940s and 1950s based on the addresses written on the receipts!

Paperwork is often the area we itch to toss, but old envelopes and letters from others can provide many clues. I also gently shake all old books before giving them away because more than once a special tidbit has fallen out that proved valuable.

In Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 39 I tell the story of one of the most significant finds in my family that almost got tossed out. But Grandmother was tapping me on the shoulder, prodding me to look further before wrapping things up – and boy am I glad that I did! If folks in your family think you are being too persnickety about not over looking things, place that segment of the show for them, or tell them the story.

Ann in Ottawa:
I’ve just joined Genealogy Gems and watched your video on Evernote. I’ve been using it but just touching the surface. Once again you’ve inspired me and have also probably saved me weeks of transcribing.

When I first started my genealogy research I had a desktop computer – no laptop and certainly no tablet or smart phone at that time. Now of course I have all the toys. Setting off to Family History Centres, historical societies, etc, I dutifully transcribed a lot of records pertaining to my ancestors, into my research notebook. I saved images on USB flash drives when I could but this wasn’t always possible.

It’s a hard cover notebook and as I was not particularly organized, just enthusiastic, I wrote out what I found but have lots of families mixed up, from both sides of the family. I just entered sequentially whatever I found.

Well, now that you’ve taught me a lot more about maximizing Evernote, I decided to try using my phone (which has Evernote) to take pictures of those transcribed records. On my phone I used the camera version of Evernote and simply created a note from a photo of a desired transcription. Now, I don’t have to re-type everything. I re-name the note using my file naming convention and voila – there it is.

This is pure magic and what would take quite a long time to type and file, is done in seconds.

The only problem is with each bout of renewed enthusiasm and new discoveries I move around less and use the computer more. If you have suggestions about how keen genealogists need not sacrifice fitness, I’m all ears.

From Pete:
I’m having trouble getting the Premium podcast on my iPhone or iPad?
Any thoughts? Don’t rule out me having a senior moment. Thank you and Love your work!

Lisa’s Reply:
We’re here to help! Here are the instructions from the website (Sign in at www.GenealogyGems > hover mouse over PREMIUM > click PREMIUM EPISODES > click on the mobile platform you need

If your device is set to only use wifi to download, you might need to “Enable” the download queue.

Apple’s Podcasts App doesn’t (currently) support paid subscription feeds, though many iPhone users are anxious for it.

Try this, and if you have any problems please let us know. 99% of the time, any problems are due to extra spaces or incorrect capitalization of the feed address or the user name / password.

From Kelli:
I created my own blog when I taught the class several years ago that never went very far BUT I have had success with a Facebook page.  Our family recently lost an avid genealogist aunt.  She died this spring at a 102.  At her funeral, those of us interested in genealogy realized we didn’t want her legacy lost, so I came home and created a family Facebook page.  It is private, but so far we have 56 “cousins” who are part of the group.  Although everyone doesn’t comment or share, I feel we are carrying on information to the “young ones” so they will know/understand/remember the stories of the “old ones” and realize where we all came from. The stories and pictures are as close as a click.  My dad is the youngest of 10 children and I have cousins as old as he is that I have never met.  We are meeting and getting acquainted virtually!

Devin Ashby FamilySearchGEM: Interview with Devin Ashby of FamilySearch at RootsTech 2014

  • Google Glass
  • Facebook Graph Search – use quotation marks in the search box
  • What drives him to think outside the box

GEM: Your DNA Guide: King Richard III
DiahanSouthard genetic genealogywith Diahan Southard

Michael Ibsen, a cabinet maker living in London, was recently awarded the title of “royal descendant” when researchers identified him as a direct maternal descendant of Ann of York. Why did this lucky man have an unsolicited team of researchers filling in 17 generations of his genealogy?

They were trying to identify a body.

A body discovered under a parking lot in Leichester, England.

According to an article in the Mail Online, thanks to the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of Ibsen, that body has been identified as Richard the III. Researchers needed Ibsen because his mtDNA is EXACTLY the same as his 17th great grandmother, Ann of York.   Because mothers pass their mtDNA to all of their children, and only the daughters pass it on to the next generation, Ann had exactly the same mtDNA as her brother, Richard.

With the positive identification in hand, researchers are now prepared to undertake a  £100,000 project to discover the combination of letters in a four-digit code that makes up the genetic book that is (or was) Richard III.  This process is called full genome sequencing. They are also planning to sequence Mr. Ibsen’s genome to see what shared segments may still remain.

DNA and genealogyWhat does this project have to do with you?
So what does this project have to do with you the genealogist who doesn’t have a team of researchers hammering out your 17th generation grandparents?

First, it is a win for genetic genealogy as mtDNA was used to unequivocally link past and future generations. Each story like this serves to increase awareness for genetic genealogy, which means more people get tested, which means databases grow larger, which means you will find more matches, which means you will have more genealogical success. Plus, the comparison of the ancient Richard the III genome with the modern genome of Mr. Ibsen will be the first of its kind to try to identify shared segments of DNA after so many generations.

In a recent interview Michael Ibsen said, “I almost hope somewhere along the line they dig up some more people so others can be ancestors and descendants in the same sort of way. It is going to be an extraordinary experience.”

Someone needs to introduce Mr. Ibsen to genetic genealogy as that is EXACTLY what genetic genealogy is all about-but minus the digging up the bones part! Genetic genealogy is all about using the DNA of living people to reconstruct the DNA of your ancestors. It is about making connections among modern day genealogists that can help them answer questions about their relatives.

While a full genome sequence is not a practical genealogical tool for most genealogists, there are other kids of DNA tests that could help you answer  genealogical questions.

You can find more information about a few famous people and their DNA here.

And learn even more by reading MNT’s article 3D model provides new insight into King Richard III’s spinal condition. 

And don’t miss Lisa’s interview with Dr. Turi King (image: Lisa and Turi at Who Do You Think You Are? in London) who ran the DNA testing on King Richard III. Listen to Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 152 now.

DNA for Genealogy Quick Reference Guide Bundle by Diahan SouthardDNA Quick Guides
Getting Started & YDNA Bundle
By Diahan Southard

Save approx.17% over individual retail
Click here to order

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