The Newberry Library’s online Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is finally fully updated and interactive! Read the good news here–and my preference for using the powerful geographic data that drives the Atlas.
The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries at The Newberry Library’s website has been undergoing upgrades for quite some time. Genealogists who rely on this fantastic online resource to research old county boundaries in the U.S. have been able to access the basic data that drives the map (dates and geographic boundary changes). But they haven’t been able to use the popular interactive map. Great news: the Atlas is finally fully interactive again.
Changing Boundaries Reflected in the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
Understanding changes in county boundaries over time is key to doing genealogy research in the United States. Boundaries have changed repeatedly–and some dramatically. County governments typically keep important genealogical sources: vital records, court records, land records and more. We need to know which county would have housed our ancestors’ records during specific time periods so we can find the records we want.
What’s New at the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
According to the Newberry Library’s press release, users can now:
view a base layer map that allows an overlay of boundaries on top of cities, towns and other geographic features;
zoom in and out of maps and expand the view to full screen;
select a date of interest from a drop-down box with all border change dates for that state; and
view information about border changes in a hover box that changes as users hover over different counties.
Here’s what the new interface looks like:
Google Earth Pro vs. the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
It’s great to see improved functionality on the Atlas site. But after reviewing the update, I still think the experience of using data from the site is superior in the free Google Earth Pro (GEP) program. To use the entire data set in Google Earth Pro, simply download the KMZ data file onto your computer,and when you click to open the file, your computer will detect the KMZ format and know to automatically open Google Earth Pro (as long as you already have GEP installed on your computer.)
Using the file in GEP allows you to use the data in conjunction with the rest of your genealogical information (such as placemarks indiciating places lived & schools attended, historic map overlays, embedded old family photos and home movies, etc.). This provides a more integrated genealogical research experience. Learn more by clicking here to watch a free video I’ve made about using Google Earth for genealogy.
Episode 226 Welcome, my friend, to the podcast where we take joy in the discovery of your family’s history! In today’s show we’ll cover: research strategies and new resources the history of your ancestors’ baby clothing a tech tip that protects you and the key...
Video Player (Live) – Watch video premiere at the appointed time in the video player above.
On YouTube (Live) – Click the Watch on YouTube button to watch the YouTube premiere with Live Chat at the appointed time above at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. Log into YouTube with your free Google account to participate in the live chat.
Video Player above (Replay) – Available immediately after the live premiere and chat.
My special guest is Sarah Gutmann. Sarah began her obsession with family history when she was 13-years-old. She now has almost three decades of experience helping others climb their family tree. She is a professional genealogist with Legacy Tree Genealogists where she specializes in United States and Italian research. As a veteran classroom teacher, Sarah enjoys teaching various genealogy programs to libraries, historical societies, and lineage organizations across America.
Obtaining Italian Dual Citizenship Overview:
Who can become a citizen?
Finding out when your ancestor naturalized and obtaining those documents
Identifying your ancestor’s specific commune (village)
Using the Italian archives site
Requesting vital records from Italy
Obtaining long form vital records with an Apostille (American records)
Who can apply for dual Italian citizenship?
The following list refers to examples of some categories of eligible persons:
Direct Descent: from an Italian-citizen parent (if maternal side, after January 1 st, 1948) born in Italy and they were still Italian citizens at the time of the Applicant’s birth. The Applicant and their parents must have never renounced their Italian citizenship. Naturalizations occurred prior to August 15th, 1992 constituted renouncing ones’ Italian citizenship.
Through Descent: from an ancestor born in Italy who was an Italian citizen at the time of the birth of their child. The Italian citizenship would pass through the generations up until the Applicant (the maternal branch could pass on Italian citizenship to children born after January 1, 1948), provided that none of the descendants in the straight line lost/renounced their Italian citizenship, such as through naturalization prior to August 15th, 1992.
From an Italian-citizen mother to a child born before January 1st, 1948: applicants who fall into this category will have to appeal to an Italian civil court to obtain the recognition of citizenship.
Italian dual citizenship process chart (Source: Dual U.S. Italian Citizenship Facebook Group)
How Do I Know When My Ancestor Naturalized?
Using Census Records:
Take note of the year of immigration
Look for passenger records
PA- have submitted the first papers to become naturalized
Provide as much information you know about the immigrant
Addresses in America
Birthdate and place
Year of immigration
Order Record Request with Request Case ID.
Did Your Immigrant Ancestor Naturalize AFTER Their Child Was Born?
Start Gathering Vital Records!
Vital Records Issued by Italian Authorities
Here are the Italian vital records for events which took place in Italy:
In Line Relatives:
Birth Certificate: Original Extended Certified Copy Issued by the Comune, with names of parents
Marriage Certificate: Original Extended Certified Copy Issued by the Comune, with names of parents, and any annotations of divorces
Death Certificate: Original Extended Certified Copy Issued by the Comune, with names of parents
Out of Line Relatives if born in Italy:
Spouse’s Birth Certificate: Photocopy of Certificate Issued by Comune in Italy
Spouse’s Death Certificate: Photocopy of Certificate Issued by Comune in Italy
Finding the Italian Village of Origin
Here are some of the records that may include your ancestor’s village of origin:
Vital Records (Birth, Marriage, Death)
If you don’t have success with your ancestor’s records, try searching your Ancestor’s FAN CLUB (Friends, Associates, Neighbors). These are the people who may have come from the same village. Search for their records as listed above.
This website provides Information and statistics on municipalities, provinces and regions in Italy. You’ll find links to official websites, zip code, number of inhabitants, banks, schools, pharmacies, maps, weather forecast, and other useful links.
Here’s an example of the official Italian document you are trying to obtain:
This is your golden ticket to the Italian consulate and getting that coveted citizenship.
Vital Records Issued by Non-Italian Authorities (American Records)
In Line Relatives ORDER NEW DOCUMENTS
Long Form Original Legalized by the Apostille & Translation of Document Only
Out of Line Relatives
Photocopy of birth and death
What is an Apostille?
An Apostille (pronounced “ah-po-steel”) is a French word meaning certification. An Apostille is a specialized certificate, issued by the Secretary of State. The Apostille is attached to your original document to verify that it is legitimate and authentic.