Find and Honor Your Ancestors at Ellis Island Wall of Honor

VIDEO & SHOW NOTES: Discover how to search for ancestors who may be included on the Ellis Island Immigrant Wall of Honor, and learn how you can honor ancestors’ by adding them to the list.  

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Show Notes: Ellis Island Wall of Honor

Millions of our ancestors came through Ellis Island in New York. Mine certainly did. So it’s a great place for genealogists to explore and learn new things about their family history. Well, there have been some changes and things happening over at the Ellis Island Foundation. And here to tell us more about it is Suzanne Mannion. She’s the Director of Public Affairs have the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation. 

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor Ellis Island

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor-Courtesy of Paul Seibert Photography

About the Ellis Island Wall of Honor

From Suzanne: The American immigrant Wall of Honor was introduced in 1990, when the Ellis Island Museum opened, originally, it was after the foundation had restored Liberty Ellis Island. It was a way to support the foundation. But more importantly, it was a way to celebrate people’s individual family immigrant experience.

Primarily it was Ellis Island immigrants and or their descendants whose names are on the on the wall for the start. Then over the years, it expanded. It’s now open to everyone, regardless of your immigration story or timeline.

It’s really been so well received. There are more than 800,000 names on the original wall of honor. So, that actually filled up and we had to turn people away and say, sorry, we’re filled up. Then through our partnership with the National Park Service, we were able to expand the Wall of Honor, which we just announced earlier this year.

The first round of names on the expanded wall are being submitted right now, and through the end of this year (2023). Those names will be unveiled in the summer of 2024. We were so excited that the Park Service gave us this opportunity, because people were disappointed thinking they had missed their chance to include their ancestors. So many people want to celebrate whether it’s themselves, their parents, or a loved one. They want to celebrate the immigrant experience, because that’s what Ellis Island is all about whether your family came here like mine in the in the mid-1800s or last year. It’s all about the celebration.

Names Expanded to All Immigrants

From Lisa: You might be really surprised to realize that many of the names that are on the wall are not people who came through Ellis Island. Normally at an historic site you would expect to see plaques and signage only referring to those involved with that site. So, I’m interested, when did that decision get made? When did it change from a wall of honor Ellis Island to including everybody?

From Suzanne: It was probably in the early 2000s. So, as you know, the Ellis Island database was launched in April of 2001.

Passenger Database Search

And so, with that people were celebrating the Ellis experience. Whether or not it’s true, I say oh, we should take some credit for helping genealogy become such a popular pastime! So, with that people came in, and even those visiting who didn’t have roots through Ellis Island, they felt the connection to America’s immigration story. So, people started asking if they could add their names to it. And it made complete sense.

Our goal is to continue expanding our database, so it has more ports of entry. And with that, we’re at the National Museum of Immigration

So, we thought, let’s tell the whole story. So yeah, it’s been, I would say, well over a decade that the immigrant didn’t have to have come through Ellis Island to be included. I’m loving seeing and hearing other people’s stories and these different countries because it was very much a European thing like that. And now, they’re from all over the world.

Searching the Wall of Honor Database

From Lisa: You mentioned that there is a database. Before we try to submit a name, we’d like to check and see if the name is already there. Where can they search this database on the website, and would include any more information on that particular database besides just the fact that the names on the wall?

From Suzanne: Yeah, there’s two different databases. There’s the Ellis Island database through which one can trace family or anyone who came to the port of New York Between 1820 and 1957.

Ellis Island Passenger Database Search

And then the Wall of Honor database

Ellis Island Wall Of Honor and Database Search

In there you can see the name of the person who’s on the wall, and the person who submitted the name. So, some people do it for themselves. But it could be from Suzanne, “in honor of her great, great, Grandfather Michael Mannion.”

How to Add a Name to the Wall of Honor

From Lisa: What’s the process for adding our ancestor’s name? You mentioned that there might be a deadline. We’re recording here in 2023. Can they continue to add names into the new year?

From Suzanne: The opportunity is continuous. But what we do is we only put up a new panel once a year. So, from January 1 to December 31, people submit their names. Then at the beginning of the following calendar year, we create a new panel, and then we unveil it in early summer.

Add a Name to the Wall of Honor

So, if you want to make it onto that first panel of the wall expansion, then please submit the name or names by the by the 31st of December, 2023. But you can certainly participate after that.

Foundation Fundraiser and Cost

From Lisa: I believe this is a fundraiser for foundation correct?

From Suzanne: It is such a great way to show support for the foundation and the work that we do in restoring and preserving the two monuments. The cost starts at $275 for a one-line inscription.

Add a Name to the Wall of Honor

The website explains the process and the pricing. There are higher levels such as Steward levels, if you want more lines. That provides additional support for the foundation. Also, if you join, become a member at a certain level, that includes a wall of honor inscription. So, there are many ways to support the work that we do.

The History of the Foundation

We’ve been around since 1982. President Reagan asked Lee Iacocca to head up the effort to not only raise money, but to oversee the restoration of the statue and of Ellis Island for their Centennials. We’ve continued to work closely with our partners at the National Park Service.

In 2019 we opened the Statue of Liberty museum on Liberty Island.

Statue of Liberty Museum

It’s a small museum but with a big, big impact. There are beautiful visuals, and her original torch lives right there.

We don’t take government money to do any of the projects at the islands. It’s all through donations and has been since our inception. And we’re very proud of that.

From Lisa: I remember back in high school when Lee Iacocca was taking this on, and my grandmother was so excited because her parents had come through Ellis Island. It was in really tough shape back then. What stands there today is just amazing. It’s a wonderful experience. I encourage everybody watching to at some point make the visit because it really is heart touching.

EarthCam at Ellis Island

From Suzanne: Yes, and check out our website. We have some amazing views ! We are partnering with a company called EarthCam. You can see different views from the statue, and learn more

State of Liberty EarthCam

How Donated Money is Used

From Lisa: In the spirit of good stewardship, how is the money used? Does it only support the creation of the Ellis Island Wall of Honor? Or are there specific projects that you’ve had in mind this year that this money goes directly to that we can maybe look forward to in the future?

From Suzanne: Yeah, I can’t say right now. But I would love to come back in a few months to talk about a project we’re planning over on Ellis Island.

The donations that come via the Wall of Honor support the foundation’s mission in general, to restore and preserve the two monuments. And that includes maintaining the wall of honor.

Another thing that may inspire people to add the name this year is because costs are going up to not only create this new expansion and to maintain the wall, there will be a $25 increase in inscription starting January 1, 2024.

From Lisa: Suzanne, it’s always great to talk to you. Thank you so much for sharing this news. And I look forward to new and more news next year.

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All About GEDCOM

The GEDCOM digital file format is essential to genealogy. My expert guest from FamilySearch explains what a GEDCOM is, how to use it, and the most recent changes. He’ll also answer some of the most common GEDCOM questions. 

Show Notes

If you’ve been watching my videos for a while, then you probably know that I really recommend that you have a complete copy of your family tree on your own computer. But what if you’ve been building your family tree totally online up to this point?

The good news is that you can export your family tree as a GEDCOM file. But what exactly is a GEDCOM file?

Gordon Clarke,  the GEDCOM Developer Relations Manager at the free genealogy website FamilySearch.org joins me to answer that question and provide the latest information about the GEDCOM.

What is a GEDCOM?

(00:54) Lisa: What is a GEDCOM?

(01:14) Gordon: GEDCOM is actually an acronym for:

GEnealogical
Data
COMmunication.

It’s a type of file with specific rules that allows digital family history products to exchange information. It’s been around so long that all the software companies can read and export it.

Say for example that you have a particular family tree program you’ve been working in but there are some features in another application that you like to try out. You want to try it out with a computer file that the program can read. All of the popular genealogy programs allows you to write a GEDCOM file and then you can read it in and review your information and add to it. That is what a GEDCOM is for.

It’s a specific file type that was works with most family history applications. It’s a text-based file, though it has special constraints to it. It was designed to be easily adaptable and compatible with importing and exporting. So, as long as the developers of both products adhere to GEDCOM specifications, you shouldn’t have a trouble downloading from one and uploading to the other.

You can learn more at GEDCOM.info.

What GEDCOM stands for

Lisa: It sounds like each genealogy software database and website probably have their own proprietary file type, right? So, this is one everybody sort of agrees on that can extract the genealogy data set right. Is that right?

Gordon: Right, and there are differences between the proprietary program and GEDCOM. There are some products out there that only support GEDCOM. So that’s their proprietary format.

Why Use a GEDCOM?

(03:45) Lisa: So why should we use one a GEDCOM. When would we find ourselves wishing we had this universal file?

Gordon: Family history is more of a record keeping whether it’s photos and stories and genealogical data. People like to keep it and have control over it. So, GEDCOM is I like the word “personal”. You can personally control it. It’s just a .GED file, so any operating system can handle copying and emailing it. So, for personal control, preservation and sharing of genealogical data. It’s the most universally accepted format.

I would think for your backup purposes because it’s so universal, make sure that the program that you’re using has the ability to save your data in GEDCOM. Then you can decide whether you put it in your thumb drive or removable drive or you put it up in the cloud, you can decide how to preserve it. Think of it more as your personal file over this important information.

(05:31) Lisa: I like that idea. I’m probably not alone in that I once had somebody give me a little floppy disk and it had the whole family tree that this person had been working on. Unfortunately, it was a proprietary file, and it was a program that no longer exists. I’m helpless to be able to use it. So, a GEDCOME can really solve that issue.

Do All Family Tree Programs Support GEDCOM?

(06:00) You kind of touched on this, but I just want to just double check. Can all family tree programs and websites export the GEDCOM? Are you familiar with anything that don’t?

Gordon: I would say all of the popular programs and websites make it possible to import GEDCOM, and most of them allow for exports. There are some exceptions to that rule. If you’re going to spend your time using a program, look to see if it’s GEDCOM compatible.

To help even more so standardize the industry, the software providers commit to implementing the newest version of GEDCOM. Much of that is backward compatible. We presented those that have or will be planning to implement the newest version of GEDCOM at Rootstech. You can search at Rootstech for “GEDCOM” and see the videos of what’s been rolled out and what’s coming.

Who Owns and Controls GEDCOM?

(07:41) Lisa: Is there one particular group or authority or somebody who’s in charge of deciding what the GEDCOM is and how it works? Or is that a role that FamilySearch is playing?

Gordon: It is a role that Family Search has been playing. FamilySearch is the software development, education marketing, support arm of the department called The Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. So sometimes because of marketing reasons, people think that we’re different. Family Search is totally run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

From a historical standpoint, the original specification was created and released in 1984. All subsequent versions have been copyrighted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Now, in the last three years, as a like a product manager, I took on the responsibility for working on the new version, version 7 of GEDCOM. But it’s always been an effort of FamilySearch as the outreach arm for the Family History Department.

What we did differently in this last version is we solicited all the key players and software companies. It was much more of a collaborative effort to go through the changes, things to keep, things to just get rid of. It took about two years working with many people. Now the version is what is called a public GitHub repository. As we worked toward version 7, it was to prepare it for a starting point. The decision process is still a steering committee sponsored by FamilySearch, but the input and the communication on changes is open to all software developers. You can learn about all that because it’s hosted at GEDCOM.io. So GEDCOME.info is kind of like the general public, and GEDCOM.io is more for technical software developers.

GEDCOM Features

(10:38) Lisa: What are some of the features of GEDCOM 7? What are some of the things that you consider when you’re continuing to develop the GEDCOM?

Gordon: The process that we worked on was, I think to eliminate ambiguity, there could be different software providers that would interpret the file specifications a little bit differently. We wanted to clean up the specifications so that there would be much more, not 100%, but a much better compatibility between the people that were reading it and writing it. So, we worked very tediously on eliminating the ambiguity.

I would think that the biggest thing is, it’s become more of a storage format of photos, and records and data. Let me read something, “FamilySearch GEDCOM version 7 incorporates the added ability to include photos, and other files when users download a FamilySearch GEDCOM 7 file from a supportive family tree product.”

Your local photos can be bundled in a special file that we called GEDZIP. It’s a GEDCOM file that is a zip package. That means that anybody that unzips that package will get the GEDCOM file and all the external files associated with it and have everything be readable. It’s a packaging technique to put everything together, which really adds to this idea of a personal preservation and sharing. Now you can package everything together and preserve it and share everything that’s important to you with others.

In addition to this zipped packaging capability, notes have been expanded for more versatile use and styling of text. When you add notes, whether it’s a relationship or a location, you can actually stylize those notes now and use bold and italic.

Many tools and sample files were created to help with self-testing. It’s based upon the Apache license, which is more of a technical slant on things, but to software developers, that means it’s an open software license. There’s a public GitHub repository that you go to github.com/familysearch so that you can request and watch ongoing changes in a more of a public environment, though Family Search is still the stewards and has the final say on decisions.

So that’s what’s new. It’s more open to the public. It’s been cleaned up with some important new features.

But backward compatibility for 90% of the GEDCOMs that are out there (and the last one was 5.5.1) is still possible. But it won’t go back to 3.0, 2.0. That’s where that’s where some of the incompatibilities are, is because people are using versions that are 20 years old. And things have changed a lot in the last 25 years. We have a clean, fresh start, and a new community working on continuous improvements. But there won’t be changes because the standards shouldn’t change much. This new version 7 is going to be pretty much the same for a while everybody gets on board.

Do GEDCOMs Include Image Files of Attached Records?

(15:21) Lisa: You mentioned photographs. Would that include image files? Would that include if we downloaded an image of a genealogical record which might be a .JPEG file? Would those come along with the GEDCOM?

Gordon: Yes, absolutely. All the elements of GEDCOM have definition of how to use them. And what’s called the multimedia link, the multimedia link means you can link to local files, JPEGs, PDFs, you know, whatever they are. And if you don’t want to put it all together, you can link to files that are in the cloud, and it will remember where they are. If you package them together in a GEDZIP file, and then you unpackage it, you’ll be able to access the local image files and the local records there.

So, this idea of putting it all together, I mean, bandwidth is much better than it used to be. But still, for people that have hundreds of thousands of images. This is not the best format for that. So they can work out a strategy taking into account the cloud service they use, and which photos they will keep locally on their computer. So, they can keep track of everything, both in the cloud and on their local drive. And that can all be referenced in this new version of GEDCOM.

Is There Data Loss When Exporting a GEDCOM?

(16:59) Lisa: Excellent.

So one of the questions I’ve heard from people is that they are concerned about loss data loss. If they’re importing or exporting, maybe going back and forth, is there a chance that you’re going to lose things or even introduce an error of some type?

Gordon: This is kind of the issue of the work on version 7. One of the biggest issues is not only new features, but to get a new standard to kind of clean the slate. If you get stuff into the new GEDCOM version 7 the likelihood of data losses is greatly reduced. So, we’re encouraging the adoption and use of GEDCOM 7 because it’s less likely to cause any data loss or errors.

Family Search and industry experts have worked for two years to remove ambiguities, simplify the definitions and samples in order to eliminate the possibility of data loss and errors when transferring between programs. In the long run, not only does it include more media, but the whole goal is to improve the consistency, the compatibility and minimize or even eliminate data loss. So, what you will start being seeing is the question “is GEDCOM 7 compatible?” Because GEDCOM 7, when we were working on something that was 20 years old, is going to be more compatible in the future. We have a body to watch out for it. Your data will migrate to the new version without data loss. But looking at down the road, staying with the version 7 or higher will assure a sure better preservation of what you have.

Learn More About GEDCOM at Rootstech

(19:17) Lisa: I think you mentioned or alluded to that there were some announcements at Rootstech 2022.

Gordon: Yes, go to the sessions and type in “GEDCOM” and you will get three opportunities. One is a session called GEDCOM 7 Launched and Rolling Strong. Another session will be FamilySearch GEDCOM 7 What’s Next? And the answer is teamwork.

There’s two pre-recorded videos about the What’s New in GEDCOM 7 and then how the industry’s going to join together in working on it in the future. In in one of the sessions, the first one, there actually is a slide that shows all the companies that have committed to it. But all the majority of the companies have said, both in the cloud and desktop and laptop, and some have said when they’re going to release it. And one company I think, is announcing their release at Rootstech of the new GEDCOM version 7.

Future Updates and Changes to GEDCOM

(20:44) Lisa: That’s great to see. Anything I didn’t ask you or that you think people should really be aware of as they move forwarding and keeping up to date with GEDCOM 7?

Gordon: Again, with a standard, we don’t want to change too much too fast, because they wanted to get solid as a new transfer format.

I think the big areas that we’re working on for future versions is related quite a bit to internationalization. There are probably 20 different calendaring systems that are different than what we do in the U.S. To be able to respect those different calendars and to understand the translation between calendars is a big part of internationalizing GEDCOM.

The other part related to that is that there are some places in the world where how they define relationships between people is not typical to either the US or Western Europe. And so we are working on major upgrades and encourage people to come join with us. With naming conventions we may think given name, surname, but in reality, there’s other relationships that get into the name. If we even go to Africa their name is the first name may go back 10 generations, so their name is a memorization of all those names. So, improving on names is an important effort, the structure and relationships.

Another improvement is places. We think hierarchal and certain jurisdictions, but over time, and in different areas of the world, how you organize places is different. We need to address that in the GEDCOM specification.

Sources and Citations need to be upgraded for the genealogical community. And so, we certainly invite not only software developers, but genealogists to join our effort to improve sources and citations.

GEDCOM Hypothesis

One thing I’m really excited about is that we have a team that’s been working a year, and they’re probably working on it another year or two, on what we call hypothesis. This is so that you can share information without claiming it as a conclusion, and keep it separate from a conclusion. This encourages collaboration. So instead of arguing about I’m right, you’re wrong, we call it a hypothesis. Then we can have a discussion until there’s enough sources to prove it. This Hypothesis module I think is going to be really exciting. But that won’t be for a couple years or so until we actually release it.

Lisa: I think that’s a terrific idea because so often we are just battling with ourselves over what we think the answer is, and we want to track it while we’re doing it.

I’m curious: sometimes we go to a website, and you have to pick what language you speak. Perhaps if you’re searching for videos on YouTube you might say English. Is this something being considered? Is the goal no matter what that it’s only one type of file that serves every country or was there a consideration that you could select your country and then the GEDCOM would support your calendar and your geographic areas. I’m sure that was a discussion.

Gordon: Oh, absolutely. And, but what you’re talking about, just to be clear, is the specification to give all of the options and more to the software developer. The software developer can decide the language of the interface, and many of them are already doing this. So the actual presentation, if it’s Norwegian, or Danish, or whatever, it’s different according to the language that you place. What we’re looking according to your language of choice is that the orientations are names, relationships, and places jurisdictions, will be easy for the software developer to switch to by just changing that.

When we look at an international – how people look at information – it may be a different lens that they look through. So having the ability to give the software developers out of our future specs, to switch their interface, and switch around because they might be working in one part of the country because of their heritage, and then they might work in another and to be switched between it and to still have the data be the same, regardless of what national lens they’re looking through.

Lisa: It’s amazing that one little package contains so much and so much flexibility. That’s really terrific.

The Team Working on GEDCOM 7

(26:52) Gordon: I won’t drop names but in my immediate steering committee, that we meet with weekly, not only do I have three representations from within FamilySearch, but from the community, I like to call them doctors, they are doctors, they have their PhDs in computer science. Some are genealogists, they have their peers, one is even a linguistic professor. Another is an actual legal professional. It’s been wonderful to work with such experts, really, that are reasonable, and want to make things easy for the software developer. So, it’s quite a dilemma, instead of just making it right in the specification, but we’ve got to make it right and make it easier for the software developers to implement it. So that’s my thanks to all the people I’ve been able to work with.

GEDCOM Resources

(28:19) Lisa: Visit GEDCOM.io and GEDCOM.info.

Are they able to offer any volunteering opportunities? Do you need the help of people who are doing genealogy?

Gordon: Oh yes, you can volunteer in lots of different ways at GEDCOM.io.

Lisa: Thank you so much for taking time to explain GEDCOM.

Resources

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New Online Genealogy Records This Week – June 28, 2019

Genealogical records come in all shapes and sizes and this week’s records round up even includes round records! Keep reading because you never know what you’ll find.

Photographs at Indiana Album

I  love this website simply for the tag line Historic Photographs from the attic to the Web! We all have a bit of other families’ genealogy in our attics, closets and scrapbooks, and Indiana Album is a nonprofit organization that want to make it accessible. They encourage Hoosiers (and of course descendants of Hoosiers) to loan them their photos and documents. The group then digitizes, catalogs and shares them in a database on their website. Head here to search for the names, places and other keywords relating to your family. I’m finding gems like the one below.

indiana album website

 

Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project

Here’s a free online collection that is adding tons of new melodic content!

I’m amazed how often I run across music references in my genealogical research, particularly when reviewing the diaries, letters and other records of my late 19th century and early 20th century relatives.

When I was in my twenties I wrote my Grandfather often and asked him questions like “Do you remember any favorite songs from when you were a young man?” His answer included:

As you can see from the linked titles above (click them to listen for yourself), I found every single one of them at the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project. This is a phenomenal free online collection of digitized recordings made accessible to everyone.

The good news is that the project, which currently boasts over 200,000 recordings, just received funding to preserve another 250,000 sides of 78 rpm records. That means they need records. So, check your basement, closets and attic and consider donating your 78s to the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project for digitization and physical preservation. You can donate your 78rpm Records to the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project here.

no wonder 78

No Wonder (That I Love You) Gene Austin, 1925

UK & Iceland Records at Findmypast

There are over 6.4 million new records and newspaper articles available to search and explore this Findmypast Friday including over 264,000 new and exclusive parish records that have been digitised and made available online for the first time in association with the Lancashire Archives.

Lancashire Baptisms

Over 31,000 additional records are now available to search amongst out collection of Lancashire Baptisms. The new additions cover the parishes of:

  • Edge Hill, St Nathaniel -1869 to 1918
  • Liverpool, St John – 1785 to 1898
  • Liverpool, St Silas, Pembroke Place – 1841 to 1918
  • Liverpool, St Stephen the Martyr – 1851 to 1918
  • Newburgh, Christ Church – 1860 to 1917
  • Seaforth, St Thomas – 1839 to 1918
  • Stoneycroft, St Paul – 1916 to 1918
  • Toxteth Park, St Bede – 1882 to 1918

These records include both transcripts and images of the original documents. Each result will reveal when and where your ancestor’s baptism took place, the names of their parent’s and father’s occupation.

Lancashire Marriages & Banns

A further 179,000 records have also been added to our collection of Lancashire Banns & Marriages. These new marriage registers add coverage for a selection of new Liverpool parishes, including:

  • Edge Hill, St Nathaniel – 1871 to 1943
  • Everton, Emmanuel – 1835 to 1943
  • Liverpool, St John – 1785 to 1898
  • Liverpool, St Stephenn the Martyr – 1852 to 1943
  • Seaforth, St Thomas – 1870 to 1943
  • Stoneycroft, St Paul – 1916 to 1943
  • Toxteth Park, St Bede – 1887 to 1943

Learn when, where and to whom your ancestor was married, as well as the happy couple’s ages, occupations, marital status, residences, parent’s names and father’s occupation.

Lancashire Burials

Over 54,000 new records from the central Liverpool Parish of St John. These new records span the years 1767 to 1883 and will allow you to discover when your Liverpool ancestors were laid to rest.

The transcripts and images within this collection will enable you to discover when your ancestor died, their occupation, the date and location of their burial, as well as their age at death.

United States Obituary Notices

A whopping 5.7 million new records are now available to search within our collection of United States Obituary Notices.

These records, obtained from the tributes.com and currentobituary.com websites will enable you to discover your ancestor’s name, birth and death years as well as the original obituary text. Additional information such as images and details about the records can be found on the source’s website.

Scotland, Darien Scheme Investors 1696

Explore the records of investors in The Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, also called the Scottish Darien Company. It was funded by investments from people across Scotland. These transcripts will provide you with information on those who invested money and their representatives.

The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to establish a colony called “Caledonia” in Panama in the late 1690s. Opposed by commercial interests from England, the company of Scotland raised subscriptions for the scheme in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and London. English investors soon raised their share but withdrew their money after King William and the English Parliament turned against the venture. However, by August 1696 the Scottish investors raised £400,000 themselves.

As the scheme was backed by approximately 20% of all the money circulating in the country at the time, its failure left the entire Lowlands in substantial financial ruin and was an important factor in weakening Scottish resistance to the Act of Union. In July 1699, the colony was abandoned due to inadequate provisions, the unfamiliar hot and humid climate had caused fever to spread, and many settlers died. Of the 1,200 settlers, only 300 survived.

International Records Update – Iceland

To mark Icelandic National Day this week, we have made over 287,000 baptism and marriage records from the land of fire and ice available to search on Findmypast.

These two new indexes span the years 1730 to 1920 and will generate hints against your Findmypast Family tree.

British & Irish Newspaper Update

A bumper crop of new and updated titles have been added to the collection this week, with 163,404 new pages added. We have seven brand new titles added this week, covering both England and Scotland. We have three new London publications joining us – the Harrow Midweek, the Middlesex Gazette and the Middlesex Independent – as well as one Scottish title (the Northern Ensign & Weekly Gazette) and one new Essex title (the Essex Guardian). We are also delighted to welcome two specialist sporting titles – namely, the Volunteer Record & Shooting News, which ‘warmly supports the interests of the shooting man,’ and the Fishing Gazette, a publication which covers all types of fishing across the world.

Further to these new arrivals, we have also updated sixteen of our existing titles. Updates this week cover the length and the breadth of the United Kingdom and Ireland, with updates incorporating publications from Aberdeen to Jersey, from Kingston to County Down, from Bristol to Kensington, from Crawley to Strabane.

Navy Officer Letters at Fold3

Fold3 just announced “We have added a new collection of naval records to our archives! The Navy Officers’ Letters 1802-1884 is a collection of letters to the Secretary of the Navy from officers assigned to naval ships, stations, and Navy bureaus.

The letters contain routine personnel matters such as duty assignments, leave or furloughs, desertions, resignations, court-martials, and other administrative issues. The collection is organized by year and then alphabetically by sender. The letters offer a glimpse into military history and provide valuable genealogical records for ancestors that served in the Navy.”

British Newspaper Archive

This week the British Newspaper Archive added 137,896 new pages spanning 128 years from 1871 to 1999 to eighteen of their existing collections. These include extensive updates to the Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle, which cover the years 1873 to 1969 and includes nearly 35,000 pages.

Also updated: Six of their London titles, including the Acton Gazette, as well as three Scottish titles, with pages added to the Hamilton Advertiserthe Dumfries and Galloway Standard and the Aberdeen Press and JournalWe have added pages to publications covering Newcastle and Middlesbrough, as well as new pages to The People.

A subscription is required. Clicking on the titles above allows you to see examples and review the scope of the collection.

Full Disclosure: We appreciate when you use our links because if and when you subscribe we are compensated, which helps support this free blog and the free Genealogy Gems Podcast.

 

David Rumsey Shares Souvenir Map for Early Airline Passengers

A recent blog post at slate.com caught my eye because it features a map from the genealogists-love-it David Rumsey map collection. But what captured my attention was the story the unfolded behind the foldable map itself. I think you’ll love it!

Blogger Rebecca Onion uses a 1929 souvenir map of the United States to tell the story of early commercial air traffic–specifically the story of the origins

Rumsey TAT map

Rumsey TAT map

of airline giant TWA. Apparently early “transcontinental flights,” as they were advertised, were sight-seeing tours with short flights interspersed by train rides to the next flight location. The map featured in her blog post was a souvenir of one of these passengers, who added his own colorful comments on his experience.

This fun post is part aviation history, part map-lover trivia. The story unfolds even more in a short video documentary on Transcontinental Air Transport I’ve added below. It includes cool aerial shots and more on how the early air transport industry, er, got off the ground.

And don’t forget to use maps (storied or just the plain informational types) in your family history research! These can help you find your way around ancestral hometowns, chart migration routes as they would have and otherwise see the world (literally) in the same ways they did.  David Rumsey’s map collection is one of the best online collections out there, with free access to over 44,000 high-resolution historical maps.

Learn more about how to use the David Rumsey historic map collection in conjunction with Google Earth by watching my free video class Google Earth for Genealogy.

My Genealogist’s Google Toolbox Kit, is a value bundle that includes my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox and Volumes I and II of Google Earth for Genealogy (on video CD). And right now the kit is available for 20% off!

 

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