U.S. land entry case files are now free to browse at FamilySearch. We give you a link to a free index to those–and MORE new and updated records for Argentina, Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, and other U.S. collections (Crimean War photos, Illinois birth certificates, and more).
Featured: U.S. Land Entry Case Files
Over a quarter million record images have been added to the free FamilySearch database of United States, Cancelled, Relinquished, or Rejected Land Entry Case Files, 1861-1932. This collection gives researchers access to browsable images of case files for those who unsuccessfully applied for homesteads (such as the one shown above; click the image to see its citation), mining claims, and land pre-emptions. Even better–the National Archives website hosts a name index to speed along your search of the browsable records at FamilySearch!
According to a National Archives description of the original collection, “A file may contain the original entry application, correspondence between the officials of the Lincoln Land Office and the GLO in Washington, D.C., receipts for fees paid, public notices, affidavits and witness statements, proof of military service, the entryman’s naturalization records, and documents concerning the cancellation or relinquishment of the entry.”
This collection of Land Entry Case Files includes Kansas land offices at Dodge City and Topeka and Nebraska land offices at Alliance, Broken Bow, Lincoln, North Platte, O’Neill, and Valentine. More records will be forthcoming.
Over a quarter million indexed names have been added to a free FamilySearch collection of Catholic church records for Entre Rios, Argentina (1764-1983). Also noteworthy are over 118,000 record images recently added to FamilySearch’s Argentina, Corrientes, Catholic Church Records, 1734-1977.
Nearly 170,000 indexed names have been added to the free FamilySearch collection, Australia, Victoria, Outward Passenger Lists, 1852-1924.
England—Newspapers and Wiltshire
The British Newspaper Archive recently announced it now has a title online for every county in England. (Click here to learn more.) They’ve also updated several London titles and added two new ones, among them the North London News and West London Observer.
Findmypast.com has recently added more than 4.5 million records that can help those searching for ancestors in Wiltshire, in southwest England:
- Wiltshire Baptisms Index, 1530-19197
- Wiltshire Banns Index, 1538-1933
- Wiltshire Burials Index, 1538-1990
- Wiltshire Marriages Index, 1538-1933
New indexes to French censuses for 1876-1906 are now free at FamilySearch:
- France, Côtes-d’Armor, Census, 1876
- France, Côtes-d’Armor, Census, 1906
- France, Côtes-d’Armor, Census, 1891
- France, Hérault, Census, 1876
- France, Hérault, Census, 1906
- France, Nord, Census, 1906
Germany–Church and Family Tables
Ancestry.com has published two new collections of German Lutheran church records. Note that the time periods overlap, so try searching them both:
- Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1567-1945
- Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1518-1921
Also new on the site is a collection called Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Family Tables, 1550-1985. A tip from the collection description: “Use the browse fields to sort through the images by City or District and Description of records.”
Nearly a million new articles have been added to Findmypast’s enormous collection of digitized Irish newspapers. This unique collection now hosts more than 35 million articles.
Over a million indexed records have been added to a miscellaneous archival index for the Netherlands at FamilySearch. If you’ve got Dutch roots, check it out–it’s free.
New Zealand—Probate records
Over a quarter million browsable record images have been added to a free FamilySearch collection of New Zealand probate records.
Got relatives from Chicago, Illinois? Perhaps they’re among more than a quarter million newly-indexed names in Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1940, free to search at FamilySearch.
Newspapers.com has added Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier-Journal to its collections of digitized newspapers. Basic subscribers have access to just shy of 100 years’ worth of issues (1830-1922) and Publisher Extra subscribers also may access more recent years (1923-2016).
FamilySearch has added 1.3 million names to its free collection, Massachusetts, Boston Crew Lists, 1917-1943.
A new online database of The Michigan Daily brings more than 23,000 issues digitally searchable. This is the student newspaper of the University of Michigan. The newspaper archive spans 125 years: 1890-2014. Click here to search it for free.
Google your way to MORE genealogy records like these
Wish you could find similar records for another time or place? Use Google search strategies to target the record types, places and even a specific range of years. You can even search for digitized photographs on Google! Click here to read more about Googling old records online.
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!
At this time of sheltering at home, we’re fortunate that we can continue to pursue our favorite past time at home. Here are some of the latest genealogy records to come online this month. From my family to yours , stay safe and well friends.
The first two items in this list of new and updated records is important for everyone who is researching their family history. If you had difficulty finding an ancestor in the 1850 or 1860 in the past, now is the time to search. Ancestry has updated portions of these two important census records.
UPDATED – 1860 United States Federal Census
UPDATED – 1850 United States Federal Census
Speaking of the census, all genealogists are looking forward to the release of the 1950 US census. We don’t have that long to wait now. The 1950 US Census is due to be released to the public in April of 2022. Until then, be sure to read our article answering the most important questions about this census. Read 1950 Census Substitute: What To Use Until its Release Date.
Let’s continue on looking through the newest records on Ancestry:
UPDATED – South Carolina, Death Records, 1821-1968
UPDATED – Montana, Divorce Records, 1943-1988
UPDATED – Montana, Birth Records, 1897-1988
UPDATED – Montana, Marriage Records, 1943-1988
One of the important aspects of this update according to Ancestry is that “changes were made to improve the performance of this collection. Family relationships such as parents and spouses are enabled to attach to your tree.
Note: This database does not yet include the entire collection of personnel files. Currently, only the file numbers listed in the browse are included. The remaining files will be added to this database at a later date.”
UPDATED – Ohio, Birth Index, 1908-1998
According to Ancestry, “This present work is a consolidated reprint of two pamphlets by Mr. David Dobson that shed light on more than 1,100 Irish men and women and their families who emigrated to North America between roughly 1775 and 1825. As such, this volume adds to the list of 1,000 men and women compiled by Mr. Dobson in three earlier pamphlets in this series, which were published by Clearfield Company as Irish Emigrants in North America. Unlike the earlier collection, which was derived from a variety of Scottish and North American source records, the persons named in Irish Emigrants in North America, Parts Four and Five, were found primarily in contemporary newspapers in Canada and the United States. Each of the two lists of Irish persons is arranged alphabetically by the emigrant’s surname and, in the majority of cases, provides us with most of the following particulars: name, date of birth, name of ship, occupation in Ireland, reason for emigration, sometimes place of origin in Ireland, place of disembarkation in the New World, date of arrival, number of persons in the household, and the source of the information.”
Here are the latest new and updated records from Findmypast, the home of the largest collection of UK parish records online.
Unique to Findmypast, these records can reveal details about the start of your relatives’ lives in Middlesex. The collection has been enhanced with over 17,000 new records from the following parishes:
“Our thanks go to Cliff Webb and West Middlesex Family History Society for providing these latest additions.”
Over 6,000 burials from Mt Pleasant Cemetery, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire have joined the largest collection of British parish records online at Findmypast.
“The burial records date from 1881 to 1925 and have been provided by Fenland Family History Society. You won’t find them anywhere else online.”
Jamaica, Civil Death Registrations
Discover your Caribbean roots with over 1.5 million new civil death registration records from Jamaica. Brought to you in partnership with FamilySearch, these death records can tell you more about your relative’s life and death in Jamaica.
As you trace your Jamaican past, be sure to also delve into these other useful resources:
- Jamaica Birth & Baptism Index 1752-1920
- Jamaica, Church Of England Parish Baptisms 1664-1880
- Jamaica, Civil Birth Registrations
- Jamaica, Civil Marriage Registrations
Dating as far back as the 1500s, our Jamaican family history records are essential for finding out more about your Caribbean ancestors. What’s more, they’ll provide hints for any Jamaican ancestors already on your Findmypast family tree.”
“The Caribbean-themed releases continue in our newspaper collection this week. We’ve added new papers from Jamaica and Ireland and updated a range of others. Brand new to the site are:
- Royal Gazette of Jamaica covering the years 1779-1781, 1793-1794, 1809, 1811-1819, 1824-1828, 1834-1836 and 1838-1840
- Carlow Sentinel covering the years 1832-1920
While the following newspapers have been supplemented with more issues:
- Merthyr Express has been updated with editions from 1871-1897, 1899-1910 and 1912-1945
- Truth has been updated with editions from 1900-1902, 1906-1907 and 1910
- Burton Chronicle has been updated with editions from 1896 and 1899-1900
- Newtownards Chronicle & Co. Down Observer has been updated with editions from 1875-1879 and 1881-1900
- Bradford Weekly Telegraph has been updated with editions from 1869-1878
- South Wales Gazette has been updated with editions from 1894
- Welshman has been updated with editions from 1836-1841, 1847, 1852, 1866, 1878
- Nuneaton Observer has been updated with editions from 1877-1896, 1898-1903
- Sligo Independent has been updated with editions from 1885
We’ve added almost a century’s worth of pages from one new newspaper along with substantial updates to 10 titles from England and Ireland this week. Brand new to the site is:
- Crewe Chronicle covering the years 1874-1887 and 1889-1972
As well as that, here is the list of papers that have had more pages added and the years covered:
- Halifax Evening Courier has been updated with editions from 1893-1896
- Midland Counties Advertiser has been updated with editions from 1854-1875, 1881, 1885, 1892-1896, 1941, 1943 and 1946
- Scarborough Gazette has been updated with editions from 1850, 1855 and 1868
- Newcastle Journal has been updated with editions from 1936-1937
- Huddersfield Daily Examiner has been updated with editions from 1874
- Torbay Express and South Devon Echo has been updated with editions from 1958-1967 and 1969-1972
- Leicester Daily Mercury has been updated with editions from 1926 and 1931
- Harrow Observer has been updated with editions from 1980
- Kensington Post has been updated with editions from 1986
- Newcastle Evening Chronicle has been updated with editions from 1893
Newspapers are a goldmine of information on your family’s past. Not only could you find your ancestors making headlines, but you’ll also get insight into the world they lived in, the kind you won’t find in other records.”
Now through April 23, 2020, you can enjoy Free and Unlimited Access to MyHeritage In Color™. Read more about that here.
Ancestry.com is packed with all kinds of mostly-undiscovered genealogical treasures, and some of them you’ll never find from a search box.
Here, expert Nancy Hendrickson shares some favorite treasures, tips for finding those treasures, and helpful reminders for improving your genealogy research.
(We provide links for your convenience to the various online resources and some may be affiliate links for which we receive compensation at no additional expense to you. Thank you for your support.)
Ancestry.com is a “genealogy giant:” one of the four biggest global records resources. Whether you subscribe or have free access through your local library or Family History Center, you should not miss exploring this website for your family history.
Ancestry is also a financial investment. If you’ve been using the site for quite a while, you may be wondering if you are really getting all you can out of it’s vast genealogical record collections and many research tools.
Nancy Hendrickson, the author of The Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com and the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook: A How-To Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website knows the website inside and out. Today she’s sharing four great tips for taking your research to the next level. In addition, we’ve added in some examples and additional things to consider. So let’s get started using Ancestry more effectively.
4 Tips for Using Ancestry.com More Effectively
1. Verify what you learn.
Any single record can be wrong, incomplete, or misread by you or by the person how indexed it. Double check the assertions made in the record by looking for that same information in additional sources. Be careful to make sure your sources weren’t getting their information from the same person or place. Otherwise, they’ll naturally say the same thing!
Nobody wants to discover conflicting information, of course. But you do want to know if something is inaccurate before it leads you down a wrong research path.
The best thing about verifying facts in additional sources is that sometimes you find NEW or BETTER information such as:
- parents’ names,
- a middle name that proves key to someone’s identity,
- or a burial place.
For example, let’s say you find an ancestor’s death date in the Social Security Death Index. While it’s a great source, don’t stop there!
Like any record, the SSDI is sometimes wrong and the information it contains is definitely limited. Use the Ancestry.com Card Catalog to see what records about death may be on the site for that time and place. You’ll find the Card Catalog under Search in the main menu.
Use the filters on the left side to drill down to death records for the location you want. Remember that records collections have been created on a specific geographical level: try local, regional (such as state or province) as well as national levels.
2. Don’t just repeat what other people’s trees say.
Seeing the same information over and over can provide a false sense of accuracy. Remember, just because seven different online trees name the same parents for one of your ancestors doesn’t mean those are the correct parents. Those Ancestry users may all be misquoting the same wrong source without actually verifying the information!
You often come across likely matches in others’ trees when you review Ancestry’s automated “leaf” hints, or when you run a general search on a name. When you do, it’s simply an indication that the tree may be worth exploring. Here’s an example:
Let’s take a closer look at this example.
The purple arrows: You can see that multiple pieces of very specific information are the same on your tree and another one.
The red arrow: You see sources attached to that person’s profile, such as the news article thumbnail image. (Note the difference with the record shown below, with just an empty profile image.) Yes, you will definitely want to review that news article!
The blue arrow: In addition to either of the above, you also see specific information that is unknown to you.
This tree profile looks promising enough you might naturally consider reviewing the tree hint and attaching it to yours. But then you wouldn’t be able to see the news article or other sources attached to that tree.
Instead, click the checkbox and then click the name of the tree to look at it and its attached sources:
Then you’ll be able to check out the news article along with the other sources and records attached to this person’s profile. You won’t just see what that person thinks about your common ancestor – you’ll see evidence of why she thinks it.
3. Ancestry.com has more than indexed historical documents.
Nancy reminds us that “Ancestry.com is a fantastic resource for old maps, stories, photos, published county histories, and more. For example, looking at the old maps in their collections can reveal the true nature of an ancestor’s daily life, hardships, travels, and more. And your chance of finding early American ancestors is high in county histories: there were fewer people and early settlers were talked about, even if the family wasn’t wealthy or prominent.”
Here are some of Nancy’s favorite collections at Ancestry:
This collection includes nearly 7 million records extracted from about 1,200 county and land ownership maps from across the country. These are indexed by property owners’ names.
According to the collection description, “They also indicate township and county boundaries and can include photos of county officers, landholders, and some buildings and homes.”
This is a browse-only collection of “more than 2,200 volumes of county and regional histories from California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In them you’ll find history, biographical sketches, maps, business notices, statistics and population numbers, pictures, descriptions of industry and business, stories of early settlement and pioneers, colleges and universities, military history, geography, and plenty of other details.”
Reminder: you can’t search this database by an ancestor’s name. Instead, look for places, and then start reading.
A collection of maps and atlases detailing land areas that comprise the present-day United States and Canada, as well as various other parts of the world. It contains a variety of maps and atlases created for different scopes and purposes, including land ownership atlases and bird’s-eye view maps.
Land ownership atlases usually show the names of contemporary owners or occupants of land and structures.
Some of the maps depict countries and wider geographical areas, while others depict counties, cities, towns, and smaller geographical areas.
4. Expand your search to the other Ancestry resources on the Web
Ancestry owns a lot of other web resources. Search these too!
Nancy says, “They include Find A Grave, Fold3, and RootsWeb, one of the oldest online genealogy communities around. Don’t give up! Keep looking in other places for the information you want to find.”
Find A Grave
Search results from Ancestry.com do include Find A Grave entries. Many of these contain additional information about the deceased and links to their relatives. As always, be sure to confirm the information you find here.
Fold3 is home to millions of U.S. military records. Ancestry.com subscribers can upgrade their subscription to include Fold3 access, or you can subscribe separately.
RootsWeb is a free and long-lived family history web resource, now hosted by Ancestry.
“The primary purpose and function of RootsWeb.com is to connect people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research,” says the site. “Most resources on RootsWeb.com are designed to facilitate such connections.” You can use RootsWeb in a variety of ways: search it, contribute records, upload your family tree, post your family surnames on a board others can see, and more.
Ancestry has changed one of the ways RootsWeb users have traditionally connected: Mailing Lists. According to the website:
“Beginning March 2nd, 2020 the Mailing Lists functionality on RootsWeb will be discontinued. Users will no longer be able to send outgoing emails or accept incoming emails. Additionally, administration tools will no longer be available to list administrators and mailing lists will be put into an archival state. Administrators may save the email addresses in their list prior to March 2nd. After that, mailing list archives will remain available and searchable on RootsWeb. As an alternative to RootsWeb Mailing Lists, Ancestry message boards are a great option to network with others in the genealogy community. Message boards are available for free with an Ancestry registered account.”
Learn More about Using Ancestry
Nancy Hendrickson’s Book
Nancy shares many more Ancestry tips and treasures in her Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook. To get the most out of this book read the section on using the Ancestry.com Catalog. Nancy does 95% of her research in the catalog. The workbook is divided into topics, such as military records, so choose a chapter that fits your current goals. It’s also important to not just read the workbook, but also do the exercises. They teach you Nancy’s thought processes for how she finds specific answers or approaches certain types of problems. Then you can apply the same concepts to your own research. Don’t miss the chapter on social history. That’s where you’ll dig into everyday life. And finally, take advantage of the forms that are included. They will help you log your findings and analyze what you’ve learned.
Genealogy Gems Article
Browse-only collections at Ancestry and other genealogy websites are sometimes viewed as inaccessible, but they are actually a hidden treasure. Click here to read How to Find and Browse Unindexed Records at Ancestry – The Better Browsing Checklist. In this article you’ll learn how to access these browse-only collections at Ancestry and expand your family history research.