You can search and browse the collection in the State of Massachusetts’ DSpace online repository here.
A local genealogist used these strategies to help identify old photos taken on holiday in England by an Australian family. Read more about her savvy tips below and view the free video on using Google image search by Lisa Louise Cooke.
Sandra Stocks can’t resist solving genealogical mysteries–her own, or someone else’s. So when she saw an article in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner of West Yorkshire titled, “Can you solve the mystery of these old photographs?” she had to answer.
The photos in the article belonged to an Australian family. They included a series of images taken in the 1930s while the party was on holiday along the Great British coast. A partly-legible name and address on a picture postcard in the group provided a clue.
A few of the article’s readers responded with assistance. One of these readers was Sandra, who volunteers with the Kirkheaton Family History Group. Her answer was featured in a follow-up article (“Mystery SOLVED!”). We reached out to Sandra ourselves, to see if she would share the research strategies she used to identify these old photos. Very generously, she did!
Genealogy Gems Premium website members can listen to her full answer in the Genealogy Gems Premium Episode 143. In the meantime, here’s a helpful summary for everyone:
1. Look closely at the photo for any identifying names or words. Sandra begins by saying, “Although the name on the postcard looked like Mr. J. Stogley, when I looked on the newspaper’s website there were other photographs, one which showed the name P. Hogley, Druggist, above a shop window.” (Don’t see anything? Skip to step 4, below.)
2. Use any names or places you identify to consult historical records for that place and time. Sandra continues, “I then searched on Ancestry.co.uk for Joseph Hogley, which, being an unusual name, was easy to find…In the 1911 English census he was living with his wife at the address on the postcard, so I knew I had the right chap. I then searched for him in [an] earlier census and found his family, and his brother Percy Hogley, a druggist, the writer of the postcard.”
3. Follow up in other historical records to identify additional relatives–and possible subjects in the photos. Sandra most often consults birth, marriage, and death records on Ancestry.co.uk and Findmypast.co.uk. “Not everybody wants to pay for a subscription,” she acknowledges, so she also recommends FreeBMD.org.uk “which allows you to search births, marriages, and deaths in England and Wales. A quick search of births for Hogley between 1850 and 1932 would have given me the births of Joseph and Percy Hogley in Huddersfield in 1875 and 1877, respectively. I used FreeBMD to discover that Joseph and his wife had a son, Bernard Thomas Hogley, in 1913 and Bernard married in 1945.”
4. If the photos have no identifying names or places, go straight to those who might recognize them: the locals. Lastly, Sandra shares, “There is a great family history forum where I could have posted a photograph and within a very short time somebody would have told me an approximate year when the picture was taken. The website is RootsChat.com and they also have pages for each English and Welsh county where local people are more than happy to help with genealogy queries.”
Unidentified old photos exist in nearly everyone’s family history holdings. Pull those old photos out and discover what else you can discern using these additional tips in Lisa Louise Cooke’s free video titled “How to Google Image Search to Identify Old Photos Using a Smartphone & Tablet.” By learning how to match the images you have to other images on the web, you may find some great new clues for your genealogy! This trick works great for distinct or well-known images, such as a location, or perhaps an important person in your family tree. Give it a try!
The US Public Records Index can be useful for genealogy–if you understand what it is and how to use it properly. Here’s an example and some tips.
Not long Russ sent in this tip recommending the US Public Records Index for genealogy:
“I was listening to Genealogy Gems Podcast 181 [in which] you were talking about where do we search while we are waiting for the 1950 Census….I recently discovered a wonderful resource, on Ancestry.com, that I have used along with city directories. The name of the record group doesn’t sound interesting but it can be a Gem for you: the US Public Record Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1 and 2. Volume 1 is far more interesting with more data. A search will return a name AND birth date, along with more than one address, zip code and sometimes phone numbers.”
Here’s a sample search result:
Russ kindly sent me Ancestry’s description of its online database for Volume 1, which says that original data comes from public records spanning all 50 states, such as voter registration lists, public record filings, historical residential records and other household database listings.
What: U.S. Public Records Index
Where: Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage
Years Spanned: 1950-2009
Source Type: Lacking original source citations. “Hints to go on and follow up with further research into verifiable sources.”
Then he shared the following example of using the US Public Records Index to find recent relatives that he can’t look up yet in the 1950 census:
“I had a hint for a cousin in a yearbook. I know that she recently lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I didn’t know where she went to college and I know her birthday. The name is not unique, not also not common. At the same time, I had the hint for the Public Record Index. You know those things we can’t use in a proof argument, but there [she] was in Philadelphia. The yearbook had her picture and only her name, not spelled the way I know it, but the Public Record Index puts her in Philadelphia at the right time and place.
I have seen 2 or 3 addresses for folks in the 1980s and 1990s in these indexes. Not all addresses have dates, but some do. I have one cousin with 5 addresses since 1983 and he won’t be in a census until the 1960 Census Records are released.”
Russ blogs about his family history at worthy2be.wordpress.com/. Thanks for the tip!
The U.S. Public Records Index pops up in my search results sometimes, too. Both volume 1 and volume 2 are searchable on Ancestry.com, as Russ says, in separate databases. Each has over 400,000 records in it. There’s also a free partial version of this database for 1970-2009 at FamilySearch.org and yet a third version at MyHeritage, with 816 million records, with nearly the same time frame. The FamilySearch database says its data comes from “telephone directories, property tax assessments, credit applications, and other records available to the public.”
Here are a few tips worth mentioning about the US Public Records Index. Some of these points come from the FamilySearch wiki:
You’re going to want to make some time in your schedule this week to explore these new genealogy records that just might help you discover a new branch of your family tree! This week we highlight a wide variety of intriguing records including historical maps, oral histories, workhouse records, and historical newspapers. (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 helping us bring these free articles to you!)
You can search and browse the collection in the State of Massachusetts’ DSpace online repository here.
World War II ended in 1945 making a man who enlisted at the age of 18 that year, 92 years old today. A new digital archive at Bowling Green State University is striving to digitize old cassette tapes and video tapes that contain interviews with over 100 veterans from Ohio.
According to the website, the exhibit “provides full digital access to the History 303 World War II oral histories (MS-0871). The oral histories were collected from 2000-2004 for a “History of World War II” (History 303) course taught by Drs. Walter E. Grunden and Kathren Brown in the BGSU Department of History, who assigned students the project of recording an interview with an individual who directly experienced the war, whether as a military veteran, Holocaust survivor, refugee, or non-combatant on the home front.”
The project is part of a $6,700 grant the university received from the Ohio History Connection. A helpful finding aid is available for the collection here at the BGSU website.
You can search and view the interview here. If you’re like me, you’ll find these interviews with many of the Greatest Generation compelling to watch even if you don’t have relatives from Ohio.
Findmypast has added over 400,000 Donegal, Ireland records to their growing collection of Irish Workhouse records.
The Donegal Workhouses Registers and Minute Books have been digitized and published online for the first time by Findmypast in partnership with the Donegal County Council.
The records consist of both transcripts and images of original admission and discharge registers as well as board of guardians’ minute books spanning the years 1840 to 1922.
The collection covers the unions of:
As well as registers and minute books, users can also expect to find:
From Findmypast: “High levels of poverty in 19th century Ireland meant that hundreds of thousands of Irish people passed through the workhouses. Irish workhouses were generally built to accommodate around 800 inmates although it soon became clear that more space was needed and programme of building took place throughout the 1840s and 50s.
Life inside was grim. At first, there was no so-called outdoor relief, as would have been common in England. Outdoor relief was when the poor could simply use the workhouse facilities as needed by undertaking a day’s work. Indoor relief was initially the only option and required the poor to prove they were destitute before they were admitted.”
This new collection is part of an existing archive of Irish Workhouse records which now includes over 3.1 million records covering Dublin, Clare, Sligo and Waterford.
Findmypast has added 137,896 new pages to The Archive. These have been added to 18 existing publications spanning 128 years from 1871 to 1999.
The historical newspapers with new additions include:
Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below. The number shown in parenthesis is the number of indexed records added.
Australia: Australia, South Australia, Prison Records, 1838-1912 (81,971) New indexed records collection
Belgium: Belgium, Namur, Civil Registration, 1800-1912 (402) Added indexed records to existing collection
Canada: Nova Scotia Births, 1864-1877 (183,455) Added indexed records to an existing collection
Canada: Nova Scotia Marriages, 1864-1918 (18,885) Added indexed records to an existing collection
England: England, Herefordshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1583-1898 (594,707) New indexed records collection
Germany: Germany, Saxony-Anhalt, Halberstadt, Civil Registration, 1874-1982 (12,060) Added indexed records to an existing collection
Lesotho: Lesotho, Evangelical Church Records, 1828-2005 (302) Added indexed records to an existing collection
Liberia: Liberia, Marriage Records, 1912-2015 (2,475) Added indexed records to an existing collection
Luxembourg: Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1796-1941 (73,901) Added indexed records to an existing collection
Peru: Peru, Cemetery Records, 1912-2013 (42,164) New indexed records collection
Scotland: Scotland Presbyterian & Protestant Church Records, 1736-1990 (109,064) New indexed records collection
United States: Arkansas Confederate Pensions, 1901-1929 (33,779) Added indexed records to an existing collection
United States: Arkansas, Church Records, 1922-1977 (306) New indexed records collection
United States: California, Church Records, 1864-1985 1,941 New indexed records collection
United States: California, Santa Clara County, San Jose, Oak Hill Cemetery Headstone Inscriptions, 1838-1985 (61,966) New indexed record collection
United States: Colorado, Church Records, 1692-1942 (35,030) New indexed records collection
United States: Connecticut, Vital Records, Prior to 1850 (8) Added indexed records to existing collection
United States: Massachusetts, City of Boston Voter Registers, 1857-1920 (32,996) New indexed records collection
United States: Michigan, Civil War Centennial Observance Commission, Committee on Civil War Grave Registration, Burial Records (15,951) New indexed records collection
United States: Minnesota, County Deaths, 1850-2001 (8,672) Added indexed records to an existing collection
United States: Nebraska, Box Butte County, Funeral Home Records, 1919-1976 (3,491) Added indexed records to an existing collection
United States: Nebraska, Church Records, 1875-1899 (151) New indexed records collection
United States: Pennsylvania, Berks County, Reading, Charles Evans Cemetery and Crematory Burial Records, 1887-1979 (106,043) New indexed records collection
United States: Texas, Bexar County, San Antonio Cemetery Records, 1893-2007 (4,981) Added indexed records to an existing collection
United States: United States Deceased Physician File (AMA), 1864-1968 (78,215) Added indexed records to an existing collection
Did you find an ancestor or bust a brick wall using our list of new online genealogical records? Please leave a comment below and share your story and inspire others. And while you’re at it, please share this article using our social buttons (at the top of this article) with your genealogy friends. We thank you, and they will too!