Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-2009. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.
Episode 18: Using Family History Centers, Part II
This episode is the second in a series about Family History Centers, the regional satellite facilities of the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
My very special guest is friend of the show Margery Bell, Assistant Director of the Oakland Family History Center in Oakland, California. Last week Margery Bell introduced us to the Family History Center, and walked us step by step through the process of ordering and using microfilm. She also discussed the wide range of resources beyond microfilm that you will find at both your local Family History Center and one of the 14 larger regional centers.
In our first segment in this episode she preps us for our visit and reveals the subscription websites you can use for free at Family History Centers. Then in our second segment, Margery discusses making copies in all forms, the future of digitizing microfilm, and the future of Family History Centers.
We also talk about tips for visiting the main Family History Library (see link below and link to Show Notes, above).
In next week’s show, part three of the series on Family History Centers, Margery Bell will talk about educational opportunities through the centers, she’ll give us her 7 top tips for getting the most out of your visit, and we’ll wrap up with some wonderful inspirational stories of genealogical serendipity.
Some Family History Centers are now called FamilySearch Centers. Many Centers have opened in public and private libraries in the past few years, not just in meetinghouses of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here to find a FamilySearch Center/Family History Center near you.
Many records are now available online, either in indexed form or just the digitized images. Click here to visit the online catalog of the Family History Library. When you find something you’d like to order, look at the catalog entry. If it’s digitized and online, you’ll see a link.
Many of the same principles apply to visiting the Family History Library and Family History Centers. Click here for updated information about preparing for your visit to the Family History Library (this is instead of the handout mentioned in the podcast).
Here’s a link to the main Family History Centers page on the FamilySearch website, which has an updated list of databases available there (and a lot more information).
You’re probably aware that the David Rumsey map collection website is a terrific source for old maps. But you may be surprised by the variety of maps, some which you likely don’t come across every day. Here’s a fun little tactic I took today to see what it may hold in store beyond typical maps. A search of the word neighborhood reveals that their holdings go well beyond traditional maps. Here’s an example from San Francisco showing a neighborhood in its infancy:
And the image below depicts the Country Club district of Kansas City in the 1930s. If your family lived there at that time, this is a real gem.
If you think Google Books is just books, think again. Historic maps, often unique and very specific, can often be found within those digitized pages. Try running a Google search such as: neighborhood map baltimore.
Click the MORE menu and select BOOKS. Then click the SEARCH TOOLS button at the top of the results list, and from the drop down menu select ANY BOOKS and then click FREE GOOGLE BOOKS:
Select a book that looks promising. Then rather than reading through the pages or scanning the index, save loads of time by clicking the thumbnail view button at the top of the book. This way you can do a quick visual scan for pages featuring maps!
When you find a page featuring a map, click it display it on a single page. You can now use the clipper tool built right in to Google Books to clip an image of the map. Other options include using Evernote (free) or Snagit ($).
Like Google Books, the digitized pages housed at the Chronicling America website contain much more than just text. Old newspapers printed maps to help readers understand current events like the progress of war or the effect of a natural disaster. This map from The Tacoma Times in 1914 shows a map of Europe and several quick facts about the “Great War,” World War I:
The Tacoma Times, August 22, 1914. Image from Chronicling America. Click on image to visit webpage.
Here’s one more example below. A search for “San Francisco earthquake” at Chronicling America brought up this bird’s eye view of San Francisco at the time of the major 1906 earthquake. Articles below the map explain what you’re seeing:
The Minneapolis Journal, April 19, 1906. Image at Chronicling America; click on image to see it there.
Here’s exciting genetic genealogy news that you’ll want to know about. Findmypast and Living DNA have announced a new partnership. The two leading British companies are creating a new DNA experience focused on uncovering British & Irish roots. This...
This week, we set sail to the islands with new and updated genealogical records for Hawaiian and Irish genealogy. Passenger lists and denization records shine a light on ancestors who walked the shores of beautiful Hawaii and previously classified records are revealed in the Easter Rising collections for Ireland. Also this week, the Canadian Census for 1901, and records for Maine, Kentucky, and the country of Benin.
United States – Hawaii – Passenger Lists
This week at Ancestry, a new collection titled Hawaii, Passenger Lists, 1843-1898 is now available. It is searchable by name, birth, date of arrival, or date of departure. Specifically, this database includes passenger lists for ships arriving at and departing from ports in Hawaii between 1843 and 1898. This is both an index and a collection of digital images. Information may include a given and surname, age, gender, nationality or last place of residence, destination, ship name, and the date and place of departure or arrival. The names found in the index are linked to actual images of the manifests, digitized from originals at the Hawaii State Archives.
United States – Hawaii – Denization Records
Another new collection at Ancestry is the Hawaii, Denization Records, for 1846-1849, 1883-1898. Denization is the process used to grant a status similar to permanent residency and gave rights to denizens, such as the right to own land. These records are actually applications made by handwritten letters before 1895 and pre-printed application forms after that.
Information will vary, but may include:
Place of origin
United States – Hawaii – Certificates of Identification
This collection of certificates of identification for Chinese arrivals may include:
Date of arrival
Note: Photographs are not available in this collection. Photographs of arrivals were taken and kept in a Deposit Book. You can obtain copies of these photographs from the Hawaii State Archives using the locator information that is provided on each certificate.
Ireland – Easter Rising Collection
Findmypast has added over 48,000 additional records to their Easter Rising & Ireland Under Martial Law 1916-1921collection. If you are not familiar with the Easter Rising, it took place on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916. A group of Irish nationalists announced the establishment of the Irish Republic and staged a rebellion against the British government in Ireland.
These were once classified records, but have now been digitized and can be browsed. These unique records document the struggles of life under martial law in Ireland and also contain details of both soldiers and civilians who participated or were affected by the Easter Rising of April 1916.
The collection contains the names of the hundreds of people who were detained and interned in prisons across Ireland, England, and Wales. Further, the internment files contain reports on individual detainees which record their charges, trial, and sentence as well as personal letters from prisoners or their relatives testifying to their innocence. Locating an ancestor in this collection would be a very special find.
Canada – Census
Findmypast has just added the Canada Census for 1901. It contains over 5.1 million records. The 1901 census was the first Canadian census to ask questions about religion, birthplace, citizenship, and immigration.
Each record includes a transcript and link to the digital image of the original census form. These census records will also list the name, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, relationship to head of household, race or tribe, immigration year, and naturalization year of each household member.
United States – Maine – Military
FamilySearch has added two new collections this week and one of them is Maine, World War I Draft Registration Index, 1917-1919. I don’t know if we have mentioned lately, but FamilySearch.org is free for everyone. This new collection for Maine is just one of hundreds available for genealogy records.
Records found in this collection generally contain the following information:
The four volumes of the Colored Marriage Indexes are used to locate early marriage bonds of African Americans in Lexington, Kentucky. These indexes contain the name of each bride and groom and the page number of the marriage bond held at the Fayette County Clerk’s Office.
The digitized versions of the indexes are now freely available to the public on ExploreUK, UK’s digital library. The typed indexes have been run through optical character recognition (OCR) and are searchable.