Open the Gift of New and Updated Genealogical Collections From Around the World

Happiest of holiday greetings to you! Celebrate with us as we share the gift of new and updated genealogical collections like censuses, histories, and school records from all around the world. This week: the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru, Ecuador, and the U.S.

new collection of school records

United Kingdom – Military

New records at Findmypast this week include the British Army discharges, 60th Foot 1854-1880. These British Army discharges will allow you to find your ancestor who served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. The records will contain service numbers, ranks, and the reason for discharge.

The 60th Regiment of Foot saw action in the Seven Years War, Napoleonic Wars, and Peninsular War. They have served in India, Burma, Afghanistan, China, and South Africa. The men found in these records most likely fought in The Indian Mutiny (1857-1859), in Canada during the Fenian raids (1866-1867), and The Zulu War (1879).

United Kingdom – Histories

Over 13,000 records have been added to Findmypast’s collection titled Britain, Histories & Reference Guides. The collection consists of 65 volumes on genealogy, heraldry, palaeography, geography, and more. The information found in these records may provide you with more insight into the lives of your ancestors and an better understanding of British life. For a more detailed description of the history publications and what each may offer, see the list at the bottom of the collection page.

England – Middlesex – Military

The Middlesex War Memorials at Findmypast contain over 21,000 transcripts of memorials from over 40 parishes across the English county of Middlesex. The new additions to this collection list the names of soldiers who died while on active service between 1845 and 1998.

Each record will include a transcript of the individual entry from the war memorial and a full transcript of all the names that appeared alongside your ancestor. Other information found on the records may include the conflict they served in, where and when they were killed, a brief description, and additional notes. Transcripts also include links from the West Middlesex Family History Society providing greater detail about the memorial such as the memorial’s location and explanations of abbreviations.

Australia – Queensland – Passports

Also at Findmypast this week, the Queensland Passports Index 1915-1925 of over 13,000 names is a helpful collection for those searching traveling ancestors! This collection is an index. The original registers were compiled by the Collector of Customs, Brisbane, and are currently held by the National Archives of Australia. Each record includes a transcript and maypassport records contain the following information:

  • Name
  • Year the record was taken
  • Address or residence
  • Date they applied for or renewed a passport
  • Their intended destination

Depending on the period covered, the registers themselves may include additional information such as passport numbers, warrant numbers, and remarks. Remarks may include details about soldiers returning home from the Great War.

Australia – New South Wales – Census

Explore the only surviving records from the New South Wales 1841 Census at Findmypast. Containing almost 11,000 names, this collection includes both fully searchable transcripts and scanned images of the original household returns, affidavit forms, and abstracts of returns.

Censuses like these often help piece together the family unit. Names, sex, ages, and birth places are common finds in this record set. Images of the original forms may also occasionally provide you with additional information such as:

  • Religion
  • Occupation
  • Civil condition

The amount of information included will vary depending on the type of document.

France – Dordogne – Census

New and updated genealogical collections at FamilySearch this week include the France, Dordogne, Censuses, 1856 and 1876. These censuses may contain the following information:

  • Surname
  • Given name
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Position in the household

Each record contains a transcription and digital image. These census records are in French.

Peru – Civil Registration

Civil registration records are particularly helpful when church records are unavailable. FamilySearch has added new records to their collection titled Peru, La Libertad, Civil Registration, 1903-1998. Births, marriages, deaths, and other records are contained in this collection set. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable. Additional images and indexed records will be published as they become available. These records are written in Spanish.

Ecuador – Church Records

FamilySearch collection Ecuador, Catholic Church Records, 1565-2011 contain some new Catholic Church records created by parishes and dioceses in Ecuador. These records include: baptisms, confirmations, marriages, pre-marriage investigations, deaths, and indexes. Some of the records have been indexed and are searchable. Remember, you can always browse the collection of nearly 1.5 million records. Church records are a great resource when civil records have been lost or damaged.

United States – Oklahoma – School Records

Oklahoma, School Records, 1895-1936 are now available to search on FamilySearch. This collection includes school records and annual censuses of pupils who attended schools in Woodward County, Oklahoma between 1895 and 1936. The records are generally arranged by years and then in numerical order by school district. Many of them list the name of pupil, pupil’s date of birth, and the names of parents or guardians.

Oklahoma school records

The records helped local governments determine funding needs for individual schools so the information is generally reliable. These records can also provide supporting evidence of parental and familial relationships.

Learn More About School Records for Genealogy

School records video lectureFrom schools and orphanages to prisons, hospitals, asylums, workhouses, and more, there’s a good chance one or more of your ancestors might be found on record in one of the many types of institutions. In this Premium eLearning video, Institutional Records Research Methods, Lisa Louise Cooke presents methods for finding your ancestors in institutional records, from establishing a workflow and investigating clues found in the census and other records to resources and strategies for digging up the records. This 40-minute video includes a downloadable handout and is available right now to all Premium eLearning members. Click here to sign up!

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!

Google Searches for Genealogy Leads to an Opera’s Worth of Stories

Google searches for genealogy are a main focus of our Google Guru, Lisa Louise Cooke. Read this inspiring story of how one Genealogy Gems reader used Lisa’s Google search tips to find a trove of family stories worthy of an opera.

Google searches for genealogy

Opera house image courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons.

You never know when the amazing technology of the internet and Google will lead to a discovery that will open the doors on your family history. I recently received a letter from Genealogy Gems listener, Kristen. She shared the sad tale of her maternal grandmother’s history. Her grandmother had lost her mother before the age of two. Then, as an only child, her father abandoned her to be raised by a less-than-loving step mother. This young woman grew-up and had children of her own, but all she had in the way of a family history was the memory of her father’s name and a handful of unnamed photographs.

Merton E. Markert

Kristen went on to say, “She never really spoke of her sad childhood, save to say that the stepmother would tell her she had always been unwanted and that her mother was unloved and the marriage was forced.”

Among the handful of mystery photographs of her grandmother as a child, was a brief article from a newspaper. It was a lesson in manners titled Silence is Golden and it was written by Merton Markert, a student of the Modern Classics. A photo of a young woman was attached.

 

Using Clues for Google Searches for Genealogy

Here’s the rest of Kristen’s letter:

I took your advice and Googled Merton Markert Modern Classical Silence Golden. Up came the Lancaster High School Yearbook for 1905, featuring p. 41, the senior class portraits with their course study descriptions and a small personal quote for each. There was that exact photo of her, and the name Merton Markert, Modern Classical with the quote, “Life seems a jest of Fate’s contriving.”

Photo courtesy of Kristin Wat

The whole yearbook had been digitized by Mocavo, and it is the only yearbook for that high school in several years. My great-grandmother [Merton Markert], who had been buried and unspoken for a hundred years, had reached out to me. She wanted me to find her! Lisa, I cannot adequately describe the feelings I experienced at that moment of discovery. You understand how a moment like that feels, I’m sure. The chills, the tears…I felt like I was staring into her eyes, reaching through a century of silence, and finally able to acknowledge her sacrifice and legacy.

On the football team that year was my great-grandfather, and the whole book was ripe with clues that still hold nuanced significance.

From there, I was able to grow a tree on Ancestry.com and get the basics. But that does not tell you who the person is, the struggles, the character, the story. So taking your lead, and thinking like my brother the Sherriff Detective, I got creative. Using all kinds of searches and sniffing and turning over and under, I was able to uncover a veritable opera’s worth of stories within this one branch [of my family tree]. The cast of characters include: A Colonial founder, a secret bastard half-sister, a suicidal mother, a Klondike Gold Stampeder, alcoholics, a rejected Baptist Pastor, a homosexual affair-turned-murder victim,  a bonafide Monuments Man (buried at Arlington), and a chorus of war veterans. And cancer. Lots of it. In fact, breast cancer was the reason for Merton’s death in 1910. That kind of information is vital to my sisters and female cousins.

So thank you, my clever inspiration.

Ain’t opera grand?
 

Lisa’s Response to Kristen with Additional Ideas

Thanks for sharing your fascinating story. I completely understand the emotions you felt the moment she was looking back at you on the screen. Those moments are precious and meant to be savored!Using search techniques from my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Second Edition, I also discovered this same yearbook on the  robust and free Internet Archive website. Perhaps there is more there to be found. And I have an additional idea I thought you might like to try. It’s Ebay.

Ebay currently has a commencement program from 1902, old post cards of the school, and other yearbooks from Lancaster High School. Who knows what could be put up for auction in the future. You could sign up for a free Ebay account, run a search, and then click to Follow the search. You will then be alerted to future auctions that match your criteria. Happy hunting and thanks for being a Genealogy Gem!

Genealogy Gems Premium Members can listen to Premium episode 16 which goes in depth into my Tips for Finding Family History Related Items on eBay.

More on Google Searches for Genealogy

Google is an effective and easy-to-use genealogy tool, you just need to know a few basics. Watch my YouTube video on speaking Google’s language and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of our tech tips and more!

WWI History App in New and Updated Genealogical Collections

A WWI history app for genealogy leads our top picks for this week! History buffs are going to love Remembering WWI, an app that makes your WWI family history come alive. Also in this week’s new and updated genealogical collections, Swedish church records, Canadian marriage records, Pennsylvania naturalizations, and more.

WWI History for Genealogy

The National Archives has launched Remembering WWI, a free app for iPad and Android. It is especially geared for young people, but with an ability to explore, collaborate, and engage with NARA’s extensive collection of WWI photographs, it’s for any history buff. The app commemorates the 100-year anniversary, in April 2017, of the U.S. entry into World War.

It is now available in the iTunes and Google Play stores.

What is even more interesting about this app is how it invites people nationwide to contribute their own stories. You can create your own collections and build and share new narratives around the people, events, and themes you are researching.

Sweden – Norrbotten & Kopparberg – Church Records

Swedish and Italian genealogy records

Church Records in Swedish Collections at FamilySearch

Also this week at FamilySearch, Sweden, Norrbotten Church Records, 1612-1923; index 1658-1860 has been updated. You will note the large year span in this collections coverage. Because of this, records will vary. Generally speaking, you will find church records include births, marriages, and deaths and also images to clerical surveys, registers of birth, marriage, death, move-in and move-out lists, confirmations, and church accounts.

Church records are particularly helpful when searching pre-civil registration time frames or when there has been loss or damage to the civil records you need.

In particular, these collections contain household examination records. A household examination record is filled with genealogical data and some other unusual statistics. Information may include:

  • The name of the farm, village, or rote (registration area).
  • Names of household members including any pigor (female workers) or drängar (male workers)
  • Birthplace
  • Birth date or age
  • A score for catechism knowledge
  • Dates of partaking communion
  • Dates of participation with the Household Examination
  • Moving information
  • Death date
  • Marriage date
  • Disciplinary notes
  • Vaccination against smallpox
  • Reference to military conscription

Sweden, Kopparberg Church Records, 1604-1900; index 1628-1860 was also updated.

Canada – Ontario – Marriage Registers

The Ontario, County Marriage Registers 1858-1869 at FamilySearch have also been updated. These records contain an index and images of marriages. There are some records that actually date prior to 1858 and after 1869, so be sure to check the collection thoroughly.

These marriage records will generally include the following information:

  • Name of groom
  • Name and maiden name of bride
  • Age of groom and bride at marriage
  • Names of groom’s parents and bride’s parents
  • Place and date of marriage
  • Names of witnesses or possible relatives

United States – New Hampshire – Civil War Service & Pension Records

The New Hampshire, Civil War Service and Pension Records, 1861-1866 are now available at FamilySearch and have been recently updated. The collection includes both an index and images of Civil War enlistment papers, muster rolls of New Hampshire Regiments, and pension records.

The pension records are arranged by town with indexes arranged by name and town. The enlistment papers are arranged by military unit, volume, and year range. The muster rolls are arranged by unit name and folder number.

Pension papers can often be used as substitute records for vital information such as birth, marriage, and death. Additional information may include birth place, occupation, and a physical description.

United States – Alaska – Vital Records

Though a rather small collection with only just over 80,000 records, the Alaska, Vital Records, 1816-1959 may be just what you need. These records include both an index and digital images of birth, marriage, death, and divorce records from Alaska covering the years of 1816-1959. This collection is being published as images become available.

United States – Pennsylvania – Petitions for Naturalization

Pennsylvania, Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1795-1931 at FamilySearch continues to grow. Now up to over 300,000 records, the collection will offer naturalization petitions for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern district of Pennsylvania for the years 1795 to 1931. The records corresponds to NARA publication M1522 part of Record Group 21 Records of District Courts of the United States.

Naturalization papers are an important source of information about an immigrant’s nation of origin, his or her foreign and “Americanized” names, residence, and date of arrival. It is important to note that naturalization changed over time and information will vary greatly.

What the U.S. Federal Government Could Learn from Genealogists

Beware: Personal Opinions are coming your way in this article!

In my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox I emphasize how to use Google to determine what is already available and free online before investing your limited time and money in offline family history searching.  Smart genealogists allocate their resources wisely, getting the most bang for their buck. And collaboration between individual genealogists allows us to accomplish even more.

Money down the toiletIt looks like the U.S. Federal Government could learn a thing or two from savvy genealogists. The Washington Times is reporting that Congress’s auditor has discovered that our tax payer money given to the federal government isn’t being spent very wisely. (Imagine that!) Agencies fail to collaborate and share information, creating redundancy and overspending.

One example from the article: the Commerce Department “has been charging other government agencies millions of dollars for reports that the other agencies could just as easily have gotten online, for free – often with a Google search.”

This news makes it even harder to swallow the news that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)  is suffering reduced hours of service due to budgetary issues.

The Bottom Line:
Google Twice, Pay Once (and only if you have to!)

 

 

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