I have thoroughly enjoyed having Amie Tennant as a blogger for the past year. In her final blog post for Genealogy Gems she takes us on a tour of her home state’s digital records. Then she will be turning all of her attentions to her own genealogical certification. Thank you Amie for all of your helpful and thoroughly enjoyable posts! – Lisa Louise Cooke
Ohio genealogy research goes digital. You can now virtually walk into any courthouse in Ohio with the click of the mouse. Check out the amazing browse-only databases at FamilySearch for Ohio and other states, and take your family history research to the next level.
I use FamilySearch.org to search courthouse record books all the time. In particular, the Ohio Probate Records, 1789-1996 now have nearly 7 million digital images of county record books such as wills, estate files, guardianship records, naturalization records, minutes, bonds, and settlements. In fact, many other states have their court record books online at FamilySearch, too. So, why haven’t you noticed before?
Browse-only Databases vs. Indexed Databases
You may have read our previous post on step-by-step instructions to using browse-only databases at FamilySearch. If you didn’t, you should know that when you are searching for records at FamilySearch using the traditional search fields, you are only searching for records that have been indexed. In other words, there may be thousands of records you need on the site, but you won’t find them. They have not been indexed by a searchable name, place, or date. Instead, you need to go in the virtual “back door.”
Step 1: First, go to FamilySearch and sign in. Next, click Search at the top right. Now you will see a map of the world. Click on the desired location. I have chosen the U.S., but you can choose any country you are interested in.
Step 2: Once you choose your desired country or continent, a pop-up list will be available and allow you to choose the state (or country) you wish to search in. In this case, a list of the U.S. states appears and I clicked on Ohio.
Step 3: The system will direct you to a new page. You will first see the Ohio Indexed Historical Records. These are the records and collections that have been indexed and are searchable by name, date, and place. Though these are great, they are not the record collections I want to share with you today.
Instead, scroll down until you see the heading Ohio Image Only Historical Records. You will notice several databases such as cemetery records, church records, naturalization records, etc. All of these are browseable. That means you will use them like you would microfilm.
Step 4: I want to bring your attention to a specific record collection, so scroll down even further until you see Ohio Probate Records, 1789-1996. Click it.
At the next screen, you will see you can browse the 6,997,828 Ohio probate records and you are probably thinking, “What!? I can’t possibly browse through nearly 7 million records!” But, you can, so go ahead and click it!
Step 5: At the new screen, you will see everything is broken up into counties. Click on the county you are interested in researching. You will next see a list of possible record books available for that county. Each county will vary, so where you may find guardianship records available in one county, you might not find them in another.
Ohio Genealogy Research at the Courthouse
As a refresher, courthouse research is often imperative to thorough genealogy research. Here is a helpful chart of the type of information you may find in these types of court records. Be sure to remember: records and the amount of information they contain change over time.
More on Courthouse Research Techniques
Are you looking to understand the value of courthouse research and how to use those records to overcome brick walls in your family tree? Read 4 Ways to Power Up Your Courthouse Research Skills from our own Sunny Morton.
Look for your Scandinavian ancestors in new and updated online Swedish marriage records, as well as population registers and vital records indexes for the Netherlands. Also: English parish registers, an Israeli collection for the Six Day War, and several U.S. collections: biographies, WWII draft registrations, Indian wills, Arkansas, Florida and Georgia.
Netherlands – Population Registers, BMD
In May, MyHeritage published major new collections for the Netherlands. Among them are indexes to civil births, marriages and deaths, as well as church baptisms, marriages and burials. You’ll also find their new Netherlands, Population Registers, 1810-1936 index, with more than 16 million records from population registers across the Netherlands. “Records typically list name, birth date, birthplace, residence date, and residence place. Sometimes an individual’s age, occupation, and names of their parents or spouse is also included.”
TIP: Use the source information given to go to browse-only collections of register images at FamilySearch (free) or Ancestry.com (subscribers or library users).
Sweden – Marriage records
Over 6.5 million records are in the new Ancestry.com collection, Sweden, Indexed Marriage Records, 1860-1943. According to the collection description, “records in this database were created by Statistics Sweden (SCB), a government agency established in 1858 that extracted and transcribed birth, marriage, and death information from Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sweden parish record books from 1860 to 1941.” You will likely find the names (including maiden name), dates of birth, gender and number of marriage for the bride and groom, along with dates and place of marriage. Later records may add more details: occupation, residence, nationality, religion and previous marital status. TIP: See the collection description for an explanation of Swedish naming traditions.
FYI–Ancestry.com’s Sweden, Indexed Death Records, 1840-1942 has also been recently updated (it’s now got 12.5 million records).
England – Parish Registers
Findmypast.com has recently posted the following new and updated parish records:
Israel – Military
The Israel State Archives has released a digital archive from the Six Day War. According to an article at Arutz Sheva, the collection numbers over 150,000 pages and includes “minutes of 36 meetings of the Ministerial Committee on National Security from January-July 1967, Cabinet protocols and documents pertaining to the war from various ministries (Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry, Religious Affairs Ministry, Tourism Ministry, Justice Ministry, Housing Ministry and others), as well as sound and video files, still photographs and materials from the personal archives of Levy Eshkol, Yaakov Herzog, Aviad Yafe, Moshe Sasson and Rabbi Shlomo Goren.” Click here for the Six Day War Collection on the Israel State Archives website.
United States – Miscellaneous
- Biographies of Famous People: You’ve likely seen late 19th-century U.S. county histories with biographical sketches of prominent residents (perhaps you’ve even found your family among them). A national version of these “mug books” has been published and indexed on Ancestry.com. Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1600-1889 includes over 15,000 entries from annual volumes 1887-1889, with entries from most states. “Much of the information found within was compiled by either the subjects themselves or by their families,” warns the collection description. “Not all of the biographies found within the Cyclopedia may be accurate….Since contributors to the project were paid by space, there is speculation that the authors of the false pieces may have been financially motivated to add fabricated entries.” As always, use what you find to inform and guide your research: verify everything you can.
- Red Cross: Nearly 20,000 newly scanned photographs from the American National Red Cross collection are now online at the Library of Congress website.
- WWII draft registrations: Fold3 has added 21 new states or regions to its collection of WWII Draft Registration Cards. Draft registration cards are an excellent resource for determining where your family lived after the 1940 census; employer information, which can lead to business records or help you identify a relative in a city directory; and more.
- Indian wills: Ancestry.com has a new collection of U.S., Indian Wills, 1910-1921. According to the collection description, for a time, “the Probate Divisions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs were responsible for determining the heirs of deceased Indian trust allottees. Ultimately, Native Americans submitted more than 2,500 pages of wills and probate records to the Bureau. These records span the period 1910 to 1921 and, with a few exceptions, pertain to Indian families living in the Plains and several western states. Researchers will find members of the following tribes represented in this collection: Chippewa, Sioux, Apache, Shawnee, Quapaw, Assinboin, Leach Lake Chippewa, Confederated Flathead, Ponca, Cheyenne, Crow, Sac & Fox, Nez Perce, Southern Ute, Omaha, Osage, and more.”
- Arkansas: The Arkansas State Archive Newspaper Digitization Project has now digitized and indexed over 200,000 pages that will appear on Newspapers.com in June. Click here to learn more about this project.
- Florida: Flagler College (St. Augustine, Florida) has digitized its archive of yearbooks and photos, articles, college catalogs, and more. Now available to the public online
- Georgia: Now on the Georgia Archives is a digital version of its Bible Records Microfilm Index. These are images of the “card catalog (compiled by Georgia Archives staff) of the Archives’ holdings of Bible records on microfilm. The cards have been scanned and saved in PDF format.”
Got Swedish roots?
Then you’ll likely enjoy our current Genealogy Gems Book Club featured title, The Whole Town’s Talking by internationally-bestselling author Fannie Flagg. It’s the story of two Swedish-American immigrants to the U.S., who find each other and marry after the man places an ad in a newspaper. Their dairy farm becomes the core of Swede Town, which grows into a classic Midwestern town. This novel is the multi-generational story of that town. Click here to learn more about The Whole Town’s Talking and The Genealogy Gems Book Club.
Not everyone was on vacation this summer. Genealogy companies and archives have been busy adding new records to their online collections.
In late July 2019 the Mississippi Department of Archives and History announced that “More than 238,000 pages of out-of-copyright Mississippi newspapers are currently online, with approximately 90,000 more pages expected to go online in the next six months.”
According to their press release: Researchers from around the world now have free online access to hundreds of Mississippi newspapers. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) participated in the National Digital Newspaper Program, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize newspapers across the country. The publications are accessible through the Library of Congress on its Chronicling America website, along with papers from other participating states.
“Primary sources are key for students because it makes history relatable,” said Al Wheat, MDAH director of education and co-coordinator of Mississippi History Day. “Every year we send students to the National History Day competition, which offers two prizes to students who made use of Chronicling America in their research. Instead of simply reading about a historical event, students can learn from the people who experienced that event through this exceptional website.”
MDAH has the most extensive collection of Mississippi newspapers in the state, housing more than 13,000 microfilm rolls of papers in its archival collections. NEH provided funding for the Mississippi digitization project through three, two-year grants.
Mississippi content includes titles published between 1820 and 1963 in fifty-three of the state’s eighty-two counties. Ninety antebellum titles, including papers published in Canton, Carrollton, Columbus, Holly Springs, Kosciusko, Panola, Port Gibson, Yazoo City, and Woodville, are online.
Twenty-three titles have at least one issue published between 1860 and 1865. Noteworthy Civil War-era titles include the American Citizen published in Canton, the Eastern Clarionpublished in Paulding, the Daily Clarion published in Meridian, the Macon Beacon, and the Oxford Intelligencer.
More than 100 newspapers document the Reconstruction era in the state through 1922. Included are titles from Aberdeen, Bay St. Louis, Corinth, Ellisville, Hernando, Liberty, Okolona, Philadelphia, Ripley, and Starkville.
A number of issues published between 1923 and 1963 will go online within the next six months. Included are several African American newspapers: the Jackson Advocate, the Southern Advocate published in Mound Bayou, and the Weekly Echo published in Meridian. Two newspapers that will go online won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing: the Lexington Advertiser edited by Hazel Brannon Smith and the Chronicle edited by Ira Harkey, Jr.
Access the newspapers for free at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Another exciting free historical newspaper website!
Click the video below to watch:
Georgia Obituaries and Burial Records
The Madison GA Cemetery Stewardship Commission announced that the Madison Cemeteries website now has over 800 obits for our 4,000 burials, and they are adding more every day.
U.S. Genealogical Records at Findmypast
Pennsylvania, Oath of Allegiance
Did your ancestor arrive in Pennsylvania between 1727 and 1775 or between 1786 and 1808? This records hold the names of thousands of male immigrants who were required to take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown and the Province of Pennsylvania as well as immigration lists between 1786 and 1808. Within these pages you will find your ancestor’s name, the ship they arrived on, there and arrival ports, and arrival date. Names are organised by vessel.
All males over sixteen years of age were obliged to take this oath and declaration, as soon as after arrival as possible. The lists of foreigners arriving after 1786 including the names of wives and children. The full oath can actually be found on image number 9. An index to surnames begins on image number 675.
Pennsylvania Immigrants, 1727-1776
Explore this 1856 publication which, in its own words, is a ‘A Collection of Upwards Of Thirty Thousand Names Of German, Swiss, Dutch, French And Other Immigrants In Pennsylvania From 1727 To 1776: With A Statement Of The Names Of Ships, Whence They Sailed, And The Date Of Their Arrival At Philadelphia, Chronology.’
As well as names, these records may also provide you with historical and biographical notes. The prefece went on to add that ‘present descendants of the early German, Swiss and French immigrants, now numbering millions living in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and in the Western States, will be enabled, if they procure this publication, to ascertain the time of their ancestors’ arrival and other facts of value to most of them.’
United States, Passenger and Crew Lists has been created by merging all of Findmypast’s existing US passenger and crew lists with over 2 million brand new records covering Boston, Texas and South Carolina.
Spanning over 160 years of travel, this vast national collection brings together records of passengers and crew who arrived in America by ship or by plane, from the East Coast to the West Coast, between 1800 and 1964.
Passenger boarding in the 1950s.
Including ship manifests, crew lists, flight manifests, passenger arrival lists and more, the records document the arrival of millions of immigrant from Europe, Asia, and South America into the United States, where most settled to create a new life for themselves and their descendants.
A significant portion of the documents available within United States, Passenger and Crew Lists have been produced through a combination of historical records found at the National Archives & Record Administration (NARA) in Washington D.C. A number of the crew lists have also been made available by the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut.
The collection also includes records provided in partnership with the John F Kennedy Trust Ltd, an organization which has worked with the Balch Institute, the Ellis Island Restoration Commission and the Battery Conservancy to compile a comprehensive database of Irish emigration to the United States.
Passenger lists are just one of many records that detail your family’s journey to the United States. Transcripts will reveal your ancestor’s birth year, birth place, place of arrival, arrival year and ship name.
Images will provide additional information such who your ancestor was traveling with, their occupation, last permanent residence, and the names of those who died during the voyage. On crew lists, you may discover your ancestors position on the chip, whether they were able to read or write, length of service, as well as a physical description.
United States, Passenger and Crew Lists
Over 777,000 new records from the major port city of Baltimore in Maryland have recently been added to these passenger and crew lists.
This national collection brings together records of passengers and crew who arrived in America by ship or by plane from the East Coast to the West Coast and will reveal where your ancestor was born, where they sailed from, where they arrived and when.
Billion Graves at FMP
Pinpoint your ancestor’s final resting place with new additions to our Billion Graves Cemetery Indexes. Our latest update includes:
Tombstones are records too.
Cemetery records are of great importance in discovering where and when your ancestor died. They can also provide you with information regarding their birth and marriage dates.
With an abundance of cemeteries, it can be overwhelming trying to pinpoint the precise cemetery in which your ancestor was laid to rest, and visiting each potential location is costly. However, in partnering with BillionGraves, we aim to make available all the cemetery records held on their site for free, saving you time and money as you search for your ancestor.
BillionGraves is the largest resource for GPS-tagged headstone and burial records on the web, with over 12 million headstone records.