by Lisa Cooke | Mar 3, 2017 | 01 What's New, African-American, Records & databases
African-American county slave records are just one of two new collections to broaden your genealogy research. Also this week, records pertaining to the elite group of Masons in North Carolina, naturalization records from Michigan, and church records from New York. Lastly, take a look at the new records available for Northamptonshire, England!
United States – Pennsylvania – African-American County Slave Records
This new database from Ancestry titled Pennsylvania, County Slave Records, 1780-1834 is a great find. This collection contains records pertaining to slaves and free persons from Adams, Bedford, Bucks, Centre, Cumberland, Fayette, Lancaster, and Washington counties, as well as Lancaster City. The types of records include: petitions to keep slaves past the age of twenty-eight, records of “negro” and “mulatto” children, as well as birth and residence registers. Various other records, such as apprenticeship records, bills of sale, and manumissions also occasionally appear.
– the slave’s name (typically only a given name)
– description (e.g., Negro woman, negro man, etc.)
– birth date
– occasionally, the name of a mother
United States – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Finding Family After Slavery
This unique project by Villanova University and Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia will make classified ads of the past easily accessible. The goal of “Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery” is to make accessible an online database of snapshots from history, which hold names of former slaves, owners, traders, plantation locations, and relatives gone missing.
So far, project researchers have uploaded and transcribed 1,000 ads published in six newspapers from 1863 to 1902. These newspapers include: the South Carolina Leader in Charleston, the Colored Citizen in Cincinnati, the Free Man’s Press in Galveston, the Black Republican in New Orleans, the Colored Tennessean in Nashville, and the Christian Recorder, the official publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church denomination published at Mother Bethel.
Thousands more ads will be added in the future.
United States – North Carolina – WWI Masons
New records from The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina are now online. These records include several Minute Books and an Account book from St. John’s Lodge no. 1, Minute books and an account book from Zion Lodge no. 81, speeches from well known North Carolina Free Masons such as William Lander and J.M. Lovejoy, letters of correspondence, and more. But the best records for those doing their genealogy may be the list of North Carolina Masons Who Died in WWI.
Screenshot from The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina website.
The list is organized by name of lodge and includes the member’s rank, date and place of death, and where he was buried. This may particularly helpful to those researchers who have not been able to locate a death or burial record, or were not able to locate an obituary.
United States – New York – Church Records
This new database at Ancestry.com is titled New York and Vicinity, United Methodist Church Records, 1775-1949. It contains baptism, marriage, birth, death, and membership records of Methodist Episcopal churches in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Materials include registers, membership certificates, minutes of meetings, church financial records, lists of seminary students and teachers. Though the records will vary due to the lengthy time span they cover, you may find:
- birth dates
- marriage dates
- death dates
- spouse’s names
- parents’ names
- places where an event (baptism, marriage, death, burial, etc.) took place
United States – Marriages
Over 54,000 records covering more than 1,800 counties have been added to Findmypast’s collection of United States Marriages including substantial updates from Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee. Released in partnership with FamilySearch international, these new additions mark the latest phase of efforts to create the single largest online collection of U.S. marriage records in history.
Each record includes a transcript and image of the original documents that list marriage date, names of the bride and groom, birthplace, birth date, age, residence as well as fathers’ and mothers’ names. The entire collection now contains over 168 million records and continues to grow.
United States – Michigan – Naturalization
FamilySearch has recently added a browse-only database titled Michigan, Eastern District, Naturalization Index, 1907-1995. Soon, this collection will be easily searched by name, but in the meantime, you can browse over 500,000 naturalization records for the state of Michigan.
Screenshot from FamilySearch.org
This collection contains images of soundex cards to naturalization petitions. A guide to using a soundex appears at the beginning of most of the image ranges within this collection and corresponds with NARA publication M1917: Index Cards to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, Detroit, 1907-1995. For additional information on soundex indexes see the wiki article, Soundex.
The records usually include the following information:
- Full name of citizen (sometimes a name change is indicated)
- Date naturalized
- Name of court
- Certificate number
United Kingdom – Northamptonshire – Baptisms
Findmypast offers more great finds in the collection titled Northamptonshire Baptisms. This collection contains over 14,000 transcripts of original baptism records and covers 34 parishes across the East Midlands county. These records cover the years 1559 through 1901.
The level of detail found each transcript will vary, but most will include names, baptism date, baptism place, the names of both parent’s, document reference, page, and entry number. Remember, these are transcripts only and do not contain an image of the original document.
United Kingdom – Northamptonshire – Hospital Admissions
The collection at Findmypast titled Northamptonshire, Northampton General Hospital Admissions 1774-1846 consists of over 126,000 transcripts of original admission registers held by the Northamptonshire record office. These transcripts will allow you to discover whether your ancestors were admitted to the hospital, when they were admitted, why they were admitted, and the year they were discharged. Most records will also reveal the nature of ailment and the outcome of their treatment.
More on African-American Genealogy
Coming up next month in The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 201: An interview with Angela Walton-Raji on finding African-American ancestors. She shares tons of resources!
Even if you haven’t found any African-Americans on your family tree, the challenges and rewards of African-American genealogical research are both fascinating and moving to learn about. And, learn other tips and tricks for genealogy research by listening to our archived free podcasts.
by Lisa Cooke | Feb 16, 2017 | 01 What's New, Genealogy TV, Who Do You Think You Are? |
TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? is back with eight new one-hour episodes bringing more unexpected turns, and surprising discoveries of great historical significance. Read more to find out who you’ll see and some of the hidden family secrets revealed.
7th Season of WDYTYA
Communists, secret agents, and abolitionists are just a few of the family secrets uncovered in this season of Who Do You Think You Are. The line-up of celebrities include:
Jessica Biel making a surprising discovery that changes what she thought knew about her heritage.
Julie Bowen, of Modern Family, uncovers the story of two relatives whose moral codes are from opposite ends of the spectrum.
Courteney Cox will trace her maternal line back seven centuries to the Medieval times to discover royalty in her lineage and an unbelievable tale of family drama.
Jennifer Grey uncovers new information about the grandfather she thought she knew, learning how he survived adversity to become a beacon of his community.
Smokey Robinson searches for answers behind the mystery of why his grandfather disappeared from his children’s lives, and finds a man tangled in a swirl of controversy.
John Stamos digs into the mystery of how his grandfather became an orphan, and learns of tensions between families that led to a horrible crime.
Liv Tyler learns that her family is tied into the complicated racial narrative of America.
Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his maternal line, uncovering an ancestor who survived one of America’s bloodiest battles.
Tune in on Sunday, March 5th, 2017 10/9c and be a part of their journeys. Also, you can enjoy this sneak peak in the video below:
Sharing Your Own WDYTYA Experience
Have you recently found an amazing discovery that has altered how you feel about your family’s history? We would love to hear about your experiences on our blog, here in the comments section, or on our Facebook page. After all, everyone has a story to tell.
And speaking of telling your story, Sunny Morton’s new book can help you do just that. It includes:
- fill-in pages with thought-provoking prompts to capture key moments that define your life
- Advice and exercises to reconstruct memories from long ago
- Interactive pages for family and friends to share their own stories
- Special forms for spotlighting important people, places and times.
Get Story of My Life by Sunny Jane Morton.
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!
by Lisa Cooke | Mar 2, 2016 | 01 What's New, Apps, Mobile, Premium Video
There’s a new video tutorial on genealogy apps for Genealogy Gems Premium website members: “How to Find Essential Genealogy Apps for Genealogists.”
What are the best apps for genealogy? The ones that accomplish whatever you want to GET DONE. Like:
- working on your family tree
- translating an old church register
- digitally restoring an old photo.
- Having your mobile device read you an e-book or blog post (yes, you can do this for free).
But to make the most of the many mobile tools out there for the genealogist, you need to strategically look for them rather than hope you stumble across them. Because most of them aren’t conveniently marked “for the genealogist.”
A new 36-minute video tutorial by leading tech genealogy educator Lisa Louise Cooke shows you how to get the most out of your mobile device for genealogy. In “How to Find Essential Genealogy Apps for Genealogists (and 3 to Start Using Right Away)” she covers:
- How to identify mobile-friendly tasks you want to accomplish;
- Apps that every genealogist can enjoy right away;
- Knowing where to look for apps;
- Automating the process of finding apps; and
- How to keep from purchasing apps you don’t need.
Get the Book!
These tips are taken from hundreds of hours of research and testing Lisa put into her new book Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research.
Save 10% off Mobile Genealogy
with Coupon code web10
The How to Find Essential Genealogy Apps for Genealogists video is one of nearly 30 full-length video tutorials (and an Evernote mini-series tutorial) that you will have access to as a Genealogy Gems Premium Member. To learn more about membership, click here.)
More on Genealogy Apps and Mobile Genealogy
How to Use Your Mobile Device for Genealogy: Free Video
3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Mobile Device
Tools to Highlight Your Great Genealogy Finds: Snagit and Skitch
by Diahan Southard | May 11, 2016 | 01 What's New, House History
A “house history” can tell you more about the house you live in–or your ancestor’s home. Here’s how.
Are you curious about the history of the house you live in, or would you like to trace the history of a family property? The online article “How to Research Your Home’s Past” by Charity Vogel has some great ideas. It’s not written for family historians, but I like some of the ideas it suggests:
1. Pull a full history of home ownership off your deed. (Historical deeds may not have these. But each deed does represent a link in the chain of property ownership: you should be able to move forward and backward in time in deed records until you’ve listed all owners.)
2. Use census records to learn more about other folks who lived in your home. Remember you’ll be able to see how many people lived there, and, for some census years, whether they owned or rented.
3. Watch for unusual patterns of ownership. For example, a deed showed sisters co-owning a home in the 1930s. Additional research showed that the sisters were nurses and ran the house as a community hospital. How cool is that to know about a house?
4. If it was a grand or unusual home, see whether the newspapers covered its construction. The author of the article found an 1898 article that detailed the entire five-month building process of her house!
Last year I shared an applicable research strategy in my blog post A Shocking Family Secret, and 3 Powerful Newspaper Research Tips about researching our ancestors and where they lived. By searching on their home address, and not including their name, you can uncover “a kind of house history set of search results, revealing who lived there before, descriptions of the home and its contents and who moved in after your ancestors left. In my case, I located an article about the Cooke home (by the address) being up for sale several years before they owned it. That article included a fairly detailed description of the property. The final article found in the British newspapers was also found only by address (as the Cooke name wasn’t mentioned) and it detailed the contents of their household up for sale. The auction was held in preparation for their move to Canada.” (Click here to learn more about finding your family history in newspapers.)
While looking for more on this topic, I came across a great newspaper article about three researchers who specialize in house histories. They said that in addition to the personal satisfaction of knowing about a family home, “A bit of history and story makes it much easier to sell: it attracts a certain buyer.”
Here are a few more helpful resources, if you’d like to research your house history:
More House History Gems: Researching a Family Residence
Ancestral Landmark Discovery with Google Earth
How to Find a Family Address: 4 Steps to Using Google Earth for Genealogy
Was This My Ancestor’s Neighborhood?
by Lisa Cooke | Jun 25, 2016 | 01 What's New, Evernote |
The Evernote for Windows upgrade has received a major face-lift. It is getting some great reviews online. Here’s what to love about it.
If you’re a Windows user and you’re still not using Evernote to organize your genealogy and the rest of your life, perhaps it’s time to take a look and see if it’s right for you and your research.
If you’re already a user, a new Evernote for Windows upgrade will make your experience all the better.
Evernote for Windows Upgrade New Look and Functionality
The Evernote blog explained that their goal “is to provide an experience that feels natural and familiar for Windows users. Our latest version is designed for all types of Evernote Windows users in mind, whether you have just a handful of notes or thousands of them.” They continue to say, “We began by paring down the left sidebar for a more streamlined workflow, so you can find and manage your content even faster.”
Here’s a run-down of the improvements they’re touting:
- A new higher-resolution display looks crisp and clean, even on high-resolution screens.
- The left sidebar is pared down for a more streamlined workflow. This makes it easier to find and manage content. For example, you can select Notebooks to pull up all notes in the Note list, and expand the Notebooks section to see all the notebook stacks and notebooks. You can drag and drop notebooks between stacks. The trash is now its own section.
- A new quick navigation feature lets you hover over the Notebooks section and jump quickly to a specific notebook or create a new one. This also works for tags.
- The search is smarter and more powerful, even for those with complex tags and tons of notes. It also feels more like web browser searching. You can widen or narrow your search to specific notebooks. The search system will rummage through your Evernote Trash now, too.
Image by Evernote.
- There’s a new color-coding system to let you mark important notes. So far, this is pretty popular with dedicated Evernote users.
- And finally, if you use Evernote Business, you’ll find a new separation between business and personal content.
It’s worth noting that the upgrade takes a while to complete and while it’s happening, you won’t be able to use Evernote. And at least for now, the saved searches of previous versions have disappeared. Evernote says that’s temporary.
What others are saying
TechTimes says the new Evernote for Windows has “a slew of improvements bound to enhance the overall experience.” Engadget.com calls the upgrade “a streamlined, cleaner approach with refinements addressing the sidebar’s design and functionality.”
How to get organized with Evernote!
Click here to learn about how to get started with Evernote, and more about using Evernote to organize your genealogy life.
What do you think about the new upgrade? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.