Swedish-American Newspapers and Other Lesser Known Genealogy Collections

Swedish-American newspapers are our first stop as we head off the beaten path. This week you’ll discover special record collections of Burke County, North Carolina yearbooks, photo images for Scotland, and State Militia records. Also this week, German civil registrations, Utah divorces, and lots of Irish goodies.

dig these new record collections

There are more online records than just those found at Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage, or FamilySearch. Lesser known record collections pack a powerful punch to your family history research!

Swedish-American Newspapers

The Minnesota Historical Society has made some Swedish-American newspapers available online for the first time. This past week, Swedish-American Newspapers were made available through an online portal. Users can explore more than 300,000 pages from 28 different Swedish-American newspaper titles published across the U.S. between 1859 and 2007.

The portal is available in Swedish and English and includes a keyword search.

United States – North Carolina – Burke County – Yearbooks

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has a statewide digital publishing program located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The center works to digitize and publish historic materials online.

Among their digital holdings, more than 60 years worth of yearbooks are now available to view online. The schools covered include:

Yearbooks provide enriching details into the lives of our ancestors and can be especially helpful in finding names of living family members!

United States – North Carolina – Militia

Also for North Carolina, the State Archives there have made their militia records, specifically the troop returns for the 18th and 19th centuries, available online.

The Troop Returns collection includes lists, returns, records of prisoners, and records of draftees, from 1747 to 1893. The majority of records are from the Revolutionary War, North Carolina Continental Line.

Militia records generally include the names of officers and soldiers, and are usually organized by district or county. Continental line records include field returns, general returns, draft records, and enlistment records.

This collection is a work in progress. As more records are digitized, they will become view-able online. In the meantime, see what’s there by checking out a helpful index in pdf form here.

Canada – Books

Though these new books added to the shelves of the Library and Archives Canada are not online, the information may be of value to you. Several new books are available to view in-person at the Library and Archives Canada.

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Some of the new listings include:

Obituaries from the Christian guardian, 1891 to 1895, by Donald A. McKenzie (AMICUS 42197735)

American loyalists to New Brunswick: the ship passenger lists, by David Bell (AMICUS 43913838)

The link to the AMICUS record gives the call number you need to find the book on the shelves.

Baptisms and marriage books for several churches also are among the new publications. For a complete listing of the new books, click here: https://thediscoverblog.com/2016/10/28/new-books-in-the-genealogy-services-collection-at-395-wellington-october-2016/

Germany – Civil Registrations

New this week at FamilySearch.org are the Germany Bavaria Nuremberg Civil Registration 1803-1886 collection. This record set is an index only of over 1.2 million civil registrations.

The collection includes birth, marriage, and death records from Nuremberg.

Birth records may include:

  • Name of child
  • Names of parents
  • Place of residence
  • Gender
  • Date of birth

Marriage records may include:German Civil Registration

  • Name of bride and groom
  • Place of residence
  • Name of bride’s parents
  • Name of groom’s parents
  • Groom’s date of birth and birthplace
  • Bride’s date of birth and birthplace

Death records may include:

  • Name of deceased
  • Age at death
  • Place of residence
  • Date of death

United States – Utah – Divorce Records

Findmypast has added Utah Divorces to their collections. More than 177,000 records from Utah district courts cover the years of 1997 to 2016. Each result includes a transcript that will reveal the date the divorce was filed, the petitioner, respondent, attorney, case type, and the judgment that was reached.

Ireland – Cavan – Registers

Cavan Registers & Records currently includes only one title named “Crosserlough Census Index 1821.” The 1821 census of Crosserlough, County Cavan, was taken on 28 May 1821. The Four Courts fire in Dublin destroyed the original census documents, but a copy was made prior to this.

There are near 8,000 individuals listed in the 1821 census. Each entry records an individual name, age, occupation and relationship to the head of household.

Ireland – Kilkenny – Registers

Kilkenny Registers & Records are presented as PDFs. The collection includes the Castlecomer Census Index 1901 compiled in 2000 by Tom Delany.

The publication is a summary of the population of Castlecomer in 1901. It lists the names, ages, and occupations of the all the inhabitants. On image number 204 is the beginning of an index of all the names found in the publication to help you.

Ireland – Dublin – Registers

Ten new publications have been added to the collection of Dublin Registers & Records. These new items include school registers, district and street censuses, business directories, and monumental inscriptions. The collection also includes parish records from the Church of Ireland.

Ireland – Newspapers

Over 1.7 million new articles have been added to the historic Irish Newspapers collection. New additions have been made to existing titles including The Irish Times and The Weekly Irish Times.

Newspapers can be searched by time-frame, place, county, and newspaper title.

Scotland – Leith – Photographs

A picture is worth a thousand words, or maybe in this case, a thousand records! A rare collection of photographs from the 1920s in Leith, Scotland is available to view online. This collection was digitized by Edinburgh University.

Though most of the images are of buildings and streets and not well labeled, if you are familiar with the area, something might stand out to you. Take a stroll down memory lane of yesteryear in Leith Scotland by clicking here.

More Gems on Researching Newspapers for Genealogy

Available at https://www.shopgenealogygems.com/

Available at www.shopgenealogygems.com

This week we explored Swedish-American newspapers as well as some from Ireland. Perhaps you are in search of newspaper elsewhere in the world. Lisa Louise Cooke presents everything you need to know about How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers. This exceptional book is packed with information on how to find and utilize newspaper collections. Available in book and e-book, you will find

  • Step by Step Instructions
  • Worksheets and Checklists
  • Tons of Free Online Resources
  • Websites that are worth Shelling Out a Few Bucks For
  • A Massive Amount of Location Specific Websites (International)
  • A Case Study that Puts It All to the Test

Why I’m Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

I’m on my computer a lot for genealogy, communication, shopping, entertainment and pretty much everything else!

Get the Genealogy Gems deal with ExpressVPN here.

 
I’m also concerned about my privacy and security online. Chances are you are too. VPNs add an important layer or online protection and are one of the hottest tech trends right now. I receive a lot of questions about what tech tools I use, so in this episode I’ll explain:
  • why I’m using a VPN (don’t worry, you don’t need to be techy at all to use a VPN!)
  • what I looked for in a VPN
  • how I set it up (oh my gosh, it was so easy!)
  • how it protects my online activity
  • the surprising BONUS benefits that I love and you will too.
My goal is to help you find your family history safely and privately. I took a deep dive into VPNs and I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve learned so you can do it yourself.
 
Click the play button below to watch or click “Watch on YouTube” to watch at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel.
 

Episode 56 Show Notes

What is a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s a top tech trend right now, although their origins can be traced back to the 1990s.

According to the top tech blogs VPNs usage in the U.S. jumped by 41% between March 13 and March 23, 2021 and is expected to continue to surge. Today I’m going to explain what that is, and the top reasons why I use a VPN and why you might want to start using one too.

What Does a VPN Do?

Sending data over an unencrypted internet connection is like mailing a postcard. Your message is wide open for the mailman and any other nosy people to see.

Whenever you’re connected to an unencrypted internet network on your phone, computer, tablet, TV, etc., you’re sending countless pieces of information out into the digital world that can be seen and intercepted by many different parties before they get to their intended destinations.

While not every message and piece of data I send out over the internet is sensitive (such as banking information) I like knowing that my activity is private. It’s a lot like why we always protect the identity of living people in our family tree. It’s always best to err on the side of privacy and security when working online.

A VPN creates a secure encrypted tunnel between your device and the internet. In other words, it puts an envelope around your postcard so that no one can sneak a peek at your private correspondence. That way none of your data going in and out of your devices can be seen – not the government, hackers, your internet service provider, or even by the VPN.

The best VPNS also don’t create or keep activity logs or connection logs. This means if they are asked by government or law enforcement to hand them over, there’s nothing to hand over.

Since every device has a unique IP address, your device can be traced back to you. However, when you use a VPN, your connection gets routed through one of thousands of servers, hiding your real IP address and replacing it with one of their own. This allows you to browse the web anonymously.

Top Reasons I Decided to Use a VPN

There’s no one way to make everything you do completely private. But a VPN does add a nice layer plus some great added benefits. I’ve been thinking about doing something more for a long time, and then my brother-in-law who worked for years for one of the largest tech companies in the world told me he set up a VPN and that I should too. I did my own homework, and here are the top reasons why I use a VPN:

1. I want to be able to use public Wi-Fi safely

Libraries, archives, traveling to speaking engagements, visiting ancestral locations, vacation. Public Wi-Fi is often provided and it’s really convenient, plus I don’t have to use my phone as a hot spot which uses up cellular data not to mention battery. Your favorite coffee shop could be a favorite spot for hackers who steal personal information. And you can even get hacked on your own home Wi-Fi. With only basic computer knowledge, the hacker could gain access to your passwords, financial details, or even your emails!

Any time you’re on public Wi-Fi a VPN hides your IP address encrypts your internet connection using encryption.

2. I want my privacy and don’t want to be tracked by my ISP

Your internet service provider (known as an ISP) can see everything you do.

In the US, ISPs can legally sell your data to ad companies.

In the UK and Australian ISPs are required to keep logs of the websites you visit, the apps you use for around a year.

Governments, large corporations, and websites potentially surveil your activity regularly to harvest your data for their own agendas.

A VPN makes your online activity private and secure with tunneling and encryption. Your messages go through a tunnel of sorts so others, including your ISP, can’t see where you’re located, or that the data is from you. It also applied encryption (AEs-256 is what you’re looking for in encryption) so that your message is essentially locked by you and the service delivering the data for you doesn’t have the key. Only the recipient does (such as the website you’re trying to communicate with.)

But you may be wondering, isn’t your activity safe because you only visit secure “HTTPS” websites?

In an interview with TechRadar.com Dan Pomerantz, Co-Founder of ExpressVPN explains it this way: “Many of those companies know your identity, and they might store and resell those data about you without your knowledge or approval. Why is that the case even when you use https? Because technologies called DNS and SNI transmit those data in plain text, and because the pipe operators can still see the destination of your traffic.”

3. I want the best deals when online shopping

Many websites offer deals based on your location. Countless times I’ve been shopping for airlines tickets and watched the price go up each time I checked the price. It’s an effort to get me to buy before the price goes up more. The website can do this because it knows who I am and my location.

Have you noticed more and more websites asking you to allow them to know your location? You can click “Don’t allow” but if you’re not using a VPN you can’t be sure they don’t know who and where you are. Using a VPN means you’re accessing their website through that tunnel which hides your location, opening up opportunities for deals you might not have gotten otherwise.

A VPN allows you to select from servers in different location to be your “location”. So, I may live in Texas but my internet traffic might be by way of London. And by going through the “tunnel” the website doesn’t know it’s me. This gives me more flexibility to shop for the best deals.

Will a VPN slow my connection speed?

I was a little worried about a VPN slowing down my connection speed. But I’ve not found that at all, and in fact if your ISP is throttling your speed, which many do, it can actually speed up your connection because again your ISP can’t tell where you’re located. Connecting to a server closer to your location increases the speed, and switching servers is super easy in the app. Smart location will automatically pick the best server to you too.

What to Look for in a VPN

  • Lots of global servers – The VPN I chose has 3,000+ servers in 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries.
  • High speed
  • Best encryption – Look for AES-256 encryption
  • Usable on all your devices – If you’re like me, you have multiple devices and a variety of platforms. I have Windows computer, iOS mobile devices and a smart TV. ExpressVPN has super easy-to-use apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as platforms that other VPN companies don’t support, like Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and routers.
  • 24/7 customer support – Look for live chat with a real person.
  • Ease of use – You should be able to fire up the app and connect with just one click. And it should be super easy to change servers.
  • Privacy / No activity logs – They should have a transparent privacy policy and state out right they don’t create or store logs.
  • Trusted as Secure – Look for high start ratings from a large number of users. It should also be highly-ranked by trusted tech review sites.
  • Affordable – It’s normally $12.95 a month, but I’ve arranged with ExpressVPN to get my viewers and listeners 3 extra free months with the 12 month plan. Comes out to just over $8.00 a month plus the first 3 months free.
  • Money-back guarantee – ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so there was no risk in trying it.

The VPN I Chose

There are tons of VPNs out there but it’s important to know they don’t all offer the same features, especially the free ones. (My theory is that nothings ever really free particularly when it comes to security.) After doing my homework I decided to use ExpressVPN. It’s top-rated and has all the features I was looking for. I’ve been using it for a while now and I’m really happy with it. It’s super easy to use. So I reached out to ExpressVPN and they’ve agreed to extend a special offer to us. This is an affiliate link so I’ll receive compensation when you use my link. That helps make this free show possible, so thank you! Plus you’re going to save money.

Special Deal for Genealogy Gems Viewers:
Get 3 extra free months with the discounted 12-month plan.
Comes out to just over $8.00 a month (+ 3 months free) Gosh, I feel like I would have spent more than that just to gain access to the additional shows it gives me access to with ExpressVPN. Keep reading below to learn more about that. ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee so there’s no risk to try it.

Get the Genealogy Gems deal with ExpressVPN here.

https://www.expressvpn.com/genealogygems

Rated #1 by CNET, The Verge, Wired, TechRadar, & many more! Learn more about their approach to security at the ExpressVPN Trust Center. (Includes Network Lock which protects you if there’s an interruption in your internet connection.)

BONUS Reason #4: Access to regionally specific online content.

And speaking of being able to access the internet through any global server, this allows you to access regionally specific content. Did you know that many websites or apps are blocked or restricted depending on where you are located?

I discovered this while on the road for some genealogy speaking engagements. I was keynoting in London several years ago, and at the end of the day in my hotel room I sat down to watch my favorite show on Netflix. But when I logged in it said that I was not allowed to watch the show in England. My iPad was telling the internet provider that I was in London, and the ISP told Netflix. Had I had a VPN at that time, I could have rerouted my server connection through England and binged watched as many episodes as I pleased.

So is this helpful even if you aren’t traveling right now? You bet it is!

Remember when the UK version of Who Do You Think You Are? came out. We were going crazy over here in the U.S. because we would go to the website to watch it only to get an access denied message. It said you had to be in the UK to use the BBC iPlayer. A VPN allows you to switch locations and enjoy the show.

This is true of subscriptions like Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, ITV, Sky Go, and more.

You’ll also find that various subscription services offer different content based on your ISP location. By switching locations you can get access to shows not available in your home country with the same subscription.

My experience specifically with Amazon:

  • It may tell you to turn off your VPN. Try a different server. Thanks to the ExpressVPN live chat I found a server that allowed me to stream on Amazon.
  • Amazon restricts your access by your billing address.
  • Servers that let me access Amazon videos were San Francisco, Jersey 1, and Jersey 2. 

How I Set Up ExpressVPN

Start on your computer by getting your subscription at https://www.expressvpn.com/genealogygems 

  • Can be used on 5 devices.
  • Download the app from the website to your computer.
  • Install the ExpressVPN extension on your web browser (Chrome, Firefox)

More about Web Browser Settings:

Spoof Your Location
When you visit a website and it wants to know your location, it asks because it’s not getting that information based on your IP address. It’s based on nearby Wi-Fi networks, your systems location settings, or your device’s GPS. This means in that situation your location can still be potentially revealed via your web browser. If you decline the request for your location, you might find that some websites or content will be blocked for you. The Spoof Your Location feature helps solve the problem. When you’re connected and it’s turned on, the extension hides your location by automatically sharing the ExpressVPN server location instead.

Block WebRTC
WebRTC is an HTML5 specification designed to enable voices and video communication to work inside web pages without needing to install any special plugins in your web browser. (Examples include Google Meet, Facebook Messenger and GotoMeeting.) In some situations, Web RTC could potentially leak your IP address even while connected to a VPN. Block WebRTC allows you to block it entirely.

HTTPS Everywhere
Automatically makes websites switch from HTTP to a secure encrypted HTTPS connection where available.

How to Set Up ExpressVPN on your smartphone and tablet:

  1. Go to the app store and search for ExpressVPN
  2. Download app
  3. Open the app
  4. Sign in with your ExpressVPN account
  5. Tap button to connect. You will be connected to the “smart location” ExpressVPN has selected for you – typically considered the fastest connection.
  6. Tap the three dots ( … ) to change servers. Be aware that when you change to a European server you may see different types of GDPR “cookie” pop-ups that you aren’t used to seeing. These have to be accepted / managed before visiting the website. 

Resources

Questions and Comments

One of advantages of watching the show live is the chance to ask you questions. I answered many at the end of the show, but here are the remainder with my answers. 

flounder1st​: Does VPN only work for Wi-Fi data or Cellular Date also?
Lisa: Yes. 

Mary S: ​I may get a new computer soon, should I wait and install it on the new one?
Lisa: You don’t have to. When you get the new one simply uninstall the VPN from the old computer and install and sign in on the new one. 

Linda G: So I can use a VPN but my husband can continue doing his own thing through his regular ISP?
Lisa: Yes. 

Please share your questions and comments below.

Extraordinary European Records in New and Updated Genealogical Collections

An extraordinary list of European record sets is included in this week’s new and updated genealogical collections. Starting in Ireland and moving across the country, places include: United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Netherlands, and more.

dig these new record collections

Ireland – Marriage Index

Over 250,000 names have been added to an online database of Irish births, marriages, and deaths. The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) first created a marriage database in 2014 when it put 40,000 marriage certificates online, and now is adding entries for births and deaths too.

The Early Irish Marriage Index is completely free to all who wish to use it, however, those wishing to browse the Early Irish Birth and Death Indexes are required to take out membership of the IGRS.

United Kingdom – Yorkshire and Derbyshire – Baptisms

Yorkshire & Derbyshire Methodist Baptisms at Findmypast contain over 42,000 for Methodist Churches between 1795 and 1997. The collection covers the densely populated Sheffield district. Sheffield is located in South Yorkshire, traditionally part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and many of its suburbs stretch into Derbyshire.

Each record will provide you with a transcript created from original church records. The details in each record will vary, but most will include name, birth year, baptism date, denomination, chapel, place, parent’s name, and county.

United Kingdom – Yorkshire & Derbyshire – Methodist Marriages

Also at Findmypast, the Yorkshire & Derbyshire Methodist Marriages collections contains over 22,000 records. These records also cover the Sheffield district. Within the collection, you will find records from eight branches of the Methodist Church: Free Methodist, Methodist, Methodist New Connection, Primitive Methodist, United Free Methodist, United Methodist, Wesleyan Methodist, and Wesleyan Reform Methodist.

Within the collection, you will find records from eight branches of the Methodist Church: Free Methodist, Methodist, Methodist New Connection, Primitive Methodist, United Free Methodist, United Methodist, Wesleyan Methodist, and Wesleyan Reform Methodist.

United Kingdom – Newspapers

Over 1.5 million new articles have been added to Findmypast’s collection of historic British Newspapers. Three brand new titles have also been added; the Cricket and Football Field, Lloyd’s List and the Homeward Mail from India, China and the East.

Lloyd’s List is one of the world’s oldest continuously running journals, having provided weekly shipping news in London as early as 1734. The Homeward Mail from India China and the East will be a huge help for those researching the history of empire, or for those with British or Irish ancestors who lived in India.

United Kingdom – Middlesex – Monumental Inscriptions

Findmypast offers over 12,000 records of Middlesex Monumental Inscriptions for 1485-2014. These monumental inscriptions are from St Nicholas Church, Chiswick.

The records cover the years 1485 to 2014 and include transcripts for each entry. While the amount of available information will vary from transcript to transcript, most will include a combination of name, birth year, death year, dedication, place, monument type, and inscription.

Inscriptions might include the names of others buried in that plot and more specific details regarding age, birth, and death dates. This can be helpful as it can provide you with the names and dates of your ancestor’s next of kin.

Belgium – Civil Registration

FamilySearch’s database titled, Belgium, Namur, Civil Registration, 1800-1912 is one of the extraordinary European records collections this week. This collection contains primarily civil registration records of births, marriages, and deaths. A few other records are included are marriage proclamations and marriage supplements.

Among the details found in these civil registrations, you will likely find names, dates of vital events, residences, parents’ names, and residences, occupations, and much more.

France – Parish Records

The European records for genealogy continue in this new and updated collection at FamilySearch, the France, Finistère, Quimper et Léon Diocese, Catholic Parish Records, 1772-1894. Though the record set is rather small with only a little over 11, 000 records, this collection consists of name indexes and images of Catholic parish registers recording events of baptism, marriage and burial in the Diocese of Quimper et Léon. Parishes in this diocese lie within the department of Finistère and this collection only contains parishes that start with the letter “A” or “B”.

The following parishes are included:

  • Argol
  • Arzano
  • Audierne
  • Bannalec
  • Brest-paroisse-Notre-Dame-des-Carmes
  • Brest Hospice Civile
  • Brest-paroisse-Lambézellec
  • Brest-paroisse-Saint-Louis
  • Brest-paroisse-Saint-Martin
  • Brest-paroisse-Saint-Pierre

Further revisions to the collection will follow as other parishes are published in future.

Netherlands – Misc. Records

FamilySearch has added more European records in the Netherlands, Archival Indexes and they include such records as civil registration, church records, emigration lists, military registers, land records, and tax records. These records cover events like birth, marriage, death, burial, emigration and immigration, military enrollment and more.

The collection continues to grow as records become available, but as of now, the only indexes published on FamilySearch are the Amsterdam Christening Registers from 1564 to 1811 and the burial index from the Regional Archives Rijnlands Midden. For the entire index collection, visit OpenArchives.

Russia – Church Books

Also at FamilySearch, the Russia, Tver Church Books, 1722-1918 are now available. Though only a relatively small number of these records have been indexed, there are over 3 million that have been digitally scanned and are browse-able. Records include births and baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials performed by priests in the province of Tver (and surrounding provinces) from 1722-1918. These records were originally created at a local level, but were acquired from the state archive in Tver. An index of baptisms is also included.

United States – Maine – Brunswick

There is a unique story of a person who felt the call to serve the genealogy community. Mr. Richard Snow has collected and created an extensive index of articles, pictures, and obituaries from the Brunswick [Maine] Telegraph and the Brunswick Record — forerunners to today’s The Times Record. He then donated his work to the Curtis Memorial Library and it is accessible to you!

The Snow Index will give many a chance to delve into their family’s pasts by accessing the library’s website, a substantial shortcut over previous practices like coming into the library or browsing newspaper websites. This is an index to citations only and not index that leads to full online text. However, with this index as a help, you will likely be able to find the full content with the assistance of the Curtis Memorial Library. Isn’t it great to hear about genealogist’s doing great things? Thank you, Mr. Snow!

United States – Wisconsin – Vital Records

A recent change in state statutes will allow Wisconsin residents to more easily obtain public documents. All Wisconsin register of deeds offices can now issue birth, death, marriage, and divorce records regardless of the county in which the event occurred, as long as the event occurred in Wisconsin.

A statewide database has been created that will allow all offices to access the records. Not all records are available, but the following are:

  • Wisconsin births since 1907;
  • Deaths since Sept. 1, 2013
  • Marriages since June 21, 2015;
  • Divorces since Jan. 1, 2016

Be sure to contact the county register of deeds office you plan to visit to make sure they are offering the database at this time. It will likely take a while to get everything up and running!

Ghana – Census

FamilySearch has also added more indexed records to the Ghana Census, 1984. This population census for Ghana is a complete enumeration of the 12.3 million people residing in Ghana as of midnight March 11, 1984. The census is divided into 56,170 localities. According to the government of Ghana, a locality is defined as any “nucleated and physically distinct settlement.” Localities may include a single house, a hamlet, a village, town or city. In some areas of the Upper West and Upper East Regions, these localities are based on kinship groups. Only those individuals, including foreign visitors, who were present in Ghana on March 11, 1984, were included in this census.

There have been some records lost in Ghana and so not all localities are available. Important: Be aware that the printed date on the census enumeration form usually says 1982, but this census was formally conducted in 1984.

The 1984 Ghana census may hold the following information:

  • Detailed address of Ghana Census 1984the house
  • Name of town/village
  • Full name of members present on census night
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Gender, age, birthpla
    ce, and nationality of each individual
  • Level of education
  • Occupation
  • Employment status
  • Names of visitors on census night
  • Names of members absent on census night

More on Researching European Records for Genealogy

Chart your research course to find your European ancestors with the how-to instruction in this book. This one-of-a-kind collection provides invaluable information about more than 35 countries in a single source. Each of the 14 chapters is devoted to a specific country or region of Europe and includes all the essential records and resources for filling in your family tree.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Specific online and print resources including 700 websites
  • Contact information for more than 100 archives and libraries
  • Help finding relevant records
  • Traditions and historical events that may affect your family’s past
  • Historical time lines and maps for each region and country

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!

German Marriages and More in New and Updated Genealogy Records Online

German marriages, Indexed obituaries for the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, The ultimate photo map of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and UN War Crimes Commission reports from World War II are all in our new and updated genealogy records today!

Germany Marriages: Magdeburg

Ancestry.com has published a new collection of over 600,000 marriages recorded in Magdeburg, a city about 80 miles west of Berlin. According to the collection description, “Beginning on October 1, 1874, local registry offices were made responsible for creating birth, marriage, and death records in the former Prussian provinces. The collected records are arranged chronologically and usually in bound yearbook form which are collectively referred to as ‘civil registers.’ For most of the communities included in the collection, corresponding alphabetical directories of names were also created.” The records date from 1874-1923.

1906 San Francisco Earthquake: The Ultimate Map

A new interactive map plots the likely locations of thousands of photos taken of the “smoke, fire, ruins and refugees” after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The map at OpenSFHistory references stunning images of bewildered survivors amidst their devastated neighborhood, reminders of the brutal and total losses many incurred in a few seconds.

  • Got a disaster story in your family history? Read these tips on researching it.
  • Was London the scene of your family’s disaster–specifically, the London Blitz? Click here to learn about an interactive map of the bombing of London during World War II.

Indexed Obituaries at Ancestry.com

Obituaries such as this one from the Western Christian Advocate (Cincinnati, June 28, 1844) often reveal unique personal and family information.

Ancestry.com recently updated several enormous national obituary indexes:

Thousands of obituaries or death notices are searchable in digitized newspaper collections, but indexes dramatically improve the odds of discovering them. Then the trick becomes tracking down the original paper to see it for yourself. Learn more about finding obituaries (and everything else in newspapers) in How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers by Lisa Louise Cooke.

South Africa Court Records

Over 200,00 records appear in Ancestry.com’s new database, South Africa, Miscellaneous Court Records Index, 1652-2004, 2008-2011. Spanning more than 350 years, the collection indexes records from the Courts of Justice (1652-1956), Cape Town Criminal Records (1854-1855), Official Name Changes (2008-2011), South African Law Reports (1828-2004), and the 1859 Weenan, Natal Jury List.

“The details provided for each person typically include name, record date, record place, collection, and source,” states the collection description. “Depending on the collection, additional details such as occupation, place of residence, names of relatives, or information on a court case or crime may be available as well.”

UN War Crimes Commissions Archive Opened

The Guardian recently reported that the UN War Crimes Commission archives is being opened in London and its catalog is now searchable online. “War crimes files revealing early evidence of Holocaust death camps…are among tens of thousands of files to be made public for the first time this week,” says the story. “The archive, along with the UNWCC, was closed in the late 1940s as West Germany was transformed into a pivotal ally at the start of the cold war and use of the records was effectively suppressed.” The archive contains thousands of pages of evidence collected (much of it in secret) even as the war raged, and includes detailed descriptions of Nazi extermination camps, massacres in Czechoslovakia, and early war crimes tribunals.

Newspapers in the News

North Carolina

Digitized issues of The Franklin Times (weekly, searchable 1909-1924) are now searchable at Digital NC. The paper served Lewisburg, the seat of Franklin County, North Carolina. The paper has a fairly local focus, according to a blog post announcing the collection. “For example, one weekly column, ‘The Moving People,’ tracks ‘those who have visited Louisburg the past week’ and ‘those who have gone elsewhere for business or pleasure.’ The column lists individuals who returned from trips and those who visited from afar….Local meetings, contests, municipal issues, social events, and more are recounted each week.”

Washington

Lisa Louise Cooke just found a little piece of her own history in Washington State University’s student newspaper, now fully searchable online for free. It’s a short snippet that refers to a two-woman play Lisa was in!

According to a Facebook announcement, a new digital archive includes 13,200+ issues of the The Daily Evergreen (1895-2016) and 660 pages of other newspapers, including an early official student paper, the College Record (1892-1893).

Find your own family history in newspapers of all kinds, from local dailies to labor presses or church regionals, or even student papers such as the one Lisa used above. “Read all about it!” in Lisa’s book, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers.

Available at http://genealogygems.com

 

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