Have you ever experienced “genealogy serendipity?” Here’s a great book about it!
Recently, I came across an old blog post by my friend Geoff Rasmussen, in which he talks about discovering family gravestones while on a cruise.
A cruise doesn’t seem like the most likely place to discover ancestral grave markers. But his cruise ship stopped at Bar Harbor, Maine, near where several generations of his family lived.
Geoff stepped off and followed his instincts, his GPS device and–he believes–his ancestors themselves. In the short time he had for a shore excursion, he found the long-elusive graves of several relatives in several cemeteries, including distant great-grandparents.
Sooner or later, many of us experience “genealogy serendipity” moments like these. It’s that moment when an ancestor seems to be sitting on your shoulder, leading you to information about her. Or when an uncanny number of coincidences put you in the right place and time to make an important family connection. It can be downright eerie sometimes!
I’ve had my fair share of those types of experiences. I’ve talked about them before on the podcast, like in the free Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 106, when I recounted the numerous buy medicine online paypal unusual happenings during my recent trip to England! And before that, in Episode 39, about how my great-grandmother Lenora Herring’s crazy quilt came into my possession. The story really wasn’t about the quilt. It was about listening to and following the guidance of my ancestors, even though in the moment the path wasn’t clear.
We all need a little inspiration now and then to stay on the genealogical journey. That’s why I am so happy that Geoff took the time to write more of his fabulous stories down. His new book, Kindred Voices: Listening for our Ancestors, is chicken soup for the genealogical soul indeed. This is a gem of a book! Geoff writes that his purpose is to “further energize” us as genealogists, and “give new meaning to the experiences” we have with genealogy serendipity. These are his true stories of feeling the presence of his ancestors as he looks for them.
We love passing along book suggestions! Have you seen the ones we’ve recommended for the Genealogy Gems Book Club? Check them out! And thank you for sharing this book recommendation with others you think will enjoy it. You’re a gem!
Most of us probably have adoptees somewhere on our family trees. Do you know how to research them? It’s not the same as the adoption research people do nowadays to find their birth parents.
Mrs. Ella Watson, a government charwoman, with three grandchildren and her adopted daughter [reflected in the mirror]. Image from The Gordon Parks Archives in the Library of Congress.
Formal, legal adoption wasn’t common in the U.S. until the late 1800s. (State adoption laws didn’t even exist until after Massachusetts passed the first one in 1851.) Before that, if mom and dad couldn’t take care of a child, a relative, neighbor or friend took that child in, or the child was sent to a county orphanage or poor home. In even earlier days, orphaned or poverty-stricken children were also sold by their towns into indentures.
The Adoption History Project at the University of Oregon has a great timeline of adoption history in the U.S. Check it out to see what was going on when your family member was adopted.
To learn more about adoption and genealogy research, check out these links:
FamilySearch Wiki U.S. Adoption Research
All About Adoption Research by Maureen Taylor
RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees: Adoption
New and updated genealogy collections from all around the world are just a click away! Sail your way from Norway across the Atlantic to the U.S. state of Michigan, then head across the Pacific to Korea and end your virtual voyage in Australia with the Victoria Passenger lists.
Norway Genealogy Records – Probate
FamilySearch has a new collection this week titled Norway, Probate Index Cards, 1640-1903. Only a small number (194,981) have been indexed. These are not digital images, but like the title says, it is an index.
These index cards were created by the regional archives in Norway. Not all regional archives created an index so, the collection does not cover all of Norway. FamilySearch has indexes for the following counties:
Each index card may include the following:
- Probate district
- Volume (inclusive dates) and page number
- Farm name
- Date of probate
- Name of the deceased & spouse
- Name of children/heirs
- Decision of the court
United States – Michigan – Oral Histories
The Ypsilanti Library has just launched their African American Oral History Archive. It’s been 40 years, but dozens of leaders of the Ypsilanti African American community were interviewed about their personal experiences during the Great Depression, WWII, and the Civil Rights movement. Now, these interviews are being digitized and will be made available online.
Although only one interview is available at this time, over the next 9 months, historians will be putting more of their stories online at the A.P. Marshall African American Oral History Archive website. You can enjoy the first interview with Eugene Beatty, a track athlete who nearly made the U.S. Olympic team in 1932, now.
In addition to interview recordings, the online archive will include a transcript with photographs of the subjects.
Korea – Civil Service Records and Genealogies
Wow! It has been a long time coming, but finally, we have two new database collections for Korea. FamilySearch.org has digitized over 2 million records for these collections. The Korea Collection of Genealogies, 1200-2014 was added this week and boasts family biographies, genealogies, and histories. The records are in Korean and Chinese, but for translation tools, see the section titled For Help Reading These Records.
These genealogies are not yet indexed, so you will need to use the browse feature we shared with you last month. You can read that article here.
The second collection for Korea is titled Korea Civil Service Examinations and Records of Officials and Employees, 1390-1900. This is a rather small collection of just over 4,000 records.
This collection will include records from Jeollabuk-do and Jeonju-si, South Korea. The records are in Korean and Chinese, dated from 1392 to 1910, and include Korean civil service examinations from the Joseon Dynasty.
The civil service examinations under the Joseon dynasty were known as the gwageo. These were very difficult tests and central to education during the Joseon dynasty. The test assessed the applicant’s knowledge of Chinese classics and, occasionally, technical skills. Passing the test qualified the individual to enter into the higher governmental or aristocratic positions.
The civil service examination may contain some valuable information, such as:
- Name of Employee
- Date and Place of Birth
- Names of Parents
- Name of Spouse
Australia – Victoria – Passenger Lists
New from Findmypast, Victoria Coastal Passenger Lists 1852-1924 is the largest release of Australian records to date! These passenger lists cover the great Gold Rush and contains 3.3 million records. Both transcripts and digital images of the lists are found in the collection. Generally speaking, you will find the following information:
- First and last name(s)
- Sex, age, and birth year
- Marital status
- Year of arrival
- Ship name
- Departure port and date
- Arrival port and date
The early 1850s marked great gold discoveries in Australia. People immigrated to the area in masses to stake their claims. The population exploded and by 1871, 1.7 million people had immigrated to Victoria. Perhaps you always wondered what brought your family to Australia. This collection may finally provide the answer!
More Gems on New and Updated Genealogical Records
WorldCat Gets a Major Addition: New Genealogy Records Online this Week
England Emigrants and More: New Genealogy Records Online
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