New African American Oral History Collection at Library of Congress

mic_on_the_air_pc_800_4940A video archive of oral history interviews about African-American life, history and culture and struggles and achievements of the black experience in the United States has been donated to the Library of Congress.

It’s called the HistoryMakers archive, and it’s the single largest archival project of its kind since the WPA recordings of former slaves in the 1930s. According to a press release, “The collection includes 9,000 hours of content that includes 14,000 analog tapes, 3,000 DVDs, 6,000 born-digital files, 70,000 paper documents and digital files and more than 30,000 digital photographs.”

“The collection comprises 2,600 videotaped interviews with African-Americans in 39 states, averaging three to six hours in length. The videos are grouped by 15 different subject areas ranging from science, politics and the military to sports, music and entertainment.”

“The HistoryMakers archive provides invaluable first-person accounts of both well-known and unsung African-Americans, detailing their hopes, dreams and accomplishments—often in the face of adversity,” said James Billington, the Librarian of Congress. “This culturally important collection is a rich and diverse resource for scholars, teachers, students and documentarians seeking a more complete record of our nation’s history and its people.”

History Makers Archive website“The collection is one of the most well-documented and organized audiovisual collections that the Library of Congress has ever acquired,” said Mike Mashon, head of the Library’s Moving Image Section. “It is also one of the first born-digital collections accepted into our nation’s repository.”

This African American oral history archive was donated so it would be preserved and accessible to generations yet to come. However, this doesn’t mean the HistoryMakers organization is done gathering stories. According to the press release, “oral histories are continually being added to the growing archive. The oldest person interviewed was Louisiana Hines, who passed away in 2013 at 114. She was one of the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” workers during War World II. One of the youngest is a prima ballerina, Ayisha McMillan, who was 29 at the time of her interview.”

Visit the HistoryMakers Archive here.

40 Million New Genealogy Records To Help You Locate Your Family History

In December the genealogy records website Findmypast.com released new and exclusive historical records that highlight significant life events of the past.  According to the the company, more than 40 million new records are included.  Here are all the details from their press release:

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 17, 2012) – “The number of records released offers findmypast.com’s users a staggering amount of new data, ranging from exclusive United Kingdom records from as early as 1790 to modern-day vital records from the United States that will add new layers of information for researchers,” said D. Joshua Taylor, lead genealogist for findmypast.com, “Findmypast.com is constantly expanding our collections with thousands of new records being added each month. Moving into 2013, we look forward to increasing our record offerings to include rarer, more exclusive materials, in our dedication to provide the most comprehensive family history resource available.”

Many of the new records that can only be accessed through findmypast.com offer a unique glimpse into history. The Harold Gillies Plastic Surgery set, dating back to World War I, contains fascinating records of some of the world’s first restorative plastic surgery, while the White Star Line Officers’ Books include officer records from the Titanic.

Newly added employment and institutional records including the records of the Merchant Navy Seaman (aka the Merchant Marines) provide unique color to family history that can’t be created from just names and dates. Other record sets include probates and wills, such as the Cheshire Wills and Probates, which often offer crucial clues to link North American family trees back to the United Kingdom.

The full set of exclusive records recently released by findmypast.com includes:

United Kingdom Court & Probate

  • ·   Cheshire Wills and Probate
  • ·   Suffolk Beneficiary Index

United Kingdom Education & Work

  • ·   Cheshire Workhouse Records, Admissions and Discharges
  • ·   Cheshire Workhouse Records, Religious Creeds
  • ·   Derbyshire Workhouse Records
  • ·   Match Workers Strike
  • ·   White Star Line Officers’ Books

United Kingdom Military

  • ·   Army List, 1787
  • ·   Army List, 1798
  • ·   British Officers taken Prisoners of War, 1914-1918
  • ·   De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honor
  • ·   Grenadier Guards, 1656
  • ·   Harold Gillies Plastic Surgery – WWI
  • ·   Harts Army List, 1840
  • ·   Harts Army List, 1888
  • ·   Manchester Employee’s Roll of Honor, 1914-1916
  • ·   Merchant Navy Seamen (aka Merchant Marines)
  • ·   Napoleonic War Records, 1775-1817
  • ·   WWI Naval Casualties
  • ·   Paddington Rifles
  • ·   Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 British Navy & Air Force Officers
  • ·   Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 Officers of Empire serving in British Army
  • ·   Royal Hospital, Chelsea: documents of soldiers awarded deferred pensions, 1838-1896 (WO 131)
  • ·   Royal Hospital, Chelsea: pensioners’ discharge documents 1760-1887, (WO 121)
  • ·   Royal Hospital, Chelsea: pensioners’ discharge documents, foreign regiments, 1816-1817 (WO 122)
  • ·   Royal Hospital, Kilmainham: pensioners’ discharge documents, 1773-1822 (known as WO 119 at the National Archives)
  • ·   Royal Navy Officers Medal Roll, 1914-1920
  • ·   War Office: Imperial Yeomanry, soldiers’ documents, South African War, 1899-1902 (WO 128)
  • ·   WWII POWs – British held in German Territories

In addition to the exclusive records sets, this recent release includes additional records from the United States, Australia and Ireland. An update to the World War I Draft Cards collection provides registrations and actual signatures of more than 11 million young Americans from the beginning of the twentieth century.

Additional records released include:

United States Military

  • ·   Japanese-Americans Relocated during WWII
  • ·   Korean War Casualty File
  • ·   Korean War Deaths
  • ·   Korean War Prisoners of War
  • ·   Korean War Prisoners of War (Repatriated)
  • ·   U.S. Army Casualties, 1961-1981
  • ·   Vietnam Casualties Returned Alive
  • ·   Vietnam War Casualties
  • ·   Vietnam War Deaths
  • ·   WWI Draft Cards
  • ·   WWII Prisoners of War

Life Events

UNITED STATES:

  • ·   Kentucky Birth Records, 1911-2007
  • ·   Kentucky Death Records Index, 1911-1999
  • ·   Kentucky Marriage Records Index, 1973-1999
  • ·   Texas Divorce Records Index, 1968-2010
  • ·   Texas Marriage Records, 1968-2010

AUSTRALIA

  • ·   Northern Territory Anglican Baptisms and Confirmations, 1900-1947
  • ·   Northern Territory Anglican Burials, 1900-1968
  • ·   Northern Territory Anglican Marriages, 1902-1953

IRELAND

  • ·   Irish Catholic Church Directories, 1836-37

Census Land and Surveys

 AUSTRALIA

  • ·   Northern Territory Census, 1881-1921
  • ·   Northern Territory Electoral Rolls, 1895-1940 

Institutions & Organizations

AUSTRALIA

  • ·   Northern Territory Parliamentary Index, 1884-1890

Newspapers, Directories & Social History

AUSTRALIA

  • ·   Northern Territory Section of the Queensland Post Office Directory, 1920-1921

Why You Should Have a Free FamilySearch Account–And Use It!

A free FamilySearch account gives you access to more historical records and customized site features than you’ll see if you don’t log in at this free genealogy website. Here’s why you should get a free FamilySearch account and log in EVERY time you visit the site. 

free FamilySearch account

GIANTS GIANTS Big 4 records websites

This post is part of our ongoing commitment to help you get the most out of the “Genealogy Giants:

In this post, I comment on a recent announcement from the free giant everyone should be using: FamilySearch.org.

Why you should have (and use!) a free FamilySearch account

FamilySearch.org has always allowed free public use of its site. But beginning on December 13, 2017, the site will now actively prompt visitors to register for a free FamilySearch account or to log in with their existing accounts. Anyone can continue to search the catalog and user-submitted genealogies, explore over 350,000 digitized books, learn from the Wiki and the learning center, and even view user-contributed photos and stories. But by requesting you to log in, FamilySearch wants to remind you that this is your path to even more free records and services on the site.

Here are my top three reasons to have and use a free FamilySearch account:

1. Access more free historical records on FamilySearch.

We’ve talked a lot in recent months about best strategies for accessing digitized and off-line historical records at FamilySearch. Some of the digitized records on FamilySearch are there courtesy of a partner organization, which may restrict record access to those who log in on the site.

One woman had an “ah-ha” moment of realization after reading FamilySearch’s announcement. She posted in the comments, “Though I have had a free account for some time, I did not realize that FamilySearch was not giving me full access to information in record searches just because I had not logged in. Maybe I need to redo my past searches as a logged-in account holder.”

2. Participate in the global Family Tree.

As I more fully describe in my quick reference guide, Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites, FamilySearch’s online family tree is different than the tree systems used at the other major family history websites. Instead of creating your own personal tree, you participate in a collaborative, unified family tree of the world. As a logged-in visitor, you can enter your information, then that of your parents and their parents, etc. until you connect to deceased individuals who are already on the tree. (Information about living individuals is always privacy-protected.) Then you may, with other descendants, contribute what you to know to an ancestor’s profile.

Anyone may make changes to these public profiles, which may at times be frustrating. But it also allows for more focused collaboration. This is a great place to see a virtual compilation of others’ research on particular ancestors without having to search others’ personal trees individually, as you do on other sites (remember to look for their source citations and verify what others say). The Family Tree on FamilySearch is also a great place to digitally archive family documents and photos where other researchers may see and appreciate them for free. As you can see in the screenshot below, logging in also helps you see how others have identified the folks you see in your search results:

3. Get customized help.

Those who log in with a free FamilySearch account have access to one-on-one assistance through the website. If you have a question about using the site, accessing records, finding additional records about your ancestors, or even how to understand the records you’re looking at, you can email or call a live support person for help. Your login also sets you up to receive customized alerts and seasonal messages (like “Did you know your ancestor fought in the War of 1812?”) and a dashboard experience with at-a-glance reminders of record hints awaiting your review, where you left off in your last online session, tips about what to do next, and more. Here’s what the dashboard looks like:

How to get (or recover) a free FamilySearch account

See Registering to use FamilySearch.org for information about creating a free account. FamilySearch accounts have always been free and, the site assures us, will continue to be free. You will need to provide your first and last name, a username, a password, and an email or mobile phone number.

According to FamilySearch, your login and other personal information:

  • enables collaboration in the Family Tree and Memories areas of the site (you control how much information is shared)
  • “allows you to send in-system messages to other users without revealing your personal identity or email address”
  • “allows FamilySearch to send you emails and newsletters (you can specify how many emails, if any, you receive)”
  • enables communication when you contact their online support team for help
  • will not be shared “with any third party without your consent”

If you’ve already got a FamilySearch account but have forgotten your username, click here. If you’ve forgotten your password, click here.

Genealogy Gems Brings You Genealogy Giants

genealogy giants quick reference guide cheat sheetEach of the “Genealogy Giants” has so much to offer family historians around the world! But it’s hard to keep them straight, compare their top features, and get the most out of them without some inside help. That’s why we published the must-have quick reference guide, Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites, your personal comparative tour of Ancestry.comFamilySearch, Findmypast, and MyHeritage.

This inexpensive guide can save you hours of wasted time hunting down the records you need. It can save you hundreds of dollars by helping you invest in the genealogy websites you most need to use right now–because your research needs change right along with your growing family tree! The guide is available for your immediate reference as a digital download or get a handy, high-quality printed copy you can keep with your genealogy research files.

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