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

Midwestern Roots Registration Starts Today!

I have roots in Indiana and have longed to travel to Hoosier state to conduct some much needed genealogy research. So you can imagine how happy I was to be invited to keynote at the upcoming Midwestern Roots 2014: Family History and Genealogy Conference being held August 1 and 2, 2014, Indianapolis, IN, at the Indianapolis Marriott East.

This year’s theme is a timely one: Exploring Frontiers: What Would Your Pioneers Have Tweeted? This conference promises to be a glorious melding of old and new with deep history sessions and the latest technology.

Here’s the scoop on the Midwestern Roots Conference:

Registration Opens March 26 with a $99 registration special price March 26-29, 2014.

Includes the two day conference and lunches.

Additional fee for banquet and some pre-conference activities.

Register online at www.indianahistory.org/midwesternroots or

call (317) 232-1882 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday during the special offer.

The Midwestern Roots 2014 Conference is your chance to get updated on the latest technology changes in family history research, resources and methodology, and I’ll be exploring that in my keynote  Future Technology and Genealogy: 5 Strategies You Need. You’ll also experience:

• More than 30 stimulating lectures from nationally known speakers Warren Bittner, Lisa Louise Cooke, Joan Hostetler, Amy Johnson Crow, Thomas MacEntee, James H. Madison, Anne Gillespie Mitchell, Daniel S. Poffenberger, Curt B. Witcher and more

•  The Great Google Earth Game Show presented by Lisa Louise Cooke (this will be an interactive, FUN, outside the box kind of session topped off with prizes!)

Hoosiers and A New History for the Twenty-First Century presented by James H. Madison

A Guided Tour of Ancestry computer lab taught by Amy Johnson Crow and Anne Gillespie Mitchell from Ancestry.com

• Genealogy Resources Library Workshop

• Writing, document preservation and photo preservation workshops

• Family History Market and Book Fair – open to the public

See you at the Midwestern Roots 2014 Conference!

Love Was in the Air: Our Ancestors and Valentine’s Day

This time of year many of us will show love with chocolates, flowers, jewelry or–as my husband prefers–tools and Chinese takeout. Many of us will also turn to Hallmark or American Greetings for the perfect card.

Valentine’s Day

Our ancestors exchanged love tokens at Valentine’s Day, too. Love letters, notes and even fancy gifts have passed between suitors for over 300 years.

In England, many would-be lovers started sending pre-printed cards through the mail in the 1840s, when postage rates were standardized.

In the United States, the practice became more popular after the Civil War, when thousands of soldiers-turned-beaus were looking for belles.

The National Archives (UK) has gathered a few virtual valentines in honor of the season.

Browse images of old love letters, handmade and commercially-printed cards, like this 1905 valentine with its bold primary colors. Maybe these will inspire your own expressions of love this season! Or maybe they will inspire you look more closely for the love stories in your family history and honor a romance that came before you.

Learn more about using the National Archives Catalog from home to find even more genealogical treasures by watching Elevenses with Lisa Episode 40 at the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/GenealogyGems.

Watch episode 40 of Elevenses with Lisa

Finding Widows, Disappearing Husbands, and Lost Relatives

Great-grandma may be listed as a widow in the 1900 federal census…but she might not actually be a widow after all. Women in the past sometimes claimed widowhood to protect their family’s good name. A recent reader’s question prompted this post for sharing some tips to finding widows, disappearing husbands, and lost relatives.

Finding widows, disappearing husbands, and lost relatives

Widow or Not?

Genealogy Gems reader, Mary, wrote us the following comment:

“My grandmother Kitty’s first husband was Robert Lee Jeffries. They married in 1887 and had 4 or 5 children. He died in the very early 1900’s. She later remarried my grandfather, John, and they had four children together. All this took place in Hardin County, Kentucky. I cannot find when, where, or how her first husband died, or where he is buried. Can you help me?”

I think we can give Mary some tips to help her find Robert. As you read along, consider how these same tips and techniques could help you in finding widows, disappearing husbands, and lost relatives.

Finding Death Records in the Early 1900s

A death record is typically a good way to determine where someone went. If you can locate a death record for your lost individual, they aren’t lost anymore! Finding death records for the time period that Mary is asking about isn’t usually too difficult, unless there has been a record loss for that county. By doing a quick check on FamilySearch wiki for Hardin County, Kentucky, I learned that many records between 1852 and 1911 are missing, including some of the death records. That may be why Mary wasn’t able to find one.

When a death record can’t be found, there are many alternatives that we can exhaust. Cemetery records, newspaper obituaries, and probate records are just a few suggestions. But before we move into alternative records, something caught my attention.

Misspelled Names

With a last name like “Jeffries,” there could be several ways to spell it. Jeffrys, Jefferies, Jeffres, and perhaps many more. What can you do when you have a name, first or last, that could be spelled so many different ways?

One suggestion is to search by each of the possible name spellings, but another tool is to use an asterisk or wildcard. The first part of the surname Jeffries is always the same: J e f f. Whether you are searching records at Ancestry, Findmypast, or MyHeritage, you can use an asterisk after the last “f” to indicate you are looking for any of the possible surname spellings.

DisappearingHusband_1

I didn’t find any great matches using the criteria you see in the image above, but I took off the death date range and Kitty’s name and found Bob Lee JeffERies living in his parents home in 1880 in Hardin County, Kentucky. Take a close look at this image:

DisappearingHusband_2

Do you see the mistake? If you look at the digital image of the census, it spells the surname as Jeffries, however the record is indexed as Jefferies. Not to mention that Robert Lee is recorded as Bob Lee. This combination of name differences will always cause a little hiccup in our search process. This is why it is so important to consider name spellings when searching for records.

Even though using an asterisk didn’t produce a death record, you can see how using a tip like this can help when searching for any records online.

Alternatives to Death Records

Like I mentioned before, Hardin county had some record losses. Just because their death records may have been lost or destroyed, doesn’t mean the probate records were.

Using FamilySearch.org, I used the browse option to search probate record books in Hardin county, Kentucky. I found a record dated 25 Apr 1893, in which Kitty wrote her own will. [1] She mentions Lucy (possibly Robert’s mother found in the 1880 census) and others by name. What is strange is there’s no mention of a husband. I wondered if perhaps husband Robert had died before 1893. Unfortunately, there was no Robert Jeffries (or any variation) in the previous record books and the record book that Kitty appeared in was the last one available online.

When no will can be found, that doesn’t mean there is not a probate record available. The next step would be to visit the Hardin County probate office or State Archives to see if there is an estate packet available for Robert.

An estate packet is typically filled with all sorts of genealogy goodies! Receipts, list of heirs, and affidavits may shed light on many a burning question for your targeted ancestor.

The Disappearing Husband

Sadly, not all husband’s leave their families due to their demise. In the past, it was sometimes easier and more appealing to call yourself a widow or widower when your spouse left you. Kitty wrote a will in 1893 and did not mention a husband. In 1900, she was living in her father’s house and her children were divided up among the relatives, including her in-laws. Could Robert have left Kitty and the children? There may only be one way to know for sure.

Kitty remarried. To do that, either Robert had to die or she would need to be divorced. Divorce records can sometimes be located on a county level or at a state archives. I gave Hardin County Clerk of Courts a call and found out that divorce records between the years of 1804 -1995 are held at the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives. Their website provided details to ordering several types of records, including divorce records.

Looking in All the Wrong Places

Sometimes, we are so focused on one area that we can’t see past the end of our noses! Many of our ancestors lived on the borders of other counties. Hardin County, Kentucky is especially unique. It borders not only eight other Kentucky counties, but it also borders Harrison County, Indiana. It’s always a good idea to branch out to these nearby locations when you are having trouble locating records.

A Re-cap

When struggling to find a record for any targeted ancestor, try the following:

  • Consider alternate name spellings and search for common nicknames.
  • When there has been a possible record loss, search for alternative records that may hold the information you are looking for.
  • Determine which counties/states your targeted location is bordering and search there for records as well.

Have you found a disappearing person or long, lost relative? If so, share with us (in the comment section below) your story and how you finally tracked the elusive person down. Maybe your story will help others still searching for that missing ancestor!

More Gems on Finding Missing Ancestors

How to Search Your Ancestors’ Other Spouses and Childrenmy ancestor in the newspaper news

6 Sources that May Name Your Ancestors’ Parents

How to Save Time and Find the Ancestors You Are Looking For


Article References

(1) “Kentucky, Probate Records, 1727-1990,” digital images online, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 10 Aug 2016); record for Kitty A. Jeffries, 1893; citing Will Records, Index, 1893-1915, Vol. G, page 12.

Looking for a Living Relative?

Join Lisa Louise Cooke of The Genealogy Gems Podcast as she reveals 9 strategies to find your living relatives. Unleash your inner private eye and discover the tools that will help you connect with long lost cousins who may just hold the key to your genealogy brick wall!

This video class is part of Genealogy Gems Premium eLearning and includes a downloadable handout. Members can click here to watch right now. (Not a member? Click here to sign up!)

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!

This article was originally posted on August 24, 2016 and updated on April 18, 2019.

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