NGS and FGS Announce Merger

There’s big news regarding the two leading national genealogical organizations in the United States. I’ve got the press release from the Federation of Genealogical Societies here, as well as comments from FamilySearch.

NGS and FGS Merger

NGS and FGS ANNOUNCE INTENT TO MERGE

August 21, 2019 – Washington, D.C.

In a historic move, the boards of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced today their intent to merge.

The two organizations, both non-profit leaders in the dynamic genealogy industry, will form one consolidated group that will continue to operate as the National Genealogical Society. Both boards approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this week, and jointly announced the news at the Opening Session of the FGS Family History Conference in Washington, D.C. this morning.

Leaders of both organizations believe this merger will serve the genealogy community by improving support of both individual members and societies in the pursuit of genealogical excellence.

The organizational structure of NGS will be modified to increase functions that support genealogical societies and family organizations.

NGS classroom

NGS Annual Conference

Digitization projects of genealogical importance such as the War of 1812 pensions will continue.

The two organizations will continue to operate independently while all details of the merger are completed, no later than October 1, 2020.

Faye Stallings, President of FGS, said: “We are excited about this opportunity to combine with a premier organization that has been in operation since 1903. This will allow for improved and expanded services to help support societies.”

Ben Spratling, President of the NGS, commented, “We look forward to continuing the strong legacy of FGS as a ‘gathering point’ for family historians and societies all across the nation.”

According to FamiySearch, “this significant, historical move will consolidate these two great, influential organizations in the genealogy industry, into one with greater capacity to serve the genealogy community.  You can read more about it in their press release published in concert with the opening session of the FGS Conference today in Washington, D.C.”

David Rencher, FamilySearch CGO, said “this is a significant move forward for both organizations. FGS has wanted to better serve individuals, and NGS has been seeking ways to better serve societies. Combining their efforts is a win/win for all genealogists at the local, state and international levels. FamilySearch is thrilled with the leadership of both organizations coming together to better serve all genealogists and family historians.”

podcasting at FGS 2018

Podcasting at the Genealogy Gems booth at the FGS 2018 conference

About FGS: FGS was founded in 1976 and empowers the genealogical and family history community, especially its societies and organizations, by advocating for the preservation of records and providing resources that enable genealogical organizations to succeed in pursuing their missions.

FGS launched the Preserve the Pensions project in 2010 and raised more than $3 million to digitize and make freely available the pension files from the War of 1812. Fundraising was completed for that project in 2016 and the digitization continues.

FGS was also the driving force behind the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors project alongside the National Parks Service. 

US State Census Records: Capture Your Family History Between Federal Censuses

state censusesThe 1915 New Jersey State Census was recently released on FamilySearch. What a great opportunity to remind everyone about valuable U.S. state-level censuses taken between federal censuses.

Along with everyone who has U.S. roots, we love the federal census! We just wish there were more of them. Well, we can’t go back in time and make the federal government take more censuses. But we CAN turn to the many state census records.

In State Census Records, author Ann S. Lainhart tells us 3 reasons for seeking out state censuses (and colonial and territorial censuses that preceded them):

  • They fill in gaps between federal censuses, and particularly the long gap left by the missing 1890 census.
  • They may not be closed to the public for as long.
  • Different questions may have been asked than on the federal census.

For example, FamilySearch just announced that it’s added more than 2.7 million records from the 1915 New Jersey Census  to its free online collections. “New Jersey records…was a popular settling point for millions of immigrants during the heyday of US immigration from 1892 to 1924,” states a press release. These records include “the names of each member of the household, location, gender, birth date (month and year) and birthplace.” New Jersey took censuses every 10 years from 1855 to 1915: FamilySearch has 1885 and 19051895 is at Ancestry.

Actually, MOST U.S. states took some kind of census in the past. Ancestry’s wiki has a full list of U.S. colonial, state and territorial censuses. A lot of these are online at Ancestry and/or FamilySearch; a Google search of the state, year and “census” will lead you to these.

Resources

Census Records series in Episodes 9-11 of the free Family History Made Easy podcast

A Surprising Lesson on Using Census Records for Genealogy

1950 Census Substitutes: What to Use Until its Release Date

Share HeartsThank you for sharing this post with others who may want to know more about state census records!

Local Histories Found in New and Updated Genealogical Records

Search through new and updated genealogical records and histories galore. We are covering the world this week, reaching places we haven’t touched on before. Search records from familiar collections in Canada and the U.S., then check out what’s new in Russia and Ghana.

dig these new record collections

Canada – World War I

We know many of our readers have ancestry from Canada and we want to point your attention to the holdings at the Library and Archive Canada. This repository has many digital collections online and even includes a portrait portal with over 4 million images!

genealogy for Canada

Today, we shine a light on just over 330,000 files now available online in the Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database.

The Soldiers of the First World War database is an index to the service files held by Library and Archives Canada for the soldiers, nurses, and chaplains who served with the CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force.) Each box of service files holds approximately 50 files and envelopes. The individual’s name and service number or rank, if an officer, is written on each envelope. This database was organized by entering the name and number found on the outside of each of these file envelopes.

When the attestation papers and enlistment forms were digitized from the Attestation Registers (RG 9, II B8, volumes 1 to 654,) the images were linked to the database. Tip: When searching by name, be sure to look for alternate spellings as well.

The original paper documents can no longer be consulted, so your only option is to view these records digitally. For those items not yet digitized, you can order a copy from the Archives. As we mentioned, not all the documents have been digitized, but are are being done so regularly. Check back often!

United States – State and Local Histories

Findmypast has updated their United States, State & Local Histories collection and now holds 332 digitized books of state and local histories in PDF format. These histories come from Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

You can narrow your specific search by publication year, title, county, and state, or search by keywords. These books often add clues and hints to the lives of our ancestors. You may also come across a biographical sketch of your ancestor which may hold key information you have been looking for.

Additionally, a sister collection titled United States, Family Histories may also prove fruitful. This collection contains over 930,000 images taken from 3,926 family histories and genealogies from all 50 states and several locations overseas. These PDF records can be searched by publication year, title, county, and state, page number, and key words. The publications emphasize tracing the descendants of the early, colonial immigrants to the United States. If you have a targeted ancestor that falls into that category, you will want to check these histories thoroughly.

United States – New York – Histories

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record is the second oldest genealogical journal in the U.S. This week, Volume 27, Issue 2 (January 2016) of this publication is available at Findmypast. You can search or browse to find possible hints and clues to aid you in your research.

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record is a quarterly publication, published since 1870. It publishes compiled genealogies that are documented, transcriptions of original records, and much more. To further learn about the NYG&B and their society, click here.

You might also be interested in the NYG&B’s quarterly review titled The New York Researcher. Formerly known as the NYG&B Newsletter, The New York Researcher has been published since 1970. Volume 147, Issue 2 (Summer 2016) of this publication is available now at Findmypast.

You will enjoy instructive articles on genealogical research techniques and New York resources, profiles of repositories, and profiles of genealogical societies across the State of New York.

Russia – Church Records

FamilySearch has digitized more than 2 million records in their collection titled Russia, Tatarstan Church Books, 1721-1939. Though these records are not indexed yet, you may find images of births and baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials performed by priests of the Russian Orthodox Church in the republic of Tatarstan. These records were acquired from the state archive in that province.

Places are identified by their historical name and jurisdiction when it was part of the Russian Empire. If you are unsure of the history of your targeted location, remember what our Google Guru Lisa says…”Just Google It!”

The collection covers records from 1721 to 1939. These records are written in Russian, but remember that FamilySearch offers a helpful cheat sheet of common words and their translations!

There may be some restrictions on viewing these records. Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, rights to view images on their website are granted by the record custodians. In this case, the Russia, Tatarstan Church Books, 1721-1939 images can be only be viewed online at a Family History Center near you, or the Family History Library.

Ghana – Census

FamilySearch has also added 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

 

 

Open the Gift of New and Updated Genealogical Collections From Around the World

Happiest of holiday greetings to you! Celebrate with us as we share the gift of new and updated genealogical collections like censuses, histories, and school records from all around the world. This week: the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru, Ecuador, and the U.S.

new collection of school records

United Kingdom – Military

New records at Findmypast this week include the British Army discharges, 60th Foot 1854-1880. These British Army discharges will allow you to find your ancestor who served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. The records will contain service numbers, ranks, and the reason for discharge.

The 60th Regiment of Foot saw action in the Seven Years War, Napoleonic Wars, and Peninsular War. They have served in India, Burma, Afghanistan, China, and South Africa. The men found in these records most likely fought in The Indian Mutiny (1857-1859), in Canada during the Fenian raids (1866-1867), and The Zulu War (1879).

United Kingdom – Histories

Over 13,000 records have been added to Findmypast’s collection titled Britain, Histories & Reference Guides. The collection consists of 65 volumes on genealogy, heraldry, palaeography, geography, and more. The information found in these records may provide you with more insight into the lives of your ancestors and an better understanding of British life. For a more detailed description of the history publications and what each may offer, see the list at the bottom of the collection page.

England – Middlesex – Military

The Middlesex War Memorials at Findmypast contain over 21,000 transcripts of memorials from over 40 parishes across the English county of Middlesex. The new additions to this collection list the names of soldiers who died while on active service between 1845 and 1998.

Each record will include a transcript of the individual entry from the war memorial and a full transcript of all the names that appeared alongside your ancestor. Other information found on the records may include the conflict they served in, where and when they were killed, a brief description, and additional notes. Transcripts also include links from the West Middlesex Family History Society providing greater detail about the memorial such as the memorial’s location and explanations of abbreviations.

Australia – Queensland – Passports

Also at Findmypast this week, the Queensland Passports Index 1915-1925 of over 13,000 names is a helpful collection for those searching traveling ancestors! This collection is an index. The original registers were compiled by the Collector of Customs, Brisbane, and are currently held by the National Archives of Australia. Each record includes a transcript and maypassport records contain the following information:

  • Name
  • Year the record was taken
  • Address or residence
  • Date they applied for or renewed a passport
  • Their intended destination

Depending on the period covered, the registers themselves may include additional information such as passport numbers, warrant numbers, and remarks. Remarks may include details about soldiers returning home from the Great War.

Australia – New South Wales – Census

Explore the only surviving records from the New South Wales 1841 Census at Findmypast. Containing almost 11,000 names, this collection includes both fully searchable transcripts and scanned images of the original household returns, affidavit forms, and abstracts of returns.

Censuses like these often help piece together the family unit. Names, sex, ages, and birth places are common finds in this record set. Images of the original forms may also occasionally provide you with additional information such as:

  • Religion
  • Occupation
  • Civil condition

The amount of information included will vary depending on the type of document.

France – Dordogne – Census

New and updated genealogical collections at FamilySearch this week include the France, Dordogne, Censuses, 1856 and 1876. These censuses may contain the following information:

  • Surname
  • Given name
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Position in the household

Each record contains a transcription and digital image. These census records are in French.

Peru – Civil Registration

Civil registration records are particularly helpful when church records are unavailable. FamilySearch has added new records to their collection titled Peru, La Libertad, Civil Registration, 1903-1998. Births, marriages, deaths, and other records are contained in this collection set. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable. Additional images and indexed records will be published as they become available. These records are written in Spanish.

Ecuador – Church Records

FamilySearch collection Ecuador, Catholic Church Records, 1565-2011 contain some new Catholic Church records created by parishes and dioceses in Ecuador. These records include: baptisms, confirmations, marriages, pre-marriage investigations, deaths, and indexes. Some of the records have been indexed and are searchable. Remember, you can always browse the collection of nearly 1.5 million records. Church records are a great resource when civil records have been lost or damaged.

United States – Oklahoma – School Records

Oklahoma, School Records, 1895-1936 are now available to search on FamilySearch. This collection includes school records and annual censuses of pupils who attended schools in Woodward County, Oklahoma between 1895 and 1936. The records are generally arranged by years and then in numerical order by school district. Many of them list the name of pupil, pupil’s date of birth, and the names of parents or guardians.

Oklahoma school records

The records helped local governments determine funding needs for individual schools so the information is generally reliable. These records can also provide supporting evidence of parental and familial relationships.

Learn More About School Records for Genealogy

School records video lectureFrom schools and orphanages to prisons, hospitals, asylums, workhouses, and more, there’s a good chance one or more of your ancestors might be found on record in one of the many types of institutions. In this Premium eLearning video, Institutional Records Research Methods, Lisa Louise Cooke presents methods for finding your ancestors in institutional records, from establishing a workflow and investigating clues found in the census and other records to resources and strategies for digging up the records. This 40-minute video includes a downloadable handout and is available right now to all Premium eLearning members. 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!

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