Ancestry.com has acquired FindAGrave.com, home of 106 million grave records. At this free “virtual cemetery,” users can create memorials for deceased individuals. Anyone may contribute photos, leave “virtual flowers” and submit data to these memorials. Genealogists use Find a Grave to locate gravemarkers, find hints about relatives’ lives and even connect with others who share an interest in their buy trichomoniasis medication relatives.
Find A Grave’s FAQ page about the Ancestry acquisition addresses what’s on everyone’s mind: how will things change for Find A Grave users and content? Owner Jim Tipton says things will pretty much stay the same: free, protected, and accessible. Read the details on Find A Grave.
Back in “the day,” American consumers window-shopped by mail with the Sears catalog. From 1888-1993, the Sears catalog stocked millions of American households and fed the Christmas lists of men, women and children.
Sears Catalog Fall 1960, Cover. Digital image from Ancestry.com. Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1896-1993 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Sears Roebuck Catalogs 1896–1993. Vol.102–228 K. Chicago, Illinois: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Wouldn’t pages from the Sears catalog make a lively addition to your family history posts, pins, pages and conversations? Ancestry.com thinks so, too! They’ve digitized the catalogs and they’re keyword-searchable here. (Just a word of advice: browse a certain issue or search for a specific product. A keyword search for “bicycle” brings up over 5000 results through the OCR technology used to find matches.)
According to this brief history, the Sears catalog first launched as a mailer for watches and jewelry in 1888. “The time was right for mail order merchandise,” says the article. “Fueled by the Homestead Act of 1862, America’s westward expansion followed the growth of the railroads. The postal system aided the mail order business by permitting the classification of mail order publications as aids in the dissemination of knowledge entitling these catalogs the postage rate of one cent per pound. The advent of Rural Free Delivery in 1896 also made distribution of the catalog economical.”
Here’s one more blast from the American consumer past: Sears kit houses. Have you heard of these? You used to be able to order pre-fabricated homes from Sears. You could customize one of many standard sets of plans, and all the materials would be pre-cut and delivered to your home, “some assembly required,” so to speak. Learn more about Sears kit houses and see images of several designs (1908-1940) here. Did your family ever live in a kit house? Tell us about it on the Genealogy Gems Facebook page!
Big records updates at the Genealogy Giant website Ancestry.com! Brand new collections of birth, marriage, death, and census records for Canada were added this week, along with a Remembrance Book for the 100th anniversary of the Halifax explosion. Additionally, new vital records are now available for Germany.
Canada – Birth, Marriage, Death, and Census Records
This year, December 6th marks the 100th anniversary of the Halifax explosion, which was a devastating maritime disaster in Nova Scotia, Canada. Ancestry has recently made available the ‘Halifax Explosion Remembrance Book,’ an online searchable database with detailed information for 1,946 casualties – more than 300 of whom are recently-confirmed and identified victims.
Ancestry also had a huge update of vital and census records this week for Canada:
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Alberta. Explore the new Births Index, 1870-1896, the Deaths Index, 1870-1966, and the Marriages Index, 1898-1942. Note that the marriage index is slightly irregular, in that each image only includes either the bride or the groom and their marriage year.
Newfoundland. Search baptisms and marriage records in the new collection of Church Records, 1793-1899. You’ll also find records from various churches in Newfoundland in the Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1757-1901 collection, and the Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1850-1949 collection. Also available are the 1921 Census, the 1935 Census, and the 1945 Census. Those databases originate from the Newfoundland Department of Tourism, Culture, and Recreation.
New Brunswick. New vital records collections start with Births and Late Registrations, 1810-1906. Then you’ll find Marriages, 1789-1950, which include registers, certificates, delayed registrations, and returns. And Deaths, 1888-1938 is also now online.
Prince Edward Island. Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, 1780-1983 is comprised of church records for Prince Edward Island. The Marriage Registers, 1832-1888 collection was created from newspapers, church records, and other sources that may or may not be provided. The Death Card Index, 1810-1913 contains pictures of the index cards from the Prince Edward Island Provincial Archives.
Nova Scotia. Lastly, Antigonish Catholic Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1823-1905 are now available for Nova Scotia. The earlier registers are written in paragraph format, while later registers are typically pre-printed forms with information filled in by hand.
German Vital Records
Lots of new vital records collections for Germany recently became available, starting with Waldshut-Tiengen, Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1870-1945. This collection of civil registers includes records from 9 additional communities which are today boroughs of Waldhut-Tiengen.
Next are Erfurt, Germany, Births, 1874-1901 and Marriages, 1874-1900. Additional events from the life of the child or the couple were sometimes recorded later on in the margins, but have not been indexed.
You’ll also find Zschopau, Germany, Births, 1876-1914, Marriages, 1876-1920, and Deaths, 1876-1958 now at Ancestry. It may be helpful to note that during the time period of these collections until 1918, Zschopau belonged to the Kingdom of Saxony.
Finally, Traunstein, Germany, Births, 1876-1905, Marriages, 1876-1934, and Deaths, 1876-1978 are also online, where you’ll find names, dates of birth, dates of deaths, witnesses, informants, parents, signatures, and other information.
Get the most out of Ancestry!
Getting started on Ancestry.com can be a little daunting. As one of the world’s top genealogy websites, it’s packed with information about millions of people–perhaps including your ancestors. These step-by-step instructions will help you start building your family tree and learning more about your heritage. Click to read our recent article Getting Started on Ancestry.com.
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!
Have you downloaded the apps that go with your favorite genealogy websites? You should! And if it’s been awhile, you should do it again. Why? They just keep getting better!
Here’s a rundown of new or improved apps from
- FamilySearch.org, and
Updated Ancestry App: Now A Continuously Swiping Tree
The old version of the Ancestry app was a great start, but didn’t actually have a tree interface on it. You could see lists of family members in your tree, but not in pedigree format. The new version (still FREE) has a redesigned look that, at least for iOS users, includes what Ancestry calls a “continuously swiping tree.” (The way Ancestry programmers made this happen was unique enough they got a patent for the process–read about it on the Ancestry blog.)
Here’s a summary of what the iPhone and iPad apps can do (taken from the Ancestry site):
- New: Redesigned look for sleeker, more intuitive use
- New: Build your tree faster by connecting to Facebook and your contact list
- New: Read about the lives of your ancestors through story-like narrative
- Preserve memories by scanning and adding photos to your tree
- Explore high-res images of historical documents and records
- Access the world’s largest online family resource with more than 12 billion records
- Receive Hints to help reveal new family connections by finding records and photos for you
- Fully redesigned for iOS7
Click here to download the Ancestry app for iPad, iPhone and Android.
New FamilySearch Apps: Tree and Memories
Two new FREE mobile apps, FamilySearch Tree and FamilySearch Memories, help users add information to their FamilySearch.org trees. The folks at FamilySearch describe the apps this way:
FamilySearch Tree makes it easy to add photos, stories, and audio recordings to ancestors in FamilySearch trees.
- Browse your family branches and see portraits of relatives you’ve never seen.
- Discover facts, documents, stories, photos, and recordings about your ancestors.
- Easily add memories and records about your relatives.
- Preserve and share those old photos and documents that are hidden away in storage.
- Adding or updating ancestor details like names, dates, and relationships will be available coming soon.
- Available for iOS 7+ and Android 2.3+
Click here to download the FamilySearch Tree App from the Apple App Store (iOS)
Click here to download the FamilySearch Tree App from the Google Play App Store (Android)
FamilySearch Memories makes collecting, preserving, and sharing your favorite family memories (photos, stories, and spoken words) easy and convenient wherever you are.
- Snap photos of any family event, or take photos of old photos and documents.
- Record audio interviews with family members and capture details of their life stories and favorite memories.
- Write family stories, jokes, and sayings with the keyboard, or use the mic key to capture what you say.
- Enrich written stories by adding descriptive photos.
- Identify and tag relatives within a memory to automatically add it to their collection in Family Tree.
- Available for iOS 7+
Click here to download the FamilySearch Memories App from the Apple App Store (iOS)
Everything you add with either of these apps syncs with FamilySearch.org.
Updated MyHeritage App: Now Access Your Family Photos
Now your MyHeritage family website can always be at your fingertips–along with all your family photos. Features of the newly-updated version of the MyHeritage app:
- NEW: View all your photo albums and family tree photos;
- Easily view and update your family tree anywhere you go;
- Search 5.3 billion historical records;
- Fully sync with your family site and Family Tree Builder software;
- Supports 32 languages.
Click here to download or upgrade Family Tree Builder 7.0 so you’ll be ready to view and edit your tree with the free mobile app.
Click here to download the MyHeritage app from the App store.
Click here to download the MyHeritage app from Google Play.
So…doublecheck your mobile devices! How long since you’ve updated YOUR genealogy apps?