Every Friday, we blog about new genealogy records online. Do any of the collections below relate to your family history? This week seems to be all about U.S. records: newspapers, military and railroad employees.
U.S. NAVY SURVIVORS. A new collection with nearly 2 million records from case files of Navy approved pension applications (1861-1910) is now searchable on Fold3. These include Civil War survivors and later Navy veterans.
U.S. NEWSPAPERS. Over 450 historical newspaper titles for all 50 states (1730-1900) have been added to GenealogyBank. Over 160 of the papers date to the 1700s. Notable are an Ohio (Northwest Territory) paper from 1795, a New Orleans paper from 1803 and a Detroit paper from 1817.
PENNSYLVANIA NEWSPAPERS. Notable recent additions at Newspapers.com include nearly 400,000 pages of the Wilkes-Barre Record (1881-1949PA) and over 400,000 pages of the Standard-Speaker (1961-2000, Hazleton, PA).
U.S. RAILROAD RECORDS. Ancestry subscribers can access the Chicago and North Western Railroad Employment Records, 1935-1970. The line passed through Wisconsin, Minnesota, SD, Iowa and Nebraska. The collection includes Social Security numbers (born before 1912) and applications (with parents’ names), birth and death date, residences and occupational details.
Google search tip: Though no longer actively digitizing and indexing newspapers, Google News Archive can help you locate online content for specific newspapers. Click here to access its alphabetical listing of newspapers. You can also enter keyword-searches in the search box on that webpage for all the newspapers listed here. There’s an entire chapter on the Google News Archive and what it can still do for us in The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox by Lisa Louise Cooke, fully revised and updated in 2015.
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?
You may recall from our recent DNA discussion on the Genealogy Gems podcast (Episode 168) that Ancestry.com recently discontinued their mtDNA and YDNA tests (the two that trace our direct maternal and direct paternal lines) to focus on autosomal DNA (which delivers information about both your mother’s and your father’s side of your ancestral tree).
Well, recently I attended an all-day meeting hosted by Ancestry.com: a summit to talk about current trends and accomplishments at Ancestry DNA, and ideas about the future of DNA testing at Ancestry.com.
The meeting included a diverse group of Ancestry representatives, from CEO Tim Sullivan to members of the marketing, scientific, communications, and even computer science departments, as well as some of the top voices in genetic genealogy. It was an open and lively discussion, and I walked away with a few gems I want to share with you today.
More Powerful DNA Hints Coming
In AncestryDNA, the ‘shaky leaf” hints are meant to help you find a common ancestor between you and your DNA matches. The computer code behind the old hints was not very efficient. Lazy, in fact. It started at the bottom of your tree—and the bottom of your match’s tree—and slapped on a shaky leaf at the first sign of a shared common ancestor.
While this method worked for a large number of cases, it was leaving a lot of stones unturned. But the IT guys at Ancestry have beefed up the computer power, allowing them to cover a much greater distance through our trees and the trees of our matches before making a judgment about the best place to assign that shaky leaf.
The result? Better hints about how you and your match COULD be related. Remember, the leaf is still just a SUGGESTION on how you and your match might be related. It is not a crystal ball.
Did You Know?
- Ancestry DOES store your DNA samples in a secure location.
- Ancestry spent months designing their own DNA collection kit.
- Ancestry was able to attract some of the brightest scientists in the field of population genetics because of YOU. You with your documented pedigree charts and your willingness to help move this science of discovering our ancestors forward.
There is no question that the genetic genealogy industry is rapidly advancing, and our discussion with Ancestry certainly didn’t disappoint. While I will be sharing with you in future posts about some of the exciting changes, I do want you to be ready for one that buy anxiety medication online uk will be coming online fairly soon.
It has to do with your matches. If you have been tested by AncestryDNA, you may have been initially excited, then nearly immediately overwhelmed, by the number of individuals listed in your match page, all claiming to have some kind of connection to you and your family tree.
All three major genetic genealogy testing companies (AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, and 23andMe) are using basically the same laboratory methods to glean information from your DNA. What differs is how they use that data to draw conclusions about your ethnic heritage and about your relationships to other individuals. As it turns out, AncestryDNA has been reporting far more individuals as your relatives than it should have.
You can think of it like this: You have sent out tickets, in the form of your genetic code, to an exclusive party where you (of course!) are the star. However, you have lost the guest list and you are counting on the testing company to check the ticket of each guest before they enter your party to be sure they were really invited.
AncestryDNA was relatively new in the role of party bouncer, and in the interest of not turning away any VIP guests, they initially allowed guests into your party who had (gasp!) forged tickets!! But as AncestryDNA admits more guests, the experience it’s gained in party monitoring is starting to show.
You see, each of the forged tickets has some unique qualities that have started to send up red flags to the team of scientists at AncestryDNA. They are now in the process of carefully documenting what each forged ticket looks like and tossing those unwanted guests out on their ear.
The short of it: in the near future your match list at Ancestry will be much shorter. Which is good news to you, as it means only those invited genetic cousins will be around eating hors d’ oeuvres and ready to talk about your shared common ancestry.
Each testing company has its strengths and weaknesses. It was good to have a bit of insight into this one company and come to a greater understanding about why it is they do what they do. It is a great time to be in this young genetic genealogy industry, with so much room to grow and change. I will let you know when I find the next genetic gem.
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!
Got Irish roots? You may want to check out Findmypast.com’s new Irish Newspaper Collection, with nearly 2 million searchable historical Irish news
Glenarm Co Ireland
“Digitized from the collections of the British Library, the Irish Newspapers Collection on findmypast.com is a rich resource for genealogists in search of their Irish roots,” states a company press release. “The collection features six newspaper titles (both national and local) covering areas in Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Ulster, namely: The Belfast Morning News, The Belfast Newsletter, The Cork Examiner, The Dublin Evening Mail, The Freeman’s Journal and The Sligo Champion.
Each newspaper title covers different dates in Ireland’s history with articles from the pre-Famine era to post-Irish independence in 1926. For family historians, the newspapers contain valuable entries like advertisements, obituaries and letters to the editor which provide details on what local and national life would have been like in Ireland hundreds of years ago.”
The time period covered by these papers (1820-1926) includes the Great Famine that caused millions of Irish to flee the country for more fertile shores. Findmypast.com subscribers can access this collection as well as those with World subscriptions on all findmypast international sites.
Available at http://genealogygems.com
Still not sure how to use newspapers in genealogy research? My book How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, available in both print and e-book formats, shows you how to get the most out of online (and offline) newspapers.
I wish you some old-fashioned Irish luck finding your family in newspapers and beyond!