Reuters recently reported that Ancestry “is exploring a sale that could value it at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, including debt.” According to unnamed sources, Permira (a buyout firm that owns most of Ancestry) “has hired investment banks to run an auction for the company.”
It’s far too soon to say what this might mean for paying customers, users of Ancestry Library Edition and corporate and community partners. The sale of a company can mean possible changes in direction and organization. Ancestry currently boasts delivery of 15 billion genealogy records to 2.1 million subscribers, and has stated its intent to acquire additional records at an aggressive pace. In an ever changing corporate and technological environment we believe it’s important to retain ownership and responsibility of our own data.
Our best advice to those whose master family trees are on Ancestry? Download and backup your data! We’re not being alarmist. This announcement is just a good opportunity to do something we routinely recommend anyway.
First, download your current tree(s) to GEDCOM files onto your computer. Under the Trees tab, choose Create and Manage Trees. For each tree you have there, choose Manage Tree, then Export Tree.
Next, check your sources! The Ancestry help section states, “Any pictures, charts, books, views, or similar items found in the original file will not be included in the [downloaded] GEDCOM. Vital information, notes, and sources are usually retained after conversion.” Check your GEDCOM to see whether your source notes are intact. Then make sure you have copies of documents, videos, photos and other items you may have attached to your tree. You don’t want them to disappear, should there be a hiccup (or worse) in service.
Finally, if you have used AncestryDNA, download a copy of your raw DNA data. We especially recommend this step! These tests are expensive. Tests for loved ones who are now deceased can’t be re-rerun. And Ancestry has disposed of DNA samples in the past when the company has switched directions. (Again, not trying to be alarmist, just cautious.)
If you have relied on Ancestry or any other cloud-based service to host your only or master family tree, we recommend you do your homework and consider your options. Please click here to read a blog post about keeping your master tree on your own computer at home, and which software may be best for you.
Click here to Start Your Free Family Tree at Ancestry
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!
New and updated genealogical collections for the Royal Irish Constabulary are just the tip of the iceberg this week. Scroll down for more cool finds for New South Wales, Scotland, U.S. marriages, and an update to the Freedmen’s Bureau collections at FamilySearch.
Ireland – Royal Irish Constabulary Records
You can now search the Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary Service Records 1816-1922 at Findmypast for over 486,000 records that uncover the details of your ancestor’s career with the R.I.C.
Each search result includes an image of the original document and a transcript. The nature of the information recorded will vary significantly depending on the subject and type of the original document. The following is a list of what types of records can be found in this collection:
Auxiliary division general registers: These are nominal rolls that recorded member’s service number, rank, dispersed date, and company name. The registers also include division journals that recorded dates of appointment, promotions, and medical details.
Clerical staff: record of service and salaries: These lists of clerical staff include birth date, age at appointment, rank, department and salary.
Constabulary Force Funds: These correspondence registers are of members who paid into the fund with notes on whether they had been pensioned, died or received any rewards from the fund.
Constabulary lists: These are lists of chief constables created during the first year of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Disbandment registers: These registers are of serving members who were with the force in 1922 when it disbanded after the creation of the Free Irish State. They also noted the number of years the constable served and their recommended pension.
General registers: Records of constables’ service history are contained in these general registers. The entries include the individual’s birth date, native county, religion, previous occupation, date of appointment, and promotions, as well as any rewards or punishments received and the date of pension or discharge.
Nominal returns, arranged by counties: Nominal returns are lists of all serving members of the Royal Irish Constabulary organised by county that recorded the individual’s number, rank, name, religion, date of appointment, marital status, and station location.
Officers’ registers: These registers are lists of Officers that include transfers and dates, favorable and unfavorable records, dates of promotions and details of previous military service.
Pensions and gratuities: Pension records reveal the constable’s rate of pay and the amount of pension calculated.
Recruits index: Lists of new recruits, their dates of appointment and arrival, and their company can be found in the recruits index.
Also at Findmypast, Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary History & Directories has had a significant addition of over 43,000 records. You will be able to explore a variety of publications between the years of 1840 and 1921. These records will provide insight into the administration and daily operations of the police force.
Each record includes a PDF image of the original publication. The collection includes training manuals, codes of conduct, salary scales, circulars and staff lists that cover promotions, deployments, and rules & regulations.
Ireland – Valuation Books
At FamilySearch, the Ireland, Valuation Office Books, 1831-1856 are now available to search. These records are the original notebooks that were used when the property valuations were conducted between the years of 1831-1856. They are arranged by county, then alphabetically by parish or townland.
Land valuation records may contain the following information:
- Land occupier’s name
- Location, description, and monetary valuation of each land plot surveyed
New South Wales – Passenger Lists
The New South Wales Passenger Lists is a collection at Findmypast that contains over 8.5 million records. The collection includes records of both assisted and unassisted passengers. The assisted passenger lists cover 1828 to 1896 and the unassisted passenger lists span the years 1826 to 1900. Assisted passengers refers to those who received monetary assistance from another party or agency/government for their passage.
Each result will provide a transcript and image of the original record. The information included on the transcript will vary depending on whether your ancestor was an assisted or unassisted passenger, although most will include your ancestors name, passage type, birth year, nationality, departure port, arrival port and the dates of their travels.
Scotland – Parish Records
The Scotland Non-Old Parish Registers Vital Records 1647-1875 found at Findmypast is a collection of registers created by churches outside of the established church. It contains over 12,000 transcripts of births, marriages, and deaths.
Non-old parish registers are different from the Church of Scotland’s old parish records.
Though these are only transcripts and do not include a digital image of the original, you may find the following information on the records included in this collection:
With each result you will be provided with a transcript of the details found in the original source material. The detail in each transcript can vary depending on the event type and the amount of information that was recorded at the time of the event. Here are some of the facts you may find in the records:
- Birth year, date, and place
- Event year
- Event type – birth, marriage, or death
- Register name
- Parish and county
United States – Freedmen’s Bureau Records
FamilySearch has updated their magnificent collection of United States Freedmen’s Bureau, Records of Freedmen, 1865-1872. Records found in this collection include census returns, registers, and lists of freedmen. They also include letters and endorsements, account books, applications for rations, and much more. Many of the records will hold valuable genealogical data.
For a complete list and coverage table of the full collection, click here.
United States – Marriages – Oregon and Utah
Ancestry.com has recently updated two marriage collections. The Oregon, County Marriages, 1851-1975 and the Weber and Piute Counties, Utah, County Marriages, 1887-1940 have some new records. Marriage records will often provide many helpful genealogical details. Depending on the year, you may find:
- Name of the groom and bride
- Date and place of the event
- Birth dates and places of bride and groom
- Names of parents of both bride and groom
- How many previous marriages and marital status
- Place of residence of bride and groom
United States – Washington – Newspapers
Washington State historic newspapers added to their digital collection of newspapers this week. With nearly 50,000 digitized pages from historical newspapers based in Centralia, Eatonville, Tacoma, and Spokane newest titles include the Centralia Daily Hub (1914-16), The Eatonville Dispatch (1916-61) and Den Danske Kronike (1916-17), a Danish-English publication based in Spokane.
The Centralia and Eatonville papers were added this month and Den Danske Kronike was added last summer, along with the Tacoma Evening Telegraph (1886-87).
You will be able to search this newspaper collection for free from the Washington State Library website.
This week, we set sail to the islands with new and updated genealogical records for Hawaiian and Irish genealogy. Passenger lists and denization records shine a light on ancestors who walked the shores of beautiful Hawaii and previously classified records are revealed in the Easter Rising collections for Ireland. Also this week, the Canadian Census for 1901, and records for Maine, Kentucky, and the country of Benin.
United States – Hawaii – Passenger Lists
This week at Ancestry, a new collection titled Hawaii, Passenger Lists, 1843-1898 is now available. It is searchable by name, birth, date of arrival, or date of departure. Specifically, this database includes passenger lists for ships arriving at and departing from ports in Hawaii between 1843 and 1898. This is both an index and a collection of digital images. Information may include a given and surname, age, gender, nationality or last place of residence, destination, ship name, and the date and place of departure or arrival. The names found in the index are linked to actual images of the manifests, digitized from originals at the Hawaii State Archives.
United States – Hawaii – Denization Records
Another new collection at Ancestry is the Hawaii, Denization Records, for 1846-1849, 1883-1898. Denization is the process used to grant a status similar to permanent residency and gave rights to denizens, such as the right to own land. These records are actually applications made by handwritten letters before 1895 and pre-printed application forms after that.
Information will vary, but may include:
- Place of origin
- Arrival date
- Record date
- Current residence
United States – Hawaii – Certificates of Identification
Lastly, Ancestry’s new collection Hawaii, Certificates of Identification for Chinese Arrivals, 1895-1898 may help find those connections back to mainland China.
This collection of certificates of identification for Chinese arrivals may include:
- Date of arrival
- Permit number
- Photograph locator
Note: Photographs are not available in this collection. Photographs of arrivals were taken and kept in a Deposit Book. You can obtain copies of these photographs from the Hawaii State Archives using the locator information that is provided on each certificate.
Ireland – Easter Rising Collection
Findmypast has added over 48,000 additional records to their Easter Rising & Ireland Under Martial Law 1916-1921 collection. If you are not familiar with the Easter Rising, it took place on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916. A group of Irish nationalists announced the establishment of the Irish Republic and staged a rebellion against the British government in Ireland.
These were once classified records, but have now been digitized and can be browsed. These unique records document the struggles of life under martial law in Ireland and also contain details of both soldiers and civilians who participated or were affected by the Easter Rising of April 1916.
The collection contains the names of the hundreds of people who were detained and interned in prisons across Ireland, England, and Wales. Further, the internment files contain reports on individual detainees which record their charges, trial, and sentence as well as personal letters from prisoners or their relatives testifying to their innocence. Locating an ancestor in this collection would be a very special find.
Canada – Census
Findmypast has just added the Canada Census for 1901. It contains over 5.1 million records. The 1901 census was the first Canadian census to ask questions about religion, birthplace, citizenship, and immigration.
Each record includes a transcript and link to the digital image of the original census form. These census records will also list the name, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, relationship to head of household, race or tribe, immigration year, and naturalization year of each household member.
United States – Maine – Military
FamilySearch has added two new collections this week and one of them is Maine, World War I Draft Registration Index, 1917-1919. I don’t know if we have mentioned lately, but FamilySearch.org is free for everyone. This new collection for Maine is just one of hundreds available for genealogy records.
Records found in this collection generally contain the following information:
- Place and date of birth
- Marital Status
- Nationality and race
- Relatives’ names
United States – Kentucky – Marriages
This past summer, the Special Collections Research Center at University of Kentucky Libraries and the Fayette County Clerk’s Office developed a pilot project that will ultimately provide online access to Colored Marriage Indexes between the years of 1866-1882 and 1958-1968. The purpose of the project is to provide researchers with greater online access to these documents pertaining to African Americans in Kentucky.
The four volumes of the Colored Marriage Indexes are used to locate early marriage bonds of African Americans in Lexington, Kentucky. These indexes contain the name of each bride and groom and the page number of the marriage bond held at the Fayette County Clerk’s Office.
The digitized versions of the indexes are now freely available to the public on ExploreUK, UK’s digital library. The typed indexes have been run through optical character recognition (OCR) and are searchable.
Africa – Benin – Deaths
Death records may contain the following information:
Digital archives are getting so much better! They’re not just about reproducing historical documents anymore. Multimedia add-ons–from searchable statistics to animated timelines–fill in the gaps not explained by the map keys.
Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, http://dsl.richmond.edu/historicalatlas/.
Recently, Slate.com writer Rebecca posted on some of her favorite digital archives. Four of the five are of interest to genealogists! Read the article to learn more about them:
Want to learn more about using maps in your research? Watch my FREE class on Google Earth for Genealogy. Genealogy Gems Premium members can also watch my NEW video class online, 5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps. (Not a Premium member? Learn more here.)
Did you know that FamilySearch has an interactive map to help you find English parish boundaries in 1851?
Daniel Poffenberger, who works at the British desk at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, showed me this map gem. He says this map was about 7 years in the making!
English parish boundaries: map on FamilySearch.org.
Before you click through to the map, you should know:
- Use the main Search interface to search by a specific location.
- Click on layers to indicate whether you want the map to show you boundaries to parishes, counties, civil registration districts, dioceses and more.
- Click and drag the map itself to explore it.
- Wales is also included here but the Welsh data doesn’t appear to be entirely complete (try it anyway–it might have what you need).
- The map isn’t yet permanently operational. It does go down sometimes, possibly because they’re still working on it. It doesn’t print easily. It’s suggested that if you want to print, you hit “Ctrl-Print Screen” and then paste it into Word or another program that accepts images.
Click here to see the FamilySearch England & Wales 1851 Parish map.
Want to learn more about using maps? Premium members can check out my video, “5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps.” Not a Premium member yet? Click here to learn more.