U.S. Naturalization Records & More New Genealogy Records Online

U.S. Naturalization Records at MyHeritage top the charts this week for new records collections online. Over 200 million records are available for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Also new this week are German marriages, baptisms, and burials. Britain marriage licenses dating back to the 12th century may also pique your interest and are available online.  

U.S. Naturalization Records

New this week at MyHeritage are over 200 million U.S. Naturalization Records. First is the record index for Northern Illinois, 1840-1950, containing petitions for naturalization filed in northern Illinois circuit court and INS District 9. In addition to Illinois, INS District 9 covered parts of northwestern Indiana, eastern Iowa, and southern and eastern Wisconsin. Data collected prior to 1906 was limited, likely containing just the name of the petitioner, their country of origin, and record dates and numbers. After 1906, you’ll be more likely to see records with not only names, but also addresses, birth dates, witnesses present, and date and place of arrival the U.S.

Also new is the Naturalization Record Index for New England, 1791-1906. This collection is an index of naturalization documents filed in courts in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont from 1791 to 1906. The 3X5 inch cards in this collection contain limited information. But the 5X8 inch cards will likely contain the name of the petitioner, petition for citizenship, oath of allegiance, record of previous citizenship, place and date of birth, occupation, place and date of arrival in the United States, name of the ship, place of residence at the time of application, and name and address of a witness to these statements.

German Marriages

Genealogy Giant website Ancestry.com has a new collection of Eberswalde, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1936. Within these records, you can find a wealth of information, including names, occupations, birth date, parents, witnesses, and more. Each document has a front and back and are displayed one after the other. Additional events from the life of the couple were sometimes recorded later on in the margins, but these notes are not indexed. In addition to these civil registers, complementary alphabetical directories of names may also have been created. These directories may tell you the names of the bride and groom, occupations, residence, and cross-reference to the marriage register.

Ancestry has also recently partnered with FamilySearch to provide free access to Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971. From the collection description: “This collection contains parish registers from numerous Protestant communities and military garrisons found in former or modern German territories. The records are largely organized according to historical regions and church districts that may differ from current affiliations. These parish records primarily contain information about births and baptisms, marriages, and deaths and burials.” It’s important to note that this collection is in German, so you may want to reference the German Genealogical Word List on the FamilySearch Wiki.

Britain Marriage Licenses

If your ancestors were married in England, you’ll want to explore this great collection of Britain Marriage Licenses at Findmypast. Fifteen English counties are represented including London, Lancashire, Suffolk, Exeter, Lincoln, Yorkshire, and more, and records date back as early as 1115! These marriage licenses may be able to tell you the couple’s names, father’s name, and the marriage location. The collection consists of a mixture of more than 536,000 handwritten and typed record books from 1115 until 1906 provided by the College of Arms, Anguline Research Archives, and Gould Genealogy.

Reconstruct Your Ancestors’ Stories

When records have been destroyed, or simply remain elusive, you can still put the pieces together to discover your ancestors’ stories! In the new Genealogy Gems Premium eLearning Video, instructor Sunny Morton will show you how to reconstruct fascinating experiences from your own family history by combining clues from your family’s knowledge, documents from genealogy websites, good historical research and Googling to fill in the gaps. All while learning the riveting story of one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. Members can watch right now by clicking here. Not a member? Sign up today!

 

Lacey Cooke

Lacey Cooke

Lacey has been working with Genealogy Gems since the company’s inception in 2007. Now, as the full-time manager of Genealogy Gems, she creates the free weekly newsletter, writes blogs, coordinates live events, and collaborates on new product development. No stranger to working with dead people, Lacey holds a degree in Forensic Anthropology, and is passionate about criminal justice and investigative techniques. She is the proud dog mom of Renly the corgi.

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 Collection for Tracing Immigrants From the British Isles

Exciting news this week is the brand new British and Irish Roots Collection from Findmypast. This collection has 98 million records and is free to search for a limited time. Also new are electoral rolls for Australia and vital records for the United States. 

Findmypast: New Collection for Tracing Immigrants From the British Isles

Findmypast has just announced the brand new British and Irish Roots Collection. This exciting new database consists of more than 98 million assorted records that have been hand-picked from existing collections by Findmypast’s in-house experts. It spans more than 400 years of migration between the British Isles and North America, all in one place. And for a limited time, this database is FREE to search for everyone!

A little more about the collection: “Millions of passenger lists, census records, naturalization applications and draft registrations, as well as birth, marriage, and death records spanning more than 400 years (1573 to 1990) of migration between the British Isles and North America can now be explored in one unified search, enabling North American family historians to trace the migration of ancestors from the Old World to the New through one simple search.”

The journeys researchers can expect to find include:

  • Anyone leaving the UK or Ireland and emigrating to the US, Canada or the Caribbean
  • Anyone emigrating from Canada or the Caribbean to the US (this covers the large number of British and Irish immigrants who stopped temporarily in Canada and/or the Caribbean)
  • Anyone listed on any US or Canadian record with British or Irish origins, birthplace or parents

This is a very exciting new collection, and one well-worth exploring now while it’s available for free. Click here to start searching now (a free Findmypast account may be required to view).

Australia – Electoral Rolls

MyHeritage has added new collections for Queensland, Australia Electoral Rolls. Years include 1906, 1941, and 1959. Electoral rolls are the nearest record Australians have to census listings and hence are extremely important to local, social and family historians. MyHeritage has also added the Tasmania Electoral Rolls 1916 collection as well.

Also new this week is Ancestry’s collection for the Queensland, Australia, Mining Accident Index, 1882-1945. From the database description: This collection contains information about mining accidents published annually in the Queensland Legislative Assembly Votes and Proceedings (later known as Queensland Parliamentary Papers) from 1882 to 1945.

United States Vital Records & More

Obituary Notices. Findmypast has a new collection of Obituary Notices containing 6 million records (transcribed from the tributes.com website) that could help you unlock unknown details on your ancestor’s death in America.

Colorado. A new collection of Steelworks Employment Records, 1887-1979 is available now at Ancestry. The original records come from the Steelworks Center of the West, and you may find names, birthdates, birthplaces, spouses, occupations, and more.

Idaho. Two new collections of vital records for Idaho are now online at Ancestry. County Birth and Death Records, 1863-1967 will reveal names, dates, places, and includes a small amount of marriage records. County Marriages, 1863-1967 contains a variety of marriage forms, including: Marriage Certificates, Marriage Licenses, Marriage Affidavits, and Marriage Applications.

Montana. Also new at Ancestry are marriage records for Montana. These new databases include County Marriages 1865-1987Marriage Records 1943-1986, and Divorce Records, 1943-1986. To obtain certified certificates (or request changes) you’ll want to contact the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Office of Vital Records.

New Hampshire. Finally, vital records for Portsmouth, New Hampshire are available at Findmypast. Start with the Vital Records 1706-1895 collection, containing birth, marriage, and death records reported in newspapers and town record transcripts. If your ancestors fell on hard times, you’ll want to search the Expenses Of The Poor 1817-1838 collection. The Newspaper Abstracts 1776-1800 collection may help you sketch a more detailed view of significant events in your ancestor’s life. Finally, cver 10,000 new records from Portsmouth, NH have been added to Findmypast’s collection of United States Marriage records.

Try Findmypast FREE for two weeks!

As we mentioned above, the new British and Irish Roots Collection is free to search at Findmypast for a limited time. But there’s so much more to discover! Findmypast is the leading records website for British and Irish records, and has growing databases for the United States, Australia, and Canada. Get a two-week free trial to explore everything that Findmypast has to offer!

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!

Big Updates at Ancestry for Canadian and German Vital Records

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.

ancestry records new and updated

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:

AncestryDNA for Canada is on sale for just $99! Reg. $129 CAD. Sale ends 12/24/17. Excludes tax & shipping.

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, 1876-1914Marriages, 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, 1876-1905Marriages, 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 with AncestryGetting 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!

Big Updates to Find A Grave Records at Ancestry.com

If you’re looking for cemetery records, you’re in luck! This week there have been massive updates to Find A Grave’s global databases at Ancestry.com. But why search Find A Grave at Ancestry.com? We can think of 3 good reasons.

Big Find A Grave at Ancestry.com

Find A Grave at Ancestry.com: Updated Collections

Did you know you can use Google Earth to find cemeteries? Click here to learn how.

The following Find A Grave collections have all been updated to Ancestry.com, where they can be linked directly to your tree:

You’ll also find these records updated at FamilySearch.com as well.

If there’s a specific grave you’re looking for, ask Find a Grave to help! Click here to learn how to submit a photo request to both Find a Grave and Billion Graves.

Why Use Find A Grave at Ancestry.com?

Sunny Genealogy Giants

Sunny Morton, Genealogy Giants Guru

Find A Grave is a free website with crowd-sourced tombstone images and transcriptions from cemeteries all over the world. Last we checked, they boast 162 million grave records! Their catalog of cemeteries tops 400,000, spread out over 200 different countries, and they have at least a partial listing of graves for well over half of these (over 250,000).

So why would you go to Ancestry.com to search records that are already free at Find A Grave? Genealogy Gems Contributing Editor Sunny Morton, our resident expert on the giant genealogy websites, says:

“If you’re already an Ancestry.com subscriber, searching Find A Grave from within Ancestry.com may be a good choice for these three reasons:

1. One-stop searching. You’re already searching in Ancestry.com: you don’t need to remember to switch over to search Find A Grave separately for each ancestor.

2. Ancestry.com’s search tool. Find A Grave has a nice but basic search tool. It’s pickier about the search results it returns: does the spelling match? And is a potential result in the exact place you requested? (If you search a specific county, Find A Grave will only return results from that county–not in an adjacent county, across the state line, or even across the country where an ancestor may have been interred.) Lacey has a great example below.

From Lacey: Here’s a search of my 3X great grandfather at Find A Grave:

find a grave search

Unfortunately, no results:

find a grave results

I then hopped over to Ancestry, went to the card catalog, and searched the U.S. Find A Grave Index:

ancestry find a grave search

Turns out there was an extra “t” on his surname (see results below). I didn’t search on a partial name because I’ve never come across a different spelling of his before, and I certainly didn’t expect to see one on his tombstone! But sure enough, the name is not spelled as it had been throughout his life. It’s awfully nice that Ancestry could find it:

ancestry find a grave results

Ancestry.com is much more forgiving and flexible about spelling and places. It will return search result possibilities that don’t have to match exactly. As you can see from the screenshots above, Ancestry offers more fields to enter, including relatives’ names (and people are often buried with relatives), a more detailed place field, and keywords.

3. Tree-building ease. If you build your tree on Ancestry.com, it’s easy to attach Find A Grave search results to your ancestor’s tree profiles. If you search separately at Find A Grave, you have to create a separate source citation to attach to your tree.” (Note: hopefully, if you’re building your tree on Ancestry.com, you’re syncing it to your own software. RootsMagic and Family Tree Maker will both sync to your Ancestry tree–click here to see why Lisa Louise Cooke prefers RootsMagic.)

More Cemetery Resources

Get detailed step-by-steps for using Find A Grave and Billion Graves, plus guides for understanding tombstone epitaphs and symbol meanings in this brand new book: The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide. Discover tools for locating tombstones, tips for traipsing through cemeteries, an at-a-glance guide to frequently used gravestone icons, and practical strategies for on-the-ground research.Use coupon code GEMS17 for an extra 10% off! *Coupon valid through 12/31/17.

https://lisalouisecooke.com/2016/07/cemetery-records/

Disclosure: This post 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!

SSDI Search – How to Find Hard to Find Ancestors

Social Security Death Index (SSDI) search is not necessarily as straight forward as you might think. We’re going to explore what SSDI records are, their range of availability, and how they compare across the Genealogy Giants records websites. 

SSDI Search

If you’ve been dabbling in genealogy research for a while, then you are very likely familiar with the Social Security Death Index, more commonly referred to as the SSDI. But even experienced researchers have questions, like the one that Marti sent me recently:

From Marti in Texas:

Hi Lisa!!

Thank you so much for all your helpful resources on your website!! I just listened to the SSDI Working Backwards podcast episode (Family History: Genealogy Made Easy episode 3) and my grandparents passed away in 2012 and 2014. Do you know when the last time the index has been updated, I cannot locate them.

Thank you so much!!

This two-fold question is a good one. While many genealogical record sets have privacy laws that dramatically restrict more recent records from being available, the SSDI is not one of them. But even if the records are available, there may still be times when we have trouble locating our relatives.

Whenever you run into a road block finding ancestors in a record collection, do what good detectives do, and go back to the beginning. In this case, let’s learn more about the collection itself.

Social Security Death Index Background

The Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt. By 1937, more than 30 million Americans had registered. Today, the Death Master File from the Social Security Administration contains around 90 million records of deaths and they are publicly available online.

Some data goes as far back as 1937, but most of the information included in the SSDI dates from 1962. This is because the Social Security Administration began to use a computer database for processing requests for benefits in 1962. Some of the earlier records back to 1937 have not been added.

It’s important to know that the SSDI does not have a death record for everyone. It’s also very possible that you may occasionally find an error here and there if something was reported incorrectly. But don’t let that stop you from tapping into this major resource! It’s a wonderful alternative source for finding people who were counted in the 1890 census (which was unfortunately mostly destroyed) because they may still appear in the SSDI. Also, those who were born before vital records registration in their home state began, may also show up. Remember, working folks just had to live past 1937 to have been possibly included. That means some people could have been born sometime in the late 1800s.

Now that we have a handle on the history of the SSDI, let’s look at who has it and how recent their records are.

Where to Find the SSDI

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is available on all of the ‘big 4’ genealogy records websites, which we here at Genealogy Gems refer to as the Genealogy Giants.” The links below will take you directly to the SSDI search page for each.

  • FamilySearch
    (Current as of February 28, 2014)
  • Ancestry
    (1935-2014)
  • MyHeritage
    (It is not stated how current the database is, but a search for 2014 did retrieve results)
  • Findmypast
    (No dates or citation provided, but a search for people who died in 2014 did retrieve results)

In Marti’s case, she will want to search every single one of these websites for her ancestors. The good news is that they all appear to be up-to-date, but that doesn’t mean they are all exactly the same. The same collection of genealogy records can appear differently from site to site for a number of reasons such as accidental omissions, variations in the power of their search engine, differences between indexers and scanners, and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) inaccuracies. These may or may not affect the SSDI, but the point is that you can’t go wrong searching each one of the Genealogy Giants just in case. And since SSDI search can be conducted for free at all of the Genealogy Giants, it doesn’t cost you anything to do so.

A quick way to find all of the websites that include the SSDI is to Google SSDI genealogy. Here’s a link to the results.

SSDI Search Head-to-Head Comparison

Genealogy Giants quick reference guide cheat sheet Big 4Another excellent reason to search the SSDI on multiple websites is that each website displays the information a little differently. And as you can see from the chart below, when it comes to the Genealogy Giants, there are definitely differences.

SSDI Search Comparison
It’s interesting to note that Ancestry is the only website that provides information about the year that the Social Security number was issued. It isn’t exact, but it’s more than the others offered in my search for Alfred H. Sporan.
 SSDI search results
genealogy giants quick reference guide cheat sheet

The differences between the 4 major websites can be sometimes subtle or quite dramatic. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses, as well as free versus subscription offerings, is key to successful research that is both efficient and cost-effective.

The quick reference guide Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites is a must-have for anyone serious about getting the most out of free and paid subscriptions.

The author of this 4-page full-color cheat sheet, Sunny Morton, is Contributing Editor here at Genealogy Gems, and she’s packed this guide with everything you would ever want to know, and many things you probably didn’t know that you needed to know. You can pick up your copy here in our store.

SSDI Search and Beyond

There is another database at Ancestry that is worth keeping your eye on. It’s called the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index and it shouldn’t be missed! Currently, this covers 1936-2007, but who knows, they may update it in the future. It includes even more information. It was first released in 2015. Read more about it here at Genealogy Gems.

Gems: Share Your SSDI Search Experience!

I invite you to take a moment to share your SSDI search experience in the comments below. Have you had any surprises? Did you find a difference between the records found at different websites? We want to hear your story because we all benefit from each other’s experiences.

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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