All Ellis Island Passenger Records Now Free on FamilySearch

All Ellis Island passenger records are now available and free to search at FamilySearch.org! It’s one of 8 free fresh FamilySearch collections profiled in this article. You’ll also find: New Jersey brides, France vital records, Northumberland parish records, Palermo and Chieti (Italy) civil registrations, Maryland funeral homes and the 1905 New York state census.

Ellis Island Passenger Records All On FamilySearch

Over 100 million Americans have ancestors who immigrated through Ellis Island or one of its predecessor immigration stations. Now the entire collection of Ellis Island New York Passenger Arrival Lists from 1820 to 1957 are available online on both FamilySearch and The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island website, giving researchers even more options for discovering immigration records.

According to a FamilySearch release, “Originally preserved on microfilm, 9.3 million images of historical New York passenger records spanning 130 years were digitized and indexed in a massive effort by 165,590 online FamilySearch volunteers. The result is a free searchable online database containing 63.7 million names, including immigrants, crew, and other passengers traveling to and from the United States through the nation’s largest port of entry.”

Searching on FamilySearch (in addition to or instead of the Ellis Island site) takes advantage of advanced searching tools on the site and the ability to attach records to profiles in the FamilySearch Family Tree. FamilySearch has divided these records into three collections that represent three phases of migration history:

“The ship manifests list passengers, their names, age, last place of residence, who is sponsoring them in America, the port of departure, and their date of arrival in New York Harbor and sometimes other interesting information, such as how much money they carried on them, number of bags, and where on the ship they resided during its sail from overseas.”

More FamilySearch additions

England. Upwards of a million records have been added to FamilySearch’s existing collection, England, Northumberland, Parish Registers, 1538-1950. These are “Church of England parish registers containing baptisms, marriages, and burials that took place in the county of Northumberland from 1538 to 1950. Records may include: name, parents, spouse, father’s occupation, residence, date of birth, date of marriage, burial date and place and much more depending on the record type. The original records are held at the Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives.”

France. Over 50,000 indexed names have been added to an existing collection of France, Vital Records, 1542-1900. These include “various birth, marriage and death records indexed by Bibliothèque Généalogique et d’Histoire Sociale de France.”

Italy. FamilySearch has made two major additions to its unique online collection of free Italian civil registration records. A new browse-only collection, Italy, Palermo, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1820-1947, contains over 4.3 million images. Also, over 3.2 million images have been added to the existing collection, Italy, Chieti, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-1930. Available records vary by time and locale but may include civil registrations of births, marriages, and deaths; marriage banns; ten-year indexes; residency records and supplemental documents.

United States – Maryland. Over 4,000 records have been added to the collection, Maryland, Baltimore, Lock Funeral Home Records, 1936-2007. Available documents for deceased persons vary but may include death certificates, ledgers, obituaries, and miscellaneous loose papers, filled with rich genealogical information about the deceased and their relatives.

United States—New Jersey. A new collection, New Jersey, Bride Index, 1930-1938, contains nearly 240,000 indexed names. It was acquired by ReclaimTheRecords.org and donated to FamilySearch for publishing of images.

United States—New York. Over 130,000 indexed records have been added to the free-to-search New York State Census, 1905 at FamilySearch. This is a key resource for those with Empire States roots in the early 20th century, given the enormous immigrant and migrant population in New York and the general lack of public access to New York vital records.

Learn more about Ellis Island Immigration records

Learn everything you need to know about using Ellis Island immigration records in 3 special episodes in the free Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast!

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

29 Million Free Netherlands Genealogy Records

Nearly 30 million free Netherlands genealogy records are now searchable at FamilySearch.org. Also: free historical Catholic and Columbia University newspapers; Catholic parish records in Boston, MA; British Army and Royal Navy records; and new collections for England and Scotland.

Featured Collection: Free Netherlands Genealogy Records

Genealogy Giant FamilySearch has published 29 million new, free historical records from the Netherlands. With the latest additions, FamilySearch now offers over 65 million free images and indexes in its Netherlands collections. According to the site: “The freely searchable collections are comprised of birth, baptism, marriage, death, church, notarial, army service and passenger list records and population registers. Some of the records date back to 1564. Considering the population of the Netherlands is 17 million people today, the size of these collections makes it highly likely family historians will find the ancestors they’re seeking.” Explore these now at FamilySearch!

Find Your Family in Historical Newspapers

Historical newspaper publishing service Elephind recently reported on new and updated online collections it supports. These are free to view, so why not take a look?

The Columbia Record: Beginning as the University Record (September 1973-May 1975) and continuing to this day as the Columbia University Record (July 1975-present), this university-wide publication is a rich resource of past Columbia activities, events, scientific research, trustee and faculty appointments, awards and honors, libraries news, departmental achievements, budget and financial reporting, faculty and staff updates, as well as profiles of campus personalities from 1973 to the present. You can also read the predecessor paper in Columbia University’s Spectator Archive. It’s the second-oldest college daily paper in the United States. The latest content update brings the run of the newspaper from 1877 to 2015.

Catholic News Archive: This growing collection of Catholic research resources has been updated to contain 10,971 issues comprising 254,941 pages. The goal of this project is to provide access to all extant Catholic newspapers. Currently, this collection spans 1831 – 1978. These are the publications you can read online now:

Boston Catholic Parish Records

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has published the following new browse-only record images from Archdiocese of Boston parishes spanning 1789-1900: St. Joseph in Boston’s West End, St. Thomas Aquinas (Jamaica Plain), Immaculate Conception (Newburyport), Holy Family (Rockland), Immaculate Conception (Weymouth), Sacred Heart (Weymouth), St. Francis Xavier (Weymouth), Most Precious Blood (Hyde Park), St. Joseph (Salem), St. Mary (Winchester), St. Mary Star of the Sea (Beverly), St. Mary Star of the Sea (East Boston) and St. Patrick (Lowell). For directions on how to navigate this database, be sure to watch this how-to video from NEHGS.

New British Isles records at Findmypast.com

Britain, Royal Navy, Navy Lists, 1827-1945. Search for your ancestors in official lists of Royal Navy Officers. The collection consists of 147 publications presented in PDF format. The amount of information varies from volume to volume. Details include an individual’s name, rank, seniority, and place of service.

British Army Service Records. Over 34,000 new Scots Guards records have been added to our collection of British Army Service records. The new additions consist of Enlistment Registers spanning the years 1642 to 1939. These records can reveal a variety of details about your ancestor’s life, family and military career.

England, Lancashire parish records. Find these in 3 separate databases:

  • Lancashire Baptisms. Discover your ancestor in original parish registers covering 191 Lancashire parishes and spanning 379 years of the county’s history. Learn when and where your ancestor’s baptism took place and discover their parents’ names, residence and father’s occupation.
  • Lancashire Marriages. Discover your ancestor in banns and marriage registers from Lancashire. Learn when and where your ancestor was married, as well as your ancestor’s age, occupation, residence, and spouse’s name. The registers, provided by Lancashire Archives, span the years from 1538 to 1932 and cover 194 parishes.
  • Lancashire Burials. Learn when and where your ancestor’s burial took place, as well as their age at the time of death with original parish records from the Lancashire Archives. These records cover 123 parishes across the county and span the years 1538 to 1991.

England, Wiltshire Social & Institutional Records 1123-1968. Over 400,000 records are available in this fantastic collection of 72 different types of records spanning nearly 900 years of Wiltshire history. The collection contains a wide variety of documents and a full list of what is available can be found at the bottom of the search page. 

Scotland, Edinburgh Apprentices 1583-1700. Did any of your ancestors learn their trade in Edinburgh? Discover details of their apprenticeship and occupation in this collection of almost 120 years of documents from the Scottish capital.

Scotland, Edinburgh Marriages 1595-1800. Did any of your relations marry in Edinburgh, Scotland? Discover their names, occupations, residence, spouse and dates of marriage, former marriages and more in this collection of PDF images of parish registers collated throughout the city.

Scotland, Fife Death Index, 1549-1877. Over 265,000 records are included in this collection of Fife’s old parish records, including deaths and burials from St Andrews and Edinburgh Testaments (from 1549 to 1823), sheriff court wills (1824-1854), Fife newspapers (1822-1854), Kirk Session account books for mortcloths, lair registers and other sources.

Scotland, Testaments, 1514-1800. If you ancestors died in Scotland, this collection will include details of their property, relatives, occupation and more in records of their last will and testaments. The digital images in this collection are presented in PDF form.

Get the Scoop on Your Relatives in Old Newspapers

You’ve probably heard the tip to look for your family stories in old newspapers. But which newspapers were around back then? And where are they now? Expert Lisa Louise Cooke has the answers! Her book How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers provides you with a fool-proof research process: step-by-step instructions, worksheets, checklists, location-specific newspaper resources, the best free and subscription sites for newspaper research and a case study that puts it all into action for you. And it’s currently 40% off in the Genealogy Gems store! Click here to check it out.

Offer subject to expire without notice.

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

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!

French Genealogy Records and More—Now Free Online!

Nearly 2.5 million French genealogy records are among the free collections now available online at FamilySearch.org. Also: German church records, Dutch civil registrations and 3 free digital archives for researching U.S. ancestors in CT, GA and NJ.

Free French genealogy records

France, Brittany, Church and Civil Records, 1521-1896 is a new collection of more than 2.4 million birth, marriage, and death records from Ille-et-Vilaine and Côtes-d’Armor. It’s now free to search on the Genealogy Giant FamilySearch.org. In addition to knowing the name of the person you’re searching for, the site also recommends you have a good idea of at least one additional piece of information about them, such as a birthplace, birth date or parents’ names, so you can more confidently distinguish your relatives from others with similar names.

Click here for links to resources on reading French-language records—and keep reading for a link to learn more about getting and using your free guest account at FamilySearch.org.

Chile civil registrations

Nearly 360,000 indexed names have been added to Chile, Civil Registration, 1885-1932, a collection of indexed and imaged birth, marriage, death and other records created by civil registration offices in Chile. Some of the 1.6 million record images have been indexed, so you can search for ancestors by name. More names are being added on an ongoing basis, so keep checking back—or browse the records yourself if you know the approximate time and place to find your family’s names in them.

German church records

Another new (and free, as always on FamilySearch.org) collection is 250 years’ worth of German Catholic birth, marriage and death records: Germany, Rhineland, Diocese of Trier, Catholic Church Records, 1704-1957. Important note: the collection description states that “These images are available to view at Family History Centers…If possible, visit your nearest Family History Center to view the images.” Click here to find a Family History Center near you—and contact them to confirm their hours and access to the records you want.

Netherlands civil registration

More than 200,000 free records have been added to an existing FamilySearch collection of over 6 million records, Netherlands, Noord-Holland, Civil Registration, 1811-1950. In addition to births, marriages, and deaths, you’ll also find 10-year indexes, marriage intentions, marriage proclamations, and marriage supplements! According to the collection description, that date range isn’t comprehensive: “The collection covers the years 1811 to 1950, but the exact years vary within each municipality and record type.”

3 free digital archives for researching U.S. ancestors

Connecticut. Connecticut State Library Announces 25 Historic Newspaper Titles to be Digitized. “The Connecticut State Library is pleased to announce that with a third grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 25 newspaper titles have been selected to be digitized for the Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project (CDNP), and made freely available online. “

Georgia. The Digital Library of Georgia has announced new digital collections from Spelman College and Morehouse College. Among the digitized resources for these historically black colleges are the Spelman Messenger (1885-2016), “featuring school news, articles by students, creative writings, book reviews, alumni notes and obituaries;” Spelman Catalogs and Bulletins since 1881, Spelman yearbooks (1951-2007) and Morehouse College yearbooks back to 1923. College yearbooks, newspapers and even the annual administrative documents about the degree programs, faculty and campus life, and tuition can give a unique insight into your college-attending forebears.

New Jersey. The Newark Public Library has announced the new Newark Public Library Digital Archive with “over 50 collections and 23,000 items related to African American, Latino, and Newark history.” Documents include genealogically-rich sources such as photographs, city directories, newspapers, and maps. According to the announcement, “Highlights include thousands of photos of Newark Public Schools, the Samuel Berg collection of Newark Street photos, Newark maps and atlases, Newark area newspapers (including the Newark Herald, City News, and La Tribuna!) & so much more!”

Access French genealogy records and others on FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch is the Genealogy Giant that’s always free to use—so everyone should! Our best tip is to create a free guest login on the site so you can maximize your access to all its resources. Click here to read more about how to use that guest login on FamilySearch.org–and more about what kinds of resources you’ll find at your fingertips there. And did we mention that it’s FREE?

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

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