Sunday, March 30, 2008

Highlights for March 30th, 2008

I recently stumbled upon some papers from the Woman's Relief Corps, which contained lengthy lists of the recent appointments. This was an auxiliary group to the Grand Army of the Republic. Check out 1926-1927 General Orders No. 4, No. 5, No. 6 and No. 10. Another batch from 1895 will be transcribed in the near future.

A few more tax lists were completed this week: Orrington ME 1918, Westerly RI 1897, Charlton MA 1886, and a voters' list for Seaforth, Ontario 1923.

Several interesting trade group membership lists were also completed: Charitable Mechanic Association MA 1861, Master Builders' Exchange NJ 1909, and the Providence Association of Mechanical Engineers RI 1902-1903.

These are just a few of the 32 resources published today. Every week I send out a complete listing of the items added. If you'd like to join this RootsWeb mailing list called GenToday-L, click here for instructions.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Worth of Genealogy Societies

Genealogy societies, historically, have been a real blessing to genealogy research; not only in direct services they provide, but in their original research and in their publications. With the advent of the web, local genealogy societies are struggling to retain membership and interest. In her article, "The Worth of Genealogy Societies," Gena Philibert-Ortega reviews the services of national and local genealogical societies, and provides links to genealogy societies for each state.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Digitizing the Library World, Part One

"There is a lot going on with digitizing records these days," writes Larry Naukum in, "Digitizing in the Library World, Part One," the first in a series. The series provides an insider's view, as the author heads the genealogy department of a major public library and is intimately involved in putting materials online. Understanding more about the challenges of putting digitized records online may give the individual researcher an extra pound of patience when accessing records; and if you have research in the Rochester, NY area, you may delighted to see what's online. For everyone else, the article may prompt you to check the web site of your local public library, state archive, and genealogical society to see what's available in the growing collection of records available.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Keeping in mind the "margin of error"

An article in the Tampa Tribune, "Use Caution When Accessing Newly Available Army Records," provides some background on how the process involved in bringing these records to greater public access may have compromised the data. While we consider military records "primary sources," we certainly have to keep in mind the margin of error and the problems of interpretation and transcription of data. This margin of error is good to keep in mind anytime you researching records other than "original" images that you can see and interpret for yourself.

Monday, March 24, 2008

GenealogyBank adds Hispanic American Newspapers

Newspaper are a great resource for genealogists, and if you find digitized newspapers from your area of research, all the better. The good news is that more newspapers are being offered by a variety of providers, many are fee-based. Now, as announced in a press release Monday, has begun to supplement its historical newspaper collection with content from Hispanic American Newspapers. In addition to millions of historical newspaper articles, modern obituaries, military reports, books and other essential genealogical documents, researchers can now access to hundreds of fully searchable Spanish-language and bilingual newspapers -- a boon to researchers of Hispanic heritage.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Highlights for March 23rd, 2008

An interesting item for folks with Californian roots... Index to Precinct Registers of Plumas County, California, 1910. What I think is neat about this document is that it not only lists name, age, occupation, address for residents eligible to vote, but also their party affiliation.

Several church member lists this week... Bridgeton NJ First Presbyterian Church 1870, Waterloo NY First Presbyterian Church 1874, Keene NH First Congregational Church 1900, and Reformed Church at Peapack, NJ 1881. More of these are in the works and will be uploaded in the weeks ahead.

One of my personal favorite topics is HORSE THIEF detecting and pursuing organizations. The documents for these groups are very scarce, but I found another one last month. Cumberland Detective Society R. I. 1916 lists the members.

These are just a few of the 17 resources published today. Every week I send out a complete listing of the items added. If you'd like to join this RootsWeb mailing list called GenToday-L, click here for instructions.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Legacy Charting "test drive" offered free for limited time

Millennia Corp., the producer of Legacy Family Tree, has announced the release of new family tree charting software, according to an article in the Jackson Clarion Ledger. Millennia is inviting all genealogists to take a free test drive of this wall chart software, known as Legacy Charting.

Among the key features of Legacy Charting is the ability to create 18 types of family charts and is compatible with Family Tree Maker, Personal Ancestral File (PAF), Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic and GEDCOM files. The finished charts can be easily e-mailed to family members. Legacy Charting is one of the first programs to offer large-scale DNA charts to help DNA researchers present their work, the article reports. Developed by the makers of the popular software Legacy Family Tree, Legacy Charting will be one of the new features with the soon-to-be-released Legacy Family Tree version 7, but until June 15, this special pre-release edition is freely available to everyone.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Shocking Genealogy Sources

Discovering a crime in the family tree is an often difficult and sometimes hushed subject. But in her article, "Shocking Genealogy Sources," Judy Rosella Edwards suggests that digging into the details may be one way to counter-balance the sensationalism often attached to such stories. And aside from coroner reports, the author suggests a non-traditional source that may never have occurred to you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

DNA research focus of Pennsylvania seminar

Plan ahead. The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania has announced its full day program featuring nationally recognized experts in the field of genetics and DNA technology as applied to genealogical research. Speakers will include: Bennett Greenspan, President and CEO of Family Tree DNA; Thomas H. Shawker, M.D.; and others. The event will be held Saturday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Thomas Jefferson University, Brent Auditorium, Jefferson Alumni Hall, 1020 Locust St., Philadelphia. Registration Fee is $75 (includes lunch buffet). See for details and online registration

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Buried Treasure

For those who have not yet unlocked the secrets of Google Books, you'll want to read Melissa Slate's article, "Treasure for Genealogists, "offering some specific techniques for discovering a potential treasure at your fingertips.

NBC picks up U. S. version of "Who Do You Think You Are"

As reported in the Guardian, NBC is to make a US version of the hit BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, which will be co-executive produced by Friends star Lisa Kudrow.Producers are researching the family trees of several interested candidates to see if they have compelling enough backgrounds. The news was also reported on Kimberly's Genealogy Blog on, and we can all pretty much echo her sentiments, "I applaud this opportunity to introduce more people to the fascination and excitement of genealogy research, although I can only hope that the producers temper the sensationalism with good, solid genealogical research."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

UK Family Records Centre moves to Kew

The closure of The National Archives' Services at the Family Records Center is announced in a press release. The staff and services of The National Archives at the Family Records Centre moved to Kew when the doors closed March 15. The transfer of services and expertise into one building will make research easier. The National Archives in Kew is being extensively refurbished and improved, as part of an ongoing improvement programme incorporating the services provided by The National Archives at the Family Records Centre. When complete, additional seating, microfiche readers and computer terminals will be available to visitors, improving access to original records, research resources and the ever-growing range of online material.

People who used to visit the first floor of the Family Records Centre will find all of the information they enjoyed available at Kew. In addition, they will be able to consult documents and records spanning 1,000 years of history and have access to a wider range staff expertise. To provide security for staff and visitors whilst also ensuring documents are protected The National Archives has installed a new security system. If you would like any more information about the improvements at Kew please visit The National Archives web site.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish roots in East Tennessee

If you are looking for your Irish ancestry, maybe you haven't thought to check East Tennessee. But an article at, "Ireland Minister Hopes To Build Tourism Link With East Tennessee," reports North Ireland hopes to take advantage of a growing interest in genealogy to promote a cultural and tourism exchange between that region and East Tennessee. Many of the whites who settled in East Tennessee in the 18th century where Scots-Irish who left Ulster for the Appalachian frontier. Northern Ireland Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Edwin Poots, was in Tennessee last week and says he sees a "significant opportunity" for tourism and exchanges between the two regions.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jews from Ireland added to FHL collection

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, FamilySearch has added over 1,000 names of Jews from Ireland to its growing Knowles Collection genealogy database, according to a press release Friday. The Knowles Collection contains information for over 15,000 of Jews from the British Isles. Building on the work of the late Isobel Mordy, the collection links individuals into family groups with more names added continuously. The collection is freely available as a file that can be viewed and edited through most genealogy software programs. Genealogy software is also available as a free download. Those wishing to donate information to the Knowles Collection may contact Todd Knowles at The Knowles Collection and other helpful resources are available for free online on the Jewish Family History Resources page at

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Family History Library offers classes on Irish research

If you happen to be in the Salt Lake Area later this month, the LDS Family History Library, just west of Temple Square, will offer an all-day series of classes on Irish research from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 29. To view the complete schedule and a series poster online, go to To register for these free classes, send an e-mail to or call 801-240-4950.

Go Green and Discover your Irish side

St. Patrick's Day celebrated down under. According to an article this week on, Aussies and Kiwis are being urged to uncover their “Irish side” by going green this month when Tourism Ireland unveils its latest marketing initiative today. The “Go Green” campaign is set to put straight Aussies and Kiwis about their Irish Genealogy, which one in three claims to have. Tourism Ireland CEO Paul O’Toole visiting Australia this week said the promotion was to tie in with St Patrick’s Day celebrations across the nation.

Highlights for March 16th, 2008

Yesterday I attended the Ephemera Society of America annual conference Ephemera/28 in Old Greenwich, CT and brought home a bunch of insurance records: Union Mutual Fire Insurance Co. 1854, John Hancock Mutual Life Ins. Comp 1889, North-Eastern Mutual Life Association 1875, Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co. in N. H., Schuylkill Valley Mut. Fire Ins. Co. 1876, Chester Co. Mutual Fire Ins. 1915. Some of these only have a handful of names, but if you get lucky and find a match, you should check the local newspaper for articles about the fire, etc. and/or obituary that led to the claim.

I also acquired the Pinkerton Academy 1884 Graduation Program, which has three graduates. This is an excellent example of how unique this database project is. You'll find documents this small, as well as, many with several thousands of names.

More Black Sheep, this time in New York... Erie County Penitentiary 1895 Report!

These are just a few of the 26 resources published today. Every week I send out a complete listing of the items added. If you'd like to join this RootsWeb mailing list called GenToday-L, click here for instructions.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tax Records Online

Like it or not, this is the time of year our thoughts turn to taxes. But it may not be all bad, when we stop to consider our forbears, also, paid taxes. In her article, "Tax Records Online," Gena Philibert-Ortega has put together a partial list of tax records -- mostly free -- accessible online. As the article points out, tax records won't give you a lot of detailed information, but they do provide one more way to pinpoint your ancestors in time and place, and may suggest other family members living nearby. Where the census was taken in ten-year increments, many tax records were taken annually, and tax records for the years before the census began can be especially useful.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A review of basic Web resources

Genealogy research on the Internet is changing at a rapid pace. Keeping up with what's new on the Web and reviewing those that have been around awhile is the focus of Alan Smith's article, "Web Sites for Genealogical Research." Certainly, more web sites are available than can be outlined in a single article, but this article offers a starting place, especially for new researchers.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Highlights for March 9th, 2008

This week, there was a definite focus on tax records. Check 'em out: Danville VA 1819, Swansey MA 1875, Swansey MA 1890, Medford MA 1847, Richmond NH 1887, Oakham MA 1909. These are great alternatives to Census records, especially the ones around 1890. I own 140 more of these reports (for a variety of towns), so there's a lot more coming in the months ahead.

And for those Black Sheep in your family tree... New Hampshire State Prison 1889 Report

These are just a few of the 15 resources published today. Every week I send out a complete listing of the items added. If you'd like to join this RootsWeb mailing list called GenToday-L, click here for instructions.

GenealogyBank expands historical newspapers collection

In a press release Friday, GenealogyBank, a leading online provider of newspapers for family history research, announced the addition of over 4 million historical newspaper articles and modern obituaries to its online digital archive.

"GenealogyBank now provides access to over 221 million family history records such as obituaries, marriage and birth announcements as well as interesting and often surprising facts about our ancestors," says Genealogy Director for NewsBank, inc., Tom Kemp.

This latest addition features big city dailies and regional weeklies including: Savannah (GA) Tribune (1875-1913), Boston (MA) Journal (1880-1917), Anaconda (MT) Standard (1898-1915), North (PA) American (1845-1879) and many others. To view the entire list, see the company's New Content web page.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Researching the history of early colleges

"All too often we think of college as a modern invention and mostly for urbanites," but you might be surprised at how many young people of the 1800s pursued a college career and returned home to work in their own communities. In her article, "Great-Great-Grandpa's Alma Mater," Judy Rosella Edwards suggests researching the origin of early local colleges may be one way to learn more about your ancestors. First, you might be surprised to find an ancestor did attend college, and then knowing the type of college they attended and where may suggest new avenues for research.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Collaboration brings online access to over 600 databases

In a press release this week, Genealogical Publishing Company, the world’s largest publisher of immigration records in book form, has partnered with, Inc, to make their databases available on

Genealogical Publishing Company has 2,000 titles featuring content from early Colonial America to the Civil War. Some of these titles include Donald Lines Jacobus’ Families of Ancient New Haven, a three-volume work that covers every family in pre-Revolutionary New Haven, Connecticut, and Robert Barnes’s British Roots of Maryland Families, which establishes the origins of hundreds of pre-eighteenth-century Maryland families.

“While many of our books contain genealogical source records, a considerable number contain lineage records and other linked material. These titles combined include about 15 million people. The descendants of these 15 million people number in the hundreds of millions today. Our partnership with FamilyLink will enable many, many Americans to go back and trace their family to some of these early immigrants,” said Barry Chodak, President of, Inc., parent of Genealogical Publishing Company.

More than 600 databases from Genealogical Publishing Company will be launched periodically over the next few months at

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cemetery Research 101

Depending on where you live, a hint of spring may be in the air. The time to get outside after a long winter, especially for family history researchers who have been plotting a trip to the cemetery. In her article, "Cemetery Research 101," Karan Pittman provides tips and hints for making the most of your cemetery trip. Don't forget your camera. Above all, take a friend.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Australian records online at WorldVitalRecords

Announced in a press release Friday, Archive CD Books Australia and Gould Genealogy have partnered with, Inc. to make 344 Australian and New Zealand databases more accessible to a worldwide audience at (a service of, Inc.).

“We are delighted now to be part of’s new international focus. The benefits we see are many,” said Alan Phillips, Managing Director, Archive CD Books Australia and Gould Genealogy. “For us, it is a great way to market our content online. For, it is an opportunity to provide more significant Australian content than from any other single source. For Australian content owners, is a great avenue to get their data online. For libraries, it brings joy to those who have no love of CDs. For ‘Down Under’ researchers, it provides the best Australian and New Zealand content online. For end users overseas with Australian and New Zealand interests, at last they can have some great accessible content.”

Initially Archive CD Books Australia will provide with half of the Archive CD Books Australia product list. . . .This initial data launch from Archive CD Books Australia will be followed during the year by data from Gould Genealogy, which will include birth, marriage, and death notices, shipping records, biographical databases, cemetery records, and obituaries. . . . The content databases provided by Archive CD Books Australia and Gould Genealogy comprise’s first major collections from Australia.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Highlights for March 2nd, 2008

Another batch of insurance papers were added this week. Also check out the Ladies' Miscellany for May 12, 1829, a very old newspaper with a couple of marriage and death announcements. I found some neat papers that included Pay Roll data for the City of Great Falls, Montana. I purchased a bunch of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen's Magazines and began transcribing the information this week. I'm going to try and get one issue posted each week.

The City of Newburyport, Mass., List of Persons Assessed for Poll Taxes, Ward Six, 1916 and the Exeter 1930 Tax Book have been transcribed. There are a number of Poll and Tax Lists in progress, stay tuned!

These are just a few of the 34 resources published today. Every week I send out a complete listing of the items added. If you'd like to join this RootsWeb mailing list called GenToday-L, click here for instructions.