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Family History Month Day 28 – HathiTrust Digital Library for Genealogy

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HathiTrust Family History Month

The HathiTrust Digital Library is an online archive of content in and out of copyright. They receive content from Google, Internet Archive, Microsoft, and other partnering institutions. This is one of several digitized book sites that’s useful for genealogy research.

 

Hathi Trust Digital Library for Genealogy

You can search for an ancestor by surname or by collections. Searches can be made by Material type (book, periodical, etc.) or Language (many languages) or year range. Search for family names, genealogies, city histories, or family interests, like “Loyalists”, for leads on those hard to find ancestors. After your initial search results, be sure to start a further digital search within the book.

A few helpful search tips:

  • Use quotes to search for an exact phrase “James Webber” or “Webber, James”.

  • Use the wildcards * or ? to search for alternate spellings “James W?bb*”.

  • Use Boolean searches AND or OR (capitalized) to include or restrict search returns.

  • Use a minus sign – to restrict search results Levi -jeans -company -strauss to search for the surname Levi and remove any search results for Levi Strauss Jeans/Company.

    For more search tips: HathiTrust Digital Library Search Tips.

Happy Family History Month and best in your research!

 

October 27, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 27 – TinEye Reverse Image Search for Genealogy

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TinEye Reverse Image Lookup

 

 

 

 

On Day 27 of Family History Month try out TinEye for Reverse Image Lookup. If you have an image in your digital files and you don’t know the source of the image, you can upload it to TinEye and let them search for a match online. The searches and image returns are free.

“Using TinEye, you can search by image or perform what we call a reverse image search. You can do that by uploading an image, or searching by URL. You can also simply drag and drop your images to start your search.”

“TinEye constantly crawls the web and adds images to its index. Today, the TinEye index is over 23.2 billion images.”

TinEye for Reverse Image Search

 

 

 

I had a map in my digital files but didn’t label the image with the website where I found the map. I uploaded the image to TinEye and let them search for matches. In the picture below, TinEye found two matches on the internet and the second match, www.antiquemapsandprints.com, was where I’d found the map. Now I have the source I need.

TinEye matches

 

I personally haven’t had any success using TinEye to find family photos I need to identify, but I’ve had great luck with maps and images from websites.

You can also upload any stock image and see where it’s been used, in case you don’t want an image that’s been used too many times. And you can upload your own social media photos or copyrighted images and see if they’re being used on any other sites. (TinEye doesn’t save the photos you upload for searches.)

Best in your searches!

 

October 26, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 26 – Try a Country-Specific Google Search

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Revisiting an old blog post today, on Day 26 of Family History Month, try a country-specific Google Search for your genealogy searches. Searching as if you were actually in a certain country can result in different search returns.

Country specific Google search engines OnGenealogy

 

 

 

By default, Google searches are localized and you’ll get different results based on where you’re located. But you can tell Google to perform searches as if you were in a different locale.

If you live in the United States but are searching for an ancestor in Ireland, select the Ireland Google Search Engine from the table below for your research.

When I searched for my ancestor “Edward M. Morphy” at google.com, I had 155 search results (image below).

Google.com search results

 

 

 

When I search for my ancestor, “Edward M. Morphy” at google.ie (Google Ireland), I receive 2,250 search results (image below). (I also get a privacy warning. If you search in another country it appears that Google is required to post a privacy warning letting you know they’re gathering search information from you.)

Google.ie results

 

 

 

Also, when you search Google as if you were in a different country, Google will offer to let you search in the native language. For Google.ie, Google offers to let me see the results in Gaelic. And if you input your search in Gaelic, by default your results will be in Gaelic.

Gaelic option
 

 

Best in your searches!

List of Google Domains. (2017, March 14). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_domains

October 25, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 25 – Google Books

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On Day 25 of Family History Month, visit Google Books and create your own online library with books that mention your ancestors.

 
Google Books Family History Month OnGenealogy

 

 

 

Google Books works just like a search on Google.com except it searches an online book collection instead of websites. The books come from their Library Project and Partner Program.

The Library project search can result in four possible views:

  • Full View

  • Limited View

  • Snippet View

  • No Preview Available

Google Books Library Project possible results

 

 

 

I’m primarily interested in the “Full View” where I can see the entire book so I go to Google Books and do an initial search:

Initial search at Google books

 

 

 

This is what the search results look like:

Enhanced Search results on Google Books - only full view books

 

 

 

If your first interest is in seeing books that offer a “Full View”,
go to “Search Tools” in the center, top menu that appears after your initial search, and select “Free Google eBooks”. This focused search will return only full-text books that are downloadable.

Google Books enhanced search results

 

 

 

Now you’ll select a book from these filtered results.

Google Books initial search results

 

 

 

After you’ve selected a book from the “Full View” search results, you’ll have the option to search within this book. This is where you’ll type in a surname or other fact you’re searching for.

On the left column, you’ll see a search window with our initial search for “Prescott Ontario History”. You’ll type a new inquiry into this search window.

Selecting a book from initial Google Books results

 

 

 

I’ll try searching within this book for my ancestor, Joseph Cass.

Searching within a specific book on Google Books

 

 

 

These are the pages in this book on which I can find some reference to a “Joseph Cass”. I can select each page and read what it says and verify if this is my ancestor. Above the search results, you’ll see “Add to my library” and “Write a review” buttons. If you want to save this book you can select the “Add to my Library” option . . .

Specific pages where I find an ancestor in a Google Book

 

 

 

and select to save it to “My Books on GooglePlay”.

Opting to save this book to My Books on Google Play

 

 

 

Now you have your own library of research books online at Google!

My Books on Google Play

 

 

 

Try searching by:

  • name: (try the full name; surname only; last name, first name; or first initial and last name)

  • location: (try the county or town with state or province and add “history,”  “historical society,” or “genealogical society”; try searching by parish)

  • keyword (location and “cemetery” or “cemeteries” or  surname and “genealogy” or “genealogies”)

Last but not least, download the Google Play app to your phone and have your library of research books available at your fingertips!  #FamilyHistoryMonth

Best in your research, whether it’s by fee or free!

October 24, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 24 – Set Google Alerts

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On Day 24 of Family History Month, let Google do your research and email you the results. You just need to set up some Google Alerts.

 

Google Alerts for Genealogy Family History Month
 

 

 

I set up a Google Alert for “Family History Month” and here’s an example of an email I received (image below).

 

Google Alert

 

 

 

To set up your own alerts, go to https://google.com/alerts. The image below is what you will see when you’re on the Google Alerts page. They offer “Alert suggestions” you may want to look through.

 
Google Alerts opening page

 

 

 

Some things you may want to create Google Alerts for include: a family name you’re researching, surnames, a surname and “DNA”, genealogy, family history, genealogy apps, or even your own name.

I’ve created an alert for an ancestor and put his name in quotation marks so Google will only alert me if the entire name appears as I’ve typed it in the quotation marks. You can see in the image below, Google immediately returned any appearances and the only one they could find was from an OnGenealogy blog I wrote.

 

Google Alerts Query

 

 

 

You’ll be prompted to enter an email address where they should send your alerts. Before entering an address, you’ll probably want to select “Show options” and filter your request. (See the image below.)

Show Options for your Google Alerts
 

 

 

The first filter is “How often would you like to receive alerts?” Your options are:

  • As it happens

  • At most once a day

  • At most once a week

I use once a day but I only look at my Google Alert emails once a week. I just like having the option to look at them more frequently.

 

How often to receive Google Alerts

 

 

 

The next filter is “From what sources?” I leave it on “Automatic” and let them come from any source, but depending on the type of alert you choose, you may want to filter by source.

 

Sources to search for your Google Alerts

 

 

 

The next filter is “Language”

 

What languages do you want Google Alerts to search

 

 

 

Then you can filter by region of the world. In the case of “Abel Waters Wells” I would select the United States and Canada because I’m trying to obtain information about Abel Waters Wells while he lived in those two countries.

What region do you want Google Alerts to search

 

 

 

Finally, you can ask Google to apply a qualitative filter on your search results with:

  • Only the best results

  • All results

 
How Many Results Google Alerts

 

 

 

Now you can enter an email address where you’d like to receive these Google Alerts. It doesn’t need to be a Gmail address.

Enter any email where Google Alerts should be sent
 

 

 

I prefer to use a Gmail account because they sort my mail for me. The image below is an example of what my email looks like. I have five folders where Google sends my email: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, & Forums. There’s also a + tab if I want to create another folder for another type of email.

Google makes pretty good guesses as to what type of mail each item is, so my most important mail goes into my “Primary” folder and Promotions, etc, go into other folders. If Google guesses wrong, I drag the email to the appropriate folder and Google asks me if it wants me to always put future emails from that sender in that folder.

Gmail folders

 

 

 

Here’s an example of an email I received from Google Alerts for an alert I created for Genealogy.

Google Alert for Genealogy

 

 

Google Alerts is a fun way to put the internet to work for you. Happy Family History Month and best in your research!

 

October 23, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 23 – Archives Portal Europe

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 Archives Portal Europe for Genealogy

Archives Portal Europe allows users to search across archival collections throughout Europe or to specifically locate an archive within a European country. It’s a helpful site for genealogists and family historians looking to find archival records or an archive’s website.

Archives Portal Europe for Genealogy OnGenealogy

Archives Portal Europe is part of a cooperative effort with Europeana to make archival material searchable. “We are an important strategic partner of Europeana and are working with them to develop a common digital infrastructure for cultural heritage across Europe.”

Archives Portal Europe is “working to create a one-stop web service to make European archives as accessible as possible. …Archives Portal Europe enables them [users] to find information more efficiently from millions of archival materials stored in hundreds of archival institutions. This is the first time European archives have collaborated on this scale, and the potential that these connections provide is enormous for both archival professionals and the users.”

There are many ways to search at Archives Portal Europe.

  • You can select the Search tab and use the filters to limit your query.

  • You can select the Directory tab and search by a geographical map or directory listing (this is the search method I use the most).

 

Directory map at Archives Portal Europe

 

  • When you select the Directory tab, you’ll see the European countries listed beneath the map and you can select a country and the menu will expand and show you locations within the country which you can further expand until you find a listing of archives at that location.

Directory of Countries at Archives Portal Europe

  • In the image below I used the map to select Austria, then I’ll use the directory listing to find an archive within Austria (because I’m less familiar with the geography of Austria, so an alphabetical listing is more helpful to me at this point).

 

Select an Archive in Austria with the map feature

  • Here, I’ve selected the archive I’m looking for and Archives Portal Europe gives me contact information for that particular archive, including a link to the archive’s website. This is the feature I use the most at Archives Portal Europe.

Find an archives contact info or website

 

  • You can look at Featured Documents from each country at Archives Portal Europe, to get an idea what some favorite holdings include.

Archives Portal Europe Featured Documents

 

  • You can Search Archives Portal Europe by Topics, such as Church records and registers or Genealogy. Currently, Archives Portal Europe primarily has church and genealogy records from France, Latvia, and Poland.

Archives Portal Europe by Topic

 

Archives Portal Europe will continue to expand its collections and is a site worth checking regularly. Best in your searches, whether they’re by fee or free!

October 22, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 22 – BAnQ for Quebec Genealogy

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BAnQ, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, (English: The National Library and Archives of Québec), is the official governmental archive and library for the Canadian province of Quebec.

BAnQ for Quebec Genealogy OnGenealogy

BAnQ has many digitized and freely available collections of interest to family history and genealogy research.

 

BAnQ for Quebec Genealogy

The institution is actively adding newly digitized collections and updating existing collections. Some highlights of the collection are:

  • Vital Records including birth (baptism), marriage, and death records since 1621 through the 20th century

  • City Directories

  • Newspapers

 

 

 

Vital Records

Following a practice in France, Catholic priests created two copies of each of the registers–a copy that was kept in the church archives and a copy that was sent to the government each year.

By the mid 19th century the right to collect vital records, following the same practice described above, was extended to Protestant denominations and Jewish congregations.

BAnQ is gradually posting these registers covering the earliest time periods through 1917 – following a rolling one-hundred year cut-off policy.

Vital Records at BAnQ

 

 

 

City Directories

Two companies dominated the publication of city directories in Quebec from the early 1800s. The Marcotte company focused on the City of Québec and its surrounding cities, towns, and villages; and the Lovell company primarily focused on Montreal and its environs.

BAnQ has excellent digitized and searchable collections of both Marcotte and Lovell produced directories:

 

  • Marcotte Directories (1822-1976):

    From approximately 1860, most directories published by Marcotte contain complete lists of all head-of-household inhabitants with information on their residence, address, and occupation. While French Canadians compose the largest population, significant populations of British, Scottish, Irish, Germans, and Americans are enumerated.

    Marcotte City Directories at BAnQ

 

  • Lovell Directories (1842-2010):

    The earliest directories published by Lovell (circa 1842) contain complete lists of all head-of- household residents with information on their residence and occupation.

 

 

 

Newspapers

The collection of digitized newspapers at BAnQ are an important source of genealogy and local history reflecting the daily life and events in the communities served by these publications. Many of BAnQ’s newspapers have been digitized and published online with full-text search and images.

Newspapers at BAnQ

Happy Family History Month and best in your research!

October 21, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 21 – Try Europeana for Family History

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europeana for family history month OnGenealogy

 

If you’re looking for historical background into the lives of your European ancestors, check out the collections at Europeana.

“Europeana Collections provides access to over 50 million digitised items – books, music, artworks and more – with sophisticated search and filter tools to help you find what you’re looking for. …Our dedicated thematic collections on art, fashion, music, and World War I, and exhibitions to inform and inspire.”

I haven’t worked on collecting much historical background for my ancestors beyond what’s been handed down through the generations, but the collections at Europeana make this type of research very enticing.

Here are a few items I’ll add to my files.

I have family from Newport, Wales in 1750 so this hand-drawn plan of the town interests me (it’s marked as not in copyright and free to use):

Plan of the Town and Borough of Newport, Wales at Europeana

 

I love this book on what the residents of Devon, England farmed and how they planted and harvested each crop. This is in copyright, but you can use the link to download a PDF file of the book.

An alphabetical register of divers persons, who by their last wills, grants, feoffments, and other deeds, have given tenements, rents, annuities, and monies, towards the relief of the poor of the county of Devon, and city and county of Exon; and likewise to many other cities and towns in England. | Richard Izacke also in copyright, but you can download for personal use.

Quite a few books about Chepstow and other Welsh towns where my ancestors lived.

The Ways and Distances from Various Cities and Towns to London. | Author : William Cecil Lord Burghley is in copyright but might be useful for my personal files.

But enough about my ancestral places. You can search Europeana by collection or by topic.

Europeana searches

I generally do a broad search then use the filters (in the left column in the image below) to limit results to the country of origin and media type I’m interested in. 

Ways to limit your results at Europeana OnGenealogy

Play around with the different search methods to see the different types of results they yield. Happy Family History Month and best in your research, whether it’s by fee or free.

 

 

 

 

October 20, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 20 – Canadiana for Genealogy

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On Day 20 of Family History Month, try out the resources at Canadiana.

 

Canadiana for genealogy OnGenealogy Family History Month

Candiana.org has a free search engine for its digital collections from libraries, museums, and archives throughout Canada. The Canadiana Discovery Portal searches over 40 partnering institutions with over 40 million pages of digitized content.

Canadiana Discovery Portal

The Portal provides a wealth of free Canadian history online, including: books, journals, directories, newspapers, government documents, photographs, maps, and postcards.

Also check out  Canadiana Online.  Canadiana Online is a specific subcollection including:

  • Monographs to 1920

  • Periodicals to 1920

  • Annuals to 1900

  • Federal government publications to 1900

  • Colonial government publications to 1867

  • Newspapers to 1926

You can search Canadiana Online for free, but with a subscription you’ll be directed to the precise image/page rather than just the collection where your search return is found. You’ll also be able to download PDFs of any image in the collection.

The nice thing about a subscription is you can pay for one month, with no recurring expense or charge, and your receipt will clearly state on what day your subscription will end.

And of course, the subcollection, Héritage at Canadiana, searches specific collections held at Library and Archives Canada, and is extremely helpful for Canadian genealogy research.

Happy #FamilyHistoryMonth and best in your research, whether it’s by fee or free.

 

October 19, 2017 |

Family History Month – Héritage for Canadian Genealogy

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Family History Month Heritage OnGenealogy

 

If you’re doing Canadian family history research, Héritage is a great digital resource.

Héritage is a free database at Canadiana and contains some of Canada’s primary source documents. Héritage searches the archival material of Library and Archives Canada, “Chronicling the country and its people from the 1600s to the mid-1900s, this collection represents a vast and unique resource for Canadian historians, students, and genealogists.”

The free service will search the database for you and return the collections where your ancestor’s name is recorded. Then you will need to go page by page, looking for your ancestor’s name.

In the image below I searched for an ancestor, Jehiel Cass, and Héritage found nine results. With the free service, I would then need to go through each collection, image by image, looking for Jehiel Cass (not knowing if he appears more than once in that collection).

Héritage search returns without a subscription

The subscription service will search the database for you, return the collections where your ancestor is recorded, AND tell you on which page(s)/image(s) your ancestor’s record is located.

In the image below, I used my subscription (I quickly signed up for a $10 Canadian, one month, non-recurring subscription), and now Héritage shows nine search results AND links me to the images where Jehiel Cass’ records are found*.

Héritage search returns with a subscription

You can see he’s found only once in some collections, but twice in others. I wouldn’t know that without the subscription service so imagine the time I would spend looking through all 1000+ pages of a collection. Definitely worth the $10 in my opinion, especially since these images are mainly scans of handwritten records and those are very tedious to read, page by page.

 

Heritage with subscription

 

 

 

You can search the entire database or specifically search their collection of Genealogy records.

In the image below, I found my ancestor, Hannah Wells, living in Longueuil, Ottawa District, Canada, the wife of Abel Waters Wells, requesting a grant of 200 acres of land as the daughter of Joseph P. Cass, a United Empire Loyalist, and her request was recommended.

 

 

Hannah Cass Wells land request

Search Tips from Héritage

  • Searches don’t distinguish between upper and lower case or accents: “Héritage” and “heritage” yield the same results

  • Wildcards

    • ? as a wildcard will replace one character in the middle or at the end of a word (i.e. defen?e will return defense and defence)

    • * as a wildcard will replace any number of characters, including zero (i.e. labo*r will return labour and labor)

  • Use quotation marks to search an exact phrase and you can’t use wildcards within quotation marks (i.e. “Jehiel Cass” will return that exact phrase while Jehiel Cass returns any Jehiel and any Cass, not necessarily both together)

  • Use – to exclude words or phrases (i.e.paris -france)

  • To find alternative terms use a | (i.e.ontario york | toronto returns ontario with either york or toronto)

  • Use ti: in front of a search word to search only document titles, use au: to search only authors/creators and su: to search only subject headings/keywords (i.e. ti:ottawa to find documents with Ottawa in the title)

 

Early Canadian records are hard to come by if you’re not living in Canada, so the searchable collections at Héritage are a lifesaver. Best in your research, whether it’s by fee or free!

*Caveat. I’ve been sent to pages where I can’t see my ancestor named, even though he or she is tagged on that page. I use Ctrl + F to bring up a search window and search for the name I want and then it will search the “tags” and I can see if they really tagged my ancestor, even then, I haven’t always found the person I expected to find. I’ll have to call Héritage and do a follow-up blog on how to really get the most out of my searches.**

**Follow up research: Héritage is very responsive to requests for assistance. When I explained that I couldn’t find my search query on the page where it was tagged as being located, this is the response they sent me, “For Héritage, there are in fact tags that were harvested from finding aids, which could only point us to the first page of the relevant section. Thus, it’s entirely possible that a tag appears on a page preceding the actual appearance of the name .” Many thanks to Daniel Velarde, Communications Officer at Canadiana.org for the quick and helpful response.

 

October 18, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 18 – General Land Office Records (GLO)

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On Day 18 of Family History Month, visit the US Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records (GLO) and track where your ancestors lived. Where they lived and why they lived there is a good part of your heritage.

General Land Office Records Family History Month

The Bureau of Land Management has digitized records of land grants, survey plats, field notes, land status records, and more. For a more thorough description of the collections available at the BLM, visit this page listing each collection.

 

  • Federal Land Patents

    Here are two examples of land patent records at the Bureau of Land Management. Land patents show the transfer of land from the Federal government to individuals. The first is a land grant for Homestead property, land granted to someone when they met the requirements of the 1862 Homestead Act.

Mathew Mansfield Homestead grant

Here is another example of a land grant near Montgomery, Alabama at the BLM site:

Land Patent records

 

  • Survey plats

    This is a survey of the same piece of land near Montgomery, Alabama. The BLM site allows you to zoom in and out to get a perspective of the surveyed area.

Land Survey

Land Survey closer up

 

  • Field notes

    Field notes are attached to some land surveys (this is a different plot of land)

Survey Field Notes at BLM

 

  • Land Status records

    In this survey map, you can select the “Related Documents” tab and look up the ownership and more information about any section of this surveyed land (look up who is the assigned owner of area “15” for example)

Land Status records

 

  • The Control Document Index

    The CDI “includes BLM documents that affect or have affected the control, limitation, or restriction of public land and resources. …CDI documents have been kept on microfilm since the 1950’s, but are now being scanned and linked to existing data records from BLM’s LR2000 database.”

    Land Classification document

If you can’t find any General Land Office (GLO) records for your ancestors, here’s a map of which states are Public Land States and which states are State-Land states meaning land grants came from the states/colonies themselves and you’ll usually look to individual states for land grant records.

If you find a land grant to one of your ancestors at the BLM site, you’re able to print copies of these land certificates directly from the site for free.

Best in your searches, whether they’re by fee or free!

 

 

 

October 18, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 17 – Visit AfriGeneas

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AfriGeneas OnGenealogy Family History Month

On Day 17 of Family History Month 2017, visit AfriGeneas and see what they have to offer!

AfriGeneas is a free website for anyone with African ancestry to help them find the resources they need for their family history research. Many of the collections are uploaded by volunteers and you’ll need to register with AfriGeneas if you want to volunteer and upload files. AfriGeneas also has message boards/forums for exchanging information.

Some collections you can explore at AfriGeneas include:

AfriGeneas Slave Data

 

AfriGeneas Searchable Surnames

State Resources at AfriGeneas

Country resources at AfriGeneas

And don’t forget to follow AfriGeneas on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Best in your searches whether they’re fee or free!

Save

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October 16, 2017 |

Family History Month – Day 16 Sign up for the Worldwide Indexing Event!

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Get ready for the Worldwide Indexing Event October 20-22!

 

Family History research can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

 

Needle in a haystack Family History Month

 

 

Indexing creates a digital, searchable record of an older historical record, and is like tying a ribbon to that needle in the haystack, allowing it to be found with ease.

Tying a ribbon to a needle is like indexing

 

The Worldwide Indexing Event October 20-22 is a great time to give back to the family history community.

I once heard an indexer explain what motivated him. He was indexing records for children in an asylum.

They were called “inmates.”

Inmates.

He had this visual image of a child behind prison bars, unable to find his or her family. Even if someone knew to look for these children, finding the right record source would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. He realized that every name he indexed was like tying a ribbon to one of these needles.

By donating a bit of time to type old records into computer fields and make them searchable online, we help family find their kin. Images are great, but indexes make searching the images or scans much faster and simpler. How many people will patiently flip through images, like the one below, hoping to see a family name? Diehard researchers will do this but indexing opens family history work to the masses because it simplifies the task.

I’ve been indexing some birth records and I came to one page where a lot of the given names were missing.

Indexing birth records

I saw one set of children was listed as “Twins” but the male twin was unnamed.

Twins

I went to MyHeritage and looked up the female twin, “Helga M. Carlson,” in the census.

 

 

There is no male twin for Helga in the census record so I assume the male twin died. If you went off the census records alone, you wouldn’t know the story of this family included this lost child.

Most people use censuses because they give us a glimpse of the family. But if a child dies before their first census, the family picture we assemble from the census is unwittingly incomplete. Indexing other primary records helps people more thoroughly create a portrait of their families.

 

Worldwide Indexing Event

When we’re indexing, if the records are hard to read (pictured above), we can either select a new project or use the “Project Helps” for clues to guide us. In the batch above, I couldn’t read the writing even after I’d adjusted the contrast and brightness, so I sent this batch back.

In selecting a project, my rules of thumb are:

1) Can I see the writing?

2) Can I read the writing?

3) Can I make educated guesses?

If I can see and read the writing, I scan the whole page to get an idea how the record taker wrote certain letters, so I can make educated guesses where the handwriting slurs. Anything we index will be reviewed by another indexer so we’re not the final arbiter of the spelling of a name, which gives me some peace of mind.

I was doing a batch of records from Michigan (below) and couldn’t decipher the residences. (And I have family from Michigan and know a lot of the place names there.) I could make out “Twp” for Township so I Googled “Townships in Michigan” and found a Wikipedia article with a list of townships. I went to the C’s and then the M’s and found the townships I needed: “Chocolay” and “Michigamme.”

Web Indexing example

 

 

 

To join the Worldwide Indexing Event, go to FamilySearch.org and you can look for an Indexing Project by Country

 

 

Find an indexing project by country

 

 

 

Or by Project Type, Project Name, or Project Language.

 

 

 

 

Find an indexing project by type or language

 

 

One popular project is the Freedmen’s Bureau Project. These are records of “freedmen, slaves, refugees, and others” being assisted by the US Freedmen’s Bureau shortly after the U.S. Civil War. These will be some of the first records ever created for some African Americans and is a vital project to help families find their ancestors.

If you want to get better at searching online records, join the indexing effort. You’ll experience the flip side of the problem and will gain new insights into how to search for an ancestor. Best in your research!

 

 

 

October 15, 2017 |

Family History Month Day 14 – OpenArchives for Netherlands research

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free Open Archives Family History Month OnGenealogy

On Day 14 of Family History Month, check out OpenArchives for Netherlands research.  The Netherlands has an open data policy and most government records are free to access. OpenArchives is a newer company that has built a very user-friendly system for searching Dutch family history records.

OpenArchives Family History Month OnGenealogy

 

 

OpenArchives searches are free and may link to free scans.

OpenArchives also has subscription offerings allowing users to download records as PDF files, GEDCOM files, CSV files, or XLS files. Subscribers also enjoy the benefit of the system’s automatic searches for related family members and children of any primary search you enter.

See the OnGenealogy listing for searchable collections available at OpenArchives.

OpenArchives receives data from the following archives:

  • AlleFriezen

  • AlleGroningers

  • Amsterdam City Archives

  • Archive Delft

  • Brabant Historical Information Centre

  • City archive Breda

  • City archive Deventer

  • City Archives Enschede

  • City Archives Rotterdam

  • Drenthe Archive

  • Dutch Institute for Military History

  • Eemland Archive

  • Gelders Archive

  • Heritage Achterhoek and Liemers

  • Heritage Leiden and environs

  • Historic Centre Leeuwarden

  • Historical Center Overijssel

  • Municipal Archive Borsele

  • Municipal archive Ede

  • Municipal Archive Goes

  • Municipal Archive the Hague

  • Municipal archive Hengelo

  • Municipal Archive Kerkrade

  • Municipal Archive North Beveland

  • Municipal archive Roermond

  • Municipal archive Schiedam

  • Municipal archive Schouwen-Duiveland

  • Municipal Archive Tholen

  • Municipal archive Venray

  • Municipal archive Wassenaar

  • Municipal archive Zaanstad

  • Municipal archive Zeist

  • Municipal archives of Venlo

  • Municipality Lisse

  • Municipality Steenwijkerland

  • National Archives

  • National Archives / Archives South Holland

  • Nieuw Land Heritage

  • North Holland Archives

  • Regional Archive Alkmaar

  • Regional Archive Langstraat Heusden Altena

  • Regional archive of Zutphen

  • Regional Archive Tilburg

  • Regional Archives Dordrecht

  • Regional Archives Nijmegen

  • Regional Archives Rijnlands Midden

  • Regional Archives Rivierenland

  • Regional Historic Center Limburg

  • Regional Historic Centre Eindhoven

  • Regional History Center Vecht and Venen

  • Rijckheyt, center for regional history

  • Tresoar

  • The Utrecht Archives

  • Waterlands Archive

  • West-Brabant Archive

  • Westfries Archief

  • Zeeland Archives

Follow OpenArchives on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for their most recent offerings. OpenArchives is owned by Coret Genealogie and you can check out their other genealogy sites including online tree building and resource guides. Best in your searches, whether they’re fee or free!

 

October 14, 2017 |

Family History Month – Rediscover Library and Archives Canada

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On Day 13 of Family History Month, search free databases at Library and Archives Canada.

 

Library and Archives Canada OnGenealogy Family History Month

 

Library and Archives Canada, LAC, is the National Library and National Archive of Canada. The library portion has an amazing collection of Canadian publications because publishers are required by law to deposit a copy of anything published in Canada. The archive portion collects Canadian government records of historical value and also stores government records when a government department no longer needs them.  The archive also accepts private collections of national significance.

Library and Archives Canada free Ancestors Search

 

In case you’re going to skip the rest of this write-up and rush off to the LAC for your research, I’m going to give you my main tip for the LAC right here. When you select any database from the above-menu you’ll be brought to that collection’s guide page. I’m always like a deer in the headlights, frozen, panicked, wondering where the search window is. It’s always on the menu in the upper left-hand corner (see below).

How to Search at LAC

 

Select, “Search: 1851 Census” and you’ll be brought to the Search page (see below).

 

 

1851 Census Search page

All online databases at the LAC are free of charge. There are multiple ways to search at LAC including:

  • SEARCH ALL of Library and Archives Canada

  • ARCHIVE Search searches archival collections (as a body, not by page) OR archival records can be found using ArchivesCanada.ca

  • AVITUS, a Latin word meaning “from ancestors” is the online Library catalog search program where you can “access databases, catalogues and Web sites regarding genealogical resources and collections all over Canada.”

  • AMICUS Search – searches libraries across Canada

  • ANCESTORS Search – shows you genealogical databases you can individually select and search

Canada has rich genealogy records because they’ve had many immigrant populations including English, Irish, Scottish, American (including American Revolutionary War refugees), German, Ukrainian, Icelandic, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants. Canada was often the country immigrants arrived at before they crossed into the United States. There were no Canadian border patrols before 1908, though some United States immigration records may exist for these border crossings.

LAC has many searchable databases and guides for how to search these databases. Be sure to use the guides to understand what the collections will and won’t contain. Many databases are indexed and you can search them by name.

I have Canadian ancestors including immigrants from Ireland and Wales but also some Loyalist refugees (Americans who sided with England during the Revolutionary War and later moved to Canada). My favorite collections at LAC are ones where I’ve found my relatives.

The 1851 Census

free 1851 Census at LAC OnGenealogy

 

 

 

and Upper Canada Land Records

LAC free Land Records OnGenealogy

 

 

 

They’ve added collections since I last searched here. Take a look below and see what you can find in their databases! Best in your searches, whether they’re fee or free.

 

Births, Marriages and Deaths

Census and Enumerations

Immigration and Citizenship

Land

Military

People

 

October 13, 2017 |
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