Online Sites

US Geological Survey adds a New Online Map Viewer and It is a Good One!

The US Geological Survey has an online collection of more than 178,000 maps, dating back to 1880. They cover the entire country. Best of all, they’re free to download. However, the digital images were not always of the highest quality and the search software for finding maps was confusing, at best. All that has now changed with the introduction of a new online map viewer.

Fold3 Offers Free Access to the World War II Collection

This May 8 marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day in 1945. If you have family members who served in World War II, or are just interested in the time period, take a look at Fold3’s World War II Collection, which you can access for free from May 1st to 15th.

The WWII Collection, currently with over 72 million records, has a diverse array of resources to mine, whether you’re interested in historical aspects of the war or are searching for specific individuals who fought in it. A few of the most popular titles in this collection are:

Irish Genealogy Resource with 400,000 Catholic Parish Records to go Online

The entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland – 400,000 films amounting to the most important source of Irish family history – is to be made available online this July.

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has been working to digitise the microfilms for more than three years under its most ambitious digitisation programme to date. Announced in December (see my earlier article with the announcement at http://goo.gl/i1QNfI), the National Library of Ireland has now announced an exact date: the archive of parish register microfilms now is expected to go live on 8 July 2015.

You can read the details in an article in the Silicon Republic at http://www.siliconrepublic.com/digital-life/item/41819-irish-genealogy-resource-wi.

New Records Available To Search at Findmypast

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 584,000 records of Quaker births, marriages and deaths, Workhouse records from the London borough of Southwark, Australian Soldier Settlement records from New South Wales and Wills from the state of Queensland.

Quaker Records
The Society of Friends (Quaker) Births 1578-1841 contain over 234,000 records. Quakers have always had a reputation for keeping meticulous records and started to keep register books from the late 1650s. Births were recorded rather than baptisms as Quakers were not baptised into the faith. Each record contains both a transcript and an image of the original documents. Post 1776 birth records contain the date of birth, place of birth including the locality, parish and county, the parents’ names, often including the occupation of the father, the child’s name and the names of witnesses.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 4.9 Million Indexed Records and Images for Canada, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, and the United States

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 4.9 million indexed records and images for Canada, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 636,309 images from the New York, County Marriages, 1847–1848; 1908–1936 collection; 602,220 images from the Indonesia, Jawa Tengah, Pemalang, District Court Records, 1961–2013 collection; and 476,396 indexed records and 273,544 images from the New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Probate Records, 1843–1998 collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Phase 2 of the Yorkshire Collection and new POW records available to search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 5 million parish records in the second phase of Findmypast’s Yorkshire collection and over 43,000 prisoner of war records released in partnership with the National Archives to coincide with the centenary of the Gallippoli landings. This week’s new additions also include Australian military and land survey records, Irish local government records and newspapers and the United States BillionGraves Index.

United States Billion Graves Index

The United States Billion Graves Index contains 9 million cemetery records from right across the United States. Findmypast’s partnership with BillionGraves aims to make available all the cemetery records held on their site for free. BillionGraves is the largest resource for GPS-tagged headstone and burial records on the web, with over 12 million headstone records. This index will be regularly updated throughout the year and pertains solely to U.S. headstones. Each entry has a transcript, which includes a link to an image of the headstone with GPS details. The amount of information varies, but transcripts will usually include the deceased’s name, birth date, death date, cemetery and a link to an image of their headstone.

Yorkshire Records

Ancestry.com to Offer Free Access to Australian, New Zealand, and Commonwealth Soldiers to Commemorate the Anzac Day Centenary

Ancestry.com will open the site’s New Zealand and Australian military history collections, and UK collections with information on Commonwealth soldiers, until 2am Monday (27 April). The site has more than 12 million individual military records pertaining to Kiwis and Aussies, including who enlisted where and when, who served in what capacity and what happened to them. Many records also show addresses, occupations and next of kin.

The databases to be made freely accessible include:

Indiana Genealogical Society Now Has More Than 1,500 Databases Online

This is an excellent example of what an active genealogy society can accomplish. This week, the society proudly announced that it now has more than 1,500 databases on its website at http://www.IndGenSoc.org! These databases are from all 92 counties, plus numerous statewide collections. Some are available to the public and others are accessible to IGS members only.

If you have Indiana ancestry, you want to check out the announcement at http://indgensoc.blogspot.com/2015/04/igs-now-has-more-than-1500-databases.html.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 4 Million Indexed Records and Images for Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Italy, South Africa, and the United States

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 4 million indexed records and images for Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Italy, South Africa, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 700,220 indexed records from the US, Alabama, County Marriages, 1809–1950 collection; 461,167 indexed records from the US, Montana, Cascade County Records, 1880–2009 collection; and 380,334 indexed records from the Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980 collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Local BMD Summary Page Enhancements Announced

The following announcement was written by the folks at the UKBMD & Local BMD Project:

Background:
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Just under 15 years ago the first of a growing series of websites was opened – the Cheshire BMD. Over time other areas of the country joined what has become known as the “Local BMD Project” and began placing their local register office birth, marriage and death indexes online. Links to all of these local BMD websites can be found under the UKBMD website on its Local BMD page.

New Features:
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HistoryLines Announces Official Launch

I mentioned HistoryLines last January when the site was in beta test. See http://goo.gl/7bB1Bm for the earlier article. Now HistoryLines is out of beta and fully open for business. The following announcement was written by the folks at HistoryLines:

Oswego, IL, USA – April 20, 2015

HistoryLines, a leading provider of historical solutions for genealogists and educators, today announced the official launch of historylines.com, a new website for users interested in genealogy and family history. The site allows anyone to better understand the lives of their forebears by describing the historical events and cultural influences that surrounded their lives. Users see their relatives in historical context with a personalized timeline and map, and can read a detailed, editable life sketch based on when and where their ancestor lived in history.

Instant Discoveries™ are now available for all MyHeritage Users

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

This is a nifty piece of software. I had a chance to use Instant Discoveries™ and to help others use it at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event last week in Birmingham, England. Instant Discoveries™ have been available in a limited test version for several months. Starting today, MyHeritage has opened it up for all customers to use.

By signing up at MyHeritage and entering some basic information about immediate family members, new users discovered ancestors, relatives and never-seen-before photos in just a few seconds.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is sponsored by MyHeritage so I might be accused of bias in reporting this. I agree! I am undoubtedly biased. However, I’d suggest you try Instant Discoveries™ yourself to see if it works for you.

Instant Discoveries™ can be useful for any genealogist but I am certain it will especially appeal to newcomers to family history. If you have been researching your family tree for some time you probably have found much (but probably not all) of the information that Instant Discoveries™ will find. However, I watched last week as a number of people who are new to family history searches used Instant Discoveries™ to find previously-unknown family tree members within a minute or two. This is a product that can provide a “head start” on researching your family tree.

The Genealogist Launches Millions of Online Records and Maps

At the Who Do You Think You Are? Live conference in Birmingham, England, this week, the folks at TheGenealogist.co.uk announced the immediate availability of several new record sets online. Here is a brief introduction to each new record set along with pointers to where you can read more about each one:

New Tithe Maps for more English counties

A major addition to the National Tithe Records has just been launched. Joining the previously released maps for Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire, are the counties of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Lancashire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire & Yorkshire.

Tithe maps allow you to identify the land on which your ancestors lived and worked in the 19th century. The tithe apportionments list the names of both the owner and the occupier as well as detail the amount of land, how it was used, and tithe rent due. These unique records are key to geographically placing where your ancestors lived and worked in these times.

Findmypast Adds Derbyshire Records and Persi Images

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This Findmypast Friday marks the release of baptism, marriage and burial index records from the English county of Derbyshire and substantial updates to the The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI).

Derbyshire Baptism Index 1538-1910

Derbyshire Baptism Index 1538-1910 contains over 692,000 records taken from Church of England Parish registers. Derbyshire is in the East Midlands of England. The southern extremity of the Pennine range of hills stretches into the north of the county. The county also contains part of the National Forest with Greater Manchester to the northwest, West Yorkshire to the north, South Yorkshire to the northeast, Nottinghamshire to the east and Leicestershire to the southeast. Staffordshire is to the west and southwest and Cheshire is also to the west.

Birmingham Pubs’ Blacklist from the 1900s now Online on Ancestry.co.uk. Will Your Behavior Also Become Public in the Future?

This article is being written in a hotel room in Birmingham, England. I am here to attend the Who Do You Think You Are? Live exhibition starting tomorrow at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. (See http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/ for details.) An interesting story in this morning’s local newspaper intrigues me.

“Dirty Dick” of Birmingham. Click on the image to view a larger version.

First, a fearsome bunch of boozers were all banned from pubs in Birmingham at the turn of the last century. The list of these drinkers now forms part of the UK Midlands Collection on Ancestry.co.uk, which covers a 400-year period and contains more than 21 million records detailing the good, the bad, and the famous who have shaped the history of the city. The records of those banned from the local pubs are available for all to see at http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=1651.

The description of the online database states:

FamilySearch Free Historic Book Collection Online Hits 200,000th Milestone

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Imagine a free virtual online library of rare historic books from all over the world to help you discover rich, unknown details about the lives of your ancestors. What if the historic book collections held by significant public libraries and venerable societies were the sources of these contributed books? You’d have a dynamic, priceless online repository of some of the greatest hidden historic treasures predominantly unknown to man. International, and a growing host of partnering libraries and organizations and volunteers, have announced today that they’ve reached the milestone of publishing 200,000 historic volumes online for free at books.FamilySearch.org. The growing online collection, which began in 2007, is invaluable to genealogists and family historians in finding their ancestors.

FamilySearch has mobile digitization pods at partnering libraries and organizations across the United States including Fort Wayne (Indiana), Syracuse (New York), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Independence (Missouri), Houston (Texas), at the University of Florida, and in Salt Lake City (Utah). Digitization is also being done at strategic FamilySearch Centers in Pocatello (Idaho), Mesa (Arizona), Oakland, Orange and Sacramento (California), and in Utah at the West Valley and Ogden Centers. . Most of the digitized publications consists of compiled family histories and local and county histories. The collection also includes telephone and postal directories and other resources.

New UK and Australian Records available to Search on Findmypast

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

The latest installment of Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 1.3 million UK and Australian records. The latest additions include fascinating Australian prison and government records from the state of New South Wales, an Index of will beneficiaries from the English county of Essex, First World War records covering the district of Craven in Yorkshire and over 5.3 million new British Newspaper articles.

Australian Records

Containing over 29,000 records, the New South Wales Goal Photographic Books 1871-1969 consist of entries of prisoners from 14 different gaols around the state. The records are particularly fascinating as they contain not only transcripts and scans of the original prisoner entry listings themselves, but also the mug shot photographs of individual inmates. The original series, held by the State Records Authority of New South Wales, was created as per the ‘Gaol Regulation’ which was proclaimed in the New South Wales Government Gazette on 19 February 1867. This required that description books be maintained to keep track of incoming and outgoing prisoners. Each record includes a transcript and image.

Ottawa, Ontario, Museums and Archives Virtual Collections Catalogue

Ottawa’s history is going online with the launch of the Ottawa Museums and Archives virtual collections catalogue. The virtual catalogue includes digitized records and artifacts ranging from old military gear to letters to old bylaws and maps. So far it has 34,000 records active on the website, and it will continue to grow.

IrishGenealogy.ie Restores Access to Records

Irish Genealogy, a website at http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en created by the Irish Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, offered people born or married in Ireland the ability to search for civil records such as birth certificates as part of their research into their heritage. The site was abruptly shut down last July after privacy advocates objected that the site displayed too much personal information including dates of birth and mothers’ maiden names, information which is frequently used as security questions for accounts such as online banking. See my earlier article at http://goo.gl/GwYS1y for the details.

The Irish Government has always insisted no laws were broken as all of the index books on the website can be legally viewed “offline” at the General Register Office’s research room on Werburgh Street in Dublin.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 2.3 Million Indexed Records and Images for the Czech Republic, Mexico, New Zealand, Ukraine, and the United States

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 2.3 million indexed records and images for the Czech Republic, Mexico, New Zealand, Ukraine, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 771,097 images from the New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Probate Records, 1843–1998 collection; 417,808 indexed records and 417,808 images from the US, BillionGraves Index collection; and 411,325 indexed records from the Mexico, San Luis Potosí, Civil Registration, 1859–2000collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

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