Online Sites

FamilySearch and GenealogyBank Announce a Massive Online US Obituaries Project using Volunteers

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

In celebration of Family History Month, FamilySearch International ( and GenealogyBank ( today announced an agreement to make over a billion records from historical obituaries searchable online. It will be the largest—and perhaps most significant—online US historic records access initiative yet. It will take tens of thousands of online volunteers to make GenealogyBank’s vast U.S. obituary collection more discoverable online. Find out more at

The tremendous undertaking will make a billion records from over 100 million US newspaper obituaries readily searchable online. The newspapers are from all 50 states and cover the period 1730 to present. The completed online index will be fairly comprehensive, including 85% of U.S. deaths from the last decade alone. The death collection will easily become one of the most popular online genealogy databases ever, detailing names, dates, relationships, locations of the deceased, and multi-generational family members.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 3.7 Million Indexed Records and Images to Brazil, Canada, Ghana, Italy, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the United States

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added more than 3.7 million indexed records and images to collections from Brazil, Canada, Ghana, Italy, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 469,781 images from the Italy, Caltanissetta, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1820–1935, collection; the 1,334,890 images from the US, Georgia, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1897–1942, collection; and the 343,005 images from the Portugal, Braga, Priest Application Files (Genere et Moribus), 1596–1911, 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

Congregation Beth Israel in Houston, Texas, Places Digital Archives Online

Congregation Beth Israel, located in Houston, has digitized many of the congregation’s early records, ledgers and books. These documents provide information about births, deaths, and marriages, as well as membership dues from 1869 to the 1920s.

The “Bris Book” is the handwritten bound volume chronicling the circumcisions performed by Rabbi Emmich, the first spiritual leader of Beth Israel, dating from the mid 19th century. In German, Hebrew and English this book, currently on display in a case in the history corridor of the current temple, and can also be viewed online in its entirety.

“Basic Principles” documents include more than 500 pages of letters, minutes, clippings and commentary, describing this significant chapter of Beth Israel’s history. The issue of whether to support Israel, from the early 1940’s, was a divisive and impassioned issue for the congregation.

Familypedia: the Biggest Genealogy Site You Probably Never Heard Of

Are you familiar with Familypedia, a web site with 166,770 online articles about deceased individuals plus another 276,546 genealogy-related pages?

Familypedia is a wiki, part of the commercial Wikia site. It is a place where YOU can create articles about your ancestors and easily link them to other articles about where and when they lived. The site is primarily text-based with biographical pages about deceased individuals. In some cases, you can find pictures of individuals as well as pedigree charts, maps, and other graphics. In most cases, each deceased person has a separate web page giving details about his or her life and also containing hyperlinks to other web pages that contain information about the person’s relatives. Entire families can be hyperlinked together.

The Church of Ireland Gazette editions for 1914 are now Fully Searchable Online

The following announcement was written by the Church of Ireland Press office:

Archive of the Month October 2014

The Church of Ireland Gazette editions for 1914 fully searchable online

Following on from the successful digitization of the 1913 editions of The Church of Ireland Gazette last year, and continuing its commitment to mark the Decade of Commemorations, the RCB Library is pleased to present all 52 editions of The Church of Ireland Gazette for 1914, in a fully searchable format online, as Archive of the Month for October 2014.

The Gazette which has always been editorially independent, provides the longest-running public commentary on the Church’s affairs, and as such is a recognised resource for understanding the complexities and nuances of Church of Ireland identity, both north and south, as well as the Church’s contribution to political and cultural life throughout the island. The RCB Library in Dublin holds the only complete run of paper – from the first issue in March 1856 up to the present date bound up in hard copy volumes for each year where they remain an invaluable resource. However, like collections available elsewhere (such as the National Library of Ireland) the hard copy is suffering wear and tear and is cumbersome to use and research from.

FindMyPast Adds 4 Million new Yorkshire Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records Dating Back to 1538

The following announcement was written by the folks at FindMyPast:

A poet, a cricketer, an abolitionist and death by poisoned pudding: 400 years of Yorkshire parish records revealed online



Leading UK family history website has today, 30 September 2014, published online for the first time almost 4 million parish records in partnership with the Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium. The Yorkshire Collection comprises beautiful scanned images of the original handwritten registers held by six Yorkshire archives and spanning the years 1538 to 1989. Fully searchable transcripts of the originals enable anyone to go online and search for their Yorkshire ancestors by name.

Introducing a New Genealogy Site:

A new genealogy site has appeared within the past few days at It is billed as being completely free for everything. The site is in beta and claims to have “billions of historical records, including census (1790-1940) records, birth records, death records, marriage & divorce records, living people records, and military records.”

I took a look at the site and was impressed. It doesn’t have everything that the well-established commercial web sites have, but the price tag of free will appeal to many.

Civil War Soldiers’ Graves Online Database

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was the largest fraternal organization for Union veterans. It was a very active organization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Only Union veterans were permitted to join the GAR. As the members aged and then died, the organization eventually disappeared. However, it was replaced by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, with membership restricted to descendants of Union Civil War veterans. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War inherited most of the records of the national GAR organization, as well as many of the records of local chapters (called “encampments”).

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) now has created its Grave Registration Project to document the final resting places of BOTH Union and Confederate Civil War veterans. The fully-searchable database is available online and is free for everyone.

Google Takeout Can Retrieve Your Data

Google Takeout (also called Google Takeaway in some languages) is a little known service that allows users of Google products, such as YouTube, Google Drive files, Google Calendar appointments, Google Contacts, and Gmail, to export their data as a downloadable ZIP file. It is a great method of keeping backup copies of your online data. Google Takeout makes it easy for you to make copies of your information that is stored in many of Google’s many services. In fact, the service is so simple to use that there is little documentation needed or available. Best of all, the Google Takeout service is available free of charge.

The full list of Google data services available (so far) with Google Takeout include:

YouTube, Bookmarks, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Drive, Voice, Profile, Hangouts, Google+, Circles, Google+, Stream, +1s, Google+, Pages, Blogger, Orkut, Messenger, YouTube, Google Photos, Google Play, Books, Location, and History.

Google does not delete your data after exporting. Adds Subscription Options

The Irish Family History Foundation,, is the largest online database of Irish family records, and is best known for its extensive holdings of parish registers. The web site’s owners have now changed from a “pay per view” business model to a subscription model.

A one-month subscription costs €25/£20/$32; a six-month sub costs €125/£98/$161; and a one-year sub costs €225/£177/$289. The old pay per view service is being closed down and no further purchases of credits can be made.

Hopkins County (Texas) Genealogical Society Creates Online Map of more than 250 County Cemeteries

The Hopkins County Genealogical Society of Sulphur Springs, Texas, has created a map that shows nearly all known cemetery plots across the county. Best of all, the map is available online where it is conveniently available to everyone, not limited to only those who can visit the society in person.

When looking at the map, the user can move the cursor over marker for info and then click for more info. A pop-up appears that provides the name of the cemetery as well as a link to more detailed information. Clicking on the link then opens a page on USGenWeb that provides more information about the cemetery. Some of the links I clicked on, although not all, contained lists of the tombstones in each cemetery, including name(s), birth date, death date, burial date, and comments of the transcriber. Many of the dates were left blank when the information did not appear on the tombstone or in the cemetery’s records.

The Easy Way to Store Backups on Multiple Online Services with CloudHQ

If you have been reading this newsletter for a while, you probably realize that I am a backup fanatic. I will suggest that having backups of your important data can be a lifesaver.

I believe that everyone should have a MINIMUM of three copies of every digital file that is important: the original file stored in the computer’s hard drive, plus a copy of that file stored on a backup device (hard drive, flashdrive, CD-ROM disk, or whatever you choose) that is stored near the computer for convenience, PLUS AN ADDITIONAL copy or two, stored off-site where the copies will be safe from in-home disasters, such as fire, flood, or burst water pipes.

Three copies are a barebones MINIMUM. For safety, I would recommend even more copies be kept in more locations. Luckily, that is easy to do.

Ancestor Cloud

A new start-up has quietly built a web site and is soliciting genealogists to be beta testers of the service. I admit I know almost nothing about the company and therefore cannot make any recommendations for or against the new site. However, it is interesting and you might want to take a look at the site for yourself.

Ancestor Cloud at claims to be a “social genealogy” service. The home page states:

“Share publicly or privately

“Showcase your genealogy research to the world or select family and friends. AncestorCloud is a simple and secure place that helps you easily share your research files for free.

First World War Records on TheGenealogist

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

Find records of injured First World War servicemen online for the first time

Over 1.3 million records from daily and weekly First World War casualty lists have been released online by TheGenealogist. This vast collection of unique records cover all ranks to help you discover more about your injured ancestor’s wartime service.

The new records include career soldiers, volunteer Pals battalions, war poets and even a future Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan. The collection covers both those who died of their wounds and those who recovered and returned to the front.

The records are a great resource for finding out what happened to an ancestor during The First World War. Details include:- the name of the injured serviceman, his regiment and rank, the date he was registered as a ‘casualty’ and often his home town or place of enlistment.

Elephind: A Digital Newspaper Collections Search Engine

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Elephind is a great service that searches online digital newspaper collections. Best of all, it is available free of charge. is a search engine that operates much like Google, Bing, and other search engines. The one thing that is different with Elephind is that it searches only historical, digitized newspapers. It enables you to search for free across many newspaper sites simultaneously rather than having to visit each collection’s web site separately.

At this time Elephind has indexed 2,677 newspaper titles containing more than two and a half million editions, ranging from March 1803 up to August 2013. The Elephind search engine has indexed 141,628,238 items from 2,677 newspaper titles. These include such well known sites as Chronicling America (the U.S.’s Library of Congress) and Trove (National Library of Australia), as well as smaller collections like Door County Library in Wisconsin. Many of the smaller newspaper sites are not well known and may be difficult to find with the usual search engines, but they are searchable from A list of available newspaper collections that have been indexed so far is available at

Additional newspaper collections are added to Elephind’s indexes frequently.

I found that Elephind operates in much the same manner as many other search engines. If you already know how to search for things in Google, Bing, Yahoo, or elsewhere, you already know how to use Elephind. In fact, there are two search methods available on Elephind:

German Digital Church Book Portal is Now Online

Newsletter reader Ernie Thode wrote to say that an announcement of a new online site was made at the German national genealogy conference in Kassel on September 13. The beta test of the German digital church book portal is now available.

Of about 140,000 individual church books in Germany, the records of about 35,000 (25%) have been digitized thus far. Most of the German Protestant regional church bodies are participating, others and Catholic archives and civil registrations may be joining in later. There will be a fee.

I used Google Translate to display much of the introductory text in English. This may be an imperfect translation:

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies Now Online has added a new title: the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies. Like its name suggests, this collection contains the two navies’ official reports, orders, and correspondence from the Civil War. If you’re interested in the Civil War, this is the go-to title for contemporary, first-hand information about the Northern and Southern navies.

Originally compiled by the Navy Department, the Official Records of the Navies are organized into two series: Series I, with 27 individual volumes, and Series II, with 3 volumes and an index. Series I documents all wartime operations of the two navies, while Series II deals with statistical data of Union and Confederate ships, letters of marque and reprisal, Confederate departmental investigations, Navy and State department correspondence, proclamations and appointments of President Davis, and more.

You can read more in an article by Trevor Hammond in the Fold3 Blog at

Irish Archives Resource Goes Online

Irish Archives Resource, abbreviated as “IAR,” is a portal that recently has been greatly expanded. It links together hundreds of unique archival collections and 34 archive services in Ireland north and south. Ireland’s first archive web portal, Irish Archives Resource (IAR), includes contribution from Trinity College Dublin’s Manuscripts and Archives Research Department, RTÉ Stills Library, National Museum of Ireland Archives, University College Cork Archives, Derry City Council Heritage and Museum Service, and the archives of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. It does not hold any images of archives or records. Instead, it provides a means to search archival descriptions from various contributing institutions.

The archive is not specifically a genealogy resource. Instead, it contains all sorts of archival descriptions, many of which will prove to be useful resources to genealogists, historians, social scientists, film historians, Irish citizens, Irish emigrants and their descendants, and to many others. It should appeal to anyone interested in accessing Ireland’s archival heritage.

New Images Added to PERSI

The Periodical Source Index, or PERSI, is the largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodical articles in the world. It is an index to more than 2.5 million entries from thousands of historical, genealogical and ethnic publications. Most of PERSI’s articles are from periodicals covering the United States and Canada, but you can also find thousands of genealogy and local history entries (in both English and French) from Britain, Ireland and Australia.

Created by the staff of the Allen County Public Library Foundation and the ACPL’s Genealogy Center, PERSI is widely recognized as a vital tool for genealogical researchers. For years, PERSI was available in a series of books but now is available online at the FindMyPast web site. PERSI is updated frequently. Now FindMyPast has images to the indexes, allowing the user to access articles, photos, and other material that might be difficult to find using other research methods. PERSI’s titles may be searched free of charge although viewing the contents found requires a paid FindMyPast subscription.

According to the FindMyPast Blog, the list of images added to periodicals in the past month include:

FamilySearch Adds More Than 3.8 Million Indexed Records and Images to Brazil, Columbia, England, India, and United States

The following was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added more than 3.8 million indexed records and images to collections from Brazil, Columbia, England, India, and United States. Notable collection updates include the 634,582 images from the Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1600–2012, collection; the 928,307 images from the US, Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797–1954, collection; and the 899,395 images from the US, Ohio, County Death Records, 1840–2001, 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

Searchable historic records are made available on through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at


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