Online Sites

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.

UK Ordnance Survey Adds Four New Products to its Open Data Portfolio

This is a great resource for anyone wanting to know where their UK ancestors lived or worked. If you have found an address in an old record, the UK Ordnance Survey Open Data Portfolio probably can show you the location on a FREE map. Here is the announcement from the Ordnance Survey:

Free to use location, roads, rivers and map products from OS.

OS continues its investment in digital innovation as a means of stimulating the economy with today’s release of four new exciting open data products. The products made available by OS offer users increased detail and accuracy and the opportunity for analytics. They are fully customisable and can work together or be imported and integrated with the users own software and database.

OS Open Map – Local provides a customisable backdrop for users to map, visualise and fully understand their data. This new product provides the most detailed level of buildings in OS’s open data suite and is designed to be used with other open data products.

Findmypast Adds UK National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914; United States Army Enlistments, 1798-1914; Australian Records; and More

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This Findmypast Friday marks the release of nearly 2 million records in the second phase of the National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914 project. This week’s additions also include over 1.3 million US army enlistment records, Australian burial records and British Military records from the First World War.

UK National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914

FamilySearch Adds More Than 18.3 Million Indexed Records and Images for England, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 18.3 million indexed records and images for England, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 10,026,835 indexed records and 776,840 images from the England, Westminster Rate Books, 1634–1900 collection; 4,327,810 indexed records from the United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914–1920collection; and 534,653 images from the Italy, Taranto, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809–1926 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.

Findmypast adds more than 1.3 Million US Civil War Pensions

More than 1.3 US million military pension records of Civil War veterans have recently been added to Findmypast.

The United States Civil War Pension Files Index, 1861-1934, is an index of pension application cards for veterans and their beneficiaries. The records actually cover veterans of all conflicts during this period including the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection and World War I. The bulk of these files pertain to service in the U.S. Civil War, which saw millions of Americans enlisted into the Union Army.

You can read more on the Findmypast Blog at http://goo.gl/iV5jDp. The United States Civil War Pension Files Index 1861-1934 may be found at http://goo.gl/UXu5rL.

Super Cheap Storage Space in the Cloud for Your Files

Prices keep dropping in technology and especially for services on the Internet. Everyone needs to make backups of their critical files and many people, myself included, make those backups to web-based services such as DropBox, SugarSync, iCloud, Google Drive, and numerous others. Some of those services even give away a modest amount of storage space free of charge. For instance, DropBox allows users up to 2 gigabytes of free space. Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive service both are free for the first 15 gigabytes of storage space. Other services may offer more or less storage free of charge.

If the free storage space is large enough to meet your needs, I’d suggest you take advantage of the offers. However, many of us need more space than what is available free of charge. In many cases, we need a lot more space to store family photographs, genealogy databases, email messages, last year’s tax returns, and much, much more. One terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) on Dropbox costs $100/year, on Google Drive it’s $120/year, and iCloud charges $240/year.

For some period of time, Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier have been the low-priced leaders in the off-site file storage services. Now the same company has even dropped its prices further.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.8 Million Indexed Records and Images for Australia, Canada, Hungary, Russia, South Africa, and the United States

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 5.8 million indexed records and images for Australia, Canada, Hungary, Russia, South Africa, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 2,435,483 indexed records from the Canada Census, 1911 collection; 2,069,202 indexed records from the Australia, Queensland Cemetery Records, 1802–1990 collection; and 310,900 images from the Russia, Tula Poll Tax Census (Revision Lists), 1758–1895 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.

Findmypast adds new US & UK Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Over a million fascinating British and US military records are now available to search thanks to the latest installment of Findmypast Friday. Over 1.3 million US Civil War pension records are now available to search and the ability to search by surname has been added to our collection of British Mariners, Trinity House Calendar records. Nearly 29,000 records containing the details of Officers and enlisted men who served with the Royal Artillery are also now available to search along with a First World War Roll of Honour from Clacton on Sea in Essex.

United States Civil War Pension Files Index 1861-1934
Containing over 1.3 million records, the United States Civil War Pension Files Index, 1861-1934, is an index of pension application cards for veterans and their beneficiaries. This time period actually covers veterans of numerous wars including the Civil War, the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection and World War I. The bulk of these files pertain to service in the U.S. Civil War, which saw millions of Americans enlisted into the Union Army. Pensions were received by soldiers or their beneficiaries for service rendered and were available to widows, children under the age of sixteen, and dependent relatives of soldiers who died in military service from war-related injuries or diseases. Each record includes a transcript and many include an image of the original index card. Most transcripts will list the applicant’s name, relation and year of application, while images can reveal the veteran’s unit, the time he applied for the pension, names of his widow or children, pension application numbers, previous pension application numbers, certificate numbers, and the name of his attorney.

Announcing Avotaynu Online!

A new web site appeared online this afternoon. It is a significant new undertaking by Avotaynu Inc. Best of all, it includes all articles from 2007 through 2011 published in AVOTAYNU, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy. The following announcement was written by the folks at Avotaynu Inc.:

Avotaynu Inc is pleased to announce the creation of “Avotaynu Online,” an exciting new venture intended to stimulate collaboration among Jewish genealogists in all its forms. Leading participants in the various areas of genealogical research will provide in-depth articles on events and discoveries on a regular basis.

Avotaynu Online will be available free of charge from the venture’s website at http://avotaynuonline.com/, which will be shared simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter. Reports will be delivered in different formats, including text, video, and podcasts.

The Knowles Collection Jewish Genealogy Database Reaches One Million Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY, March 25, 2015 — The Knowles Collection, a quickly growing, free online Jewish genealogy database linking generations of Jewish families from all over the world, reached its one-millionth record milestone and is now easily searchable online. The collection started from scratch just over seven years ago, with historical records gathered from FamilySearch’s collections. Now the vast majority of new contributions are coming from families and private archives worldwide. The free collection can be accessed at FamilySearch.org/family-trees.

The databases from the Knowles Collection are unlike other collections in that people are linked as families and the collection can be searched by name, giving researchers access to records of entire families. All records are sourced and show the people who donated the records so cousins can contact one another. New records are added continually, and the collection is growing by about 10,000 names per month from over 80 countries. Corrections are made as the need is found, and new links are added continually.

Troy (New York) Irish Genealogy Society Adds Marriage Notices Appearing in Lansingburgh Newspapers 1787 – 1895

The following announcement was written by the Troy (New York) Irish Genealogy Society:

An index to 2,712 marriage notices covering 5,424 names that were published in ten different Lansingburgh, New York newspapers from 1787 to 1895 was created by staff at the Troy Public Library in 1938 through 1939. The Troy Irish Genealogy Society was allowed by the Troy Library to scan this book so these important records could be made available on-line for genealogy researchers. To see these records go to the TIGS website – www.troyirish.com – click on PROJECTS and then click on MARRIAGE NOTICES APPEARING IN LANSINGBURGH NEWSPAPERS.

Lansingburgh, by the way, for those not in the Capital District Region, was the first chartered village in Rensselaer County and was settled around 1763. In 1900 Lansingburgh became part of the City of Troy, New York.

The ten different Lansingburgh newspapers were:

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