Online Sites The Do-It-Yourself Replacement for Disappearing Message Boards and Mailing Lists

There seems to be a trend amongst many online services to delete or scale back the services of the message boards and/or mailing lists that they offer. Most genealogists now know recently announced that the Mailing Lists functionality on RootsWeb will be discontinued on March 2, 2020.

See my earlier article at that includes the announcement from as well as a number of comments from the company’s customers expressing displeasure with the announcement. If you are a user of’s mailing lists on RootsWeb, you probably will want to read that announcement as well as the comments that followed it.

I also posted a comment to that article: “In short, my advice to genealogists is the same as my advice to most anyone else: If you are unhappy with the service you have been using, look for alternatives. You are free to do so. That’s what free enterprise is all about. There is no monopoly.”

Of course, is not the only web site that is cutting back on mailing lists and/or message boards. Yahoo Groups has recently gone through a similar reduction in its many mailing lists (and the Yahoo Ham Radio mailing list I subscribe to is up in arms about the reduction!)

Newsletter reader “Chris in CT” and a number of other newsletter readers asked similar questions:

New 1939 Register Entries and Military Records Available to Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

1939 Register Update

Over 85,000 ‘closed records’ have been opened up and are now available to search. Since the 1939 Register was launched, Findmypast has matched more than four million ‘closed records’ to multiple data sources to correctly confirm the date and location of death for individuals recorded.

The 1939 Register now contains more than 33.9 million searchable records. Each record includes the names of inhabitants at each address, their date of birth, marital status and occupation. A wealth of contextual information, including period photographs never before seen online, infographics, region-specific newspaper articles and historical and contemporary maps, are personally tailored to each record, offering a rich and unique user experience unrivalled by any other family history research tool to date.

British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers’ Medical Records

New UK Military Records on Fold3

The following announcement was written by Fold3:

Our UK military records are expanding! We’ve recently added a new collection, “UK, Militia Attestation Papers, 1806-1915”. These records or attestation forms were filled out at the time of recruitment, and in most cases, annotated to the date of discharge. They form a record of military service for soldiers who fought in conflicts during that time period.

The collection is arranged alphabetically under regiments and in order of seniority.

Attestation Papers contain wonderful details for researching specific soldiers. They list parish, town, and county of birth, address at the time of enlistment, age, and trade or job. The papers also include a physical description including a place to list any distinctive characteristics or scars. The files list military service rendered and whether a soldier was wounded or received medals or decorations. They also list the name and address of next of kin.

RootsWeb Mailing Lists to be Discontinued

The following is from an email message sent to many RootsWeb users from the RootsWeb administrators:

Beginning March 2nd, 2020 the Mailing Lists functionality on RootsWeb will be discontinued. Users will no longer be able to send outgoing emails or accept incoming emails. Additionally, administration tools will no longer be available to list administrators and mailing lists will be put into an archival state.

Administrators may save the emails in their list prior to March 2nd. After that, mailing list archives will remain available and searchable on RootsWeb.

New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 6 January 2020

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch: added new, free, historical records this week from American Samoa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, England, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa and the United States, includingGA, HI, LA, MI, MS, NC, SC, TN and MO. Featured this week are over 2 million records from Ecuadorian Catholic church records (1565-2011)and over 600,000 records from Ireland Poverty Relief Funds (1810-1887).

Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

What to Expect from FamilySearch in 2020

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Making fun personal and family discoveries at will be easier than ever in 2020., the popular, free genealogy website, has announced some of its plans to enhance user experiences in 2020 through select updates and improvements to records and Family Tree search capabilities. As a global leader in free family history discovery experiences, FamilySearch serves more than 13 million users worldwide.

In 2020, FamilySearch will add over 500 million new viewable digital images and searchable records online, ensuring more exciting discovery opportunities. The following list gives an idea of more fun innovation to anticipate.

Sitewide Support for Additional Languages

FamilySearch has a growing international user base and will translate core user experiences into additional languages in 2020.

Family Tree

The FamilySearch Family Tree is the world’s largest shared tree. In 2020, users will enjoy an improved merge experience. They will be able to learn more and more easily collaborate by combining duplicate profiles for common ancestors.

The Latest Changes feature for ancestor profiles (FamilySearch person pages) will be enhanced, allowing users to see more details of all past edits and changes through the family tree view.

MyHeritage Record Collections Added in the Second Half of December

The following is an excerpt from the MyHeritage Blog:

821.2 million records were added to MyHeritage in the last two weeks of December — bringing the total number of historical records in MyHeritage SuperSearch™ to 11 billion records! This update includes over 600 million records about published authors from the U.S. and around the globe, a Hesse Birth Index and Hesse Marriage Index, a Military Death Index from France, and 9 U.S. state newspaper collections. adds 368,000 Cemetery Records in the month of December 2019

The following announcement was written by

January 3, 2020, Menifee, CA — published 368,107 cemetery records covering 59 cemeteries in 20 US states in the month of December 2019. They are now available for free viewing to the general public by visiting

These records were acquired mostly from city and county offices as well as cemetery sextons. Most of these records include dates of birth, death, and burial, and many include plot locations and names of funeral homes.

States and counties covered in these records…

Yeshiva University Historic Photographs Available in New Digital Collection

From an article by by Deena Schwimmer in the Yeshiva University News web site at

Profile of three Stern students on Wilf Campus

Visit the Libraries’ Digital Collections platform to view our newest collection, Yeshiva University Historic Photographs. This first set consists of over 125 images from the earliest years of Stern College for Women. Examined together with our existing digital collection of Stern’s Kochaviah Yearbooks from this period, these resources provide a rich trove for exploring significant events and people from the founding years of Stern College.

(For the most part, the names of individual students in group photos are not listed; however, the yearbooks should assist in identifying specific people.)

If you have more information about a photo of a specific event, please let us know so we can enrich our descriptions!

New additions from South East England available to search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Middlesex Monumental Inscriptions

Explore new additions from Hillingdon in Greater London. Discover birth years, death years, and places of burial. Each result will include a transcript that will reveal a combination of the deceased’s birth year, age at death, death year, burial place, monument type, dedication and inscription. Inscriptions are an excellent family history resource that can reveal a range of important biographical details as well as the names of additional family members. Many records will also include a description link that will direct you to a PDF document hosted on an external website that includes histories, images, and burial ground plans for the churches represented in this collection.

The transcripts in this collection have been provided by Hillingdon Family History Society, West Middlesex Family History Society, West Drayton & Northwood, Middlesex and cover the years from 1485 to 2014.

Sussex Monumental Inscriptions

New Records on FamilySearch from December 2019

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in November of 2019 with nearly 19 million new indexed family history records and over 760 thousand digital images from all over the world. New historical records were added from American Samoa, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and the United States, which includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The United States, GenealogyBank Historical Newspaper Obituaries, 1815-2011 are included as well. Digital Images came from California, Ohio, and Texas.

Find your ancestors using these free archives online, including birth, marriage, death, and church records. Millions of new genealogy records are added each month to make your search easier.

Historical Record Collections Added to MyHeritage in the First Half of December

The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

MyHeritage has just added seven new collections encompassing 16.2 million records from all over the world: Netherlands, Notarial Records; Inwards Unassisted Passengers to Victoria; Jewish Holocaust Memorials and Jewish Residents of Germany 1939–1945; Copenhagen Emigration Index; and burial collections from Canada, Ireland, and the U.K.

Here is the full breakdown of the records:

TheGenealogist Enhances Map Explorer™

The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

Powerful new map tool now helps trace ancestors land or property with Colour Tithe Maps

TheGenealogist’s latest innovation to help you find an ancestor’s property and watch the landscape change over time has now been enhanced by the addition of georeferenced Colour Tithe Maps. TheGenealogist has also today released colour tithe maps for Cumberland – you can search these as normal or browse them on Map Explorer™.

Joining the georeferenced Lloyd George Data Layer, Headstones and War Memorials, the Colour Tithe Maps are a significant addition to the ever-expanding Map Explorer™.

Map Explorer™ locates Tithe Plots from Victorian times in an area

  • TheGenealogist’s Map Explorer™ displays maps for historical periods up to the modern day.
  • Colour Tithe maps have now been added to this innovative tool, linked to the apportionment books, enabling researchers to locate where their ancestors lived or worked

State Library of Massachusetts has a New Collection of Digitized Maps

The State Library of Massachusetts has digitized its collection of maps that represent state and congressional legislative districts, starting from 1842 to 2015. The online repository at allows anyone to download these maps and trace how districts have changed.

Outline map of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: With Population of 1880: showing congressional districts as proposed in the report of the Joint Special Committee of the Legislature on Redistricting the State into Congressional Districts

MyHeritage Adds Two Record Collections from Hesse, Germany

Two significant historical record collections from Germany have been added to MyHeritage: the Hesse Birth Index (1874–1911) and the Hesse Marriage Index (1849–1931). These collections contain 8.5 million historical records.

According to the MyHeritage Blog:

“Located in the center of Germany and at the crossroads of Europe, the state of Hesse, which includes the city of Frankfurt, has historically been among the most densely populated and economically strong regions in Germany.

New UK Parish and US Tax Records Available to Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Northumberland Baptisms

Over 25,000 new records covering 25 parishes across the county have been added to our collection of Northumberland Baptisms. The amount of information in each record may vary, but most will include a combination of your ancestor’s birth year, baptism date, baptism place and parents’ names.

Northumberland Baptisms consists of both parish registers and bishop’s transcripts created from material held by the Northumberland Record Office, Durham University Library, the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society and the College of Arms.

Northumberland Marriages

Over 28,000 new additions from 15 parishes are now available to search. Each transcript will reveal a combination of the birth years, residences, marriage date fathers’ names and witnesses’ names for both the bride and groom.

TheGenealogist has just Released over 12,000 Records from 138 War Memorials

The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has just released over 12,000 records from 138 War Memorials. This means that there are now a total of over 580,000 individuals on War Memorials that are fully searchable in TheGenealogist’s Military records with photographs centered on their inscription. These memorials can give researchers an insight into education, rank, regiment and occupation of an ancestor.

Red Deer 55th Street Cemetery Alberta, Canada – RAF Deaths At Penhold

The War Memorial records will allow the family history researcher to discover:

  • over 12,000 additional individuals recorded on War Memorials
  • additional War Memorials from England and Canada
  • fully searchable records which are transcribed from images of the tributes
  • colour images of the memorial centered on their name
  • a variety of memorials in honour of the war dead from various conflicts

New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 16 December 2019

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

This week, added newfree, historical records from American Samoa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, England, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, and the United States, including AL, GA, HI, LA, OH, SC, TN, TX, and VA. Over 1 million records were added from Peru’s Civil Registration (1805-2001.)

Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

Recently Added and Updated Collections on

From the list of recent new and/or updated additions at

New and Updated

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions

Nearly 14,000 new records have been added to our collection of Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions. These new additions cover churches in Coxwold, Easingwold, Foston, Halifax, Haxby & Wigginton and Holtby as well as King Cross Methodist Cemetery.

Scotland, Renfrewshire Death & Burial Index