A New Law in New Jersey Eases Privacy Rules On Adoptions

Imagine walking through life wondering who is my mother? Who is my father? Those are questions that nag many adoptees.

Since the 1940s adoption records in New Jersey have been sealed without a court order and locked in a room in Trenton. Parents who gave their babies away expected privacy. But come January 1st the records of about 300,000 adoptees will be unsealed.

Online Genealogy Dictionaries & Other References

The Web is fast replacing reference books. References to almost any information can be found online quickly. In fact, it is often faster to look up information online than to look in a book already on your bookshelf. Of course, an online lookup is also much cheaper than purchasing a reference book.

Here are some reference sites that I have found to be useful to genealogists:

Abbreviations Found in Genealogy: http://www.rootsweb.com/~rigenweb/abbrev.html and the Encyclopedia of Genealogy at http://www.eogen.com.

A List of Occupations, many of which are archaic: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~usgwkidz/oldjobs.htm.

Archaic Medical Terms: Rudy’s List of Archaic Medical Terms at http://www.antiquusmorbus.com/, Cyndi’s List of Medical Terms at http://www.cyndislist.com/medical#Diseases, a list of archaic medical terms and meanings used in various English speaking countries at http://www.genproxy.co.uk/old_medical_terms.htm, and theEncyclopedia of Genealogy at http://www.eogen.com.

The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names: http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/tgn/index.html

Borrowing Library Books on Your Phone and Tablet

The New York Times recently published a “how to” guide for borrowing library books on your phone and tablet computer. The article points out:

“E-books are available for borrowing from about 11,000 libraries around the country, so confirm that your local library lends them and offers the Kindle format. You can find this out from the library’s own website or at OverDrive.com, a digital service that works with libraries to lend digital content to the public.

“If your library lends Kindle books, you just need a valid library card and PIN code from the institution itself. You also need an Amazon account, a Wi-Fi connection and a Kindle e-reader, Kindle Fire tablet, Kindle mobile reading app or the Kindle Cloud Reader.”

This and a lot more information is available at https://goo.gl/HiK5g8.

All Records for Highgate, London’s Most Celebrated Cemetery, now Available on Deceased Online

The following announcement was written by Deceased Online:

All records for Highgate, London’s most celebrated cemetery, now on Deceased Online 
Highgate Cemetery in north London is reckoned by many to be the most celebrated and prestigious urban cemetery in the UK. A truly stunning example of 19th century cemetery architecture – London Cemeteries (Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons) describes it as a “Victorian Valhalla” – it holds 160,000 burials from 1839 to 2010* with records immediately available exclusively on www.deceasedonline.com.
*Records for 1863 to 1865 limited to names only.The Cemetery is a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ not just of notable Londoners spanning 180 years but of many who have affected the course of history from all over the world. From Commonwealth heads of state to Iranian political exiles; from punk music impresario Malcolm McLaren to German philosopher/economist/revolutionary socialist Karl Marx; from founder of the eponymous Foyles bookshop to writer George Eliot, from great train robber Bruce Reynolds to Hitchhiker’s Guide creator Douglas Adams.

There are many more writers, actors, military men and women, scientists, journalists, artists, sportsmen and women, cooks, and thousands of other Londoners remembered in the graves, vaults, mausoleums, and columbaria of Highgate. The cemetery also features some of the most unusual and creative memorials and architecture found in any cemetery.

Highgate Cemetery 
Left to right: gateway to the Egyptian corridor; the Circle of Lebanon and the famous Karl Marx ‘Workers of the World Unite’ memorial

The records available now on Deceased Online include:

    • digital scans of original registers
    • grave details indicating all those buried in each grave
    • location maps for most graves.

For more information about many more notable people buried there and the history of Highgate Cemetery, read the first of Emma Jolly’s blogs.

Highgate Cemetery is managed by Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, a not for profit organisation which depends on any revenue generated through visitors to the Cemetery and other sales including records now online. However, please note: restricted access! Avoid a wasted journey: Highgate Cemetery West is closed to the public. You cannot visit a grave without an appointment. See www.highgatecemetery.org/visit/searches.

Finding graves in the open East part of the cemetery is also very difficult. Please either read further notes on the Deceased Online website about Highgate Cemetery or visit the Cemetery’s website www.highgatecemetery.org for all the cemetery rules.

There are now records for four of London’s Magnificent Seven Cemeteries available exclusively on Deceased Online; the others being Brompton, Kensal Green, and Nunhead. Across London, we have nearly 5 million burial and cremation records for 54 cemeteries and 4 crematoria available on Deceased Online.

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow our Blog

Deceased Online at info@deceasedonline.com

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Findmypast_logoOver 972,000 new records are available to search this Findmypast Friday, including:

Ireland Dog Licence Registers

Over 900,000 records have been added to our collection of Irish Dog Licenses. These fantastic census substitutes cover all 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland, date back to 1866, and will allow you to find out the colour, breed and sex of your ancestor’s four legged friend.

Huntingdonshire Marriages 1754-1837

Census Find Sheds New Light on St Kilda’s History

Not all census records are found online. A few census records have been misplaced over the years. A 250-year-old census came to light during cataloguing by the National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS). The census lists 90 people living on the remote archipelago on 15 June 1764 – 38 males and 52 females, including 19 families and nine individuals.


Is the Smartphone Becoming the PC Replacement?

According to a recent Pew Research study, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them. The number that fascinates me, however, is that 7% of Americans own a smartphone but have neither traditional broadband service at home, nor easily available alternatives for going online other than their cell phone. That number is growing. (See https://goo.gl/yf1y57 for the full results of the Pew Research study.)

Basic cell phones only place and receive telephone calls. Others add cameras. However, the real growth area lies with the intelligent cell phones that have built-in computer functionality. These are typically called “smartphones.” Let’s examine these and especially look at the genealogy applications available.


Smartphones available today include the Apple iPhone, Android phones, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and others. Besides serving as telephones, these smartphones allow the user to install and use various programs, such as web browsers, email programs, spreadsheet programs, word processors, genealogy programs, instant messaging programs, GPS navigation, and a wide variety of games. Most smartphones now have a variety of programs to choose from, including some that access and update Facebook and Twitter. In other words, smartphones are computers in the same manner as our desktop systems or laptop computers, only with much smaller display screens and tiny keyboards.

Jump-Start Your Personal History Writing with #52Stories Project

This sounds like an interesting project. I just learned about it so I haven’t tried it yet. However, you might have an interest. Quoting from the FamilySearch Blog at: https://goo.gl/GkGmvD:

Because it’s human nature to think of our lives in terms of beginnings and endings, the new year gives us the perfect opportunity to make sure we are making the most of that dash, filling in the details of our lives so our loved ones and our posterity are not left wondering what happened in between.

All of us are “in the dash.” But, you may be thinking, “I’ve got plenty of time to record my life story for my posterity. Why start now? Why this year?”

Here’s why: because, in addition to the value of leaving a legacy, great personal and family benefits also arise from personal reflection and journaling.

Arizona Territorial Records are now Online and are Free to Arizona Residents

After some confusion about storing old records (see my earlier articles about that confusion by starting at https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+%22arizona+state+library%22&t=h_&ia=web), the Arizona State Archives has worked with Ancestry.com to digitize family history records and make them available online for free to Arizona residents. Anyone in other states also can view the online records but must pay for the access on Ancestry.com. The available records include the Arizona territorial census records covering the years from 1864 through 1882. The records provide information such as name, place of residence, age, nativity, and occupation of over 85,000 Arizona residents between 1864 and 1882.

(+) Questions to Ask Your Elders

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

For every genealogist who is completely content with the results of their efforts, I wonder how many more are nagged by questions they wish they had asked family members when they had the chance. We scour the vital records, consult the census reports, and probe the probate for clues about those lost to us. If you’re lucky enough to have old diaries or letters, you try to piece together their lives to discover what they really thought and felt. We spend hour after hour reconstructing our ancestors’ lives. However, if you have the ultimate good fortune to have older relatives still among you, think of the priceless memories they may have to share today!

“If only I had asked her before she died.” How many of us have uttered those words? I know that I have, and I suspect that you have, too. The greatest resource in family history is carried within the memories of our older relatives. Not only are names and dates remembered, but so are the many wonderful stories that were never recorded elsewhere. When someone dies, that information is lost forever.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Findmypast_logoOver 56,000 new records are available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Gloucester Apprentices 1595-1700

Gloucester Apprentices 1595-1700 contains the details of over 20,000 apprentices, masters and their relatives who were listed in the Calendar of the Registers of Apprentices of the City of Gloucester 1595-1700. Originally published by The Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, the calendar has been digitised through optical character recognition (OCR), which allows you to search images of text for your ancestor’s name or a keyword, such as your ancestor’s trade.

Each record will list the apprentices chosen trade, residence, the name of their father, the name of their master, the name of their master’s wife, the length of their term and the amount they were paid at the end of their training.

Kent Parish Records

Millions More Records and Enhanced Interface Added to TheGenealogist’s Diamond Subscription

The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist-logoUsing TheGenealogist’s highly praised unique SmartSearch and its wealth of records you’ll have a better chance of finding your ancestors and adding them to your family tree.

You can benefit from all the great new records released as part of our Diamond Subscription with our specially priced Christmas Offer.

This month sees the release of:-

  • New High Resolution zoomable 1891 census images,
  • Over 4 million Emigration records,
  • More than 2.1 million Parish Records,
  • Over 1 million individuals in new Army & Navy Lists (1778-1915)
  • Thousands of new headstones added (Total 53,000 indexed headstone photos in 459 cemeteries.)

New Historic Records On FamilySearch: Week of December 19, 2016

FamilySearch_LogoNew historic church records from Bolivia, Ecuador, and England are now available along with cemetery, census, civil registration, and probate records from Africa, South America, and France. Search these free historic records and more at FamilySearch by clicking on the links in the interactive table below.

A Possible Location for Arthur’s Camelot has been Identified

Here is a bit of news about history: the quest to find King Arthur’s Camelot has puzzled and intrigued scholars and fans for a thousand years. Now, the search may finally be over.

A retired Bangor University English Literature Professor has revealed what he believes to be the location of Arthur’s Camelot- and it turns out to be a small Roman fort at Slack, outside Huddersfield. In Roman times, the fort was called Camulodunum, which means “the fort of the god Camul”. Over the years, well-recognized linguistic processes would have reduced Camulodunum to Camelot.

North Carolina Lawmakers Renege On Deal To Repeal Hb2 ‘In Full’

This is a follow-up to an article I posted two days ago, Incoming North Carolina Governor Vows Repeal of Controversial LGBT Law, Thereby Avoiding Controversy over the National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference. That article is available at: https://goo.gl/tDMYab. It seems that North Carolina lawmakers came up with a plan to repeal the anti-LGBT law HB2, as promised. The only problem with their plan is that it does not entirely repeal HB2.

It is a convoluted story. You can read the details in an article in The Washington Post at https://goo.gl/pccrej.

MyHeritage Adds New York City Marriages, 1950-1995, Online

The following is from the MyHeritage Blog:

We’re happy to announce that over 6 million records from the New York City Marriages collection, are now online! The index includes given names and surnames of both bride and groom, the year of the license application, and the license number for over 3 million marriage licenses filed at the New York City Clerk Offices in the five boroughs from 1950 to 1995.

Search the collection now

This collection has been indexed by the non-for-profit organization Reclaim the Records. Led by Brooke Schreier Ganz, and staffed with genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates, this group works tirelessly to get public data released into the public domain.

A Christmas Request, Answered a Century Later

This is a Christmas story with just a tiny genealogy twist. At least, it involves family.

Mary McGahan was buried in Mount St. Mary Cemetery in Flushing, Queens, New York 37 years ago. Sadly, her name was never added to the tombstone, apparently because her family could not afford the stonecutter’s fee.

By a strange twist of fate, a stranger who never knew Mary or her family found a poignant letter to Santa in the fireplace of his Hell’s Kitchen apartment 17 years ago. It had been written by Mary nearly a century earlier, when she lived as a child in the same apartment, and became the impetus for an article in The New York Times a year ago about serendipity and Christmas.

For Millions of Immigrants, a Common Language: WhatsApp

I don’t believe my immigrant ancestors had anything like this! However, immigration is a lot different nowadays.

Jan Koum is an immigrant and the founder of a multi-billion dollar company that has more than a billion users. He was a teenager when he and his mother moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1990s, in part to escape the anti-Semitic tide then sweeping his native Ukraine. His mother worked as a babysitter and swept floors at a grocery store to survive in the new country; when she was found to have cancer, the family lived off her disability payments.

Sad as that story is, it also is typical of the difficult experiences many immigrants have had for centuries. However, there is success in the story also: Mr. Koum founded a company called WhatsApp that lets users send text messages and make phone calls free over the internet. Because it’s free, has a relatively good record on privacy and security, and is popular in so many parts of the world, WhatsApp has since been used by millions of immigrants who, whether by choice or by force, have left their homes for the unknown.

Nominations Now Being Accepted for the NGS Distinguished Service Award

The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

Nominations Now Being Accepted – Distinguished Service Award


This post continues a periodic series where we, at NGS, highlight the various competitions (15 December deadline) and awards (31 January) where nominations are sought in order to recognize excellence. The winners will be announced at the annual NGS Family History Conference, 10-13 May 2017.

The Distinguished Service Award

Deadline for Submissions—31 January Annually

To recognize dedication to the work of the National Genealogical Society.

Suggestion: The Time to Digitize Historic Items is NOW

WARNING: This article contains personal opinions.

building-fireIt seems that every two or three months, I publish sad news about important records and artifacts being lost forever. Sometimes fires damage or destroy library or archive buildings and all the contents: including records, books, family histories, cemetery records, plat maps, military uniforms, and more. In other articles, I have written about similar losses caused by floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, burst water pipes, leaky roofs, and even about buildings collapsing. Genealogists, historians, art lovers, and others often lose irreplaceable items.

With a little bit of planning, the worst of these losses can be averted or at least minimized.