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# Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Tricks for Finding Free Genealogy Data
Posted by Diane

Don't get me wrong. Spending money on genealogy is a good thing. This is spoken by someone who works hard to create high-quality educational genealogy material for your consumption.

But I try to practice what my mom taught me about money: You save what you can when you can, then you use your budget on things that'll really pay off.


This post is about the "save when you can" part. If you can find some genealogy data you need for no cost, then you can dedicate your family history funds, for example, to ordering an original record, taking an in-depth online genealogy course or subscribing to a website.
  • Know that free sites often have sponsored links (they have to pay the bills somehow), which may not be obviously ads: You click on a database title or type your name into a search box, and you end up on a subscription site, which can be frustrating if that's not what you expected. Just hit the back button until you get back to the site you started on (or if the site opened in a new browser tab, go back to the tab you were on).
  • Look for free-for-a-limited-time databases around holidays. Recently, for example, four sites offered free online military records for Memorial Day. Find out about these offers by reading genealogy blogs (such as this one) and newsletters (such as the Genealogy Insider newsletter), sign up for genealogy websites' email programs, and befriend those sites on Facebook and Twitter.
Find out about 41 free resources for genealogy apps, forms, software and images in the May/June 2013 Family Tree Magazine.

Learn how to find and use free genealogy websites with the tools in our Best Free Genealogy Websites Ultimate Collection!

Ancestry.com | Archives.com | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage | Research Tips
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 2:53:06 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Archives.com Launches Millions of Lutheran Church Records
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site Archives.com has released its collection of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) birth, marriage and death records, which genealogists have been anticipating since Archives.com announced the digitization project nearly a year ago.

The collections, appearing online for the first time, total nearly 4.6 million records from about 1,000 rolls of microfilm. The records date from the mid-1800s through 1940 and include births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, and burials.

You usually have to know which church your ancestors attended in order to request the record from the church or find it on microfilm. Because these ELCA records are indexed by name, though, you don't have to know the church before you start your search.

Details in the records vary by church, but they often include parents' names, dates and places of the event, and other biographical details. Many of the churches has concentrations of immigrants from Norway, Sweden or Germany as members—so the records could be the key you need to start researching ancestors in Europe.

You'll learn how to find additional records of Lutheran ancestors—including congregational histories, communion lists, synod publications and more—from our guide Religious Records: Researching Lutheran Ancestors, available in ShopFamilyTree.com. 


Archives.com | Church records
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 2:02:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, August 29, 2012
1940 Census Now Fully Searchable at FamilySearch.org
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has announced that its 1940 census records for all US states and territories are now searchable by name and other details. You can search the records free at FamilySearch.org, as well as at the websites of FamilySearch's commercial partners in the 1940 Census Community Project, Archives.com and findmypast.com.

FamilySearch has also added records from countries including Chile, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal and Sweden. You can see the list of updated and new databases here.


Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 7:39:44 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, August 09, 2012
FamilySearch 1940 Census Index Grows to 37 States
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has added six more states/territories to its free 1940 census index, for a total of 37 states indexed here. The additions are
  • Arkansas
  • Missouri
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington, DC
  • West Virginia
Volunteers for the 1940 Census Community Project, a collaboration among FamilySearch, Archives.com and findmypast.com, have finished indexing the 1940 census records. Index data for the remaining 14 states are still being processed. 

Now on FamilySearch, you can search 1940 census records for all the indexed states at once here (I like this interface so much better than the previous map with the state progress pop-ups that were constantly covering up other states).

Or you can narrow your search to a particular indexed state here

You can search 1940 census records for all states on Ancestry.com, whose index will be free through 2013.


Want to improve your genealogical skills and connect with other family historians—all from the convenience of home? Check out Family Tree University's Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference, taking place Sept. 14-16. Early bird registration ends Friday, Aug. 10 at 11:59 p.m.—just enter code FTUVCEARLY at checkout to save $50!


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases
Thursday, August 09, 2012 11:40:19 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, August 03, 2012
1940 Census Now Fully Searchable on Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com has announced that its 1940 census index is now complete—you can search it for ancestors in all 48 US states (Alaska and Hawaii hadn't yet become states in 1940) plus territories. Ancestry.com's index will be free to search through 2013.

FamilySearch isn't far behind. Its volunteer-created index is almost complete, and only 19 states' indexes remain to be added to the site's search. The 1940 census index is free on FamilySearch.org as well as its 1940 Census Community Project partners Archives.com and findmypast.com.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases
Friday, August 03, 2012 9:18:47 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 26, 2012
Ancestry.com Adds 12 States to Its 1940 Census Index
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com has just announced the addition of 12 more states to its free 1940 US census index, bringing the total of states you can search by name on Ancestry.com to 37 plus Washington DC.

The newly added states are:
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
Click here to see our post listing the states already indexed in Ancestry.com's 1940 census database, as well as the states indexed on FamilySearch.org and its 1940 Census Community Project partners, and on MyHeritage.com.

The 1940 census is free to search on all these sites.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | MyHeritage
Thursday, July 26, 2012 12:17:54 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, July 20, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, July 16-20
Posted by Diane

  • Archives.com is sharing another one of its neat infographics—this one about California in the 1940 census. You'll learn interesting tidbits such as: The state had a population of 6.9 million, Betty White was an 18-year-old in Los Angeles, and a new Plymouth Coupe cost $645. You can see the infographic on the Archives.com blog.
  • An online name index is now available for the service records of 320,000 WWI airmen in Britain's Royal Air Force (formed in 1918) and its forebears, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. Read about the index here and in this post on the archives' blog.

    I didn't find any search instructions, so the method I discovered by trial and error is going to the archives' catalog and selecting the All Collections tab. Click the More Options link, then scroll down in that window and check the Air Force box under Military. Type a name into the search box and click the magnifying glass. You might need to use the filters on the left to limit your results to the AIR (Air Ministry and Royal Air Force) collection.
To browse, go to this page on the British national archives website. Officers' records are arranged by name; airmen records are arranged by service number. Also see this guide to finding records of airmen in the Royal Air Force.


Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | UK and Irish roots
Friday, July 20, 2012 2:19:09 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, July 13, 2012
Ancestry.com Adds 15 More States to Free 1940 Census Index
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com is opening the floodgates on its 1940 census indexing: This morning, free, searchable 1940 census indexes for 15 more states are available at Ancestry.com. "We ... are now very well ahead of schedule from our initial completion predictions," says spokesperson Matthew Deighton.

This makes 25 searchable states plus Washington DC on Ancestry.com. The 15 new states are:
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
Already indexed at Ancestry.com were Colorado, Delaware, Maine, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington DC.

FamilySearch now has 31 searchable states in its free index (which also is searchable via Archives.com and findmypast.com): Those include all but three states west of the Mississippi River (indexes for Arkansas, Missouri and Texas aren't yet completed). Eastern states with indexes at FamilySearch include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

Since MyHeritage released its 1940 census indexes for Rhode Island and part of New York, we haven't heard about any new states.

The 1940 census is free to search at all the sites hosting records.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch
Friday, July 13, 2012 11:56:12 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 28, 2012
1940 Census Now Searchable for California + 30 Other States
Posted by Diane

The western half of the country is almost entirely orange on FamilySearch's 1940 census index progress map, indicating states with free, searchable name indexes.

California—the fifth largest US state in 1940—is the latest addition. Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico and Washington also have been added, bringing FamilySearch's total of searchable states to 29.

The 29 states also are searchable on the websites of FamilySearch's 1940 Census Community Project partners findmypast.com and Archives.com.

In all, you can search the 1940 census for 31 states plus Washington, DC.

On Ancestry.com, Delaware, Maine, Nevada, New York and Washington DC are searchable by name for free.

MyHeritage.com has Rhode Island and part of New York indexed, also free to search.

Remember, you can browse the records for all states and territories for free on FamilySearch.org, findmypast.com, Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com and the National Archives.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | MyHeritage | NARA
Thursday, June 28, 2012 10:10:51 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 21, 2012
FamilySearch Adds Four States to 1940 Census Index, Plus Other Genealogy Records
Posted by Diane

Across all the websites hosting 1940 census records, a total of 27 states now have free, searchable name indexes for this census.

FamilySearch has added four more searchable state indexes to its 1940 census indexed states we listed last week: Alabama, Indiana, Maine and North Dakota.

The indexes are searchable on FamilySearch.org and its volunteer 1940 Census Community Project partners findmypast.com and Archives.com.

On Ancestry.com, Delaware, Maine, Nevada, New York and Washington DC are searchable by name.

MyHeritage.com has Rhode Island and part of New York indexed.

In addition to its 1940 census indexes, FamilySearch has added new digitized records or indexed names for the United States and Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, England, Georgia, Indonesia, Italy, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Spain and Sweden. You can see a list of updated databases and link to each one from the FamilySearch site.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy
Thursday, June 21, 2012 9:32:56 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 14, 2012
1940 Census Update: 24 States Are Now Searchable By Name
Posted by Diane

Across all the websites hosting 1940 census records, a total of 24 states now have free, searchable name indexes for this census.

FamilySearch has released two more searchable state indexes, Oklahoma and South Dakota. All the states searchable on FamilySearch and its volunteer 1940 Census Community Project partners findmypast.com and Archives.com are:
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming
On Ancestry.com, Delaware, Maine, Nevada, New York and Washington DC are searchable by name.

MyHeritage.com has Rhode Island and part of New York indexed.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | MyHeritage
Thursday, June 14, 2012 8:51:45 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 07, 2012
FamilySearch Adds 4 States to 1940 Census Index
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch announces that you can now search the 1940 census index for 18 states free at FamilySearch.org and 1940 Census Community Project partners Archives.com, FindMyPast.com and 1940census.archives.gov (although I can't find a name search at 1940census.archives.gov, which is the National Archives' census website).

That brings the total of searchable states/districts across all 1940 census sites to 22 (see below for links to the other sites).

FamilySearch's 18 indexed states are:
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming
Ancestry.com has free searchable indexes for Delaware, Maine, Nevada, New York and Washington, DC; and MyHeritage has Rhode Island and part of New York.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | MyHeritage
Thursday, June 07, 2012 12:33:37 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, May 30, 2012
1940 Census Indexing Update: States You Can Search By Name
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com and FamilySearch.org (plus its 1940 Census Community Project partner sites) all have free record images available for the 1940 census.

All three sites also are in the process of creating and publishing searchable name indexes to the records. As of this posting, a total of 16 states (update: 20 states on 6/1), part of another one, and the District of Columbia are searchable.

Here are the states you can search at each site:

  • Ancestry.com: You can search name indexes for Delaware, Maine, Nevada and Washington, DC. A chart on the 1940 census page lets you see indexing progress.
  • FamilySearch.org: FamilySearch's volunteer indexers so far appear to be outpacing the paid contractors Ancestry.com and MyHeritage are using. You can search 14 states/territories by your ancestor's name: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Kansas, Utah and Wyoming.

FamilySearch.org's indexing progress map colors searchable states orange. To search, click the state on the map.

  • Archives.com: At this 1940 Census Community Project partner site, you can search name indexes to the same states available at FamilySearch. To access the unindexed portion of the census, this site sends you to the National Archives' 1940 census site (which Archives.com designed and hosts).
  • FindMyPast.com: As a 1940 Census Community Project partner, FindMyPast.com has the same states indexed as FamilySearch (though Alaska, a territory in 1940, is missing from the color-coded map on the home page). Update 6/1: FindMyPast also now shows Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi and Montana as searchable, though these states are not yet searchable on FamilySearch.org. Look for that to change soon.
  • MyHeritage: Here, you can search a name index for Rhode Island, and a partial name index for New York.

The 1940 census records also are available on FamilyLink.com, which MyHeritage purchased last year. You'll need to register for a free account on the site (if you don't already have an account there) to view the records.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | MyHeritage
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:07:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, May 01, 2012
1940 Census Records and Indexes Update
Posted by Diane

Here's the latest on genealogy websites where you can find the 1940 census and which states you can search by an ancestor's name:

Ancestry.com: Record images for all US states and territories are available free, as are searchable name indexes for Delaware, Nevada and Washington, DC. A chart on the 1940 census page lets you see indexing progress.

Archives.com: At this 1940 Census Community Project partner site, you can search name indexes to Colorado and Delaware. To access the unindexed portion of the census, this site sends you to the National Archives' 1940 census site (which Archives.com designed and hosts).

FamilySearch: Digitized records are available here for all US states and territories.

FamilySearch just announced that more than 85,000 1940 Census Community Project volunteers have already finished indexing 20 percent of the census, and thousands more volunteers sign up every week.

Not all the indexed records are available to search online yet. FamilySearch's indexing progress map colors searchable states orange; so far, you can search name indexes for the states of Delaware and Colorado. To search, click the state on the map. (I clicked on Kansas and tried a search because Community Project partner FindMyPast.com has a Kansas index, but the results were people in Colorado.) 

FindMyPast.com: On this 1940 Census Community Project partner site, digitize records are available for most states. Records for Texas, California, Utah, Tennessee, Minnesota, Wisconsin and several others are missing. You can search name indexes for Delaware, Colorado and Kansas—except for Kansas, they're the same states as for FamilySearch, because it's the same index.

MyHeritage: Records for all states and territories are available now for free. This site introduced the first searchable index, for the state of Rhode Island, but hasn't added any other states since. MyHeritage also has updated its mobile app so you can search 1940 census records from your iPhone, iPad or Android phone.

The 1940 census record images also are available on FamilyLink.com, which MyHeritage purchased last year. You'll need to register for a free account on the site (if you don't already have an account there) to view the records.

National Archives: Records for all states and territories are available here for free.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, May 01, 2012 4:18:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, April 26, 2012
Ancestry.com Acquires Archives.com: Addressing Genealogists' Concerns
Posted by Diane

It's been all over the genealogy news since yesterday that Ancestry.com plans to purchase Archives.com for $100 million.

About 40 employees of Archives.com will become part of Ancestry.com.

Until the acquisition goes through the regulatory approval process, the companies will continue to operate as separate entities. It's unclear how long the process could take.

In a conference call last night with the genealogy media, Archives.com CEO Joe Godfrey and Ancestry.com president Tim Sullivan addressed issues of concern to many family historians.

Here, I've summarized their comments as they relate to some of the questions I've been hearing from genealogists:

Is Ancestry.com just trying to eliminate a competitor?
Archives.com's parent company Inflection is focusing on public records and people-searching (it owns the people-searching website peoplesmart), diverging from Archives.com's historical records mission. Godfrey and Sullivan say this acquisition makes sense for all parties.

Current plans call for Archives.com to remain largely as is. "We see a different experience in Archives.com. It's priced and positioned differently [from Ancestry.com]. It's another important service that we can continue to invest in," Sullivan says. He vows to invest in Archives.com's content and technology.

The acquisition gives Ancestry.com the opportunity to offer a genealogy product at a lower price point (Archives.com subscribers pay $39.95 a year, to Ancestry.com's $155.40).

Nor is the acquisition a response to the entry into the US genealogy market of companies such as brightsolid (owner of findmypast.com) and MyHeritage, Sullivan says. He emphasized a positive view of the genealogy category's growth and the increase in competition, saying it's an indication of the health of the category.

Sullivan says Ancestry.com may work with Inflection in the future, describing the potential opportunity as "tremendous."

Will the sites be too similar?
Sullivan and Godfrey say there's some overlapping content on Archives.com and Ancestry.com, but that how the user experiences each site's content is different and will remain so. "One thing we won't do is make Archives.com like the Ancestry.com user experience," Sullivan says.

"Even though some content might overlap, the way it is presented will have different value propositions to different users," Godfrey adds.

What will happen with the 1940 Census Community Project?
The project, whose partners FamilySearch, Archives.com and FindMyPast.com are recruiting volunteers to index the 1940 census, won't be affected, say both men.

Godfrey encouraged volunteers to continue indexing. "Nothing will change as far as the partnership, and nothing will change as far as making the index available for free," he says.

Sullivan says that when FamilySearch was seeking partners in this volunteer indexing project, Ancestry.com leadership discussed it at length and ultimately decided that "it wasn't structured in a way that completely was in sync with what we wanted to do with 1940."

He added that Ancestry.com would support Archives.com's participation in the project.

Does this form a monopoly?
They couldn't elaborate on the regulatory approval process for the acquisition, but neither Sullivan nor Godfrey foresees problems. "We're doing this for the right reasons. There's no negative for consumers," Sullivan says.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | Genealogy Industry
Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:51:05 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Ancestry.com to Acquire Archives.com
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com just announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire competitor Archives.com for approximately $100 million in cash and assumed liabilities.

Archives.com is owned and operated by Inflection LLC, a Silicon Valley-based technology company.

Since Archives.com’s launch in January 2010 (before that, the site was called Genealogy Archives), the site has grown to more than 380,000 paying subscribers who pay approximately $39.95 a year. Archives.com offers access to more than 2.1 billion historical records, including birth records, obituaries, immigration and passenger lists, historical newspapers, and US and UK censuses.

Inflection secured the contract with the National Archives to design and host the archives' website for the 1940 census records, released April 2. Archives.com also is a partner in the 1940 Census Community project, which has FamilySearch volunteers indexing the 1940 census. Ancestry.com is using a paid contractor to create its own 1940 census index. I'm curious to see what happens with this.

From Ancestry.com's press release: "This transaction will enable Ancestry.com to add a differentiated service targeted to a complementary segment of the growing family history category. In addition, Ancestry.com will welcome a team of talented engineers, digital marketers, and family history innovators into the Ancestry.com fold and also gain access to a proprietary technology platform that has supported Archives.com’s rapid growth."

Upon completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including expiration of the HSR waiting period, Ancestry.com will continue to operate Archives.com separately retaining its brand and website. Many Inflection employees are expected to join the Ancestry.com team.

We'll bring you more on this story as it develops.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | Genealogy Industry
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 4:40:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [7]
# Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Digitized Lutheran Church Records Coming Soon to Archives.com
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy website Archives.com has formed a partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to digitize and index 1,000 reels of the church's microfilm containing millions of the church's baptism, confirmation, marriage, and funeral records.

The parish register ledger books document Lutheran congregations throughout the United States from 1793 to 1940.

The records will become available at Archives.com later this year. I'm crossing my fingers it'll be in time for our guide to genealogy research in Lutheran records, which will be in the July/August 2012 Family Tree Magazine.

The guide is part of our new religious records series, which so far has covered Catholic (in the March/April 2012 Family Tree Magazine) and Jewish (in the May/June 2012 Family Tree Magazine) genealogy research.

See the full announcement about Lutheran records on Archives.com here.


Archives.com | Church records
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 3:13:56 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, April 05, 2012
Just How Popular Is the 1940 Census?
Posted by Diane

Remember how it was nearly impossible to access the 1940 census on the National Archives website Monday? (Things are much better now that Archives.com, which designed the site, has made improvements, and other 1940 census websites are taking on some of the traffic burden.)

These statistics, which Archives.com made nice and pretty for you, explain why:

1940 census  archives.com


Archives.com | census records | NARA
Thursday, April 05, 2012 8:32:07 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, April 03, 2012
1940 Census Update: Which States Are Online & Where
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Archives.com continue to make improvements to 1940Census.Archives.gov, and it's working better today than it did yesterday.

That's still the only site with all the 1940 US census records, but other sites are quickly adding them. Here's where else you can find which states/territories as of now:

Ancestry.com:

  • American Samoa
  • California
  • Delaware
  • DC
  • Guam
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Panama Canal
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virgin Islands
  • Virginia
  • Washington

FamilySearch:

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Kansas
  • Oregon
  • Virginia

MyHeritage.com: I can't find an at-a-glance list here. You'll see all states in the search dropdown menu, and when you search on one that's not yet available, you'll get results but with a "coming soon" message. Update: The folks at MyHeritage sent me this list of available records, with more coming soon:

  • California
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | MyHeritage | NARA
Tuesday, April 03, 2012 9:51:37 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Archives.com Statement on 1940 Census Site Problems
Posted by Diane

Archives.com, the company that designed the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) 1940 census website, reassured genealogists on its blog that problems with the 1940 census website are being addressed.
"As the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) official development partner on this project, Archives.com is responsible for the website performance and stability. We take full responsibility for the technical issues that have occurred and are very sorry for the inconvenience you may have experienced."
Yesterday after the census was released, many researchers (including yours truly) couldn't get record images to load or even access the site. That was due to traffic that, according to Archives.com, "exceeded even our own most optimistic estimates several times over." 

NARA reported 22.5 million hits within the first few hours after launching the 1940 census. Last night on its Facebook page, NARA reported 37 million hits.

Archives.com has been working with Amazon.com to add server capacity. This morning before work, I was finally able to access the census records I needed quickly and easily, and found my great-grandfather in Cleveland.

Read the post from Archives.com here.



Archives.com | census records | NARA
Tuesday, April 03, 2012 8:38:18 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, March 30, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, March 26-30
Posted by Diane

  • More than a million Westminster Parish baptism, marriage and burial records dating back to 1538 now available on subscription and pay-as-you-go site findmypast.co.uk. The records come from 50-plus Westminster churches. More Westminster records will go live over the coming months, along with cemetery registers, wills, rate books, settlement examinations, workhouse admission and discharge books, bastardy, orphan and apprentice records, charity documents, and militia and watch records.
  • The 2012 Houston, Texas, Family History Expo takes place Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7. The keynote speaker is Family Tree Magazine's own podcast host Lisa Louise Cooke, and instructors include frequent contributor Lisa A. Alzo. You can register online or at the door, for the whole conference or just one day, or even a single class. Learn more on the Family History Expos website.

Archives.com | census records | Fold3 | Footnote | Genealogy Events | MyHeritage | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 30, 2012 11:49:57 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, March 23, 2012
1940 Census, Simplified: What You Really Need to Know, in 7 Key Points
Posted by Diane

You've been hearing about the 1940 census from several organizations that'll be hosting the records, and all that information coming at you from various sources might seem confusing.

To help you digest all those details, I'm summarizing and simplifying them here into what you really need to know about where the 1940 census records and indexes will be. Here it is:

1. On April 2 at 9 a.m., the only place you'll be able to find online 1940 census records for the entire country is 1940census.archives.gov. This website was made possible through the National Archives' contract with genealogy company Archives.com.

2. Shortly after the initial release, other websites will begin adding the records as fast as they can. Those include:

3. For the first week to several weeks after April 2, the only way to find your ancestor's 1940 census record will be to browse by enumeration district.

You can find out what an enumeration district is and how to pinpoint the right one by watching our free video on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

4. Three separate projects to index these census records by name will begin ASAP after the records are released:

The 1940 Census Community Project is recruiting volunteers to do the indexing; Ancestry.com and MyHeritage are using paid contractors to do their indexing work.

5. Each site will add its index one state at a time, as states are completed. No site has specified the order in which states will be indexed, so at this time there's no telling when a particular site will add your ancestor's state. It could be weeks or months before a given site posts the index you need (so you'll want to check all the above sites periodically).

6. Ancestry.com is completing its index in two phases: a basic name index to be released first on a state-by-state basis, then a more-detailed index with additional information to follow. This means you may have access to a searchable basic name index for your ancestral state earlier on Ancestry.com than on another site.

7. Watch out for sites that try to charge for access to 1940 census records. There is no need to pay for 1940 census records. They'll be available online, free, at the sites mentioned in No. 2.


Get help finding your ancestors in the US census with these resources from Family Tree Magazine:


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | MyHeritage
Friday, March 23, 2012 3:07:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Genealogy News Corral, March 19-23
Posted by Diane

  • Looks like I'll be parked in front of the TV for a fair portion of the weekend. Tonight on "Who Do You Think You Are?" watch actress Helen Hunt explore her roots. Here's a video preview:

  • Archives.com has hired genealogist Megan Smolenyak as its Family History Advisor. She'll start immediately, talking about the 1940 census. Smolenyak was formerly chief genealogist at Archives.com competitor Ancestry.com.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Ancestry.com | Archives.com | Celebrity Roots | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events
Friday, March 23, 2012 9:09:23 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, March 09, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, March 5-9
Posted by Diane

  • Ancestry.com, along with United Vacations and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, is holding a sweepstakes to coincide with the DVD release of the movie The Descendants. (I have to admit I'm not much of a moviegoer, so I don't know whether The Descendants has anything to do with genealogy, but I do know George Clooney is in it.)

    Prizes include a "glamping" (glamorous camping) trip to Hawaii, a year-long Ancestry.com membership and The Descendants on Blu-ray. Click here to enter.
  • FamilySearch.org added 31 million new, free records this past week for Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Italy, Micronesia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russia and the United States. Those with California roots, in particular, will appreciate the more than 24 million Golden State birth records dating from 1905 to 1995. See the full list of updated records and link to each collection here.

Ancestry.com | Archives.com | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 09, 2012 10:04:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Free Archives.com Database Has Info on Patriots of Color
Posted by Diane

Archives.com has published a free database called Patriots of Color.

These records contain information about men and women of color who fought for American independence as soldiers, skilled craftsmen and servants.

More than two years of research, facilitated by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, was dedicated to verifying the service and complexions of patriots from each of the 13 colonies using records such as pension and bounty land application files, muster and pay rolls, lists of troops, court records, legislative records, census records and more.

You can learn the person's name and alternate names used, complexion, state and type of service, and pension and bounty land warrant numbers (if applicable). Here's an example of a database record:

If you find someone of interest, click the Resources Used button at the bottom for more about the resources you can check to get additional information.

Click here to access the Patriots of Color database on Archives.com.


African-American roots | Archives.com | Military records
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:44:18 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, February 17, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 13-17
Posted by Diane

  • Archives.com has added new records including FamilySearch community trees dating back to around 1500, and 1930 census images (the majority of the 1930 census images are now available, with more images from this plus the 1920 and 1920 censuses coming online over the next several weeks).
The additions bring the count of records available on Archives.com to more than 2 billion.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Genetic Genealogy | MyHeritage | Public Records
Friday, February 17, 2012 12:43:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, February 02, 2012
1940 Census Community Project Update
Posted by Diane

Here's an update on the 1940 Community Census Project, a partnership among FamilySearch, Archives.com and FindMyPast.com. It was the focus of a RootsTech bloggers dinner yesterday.

The 1940 census images will be hosted on Archives.gov, the National Archives website. Archives has been awarded the digitization contract for these images.

Indexing will begin as soon as the records are released online April 2. Each page will be indexed twice, with a third arbitrator to resolve difference in the two indexes.

FamilySearch is making upgrades and doing "test loading" to make sure its site can handle the extra traffic the indexing project will generate.

Chris Van Der Kuyl, CEO of brightsolid (the British parent company of FindMyPast.com), described the 1940 project as "one of the most exciting crowdsourced projects on the internet." A video commercial to be released on YouTube will bill it as a "national service project" and genealogical societies will receive incentives for galvanizing members to index.

Part of the funding provided by brightsolid and Archives.com will be dedicated to producing other free digital collections. The idea is that money that might otherwise be used to build competing census collections will now go to creating access to material that's not already online. It's "putting money into the community that would otherwise be duplicated," says John Spottiswood of Archives.com.

To volunteer for 1940 census indexing, sign up on the 1940 Community Census Project website.


We're joining in the RootsTech excitement with conference specials for everyone! You'll get 20 percent off select online genealogy titles at ShopFamilyTree.com.


Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | RootsTech
Thursday, February 02, 2012 3:40:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, December 16, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Dec. 12-16
Posted by Diane

Last month, NARA selected Archives.com to host the digitized census records. Ancestry.com also has announced it'll offer a 1940 census index and the record images free, at least through 2013.

  • FamilySearch's RootsTech conference, taking place Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City, is open for registration. The early bird rate of $149 is valid through Jan. 13, 2012.
  • The National Genealogical Society 2012 Conference, taking place May 8-12 in Cincinnati, also is open for registration. Early bird prices ($175 for NGS members and $210 for nonmembers, plus extra if you want a printed syllabus) are good through March 20.

Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Research Tips
Friday, December 16, 2011 3:26:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, November 28, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Nov. 21-25
Posted by Diane

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here's a special Monday edition of our weekly news roundup:
  • Findmypast.ie, the Irish website that FindMyPast.uk introduced earlier this year, has added a feature that lets you build your family tree on the site for free (you’ll need to register for a free account with the site). According to the announcement, it’s the first step in the site’s development of a fully integrated family tree program where you can store photos and historical information.

Archives.com | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genetic Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Monday, November 28, 2011 12:15:58 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, November 17, 2011
NARA Picks Archives.com to Provide Online Access to 1940 Census
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has selected Inflection—the parent company of the genealogy subscription site Archives.com—to to design and host a free website for the 1940 census, to be released April 2, 2012 at 9 a.m.

Researchers will be able to browse, view, and download images from the 1940 census. See NARA's full announcement here.

To kick off the partnership, Archives.com has created a web page about the launch of the 1940 Census.

You won't be able to search the census by name right away on April 2; instead, you'll need to know the enumeration district (ED) your relatives lived in and then browse the records for that district. You can find the ED if you know your ancestor's address in 1940 or in 1930.

Here's a post about an online tool that can help you determine the ED.

FamilySearch is heading up an effort to index the 1940 census records ASAP after they're released, which will let genealogists search by name.

Subscription website Ancestry.com also has announced plans to provide the 1940 census for free, at least through 2013.


Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | NARA
Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:07:21 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, September 30, 2011
Geni Introduces Record Match Service
Posted by Diane

Family tree site Geni has launched a service that makes documents from subscription genealogy sites Archives.com and GenealogyBank.com available to Geni Basic (free), Plus and Pro members through profile-based alerts.

The Record Match service automatically searches the subscription collections of the Archives.com and GenealogyBank websites when a Geni member views a relative’s Geni profile. If there’s a match, the Geni member gets an alert and a link to the record. To view the record, he or she will need to register for a free trial membership on the partner site, or be a subscriber.

Archives.com recently announced the addition of the entire set of available US census records, 1790 through 1930. GenealogyBank is known for its collection of digitized newspapers.

Geni CEO Noah Tutak hinted that more such record partnerships are in the works: “By providing records from the person’s profile, first with partners Archives.com and GenealogyBank.com, and with many others to come, we can save genealogists from spending their time conducting separate searches on the many genealogy databases available.”

Read more about Record Match on the Geni blog


Archives.com | Genealogy Web Sites | Newspapers
Friday, September 30, 2011 1:51:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 01, 2011
Archives.com to Add Entire US Census
Posted by Diane

Genealogy subscription site Archives.com will add indexes and images for the entire US federal census, probably the most-used US genealogical record, in what Archives.com CEO Matthew Monahan calls a “game-changer” for genealogists.

As part of the effort, Archives.com reached an agreement with FamilySearch—the source of the census records—to dedicate a minimum of $5 million to digitizing genealogy records that are not currently online.

The indexes for all censuses are available now, as are images for the 1850, 1870 and 1900 censuses, for a total of more than 500 million names and 3 million images. The rest of the images will be added over the next weeks and months, says spokesperson Julie Hill. Learn more about the site's census collection on its census resource page.

The census search screen looks like this:

You can see it's more streamlined with fewer options than Ancestry.com's census search. You'll also receive fewer results—a search of all census years for the last name Haddad (not exact) living anywhere in the United States, born in Ohio between 1907 and 1911, netted me 30 matches on Archives.com and 63 on Ancestry.com. This might be good or bad for your research—it can be overwhelming to search through a flood of matches, but you also might lose some searching flexibility.

Here's a page of Archives.com search results:

When you click on a match, you first see this page displaying all the indexed fields:

Archives also is introducing a new, Flash-based image viewer that lets users zoom in, adjust contrast, invert colors and more (a basic image viewer will be an option for computers without Flash):

We’re thinking this is what Archives.com product director Joe Godfrey was referring to in May, when he opened the National Genealogical Society conference by announcing the site would “embark on an ambitious content acquisition and digitization plan, focusing in part on the digitization of material not yet online.” 

Anne Roach, who chaired FamilySearch’s 2011 RootsTech conference, joined Archives to lead the project.

The addition of the census will bring Archives.com, which launched in July 2009, into more-direct competition with industry leader Ancestry.com. Until Archives.com adds the rest of the census images, Ancestry.com is the only site providing access to all extant US census records and document images.

Archives.com will keep its subscription price at $39.95 "for the time being," says Hill. "That’s one-eighth the price of an Ancestry.com World membership. If you compare the subscriptions on a line-by-line basis, its remarkable how many high-value collections are available for one-eighth the price.”


Ancestry.com | census records | Archives.com
Thursday, September 01, 2011 1:26:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [12]