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<2017 July>

More Links

# Thursday, 09 March 2017
9 Timesaving Hacks for Ancestry, FamilySearch & Other Top Genealogy Websites
Posted by Diane

These quick tricks for some of the genealogy websites you use most often will help you get to the records you want faster. You'll find even more genealogy website hacks in the March/April 2017 Family Tree Magazine, our special genealogy websites issue. Contributing editor David A. Fryxell shared these hacks:

Map your family tree locations in MyHeritage.
In the menu on the left side of your MyHeritage home page, select PedigreeMap, and the site generates an interactive world map of events in your online tree. Read more about PedigreeMap in this blog post.

Search GenealogyBank for all newspapers in a city.
Searching the entire site when you really want hits only from one place can flood you with useless results. To search all the newspapers from a single city, click on the state (on the map or text link) on the GenealogyBank home page. You’ll see a page with a map and list of links by city. Select a city, and the next page lets you search all the applicable titles.


See what’s new at your favorite genealogy websites.
It’s good to repeat searches to find recently added records, but annoying to slog through the same matches you’ve already seen. Here's how to check out the latest additions on several sites:

Find free records on Findmypast.
By registering for a guest membership at Findmypast, you can access 850 million free records, including US censuses, US and Canadian public records, family trees and Irish Catholic parish records—without paying a cent. You’ll find the Findmypast freebies listed here.

Review search results faster.

Once you’ve got some search hits on or FamilySearch, you can save time by not clicking through to review every possible result:
  • On your results list, hover your pointer over the blue, underlined collection title (such as “1940 United States Federal Census”). A window pops up showing key data from that record, so you can decide whether to investigate further.

  • On your FamilySearch results list, click in the area below the person's name and database name.

SaveSave | FamilySearch | findmypast | Fold3 | MyHeritage | Newspapers
Thursday, 09 March 2017 13:04:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Wednesday, 04 May 2016
Genealogy News From the NGS Conference in Florida!
Posted by Diane

The National Genealogical Society's annual family history conference is happening now through May 7 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Here's a quickupdate with news from the conference: | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives | MyHeritage
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 16:01:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 12 February 2016
Searchable Irish Catholic Parish Registers Coming to
Posted by Diane

Those searchable Irish Catholic parish registers that are coming to Findmypast in March also will be available on that month.

That includes 10 million baptism, marriage and burial records from 1,000 parishes in what's now the republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The collection consists of mostly mostly baptisms and marriages; the handful of burials are largely from northern areas. already has some Roman Catholic parish records, accounting for the "55 million Irish records" total cited in yesterday's press release. 

Both companies' announcements say it's the first time the record images have been linked with a searchable index online.

Trying to trace your Irish roots? Our Irish Genealogy Crash Course on-demand webinar will help you find genealogy records and  tackle challenges unique to ancestry research in Ireland. It's available from as a download you can watch immediately. | findmypast | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 12 February 2016 10:17:24 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 09 February 2016
Findmypast News From RootsTech: Searchable Irish Catholic Parish Registers and More
Posted by Diane

Remember the National Library of Ireland's Irish Catholic parish registers that went online for free in July, and how the digital images on that site aren't searchable? Genealogy website Findmypast just announced it will launch an indexed, searchable collection of these records in March. I can't wait! I'm hoping this will help me find a place of origin for my Irish immigrant ancestors. See more details on the Irish Genealogy News blog.

Findmypast also has released 33 million US marriage records in partnership with FamilySearch (so you also can search these records on the free FamilySearch website). Findmypast will continue to add to this collection, which eventually will contain more than 450 million names from 2,800 US counties. This first installment of the collection is free to search through Monday, Feb. 15. Read more details here.

At last week's RootsTech conference, Findmypast announced it has formed partnerships with several other genealogy companies so the sites' record collections can be embedded within the partner products. Partners include:

Want to take advantage of the growing genealogy record collections at Findmypast? Our Findmypast web guide can help!

findmypast | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Software | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 10:31:10 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Genealogy Website Merger: Findmypast to Absorb Mocavo
Posted by Diane

British-based genealogy website Findmypast, which acquired the Mocavo website in July 2014, will unite the two sites over the coming months, Findmypast announced earlier this week.

Mocavo launched in March 2011 as a genealogy search engine, and grew into a historical records site. You could search individual databases for free, or subscribe for advanced searching and to search across all collections at once. In 2012, Mocavo acquired ReadyMicro, a developer of digitization technology, and the next year announced progress in developing software that reads cursive handwriting.  

Mocavo's site content will move to Findmypast, where it will continue to be available to Mocavo members. Findmypast plans to honor Mocavo's promise in 2013 to make records "free forever." Mocavo members will receive updates and instructions as accounts are transferred.

Read more about the marriage of Findmypast and Mocavo on the Mocavo blog.

Update: Findmypast is having a free weekend Jan. 22-25. It includes World records but not the 1939 Register. See the Findmypast blog for more details on this free records offer.

findmypast | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 19 January 2016 15:11:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 02 November 2015
Findmypast Releases the 1939 Register of England and Wales
Posted by Diane just released the newly digitized 1939 Register, a listing of the civilian population of England and Wales taken at the end of September 1939, when World War II had just broken out. Called "The Wartime Domesday Book," the listing was used to issue identity cards, plan evacuations, establish rationing and fulfill other wartime needs.

Each household record includes the names of the inhabitants at the address, dates of birth, marital status and occupation. 

For those researching British roots, this release is at least as significant as the 1940 census was for Americans back in 2012. The 1939 Register is the only surviving record of the population of England and Wales between 1921 and 1951, so it bridges a 30-year gap in history while providing a significant source of genealogical data.

Accessing records works differently than for other collections, and it's not included in your Findmypast subscription.

Instead, you search for a household and click Preview on a result to make sure it's the right one. Then you can "unlock" that household's records for 60 credits, a cost of $10.95. You purchase the credits in bundles of one ($10.95), five ($37.95) or 15 ($82.95) households.

Although pricey, you do get more for the money: In addition to an image of the original register, the unlocked records include old maps and photos, local statistics, and newspaper articles (as indicated in the image above).

If you have more to spend (perhaps for a Christmas gift), a link on the transcript page for your unlocked register lets you purchase a customized coffee table-quality book with your family's Register page, infographics and other information (here's what it looks like), similar items in a frame (see an example here) and other 1939 souvenirs.

Some interesting population data from the 1939 Register:
  • The civilian population of England and Wales was 41 million, living in 12 million households, with an average of 3 people living in one household. (Compare that to the 1940 US census, where the population was 132.2 million, living in 35 million households, an average of 3.7 people per household.)
  • In England and Wales the average age was 33 for men and 35 for women. (In the United States, it was 29 for both men and women).

  • At the beginning of September 1939, under the threat of German bombing, 1.5 million children, women and disabled were evacuated. The 1939 Register, which was taken at the end of September, shows only 2 percent of the population in London was aged 0-10.
  • 53 percent female and 47 percent male (50.17 percent of the US population was male; 49.83 percent was female)
  • Almost 50 percent of women in England and Wales fulfilled a domestic role, either unpaid at home or in service. (In America in 1940, 57 percent of women were devoted to full-time domestic duties, for those in the labor force, the number one occupation was clerical worker).
  • The most common occupation for men was ‘retired’, with ‘clerk’ as second. (For US men the top two areas of occupation were manufacturing and agriculture.
  • 46.2 percent of the population was married, 45.6 percent was single and 6.5 percent widowed. ( In 1940 in the United States, 61.07 percent of the population 15 and older was married.)
Search the 1939 Register on Findmypast here.

findmypast | UK and Irish roots
Monday, 02 November 2015 16:25:25 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 16 March 2015
Trace Irish Ancestors in Poverty Relief Loan Records on Findmypast
Posted by Diane

Subscription site Findmypast recently added Poverty Relief Loan Fund records to its Irish record collections. These records document loans that local committees provided to the "industrious poor." They contain nearly 700,000 personal names from counties Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Leitrim, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Tipperary, giving age, occupation, fiscal history, and sometimes more.

The collection ranges from 1821 to 1874, with most records dating from 1824 to 1846. They include the Irish Famine era, 1845 to 1852, when many of our Irish relatives would've been most in need of assistance.

The records include follow-up information on the borrowers, who might've emigrated, been punished for nonpayment, or died of starvation or disease (so, maybe not the collection you want to research if you're already having a bad day).

See this Findmypast blog post for tips on using the Poverty Relief Loan Fund records, as well as an example of tracing a borrower from County Mayo, Joseph Cannon, on his loan application (shown above) and ledger entries.

Findmypast subscribers can search the Ireland, Poverty Relief Loans 1821-1874 database here (where you'll also find much more information about this record set), or browse the records here.

For tips on searching for ancestors in Findmypast, look for our Findmypast Web Guide download in

findmypast | UK and Irish roots
Monday, 16 March 2015 15:36:18 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 13 March 2015
Genealogy News Corral, March 9-13
Posted by Diane

We have two genealogy website closures to report this week:
  • The Place My Past website, which let you put your family tree on a map, will close March 19. This is partly because Google is retiring one of the main datasets Place My Past uses to find locations in members' family trees, and partly because of "internal issues."
The Federation of Genealogical Societies has issued a call for presentations for its 2016 annual conference, to be held Aug. 31-Sept. 3 in Springfield, Ill. The deadline for submissions is April 10, 2015. Click here for information on submitting proposals.

FamilySearch has added more than 2.2 million index records and images to the free Records come from Australia, Philippines, Slovakia, Ukraine, the United States, and Zimbabwe. You can see the list of updated collections and click through to search or browse each onefrom the FamilySearch blog.

FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 13 March 2015 09:53:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 04 March 2015
This Weekend Only: Search Genealogy Records FREE!
Posted by Diane

You now have plans this weekend. Subscription genealogy website is giving everyone free access to the site's records this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That includes collections such as
  • US censuses from 1790 forward
  • military records including the American Revolution
  • historical newspapers from across the United States and British papers as far back as 1710
  • ... and more
The free period starts Friday, March 6, at 7 a.m. ET, and runs to Monday, March 9 at 7 a.m.  You'll need to set up a free registration with the site to view record images. When 7 a.m. on Friday rolls around, start searching Findmypast for free here.

If you already subscribe to Findmypast, you'll benefit from the free-access period, too: Their subscriptions will be extended by three days.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 11:30:55 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Friday, 27 February 2015
Genealogy News Corral: Feb. 23-27
Posted by Diane

  • Subscription site Findmypast added several new UK, Irish and Australian record collections for Findmypast Friday, including 1832 cholera victims, British Trade Union membership registers,  Irish newspapers, New South Wales cemetery transcriptions and more. Read more about the updated databases on the Findmypast Fridays home page.

FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy TV | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 27 February 2015 15:41:26 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Findmypast Launches Record Hints for Members' Family Trees
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy website Findmypast has launched the beta version of record Hints for its members' family trees.

Hints for an individual are activated when you add or update the person's information in your Findmypast family tree. Hints will search the site's record collections for matches to the person, then display the hint for you to accept, further consider, or reject.

"Hints currently provide matches from our birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial records across the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia," says Findmypast's director of family history, D. Joshua Taylor. Other record sets will be included in the future. 

Members will see the number of hints available for an ancestor in their family tree pedigree or family view (shown):

You can click on the orange My Hints button to see all your hints for this tree:

... or click on an ancestor and then on the Hints tab to see all hints for that person:

Click Review to compare the information from a Hint record to the information in your tree, and decide of they name the same person:

Then you can use the buttons at the bottom to reject the hint, continue considering it, or attach the record to the person in your tree.

Building a family tree is free on Findmypast, but you'd need a subscription to view most matching records in your Hints.

Taylor says that Hints, which is currently in beta, will appear gradually in Findmypast members' trees over the coming weeks.

For help using hints, see the video and guide on Findmypast

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 14:31:08 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 12 December 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Dec. 8-12
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch announced another big-name keynote speaker—actually, two—for the February 2015 RootsTech conference: Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager, a special correspondent to NBC's "Today," will present the keynote talk during the Friday morning general session, Feb. 13. The former First Lady will talk about life in the White House, the importance of family, and the days following Sept. 11; Hager will join her to share family stories.

FamilySearch | findmypast
Friday, 12 December 2014 14:12:58 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 21 November 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Nov. 17-21
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy for kids | Genealogy societies
Friday, 21 November 2014 12:25:25 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 07 November 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Nov. 3-7
Posted by Diane

  • Family tree site WikiTree has added two new features to its Relationshop Finder tool, which helps those who've taken genetic genealogy tests find matches on WikiTree. The Relationship Finder now lets you easily browse all the ancestors you have in common with matches, and lets you filter your common ancestors to display only those who also are shared with a third, fourth or fifth person. You can read WikiTree's announcement about the relationship finder here.

findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots | Swedish roots
Friday, 07 November 2014 15:02:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 05 November 2014
Get Free Access to Findmypast Genealogy Records Nov. 7-10
Posted by Diane

If you've been wanting to try the subscription genealogy website Findmypast, now is the time: In honor of Veterans Day (Nov. 11 in the United States), Findmypast will open up its collections for free access this weekend.

The free period will run from 7 a.m. ET Friday, Nov. 7 to 7 a.m. ET Monday, Nov. 10.

The free access includes global record sets such as censuses; vital records; newspapers; local English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish records; passenger lists; the Periodical Source Index and more. You'll need to set up a free registration to access the free records.

Click here to learn more about the Findmypast free weekend.

Wednesday, 05 November 2014 16:33:37 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Friday, 19 September 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Sept. 15-19
Posted by Diane

  • The Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections blogger is revealing the results of the annual Rock Star Genealogist voting—genealogists whose public appearances, lectures and written works are musts for family historians. Winning Rock Stars are grouped into overall "Gold Medalists," as well as winners for Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, England/Scotland/Wales, USA, and DNA (countries refer to the voters' reported nationalities, not necessarily to the nationalities of the winners).

    Congratulations to the Rock Stars for their contributions to genealogy education! You can read, listen to and hear several of the winners—including Judy G. Russell,  D. Joshua Taylor, Lisa A. Alzo and Blaine Bettinger—through Family Tree Magazine and Family Tree University articles and webinars.

  • Findmypast has announced the start of weekly Findmypast Fridays, when the subscription genealogy website will add thousands of new, "often exclusive" records to the site. You can view the latest additions on the Findmypast Fridays page.
  • Findmypast also has added new digital images to its Periodical Source Index (PERSI) collection, the index (leased from the Allen County Public Library, which compiles it) to information in genealogy and local history publications from the United States, Canada and other countries. Last year, Findmypast announced an initiative to start linking its PERSI index entries to digitized images of the articles from which the entry was created—meaning you no longer have to send away for copies of articles (sometimes only to discover it's not about your ancestor, after all). See a list of publications that were added on the Findmypast blog.
  • If you're a blogger, writer, editor or social media enthusiast, the Federation of Genealogical Societies invites you to be an ambassador—basically, a spreader of news—for the 2015 FGS conference, Feb. 11-14 in Salt Lake City (held in combination with FamilySearch's RootsTech conference). Benefits include direct contact with the FGS 2015 Marketing committee, advance notice of press releases, and a meet-up at the conference. See the announcement on the FGS Voice blog, which also links to ambassador guidelines and registration instructions.

findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Friday, 19 September 2014 13:33:36 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 12 September 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Sept. 8-12
Posted by Diane

  • Subscription site  has added more than 240,000 parish records to its marriage and burial records for Surrey, Middlesex and Eastebourne parishes in Britain. (And I didn't know that genealogical socities that transcribe these records for Findmypast get a royalty each time the records are viewed.) The site also has added an "Attach a Tree" button to its images and transcriptions, so you can attach records to your ancestors' profiles in your Findmypast family tree.
  • Here's an alarming heads up from genealogy author Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak: Someone is selling a fake Kindle book with her name on it on Add it to the list of scams that writers and genealogy consumers have to watch out for. Visit Megan's Roots World blog to see the warning and make sure you don't fall for this one. | Celebrity Roots | findmypast | Genealogy books | Genealogy TV | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 12 September 2014 10:01:57 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 22 August 2014
Genealogy News Corral: August 17-22
Posted by Diane

  • To celebrate back-to-school season, genealogy website Mocavo—one of our 101 Best Websites for genealogy—is offering free access to its universal search of all databases at once this weekend, Aug. 22-24. (Normally on Mocavo, you can search one database at a time for free, but you need a subscription to search multiple databases at once.) You'll need to create a free basic Mocavo account to use the open access offer, and it ends Sunday, Aug. 24 at 11 p.m. Eastern. You'll find more details on the Mocavo blog.
  • has launched a Hall of Heroes campaign to help you share stories about heroic figures in your family history—whether their deeds have been officially recognized in some way, or are known only to you. You can submit your family hero's story and describe records where you found the information, and read about other heroes documented in the site's collections. Browse the Hall of Heroes website here.
  • Registration opens Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. Eastern for the 2015 Forensic Genealogy Institute. The event itself takes place March 26-28 next year in Dallas; find a course description here. Forensic genealogy is a profession involving genealogy research and reporting in cases with legal implications (such as heirship), and the institute is intended for those wanting to develop their skills in the forensic genealogy field.

FamilySearch | findmypast | Free Databases | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 22 August 2014 10:01:41 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 18 July 2014
Genealogy News Corral: July 14-18
Posted by Diane

  • The UK-based genealogy company Findmypast and Wall-to-Wall, the "Who Do You Think You Are?" TV show production company,  are working together on Who Do You Think You Are? Story,  a website to help you "produce" your family story. You'll enter information about your immediate family and upload photos, and the site will play an "animated retelling" of your family story, including events that may have affected your family. It will draw from historical records and British newspaper articles at FindMyPast. You can be notified when the site launches by entering your email address on the Who Do You think You Are? Story website. Read more about the service on the Findmypast blog.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | MyHeritage | saving and sharing family history
Friday, 18 July 2014 09:48:52 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 23 June 2014
Findmypast Acquires Genealogy Website Mocavo
Posted by Diane

Another week, another acquisition for British genealogy company Findmypast: The company just announced that it has purchased, a genealogy search engine, records and family tree website. Mocavo will become a fully owned subsidiary of Findmypast.

The announcement from Findmypast is here. You can read Mocavo's statement about the acquisition on its home page and blog

As part of the acquisition, Findmypast's indexes to the US Census from 1790 to 1940 are now free at

On Mocavo, you can search and view results from individual datasets for free; subscribers can search across the site, access advanced search features and download records. (So to see full results from the census index for free, you should scroll down on the census search page and search one decade at a time, rather than the entire US census at once.)

In 2012, Mocavo acquired ReadyMicro, which specialized in digitizing historical records. That acquisition has led to encouraging development in software that can "read" handwritten records and make them searchable online.

“Our heritage and rich record collections coupled with Mocavo’s sophisticated technology will make for a powerful combination," says Findmypast director of family history D. Joshua Taylor.

"Expect Mocavo to grow stronger with Findmypast’s support and to continue to drive innovation in the family history category," says Cliff Shaw, who founded Mocavo in 2011.

Several of Shaw's earlier genealogy startups have been acquired by major companies. GenForum, which Shaw founded as a college student, was purchased by (and is soon to become read-only). Shaw also founded Pearl Street Software and BackUpMyTree, both of which were purchased by MyHeritage.

Last week, Findmypast acquired British and Irish genealogy site

findmypast | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 23 June 2014 12:16:42 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 30 May 2014
Genealogy News Corral: May 26-30
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch's recently updated collections come from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, and the United States. They include Quebec notarial records, Freedmen's Bureau records, and New York passenger arrival records from 1909 and 1925 to 1957 (that's after the time period you can search at, and it includes air passengers). Go here to read more about the updates and click through to search or browse each one.

  • Record additions at subscription website include Irish marriage and death notices from American newspapers, 4 million British army service records dating from 1914 to 1920, 19th-century marriage and death notices from New York City newspapers, and more. It's part of the site's 100 in 100 campaign to release 100 new record sets in 100 days.
  • The ScotlandsPeople website has added the wills of 31,000 soldiers from 1857 to 1964. They include records of 26,000 soldiers who died in World War I and 5,000 who died in World War II. A few hundred come from earlier wars. You can read more about this digitization project and sample records here (click Image Gallery). Register for free with the site to search the wills and view basic information; it costs 10 credits (about $2.90) to view a document.

FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy books | Military records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 30 May 2014 12:00:27 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 11 April 2014
Genealogy News Corral, April 7-11
Posted by Diane

  • The British Newspaper Archive, a partnership between D.C. Thomson Family History (owner of the findmypast websites) and the British Library, has a new, free iPhone app called Here & Then. It shows you newspaper articles about what happened on this day in history,  amusing news blurbs from history, and historical news articles related to today's headlines. Download the app from the iTunes store.

  • Findmypast has announced an initiative to release 100 databases in 100 days. The databases will come from around the world and so far include the Birmingham Pals WWI battalion, Glasgow Pals, Liverpool Pals and more. Learn more here. In related news, subscribers to the British site are up in arms about site updates many say make the site harder to navigate and search. The new site was rolled out to international customers over a year ago, but only recently introduced to UK customers, according to a Q&A on the problems

  • Professional genealogist and house historian Marian Pierre-Louis has started a new podcast called The Genealogy Professional. It provides guidance on running a genealogy business for professional genealogists and amateur researchers considering going pro. Shows are broadcast weekly, released every Monday through the Genealogy Professional website as well as iTunes and Stitcher.
  • British genealogy site has updated its free Devon Wills Project index to include more than 300,000 Devon wills from 1164 to 1992. Not all of the original wills referenced survived WWII bombings; the index tells you whether an original, copy, transcription or abstract of the will survives and how to access it. Search here.

findmypast | Genealogy societies | Podcasts | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 11 April 2014 13:35:22 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 27 March 2014
Findmypast to Digitize 1939 Register of England and Wales
Posted by Diane website owners DC Thomson Family History today announced plans to digitize the 1939 Register of England and Wales over the next two years.

The British government created the register to record information about citizens as of Sept. 29, 1939, as WWII broke out in Europe. It was used to issue identity cards and ration books, and later formed the basis of National Health Service records.

The register contains an individuals' full name, addresses, date of birth, sex, marital status and occupation, and also notes changes of name.

The 1.2 million digital images in the 1939 Register collection will become searchable on within the next two years. Information about living individuals, however, will be kept closed for 100 years from their year of birth, or until proof of death has been authenticated.

You can read more about this project and register to get updates here.

Learn how to locate the place your English ancestors came from with our video class Hedgerow Genealogy: A Three-Step Strategy for Finding English Origins, presented by English genealogy expert J. H. Fonkert.

findmypast | UK and Irish roots
Thursday, 27 March 2014 09:52:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 21 February 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 17-21
Posted by Diane

  • The College of Charleston has launched the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative to share exhibits that "highlight underrepresented race, class, gender, and labor histories within and connected to the Lowcountry region." Current exhibits feature photos and historical documents related to slavery and the struggle for civil rights. This map, for example, shows the plan of the Airyhall rice and cotton plantation in 1849.

  • The new family history mapping website Place My Past has made some updates, including a Gallery page of maps and datasets you can layer over your family tree. Recently added datasets include US cemeteries, churches and other genealogical points of interest from the US Geographic Names Information System. You can browse the main map on Place My Past for free; subscribers ($48 per year) can upload their family trees to be plotted onto a map, add notes, and overlay it with maps and visualizations of data from the Place My Past Gallery.

  • Findmypast's Australian genealogy subscription site,, has added more than 640,000 convict records. It's an especially handy database for Australians, as about 20 percent of them (according to findmypast) are estimated to have convict ancestry. The new records include more than 515,000 New South Wales and Tasmania: Settlers and Convicts 1787-1859 documents, and 125,000 Convict Transportation Registers. Read more about the collection on
  • has added close to 4.2 million indexed records and images to collections from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Honduras, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. UK additions include WWI Women's Auziliary Corps Records (1917-1920), which aren't yet indexed, so you'll need to browse them. From the United States, notable additions include 1850 census slave schedules (browse only) and records form the Panama Canal Zone (1905-1937, also browse only). Click here to see a list and access each updated collection.

African-American roots | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | International Genealogy
Friday, 21 February 2014 11:24:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 07 February 2014
Genealogy News Corral: RootsTech 2014 Edition
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch's RootsTech conference, going on through Saturday in Salt Lake City, kicked off its Friday with a dynamic keynote address by the Legal Genealogist Judy Russell. She started with an archivist's statement that oral family history can be lost in just three generations, because it isn't purposely and accurately passed down (see the exact quote on Judy's blog). The recording isn't yet available on the RootsTech website, but it will be.

Remember that you can watch live streamed presentations on the home page, too. (Try switching browsers if you just see a black screen. I had to switch to Chrome from my usual Firefox.) 

Yesterday, I posted news from FamilySearch, including a new obituary indexing initiative and free access to, MyHeritage and at Family History Centers (and, for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from home).

Here are a few more news items:
  • Subscription/pay-per-view website is restructuring its subscription offerings to include a one-month option. A one-month US subscription for $9.95, which includes all records from the USA. A one month World subscription costs $19.95, which includes access to records from around the world.
  • Subscription genealogy site MyHeritage has added 815 million US public records of US residents to its SuperSearch. This compilation was assembled from telephone directories, property tax assessments, credit applications, voter registration lists and other records available to the public. The information spans the last five decades, making it helpful for finding living relatives. Read more on the MyHeritage blog.
  • Mocavo has added 20,000 new databases, bringing its database count to more than 250,000. They're free to access if you search one database at a time (find them listed here). To view match details when you run a search across all databases, you must be a premium member ($7 or $9 per month). One thing you can do is search all databases for an ancestor, view the match "snippets" for promising-looking records, note the databases they're in, then go to the database listings and search the ones you need.
  • In a low-fanfare breakfast with a small group of bloggers and media, representatives from subscription site said that records of Mexico and Germany are an area of content focus, among other plans. I'll once again send you the extremely thorough Ancestry Insider for additional details.

  • RootsMagic, maker of RootsMagic software, just launched a RootsMagic app for Android devices. You can access your RootsMagic files, explore your tree, view all your RootsMagic data and more. Read about the RootsMagic app here, and download it here
If you want to see what it's like to be at RootsTech, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings is posting detailed daily reports (including links to posts by other bloggers who are at the conference), as is Miriam Robbins at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors. | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage
Friday, 07 February 2014 16:20:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 06 February 2014
FamilySearch Launches Obituary Indexing Effort & More News From RootsTech
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch held a media dinner last night before the start of the RootsTech conference. The Ancestry Insider has a great report on the key points. A few I'd like to highlight:
  • This fourth-annual RootsTech has about 8,000 registrants. After the conference, 622 locations around the world will hold events featuring recorded RootsTech sessions.
  • FamilySearch is launching an effort to index 100 million newspaper obituaries this year. A pirate named Capt. Jack Starling is apparently roaming around the conference in promotion of this effort, so don't be surprised if you see him popping up in your Facebook news feeds.
  •, findmypast and MyHeritage, each of which has strategic partnerships with FamilySearch, will be free to use at FamilySearch Centers. Each website also has plans to let users transfer information between a tree on that site and a FamilySearch family tree.

    Update: According to blogger Dick Eastman, members of the LDS church (which operates FamilySearch) will receive free in-home access to these commercial sites.  
The Salt Lake Tribune has an article here with more on FamilySearch's commercial partnerships.

In other RootsTech news, FamilySearch announced the winners of its annual developer challenge, which rewards the most innovative new concepts to family history. They are Genealogy Systems LLC's Find-A-Record, a searchable index of record collections (so far, mostly on; PhotoFaceMatch from Eclipse Identity Recognition Corp.; and the Saving Memories Forever story-saving app. Read more about the winners here. | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Events | MyHeritage
Thursday, 06 February 2014 11:15:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 05 February 2014 Adds PERSI Genealogical Index
Posted by Diane

Was it really more than six months ago that subscription/pay-per-view genealogy website announced it planned to add the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) to its databases—and better yet, link each entry to an image of the original article it refers to? Time flies!

You now can search PERSI on If you hover over the Search Records tab and choose Newspapers & Periodicals, then select PERiodical Source Index (or just click here), you'll see:

PERSI, created by librarians at the Allen County (Ind.) Public Library Genealogy Center, is an index to thousands of historical, genealogical and ethnic journals and magazines. Most cover the United States and Canada, but some cover Britain, Ireland and Australia.

The database on includes 2.5 million index entries, and it will be updated on a quarterly basis. Some entries link to the digitized articles, including the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 1871-1920, and more will be added over time. A partnership with the Federation of Genealogical Societies to preserve society publications is making this effort possible.

When I've searched PERSI in teh past, I've found it difficult to determine if the source article was about my relative or someone else, and what type of information the article contained. How great would it be to just click and read the full article online?

You can search PERSI on by last name, place and/or keyword, and matches include the article title, periodical title and year the article was published. You can click for more information or the digitized article, if you're a subscriber or have pay-as-you-go credits.

Don't limit yourself to name searches, because genealogical society publications often contain descriptions of unique local resources, but not necessarily indexes. Try searching PERSI just by place and/or with a keyword, such as a church your family attended or a place a relative worked.

For PERSI entries that don't link to source articles, you can order copies from the Genealogy Center (click the Services tab). 

Read the full PERSI press release on

findmypast | Genealogy societies | Research Tips
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 11:51:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 06 November 2013
Genealogy Resources To Be Thankful For
Posted by Diane

It's a month of being thankful—in daily Facebook posts, at the Thanksgiving table, and in our 11 Online Genealogy Resources to Be Thankful For webinar on Nov. 20. Here are some of the genealogy resources I'm thankful for (in no particular order):
  • Other genealogists! They've shared tombstone photos, burial records, baptismal information and genealogy happy dances, and helped me fill in blank spots in my tree. Recently, a genealogist I emailed about a possible connection (I found his online tree with a Google search of the last name, city, and the word genealogy) helped me figure out the correct German birthplace for my third-great-grandmother.
  • An organization that's digitizing genealogy records, mobilizing millions of volunteers to index them, and making them available free online has to be on a genealogist's thank-you list. I'm talking about FamilySearch. I check the site regularly for new and updated collections in the places my ancestors lived. To do this for your research, scroll down on the search page and click the world region of choice. Then choose the state or country from the filters on the left. Click Last Updated on the right to see what's been added recently.
  • I'm thankful for subscription-based resources, too. They make possible all the research I wouldn't  get done if I had to travel to the places my ancestors lived. And that's most of my research—these days, it's hard to get out of the house child-free, period., GenealogyBank, findmypast, MyHeritage—whichever one has the records you need is the right one for you. To save some money, see if your local library or FamilySearch Center offers free access to any subscription sites.
  • Of course, I want to go to those libraries and archives and pore over the records and books they have. I'm thankful that libraries and archives are there to preserve and organize historical records, with knowledgable staff who help family historians find what they need. And I'm extremely thankful for interlibrary loan, which has allowed me to find ancestors in microfilmed prison registers and city directories from other libraries. 
I could list resources I'm thankful for all day. What genealogy resources are you thankful for?

In the 11 Online Genealogy Resources to Be Thankful for webinar, presenter Gena Philibert-Ortega, will share a feast of resources for doing genealogy online—and how to get the most out of those websites.

The webinar is Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. PT).  As always, anyone who registers will receive a 25-plus-page handout of the presentation slides, and access to view the webinar again as many times as they want. | FamilySearch | findmypast | Libraries and Archives | MyHeritage
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:36:48 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 17 October 2013
FamilySearch Partners With Owner D.C. Thomson
Posted by Tyler

FamilySearch is forming yet another partnership with a commercial genealogy company—this time, with DC Thomson, formerly called Brightsolid, owner of the subscription website.

DC Thomson will "deliver a wide range of projects including digital preservation, records search, technological development and the means to allow family historians to share their discoveries." No additional specifics are being offered about the projects.

DC Thomson, in turn, received access to more than 13 million records from, including major collections of births, marriages and deaths covering America, Australia and Ireland. Those records have already launched on About 600 additional collections containing millions of records will follow. Those records will continue to be accessible free at

The organizations have previously collaborated on digitization and indexing projects including the 1940 census and  British army service records.

I wonder how these partnership agreements affect each other. Is FamilySearch trying not to play favorites, or does it have fingers in too many pies? For example, can the records digitized and indexed as a result of's $60 million investment with FamilySearch then be shared with's competitor (which has agreed to give FamilySearch its Smart Matching and Record Matching technologies) and/or with DC Thomson (in exchange for the unspecified projects)?  

As has become FamilySearch's practice with such announcements, the organization has posted an FAQ here. (Question #2 makes it sound a little like findmypast records are launching on FamilySearch, which is the opposite of what's happening.) | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Industry | MyHeritage
Thursday, 17 October 2013 10:00:59 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 04 October 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 30-Oct. 4
Posted by Diane

  • Those researching ancestors in Ireland, may be relieved to hear this announcement from the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO): “In recent weeks stories have been circulated by some within the genealogical community that the new Freedom of Information Bill will restrict access to Ireland's civil registration records. CIGO can categorically state that these rumors are completely unfounded. No such change is contemplated and this has been confirmed by Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State in the Irish government.” Read more on the CIGO website.
  • UK genealogists have launched a free Register of One-Place Studies website, where researchers can register historical studies covering the entire population of a particular place. Click the link for each study for basic details and a link to the study website. Most listings are for the UK, with some from elsewhere.

FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Industry | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 04 October 2013 14:07:16 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 16 August 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Aug. 12-16
Posted by Diane

  • Subscription and pay-per-view site has added books from Archives CD Books Canada to its online collections. The 200 volumes date back to the 1600s and include military, religious, occupational and immigration records, business directories, published genealogies and vital records. The content is primarily Canadian, but also relates to Scottish, Irish, German and other roots. You can see all the books listed on Dick Eastman's blog.

Family Tree University | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Friday, 16 August 2013 12:59:00 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 26 July 2013
Genealogy News Corral, July 22-26
Posted by Diane

  • Royal genealogy has been a hot topic on the interwebs since the birth of Prince George of Cambridge Monday bumped his Uncle Prince Harry out of the No. 3 spot in the line of successtion to the British throne. MyHeritage has the Royal Family Tree here. I found the Modern View easier to use; you can use the tabs at the bottom of the page to toggle between this and the Classic View. Click on a person to see details about him or her on the left.
  • has updated its free Shoebox Mobile App (for Android and iPhone), acquired along with 1000memories in 2012. The photo "scanning" app lets you take high-quality photos of your family photos and documents, map their location, and edit, date, and tag them. If you have an Ancestry Member Tree, you can then upload the images to the profile of someone in your tree. Learn more about the app here. | Celebrity Roots | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Jewish roots | MyHeritage | Photos
Friday, 26 July 2013 11:10:33 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Can Take PERSI From Most-Overlooked to Most-Used Genealogy Resource?
Posted by Diane

PERSI, aka the Periodical Source Index, may be about to go from one of the best most-overlooked genealogy resources to one of the best most-used.

Brightsolid, the British company behind and other genealogy websites, has agreed with PERSI's creators at the Allen County (Ind.) Public Library (ACPL) to publish the index—and the company plans to make each index entry link to an image of the article it refers to.

Let's back up for a minute and talk about PERSI: It's an index to articles in thousands of genealogy and local history periodicals published in the US and Canada back to 1800. Any of which could contain information that helps you with a family or place you're researching

Allen County librarians began creating PERSI in 1986. It now has about 2.5 million citations and adds 100,000 per year, according to the Journal Gazette.

The index was made searchable on and HeritageQuest Online (which has a more recent version you can search at libraries that offer HeritageQuest Online). You can run a search, and then if you find an index entry that mentions a family or place of interest, you can order a copy of the article from ACPL.

That's been the only way for you to access all those genealogy periodicals. You know, unless you want to subscribe to all of them, and then read them. And then find the periodicals no longer in publication, and read those, too.

Until now. If brightsolid can secure permission from publishers, subscribers will be able to search for articles related to their ancestors, and then link to digitized images of the articles. That can't happen soon enough as far as I'm concerned.

Read more about PERSI in the Journal Gazette.

Don't want to wait? Learn how to use PERSI and other databases in HeritageQuest Online (including family and local histories, censuses and military records) with our HeritageQuest Online Web Guide.

findmypast | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Tuesday, 16 July 2013 12:05:01 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 12 July 2013
Genealogy News Corral, July 8-12
Posted by Diane

An online petition to release the 1921 Canadian census is circulating. You can read more about it and link to it on the Olive Tree Genealogy blog.

Canadian roots | Celebrity Roots | findmypast
Friday, 12 July 2013 10:18:57 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]