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Map that you see on the main wiki page at FamilySearch.org

Map from the main wiki page at FamilySearch.org

Our ancestors had a tendency to move around.  If they didn’t, we probably wouldn’t have so much trouble finding their records.  When you track people from state to state, you start noticing what holds true for finding records in one state is not necessarily true in another.  Different types of records were kept during different periods in different places.  For example, those who are used to the time frame of New England vital records, which can go back as far as the 1600s, are startled to find that New York state started saving birth, marriage, and death records at a far later date.  New York finally passed a law requiring the collection of vital records in the 1880s, but it was very slow to be implemented. You can still have difficulty finding them in a number of New York towns during the early part of the 20th century.

When you start to follow your ancestor into a new state, you need to do some homework or you may miss key information. Otherwise you could hit a brick wall that you’ve unwittingly constructed yourself. So how do you find out which records were kept when and where they are located? One very good source is Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. You can check information on the various types of records available under each of the fifty states. This book is available in the Newton Free Library’s Special Collections Room for quick consultation or a more detailed read. But if you are working elsewhere and you don’t want to interrupt your work to look for a book, you have a simple alternative.  Red Book is available online at the following live link. Click on it and read away.  http://www.ancestry.com/wiki/index.php?title=Red_Book:_American_State,_County,_and_Town_Sources

But what about records outside the United States?  There are a very large number of books on family history research that deal with specific countries and even areas within a country. But for now you want to know how much trouble you are going to have tracking your line back to another country. You just want to get a general lay of the land. This is where FamilySearch’s wikis are invaluable.

If you have done much research in genealogy at all, you learn that, besides Ancestry, FamilySearch.org is one of the most extensive databases for genealogical records. The nice thing about FamilySearch is that, unlike Ancestry, it is free. Upon first discovering FamilySearch you will no doubt zero in on searching for records and thus might be likely to miss all its other resources. If you focus on the very top of its home page (as of July 2016) and run your cursor over the word “Search” you will see a dropdown menu. At the bottom of that menu you will see the word “wiki.”  Click on it and you see a map and an invitation to search the wiki by place or topic. For countries such as England that have a huge amount of literature written about researching ancestors, the topic is made manageable by the way FamilySearch sets up its main wiki page for each country.

But where do you find information for other countries where the records may not be so easily accessible?  Anyone who saw America Ferrera’s segment on TLC’s cable program “Who Do You Think You Are?” understands how difficult such a search can be, even when you have help. She was searching for information on her father’s family in Honduras, a quest made especially challenging because of the problems of record preservation by both local as well as national governments.  Specifically, where do you find basic information on the existing records of countries whose history has been filled with internal conflict?  FamilySearch’s wiki is an excellent place to start. Check out Honduras, or any other country of interest, to see what FamilySearch has done with it.  There are a number of links to information, records, and online help. Just as you would consult maps before taking a trip, it’s a good idea to know something about where you are going before you get there.

 

vea/29 July 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

 

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Has July 4th got you thinking about how your ancestors got here in the first place? Do you need a break from the festivities. FindMyPast has the answer.  They are offering free access to the following records until next Wednesday. These include Military Records, British and Irish Censuses,Travel and Migration Records,and 112 Million US Marriage Records. Out of their 4 billion records, this is not a bad haul.

I first heard about the offer through Dick Eastman’s EOGN site at https://blog.eogn.com/2016/06/28/findmypast-celebrates-4th-of-july-with-free-access-to-more-than-1-billion-records, but there did seem to be some confusion about what was covered. I contacted FindMyPast and they confirmed the collections I list above.  They also gave me a link if you want to follow this up at: http://www.findmypast.com/tracing-transatlantic-ancestors.

This is huge. I don’t think I’ve ever seen free access to this many records over such a long period. Now may be a good time to check out those immigration records you’ve been thinking about. You’ve got seven days! Have fun!

Clarification: I have sent an email to FindMyPast to make absolutely sure access runs through July 6th (to 11:59 pm on July 6th and does not end just as you get into July 6th (12:01 am). Remember my cardinal rule of genealogy, “Assume nothing. Never trust. Always verify.” Granted, I don’t have that down pat yet, but I’m working on it.

vea/29 June 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

 

FamilySearch.org WebsiteMany of you use FamilySearch.org as a key research site. You need to know that it is going to be unavailable this upcoming Monday.  I just learned from Thomas MacEntee’s Facebook feed that FamilySearch is going to be shutting down for a full day to do site maintenance and upgrades.  If you were planning on doing some work there on Monday, you need to reschedule.  And if you are teaching from it on the 27th, you had better get it on PowerPoint or make some screen shots ahead of time.

If you are not using FamilySearch to do your family history research, why not? This site is just as important as Ancestry with the added benefit that it is free.  It has a huge number of records. Remember that no two databases duplicate all the same material. You will definitely find records in FamilySearch that you will not find in Ancestry. Also remember that there is always at least one person standing between you and your record, the indexer. Ancestry and FamilySearch use different people for this task. Even when they do have the same record, using different indexers to read the names and enter them into the system increases your chances that one of them will enter the name you are looking for with the spelling you are using.  If you are curious, you can check it out at https://familysearch.org — just don’t do it on Monday!

vea/24 June 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

DSC06280I just received the June/July issue of Internet Genealogy.  One of the first sections I go to in each issue is “Net Notes.” It’s a series of short pieces covering recent website activity that may be of interest to readers. The first entry describes some online releases from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC).  I have a special interest in Canadian genealogy so I took a closer look — and came to an unexpected halt. One of the entries cites LAC’s release of a database consisting entirely of immigrants from the Ukraine (1890-1930) arriving in Canadian and American ports. I had just put together a list on Ukrainian genealogical resources for several patrons who needed help on this topic. This entry gave me another resource to add to my list that might help break down some of their brick walls. If it hadn’t been for this article, I might never have found this little gem.

Flipping through genealogy magazines can not only help to keep you up to date, but can unearth treasure you’d never find otherwise. Perhaps some of the following might help you. Do you have ancestors in the American colonies during the Revolution or in the United States during the War of 1812? The Canadian piece also includes references to databases on the War of 1812, and to the Book of Negroes (with 3,000 names of Black Loyalists who fled the Port of New York at the end of the Revolutionary War). It concludes with another database consisting of the recently digitized list of Loyalists and British Soldiers (for the period 1772-1784) from the Carleton Papers.

Other articles in this issue center around saving family stories. One describes what can be done with FamilySearch.org’s Memories section, which is devoted to researching and preserving family stories. Then there are related pieces, “Stellar Storytelling Apps” and “Recording Family Interviews with Audacity.”

DSC06341British genealogy is represented with two articles.  One lists seven websites relating specifically to the Victorian era. The second highlights three free UK websites run by volunteers.

The magazine rounds off with articles on “Researching the Great Depression,” “Supreme Court Cases and Your Family History,” and a review of Yale’s Photogrammar Project that digitizes photographs of the 1930s and 1940s and makes them available online. There are also the monthly features “The Back Page,” “Genealogical Society Announcements,” and additional short pieces in the Net Notes already mentioned.

DSC06342Perhaps I now have you curious, but frustrated because you don’t subscribe to the magazine. Not to worry. The Newton Free Library does. Pay us a visit. You can find this and other genealogy magazines just to the right as you enter the Special Collections Room on the first floor.  Take a few minutes to see what’s there.  Here there be discoveries to be made, brick walls to be dismantled, and gold to be found.

 

 

vea/16 June 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

Welcome to BostonA reminder:  Tonight, June 14, at 8pm PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow arrives at Boston’s Faneuil Hall. The trio of genealogists helps locals uncover links to the Salem Witch Trials, orphan trains, and Boston’s founders.

Next Tuesday, June 21, the Roadshow reconvenes at the Providence Public Library. There an investigation reveals how one key document – a passport– sheds light on how one family survived the Holocaust. Other segments cover an African American who served in World War I, and a man’s Amish relatives.

PBS affiliates often show these programs at staggered times after the original telecast. Full episodes, as well as previews of future episodes, should also turn up on the PBS website.

vea/14 June 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

Kenyatta-Berry-Joshua-Taylor-and-Mary-Tedesco-726x408Season 3 of Genealogy Roadshow has begun its summer schedule. It airs on PBS on Tuesdays at 8:00 pm in the Boston area. To catch up with missed episodes or see previews of upcoming cities, go to http://www.pbs.org/show/genealogy-roadshow. Note especially the episodes on June 14 and June 21, which are of local interest.

The cities covered this summer are:

May 17                 Aubuquerque

May 24                 Miami

May 31                 Houston

June 7                   Our Favorite Stories

June 14                Boston

June 21                Providence

June 28                Los Angeles

Interested in applying to take part in season 4? Check it out at http://genealogyroadshow.org.

 

vea/31 May 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

The Newton War Memorial was dedicated on Armistice Day, 11 November 1931, to honor all those in the military who served, who fought, and who died to protect our country’s freedoms. The following photographs depict parts of that ongoing memorial.

DSC01752 front

The Entrance to Newton’s War Memorial

 

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DSC06225

 

The Vietnam War was fought from November 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975.

DSC06240

 

The Korean War was fought from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.

DSC06238

 

World War II  was fought from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945. The United States entered the war on December 8, 1941.

DSC06277

 

The conflicts before World War II are represented by dioramas.

 

World War I was fought from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918. The United States formally declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.

DSC06232“Somewhere in France” 1917 – 1918

 

The War Between the States was fought from the firing on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 to Lee’s surrender to Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.

DSC06237Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863

 

The War of 1812 was fought from June 18, 1812 to February 18, 1815.

DSC06229The American Constitution vs. the British Guerriere on August 19, 1812

 

The Revolutionary War was fought from April 19, 1775 to September 3, 1783.

DSC06245Valley Forge, the Winter of 1777 to 1778

 

DSC02075 flags horizontal pixThe MIA and American Flags, Still Flying, in Front of the War Memorial

 

vea/26 May 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

 

 

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