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Gun squad at drill
In remembrance of the commencement of the Civil War in April 1861, and to commemorate Confederate History Month, Fold3 is offering free access to our Civil War Collection from April 1st–15th.

Popular titles in our Civil War Collection include:

Not sure if you have Civil War ancestors? Use these questions to help identify ancestors who may have served:

  • Were any of my male ancestors born between 1820 and 1845? (Men who served during the Civil War may have been born outside these dates, but many fell within these years.)
  • Do I have any family memorabilia or artifacts (such as letters, weapons, medals, or photos) that hint at possible Civil War service? What about their tombstone? Does it have any insignia or other military symbols on it?
  • Do any of the records or documents (such as obituaries) I’ve already found for an individual mention Civil War service?
  • Have I checked the 1910 Census entry for my ancestor? (Column 30 of the census identified if an individual was “a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy.”)

Can’t find your Civil War ancestor on Fold3? You can still use Fold3 to learn about what your ancestor’s military service may have been like. Here are a few ideas, though the possible uses of the Civil War Collection are endless!

  • Use the Brady and Civil War photo collections, as well as the Civil War Horse Soldier Artifacts Collection, to learn what life was like for soldiers during the war, including what uniforms and firearms were common, what military camps and headquarters were like, what battlefields and forts looked like, etc.
  • Look through the Service Records and “Widows’ Pensions” of men who were in the same company, regiment, etc., as your ancestor to learn more about what battles he may have been involved in and the movements of his unit.
  • If you have Confederate ancestors, explore the Confederate Casualty Reports for your ancestor’s unit to learn about casualty rates and even read narrative reports of actions your ancestor may have been involved in.

Start searching or browsing the Civil War Collection on Fold3. Or learn more about how to find your Civil War ancestors by watching a helpful course or tutorial on Ancestry Academy!

Written by Trevor at Fold3
Posted by vea/3 April 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

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Newton City Hall 5 February 2016

Newton City Hall 5 February 2016

FindMyPast comes through again with something to keep us busy on a snowy New England day. Remember what I said just two posts ago about FindMyPast going aggressively after the American Market?  I just learned from a posting on Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter that FindMyPast announced at RootsTech that it is launching the largest online collection of U.S. marriages in American history with over 100 million records dating from 1650 t0 2010. The work on this project is not completed, but FindMyPast is making the first 33 million of these records available to anyone who wants to use them for free through February 15th.  To learn more details, click on the link above to Dick Eastman’s article. Once you take a look at the article, go to  http://www.findmypast.com and try out the records.

vea/5 February 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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A member of our local genealogy club just emailed  to tell me about an offer from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. They are offering free access to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont vital records (birth, marriage, and death records) until the end of January. They are promoting their free guest memberships. It’s worth checking out if you have ancestors in these three states, even if you’ve already found information in places like Ancestry or FamilySearch.  NEHGS has materials and collections you will find nowhere else.

To find more details about their guest (free) memberships, check out their American Ancestors website.

Below is the information posted about the offer on the American Ancestors website.

Good to Meet You, 2016!

Register free as a Guest User to get access to three of our most popular vital records databases for the month of January 2016.

Guest User accounts allow web visitors to use a limited suite of AmericanAncestors.org databases and access content such as making purchases from the online store. To receive unlimited access to all 250+ million records and other benefits, become a member of NEHGS.

In addition to the standard suite of databases available to guest users, other new databases may be available to guest user for a limited time. To see the complete list of databases currently available to guest users, visit the advanced search page and use the “free” check box.

vea/22 January 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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Imagine having family and local history articles available online, at your finger tips.

Imagine having family and local history articles available online, at your finger tips.

I spotted this on several of my genealogy feeds. It’s a perfect way to spend a snowbound weekend (or to celebrate NOT getting snowed in). I’d like to share some thoughts about FindMyPast.  Although FindMyPast is a British company that has been emphasizing British genealogy, it is now going aggressively into the U.S. market, looking to acquire materials that will attract Americans.  It has established it’s American headquarters right next door to Newton in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

One of their impressive projects is connecting the PERSI Index to the actual articles cited and making it available online. PERSI stands for Periodicals Source Index and is considered to be the largest genealogy and local history periodicals index in the world. It covers a large number of American periodicals. The Allen County Public Library in Indiana has been doing this indexing project since 1986. The index covers articles published as far back as 1847.  Note that I said index. If you wanted an article, you could contact ACPL and pay to have the article copied for you. You could also use your own local library’s Inter Library Loan Service to obtain a copy of an article of interest. FindMyPast is attempting to connect the index to the actual articles online. This is a copyright nightmare.  They have to track down the owners of the copyright and then get permission to put it online — for every single article. This process becomes even more complicated when the periodical has gone out of business. How far have they gotten? You can find out for yourself free by checking it out over this free weekend.

So even if you don’t have British ancestry, you still  want to check out this site and not just for the PERSI information cited above.  I emailed FindMyPast last night to clarify some points and they answered by this morning.  At this point in time they make available over 2 billion records globally. 850 million of those are U.S. records. Sounds like enough to keep us all busy over a snowy weekend!  And the price is certainly right.

I am including additional material provided by FindMyPast below. It gives you a more detailed description of the range and types of records they offer.

From FindMyPast:

We’re delighted to announce that from 7am this Friday 22nd until 7am on Monday 25th (EST), our world records* will be available for anyone to view, completely free of charge.

You’ll be able to explore…

… As well as millions of other records that will give everyone the opportunity to explore their family history, and bring their past to life.

We’re here to help you every step of the way. If you’re just getting going, make sure to take a look at our failsafe interview to mine your relatives for clues. You’ll be able to begin populating your tree, and start your hunt for more names to add to it.

If you’re new to exploring our collections you might find our guide to Birth, Marriage and Death records a useful starting point, as well as our new video guides, which offer useful tips on getting started with records, building a family tree, getting started with hints, and much more!

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, or are curious to see what other explorers have discovered in their past, take a look at our discoveries for some ….

Tracing your family history with Findmypast offers you the chance to discover things about the past which shaped who you are today. Start this weekend, and see where your tree takes you.

*Please note that access to the 1939 Register has not been included and pay as you go credits will be required in order to unlock household records. Terms and conditions apply.

vea/20 January 2016/updated 22 January 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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When I was looking at an email I received from Family Tree Magazine Gen last night, I discovered that Ancestry was discontinuing five services that they have previously offered. Below I list the five services. Each has a link provided by Ancestry where a company representative answers addition questions about each service — as FAQs and within the Comments section.

Genealogy.com

MyFamily

MyCanvas

LegacyDNA

Mundia – English

Note that if you have data or content that you have added to any of these sites, you have until 5 SEPTEMBER  2014 to download, print, or otherwise save it.  After that date, it is gone.  Genealogy.com is the only one that they are saving.  Message boards and Family Tree Maker home pages will be available in read only format.  (In other words, you can’t change anything.) This allows Ancestry to keep that URL.  Who in their right mind would make a web address  like Genealogy.com available to the competition.

I have a couple of questions myself:
Have people who subscribed to these services received personal notification of the cancellations?

Ancestry’s title to this notice on their blog is “Ancestry.com Focuses on Core Offerings.”  What exactly do they consider the core offerings they are referring to?  Several people in the comments section of this piece asked that question and to this point in time it has not been answered.

This underlines some of the points I made earlier this month in my post on “Buyer Beware.”  Please, always, always backup your work, all your work.  Do not store everything you do in only one place. This includes  an online service or otherwise “in the cloud.” Make sure you have backup in your computer and on a usb drive or other peripheral.  Then if the service you are using is “discontinued,” you will still have access to your work.

vea/6 June 2014
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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Caution SignARCALIFE: Websites Can Disappear

I first became aware of ArcaLife when I was looking for a reliable online site that would save a person’s memories and family stories. I thought I had found just the site when I read the first chapter of Matthew and April Helm’s AARP Genealogy Online.  Their entire first chapter consisted of instructions on how to use ArcaLife to save memories online.  When I went to use it, I couldn’t find it. It had completely vanished.

I did some more research. ArcaLife was originally set up to help individuals and families save their memories, photographs, stories… It purpose was not only to create an online site to store this information, but also to make it possible to create personal archives that could be passed down to future generations.  This was an ambitious goal.  When I checked Internet Archives Wayback Machine, which takes snapshots of websites on random days, I found there were 55 saves between 3 October 2008 and 3 September 2012.  Part of the site was free and part required a subscription.  So far I have been unable to find out what happened to ArcaLife; what happened to Digital Estate Corporation, the company that owned it; and most importantly, what happened to all the stories, photos, and archives that were housed there.  The moral of this story is to always have a backup whenever you trust your family archives to anything online.  Write your stories, collect your photos, scan your papers onto your computer, save them on a flash/usb drive, print them out.  If something very bad happens to one, you will have backup.

NEWSPAPERARCHIVE.COM: Read the Fine Print

Kerry Scott at ClueWagon recently did a post entitled “Want a Full Refund on Your NewspaperArchive.com Subscription?  Just Ask About Their Charity.” It has me very concerned.  She discovered that NewspaperArchive.com was automatically renewing subscriptions and they were doing it for only six months at the same price they had previously used for a full year.  She decided not to renew her subscription. She had told them not to automatically renew her when she first subscribed. She had used a credit card that expired during the summer so she wasn’t worried about them accidentally automatically renewing her subscription.  She also emailed them in a timely manner telling them she would not be renewing.  Sounds like due diligence to me.  Not to the company though.

This gets very involved. To explain everything that happened next would take as much space as her original posting. Since this happened to her,  I would strongly suggest that you read her original post in its entirety.  Just click on the title linked above.  She discovered some surprising information on what it is legal for companies to do with automatic renewals and to expired or temporary credit cards.

What you need to know and to do:

1. Keep track of your subscriptions:  How much they cost (to the penny) and when they run out.

2. Read the fine print when you sign up for any online subscription: What is their policy relating to automatic renewals, expired credit cards, temporary credit cards, and anything else that involves what come out of your wallet.

3. Look carefully at your signup pages. Make absolutely certain nothing else is checked off, including extraneous charities. (If that doesn’t get you to read Scott’s posting, nothing will.

4. If you subscribe to NewpaperArchive.com (not to be confused with other websites like Archive.com), and are having trouble unsubscribing or are having your deadline coming up, you must read this blog.

When you are dealing with subscription sites, be careful out there.

vea/8 May 2014
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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A Genealogist In The Archives

FINDING ANSWERS AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net Newton, Massachusetts

Boston 1775

FINDING ANSWERS AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net Newton, Massachusetts

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

The Daily Online Genealogy Newsletter

The Legal Genealogist

FINDING ANSWERS AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net Newton, Massachusetts

Nutfield Genealogy

FINDING ANSWERS AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net Newton, Massachusetts

One Rhode Island Family

My Genealogical Adventures through 400 Years of Family History