Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
I took a few days off for the Christmas holiday, but now I am back again. We had wonderful weather here even though it was quite warm. It was in the upper 70s to low 80s everyday. It was perfect weather to do yard work and wash the car. Looking out my window right now I have chickadees, warblers and tufted titmice sitting at my bird feeder.
Today’s blog will be back on my topic of state records.
In addition to the Indiana State Library databases, there are many that focus on specific counties or events. Some of the site I have found include:
- Court Records (
) - http://genealogy.fcpl.accs.net/ Clinton County
- Hoosier Heritage Digital Library - http://www.hoosierheritage.net/
County Histories( ) – includes marriages, deaths, and other records - http://www.fulco.lib.in.us/genealogy/fulcogenealogyfrontpage.htm Fulton County
- Obituaries (
) - http://obit.gpl.lib.in.us/ Dekalb County
- Obituary Index (
Elkhart County, Truth) (1921-1937 & 1975) - http://www.elkhart.lib.in.us/cgi-bin/index5.pl?&file=obit_db.html Elkhart
- Obituary Index (
) - http://www.accs.net/fcpl/obit.htm Clinton County
- Obituary Index (
) - http://www.alex.lib.in.us/obits2002/ Madison County
- Obituary Index (
) - http://historical.elwood.lib.in.us/obituaries.asp Madison County
- Obituary Index (
Madison County, Daily Bulletin) (1921-1967) - http://www.and.lib.in.us/cemetery/obituary.shtml Anderson
- Obituaries (
Marshall County, The Enquirer) (1884-1967) - http://www.bremen.lib.in.us/historical/bpl_obituaries.asp Bremen
- Obituary Index (
Michigan City, ) - http://www.mclib.org/obituary.htm LaPorte County
- Obituary Index (
) (1913-2005) - http://www.sjcpl.org/obits/search_form.php St. Joseph County
- Obituary Collection (
) - http://browning.evpl.org/ Vanderburgh County
- Cemetery Index (
) - http://www.and.lib.in.us/cemetery/cemeterysearch.shtml Madison County
- Cemetery Index (
) - http://history.cdpl.lib.in.us/montcocem.html Montgomery County
- Cemetery Index (
Montgomery County, ) - http://history.cdpl.lib.in.us/masonic.html Masonic Cemetery
- Naturalization Records Index (
) (1890-1958) - http://www.and.lib.in.us/cemetery/naturalization.shtml Madison County Digital Collections - http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/database/index/acpl_digital_library.html Allen County
- Newspapers (
Press) - http://local.evpl.org/ Evansville
- Military Service Notes (
St. Joseph County) WW II, Vietnam, Korea - http://www.sjcpl.org/servicenotes/index.php
Monday, December 22, 2008
It is amazing where you will run into family history related materials. Today I was grocery shopping at my neighborhood Publix. I always go to the advertisement display to grab their sales ad, store magazine and any coupons they might have setting out. As I went through their store magazine I ran across an article titled “Relative-ly Healthy”. You can read the article on their website at http://tinyurl.com/8j4o9w. This article discussed the importance of learning about your family medical history. This time of year when we get together to celebrate the holidays is a perfect time to work on gathering the information we need to compile a family medical history.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 96 percent of Americans believe it is important to know their family history, but only one-third have ever tried to gather and record this information. Many people feel uncomfortable asking for this kind of personal information. If this describes you then maybe you can blame it on your doctor. You can always say, “My doctor wants me to ask so he can take better care of me.”
Another problem that may arise during the collection of this information is a denial or refusal of some family members to discuss their personal medical histories. Some families may associate shame with certain disorders or may have painful memories associated with a condition. You will have to take this into consideration as you prepare. Make sure you explain your purpose, emphasize that this information is useful in determining whether you, or other family members, may be prone to certain conditions. Give them options on filling out the information. Some people may be more comfortable doing it face-to-face while other might prefer to fill out a form. Start with general questions then lead to more detailed personal questions as they become more comfortable. Be a good listener, you may get more information on other family members by just listening to them talk about their histories. And most of all, respect their privacy.
As genealogists and family history researchers we may already know something about our family medical histories. We may have come across information in death certificates, newspaper articles, or old letters and journals. Bring this information along with you when you do the interviews, it may spur someone’s memory. Once you have gathered the information, you should add it to your family tree or use a tool such as My Family Health Portrait which can be found at the US Surgeon Generals website at http://familyhistory.hhs.gov/.
If you need an idea of the questions you should ask, I have developed a family medical history form that is available in Excel format on my website at http://milesmeyer.googlepages.com/additionalfhcmaterials. You can select the family member and fill the form out on your computer or have the family member fill it out and e-mail it back to you. Once you have gathered the information you should provide copies to your health-care providers as well as to your relatives so they can provide copies to their health-care providers.
Try it out and learn more about your family as well as providing you a better idea of your chances of developing various diseases.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Well, it has been a few days since my last blog again. It is hard to keep up during the holidays, between the parties and shopping and everything. But tonight I am going to highlight a website being developed by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership with the Library of Congress. The Chronicling
Currently there are a limited number of newspapers which are searchable. In May 2005, the NDNP began its development phase by making awards to six state projects that were selecting newspapers published in
The second part of the database is the chronicling of American newspapers published since 1690. I found this database to be very interesting. I decided to do a search on my hometown newspaper, The Community Post of Minster,
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
As I continue to focus on the availability of online records for specific states I noticed that Diane Haddad has also written about the
Now, on to
Land Records - The Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales database includes nearly 550,000 land sales records from the land sold within
Slave/Servant Records – The Database of Servitude and Emancipation Records includes 3,400 names of African and Indian servants from 1722-1863. The names of servants, slaves, or free persons and masters, witnesses, or related parties are listed in this database. These records may include bills of sale, birth information, census records from 1810, 1818 and 1820, divorce information, donations of property or chattel, emancipation records, estate records, guardianship records, indenture agreements, inventories of slaves, leases of services, marriage contracts, mortgages of slaves, registrations such as receipts, contracts and other agreements, and wills. Photocopies of these records can be obtained from the State Archives.
Veterans Records – There are a variety of veterans records available on the Illinois State Archives website. These databases include indexes of the War of 1812, Winnebago War, Black Hawk War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and an index of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home Residents between 1887-1916. Again, copies of all of the actual records can be requested from the State Archives.
Marriage Records – The Illinois Statewide Marriage Index is a record of more than one million marriages within the state between 1763 and 1900. There are a few records up through 1920. These records include the name of the groom and bride, date of marriage, certificate number and county.
Death Records – The Illinois Statewide Death Index includes an index of records from the 1870s to 1916 and currently contains over 1.1 million records. Additionally, there is a second Statewide Death Index that covers the years 1916-1950. These records include the name, date of death, location, age and sex of the individual as well as the certificate number.
In addition to these statewide databases there are a number of county indexes listed on the Illinois State Archives website. These local records indexes include death, birth, naturalization, almshouse, homicide, coroner’s inquest, will, court, probate, farm, guardianship and other record types. This is a great site for anyone who has ancestors in
And now I am off to open the Family History Center and to set up for our Cub Scout Space Derby. Another busy night ahead of me.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Well, it has been over a week since I wrote my last blog entry. It has been a busy week. I was sick for a few days, had a couple holiday parties at work, my students had final exams which I had to grade, had to build my new treadmill that I got for Christmas (a little early) and this week I am busy getting a rocket project ready for our Cub Scouts and I have to travel to the other end of the state for some office meetings. So, now that you know what I have been up to, I can get started on tonight’s blog entry. I will continue with my theme of highlighting some useful web pages for a state. Tonight I will discuss
There are a variety of websites that are very useful for researching
For those of us who had ancestors of ill repute you might want to check out the Idaho Penitentiary Files found at http://idahohistory.net/inmates.html. This document includes the timeframe of 1864-1947 with an additional list of inmate names from 1947-1975. You can download a copy of the index and see if any of your family were horse thieves or crooks. This index may include the inmate’s name, age, birth date, location, file number and a description of the crime they were convicted of.
Another useful database is the Obituary Index found on the Boise Public Library website at http://www.boisepubliclibrary.org/Research/Obituaries. This site includes an index of obituaries from The Idaho Statesman from 1970-73 and 1977-present. This index includes names, dates of publication and page the obituary was found on. They will send you copies of the documents for $5.00.
BYU Idaho hosts several databases that are useful in researching
The Western States Marriage Database is also found at the BYU Idaho website. This database can be found at http://abish.byui.edu/specialCollections/westernStates/search.cfm. You can search by groom or bride and view the extracted information from the marriage records. These records range from pre-1900 to the 1930s.
An additional database that I found to be very interesting is the Historical Ricks College/BYUI Scroll database. I happened to show this site to a patron a few months ago and she asked me to type in her husband’s name. We found him in several yearbooks and she really enjoyed seeing the pictures of him in college. This site can be found at http://abish.byui.edu/specialCollections/famhist/scrollSearch.cfm. These records cover the time frame of the early 1900s to the 1970s.
The last database I will discuss is the Southeast Idaho Oral Histories Collection at http://abish.byui.edu/specialCollections/seidaho/manuscripts/collections/allCollections.cfm. The transcripts are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the person interviewed, followed by the topic that each interview covers. Many of these transcripts cover the time period of the early 1900s to 1930s. It is just interesting to read these to get a feeling of what life was like during the early part of the last century.
Well, that is all I have time for tonight. I will try to continue to blog on a regular basis through the holidays but will probably miss a few days here and there for various reasons.
Have fun with your research and have a Happy Holiday Season.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
As I mentioned a few entries ago, I was going to work on listing important websites for state records unless something interesting popped up. Well, two things have popped up. First of all, new FamilySearch has released a new update v 0.95. There are some minor changes in the database including the requirement to certify that you are complying with Church policy in submitting names for the
What I will spend a little time discussing tonight is a new database called Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database at http://slavevoyages.org. This site was launched on Friday in conjunction with a conference at
Many of the slaves’ names were westernized after their sale while their names in the database are more closely related to their African names. So therefore this database may not list a specific ancestor of a slave descendent but it will give context about their voyage. For someone who knows that an ancestor was enslaved in a certain location, the database might help them trace from where in
There are two main parts of the database that can be searched in many ways. One part is known as the Voyage Database. The other is called the African Names Database. If you are looking for a specific vessel, know the name of the captain or crew, know the ports of departure or arrival, or know the nationality of the ship, you can use this database to get more information. The African Names Database is a listing of names of a small percentage of the individuals who were shipped to the
There are several places online that house records from
The state of
Another site for
I hope some of these sites are helpful in your search for
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The Spanish Land Grants can be found at http://www.floridamemory.com/Collections/SpanishLandGrants/. These were land claims filed by settlers in
Florida Confederate Pension Files can be found at http://www.floridamemory.com/Collections/PensionFiles/. These records include the complete veterans’ pension request files as well as the widows’ applications. These records start in 1885. The veterans’ claims usually include full name, date and place of birth, unit of service, date and place of enlistment, date and place of discharge, any wounds or outstanding service, place of residence, and other pieces of information needed to verify their service. The widows’ applications include the same information plus date and place of marriage, date and place of husband’s death, and her place of residence.
The WWI Service Cards is located at http://www.floridamemory.com/Collections/WWI/. These are index cards with the name, age, serial number, race, place of birth, and residence for those service men and women from
Another potentially useful site is the Florida Department of State Library and Archives. This site can be found at http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/barm/rediscovery/. This site allows you to search over 40,000 cubic feet of state and local government records from 2,700 collections. The search results will link to the collection that is housed in the State Archives. If you get some good hits here you might want to think about making a trip to
The Florida Electronic Library is another potentially useful site. This site is found at http://www.flelibrary.org/index.cfm. You will need a library card from one of the libraries in
In addition to these sources, FamilySearch is beginning to place more
Well, that should keep all the people in
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The Historical Records Index Search page can be found at http://accipiter.state.co.us/archive/publicrecordsearch.do. This page has a database of over 50 types of records including professional licenses, court cases, military records, wills, voter registration, tax lists, naturalization, Indian records, census, birth, death, divorce, and many more. You can select the records that you want, fill in the form and electronically submit it to the Archives for them to research. There are fees associated with getting the actual records but even just searching the indexes can provide some useful information such as name, record type, county and date of event. More information on the record types that have been indexed can be found at http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/online.htm. Another way to search this site is through the Colorado State Archives Search page at http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/search.html. I would run a search on each of these links because they display the results differently and sometimes additional information can be found.
Another useful site is the Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy site at http://history.denverlibrary.org/research/genealogy.html. Like most libraries, many of their databases require a Denver Public Library card for access. However, you can use the search bar located at the top of the page to search the indexes that are available for free.I hope these free indexes are useful. Tomorrow I will talk about records from the state of
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I decided to start a series of discussions on finding free online vital records for each state. I started a list of the websites for each state a little over a year ago and decided that I should share this information for those of us looking for our families. I will try to keep it in some semblance of alphabetical order but since some states have not yet adopted the internet as a place to store records I will have to skip them for now. I may also decide to periodically interupt the state list with some other topic that I feel like writing about.
The topic for today is the birth, death and marriage records of
The search screen for this site is easy to navigate. You can search by name for both birth and death records or you can select either the birth or death records. Birth records are shown in blue font while the death records are shown in red font to make them easy to distinguish. The search results link directly to the images of the records in pdf format. That makes it easy to download and print copies of the documents. This site was first posted in February, 2004 and has had almost 6 million records requests since then.
Marriage records for
Each entry on this site may contain names of bride and groom, marriage date and place, county where the marriage is recorded, residency of the bride and groom and other miscellaneous comments. Anyone interested in adding names to the index can contact the
Monday, December 1, 2008
The Europeana Digital Library is an online depository for over 2 million digital objects, including film, photos, paintings, sounds, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers and archival papers collected by the various European Union member countries. This project was started in 2007 and opened its web database on November 20, 2008. However, the site is currently down due to overwhelming traffic. The site was originally designed to handle 5 million hits per hour but on opening day it received approximately 10 million hits per hour. They expect to have the site back up and running by early 2009. Once the site has added the upgrades necessary to handle the traffic you will be able to visit it at http://www.europeana.com/. The site will be in several languages, including English, French and German. For those that are interested in seeing what the site will have available, you can visit their development site at http://dev.europeana.eu/. Once the site is up and functioning it should be a great source for historical information in Europe.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The first site is MyHeritage.com. This site is the product of a merger of MyHeritage and GenCircles. I really like some of the capabilities found on this site. First of all, it links to your photo albums on a variety of websites, including Picasa. I have been able to transfer family photo albums from my Picasa collection to this website with little effort. Additionally, this site has a real nice facial recognition program. It searches all of your uploaded photos, finds the faces and catalogs them. You can see all of the faces that the program thinks are the same person, unselect those that are not the same person, and enter the person's name as it appears in your tree. Once you enter the name of the person in the picture you will see the possible matches in your family tree and you can associate the pictures with the person in your tree. You can also move these tagged faces back to your Picasa, Facebook, Flickr or other photo site on the web. The tree view looks like your typical layout and is easy to move around in. If you used GenCircles in the past you will remember that SmartMatching was used to match your trees with the trees of other subscribers. This site keeps that capability and sends you periodic e-mails containing the links to other trees that have matches. You can also invite others to join you and collaborate on your family tree. Every time your friends and relatives add information you are notified so you can see how your tree is growing over time.
Dynastree.com was previously known as ItsOurTree.com. This site is similar to MyHeritage.com in the way that it functions. This one is free to use but appears a little cartoonish in their layout. This site also allows you to upload your family pictures and match them with individuals in your tree but I haven't seen any facial recognition capabilities here. You can also invite friends to collaborate with you and help build your family tree. I know there have been several articles on this site in the last few weeks so you might want to check out the reviews by Dick Eastman http://tinyurl.com/6alyrs and Renee Zamora at http://tinyurl.com/67uv9a to see what they think of the site.
My wife has recently found what she considers to be one of her favorite genealogy sites. This site is called GenesReunited.com. They specialize in genealogies from the
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I received the idea to write this article concerning war veterans from a friend of mine at work. He has been searching off and on without much luck, for his grandfather and other relatives who fought for the British Army during World War II. He asked me if I knew of any sites where he could find information on these veterans and frankly, I didn’t know of any right off hand. I had been able to find my relatives who died during WW I and WW II online a few years ago. Many of them happened to be Germans who had mostly died in France during the wars and their cemeteries had been indexed. This made some interesting reading even though none of it was written in English. I had also been able to find records for many of my ancestors from the United States who had fought in these wars. But I hadn’t tried to find any British records even though most of my wife’s ancestors are of British descent.
Well, a little research later and I am able to say that I have found an excellent website that contains details about the veterans from the British Commonwealth nations including Britain, Canada, Australia and others, who died during these wars. The site is managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and can be found at http://www.cwgc.org/. This site contains the records of over 1.7 million men and women who died during these wars and the 23,000 cemeteries they are buried in. The search screen is very intuitive and the results include name, rank, serial number, date of death, age, regiment, nationality, and cemetery. A detailed view is also available which may include names of family members and a description of the memorials that commemorate these brave men and women. You can also see lists of the veterans buried in each cemetery if you are interested. There are also histories of some battles, videos commemorating some of these veterans and educational materials on this site. Many of these materials can be used as educational materials to explain what life was like during those times.
There are many databases on the internet that provide information on US veterans. Most of you have probably heard of the Draft Registration Card indexes at Ancestry.com and KindredKonnections.com. But another site that I have used is the Nationwide Grave Locator run by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This site is located at http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/. The search screen is also very easy to use and it provides the details of veterans who have died since 1997. You can find the branch of service, dates of birth and death, and the location of the cemetery where the individual is buried.
While I am at it I might as well talk about the website that I used to discover my German war veterans also. This site is the Deutsche Gräbersuche Online and can be found at http://www.volksbund.de/graebersuche. The site includes records from 4.4 million veterans who died during the war. One thing to remember when using this site is that it is written completely in German. If you can’t read German, I suggest that you use one of the online services such as Google’s translator at http://translate.google.com/ to find your way around the site. This site asks you for your name and some other basic information before it allows you to search their records but all of the results are presented to you at no cost.
Have fun digging up your veterans!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
You can see pictures of the project here: