New York City Records

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Indexes to New York City births (1878-1909), marriages (1866-1937) and deaths (1862-1948) are new and free for everyone to search on Ancestry. This is a wonderful resource for genealogists!

Also, if you are doing research for relatives who lived in NY, don’t forget FamilySearch.org and their vast collection of New York Online Genealogy records.  Use of this site is free.

Polish – American Marriage database

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The Polish-American Marriage database contains the names of couples of Polish origin who were married in select locations in the Northeast United States. The information was taken from marriage records, newspaper marriage announcements, town reports, parish histories or information submitted by Society members. The time period generally covered by these lists is 1892-1940. To date, there are 30,227 names listed and it is free!  You can also obtain additional documentation for some of these marriage entries, principally from Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey; there is a $2.00 processing fee plus a  self-addressed stamped envelope.

Conscientious Objectors in the Civil War

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Pennsylvania is the only northern state known to have a list of conscientious objectors, men who refused military service due to religious beliefs.  Many of these objectors were from the Quaker, Mennonite (and Amish), and Dunkard churches.  If you have ancestors in your family tree who were of age during the war but did not serve, perhaps they were one of the many objectors.  You can search for relatives at the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania’s, Conscientious Objectors database.

The list is broken down into alphabetical groups and clicking on a list, opens it in a PDF type format.  You can search the list using Ctrl+f.

Conscientious objectors didn’t get off free.  They had to pay $300 or an equivalent service.  Many would say that was a small sacrifice, all things considered.   Approximately 3,211,067 soldiers fought in the war.  Of those, it is estimated that 620,000 died from combat, accident, or disease.  To give a visual of the Civil War compared to others, consider this bar graph:

war casualties

Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the war with an estimated 51,000 casualties.  Most of the dead were buried on the battlefields, others buried at the hospital where they succumbed.  At most battlefields, the dead were exhumed and moved to National or Confederate cemeteries, however, there are undoubtedly thousands if not tens of thousands of Civil War soldiers in unknown battlefield graves.

Chronicling America

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Happy March 1st.  For those of us in Pennsylvania, March is coming in like a lion.  There is nothing better than a snowy day to do a little genealogy research or step back in time to see what things were like on this day in another year.  You can do just that by visiting the Library of Congress’s site, Chronicling America.

The site boasts 5 million historic newspaper pages from 25 different states from 1836-1922.  I clicked on the One Hundred Years Ago and was taken to the Evening Ledger, which was published in Philadelphia.  You can sort to show papers from a particular state as well, even by year.

Enjoy your snowy Sunday by browsing old newspapers, when times were simpler, and Sunday’s really were leisurely.

Funeral Cards

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Funeral cards can be a great source of information.  What are funeral cards you ask? They are the remembrance papers given out at funerals that typically provide information about the deceased’s life.  While not considered a reliable source for information, since the information is given by family members, they can provide vital clues.  Genealogy Today has a searchable index of these cards online.

I did a general search for one of the surnames in my on line – Frey.  My search resulted in five hits and the year and state the information comes from was also listed.

frey

This might be a good tip to check out if you are having trouble finding death information for someone in your line.

Also, if you have cards of your own that you’d like to share, the site accepts those submissions as well!

Death Indexes and Prisoners of WWI

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Death Indexes is a comprehensive listing of searchable death indexes, listed by state and county.  Some records will be free, while others may be a fee.  There is also information there on searching the Social Security Death Index, or SSDI.

But the most interesting site I found this week has to be Prisoners of the First World War.  Some ten million people, servicemen and civilians, were sent to detention camps during WWI and the goal of this site is to get every record indexed and online, available for searching.  While none of the records contain American servicemen or civilians (yet), they do have records for several European countries.  There is also a YouTube video on the collection and you can turn on subtitles to follow along in English, if you do not understand French.  Considering I’ve been told many times by friends and strangers alike to “pardon my French,” I am thinking some of you won’t need the subtitles. ;-)

Happy hunting!

2015 record finds

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To begin 2015 with a bang, I’m going to talk about a few sites that I’ve discovered over the past weeks.

First we have State & Local Government.net.  This site can help provide information about local courthouses and records available, as well as hours of operation, maps and more.  It is worth a look if you plan to visit any courthouse to do some research.

Family Search has digitized more Veteran Pension Cards for the years 1907-1933.

Mocavo continues to add to its growing collection of yearbooks, boasting of over 17,000 yearbooks and growing.

And lastly, for those of you who cannot get enough of genealogy, you can subscribe to The Genealogy Guys podcast.  They talk about anything and everything genealogy and who knows, maybe they will talk about something that puts a chip in your brick wall!

Happy 2015 and may all your genealogy searches be fruitful.

The 1890 Census

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Most genealogists are painfully aware that most of the 1890 Census was destroyed in a fire in 1921; only 1000 pages and fragments survived.  The surviving remnants include some records from specific counties in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas.  Those fragments have been digitized and are now available for searching at Find My Past.  It is a paid site, however, you can pay as you go or subscribe.  If you have ancestors from those states, it might be worth your time to do a search of the records to see if you might have a match.

Ancestry free access

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If you want to dabble in your family roots, Ancestry is offering free access between now and December 29th.  Get your feet wet by starting with yourself and fill in the people you know and then let Ancestry help do their magic by finding you all sorts of records for your relatives!

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WWI Soldier Images in Massachusetts

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In 1935, the Boston Globe donated some 8,400 images of WWI soldiers to the State Library of Massachusetts.  While these images are primarily of soldiers from Massachusetts, there are some of soldiers from surrounding states.  What a wonderful collection of historical photographs to offer and the collection is free!

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