Oh, faire Eire

Many of us have roots in Ireland – myself included – so it makes me very happy to share some of the newest records Ireland has released to researchers.

First we have original wills that span the years 1858 to 1920. These records will prove to be invaluable to many researchers – they may help prove a family line or provide information on family members yet unknown. The record collection is free at Find My Past (you must register). The other nice thing about this collection is the description given about the records and the difference between a will, grant of probate, and administration. Unless you have a legal background, you may not know the difference.

Next is the National Archives of Ireland, also a free resource. They have recently released the following records:

  • Prerogative and diocesan copies of some wills and indexes to thers, 1596-1858
  • Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage Licence Bonds Indexes, 1623-1866
  • Catholic qualification and convert rolls, 1700-1845
  • Valuation Office house, field, tenure and quarto books, 1824-1856
  • Shipping agreements and crew lists, 163-1921
  • Will Registers 1858-1900

Lastly, we have a free search to Irish civil records at Irish Genealogy (the site has very heavy traffic, so be patient!). You can search for births, marriages, and deaths.  The more information you have, the more precise your search results will be.  But only a name is needed to do a search. I did a search of my known relative, John Heffernan and I also knew he was from County Kilkenny, I got 21 results for John Heffernan in Kilkenny.  I may have found his date of death, something I didn’t have.

There are many more records to research at the Irish Genealogy site, so plan a fair amount of time to have a proper search.

As always, happy hunting!


Fulton History

Don’t let the name fool you – Fulton History isn’t about the history of the family Fulton, but rather a searchable database of  historical newspapers from Canada and the US. Type in your search string in the search box located in the upper left and apply any filters you want and then search.

Another nifty feature is the old postcards that have been scanned and saved. You can browse through the images by selecting a time period and then clicking on the thumbnails of images that pop up.  It’s worth a look just for the historical old postcards!

Happy Labor Day!

Look At Me

Ok, no don’t look at me, but do look at this site, named Look At Me.  The site is a collection of lost, discarded, or forgotten photos with no names to accurately identify the person(s) in the photos.  You can submit photos that you’ve found to the site as well as peruse the photos others have contributed and it’s free.  So when you have some spare time, browse through the many photos there.  You just might find one of yourself or another family member!

Genetic DNA

There are several sites out there today offering to trace your ancestry DNA. For a fee, they will do a DNA test and let you know where your ancestral roots really took place.  If you are like me, you are left wondering how can they tell?

According to Real Clear Science, having your ancestral DNA traced is akin to paying for a horoscope. The article goes on to say why this service is not as accurate as the sites offering the service would lead you believe.

So if you wonder if it would be worth your while to shell out the fee, read the article first before making your decision. If for no other reason, it might be entertaining, even if not very accurate.

Happy searching.

New at Family Search!

Family Search has just released a new database of Pennsylvania Civil Marriages, spanning the years 1677 – 1950. You’ll need to create an account, if you don’t have one already, and be logged in to see the images.  The images are from various counties, with a large portion from Philadelphia.

If you’ve never visited Family Search, you really should.  Their records are free and their site is easy to navigate.  You can even create your family tree there and add records that you find.

Happy searching!

Discover Your Roots

Discover Your Roots is Family Tree Maker’s annual issue packed full of tips on getting started with your genealogy research.  Not only does it have tips for the most popular genealogy sites, but also tips on research old records, what to look for and what not to miss, and how to choose the right genealogy software for you.  The issue also includes some handy forms for recording your family tree information.

If you are a new genealogist, you should get your hands on this issue!  I got mine from Barnes and Noble via e-magazine and used their “free for 14 days subscription service.”  You can cancel anytime within 14 days if you don’t want to receive future electronic issues.

NJ searchable records

new-jerseyI was doing a bit of research this morning and while sifting through all the Google hits, I stumbled upon this treasure in New Jersey.

New Jersey has many searchable databases for births, marriages, and deaths, land, probate and court records, military and wartime records, and photographic records. The records are indexed, which means you won’t find all the information they contain if you get a match – you’ll need to request a copy of the record, and that will cost you.

I think it is a good idea to search neighboring states when looking for missing relatives.  I found my own great-grandfather living in New Jersey for work while his family lived in Philadelphia.  Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, or the state in this case, when doing your family research.

Find My Past – free this week!

If you’ve wanted to do a bit of research at Find My Past but didn’t want to sign up for a subscription, now is the time to do it!  This week, and this week only, they are offering free access to travel, migration, and census records.  Good luck with your searches and if you live in the USA, happy Fourth of July!

An update on Laurelton Center

My first post regarding Laurelton Center has been my all time highest ranking post on this blog.  For that reason, I decided to do a follow up and share some new information on Laurelton Center.

In December of 2011, a local publication called December 2011 Millmont Times, ran an article on Laurelton Center and it’s history. It has much information for people seeking to learn more about the institution.

Rustyjaw has some photographic images taken at Laurelton Center after it was closed. Buildings always look eerie when they are abandoned.

There is also a mini movie that I found on YouTube on Laurelton Center.  It is just over ten minutes long and again, this was taken after the center closed.

I would encourage anyone looking for more information on Laurelton Center to visit the Union County Historical Society for more information.

If you were born at Laurelton and adopted out, maybe you could try making a request of the mother’s records and go from there?

The Sunbury American


Sunbury American newspaper clippings 1876-1877

When my mom was still living, we would make Tuesday treks to the state library in Harrisburg to look at the old newspapers on microfilm. We were in pursuit of her great-grandmother, Maggie Gibbs Shipe, who continues to elude me.

While going through the newspapers, I decided to write down all the births, marriages and deaths listed in the reels I searched and then put them in this pdf file, arranged by date.  I also made the pdf searchable.

I know I posted a link to this file a long time ago, but I thought I’d attach it here for anyone who wishes to download it.  Maybe someone you are searching for will be on this list!