Chronicling America


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



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.


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



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  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



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!


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!

There’s a new kid on the block – Crestleaf



Crestleaf is the newest kid on the block of genealogy websites.  Joining is free, as is browsing.  Since the site is new, you won’t find a huge amount of people from your family tree (unless you get very lucky) but this will change as more people join and start sharing.

You can also store family photographs.  They allow you to upload 250 for free. After that, you can purchase more storage for photos.  There is never any charge to add family members to your tree.

There is also a blog on the site where they provide interesting and useful information and how-to tips and it is worth checking out.

While it may not give you the bells and whistles Ancestry does, it isn’t a bad place to start for folks who don’t want to pay Ancestry’s ever increasing membership prices.

Wikipedia for Genealogy? You bet!


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All through my college courses, we were constantly told that Wikipedia was not an allowed source for information.  This must have stayed with me because I would never have dreamed of using Wikipedia for genealogy purposes.  So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Wikipedia’s listing of online newspaper archives!

Broken down by country (and as in the case of the good ‘ole USA, by state), the list indicates if the newspapers are free or a pay service.  This is a valuable resource you’ll want to bookmark since it will continue to grow as more and more newspapers are digitized.

While you are there, you can also look over their listing of records used in genealogy.  This list is helpful to those who have recently undertaken tracing their family roots and are stumped on what types of records they can use for gathering information.

It goes without saying that just because you found it on the Internet, doesn’t mean it is accurate.  Wikipedia also offers information on the reliability of records and sources, another must-read article!

How do you say that?



Have you seen the movie, Leap Year?  Anna goes into an Irish Pub wanting to use a phone.  The barkeep has his back to her but his name is emblazoned across the back of his shirt: EOGHAN.  She did what most of us would do – pronounce it phonetically.  It was wrong of course.

So just how do you say that?  Wonder no more my fellow genealogists.  Just hop on over to Hear Names and enter the name you want to hear.  You can also search by nationality.  What a wonderful idea this is!  Now if you are going to be traveling, bookmark this site and don’t be caught up in embarrassment because you didn’t know that Eoghan is pronounced like Owen.


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