There are plenty of search engines available on Internet. One of the most popular and widely used is Google. It's a great place to check for your ancestors and provided you have time, should result in plenty of "hits" on your query.
Genealogy in Time has a search engine on Internet that works great. It's the Advanced Genealogy Search Engine beta, which searches over 1.2 billion historic records. The search engine is very straight forward. Enter a surname plus location or other tidbits of information and see what pops up.
I had been searching Google for a rather unusual German surname. Having exhausted possibilities on that, I entered the same surname in the Advanced Genealogy Search Engine beta and received some valuable links that never showed up on Google. Genealogy In Time's search engine seems to pull up more genealogical and historical information.
Give it a try! In fact ... you should try all of them, Google and the others.
Known as "The Definitive Directory, Linkpendium has over 9 million links to genealogical web pages. They are subdivided by localities, such as U.S. states, United Kingdom and Ireland and Worldwide Surnames. Best of all ... it's free!
Linkpendium was developed by Karen Isaacson and Brian Leverich who were founders of the RootsWeb genealogical community site before it was acquired by Ancestry.com.
One of the new features on Linkpendium is the State by State Search Engine. You can search for a name(s) in all states or a state of your choice. The site includes some helpful hints for entering your query. Currently you can search up to 2,648,502 pages of free genealogical data.
This one web page will save you hours of research online time by pulling together information. Of course, you will spend days going through the web pages for "Smith" in "All States." Less common surnames or variations in specific areas, will undoubtedly return matches that will be of interest.
At a presentation of beginning research, those attending seemed shocked and excited when I showed a slide of a death certificate. I had located the digital image of the death certificate on Internet. Naturally they became excited thinking that every state has death record images on Internet. They don't, but there is an abundance of information in those areas on Internet.
Beine's web site contains many links to county records that have been indexed or transcribed. There are burials indexes, cemetery tombstone transcriptions, obituaries and indexes plus indexes to death certificates. A few states do provide digital images, such as Utah Death Certificate Index for 1904-1959.
The FamilySearch BETA contains death certificates, such as for Ohio. This is a great web page to explore if you realize that you must return consistently to catch up with new images, new indexing and projects.
Perhaps in time we will have many more states joining the Internet with digitized vital records. It will definitely be a great day for genealogists!
Has Internet been the downfall of genealogy societies? Not entirely. Our life styles have created problems for societies. There are still many, active, thriving genealogy societies. My theory has always been if you feed them, they will come. Feeding is not in the sense of food! Members need to feed their minds. Let's examine the pros and cons of joining a genealogy society.
1. It's more fun and beneficial to stay at home and use Internet to find ancestors.
2. Too busy with work, family, activities, social commitments.
3. Too tired ... worked hard all day and don't want to go out at night. Weekends are for family functions.
4. Attending a genealogy society means helping with projects or even worse, being asked to take an office. Just don't have the time!
5. Old people attend the meeting and I won't learn anything. Nobody will pay attention to my questions.
6. Same programs month after month.
7. Business meetings are boring and take too much time.
1. Joining a genealogy society gets you out of the house. You need the break from your routine.
2. Learn from the programs. If you don't like the programs, speak out and make suggestions.
3. Learn from other genealogists. Don't be afraid to speak up and ask questions.
4. Help when you can. Genealogy projects can be fun and even a little bit of help with go a long ways.
5. Genealogists speak a common language. You will be communicating and listening and learning.
6. Everybody can stay away from the computer for two hours once a month.
7. Some societies have interest groups, such as computer user groups and specific area groups, such as Irish Research.
Even if you cannot attend each genealogy meeting, attend when you can. The societies survive because people care and want to learn and exchange information. If you cease caring, they cease existing.
October is Family History Month. Attend a genealogy society meeting in October and see if you like it.
Historic newspaper provide clues beyond the certificates and courthouse records. They allow us to escape into another world in which our ancestors lived. We see the printed word as they saw it and see their names loom out of the page. Nothing is more exciting than learning an ancestor provided "alms" to a tramper in 1865 who was later arrested for taking the ancestor's coat and hat before leaving the house.
One of the most fantastic web pages is ICON: International Coalition on Newspapers. This contains a listing of newspaper digitization projects, both international collections and United States collections. The bulk of the links to newspapers are shown as free, but there are some liking to subscription databases, such as Ancestry.com, NewspaperArchive.com, Paper of Record and World Newspaper Archive.
Walking through cemeteries or graveyards will cause genealogists to become excited. Even if those buried there are not related, genealogists seems to thrive on viewing tombstones. They will not complain ever about bug bites, scratches from briars or even poison ivy as long as they can look at tombstones.
If it is impossible to visit a graveyard, the next best thing is Internet. There are hundreds of graveyard web pages to explore. One of the classic places to look for tombstone information and photographs is FindAGrave. You can also leave a request for a volunteer to take a photograph of a particular tombstone. Many USGenWeb pages have links to cemetery records, some with photographs and some linking to outside sources. Be sure to check out the US GenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project. You can almost always find somebody who will go to a cemetery and take photographs on Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.
Have some leisure time? Check out Flickr for photographs of cemeteries. If you enter a variety of search terms, something may pop up that is interesting. How about exploring a variety of web pages to see how they differ and what they contain? Here are a few that are interesting ...
Some parting words of wisdom, aka cemetery superstitions. Be careful ... if you take three steps backward when leaving a loved one's grave, you will die within three months. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Are you looking for a genealogical society in your area or where you are researching? Or, maybe you need to know what other genealogical societies are doing. As of yesterday the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced the re-launch of their popular Society Hall. The FGS Conference is being held at Knoxville, TN.
This is an information database that can be accessed on Internet. You can locate FGS member organizations worldwide. They may be genealogical societies, libraries, archives, vendors, historical societies and even family associations. Members have a listing in the Society Hall. The information contains basis information and some list what they have in events, services, programs and publications.
Be sure to take time to browse through the Society Hall database. Also check out the FGS web page and see what they do for genealogists.
If you are in the market for genealogical software, there are many ways to learn about software and the features. Most of the software is available for PCs, but there are also excellent programs available for the Mac. You can visit with other genealogists about what they use, check out the developer's web pages, but a comprehensive place to look for information is GenSoft Reviews.
They review 523 programs for genealogists. These include everything from foreign products to the well-known Legacy, Roots Magic, Family Tree Maker and Reunion for the Mac. Some of the programs are free, some shareware or for purchase. There are links for obtaining more information. Each program is given a dated review. The stars accompanying the review are for the enjoyment of using it, use it often, easy input, useful output and overall rating.
Looking at this it seems like ages ago that I was hand-designing my genealogy charts on my first computer. Maybe it was ages ago! There are plenty of products on the market today to satisfy the genealogist's needs ... just start looking at them.
The web page begins with National Wide/World Wide Research Sites that are helpful to researchers, such as USGenWeb, RootsWeb E-Mail List and FindAGrave. Next are Statewide Research Sites, such as the Missouri Archives Digital Heritage Collection, Missouri Archives Death Certificates 1910-1959 and Missouri Archives Soldier's Records 1812-WWI.
There are 114 counties in Missouri and each county has 15 to 17 research links. Caulley has added information on the date the county was created, parent counties, links, plus a Missouri map showing the location of the county. There is also an area for counties whose names were changed, along with links to further information.
One of the most interesting areas on the web page is Missouri Counties in Order of Formation. Did you know that those original five counties in 1812 were Cape Girardeau, New Madrid, Saint Charles, Sainte Genevieve and Saint Louis? Again with links, this segment is extremely helpful, as well as the maps showing their location when created. When using the maps, be sure to click on them for a larger image.
I wish all states had this type of web page. Get the hint ambitious genealogists?
My granddaughter (age 12) and I are leaving for a research, family, fun trip. We will do genealogical research in courthouses and libraries plus visit cemeteries. On Saturday we will help to host a group of genealogists for Genealogy in the Park. Now how much fun will that be? We have Lil' Red packed and ready to hit the road. If you don't know about Lil' Red, follow the genealogy episodes of The You Go Genealogy Girls. We even have packed jelly beans!
She's my budding genealogist. Very willingly she will walk through cemeteries with me and look through out courthouse documents. While I view it as a history/geography lesson for her, I secretly hope that she is learning genealogy and will carry on someday.
Recently she announced that in 2011 she WILL be attending a Family History Expo with granny. That will be such fun! Hope she doesn't change her mind before 2011.
In that small log cabin in the woods of northwestern North Carolina, July 4th, 1776 dawned like any other day. There was no present knowledge of what was happening further north in the city of Philadelphia. Yet in time my ancestor would be caught up in the fight to gain independence from England. Little did they know at the time that their intentions would result in a strong nation known as the United States of America.
Along with his brother, he fought at King's Mountain and was instrumental in the capture of Tories who had been pillaging and killing people in northwest North Carolina. My 6th great grandfather survived the Revolutionary War and died an old man in 1835. Today I like to think about him and the changes it made in his life as well as the legacy he left me.
In particular, today is a day we should celebrate not only with fireworks, but with homage to the men and women who remained loyal to their belief that a new nation could and should be formed. There were no fireworks over my ancestor's log cabin and no patriotic songs being sung. Before and after the war, they went about their business.
Do you have Revolutionary War ancestors? Recently Ancestry.com released the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900. Footnote.com is offering free searching of their Revolutionary War collection until July 7th. You don't have long to take advantage of this free offer. Keep in mind that Footnote.com's Revolutionary War pension files contain every document within the file and are fully indexed.
If you suspect or know about a Revolutionary War ancestor, be sure to check out what is available online at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). There is a lot of good material to read there as well. The following are some of the best web pages for the Revolutionary War on Internet. I am sure you'll find more. However, if you put "Revolutionary War" into a Google search, you will come up with over 35 million hits. So begin with my list!
Keep in mind that not every man or woman took arms to serve in the war. Some provided comfort and sustenance for the troops and thus receive the designation of being patriots during the Revolutionary War. My 4th great grandmother supplied beef to the army in South Carolina and was awarded payment from the State of South Carolina. No matter what your ancestor did during that time period, he or she is worthy of at least one firecracker and one patriotic song today. For their strife ... God Bless America.
Genealogists love maps! An excellent web page to locate maps is at The Newberry Library's web page. This will take you directly to the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The library is well known to genealogists and located in Chicago. You don't have to go to Chicago to have fun with the maps.
You can view historical state and county maps. They are interactive and by entering a date, the map will show the formation of counties within a state at that given time.
Click on Download Historical State and County Shapefiles to download maps for use with GIS programs. You can also opt to download KMZ files to use with Google Earth. These are large files and will take time to use.
While you are on their home page, be sure to look through their genealogy information in the pull down menu. Check out where your ancestor lived by checking out The Newberry Library.
The theme for this year's Expos is Let Your Light Shine! Last year I attended the Family History Expo in Sheridan, WY and vowed to attend another one this year. I am a blogger of honor this year for my blog, You Go Genealogy Girls. I will also try to share information on this blog. Be sure to check both.
All states who supplied men for the Civil War should have web pages such as the Iowa Civil War Project. It is a special project of the IAGenWeb and worth checking if you have an Iowa Civil War ancestor.
The web site contains the six volumes of Civil War Records for Iowa, the full citation being Iowa, Adjutant General Office. Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion, Together with Historical Sketches of Volunteer Organization 1861-1866 Des Moines: E.H. English, State Printer, E.D. Chassell, State Binder, 1908-1911.
There is a list of correspondence, dates, sources and notes. You can explore this further for information pertaining to your ancestor or his unit. The web page contains Letters to Headquarters, such as Rock Island Barracks May 1864.
If you know your ancestor's infantry, be sure to check out the Infantry, History and Rosters. There is a separate section for Iowa Cavalry, History and Rosters, as well as Artillery.
The entire web page seems rather complex and time consuming, but help is available at the click of the mouse. Toward the top and before Correspondence/Topic/Title you will see "If you want to search all of these records go to the main Civil War page and utilize the FreeFind search engine there."
Not only can you search the site at the main page, but you can also find instructions for joining the Iowa Civil War mailing list. There are links to gravestone photos, more about the regiments, Civil War prisons, photo album, county data and descendant/researcher lists.
Plan on spending time at this web page, particularly if you have more than one Iowa Civil War soldier in your lineage.
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Both my mother and mother-in-law are deceased, leaving me to be a warmly loved and celebrated person on the special day. I can remember Mother's Day past, such as one when I was about seven years old and bought my mother not one, but several cards. I couldn't make up my mind and having found some change (cards were cheap then) in the family business till, I decided to buy them all. Patiently she opened them one by one, reading the message and I was sure admiring my name scrawled across the bottom.
In 1969 by baby daughter was baptized on Mother's Day. It was a great celebration of three generations as my mother and I posed for pictures with her. She was dressed in a long, white dress and white lace bonnet. She was very petite and out of that bonnet looked dark, brown eyes causing Mom and Grandmother to beam with pride.
This all causes me to wonder how mothers of the past celebrated the day, or if they celebrate it. About 150 years ago Appalachian homemaker, Anna Jarvis, organized a day to raise awareness of the poor health conditions in her community. She called it "Mother's Work Day." Personally I think every day is a mother's work day!
About fifteen years after that Julia Ward Howe, the pacifist, poet and author of the lyrics to Battle Hymn of the Republic, organized a day whereby mothers could rally for peace. When Anna Jarvis died in 1905 her daughter, Anna, began a campaign to memorialize the life work of her mother. She lobbied prominent businessmen and politicians. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill proclaiming Mother's Day a national holiday. As Mother's Day became more popular with people sending cards, presents and flowers, Anna Jarvis became enraged. In 1923 she filed a lawsuit to stop Mother's Day and before she died in 1948 confessed that she regretted having started the tradition.
Personally, I think Mother's Day is great and also a day to reflect on the lives of our ancestral mothers. My mother was born in 1914, the year Mother's Day was created a national holiday. Living in a log cabin in northeast Tennessee, I wonder if they had the money to spend on anything other than the typical meal that my grandmother prepared. I do know they were a loving family and the love carried down through the generations.
We should remember our prairie mothers and reflect on how they rode in covered wagons or walked alongside them, as their families moved from one location to another. Sometimes that location was a great distance, taking weeks and months.
When the wind blows to extremes here in Nebraska, I ponder on the pioneer women who lived in sod houses and dugouts. Sand and dirt blew in the cracks propelled by wind that never seemed to cease The howl of the wind had to drive them to near insanity. They had no close neighbors and probably existed only for the sake of their husband and children. The stamina of some was worn thin and they found their surroundings intolerable.
There were mothers who delivered babies along the trail as well as burying loved ones. Graves never found or marked and mothers no longer honored, fill my heart with sorrow and also joy. They made all of this possible.
There are over 50,000 individuals listed who had a death notice posted in the proceedings of the fraternal order. Using this, you can seek out more information such as probate files, newspaper obituaries, land records, city directories and cemetery records.
Do you know when or how your interest in genealogy was sparked? I have had many people ask me how long I've been doing genealogical research and what caused my interest in it. While I'm admitting to being Medicare age, I am also admitting to starting an interest in genealogy at age nine.
A teacher assigned a class project of tracing family history, complete with names and dates, as far back as we could in a limited amount of time. The assignment brought tears to my eyes which increased in severity as I walked home after school. I had seen my grandparents at age three and could not remember what they looked like, let alone the family history. From an old chest of drawers my mother pulled some yellowed papers from the Lewis Family Reunion which was held annually for many years in northwest North Carolina. In my grandmother's handwriting were details of the family as told at the reunion in the 1920s. Those people knew people far back on my family tree.
Working on the project seemed easy and yet very interesting as I compared dates to what I was learning in history. Proudly I turned in my assignment and smiled when I learned that I had a good paper.
As I grew older, I kept working on various family lineages, asking questions and seeking answers. Those were the day when we relied on letters. People didn't have access to photocopy machines, let alone computers and scanners. It was a slow process, but worth every minute of it.
The family historian in my Lewis family was my Great Aunt, Bertha Lewis Mahala. She was a school teacher in her younger years, with her husband Ed lived in Ashe Co., North Carolina and had no children. Aunt Bertha showed me an old family tree covering huge pieces of paper. she showed me family heirlooms and told me stories about our family, as well as taking me with her to old graveyards. As I became a teenager, I delighted in old photographs, particularly the one here of Aunt Bertha. How I longed to have her long curls!
If anybody can be blamed for my continuing interest in genealogy, it's Aunt Bertha. There were other people along the way who were instrumental and helpful. One thing led to another, such as taking genealogy classes, reading and more reading, learning about historical documents, geography and putting ancestors into the puzzle of time.
I am sure you will also agree it is a never ending process. As more records become available, the more we have to check and hope for positive results. I think often of Aunt Bertha and wonder what she would have thought about computers, scanners, photocopy machines and cell phones. Maybe it is as well she lived in a slower world and I was also part of it.
There are several places to locate scanned books on Internet. One of my favorite places is at the FamilySearch Family History Archive. They have many family genealogies and histories. Where do they get those books and periodicals? Primarily from the FamilySearch Family History Library, the Houston Public Library, Mid-Continent Public Library, Allen County Public Library, the BYU Harold B. Lee Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church History Library and the BYU Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library.
By clicking on the link, you can perform a search by surname, author or title ... or you can browse the collection or perform an advanced search.
Another way to see if books have been scanned, is by checking the Family History Library Catalog. Click on surname and enter your surname of interest. On some of the entries that you see, there may be links to view a digital version. Click and you will be shown information about the book or publication. On the left side of the web page you will see a list of pages and information pertaining to the book, along with information on the printing version. By clicking that, the book will eventually appear in PDF format that can be saved to your computer for future reading and reference.
Check these options for searching often. As of a few days ago there were 60,144 items at the FamilySearch Family History Archives. New books and publications are being added frequently. It's another good thing for genealogists!
Before Internet (remember those days?) where did you go to do genealogical research? Libraries, archives, courthouses, newspaper offices? Seriously, I hope you still venture to those places. However, it is great to know that many state archives are going digital.
The web page, Digital States Archives, is a great place to begin looking for archives that have digital collections. There is a goldmine of information to be had for a click of the mouse. To date there are 18 states represented on this web page.
Documents, deeds, photographs, artifacts, court records, newspapers, military records, and much more can be found at various state archives. A good deal of these records are in digital format, which makes it great for genealogists who cannot travel to distant states.
This is not a one time web page to check. More state archives are being added, so be sure you bookmark it and check often for updates. It's a good thing!
Vital records are the very being of our genealogical research. If your ancestors or relatives lived during a time when vital statistics were recorded, add it to your list to obtain vital records.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a web page devoted to Where to Write for Vital Records. They provide links which send you to information regarding each state of territory. From there you will find information on birth, death, marriage and divorce records, when kept, where located, along with cost for copies. By clicking on further links you will see more information on the requirements to obtain the copies. Sometimes there will also be online downloadable forms provided.
At the top of the list of states and territories is a link for a PDF Version. Click on that to obtain a PDF of 68 pages showing all of the information you will find online. This is very helpful if you are not connected to Internet. The information is on your computer at your finger-tips.
Begin your list of vital records and then see how many you can obtain!
Just when it's there ... oops, it's gone! A web page you want desperately is no longer on Internet? Maybe you used it a year ago or even a month ago, but now you get that pesky message that your web address is no longer valid, or some strange numbers which supposedly indicate the same thing.
Where did it go? Is it out there in cyberspace, floating around? What is cyberspace? Why isn't the web page on Internet?
I hope you can remember the title of the web page, or maybe the nature of it, such as Tennessee military records. You can always start searching for it, using your favorite search engine. Maybe the name has changed. Maybe somebody just removed it forever.
If you are using a bookmark or favorite area of your browser, consider getting to the root of the URL, such as this from my personal web page, http://www.incolor.com/rcoleman/pubhtml/page 2. html. If it doesn't come up, go to http://www.incolor.com and browse around or add the rcoleman/ on the end and see what pops up. Maybe I have omitted that page from my web site.
Google will usually show the word "cache" in the results. If the regular link doesn't open the web page, click on "cache" to see what was last shown for that particular web page. You will not be able to click on any of the links within a cached web page. Be sure you try other search engines also, such as Yahoo.com.
There is still hope. Try the Internet Archive's WayBackMachine. It's in a little box on the top part of their web page. Enter the URL that you currently have and with a little luck, your web page may turn up with the new URL.
After much deliberation, I decided in December to purchase an iPod Touch. Because I use a Mac and also Reunion 9, it seemed a good way to have my genealogy files on-the-go and with less hassle and weight that I have with my laptop computer.
It is not for everybody and does take some practice to type on it. Overall, it was a good purchase. When I flew to Virginia in December my iPod Touch and I went through security without any issues. Just like the laptop (but easier), I took it out of my purse and put it in the bin. I will continue to take my laptop on trips and also flights, but for this time, it was a good thing to have the iPod Touch.
Placing my genealogy files on it was a very simple procedure. If you have Reunion 9, be sure to check out the LeisterPro web page for details and videos on how to use it on the iPhone and iPod Touch. I also recommend purchasing a book or manual about the iPod Touch. There are many features that you will not learn just by turning it on.
I linked all of my photos from Reunion 9 family files to the iPod Touch, but you can choose which ones to transfer or use only the feature photo from each file. All of my notes transferred and are easy to review on it. The only thing I miss with Reunion on the iPod Touch is the Quick Bar that allows you to select certain ancestors or relatives at a click. Syncing between the iPod Touch to keep it updated with changes I make is very easy using the USB port.
There are other applications I have on my iPod Touch. It comes with a few applications, such as Safari and Mail. You can access all of your e-mail accounts, such as gmail. Web pages can be enlarged quickly and easily for viewing. I also added the Weather Channel which is handy for traveling. Since I use the iPod Touch when flying, I also have an application showing gates of the airports that I normally use. All you do is enter the gate number and concourse and the map shows the exact location in conjunction with other portions of the concourse.
It comes with Contacts and Maps which are handy when traveling. You can sync your contacts from the main computer. I have found the Notes and Voice Memos to be very handy, not only when traveling, but here at home. As I was doing research on my trip, I would leave myself either a voice memo or notes regarding more research that I needed to do. It's also great for a grocery list.
The WIFI TRAK application that I downloaded from iTunes tracks Internet connection wherever I might be with my iPod Touch. Drive down the street a few blocks and it will show the activity in that area, both secured and unsecured. I also have Free WIFI which has a search feature by town/city showing all of the free WIFI available, be it restaurants, libraries, hotels or stores.
I also have WorldCat on my iPod Touch. This allows me to enter a title, author or category of a book and determine if it is in the library I am using or a library near me. This handy application also has a search feature for locating libraries. It's great for the genealogist on the go.
The iPod Touch is handy for trips to the library, courthouse or even the cemetery. However, it is not secure. When using it in a library, you cannot leave it on the table with your other belongings. Now I'm designing and making pouches for my iPod Touch. I can easily take it in and out of the pouch which hangs around my neck.
A great way to begin 2010 is through home schooling. Teach yourself about genealogical techniques and successful research. Just relax at the computer, have another cup of coffee or tea and learn. You can even school yourself late at night in your pajamas.
FamilySearch is offering Research Series Classes online and they are free. They are provided by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Those currently available are:
England Beginning Research
Research Principles and Tools
There are lessons under each topic for watching the video, downloading the video and obtaining a PDF file of the class outline. Some do not have the exact same format. The largest lesson is the England Beginning Research Series which contains five lessons: Research Overview, Census Records, Civil Registration, Church Records, and Find Your Ancestors.
More online seminars and classes can be found at the link, Genealogical Presentations Online. These include the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Certification Seminar and the Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference at Little Rock, Arkansas, 2 September 2009.
I encourage you to take advantage of these online resources to advance your research skills.