Genealogy 102: Free Genealogy Resources Online and Continuing Education

all right this is genealogy 102 it’s free resources and continuing education and i will tell you right off right up front this is a lot of information there is a handout that went out by email so that’s available um if you didn’t receive the handout send me an email and i can send it to you but there are more resources online than ever before we don’t have to depend just on ancestry for the information we’re looking for here are just some of the things that i found online there is a map that i found probably in a county history we have city directories there is a death record an obituary from a newspaper and a probate record so lots of information i was in a class once uh taught by thomas w jones he’s a former editor of the national genealogical society quarterly and he said firmly there is no such thing as a completely accurate record and after 40 plus years of research i would have to agree with that i always tell my classes people lie all the time people forget people don’t know who are giving the information there is no such thing as one-stop shopping there is no single website including ancestry that has all the resources you need to research your family history my standard warning for all of these classes that i do don’t stay up till three in the morning this is a lot of information i know you will be excited at the new discoveries you’ll be making there’s plenty of time especially now during quarantine okay i’m going to start off with my top 10 most used these are websites and databases that i use my daily work in client research the first one is family search this is a database that is set up and organized and run by the mormon church this is you will need to register everything on this website is free so there are several ways to use this website the first way is to search for historical records there on the left here i am searching for a marriage record i found a george perry on the 1900 census of i think emmett county michigan his wife was named ellen so i would like to find the marriage record and so i put michigan in between 1880 and 1900 i will say that when you’re searching for a historic record you do need to specify at the very least the country you’re looking for if not the state because if you don’t specify a location you will get records from germany france england the netherlands you want to narrow it down so i am seeing george perry and actually this is the one i’m looking for and i can tell because his wife’s name is ellen there are two records here the first one is just a transcript you can tell by that little notebook shape the second one has a little camera and that means there is an image of the original record so we go to that one there is a transcript of most of the information on the record but when i click on the image this is what i’m seeing this is the actual marriage register they were married in ingham county which is close to where lansing is ellen’s maiden name was wakefield and each of them had been married once before this is very useful information another way to search is to drill down to the location you’re interested in if you hover your mouse over the map an area will light up and in this case it’s the united states and you’ll notice here’s the listing that starts with alabama on the left we have some camera icons those mean images mostly of original records you’ll notice that the larger camera icons mean something different those are

collections that are outside of the family history library and you may not be able to access them from home on the right side we have the number of records in a specific collection and the date they were last updated so on the first of these alabama births and christenings 1881-1930 that’s 50 years worth for the whole state and there’s only 165 000 i would not be likely to look at that collection however alabama deaths 1908 to 1974 there’s almost 2 million of those i’m going to go search in that collection so i searched for a james herring just picked a name out of nowhere and i get a transcript of the death record and over here it says that in order to view the image you have to be in a family history center which most of them are closed now for the quarantine so i would probably make a list of what i want to look up next time i can visit a family history center looking at another collection is ohio deaths from 1908 to 1953. there’s three and a half million so that’s i know it’s pretty complete and in this case i was looking up the name richard winch and there’s his death certificate um i also quite often probably most of the time use the family search catalog you can search by place surname titles author subjects and keywords most often i’m looking for a place and in this case i want to know what they have on benzie county michigan and the answer is not much benzene county is a tiny county in the northwest corner of michigan it’s got a very small population so i’m not really surprised when i go to look at their vital records i see those birth records 1868 to 1917 here is the catalog entry and down at the bottom you see that little camera icon you click on that and this is what you say this is a roll of microfilm that has been digitized and you can see up at the top the cover of the birth register now just looking at it without even zooming in i can tell that this starts with an index which is very good news and then the images at the bottom are probably the birth register itself so in the index under s i’m looking for any children with the last name small and there’s a lottie may small says page nine i go to page nine here’s the image the digitized image of the register and i learned here at the bottom lottie may small was born may 3rd 1871 her parents were shadrach and angeline shadrach was born in massachusetts and jolene was born in michigan and shadrach was a farmer lots of good information the family search wiki is really important especially when you don’t know what’s available in a particular place so in this case i looked up pearl river county mississippi this is where my mother-in-law was born and if you’ll notice down here there’s a table for known beginning dates for major county records birth and death dates looks like begin in 1912. so if you’re looking for a birth or a death record in pearl river county from the 1880s you’re out of luck you will have to go to another source probably cemetery records or something similar number two is u.s gen web this is a volunteer driven website it’s been going for probably about i think about 25 years now here is the cover page for the pennsylvania gen web here is arizona most of the states have a list of the counties and also a clickable county map the county map is important because county boundaries change over the years and i will address that in a minute

usgen web has several special projects and one of those is the michigan tombstone photo project which is organized by county and you’ll notice that benzie county the small county has 13 000 photos so if i click on benzy here is a list of the cemeteries you can click on the cemetery to find the listing and on the camera for the photos this is the page for the monroe county new york gen webb and they have put up a vital record index to the rochester daily american this covers 13 years from 1844 to 1857 and here is part of that index notice that in this index all you get is the event and the date and i should make a point of mentioning that 12 9 actually refers to 1851 and you get the page and the column if you want the actual article you can probably email the rochester public library because they have all the issues there number three is find a grave and i should note here find a grave is not a complete listing because again it’s volunteer driven here is the memorial page which i probably put up for james bradshaw he died in jonesville hillsdale county michigan but note where he’s buried in rochester monroe county new york why do you suppose that is mostly because that’s where they lived before they moved to michigan and here are the links to his other family members his first two daughters died very young as scarlet fever and they are also buried there that’s undoubtedly why he is buried there as well okay you can also search for a cemetery here is my search for oak grove cemetery in michigan i got 28 hits the one i wanted was in manistee michigan and it notes here that they have 7 400 memorials and they have 87 photographed which is really a high percentage and you notice over here show map that’s where it is on western michigan right next to lake michigan number four is online searchable death indexes this one i use quite often i open up the state click on the state first and there is a general listing mostly for recent records and then it goes county by county with what’s available and in this case there’s a number of things for spokane county including the spokane public library obituaries index that link takes me to this page genealogy at the library and right here is the obituary searches number five is sydney’s list this is a pretty exhaustive list cindy works full-time trying to capture every single website online that has anything to do with genealogy she has broad categories and you can go by states and then you can drill down into county records specific kinds of records this is where i go for example if i had a client who approached me who had finished ancestry i do not know anything about finnish research but looking up finland and clicking at this first one birth marriage and death looking here there is a database of death certificates of finns in king county washington 1892-1947 i never knew that existed there are also some other very good sounding databases that are well worth checking out so that’s why cindy’s list is so useful the next one number six is link pentium this one i’ve grown to really love he has organized genealogy links by state there are also surnames which i use less often here is the page

for new hampshire which lists statewide resources and then county listings if i click on cheshire county this is just a partial view of that page and if i click on libraries museums and archives which is usually my goal this is the list of links to get to different kinds of libraries and historical societies in cheshire county number seven is the ancestor hunt i use this one almost every single day for links to new online newspapers there are links by state he also i discovered recently has links for canadian newspapers so i wanted to go look at mississippi historic newspapers online he gives the links for all the newspapers this first collection is on chronicling america which i will get to in a minute and then he goes county by county different county and library collections listing the newspapers and in some cases the dates that are included number eight is the atlas of historical county boundaries because as i said before county boundaries have frequently changed throughout history so if i click on new york here is the map it’s an interactive map here are the new york counties in 1801 here are the counties in 1854 so your great great grandfather could have lived on one farm for 50 years and lived in four different counties this is important so that you know which county to go to for different records here is a listing by county and it lists all the changes for instance up at the top franklin county was created from clinton county in 1808 and then it got some land from essex county and then it got some more land from st lawrence county so this is helpful when you want to know what the surrounding counties are and where to look if you’re not finding the records where you think they should be internet archive is another one i use this one mostly for looking for county histories that are out of copyright and online i use the advanced search with the title contains and i’m looking for hendricks county indiana so i put those two words i get 27 hits which is very manageable and you’ll notice there are several histories of hendricks county there’s also a couple of directories and some original documents there and this is something i’ve been using internet archive for probably five years or longer this is something i just discovered last month here’s the history of hendricks county indiana i’m interested in the surname flynn i can put that surname up here in the search box and it will show me if this surname occurs in this book it does several times and so i will download it further down the page there are options to download i always download a pdf and in this book there is a statement about a client’s great-great-grandfather he and his wife made the trip over land on horseback passing through the little village of indianapolis and over the swamp which is now occupied by danville so that’s a great picture of your ancestor something you might not have known before number 10 kind of encompasses state archives i love state archives and i think all of the state archives now are putting content online so here to start off is the directory of state archives um the washington state archives i really like to say is one of the best here i am looking for a marriage record of john robbins and lenny tekkel and over here there’s an image

and there is the marriage record this was interesting because my clients grandfather was the child of john robbins first wife and her first husband so this couple were actually the step parents of my grandfather and that took some figuring out and this marriage record was part of it the michigan state archives has just created a brand new website called michiganology that has lots of information new jersey state archives also the missouri digital heritage website is my favorite go-to for anything missouri okay county archives and historical societies here’s the king county archives they have digitized a lot of records on their website newego county historical society chester county pennsylvania they have birth marriage and death records listed on their website and here is the kansas historical society what i like is that they have a newspaper database and this is not a database of images this is a database of titles so that you could put in the city of publication or maybe just the county the date range and then get a list of newspapers that were published there during those years number 12 is public libraries i love public libraries obviously i’m a lifetime user of public libraries and here is a directory to public libraries in the united states most public libraries nowadays large and small will have a local history or genealogy section on their website this is one for forsyth county north carolina and i’ve been to the winston-salem public library they have a separate room for north carolina records google the library you’re looking for here’s the medina county district library and they have an obituary finder library databases i often use these and these that i’ll be talking about are done are held by king county library system and some other libraries throughout the country so check your local library the first one is 19th century u.s newspapers this covers the time period 1800 to 1899 and you can look for a name and they will give you the citat the the image and the citation this is from megan georgia and i was looking for the name florinoy so especially newspapers are especially useful especially in the south before vital records were kept often they announced births marriages and deaths so newspapers are my go-to for early records here is another list of deaths and this is for the daily inter ocean which is chicago illinois heritage quest is a really useful database that you can use from home with your library card its content is provided by ancestry so if you do not have an ancestry uh subscription and you can’t get ancestry from the library i would go to heritage quest i was looking for henry chase in the 1940s census of michigan and i found him living in grand traverse county and there he is he’s the light yellow line he was an inmate in the michigan state hospital in traverse city i wrote a blog post about finding this on the 1940 census and that blog post gets looked at probably once or twice a week at least for census records things to remember

are that names are often misspelled if you can’t find a person by looking it up by typing the name of the search box you may have to browse that location because the person reading the name may not have been able to read it correctly ages are often incorrect you need to ask yourself who supplied the information up until the 1940 census it’s really not known who supplied the information and you should look for other family members on pages before and after your ancestor i’m fond of saying that genealogists do whole family research not just the ancestors another database is newspaper archive this is available through king county library system until november 30th when i got this news from lori i was a little dismayed but then i realized that i’ve been not using this one quite as much because there are so many online newspapers out there but newspaper archive is one that i go to when i have any midwestern research the company started out in iowa so iowa newspapers are definitely covered here’s the list of partial lists of iowa newspapers by city in this one i was looking for the name surname prosser in indiana i got over 5 000 hits so over on the right i could narrow it down by town and i picked laporte because i knew that’s where they lived and that’s a much more manageable 22 results generally speaking the name will be highlighted on the paper and you can click on that you can also download the page so if you have any midwestern ancestors i would advise you to make some good use of newspaper archive before it goes away there are some subscription databases with free content the first one i want to talk about is fold three king county library system carried fold three for a while i kind of hope they pick it up again because it’s so useful for military records but the war of 1812 pension records are free and these were this was george prosser i looked up the name prosser in new york and landed on this one this is a 45 page pension file here are just two of the pages in that pension file and over here on the right it says that his widow was annie prosser and she is now living in ontario canada george prosser was her husband he died in august of 1927 they were married in december second 1818 so this is a really good place to go for information i’ve seen pension records with bible pages with affidavits from the minister who married the couple i’ve seen affidavits from the midwife who delivered their children lots of good information okay does have some free items free collections in their database notably the 1880 and the 1940 census these are free but you will be asked to register for a free account so vital records are important this is washington state does not yet have images of death certificates online and so whenever i need a death certificate from washington state i fill out the form and send it in with my twenty dollars and i get it in about two weeks not all vital records are online so i always go to where to write for vital records and there’s the address it’s on your handout as well and you can just google where to write for vital records um this is done by this national center for health statistics and here is ohio’s page you’ll note that ohio

started keeping birth records in 1908 state office have death death records since 1964 so anything before then you want to go to the county level some states are very strict on who they will release a record to in iowa to request a death record you have to identify the record and establish entitlement you have to state your relationship to the deceased and it’s often cheaper and faster to order from the county there have been two or three times when i’ve ordered a death certificate from los angeles county and gotten it pretty fast i did that mostly because i was hearing that the state of california their state health department was taking months and months to respond so at this point are there any questions this is a lot of information and i was seeing the chat box at the beginning but i’m not now questions if you have any questions please type them in the chat box and we will take a moment to answer those or you can save them to the end and if you’re overwhelmed that’s okay take it one database at a time and go explore okay newspapers are one of my favorite records and some of these this is one of my favorite newspaper articles goes to prison just for a rest now this newspaper article was actually published i think in north dakota it was a kind of a dull news day but this man pleaded um for a sense to the bridewell that he might have a vacation from dealing with his wife that was pretty funny chronicling america is the website that’s put up by the library of congress they have been digitizing newspapers for years and here i always go to the advanced search here i’m looking for the name john chaffin he was a civil war veteran and here i have let’s see 17 results and you can just barely see the pink means that that name is highlighted on that page and here is the article that caught my attention he was in a freight train accident a lot of libraries nowadays provide obituary indexes the tacoma public library is one of those public libraries of saginaw county michigan i was doing some research on a family with the last name of kubiak they were all over saginaw and i probably requested something like 20 copies of obituaries i would send them an email with the name of the person the date of the newspaper and they would send me a printout by mail without any charge that was really nice cemetery records find a grave is only a partial listing there are other places to go for cemeteries one of them is which is also volunteer it’s whatever anybody wants to put up there so i looked up to houma national cemetery which is actually in kent and i looked up my parents names because both of my parents are buried there here’s john chase reid and mary elizabeth it gives the where they are buried and the fact that my dad served during the korea korean war he didn’t actually go to korea but that’s when he was in the service billion graves is another one and that one i like to use for grave cemeteries that are overseas for example here’s a cemetery map in edinburgh scotland and here is kennengate kirkyard with a listing of the burials there and here is an individual listing so that’s helpful military records hold lots of

information whenever you’re researching a male ancestor be aware of what wars he might have fought in here is the dar website which i’ve used quite often i usually do an ancestor search here i was searching for a several times great grandfather levi chase it says where he served he served in massachusetts the name of his wife who was temperance crocker and here are the names well the name of his daughter and who she married these are the people who joined under that particular ancestor the u.s veteran gravesite logo locator is another useful website and civil war soldiers and sailors which i like to use this is done by the national park service and there are several databases here there are soldiers and sailors there’s also a database of regiments so i looked up augustus randall and there are over 17 000 of them i would not have thought that there were that many men of that name um you can shoot narrow it down whether he was union or confederate what state he fought in if you know the battle if he was in the infantry or cavalry you can click that but here this is i am pretty sure this is my great great grandfather who fought in ohio now i went just out of curiosity i went to the regimental history another great great grandfather of mine was a black sheep he deserted from the second michigan cavalry so reading a regimental history might help me determine where to look for him next land records are important there’s lots of different ways to look at land records i am just going to cover one of them and that’s the bureau of land management this is where the u.s government was selling federal land to private individuals you might have heard of the homestead act that was part of this so here i’m looking up the name breeland in mississippi breeland is a very common name in the south and you’ll see there are 10 pages of them i was interested in riley breland who was my husband’s grandfather and he bought land from the government i’m not sure i think this was the late 1890s early 1900s and here is the final document with the legal description of the land that he bought and then alongside this i check marked to see the map here is the map this small square within a square and i’ll note i noticed when i did this it’s right next to mclean mississippi and that’s where riley breeland lived continuing education that is why you’re all here tonight i have been doing this professionally for 10 years i would not be where i am today if i had not been learning every single day so continuing education is very important first off there are books many of these you can now download onto your kindle or onto your phone i have several of them listed in your handout as far as beginners go the most recent is probably the family tree tool kit here on the left that was published um just last year the year before i think now who do you think you are it’s about 10 years old but it’s still one of the best books for beginners that i’ve ever seen and then there here are some more there’s a good guide to dna testing organize your genealogy how to do everything genealogy lots of information in those books memberships primary membership would be the national genealogical society i remember when i first joined here back

in the 80s i was only a member for about a year because most of it was way over my head when i decided to become a professional i knew i needed to join again and i did i took advantage of several of the online classes that they had and i learned a whole lot they have classes and webinars they come out with a quarterly journal and a quarterly magazine very useful this is the website for the new england historic genealogical society also known as american ancestors they have databases they have a journal they have webinars lots of learning the afro-american historical and genealogical society has a website and so does jewish genealogy state most of the states have genealogy societies here’s the web page for florida state genealogical society most of these states have webinars and when they are broadcast they’re open to everyone not just members webinars are my i think my favorite way to learn legacy family tree webinars has been going for a number of years and you can look up webinars by by subject or by a presenter um this legacy family tree webinars it costs about fifty dollars a year and it’s worth every penny for example i’ve looked up dna they now have 150 webinars on dna including five foundation webinars done by blaine bettinger ancestry academy has done several webinars not necessarily just how to use ancestry but how to find the records you need conferences are good place for education um up until this year i was going to conferences every year i was looking forward to going to this one because it was going to be held in salt lake city and at the last minute about a month ago they made the announcement they were going virtual so um so this one the virtual webinars are going to begin in july so i believe there is still time to sign up the new york state family history conference is offering an at-home program where you can sign up to get webinars or view some of the programs live international conference on jewish genealogy most societies nowadays are going virtual out of necessity so if you would like to get my newsletters um you can go to my website it’s and sign up with your email there are also past issues of my newsletter here so click on that link if you want to see you know what i talk about my newsletters there is always something more to find there is always something more to learn and there has never been a better time to be a genealogist thank you