Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NEHGS Salutes the Nation’s Anniversary with FREE Access to the Great Migration Databases on AmericanAncestors.org


Family Historians May Commemorate Independence Day by Searching FREE on AmericanAncestors.org for America’s Earliest Settlers, July 1 through July 8

June 29, 2015—Boston, Massachusetts—In a salute to the anniversary of our nation’s independence, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is granting FREE access to all online searchable databases related to the Great Migration. A unique foundation of governance and religion was created by the 20,000 men, women, and children who crossed the Atlantic between 1620 and 1640, seeking opportunity and relief in New England, in the period known as the Great Migration. These are the Mayflower names, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, and the families that delight and provide rich insights for genealogists and family historians. Since 1988 NEHGS has undertaken the Great Migration Study Project, directed by Robert Charles Anderson and scheduled for completion in 2016. The results are open to the public to research FREE during the first week of July 2015 on its data-rich website AmericanAncestors.org.

A total of nine searchable databases comprise the Great Migration project on AmericanAncestors.org, consisting of thousands of records. Some content highlights include:

1: The Great Migration Begins

The first phase of the Great Migration Study Project attempts to identify and describe all those Europeans who settled in New England prior to the end of 1633. The date was chosen because of the steep increase in migration beginning in 1634 and continuing for the rest of that decade (see Robert Charles Anderson, "A Note on the Pace of the Great Migration," The New England Quarterly 59 [1986]:406-07). As a rough estimate, about 15 percent of the immigrants to New England arrived in the fourteen years from 1620 to 1633, with the remaining 85 percent coming over in half as many years, from 1634 to 1640.

2: The Great Migration Newsletter

This database comprises Volumes 1 through 20 of the Great Migration Newsletter, published between 1990 and 2011. Each 32-page issue contains one or two feature articles, a column with editor's comments, and a review of recent literature on the Great Migration. Each issue also contains a section with detailed coverage of one of the towns settled during the Great Migration, or of a specific critical record, or group of records.

3: The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volumes I—VII, A-Y
(7 separate databases)

From 1620 to 1633, only a few hundred people stepped on the shores of New England in any given year. But all of a sudden in 1634 the trend surged upward and as many as 2,500 people immigrated in 1634 and again in 1635. In May 1634, the population of Massachusetts doubled in just one month, and when comparing immigration in 1634 and 1635 to immigration in 1633 and earlier, there was a tenfold jump in annual immigration.

These volumes covering surnames beginning with A through Y, complete a series documenting the watershed years of 1634 and 1635. They trace families and individuals immigrating to New England during those two years – a time of rapid migration and settlement.

Each alphabetical entry for a family or individual includes:

• Place of origin, if known

• Date and ship on which they arrived in New England, if known

• Earliest known record of the individual or family

• First residence and subsequent residences, when known

• Return trips to their country of origin, whether temporary or permanent

• Bibliographical information such as birth, death, marriage(s), children, and other important family relationships, church memberships, and civil and military offices held

The full introduction to these seven volumes is available for download as a pdf file. The introduction includes a description of the methodology used to create the sketches as well as thorough descriptions of the sources used.

The database provides an index to the sketches of 219 Great Migration individuals, and the 7,192 name, 2,040 place, and 249 ship name references contained within those sketches. The images of the original book pages are available from the search results pages.

These Great Migration databases from NEHGS will be open with FREE access to the public beginning Wednesday, July 1, through Wednesday, July 8. Registration at AmericanAncestors.org is required as a FREE Guest Member to gain access to these valuable resources. Guest User accounts allow web visitors to use a limited suite of AmericanAncestors.org databases and access web content such as making purchases from the online store. Unlimited access to all 450+ million records and other benefits is through membership at NEHGS.

Family historians may start their search for ancestors who came to the country as part of the Great Migration at this site: AmericanAncestors.org/specials/fourth-of-july.

FEEFHS Conference offers Full German Research Track

For the first year FEEFHS is offering a full track focused on German genealogical research throughout the conference program. Starting with the basics of German family history research — language and handwriting, records, maps, and tools — and progressing to more advanced topics and specialty records such as guilds and family record books, individuals will be able to attend classes specific to German family history research throughout the 3-day conference. These classes will be taught by locally and nationally recognized instructors, Milan Pohontsch, Baerbel Johnson, and two instructors new to FEEFHS, FHL consultants Fritz Juengling and Kelsee Jackson.

The conference will be held August 12-15, 2015 at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, with pre-conference workshops beginning on August 11th. The program also offers instruction related to Hungarian Empire, Polish, German, Russian, Germans from Russia, and Jewish genealogical research, with expanded offerings in several areas for more advanced researchers. The research essentials track offers general topics for those just getting started with East European family history research. Interested parties may obtain complete information at feefhsworkshop.org.

The Foundation for Eastern European Family History Studies (FEEFHS) was founded in 1992 to provide access to genealogical resources and educational programs relating to Eastern European family history research. Additional information may be found at feefhs.org.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fascinating New Convict Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday


This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 240,000 fascinating Australian convict records, new additions to our collection of historic Irish newspapers, Irish Workhouse records from County Clare and Sligo as well as English parish records from the parish of Southfleet in North West Kent.

Australian Convict Records

Containing nearly 27,000 records, the Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867 list the details of convicts pardoned by the governor of New South Wales and date back to the earliest days of the colony. Pardons were generally handed out to convicts serving life sentences but in the earliest years of the colony the Governor had the power to grant both free and conditional pardons as rewards for good behaviour, for special skills or for carrying out special duties or tasks. Each record contains a transcript and an image of original documents. As well as listing the names of pardoned convicts, the records also include the name of the ship they arrived on, the term of the sentence they served, any additional notes, and details of their release.

New South Wales Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry 1825-1851 contains over 26,000 records. Convicts in Australian penal colonies were actually encouraged to marry as Governors believed that marriage and family life were good for both morality and stability. Convicts who did obtain the Governor’s permission to marry could apply for tickets of leave or pardons as well as assistance in establishing a household. In the early years of the colonies, many convicts married even if they had wives or husbands back home. Each record contains a transcript as well as an image of the original document. Registers list the convict’s name, the name of their spouse, their profession and the length of their sentence as well as the sip they arrived on and when they were given their freedom.

Containing over 188,000 records, Australia Convict ships 1786-1849 dates back the ships of First Fleet and include the details of some of the earliest convict settlers in New South Wales. The records are made up of five separate sets of musters and indents held by the State Records Authority of New South Wales. Indents records were used in the early settlements to keep track of the convict population while musters lists of who was on board a ship were taken at the port of embarkation. Each record contains a transcript and a black and white image of original documents. Indents can include a variety of information about individual convicts such as their native place, details of their offence and sentence, a physical description and details of their family members. Musters usually only give a name, date and place of trial and sentence. Musters were also taken after disembarkation.

Over 7,000 records have been added to our collection of Victoria Prison Registers 1855-1948. The new additions are taken from the Central Register of Female Prisoners, held by the Public Record Office Victoria. The register kept a record of prisoners that passed through Pentridge prison in Coburg, Victoria. Pentridge was built in 1850 and was the central prison in the Melbourne region from about 1860. Each record includes a transcripts and scanned image of the original registers and many include mug shot photographs of individual’s prisoners. They list fascinating details about not only the prisoners’ offences, sentences and incarceration, but also biographical information such as their name, date of birth, country of origin and occupation. Remarks on the register may also include the name of the ship on which the prisoner arrived if they were not born in Australia.

Irish Workhouse Records

Containing of over 9,000 records, the Sligo workhouse registers 1848-1859 consist of handwritten registers taken at the Sligo Union workhouse, one of three workhouses in the County Sligo. The records pre-date civil registration and will be a valuable resource to those with Sligo ancestors given the lack of 19th century census material available in Ireland. Each record includes a transcript and an image of the original document. The registers list the names of new arrivals and details including their age, occupation, religion, any illnesses or infirmities, family members, local parish, their condition on arrival (usually describing clothes or cleanliness) and when they were discharged or died.

Containing over 63,000 records, the Clare Poor Law Unions Board of Guardians Minute Books cover the Kilrush and Ennistymon unions, two of eight poor law unions located in County Clare. The Board of Guardians oversaw the running of the poor law unions as well as the hiring of teachers, staff and contractors. Guardians were elected by those who paid the taxes that funded poor law relief. The books recorded weekly reports on the number of inmates, new arrivals, births, deaths and discharges. They also recorded expenditures including food supplies and salaries as well as the number of inmates receiving medical treatments. Each record contains a transcript and an image of the original handwritten minutes.

Irish newspapers

Over 308,000 new articles have been added to our collection of historic Irish newspapers. Substantial additions have been made to Saunder’s News-Letter, a title that dates all the way back to 18th century Ireland and now contains nearly 950,000 fully searchable articles.

North West Kent Parish Records Baptisms

Over 4,000 new records have been added to our collection of North West Kent parish records, nearly 2,000 baptisms, over 500 marriages and 1,500 burials transcribed by the North West Kent family history society are now available to search. The new additions cover the parish of Southfleet and each record consists of a transcript of the original source material.

Remember to check our dedicated Findmypast Fridays page every week to keep up to date with the latest new additions.

About Findmypast

Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online genealogy. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field of family history and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Mocavo, Genes Reunited, The British Newspaper Archive amongst others.

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over two billion family history records, from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and doing detailed historical research.

In April 2003 Findmypast was the first to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitised records from across the globe, including major collections from Britain, Ireland, Australia, and the United States.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Findmypast Community Edition Now Available to U.S. Libraries

  • Findmypast, a global leader in family history, announces the availability of a library edition within the United States
  • Provides access for libraries, archives, and other organizations to billions of records from England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States
  • Free, no obligation, 90-day trial available

Salt Lake City – June 25, 2015 - Findmypast, a global leader in family history, announced today the official release of their product for libraries and organizations in the United States. The Findmypast Library Edition gives library access to billions of records from Findmypast’s wide array of collections from the United States, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, and other areas of the world. Collection highlights include:

· Largest online collection of parish records from the United Kingdom

· Exclusive access to the new PERiodical Source Index (now with images)

· Most comprehensive Irish family history records in the world

Amongst the billions of records now available to library patrons is the new PERiodical Source Index (PERSI). PERSI, a popular tool used by genealogists, includes more than 2.5 million indexed entries from thousands of genealogical and local history publications. For the first time, images of articles have been included in the collection – with more being added on a regular basis.

“We are delighted to bring the best resource for British and Irish family history to America’s library market,” said Annelies van den Belt, CEO of Findmypast.

The Library Edition provides tools for patrons to work in tandem with a library’s subscription and at home. Individual user accounts allow patrons to build their own family tree, save records from the library’s subscription, and continue working on their family tree. Library patrons will also have access to Findmypast’s Hints, which aids in the discovery of records from their own family tree.

Librarians can contact librarysales@findmypast.com for further information, pricing, and to start a free 90-day free trial of the product.

About Findmypast

Findmypast is an international leader in online family history and genealogy research with customers and operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. Its searchable online archive includes over two billion family history records, from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and making family connections.

Findmypast has an unrivalled record of innovation in the field of family history, and works closely with the genealogy community, including local libraries, archives, societies, and other organizations from around the world, to preserve, digitize, and provide access to historical records. Findmypast’s historical records, advanced search tools and accurate data work together to help both professional