Saturday, August 27, 2016

New Records Available to Search This Findmypast Friday

Over 7.5 million new records are available to search this Findmypast Friday including;

United States Marriages

Over 4 million new records have just been added to our collection of United States Marriage records including substantial new additions from New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. Released in partnership with FamilySearch international, these latest additions mark the second phase of efforts to create the single largest online collection of U.S. marriage records in history. Covering 360 years of marriages from 1650-2010, when complete this landmark collection will contain at least 100 million records and more than 450 million names from 2,800 counties across America. The records include transcripts and images of the original documents that list marriage date, the names of the bride and groom, birthplace, birth date, age, residence as well as fathers' and mothers' names.

Victoria Coastal Passenger lists contains over 3.2 million records taken from the Public Record Office Victoria series VPRS 944 Inward Passenger Lists (Australian Ports). The collection includes records of both those travelling from overseas and those travelling locally (from coast to coast) and can provide a missing link in your ancestor’s journey if you’ve been unable to find out how they arrived at their known Australian residence. Each result contains a transcript and an image of the original document. Transcripts will generally reveal your ancestors name, marital status, occupation, birth year and details of their voyage including their date of departure, date of arrival, port of departure and port of arrival.

Britain, Enemy Aliens and Internees, First and Second World Wars contains over 139,000 records of foreign born men and women who were investigated and interned in camps across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth during the First and Second World Wars. Released in association with The National Archives, the records are comprised of enemy alien index cards from the Home Office, nominal rolls, correspondence, Prison Commission records and much more. They include people from Germany, Italy, Japan, Austria, Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania, and range from individual index cards recording a person’s movements and background to nominal rolls of camp inmates.

Browse the collection by conflict, series, or piece. A list of all series included in the collection is available at the bottom of the search page.

Britain, Children's Employment Commission Part 2, 1842 is an illuminating social document about the state of child workers in the nineteenth century. It was created by the Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the condition and treatment of child workers. Sub-commissioners travelled across Great Britain and Ireland interviewing children and young adults, as well as parents, adult employees, educators, medical professionals, and clergymen. These documents are presented in a Portable Document Format (PDF). You can search the documents by name or keyword, or you can read the entire commission from beginning to end.

Did your ancestor work in a factory as a child? Read through this fascinating account, which offers insight into the daily working conditions for children in the early nineteenth century. If you discover your ancestor’s name within the document, your ancestor most likely owned a factory or was employed in a factory.

9,2647 images from 20 assorted publications have been added in our latest update. The articles, photos, and maps found within PERSI can help flush out the historical context of your family history research.

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.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Findmypast grant free access to entire Australian collection to celebrate the release of new passenger lists

Victoria Coastal Passenger Lists provide a fascinating snapshot of life during the Australian Gold rushes and beyond

Findmypast has today announced its largest release of Australian records to date, giving first-time online access to records from one of Australian history’s most exciting periods, the Gold Rush. Released in partnership with FamilySearch and Public Record Office Victoria (PROV), the 3.3 million records consist of Victoria Coastal Passenger Lists spanning 1852 to 1924 and can only be found on

In the early 1850s, a number of significant gold discoveries were reported in Australia, sparking a mass wave of migration from around the country and internationally, as men, women and children uprooted their lives to travel to Victoria to make their fortune. The population of Australia exploded; in 1852 alone, 370,000 immigrants arrived in Australia, and 1.7million people had made the journey by 1871.

Daniel Wilksch, Digital Projects Coordinator at Public Record Office Victoria says "These records document the passenger lists for ships entering and leaving Victoria from the mid nineteenth century until the early twenties, providing a vital missing piece of the puzzle for anyone wanting to track their ancestors' movements into and around Australia during this particularly fascinating time in the country's history. We are delighted to be part of making these records more accessible to the public."

The new records reveal that the average passenger arriving into Australia via a long and treacherous journey by sea was 30 years of age, and the most active ports were Melbourne, London, Sydney, Marseille (France), Cape Town (South Africa) and Colombo (Sri Lanka). The top occupation noted in the 1850s was some form of ‘gold miner’ or ‘gold seeker’ whilst ‘tourist’ was most popular in the 1920s.The variance in occupations during these periods reflects the mass migration caused by the gold rush, and in 1852 there are eight times as many men than women listed as passengers. This correlates with the knowledge that a number of men abandoned their families in their search for gold, leading to a spike in crime and vagrancy among the wives and children left behind, evidence of which can be found in the Victoria Prison Registers, also available on

Other records available on findmypast also shine a light on some of the amazing success stories from the rush, including the 1869 discovery in Victoria of the ‘Welcome Stranger’, the biggest alluvial nugget ever found. The ‘Welcome Stranger’ weighed in at a whopping 97kg and would have been worth AUD $4,934,858 in today’s money. Records available on contain the birth, marriage and death details of Richard Oates and John Deason who discovered the nugget, allowing us to know that Oates returned to England to marry, but emigrated back to Australia and eventually died on his 800 acre farm in Marong in 1906. Deason made some poor investments in gold mining and died a storekeeper in Moliagul in 1915.

Vicki Dawson, Country Manager at says "These 3.3 million new records will be added to's existing database of over 8 billion records, from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and the US. has all the technology in place to allow you to begin your fantastic genealogical journey from the second you enter our website with straightforward templates to allow you to start building a family tree."

From August 26 to 29 are giving FREE access to their entire collection of Australian records – including the newly released Victorian coastal passenger lists to help Australians to connect with their family both past and present.

About is the sister-site to leading UK family history website, which launched in April 2003. It was the first website in the world to publish the UK’s England & Wales birth, marriage and death records online in 2003 and has since published hundreds of millions of family history records online to customers around the world. Findmypast owns and operates a number of other leading family history websites including GenesReunited, they have years of experience in operating family history websites that help make your family history easier, and managing hundreds of millions of records online. works in partnership with all the leading experts in UK family history, including The National Archives of the United Kingdom on pioneering projects such as the 1911 census for England & Wales, outbound UK passenger lists and British Army pension records; the Federation of Family History Societies on parish records dating back to 1538; and the Society of Genealogists on special collections.

About PROV

Public Record Office Victoria is the archives of the State Government of Victoria. We hold approximately 100kms of records from the mid 1830s to today, which we manage for use by the Government and people of Victoria.
The Collection includes memories of events and decisions great and small that have shaped the history of the Colony and State of Victoria, as well as records of immigration and shipping, criminal trials and prisons, premiers and governors, royal commissions, boards of inquiry, wills and probates and more. Visit for more information.

Findmypast Releases ‘Britain, Enemy Aliens and Internees, First and Second World Wars’ Collection

  • Over 139,000 records of “enemy aliens” who were investigated or interned by the authorities during both world wars available to search online
  • Collection reveals the stories of thousands of WW2 refugees who were interned in camps across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth

Today, 26th August 2016, over 139,000 records of foreign born men and women who were suspected of being enemy sympathisers or spies have been published online for the first time at Findmypast.
Britain, Enemy Aliens and Internees, First and Second World War, released in association with The National Archives, tells the stories of thousands of foreign nationals who were investigated and interned in camps across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth during the First and Second World Wars.

The records are comprised of enemy alien index cards from the Home Office, nominal rolls, correspondence, Prison Commission records and much more. They include people from Germany, Italy, Japan, Austria, Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania, and range from individual index cards recording a person’s movements and background to nominal rolls of camp inmates.

Enemy aliens are natives of a belligerent country. At times of war and conflict, natives of such countries living within the United Kingdom were considered a threat to national security as potential sympathisers or spies for those countries. Foreign nationals were investigated and, in some cases, interned.

While a number were genuine sympathisers, many were entirely innocent and had even fled persecution in their native country as refugees. These circumstances are sometimes noted in the records.

Enemy Aliens

While the collection covers both World Wars, the bulk of the records come from the Second World War. When war broke out, foreign nationals were categorised by the Home Office and investigated by tribunals to determine the threat they posed to national security. Category ‘A’ meant an immediate threat and the need for internment, category ‘B’ were individuals who were not initially detained but were given certain restrictions on travel and ownership, and category ‘C’ were those who were identified as refugees as well as native women who were considered enemy aliens based off their marriage. As the war continued and more countries joined, the list of enemy aliens and those chosen for internment grew.

A number of those spared internment were allowed to serve in the British Armed Forces. The Pioneer Corps was the only British unit that enemy aliens could serve in early in the war, and many thousands of Germans and Austrians joined to assist the Allied war efforts and liberation of their home countries. These were mainly Jews and political opponents of the Nazi Regime who had fled to Britain while it was still possible and were often dubbed "The King's Most Loyal Enemy Aliens". Many later moved on to serve in fighting units while some were recruited by Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.) as secret agents. They were instructed to choose an "English" name using their old initials as there was a high probability they would have been executed as traitors by the Germans if captured.

Many of these men appear in the records.

The number of German-born Jews joining the British forces was exceptionally high, with one in seven Jewish refugees joining the British forces by the end of the war.

Life in the camps

Internment camps were located all over the United Kingdom, but the largest settlement of camps during both wars was on the Isle of Man. Internees could also be deported to other nations within the Commonwealth, notably Australia and Canada, a practice that was eventually scrapped due to high casualties resulting from enemy attacks on transport ships, such as the sinking of the SS Arandora Star in July 1940. The Arandora Star was torpedoed while transporting Italian and German aliens to North America and 743 men, women and children were killed, including prisoners, crew and guards.

Those arrested were taken away from their families, and weren’t told where they were going or for how long. At the beginning of the war, internees were sent to transit or temporary camps, held in derelict mills, warehouses, or even vacant lots surrounded by barbed wire. Larger camps were created on the Isle of Man at Mooragh, Peveril, Rushen, Onchan, Central, Palace, Metropole, and Hutchinson.

At its maximum capacity, Rushen Camp held about 3,500 internees and female internees, organised classes for painters, dressmakers, sculptors, and typists, and even spent time on the beach. Hutchinson Camp on Douglas, was particularly noted as “the artists’ camp” due to the thriving artistic and intellectual life of its inhabitants. Internees took positions within the camp such as ordinary’s kitchen staff and teachers, were permitted to apply to work outside of the camp, competed in an inter-camp football league, hosted art exhibits, formed a camp orchestra, produced a camp newspaper and staged theatre productions.

Not all camps were as accommodating and life in internment was far from easy. People of different classes, nationalities, and political sympathies were mixed and a single camp could collectively house Germans, Austrians, Italians, Finnish, Japanese, Bulgarians, and Hungarians, as well as Jewish refugees and Nazi sympathisers.

Included in the records are:

  • The records of thousands of political and Jewish refugees who fled persecution in Nazi Germany.
  • Sir Kenneth Hugo Adam, OBE (born Klaus Hugo Adam; 5 February 1921 – 10 March 2016). The British movie production designer, best known for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970 and well as for Dr. Strangelove was born in Berlin and relocated to England with his Jewish family at the age of 13 soon after the Nazis came to power. Adam’s was allowed to join the pioneer corps and went on to become one of only three German-born pilots in the British Royal Air Force during the war.
  • German artist, Kurt Schwitters, most famous for his collages, called Merz Pictures. Schwitters worked in several genres and media, including Dada, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography, and what came to be known as installation art and displayed his work at various exhibits at Hutchinson Camp.
  • Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, Baron Jakobovits - the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain (1966- 1991). Jakobovits and his family fled Berlin in 1938 and were not interned during the war.
  • Fritz Beckhardt - a German Jewish fighter ace in World War I. The Nazis later expunged him from Luftwaffe history because his valorous war record of 17 aerial victories belied their assertions that Jews were inherently cowardly. After a brief internment on the Isle of Man, Beckhardts was reunited with his two children who had been brought to England by the "Kindertransport" Organizations.
  • Claus Adolf Moser, Baron Moser, KCB, CBE - a British statistician who made major contributions in both academia and the Civil Service. Despite being Jewish, in 1940, he was interned as an enemy alien in Huyton Camp.
  • Anna Freud - daughter of Sigmund and also a psychoanalyst. Fled persecution by the Nazis in Austria in June 1938 and took refuge in the UK.
  • Anton Walter Freud - a chemical engineer, member of the Royal Pioneer Corps and the British Special Operations Executive. He was a grandson of Sigmund Freud and escaped with him and other family members from Vienna after the Anschluss.
  • Emil Julius Klaus Fuchs - a German theoretical physicist and atomic spy who, in 1950, was convicted of supplying information from the American, British, and Canadian Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union during and shortly after the Second World War. Fuchs was sent to an internment camp in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, where he joined a communist discussion group.
  • Rudolf Olden- - a German lawyer and journalist in the Weimar period who was a vocal opponent of the Nazis, a fierce advocate of human rights and one of the first to alert the world to the treatment of Jews by the Nazis in 1934. Despite his actions, Olden was interned on the Isle of Man.
  • Frank Berni and Aldo Berni – Italian-born brothers who went on to establish the Berni Inn restaurant chain

Paul Nixon, military expert at Findmypast, says: “These newly released records offer a fascinating glimpse into a little-understood aspect of Britain at war; from the foreign nationals interned during the First World War (despite having sons serving in the British Army), to the Cracow-born BBC announcer and German nun registered as enemy aliens in 1939.

Roger Kershaw, Migration Records Specialist at The National Archives says: ‘this collection reflects the real threats posed by war, when invasion fears were heightened. The records include British-born women who were considered as enemy aliens on the basis of their marriage yet who may have never left the British Isles.

About Findmypast

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

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over two billion family history records, ranging 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 conducting detailed historical research.

In April 2003, Findmypast was the first online genealogy site 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.

About The National Archives

The National Archives is one of the world’s most valuable resources for research and an independent research organisation in its own right. As the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and England and Wales they are the guardians of some of the UK's most iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years. Their role is to collect and secure the future of the government record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible and available as possible. The National Archives brings together the skills and specialisms needed to conserve some of the oldest historic documents as well as leading digital archive practices to manage and preserve government information past, present and future.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Genealogist's Guide to Springfield, Illinois Released at The In-Depth Genealogist

A Genealogist's Guide to Springfield, Illinois Released at The In-Depth Genealogist

The third in a series of guides to popular research destinations

The In-Depth Genealogist is pleased to present their newest book in the research series by writer, Jane Gwynn Haldeman entitled A Genealogist’s Guide to Springfield, Illinois. The guide describes little known, and well known, research facilities in Springfield, Illinois in addition to leisure and family activities.

These guides are designed as a resource for genealogists when traveling away from home. Included are maps, dining options near research facilities, places to see or visit, in addition to information on archives, libraries, and research facilities. It is a convenient pocket sized, 5” x 8”, so it will easily fit in your bag or jacket.

A Genealogist’s Guide to Springfield, Illinois is available now as a PDF download ($4.99) from The In-Depth Genealogist Store ( Subscribers to the website receive a 10% discount on purchase of the book. The paperback version ($9.99) is slated for release August 25, 2016.

Jane Haldeman is a professional speaker and owner of It’s Relative with more than 20 years of research experience. The Chicago area-based genealogist lectures on a wide range of topics both locally and at national conferences. She enjoys speaking about topics including family history technology and genealogy research methodology. Jane has been very active with the genealogical community in Illinois. She was President, Illinois State Genealogical Society; President, Fox Valley Genealogical Society; Registrar, Fort Payne Chapter NSDAR; and Registration Chair, Federation of Genealogical Societies 2016 Conference in Springfield, IL. Jane can be contacted through her website It’s Relative ( or .