Overwhelmed by the NARA site?

The U.S. National Archives has an amazing website. It’s huge.  It has tons of information, with and a section created for genealogists.    It is surprisingly well organized for such a complex site, but even so, it can be difficult to find all the information of interest to the genealogical researchers.

There is a blog/website called The Twelve Key  that can help keep you informed about material and events at the National Archives of special interest to genealogists.   It won’t substitute for the NARA pages, but it is a nice complement.  I suggest you explore the site to see if you might want to subscribe to it. (free).

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Finding Quaker Meetings and Records

Today I updated my website, Your Guide to Finding Quaker Ancestors, and spent a little time investigating the site QuakerMeetings.com.   The site is subtitled Quaker Meetings in North America: An Index. As its name suggests, the purpose is to be able to identify and locate information about Quaker meetings.  It appears to be based on Thomas Hill’s published book of the same title, for which the 4th was the last edition published.  It is now kept current on the web.

The search box allowed me to designate county and state; a search for Chester and Pennsylvania, where my Quaker ancestors lived, brought up 30 meetings.  A link for each provides detailed information about the meeting.  Here is the information for the Kennett Orthodox Meeting.  In addition to information specific to the meeting, the description includes links to repositories where the records are kept, a summary of extant records, a bibliography of published material regarding the meeting.

If you have Quaker ancestors, you will find this site invaluable.

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WorldCat–more that just a big catalog

The big news in the genealogy world about two years ago was that the holdings of the Family History Library would now be represented in World Cat.    This is just one of many ways WorldCat is useful to genealogists.  I hope you are taking full advantage of this great resource.Re

Other helpful features include:

Find a library near me. You don’t need to find a library near your literal location.  You can put in the town of your ancestor and find libraries in and near that town.

When you find a book you want, for example, this book on early Dedham Massachusetts, you can 1) scroll down to view nearby libraries that own it and 2)  click the link to view all editions and formats, which will tell you if there are other editions and other formats, including digital copies on the web.

Anf finally, you can save bibliographies (book lists) in WorldCat. To do so,  first create an account. With an account, you can create lists and bibliographies. You can also review books and view other people’s lists.  These helpful videos will guide you.

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Michigan Newspapers

I just updated the newspapers section of my page Your Guide to Finding Michigan Ancestors with corrected and new links.

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Ancestry.com in libraries is not the Ancestry.com you subscribe to

Ancestry.com in libraries is called Ancestry.com Library Edition.   It is a great resource, but the content differs from the subscription database.   Here is a 2013 guide to the differences.    (This will open as a .pdf, in a separate window.)

This guide is put out by ProQuest, the company that sells AncestryLibrary Edition.   It refers to other ProQuest databases for places you can find the information.  One database it refers to is Heritage Quest, which is available to all Michigan libraries through MEL.

It is worth noting that PERSI is also available from FindMyPast.com.   This is a subscription site, but you can search PERSI for free in it.   (You may have register, for free, before it will let you search.)


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Some recommended blogs

My  ProGen Study Group assignment for this month is to recommended some blogs that I follow, especially those that might be lesser known.

I like blogs that keep me current as to what new content is on some of my favorite internet sites, as well as new educational opportunities.  Here are a few I recommend that meet that need.

  • Joe Beine is my hero.  He maintains so many helpful pages that point genealogists to internet resources.  His Genealogy Roots Blog not only lets me know what is new, but it gives handy links to his many pages.
  • Miriam J. Rogers maintains two enormously helpful sites for finding online historical directories and newspapers.  For each you can subscribe to a blog that sends notification of updates.   Notice these links are to the blogs, but at the top of each blog is a link to the webpage.
  • Angela McGhie publishes a blog Adventures in Genealogy Education;  the content well explained by the title.   As an aside, Angela is the Administrator of the ProGen Study Groups.I gave the link to the website, above, but I will repeat it here (ProGen Study Groups website ) in case you want to consider joining one.  It requires a substantial commitment of time and energy, but it is also great fun and a way to meet some very nice and knowledgable genealogists from all over the U.S.   If you are ready for this step, I highly recommend the experience.

Want to find more blogs that might interest you?  Use the Genealogy Blog Finder

And of course, I have a page that covers blogs on my website:  Your Guide to Blogs and Blogging for the Genealogist.  But it was last updated in 2011 and I can’t update it until my nephew comes home for the holidays and moves me to a new server.  I’ll put this on my list of one of the first pages to update in the new year.

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Follow Up Post on Free Photocopies from Family History Library

In my prior post I told about a service the FHL offers — free photocopies, up to 5 per month.   I submitted a request and quickly got a response from them.  There is a new form for submitting a request; I must use that.

OK…here is the link to the new form.   But bad news follows… they are going to stop this service effective December 5th.  Any request in by that date will be filled, but none after.

I have to admit, I can understand their decision.  This had to be a huge hassle and anyone could make his or her own copy by ordering and using the film at a local FHC.

This FamilySearch.org Wiki Article explains it all.   Remember: deadline of 5 December 2014.

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The Family History Library will provide photocopies if there is no digital image online.

I recently found this record:

Benjamin Frnaklin Ida Hull marriage

There is no digital image available online,  but this index ncludes the GS Film number (551111) and Reference ID (p. 152).

My next step is to search the card catalog by fiche or film number and identify the title of the series and the specific volume or volumes on this film number.

Search by film number2

Here is the information for the actual film.  Notice there are three volumes on the roll.  I need a July 12 1910 record, which might be on p. 152 , but could be in  vol. 39 or 40.  I hope they will be willing to check each.

Marriage Bonds v. 38-40

This FamilySearch.org blog  explains the procedure and provides a link to the form to use to make the request.

After I filled out the form, a confirmation screen appeared, showing me what I ordered.

Confrim screen

I’ll let you know how long it takes to arrive.   They will send it to me through email.

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How to find Census Records on Heritage Quest when the image is not available on FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch.org  indexes all census record, but only shows images for some census records.  If the image isn’t on FamilySearch, you are directed to a subscription database, which  is only accessible if you subscribe or when viewed in your  Family History Center or a in local public library that has a subscription. Without a personal subscription, the images can’t be viewed from home.

Heritage Quest is available to all Michigan residents through MEL; many libraries elsewhere in the United States also offer it.  It can be viewed from home.  When the image isn’t available at FamilySearch, you can use the index information to find it on Heritage Quest.   Here is how:

Find the records at FamilySearch.org


From FamilySearch.org

From this we learn that William P. Withey  in enumerated in the 1840 Census Publication 704 Affiliate Film # (i.e. roll #) 24 Page 273.  But 1840 Census records aren’t in FamilySearch.org

Sign into Heritage Quest either through the MEL site (Michigan residents) or through your local library.    Select CENSUS and on the Search Census Page select the tab “Find by Page Number” on the far right.


Use the down arrow to display the “Series”  dropdown; select the census year/Publication #.


Once the year/Publication number are selected,

  • put the roll number in in the “Roll” box.  From the above example it would be 24
  • put the page number in the “Page” box.  From the above example it would be 273

Notice that 1840 is not a choice on the row of census years to the left.  In a recent class I said that all census records were available free online at Heritage Quest, then retracted that because I couldn’t find them.  My mind slipped a gear and I momentarily forgot that you must go to this far tab to see those years.  (What can I say…. the older I get, the more often it happens).   Heritage Quest has not indexed 1830, 1840, 1850 so they aren’t options under the two ‘Search” tabs, but they are there and you can find them by roll and page number.

Click the “Search” Arrow and it will take you to the census page that you found indexed in FamilySearch.org.   Notice is it image 1 of 2.  Use the arrow on the right to go to the second image.


And here is the record I wanted — all without paying a subscription cost or going to the library.  Notice I can zoom to make it bigger, print it, download it or reverse the polarity.


From HeritagQuest

Hope you found this helpful.


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NGS is offering a free online course on census records

The NGS (National Genealogical Society) courses are all excellent, but usually there is a fee or they are for members only.  This one is free for everyone and presented through the FamilySearch.org site .

If you are just starting to work with census records, I think you will find it very helpful.  Even if you have been working with them for some time, you might find some new information here.

See  the NGS page announcing the course. 

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