in libraries is not the you subscribe to in libraries is called 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   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 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 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  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



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

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   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 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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A “new” site…. new to me and well worth bookmarking.

I just found this “new site” — but it has a copyright date of 2010-2014.  How have I missed it all these years?  I think it is perfect for people who are just starting to use the web for their genealogy.

And perfect timing as tomorrow, when I will be teaching a class on using the web to do genealogy.  This goes on my lists of sites to demo.

What?  Oh… you want the link! Here it is:  Learn Web Skills: Researching Your Family Tree

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Family Search Changes Again. recently changed its interface.  This always causes angst, even when the changes are for the better. Now I have to learn new ways to navigate. Sigh.

So I sat down to write a blog about it, but instead I found Dear Myrtle’s blog and video discussing the new changes and she  says everything I was thinking plus some.   So instead of writing a blog,  I recommend this:

FamilySearch: It’s Not All That Bad  — be sure to watch the video posted on it.

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Digital Images on

There are three main types of collections on

  1. Indexes only;
  2. Indexed with accompanying digital images; and
  3. Unindexed digital images (browse this collection)

The other day I was using an unindexed browse collection to find probate records. To my delight, the probate records for this county included  several index volumes, starting with A- Chesterfield, Abner … and ending with Vering, JohnWatrous, Victor.

What?  Wait!  I need to find the surname Withey.  Surely there were people in that county whose last name ended with something beyond Watrous.   So I checked the FHL catalog and, yes! — there was a final volume that would include everyone between Victor Watrous and Z.   It had been filmed, but there was no link to that volume on the online collection.  It may have been loaded, but no link created or it may have somehow missed being scanned.  In any case, I needed it so I wanted to get it fixed.

I clicked the help button and submitted my query.  Within a day or so I got a response.   Here is the pertinent information: “When we accessed the collection we read this in the collection description:  ‘This collection is being published as images become available.’ The latest update to the collection was on 11 August 2014, so additions are being made on an ongoing basis.”

So two reminders, when accessing unindexed collections:

  1. Remember to read the collection description!
  2. When you are puzzled, send in a HELP request (click the help button)

Actually, these reminders work for the indexed collections too.



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Get off the internet and go to the library!

Despite the wealth of genealogical information on the internet, there is an even greater wealth not there. Further, some that is available on the internet can be difficult or costly to find.

What is not on the internet?

  • Much of what is available on film through the family history library
  • Most of what has been published after 1923
  • Many books published prior to 1923, but not digitized
  • A huge amount of manuscript material held in libraries and archives but yet digitized.
  • Material held in courthouses, but not filmed or digitized.

Context may be missing; information in a large database might be retrievable only piece by piece.  Something your eye might have caught is hidden under a misspelling or mis-transcription.  There may be no records for a span of years, but without the volumes in front of you, you may overlook the gap.   Any one of a number of problems can cause a database to malfunction for research purposes.

When we comb the internet for information, we are searching… not researching. Research requires that we identify what relevant information might be available to us and for that the internet is enormously useful.  Use these 3 free sites to discover what is available –and where it can be found.

Libraries with strong genealogy collections used to be crowded and bustling.  Now they are underused.   Of course we want to take advantage of what is available online…. but we still need to also use what is not online.

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