Your Guide to Finding Immigrant Origins

I updated my page Your Guide to Finding Immigrant Origins.  As usual, links had gone bad, I found a few new sites and removed a few that seemed less relevant.  But the basic advice remains the same:  do thorough research in the United States first.  Your goal is to know the original spelling of the name and the town of origin before you start researching in the records of another country.

This page on my website references also two of my other web pages, which I’m afraid I’ve not yet checked for bad links.  So be forewarned, but these pages do cover important steps in your search for immigrant ancestors.

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The Family History Guide… a great new resource

A friend brought home an intriguing flyer from Roots Tech.  It described a new website, The Family History Guide.   I spent a little time working with the site and am pleased to be able to recommend it as one a genealogy researcher might find especially helpful.

This is a site you will use to educate yourself on genealogical research.  It will take a little exploration  to discover all that it offers.   Below is a brief overview of the structure.

After the Home page, the site is divided into five areas:  Intro, Projects, Training, Misc. and More.  Links to each are always available on the top of each page; hover over the link to get to a specific topic in that area.

Intro serves to introduce you to the site and how it works.  In addition, it provides links to well-chosen instructional information for such topics as computer and genealogy basics. Here also is a set of links to articles and videos to help familiarize  you with Family Search partners Ancestry, Find My Past, My Heritage, American Ancestors and Geneanet.  Remember: anyone can access these databases when in a Family History Center, so you need not have a subscription to use these resources.

Projects is the meat of the site.   There are nine project areas: 1) Family Trees, 2) Memories, 3) Descendants, 4) Discover, 5) Indexing, 6) Help, 7) Technology, 8) DNA, 9) Countries and Ethnic.

Information in  Family Trees and Memories  is specific to sections of  Descendants and Discover are oriented towards information to help you research family.  Indexing is specific to the indexing project, but can also help you learn how to read and transcribe records.   The Help project provides advice on getting and giving genealogical help.  Technology concentrates on linking to articles and videos that will help you use technology to further your research. The name DNA conveys the focus of this section.  Countries & Ethnic provides links to articles and videos specific to research based on geographic area (countries and states of the U.S.), as well as ethnic groups.

Training presents information that will help you make use of the site to teach and train others in family research skills.

Miscellaneous includes a valuable resource called the Vault.   Articles and videos included in the Vault supplement those in the various projects.  They are “secondary”– not as helpful as the ones given within the project itself, but still useful.   Before you use the vault, take a moment to click the “Legend” link; that provides the key to the abbreviations. Also in this section are tools to help you track what you’ve covered.

The More section contains links to a newsletter, comments about the site, contact information and other information that might be useful to users.

You will want to bookmark this site so you can go back to whenever you realize you need education in a topic.   It assumes you are willing to take the time to read an article or watch a video in order to further your research skills.   It that describes you, then this is a site you will often put to good use.

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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   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.

Posted in Genealogy | Tagged , | Leave a comment 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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