Friday, December 9, 2016

Free Access to US Military Records

Do you have family members who fought in the United States military in World War 2?
The Ancestry website Fold3 (which specializes in US military records) is offering free access to their 113 million World War II records for the entire month of December 2016.
Included in this collection are 35 million WWII draft registration cards. Also included in the free search for the month are World War II navy muster rolls, missing air crew reports and European army records.
Other records include :
  • Submarine Patrol Reports
  • Missing Air Crew Reports
  • WWII "Old Man's Draft" Registration Cards
  • Draft Registration Cards
  • Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls
  • Naval Press Clippings
  • Army JAG Files
  • Navy JAG Files
  • Holocaust Collection
  • Hesse Crown Jewels Court-Martial
  • Japanese Air Target Analyses
  • WWII Allied Military Conferences
  • WWII War Diaries, 1942–1945
  • WWII Foreign Military Studies, 1945–54

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

PRONI Historical Maps viewer

From the PRONI website comes the following announcement :

PRONI and Land and Property Services (Ordnance Survey and Spatial NI) have worked together to digitise and make available a range of historical Ordnance Survey maps.

The historical maps available on this application are from the 6 inch County Series mapping; and latterly the Irish Grid. Maps available cover the six counties of present-day Northern Ireland: counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone.

Historical Ordnance Survey Maps

The historical maps available on this application are from the 6 inch County Series mapping; and latterly the Irish Grid. Maps available cover the six counties of present-day Northern Ireland: counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone. The following map editions are available on the application:

Edition 1 (1832 – 1846)
Edition 2 (1846 – 1862)
Edition 3 (1900 - 1907)
Edition 4 (1905 - 1957)
Edition 5 (1919 – 1963)
6” Irish Grid (1952-1969)
1:10,000 metric Irish Grid (1957-1986)

To access the maps visit 

So take a look and the new maps available.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Family History Secrets

Have you discovered family secrets during your family history research?  I would suspect there are few of us who haven't - secrets, lies, black sheep, dark events - every family has them.
Volunteers are being asked to take part in a new survey to help with research at the University of Melbourne.  Below is the statement from the survey's homepage.  If you have a spare half hour, consider participating. 

Family Secrets, National Silences

A Sociological Study of Intergenerational Storytelling

Have you discovered secrets kept by past generations in your family history research?
A researcher from the University of Melbourne, sociologist Dr Ashley Barnwell, is seeking volunteers for an online survey. The project aims to better understand the social role of family secrets and the impact of social mores and policies on families over time. The survey consists of 7 questions and will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. All identifying information will be carefully anonymised to protect your privacy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

General Register Office for England and Wales Online Trial

The General Register Office for England and Wales (GRO) is trialling a new online system that enables researchers to access digital copies of civil registration records for the first time.
The trial, which began on Wednesday 9th November, currently allows users to order PDF versions of the following records:
  • Births: 1837-1934 and 2007 onwards
  • Deaths: 1837-1957 and 2007 onwards
  • Marriages: 2011 onwards
  • Civil partnerships: 2005 onwards 
The records – costing £6 each – will not be immediately viewable, but sent directly to the customer’s email address.  If you are using the GRO site for the first time you will need to complete their registration process.  Remember searching their online indexes is free.
This process is estimated to take around five working days and the trial will end on Wednesday 30 November, or when 45,000 PDFs have been ordered - so get in quickly and order those records you want and have put off because of the expense.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Recording Names - some hints

When recording your family history, here are a few tips you might find useful to keep things clear.
1. Enter Names Consistently
Whether you record names in your family tree as you would read them: first name, middle name, surname (last name); or surname first, then first name, middle name - be consistent. Pick one and stick to it, or you will end up confusing yourself - and anyone else who looks at your research.
2. Record Surnames in Uppercase
I always record last names using uppercase letters. It allows me, and other researchers to find certain surnames more easily. It can also aid researchers in deciphering exactly what they’re looking at: a surname, as opposed to a first name or middle name. For example Peter GREEN; Rosa May PIKE.
3. Remember to Input Maiden Names for Female Ancestors
You may well discover that some of your ancestors were recorded using married names, names of prior husbands, AND maiden names.  Make sure you include her maiden name in your records - it can help you uncover who her parents were, too. How you do so is up to you - either by recording all female relatives by their maiden names ie Rosa May PIKE, or by including their maiden name in parentheses, and then the surname of her husband ie Rosa May (Pike) GREEN.  Again, it is vital to be consistent.
4. Don’t Forget Nicknames
If your ancestor went by a nickname, always include it in your documentation. Don’t replace a given name with a nickname, however, even if your ancestor went by this name more commonly than their actual first name. Instead, include nicknames in quotes. For example,  Richard “Dick” Pike.  Remember you may have to search under both given name and nickname - just in case.
5. Add Alternate Names
Sometimes you will find family members who have totally alternate names, rather than nicknames. This commonly occurs if someone was adopted or changed their name on their own accord (maybe to escape a shady past). Again you could include the alternate name in parentheses,  adding “a.k.a” (also known as) to make things clear. For example: Edward FORREST (a.k.a. Frederick BEST).
6. Variant Spellings
You are also bound to stumble upon alternate names due to variant spellings (they can sometimes change over time due to phonetic spellings or from immigration). My mother's maiden name was PUMMEROY - and our family in Australia are the only ones who spell it this way.  Others use POMMEROY, POMEROY, POMROY - at one stage it even morphs into PUMFREY.  This is not just relevant to surnames either - you also get anglicised first names as well - Friedrich/Frederick BESELER.  One female ancestor of mine was born Suatus KRESST in Germany, married in England as Susetta KRESST and died in Australia as Susan (Kresst) BESELER - it took years to track her down!

Friday, October 21, 2016

What's new on Ancestry?

UK, Burial and Cremation Index, 1838-2014
Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish
Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions, 1873-1925
Canada, Certificates of Military Instruction, 1867-1932
UK, Royal Air Force Muster Roll, 1918
UK, British Jewry Roll of Honour, 1914-1918
UK, Naval and Military Courts Martial Registers, 1806-1930
Iowa, World War II Bonus Case Files for Beneficiaries, 1947-1959
UK, British Army Lists, 1882-1962
Orange Free State, South Africa, Estate Files, 1951-2006
Wills, Probates, Land, Tax & Criminal
UK, Military Deserters, 1812-1927
Hawaii, Passenger Lists, 1843-1898
Immigration & Travel
Cape Province, South Africa, Estates Death Notice Index, 1834-1956
Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish
Western Australia, Australia, Land Leases, Licences, Applications and Selected Images, 1821-1938
Wills, Probates, Land, Tax & Criminal
South Africa, Select Estates Death Notice Index, 1833-2008
Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish
Transvaal Province, South Africa, Estates Death Notice Index, 1855-1976
Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish
South Africa, Slaves and Free Blacks Records Index, 1658-1835
Census & Electoral Rolls
UK, British Army Recipients of the Military Medal, 1914-1920
Dorset, England, Poor Law Apprenticeship Records, 1623-1898
Wills, Probates, Land, Tax & Criminal
Bavaria, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973 (in German)
Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish
UK & Ireland, Medical Directories, 1845-1942
Schools, Directories & Church Histories
UK, The Midwives Roll, 1904-1959
Schools, Directories & Church Histories
UK, Medical and Dental Students Registers, 1882-1937
Schools, Directories & Church Histories
UK, Dentist Registers, 1879-1942
Schools, Directories & Church Histories
UK, Roll of the Indian Medical Service, 1615 -1930
Schools, Directories & Church Histories