25 Jul 2015

Social Security Applications and Claims Index

Ancestry has added a great new database with 49 million records for researchers working in 20th- and early-21st-century America: U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Entries in this database tend to have more information than the death index, including the following:

Applicant’s full name

SSN (included if the person is deceased more than 10 years; otherwise Ancestry suppresses this data)

Date and place of birth



Father’s first and surname

Mother’s first and maiden name

Race/ethnic description (optional)

The best part of this database is that it often notes name changes, usually for marriages, making it invaluable for researching women in your tree who may have had multiple spouses.

In the example above, I’ve blurred surnames and some other information. (This ancestor has been deceased for more than 20 years but since she didn’t get to volunteer for my blog, I’m respectful of her privacy.) In the notes field at bottom are indications of two marriages along […]

13 Jul 2015

Place Research Tool

Place Research Tool is the new way to search the huge database of geographical information at FamilySearch. Place Research Tool helps you find standardized information for place names with links to GPS-generated maps, variant spellings, and dates when names were in effect. In addition to helping genealogists search for exact spellings and locations, FamilySearch indexers also use this database.

Place Research Tool has its origins in the now superseded Standard Finder from FamilySearch Labs.

Above is the new Place Research Tool results page, complete with map and below is what the search results page looked like under Standard Finder. As always, double-click to enlarge images.
I wrote about Standard Finder in this blog some time ago, noting its ability to advance place name research. This is particularly helpful for areas where the borders changed frequently and place names varied between different languages, as seen in this ancestral village of mine that was once was Rawitsch in Prussia and now is Rawicz in Poland.
The new Place […]

23 Apr 2015

CuriousFox US for American Research

Today’s post is about CuriousFox US, a “village by village contact site for anyone researching family history, genealogy and local history in the U.S.” Everyone can post for free, but only paid members can contact others. Membership is $9/year.

CuriousFox US is a message board offering spam-free posts protecting the identity of users. Organized by the 50 states and District of Columbia, CuriousFox US offers searches by surname and by location.

CuriousFox is best known for their UK and Ireland site, featured a few days ago in this post.

About CuriousFox US:
CuriousFox UK was created in August 2002. The aim was to provide a resource for finding and identifying the myriad of UK villages and hamlets, and to provide a facility for genealogists, and family and local history researchers to make contact and share knowledge at a village level.  Our UK site has been working really well linking up many, many people with lost family, […]

21 Apr 2015

CuriousFox for UK and Ireland Research

Today’s post is about CuriousFox for UK and Ireland research. CuriousFox is a “village by village contact site for anyone researching family history, genealogy and local history in the UK and Ireland.” Everyone can post for free, but only paid members can contact others. Membership is £5.50 a year.
UPDATE: Judy Webster, genealogist par excellence in Australia, has a help page here for using CuriousFox. I didn’t want this to be lost in the comments section. Thx, Judy!
CuriousFox offers:

Maps and Old Maps
Shows exact locations on both old and modern maps.
Find Nearby
Find nearby villages and entries for nearby villages.
Surname Geosearch
Search for a surname in any city, village, or town, or within a chosen distance of any place.
CuriousFox was created to allow people to post messages about genealogy and local history without exposing their email address to spammers or compromising their privacy. We take privacy very seriously. CuriousFox never releases email addresses for marketing purposes, and […]