9 Jun 2016

Updates to FamilySearch Databases June 2016

There’s something for everyone in the new updates to FamilySearch databases June 2016, including newly indexed records for the following existing databases:

California San Francisco County Records 1824‐1997

Connecticut Marriages 1640‐1939

Illinois Cook County Birth Certificates 1871‐1940

Illinois Cook County Deaths 1878‐1994

Iowa Grand Army of the Republic Membership Records 1861-1949

Massachusetts Town Clerk Vital and Town Records 1626‐2001

Michigan Civil Marriages 1834‐1974

Ohio County Births 1841-2003

The entire list of 35 new historic record collections published online in this update includes the following:





Argentina Tucumán Catholic Church Records 1727‐1955



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Australia Tasmania Civil Registration (District Registers) 1839‐1938



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Belgium Antwerp Civil Registration 1588‐1913



Added indexed records and images to an existing collection

Belgium East Flanders Civil Registration 1541‐1914



Added images to an existing collection

Belgium Liège Civil Registration 1621-1914



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Belgium Namur Civil Registration 1800-1912



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Brazil Pernambuco Civil Registration […]

3 Apr 2016

Free California Digital Archives for Genealogy Part 2

Free California Digital Archives for Genealogy Part 2
is part of  Sassy Jane Genealogy’s States on Sunday series,
providing links to free digital resources for each of the fifty states.
Part 1 featured the major resources available.
Part 2 includes institutional and small organization links.
Part 3 concludes the entries for California. The state’s resources are so numerous, it is impossible to list them all here. Researchers are advised to search for specific public library and genealogical society resources by geographic areas to find additional resources.
Access Genealogy California

1861 Placer County, California Directory
California Census Map 1910
[California] Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875

California Digital Library

Free Digitized Genealogy and Family History Books[]=genealogy

California Gold Rush “Most Wanted” Website
Website for “Most Wanted (most elusive, brick wall) ancestors lost in California during the time of the Gold Rush 1840s-1880s.”

California Historical Society

Online Catalog

California Perspectives on American History

Oakland Museum of California
Picture This: California’s Perspectives on American History features primary source images […]

19 Mar 2016

Why We Do Genealogy

How many times have you been asked why we do genealogy?
Back when I was a working archivist-librarian, the bosses who held the pursestrings would ask me why we should even bother with all that old stuff. After all, it was so expensive to take care of and nobody really cared about those dusty old archives. My immediate, though internal, answer was always, “How can you not care about history?”

None of my grad school classes in history or library science prepared me to justify archival preservation, research, or outreach, especially to bosses who had never done primary-source research themselves. Eventually I figured out ways (with more or less success) to make preservation and access to the historical records in my care palatable to administrators who only had eyes on the bottom line.

A few years ago, I posted about a visit to the Tenement Museum, one of the best historical museums anywhere.

I have eight great-grandparents […]

9 Mar 2016

Translating Hamburg Passenger List Categories

Is your German a little rusty or perhaps even non-existent, but you are using that great resource database,
the Hamburger Passagierlisten, 1850-1934?

Knowing and translating Hamburg Passenger List Categories before you search can be very helpful. Search both the departure lists in from Hamburg, as well as the arrival lists in New York or other U.S. ports. Before you decipher the German handwriting in a record your find, it helps to know what categories of information were used on the passenger list itself. (Right click or control-click on a Mac to download the image below for easier viewing.)

Hamburg Passenger Lists (Hamburger Passagierlisten, 1850-1934 available as a searchable database at were completed in Germany by clerks for the steamship line, using information from emigrants. The Germans were thorough about completing forms, so I have found far more of the all-important information about ancestral village names and birthplaces in these emigration records than I’ve found in […]