databases

22 Aug 2015

GenDisasters

GenDisasters is an online database of “information on the [U.S. and Canadian] historic disasters, events, and tragic accidents our ancestors endured,” as well as information about their lives and deaths.

I was working on a client’s tree and she needed more information about a family member who died in a civilian airplane accident in 1942 and I discovered GenDisasters in the course of my search. The site had a transcript of a United Press wire story, confirming the loss of this family member and providing enough detail to find more records.

What can you find at GenDisasters? Browse this database by disaster, year, or state, or you can search the content by name or other keywords. Newspaper articles and photographs about train wrecks, fires, floods, shipwrecks, plane crashes, accidents and other disasters.  Most of these articles list the dead and injured or missing. Individual accidents and deaths are included, together with well-known disasters, such as the 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in […]

6 Aug 2015

Genealogy Gophers

Genealogy Gophers is my new favorite site. It’s a data aggregator that searches 80,000 digitized genealogy books by name and returns search results to you free of charge.
In the example above, I searched for my GG-grandfather, Hans Loe. Searching for Hans’s family is tricky because his birth patronymic was Christensen but his American surname (based on his Norwegian farm name) was Loe.

Genealogy Gophers sidestepped these details and delivered a screen full of results, mostly based in England. But the top hit was for a book in the Family History Library in SLC for a location in Norway called Eker [Eiker]. The title was distorted a bit by Genealogy Gophers not handling diacriticals very well. But a visit to WorldCat revealed that this book is titled A Genealogy of the Loe and Hoen Families from Østre Aker (Eker), Oslo City, Norway, Who Are Descendants of Hans Børgesen Loe Born in 1616. This title was written […]

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

Citizenship

Sex

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 […]