New Search at FindMyPast

I went to do some research this past week and noticed that the Search at FindMyPast has changed!  – and for the better I think!  I don’t know when it was changed!!!

Anyone doing UK research will like FindMypast (FMP) – why use FMP? 1.  it’s the official repository for the government indexes to Birth, Marriages, and Deaths (1837 on), 2.  Has great indexes and images for UK Censuses, 3.  It’s the online home for the National Burial Index, and 4.  Many many more great record collections – including USA, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland (the latter only if you have the right subscription).

The last revision to the Search left us with a somewhat cumbersome process but it got good results – now they have simplified the process!  I also appreciated that FMP allowed me to select which census years I wanted to search – so I could select to search 1851, 1861 and 1871 at the same time – and that feature has been retained.

So what is different?  I always resist the simplified basic search on the main screen – and click on the search menu at the top of the screen – and select a category such as Birth or Census.  Notice at the bottom of the Search menu there is a link to the A to Z of record sets – where you can select from 4 geographic regions or the world to find out what record sets are available at FMP.

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 3.17.33 PM

Let’s select Birth Marriage, Death, and Parish Records.  Note the icon and word at the top of the column on the left indicated which region you are searching – I have Britain – so the icon is an outline of the Great Britain – there is a down arrow to the right of Britain allowing me to select other regions or the World.

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 3.28.49 PM

Now this is where the new and to me improved part comes . . . on the left side of the screen there are the list of the categories that we saw in the Search menu – the one we selected is Birth Marriage, Death, and Parish Records and is shaded in green with a down arrow to the left of it and the subcategories are visible: Births and Baptisms, Church Registers, Deaths and Burials, Marriages and Divorces, Wills and Probate.   You click on the subcategory you want and then after the screen refreshes you enter the first and/or last name and any other information you want to help with the search – remember never tell a computer more than you have to! – and then click on Search.

If you don’t want to select a subcategory you don’t have to.

Ff you do select a subcategory you can further focus your search by clicking on the Browse Record Set link to the right of the Record Set box – and select one or more record sets.  When you are working on census this is how you select one or more census years to be searched.

Below your category and subcategories are a list of the other categories with an horizontal arrow to the left of the title.  Clicking on the horizontal arrow “opens” that category so you can see the subcategories – so it’s easy to change between categories.

Try it – I think you’ll like it!

And remember that free access to FindMyPast is available at any LDS Family History Centre – just call before you go as they may reduce hours over the summer

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FamilySearch Combines Indexes and Record Images in a Single View

A blog posting at FamilySearch on June 22 announced a new feature and this one I think is very helpful.  When you search in the Historical Records collection – remember this is where all the results of Indexing are available – and find a record you want to see you can click on the camera on the right to get a screen where the top panel on the screen is the image and below the image is a panel with the indexed information!  This is great to see both side by side!  You can still zoom in on the image or move it around without changing the text at the bottom of the screen.  Similarly you can scroll within the indexed information without moving the image!

Here is an example.  I searched in the BC Marriage collection – to get there I went to clicked on the menu Search and selected Records. I could search the entire Historical Records collection but I used the map to select Canada, then clicked on British Columbia on the list, and selected the collection British Columbia Marriage Registrations 1859 to 1932.  This search is for my wife’s Aunt Almida – so I just put in her first name, Almida and clicked search – there can’t be many people called Almida getting married in BC . . . her full name was Almida Erickson –   and there she was Almida marrying Olof Albert Peterson – second result!  I clicked on her name to get the details and then looked to the right to see a camera icon – meaning that there is an image available (which is not true for all searches in the Historical Records) – and then clicked on the camera icon to the view the document – you’re only seeing the top half of the marriage certificate in the following image – I can scroll down on the image to see the rest of the certificate:

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 3.30.26 PM

Try it yourself – a great new feature

Congratulations FamilySearch – and thank you

Here is the link to the blog article:

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Ancestry DNA Testing Is Now Available In Canada!

Finally!!!!  As of June 9 Ancestry DNA is available in Canada. Obviously released their DNA product first in the United States. How come it became available in Australia, and the United Kingdom before us?

Over 850,000 results are in the DNA database.

Why should I care?  What does it DNA for family history do for us? provides some answers – from their FAQ (frequently asked questions):

“1. What is AncestryDNA?

AncestryDNA is a new DNA testing service that utilizes some of the latest autosomal testing technology to revolutionize the way you discover your family history. This service utilises advanced DNA science to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections. It maps ethnicity going back multiple generations and provides insight into such possibilities as: what region of Europe are my ancestors from, or am I likely to have East Asian heritage? AncestryDNA can also help identify relationships with unknown relatives through a dynamic list of possible DNA member matches.

AncestryDNA is part of the Ancestry group of companies. If you are not already registered with Ancestry you will be required to register with Ancestry when you proceed to purchase a DNA kit. You will need to retain your registration details in order to access your results. If you are already registered with Ancestry simply enter your log on details when prompted to do so.

2. What do my results tell me?

Your AncestryDNA results include information about your genetic ethnicity estimates and identifies potential DNA matches, linking you to others who have taken the AncestryDNA test. Your results are a great starting point for more family history research, and it can also be a way to dig even deeper into the research you’ve already done.

3. What technology is behind this new service?

The AncestryDNA test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations, all with a simple saliva sample. Additionally, the new online interface integrates state-of-the art tools for you to utilize your DNA results for family history research.

4. How is this DNA test going to help me with my research?

Your DNA may hold information to help make new discoveries about your family’s past, your cultural roots, as well as confirm information in your family tree. Using your DNA test in combination with an Ancestry subscription (which is a separate service offered by other Ancestry group companies) gives you hints that can guide your investigations and connect you with new relatives. These new relatives that you discover may have additional information, a piece of your family story to tell or photos to share.

Your DNA test results also provide information that’s more relevant and recent—targeting your family history a few hundred or even a thousand years ago, as compared to the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, which have a 10,000 to 50,000 year time focus.

5. Can a woman take this test?

Yes, women and men can take the AncestryDNA autosomal test since we all carry the DNA that is being tested. In fact, men and women are tested in the same way for the same number of markers.

Unlike some other DNA tests, which only analyze the Y-chromosome (and can only be taken by a male to look at your direct paternal lineage) or mitochondrial DNA (can be taken by a male or female but only looks at your direct maternal lineage), AncestryDNA looks at a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations. To learn more about the differences between the DNA tests you can click here.

6. How does the new AncestryDNA test differ from other DNA tests?

It’s more comprehensive. Unlike the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA test, AncestryDNA uses an autosomal DNA test that surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations. It covers both the maternal and paternal sides of the family tree, so it covers all lineages. The Y-DNA test only reflects the direct father-to-son path in your family tree, and the mtDNA test only reflects the direct mother-to-child path in your family tree. Learn more about the differences between the DNA tests here.

The test is gender neutral. Both men and women can take the AncestryDNA test and are tested in the same way for the same number of markers providing the same level of detail in the results.

It predicts your recent genetic ethnicity. Thanks to advances in DNA technology we’re able to compare your DNA to samples from around the world, to find out more about your family’s background and ethnic history—not just ancient history, but the people and places that matter to you.

Enhanced DNA matching. Unlike the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, the new AncestryDNA autosomal test looks at a much broader range of your DNA, which helps identify matches throughout your entire family tree—along both your paternal and maternal sides.

The information is more relevant and recent—targeting your family history a few hundred or even a thousand years ago, as compared to the Y and mtDNA tests, which have a 10,000 to 50,000 year time focus.”

(Source: – and there is more information available)

Why Ancestry DNA?  To get a broader look at the topic of DNA and Family History go to the FamilySearch Wiki and do a search for DNA – I know I usually teach people to search by country but there is a lot more in the FamilySearch Wiki! – including an article called “Hiring a DNA Testing Company” that gives a good overview to DNA testing – that includes a link to a series of articles by CeCe Moore “DNA Testing for Genealogy – Getting Started” 

Peter Calver at Lost Cousins in his June 15 newsletter suggests some reasons to become involved in DNA testing now.  – article Why You Should Test Your DNA Now.

He encourages autosomnal testing like Ancestry uses but he has chosen to work with another company called FamilyTree DNA.  There are several companies to chose from!

I like the Ancestry product because of the ethnicity profiles and potential to link to the large Ancestry client base – if more people get the test!  I haven’t found any close cousins . . . yet!

That’s it I guess, I am looking at the potential and possibilities for DNA testing to help me overcome problems in my research.

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Free Online Classes in June from the Family History Library

This news couldn’t wait until Sunday – or my friends researching Danish ancestry would miss out on a class!  Thank you Ancestry Insider for making me aware of this article from the FamilySearch blog!

“During the month of June, the Family History Library will be hosting a number of free online family history classes and webinars. These classes and webinars are designed to help individuals and families find their ancestors and teach important family history techniques. They are free to the public. Information about specific classes is listed below, as well as information on how to register for classes.

June 4: Danish Research—Using Multiple Record Types to Find Your Family Webinar. This class starts at 7:00 P.M.

June 11: American Indian Research Webinar. This webinar starts at 6:00 P.M.

June 13: Hispanic Online Resources (in English) Webinar. This webinar starts at 1:00 P.M.

June 17: Preserving Our Slovak Roots in the 21st Century Webinar. This webinar starts at 11:00 A.M.”

“June 20: Spanish Series Webinars. Class include: La Información Matrimonial, Los Registros de Aspirantes al Sacerdocio y Limpiezas de Sangre, and Las Capellanias y Cofradias.These webinars goes from 1:00 –4:00 P.M.

June 23: Case History: How to Find Ancestors in Digitalarkivet of Norway Webinar. This class starts at 7:00 P.M.

June 23: British classes:  Connecting British and Irish Families Using the “Big 4” Records Types. This class begins at 11:00 A.M.  Understand What England Church Records Are Online. This class begins at 1:00 P.M.

June 24: German classes: Researching Volga Germans—This class begins at 1:00 P.M. Researching South Russia Germans—This class begins at 2:00 P.M.

June 25: British classes: 11:00 A.M. A Royal Flush or Not? Royalty, Nobility, and Gentry Differences; 1:00 P.M. Who’s the Father? Finding the Fathers of Illegitimate Children in England.

June 25: African American Research: Using Plantation Records Webinar. This webinar starts at 6:00 P.M

June 25: Hamburg Passenger Lists Webinar. This webinar starts at 7:00 P.M

June 27: German Research Series. Learning to Read Old German Script(2 hours) and Extracting Information from German Church and Civil Records. Classes are from 9:15 A.M.–12:15 P.M.

Instructions for attending webinars can be viewed by going to Click the Search link. Select Wiki. Type Family History Library in the search field and click the top entry (Family History Library). Click link 2.2 (Live Online Classes) for details. Scroll to find the desired date and class and click on the link to get information about attending the class or webinar online.” 


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Are we searchers or researchers?

The 2015 Annual Conference of the National Genealogical Society in the United States has just ended – wish I could have been there!  I was very interested in some comments reported by the Ancestry Insider on a presentation by Crista Cowan – one of my favourite presenters – entitled “Maximizing your Search on”

“One challenge we have as genealogists is that we have become searchers, not researchers, Crista said. A researcher thinks about what they are searching for and then takes steps to find that thing. Another mistake is that we think we are looking for people. But we are not searching for people; we are looking for records about people.”  Ancestry Insider 19 May 2015.

Do we search for a person to fill a gap in our tree and then stop when we find them rather than doing research to learn about their lives?  Sometimes the first thing we find may be inaccurate and lead to poor conclusions.  We are fortunate to live at a time when every week there are new resources available to help us with our research.

You might want to read the rest of the article.  Here’s the link – there was a second part to the article on 20 May.

Thank you Ancestry Insider

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Using the Free Research Guides from or .com

Did you know that publishes free research guides?  – and you can access them without a subscription to Ancestry!

It wasn’t easy to find a simple list of all the free research guides available at Ancestry! – there is so much material in their Learning Centre!  – but what a great resource!!   Here’s how to get to the list:

Go to (not .ca).  If you don’t have an Ancestry subscription – and you don’t need one for this – then click on Search to go to the Home page.  If you have an Ancestry subscription you are automatically on the Home page. Click on the heading Learning Center – not any of the drop down choices, just the heading.  Then look for a green box on the left hand side with the words Research Guides Free.  Click anywhere in that box and you will get a list of all the available guides and dates when they were updated.

This is what you should see (as of 6 May):

New Guides

Sweden, Selected Indexed Household Clerical Surveys, 1880-1893 (March 2015)

Researching Your American Indian Ancestors on Ancestry (November 2014)

German Civil Registrations 23 October 2014

Ancestry Genealogy Toolkit 9 October 2014

Starting Your Tree on Ancestry 3 October 2014

Search Strategies on Ancestry 8 August 2014

Loyalist Resources on Ancestry 8 August 2014

Using Religious Records 9 June 2014

Tips for Finding and Visiting Your Ancestors in the Cemetery Added 23 May 2014

5 Military Favorites Added 12 May 2014

Research Guide to Finding Your Quaker Ancestors Added 27 April 2014

5 Steps to a Healthy Family Tree Added 5 March 2014

State Research Guides  Ongoing project with new states being added regularly

Getting Started

Starting Your Tree on Ancestry

Interview Questions

Ancestry Genealogy Toolkit 9 October 2014

Ancestry Anne’s Top 10 Search Tips

How Your Family Tree Helps You Learn More

Creating Timelines That Produce Answers

Guide to Searching for Death Records Added 26 October 2013

Ethnic and Religious

African American family research on

Finding Your Irish Ancestors in the U.S. and Ireland

Finding Your Ancestors from the UK and Ireland

Finding Your Swedish Ancestors at

Sweden, Selected Indexed Household Clerical Surveys, 1880-1893 (March 2015)

German Civil Registrations 23 October 2014

Finding Your German Ancestors on

Finding Your Canadian Ancestors on

Loyalist Resources on Ancestry

Research Guide to Finding Your Quaker Ancestors

Researching Your American Indian Ancestors on Ancestry (November 2014)


AncestryDNA 101: The Insider’s Guide to DNA Added 6 November 2013


Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors on

10 Things to Know about Passenger Lists 


10 Census Tips from our Members

5 Steps Beyond: The 1910 Census

10 Census Questions That Lead to More Answers

Follow Your Family Using Census Records


Tips for Success: Military Records at

Your Family Tree in the American Revolution

Find Your Civil War Ancestor on

Find Them in World War II


5 Tips to Jumpstart Your Research Added 3 October 2013

5 Must-See Collections on Added 17 December 2013

Black Sheep: 10 Things to Know  “

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Update on FamilySearch Webinars

We’ve talked about this before but thought we needed to do an update.

Spring is in the air – which in Alberta means snow for areas just north of Edmonton, and the end of over 40 years of conservative party rule in the provincial legislature.  Our local Family History classes have been suspended for the summer, but family history should continue . . . .  Why not try a free online webinar from FamilySearch?

Go to , then go under the search menu and select Wiki.  Enter the search term Online Webinars and you see links to articles from 4 research teams:  Latin America, British Isles, International and Scandinavian, and United States/Canada.  When you follow any of these links look for 3 things:  1.  A list of upcoming webinars, 2.  Information on the new webinar platform in use since February 2015 – now using WebEx, and 3.  Links to handouts and past webinars – what a great resource!

Here are upcoming webinars:

Latin America

British Isles

May (Scotland Intermediate Research Series)  – the beginner series and handouts from April are also available.

  • Mon May 18th @ 1pm- Scotland Emigration
  • Tues May 19th @ 1pm- Scotland Probate Records
  • Wed May 20th @ 1pm- Scotland Poor Law Records
  • Thurs May 21st @ 1pm- Scotland Land Records
  • Fri May 22nd @ 1pm- Scotland Naming Patterns & Clans

July (Wales Research Series) – no dates and times yet

  • Welsh Naming Patterns
  • Improving Your Welsh Research by Using Place Names and Gazetteers
  • Wales Research Online
  • Church of Wales & Non-Conformist Church Records
  • Wales Probate Records

International and Scandinavian

Don’t forget to scroll down on this article for a very lengthy list of past webinars and handouts for 8 countries – Danish researchers look especially fortunate!



United States/Canada

No sign of past webinars here but some handouts

May 2015

June 2015

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