New Records at FindMyPast

More good news to help us with our research.  We really do need to keep our eyes open!  Every Friday is “FindMyPast Friday”  as they add new records to their website every Friday! This past week was very significant for my research and I was interested to read about their new records – they send me an email – and you can read about the new records at – I don’t think you need a subscription.

Over 3.4 million new records are available to search at FindMyPast – yes that is one weekly update!  Among the records added are the parish registers for Leicestershire and Rutland – both transcripts and images of the registers – along with Banns and Wills and Probate and even some Marriage Licences.

I have an ancestor John Guy from East Bridgford, a pretty but small village in Nottinghamshire,  who married in Nottingham an Elizabeth from Bottesford in 1824. I was grateful for the parish register transcripts (but not images) from the Nottinghamshire Family History Society but had great difficulty finding any online records from Leicestershire.  I worked hard to find my Margaret from Leicestershire and eventually felt I had found some information about her family – that her surname was Lamb and also found her birth and christening dates –  and that her father was William Lamb and her mother Ann Crowdal.  Now I can see the actual entries in the parish register – and got a surprise!  William was a widower when he married Ann!  I  have more research to do and hopefully more ancestors to find.

Talking about keeping your eyes on changes, we just reactivated the blog for the Red Deer FH Fair   This event will take place on Saturday 8 April 2017 – so mark your calendar and watch the blog for information on the schedule and registration.

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Looking Back at FamilySearch in 2016

Happy New Year!  We wish you happiness and good health in 2017 – and success with your Family History Research.

This is a good time to look back and reflect on the past year as we plan for the New Year.  2016 was a busy year at FamilySearch.  Many new images and record collections were added – thank you to those people who help with Indexing! The Family Tree underwent major changes so that those people with many duplicates can now be resolved.  Many pictures and stories have been added.  Many people gave many hours of voluntary service to help use do our Family History – thank you .

Thankfully FamilySearch has provided us with an interesting chart to summarize activity in 2016:


Source: – which includes details on each of these 5 areas

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Greetings for Christmas

Luke Chapter 2

“1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour Jesus ChristMake you find peace and happiness during this season and throughout the coming year .”

As we celebrate the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, may you find peace and happiness during this special season, and throughout the coming year.

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Using the Census to Find your Canadian and American Ancestors

  1.  The most recent published Canadian census is 1921.  The most recent US census in 1940.  Where can you find the census?  Go the wiki at FamilySearch, search for your country and then select Census – don’t rush to the link for online records.  Take time to learn about when during the year the census was taken and what kinds of information was gathered.  Some census gathered dates of birth and years of immigration and year of naturalization (1901 Canada Census). There is a nice chart on the wiki telling you where each census is available with links to get there – click here to see the Canadian one.
  2.   Don’t be fooled by the heading on the screen for the Canadian Census – they do have the Canada 1921 Census !screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-11-42-58-am
  3.   Remember that there are problems with the 1890 US Census – “The Eleventh Census of the United States (1890) was destroyed/damaged by fire, at the Commerce Dept. in 1921. Less than 1% survived, covering 6,160 individuals.” (source: FamilySearch Wiki) Does that mean I will have a 20 year gap in my research?  Not if you can find a state census for say 1895.  I was recently  helping a friend in this time period and she knew her ancestors lived in Iowa.  We used the FamilySearch wiki to find where we can search the 1895 Iowa State Census .  Hint:  First went to United States on the Wiki – then picked Iowa then census – then we used the Iowa State Census Collection 1836 to 1925 at – although the chart also showed it was available at FamilySearch here
  4.  Remember that “additional” census were taken for the Prairie Provinces in 1906 and 1911.
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Why search the new Birth Indexes at the General Register Office?

“Masterclass: Tracking female relatives who married between 1837-1911” in the December issue of the Lost Cousins Newsletter – a short article that is well worth reading.

Most us are familiar with sites such as FreeBMD or other onine indexes and are grateful for such tools.  We often struggle to find the maiden names of our female ancestors.   What I usually do is go to find a marriage index entry which often tells me that my ancestor married one of 3 or 4 people.  Then I go to the first census after the marriage and look for the family – often with children.  This will often help.  Often works.  Often doesn’t .  And then we don’t always want to spend $20 on a certificate.  If we do order a certificate we want to make sure we order the right one.

Now there is a new strategy if you are trying to do find a British ancestor.  Try the newly released indexes to Births at the General Register Office (GRO).  You do need to sign in – it is a free account.

What has changed?  The big change is that a search of the Birth Index will indicate the maiden name of the mother.  A further change is that the new index uses full names and not just initials – this alone may help you find your ancestors. 

Let me give you an example:  I recently found that I have an ancestor James Henry Darby born in Worcestershire in 1898.  Not easy to find when there are two people with the same name in the same county in the same year. 

Note the helpful  information from the index – 2 identical names but the maiden name of the mother helps us recognize our ancestor.  Often we know the name of the child and are seeking help to find the maiden name of the  mother.


For more information read:


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British Parish Records: How to Access, Use, and Interpret Them

My reading this week included an short but interesting article on English parish registers which led me to a useful resource on British records.

I started in the FamilySearch blog with an article by Diane Sagers  English Parish Records: How to Access, Use, and Interpret Them” who was reporting on a presentation by Paul Milner at the BYU FH Conference last summer.

This is a good summary and worth reading.

Two items jumped out of the page at me.

  1. The quote from Paul Milner “Always go to the original records when possible; don’t stop with indexes.”  Very true – if you want amazing findings – usually well worth the effort.
  2. The paragraph “Many of these records can now be accessed online. “When searching records online, if a result says ‘no image’—it means no image is attached—not that no image is online. Check other sources, and you may find the image. For example, if a parish register image is not online, check by location in the bishop’s transcripts,” Milner said.

This starting me thinking about where online you can find parish registers.  The big 4 came to mind:  FamilySearch, FindMyPast, Ancestry and Scotlandspeople.  Then I remembered the increasing number of Irish sites becoming available too (see recent articles in this blog).

Fortunately the article included a valuable suggestion that I was  forgetting:  DustyDocs “Links to Free websites in the British Isles containing Parish Records.”  And yes this does mean the site includes resources for Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  It also includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and Australia and New Zealand!

After you select your country you are given a lot of interesting links to Searches by Surname and Guides.  At first I tried to Search for a Town or Parish and put in some of my favourite parishes.  This worked well.

My favourite way to use the site is to Select a County first – then I got some links at the county level before selecting a parish.  I certainly found many things I didn’t know existed online.

Either way the site is full of interesting links and I hope you enjoy exploring it as much as I did!

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New Helps from Google – and not just for Searching!

Say “Google” to a Family Historian and they immediately think of doing a Google Search – and it is a great search engine.

But Google offers much more help for Family History!  Recently they introduced a new product and made a major update to one that has been around for a while.

  1. Photoscan – this free app has just been introduced by Google – and works on Phones and Tablets – Apple and Android – (although when you download the app you need to look for a phone app – which works fine on your iPad or tablet).  As the title suggests this is a scanner for old photos – and a very handy one too!  But how good is the quality? If you don’t have a scanner or don’t know how to use one it is great! I’ve done several pictures – and had some very very good results and some just OK – probably the operator?   Quality is OK with Photoscan but my flatbed scanner at 300 dpi is better – remember that this is only the first version of the app and it will get better – there was an update in the first week with new tools added — the app takes 4 images of one picture and splices them together.  Quick and easy to use.  Go to and scroll down  for short video demo.   Preserve your old photos – get them digitized.  No excuse now.  On a side note I was just noticing that the Adobe Acrobat Reader app has been updated to include a scanner – haven’t tried it yet – but imagine it could be very useful for documents.
  2. Google Translate – has had a very significant update – very helpful for Family History
    1.   “This landmark update is our biggest single leap in 10 years.”  “The latest update to Google Translate utilizes Google’s Neural Machine Translation (NMT) system for translating phrases, which is rolling out to eight language pairs.” “The system still makes some mistakes, such as dropping words or failing to understand a person’s name, but it has cut errors by 55 to 85 percent in several languages.  Analyzing a phrase or paragraph rather than a single word to reconstruct a more grammatically correct and natural translation.  to and from English and French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Turkish.”
    2.   Go to  or available in Google searches or in Google Chrome or as an app on your mobile device.
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