New Records Available at FamilySearch – and more good news for Irish Researchers!

It’s hard to keep up!  There is so much new information being released for family history research, so what do you do?  A good thing to do periodically – maybe monthly? – is to check the collections at your favourite websites like FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindMyPast, etc to see what has changed.

How do you do that?  Let’s look at FamilySearch this week – as I’m feeling guilty because I missed something recently for my Irish researching friends . . .

Go to, click on Records under the menu Search.  Then click on Browse All Published Collections which is under the world map.  You get a list of all the collections in the historical records collection at FamilySearch – wow, now 2019 collections! Note that they mark any updated or new collection with an asterisk *.   Click on the heading Last Updated to sort the list by last updated.  This won’t tell you which are new collections – perhaps they could put 2 asterisks? – but you can see where there is new information to search.  Clicking on a collection title will take you to a screen where you can search that collection.

Don’t forget to look for the little camera icons so you know which collections have images!

As of today (25 July) there are 22 new or updated collections since July 14!  That’s great! There are some interesting collections from all over the world. Mexican Catholic Baptisms is now over 35 million records!

The next section talks about Ireland but the instructions apply to any record collection you want to search. Scroll down to Ireland or better still use the place list on the left . .  UK and Ireland.  A new collection was added on 22 June 2015 called Ireland, Petty Court Registers 1828-1912 – 21.8 million records – and images at FindMyPast.  Now I’m not suggesting that all your relatives are petty criminals  – maybe they were just witnesses in the court? If you click on Learn More just above the words Search Collection on the left you will get a very interesting article about this record collection from the Research Wiki !

This includes a description : This collection will include court records from 1828-1912. Most small criminal and civil cases were handled by the Petty Sessions Court. Petty Sessions Courts even handled minor matters such as dog registration.

So registering your dog might get your name in the collection!

Court records may contain the following information:

  • Individual’s name
  • Date and place (county) of court order
  • Individual’s role (witness, complainant, or defendant)
  • Other information specific to the court case

And some helpful hints:

  • Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Court orders usually identify the county. Search this county to find other local records, such as census records and parish registers, that may contain your ancestor.
  • Search the court case information for family names or clues about your ancestor’s situation or life story.
  • Take a look at the image of the actual record to verify that the information in the index is correct. As with any index, transcription errors may occur.

Knowing the county where your ancestors lived is very very helpful for Irish research – and this collection may really help you!


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Please Help the WorldWide Indexing Event

When?  During the week of Aug 7 to 14

Why?  Help “fuel the find”  – we all like to type in a name and search for an ancestor – now we can help make more names available – or find someone who can help do this?  – maybe someone with skills in a language other than English?

“Fuel the Find?” Indexed records are like the fuel that gives the power to connect people to their missing family members. Every name you index adds another drop of precious fuel that can help others find their ancestors.

What do we do?  Index one batch and help someone else to do the same  – especially if you know someone with skills in a language other than English.  If you don’t know how to index then go to for help with getting started.

You can contribute even if you don’t index a single name!

Hint:  Download a batch or several batches before the week begins – you can even work offline.  The goal is to have 100,000 people index a batch during the week.

For more information go to: and follow the links on that page

Will you help others find their ancestors?

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Good News if you are Researching in Ireland

The National Library of Ireland has announced the availability online of Catholic Church parish registers. Over 1000 parishes totally nearly 400,000 register pages at no cost to use!

Go to

This is just the images of the pages.  There is no index – yet?? – hopefully someone will create an index— another example of why the FamilySearch indexing project is so vital – please consider giving a little of your time to help – go to to get started.

You do need to know your Irish parish!!! – or at least a diocese. I tried the web site.  It was very easy to use and I was very impressed with the images.

If you’re having challenges with your Irish Family History you may find this site to be helpful  – the right sidebar says “Irish genealogy research is famous for being difficult, if not impossible. This reputation isn’t entirely deserved, although there can be some fundamental difficulties in discovering your Irish ancestry, particularly if you don’t know where your ancestors lived. That’s why I launched my website, Irish Genealogy Toolkit. It’s a free online guide to Irish family history research, and it’s designed to help you to find your heritage” – almost makes me wish I had Irish ancestors! – with a name like Darby you think I would have some!

Plus Irish researchers are also recommended to use The Irish Times Irish Ancestors ( ) and Roots Ireland ( )  which are linked to from within searches at the National Library of Ireland Catholic Registers.

Thank you to Dick Eastman (   ) and Peter Calver at LostCousins ( )  for making me aware of this.

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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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