29    Mar 20122 comments

The missing link: Finding an enumeration district

This post is from Mark Olsen, MyHeritage business development manager and genealogist:

As a genealogist, I’m excited about the release of the 1940 census. Not only will it be online but - better yet - it will be available directly from WorldVitalRecords.com and MyHeritage.com on the very day that NARA releases the census to the public.

It is essential for researchers to know their enumeration districts (EDs) to ensure their early success on April 2nd. The last thing you want to do is call Grandma to help you find the location you should be searching instead of actually spending time in the census images. Continue reading "The missing link: Finding an enumeration district" »

14    Nov 20110 comments

New Zealand: National Library’s Digital Archives Project

As our readers know, one of my favorite blogs is The Signal, the digital preservation blog of the US Library of Congress.

A recent post, written by Mike Ashenfelder, spotlighted the National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ) and how it is making its digital cultural collections available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Over recent years , the NLNZ has moved towards aggregating its online collections and high-tech resources under an initiative called the National Digital Heritage Archive. On the front end, the NDHA built their own web tools and designed clean interfaces to make the user’s experience easy. And on the back end they partnered with Ex Libris and Sun (now part of Oracle) to develop an OAIS compliant repository.

One of the ways they've done this is through mandated legal deposit. This means that publishers are required to submit their publications to the library.

Continue reading "New Zealand: National Library’s Digital Archives Project" »

13    Nov 20110 comments

Genealogy News: North America – 13 November 2011

This week’s edition includes an archaeological find, more on a new book, NARA’s citizen archivist dashboard,  Canada’s Veterans’ Week, a Canadian newspaper digitization project, new FamilySearch records and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s new website.

Follow the links for each item to find more information and read the complete articles.

VETERANS’ DAY

-- In the US, Veterans Day was observed on November 11, and there is a MyHeritage Blog post devoted to this important day.

-- In Canada, Veterans’ Week was observed November 5-11.  For full coverage of this remembrance week, see the Genealogy Canada blog, authored by Elizabeth LaPointe. She has done a masterful job of spotlighting organizations, institutions and websites connected to veterans in a series of posts. If you have Canadian family that served, her resources may assist you to find information.

Continue reading "Genealogy News: North America – 13 November 2011" »

9    Nov 20111 comment

Video: Beginner’s guide to family history documents

There are plenty of videos lurking around the internet that claim to give you a crash course in using documents for genealogical purposes.

Today's video simply and succinctly shows how resources such as birth, marriage and death certificates and medical records can help trace your family history. It's a great stepping stone for new amateurs who would like to get "hands-on" at the nearest opportunity.

Enjoy!

30    Oct 20110 comments

Genealogy News: North America – 30 October 2011

Happy Birthday to the Statue of Liberty, who doesn't look a day over 125! And, in the same general location, Ellis Island has opened the Peopling of America Center.

A major map library has moved into state-of-the-art quarters and the largest collection of Hispanic American newspapers is now online.

In celebration of Halloween or Dia de los Muertos - take your pick - the Genealogy Canada blog will post an updated list of  websites and blogs for Canadian obituaries tomorrow. If you are searching family north of the border, your elusive ancestors may be among records on those websites.

Continue reading "Genealogy News: North America – 30 October 2011" »

28    Oct 20110 comments

Research: Online or ‘creepy-crawly’?

Creepy crawly? That's my name for old-style research.

The kind that involves digging through musty, dusty archives filled with cabinets and shelves stuffed with papers, files, ledgers, registers and books. We never know what might be found – or what might find us – during those excursions.

This is what the University of Leyden's library looked like, c1610. Many old archives and libraries in out of the way places look much the same.

So much information is available online today – and more appears daily - that many newcomers are unaware of what research used to be like . Many of us continue to access information the old-fashioned way!

Newcomers also need to remember that not everything is online yet, and a good portion may never be. Thus, all  researchers need to know where to find original documents and records. These may range from making a personal visit to a remote courthouse to obtain a 250-page probate file - with valuable family information - to viewing old property records that may never be digitized.

When I began my research, I began with phone calls to and interviews with many people. I needed that basic information (names, dates and stories) to be able to learn more about those individuals.

As many genealogists say, genealogy is the framework upon which family history is built. Think of genealogy as the construction framework, and family history as what we add to that framework. Without genealogy and its focus on names and dates, one could not pursue family history with any accuracy.

Continue reading "Research: Online or ‘creepy-crawly’?" »

19    Sep 20115 comments

Frank Winkler and D-Day: Researching military records

This is a guest post by Jennifer Holik-Urban*

Pvt. Frank Winkler

Pvt. Frank Winkler

My grandmother told me a story about my cousin Frankie Winkler. She said Frankie came ashore on Omaha Beach on D-Day with the 29th Infantry Division. He died on 24 June 1944 of head wounds received on D-Day. When his remains were returned to Chicago, his uncle and father viewed the remains and did not think it was Frankie. I listened to this story, took notes and left it at that. It wasn’t until many years later in my research did I seek out Frankie’s story.

When my parents traveled to Europe in late 2009 they visited a U.S. cemetery in Ardennes. They met a Marine named Michael who worked for the American Battle Monuments Commission. Being the only visitors to the cemetery that day, Michael gave them a two hour guided tour. My mom told Michael about Frankie and he told her about a military file called the Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF). An IDPF was created for each service man or woman who died during service. It provides information on their death, personal effects, interment overseas, some files contain letters from the family, disinterment information and reburial information.

Michael also gave her the name of the historian, Joe Balkoski, for the 29th Infantry Division in Maryland. Armed with this information she emailed me as soon as she could so I could start the process of tracking down the IDPF and contacting this historian. We both wanted to know what happened to Frankie.

I had very little information on Frankie’s military service. From his grave and the Honor Roll of Cook County I obtained his unit information. His sister provided a copy of his Purple Heart certificate and a photograph. I had his obituary and the cemetery record that indicated his burial was in 1948. He was buried in Chicago four years after he died. Why?

Continue reading "Frank Winkler and D-Day: Researching military records" »

15    Sep 20110 comments

Genealogy News: North America – 15 September 2011

This week's news includes a new online database for the names of Virginia slaves, an exhibit on Germans in Chicago,  two sources for information on digital preservation, a Massachusetts conference, a display of memorabilia for the Canadian Women's Army Corp (CWAC), and a New York City seminar on cutting-edge genealogy. 

The MyHeritage genealogy team is back from Springfield, Illinois, where we attended the 2011 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference.

Read about the conference here in an article from the local paper. The event claimed some 2,000 attendees, offered 198 presentations, and attracted conference-goers from as far away as India.

Read on for more.

Continue reading "Genealogy News: North America – 15 September 2011" »

6    Apr 20110 comments

Historical Maps from the National Library of Scotland

If, like us, you're a fan of historical maps, the National Library of Scotland website may have a lot you're interested in.

The NLS have uploaded a set of historical maps which overlay on Google Maps, making them easy to use and navigate. While there's a focus on Scotland, there are maps for the whole of the UK also - and even beyond.

You can view some of the NLS's maps here. Or check out our favourite UK map - in very high detail - here.

Continue reading "Historical Maps from the National Library of Scotland" »

10    Mar 20116 comments

Tracing your European Roots: New Internet Gateway for Documents and Archives in Europe

This blog post was written in Spanish by our colleague, Ania. Para leer este artículo en Español, presione aquí.

For those of you looking for archives and documents relating to your European ancestors or parents APEnet (Archives Portal Europe) may be of great help to you.

The goal of the APEnet project is to build an Internet Gateway for Documents and Archives in Europe of fourteen European National Archives, and in cooperation with EUROPEANA, to create a common space for European archives and digital collections.
Continue reading "Tracing your European Roots: New Internet Gateway for Documents and Archives in Europe" »

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