Saturday, January 29, 2011

2011 Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes

From Randy Seaver's Blog, "Genea-Musings"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes has another "Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes" contest going at

The site says:

"You could win a $20,000 journey to your family's homeland.

" is partnering with NBC to help celebrities discover their family stories in Season 2 of Who Do You Think You Are? and giving you a chance to win an amazing experience of your own.

"The Grand Prize includes $20,000 in travel money, plus:
  • Up to 8 hours of consultation time with an expert genealogist
  • Help from up to 5 experts in fields relevant to your family history
  • A yearlong World Deluxe membership for you and 5 family members
"20 First Prize winners will get an annual World Deluxe membership.

"For additional chances to win, come back and enter once a day through April 8, 2011."

The Official Rules are here.  No purchase is necessary.

Each time you click on the link, you will have to enter your email address, name and mail address.  You can earn another entry by adding five email addresses of friends.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 2011 Research Presentation

{Editor: This presentation at the January NSGS meeting was designed to demonstrate the variety of locations where City, County, and State records can be located. We used Nevada as a primary example, but nearly every city, county, and state is represented on the Internet, and search methods similar to those shown below apply to all cities, counties, and states. The information you locate on the Internet is a good starting point. However, detailed studies usually require that an original source be located. Copies of original documents are available from some online programs. However, ordering by mail, copying from microforms, and visiting libraries continues to be a major part of genealogy research. Reading and study is still how you ferret out most family history. An outline of this presentation is available on the NSGS Blog, including the active URLs (web sites).}

Researching for Genealogical Information in the Records of Cities, Counties, and States in the United States of America.
Prepared and Presented by Jim Kattelman, NSGS Newsletter Editor, January 2011.
Primary Focus of this Presentation: Location and Availability of City, County, and State Records.

No need to take notes during the presentation, just log on to the NSGS Blog and “click and go” through the various subjects presented here. This outline and the accompanying URLs (Web addresses) will be posted on the NSGS Blog & summarized in the NSGS Newsletter.
Record Sources:
Federal - Military, Major Land Acquisitions & Distributions, Migration and Citizenship, Census, Financial (including taxation), and (some) Judicial & Health.
Location and Availability: Most federal records have been preserved and reproduced on some medium which can be fairly easily accessed. For the most part, federal records have been freely circulated. One reason for this may be that cities, counties, and states (and private citizens) rely on federal information for planning purposes and many of their decisions. Access sources: National Archive Offices; BLM online land records; WPA Indexes; computer programs such as, Footnote, etc.;; and local repositories such as university libraries and state archive centers. There is a lot of federal information recorded on “transportable medium (microform, digital ,etc.).” If you study the distribution practices, you should be able to bring copies of original documents to a research center near you.

Federal records are excellent for proving the location of an individual or family at a given time. Except for some census periods, little personal information is provided.
Cities, Counties, and States - Jurisdiction for various activities, things, and eras is considerably different amongst the states. For example: Deaths for the 1800s may be recorded in cities or counties, whereas by the 1900s Death Certificates may only be controlled by states. In some states, cities may be independent of counties and hold records usually associated with counties. In addition, cities, counties, and states seem to be somewhat protective of records within their jurisdiction. “Keeper of the Records” may mean that you are going to have a hassle getting to the records (attitude - attitude - attitude). In many cases, regional records have been duplicated  on a “transportable medium”, but never circulated. Finding a neutral repository of regional information can be advantageous. However, duplication or release of regional information is much more limited than federal information.
Regional Records: Just about every kind of human activities and the possessions that humans acquire have been recorded at one time or another. Birth, Marriage (Divorce), and Death are the most common regional records. Directories, newspaper collections, property transactions (including taxes), judicial records (including some migration), voter information, public service (including militia), special census, and map collections comprise another popular group.        Finally, school, health, social organizations, and business activities are certainly valuable for family stories.

Much of the recorded regional information is of a personal nature and adds dimension to family history. Locating and copying this information, however, can be a trying experience. In my ten years of genealogy research, I have developed one fundamental axiom: “What I am looking for is probably out there, and eventually I will probably find it.” What was destroyed in the proverbial “courthouse fire” was probably duplicated in one form or another, and resides where you least expect to find it.

Location and Availability of Regional Records: The above mentioned information can be found in a “terrible mix” of city, county, and state records. And, this “terrible mix” will vary from one locale to another. Look first for indexes of records. probably has the most comprehensive regional indexes through its Family History Library > Catalog > Place Search. This index at least tells you what has been duplicated and is distributed. Every city, county, and state will also have some directory of services, but frequently you must contact them to determine the accessibility of records. In many cases, regional historical or genealogical societies will provide record indexes.
Family Histories & Church Records - Subjects for another presentation. These are the most personal of all recorded genealogical information.  Church records in the U.S. follow the practices used in the “old country.” For the most part, church records in the U.S. were not as detailed as those in Europe. Regional historical societies usually have some family histories available, but these are primarily in book form., through the Family History Libraries > Catalog > Subject, has distributed these on microform for years, but you can never tell exactly what you are getting. Online indexes and digitized copies are now appearing on the Internet. and similar organizations are now encouraging subscribers to post family histories on their programs. The more researchers post family history on the Internet, the more informative and interesting genealogy will be for all of us.

And Now for the Fun Stuff !     Online City, County, and State Record Resources and Sources.

Be creative ! The information you need is out there somewhere. The samples below will give you an idea of the types of web sites you should be looking for. If necessary, start with simple Google searches for official records.

Since we are NEVADA State Genealogical Society, we will start our search with Nevada records. Unfortunately, Nevada has a slim supply of online records. However, there are some very good document collections regarding the early years in Nevada, but in most cases, even if the collection is microfilmed, you must go to a repository. In Nevada, we need to loosen our attitude toward the concept of sharing information !

State Records - Featuring Nevada  (every state has some online resources - some more than others !). More and more, the office of Secretary of State is a good place to start your search for regional records.

Outstanding Resource  Trail: Library > Catalog > Place Search - Nevada.  Trail: Library > Catalog > Author > Nona Parkin  - Western Nevada Counties.

Good Resource -  Trail: Discover Nevada History > Nevada Census Database  > Finding People > Carson City Recorder - Genealogy  - Historic Maps > Sanborn Maps.  Trail: State Library and Archives > Microfilm at Carson City.

Trail: County Records Microfilm Project  “Dangberg Collection.” This collection of records from the 1860s to about 1920 is one of the best kept secrets of Nevada genealogy. It contains court, property, tax, & special census records and is on microfilm. Unfortunately, it is not distributed. Available at the Nevada Historical Society, Reno and several other State Libraries in Nevada.     Commissioned by Grace Dangberg.

Fair Resource - usually somewhat dated -  Various databases and Internet links (most states counties, and cities).
Interesting Resource - Example of Privately Created Web site: Alabama <
Good Resource - Example of State Sponsored Digital Library: Kentuckiana   < .
Great Resource - Example of State Controlled Web site: Missouri .
Fun to Use Resource - Example of For Profit Web site:  (as with most for profit Web sites, free & fee-based information is included)  < >  Trail: > Boundary County Maps.
Fair Resource - mountains of information, thousands of pictures - Examples of Federal Web sites: States & Migration .
Very Limited Online Resources - Good information when you visit their offices - Counties - Washoe County Clerk & Recorder . Marriage and Divorce (limited online) < > Property Transactions (limited online).     Mining Claims - Outstanding Collection (not online).
Great Resource - All counties have some free representation: < >. Trail: Library > Catalog > Place Search.   All cities have some free representation. Use trail.
Interesting Resources - Free (some) and Fee-based County Records: < >.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Free Access to Ancestry's Australia's Convict and Criminal Records until 30 January 2011

From Dick Eastman's Blog:
January 20, 2011

Australia's Largest Online Collection of Convict and Criminal Records FREE to Search Until January 30

The following announcement was written by, Australia’s number one family history website[i], today launched for the first time online more than 42,000 Australian convict NSW Tickets of Leave Butts, 1824-1867.

This collection adds to’s existing collection of more than 2.3 million convict records which will be available FREE to the public for 11 days beginning January 20 in honour of Australia Day.

With more than four million[ii] Australians having descended from convicts, approximately one in five can claim convict history and will likely have an ancestor included in the collection.

The NSW Tickets of Leave database includes Registers of Tickets of Leave, 1824-1827, which offers prisoner details in ledger format, and Ticket of Leave Butts, 1827-1867.

The Butts were essentially copies of the ‘Tickets’ given to each convict and details the following information: prisoner’s number, name, ship arrived on, master of ship, year of arrival, native place, trade or calling, offence, place of trial, date of trial, sentence, year of birth, complexion, height, colour of hair, colour of eyes, general remarks, the district prisoner is allocated to, the Bench who recommended him and the date of issue of ticket.

The ticket of leave system was introduced in 1801 by Governor King to reduce the financial burden of convicts and as a reward for good behaviour. Convict recipients were granted limited freedom to live and travel within defined areas, to work for their own benefit and to acquire property.

They were considered a class above the other ‘full term’ convicts and often rose to positions of power and influence within the colony prior to the expiry of their sentence.

James Tucker, an alleged author originally from Bristol, arrived in Sydney on the ship Midas in 1827 after being sentenced to life for writing a threatening letter to his cousin.

Over the next 30 years, Tucker was granted five tickets of leave, four of which were revoked for various reasons including drunkenness, forgery and court absence. He had one reinstated in recognition of his efforts to put out a fire at the Royal Hotel. After receiving his last ticket of leave in 1853, James disappeared from the convict system.’s extensive convict collection also includes records from the England and Wales Criminal Registers, the Convict Transportation Registers, Convict Muster Rolls, Convict Applications to Marry, Convict Death Registers, and a variety of other record sets documenting the trial, journey, working life, release and death of the majority of convicts transported.

Convict records offer a unique peek into the window of early Australian history, providing researchers not only with invaluable information to paint a portrait of their ancestor, but also with clues to their ancestors’ place of birth and country of origin, allowing them to investigate earlier family history.

Notable Australians who can proudly claim convict history include:
Maggie Beer, Celebrity Chef and 2010 Senior Australian of the Year: Her 3xgreat-grandmother was a convict thief and her 3x great-grandfather a bigamist who was convicted after three simultaneous marriages. They met after both were transported to Australia.  
Tony Windsor, MP, Independent Federal Minister for New England’: His 2x great-grandfather was transported to NSW on the ship Midas in 1827 (the same boat as the aforementioned James Tucker) after stealing wet bedding from a clothes line and eventually died in Darlinghurst Gaol after being convicted of horse stealing.  
Rod Marsh, Cricketer: His great-grandfather (by adoption) was transported to Australia after being charged with manslaughter following a late night brawl which resulted in a man being shot. Content Director Brad Argent comments: “Australia Day is all about national pride and so is a great time to stop and think about the unique way in which our country was founded and by whom.

“For those wanting to explore their early Australian heritage, like it or not, chances are that convict records will not only be the right place to start, but will also reveal colourful stories which will actually make you proud to be Australian.”

To find out more about your family’s heritage, please visit:

[i] comScore, 2009, based on genealogy related websites selected from the Family and Parenting sub-category under the Community category

[ii] The Australian Constitution Referendum Study, 1999

Monday, January 17, 2011

New York State Historical Newspapers Online

From Dick Eastman's newsletter:
January 16, 2011

More than Two Million Northern New York Historical Newspapers Online

The Northern New York Historical Newspapers web site has been available online for six years. The site continues to add new material and recently added its two millionth page. More than 50 newspaper titles are now available online.

The Northern New York Library Network is provided at by the Northern New York Library Network based in Potsdam. There are currently 18 newspapers from St. Lawrence County available on the NNY Historical Newspapers website. Titles from other counties include Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego.

You can read more in an article in the North Country Now web site at

Another site for New York State Historical Newspapers (it says for NY postcards but the site also includes newspapers) :

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Many Cleveland, Ohio Burial Records Now Available online

From Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter:
January 12, 2011

Many Cleveland, Ohio Burial Records Now Available Online

The East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society has created an online burial index of all Cleveland-owned cemeteries. Approximately 70 volunteers from all over the country worked from home putting the index together after 359,000 records were imaged and placed onto CDs. About 40% of the digitized records are from the Highland Park cemetery. The others are records primarily from the west side of Cleveland.

The online records typically include not only when and where the deceased died, but also how the person died, how old they were when they died, where they lived, who the undertaker was, and the date they were buried.

You can read more about the project at while the database itself is available at

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Please Contribute to January's Meeting!

Help other members and guests by sharing good websites for US States, Counties and Cities that you have used.  Copy and paste the URL's into a simple word processing document and save it as a PDF file on a jump-drive (flash drive/thumb drive). Bring the jump drive with you to the meeting on the 20th.  The URLs will be active, and we can show and share them with other attendees.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January Meeting

Thursday, January 20, 2011, 7:00 PM
at the Reno Family History Center, 4751 Neil Road, Reno, Nevada.
Program: Cities, Counties, & States
Our January meeting will focus on how to best access city, county, and state records. We will use our computer/projector system to access these types of records and demonstrate how our Members can easily do this at home. If you have favorite URLs (Internet addresses) for various cities, counties, and states, bring them to the meeting and we will use as many as we can in the course of the evening.