Attached is a listing of some genealogical websites for you to explore. You might have to register with some of them, but you do not need a paid subscription to use their databases. If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please email them to me.
Websites of Genealogical Interest
Our Family History Roundtable program this month will feature Norwegian culture and family history. Our speaker Christine Campisi was a contestant on Alt for Norge, a popular Norwegian television show, in which Norwegian-Americans compete in a series of cultural, historical, and language challenges for the prize of meeting their long-lost Norwegian family. During the competitions, the contestants learn about various aspects of Norwegian heritage and culture. The Alt for Norge television show is proof that family history can be both entertaining and educational. Come and join us Wednesday and learn more about the show and Norwegian culture.
If you have Norwegian roots and would like some advice in beginning your family research, I would recommend the following website: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Norway_Genealogy This site will provide you with much advice and some links to online databases.
Join us on Wednesday, January 17 at 7:00 pm for our next Family History Roundtable event. This event is free and open to all.
Preserving our memories is something many family researchers do. However, it can occasionally seem time-consuming and expensive. Years ago, as part of a Christmas present, an Irish friend sent me a recording on cassette tape. It includes some of my favorite songs, chit-chat and a segment from Big L Radio, the local radio station of the Irish city (Limerick) I once lived in. Later, this tape had even greater significance because the friend who sent it to me died a couple of years later at the age of 20 of cancer. His tape preserved the memory of his lilting Cork accent and our college days. I haven’t listened to the tape in many years, mainly because I no longer own a tape recorder. However, when our library purchased VHS and cassette tape converters for our circulating collection, I checked out the cassette tape converter and transferred my friend’s recording to my computer as an MP3 file. Now I can listen to the Christmas greeting my friend sent to me thirty years ago. It cost me nothing other than the flash drive I saved it on. If you are a Connetquot Public Library cardholder, you too can convert VHS and cassette tapes and preserve your memories. Making copies of family movies or recordings could also be the perfect gift for a relative.
Our library recently received a donation of LaSalle Military Academy yearbooks for the years 1930-1933. For those who might be unfamiliar with the LaSalle Academy, it was a Catholic military boarding school in Oakdale, New York, which closed in 2001. The yearbooks we received were those in the possession of Ernest Gordon Hackney who graduated in 1933.
This recent donation reminded me of the importance of yearbooks for both family research and local history purposes. Of course, the information in yearbooks varies. If your ancestor was very social and involved in school activities, there might be plenty of information and photographs of him or her. An example of this is Ernest Gordon Hackney. The La Salle yearbooks shed much light on his life at the school as a young man, including that he was a leader (President of “B” and “C” Class of 1933), and he participated in a number of team sports. The yearbooks also provide further information detailing his personality, interests, and the school environment.
If you would like to locate a yearbook that could include an ancestor, you might want to contact a library or historical society in the town or city in which the school was located. There are also some online sources that could be helpful. A few include Ancestry.com (U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2013), the Yearbooks & Commemoratives database of the German Genealogy Group, located on their website (www.germangenealogygroup.com), and the OCLC WorldCat https://www.worldcat.org, which is a catalog to the collections of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.
As an interesting side note I would also add that Ernest Gordon Hackney, whose yearbooks we received, was killed while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He is buried in Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium. We are very grateful to his son, Gordon Hackney, for donating his father’s La Salle Military yearbooks to our local history collection.
Ernest Gordon Hackney entry in La Salle Military Academy 1933 yearbook
This program is free and open to all.
Back in June, I posted that FamilySearch.org was discontinuing its microfilm distribution services. Because significant progress was made in their digitization work, FamilySearch.org decided it was unnecessary to continue the microfilm program. There was some concern by researchers that this decision might eliminate access to the New York City vital records which had been available on microfilm. About a month ago, I was told by a few genealogists that the New York City vital records were accessible online at family history centers. Although I was eager to announce this exciting news, I waited until I could try it out for myself. Last week I visited the Family History Center in Plainview, New York. I brought my laptop computer and logged into the center’s internet using the password the volunteer gave me. I was successful in both viewing and downloading two New York City death certificates. Before making a trip to a family history center, I would recommend you call ahead to find out the center’s hours and if their internet access is working. You will find a listing of the New York family history centers at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Category:New_York_Family_History_Centers
At our last genealogy program, Rick Fogarty showed us the International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki comparison charts, which can be very helpful in selecting DNA tests. If you did not take notes or were unable to attend, here are the links:
Autosomal DNA testing comparison chart
Y-DNA STR testing comparison chart
MtDNA testing comparison chart
Attending the lecture were some members of the recently established DNA Genealogy Group of Long Island. They informed me that they are have been having monthly meetings on the topic of using DNA for genealogical research. They alternate the venue of their programs between Suffolk County and Nassau County locations. You can find out more about the organization and their links to recommended websites through the following page: