An interest in family research always seems to increase after the holiday season. My guess is that it is has something to do with people reminiscing during holiday family gatherings. If you are thinking about beginning to research your family, the first thing you should do is fill out a pedigree chart, also sometimes called an ancestral chart. This will show, in tree form, all of your known direct ancestors and the connections between the parents and children among them, along with dates and places of vital events. I recommend avoiding the temptation to jump into any genealogical research before you do this. Pedigree charts will help you organize the information you know and understand what you still need to find out in order to fill in blanks and extend ancestral lines. It will also provide those assisting you with the clues needed to advise you on research strategies. You might think that filling out a pedigree chart sounds like a boring chore, especially if you are excited and motivated about diving right into old records, but in the end it will probably save you time and aggravation, while providing you with an easy to understand diagram of all your ancestors and how they connect with one another.
To get started you do not need a fancy form or software. There are plenty of printable forms on the internet, which you can simply fill out by hand. I have provided some links to free forms, as well as a link explaining how to fill them out. You might even want to work on a pedigree chart before your family holiday gatherings. It could provide you the opportunity to ask relatives in person for some family information, and who knows what interesting facts and stories might come from such a conversation.
Mid-Continent Public Library
Brigham Young University Broadcasting
Instructions on How to Fill Out a Pedigree Chart
Reclaim the Records (www.reclaimtherecords.org) is a “not-for-profit group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates who are filing Freedom of Information requests to get public data released back into the public domain.” They recently added the NYC Marriage Licenses Index (1950-1995) to the website (www.nycmarriageindex.com). It is also interesting to know what this group is working on acquiring over the next two years. You will find the list at www.reclaimtherecords.org/to-do. If they succeed, we could be seeing some more useful databases in the near future.
Today Irish civil registers were released to www.IrishGenealogy.ie, a free website owned and maintained by the Irish government. The index contains 12.5 records of Irish births (1864-1915), marriages (1882-1940), and deaths (1891-1965). There are currently 2.5 million images of civil records that can be viewed and downloaded.
Before accessing the online index and records, you are required to fill-out an online application which is simply just providing your name and checking a box. After submitting the online form, you will have instant access.
For those who had ancestors living in Ireland during the time of civil registration, you will definitely want to check out www.IrishGenealogy.ie. It makes Irish family research a little easier and convenient.
Family researchers are always interested in discovering new genealogical websites, so I thought it might be helpful to mention that the current issue (September 2016) of Family Tree magazine has an article entitled Out-of- this-World Websites which provides a substantial list. Although you may be aware of, or even regularly use, many of the websites listed, there could be a few you haven’t seen. And you might be happy to know that if you are a Connetquot Public Library cardholder, you are able to view and even download Family Tree magazine free of charge by using Flipster. To do this from your computer, go to our homepage www.connetquotlibrary.org and click on eMagazines which will take you to the Flipster link. At some point will be prompted to type in your library card number. You will find Family Tree magazine in Flipster listed under the category Hobbies, Interests & DYI. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also read the magazines on your device after downloading the Flipster app. Step-by- step Flipster instructions are provided when you go to our Flipster link.
The annual FamilySearch.org Worldwide Indexing Event starts this week. Their goal this year is to have at least 72,000 volunteers index as many genealogical records as possible in a 72-hour period between July 15 and July 17. Anyone with a computer and Internet connection can index the records. You will find more information about the event and how to volunteer by visiting the website https://familysearch.org/worldsrecords.
Because so many visit our library to do family research, I thought I should pass along the following email I received from FamilySearch:
FamilySearch has been working hard to upgrade our website to accommodate the ongoing growth of new features, such as hinting in the Family Tree. As a part of this process, FamilySearch.org will undergo a technical upgrade on Monday, June 27, starting at 12:00 a.m. MDT (6:00 a.m. UTC). The site may be unavailable for up to 24 hours as we test the system improvements.
Thank you for your patience as we make these changes. We are excited about this site upgrade and the increased capacity to help people around the world discover their ancestors.
Want to know more?
Join the conversion on our FamilySearch Facebook Page
I have recently been asked a number of questions on how to order Familysearch.org microfilms. Therefore, I thought it would be a good topic to review here. For those unfamiliar with the Familysearch.org microfilm program, here is some background information on the program.
The website Familysearch.org is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The LDS church has, for religious purposes, been collecting genealogical records for over a hundred years. To copy and preserve the records, as well as to make them better accessible, many records of genealogical value, especially vital records, were microfilmed. The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah, has and makes available to all (even non-church members) the microfilms and other resources. Since not everyone has the opportunity to visit the library in Salt Lake City, the LDS church has established hundreds of family history centers throughout the world where they will send (for a fee) many of their microfilms. Most of the family history centers are located in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wards or stakes, however, there are exceptions, and Suffolk Cooperative Library System is one of them. The LDS films can be mailed to Suffolk Cooperative Library System, and they will send them to Suffolk County libraries, such as ours.
Before ordering a microfilm, I would highly recommend that you check to see if it has been digitized and available for viewing on the Familysearch.org website. The Latter-day Saints are constantly adding new records to this website. You can easily check this by clicking on “search – records” and looking for the list of those available for the country/region you want. If there is a camera icon next to a record title, it usually indicates the images are there. You should be able to get into it by clicking on the camera. Another method is to search the catalog for the microfilm you need. If it is available online, it will be stated in the notes with a “click here” option taking you to the digitized images.
If you do wish to order a microfilm, you must first create a FamilySearch.org account. Creating an account is free and fairly easy to do. You will find the link (“Free Account”) at the top right-hand side of the Familyseach.org website. When ordering a microfilm, you will need to be logged into your account. You will be given the option of a short-term loan or extended loan. Short-term is for 60 days with an additional 30 days given for shipping. After selecting the loan period, the item will be added to a shopping cart (much like online shopping). The cost of the microfilms in your basket will be shown and when checking out you have the option of paying by credit card or pay pal. Make sure to select the family history center (shown on the upper right side) to which you want your films sent. If you are a Connetquot District resident and want to view the films at our library, you must select Suffolk County Cooperative Library System. They will forward the films to the Connetquot Public Library. How long it takes to receive microfilms varies quite a bit, but it is usually a minimum of about two weeks. If you would like to learn more, there is an online video describing the ordering process, which can be found at https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/online-film-ordering-ordering-microfilms/697 .