If you are researching Irish families, you might be interested in learning about the Historic Graves project. It is a community-based project consisting of volunteers who are currently taking photographs of tombstones in Irish cemeteries and uploading them onto the website http://historicgraves.com. This alone promises to make it valuable to family researchers, but it also contains some even more interesting features. Volunteers are uploading old and new surveys and recorded audio and video stories of cemeteries. There is no fee to search or view the contents on the website. However, don’t be surprised if you don’t yet see an ancestor’s headstone. This is a fairly new, but on-going project.
Since there seems to be more and more people getting started with their family research, I thought it would be helpful to list the websites of some of the more active local genealogy groups. These organizations usually have monthly meetings and lectures, and some even have help sessions for groups or individuals. It is suggested you visit the website of each individual group to learn more about what each one offers their members.
German Genealogy Group http://germangenealogygroup.com/
Irish Family History Forum http://ifhf.org/
Italian Genealogical Group http://italiangen.org/
Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island http://www.jewishgen.org/jgsli/wordpress/research-resources/
Genealogy Workshop of the Huntington Historical Society http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nygwhhs/
African Atlantic Genealogical Society http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gfli/africanatllantic.html
If you would like to learn about some of the topics that were featured at Rootstech, a family history technology conference hosted by FamilySearch, the handouts are available at: https://rootstech.org/about/syllabus-materials/ They are being made available for free download for limited time.
Last week Newsday (January 16th issue) reported that the New York City vital record indexes are now available on Ancestry.com. Although these indexes are new to Ancestry, they have, in fact, been available for years on the www.Italiangen.org and the www.germangenealogygroup.com websites. Adding these indexes to Ancestry’s vast collection will certainly make it convenient to search them along with other records, but if you would like to search the New York City vital records free from your home computer, you will have to use them on www.italiangen.org or www.germangenealogygroup.com. But if you really want to search them on Ancestry, don’t forget that you can use Ancestry free of charge within our library building.
I am happy to report that full access to the database Fold3 has been restored. If you have any problems using it, please call us at 631-567-5079 and ask for the reference desk.
Join us tomorrow evening (January 15th) at 7:00 p.m. when Don Eckerle will talk about the online indexes on the German Genealogy Group and the Italian Genealogy Group websites. Come to this program and learn how you can search the indexes more efficiently. Don will also answer any question you might have about the indexes. This program is free and open to all.
Currently Fold3 is allowing Suffolk Cooperative Library System libraries access only to the Holocaust Collection. SCLS is working on the issue and I will post any updates on this matter on our blog.
Back in January 2013, I wrote a blog article about the New York State Genealogical Research Death Index on the New York State Department of Health website. It contains information on deaths that occurred in New York State (excluding New York City) between 1957 and 1963. The time span is rather recent and short, but any free online New York State vital records index is a welcomed addition. This month FamilySearch added the index to their online collection at www.familysearch.org, which is helpful, because you can now search it at the same time as all other indexed FamilySearch records. Of course, keep in mind that the actual death certificates are not be available for viewing on FamilySearch or anywhere else, just this index to them. Those wanting to order a relative’s death certificate will still have to go through the New York State Department of Health. Information on ordering a New York State death certificate can be found at: http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/genealogy.htm
If you are interested in volunteering for a genealogy project, you might want to consider the following. The German Genealogy Group (http://www.germangenealogygroup.com), a nonprofit organization, has created an online Yearbooks & Commemoratives index. The group states on their webpage, “The database includes teachers, administrators, graduates, and random grade students compiled from high school yearbooks, college yearbooks and various student lists and commemoratives. “ Currently the database includes 365 yearbooks and commemoratives of schools from all around the country. If you still have your high school or college yearbook and would like to include it in the database, you can email the group at Germangenealogy@optonline.net and request their indexing template file, which is in Excel format. This will be emailed to you, and after you have completed entering the names, you will email the spreadsheet back to them. You can do all the indexing work at home on your own computer and at your leisure. When you are finished, your name will be added to their list of contributors on the “credits and thanks” page. If you would like to check out the database, here is the link: http://germangenealogygroup.com/records-search/yearbooks.php
If your family research requires emailing foreign archives or government agencies, you might be interested in knowing that Gmail has a translation option. When you receive a message in a language you don’t read, Gmail can instantly translate it for you. Here is how it works. When Gmail automatically detects that the message sent to you is in a language other than your default language, a box will appear at the top of your email. Click on “translate message” and, voila, your message will be translated into English. Of course it usually won’t be a perfect translation, but you will certainly get the gist of the message.
If you don’t have a Gmail account, you can, of course, copy and paste email messages into any of the free online translating services, such as Babelfish, Google Translate, or Bing Translator; but if you already do have a Gmail account, the translate feature is a nice convenience that allows you to eliminate those extra steps.