There is some good news for New York family researchers. Ancestry.com has added to its collection New York State, Birth Index, 1881-1942. This online database makes the index more accessible for those who were unable to go to one of ten repositories to view the index on microfiche. If you don’t have an Ancestry.com account, you can access it on any computer in our library.
Back in May of 2013, we posted an article on this blog suggesting a simple, no-tech, inexpensive method to digitize slides, which was dubbed the “flashlight method.” Because our library recently purchased a Jumbl film and slide scanner for our Library of Things, we thought it was time to update the article. For those who have a Connetquot Public Library card, you can now check out from our Library of Things a Jumbl film and slide scanner to convert you slides or film negatives to jpg files. Using the device is fairly fast and easy, and all you need is your own SD card to which you can save the images. This compact device can be plugged into a computer or electrical outlet and comes with two adapter plates, one for negatives and the other for slides. Before choosing to save an image, you will see it on the screen. You need to make sure your SD card is inserted, or else your image will save to the internal storage of the device.
This should prove to be a handy device for anyone looking to add older non-digital photographs to the family archive on their computer or other electronic device. It is listed in our library catalog under the title: Digital film & slide scanner/converter. If you find that it is already checked out, you can simply place a reserve on it.
Good news for those with New Jersey roots. Reclaim the Records has announced that they have won their Open Public Records Act request filed on May 28, 2018 for access to the New Jersey Death Index for the years 1901-2017 (with some gaps). The index is now available online for free at www.newjerseydeathindex.com.
The Connetquot Public Library is an affiliate of FamilySearch.org. Now researchers at our library will have access to more than two billion digitized records, including 400 million images that are not currently available to the public outside an affiliate library. Although our new affiliation status provides researchers within our library with access to more genealogical records, this does not include the New York City vital records which still can only be viewed at a family history center.
In honor of Independence Day, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is providing a free 30-minute recorded webinar that can be watched on-demand by anyone. In the webinar NYG&B President D. Joshua Taylor discusses valuable resources available on the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) website. To view the webinar use this link: https://bit.ly/2tSC6MJ
Tom Riley spoke last night about the Orphan Train which was a supervised welfare program that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded eastern cities of the United States to foster homes in rural areas of the Midwest. During Mr. Riley’s lecture there was a question about how to locate records. I have listed the websites and contact information for some of the organizations that could be particularly helpful to a genealogist researching an Orphan Train relative.
National Orphan Train Complex
The New York Foundling
New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
Portions of the New York Historical Society Museum & Library collection can be viewed on Flickr.com
The article provides background information on the Orphan Train and links to research resources.
By using Google Books recently, I was able to assist someone in finding information on his ancestor. I am a big fan of Google Books and its advanced search engine, so I am happy to share this tip with anyone who hasn’t used it. The direct link to it is https://books.google.com/advanced_book_search. However, I admit that most of the time I just google the phrase “google books advanced search” and I find it quickly. When beginning a search I usually use the “with all of the words” search option. If my results are too numerous, I will then narrow the search.
Depending on the copyright, you might be able to view a whole book, but there are times that you can’t. However, don’t be discouraged because at least you will have been provided with a list of titles that you can check out through other means. For example, you might find other online sites for the book, or you may be able to interlibrary-loan it. The main thing is to not be discouraged if you can’t view everything directly on Google Books in order to find the information you are looking for. There is usually some other way to get that information, once you have found out through Google Books what you should be looking for.
Join us this Wednesday, May 9 at 7:00 pm when “The Legal Genealogist” Judy Russell will speak on the topic of conflicting evidence and how to resolve it. This program is free and open to all.
Since yesterday (April 25) was National DNA Day, I thought it would be a good time to share some questions that some family researchers have asked me about genealogy and DNA.
1. My siblings and I are going to have just one of us do the Ancestry.com DNA test to see what our ethnicity results are. Does that make sense?
Just be aware that the DNA ethnicity results you receive and what your siblings can be different. My brother and I are an example of this. According to the Ancestry.com test, my brother is 68% Irish and I’m 40%. My DNA shows 36% from Great Britain and while his is only 5%. He also has 12% Scandinavian that I do not have. I should also mention that our DNA results match both of us to people on both my mother and father’s line, so there’s no reason to think that we had different fathers. The first thing to keep in mind is that siblings have different proportions of their four grandparents’ DNA. The second thing is that the ethnicity estimates from any DNA test are just that… estimates, with some significant margin of error.
2. I am listed as having 7% Finland/Northwest Russia. I don’t know why that should be. Should I believe it?
When you take an Ancestry DNA test, you might find some unexpected results that appear in your Ancestry Ethnicity Estimate. For example, if you are Irish you could have Finland/Northwest Russia and/or Iberian Peninsula. That could come from ethnic mixing of ethnicities in the somewhat distance past, but such low percentages are often considered “low confidence” estimates, so while they are possible, it’s good to take them with a grain of salt.
3. How can I learn more about DNA?
If you want to learn more about DNA for genealogy, you might consider attending The DNA Group of Long Island meetings, which are on the first Saturday of the month at alternating Nassau and Suffolk locations, currently Bethpage and Patchogue-Medford Public Libraries. Their website is https://dggli.wordpress.com/, and they also have a Facebook page. They give a variety lectures on genealogical DNA, and you can meet many other people eager to learn more about the subject.
Join us for our next genealogy program on Wednesday, April 11 at 7:00 pm. This program is free and open to all.