Ancestry Adds Wills and Probate Records

Ancestry has made the following announcement, “More than 170 million pages from the largest collection of wills and probate records in the United States is now available online exclusively on Ancestry. With searchable records included from all 50 states spread over 337 years (1668-2005), this unprecedented collection launches a new category of records for family history research never before available online at this scale in the United States.”

Although also has collections of wills and probate records from various states, including New York, I believe they are not indexed (New York, Kings County Estate files is an exception).  For this reason, the indexes to wills and probate records included on the website are a valuable addition.  You can view (Library Edition) free of charge by using a database or internet library computer.

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Old Fulton NY Post Cards Printing Tip

A library patron mentioned to me yesterday how helpful she finds the Old Fulton NY Post Cards (New York State Historical Newspapers) website in doing her family research. However, she gets frustrated by her inability to print just a single article.  She informed me that she resorts to using a magnifying glass to read the article of interest on the full page of the newspaper that she prints out.  This gives me the idea to pass along some tips I’ve learned about printing from the Old Fulton NY Post Cards website. Before I begin with my tips, let me first mention that I use Internet Explorer as my browser.  I think it opens the articles up in the Adobe Acrobat reader more easily and faster than some others.  My browser choice may or may not factor into the tips I give about printing, but I thought it could be helpful to share that information.

Getting back to how to print just a single article, note that when a newspaper page is opened in Adobe Acrobat, you are able to adjust the viewing size of your page (upper toolbar), which will enable you to read the text more easily once you have printed the article.  After you have the article set to the desired size, there are a few options available for printing.  I personally like using the Snipping Tool, which, if your PC has one, you can find by clicking on your computer’s start button, typing “snip” in the Search box of the Start menu, and then clicking on the Snipping Tool that it finds to start the program. The Snipping Tool will let you select an area of the newspaper to copy, so that you can paste it into Microsoft Word or Paint, and then print.  Another way you can copy, paste, and print is by using the computer command keys Alt-PrtScn.  You can also download the page onto the computer, so that when opening it in Adobe Acrobat, it should give you the option in Edit (top toolbar) to “Take a Snapshot,” which allows you to select the article.  Click on “File” (top toolbar), and from the drop down print menu you should see as a print option “selected graphic.”  Hopefully one or more of these tips will be of use and enable you to put that magnifying glass away. And if anyone has a different approach, I would love to hear about it. 

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Worldwide Indexing Event

The Familysearch Worldwide Indexing Event has arrived (August 7-14), and it lasts for a week. Here is an opportunity for you to join with volunteers from around the world to help “Fuel the Find.”  Using your home computer, you can download a batch of records to index.

For those of us who have benefited from the free website, this is an opportunity to give back. More information can be found on their website:


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Locate a Loved One Website

The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn now has a website titled Locate a Loved One, that has a searchable database of interments.  Cemeteries covered in the database are St. John (Middle Village), St. Charles / Resurrection (Farmingdale), Mount St. Mary (Flushing) and Holy Cross (Brooklyn).  It will provide information on the date of burial and plot location for an individual.  The website’s address is There is also a Locate a Loved One App for the app lovers among us.
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Catholic Parish Registers at the National Library Of Ireland

The long-awaited day for Irish genealogists has finally arrived. The National Library of Ireland’s collection of Catholic parish registers are now available online. You can view them at


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June Genealogy Program

Join us on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. when Dorothy Doherty, National Archives Program Specialist, will discuss the records which can assist you in your genealogical research that are often missed or overlooked. This program is free and open to all.  

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U.S. Census Records on Mocavo

Someone recently sent me the following information: Mocavo, a FindMyPast company, announced that they have made US Federal Census images free for everyone. They also provide a search engine for all the years from 1790 to1940. To view the website click here.

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German Surnames Program

Join us on Wednesday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. for a lecture on German Surnames. This program will provide some insight into the meaning and cultural significance of German names, including the context of genealogical research. This program is free and open to all.

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Launch date for Irish Catholic Parish Online Registers is Announced

The National Library of Ireland has announced that the online collection of Catholic parish registers will be freely available on July 8th.  To read the announcement click on the following link


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National DNA Day is April 25

National DNA Day is April 25 (but being celebrated on Friday, April 24).  I admit that my technical knowledge of DNA is very limited, so I’ll leave the scientific discussions to those more qualified.  Instead I will tell you a personal story concerning DNA and genealogy.  It began when I read a blog article by a genealogist who often writes on the topic of DNA.  I like her DNA articles because they are informative but not too scientific for a lay people to understand.  In one post she lamented that she kept putting off the DNA testing of a cousin, who then unfortunately died prematurely before a DNA test was administered.  Because the cousin was childless, the genetic heritage died with her.

This story inspired me to order DNA kits for my uncle, who was the last of my mother’s siblings and the last male of her family.  None of my mother’s brothers had children, so the Y-DNA (passed only from fathers to sons) would be lost when my Uncle Jimmy died.  Fortunately, he was interested and willing to take the tests.  I ordered two kits, an autosomal and a Y-DNA.  I visited him soon after receiving the kits, and brought them along with me.  When I arrived I excitedly mentioned that I had brought them along, and that we could take the samples, but he replied, “Next time you come.”  I was very disappointed, but let it go.  During the rest of the visit he recited all the usual family stories and we had a pleasant visit.  (I feel the need to mention that I recorded his family tales over the years, and they form a significant piece of family history.)  As I was leaving, I thought about that blog article and how procrastination led to the other genealogist’s missed opportunity.  It gave me the courage to try again.  I said, “Jimmy, I have the tests with me.  If you don’t take them now, I’ll have to bring them back again. Let’s get it over with.”   He thought for a moment and then agreed, and in a matter of minutes all the tests were completed and ready to be mailed back.  The next day I got a phone call from my brother informing me that my uncle had suddenly died that morning.  It seemed incredibly eerie that I had his DNA in envelopes sitting on top of my piano waiting to be mailed.

About a month or two later I received the test results. It was a melancholy moment because I didn’t have my uncle to share the results with.  I admit that the tests have not led to any great genealogical discoveries, but maybe one day they will.  This being National DNA Day I wanted to share my DNA story, and the thought that we should not put off preserving family stories, memories, or DNA, because we never know what tomorrow brings.  If you would like to learn more about DNA testing for family research, here are a few of links that can explain the details better than I:


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