Genealogy Program

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.

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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.

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New York State Genealogical Research Death Index added to FamilySearch

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, 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:

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Yearbook Index Project

If you are interested in volunteering for a genealogy project, you might want to consider the following.  The German Genealogy Group (, 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 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:

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Gmail Translation Feature

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.

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Genealogy Program this Wednesday

Join us this Wednesday (November 13th) at 7:00 p.m. when Dorothy Dougherty of the National Archives will discuss the various types of United States military records held within the National Archives and how to order records based on service dates and location of the records. She will also review the nature of the information to be found within the records.

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Using Addresses

In the current edition of Family Chronicle (Nov/Dec 2013) there is an article by David A. Norris entitled Forwarding Addresses from the Past.  In the article, Mr. Norris discusses ways of finding old family addresses and how the information can be helpful in researching the history and former owners of an old home or other building.   If you would like to read the article, we subscribe to Family Chronicle, and you can find it in our periodicals section.

On the general topic of using addresses in family research, I would like to share a tip of mine.  I sometimes type addresses into newspaper databases to see if there were any articles related to the people I’m researching.  I will occasionally find interesting tidbits of information doing this.  A lot of times the information is not directly related to the family I’m researching, but stories may come to light regarding interesting goings-on at that address.   I have found articles on murders and accidents that occurred in tenements that my ancestors were living in at the time.  This has given me some insight into the neighborhood and the environment of a relative.

One of my favorite databases to research an address in is the newspaper database of the website called Old Fulton New York Old Postcards (  I use the exact phrase search option for this.  The one problem that can occur in doing this type of search is that some addresses are common to many different areas of New York.  For example, if you were researching “24 Rose Street” in Manhattan, your search results will probably include articles about 24 Rose street in Albany, Ithaca, Yonkers, and more.  You will then have to sort through the all the results looking for the locale and time period you are interested in.  It appears that the Old Fulton New York Postcards newspaper database doesn’t allow you to narrow down the exact phrase search.

So I would encourage you to keep addresses in mind during your research on the internet.  It can be another angle in finding out more about your family, and it may also provide you with a glimpse, sometimes surprising, into your ancestor’s environment. 

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Databases for Family Research

You are probably aware of the genealogical and historical newspaper databases available through our library.  If you are not familiar with them, go to our website( and click on Databases, and then Genealogy for a listing of what is available to you. Besides this fairly broad collection of genealogical and historical databases, we also subscribe to others that might be helpful to you in your family research. As an example, below is a link to a video demonstrating how an encyclopedic database was used in researching an archaic medical term.  Of course, it is always tempting to just “Google” to find some quick information, but if you are writing your family history, you might want to make sure to find material that you know is from a credible source worth citing in your footnotes or bibliography.

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Upcoming Program

Join us this Thursday, October 17th at 7:00 p.m. for our There’s Life in Long Island Cemeteries program.  Rhoda Miller, a certified genealogist and past president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island, will take you on a tour of various types of cemeteries and lead a discussion about historic gravestones.

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Genealogy Forms

Genealogy charts and forms are necessary if you want to stay organized and focused in your research. It’s important to find ones that work best for you and to keep updating the information on them.  Someone recently asked me if I would give her a blank copy of my pedigree chart for her to use. She likes my “old fashion symbols.”  I decided to make the chart available for everyone.  If you would like to download it, just click on the following link: pedigree chart.  Also, the Mid-Continent Public Library has available on their website lots of free and useful genealogy forms.  You can access them at


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