Discontinuation of the FamilySearch Microfilm Distribution Services

On September 1, 2017, FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services.  The last day to order microfilms will be on August 31, 2017.  The service is being discontinued because of the significant progress made in their microfilm digitization work and the obsolescence of microfilm technology.  For more information go to  https://www.lds.org/microfilm.

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German Genealogy Group’s New Project

The German Genealogy Group is always busy creating new indexes and databases. Recently they added the Federal Criminal Record Index, which you can search for free on their website http://www.germangenealogygroup.com.  Their new project involves photographing the church registers of four closed Brooklyn Catholic churches (St. Benedict, St. Bernard, St. Francis Field and St. Louis).  After they are done photographing the books, volunteers will transcribe the information to create new databases. If you are looking to volunteer your services to a very worthwhile genealogical project, are undaunted by old handwritten records, and have an interest in Brooklyn genealogy, this could be the perfect project for you. If you would like to learn more, you can contact them through their website www.germangenealogygroup.com.

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New York State Death Indexes

Here is some good news for New York researchers. Reclaim the Records, a nonprofit group, has succeeded in obtaining the New York State Death indexes from 1880 to 1956 and they have uploaded the indexes onto the website Internet Archive.

For many years, researchers could only view the microfiche indexes at a small number of select archives and libraries.  The exception, oddly enough, were the years 1957-1963, which were made available by the Health Department on their own website and also on the FamilySearch.org website.

The death indexes now on Internet Archive are scanned images of the microfiches. If you have ever viewed the scratchy microfiches of old typewriter print indexes, you know not to expect good quality, but since researchers can now increase the image size and flip rather quickly through the indexes, you will appreciate that it is definitely an improvement over the old fiche readers.

If you would like to take a look at the indexes here are some links. If you want to see other years, you can change the year at the end of the link. However, not all the years may be posted quite yet.







To obtain a death certificate, you will still have to order it through the Department of Health or a town clerk. The actual certificates are not being released on line.

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Cemetery Crowdsourcing Program

Family History Roundtable - 6.7.17Our next genealogy program will be on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:00 pm.  Our speaker will be professional genealogist and speaker Michael Cassara. This program is free and open to all.

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Online Websites For New York Newspapers

For those who missed our last genealogy program, here is a list of some of the online newspapers that were discussed.  All of the websites contain digitized New York newspapers which can be accessed for free.  

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspaper (Library of Congress)

Brooklyn Newsstand 

Old Fulton NY Post Cards

NYS Historic Newspapers (includes Suffolk Historic Newspapers)
Includes Suffolk County titles

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Newspapers for Genealogical Research

Family History Roundtable - 4.28.17

Our next genealogy program is on Friday, April 28 at 2:30 pm. In this program, we will explore some of the online newspapers available for family researchers. This program is free and open to all.

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Descendant Tracing Program

Join us on Wednesday, April 12 at 7:00 pm when genealogist Melissa Johnson will speak on descendant tracing. This program is free and open to all.Family History Roundtable - 4.12.17

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Translating Italian Records

Family History Roundtable - 3.22.17Join us for our Translating Italian Records program this Wednesday, March 22 at 7 pm. This is an introduction to understanding the genealogical information you can find in typical Italian records. This program is unregistered and open to all.

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Websites for Irish Family Research

I was asked by a few people for a list of websites for Irish genealogy, and thought that that would be appropriate for the season. I have attached a PDF file listing various Irish genealogy websites to this blog post for anyone to download. You will notice that I have also cited some books on the list. I am including them because not everything helpful for Irish genealogy is available online, and I didn’t want some useful resources to be overlooked just because they cannot be found on the internet. Here is the link to the attached file Irish Genealogy

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United States Military Records

United States military records are useful to genealogists for a couple of reason. Obviously they provide service information, but they can also help in other ways to knock down brick walls.  For example, if a researcher has been unable to find a marriage record for a Civil War veteran whose widow applied for his pension, he might find a marriage certificate included in the widow’s application. Of course, there are no guarantees as to what could be found in such records, but they often contain unexpected items that can be both genealogically useful and simply of interest regarding details of an ancestor.

For obtaining a Civil War widow pension, file researchers might want to check first to see what is available on Fold3, which features military records.  The database is free to Connetquot Public Library cardholders, if logged in using the library’s link and library card number.  Fold3 has a wide variety of military records too numerous to list here. Other databases on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org also have United States military indexes and records, as well as other related collections such as World War I and World War II draft registration cards.  Links to the National Archives online databases can be found on their website  https://www.archives.gov/research/military/veterans/online.html.

Not everything in the way of military records is available online, so genealogists sometimes have to order records. This generally involves some time and expense. To help researchers understand availability of records, the National Archives has a brief description of their collections on their website: https://www.archives.gov/research/military/genealogy.htmlare.

Also, the following links can provide information on ordering records through the National Archives.

Civil War veteran records: https://www.archives.gov/research/military/civil-war

Older Military Service Records: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/pre-ww-1-records

For more recent military personnel records (20th century), researchers need to contact the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri (https://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel). The NPRC is the repository of millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century. However, a fire in 1973 at facility destroyed approximately 80% of Army personnel records from 1 Nov 1912 to 1 Jan 1960; and, 75% of the Air Force records from 25 Sep 1947 to 1 Jan 1964. Millions of military service files, including those for WWI and World War World II were destroyed. If you are seeking the record of a World War I navy veteran, the chance of surviving records are greater.

To learn more about United States military records, I recommend the website https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_Military_Records. It provides researchers with background information along with many links to online sources.

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