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Join 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.
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
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.
An interest in family research always seems to increase after the holiday season. My guess is that it is has something to do with people reminiscing during holiday family gatherings. If you are thinking about beginning to research your family, the first thing you should do is fill out a pedigree chart, also sometimes called an ancestral chart. This will show, in tree form, all of your known direct ancestors and the connections between the parents and children among them, along with dates and places of vital events. I recommend avoiding the temptation to jump into any genealogical research before you do this. Pedigree charts will help you organize the information you know and understand what you still need to find out in order to fill in blanks and extend ancestral lines. It will also provide those assisting you with the clues needed to advise you on research strategies. You might think that filling out a pedigree chart sounds like a boring chore, especially if you are excited and motivated about diving right into old records, but in the end it will probably save you time and aggravation, while providing you with an easy to understand diagram of all your ancestors and how they connect with one another.
To get started you do not need a fancy form or software. There are plenty of printable forms on the internet, which you can simply fill out by hand. I have provided some links to free forms, as well as a link explaining how to fill them out. You might even want to work on a pedigree chart before your family holiday gatherings. It could provide you the opportunity to ask relatives in person for some family information, and who knows what interesting facts and stories might come from such a conversation.
Mid-Continent Public Library
Brigham Young University Broadcasting
Instructions on How to Fill Out a Pedigree Chart
Reclaim the Records (www.reclaimtherecords.org) is a “not-for-profit group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates who are filing Freedom of Information requests to get public data released back into the public domain.” They recently added the NYC Marriage Licenses Index (1950-1995) to the website (www.nycmarriageindex.com). It is also interesting to know what this group is working on acquiring over the next two years. You will find the list at www.reclaimtherecords.org/to-do. If they succeed, we could be seeing some more useful databases in the near future.
Today Irish civil registers were released to www.IrishGenealogy.ie, a free website owned and maintained by the Irish government. The index contains 12.5 records of Irish births (1864-1915), marriages (1882-1940), and deaths (1891-1965). There are currently 2.5 million images of civil records that can be viewed and downloaded.
Before accessing the online index and records, you are required to fill-out an online application which is simply just providing your name and checking a box. After submitting the online form, you will have instant access.
For those who had ancestors living in Ireland during the time of civil registration, you will definitely want to check out www.IrishGenealogy.ie. It makes Irish family research a little easier and convenient.