Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ancestry.com new records

New records added to ancestry.com include many for New Zealand, a Florida Marriage collection, and Pennsylvania, Oyer and Terminer Court Papers. The latter is easy to search by name of the ancestor, and the scanned images are very readable due to excellent handwriting. I found an ancestor who had been subpoenaed to testify in a report of a break-in, and would love to search these records further. It is wonderful to see such records online. They will most certainly help verify family tree information and will add to the stories we have of our ancestors.

Free indexed letters testamentary in Jefferson County, NY

Amazingly free, transcribed for the Jefferson County, New York, USGenweb, are the letters testamentary for the early 1800s. It is an excellent companion to the book I mentioned in my last post, which has will abstracts for the same county from 1830-1850. Thanks to those who were willing to transcribe and post, I am sure there will be some breakthroughs in family trees. The Jefferson County Genweb site is one of the best I have seen. It is easily searchable, and continually adds new records.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Jefferson County, New York Will Absracts

Many will abstracts for counties in New York are available at NEHGS. One of the counties that is not included is Jefferson. I was pretty interested to find that a book of will abstracts for Jefferson County from 1830 to 1850 has been published by the Jefferson County New York Genealogical Society and is and is available for purchase from them. Will abstracts can be very brief and relatively uninformative, or they can be very informative, naming a mother, a grandchild, a nephew, land purchases, and so on. I've enjoyed perusing the will abstracts that I have read. They can be relied on as pretty factual. If someone names a daughter or stepson in a will, that person is very likely a daughter or stepson to the person who wrote the will. The abstracts often mention relatives in other States, and often include the town in which the relative dwells. These are major clues in genealogy research. The will abstracts are indexed by name, and the book includes maps of the county and a diagram showing how cities changed their names. If your interest is in Jefferson County, NY genealogy, this is a good book to see, and if you can find a similar book (online or hard copy) for any area, it will probably prove to be very useful. You may see names that you have not seen in census searches.

The website for the historical society mentioned above is Jefferson County New York Historical Society

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Minnesota marriage records

 An excellent resource for marriages in Minnesota is the Minnesota Official Marriage System (link below). It is free to search. You can enter names of bride or groom or both. The search is quick and easy and should lead to helpful information for family trees with any branches in that State.
Minnesota Official Marriage System

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gedmatch is back!

Finally gedmatch has posted an update to the financial situation and the server situation. And many of the utilities (including triangulation) are back, except they may not work for you just as yet. I tried, and got the reply that user zzzzz was not recognized. I know the website is going through some glitches, and a new announcement on the homepage says as much, so I will wait for a bit to expect success with attempts to upload my recent matches.

It appears that Gedmatch is coming close to its fundraising goal to raise enough to be its own server.

It really looks like it is on its way back.

Update Oct 17:  Good news! Triangulation utility worked fine today, and loaded more quickly than in the past.

Update Nov. 14--everything is functioning very well and pages load more quickly than in the past. Nice to see it is all in order.

The more people who load up their info, the more we all will have to work with!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Success in Family Finder testing

What I have been hoping to find for a very long time has happened, and I hope it will happen again. I'm looking to find ancestors I don't know are mine through DNA testing (at FTDNA). If I can find two matches (through  autosomal testing) who have a common ancestor, that is a clue that I may also have that ancestor. It finally happened and I discovered it through a technique that I thought would pay off way earlier--but I'm happy it finally did. I plug in all of the information from the gedcoms of my matches, and extend any lines that I'm able to--and leave it to percolate. I hope to see those names again, and today, in one instance I did. I plugged in names newly submitted by a relatively close match, and lo and behold, I already had those names entered in my  family tree. I checked to see who the "descendant" of this line was, and it was another match. Intrigued, I checked the chromosome browser to compare matching segments, and both matches matched perfectly to one another. Without a doubt, their ancestors in common, a couple who married in the 1600's, are also my ancestors. Now the big challenge is to find my descendant line. In the meantime, I'm learning all I can about these new ancestors. I am sure many customers at the testing companies are also making good finds.

This is not only what I've been looking for, but it is what is going to be happening over and over as databases increase, and as matches begin to submit info online.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The indexing and posting race for USA and UK records

Well, technically they are not in a race or any sort of competition. But in my eyes they are, and it is great fun. At least once a week I look at the "card catalog" for ancestry.com to see the recent additions. And I then cross-check those lovely results with familysearch.org (scroll down on the main page to see your country of interest--I usually check on the U.S. and the U.K.). Recent additions are highlighted. Some of the additions are "browseable." which is fine if you are very motivated to sit through image after image (sometimes I am!). Other additions are indexed, and easily searchable. Today I am impressed to find searchable records from Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is an amazing collection. Today familysearch.org wins, but it is often a very close race. Join in and let me know what you find in the new database additions. Some of these records will be put online for the very first time, or will be made searchable for the very first time.It is all good and a win/win!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jasper Lisney in the Queen's Larder

Some ancestors have names that are so unusual that if they have been documented at all, they can be tracked. There is an amazing array of documents and ancient books now online, and some have great info on ancestors, easily found through a search engine.

Here is one example--you can extrapolate the results below using similarly unusual names in your own family tree.

Lisney is a last name generally found to belong to one family which can be traced to Surrey, England. Jasper Lisney is the name that appears most often in documents online. He seemed to be the most documented member of the extended family.

Names of other family members appear here and there, and making connections is challenging. There was undoubtedly more than one Lisney by the name of Jasper. But I was a little surprised to find a Jasper Lisney listed in the Queen's Larder in the 1680's. He, or another of his name, also worked in the King's Privy Kitchen.

If you have relatives who worked for the King and Queen in London in the ancient times, see the many online books which provide their names, years of service, and more. The link below sends you to just one such example of an online resource.

Online book:
A Collection of ordinances and regulations for the government of the royal household, made in divers reigns from King Edward III to King William and Queen Mary. Edited by John Nichols in 1780.
 (Google eBook)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

There is always one more place to look

I tell myself this all the time. As long as the name I am looking for has only been known to me for a few weeks, there have to be more sources to check out before saying I cannot find a darn thing.

I usually start with the census records. Those records can lead to public family trees, which provide clues, not facts, to further ancestors. Next source that I check is familysearch. They update constantly and have many records which are easily searchable. But it is good to bear in mind that both census records sources and familysearch can be searched in various ways. My favorites are to look for the card catalog on ancestry.com and the recent sources on familysearch (scroll down on the main page). I might want to search birth records in a particular state. If I search those, I may come up with more precise records than by using a general search of the entire site. I'll find some of those spelling variations that might not show up outside the narrower context.

Next--I might look at google books, which often has names and places not searchable on the regular search engine. Then I might go back to the web and look for the last name and date of birth or death, the last name+early settler+name of town. Or first and last name+bio. And so on. if the person I am searching for has a very common name, I try to find a sibling or close relative with an unusual first name. I search them--hey--same family!! Same ancestors.

I look for land records, and I look in the State Genweb archives. I look for information on the spouse. Sometimes the spouse is a cousin, or close family friend. Or the spouse may have been tracked by genealogists already. If so, the collateral info on the person you are interested in is readily available.

If the generations are recent, I look at the many websites which show a person's name, location, and family. They actually tell you to whom the person is related.

Findagrave is just great.

In some locations there are digitized newspapers which can be accessed for free. I don't consider a search of ancestors from California or Northern New York complete without looking through the excellent collections there (see previous posts for info).

Don't forget that there may be State census records that haven't yet been indexed at ancestry.com. Familysearch has quite a few, and so does the US Genweb Census Project. Even more may be found in State records. Keep searching and you will find what is available. Most records can be accessed for free. If you want to access Heritage Quest, you can probably do so with a library card, and it might be possible to get online access from your home to the records. I had to travel to a neighboring county to get a card in a library with such access, which in my State I am entitled to do.

There is more...will update now and then!

And there is always one more place to look. When you find your dead end, remember that!