Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions 2011

res o lu tion (noun)
A resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
The act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
The mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
A solution, accommodation, or settling of a problem, controversy, etc.

Source: resolution. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: January 01, 2009).

The topic for the 101st Carnival of Genealogy is My genealogy research/writing plan for 2011. Without further ado, here is my plan:

1. Finish my 52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases series. And when I'm done, I want to expand them into an eBook. I also want to continue adding to my Online Historical Newspapers and Online Historical Directories websites. (writing)

2. Visit my local Family History Center and delve into Levi Edward McLallin and Clarissa Cleveland. My life has gotten so busy, I haven't visited the FHC in ages. I would love to pursue Levi's and Clarissa's ancestries back at least one more generation. (research)

3. Find every ancestor on every U.S. Federal Census possible, download the image, add the info to my database, and cite my sources correctly. Sounds like a huge goal, but I've already begun it using Google Docs' spreadsheets. (organization)

4. Get my resume updated and use contacts and social media to get the word out to the public about my presentations. (speaking)

I'm keeping my goals simple this year, because I've found from last year that the simpler they are and the shorter the list, the more likely they are to happen!

Reflections 2010

re flec tion (noun)
A fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
A thought occurring in consideration or meditation. [1]

Those of you familiar with my blog know that every year, I reference the Roman god Janus in my Reflections and Resolutions posts. For my new readers, here's a little background from my 2008 Resolutions post:

In Roman mythology, Janus (or Ianus) was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings. His most apparent remnants in modern culture are his namesakes, the month of January and the caretaker of doors and halls: Janitor.

Janus was usually depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. Janus was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, the growing up of young people, and of one universe to another. He was also known as the figure representing time because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, births and other beginnings.

Wikipedia contributors, "Janus (mythology)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed December 31, 2007).

I suppose if we genea-bloggers lived in Roman times, we would worship Janus. He would make a wonderful god of genealogy! He could see the past and the future, and was celebrated at births, marriages, and other beginnings, events we celebrate as well. Like Janus, we are the keepers of the gates, doors, and hallways into our family histories; those entrusted with the keys. We are janitors--custodians--of the past for the generations that come after.

Here are my reflections as I review the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2010:

The Ugly
While I don't believe it is healthy to focus on the negative, our geneablogging community endured some terrible losses this year, and we would be remiss if we didn't stop to honor those who've gone on. First off, an active and early member of our community passed away in August, Terry Thornton of Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi. Additionally, number of geneabloggers lost loved ones: parents, children, siblings, and other relatives and beloved friends. Just off the top of my head, I can name four who lost their mothers this year: Elyse, Denise, Gini, and Lori. For those of us who were fortunate to survive 2010 without such a loss, I encourage you to stay close to your loved ones in the coming year and appreciate their presence in your life.

The Bad
There has been a recurring theme, not just in my life, not just in the geneablogging community, but in the world at large that 2010 has been very difficult for many people (some have called it "annus horribilis"). It's not just the economy--which has caused job losses, unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies; I've also noticed many struggling with illnesses and surgeries, difficult relationships, and a feeling of hopelessness or confusion about the future. I myself have struggled with many of these things this year.

In many cultures, it is tradition to clean one's house before the New Year begins. It's a symbolic gesture of removing evil spirits, bad luck, or unhappy events from the previous year and prepare oneself for the good things of the future. I think that this is good advice. This can be a difficult time of year for many, who are feeling failure about unaccomplished goals from the previous year and feeling uncertain about the future. It's time to let go of the past and sweep it from our minds, and to be open to the good things that are down the road without holding on to fear. I imagine that many of you are like myself: you have difficulty just living in the moment and appreciating the present for what it is, a "present".

The Good
Despite the hardships of the past year, some very good things happened to me. The highlight of my year was meeting many wonderful people. This happened in several ways; one was that four geneabloggers came to Spokane at different times and I enjoyed my time with each and every one of them: JL, Becky, Thomas, and Craig. The second was that I was able to go to the Southern California Genealogical Society's 2010 Jamboree, where I met many geneabloggers for the first time and cemented in real life some great online friendships. It was at Jamboree that I also heard terrific lectures and was able to visit the graves of two of my husband's ancestors. And speaking of geneabloggers, we are all so blessed that Janice Brown of Cow Hampshire is back!

Another great thing that happened was that after a year-long dry spell, my genealogy speaking and teaching picked up. October was especially busy for me, teaching one class, and making six presentations during two consecutive weekends.

This blog, AnceStories, received two very meaningful awards: it was one of Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs, and was one of My Heritage's Top 100 Genealogy Sites for 2010. Additionally, Leslie Albrecht Huber listed it as one of the "15 Genealogy Blogs You Need to Read" in the April 2010 issue of Discovering Family History.

I accomplished all three of my 2010 genealogy resolutions.

Although not genealogically-related, my health improved greatly after losing a total of 32 pounds this year (10 pounds in the spring right before Jamboree, and an additional 22 pounds this fall), and undergoing a minor surgery which appears to have repaired a chronic problem. I feel an energy that I have not had in quite a while.

My daughter, Melissa ("Missy"), got engaged on her 20th birthday. I'm looking forward to adding Brady to the family tree in a couple of years, although he already has become a part of our family!

So today, my friends, I have reflected, meditated, and considered 2010. And now I am making a conscious decision to enjoy the present, let go of the past, and look forward to the future without reservation. My 2011 Resolutions post follows soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ArkivDigital - Free of Charge 28-30 December 2010

The following is a press release from ArkivDigital, a Swedish genealogy database website:

All of us at ArkivDigital would like to thank you for the past year by offering you and anyone who is interested in genealogy, the opportunity to use ArkivDigital - ADOnLine2 Free of Charge, Tuesday-Thursday (28-30 December 2010). Feel free to tell your friends about this possibility.
Svensk version av detta nyhetsbrev gå till vår hemsida

How do I get access to ArkivDigital archives for free?

To gain access to ArkivDigital and ADOnLine2 for free, you have to do a few things. It's quite easy and we are sure you will manage - just follow the instructions below carefully.
  1. Register as a new member
    • If you are already registered, go to the next paragraph.
    • If you are not already registered as a member, you will have to do the following: - Go to: and fill in the requested information. Be extra careful to write the correct E-mail address and password you choose. The password must be at least 6 characters and/or digits.
  2. Install the program ADOnLine2, If you haven't the latest version installed, we advise you to install it now. The latest version is called 1.4.1. You can check which version you have if you open the program, click the Hjälp (Help) menu and then click Om (About). You can also try our English beta version.
  3. During installation, you will be prompted to answer some questions. You must respond to them "positively" and when the installation is complete, you should have a new icon called ADOnLine2 on your Desktop.
  4. Double click the icon to start the program...
  5. and the login box will pop up. Please enter your login information (Email and Password). Be sure to enter it in exactly the same as you did when you registered - capital and lowercase letters are significant.
    If you are receiving an error message regarding E-post/Lösenord (Email / Password) some information is wrong. Click to clear the error messages and then use the Arkiv menu (File menu) and then "Logga in" (Log in). Now, the login box pops up again. Erase all information and fill in the correct information again.
  6. Once you have logged in and you're now in the program and can start your research.
  7. To the left is a list of Archive Holders. Find for "your" parish/church in the list or type the name of it directly into the search field above. Click on the name in the list to select it.
  8. When you have selected your parish, the list of volumes from your chosen parish will show up. Search for a volume in the list and double click the left mouse button to open the volume.
  9. When the volume is opened you can browse it with -5, -1, +1 and +5 or in the drop down list (between -1 and +1).
  10. On the installation page you can also find a users manual for the program in English or here as a PDF-file:

Customers service this week

We will answer questions as soon as we can. Sometimes we receive a lot of questions and if that is the case it can take a little while before you get your answer, but you will. It is always best to send via E-mail to:

Frequently Asked Questions and Problems

  • We will add three extra days to all ongoing subscriptions.
  • If you have problems with the program and want help; Tell as much as you can, regarding what version are you using, what happens and what you are doing when it happens. Are there any error messages and what do they say? The more you can tell, the easier it is for us to quickly respond to you.
  • If you are completely without function you can try to install an older version of the program. At the bottom of the Installation page you can find links to older versions. Sometimes they work better.
  • If you have automatic login checked and receiving an error message regarding "E-post/Lösenord" (Email/password), close the error messages and then click the Arkiv menu (File menu), then click "Logga In" (log in). Now, the login box pops up again. Erase all data and type them again.

One year subscription for "Christmas and New Year price" of 995 SEK

(Live rates at 2010.12.27 13:16:00 UTC; 995.00 SEK = 146 USD)
We hope you haven't missed our special pricing on our annual subscription. For only 995 SEK you get access to ADOnLine2 in a year. Regular price is 1195 SEK - and the offer can only be purchased by individuals from December 20th 2010 through January 9th 2011.

Upcoming Events at NEHGS!

The following is a press release from the New England Historic and Genealogical Society:

January New Visitor and Welcome Tour
Starting your family genealogy can seem a little daunting at first. There is so much information found in a variety of locations. Let NEHGS help you make sense of it all by attending this FREE lecture for both members and non-members. This talk introduces you to the NEHGS research library, located at 99 Newbury Street in Boston. You will also have an opportunity to describe your research interests to one of our expert genealogists on staff, who can offer some advice on how to proceed. The program starts with a thirty-minute introductory lecture and will be followed by a tour of the library and its vast holdings. Make plans to start your genealogy with this great tour.

January 8, 2011 10:00AM - 11:30AM

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 Newbury St.Boston MA, 02116


NEHGS recently launched its new Website, It is full of new features, tools, resources, and content that highlights NEHGS’ growing national expertise in genealogy and family history. We now have more than 135 million searchable names covering New England, New York, and other areas of family research dating back to 1620. We invite you to attend this free lecture to learn more about this incredible online resource.

January 12, 2011 10:00AM - 11:30AM

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 Newbury St.
Boston MA, 02116

Dom's, An Odyssey

Join NEHGS as we welcome guest speaker Dom Capossela, who will discuss his recent book, Dom's, An Odyssey. Dom's, An Odyssey is an immigrant story. Through the lens of Italian immigration, with a tour of Boston's 1950s North End, Dom takes us on a voyage of discovery which reminds us of the immigrant roots of All Americans.

January 19, 2011 7:30PM
New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 Newbury St.
Boston MA, 02116

Winter Weekend Research Getaway - Effective Use of Technology

NEHGS Weekend Research Getaways combine personal, guided research at the NEHGS Research Library with themed educational lectures to create a unique experience for every participant. Personal consultations with NEHGS genealogists throughout the program allow visitors to explore their own genealogical projects, under the guiding hand of the nation’s leading family history experts.

Our Winter Research Getaway, “Effective Use of Technology,” offers a variety of lectures surrounding “best practices” in using technology including researching online, software, and other topics relevant to any genealogist.

January 27, 2011 9:00AM – January 29, 2011 5:00PM
New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 Newbury St.
Boston MA, 02116

Monday, December 27, 2010

What's Ahead at Ancestry in 2011

I just took a look at Ancestry's What's Ahead page and was impressed with the lineup of records that will be forthcoming in 2011. The collections that I saw that would be pertinent to research that I'm doing included:
  • Pennsylvania Marriage Records, 1700s - 1810
  • Tennessee Birth Records, 1869-1912
  • Tennessee Death Records, 1848-1959
  • Oregon Marriage Index, 1906 - 2006
  • Oregon Death Index, 1921 - 2006
  • New York State Censuses, 1915 - 1925
  • U.S. Census Agricultural Schedules, 1850-1880
  • Navy Muster Rolls, 1939-1948
  • U.S. Civil War Confederate Pension Applications, late 1800s-early 1900s
  • U.S. Civil War Union Draft Registers
  • UK: West Yorkshire & Dorset Parish Registers, 1700s-1900s
  • Sweden: Parish Birth Records, 1860-1937
  • Sweden: Household Examination Books, 1700s-1800s
  • Canada: Voter Records, 1935-1983

There are many other record collections besides these shown here and I encourage you to check them out. Also on this page you will find the databases released in 2010, a good review in case you missed any of them. Remember, too, if you don't have an Ancestry subscription that many libraries in the U.S. offer the Ancestry Library Edition (U.S. records only) for free at their in-house computers.

Hat Tip: John D. Reid of Anglo-Celtic Connections

Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 2010 Scanfest

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: Nebraska

This is the 28th post in what originally was a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

Nebraska Memories - - "...a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet." Thirty participants from libraries, academic and medical institutions, museums, historical societies, and others have digitized photographs, postcards, books, and documents highlighting Nebraska's history.

Nebraska Public Documents - - a collaborative effort between the Nebraska Library Commission, the Nebraska State Historical Society, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha; "the intent of the project is to provide access to state government agency reports from 1891 through 1956".

Nebraska State Genealogical Society Tombstone Photo Project - - searchable by surname or browsable by cemetery; they also accept tombstone photos

Nebraska State Historical Society - - this site will keep you busy for quite a while. Check out the Research, Search Collections, and Nebraska History Magazine links to find out about all things historical and Nebraska...many links will take you to actual content and databases, including the Past Perfect database.

Nebraska Western Trails - - "a multi-state collaborative between Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Participants in the project digitize and provide World Wide Web access to photographs, text, and maps about historic, and modern trails in the western states." Note that links to some off-site content are obsolete or broken and you may need to Google the resource to actually access it.


Creighton University Archives - - links to digitized campus newspapers and historical photos

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries - Archives and Special Collections - - from this page you can browse the collections database (choose Digital Content), finding aids, and image collections.

University of Nebraska Omaha - Criss Library - - under Research Tools, choose Special Collections, then choose from five different categories including the University Archives under which the campus newspaper, Gateway, has been listed.


Columbus and Norfolk Nebraska Historical Obituaries -

Denton Community Historical Society - - although this site has distracting backgrounds, it does contain great content in the form of biographies, info on churches, railroad land contract, schools, and the 1925 rural directory

Douglas County Clerk/Comptroller Marriage License Search - - 1988 to the present

Douglas County Historical Society Library Archives Center Photo Collection - - searchable database

Greater Omaha Genealogical Society - - this site is actually a blog with links to its resources at other blogs: surname directory, marriages, and obituaries (all listed in the right-hand menu). 

Lancaster County Marriage License Search - - marriage records for 1964 to the present; searchable by groom's or bride's name, or by marriage date

Lincoln City Libraries Star City Treasures - - oral histories in MP3 format; interviews of both adults and children

Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society Database - - "contains information about cemeteries, marriages, probate, people in old newspapers, old rural resident listings and various other publications about people who once lived and/or died in Lancaster County Nebraska."

Madison County Genealogical Society Resources - - tons of information about and data on businesses, cemeteries, churches, family files, Germans from Russia, gleanings from newspapers, hospitals and sanitariums, land records, plat books, libraries, county history, marriages and anniversaries, military, miscellaneous archives (directories, lists, naturalizations, clubs, and more), newspapers, obituaries, queries, schools, towns, unidentified photos and much more

Omaha Public Library Digital Collections - - Collections include Early Omaha, Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition of 1898, Nebraska Memories, Early Nebraska, and the World Stereoview Collection

Otoe County Genealogical Society - - probably the best data on this site is a list of Civil War veterans buried in this county, but other resources include data on the local cemeteries, surnames, and pioneer

Sarpy County Marriage License Search - - 1987 to the present

Southwest Nebraska Genealogical Society - - don't let the outdated design of this site fool you; there's a trove of online records on this site: patriots, Civil War, cemeteries, census, court records and probate, graduates, marriages, landowners, newspapers, funeral homes, obituaries, plat maps, Sanborn Maps, school census, WWI Draft, and more

Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer Research Department - - contains Hall County Marriages (1860 - 1870) and Hall County's Pioneering Women, among other items of interest

Washington County Genealogical Society - - there is a lot of useful information on this site, the premier being the excellent obituary database


Check out my Nebraska Online Historical Directories and my Nebraska Online Historical Newspapers pages.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Don't Forget: Scanfest is Tomorrow!

While some of you may be out tomorrow trying to garner a few after-Christmas deals, others may be wishing to try out the new scanner they got for Christmas, or to scan some vintage photos they discovered while meeting with family over the holidays. I will be hosting the first-ever December Scanfest here on my blog tomorrow, Sunday, December 26th from 11 AM to 2 PM, PST. Hope you'll join me!

Christmas Greetings

Postcard to Rena Lerfald from Cousin Sarah, postmarked 23 Dec 1909. Westaby-Lerfald Postcard Collection. Privately held by Troy Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Vancouver, Washington. 2010.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 24: Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

How did you and your family spend Christmas Eve?

When I was a girl, Christmas Eve was spent getting ready for the next day. I don't really remember anything specific about the day or the evening, probably because the big excitement of St. Nicholas coming had already passed, on December 6th. That's not to say I wasn't excited; there were always large boxes full of presents from my grandparents and other relatives in Michigan, waiting to be opened the next morning.

While we had lived in Alaska, my parents had become friendly with the clergy from various denominations in the area, and we usually stayed at the Catholic rectory in Ketchikan whenever we had to stay overnight for business or medical appointments. Several times, my parents hosted ecumenical services with Catholics, Presbyterians, and Pentecostals, and we often attended mass at one of our Catholic friends' homes whenever the priest came over from Ketchikan. Once we moved to Washington, we "adopted" an elderly couple who were neighbors of ours as surrogate grandparents. Their children lived too far away to drive them into town for Midnight Mass, so we would always take "Grandma Anne" with us. I always loved the beautiful ritual of the mass, the carols of the choir in the loft behind us, and the light shining through the stained glass out into the snow. My favorite part was the finale with the Hallelujah Chorus as everyone exited the church, and it always seemed to echo through my head as we drove back home later that night, up the snowy mountain roads.

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 23: Christmas Sweetheart Memories

Christmas Sweetheart Memories

Do you have a special memory of a first Christmas present from a sweetheart? How did you spend your first Christmas together?

The first Christmas I spent with the man who is now my husband was Christmas 1986. We were not yet engaged, although we were pretty serious and had already discussed marriage. At the time, I had been living with his brother and sister-in-law for about a month, caring for their three young children while they worked evenings, cleaning offices. It was his brother's second job, as the income he received working for the social services department of The Salvation Army was not enough to support a growing family. I had met my future husband and his brother while working for the same department.

I don't remember exactly what day we first celebrated Christmas together. I think it was a few days before, because if memory serves me right, my future brother-in-law and his family were planning to go to Vancouver, Washington for Christmas to spend it with their parents. And I know that my parents had invited Norm to come up to Colville with me to meet them at Christmastime.

So our first celebration was at Norm's brother's home in Spokane, and he (Norm) bought me a boom box for Christmas. I don't at all remember what I got him. Our second celebration occurred at my parents' home, where he met them and my younger siblings. We were engaged near the end of the following January, and married in late May.

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 22: Christmas and Deceased Relatives

Christmas and Deceased Relatives

Did your family visit the cemetery at Christmas? How did your family honor deceased family members at Christmas?

We don't have many family buried in this area. My cousins, Chris and Carrie, and a few distant cousins of my husband are buried at the upper level of Greenwood Memorial Terrace. Notice the word "terrace." The road up to the top of the cemetery is narrow, windy, and in the winter, covered with snow and ice. In the warm months, traveling up it still makes me nervous as it's not quite wide enough for two vehicles, and I'm always a little anxious as to who might be flying down the hill. Suffice it to say, we don't visit the cemetery in the winter. I do enjoy going on Memorial Day weekend. I also drive by Holy Cross Cemetery frequently while doing errands, and during the holidays, one can see how beautifully decorated the graves are, especially with wreaths on tripods.

During the holidays, I often think of loved ones who've gone before us; my grandparents and cousins, especially. It's not a melancholy reflection, although I do miss them. Mostly, it's warm memories of times we spent together, or gifts that were sent to us from them across the miles while growing up.

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 21: Christmas Music

Christmas Music

What songs did your family listen to during Christmas? Did you ever go caroling? Did you have a favorite song?

There was a while there when our family did not have electricity on our little farm in Alaska. But before, when we lived in town, and after, when we did have electricity on the farm and later when we moved to Washington, we often would listen to a set of records that I believe came from Reader's Digest. There were a number of boxed sets of various types of music that my parents had purchased, and one of them was all Christmas music. Between listening to those records, frequent church attendance, and involvement in school music programs (choir and band), I was very familiar with the songs of Christmas.

When I moved to Spokane to attend college, I was very involved with The Salvation Army, and learned to play brass instruments (I had played clarinet in school). As a band, we would go caroling in quartets or quintets to the various kettle stands around town, both outside and inside malls and shopping centers. We would play a few numbers before moving on to the next location. This always helped to bring in more donations, and it was just plain fun!

I can't think of a song that's an absolute favorite. I love all Christmas songs, and many are dear to my heart (I did blog about "White Christmas" here). I do have to say that as a choir and band member for many years in both school and church groups that I always enjoyed singing or playing "The Hallelujah Chorus," even though it technically is not a Christmas carol. It is traditionally played at many Christmas concerts, and has a powerful effect on both the audience and the performers.

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 20: Religious Services

Christmas Church Services

Did your family attend religious services during the Christmas season? What were the customs and traditions involved?

This is a beautiful nativity set I purchased a few years ago.
I've always wanted a nice one with all the traditional "players,"
and this was just perfect!

Because my parents were ministers for many years, every Christmas of my childhood was connected with church, and I grew up knowing the "reason for the season."

My very earliest Christmas church memory was of when I was not quite three years old, Christmas 1969. My mother wrote to her parents:

The Christmas program was held this morning at the Annette Protestant Chapel [at Annette Coast Guard Base in Southeast Alaska]. Miriam was one of 3 little angels and the smallest one; as she went out after singing her song, her halo and wings fell off! Bryan and I had a hard time to keep from laughing.

We angels had a song to sing and I used to remember what it was, but can't now for the life of me! I want to say it was "Angels We Have Heard On High," but I know that is not right. Too bad Mom didn't write down what it was!

As I got older, I loved to be in Christmas pageants that were held almost every year at The Salvation Army church I grew up in, and liked playing the part of Mary or the Angel.

One of the things we did after my brother was born was to have a birthday cake at home for the Baby Jesus as part of our Christmas celebration. Part of the reason of celebrating St. Nicholas Day was to have the emphasis on gifts be on a different day than the spiritual celebration.

For awhile we attended a Presbyterian church and we always had advent candles lit, another tradition I enjoy.

After we moved to Washington and I was a teen, we often attended Midnight Mass with our neighbor. I've always loved going to church around Christmas!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 19: Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping

How did your family handle Christmas Shopping? Did anyone finish early or did anyone start on Christmas Eve?

Most of the Christmas shopping done when I was a girl was via Sears, Roebucks & Co., Montgomery Wards, or occasionally, Jafco. We always got catalogs for those companies, and my favorite were the Christmas Wish Books. I loved all the dolls and accessories: clothes and bottles, strollers and carriages, cribs, high chairs, clothes.

I suppose that my dad probably bought Mom her Christmas gifts whenever he had to go out of town on business trips for The Salvation Army.

When we moved to Washington, we still used catalogs a lot. In addition to the others, we also had J.C. Penney. Both Sears and Penney had stores in Colville, although the Sears store was more of a delivery and pickup location for the larger store in Spokane.

I always envied the two girls that appeared on the front of the Jafco Christmas catalogs; they were the granddaughters of the CEO, and it always looked like they got everything they wanted for Christmas!

Today, I'm not a big shopper. I don't like malls and crowded stores. My kids can attest that I get very crabby if I have to shop for long (I don't even like grocery shopping!). I try to do a lot of online shopping, and then get in and out of stores with a pre-made list ahead of time. Still, it seems like every year there's always one or two items we end up having to purchase on Christmas Eve!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Online Historical Newspapers Galore!

If searching through online historical newspapers for your ancestors and relatives to enhance your family tree is a fun past time, you'll be excited to hear that two major online historical newspaper websites made some great changes this week. And to sweeten the news, both resources offer the digitized newspapers for FREE!

First off, I happened to be working on my Online Historical Newspaper site, adding historic titles from Google News Archives from a .pdf file that one of my website users had kindly put together and sent me. The frustrating thing about Google News Archives is that up until recently, you could not easily find historic titles on their site. Article searches would produce results that included both current news articles (single article in text format only and most being pay-for-view) and historic articles (digitized whole historical newspapers - free to view). There was no comprehensive list of the digitized whole historical newspapers, so you usually only found a historic title if you knew the name of the paper and did a comprehensive search. If you were looking to find a historic title for an ancestral location, but did not know if one existed for that area, or what its title was, you pretty much were out of luck.

That changed this week. While I was working on my site and looking at one of the digitized historic titles I was lucky enough to find, I noticed a link in the upper right corner of the page: "Browse all newspapers." My initial thought was that this would simply take me back to the Google News site, with mostly current, pay-for-view titles. But to my surprise, it was a comprehensive linked list of all the historic titles in Google News Archive, with the dates of coverage!

I have only two beefs with this list: the first is that it does not list publication location of these titles; you must go in and view the paper and find the location on its masthead. The second is that you cannot download the pages or print from the site. You can, however, use your computer's Print Screen function. I hope to cover that in another post.

The second major website is the Library of Congress' Chronicling America site, which made the following announcement this week:
On December 15, 2010, the Library of Congress added more than 440,000 historic newspaper pages to the Chronicling America Web site. This most recent update expands date coverage for many titles already represented in the site and includes a wealth of content in new titles from Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. The site now includes more than 3.1 million pages from 414 titles published between 1860 and 1922 in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Since I have already added many of the Chronicling America titles to my Online Historical Newspapers site, I went in to take a closer look. On average, most of the changes are expanded years to existing titles and one or two more new titles for each state. Of course, all this is a good thing!

I am working hard to add all these new titles and updated expansions of years to my Online Historical Newspapers site, and hope the site will prove useful to your research by facilitating and narrowing your hunt!

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 18: Christmas Stockings

Christmas Stockings

Did you have one? Where did you hang it? What did you get in it?

While I may have had a stocking when I was very little, I don't remember it. When I was in early elementary school, my parents started having us celebrate the Dutch tradition of putting out our klompen, wooden shoes, on St. Nicholas Eve, December 5th. In the morning, there would be candy and small gifts. I have continued this tradition with my own children. They use my old klompen. St. Nicholas ordered these from the wooden shoe factory in Holland, Michigan, and all of our family got them. We got several pair over the years. Some pair we received were plain, unvarnished ones, and they all have been worn out and discarded, as we would actually use them for walking around in the muddy barnyard. That was the original purpose of wooden shoes; the decorative ones are generally only used for St. Nicholas Day.

One year, St. Nicholas brought my brother and I Raggedy Andy and Ann dolls. He must have been about 18 months old, and I would have been almost 9. I think that a lot of the children's books I have about the Netherlands as well as fiction books by Dutch authors were brought by the good saint, too. When I was a teenager, St. Nicholas brought me a makeup kit, and another time he brought me a favorite aerobic dance album. For years, he brought Mom a delft Christmas plate, always featuring a handpainted Dutch church on it. One year, he brought my family a beautiful chiming wall clock with a delft face and brass hands, complete with weights and pendulum. We always felt so proud of our Dutch heritage on St. Nicholas Day!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent Memories No. 17: Christmas Grab Bag

Christmas Grab Bag

Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!

On December 15, 1985, I received a phone call from my dad. I was living with my pastor's family in Spokane, attending college and employed at our church's day care. My parents had been discussing going out of town during Christmas and visiting some friends on the west side of the state for several days, and so there was a possibility that I would not be able to go home for Christmas that year, since I could not get the time off of work.

"Miriam, this is your dad," he said. "I have some bad news for you." Oh, great. They are going out of town and I won't be able to go up to Colville after all, I thought.

The words he spoke next I will never forget: "Your cousin Chris died in his sleep this morning in his dorm at Gonzaga University."

I can still see myself in the kitchen with the phone to my ear, my body bent over as if someone had sucker punched me. I could hear my voice, sounding as if it were very far away, crying out and asking, "How? Why?"

Only earlier that week, Chris had come to visit me at my workplace, located just a few blocks away from his campus. We were the same age--he was three months younger--but had been in different grades because I had started school a year early. He had met my co-workers and we had gone out to lunch. We'd discuss our busy lives as college students. A bright student, he'd gotten a scholarship to GU and was studying engineering. He was excited to be going on a retreat that coming weekend.

Sunday morning after the retreat, one of his roommates had gotten up to use the bathroom. When he returned to the room, he noticed that Chris had passed away. "Did he have sleep apnea?" the coroner asked my aunt, who replied that he had.

Some friends drove me out to my aunt and uncle's place. I hugged my aunt and my cousins Carrie and Chuck. Chuck answered the phone whenever it rang. It was bizarre, hearing him say over and over, "My brother died this morning." Family friends of my aunt and uncle came over to stay with her. My uncle took my cousins and me to his work that evening, cleaning office buildings, and then we went to Denny's and sat without appetites, talking in that weird, other-worldly, disbelieving way that people do when someone close to them has passed away.

That night, Carrie--four years younger--and I slept fitfully on the living room floor in our sleeping bags. We kept waking up all night, and I don't think anyone else slept much, either.

The next few days are all a blur. Our grandparents came from Texas. There was a memorial mass at Gonzaga, the viewing at the funeral home, the funeral where I couldn't stop crying, and then the burial service in the frozen snow atop Greenwood Memorial Terrace.

See Chris's memorial page at Find A Grave here.

I don't think I remember Christmas that year. My parents didn't go out of town, and I suppose I went home to be with them.

There are questions that will never be answered to our satisfaction. A month later, after complaining of frequent headaches, Carrie was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her oncologist ordered Chris's autopsy to see if perhaps he had had one, too. The autopsy report had disappeared. After a courageous 17-month-long battle, Carrie herself passed away, just days before my wedding.

I often wonder how Christmas and other family times would be different if Chris and Carrie had lived, married, and had children. I tell my kids about them, and we visit their graves on Memorial Day. Christmas time can be a sad time of memories, too, as nearly everyone can attest to. But it's also a good time to honor the memories of those who have gone before us.

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Click on their names for the list of topics. To see what others have written, go here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 16: Christmas at School

Christmas at School

What did you do to celebrate Christmas at school? Were you ever in a Christmas Pageant?

I've already shared how Santa came to my childhood hometown of Klawock, Alaska on his Cessna from Ketchikan, but before he arrived, we students had been busy decorating our classroom. Every classroom had a tree, which was gaily decorated with lights, ornaments, and red-and-green paper chains (no political correctness and sanitized holidays in those days!). The ornaments were often pictures we had cut out, colored and covered with glitter, hung on the tree with yarn or unbent paper clips. As the school custodian, there was nothing Dad hated more than glitter! Those little metallic bits would have drops of glue on them before accidentally getting brushed to the floor, laid with those rubber-backed carpet tiles. No matter how well he vacuumed during the holidays, the carpet would be littered with glue-encrusted bits of glitter that never really came free as they embedded themselves in the fibers. But we kids never worried our little heads about that! We listened to Mitch Miller and Alvin and the Chipmunks sing Christmas songs on the record player, and I remember our teacher getting out a book of classic Christmas songs and teaching us The Twelve Days of Christmas, as we giggled our way through what seemed to us very silly lyrics.

Every year, there was a Christmas play--or actually a series of plays--usually based on a theme, performed by each classroom. One year, it was old classic tales, with "The Bremen Town Musicians" and "Bartholomew and His 500 hats." I think our class did "Puss in Boots." Another year, each class did a play based on a Christmas song. I was the title character in our Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer skit. Someone was very clever, and took old, clean, dry bleach bottles, cut a large hole in one side, painted them brown, colored the lid end black and somehow added eyes and antlers. This was a "hat" that each of the reindeer actors wore. My "nose" was a red plastic Kool-aid mug, I think, that was taped on to the lid end. I also narrated the Frosty the Snowman play for another class that year. Still another year (I think this was 1973 - second grade) we acted out fairy tales. Our class performed Little Red Riding Hood, and I was the star. I loved acting and being the center of attention, probably not helped any by being an only child for the first seven years of my life! The reason I was given many starring and narrating roles was probably because 1) I was a good reader and could memorize my lines quickly; and 2) I wasn't bashful onstage and didn't mind speaking in front of an audience, which is not the Native way. Most of the students in my classes were naturally shy and soft-spoken.

The plays were first performed in the ANB/ANS hall until the school district built a gymnasium that had a stage at one end. Unfortunately, the only photograph I have is the following, which I believe was Christmas 1971 (Kindergarten). I am the smallest one in the front row dressed in a native Tlinget dress with two salmon on the front, because a group of us had performed a native dance just before our class sang a carol.
We must have been singing "Jingle Bells," because many of us have hand-held sleigh bells. It was either this year or the following year when each class presented a different country in the "Christmas Around the World" theme. The finale of that particular evening was a piñata that was broken. How we students scrambled to grab the candy that fell! Believe me, it was a free-for-all!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 15: The Holiday Happenings!

The Holiday Happenings!

Often times December to mid-January birthdays and anniversaries get over shadowed by the Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year holidays. So we're going to shine a spotlight on those family members and ancestors this time around. Select one or more December to mid-January birthdays and/or anniversaries on your family tree. Write a short tribute to or memory of those birthday guys and gals and write a toast to the anniversary couples.

As a family historian, have you ever noticed any of your ancestors who were born, married, or died on Christmas? I have quite a number of family members in both my husband's and my genealogical databases with Christmas Day events, but I picked out only direct ancestors to share with you.

Christmas Day births:

My 4th-great-grandmother: Amanda (WESTBROOK) KIMBALL (1816 - New York State)

Norm's 2nd-great-grandmother: Senna "Senie" (COLLINS) TOLLIVER (1870 - Grayson Co., Virginia)

Christmas Day marriages:

My 10th-great-grandparents: Nathaniel DICKINSON and Hannah BEARDSLEY (1662 - Hatfield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts)

My great-grandparents: William Bryan ROBBINS and Marie LEWIS (1919 - Muskegon Heights, Muskegon Co., Michigan)

Christmas Day deaths:

My 7th-great-grandfather: Daniel ENNES (1838 - Oswasco, Cayuga Co., New York)

Norm's 5th-great-grandmother: Gudlaug Nilsdotter (1831 - Norway)

Norm's 9th-great-grandfather: Thomas KILBOURN (1640 - England or Massachusetts?)

Norm's 10th-great-grandfather: Henry SQUIRE (1649 - Charlton Mackrell, England)

Of course, there are all those Christmas Eve events, as well as other major holidays. It's also fun to find out who else in your ancestry shares your birthday. Most genealogical software has search features which can easily find this information.

Because I try to keep my family members' personal information private, I won't name names for this post, but will wish a Happy Birthday and a Happy Anniversary to all those in my family whose special days fall during the months of December and early January!


This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AnceStories Nominated as One of Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs for 2011

I'm honored and humbled that AnceStories has been nominated as one of Family Tree Magaine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs for 2011. This was a reader-submitted nomination, and I thank my readers who nominated my blog, especially as I didn't publicize the nomination process at all this year.

Family Tree Magazine offers the following information for the voting process:
In the July 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine, we’ll name the 40 Best Genealogy Blogs, or Family Tree 40. It's time to vote on the blogs nominated by the genealogy community.

The nominees are divided into eight categories. In each category, please choose five blogs (you'll get an error if you choose too many).

For category descriptions and Family Tree 40 qualifications, please see Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20 [Note: No time zone is given.]. You may vote multiple times.

You can click through to visit the blogs from the post at

You can also choose to click on the image above and it will be placed in the margin of this blog. Thank you for your support!

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 14: Fruitcake - Friend or Foe?

Fruitcake--Friend or Foe

Did you like fruitcake? Did your family receive fruitcakes? Have you ever re-gifted fruitcake? Have you ever devised creative uses for fruitcake?

I love fruitcake! The moist, rich kind is a favorite. I have tasted some that were dry and not so great, and probably most people who dislike fruitcake have had the same misfortune. I've never re-gifted a fruitcake, and in my opinion, there's only one good purpose for it: eating it!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 13: Holiday Travel

Holiday Travel

Did you travel anywhere for Christmas? How did you travel and who traveled with you? Do you remember any special trips?

For my very first Christmas when I was nine months old, my parents and I traveled from Fairbanks, Alaska to Grand Rapids, Michigan to celebrate Christmas. It would be the first of only two Christmases spent in Michigan with my extended family. Nearly a year ago, I blogged about the second trip:

When I was 11 years old, we went back to Michigan for a month, to celebrate Christmas with the family. It had been nearly seven years since we had been "home." Both sets of grandparents and an occasional aunt or uncle had come to Alaska to visit us, but none in the past 4 or 5 years since my little brother and sister had been born. To prepare us ahead of time so that we would know who all the family members were, Dad created a poster with the relatives' photos arranged in family groups, and hung it in the living room. We'd go over the names of the aunts and uncles and old the kids were, and what cities they lived in. And when we arrived at the Grand Rapids airport that December morning, there was a crowd of 30 or so people waiting to meet us...the ultimate family reunion! For the first time in my memory, I felt connected to a people who, although I did not know them well, seemed to know and love me.

Normally, we spend Christmas either at our home or my sister's home here in the Spokane area, or else up north of Colville at my parents' home. My brother travels every year from the west side of the state to be with us, wherever we meet. It's difficult to get to my parents' place in the winter, as they live off an old logging road up in the mountains, miles from town, and usually have many inches of snow. You usually need a four-wheel-drive or a front-wheel-drive with chains to get in and out, and it's quite the production, making the trip up there!

My brother-in-law's family lives here in town, and so we usually spend Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas with them, so no major travels there. Two years ago, my husband, our kids, and I traveled across the state to the west side to spend Christmas with the rest of my in-laws, the first time in our married life. It was strange having Christmas without snow (just rain).

I really prefer not to have to travel with the all the busy-ness of the holidays, plus the snowy roads, and the possibility of meeting other drivers who may have been "celebrating" too much before getting into their vehicle. It's much more cozy at home where we can enjoy the beautiful winter weather from the safety and comfort of home!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 12: Charitable/Volunteer Work

(Originally written in December 2007)

Charitable/Volunteer Work

Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women’s shelter during the holidays? Were you able to make the holidays special for someone less fortunate?

Growing up as I did as a child of parents who worked for The Salvation Army, I think I always knew that there were people who were not as blessed as I was. I grew up around poverty. Even though there were many times when my parents did not have much, we always had food on the table, clothes to wear, a warm and comfortable shelter, and much love. There were always extended family members that made sure we had the things we needed as well, especially since we lived in Alaska and some necessities were not available up there. But I knew that most children in the small village where I grew up were not so fortunate.

After we moved to Washington State, and I had moved out of my parents' home to live in Spokane and attend college, I myself worked for The Salvation Army, in various departments. While I was attending college (mornings), I worked for the Preschool/Day Care/Kindergarten department in the afternoon. When the college quarter ended for the holiday season, my mornings were free for several weeks, and I got a job standing kettles. I did this for two or three years.

Those who stand kettles fall into two categories: those working a minimum-wage, seasonal job; and those volunteering as part of a community service project (you may see members of a Rotary or Kiwanis club take turns ringing the bells, for instance). Most of the people you see fall under the first category. They can be those who are hard up and desperately need a job to provide for themselves and/or a family, or hey can be simply students on break or people working a second job to make a little extra Christmas money. The donations received go into The Salvation Army's general fund, and stay within that community, even if there is not a corps (church) in that community. The Army works with social service organizations within small communities if they themselves do not have a corps there. Monies are used year-round for a variety of social services, including--but not limited to--alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, food and clothing banks, family shelters, emergency financial services (rent, utilites, etc.), summer and day camp opportunities for low-income children, etc. This Army fights against poverty 365 days a year, not just at Christmastime. As a branch of the Christian church, they also go beyond meeting the physical need by providing spiritual comfort and counseling as well.

Standing kettles outside in the snowy northern states is no picnic, believe me, you. I don't know which was worse: working downtown on a north-south street where the wind from the river came knifing through, or standing in front of K-Mart in North Spokane, where the cold would come over the plain full-blast. I would wear my ski suit and move around as much as possible to keep warm. At night, my neck and upper back would be so sore from hunching up for four hours straight, all morning long, and I would hear the bell ringing in my head as I fell asleep.

These days I try to drop some money in a kettle whenever I see one; however, since I don't tend to carry cash with me, it's not always possible. I know from experience just how encouraging it is when someone donates. The next time you see a Salvation Army kettle, I hope you will give, too.

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

WikiTree Widgets are Here!

December 10, 2010:

WikiTree is announcing the new release of participation widgets that can be used on any website or blog. The WikiTree Widgets can be used to display a live update of your latest contributions, uploads, and edits to the worldwide wiki family tree.

The widgets were developed in collaboration with Thomas MacEntee and the GeneaBloggers community. A half dozen designs were selected to represent the community’s choices for content, layout, dimensions, and colors.

You can view the WikiTree Widgets, see live examples, view privacy details, and get directions for installing them on your blog or website at

About WikiTree: WikiTree's mission is to create a rich worldwide family tree resource by striking the perfect balance between collaboration and privacy. It gives families a free and easy way to privately share information and organize their facts, memories, and photos. At the same time, it enables distant relatives and strangers to grow a worldwide family tree and create a valuable resource for future historians. WikiTree was started in 2008 by Chris Whitten, the creator of WikiAnswers - one of the top 50 websites in the US. Content on WikiTree is owned and edited by its contributors. Join the free community at

NGS Videos Holiday Gift

In the past year NGS has been proud to offer our members a series of short video documentaries featuring notable genealogists. Starting with the interview by Helen F. M. Leary as our holiday gift in 2009, the series has continued throughout 2010 showing interviews with Elizabeth Shown Mills, David Rencher, Leslie Anderson, Laura DeGrazia, and others who have shared their experiences and insights into the work of the genealogist.

As the final feature for 2010 and our holiday offering to members we are releasing at the website today Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA on “Becoming a Genealogist.” Listening to Tom is always rewarding, both instructive and entertaining. In this conversation he tells about the curiosity he felt as a child about who his ancestors were, reflects on how genealogists “get hooked,” and presents his view on the value to professionals of continuing their own personal research.

While you are at the website take a moment to enjoy others you may not yet have seen. Log in at, click on the Members Only tab, and then click on NGS Videos in the sidebar menu.

From all of us at NGS – we wish you a peaceful holiday season!

Mark Your Calendars - NGS Family History Conference, 11-14 May 2011, Charleston, South Carolina.

The COMPLETE 1911 Census Available Now on Genes Reunited

Leading family history website has published online the complete 1911 census for England and Wales, allowing its members to view the original householder schedules for the first time.

The 1911 census records are the most detailed of any census it includes places of birth, details of siblings, occupations, how many children have been born to the marriage, how many still alive at the time of the census and how many had died. It even allows our members to view the actual handwriting of their ancestors and in full colour.

At it is possible to search the complete 1841-1911 censuses as well as other historical records such as birth, marriage, death and military records. The 1911 census Enumerator Summary Books have already been available since May 2010.  

Unlimited access to the 1911 census and all of the other records is included in a Platinum subscription, costing £64.95 for 6 months.  Alternatively you can view the 1911 census on a pay-per view basis.  It will cost 5 credits to view an individual transcription, 10 credits to view the household transcription and 30 credits to view the original household image (within these 30 credits you also get to view the Enumerator Summary Book).

Credits can be purchased at the following prices: £5.00 for 50 credits (credits will last for 30 days) or £17.95 for 200 credits (credits will last for 90 days)

Rhoda Breakell, Head of Genes Reunited, said: “We are extremely proud to be able to offer our members the complete 1911 census for England and Wales now.  People will find this an invaluable resource for tracing their ancestors and finding out more about their family history than they knew before.”

FamilySearch Wraps Up Genealogical Gifts for the Holiday Season

FamilySearch Wraps Up Genealogical Gifts for the Holiday Season

Nearly 4 million images added from 7 countries
Nearly four million new digital images are now available on These collections include the first images from South Africa, as well as records from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Guatemala, the Netherlands, and the United States. About 1.7 million of these records are indexed.
See the chart below for the complete list of newly added or updated collections.

ProjectDigital Images Indexed Records Comments
Brazil, Catholic Church Records 100,110 0 New images added to existing collection
Canada, Quebec Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900 85 79,936 New records linked to images; most images already published
Germany, Hessen, Darmstadt City Records, 1627-1939 55,528 0 New images
Guatemala, Civil Registration, 1877-1934 0 22,448 New records added to existing collection
Netherlands, Civil Registration, 1792-1952 1,505,610 0 Images added to existing collection
Netherlands, Zuid-Holland Province Civil Registration 6,349 0 New images
South Africa, Orange Free State, estate files, 1951-1973 79,466 15,879 New records linked to images; multiple images per record
U.S., Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1792-1983 62,763 0 New images
U.S., Minnesota Territorial Census, 1857 342 156,888 New records linked to images; most images already published
U.S., North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979 39,836 45,204 New records linked to images; partial collection, with more images to come
U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 2,040,944 1,371,394 New records linked to images; includes the states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Fully Searchable Marriage Records Now Online at

Press release from, December 6:

o   95 million fully searchable wedding records from 1837 – 2005
o   Eileen Dover, Holly Oakes and Mary Christmas all found in the records
o   The real Romeo and Juliet married in 1971

Have you ever met a Mary Christmas, Moana Lott or Anita Bath? Many may see these names as amusing but some women who have met the man of their dreams have taken their partner’s name, becoming the Butt of many jokes., a leading UK family history website, has launched an easier way to search the marriages of English and Welsh ancestors online. Over 95 million wedding records from 1837 to 2005 have been made fully searchable making it easier to find the exact record you’re looking for.

It’s all in a name
The new fully searchable records have thrown up some interesting finds, proving that when taking a partner ‘for better or worse’; an embarrassing married name doesn’t put everyone off…
A selection of the married names found:
  • Holly Oakes
  • Eileen Dover
  • Hazel Nut
  • Queenie King
  • Mona Lott
  • Jean Pool
  • Joy Rider
  • Lily Pond
  • Anita Bath
  • Candy Barr
  • Kerry Oakey has introduced the revolutionary MarriageMatchTM, meaning the end of mystery marriages and endless searching of the records. It will find all the possible matches within the records even if only one name is known. Alternatively, if the first or last name of the spouse is known you get an even more accurate list of possible spouse matches.

Keeping up with the Mary Christmases
It seems that a large number of Marys have continued the Christmas theme with their name and married someone with the festive surname, Christmas. There are over 50 Mary Christmases in the records and the earliest recorded Mary Christmas married in 1837 losing the maiden name of Cannon in Alton, Hampshire.

Where for art thou… has discovered a pair of real star-crossed lovers in the marriage records as, in 1971, a ‘Romeo’ married a ‘Juliet’ in Lambeth, London. The family history website has also found the marriage records of Oscar Fingal Wilde to Constance Lloyd in Kensington, London in 1884, Jude Law to Sadie Frost in Westminster, London in 1997 and Kate Winslet to Jim Threapleton, in Reading, Berkshire in 1998.

With this record I thee wed. has discovered that the most popular county to be wed in is Lancashire, with 11.66 million records listed between 1837 and 2005, closely followed by London with 11.62 million.

The five most popular towns to be married in were:

Registration District
Number of records
Birmingham, Warwickshire
Manchester, Lancashire
Sheffield,  Yorkshire
Leeds, Yorkshire
Bristol, Somerset

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at, said, “As the first company to publish birth, marriage and death records online, has always been committed to making family history research more accessible. This brand new way of searching the marriage records is a major breakthrough in family history enabling people to find their ancestors’ marriages more quickly and easily than ever before by using our revolutionary new tool MarriageMatchTM. Thanks to initiatives like this, family history is more popular than ever and we hope that we can help even more people to start uncovering their family’s past.”

The sophisticated new search facility will match up your ancestors' records, providing you in many cases with one definite marriage match, or a list of up to four most likely possible matches, saving you time and money.

The launch of these records is part of a year long project that will see digitise over a quarter of a billion records. The reindexed birth records were launched in July 2010 and the death records will follow early in 2011.

The records is the only place you can search the 1837-2005 marriage records all in one place. The online family history website has reimaged and transcribed the full collection, allowing researchers to search directly for their ancestors, making it much quicker and easier than before to find one person. was the first company in the world to put the complete Birth, Marriage and Death indexes (BMDs) for England and Wales online on 1 April 2003. Previously these were only available offline on microfiche or in registry books, at a selected number of locations. This landmark achievement was recognised in 2007, when won the Queen’s Award for Innovation.

For more information log on to 

The marriage records can be searched for free for two weeks by going to