Sunday, April 29, 2012

5,002,440 for BNA 29 April 2012

One of the resources I talked about during my 'newspaper' presentation at RPL recently was the BNA - British Newspaper Archive.

The British Newspaper Archive just hit a milestone, passing the 5 million page mark. That's 5 million down, 25 million to go.

They claim "thousands of new pages are scanned for you every day." 6,448 pages were added since the previous day.

If you haven't tried the BNA why not register and receive 30 free credits?! Searching is free. Read through the Help & Advice section.

I have had wonderful successes for England, but not so for Scotland and Ireland.

Happy Searching and enjoy your free 30 credits!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Irish Petty Sessions & Registry of Deeds

FindmyPast Ireland ( has announced that three million more Irish petty session records will be released in May, with an additional ten million in the following months. They've also highlighted an article on the Irish Registry of Deeds, and how it can help with your research - see There are an estimated 600,000 deeds in the Registry between 1708 and 1830, and a further 1.5 million recorded between 1830 and 1929.

Incidentally, there is an online project that has partially indexed some of these deeds at - an update on the site last week shows that the site now has 90,0005 names indexed from 11,162 memorials of deeds.

My folks never did own land so I've always been out of luck with these records; however, whenever something new becomes available to search I still hold my breath and hope. It's always worth a try!!

Happy Searching,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Females + Last Will and Testament

Last week I was speaking at the Regina Public Library on our Mystery Women and the challenges they present. I was able to show a myriad of examples of record types that reveal our mystery women using their maiden surnames. It is true that we often follow the males to find the females, but there are buckets of records available detailing our female ancestors simply by following ALL the collateral family members. One of the more interesting record types (for any kind of research) is a person's last will and testament. William Shakespeare died 23 April 1616. He left a three page will in which he says ‘I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture’. So now I wonder who got the best bed? If you want to read his, and other celebrities, final documents for free, go to Happy Searching! Pat

Friday, April 20, 2012

RPL PHR Presentation - Newspapers

On Saturday, 21 April 2012 I am doing a two hour presentation in the film auditorium on using newspapers to further your genealogy and your family history. For those of you unable to attend, I decided to post my hand-out for this session here, on my blog. Copy and paste the links into your browser. Enjoy!!

Newspapers do more than provide genealogical researchers with birth, marriage and death announcements. They are often a “window into the past” by helping to explain what life was like at a specific point in time. Today, more historical newspapers are being digitized and made available for users to search for articles more easily.
• Why use newspapers?
- obits & BMDs:
- don’t forget to look for the anniversary or memorial of a BMD & check the recent online condolences set up by many funeral homes
- local history, social columns, ads, auction sales
- understand how your families fit into history
- look for your own birth or marriage notice
• Use what you find as clues. Be prepared to either prove or disprove the contents which will, almost certainly, have come from a secondary source
• Where Do We Find Newspapers?
- public libraries
- archives
- universities
- genealogy/family history societies
- the Internet

FREE Websites
Regina Public Library Prairie History Room
• Complete run of the Morning Leader/Leader Post newspaper (microfilm) - 1883 onwards; note: last 3 months worth of newspapers are kept behind the reference desk
• Regina Standard (microfilm) - 1891 to 1906; Regina Daily Post (microfilm) - 1928 to 1930; and Western Producer (microfilm) - 1924 to 2000
• Historical Directory of Saskatchewan Newspapers, 1878-1983 (print) - 1984
• Saskatchewan Newspaper Indexes (print) - 1935 to 1981 (includes Regina Leader Post, Moose Jaw Times Herald, Prince Albert Daily Herald, Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Western Producer. Note: this index does not include birth, marriage and death notices.) This index is also available from
• Leader Post newspaper index (print) - 1883 to 1943
• Newspaper directories and indexes for other Canadian provinces can be found in the library catalogue by using the keywords newspapers and indexes in the subject field.
• Use the library edition of Ancestry or Heritage Quest to search for newspapers

Sask Archives Board [newspapers, Threshold]

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society [1514 11th Ave. Room 110 for 750,000 obits, onsite]

Legislative Library [] search SK Leg onsite

Library Archives Canada [newspapers]

Family History Library Catalogue [catalog]

Local History Books [PHR] often have newspaper articles of interest included

Directories (under various names [Henderson Directory for SK] exist for all parts of the world. Allows you to locate your ancestor in a specific location at a specific date as well as giving occupation and family information.

Google Books

Google Searches: Do try other provinces, states, and countries for newspaper collections held in local libraries, archives, genealogy societies, and even government repositories

Cyndi’s List

Pay for View
Genealogy Bank [USA]

London Gazette [Edinburgh and Belfast too]

British Newspaper Archives

One ‘tool’ is never enough to do any job! Use newspapers to find information that will lead you to a different record type, and then another, and another, and another, and so on.

One last thought - remember to add your source citation to every clipping you take - name of newspaper, date, page! Happy Searching Everyone,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Illinois State Archives databases

It's not often you see a website that has a "database transcription policy." VERY interesting!! See for yourself, and Happy Searching!! Copy and paste the following


Monday, April 16, 2012

Washington State Digital Archives

If you have a long lost relative in Washington State, USA, check out their digital archives at

Included are several databases: BMDs, land, and miscellaneous. Some searches will reveal other family information ... free!

Thanks to Michael John Neill for telling me about this. Good luck everyone.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Upcoming Speaking Invitations

I have been 'quiet' for quite some time. We were in Dominican Republic again for the winter, and our Internet access was infrequent and unreliable. Next year should be better, although I may still be 'quiet' as I enjoy the peace of the beach.

I will be speaking at the Regina Public Library Sat. April 14th (Finding Female Ancestors), and 21 April (Newspapers). Check the RPL Prairie History blog for details as I believe you should pre-register. Both sessions are free.

05 May, 2012 I have the pleasure of giving a full day presentation at Melfort Sask. Details

Location: Kerry Vickar Centre
206 Bemister Ave East, Melfort
May 5, 2012: 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
$50 registration fee includes lunch and two coffee breaks
Please contact, by April 15th, Lorne Kish at 752-3035 or
Lois Neighbour at 752-3136 /e-mail
for more information. Send registrations by mail to
Box 279, Melfort, SK, S0E 1A0

I understand Prince Albert folks will also be attending so it should be a busy, packed day. Come on along and join in the fun!!



I have just returned from wintering away, only to be hit my a major winter blizzard! Ah me, such is life. But I have some good news for you below.

Ancestry offer free access to US records

Until midnight (London time) on 10th April you can access 750 million US records free at the site when you follow this link [].Copy and paste the link, without the brackets. The datasets in this offer include the entire 1930 US Census, World War 2 Draft Registrations, numerous birth, marriage, and death indexes, plus migration and other indexes.

On some previous occasions Ancestry have only allowed access to the transcriptions, and not to the images - I'm glad to say that this time you can see both.