Friday, June 29, 2012

Foundlings - 1700s to the 21st Century

London's Foundling Museum tells the tale of the 25,000 children who passed through the Foundling Hospital between its foundation by Thomas Coram in 1739, and it's closure in 1954. Foundlings were often given surnames that related to the place where they were found, such as Chappell or Bridge, and a Google search for 'foundlings surnames' reveals that similar naming patterns occur in other countries.

If you're having trouble finding your ancestor's parents, it's worth considering whether he or she may have been a foundling?

I imagine that, like me, you thought that foundlings were a thing of the past. But I recently learned that in Germany there are today around 200 places (Babyklappen, or baby hatches) where desperate mothers can leave their babies - the first opened in 2000 in Hamburg. Most of the abandoned babies (and there have been about one thousand so far) will never know who their parents were. How sad.

Happy Searching,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Canadian Genealogy Records from Ancestry FREE June 28 - July2, 2012

Search Canadian Genealogy Records Free Through July 2
Thanks to Diane at Family Tree Magazine.

In honor of Canada Day, which celebrates the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North American Act uniting three colonies into the country of Canada, is offering free access to 40 million historical records today through July 2.

The free records cover the years leading up to and following Confederation and come from some of the largest collections on, including:

Canadian passenger lists and ocean arrivals: These name the masses of people who arrived by ship at port cities across Canada

The 1871 Census of Canada: This was the first census Canada conducted as a nation. It reveals household members, ages, jobs, parents' birthplaces and more.

Birth, marriage and death records: These come from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Military records: These come from the War of 1812 and World War I, as well as lists of officers from 1832 and 1863 to 1939.

Visit to search the free databases. You'll need to register for a free account to view your full search results.

Happy Canada Day Everyone!! And as always, Happy Searching!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fall 2012 course - FamilySearch Family Tree

Classic FamilySearch is No More Without fanfare last Monday June 18, 2012 FamilySearch turned off the home page of its website, redirecting traffic to the current home page. (The old catalog remains available, however.) Some users are not pleased with the retirement. Elaine Lee said, “Please can you tell me WHY you have RUINED a perfectly good website. I have used this website for 12 years and now find it so confusing.” First released to the public in May 1999, the site was an instant success. The traffic load in the first few days was overwhelming and crashed the website. For many years, site navigation was enabled via four color-coded menu pages; the home page was green. In later years, a search form was added to the home page and color coding was eliminating. This home page design continued until it was shut down Monday. In December 2010, this original website became It was replaced with the current (not to be confused with newfamilysearchorg, which will be replaced by FamilySearch Family Tree). The original site was characterized by a search experience still favored by many individuals. The search strategy was simple: enter an individual’s name. If too many results were returned, add another piece of information to the search. Repeat until the result set was reasonably sized. Back in February, FamilySearch gave users an opportunity to express their feelings about retiring the original site. Rochelle Edwards said, “Very disappointed to learn I can no longer access the old site. It was so much easier than the newer version (which I find extremely difficult) and can no longer find things which I could so easily find on the old site.” I call the old site’s search paradigm “exact search.” Not all users found it intuitive. Beginners often entered both birth and marriage information, precluding results of both types. The current site implements a new search paradigm. Some users like it and some don’t. Mike Fisher said, “Forget about the old site. The new site allows much better user defined search parameters. I find what I want, not what the old site allowed me to see. Plus the bonus of no patron submissions.” For anyone unfamiliar with familysearch. org it is a website run by the Mormons featuring records held in the world's largest genealogical library situated in Salt Lake City. These records are BY FAR the most economical and fastest way of researching families no matter what part of the world your ancestors came from - once you learn how to use the website and the records! I have been teaching courses on using this website, and associated records, through all it's many changes since 1999. Fall of 2012 will see me teaching the course again, reflecting recent updates. I'll be writing it 'on the fly' which means that the course will teach what the website offers at that particular time, with all it's changes - what's new and improved will be the focus as well as as many 'work-arounds' as I can find. This will be a totally online course with practical lessons emailed directly to you over a four week period mostly in October 2012. You can be 'anywhere' in the world so long as you can receive email and connect to the Internet you can learn from this course. Specific dates etc. will be announced soon on this blog. Anyone wanting more information or wishing to pre-register can send me an email at Happy Searching! Pat

Lost in London

Tracing ancestors before civil registration and the census presents a real challenge to family historians. In London, the problems can be even greater, where the population doubled between 1801 and 1841 and boundaries were often redrawn. Administering the area was complicated, and the records are now spread around several record offices. This FREE podcast explains how to make the most of the capital’s diverse collection of records.Copy and paste the following URL Happy Searching! Pat

British Listed Buildings Online

Welcome to British Listed Buildings, an online database of buildings and structures that are listed as being of special architectural and historic interest.

As well as reading the official listing data for each building, you can also view the location on a map, and, where possible, see it in Google Streetview and Bing Birds Eye View. You can also add your own comments, information and photos and view comments and photos submitted by other users of the site.

You can browse for listed buildings by country, county and parish/locality for England, Scotland, and Wales.

Happy Searching!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Scottish emagazine FREE online

The latest issue of the Scottish Council on Archives happens to be a family history edition. It is Broadsheet Issue 15, and it's FREE! Copy and paste this link It's an interesting read.

Happy Searching,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to Find the Genealogy Sessions from California

Anyone interested in sitting in on the remaining free genealogy presentations, today is the last day, scroll down the right side of my blog to Blog Archive and click on Free Genealogy Presentations June 9 & 10, 2012. Once in that posting, choose your sessions, then copy and paste the link(s) into your browser and follow the instructions. See you there! Happy Searching, Pat

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Free Webcasts - after Sat. June 9, 2012

I have had a wonderful day today watching genealogy presentations from the comfort of my own home. The first one I watched in my PJs; the second one while eating my lunch; the third one with a wee glass of vino. There were a couple technical glitches, but the presenters handled it all with good humour and worked around the challenges. I especially appreciate this as I've been in that position more times than I can count. Deep breaths all around.

All three sessions that I had chosen to watch were very good. The great thing about this little 'hobby' of ours [yours and mine] is that there is *always* new things to learn, and I learned again today.

Can't wait for tomorrow as I'm registered for three more sessions! I'm also thankful it's turned out to be a rainy weekend here so I don't feel guilty about sitting inside, head phones on, just enjoying these webcasts!! Hope you get a chance to tune in too.

Happy Searching,

Free Presentation

I just finished watching the first session given by Warren Bittner. It was GREAT!! Can't wait for the next! Is anyone else attending?


Free genealogy presentation

Got it! Forget the first lecture. Sign in to the second one. All is working perfectly!! Pat

Free genealogy presentation

If anyone is trying to log in to these sessions, as I am, there appears to be technical problems. I guess we just keep trying and hope they get it fixed soon. Technology is soooooooooooo awesome .............. when it works!!

Pat at 9:23am, Sat June 09.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

FREE genealogy presentations June 9 & 10, 2012

I blogged about free sessions from Southern California Genealogy Society early Spring this year, and they're doing it again this weekend! It's like going to a conference, for free, for two days!! Pick your sessions, register [copy and paste the appropriate link below], and have fun!! See you there?

Here's the official announcement:
In keeping with SCGS's tradition of delivering exceptional genealogical education over the Internet, we are proud to announce that the 2012 Genealogy Jamboree will offer ten streamed sessions over two days, Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10.

Streamed sessions will be delivered at no cost to the viewing audience. As speakers permit, sessions will be archived and made available for viewing after Jamboree through the SCGS webinar archive. While we are not charging to view the sessions, we greatly appreciate the support of the genealogical community in making contributions to offset the expense of bandwidth, speaker honorarium, equipment, camera operators, etc. SCGS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

There are a limited number of viewing "seats" available for each session. For that reason, we will go off air in the time between classes and will ask viewers to register for each individual session. We appreciate everyone helping to "share the wealth" with other family historians around the world.

The sessions and registration links follow:

Saturday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT
SA-011 - Warren Bittner, CG, MS
"Beat the Children with a Fresh Birch Stick so the Animals Don't Get Worms" Reading for Historical Context. Register at

Read to put your ancestors into their own world on their terms. Learn how to find books about the social, cultural, political, occupational, and religious lives of your ancestors.

Saturday, June 9 - 10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT
SA-020 - Lisa Louise Cooke
Projects That Will Captivate The Non-Genealogists In Your Life. Register at

Learn creative ways to capture the imagination of your non-historian friends and relatives, while honoring your ancestors. The joy in genealogy isn’t just climbing your family tree, but building bonds with current and future generations, and this class will show you high tech and low tech ways to do just that. You are guaranteed to be inspired!

Saturday, June 9 - 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PDT
SA-021 - Steve Luxenberg
Genealogy from the Inside Out: Tracing the Mysterious From a Single Clue. Register at
When a family secret alters our understanding of the family tree, when we learn about a hidden relative (or a hidden marriage, or a hidden divorce, or a hidden cause of death), how do we pursue it? Steve reveals how he assembled the paper trail that led through burial records, birth certificates, hospital records, immigration documents and wartime records, and assembles them into a coherent paper trail. This session is more of a “how-to-think” than a “how-to.” Beginners, intermediate and advanced researchers will come away with new ideas for unearthing what had been hidden.

Saturday, June 9 - 2:00-3:00 p.m. PDT
SA-038 - Kerry S. Bartels
National Archives Website Microfilm Catalog, Archival Databases, and Guides. Register at
Participants will learn about the National Archives Microfilm Catalog database, guides to the holdings of the National Archives, and use of electronic databases mounted on the National Archives website.

Saturday, June 9 - 3:30-4:30 p.m. PDT
SA-047 - D. Joshua Taylor
Printed Legends and Missing Footnotes: Dissecting 19th and 20th Century Compiled Genealogies. Register at
Discover the methods used to create a compiled genealogy and how to ensure its contents do not lead you down the wrong trail.

Saturday, June 9 - 5:00-6:00 p.m. PDT
SA-048 - Barry J. Ewell
30 Second Genealogist: How to Find Genealogy Answers You Want Now. Register at
Find, access, and explore genealogical resources quickly. Develop, expand, and sharpen your genealogy research skills. Discover clues to trace and explore your family ties. Quickly identify which record collections to search first. Learn to find and use specific country, state, and county records... And much more. Source for the presentation is

Sunday, June 10 - 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT
SU-003 - Warren Bittner, CG, MS
Complex Evidence: What is it? How Does it Work? Why Does it Matter? Register at
See a Complex Evidence Case Study. Learn why complex evidence is the only way to establish identity or prove relationships.

Sunday, June 10 - 10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT
SU-019- Kerry S. Bartels
Military Records at the National Archives. Register at
The National Archives holds military records documenting service to the United States from the American Revolution to the present day. This session will identify and describe the vast array of documentation for different time periods including examples of those that are rarely used.

Sunday, June 10, 12:30-1:30 p.m. PDT
SU-023 - Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGS, IGSF
Historical Research Methodology: Engaging the Process to Find All the Answers. Register at
Many genealogists miss opportunities to find consequential documents for advancing their research because they do not follow a standard research methodology, namely the “historical research methodology.” Special care is given in this lecture to emphasize the importance of some rather fundamental basics which, when used together, make for a powerful data-gathering methodology.

Sunday, June 10 - 2:00-3:00 p.m. PDT
SU-030 - Laura G. Prescott
Diaries and Journals: Finding and Using these Valuable Resources. Register at
This lecture explains the advantages of using diaries, letters and journals in compiling and comprehensive and appealing genealogy. Opinions and observations written by our ancestors or someone who knew them add a personal dimension to names, dates, and places. We'll explore a few examples of the different types of journals and diaries available, where to find them, and how to apply what you find to your research and your family history.

Happy Searching!

Monday, June 4, 2012

What Was Your Ancestor's Dollar Worth?

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at Genealogists often find references to money in old deeds and other documents. Even U.S. census records frequently recorded estimates of a person's real estate. The natural question is, "I wonder what that would equal in today's dollars?" There is a Web site that can answer this question.

S. Morgan Friedman's Inflation Calculator can convert a U.S. dollar amount for any year from 1800 through 2001 into the equivalent amount, adjusted for inflation, in any other year of that range. In other words, if you find that your ancestor purchased land for $400 in 1805, the Inflation Calculator will tell you that the money he spent is equivalent to a purchase of $5735.65 in 2010.

The Inflation Calculator only goes up to the year 2010, the last year for which inflation statistics are available. This should be sufficient for genealogy purposes. The pre-1975 data comes from the Consumer Price Index statistics published in the Historical Statistics of the United States (USGPO, 1975). All data since then is from the annual Statistical Abstracts of the United States. You can access the Inflation Calculator at:

Canadians will find a similar Inflation Calculator for the years 1914 through 2012 at the Bank of Canada's Web pages at:

Happy Searching,

Friday, June 1, 2012

Explore the Wonders of the World

Technology is just so great .... when it works. Today is a wonderful example of technology working very well indeed. From Google's homepage, click on 'Wonders of the World' [it's below the search bar]. You can tour 'wonders' from many different parts of the world without ever leaving your home. For me it was fun to 'stroll' around many places I've been to including the fantastically beautiful city of Prague Czech Republic. I can almost taste their beer and schnitzel again. ahhhhhhhhhhh. It also wets my appetite to visit so many other 'wonders of the world' I've not yet seen. Maybe some of your ancestors lived within these sites, or may have passed through on their way to who-knows-where? Enjoy your visits and, as always, Happy Searching! Pat