Today’s Genealogy Tip—Looking for Massachusetts vital records and don’t have the time or ability to make in-person visits to all the town halls there to collect them? Try the Massachusetts Vital Records database on NEHGS.org (it’s $75 a year). They have birth, death, and marriage records from most Massachusetts counties from 1841 to 1915. You can actually view the original records online!
Today’s Genealogy Tip—A good source for old newspapers (some going back to the 1700s) is GenealogyBank.com. It’s always a good idea to look in old newspapers where your ancestors lived for mentions of them, as these mentions can sometimes be the only existing proof of a birth, death, or marriage. At the very least, they sometimes give very cool personal stories that bring your ancestors to life, metaphorically.
Today’s Genealogy Tip—Looking for a headstone for an ancestor who lived far away and aren’t able to make the trip to look for it in person? Try FindAGrave.com. This website has millions of listings for cemeteries and the people laid to rest in them from all over the world. Pictures of headstones, and even family infor…mation, are often included. Check it out. Your ancestor may just be listed there!
Today’s genealogy tip—State archives provide a treasure trove of information. Many counties eventually sent their very old records to central repositories like state archives. These may be the best (and sometimes only) places to find information on your pre-Civil War ancestors. Call first to find what records the archives have before visiting so you have a more productive trip.
Today’s genealogy tip—Here’s another good website for you. Footnote.com works in conjunction with the National Archives to make the vast records holdings of the archives available to the public online. It is a subscription site, but well worth the cost, especially if you have ancestors who fought in the Civil War. You can find their entire military records online at Footnote.com, which can contain some good genealogical information.
Today’s Genealogy Tip—Looking for pictures of your ancestors? Photographs are like genealogical gold…and often just as hard to find. Try going to www.deadfred.com. This is an online database of old photographs submitted by people from all over the world. You just might find the face of your ancestor among them!
Today’s Genealogy Tip—Lots of family histories were published in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, when there was a resurgence of interest in genealogy. Check your local library, eBay, Amazon.com, and local LDS Family History Center to see if a history was written on your family. If there was, and it’s well documented, that can save you a lot of research!
Today’s Genealogy Tip—Looking for the maiden name of an elusive female ancestor? Try checking her husband’s will or the wills of any of her known relatives. If she outlived any adult children, check their wills, too. Her original surname may be mentioned in these documents. If she outlived her husband, check his obituary. You can also check the wills of her husband’s relatives, and even her neighbors. Her maiden name could appear in some pretty unexpected places.
Today’s Genealogy Tip—Censuses are taken every 10 years in the USA, and have been since 1790. The 1890 census was mostly destroyed in a fire in 1921, however, but fragments of it remain. Census records are released to the public 72 years after a particular census is taken, so right now, only census records through 1930 are available. The 1940 census will become available on April 2, 2012.
Today’s Genealogy Tip—More census magic. The 1900 census tells the date that immigrants came to the USA and whether they are naturalized citizens. It also tells how many children a woman has had and how many of those children are still living. For couples who are married, it tells how long they have been married and whether it is their first, second, third, or more marriage. Pure genealogical gold!