Category Archives: Irish Ancestors

Heraldry and Titles of Rank

Vicki’s note – “Heraldry Websites for Genealogy” is an article from FamilyTreeMagazine.com  on a topic that we don’t often see.  Interesting to read that Coat of Arms does not = Surname.  I still claim the few  Coats of Arms that I know associated with some of my ancestor’s surnames, and “my” Muir family castle in Ireland.

I think in America (U.S.A), that we don’t concern ourselves much with the conventions of heraldry and distinctions of  titles of rank.  I even saw places on-line where anyone can buy title of rank, so I think that the whole world’s attitude toward the (mostly former) formal distinctions is relaxing.

This is not to insult my BLOG’s British, Scottish, and Irish, etc. viewers.  I do realize that titles of rank are still very important and current in your cultures.

I am adding all of these links to my BLOG “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps” page.

And wow – look at the rare gem of a website that I found today.  You get two related articles/sources in one Posting –

Read more about the Titles of Rank in this really extensive website.  After reading through these lists, I may have to reconsider my statement about “mostly former distinctions” above.  My anthropological and history background reminds me that humans have set up hierarchies and named distinctions as an on-going aspect of being part of human cultures.

There are a lot of wide-ranging lists here at – http://www.sunderedspheres.com/titles-of-rank.html

That website includes:

“Ranks of All Nations Possible” historic & modern – i.e.

Royal and Noble Ranks, Modern and Historic Military Ranks, Modern and Historic Political Ranks,  Modern and Historic Religious Hierarchy, Monastic ranks, Knights/Militant Ranks,  Historical Titles and Classes, Scots, Welsh, Irish, British, Byzantine, Estonian, French, Germanic, German, Saxon, Gothic, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Languedoc (Southern French), Norse, Roman Empire, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Egyptian (Ancient), Hausa & Mali, Hindustani,  Islamic/Religious, Japanese, Mongol, Moorish, Persian, Semitic & Hebrew, Swahili, Turkic, Turkish, Chileno, United States, and Miscellaneous Ranks

The first part of that website states:

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Titles of Rank

Ranks and their Definitions:

The following social ranks are given from highest to lowest instead of alphabetically.  The titles given are first male then female, and the etymology is terrestrial.  

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Heraldry Websites for Genealogy

7/21/2017
This list of resources will get you started in researching heraldry.

Myth: Many surnames have a coat of arms.

Fact: Coats of arms are not attached to a surname, but rather to an individual. People with the same surname may be entitled to different coats of arms, or not have one at all, unless they can prove that they are directly descended from a legitimate male member of that line – or one is granted to them.

Are you researching heraldry?

Here are some resources to start:

The American Heraldry Society

Heraldica

College of Arms

Heraldry for Genealogists 

Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies—UK

American College of Heraldry

Coats of Arms from Ireland

And just for fun, this website explores the real history, heraldry and family trees that inspire Game of Thrones. Warning: contains spoilers.

MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

July 10, 2017

An email I received after attending this one-day Conference last Saturday, July 8.

 MCGS
Dear Vicki,

Thank you for spending the day with us at McHenry County College!  We hope the conference was helpful to your research and that you had a great time connecting with other genealogists.

Hope to see you next year!

 Ξ

And my answer is – YES!  This is the third time that I went to this Conference.  It is only about an hour away from Beloit, and well worth your time.  They have fabulous, knowledgeable speakers, and the cost is $70, including lunch.

The McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society’s 2017 Summer Conference was held on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at McHenry County College, 8900 Rt. 14, Crystal Lake, Illinois.

This year’s annual conference featured:

  • Mary M. Tedesco, host/genealogist on the PBS TV series Genealogy Roadshow, (seasons 2 &3).    Contact her through the ORIGINS ITALY website at www.originsitaly.com.                                                                                                        She gave lots of techniques for good, basic genealogy, and how to find the names and locations of origin for your ancestors from overseas.  I attended a second session that Mary gave on how to find your Italian ancestors.   Mary is every bit as knowledgeable and friendly as she appears on television.  I enjoyed getting to know her a bit.

Vicki Hahn and Mary Tedesco:2017, July 8 Mary Tedesco & Vicki Hahn WSCG Conference, McHenry County College, IL

  • Thomas MacEntee, creator of GeneaBloggers.com.                                                      I got to talk with Thomas, but had too many other sessions that I needed to hear.   I was not able to go to one given by him this year like I have other years.

 

  • Paul Milner, author, & specialist in British Isles & U.S. research.                                      He gave a session on how to find your Irish ancestors.

 

  • Michael Lacopo DVM, nationally known lecturer – adoption, emigration & immigration, and many ethnic groups.                                                                            He gave a session on how to find your German ancestors.

 

  • A variety of vendors with publications and genealogy supplies.

 

Each of the speakers gave us a one week course in one hour!   Soon, I will be condensing all of that information, (plus more that I have learned elsewhere), into one session on “Finding your Overseas Ancestors”.  Be looking for a program on “jumping the pond” in our Stateline Genealogy Club programs next year.

These topics came at a perfect time, as I am about ready to search outside of the United States.  I have learned from these experts that it is not an easy task, but they prepared me well (enough) to begin the search.

Several of them would lend professional assistance to you if you decide to hire an expert, or if you need a knowledgeable guide to help you in Europe.

Join me next year.

MCIGS 2018 SUMMER CONFERENCE

Saturday, July 7, 2018 SAVE THE DATE!

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society P.O. Box 184, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014 www.mcigs.org email:mcigs@mcigs.org Phone:815/687-0436

“Scots-Irish” – What’s in a Name?

“Scots-Irish” – What’s in a Name?

Vicki’s note – now I know what the name “Scots-Irish”  means.  I will have to see if my ancestors are truly Scots who emigrated  to Ulster, Ireland vs the miscellaneous Scottish and Irish folks that I know about.

This Class from Family Tree University would be valuable to learn those fine points.  Course Runs: Jun 26th 2017 – Jul 21st 2017.

Instructor – Amanda Epperson

Amanda Epperson completed her Ph.D. in Scottish History at the University of Glasgow. In addition to teaching and freelance writing, she works as an Editor and Researcher at Genealogists.com.

 

What’s in a Name?
scots_irish

The term “Scots-Irish” isn’t anyone who happens to have both Irish and Scottish descendants. It refers to the Scottish people who moved into Ireland in the 17th Century in and around Ulster. Because there were two migrations – first from Scotland to Ireland, then from Ireland to the Americas, those tracing their ancestors back have unique challenges to contend with.

Research Your Scots-Irish Family History

Research Your Scots-Irish Family History

Trace Your Scots-Irish Ancestry Back to Ulster


The term “Scots-Irish” refers to the descendants of Scottish people who emigrated to Ulster in the seventeenth century to take advantage of economic opportunities. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, an estimated one-third of Ulster’s population was Scottish.

In this four week course, you will gain a basic understanding of the settlement of Ulster in the seventeenth century and the migration of the Ulster-Scots people to America in the seventeenth century. Descriptions of records and lists of websites will help you find many of the documents required to trace your Scots-Irish ancestors back to Ireland. You will also gain an appreciation for the challenges of Irish research. Review exercises and discussion prompts will encourage you to start your research and engage with your classmates.

What You’ll Learn

  • History of the settlement of Ulster and of Scots-Irish migration
  • How to identify Scots-Irish ancestors
  • Understand the limitations of Irish research
  • How to find Irish records
  • Techniques for scaling brick walls


Course Outline

Lesson 1: Ulster Scots: Gaining a Foundation

  1. Introduction
  2. Where is Ulster?
    Province of Ulster
    Northern Ireland
  3. Who are the Ulster Scots?
  4. Settlement of Ulster
  5. Migration to and from Ulster
  6. Cultural Differences in Ulster
  7. Review Exercises

Scots-Irish Genealogy Search Strategies

Lesson 2: Begin Your Research

  1. Why is Scots-Irish different than Irish or Scottish genealogy research?
  2. Do I have Scots-Irish Ancestors?
    6 different clues to Scots-Irish Heritage
  3. Working Backwards to Prove Your Scots-Irish Ancestry
    Getting Ready for Ulster Records
  4. Where to Find the Data You Need
    A study of 8 different sources
  5. Review Exercises

Lesson 3: Digging Deeper – Researching in Ulster

  1. Records in two Countries
    Northern Ireland
    Republic of Ireland
  2. Record Destruction and Irish Genealogy
    This section will explore both the 1922 fire and various difficulties of finding records, plus the resources that are available to research, including online collections.
  3. How Irish Records are Divided
    Unlike US records which can be at the state or county level, exploring Ulster’s records involves knowing the five different levels of records.
  4. Records for Ulster / Northern Ireland
    Familiarize yourself with 9 different types of records for Ulster and Northern Ireland.
  5. Where to Find the Records
  6. Review Exercises

Lesson 4: Challenges to Your Research

  1. Brick Walls and Dead Ends
  2. Cluster Genealogy
    What is it?
    Why is it necessary for Ulster genealogy?
  3. Exhausting Your Options
    Your records research doesn’t stop with online records – even if you can’t make a trip overseas, these 6 research strategies will help you find everything you can.
  4. Research in Scotland
    Explore the Scots in Scots-Irish.
  5. No Ulster or Scottish Connections? Read relevant histories.
  6. Re-evaluation and Analysis
    No research is complete without these 3 steps.
  7. Review Exercises

Note: this course is best for advanced beginners and intermediate-level family historians. It may require a longer time commitment than similar courses to complete the lessons and exercises.

Our courses are designed to be easily accessible! Once you’ve registered for the course, you’ll be able to log in on the start date of the session (midnight on Monday, US Mountain time) to see all the lessons. Each lesson is available within your browser and can be downloaded for future reference or offline access.

This is a four-week course made up primarily of written lessons, quizzes, and reading assignments. You can work at your own pace, but you should expect to devote at least a few hours to each lesson. While designed to be done one per week, some people like to work through all of the lessons at once, two at a time, or in bursts. There are no audio or visual elements within the primary lesson materials; however, some additional reading assignments may contain links to YouTube or other videos.

Some courses may have assignments you can also do with the instructor providing feedback. Others have additional reading and may be up to the individual instructor.

Additionally, there is a discussion board where you can interact with your instructor and fellow students. We encourage discussion, asking questions, and trying out what you’ve learned and sharing your results in the boards that go along with the lessons.

The format for this course is as follows:

  1. Orientation/Syllabus/Contact Us – How to navigate through the course structure, the discussion boards, etc.
  2. Lesson 1: Lesson, Reading/Assignment, Quizzes
  3. Lesson 2: Lesson, Reading/Assignment, Quizzes
  4. Lesson 3: Lesson, Reading/Assignment, Quizzes
  5. Lesson 4: Lesson, Reading/Assignment, Quizzes
  6. Library and Further Steps

The quizzes are automatically graded as you go through and there is a drop down menu where you can navigate throughout the course, going back to other lessons.


Ellis Island, & other Top Heritage Museums & Genealogy Research Centers

Ellis Island, & other Top Heritage Museums & Genealogy Research Centers

Vicki’s Note – article from the July/August 2017 Family Tree Magazine.  We will be do an on-line “tour” of the Ellis Island Museum at our July 14, 2017 program 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. for Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum, New York City – Peter Urban’s tour – how 12 million immigrants were processed there;  archival photos & films – immigrant experience. 

Here’s more information while you wait.  Lots of great museums in the U.S. to visit this summer, or in the future.  I think that my “Life List of Things and Places to Experience”  just got bigger.  (Doesn’t that sound nicer than “Bucket List”?)

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Top Heritage Museums and Genealogy Research Centers

6/2/2017

Set your sights on these 11 must-visit heritage museums where you can research your roots and walk in your ancestors’ shoes.

 

11 Must-See Heritage Museums for GenealogistsYou’ve probably devoted considerable time to discovering your ancestors’ origins. Just knowing the place they came from, however, is rarely enough. Genealogists also want to know how their ancestors lived, what they did for work, what they wore and ate, what their homes looked like. What you need is a resource that’s not only rich in genealogical information, but also shares the richness of your ancestors’ culture.

And if a relative’s specific place of origin yet proves elusive, learning the history of that heritage group may offer another research pathway, suggesting new records to try or offering clues in the lives of his countrymen.

Heritage centers and museums—usually located in places where people of a particular heritage settled together—cover nearly every ethnicity and cultural group. Whether your ancestors hail from Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Syria, Ghana, Mexico or elsewhere, there’s probably a museum that provides historical materials and a glimpse of that culture’s customs, history and people.

Some centers serve both as history museum and research destination, with manuscript collections, foreign-language newspapers, photographs, maps, local histories and more. They may offer genealogy workshops, translation help and research assistance.

Okage Sama De, the title of an exhibit at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i, translates to “I am what I am because of you.” That’s the crux of heritage museums’ significance: Exploring one rewards you with a better understanding of who your ancestors were—and thus, how you came to be who you are. Here, we highlight 11 of the best heritage museums in the United States, chosen for their genealogist-friendly research libraries, exhibits, tours, classes and community events. Use this guide as a springboard to similar organizations covering your family’s heritage.

American Italian Cultural Center

New Orleans  •  Immigrants from Sicily, who flooded New Orleans in the late 1800s, gave the Big Easy its famous muffaletta sandwich. You can still steep in your family’s Italian heritage here, in addition to starting your genealogy search. Genealogist Sal Serio conducts family history classes. The center also offers Italian language courses.Genealogists researching Italian roots can access special collections at the library, including books, magazines and Italian-language newspapers. “Vertical files,” Serio says, “are packed with information about businesses and benevolent societies, which are prolific in this part of the country.” Make an appointment with Serio for guidance to the right sources and help with translation.

The museum focuses on Italian immigrants to the Southeast, and Italians in jazz and sports. Don’t miss the nearby outdoor Piazza d’Italia, built by the city to honor its Italian heritage. You can play bocce ball, listen to a concert, watch traditional flag-throwers and attend wine tastings.

Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

Chicago • The genealogy department here holds newspapers, books, obituaries, annals, maps and other documents in a collection that spans most of Lithuania’s turbulent history, from the 13th century to 1940. Although you can’t research the collection yourself, staff provide in-depth consultation services to museum members. Nonmembers can take advantage of fee-based services including translation of old documents.

Lithuanian name spellings can vary, as can languages used in records. Pre-WWI documents, for example, are usually written in Russia’s Cyrillic script. Records also may be in Latin or Polish.Get to know the culture of your ancestors in the museum, says Karile Vaitikute, genealogy department director. “There are exhibits and a film that describe Lithuanian history, national costumes, Lithuanian art, agricultural items and even a small house,” she says. The museum also provides workshops and guided travel opportunities.

Courtesy of the Cherokee Heritage Center

Cherokee Heritage Center

Tahlequah, Okla. • Your admission to the Cherokee Heritage Center allows you access to the Trail of Tears exhibit, Diligwa (a 1710 Cherokee village), Adam’s Corner (an 1890s rural Oklahoma village) and Cherokee Family Research Center.Most visitors are new to genealogy. “They’re here primarily because they learned from a family story or legend that one of their ancestors is Cherokee,” says Gene Norris, the center’s genealogist. He recommends starting your research with three federally compiled rolls covering the Cherokee: the Dawes Final Roll, the Guion Miller Roll and the Baker Roll. The center’s website offers tips on getting started.

The library offers databases and records including government and private documents, photographs, posters, maps, architectural drawings, books, manuscripts and articles focusing on Cherokee history and culture. Staff researchers are available for hire.

Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

New York, NY •  Ellis Island’s immigration museum tells the stories of arrivals before, during, and after Ellis Island processed immigrants (1892 to 1954). The Peopling of America Center, opened in 2015, shares the migration history of American Indians, slaves transported against their will, and Colonial- and Victorian-era immigrants.

The island’s American Immigrant Wall of Honor is inscribed with more than 700,000 names of immigrants through all ports.

If your ancestors came through Ellis Island, you can walk in their footsteps at the immigration museum, view the renowned Great Hall, and follow an audio tour through the immigrant experience as if you were a new arrival. A centerpiece is the American Family Immigration History Center passenger list archive. Now numbering 51 million names of passengers all the way up to 1954, the database is searchable both on-site and online; search results link to images of original manifests showing the immigrant’s name, age, last place of residence and more. You also can view images of immigrant passenger ships—maybe even your ancestor’s.

Historic Huguenot Street

New Paltz, NY • Huguenots were Protestants, largely from France, who left their homelands to escape religious persecution. Many settled in New York’s Hudson Valley, South Carolina and elsewhere along the East Coast. Their descendants include George Washington, the grandson of a Huguenot.

Start exploring this 10-acre museum at the Visitor Center, then head to any of seven historic stone houses, a reconstructed 1717 church, a burial ground dating to the earliest settlers, archaeological sites and more. The annual Gathering for Huguenot descendants includes history workshops that may open a door to your family tree.

“Historic Huguenot Street holds genealogies of the New Paltz patentees and associated families, transcriptions of church records, surname folders that include family trees, plus the archive of items such as letters, family Bibles, and estate records,” says spokesperson Kaitlin Gallucci. Access the research library on-site by appointment ($25) or send a research inquiry.

Irish American Heritage Center

Chicago • Nestled on Chicago’s northwest side, the Irish American Cultural Center houses a museum (open for tours by appointment) with artifacts including exquisite Irish lace, an art gallery, the Fifth Province pub, a theater, classrooms and a research library.

“This is the place to find out where you’re from,” says spokesperson Kathy O’Neill. You’ll find 25,000 books on Irish history and literature, newspapers, access to online databases, and other material. A limited-access archives section preserves documents, records and other rare and historic items. Family history classes take place once a month, or you can make an appointment with a staff researcher. Other classes cover Irish language, history and music. Celebrate your Irish heritage here with folk concerts, traditional céilí dances, festivals and storytelling.

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i

Honolulu  • Those tracing Japanese roots, especially in Hawaii, will find a valuable resource here. “The center’s historical Okaga Sama De exhibit tells the story of Japanese immigration to Hawaii, from 1860 to statehood and beyond,” says Derrick Iwata, education and cultural specialist.

Visitors can tour the Honouliuli Education Center, which focuses on Japanese internment during World War II. Experience Japanese culture at one of the center’s festivals, including a New Year’s Ohana (Family) Festival on the second Sunday in January. Or come for the classes on martial arts and the Japanese tea ceremony (called chado, or the Way of Tea).

The center’s Tokioka Heritage Resource Center offers a wealth of material related to Japanese-American history, art and culture on Hawaii and the mainland. “Our library and archives has an assortment books and oral histories, as well as a number of directories which list Japanese residents in Hawaii,” says center manager Marcia Kemble. (Access the catalog here.) Staff can provide fee-based services such as translation, Japanese name consultation, and genealogical assistance, including help obtaining a family registry record, or koseki tohon, from Japan.

Museum of Jewish Heritage

New York • “In the case of Jewish genealogy, where so many records were lost and lives disrupted, an institution like the Museum of Jewish Heritage provides a crucial narrative,” says Michael Glickman, museum president and CEO.

The core exhibition uses first-person histories, photos, video and artifacts to explain Jewish history and tradition before WWII, European Jews’ confrontation with the hatred and violence of the Holocaust, and Jewish communities today. (View a selection of photos and documents here.) The outdoor Garden of Stones is a memorial to those lost in the Holocaust.

This museum’s “research library” is at its free partner website, JewishGen, where you’ll find discussion groups and more than 22 million records, including Holocaust records, a burial registry and the Communities Database. “Say your grandfather came from a town called Ostroleka,” Glickman says. “You might find six towns with the same name. How would you know which is the town your grandfather was referring to?” The database lists 6,000 Jewish communities, with their political jurisdictions and name variants over time.

National Hispanic Cultural Center 

Albuquerque, NM • Archivist Anna Uremovich calls this center a “full saturation of the Hispanic culture.” Its art museum features a 4,000-square-foot buon fresco depicting thousands of years of Hispanic history, and works from Spanish artists around the world. You also can attend art classes and other events.

The research library and archives is a destination for family historians with deep Southwest roots, holding Spanish census records, land grants, and the 90-volume set of Enciclopedia Heraldica Genealacia Hispano-Americana and the 15-volume Diccionario Hispanoamericano de Heraldica Onamastica y Genealogia. These books include more than 15,000 names from Spanish and Spanish-American families.

Search the library catalog here
(select National Hispanic Cultural Center from the menu at the top right). Uremovich also suggests researching Catholic parish records to learn family birth, marriage and burial details, and sometimes, names of other relatives.

Mark Bealer Photography

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Cincinnati • Search for African-American roots in the John Parker Library on the fourth floor of this inspirational museum (admission isn’t required if you’re just visiting the library). The library hosts a FamilySearch Center, where you can use databases, microfilm and other resources from FamilySearch. You can call ahead to schedule an appointment with an on-site genealogist. “We help between 60 to 120 patrons a month,” says marketing director Jamie Glavic, who recommends first completing as much of a pedigree chart as you can.

The Freedom Center museum can help you understand the experiences of your enslaved ancestors, who they were, how they were transported to America, and how they lived and worked here. Step inside a slave pen built in the early 1800s on a Kentucky farm, and follow in the footsteps of Underground Railroad passengers and conductors whose actions resisted slavery.

Watch a short film, narrated in part by Oprah Winfrey, describing the work of early abolitionists, intent on ending slavery. You’ll learn about those who resisted slavery and how slavery continues today.

Swedish American Museum

Chicago • Step inside this museum in the heart of Chicago’s “Little Sweden,” and you walk in the footsteps of Swedish immigrants, from preparing to leave their homeland to building new communities in America. View artifacts including steamship tickets, passports, folk crafts and household items brought from Sweden. A children’s museum allows kids to do chores in a stuga (farmhouse) and board a 20-foot “steamship.”

The center’s Swedish American Genealogy Research Center is “the only Chicago-area center that focuses on Swedish research,” says volunteer Vereen Nordstrom. It holds Swedish censuses, immigration and burial records; provides access to church records on the Swedish subscription website ArkivDigital; and hosts genealogy classes. Make an appointment to work with volunteers like Nordstrom, or send a research request (free for members of the museum’s Swedish American Genealogical Society; fee-based for nonmembers).

More Online

Four Resources for Scots-Irish (Ulster) Ancestors

Vicki’s Note – 11-24-2016 article from FamilyTreeMagazine.com by Diane Haddad:

Four Resources for Scots-Irish (Ulster) Ancestors

A two-step immigration process–from Scotland to Ulster and then to America, separated by a century or two–complicates your research into Scots-Irish (also called Ulster-Scots) ancestors, as do record losses and sometimes a lack of records in Ireland.

But records do exist:

Learn more about researching your Scots-Irish ancestors in Research Your Scots-Irish Family History, a four-week online course starting Nov. 28. Get an overview of this course and sign up at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.

Trace Your Scots-Irish Ancestry Back to Ulster


The term “Scots-Irish” refers to the descendants of Scottish people who emigrated to Ulster in the seventeenth century to take advantage of economic opportunities. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, an estimated one-third of Ulster’s population was Scottish.

In this four week course, you will gain a basic understanding of the settlement of Ulster in the seventeenth century and the migration of the Ulster-Scots people to America in the seventeenth century. Descriptions of records and lists of websites will help you find many of the documents required to trace your Scots-Irish ancestors back to Ireland. You will also gain an appreciation for the challenges of Irish research. Review exercises and discussion prompts will encourage you to start your research and engage with your classmates.

Take the class to answer these questions and others:

Why is Scots-Irish different than Irish or Scottish genealogy research?

Where is Ulster? Province of Ulster Northern Ireland

Scots-Irish Genealogy Search Strategies

75 Best State Genealogy Websites

Vicki’s note – article from Family Tree magazine.  These will also be linked on the “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps” Banner at the top of the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library BLOG.

75 Best State Genealogy Websites

11/4/2016
By Rick Crume
Tackle your United States genealogy with the 75 best state family history websites.
Digitized old records are beautiful for genealogists to behold. As US states increase their record digitization efforts, it’s become even harder to finalize our annual list of 75 Best State Genealogy websites.

best-states

In particular this year, you’ll see that state archives and libraries are creating more digital archives and “memory” websites with records and photos. Search for a Civil War soldier’s name in the Iowa Digital Library, and you might find his diary and letters. Or with a little luck, you might find relatives named in an unpublished genealogy in the South Carolina Digital Library.

All are free and informative, so explore every one that covers a state where your ancestors lived—from sea to shining sea.
 
ALABAMA
Alabama Department of Archives and History
Click on Search Our Collections to search for a name in Civil War service cards, 1867 voter registrations and WWI soldiers’ records.

AlabamaMosaic
Among the digitized records you’ll find from archives and libraries across the state are naturalization records, school yearbooks and Civil War diaries and letters.

ALASKA
Alaska State Archives
Resources for genealogists include indexes to naturalization records (1888-1972) and probate records (1883-1960) and guidelines for requesting information from the archives.

ARIZONA
Arizona Biographical Database
This database indexes more than 111,000 names in the Arizona State Library’s collection of books, newspaper articles, periodicals, obituaries and vertical files.

Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates
The Grand Canyon State has updated this site with new records. You now can search for births from 1855 to 1940 and deaths from 1870 to 1965, and view the original records online.

Arizona Memory Project
Digitized items from museums and historical societies across the state include oral interviews, city directories, tax rolls and photos of pioneer settlers.

ARKANSAS
ArkansasGravestones.org
Search for a name in over 1.1 million gravestone photos from all over the Natural State. Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s modest gravestone is there, along with a biography.

Arkansas State Archives                                                                                                                            Search for a name in county, military, land and church records, as well as obituaries, manuscripts and photographs. The records aren’t online, but this catalog is a helpful finding tool.

CALIFORNIA
California Digital Newspaper Collection
This site puts at your fingertips more than 15 million articles (almost twice as many as last year) in California newspapers dating from 1846 to the present.

California Genealogical Society and Library
Click the Databases tab to search 350,000 records in the California Names Index for free. A lookup in the original source costs $10. Members also get online access to San Francisco church records and newspaper notices.

Online Archive of California
Use this site as a portal to view more than 220,000 digital images and documents from collections of diaries, letters, photographs and other items at more than 200 libraries, museums, historical societies and university archives across the Golden State.

COLORADO
Colorado State Archives Historical Records Index Search
This search scours millions of entries in original sources, including county birth and death registers, a statewide divorce index (1880-1939) and will and probate records. You can order copies of the original records for a fee.

Denver Public Library Digital Collections
A search of the genealogy collections covers indexes to marriages (1858-1939), military records, biographies, obituaries, the 1885 Colorado state census, cemetery records and naturalization records (1877-1952).

CONNECTICUT
Connecticut Index
Founded by genealogist Jane Devlin and now run by her family, this site provides free access to many genealogy resources from the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. Connecticut collections include indexes to church, cemetery, census and other records.

Connecticut State Library Digital Collections
Search and view 27 collections of digitized books, diaries, photographs, court records, witchcraft trial records, newspapers, vital record indexes and more.

DELAWARE
Delaware Public Archives
Click on the Digital Archives link to access Civil War records, naturalization records, historical maps and more. Click on Research, then on Collection Gateway to search indexes to bastardy bonds, death registers and probate records. You can order copies of the records for a fee.

FLORIDA
Florida Memory Project
Click on the Collections tab to access free databases from the State Library and Archives of Florida. Records include Confederate pension applications, WWI service cards, 1867-1868 voter registration rolls and Spanish land grants. Click on the Photographs tab to search a collection of more than 197,000 digitized photographs.

GEORGIA
Digital Library of Georgia
If your ancestors hail from the Peach State, you can cover a lot of ground here with a single search covering digitized books, manuscripts, photographs, newspapers and more from 60-plus libraries, archives and museums and 100 government agencies.

Georgia Archives
Click on Virtual Vault at the right to search colonial wills, Confederate pension applications, death certificates (1914-1930) and the General Name File.

HAWAII
Hawaii State Archives
Under Research Our Records, click on Genealogical Indexes to search marriage, divorce, citizenship and death records. You can order copies of the records for a fee. Click on City Directories to view digitized copies from 1880 to 1924. Click on Hawaii Newspapers to access a search form for newspapers from 1834 to 2000. Note that as of press time, the searchable resources under the Digital Collections link (vital records, land records, passenger lists and WWI service records) have yet to return online after undergoing system maintenance.

IDAHO
Idaho State Historical Society: Searchable Indexes
Search for your ancestor in the Gem State with these indexes to naturalization records, Civil War veterans, pension records, the inmate catalog and the Idaho Biographical Index. When you find a promising reference, contact the archives for more details.

ILLINOIS
Illinois Digital Archives
Digital collections on this site come from the Illinois State Library and other libraries, and include oral histories, maps, manuscripts, letters, photographs and newspapers.

INDIANA
Indiana Digital Archives
Search indexes to more than 1.2 million records with information on veterans’ graves registrations, naturalization indexes and more.

Indiana State Library: Genealogy Collection
In the site index at the left, click on Databases and Indexes and scroll down to Resources Provided by the Indiana State Library. There, search indexes to marriages (1811-2013), commercial newspaper death listings, biographies and newspapers. Indiana Memory has digitized images of many resources, including county histories, oral histories, plat books, city directories, photos, newspapers, yearbooks and more. The VINE database has local history and vital records from libraries, historical societies and genealogical societies.

IOWA
Iowa Digital Library: Civil War Diaries and Letters
Here’s a sample of what you might find in this fascinating collection: Andrew F. Davis describes his fellow soldiers in a letter to his wife dated May 9, 1861: “A great many are genteel well dressed gentlemenly men, and then again there is a great many of the most abandoned dirty ragged lousyest looking mortals that you ever saw.” You can search the collection, or browse the collection by type (diaries, correspondence, photographs) or by year (1862-1865).

The Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
Civil War diaries, county atlases, biographies and school yearbooks are just some of the digitized items you can view from Iowa libraries, museums and historical societies.

KANSAS
Kansas Historical Society
Two large indexes on this site will help you find your ancestors in the Sunflower State. The Kansas Names Index covers the 1895 state census, biographies, marriages, death notices and more. The Kansas Military Index has records from the Civil War to the present. Select Photo Orders from the Research tab for instructions on how to order copies.

KENTUCKY
Kentucky Digital Library
Search digital images of more than a million items from the Bluegrass State, including books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, oral histories, yearbooks and pictures.

LOUISIANA
Louisiana State Archives
Click on Locate Historical Records to search indexes to death records (mostly 1804-1965), birth records (mostly 1790-1915) and Orleans parish marriages (1831-1965). Other online databases cover passenger lists from January to July 1851 and Confederate pension applications.

MAINE
Maine Memory Network
Developed and managed by the Maine Historical Society, this site lets libraries and historical societies across the state upload digital copies of historical items from their collections into this site’s database. The site has more than 45,000 historical items (more than double last year’s count), including letters, photos, maps, clothing and audio and video files.

MARYLAND
Maryland State Archives
Hover your mouse cursor over Find Records and select Family Historians for links to guides to genealogical research and various indexes. Then click on Search Online Databases to access death indexes and databases of slaves and early settlers. Next, select Archives of Maryland Online to access 471,000-plus historical documents. While visiting the Archives of Maryland Online, click on Probate Records for an index to colonial probate records (1634-1777) and on Military Records for Revolutionary War and Civil War resources.

MASSACHUSETTS
Digital Commonwealth
Explore digitized photographs, maps, postcards, manuscripts, books and artifacts from libraries, museums and archives across Massachusetts.
MICHIGAN

Seeking Michigan
Click on Online Collections to access more than a million digitized records, including death records (1897-1952), state census records (1827-1894), Civil War service records, letters, diaries, photographs and plat maps. Click on Advanced Search to select one or more collections to search.

Western Michigan Genealogical Society: Online Searchable Databases
Search indexes to more than 2.75 million marriages, deaths, obituaries and other records, including more than 250,000 new records since last year, for free. You can order copies of most records for $5.

MINNESOTA
Iron Range Research Center
The Genealogy Database covers birth, marriage and cemetery records from the Iron Range in northern Minnesota, and alien registrations, naturalization records and obituaries from across the state. Order a copy of a record for $10.

Minnesota Reflections
This collection includes more than 50,000 digitized items from the state’s cultural heritage organizations. You’ll find newspapers, photographs, diaries, maps, plat books, oral interviews and more.

MISSISSIPPI
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
This page describes the archives’ most commonly used genealogical resources. Click on Digital Archives to view Confederate Pension applications and WWI statement of service cards and indexes. Use the online catalog to identify the archives’ holdings relevant to your Mississippi family.

Mississippi Digital Library
Libraries, colleges and historical and genealogical societies contributed scrapbooks, letters, photographs, books, oral histories and the large collection of family histories digitized on this site.

MISSORUI
Missouri Digital Heritage
Access more than 9 million death, military, naturalization and other records from around the state through the main search form. Click on Browse Collections by Topic, then Genealogy to search individual databases.

 The State Historical Society of Missouri: Digital Collections
This site features a large newspaper collection, plus diaries, plat maps, photographs, oral histories and Civil War letters, as well as newsletters published by local historical and genealogical societies.

MONTANA
Montana Memory Project
Use the search box to find a name in digitized newspapers, yearbooks, prison records, photographs and more from archives across the Treasure State.

NEBRASKA
Nebraska State Historical Society
Under the Search Collections tab, select Additional Research Databases to access indexes to names in cemetery records, county atlases, plat books and prison records. The 1860-1954 Tract Books Index covers the first owners of land in Nebraska.

NEVADA
Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records: Digital Collections
The Nevada State Digital Archives has more than half a million online records, including territorial census records (1861-1864), state land patents (1865-2013) and records of prisoners and orphans.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire Genealogy & History
This extensive guide to researching your family history in New Hampshire covers all the major record groups and has numerous links to online resources. It even has detailed guides to every county and many towns in the state.

NEW JERSEY
New Jersey State Archives
Click on Searchable Databases and Online Records Request Forms to access indexes to marriage records (1666-1799 and 1848-1878), and indexes to death records (1878-1895). The searchable databases cover more than 1 million references to documents and photographs.

NEW MEXICO
New Mexico Digital Collections
Access digitized manuscripts, including genealogies, photographs, oral histories and maps from libraries and museums across New Mexico. The Newspapers Database (accessible via the Advanced Search options or under the Browse All Collections pull-down menu) tells where copies are available and includes links to digitized copies of some titles.

NEW YORK
German Genealogy Group

and Italian Genealogical Group
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of volunteers in these two groups, you can search indexes to births, marriages, deaths, naturalizations and church records in New York City and Long Island.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
With 5 million more newspaper pages than last year, this site now tops more than 35 million newspaper pages (1726-2015) that you can search by word or phrase. Despite the name, Thomas Tryniski’s site has newspapers from all over New York, plus some from other states and Canada. To download the full list of titles, click on FAQ_HELP_INDEX at the top of the screen, then “to browse the different papers, click Here,” and then “Download this index as a Microsoft Excel file.”

Sampubco: New York Counties Will Books Testators Records
This index covers more than 274,000 New York wills. Browse by county or click Search This Site to search for a name on the whole site. In the FREEFind box, type the last name first and put quotations around the name to search on the phrase, such as “Robertson John.” Optionally, add a town or county (“Robertson John” Worcester) to narrow the search.

NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina Digital Collections
A joint project of the state archives and state library, this site has digitized Confederate pension applications, naturalizations, Bible records and newspapers back to the 1700s. The Family Records collection groups the most useful records for genealogy, including marriage and death notices and cemetery records. Our list previously included this site as part of the State Archives of North Carolina.

North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
With contributions from cultural heritage institutions across the state, this site has digitized newspapers, yearbooks, photographs, city directories, genealogies, yearbooks and more.

NORTH DAKOTA
Digital Horizons
Town and county histories, photos of homesteaders and oral interviews conducted with Germans from Russia dating back to the 1800s are just a few of this site’s treasures depicting life on the northern plains.

OHIO
Ohio Memory
A collaborative project of the Ohio History Connection and the State Library of Ohio, this collection includes items from more than 360 cultural heritage institutions. You’ll find yearbooks, county atlases, photos of Civil War officers, more than 315,000 newspaper pages (nearly 100,000 more than last year) and much more.

OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma Digital Prairie
This site from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and its partners has digitized books, newspapers, photos and documents, including Confederate pension records and cards.

The University of Oklahoma Western History Collections
Key collections here include Civil War soldiers’ personal narratives, trabscribed interviews with Oklahomans from the 1930s and more than 200 manuscript collections about Native Americans.

OREGON
Archival Records: Guides, Records and Indexes
This site’s Early Oregonians Database documents people who lived in Oregon prior to statehood. The Oregon Historical County Records Guide includes county maps, histories and record inventories. Search for relatives in the Oregon Historical Records Index to birth, marriage, death, divorce, naturalization, probate and other county records.

PENNSYLVANIA
PA Photos and Documents
You can now search each collection here individually or all at once to access digitized photos and documents from
libraries. The resources from across Pennsylvania are grouped by subject, such as genealogy, local newspapers, Pennsylvania history and yearbooks.

Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission 
In addition to research guides and finding aids, this site has several online record collections. Military records date back to the Revolutionary War, and many of them include soldiers’ physical descriptions. Land records (1684-present) include browsable indexes. You also can browse statewide birth (1906-1910) and death (1906-1965) indexes.

RHODE ISLAND
Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Commission
More than just an index to gravestones, this site includes dates of birth and death, names of family members and maps of cemetery locations. Many entries include detailed descriptions and photos of the gravestones.

SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina Department of Archives and History
Click on the Online Research tab, then on Online Records Index to search more than 300,000 items (many with images). They include records of Confederate veterans (1909-1973), criminal court records, state land-grant plats (1784-1868), legislative papers (1782-1866), will transcripts (1782-1855) and school insurance photos (1935-1952).

South Carolina Digital Library
This collection of 200,000 items from 40 cultural heritage institutions across the Palmetto State includes family histories, yearbooks, oral histories, maps, photographs and family Bible records.

SOUTH DAKOTA
South Dakota State Historical Society
Find your ancestors in the Mount Rushmore State with the help of these indexes to naturalizations, cemetery records and biographies, plus a transcript of the 1885 census of Civil War veterans.

TENNESSEE
Volunteer Voices
Search digitized photos, letters, diaries, oral histories and artifacts in archives, libraries and museums across the state. You’ll find many Civil War-related items, including letters from soldiers, photographs of veterans and pictures of relics.

TEXAS
The Portal to Texas History
Libraries, archives, historical societies and genealogical societies from across the state have contributed more than 750,000 digitized books, maps and photos for this website. You’ll also find college yearbooks, county probate records and newspapers.

UTAH
Utah State Cemeteries and Burials
This database contains cemetery records for about 600,000 people buried in Utah and more burials are continually being added. Information comes from both sexton’s records and gravestones.

Utah State Archives Name Indexes
The Utah State Archives created this convenient list of online records searchable by name. In addition to images of death certificates from 1904 to 1965, you also can search birth registers and other records from several counties.

VERMONT
Vermont Historical Society
Under the Research tab, select Genealogy, then Genealogy Indexes & Lists for links to PDF files with indexes and transcriptions of various records, including baptisms, marriages, deaths, naturalizations and town records.

Vermont in the Civil War
This extensive collection includes profiles, photos and gravestones of Civil War soldiers with any connection to Vermont. Click Name Search to search the site for an ancestor’s name.

VIRGINIA
Library of Virginia
Among the many useful indexes and digitized documents on this site, don’t overlook the index to wills and administrations up to 1800. The Library of Virginia has a separate site for digitized materials at Virginia Memory. On that site, under the Digital Collections tab, select Collections by Topic. Under Military Service, see Revolutionary War records and Confederate pension rolls. Under Land Office Patents & Grants, access digitized records dating back to 1623.

WASHINGTON
Washington Rural Heritage
Drawing on the collections of small, rural libraries and historical societies, this site has scrapbooks, oral interviews, old photographs and more.

Washington State Archives: Digital Archives
This terrific site has more than 60 million searchable records online (7 million more than last year), including birth, marriage, death, census, cemetery and naturalization records.

WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia Archives and History
Vital records databases include digitized birth records (1790-1940), marriage records (1780-1971) and death records (1753-1965). The West Virginia Memory Project has indexes to Civil War records.

WISCONSIN
Recollection Wisconsin
Resources from libraries, archives and historical societies across the state include county histories, diaries, genealogies, letters, local history, manuscripts, newspapers, oral histories, photographs, plat maps and yearbooks. Select Tips for Genealogists from the Explore tab for help searching.

Wisconsin Historical Society
Search more than 3 million records, including indexes to birth, marriage and death records, plus obituaries, biographies and photos. Scroll down the page for links to other resources, including Civil War records and local history and biography articles.

WYOMING
Wyoming Newspapers
Search and view more than 800,000 newspaper pages, including newspapers published in Wyoming between 1849 and 1922. The site continues to add newspapers and has some titles up to 1989.

Research Your Irish Ancestors

Vicki’s note – article from Family Tree Magazine. Diane Haddad, Editor, Family Tree Magazine, FamilyTreeMagazine.com

Research Your Irish Ancestors

As with any ancestral research, location is key to finding records of Irish ancestors. A detailed map, like this 1850 map from the David Rumsey collection (created during the big wave of “famine immigration”), is essential.

irish-map

Knowing what resources to look for and how to use them is also important, which is where Family Tree University’s Irish Research 201 course–designed to help you research the records of Ireland–comes in (students should know the county and preferably the townland where their ancestors originated).

The next session of Irish Research 201 starts Nov. 7. See more details and register today at FamilyTreeUniversity.com