Past Articles

U.S. City Directories: One Database, a Billion Records, and a Lot of Answers

Posted on April 19, 2012 in Content

If you’re like me, the 1940 census was full of surprises—like my own parents not living where they were supposed to be living. Enter U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta). We’ve had city directories on the site for years. They can be a great source for names, addresses, and occupations. They’re printed more often than censuses.… Read more

New Kansas Collections: There’s No Place Like Home

Posted on November 18, 2011 in Content

If you have ties to the Sunflower State, count yourself lucky. We’ve had three Kansas collections go live on recently: Kansas, Registration Affidavits of Alien Enemies, 1917–1918; Kansas, World War I Veteran Collection, 1917–1919; and Russell County, Kansas, Vitals and Newspaper Records, 1800-1937. Though they’re relatively specific, they contain some interesting records and are well… Read more

The 1930 Mexico Census and the Mexican Melting Pot

Posted on September 16, 2011 in Content, Mexico

One thing I learned as we launched the 1930 Mexico Census online is that Mexico is much more of a melting pot than I realized. Mexico’s 1930 national census (“El Quinto Censo General de Población y Vivienda 1930, México”) is called the Fifth General Census of Housing and Population based on the first formally recognized… Read more

Take a Free Ride with Immigration Records

Posted on August 30, 2011 in Content

If you haven’t noticed the banners, just in time for the end of the summer vacation season, is offering free access to our Immigration and Travel databases for a week. To give you an idea of what’s included, here are a few numbers. We divide our travel and immigration databases into six categories: Category… Read more

The Ballots Are in on California Voter Registers

Posted on July 25, 2011 in Content

Anybody know whether Jack London had gray eyes? The California Voter Registers, 1866-1898, database just released on takes you back to a time before you presented a picture ID at the voting booth, which may explain some of the unexpected details you may find in these records. Preventing Voter Fraud Statewide voter registration in… Read more

Finding Your Star in Motion Picture Studio Directories

Posted on June 22, 2011 in Content

Does your family lore include the story of an ancestor who ran off to make it big in the movies? The Motion Picture Studio Directories, 1919 and 1921, database that went live last week could be a fun place to take a look if you’re trying to vet that story about Grandma’s brush with Rudolph… Read more

Found at Sea with Navy Muster Rolls and Cruise Books

Posted on June 6, 2011 in Content

Odds are, if you had an ancestor who served as enlisted personnel aboard a U.S. Navy vessel in WWII, you’ll most likely find him—or her—in the U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938–1949, database that recently went live on You’ll also find some civilian passengers and a few officers here and there among the… Read more

U.S. Consular Reports of Birth: The Donaldsons, Part Deux

Posted on March 28, 2011 in Content

Last month, I wrote about the marriage of Elaine Strang and Frederick Donaldson as recorded in the Consular Reports of Marriage, 1910–1949, database (and elsewhere). With the release of the U.S. Consular Reports of Births, 1910–1949, records this month, it seems only natural to take up the story again. All the Little Donaldsons From 1927… Read more

Tonight on NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? Kim Cattrall Searches for Her Missing Grandfather

Posted on February 25, 2011 in Who Do You Think You Are?

Kim Cattrall’s grandfather disappeared 70 years ago in Depression-era Liverpool, England. On tonight’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? Kim travels to England to discover the reasons behind his disappearance, which still haunts Kim’s mother and aunts decades later. Family historians take note: Kim starts her journey with little more than her grandfather’s… Read more

Consular Marriages—When in China…

Posted on February 24, 2011 in Content

The Consular Reports of Marriage, 1910–1949, database that went live this month is a fun one if you happen to have an ancestor among the certificates and correspondence contained in the files. I say these reports are fun because, while there’s a story behind any record, these stories come with the extra flair of a… Read more