Tips from the Pros: Is It an Original Register or a Transcription? from Paula Stuart Warren, CG

Boddelwyddan Church (exterior), Rhyl, Wales [from LOC Photo Collection at]Congratulations! You have just found a church record book for an ancestral location. Whether it is in “original” form, on microfilm, or a digitized image, you need to look at it with a critical eye. In other words, is it the original record or one that someone copied either for easier reading or to preserve a disintegrating volume? Check to see if there is a title page giving the date the volume was published. Are there event dates that precede that publication date? If there is no such title page, then look for other clues.

The names in the event descriptions such as christenings should not be in alphabetical order. The church members did not show up in alphabetical order to get christened, married, or buried. Is the handwriting the same throughout a record book that spans from 1822-1910? It is unlikely that one pastor or church member entering the events was around for all that time period. Does each family have its own page(s)? How did the record keeper know to save two pages for the christenings of the Johnson family’s eventual ten children and know that the next family, the Joneses, would have only two children?

Read the church history booklet or a county history entry to help determine if a smaller congregation was a mission or satellite church of a larger one. When the smaller church grew and had its own pastor, were the records pertaining to its members hand-copied from the larger church’s books? I found one church record book that stated “people baptized when they had no pastor.”

Were all the pages in the record book typed–including events that took place in 1845? Typewriters did not come into common usage until the 1870s.

Another comment found in a church record book is “perhaps the date is 1870–it is blurred in the original but comes first under the year 1871.” (That is a direct transcription, dates and all!)

Think about the church records you have consulted–what idiosyncrasies have you found?

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Your Quick Tips, 16 April 2007

1925 Iowa State Census Has Three Pages
The recent addition of several years of Iowa state census images is an incredible resource for anyone with Iowa connections. In particular, the 1925 census includes each person’s parents’ names, age if living, birthplace, maiden name of mother, and parents’ place of marriage. Much of the information is indexed but because of poor handwriting, some information is misinterpreted. As I talk with others I have discovered that many do not realize that there are three images for each person’s entry. The person’s basic information is on the first image, parentage on the second, and religious preference on the third. My point is to check that second image for yourself and not rely solely on the indexing. I have discovered many times that this may be the only record available to pinpoint a mother’s maiden name. To find this information for someone who is elderly in 1925 can be a fantastic discovery and open some new doors to mid-1800s research.

Karen in Iowa Continue reading

The Year Was 1860

Pony Express stables at Fort Bridger, Wyoming (from the LOC Photo Collection at year was 1860 and Giuseppe Garibaldi was leading troops in a quest for a unified Italy, a quest he would complete the following year with the kingdom ruled by Victor Emmanuel. Only Venice and Rome were not included, but they eventually were added as well in 1866 and 1870, respectively. 

Born in Florence, Italy, to a wealthy British family, Florence Nightingale had proven the value of nurses to the military during the Crimean War. Her efforts elevated the profession of nursing and in 1860 she opened the Nightingale Training School for nurses. Her work forever changed the face of health care.

Following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.  Lincoln defeated his opponents, Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, and John Bell and was elected the sixteenth President of the United States in November. More than 81 percent of the eligible voters in the country turned out to cast their vote. Lincoln carried nearly 40 percent of the popular vote and 180 electoral votes to the combined other candidates electoral votes of 123.  Continue reading

Photo Corner

Harvey Phillippy and Matilda Brown of Milbach Township, Lebanon Co. Pa.Contributed by Marian A. Boltz
This picture is taken on the wedding day of Harvey Phillippy and Matilda Brown of Milbach Township, Lebanon Co. Pa.  The marriage lasted eleven years until he died, leaving her with five children,  and expecting  a sixth child in four months. Matilda made the best of a tough situation and was always happy, pleasant and a great person–‘cause she was my grandmother! 

Lloyd Arthur Chambers, taken in 1930Contributed by Lucille J. Staugh, Pennsylvania
This is a picture of my father, Lloyd Arthur Chambers, taken in 1930.  He played guitar with the band “The Cookie Dusters.”  He graduated from Westfield, Illinois High School.  He died May 5, 1980.

Juliana Smith and Loretto D. Szucs to Speak at Tinley Moraine Genealogist Conference 2007

My mom and I will be the keynote speakers at the Tinley Moraine Genealogists Conference, 28 April 2007 at the Tinley Park Public Library, Tinley Park, Illinois. For anyone interested in attending, below is some information on the conference.

Conference 2007 – Internet & Resource Centers
Tinley Moraine Genealogists
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Tinley Park Public Library
9:00 A – 3:30 P

Location:  The Tinley Park Public Library is conveniently located near Interstates 80 & 57 at 7851 Timber Drive (80th Avenue at about 181st  Street) – exit Interstate 80 at Harlem Avenue north, turn left or west at the 1st stoplight, which is 183rd  Street, & then right at 80th Avenue. The Library entrance is just before you cross the Metra Rock Island railroad tracks. Park your car on the east side of the building, not in the front of the building.

On-site Registration and distribution of handout materials begins at 9:00 a.m.  Speakers and Programs begin at 9:30 a.m. Genealogical materials, books and resource information will be available from vendors, other genealogy societies and resource centers at the Conference throughout the day. 

Advance registration is strongly encouraged as computer sessions fill up quickly.   Continue reading

Who’s Who in the Scottish Census Collection

bagpipes and tartan_edited-1.bmpWe announced the completion of the Scottish Census Collection last week, but for those who like to check out the rich and famous in historical records will want to check out some of the celebrity finds in Ancestry’s press release that went out today.



Forget Bagpipes and Kilts – Add Cars, Steel, Telephones, Magazines and “The Apprentice” to the List of Scotland’s Influence on the United States

PROVO, UTAH – April 12, 2007 –, the world’s largest online resource for family history, today revealed the Scottish ancestral roots of five of the biggest names in U.S. business. Trump, Carnegie, Bell, Forbes and Buick all hail from Scotland, as researchers discovered from the more than 24 million names in the newly completed Scotland Census Collection on

• Donald Trump: The Donald’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, was born in a small fishing village on Scotland’s Isle of Lewis – home to generations of the MacLeod family. The 1891 Scotland census captures Mary Anne’s 24-year-old father, Malcolm, working as a fisherman on that island. In 1930, 18-year-old Mary Anne immigrated through Ellis Island to America, where she worked as a “domestic” – likely a maid – and married Frederick Trump in 1936.

• Andrew Carnegie: The 19th-century’s “King of Steel” was born in Fife, Scotland, in 1836. The 1841 Scotland census counted young Andrew living at his uncle’s home; his parents lived a few streets away. Just seven years later, Andrew and his parents would immigrate to the United States, settling in Pittsburgh, where father and son worked at a cotton factory. Continue reading

Free Access to Immigration Records as Celebrates 100th Anniversaries of Ellis Island’s Largest Day and Year of Immigration, April 17, 2007

ad_hold.bmpFree Access to Only Complete Online Collection of Ellis Island Records, 1892-1957; Explore Ellis Island at the Click of a Mouse at

PROVO, Utah, April 12 /PRNewswire/ — To honor the 100th anniversaries of the largest year and single day of immigration through Ellis Island,, the world’s largest online resource for family history, is offering free access to the only complete online set of Ellis Island passenger arrival records (1892-1957) from April 12 to April 30. In addition, is inviting users to relive the remarkable journeys of their gateway ancestors at the click of a mouse at The Ellis Island Experience — an interactive, multimedia tour of this national landmark.

More than 11,500 immigrants passed through America’s “Golden Door” on April 17, 1907, the single-day record. In total, some 1 million immigrants would come through the island in 1907 alone, making it the busiest year in Ellis Island’s 60 years of operation.

Each ship that docked at Ellis Island was required to give island officials a list of people on board. Known as passenger lists, these records reveal invaluable pieces of a family’s immigration story, from place of origin and intended destination in America to birth dates, names of family members and even the amount of money in their possession. Continue reading

New Publication: The Official Guide to

Guide to RootsWeb MFSKU4406.jpgFrom former editor of the RootsWeb Review and author of The Official Guide to Family Tree Maker 2006, Myra Vanderpool Gormley, comes the insider’s tour of In The Offical Guide to, you will learn how to put your family tree online, locate valuable research resources, create successful message board posts, search effectively, connect with other users, and much more. The guide also features success stories from members of the RootsWeb community–just like you. Unlock the full potential of the world’s largest, free genealogy website using the tips and tricks found only in this book.
The e-book version ($7.95) is available for immediate download, or you can pre-order a print copy of the book ($12.95) that will be shipped when it becomes available in mid to late April. (You will not be charged for the print book until it ships.)  A portion of the proceeds from print copy sales from the RootsWeb Store will go to Helps Connect Americans to Jamestown’s 400th With Free Genealogy Assistance for Anniversary Weekend Visitors

Jamestown_Godspeed_Ruby-Modified4.jpgDo You Have a Jamestown Connection? Free Online Access, Staff Assistance Available at May 11-13 Event Might Provide Surprising Answers

WILLIAMSBURG, VA — (MARKET WIRE) — April 11, 2007 — Visitors to America’s Anniversary Weekend will find dozens of compelling attractions and entertainment options, among them free assistance in tracing their families’ journey through 400 years of the nation’s history., the world’s largest online resource for family history, will help visitors explore their family trees by offering free computer access to its site as well as staff guidance on research techniques. recently provided research that helped the Rev. Al Sharpton trace his family to a plantation in Edgefield, S.C.

Many may find surprising links to Jamestown, which served not only as the place where English settlers first established a permanent presence in America, but is also the place where Indian, European and African cultures converged. will have a booth and a bank of computers with Internet access to in Anniversary Park’s “Democracy Village.” Its resources will help visitors research family roots of many origins. Continue reading