More British Phone Books Added

Back in February, Ancestry posted 772 British phone books online, beginning in 1880, the year after the public telephone service was introduced to the UK, with the most current being from 1984. Today that collection was updated, adding nearly 500 additional directories. The database now provides near full county coverage for England as well as containing substantial records for Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Click here to search the British Phone Books, 1880-1984, Releases 1-3.

National Personnel Records Center to Move to New Building in St. Louis County, Missouri

NPRC.jpgThe St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today that the General Services Administration (GSA) has decided to keep the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), which houses military and civil service records for the National Archives, in St. Louis County, Missouri.

“[The agency will] build a ‘state of the art’ facility of 520,000 square feet in Spanish Lake….The new center, scheduled to open in 2009, will be built on about 23 acres on Dunn Road, on a portion of vacant land owned by Johnny Londoff Sr., said Dora Gianoulakis, president of the Spanish Lake Community Association.”

The entire article is available on the website.

Searching for Pre-1906 Earthquake San Francisco Records

The San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society (SFBAJGS)  is hosting Searching for Pre-1906 Earthquake San Francisco Records, by Nancy S. Peterson.

When:  Sunday, 15 July 2007 – Doors open 12:30 p.m ., Program begins 1 p.m.
Where:  Jewish Community High School, 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA (Free parking)

Nancy Peterson is the author of the widely acclaimed Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research and Research Director of the California Genealogical Society. She’ll offer specifics about which records were lost, strategies for replacement sources and much more. Continue reading

Ancestry Launches 150 Years of Native American Family History, Online for the First Time

Discover More than 7.5 Million Names in the U.S. Indian Censuses;Ancestry logo2.bmp
The Best Resource for Tracing American Indian Family History Available at a Click of Your Mouse

June 25, 2007, Provo, Utah –, the world’s leading online family history resource, today launched more than 7.5 million names in U.S. Indian Censuses, the largest online collection of Native American family history records. Taken by the Bureau of Indian affairs, the censuses document some 150 years of Native American family history. These censuses create an intimate portrait of individuals living on all registered Indian reservations between 1885 and the 1940s.

The U.S. Indian Censuses are among the most important documents for tracing Native American family history – as well as the place to for anyone with Native American ancestry to begin searching for their heritage. Representing more than 250 tribes from some 275 reservations, schools and hospitals across the United States, the censuses typically recorded names, including Indian names, ages, birthdates, tribe, reservation and most importantly the Allotment/Annuity/ID number, otherwise known as the Census number. Some earlier rolls even listed the member clans, a very important relationship identifier.

Details of children born in the 1940s combined with information about individuals born in the early 1800s enable researchers to find parents and grandparents as children in 20th century censuses and trace their family to earlier generations. Clues in the census show where ancestors lived and how families changed over the years.

 “The stories contained in these censuses will help Native Americans preserve their tradition-rich personal and cultural identity,” says Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian for “Crossing tribal and reservation boundaries, these censuses tell personal stories of Native Americans living on reservations across the United States. In them we find influential Native Americans who led their people along side those whose stories are still waiting to be told.” Continue reading

The Generations Network Expands Ancestry Sites to France and Italy with Launch of and

Growing Global Interest in Family History Spurs New French and Italian-Language Websites; Number of Ancestry Sites Climbs to Seven

PROVO, UTAH – June 27, 2007 – The Generations Network, parent company of, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced two new additions to the Ancestry network of sites in France and Italy – and

At launch, and will offer access to Ancestry’s unrivaled global collection of more than 5 billion names and 24,000 databases and titles. The new sites will also provide a networking platform for users to collaborate and connect with other site users globally, build an online family tree and upload irreplaceable content from personal archives such as photographs, stories and shoebox keepsakes.

“We’re pleased to expand our global vision to connect families and drive family collaboration worldwide with the launch of and,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of “The new sites and the addition of more international content on are a significant step forward in connecting families across continents. We’re continually mining the globe for key record-sets to digitize and make easily accessible and searchable online. As more international content becomes available, users will be able to break through dead-ends and take their family histories beyond borders.”

The launch of and brings the tally of the Ancestry suite of sites owned by The Generations Network to seven. Other international sites include:

  • in the United Kingdom, which features the only complete online collection of England, Wales and Scotland census records (1841-1901); and England and Wales birth, marriage, and death records (1837-2005) 
  • in Canada, which recently announced a deal with the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to digitize Canadian passenger lists from 1865-1935, and hosts the complete Drouin collection of French-Canadian vital records (1621-1940s) and Canada census records from 1851, 1901, 1906 and 1911
  • in Germany, which features Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 and the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1867
  • in Australia, which just launched New South Wales Sands Directories, 1861-1933 and The Anzac Memorial, 1914-1918

On average, Ancestry site users create more than 80,000 family trees and upload some 65,000 photographs each week. With more than 15.7 million Americans claiming Italian heritage and some 8.3 million with French roots, the combination of user-uploaded content and historical records available on the new sites will be particularly relevant to’s U.S. subscribers, the company’s largest user base. Continue reading

Weekly Planner: Organize Your Electronic Files

File Folder.bmpAre you tired of wading through a myriad of file folders on your computer in search of a long lost transcription, document, record image, or photograph? Maybe it’s time to do a little computer housekeeping. Just as it’s important to keep our papers filed and organized, we also need to keep our electronic files organized. Keeping all of your family history in one folder is a good start, but that folder can quickly grow to an unmanageable size. Break that file into sub-folders for each surname or location, and possibly further by individuals. An organized electronic filing system will allow you to spend more time searching for ancestors rather than searching for your documents and images!

Where Are the Records? by Juliana Smith

My mother started work on our family history back in the 70s, when I was growing up. While we were in school, she would visit libraries, Family History Centers, and the National Archives-Great Lakes. More research was done through correspondence via what we now consider “snail-mail.”

Now we can sit at home in our jammies and fuzzy slippers in front of our computers and with the click of a mouse, locate and view images of census records, military records, passenger arrival records, and so much more. With this convenience though, there is sometimes a cost. We may be so focused on what’s available online, that we may be overlooking a treasure-trove of resources that reside in the physical world–in libraries, archives, courthouses, and with historical and genealogical organizations.

It can be intimidating to venture out beyond the relative comfort of our computer chairs (and we may want to shed the jammies and fuzzy slippers in favor of more conventional clothing if we’re planning on visiting a repository in person), but through correspondence, interlibrary loan, and library visits, we may find that the tools we need, aren’t as far away as we thought. Continue reading

Using Ancestry: Finding James in 1870, by Michael John Neill

Working on another column required me to locate every census entry for an uncle of mine–James Rampley. While I had not specifically searched for his census entries before, I thought he would be relatively easy to locate. As sometimes happens, the easier something appears to be, the more difficult it is. My search for James reminded me of several concepts and concerns that occasionally are problematic even for “easy” families.

James Rampley was born in 1844 in Ohio and by 1870 was living in Illinois. The family was fairly non-migratory after their arrival in Illinois in 1847, and James should have been living in or near Walker Township in Hancock County. A quick search of the 1870 U.S. Federal Census at Ancestry for a James Rampley born in 1844 brought no results (the Soundex option was turned on and a five-year variation on the year of birth was chosen). I fiddled around with the search parameters with no success. I figured I was overlooking something and decided it best not to waste time altering the search parameters mindlessly.

It was time to get off the computer and think, time to put James in context and see if I was possibly overlooking something. In 1870, James was in his early twenties and unmarried. He was believed to have been a farmer all his life. Given that information, in 1870, he likely was working as a hired man, either in his parents’ household or in a neighboring household. While it was always possible he took off for greener pastures only to return later, I decided to concentrate on his “home area” first. Continue reading