Roots Television Hosts Societies and Libraries Contest

RootsTelevision.bmpI received the following from the folks at Roots Television today. Fire up those computers! 

Enter to Win $1,000!

To celebrate the launch of our new Societies Channel and Libraries & Archives Channel, Roots Television is holding a special contest just for you! We invite all genealogical and historical societies, as well as any libraries and archives, to add our link to your website and ask you to encourage your members and patrons to visit Roots Television often. The organization that sends the most traffic to the Roots Television website by October 31st will win $1,000.

How to Enter

Visit us at for instructions on how to add our link to your website. Once you’ve added the link to your site, it’s time to rally the troops. Get all of your organization’s members, friends, families, distant cousins, and accountants to visit Roots Television often and see what exciting new programming we’ve posted each day.

After October 31st, 2007, we’ll look into our crystal ball (actually, we’ll get a detailed report from our internet hosting company) to determine which society/library/archive has sent the most traffic our way during the contest. We’ll tally the scores, announce the winner, and send that winner a big fat check for $1000.00. It’s that easy!

Please contact us at with any questions.

NEHGS and Announce Landmark Collaboration

Two Industry Leaders Collaborate for First Time to Promote and Educate about Family History

Boston, MA & Provo, UT – Aug 16, 2007 – The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and today announce a new collaboration that will bring together and make available for the first time the enormous resources of both institutions in an effort to continue fostering a growing national interest in family history and genealogy.

As part of the relationship, NEHGS, the country’s largest and oldest non-profit society and, the largest online family history website, will offer joint access to some of most important family history information available anywhere. While details of the collaboration will be outlined in the weeks to come, it is planned to include special membership opportunities that combine’s repository of five billion names and 24,000 databases and titles and some of NEHGS’ most significant genealogical publications and services. Continue reading

Annie Moore on Stage and Screen, from RootsTelevision

Last Friday, I got to see one of our favorite columnists, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, give the keynote address at the annual FGS Banquet in Fort Wayne. She did a fantastic job and received a standing ovation! In her address, she included clips from several productions regarding the search for the real Annie Moore. Today I received the following pess release from RootsTelevision which includes links to these productions, as well as the original announcement from the York Genealogical and Biographical Society in September 2006. (I wish there was one for her address at the banquet!)


Annie Moore on Stage and Screen:
Roots Television Presents a Pair of Tributes to Ellis Island’s First Arrival

What were you doing when you were 11-years-old?  Jumping rope – playing dodge ball? The 5th Year students at Scoil Oilibhéir in Cork, Ireland were writing, producing, directing, and starring in their own motion picture.  Their short film “From Cork to New York: The Annie Moore Story” documents Annie’s life in Cork and her journey to America.  Before they even began filming, the students did their homework, discovering Annie’s birth records and locating several sites important to Annie’s life, including St. Patrick’s Church where she was baptized.  You can view the trailer to the film here:

In another tribute, “Making up History: The Search for Annie Moore,” playwright Alia Faith Williams tells the compelling story of Annie Moore’s journey to America, paralleled with the efforts of Megan Smolenyak and other avid genealogists to uncover Annie’s true identity. Continue reading

New Database: Swedish Emigration Records, 1783-1951

Stockholm, Sweden-Art Institute 1897.bmpThis past week, Ancestry added Swedish Emigration Records, 1783-1951 to its database collections. This collection contains various Swedish emigration records from 1783-1951. Specifically it includes the following five databases:

1. EmiHamn: Passengers traveling to North America (with a few to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, and Russia) from:

  • Göteborg, 1869-1951 (1,135,888 records)
  • Hamburg, 1850-1891 (21,708 records)
  • Helsingborg, 1929-1950 (413 records)
  • Kalmar, 1881-1893 (3,338 records)
  • Köpenhamn, 1868-1898 (56,127 records)
  • Malmö, 1874-1928 (165,876 records)
  • Norrköping, 1859-1922 (8,545 records)
  • Stockholm, 1869-1940 (34,887 records)

2. EmiLarsson: Written letters to the agents Larsson Brothers & Co, 1879-1911 (consisting of 50,000 letters from the emigrants and about 12,000 answers from the Larsson Brothers). The original letters are bound into 109 volumes. The Larsson Brothers archive in Göteborg is the only emigrant agent archive in the world. The reference code for each record gives reference to the actual letter held at the county archive in Göteborg.

3. EmiPass: Passport holders from 1783 to 1860, compiled from original records kept at the county archive in Göteborg (16,012 records)

4. EmiSal: Passengers from the Swedish America Line, 1915-1950 both to and from America (242,000 records)

5. EmiSjo: Sailors who were listed in the sailor houses in Göteborg, Lysekil, Marstrand Strömstad, and Uddevalla and who are recorded as discharges, escapees or dead outside of Europe, 1812-1930 (16,996 records).

Information available in these records will vary according to database and original record type. The following is a list of the type of information that may be found among these records:

  • Name (given and surname)
  • Age and/or birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Gender
  • Occupation or title
  • Residence or place of origin
  • Emigration date
  • Destination
  • Port of departure
  • Ship name
  • Database name (EmiHamn, EmiLarsson, EmiPass, EmiSal, or EmiSjo)

Click here to search this database.

Weekly Planner: Search a Database–Again

Try re-searching databases where you have previously been unable to locate an ancestor. Ancestry is continually updating databases and correcting bugs that are found in databases. In addition, if you’ve found new information on that ancestor since your last search, you may be able to better refine your search or browse and get better results.


So That’s What He Looked Like! by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

David Shields, 1929Well, it only took me thirty-some-odd years, but I finally found out what my great-grandfather, David Shields, looked like. And as a bonus, I got his signature. How did I manage that? The key turned out to be the Immigration Collection at Ancestry and a little sleuthing.

Meet David Shields
One of my great-grandfathers, David Shields, was an immigrant from Northern Ireland. He was born in 1857, emigrated in 1882, and lived until 1936. You wouldn’t think he’d be that difficult to research, but for whatever reasons, he’s turned out to be one of my most stubborn ancestors. And even though he lived well into the 1930s, no one in the family had a photo of him. How frustrating is that?

My mother was born after he passed away, so what little I knew of him as a man came from my mother’s mother, David’s daughter-in-law. She passed away in 1988, but not before sharing plenty of family lore with me.

One of the tales she told me that stuck in my brain all these years was the fact that he loved Ireland so much that he frequently returned for visits. That seemed improbable since it was quite an undertaking to “cross the pond” even in the late 1800s and early 1900s–and oh, by the way, he had a job as a blacksmith and a family to support. How could he have managed trips to Northern Ireland? Continue reading

Using Ancestry: Australian Convict Records, by Sherry Irvine, CG, FSA Scot

Australian Convict.bmpA few weeks ago Ancestry added the Australian Convict Transportation Registers to its online collections. The collection has seven parts drawn from two classes of records (Home Office 10 and 11) at the National Archives (TNA) at Kew, near London, England.

Until the nineteenth century, Britain had no large prisons managed by the national government and most offences carried the death penalty or were commuted to transportation. (See my article, Saving Their Necks: The Origins of Transportation to America)

Up until 1775 Britain shipped felons and criminals to the American colonies. For several years, during the War of Independence and just after, people convicted of crimes were held in Britain in old ships that were no longer seaworthy. Prison hulks were located at Portsmouth, Plymouth, and at Woolwich on the Thames near London.

In 1787 the first shipment of convicts left for New South Wales. Over the next eighty years about 165,000 men and women were transported to penal colonies there and in Tasmania, and to Western Australia. In the 1830s, the peak period, about 4,000 convicts were shipped out every year.

Transportation was abolished in 1857, though for some specific offences it did not disappear until 1868. Most went to New South Wales and Tasmania, but from 1850 to 1868 about 9,500 male convicts were sent to Western Australia. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Channel Islands Website, from George G. Morgan

Jersey, Corbiere Lighthouse by moonlight, Channel Islands, EnglandGenealogists researching their Channel Islands ancestry will revel in Alex Glendinning’s Channel Islands Pages. The Channel Islands are located in the English Channel between England and France and consist
of Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey, and some smaller islands.

Mr. Glendinning has compiled an impressive collection of materials including lists of place names; locations of parishes where registers may be located; how to obtain vital records copies; lists of archives services; information about land registry records, maps, seamen’s records; and more.

Image: Jersey, Corbiere Lighthouse by moonlight, Channel Islands, England from Library of Congress Photo Collection at Ancestry. Click on the image to enlarge it.