Ancestry Adds Kentucky Birth, Marriage, and Death Records–Indexes and Images

Ancestry____logo2.bmpAncestry has added birth, marriage and death records for the state of Kentucky, some dating back to 1852, and for death records, as recent as 1953. The databases add a combined total of more than 2,280,000 names to Ancestry collections and are from the records of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Index entries are linked to images of the original records.

Coverage dates for these databases will vary by county, so for more information about this exactly what’s available by county, click through to the database and below the search box and source information click through where it says,

For more information about this database, click here.

Ancestry members can access these records through the links below:

“Coffin Boy” Identity Laid to Rest

I was browsing through some online articles this morning and ran across one in The Daily Colonial,  a newspaper of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. about a group of researchers from the Smithsonian Institute and George Washington University, who worked to identify a nineteenth-century body found in an iron coffin near the grounds of a cemetery of Columbian University. “Coffin Boy” as he’s referred to in the article was identified as William T. White through genealogical sources that included and DNA testing.

A comment toward the end of the article resonated with me. An intern from George Washington University was quoted in the article as saying,

“It’s kind of addictive. . . Once you start you just want to find the answer, and it’s really hard to stop.”

Heck, we could have told them that!

You can click here to read the entire article.



Ancestry Has a New Blog!

Ancestry blog launch.bmpAncestry now has a company blog. You can find it at The blog was created as a place to keep everyone connected with what’s going on at Ancestry, you will now be able to find blog posts on several Ancestry topics: content and digitization, family trees and other site features.

You’ll also be able to read posts from Ancestry staffmembers working to improve Family Tree Maker, Ancestry Press, DNA Ancestry, Ancestry print publications and other products. Blog readers will have the opportunity to chat with Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of

This company blog is in addition to Juliana Smith’s 24/7 Family History Circle blog, which launched Ancestry into the blogosphere in early 2006. Click here to visit the new Ancestry blog!

New at Ancestry

Ancestry____logo1.bmpPosted This Week

Coming Soon:

  • U.S. Passport Applications, 1787-1925 
  • Historic U.S. & Canada Atlases, 1591-2000 
  • Major U.S. & Canada Newspaper Update 
  • North Dakota State Census, 1915 & 1925 
  • Oklahoma Territorial Census, 1890 & 1907 
  • Southern Claims Commission Records 
  • Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records 
  • Stars and Stripes, Pacific Theater, 1942-1964

Weekly Planner: Set a Family History Goal

We set all kinds of goals in our lives–work benchmarks, getting healthier, financial goals, etc. But have you set any goals for your family history project? Just as in other areas, goals are helpful in motivating you into action. Give yourself a deadline for writing that biographical sketch or publishing your family history. Set a financial goal for that dream research trip. Or just set aside time each day to devote to a project, whether it be cleaning out files, or finally compiling that family newsletter you’ve been meaning to get out. Wherever your priority lies, setting a goal is the first step in achieving success. Share your family history goals in the comments section of the blog.

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

Using Ancestry: Mining Rich Content, by Juliana Smith

AntietamFor the past few weeks we’ve been reviewing search techniques at Ancestry (see the links at the bottom of this article if you missed past columns). This week we’re going to focus on “rich content”–that is, images, video, maps, and other content that adds depth to our family history.

A while back Ancestry split some of the searches off into different tabs, or “buckets” as they like to call them at the home office. If you look at the search on the homepage, you’ll notice that there are four tabs: Historical Records, Family Trees, Stories & Publications, and Photos & Maps. Since you probably wouldn’t search for photos or maps in the same way as you would a family tree or a historical record, this allowed them to create a search portal geared toward each record type. Much of the rich content we’ll be exploring today resides in the Stories & Publications tab and the Photos & Maps tab.

Searching for People
A few years ago, when I would talk about searching photograph collections at Ancestry, I would probably have mentioned that chances may be slim for finding actual photographs of your ancestors, but the odds are steadily improving. There are currently 2,711,737 photographs available on member trees that are searchable. In addition, the U.S. School Yearbook Collection; African American Photo Collection, 1850-2000; Library of Congress Photo Collection, 1840-2000; U.S. Family Photo Collection, c. 1850-2000; and U.S. Civil War Photos, 1860-1865 could contain a photograph of one of your family members. So my advice today is by all means, search these image collections using an ancestor’s name. High profile figures (e.g., military officers, politicians, etc.) may have a slight edge, but with more and more people adding photos to trees, you never know when a cousin may load that elusive photo of great-grandpa. All of these databases and several others can be searched through the Photos & Maps tab, and if you don’t find an ancestor in there this week, check back later.

Searching for Historical Context
If you’re still unable to locate a photograph of an ancestor, don’t worry, there’s a ton of historical background material available that can really help you flesh out your family tree. For example, try a search for a military unit in which a family member served. I did a sample search for the “Irish Brigade,” a military unit, which during the Civil War was comprised largely of Irish-Americans from New York. Continue reading

The Proof of the Pension Is in the Reading, by Michael John Neill

United States pension records are rarely just about the serviceman. These records may mention extended family members, neighbors, and other military comrades. This week we take a look at a pension from the American Revolution that shows a previously unknown maiden name and showed that a family was part of much larger migration chain that moved over a twenty-some-year time span.

The 1840-era Revolutionary War pension file for Elam and Katherine Blain in Delaware County, Ohio, was larger than most. We initially discussed part of this file in a previous article that is still available in the Library.

Fortunately, in this case, the soldier died before his wife and the widow could not find her marriage record. Genealogically this is an excellent situation¬–although the widow probably did not think it was so excellent.

Like any pension file, the statements were made with the intent of qualifying for the pension, not leaving an extensive genealogical record. In this case, the affidavits were testifying to Elam’s service, his marriage to his wife Katherine, and her subsequent need for his pension. Every piece of supporting evidence was given with the goal of proving one of those claims. The fact that a marriage record for the Blains could not be found added to the amount of testimony and paperwork within the file. It was unfortunate for the Blains—but once again, fortunate for me. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Follow Siblings’ Records, from George G. Morgan

Madelon, Edwin, Muriel, Marjorie and Ethel DyerRecords of siblings may include valuable references to the ancestor you are researching. Sometimes when you hit a “dead end” it is helpful to locate records of your ancestor’s brother or sister, and follow their paper trail until you locate common ancestors. A sibling’s obituary, for instance, may contain details or clues to place of birth, parents’ names, and even to other unknown siblings. By following these leads, you may find a path past your dead end to parents and grandparents. From there, you may be able to work downward to confirm or prove relationship to your otherwise “dead end” ancestor. 

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

Your Quick Tips, 21 September 2007

The Lost Art of Letter Writing
I’m so sorry that people rarely hand-write letters anymore, since I treasure those my mother wrote to me when I was in college and newly married. Just seeing her handwriting is wonderful! It’s a poor substitute, but I’m printing out and keeping the e-mails that our son and daughter-in-law send to us about our first granddaughter’s progress and growth. I save them to a file and print out several at once. Someday I hope Kelsey will enjoy reading them. I am also writing in a “blank book” journal about all sorts of things I remember from my growing up years.

Pat B. LaRock
Continue reading