Dublin Census for 1911 Online

The National Archives of Ireland has posted the 1911 Census of Ireland for Dublin online free.  In addition to being able to search for your ancestors and view census images, they have also included a photographic history of Dublin  on the site with articles on transportation, tenements, education, religion, suburbs, emigration, social life, etc. There are some very cool photographs accompanying each article.

Since my Irish forebears left Ireland well before 1911, I spent most of my time in the photographic history exhibits, but I also did a few searches on some of our surnames and found some of them in the same towns that my ancestors once called home. Very cool stuff!

Right now only indexes and images for the city and county of Dublin are available, but there is a list of future counties that will be forthcoming available on the site.

I also noted that the National Archives of Ireland partnered with Library and Archives Canada for research on the project and linked to a website titled, The Shamrock and the Maple Leaf: Irish-Canadian Documentary Heritage at Library and Archives Canada. Among the neat items I found here were excerpts from letters home from an Irish immigrant who had settled in Canada.

Both sites were a treat to visit!

Survey Reveals Americans’ Surprising Lack of Family Knowledge

Ancestry____logo.bmpLatest Ancestry.com Survey Shows How Little Americans Know About Their Families; Holidays Perfect Time to Get to Know Family Better

PROVO, UT – December 6, 2007 – Are you among the one-third of Americans who cannot name any of their great-grandparents? Or are you part of the four in ten Americans who know both of their grandmothers’ maiden names? While family history continues to rise in popularity as one of the nation’s favorite pastimes, a new survey conducted by Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online resource for family history, reveals Americans know surprisingly little about their own families. With the holidays just around the corner, there’s no better time to begin learning about family roots and creating lasting memories, especially as families gather together in celebration.

Ancestry.com’s survey uncovers some surprising results, including:

  • Young Americans are looking to their roots – 83 percent of 18- to 34–years-old are interested in learning their family history. Following closely are the 35- to 54-year-olds at 77 percent and Americans ages 55+ at 73 percent.
  • Half of Americans know the name of only one or none of their great-grandparents.
  • Twenty-two percent of Americans don’t know what either of their grandfathers do or did for a living.
  • Although America is known as a nation of immigrants, 27 percent don’t know where their family lived before they came to America.
  • Seventy-eight percent of Americans say they are interested in learning more about their family history.
  • Fifty percent of American families have ever researched their roots.
  • In comparing regions, Southerners know the least about their roots. Only 38 percent know both of their grandmothers’ maiden names, compared with 50 percent of Northeasterners. Also, only 47 percent of Southerners know what both of their grandfathers do or did for a living, while 55 percent of Northeasterners know both grandfathers’ occupations. Continue reading

Ancestry.com Launches U.S. Passport Applications Showcasing Travels of the Rich and Famous

Ancestry____logo.bmpThis press release went out today on the U.S. Passport Applications that we talked about in this week’s newsletter. They have some neat examples from the collection on the Ancestry blog.

U.S. Passport Applications document the voyages of 2.4 million American travelers, between 1795 and 1925

Provo, UT – December 4, 2007 – Ancestry.com, the world’s leading online family history resource, this week released a collection of U.S. Passport Applications spanning from 1795 to 1925 and including names of nearly 2.4 million American travelers. Babe Ruth filled one out to before sailing to Havana, Cuba, for a 1918 baseball game. Walt Disney and Ernest Hemingway submitted applications so they could travel to Europe and drive ambulances during World War I. And pictures of Tom Cruise’s great-grandparents – Thomas and Anna Mapother – adorn their application filled out in 1924 in preparation for a European tour.

Passport applications beginning in1914 included photographs of the applicants, giving many people today the rare opportunity to see the faces of their ancestors. The documents also include applicants’ occupations, foreign destinations, and physical descriptions. Alexander Graham Bell’s 1920 application, for example, described him as having a high forehead, a straight nose and slim mouth, a clean tanned complexion, and a full white beard – which is clearly evident in the photo attached to his application.

Available online for the first time, this unique collection allows countless Americans interesting and sometimes humorous glimpses into the international wanderings of their ancestors and notable historical figures. Throughout the years covered by this collection, workers wages often put international travel within reach of only America’s upper class.

“Mixed among the frequent travels of the rich and famous, you will find the successful business man and his wife voyaging to a foreign port or the immigrant-turned-U.S.-citizen sailing home to visit relatives,” said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for Ancestry.com. “You may even find different applications for multiple trips; since passports during this time period were generally valid for only two years or less.”

Other historical figures whose passport applications appear in the collection include:

  • Anti-slavery advocate Frederick Douglass preparing for a 1886 Tour of Europe and Asia.
  • Thomas Edison arranges to attend the Paris Exposition in 1889.
  • Mark Twain, recorded by birth name Samuel L. Clemens and whose nose is described as “ordinary,” traveling in 1891 with three daughters and a servant.
  • In the aftermath of World War I, John D. Rockefeller Jr. prepares to travel to France to provide aid for restoration projects.
  • Author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, was pregnant when they arranged a pleasure trip of Europe in April 1921. They were back in the states for the October 1921 birth.
  • You can even find Paris Hilton’s great-grandfather Conrad Hilton, Donald Trump’s grandfather Fred Trump, Drew Barrymore’s grandfather John Barrymore and two of George W Bush’s great-grandfathers – Samuel Prescott Bush and George H. Walker.

Before the early 1920s, men made up 95 percent of passport applicants. When a wife or children accompanied the man, their names were simply added to the application. Many applications for male travelers include photos of both husband and wife. By 1923, women accounted for 40 percent of travelers applying for passports.

View images of selected celebrities’ passport applications at the Ancestry blog. Continue reading

New at Ancestry

Ancestry____logo.bmpPosted This Week

Coming Soon

  • Historic U.S. & Canada Atlases, 1591-2000
  • Major U.S. & Canada Newspaper Update
  • North Dakota State Census, 1915 & 1925
  • Southern Claims Commission Records
  • Stars and Stripes, Pacific Theater, 1942-1964 

Weekly Planner: Include Family History with Holiday Greetings

As family historians, we are often the proud owners of old family photographs, Bibles, and records. Why not make a copy of a family photo or document and include it with your holiday greetings? Your family will appreciate the thoughtful gesture, and it may even jog their memories or inspire them to return the favor. An added benefit is that by sharing, you’re helping to ensure the survival of the image or document for future generations.

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Using Ancestry: U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925, by Juliana Smith

U.S. Passport Janos Jenos SzucsFor those of us with ancestors who traveled, it’s time to put on our dancing shoes and do a little “family history happy dance.” Ancestry has posted a database of U.S. passport applications, and it encompasses an amazing group of records, many of which include photographs of the applicants. This database really needs to come with the warning, “Caution: These records have the ability to consume entire afternoons and evenings and cause you to neglect your work for hours, resulting in missed deadlines.” Seriously. You would not believe the hours I spent in this database reading about people–most of whom weren’t even related to me!

I found information on some individuals that will be a dream-come-true for many family historians. What struck me most were the stories. Because many of the records included the reason for the passport request, we really get a unique look at the applicants that we may not find in other records.

A Bit of History
In one 1846 record, I found a collection of handwritten letters requesting a passport on behalf of a Benjamin V.R. James. The first letter, written 11 June 1846 in New York reads,

“Mrs. Codwise and some other ladies of our city have formed a society called the Liberian School Society for the establishment and support of schools in Africa. They have lately engaged a very respectable colored man named Benjamin V.R. James to go out as a teacher and superintendent of one of their schools. He is an intelligent, pious, and dignified man and for some weeks, since my family has gone into the country has occupied the basement of my house in St. Mark’s Place. It is desirable that he should have a passport from the Secretary of State’s office and I should be much obliged if you would procure it and thus contribute your quota toward the benevolent object of the ladies.”

This entry would be of interest to both the Codwise and James family descendants. Continue reading

What Reference Books Should I Own?” by George G. Morgan

I wrote a column for the Ancestry Daily News a number of years ago that enumerated my ten favorite genealogy books, some genealogy reference CD-ROMs, and my favorite websites. One of the readers of the Ancestry Weekly Journal wrote to Juliana and asked for an article about what specific genealogy research books, common to both beginners and advanced researchers, would be recommended for every serious researcher to have in his or her library.

This is a difficult challenge for several reasons. First, it is a subjective matter and depends on what geographical area an individual is researching. Second, a list that is too “generic” risks losing people’s interest. Finally, the fact is that books are an expensive commodity and not everyone can afford to buy every title they would like to have.

However, there certainly is a core collection of books that every genealogist would find helpful to have close at hand as reference materials for their research. I’ll accept the challenge with the understanding that your list and my list may or may not be the same, and that some of the books may not be applicable to your research. However, it makes sense for each of us to consider a personal genealogical reference library that includes books from each of the categories below. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: “Treasured Assignments, by Jana Sloan Broglin, CG

All too often when digging through the attic or basement for items of genealogical value, we overlook the papers, composition notebooks, and drawings our parents and grandparents kept for themselves and their children. A composition book used by my mother, Joanne Beard Sloan, was found in an attic along with clippings from the Swanton (Ohio) high school newspaper. The notebooks contained many assignments done in various English classes from 1940-46. The writings made for great reading including a poem with her thoughts about Adolph Hitler and one entitled “Crossroad” about what she wanted to do with her life.

The clippings from the school paper had information regarding writing contests, the Senior class school play, and who had dates after the play. It was fun to learn when my parents went on a date.

So don’t overlook school/homework papers when researching your ancestors.

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