Launches New Florida Census Collection

Ancestry____logo.gifRecords Tied to Famous Floridians Can Be Found in Census Data Made Easily Searchable by World’s Largest Online Resource for Family History

PROVO, Utah, Dec. 18 — According to historical documents available as part of’s new Florida State Census Collection, actress Faye Dunaway, famous for her performances in “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Mommie Dearest,” was a four-year-old living with her parents and brother in Florida in 1945 and NASCAR co-founder William France, Sr., was already in the car business by 1935, listed as a mechanic living in Daytona. Now others with Florida roots can make discoveries about their own relatives., the world’s largest online resource for family history, has digitized and indexed the 1867, 1875, 1935 and 1945 Florida state censuses, which contain more than 3.8 million names and 75,000 original images. This is the first time these censuses have been indexed, making the information easily available and searchable online.

Florida is one of only two U.S. states (South Dakota is the other) to have completed a census as recently as 1945, which means many Floridians can potentially find their parents — or even themselves — while searching the collection and building their family tree. Using powerful search tools, users can easily discover the name, address, place of birth, level of education and occupation of family members and others living in the same household, as well as locate and view digital images of the original census documents handwritten decades ago.

“With the addition of our new Florida State Census Collection, never-before-discovered family histories will be found at the click of a mouse,” said Gary Gibb, vice president of U.S. content for “Censuses are one of the best resources for tracing your family history and is adding the 1945, 1935, 1875 and 1867 Florida state censuses to the largest and most complete census collections available on the Web.” Continue reading

Time Off for the Holidays

xmas.jpgI’ll be taking some time off to enjoy the holidays with my family, so there will be no Ancestry Weekly Journal on 12/29. On behalf of all of my co-workers at Ancestry, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful holiday season, filled with warmth, good wishes, family, and friends.


Weekly Planner: Send Family History with Holiday Greetings

This year why not send a special holiday greeting to your family and loved ones and include a piece of family history? Whether it be a biographical sketch, a copy of a census or immigration record, a copy of a photograph, or a family memory–when you send a piece of family history, you’re sure to brighten someone’s day. And who knows, you may prompt them to reciprocate!

Using Ancestry: The Ancestry Card Catalog, by Michael John Neill

There are times when I search all databases at once, while other times I like to search a specific database. The global search at is useful, especially when the name is somewhat uncommon, but it doesn’t serve every purpose. If I’m researching a common surname, or if I need to perform more intricate or precise searches, I find that mining one database at a time is preferable.

The problem with searching small individual databases is finding them. That problem can be solved with the Card Catalog. Using this search, I have found databases I wasn’t aware or had completely forgotten about.

I performed several searches of the Card Catalog and was pleasantly surprised at the materials that were in the collection–especially records of a local nature that had slipped beneath my radar.

Filter by Collection
There are several ways search filters can be applied to the Card Catalog. You’ll find them on the left side of the Card Catalog page. The Filter by Collection feature allows you to sort based upon what type of content the database contains and can be helpful when you are searching for only military records, only immigration records, etc.

Filter by Location
We’ll focus on location filters, as it is a great way to discover and locate relevant materials t Ancestry. It is located just below the collection filter that we just discussed.

The locality filter allows you to choose one geographic level at a time. Keep in mind that to facilitate this search, some standardization of locations had to be done. As a new location is chosen for the filter, the results on the right hand side of the screen will be updated with new titles and the “filter by” areas of the left hand side will be updated as well.

Let’s walk through an example. I want to see what collections are available for Coshocton County, Ohio, so I scroll down the page to Filter by Location and first I select United States. As I do so, a layer is applied to the filter that eliminates all non-U.S. titles. Next I select Ohio and that eliminates more titles. The updated screen indicates that there are 9,419 titles classified under Ohio (at least for now). When I then choose Coshocton County, the results narrow to eighteen databases. Continue reading

A User’s Guide to the National Library of Ireland, by Eileen M. Ó Dúill, CG

Dublin map.jpgThe National Library of Ireland (NLI) or in Irish, Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann, was established in 1877 as a repository for books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, and illustrations relating to Irish history and culture.

The building, which opened in September 1890, is currently undergoing renovation and ongoing improvements. Before your visit, you might want to visit their website for a virtual tour. This will give you an idea of what to expect when you visit for the first time. The National Library of Ireland is considered to be among the most beautiful libraries in the world.

The website of the National Library provides a description of the collections as well as access to their online catalogues. Guides to Irish genealogy, such as “Tracing Your Irish Ancestors,” by John Grenham provide a useful introduction to sources at the NLI, which include Roman Catholic parish registers and newspapers.
How to Get There

The library is located on Kildare Street. (It’s number 2 on the map of Dublin repositories that accompanies this article. Click on the image to enlarge it.) Many researchers stay in Buswell’s Hotel on the corner of Kildare Street and Molesworth Street, just across the road. However there are a variety of hotels and guest house in this part of Dublin which would be walking distance to the library. For summer visitors, rooms (dorm standard) are available in Trinity College Dublin.

Getting Started
If you are planning a brief visit and only wish to consult newspapers or parish registers on microfilm, you can obtain a plastic badge. But if you are planning to use other materials, you should apply for the full reader’s ticket which will be issued for a period of three years. You can download an application form from the NLI website. Bring a current photo ID (your passport or current driver’s license) and two passport size photographs to the desk in the main hall. There is no charge for the reader’s ticket and it is ready in a few minutes.

The full NLI reader’s ticket is essential if you plan to consult items in the Manuscript Reading Room. You can apply to the librarian on duty in the main reading room before 5 p.m., but not during lunchtime (12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.).

Getting Settled
All bags, coats, and non-essential materials must be stored in the self-service lockers. There is a locker room at the foot of the main staircase, but it is often full. Head down the corridor to the right of the reader’s ticket desk and use one of the lockers outside the café. Ask a member of the staff to show you how to program your number as it can be a bit tricky the first time. The coffee in the café is excellent, by the way, and it is very handy to have lunch or a well-deserved break there.

How Does the Library Work?
The NLI holds a range of resources which can only be briefly described in this article. Study the library website before your visit to familiarize yourself with the collections it holds. 

Genealogical Advisory Service
The Reading Room is on the first floor via the main staircase. Stop on the landing and enter the room to your left where you will find a free advisory service for family history researchers. In addition to advisors, you will find a good collection of reference books and computer databases for genealogical research.

What Am I Looking For?
Perhaps the single most frequently used resource for genealogical research is the collection of Roman Catholic parish registers on microfilm. Parish registers for other religious denominations are available at a variety of locations. Catholic registers were microfilmed in the 1960s so most are available only up to 1880 under the eighty-year confidentiality agreement with church authorities.

Lists of Catholic parishes can be found on the library website. It is important to note that this year, the Director of the National Library of Ireland lifted all restrictions on access to parish registers. You no longer need a letter of permission to access any registers held at the National Library. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Read the Back of the Tombstone, from George G. Morgan

When conducting on-site cemetery research, be sure to read the entire tombstone. Not everything on a tombstone is carved on the front. It is not unusual to find inscriptions on both the front and back of a stone and even on the edges. You may find the name and vital date on the face, an epitaph or poem on the back, the names of spouse, parents, children, and other information carved elsewhere. Look for initials, names, and/or the company name of the stonemason on the stone. Often the carver chiseled his initials or mark into a stone as a form of advertisement. His family may have been engaged in the stonecutting industry for generations and may have retained many or all of the family’s work or account files. You may be able to research the carver and therefore locate other records concerning the person who ordered and paid for the tombstone, its date of installation, and other data.

What have you found on the back of a tombstone? Share your story in the comments section.

Your Quick Tips, 15 December 2008

Scanning Multiple Photos
Scanning photos can take a lot of time. I learned to lay as many photos on the scanner glass as I can fit. I make one scan of them. Once it’s in my computer, I make one copy of the scan for each photo on the sheet. Once the copies are made, I crop each sheet to include just one photo. This does save oodles of scanning time.
Kate Sprague
California City, California Continue reading

Photo Corner, 15 December 2008

Contributed by Betty Lou Gleason, Greer, South CarolinaAnne Mortensen Jensen
I recently found this photo of my great-grandmother, Anne Mortensen Jensen. The photo was taken in her home in Hutchinson, MN. I believe it would be around the 1910s as she was born in 1855 and she appears to be maybe around sixty years of age. She is doing what she loved best–tatting or crocheting.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

William Henry Fravel

Contributed by Don and Scharmal Conley
Kennewick, Washington

This is picture of my great-grandfather, William Henry Fravel. He lived to be 103 years old.