Revisiting Old Web Sites and Finding New Ones, by George G. Morgan

Aha! SeminarsI don’t know about you but I certainly enjoy discovering new Web sites that are rich in content. Don’t get me wrong; I have learned to regularly revisit sites that I’ve used before. Most of them are continually adding new content, expanding their offerings, and improving the ways you can work with them. Both these updated older sites and the new ones I find have the effect of reenergizing my research. Let me share a few of these with you.

The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG)

The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild is a site that has been around since it was established in 1998. It began as a volunteer project whose mission was to transcribe ships passenger lists. My first encounter with ISTG was at RootsWeb.com but the project has moved to its own Web domain site at http://www.immigrantships.net. Since that time, the numbers of ships’ lists that have been transcribed and the amount of searchable information has greatly increased. There are ships whose passenger manifests have been transcribed which date from the 1600s to the 1900s. You can search for ships by name, port of departure, port of arrival, by captain’s name, and by surname and captain’s name. In addition, the site has added a large number of special transcription lists and links to a host of other sites related to immigration, databases, and CD subscriptions. The scope and depth of the site continues to grow and, if you haven’t visited it recently, you will find a great deal to get excited about.

The Africana Heritage Project

The University of South Florida’s Africana Studies Department has undertaken a volunteer project whose mission is to “rediscover precious records that document the names and lives of slaves, freedpersons and their descendants, and make that information available” on a free Web site at http://www.africanaheritage.com. The Africana Heritage Project’s contents are derived from the University of South Florida’s library holdings, other library holdings, academic archives, plantation journals, public records, Freedman’s Bureau records, early church records, oral histories, family bible records, Internet research, and information contributed by genealogy researchers, historians and community members. The site includes transcriptions, searchable databases, excerpts from manuscripts and published books, essays, success stories, and a mailing list to which you can subscribe for news and updates about the site. The project is an ongoing effort that continues to grow each month and so frequent visits are certainly going to yield more information for you.

The National Archives and Records Administration Site

One of my favorite sites is that of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Since its redesign a number of months ago, it is significantly easier to browse and to search for information. One area that I discovered is a Web page containing “Casualties from World War II,” located at http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/ww2. Here you will find a link to “World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel” and another to a “State Summary of War Casualties from World War II for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Personnel.” These new materials are a complement to the American Battle Monument Commission (ABMC) site at http://www.abmc.gov which contains searchable databases of war dead interred outside the United States from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. It also contains listings of War Dead and veterans of the Mexican War, Civil War and Spanish-American War who are buried at the ABMC cemeteries in Corozal, Panama, and Mexico City.

The Ancestry.com Databases

With the recent addition of the 1841 U.K. Census records at Ancestry.com, I’ll be embroiled in researching people in England and Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man in those census pages for some time. The new Canadian Records Collection with its more than 300 new databases has had me enthralled for the past few weeks too. It just proves to me that it’s imperative for me to go back and revisit Ancestry.com and check the recent database additions on a regular basis.

It’s difficult to keep track of all of the databases that are available at Ancestry.com because there is so much content. While I’ve always tried to keep up as data is added through Ancestry.com publications like the Ancestry Weekly Journal, it’s easy to lose track of important collections posted previously–collections that may help with my current research.  Juliana wrote about the new Card Catalog last week that makes it easier than ever to locate materials that you may have missed or that weren’t as relevant to your search when they were first posted.

I hope these examples encourage you to look again at old Web site friends and to use your favorite search engines to look for new resources in the areas you’re researching. There has never been a better time to research your family history, especially with new content and pointers becoming available online everyday.

Visit George’s all-new website at http://ahaseminars.com for information about his company, speaking engagements, and presentation topics. You can also listen to George and Drew Smith’s Genealogy Guys podcast at: http://genealogyguys.com/

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