28 April 2015

No.32 (genealogy worldwide)

Links open in new windows so you won't lose your place on this page. If you share these tips, please say that you saw them on http://updatesgenie.blogspot.com.au.

This is at the top left of most pages
  • Website changes:   My main Web site, www.judywebster.com.au, is best viewed on a laptop or desktop computer, but this week's changes made it more mobile-friendly. I had to remove the top search box, but a link ('Search this site') at the top left of most pages leads to a search box plus tips on using the site.

  • FindMyPast discount:   Until 30 Apr 2015 you can get 50% discount off 12-month FindMyPast subscriptions. If you're in Australia or NZ, the best link is http://bit.ly/2aapr15. In the UK it's http://bit.ly/2apr15, and in the USA use http://bit.ly/2usapr15. Those links apply the discount automatically - then select the 'World' tab if you want access to absolutely everything on FindMyPast. Remember to un-tick the 'auto-renew' box in the My Account section of the site. I appreciate the fact that FindMyPast adds free days to World subscriptions whenever they give the general public 'free access' days.

  • QSA indexes:   Qld State Archives have begun putting indexes on FindMyPast. Check the list of records sets added. You may need to scroll down a bit.

  • Will books:   Wills for thousands of people from interstate and overseas, including Queensland, are in New South Wales will books 1800-1952. My search tips for this magnificent source are in 6 Genealogy Sources You May Have Overlooked.

  • Cracking the code of the GRO Marriage Index:   Enter the General Register Office (England/Wales) index reference to find out the name of the church where the marriage took place. If you don't get a result, maybe the church is not yet included in the database (the project is on-going). Read the explanation before you use the UK marriage locator.

  • The 3 Rs of genealogy:   Revisit, Record, Revise has superb advice from Pauleen Cass, an experienced family historian.

  • Census records:   I confess that I haven't always done the five things listed on Analyzing Census Records: Context Matters, and I need to rectify that.

  • Printing on paper:   If you are printing family history books or document copies on paper and want them to survive for future generations, read All Papers are Not Created Equal.

  • Warning:   Important information about photos and handouts at genealogy lectures (read the comments there too).

  • Video:   Free video (from a webinar presented earlier this year) with tips on what to do when you hit a dead end in your research, and how to get the most out of online records.

  • Movement and migration:   The articles in Exodus: Movement of the People - migration to, from and within the British Isles have apparently been removed from the Website now. Luckily I'd printed the ones that interested me.

(This post first appeared on http://updatesgenie.blogspot.com/2015/04/no32-genealogy-worldwide.html.)
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8 March 2015

Free Access to FindMyPast and LostCousins

Image by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net
Image by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net
FindMyPast

FindMyPast is completely FREE until 10pm AEST on Monday 9 March 2015. This gives you access to billions of historical records and newspapers from many parts of the world, plus the new Family Tree 'Hints' feature.

You may want to start by reading the latest tips on using FindMyPast's new search system, which has improved since it was first introduced.

Apart from the obvious sources like censuses and parish registers, I suggest that you search these four FindMyPast record sets, all of which include people from many countries (links open in a new window):
  • Trade union records (includes railway staff, carpenters, joiners, cabinetmakers, woodworkers, lithographic artists/printers, designers, engravers, boilermakers, iron shipbuilders, etc).
  • Great Western Railway shareholders (death dates, places, wills, relatives, executors etc).
  • British India Office collection (records of the East India Company, military personnel, civil servants, surgeons, planters, entrepreneurs, missionaries and others).
  • New South Wales will books (including wills for many people in other States and overseas, as explained below).

With the New South Wales will books, don't be put off by the 'NSW' heading. This source includes wills for many people in other States and other countries. Click 'Learn' above the search boxes to find out more about the collection. Searches are free, but if you find a relevant entry you need a subscription or pay-as-you-go credits to see an image of the original book. These are my personal search tips:
  1. Start by searching for a name in 'Who'. You can use asterisks as wildcards. 'Death year' is optional, and you can select 'give or take' (+/-) up to 40 years. For now, ignore the 'Residence' field.

  2. There is a separate field called Heirs' or executors' last name. Enter a surname here (you can use wildcards), leaving the Who fields empty.

  3. If you use the Residence field, use wildcards. You'll understand why if you search for *Brisbane*, with asterisks before and after, and note the residences shown in results! Data in the Residence field is not entered in any set format. It may be just a town, or just a State, or just a country, or town+State, or State+country, etc (with or without punctuation, which makes a difference to the results). Sometimes places are abbreviated (eg, Queensland / Qld).

  4. Experiment with other variations and combinations. Keep a list of the search criteria that you use, because you may later think of other ways to search.

  5. It is essential to view images of the original Will Books, because a 'transcription' does not include the will itself.

LostCousins

LostCousins is free until midnight (GMT) on Tuesday 10 March 2015 (which gives you extra time to enter the census data you've collected from FindMyPast during the free access period there).

(This post first appeared on http://updatesgenie.blogspot.com/2015/03/free-access-to-findmypast-and.html.)

11 September 2014

No.31 (genealogy worldwide)

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  • Rockhampton, Qld:  There is a family history beginner's course in Rockhampton on Sat. 13 Sep 2014 (9am to noon).

  • (Updated Nov 2014)  NSW wills:  New South Wales will books 1800-1952 are back online. This magnificent resource includes wills for thousands of people from interstate and overseas, including Queensland! Search the index, then view the images of the original records (not just the transcriptions). My search tips are in 6 Genealogy Sources You May Have Overlooked.

  • BDM index (NSW):  The new index on the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages site is rather challenging to use. Joy Murrin's tips make it easier.

  • Postems:  Postems on FreeBMD describes a strategy that has worked brilliantly for me. If anyone in your family tree was born, married or died in England or Wales from 1837 onwards, try it!

  • Congress 2015:  The Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry is in Canberra (ACT) next March. I'll be there! Register by 31 Oct 2014 to get the cheaper 'early bird' rate.

  • Online trees:  You can now attach records to your family trees at FindMyPast.

  • Discounts:  This week more offers were added to the Discounts and Freebies page. You can use ChangeDetection to monitor the page (look for the button 'Click here to receive email...'), but sometimes the email is delayed. To avoid missing last-minute offers that only apply for one weekend, check the page every Saturday.

  • Although I don't agree with all the suggestions in the free downloadable e-book Family Tree Tips: 23 Secrets to Organize Your Genealogy, some of the ideas are good.

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29 August 2014

Genealogy Discounts and Freebies

Image by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net
Image by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net
There have been some last-minute changes to the list of freebies and discounts available during (and after) National Family History Month. Here are the updated details. Links open in a new window.

  • Get a one month 'Britain subscription' at Findmypast UK for just £5 instead of the usual £9.95 if you pay by 11:59pm (BST) on 30 Sep 2014. This 50% discount applies to new and lapsed subscribers.    (Find out why I use and recommend FindMyPast.)

  • A one-month FindMyPast 'world' subscription (records from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, USA and Canada) costs just $5 (usually $19.95) for new subscribers who pay before midnight on 1 Sep 2014.

  • A one-month subscription to FindMyPast's Australian & NZ records costs just $1 (usually $9.95) for new subscribers who pay before midnight on 31 Aug 2014.

  • 50% off the price of a 12-month FindMyPast 'world' subscription (records from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, USA & Canada) for new subscribers who pay before midnight 31 Aug 2014 (now just $99.75, usually $199.50).

  • Get 20% off at GenesReunited during August 2014. Select a subscription, then on the payment page enter discount code SUMMER20.

  • Get 10% discount on orders from Gould Genealogy during August 2014 if you quote NFHM14.

  • Free access to all Australian immigration records on Ancestry from 29 Aug to 11.59pm Monday 1 Sep 2014 AEST.

  • Download a free PDF document with links to Websites and online indexes mentioned in my new genealogy talk 'Look Beyond the Border'.

  • Many of my copying services for Queensland State Archives records are 10% - 20% cheaper during August and September 2014. Follow links on the list of indexes. On pages with names, in the 'Copying Service' section, prices shown are (where applicable) the discounted ones.

  • Get $40 discount when you book on any Unlock the Past genealogy conference/cruises if you quote code UTPC-WEB06. (This discount will apply long-term.)

In the future, special offers will be listed on the Discounts and Freebies page on my main Web site. On that page, the bar marked 'Click here to receive email... (private & spam-free, powered by ChangeDetection)' provides an easy way to find out about new offers.

16 August 2014

No.30 (genealogy worldwide)

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  • Discounts & freebies:  Take advantage of the many genealogy discounts and freebies currently available. Some are only offered during August (National Family History Month).

  • Mental asylum patients:
    1. I have started indexing three new sources. One includes people who were mentally ill but not actually sent to an asylum. When I've indexed the new records, links will be added to the 'Insanity' page on my Website, so you may want to use the ChangeDetection bar there.
    2. I've added more names of escaped mental patients to my Police Gazettes index.

  • Illegitimate children:  Archival records often identify the father of an illegitimate child even if the birth certificate doesn't. I've added more names (some babies and some mothers) to the 'Illegitimate' page on my Web site.

  • Dropbox:  I use the free version of Dropbox for sharing documents and images, and as an additional off-site backup.

  • Banana Shire:  Records recently deposited at Qld State Archives include rate books and valuation registers from Banana Shire Council.  (My 'Genealogy Articles' page has a link to Local Government Records and Family History.)

  • State Library info-guides:  State Library of Queensland has free family history Info-Guides on many topics.

  • Moreton Bay history:  Peel Island - Paradise or Prison? (the history of the Quarantine Station and Lazaret/Leprosarium) and Moreton Bay People: the complete collection are now available as e-books.

  • CuriousFox:  Tips on using CuriousFox, a genealogy message system and gazetteer for the United Kingdom, Ireland and USA.

  • NSW prison records:  Many interstate folk were in NSW prisons. NSW gaol description and entrance books 1818-1930, which include descriptions of prisoners and some photographs, are now on Ancestry.

  • South Australia:  South Australian passenger lists 1847-1886 have been added to FindMyPast. Some of these immigrants moved on to other States.

  • Victoria:  55,000 images have been added to Ancestry's lists of assisted and unassisted passengers arriving in Victoria from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and other foreign ports.

  • West Yorkshire & Cleveland:  Over 28,000 new baptism records from West Yorkshire and 150,000 National Burial Index records from Cleveland are now online.

  • Prisoners of war:  Records for 1914-1918 & 1939-1945 prisoners of war are online.

  • Treble Almanac (Ireland):  The Treble Almanac 1818, with transcripts and images of 17,870 records from all 32 Irish counties, has recently gone online.

  • Church of Ireland parish registers:  Download a table showing what baptism, marriage and burial registers exist, where they are, and dates covered.

  • Recommended reading:


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15 August 2014

FindMyPast's World Records discount offer

FindMyPast's logo
A one-month 'world' subscription to FindMyPast is just $5 (usually $19.95) for new subscribers who pay before midnight on 1 Sep 2014.

The world subscription gives you access to more than 1.5 billion family history records for Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland, the USA and Canada.

If you do not want your subscription to automatically renew at the normal price after your initial period, un-tick the 'auto-renew my subscription' box in the My Account section of the site.

You may want to read why I use and recommend FindMyPast.

(This post also appears in Genealogy Leftovers.)

20 July 2014

No.29 (genealogy worldwide)

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  • British Newspaper Archive discount:  Today is the last day to get a 1 month subscription to the British Newspaper Archive for just 1 pound (use the discount code SUMMER01).

  • Land Records in Queensland:  On Monday evening, 21 July 2014, Nola Fulwood is speaking on this topic at the Genealogical Society of Queensland's Southern Suburbs branch. Nola is one of only a handful of people who understand the complexities of land records at Qld State Archives.

  • Illegitimate children:  I have added more names to the page about illegitimate children whose father is named in archival records.

  • Wills:  10 tips for wills, intestacies and probate (and related documents in unexpected places).

  • Handout from my talk:  Download a free PDF file with links to Websites and online indexes mentioned in my new genealogy talk 'Look Beyond the Border'.

  • Origins.net:  Record sets from Origins.net will be added to FindMyPast. With the National Wills Index from Origins, and collections currently on FindMyPast and those in development, FindMyPast will become the largest online resource for UK wills and probate (and those records include material for many people from other countries including Australia). The Origins website will continue to run as usual.

  • Searching at FindMyPast:  The site has changed again, and more improvements are coming. Read the latest tips on how to use FindMyPast's new search tools.

  • Recommended reading: 

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7 June 2014

No.28 (genealogy worldwide)

Links open in new windows so you won't lose your place on this page. If you share these tips, please acknowledge the source as http://updatesgenie.blogspot.com.

  • Free access to British records:  Until 11.59pm on Monday 9th June 2014 there is free access to many British records on Ancestry. You can see images of original records such as UK outward passenger lists; 1911 census; and the magnificent England & Wales Probate Calendar 1858-1966 where you will also find death dates/places, addresses, next of kin etc for thousands of people from other countries including Australia. Use 'sign in' on Ancestry for a free account.

  • Research Tip:  In the British Newspaper Archive, look for clues about family members who emigrated (for example, a death notice saying "NSW papers please copy"). The BNA now offers very affordable one-month subscriptions.

  • Land Records in Queensland:  On 21 July 2014 Nola Fulwood is speaking on this topic at the Genealogical Society of Queensland's Southern Suburbs branch. Nola is one of only a handful of people who understand the complexities of land records at Qld State Archives.

  • Lifeline Bookfest:  The Brisbane Bookfest runs until 10th June. See my tips for family historians looking for bargains in books and stationery.

  • Free family history seminars in North Qld:  Between 13th & 28th June 2014 I will be speaking at Cairns, Atherton and Townsville. Admission is free, but you need to book because space is limited. Each seminar consists of two talks ('Court Records' and 'Look Beyond the Border'). For dates, times, venues, and how to book, see www.judywebster.com.au/talks.html.

  • NSW Public Service Lists:  More than 630,000 records have recently been added to the online collection 'NSW Public Service Lists 1858–1960'.

  • NSW certificates:  NSW certificate transcriptions are cheaper ($18) if you order them on any Saturday in June 2014.

  • 'Brick wall' tips:  'Widen the Search: a Genealogy Success Story' includes links to online sources that I used to solve a family history mystery.

  • Recommended reading:  'Finding genealogy data in an unexpected country'.

10 February 2014

No.27 (exciting improvements online)

The introduction of a one month subscription is the first of several exciting changes at FindMyPast.

The cost of a World subscription has already been reduced, and we can also look forward to the addition of new records every month; a new family tree builder; a new way to search; and a forum where you can vote for features and give feedback to improve the site.

I am a big fan of FindMyPast for genealogy research. For records that are on both FindMyPast and other sites, FindMyPast's indexes and transcriptions are usually (in my experience) more accurate. This is particularly obvious with British census records.

Although a 12-month subscription is the best value, you may want to start with the new one month subscription. This is now available for each of FindMyPast's regional collections (Australia/NZ, UK, Ireland, USA) and also for the World collection.

If you have no Australian research but need access to United Kingdom records, get your subscription via findmypast.co.uk.

Searches on FindMyPast are free. You only need pay-as-you-go credits or a subscription if you want to see transcriptions or images of original records. There is a 10% loyalty discount for renewing a 12-month subscription.

Follow the links below to see (for each region) a full list of categories and all the record sets currently available within them, with descriptions of what each record set contains and what detailed information you can expect to find... and watch for more to be added each month.


I have been using FindMyPast's census records and parish registers for many years. Recently other data sets (including passenger lists, Police Gazettes, Royal Household records and East India Company and civil service pensions) have provided some exciting discoveries. For example, I was surprised to find that two of my British families went overseas (one to South Africa, the other to Canada) for a short time - because they were back in the UK before the next census!

If you only get time to do research during your holidays, the new one month subscription to FindMyPast may suit you perfectly.

Postscript, 14 Feb 2014:  One of my clients signed up for the new one-month subscription and had huge success on day 1. She said (I quote), 'It has already paid for itself ten times over. I had no idea so many new records had been added since I looked a year ago! I found brilliant problem-solving stuff in Passengers leaving the UK, Convict records, and deserters and missing friends notices in Police Gazettes. Also lots of clues to follow up in electoral rolls, expats in New Guinea, wills, monumental inscriptions etc.'

Revenue from ads goes to Kiva

20 October 2013

No.26 (genealogy worldwide)

Links open in new windows so you won't lose your place on this page. If you share these tips, please acknowledge the source as http://updatesgenie.blogspot.com.

Image of clickable bar saying Receive email when this page changes
This ChangeDetection option is on many pages of my Web site