1    Oct 20075 comments

Immigration records to UK will be online

By mid-2008, the records of 18 million immigrants to the UK will be available online.

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Tower Bridge, London

The National Archives UK has awarded a license to Ancestry.co.uk to digitize, index and host online the UK Inbound Passenger Lists 1878-1960.This collection is known as the Board of Trade Passenger Lists, Inwards 1878-1960 or BT26 and is useful for all researchers whose immigrant ancestors went to the UK or later left for other countries.

There are some one million pages of records which include those who arrived from destinations outside Europe and the Mediterranean. They are organized by port of arrival and depending on date of arrival, may include such information as name, age, occupation, address in the UK, purpose of journey, name of ship, owner and port of origin.

The for-fee subscription website already includes some 100 million UK and European immigrants who travelled to American from 1820-1960, in addition to records for Canada, Australia and Germany.

If you have questions about this group of records, let me know and I'll try to get the answers. I look forward to reading your comments and answering your questions.

1    Oct 20071 comment

Poland: Podcasting and genealogy

Since 1995, DearMYRTLE has provided family historians with practical information. She's now doing podcasts with her Family History Hour.

Author/editor Cecil Wendt Jensen was her guest on August 14. Jensen dispelled myths that Polish records were destroyed during the wars and that the language barrier makes research difficult.

Warsaw Old Town
Warsaw's Old Town

In 1998, Jensen switched to professional genealogy in 1998 after 30 years as an educator. She is a Certified Genealogist, runs the Michigan Polonia website, and is completing a "how to" Polish genealogy book, Sto Lat, highlighting techniques she used to find her grandparents' ancestral villages in Prussia, Russian Poland and Galicia.

I also met up with her at two recent genealogical conferences.

You can listen or download the podcast here.

DearMYRTLE also mentions an assortment of specialized Polish resource links:

Polish Genealogical Society of America.
Books by William F. Hoffman: Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings, Second Edition (some 30,000 names), and anew book, with George W. Helon, First Names of the Polish Commonwealth: Origins and Meanings includes a 300-page list of names including those of Hebrew, Yiddish, Czech, German, Greek, Hungarian, Latin, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian, and a list of Cyrillic forms of common Jewish names).

Let me know if you have questions. I look forward to reading your comments and answering your questions.

1    Oct 20070 comments

Eye on DNA – an informative blog

If you've always wanted to know more about DNA, here's a blog for you.

DNA is a new tool in the genealogist's arsenal. It can help resolve issues where there is no paper documentation. It can confirm distant relative's family relationship and it can also save researchers from wild goose chases or barking up the wrong tree.

To learn more about DNA, check out a blog that focuses on this field. Eye on DNA is one of my favorites, and Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lee presents interesting topics, as well as excellent DNA graphics.

Recent posts include:

DNA Video: Extracting Human DNA At Home
DNA Quote of the Day: Dr. David Levin
Google Answers DNA - Chromosomes, Genes, and DNA
Wish List of Books about DNA and Genetics
Geeky DNA T-Shirts: Genetic Determinism
100 Facts About DNA
Eye on DNA Headlines for 18 August 2007
DNA Video: DIY DNA Extraction

Do take a look and let me know if you enjoy Hsien's blog as much as I do. I look forward to reading your comments and answering your questions.

1    Oct 20070 comments

Highlights: 13th FEEFHS Conference

If your family comes from Eastern Europe, this annual event offers much useful information for your interests.

The 13th annual conference of the Federation of East European Family History Societies took place July 12-14, 2007, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Some 32 sessions were offered by experts in the field, covering Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, German, Slovak, Russian, Croatian, Hungarian, Romanian, Galician and Jewish research.

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Map of Poland

Speakers included Family History Library experts Kahlile Mehr, Daniel Schlyter and Tom Edlund; Galician records specialist Brian Lenius. Hungarian/Romanian specialist Beth Long, Polish/Ukraine specialist Marek Koblanski.

Very useful sessions included Tom Edlund's two sessions on reading Cyrillic and Daniel Schlyter's on Polish. Jewish research sessions included Mike Karsen (Immigration Online), Joanne M. Sher (Jewish Internet).

Additional subjects touched on Galician parish registers and finding Galician records; Polish vital records and names; German immigration, records and periodicals; Central and East European maps and gazetteers, European vital and census records, German Russians.

The three-day conference offered a lot for researchers of this area. Again, most programs offered resource material in the 132-page conference syllabus.

The 2008 event will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and again will offer great programs by prominent experts in this area of research.

If you have recommendations, comments or need more information, let me know. I am always happy to read your comments.

1    Oct 20072 comments

Highlights: Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree

Genealogy conferences are fast becoming a great way for researchers of all levels to learn about new resources, new tools and publications. These events provide networking opportunities for those searching either the same names or same geographical locations. The speakers are experts in their field and provide essential information for conference-goers interested in those topics.

While there are international conferences on a major scale running from three to six days, there are many one-day seminars of local importance. There are also excellent regional conferences. One of the best regional conferences is the annual Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Jamboree, which will be held June 27-29, 2008.

I was honored to take part in the 2007 event, and presented a program on how writing for a general readership on genealogy helps to open that audience's eyes as to the possibilities of family history research and encourage them in gathering information on their unique histories.

Readers who live in Southern California might want to attend the 2008 event - some 1,000 people were at the 2007 conference - it is one of the largest regional events in the US.

The Southern California Genealogical Society, estabished in 1964, has a library of some 35,000 volumes, one of the largest collections in the southwestern U.S. The non-profit society is entirely supported by volunteers.

Its collection includes Alabama records, New England Historical Genealogical Society series, Pennsylvania archives, French Canadian records, German Genealogical Society of America volumes, Genealogical Society of Hispanic America Southern California chapter, Los Angeles City Historical Society, Cornwall England collection, Massachusetts town vital records, Connecticut vital records, passenger lists, Confederate veterans and sources for every U.S. state.

Among SCGS special interest groups are the French-Canadian Heritage Society of California and the Germanic Research Team and German Interest Group, both with specialized research collections.

The SCGS research team offers specialized research for a nominal fee. Major material collections include Revolutionary War (40 volumes), American Colonial War, Massachusetts Town Records, Los Angeles County, German and French-Canadian, Colonial Virginia, Cornish Records and California Gold Rush records.

Some 44 speakers were featured, and special topic tracks included Creole heritage (Creole Heritage Center and the French-Canadian Heritage Society), DNA in genealogy, software and technology, and also featured a day-long family history writer's conference. The vendor room was packed with booths selling books, while major genealogical subscription websites offered free access to attendees.

Roots Television interviewed speakers and attendees. Go to the website to see the video interviews.

The conference includes a technology center with free access to many for-fee subscription sites, such as Ancestry, Footnote and others. The vendor room was filled with many of the "names" in genealogy, including DNA and genetics, specialized ethnic societies selling books and publications and much more.

Among major conference speakers were:

Megan Smolenyak Smokenyak: Tracing your roots with DNA, and finding lost loved ones through reverse genealogy.

Loretto Dennis Szucs: Finding naturalization records and ethnic origins.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: Deciphering clues in old photographs and explaining DNA to researchers who are not scientists;

Bennett Greenspan of Family Tree DNA: 2007 DNA Update.

Leland Meltzler: Using websites, breaking through brick walls, using tax records and finding the women in your family.

Beau Sharbrough of Footnote.com: Genealogy in 2020.

Drew Smith: The organized genealogist

The last day of the 2007 event featured the Family History Writers Conference with a great line-up of genealogy writers who covered journaling, writing a literary family history, uncovering past lives and publishing.

Conferences produce syllabus volumes (looseleaf or bound) containing resource materials submitted by each speaker; this event's bound syllabus contained 242 pages of information. These are always valuable for future reference.

Do let me know if you have recommendations, comments or need more information. I'm always happy to read your comments and answer your questions.

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