FamHist Blog

Family History Research Hints and Tips

Tools and Digital Newspapers

Here are a few tools and sites that I’ve found to be extremely useful.

If you haven’t previously downloaded the free ‘Family Searcher‘ program, try it. I think you’ll like this tool written by Kevin Owen. The screen is split top and bottom… the top half will look at a GEDCOM file of your choice on your computer and the bottom half of the screen shows IGI page on Family Search. It is a great tool if you decide to save your file as a GEDCOM or are checking out IGI information on a GEDCOM file given to you by someone else.

And, while we are talking about split screens, remember to download the Free Transcript 2.1 program that I’ve mentioned earlier. You’ll love this tool when you start transcribing Census Records, Birth / Marriage / etc. certificates.

Here’s a great site for old Utah / Idaho newspapers, photos, old books, etc. Digital Collections. I’ve found a ton of info on my families here including letters to editors, histories, photos, etc. Free access…

And while talking about digital historic newspapers, many of the old newspapers that were printed in Utah are found on the Utah Digital Newspapers site.

Do you have family who came to America from 1830 – 1892? Odds are they went through Castle Garden which was the immigrant processing facility before Ellis Island.

The BYU Family History Resources web site offers a ton of information, but most of it is only accessible through a BYU library card / student card. However, there are links to some good info here that don’t require a card..

And lastly, click here to see my genealogy links page….

26 April 2007 Posted by | Research Tips | Leave a comment

Weblinks – Sources and Danish Census

Here are the family history website links for the day.

Source examples from Legacy Family Tree

Search Engines: In my experience, both AltaVista and Clusty seem to find the most relevant family history links.

While you are looking for Primary Sources in England, be sure to check out FreeBMD.... Birth / Marriage / Death – England

Danish ancestry? Look here for free access to Danish Census records. They have helped me find many of my Danish ancestors…

If you don’t read Danish, then try these two links (part of the above site, but you won’t have to hunt for them in a language you can’t read)…. http://www.ddd.dda.dk/soeg_amter.asp and http://www.ddd.dda.dk/soeg_person.asp

When searching for your ancestors in non-English speaking countries, you may not be able to read the language. However, there are many ‘key’ words used in family history research… i.e… Mother, Father, Uncle, Aunt, etc… To find the translation of English words to other languages, go to AltaVista and click on the Babel Fish Translation link below the search field. Put your word in the field on the new page and then choose which language translation you want from the drop down list and hit the ‘Translate’ button. Write down the key words on a ‘cheat sheet’ …. you’ll use them in the future whenever you perform another search in the foreign language or read records that you find… The translations aren’t perfect, but will serve your research efforts in most cases…

And lastly, Steve Morse has one of the best genealogical portal pages on the web. Take a look at the various sites he has either written or links to on his site….

26 April 2007 Posted by | FreeBMD | Leave a comment

Death Certificates on line

Several states have death certificates on line with no associated cost. Check them out if you have family / ancestors who died in the range of years covered by the certificates. Note that many states have birth / marriage and death indexes for free too….

I’ve printed death certificates from U.S. State websites for a year or more and have saved thousands of dollars by not needing to order an ‘official’ certificate from the state(s). Typically the images will need to be resized and cropped to fit an 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper.

If you don’t already have graphics editing software on your PC, Faststone Image Viewer is a FREE application. I use it all of the time even though I have the pro version of Adobe Photoshop. Get your copy while it is still free. (no strings attached .. including no ads, etc.) *Just remember that the menus in Faststone are found by pointing your mouse at the top / bottom and sides of your screen*

A birth or death certificate is a primary source for your family history records, so take a few minutes and find the certificates that relate to your family and print them at home. They typically cost $14 to $60 when ordered from the state archives. (Remember these are ‘primary’ sources — you want a copy for your family history source files).

Here are the states that currently have free on line certificates:


Births 1887 – 1930

Deaths 1878 – 1955


Deaths 1910 – 1956


Deaths 1904 – 1954

West Virgina

Birth … Range of years – check the site

Marriage … Range of years – check the site

Death … Range of years – check the site

Additionally, many states have death indexes on line at no cost. See this site for the related links by state:

While some of the states require payment (typically a subscription to Ancestry.com), you can avoid this cost by checking for other free sites that contain the data. I’ll post links to some of them in future posts..

Be sure to also check the free family history vital records available on RootsWeb and the huge number of cemetery inscriptions and other family history resources available on USGenweb.

The Internet is now bringing huge libraries of family history related information to our homes. Take advantage of these resources and save your research travel expenses for that special family history vacation that you never thought would happen.

26 April 2007 Posted by | Research Tips | Leave a comment