Wednesday, 16 December 2009

10 top new genealogy resources online in 2009

Based on discussions with top Ottawa-area gurus, and my own biases, here are the best sources for British-Canadian family history that came online, or got substantially new content, in 2009. The first three helped me extend my own family history this year.

1. Records of the London Metropolitan Archives, from Ancestry
If you have English ancestors you probably have London relatives. Even if your direct ancestor didn't live in London chances are a relative moved there and will be recorded in these records. While writing this I realized there was a line of my family I hadn't researched there. I discovered a 1820 marriage, that I have always thought took place in Suffolk, and so the maiden name of an ancestor. www.ancestry.co.uk

2. 19th Century Newspaper Archive, from the British Library
Two million pages, soon to be three million, of digitized searchable newspapers from major regional centres all over the UK. http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs/

3. 1911 Census for England and Wales, from findmypast
It's always a major event for the family history community when a new major dataset, especially a census, becomes available. The 1911 census gradually went online, starting early in the year, on a pay per view basis through www.1911census.co.uk, and later in the year by subscription through www.findmypast.co.uk.

4. Canadian Passenger Lists, from Ancestry
The first part of this collection was added at the end of 2008, the product of an LAC-Ancestry cooperative agreement. There were major additions to the collection in 2009, including the individual form 30As used in the early 1920. www.ancestry.ca

5. Canada Census collection, from Ancestry
Another product of cooperation between LAC and Ancestry. All major Canadian censuses, except for Newfoundland, are now indexed on Ancestry, and will eventually be freely available via LAC's Canadian Genealogy Centre. www.ancestry.ca

6. Ireland BMD indexes, from FamilySearch
An index of Ireland civil registration including births, 1864-1958, marriages, 1845-1958, and deaths, 1864-1958, made available through FamilySearch and volunteer indexing online. http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=collectionDetails;c=1408347

7. England and Wales BMD indexes, from Ancestry
While I still prefer the FreeBMD indexes, and their indexing project continues to make good progress, Ancestry have now fully transcribed the GRO indexes from 1916 to 2005. No more scanning through images of index pages, unless there's an indexing problem. www.ancestry.co.uk

8. Historical Canada Gazette, from LAC
LAC's digitization of this material, which began in 2007, is still underway. All issues are not in the database. As of August 2009 over 80% of all issues of the Canada Gazette are online and searchable. www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/canada-gazette/index-e.html

9. Gravestone Photographic Resource
I mentioned this site back in the summer. It continues to grow the free resource and provide more links to complementary projects. While the strength is in the UK, especially strong for Suffolk, international content is growing through linking. There are 165 Canadian cemetery sites linked, some covering multiple cemeteries. www.gravestonephotos.com/

10. Canada-US border crossing records, from Ancestry
You can now search Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956; and Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935. You get them going and coming, or maybe not as there are lots of crossings that never got recorded. It's the type of record that gets extra benefit from indexing the coverage is so hit and miss. www.ancestry.ca

Update
For a Scottish perspective see this SGNE posting.

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