Genealogy Search Tip: Are Your Queries Returning Too Many Records?

GenealogyBank has grown from 160 million records since its inception to over 1.3 billion records today. That is a lot of articles to search through to find information about your family history. Genealogists often approach GenealogyBank with a direct search—using a surname—searching across the entire database to make sure we don’t miss any genealogy records about the family.

Sometimes, though, the simplest search query returns too many records for you to reasonably examine them all. When that happens, GenealogyBank has created over a dozen targeted search pages to help you narrow down the number of results you get back. Here’s a quick list of these helpful targeted search pages to get you started:

You can also perform targeted ethnic family searches with our African American, Hispanic and Irish American search pages.

Use these special search pages to narrow down your search to a particular type of newspaper article, as the following example shows.

Let’s say you’re searching for all the arrivals and departures of the ship Hector. If you search GenealogyBank just using the word “Hector,” you’ll get 400,000 hits. But, if you search the word “Hector” using the handy Passenger Lists link on our home page or in the left navigation pane of the Newspaper Archives category, you can narrow those search results to 14,000 passenger and ship records that specifically mention the ship Hector.

GenealogyBank Passenger List search for "Hector"

GenealogyBank Passenger List search for “Hector”

Even 14,000 records are a lot to examine. Limit the search again by a range of years when your relatives likely arrived on the ship Hector and you’ll have a manageable number of articles to sift through. Let’s say you are reasonably sure your ancestors arrived in America on the ship Hector sometime between 1820 and 1825—go ahead and use that date range in your search query.

GenealogyBank search results page for Passenger List search on "Hector" from 1820-1825

GenealogyBank search results page for Passenger List search on “Hector” from 1820-1825

Save time and zero in on the articles you need. GenealogyBank has more than a dozen targeted search pages: use them to focus your searches for the type of newspaper article you are looking for.

GenealogyBank targeted search pages

GenealogyBank targeted search pages

Planning a Trip to Salt Lake City for Your Family History Research?

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena provides practical advice for genealogists planning a trip to Salt Lake City for doing family history research.

Want to go to Salt Lake City in Utah? If you are like most genealogists that question is answered with an emphatic “yes!” because Salt Lake City is one of the world’s centers for family history research.

photograph of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah

Temple Square as seen from the Joseph Smith Building, Salt Lake City, Utah. © 2012 Gena Philibert-Ortega

Like any research trip it’s a good idea to do your homework prior to leaving home. There’s so much you can do in Salt Lake City including researching at the world famous Family History Library (open to the public free of charge) or even attending a conference like RootsTech. But before you pack your bags consider these tips.

Travel is easier when you have a guide. The Chart Chick’s Quick Insider’s Guide to Salt Lake City by Janet Hovorka, president of the Utah Genealogical Association and a Salt Lake City native, provides family history researchers with what they need to know for a trip to this genealogical mecca. Covered in this guide is everything from how to get around Salt Lake City to archives and libraries (aside from the Family History Library), places to visit, shop, and most importantly—where to eat. To purchase this Salt Lake City, UT, travel guide book or download it as a free PDF, visit Janet’s blog The Chart Chick. If you do request the PDF you have the added advantage of being able to download it to a mobile device for easy reference.

Do your genealogy homework. Before you take a genealogy research trip make sure you are prepared. Conduct a thorough search of the Family History Library Catalog and make note of all the microforms, books and resources you want to see. Pay special attention to the location of the item. If an item is in the “Vault” you will need to order it beforehand. Since the Family History Library Catalog is available on the Internet, do this preliminary research first so you don’t waste time while at the library.

photograph of microfilm drawers inside the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah

Microfilm Drawers inside the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. © 2012 Gena Philibert-Ortega

Ask other genealogists. It’s always a good idea to talk to other genealogists who’ve traveled to your destination. Frequent travelers to the Family History Library may have helpful tips about making photocopies, what to bring, how they go about researching at the facility, and where the best places to stay in Salt Lake City are. Not sure you know anyone who has been to Salt Lake City? Ask around at your local genealogy society or post a question on a social media website like Facebook, Twitter or GenealogyWise.

photograph of the Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah

Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located in downtown Salt Lake City. © 2010 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Have fun! Yes, there is so much you can research at the Family History Library, as well as the other archives and libraries, but don’t forget to take some breaks during your trip as well. It’s important to schedule some time to eat, walk around or even take the night off to check out the sights and tourist attractions. If you arrive on Sunday, the Family History Library is closed but that gives you time to prepare for your research and do some sightseeing in Utah.

photograph of Salt Lake Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. © 2012 Gena Philibert-Ortega

However you plan your family research trip, remember this: no matter how much time you spend researching, there will always be more you wished you had seen. So when you get home, organize what you found, update your database and start planning your next trip!

 

 

Genealogy Search Tip: Searching by Topic in GenealogyBank’s Database

Being a genealogy site, most people use GenealogyBank by searching on the name of an ancestor. But there are other ways to search for genealogical information in GenealogyBank’s online database.

Did you realize that you can search using any topic or search terms? It is not necessary to always enter an ancestor’s name for every search you do. GenealogyBank makes it easy to research a specific historical event, place or war battle.

Let’s say you know, from an old family letter, that your ancestor fought during the Civil War’s Battle of Vicksburg, and you want to read all you can about the battle to learn something of your ancestor’s actions and understand a little better what he must have experienced.

GenealogyBank lets you do that—by simply searching on the historical Civil War battle without including your ancestor’s name.

Here’s how to search by topic in GenealogyBank’s database.

First, use the “Include keywords with search” box that appears on the search form on GenealogyBank’s homepage, and leave the other boxes blank. Remember: you do not have to search by personal name; you may search on any word that appeared in a newspaper, document or map.

Enter the search term Battle of Vicksburg into the box field and click on the green “Begin Search” button. As you can see on the Search Results Page, GenealogyBank has more than 20,000 documents in our database about the Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, including 17,245 newspaper articles!

Perhaps you want to start your genealogy research by reading contemporary newspaper reports of the famous Civil War battle. Click on the historical newspapers link to access the newspapers’ search form.

Then perform a search on the term Battle of Vicksburg and limit the year to 1863 by putting 1863 in the Date box.

This search query returns 2,983 news articles from our newspaper archive database about the Battle of Vicksburg, all written in 1863, including reporters’ first-hand accounts of the action, official military reports, maps, and other documents about that important Civil War battle.

Plenty of good newspaper readings to help you better understand what your ancestor went through, and thereby flesh out that name on your family tree!

Finding Your “Roots” at Alex Haley Museum Opening

Alex Haley home dedicated as a genealogy library and museum.

When 17-year-old violinist Joseph Matthews performed at the dedication of the Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center, he had no idea he would discover his family roots. Joseph, a high school senior from Memphis, Tennessee, was among hundreds who participated in two days of festivities at the Interpretive Center located behind Mr. Haley’s boyhood home in Henning, Tennessee. The center was dedicated on Friday, 13 August, 2010.

Mr. Haley, who passed away in 1992, received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The book tells of his ancestors being sold into slavery in West Africa and their migration from North Carolina to Tennessee. The following year a TV series of Roots, described as “eight straight days of the Super Bowl,” aired and remains the highest rated TV miniseries in television history. Among the significant impact of Roots was a surge in interest throughout the world in family history research.

TIP: Search the Largest Collection of African American newspapers is in GenealogyBank.

Inside the museum Joseph and his family visited a FamilySearch center sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through the free online program FamilySearch.org, Joseph explored his ancestral lines. “Basically we were able to type in my grandmother’s mother’s and father’s name, and from there we searched their records and we were able to find information about their parents as well as their siblings, birthdates, wedding dates, things of that nature,” said Matthews. “We made a couple of steps to where we can make some pretty good discoveries in the future as to our family lineage. We’re going to find out a lot more about our family and where we came from.”

According to Art Johnson, FamilySearch area manager, the placement of the FamilySearch center within the Alex Haley Museum is a perfect fit, “I think it’s a great opportunity to simply share the message of family history and genealogy to individuals that come in and commemorate the accomplishments and successes of Mr. Haley’s life. It’s an opportunity to simply bring people in and help them understand their heritage the way that Mr. Haley did.”
William Haley, Alex’s son, said that resources available through
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are very valuable in searching African-American ancestry. “I always send them to the LDS Church. I say, ‘Well find an LDS Church with a history portion and go in there and they will help you find out who you are and it doesn’t matter what country or anything, they will help you.’ Folks are very surprised at that, but it’s true.”

This is one of several related projects supported by the Church. In 2001, FamilySearch released the Freedman’s Bank records on CD, a unique searchable database documenting several generations of African-Americans immediately following the Civil War. In 2006, FamilySearch participated in the
Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society’s (AAHGS) national conference in Salt Lake City. An African-American family history conference is held in Salt Lake City each year.

The Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center and FamilySearch center are located in Henning, Tennessee, about 45 miles northeast of Memphis.

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Chicago, IL Key Genealogy Resources Online – Handy Guide

Chicago Genealogy Resources.
Bookmark and save this page – so you may easily refer to it often.
Your handy guide to the sources you will actually use to build your family tree.


Birth Certificates – 1878-1922
FamilySearch Pilot
Birth Registers – 1871-1915
FamilySearch Pilot

Census
1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920
1850 – Mortality, 1850 – Slave Schedule
FamilySearch Pilot

City Directory
1844; 1855; 1856; 1863-1864

Deaths – pre 1916. Illinois Statewide Index
Illinois State Archives
Deaths 1916-1950. Illinois Statewide Index
Illinois State Archives

Deaths 1937-Present. SSDI

Land Records – Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales
Illinois State Archives

Marriage Records – 1871-1920. Chicago, IL
FamilySearch Pilot
Marriage Records – 1763-1900. Illnois Statewide Index
Illinois State Archives

Military – WWII Draft Registration Cards
FamilySearch Pilot

Illinois State Archives- Military Database Projects
Illinois Veterans’ History Project
Illinois War of 1812 Veterans
Illinois Winnebago War Veterans
Illinois Black Hawk War Veterans
Illinois Mexican War Veterans
Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls
Illinois Civil War Veterans Serving in the U.S. Navy
Illinois Civil War Veterans of Missouri Units
Illinois Spanish–American War Veterans
Database of the 1929 Illinois Roll of Honor
Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home Residents

Newspapers: 1854 – Today
Bags & Baggage. (Chicago, IL) 1937-1943
Bulletin. (Chicago, IL) 1968-1969
Central South Sider. (Chicago, IL) 1929
Chicago Courier. (Chicago, IL) 1974-1975
Chicago Herald. (Chicago, IL) 1890-1891
Chicago Metro News. (Chicago, IL) 1973-1990
Chicago Sun-Times (Chicago, IL) 1/1/1986-Current
Chicago Times. (Chicago, IL) 1854-1888
Chicago Tribune. (Chicago, IL) 1/1/1985-Current
Chicago World. (Chicago, IL) 1925-1935
Daily Inter Ocean. (Chicago, IL) 1874-1896
Daily Southtown (Chicago, IL) 7/31/2004-11/17/2007
Illinois Sentinel. (Chicago, IL) 1937
Inter Ocean. (Chicago, IL) 1874-1896
Latin Times. (Chicago, IL) 1868-1975
Metropolitan Post. (Chicago, IL) 1938-1939
Noticia Mundial. (Chicago, IL) 1927-1928
Olivet Baptist Church Herald. (Chicago, IL) 1936
Pomeroy’s Democrat. (Chicago, IL) 1869-1879
Skyline (Chicago, IL) 12/8/2005-12/6/2007
Sol de Chicago. (Chicago, IL) 1960
SouthtownStar (Chicago, IL) 11/18/2007-Current
Sunday Times. (Chicago, IL) 1869-1876
Vida Latina. (Chicago, IL) 1952-1963
Vorbote. (Chicago, IL) 1874-1875

Slave Records
Database of Illinois Servitude and Emancipation Records
Illinois State Archives

Massachusetts Library Lecture – Sat, 4 Apr – Braintree, MA

Thayer Public Library, 798 Washington St., Braintree, Massachusetts.
For more information, call 781-848-0405 x4420 or visit www.thayerpubliclibrary.net

Program: Discovering Your Ancestry Using the Internet
Speaker: Michael Brophy
When: Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public.

The most popular and useful features of www.newenglandancestors.org, www.familysearch.org, www.genealogybank.com and other Internet resources will be discussed.

New England Ancestors is the database of the 150+ year old New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Family search is the website of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT.

Cyndi’s list is the most powerful search engine on the Internet for high quality genealogy databases and subjects.

GenealogyBank is a fast growing website that contains the best newspaper collections on the planet.

More about NY Genealogical & Biographical Society’s Library move to NYPL

Saturday we told you that the NY Genealogical & Biographical Society Library was being given to the NY Public Library.

The NYG&B has now issued a public statement giving more about the background and rationale for this decision. Since this news release is not on the G&B website – I am posting it here.

NEWS FROM THE NYG&B SOCIETY – July 21, 2008 – Special edition
The big question on the minds of NYG&B members for the past several months has been, “Where is the collection going and how soon will it be accessible again?” We are now able to share the good news with you. We are very pleased to announce it will be going to the New York Public Library to be incorporated with the wonderful genealogical and manuscripts collections already housed there.

Although the transfer of the collection will take some time—it will take up to two years for the G&B collection to be fully accessible at NYPL—the end result will benefit all genealogists. Our entire collection will be accessible on-line through NYPL’s database. Offering our catalog on-line had been a long-time goal of the G&B, but the resources necessary to carry out this project always seemed beyond reach. Now through our partnership with NYPL, this dream will finally be achieved. Having our catalog available, just a couple clicks away, through the web will be a boon to our out-of-area members who may not have been able to get to our library often, or at all, to discover what resources we had for them.

Additionally, our new offices will be in close proximity to the NYPL. Instead of a ride in a very slow elevator, the collection will now be just a short walk away. Several of our long-time staff members, all of whom have an excellent grasp of the collection and its value, will continue with the G&B, sharing their knowledge and experience with our membership.

We are committed to our extraordinary collection of books, manuscripts, microfilm, microfiche, maps, etc., and will continue to accept pertinent donations, so please remember the NYG&B when you want to make your unique research available to the wider genealogical community.

Our partnership with NYPL does not end with the transfer of our collection from our library to theirs. We are also committed to join forces to provide top-notch educational programming, as the G&B has in the past, but now with the added benefit of the NYPL’s wonderful resources, personnel, and venues. This partnership marks a wonderful, and very exciting beginning for the “new” NYG&B.

Some of you may have seen the article The New York Times published regarding this arrangement on Saturday, July 19, 2008. It contained a factual error in that our Portrait Collection has not been offered to the New-York Historical Society, nor have there been any negotiations with them regarding this collection. Also, although the article did note that the G&B will focus on ” . . . grant-giving, tours, lectures, and other means of encouraging genealogical research . . . ,” it neglected to mention the commitment the G&B has made to providing first rate educational programs with the added support and input of the NYPL staff.

The following press release is being issued jointly today by the NYG&B and the NYPL:

New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Contributes Its 75,000-Volume Collection to the New York Public Library

Step to Create One of the World’s Largest, Most Accessible Genealogical Libraries: A Singular Resource for Researchers of New York Family History

NEW YORK, NY, July 21, 2008-The New York Public Library (NYPL) and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (the G&B) announced jointly today that the New York Public Library will become the new home of the G&B Society’s library of 75,000 published works, 30,000 manuscripts, 22,000 microforms, 1,300 periodicals and digital computer media. Among the materials are 16th and 17th century land records; transcriptions of New York baptismal and marriage records; personal diaries and letters; and census data from as early as the 18th century. Joining the Library’s rich and heavily used genealogical and manuscript collections, the merged materials of the NYPL and the G&B will create an unparalleled, publicly accessible resource for those conducting genealogical research. The NYPL and the G&B will co-sponsor educational programs, create links to each other’s websites, and collaborate in various ways to make this invaluable resource available to the public.”

Combining the two collections will result in an extraordinary resource for people nationwide seeking to learn about family members who were born in New York, lived in New York, or passed through New York on the way to becoming citizens,” said David Ferriero, the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries. “The G&B collection’s great strength lies in its holdings for the 17th to 18th centuries with emphasis on the Dutch and English. The NYPL genealogical collections are strongest for the 19th to 20th centuries and embrace many different ethnic groups.”

“New York is the historic center of U.S. immigration. Together, two venerable New York institutions will create one of the world’s largest and most accessible genealogical libraries. As a result of this contribution, the wealth of genealogical resources in the G&B’s unique collection, integrated with the NYPL’s incomparable holdings, will within two years be fully accessible to anyone conducting research in this area,” said G&B Chairman Waddell W. Stillman.

The G & B’s collections will become part of the Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Division and its Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History, and Genealogy. The Manuscripts and Archives Division holds approximately 29,000 linear feet of archival material, with its greatest strengths in the papers of individuals, families, and organizations, primarily in the New York region, from the 18th through 20th centuries.

The Milstein Division is one of the nation’s largest publicly accessible collections of genealogical materials and includes hundreds of thousands of books, serials, photographs, microforms, and ephemeral materials in addition to offering free access to a wide range of tools for electronic research.Last July, the G&B announced the sale of its East 58th Street building and reported that it would be moving its headquarters and library to new locations.

Simultaneously, the G&B announced preliminary plans for the restructuring and enhancement of its service offerings and its membership program. Its goal is to transform a 19th century members-only genealogical society founded in 1869 into a 21st century resource for education, research and scholarship serving increasingly Internet-reliant users interested in New York.” Once we decided to sell our building and move the library to a new location, ‘stewardship’ and ‘accessibility’ became the most important words in our vocabulary,” Mr. Stillman continued.

“We sought the strongest possible partner – an organization that would value the G&B collection highly because it significantly complements its own and that would make the G&B library broadly available to researchers worldwide. Equally important, it had to have the professional staff and resources to appropriately house, catalogue, and properly conserve the collection.

The NYPL has precisely those resources and a collection that fits extremely well with ours.” The G&B’s library on 58th Street closed June 1st, and its books, manuscripts, and other media are being readied to be moved to the NYPL starting in August.

James L. Sorenson – DNA Pioneer Dies at 86

James L. Sorenson, a pioneer in DNA research has died. A self-made billionaire, he used his wealth in many causes.


Genealogists in particular are aware of his efforts with DNA and genealogy. In 1999 he started the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. The group has collected more than 70,000 DNA samples, together with four-generation pedigree charts, from volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.

His lengthy obituary and related newspaper articles appear in today’s Deseret News (UT) – you can read them in

GenealogyBank.

Here is the article (used by permission):
Deceased Name: Inventor, philanthropist James Sorenson, Utah’s richest man, dies at 86
James LeVoy Sorenson, whose success as an entrepreneur, real estate magnate and inventor of numerous medical devices made him Utah’s richest man, died Sunday, Jan. 20, at a Salt Lake hospital.

Besides his wealth and business acumen, Sorenson was renowned as a philanthropist.
Sorenson, whose wealth was estimated to be $4.5 Billion last year by Forbes magazine, was 86 years old. He was listed as the 68th-richest American in September 2007.
He was the owner of Sorenson Cos., a parent company to 32 corporations in industries including medicine, bioscience, investment/development and manufacturing.
Sorenson held more than 40 medical patents during his lifetime and is perhaps best known for co-developing the first real-time computerized heart monitor. He also invented the disposable paper surgical mask, the plastic venous catheter and a blood recycling system for trauma and surgical procedures, as well as many other medical innovations.
“I think success in his mind was someone that had ideas, that had a strong work ethic and a tenacity,” son James Lee Sorenson told the Deseret Morning News. “As you look at examples in the world today, those are important attributes. I think Dad was a calculated-risk-taker, and successful people generally are.”

The younger Sorenson said his father’s legacy will be as “a great American inventor, a man with a tremendous amount of innovation.”

Among his philanthropic endeavors is Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, which is creating a worldwide, correlated genetic and genealogical database used in ancestry research. His donations have helped a Washington, D.C., university for the deaf and hearing impaired and assisted in establishment of an outdoor performing arts pavilion in Herriman. He gave more than $30 million for restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ temple in Nauvoo, Ill.

After the tsunami of 2004 hit Thailand, he donated DNA testing kits to assist in identifying the dead, and Sorenson Genomics — one of his companies — analyzed their DNA, matching some victims with their relatives.

He donated land and money to help build the Sorenson Unity Center at California Avenue and 900 West, next door to the Sorenson Multicultural Center. The YMCA’s Camp Rogers in the Uinta Mountains also benefited from his generosity.
He and James Lee Sorenson reached out to help Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.; together they donated $5 million to the country’s largest university for the deaf and hearing impaired.

In April 2007, he gave $6 million to the new Intermountain Medical Center, raising his contributions to Intermountain Healthcare to $22 million. He pledged $500,000 during a fund-raiser for Primary Children’s Medical Center in June 2007. In September 2007, the nonprofit Sorenson Legacy Foundation donated $6 million to the University of Utah, toward the James LeVoy Sorenson Center, which will be dedicated to encourage innovation and discovery among students across Utah.

A crisis concerning the Legislature’s refusal to fund some items in the state Medicaid program was averted in 2006 when Sorenson and Intermountain Healthcare donated $1 million each. The next year, the Legislature picked up the tab.

Sorenson also was a poet and composer of LDS hymns, publishing some of them in a book titled, “Just Love the People, the World Is our Family.”

After beginning his career selling pharmaceuticals to physicians for Upjohn Co. in Salt Lake City, Sorenson started buying real estate in the Salt Lake area. In 1957 he co-founded Deseret Pharmaceutical, and the company became the foundation for the establishment of Becton Dickinson Vascular Access. In 1962, he founded Sorenson Research, which was sold to Abbott Laboratories, a Fortune 100 company, in 1980.

He founded LeVoy’s, a company that made lingerie for modest women and used Tupperware-style marketing with parties hosted in homes. He also owned and developed thousands of acres of commercial, residential and agricultural properties throughout Utah.

Sorenson, who was born in Rexburg, Idaho, and grew up in central California, is survived by Beverley Taylor Sorenson, his wife of 60 years, and two sons, six daughters, 47 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.