Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Charles Dickens’s Birthday

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles John Huffam Dickens, the famous English novelist who created such memorable characters as David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Tiny Tim.

Born on Feb. 7, 1812, Charles Dickens remains one of the most popular and beloved writers in the world—in fact, his stories have never gone out of print!

One of the pleasures of doing family history research in a large collection of historical newspapers like GenealogyBank’s is that you can also find material about famous people. Not only can you explore their lives and trace their family trees in newspapers—you can get priceless information about famous people that isn’t available from other genealogical resources.

For example, two days after the famous author’s death these impressive words were written about Charles Dickens in a newspaper obituary published by the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio), 11 June 1870, page 4:

“Without the slightest tinge of exaggeration it may be said with solemn meaning that no announcement could have created a profounder feeling of sorrow and regret than that which conveys the intelligence of the death of Charles Dickens, the eminent novelist—the friend of humanity.

“The event, while it was not altogether unexpected—for Dickens was a man of years, of full habit and many ailments—yet it came like an electric shock which deadens for an instant and is followed by a somber gloom.

“A potentate of Europe might have passed away and created no ripple, save in his own immediate circle; but the death of one so great and good as Dickens is a world-wide calamity, and it will be felt wherever the English language is spoken—wherever human impulses are felt.”

On the 100th anniversary of Dickens’s birth the Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) ran this page-long chronology of the life of the beloved author, published 28 January 1912, page 4.

Charles Dickens 100th Birthday Anniversary Newspaper Collage

Oregonian | January 28, 1912

You can discover the facts about Charles Dickens at GenealogyBank. Visit our historical newspaper archives today to explore the life and death of the world-renowned author Charles Dickens: http://bit.ly/AobNT9

Breaking News: 200 million census, death records go online

The Family History Library announced today that another 200 million genealogical records have been put online. This pushes their website to over 700 million records online. FamilySearch.org is now the largest international genealogy collection online.

The Family History Library is “focusing on digitizing and publishing online federal and state censuses and state birth, marriage and death records.”

Today’s release included:
TN Death Records 1914-1955
OH Tax Records 1800-1850
IL Death Records 1916-1947
and more collections from around the world.

Click Here to see the complete list of resources

The latest deluge of records includes 53 new or updated collections from the United States and over 100 million new records from Europe, Scandinavia and Mexico. The United States collections include the 1910 U.S. Census and states’ birth, marriage and death records. There are 10 million new records from New Jersey and Michigan, 4 million from Tennessee, an amazing 41 million from Massachusetts, and many more from other states.

TIP: FamilySearch is your best source for free census and vital records. Original digital records – all free.

“Some time ago, FamilySearch committed to creating access to the world’s genealogical records online in a big way. Today’s updates are part of an ongoing effort to make good on those commitments,” said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager. “We have only just begun,” Nauta concluded. In the U.S., FamilySearch is currently focusing on digitizing and publishing online federal and state censuses and state birth, marriage and death records. When complete, the initiative will provide a definitive collection of U.S. genealogical resources for family history researchers.

In addition to the new U.S. collections, over 100 million records were added to FamilySearch’s international collections online — making it most likely the largest international genealogy collection online. The new international databases come from birth, marriage and death records and from municipal records. Go to FamilySearch.org, then click Search Records and then Record Search pilot to see a full list of the free collections. The records will also soon be available at beta.familysearch.org.
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GenealogyBank adds more Army, Navy, Air Force Registers

GenealogyBank has added the 1970 military registers for the Army, Air Force, Navy & Marine Corps.

US Army Register – 1970
U.S. Army Register. Volume I. Regular Army active list. 1 January 1970.

U.S. Army Register. Volume II. Army, NGUS, USAR, and other active lists. 1 January 1970.

U.S. Army Register. Volume III. Retired lists. 1 January 1970.

Navy Register – 1970
Register of commissioned and warrant officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and reserve officers on active duty. 1 January 1970.

Air Force Register – 1970
Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists & Volume II: Retired lists.

The annual “Registers” issued by each branch of the military are a handy reference tool for obtaining genealogical and military service information about our ancestors.

TIP: You may quickly find these registers by searching for “Army Register” – or “Air Force Register” (in quotes) in the keywords search box – then narrow the search by the years you are researching. The title varies over the years – so you’ll have to adjust the keywords you use over the last 200 years.
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"I sank the Bismarck"

The London Daily Telegraph (9 June 2009) is reporting that it was John Moffat, an RAF pilot, who dropped the torpedo that led to the sinking of the Bismarck on May 28, 1941.

(Click here to read the entire article Dallas Morning News 31 May 1941).

The sinking of the Bismarck is a powerful story. The US was not in the war yet – but the headlines of the war in Europe and Asia had gripped the country for years. Pearl Harbor would not be attacked for another 7 months.

(Dallas Morning News 8 Dec 1961).

Songs were sung about that day.

Whether you are researching your ancestor’s in World War II or the Revolutionary War you will depend on GenealogyBank to get the job done.

Over 3,800 newspapers, all 50 States, 1690-Today
Join with us today!

Thank you to History News Network for alerting me to this story.

Tremendous Battle on Lake Ontario – War of 1812 – Team Looking for Wreck of HMS Wolfe

This month a Canadian dive team is expected to search the water near Kingston, Ontario for the wreck of the HMS Wolfe, later renamed the HMS Montreal.

Launched 5 May 1813 the HMS Wolfe was the flagship of the British fleet on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. The ship was badly damaged by the USS General Pike under the command of US Commodore Isaac Chauncey on 28 August 1813.

The ship escaped and was repaired but did not return as the flagship for the British fleet. Years later the ship sunk off of Kingston, Ontario.
You can read the accounts of the battle as they were reported in the newspapers of the day in GenealogyBank.

(Tremendous Battle on Lake Ontario – Universal Gazette (Washington, DC) 8 Oct 1813). Click on the link above or the image (left) to read the article.

GenealogyBank has more than 3,800 newspapers, covering 1690 to today. It is the source that genealogists rely on to document the lives of their ancestors.

Read the news as it happened.

Subscribe to GenealogyBank today.

Click Here.

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Passenger Lists

GenealogyBank is growing – it now has nearly 300 million items.
This morning I found this passenger list – published as a souvenir handbill that was likely given to the passengers on the steamship Silesia when it left on Tuesday November 30, 1869 bound for Plymouth, Cherbourg, London and Hamburg.

In addition to the 3,800 newspapers – GenealogyBank has over 255,000 digital books, documents and early printed items – like this one page passenger list from 1869. It’s amazing what you’ll find in GenealogyBank.

On close inspection of the newspapers I also found these articles giving more details of the passengers, the progress of the ship to the various ports of Europe and even this interesting article about the value of the gold bars that the ship was carrying.

Brief article in a Cincinnati newspaper about local residents who were passengers on the Silesia.
(Cincinnati Commerican Tribune – 5 Dec 1869)
Notice of the gold bars carried as cargo on that voyage.
(Philadelphia Inquirer – 6 Dec 1869).

Silesia arrives at the port of Le Havre, France. (Cincinnati Commercial Tribune – 11 Dec 1869).

GenealogyBank is a core tool for genealogists – packed with the practical information you’ll rely on for documenting your ancestor’s lives. Subscribe now.
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Church History Library Opens in Salt Lake City – June 12th & 13th

After 15 years of planning, four years of construction and a million artifacts moved, Elder Marlin K. Jensen from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints placed the last historical item on the shelf in the new Church History Library in front of local media.

Jensen, the historian and recorder of the Church, explained that this last item was one of the 100 scrapbooks kept by President David O. McKay. “It is a personal record filled with photos, letters and journal entries that documented his travels as an apostle in 1921 to the far corners of the earth.” Elder McKay’s world tour took him 55,000 miles to such countries as Australia, France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Samoa, Palestine, India and Egypt to survey the Church’s missions. One photograph captured a moment in Egypt with Elder McKay and his traveling companion, Hugh J. Cannon, both sitting on camels in front of the famous Sphinx. Elder Jensen was joined by President McKay’s grandson, Alan Ashton, when the journal was placed in one of the many vaults of the Church History Library.

The scrapbook was the last item but certainly not the least of the priceless artifacts and records Elder Jensen and assistant Church historian Richard E. Turley presented to news reporters as part of a media tour on June 11, 2009. Assistant executive director Elder Paul K. Sybrowsky and managing director of the Church History Department, Steve Olsen, were also in attendance and shared their knowledge of Church history with members of the media.

The group was given a first glimpse of what the public can expect to see during the upcoming open house at the Church History Library on June 12 and 13.

In addition to a media presentation and tour of the library, journalists were given a rare look at dozens of one-of-a-kind and intriguing pieces of Church history treasures on display. Perhaps one of the most unique items was an early edition of the Book of Mormon that was printed in French and German — on alternating pages. This early edition, the only one in existence, was translated through the supervision of John Taylor, an apostle and the eventual third president of the Church, while he was serving a mission in Europe in 1852.

In keeping with the Church History Department’s efforts to collect modern and current history, Elder Jensen spoke of the significance of the newly published LDS first edition Spanish language Bible. Another important undertaking on display was the Joseph Smith Papers project; the second volume is due out later this year.

In an extraordinary operation, thousands of similarly valued documents, books, photos, diaries, microfiche and film were

moved from their old home at the Church Office Building across the street to the Church History Library. It took just 19 days to physically accomplish the move, but it took hundreds of volunteers a year and a half to tag and categorize each piece slated for the move. One project leader compared the mammoth undertaking to moving the Library of Congress.

The most priceless and sacred records and documents were the last to make the move, under heightened security measures. They now join more than 600,000 other historic records housed and preserved on nearly 50 miles of shelving in temperature-controlled vaults with fire and seismic protection. Items such as film will even be kept in sub zero chambers. Brent Thompson from the Church History Department says the new temperature-controlled vaults will ensure that “not only will the artifacts be available in 100 years but they will look good 100 years from now.”

The Church History Library not only houses priceless documents and artifacts but also provides the latest methods in

conservation, collection development and research. Conservators repair, restore and stabilize books, documents and photographs with a state-of-the-art Conservation Lab. The lab includes a darkroom, where conservators are able to turn acetate negatives into useable photographs, and a document cleaning room that enables them to wash historical records and apply age-slowing chemical treatments.

That state-of-the-art spirit is also found in the innovation of the Church History Library’s design. Great care was taken to make sure the building not only met, but surpassed building code and energy efficiency standards. That attention to a “green” building design is found in such areas as the filtering system, which eliminates allergens.

The paper, plastic and metal products used in the Church History Library will be recycled, and the heating and cooling systems have the highest efficiency ratings. The landscaping and plumbing will use less water, and the windows, blinds and insulation will preserve temperatures. These careful implementations have put the Church History Library on track for the prestigious Silver Design certificate given through the acclaimed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

But perhaps one of the most notable aspects of the new library is that it is designed for public accessibility. The Church History Department’s previous accommodations were designed to be more of an internal archive, said Steve Olsen, managing director over Church history. “The Church in its foundational documents has a huge commitment to preserving history and to making history useful for members and others interested in learning about its history,” said Olsen. “It is the first time in the Church’s 179-year history that we have had a dedicated public building for this purpose. … It’s really quite significant.”