National Archives, Library of Congress Documents Go Online

The National Archives and the Library of Congress announced today that they have begun loading digital copies of their materials on a new site called the World Digital Library.

Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced today that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has become a founding partner in the World Digital Library (WDL).

NARA will contribute digital versions of important documents from its collections to the WDL, which will be launched for the international public in early 2009.

These documents include Civil War photographs, naturalization and immigration records of famous Americans, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, and photographs by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Lewis Hine. Examples of the images that NARA is contributing to the World Digital Library are now available online.

Example of a naturalization document – Declaration of Intent of Maria von Trapp, 01/21/1944 – that was put online by NARA. NARA ARC Identifier 596198.

The WDL will include representative examples from these document categories – not the complete backfiles of these documents.

The complete run of the American State Papers is already available on GenealogyBank. See GenealogyBank’s Historical Documents collection where you will find military records, casualty lists, Revolutionary and Civil War pension requests, widow’s claims, orphan petitions, land grants and much more including the complete American State Papers (1789-1838) and all genealogical content carefully selected from the U.S. Serial Set (1817-1980). More than 146,000 reports, lists and documents. GenealogyBank has the most comprehensive collection of these US Government reports and documents available to genealogists online. GenealogyBank is adding more documents to this collection every month.

Proposed in 2005 by the Library of Congress in cooperation with UNESCO, the WDL will make available on the Internet significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world. The project’s goal is to promote international understanding and to provide a resource for use by students, teachers, and general audiences.

“We are pleased that our fellow Federal cultural institution, the National Archives, is joining the Library of Congress in the early stages of this project,” said Billington.

“NARA’s participation not only will ensure that the World Digital Library contains a full record of the American experience, but it also will encourage archives around the world to join with their counterparts from the library world in this important initiative.”

“The mission of the National Archives is to make U.S. Government records widely accessible,” said Weinstein. “The World Digital Library will be a valuable conduit for us to share some of our nation’s treasures with others around the world. We look forward to working with the Library of Congress on this important project.”

In addition to NARA and the Library of Congress, the WDL project partners include cultural institutions from Brazil, China, Egypt, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and many other countries. Click here for more Information about the WDL.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest Federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections. The Library seeks to spark the public’s imagination and celebrate human achievement through its programs and exhibits. In doing so, the institution helps foster the informed and involved citizenry upon which American democracy depends. The Library serves the public, scholars, members of Congress and their staffs through its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill. Many of the rich resources and treasures of the Library may also be accessed through its
award-winning web site and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized web site.
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Peruvian Vital Records 1874-1930; Spanish Parish Registers go online

FamilySearchLabs.org has put the birth, marriage and death records of Lima, Peru for 1874-1930; and the Ciudad Rodrigo (Spain) Parish registers for 1550-1930 online.

This has been my third blog posting today about new Hispanic family history records.

Earlier I wrote about the more than 230 Spanish language newspapers – 1808-1977 going live on GenealogyBank and that FamilySearch Indexing now has a Spanish language website.

GenealogyBank is the best and largest source for online Hispanic newspapers.

It’s a great day for Hispanic genealogy!

Peruvian Vital Records – 1874-1930
The civil registration records: births, marriages and deaths from the Registro Civil de Lima, Peru are now searchable on FamilySearchLabs. These records were digitized and indexed from 227 (35mm) microfilm in the vaults of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. For more information on Lima’s vital records see: Officina Registral Lima

Ciudad Rodrigo (Spain) Parish registers for 1550-1930
Roman Catholic parish registers from the Ciudad Rodrigo Diocese in Spain from 1550-1930 are now searchable at FamilySearchLabs. These records include baptisms, marriages, burials and other church records.

FamilySearch Indexing now available in Spanish

FamilySearch’s indexing system is now available in the Spanish language, giving Spanish speakers easier access to an enormous collection of family history resources.

Familysearch, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, contains the world’s largest repository of genealogical records.

For longtime family history buffs, making the indexing process accessible in Spanish will make more of the Spanish language microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City available to genealogists.

Having the indexing system available in Spanish also gives volunteers who speak Spanish the opportunity to add indexing information to the Internet, opening up this opportunity to genealogists in Spanish-speaking countries.

Even a novice genealogist can register at familysearch.org and, after completing a simple tutorial, participate in the indexing process.

Designed for ease and efficiency, the indexing software allows indexing to be processed on a personal computer at home or any other location. Indexing projects are downloaded on the computer, and the significant data is entered in a tabbed format.

And because all of the information and instructions are now in Spanish, users are not required to speak English.

Numerous Spanish projects, including the 1930 Mexican Census, the 1869 Argentina Census and some church records from Spain and Venezuela, are currently available for online indexing.



Illustration: A page from the 1869 census of Argentina being indexed by Spanish-speaking volunteers at FamilySearch indexing. © 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

According to Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch, the time commitment to work on indexing is not significant. “A seasoned indexer could complete a census page in about 15 minutes, while a newcomer may take twice that long,” Nauta explained. “Volunteers may also work in short segments, saving their work online as they go. If they are unable to finish, the work is automatically assigned to another indexer, so not even 10 minutes of work would be wasted. We’ll take any and every effort,” he concluded.

NGS Newsmagazine – Latest Issue

The April-June 2008 issue of the NGS Newsmagazine (National Genealogical Society) just arrived in the mail.

Articles:
Alpert, Janet A. President’s Message. pp. 2-3
Kerstens, Elizabeth Kelly. Editor’s Corner. pp. 4-5
Freilich, Kay Haviland & Ann Carter Fleming. Research in the States Series Expands. pp. 10-11.
Jennings, Arlene V. Reconstructing family history from museum visits. pp. 18-22.
Mieszala, Debbie. Courage on the Seas: Records of the United States Life-Saving Service. pp. 23-27, 51.
Smith, Gary M. & Diana Crisman Smith. Reaching Genealogists through Words (ISFHWE, Genealogical Speakers Guild). pp. 28-31.
Hovorka, Janet. Care and Repair of Photographs. pp. 33-37.
Gray, Gordon. What is APG? pp. 38-41.
Pierce, Alycon Trubey. Adding final pension payment voucher records to the researcher’s toolbox. pp. 42-48.
Smith, Gary M. & Diana Crisman Smith. Research dilemmas of broken homes. pp. 49-51.
Swanson, Andree Brower. Not so plain Jane (Jane Crawford). pp. 52-54.
Schneck, Barbara. Review of Family Tree Maker 2008. pp. 55-58.
Smith, Drew. Papa’s got a brand new genealogy bag. pp. 59-61.
Hinds, Harold E., Jr. A paradigm shift? Biology vs. lineage. pp. 62-63.

1st genealogy published in America – 7 May 1724

The first genealogy published in America appeared in a newspaper 284 years ago – today – May 7, 1724.

It appeared in the American Weekly Mercury. It was a genealogy of King Philip V of Spain. Genealogy articles routinely appeared in colonial newspapers.

The first genealogy published in book form was in 1771 – the Stebbins Genealogy and by 1876 and the nation’s first centennial there were less than 1,000 genealogies published.

With a push from President Ulysses S. Grant the idea really took off. It was 132 years ago on May 25th that he issued a “Proclamation” to the American people asking them to remember their history, write it down and distribute it widely.

He wrote that he wanted to see “a complete record” of our history … be kept and placed in each county and in the Library of Congress”. If the Internet were available then I am sure he would have suggested that they be put online too.


According to the 16 Mar 1912 issue of the San Jose Mercury “Genealogy Study Rapidly Growing. In Recent Years Americans Have Been Making Great Study of the Family Tree”. By the year 1920 there were 2,000 published genealogies and by 1972 there were 50,000 family histories in print.

With the publication of Roots in 1976 genealogy really took off.

By the late 90s the Internet was becoming a common tool for genealogists. By 1998 there were over 90,000 published genealogies. Today, just ten years later that number has jumped to over 150,000 published genealogies.

GenealogyBank was launched in 2005 and is also growing at a rapid pace. Now we are adding over 4 million items per month.

This month we added 4.3 million records; included 78 newspapers from 23 States. Click here for the complete list.
Amazing.
What a great day for genealogy!