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February 2007
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Free Online Genealogy Database Hits 150 Million Names

Free Online Genealogy Database Hits 150 Million Names - also adds ability to view names in family tree format

SALT LAKE CITY (March 2007) - FamilySearch announced today that the Pedigree Resource File (PRF) database has reached over 150 million searchable names. Along with the milestone achievement, a new feature has been added that allows users to view genealogical and extended information for deceased individuals in a familiar pedigree (family tree) format. Users can search or contribute their personal genealogies to the free database at

The PRF database is a popular destination for family historians seeking to find missing branches of their family tree and then preserve or share family histories online. People from around the world can submit their genealogies online at Using a genealogy software program (such as the free Personal Ancestral File program found at, users can easily donate a copy of their personal family histories to the Pedigree Resource File. Details can be found online by clicking the Share tab on Since its launch in 1999, the database has grown at a rate of about 19 million names a year. Today, it boasts over 150 million searchable names. To respect privacy, only information about deceased individuals is displayed online.

"Prior to this latest search improvement, users didn't always realize that there was additional information available for an ancestor found in the database. We also wanted to display search results for an individual in the more familiar context of a family tree," said Steve Anderson, Marketing Manager for FamilySearch. "This new feature allows them to do just that."

The Pedigree Resource File can be found on the advanced search page on

FamilySearch is the public channel of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

Newspaper research just got a lot easier

Locating information about an ancestor in a newspaper can be a rewarding experience. However, knowing which newspaper was available during a certain time period and location has been a challenge.

Recent advances in technology provides the ability to search thousands of newspapers. Read this article for more about this. Since not all newspapers have yet been digitized, indexed, and published, researchers still need to know how to locate the newspaper for the right time period and location.

In the United States, the best resources have always been Ayers Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals and American Newspapers 1821-1936: A Union List. These are found at many larger libraries.

Now, the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, have made it possible to locate information about any newspaper in America through the Library of Congress website.

For example, David Clark BROWN died in Everett, Snohomish County, Washington in 1927. In the Search Directory section of the website, I was able to search for all newspapers in the city of Everett. I was even able to narrow the results to only show newspapers published between 1920 and 1930. It gave me a list of 6 newspapers:

  • The Everett Daily Herald 1897-1963
  • The Labor Journal 1909-1976
  • The Rising Sun 1911-19??
  • The Everett Weekly Herald
  • Party Builder
  • BudbÆreren (Seattle) 1918-1929

Now I had a list of several newspaper titles to search to locate a possible obituary. Next, clicking on the View Complete Holdings Information link, it gave me a list of all libraries/institutions that have a copy of the newspaper. Now I am armed with all the information I need to request to borrow the newspaper via Inter-Library Loan.

The Library of Congress and the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities even have plans to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers cover the years 1836-1922 from all U.S. states and territories. Their initial launch contains more than 226,000 pages of public-domain newspapers from California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Virginia and the District of Columbia published between 1900 and 1910.

Access the new Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers site here.

U.S. - Canadian Border Crossing Records 1895-1956 Now Online

PROVO, UTAH – March 28, 2007 –, the world's largest online resource for family history, today announced the addition of the first and only online collection of more than 4 million names of individuals who crossed the U.S.-Canadian border between 1895 and 1956. These historical records are the latest addition to’s Immigration Records Collection, which also includes more than 100 million names from the largest online collection of U.S. passenger lists, spanning 1820 to 1960.

An often-overlooked, but major U.S. immigration channel, the U.S.-Canadian border typically offered easier entrance to the United States than sea ports such as Ellis Island. This new collection includes immigrants who first sailed to or settled in Canada before continuing to the United States as well as U.S. and Canadian citizens crossing the border.

“Everyone has their unique family story – not all our immigrant ancestors came to America on board a ship,” said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for “This collection represents a significant opportunity for people whose ancestors had Canadian roots or entered the country via Canada to trace their footsteps back in time.” transcribed the names in the collection from more than 1 million documents, some containing passport-type photos of immigrants. The records were culled from more than 100 land-ports of entry, from Washington to Maine. Among the busiest ports of entry on both sides of the border were Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Detroit, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.

The border crossings also contain a surprising number of nationalities with Russians, Italians and Chinese among the most common nationalities of people crossing the U.S.-Canadian border.

Among notable border crossers is Superman creator, Joseph Shuster. Born in Toronto, Shuster moved to the United States as a child, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. His 1941 return to Canada, crossing at Buffalo, NY, is documented in the collection.

Search the records

To learn more about the collection, or to search the database (for subscribers), click here.

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History and Timeline of the Netherlands

Understanding the historical context of our ancestors' lives help us learn about and locate our ancestors. Those with Dutch ancestry will want to visit the historical timelines of the Netherlands, recently published by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The timelines are divided into the following groups:

  • Formating of the Netherlands: 50 BC-1588
  • The Dutch Republic at War: 1568-1813
  • The Golden Age: 1600-1700
  • The Kingdom of the Netherlands: 1813-1914
  • World wars and post-war reconstruction: 1914-1966
  • The Dutch struggle against the waters: 1953
  • The last decades of the 20th century: 1967-2000
  • The start of the 21st century

View the timelines here. They are viewable in Dutch, German, English, Spanish, and French.

Thanks to Evert van Dijken for pointing us to this great resource. Evert is a member of the Legacy Dutch Translation Team.

Legacy's Historical Timelines

Legacy comes with a variety of historical timelines that can be inserted/combined with an ancestor's timeline. Read about this here.

Legacy tip - create a CD for one side of the family

Question from Wendy:

I want to share CDs of info with different sides of the family without them having all the rest of the family's details. Is there an easy way of selecting one line and creating a CD with just that info on it?

Answer from Millennia:

If you have Legacy's latest update, this task is much easier. Click on the new Create CD button in the main toolbar. (If you don't see this new button, right-click on any of the buttons, locate the new button in the list of available buttons, and drag it to the toolbar.) Click on the image below to see what the button looks like.


The next screen that will appear looks like this:


Follow the prompts to create a subset of the family, and to create the shareable CD. (The next time you open Legacy, be sure to verify that you are using your original family file.)

For complete step-by-step instructions for creating the shareable CD, click here.

Access to dropped for FHCs

For the past seven years, has provided free access to their databases to Family History Centers throughout the world. Recent negotiations between The Generations Network, Inc. and the LDS church have resulted in a termination of the free access.

The Generations Network, Inc. recently issued the following statement.


On March 16, 2007, a communication was sent to the Directors of Family History Centers from the Worldwide Support management of the Family History Department. wishes to clarify a number of points not addressed by this communication.

For the past seven years, has provided all Church family history centers free access to without a formal licensing agreement in place or any compensation from the Church.

Over the past several months, has been working actively to reach agreement with the Church on a formal licensing arrangement by which it could continue to make its service available to the public for free.  Unfortunately, the two parties were unable to reach an agreement on this matter. strongly desires to have a licensing arrangement with the Church that would allow it to continue to provide free access to the public in Family History Centers. The company said it still hopes to create an acceptable agreement with the Church.  The Ancestry Library Edition is available free to the public in over 1400 public libraries in the U.S. and U.K. via a similar licensing arrangement. and the Church have cooperated over the years on a number of projects to digitize and index some important online databases.  The Generations Network values its relationship with the Church and is committed to working closely with the Church and all players in the genealogy world to advance interest in family history across the world.

Because of existing contractual agreements, a select number of databases will continue to be accessible inside LDS Church family history centers.  These include the 1880, 1900 and 1920 U.S. censuses, full name indices for the British 1841-1891 censuses (England and Wales), World War I draft cards, and a few additional smaller databases.

Dick Eastman, who was present at the BYU conference this week when this statement was issued, published interesting comments in his blog. Read his statement here.

Iowa State Census Records 1836-1925 now available online just announced that they have now digitized and indexed the Iowa state census records for the following years:

  • 1856
  • 1885
  • 1895
  • 1905
  • 1915
  • 1925
  • other special census records between 1836 and 1897

FREE access to this database will be available through the end of march.

Click here to begin searching.


PROVO, Utah, March 15 /PRNewswire/ –, the world’s largest online resource for family history, today announced that it has digitized and indexed all readily available Iowa State census records from 1836 to 1925. Researchers spent more than two years manually entering each name from actual early handwritten documents, bringing nearly a century of Iowa State history to life at the click of a mouse. In total, the collection features more than 14 million Iowa State census records and more than 3 million images, making the first and only online source to provide access to all publicly released Iowa State census records. “Census records are the backbone of family history. They’re more than just names and numbers. If you look closely, they tell stories,” said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for “The Iowa state census records, in particular, provide a wide range of snapshots into the lives and lifestyles of Iowan ancestors. With these records now available online, Iowans can dig deeper into their state and family histories.”

Searching for Genealogical Gold
Iowa has an exceptionally rich census repertoire, having taken censuses more frequently than any other state in America. The Iowa census collection contains more than 14 million Iowa State census records from 28 state censuses. The state conducted five complete, statewide censuses of all 99 counties and 23 partial censuses, of which all but three contain 13 counties or less. The 1925 census, widely regarded as genealogical gold, is the highlight of the collection, featuring more detail than any other censuses in Iowa or most other states. Unique information available in this enumeration include mother’s maiden name and father’s full name, birthplace and year of marriage, providing invaluable insight and additional clues to help discover family history. Other data listed in Iowa census records include name, age, gender, race, marital status, place of residence, parents’ names and each resident’s war service and citizenship status.

“The 1925 census’s depth and detail is recognized across the country as a one-of-a-kind resource which, to the best of my knowledge, can’t be found anywhere else,” said Theresa Liewer, President, Iowa Genealogical Society. “Although census records are available on microfilm at our library, being able to use the online indexes and access the digitized versions makes it easier to sort through millions of names and find that elusive ancestor who sometimes seems to be deliberately hiding at the click of a mouse.”

Free access to Irish databases

For a limited time, is providing free access to their Irish databases, including:

  • An Hibernian Atlas; or General Description of the Kingdom of Ireland
  • Protestant Housekeepers in Counties Antrim, Derry, Donegal, and Londonderry, Ireland - 1740
  • Index to the Marriage Licence Bonds of the Diocese of Cloyne, Ireland
  • The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements placed in the Boston Pilot 1831-1920
  • Constitution, By-Laws, and History of the Charitable Irish Society of Boston

The databases will most likely be free to search until Wednesday, March 21, 2007.

Search the databases at

Irish Podcasts

Learn about Irish research by listening to podcasts from Irish Roots at - New special pricing for Legacy users

We're excited to announce that is now offering special discounted pricing for users of Legacy Family Tree.

The collection features more than 1,300 historical American newspapers and over 100,000 rare documents, all fully searchable from any web browser. also provides unlimited access to 23 million obituaries from 1977 to the present - more than any other source - as well as the Social Security Death Index from 1937-forward, updated weekly. This this unique resource, your next discovery could be just a few clicks away.

Special Pricing for Legacy users

To learn more, or to subscribe, click here.