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December 2019

New TechZone Video - What are DNA Outliers? by Michelle Leonard

New TechZone Video - What are DNA Outliers? by Michelle Leonard

Every Friday we're pleased to offer Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers a new short ten minute or less TechZone video just for them! This Friday enjoy "What are DNA Outliers?" by Michelle Leonard. 

What are DNA Outliers?

Discover what DNA outliers are and why it's important to determine whether they are really outliers or a mistake in the paper trail.

_WatchVideo


About the Presenter

Michelle Leonard is a Scottish professional genealogist, genetic genealogist, freelance researcher, speaker, author and historian. She runs her own genealogy business, Genes & Michelle LeonardGenealogy, and specialises in DNA Detective work solving adoption and all manner of unknown ancestor mysteries with the use of DNA testing.  She also undertakes traditional family history research, living relative tracing, historical and television research, creating bespoke family history books. article and blog writing, tutoring, lecturing, webinars and speaking engagements. She is a regular speaker at major genealogy events such as Who Do You Think You Are? Live and Back To Our Past and is a co-author of "Tracing Your Ancestors Using DNA: A Guide For Family Historians" to be released in summer 2019.

Additionally Michelle is the official genetic genealogist of ancestryhour.co.uk and is one of the hosts of the hour itself: #AncestryHour takes place on Twitter each Tuesday evening from 7-8pm GMT and Michelle is usually on hand to answer any #DNA queries that arise. She also spent several years working on the ground-breaking Fromelles Genealogy Project tracking down appropriate DNA donors to identify WWI soldiers buried in a mass grave in France and served as the Genealogical Consultant on the official Fromelles documentary. She regularly works on new historic soldier cases when battlefield remains are found and DNA testing is conducted.

Michelle holds an M.A. in English and Modern History from the University of St Andrews and a PgCert in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Scottish Genealogy Network (SGN), the Society of Genealogists (SOG) and the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG). You can find out more about Michelle on her Genes & Genealogy Facebook page and you can follow her on Twitter.

See all the webinars and videos by Michelle Leonard in the Legacy library.
 
Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 1,131 classes in the library (1,382 hours of quality genealogy education)
  • 4,681 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at FamilyTreeWebinars.com
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It's just $49.95/year.


One Day for Fun I Read 2,000 Death Certificates

Readdeathcerts

Ok, maybe this blog post title is a bit misleading. I did originally browse death certificates, 1-by-1 in the California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994 FamilySearch collection because I was looking for a specific death certificate for a client's mysterious ancestor (I never found it). But I continued looking through the collection of death certificates to see what I could learn from them.

Why?

Studying Records

I’ve actually done this type of in-depth record study before. A few years ago, I made weekly visits to the National Archives at Riverside  to study, file-by-file National Archives RG 21, specifically the women’s repatriation files. I looked through each file, studied, and made copies of documents I found unusual or that I wanted to study more. These NARA files are for those women who were requesting their US citizenship after losing it by marrying a non-US citizen. Unlike other NARA facilities, Riverside's collection includes the documents women used to prove their US citizenship which meant genealogically rich treasures such as affidavits and vital records.

So what’s the purpose of doing this? Why am I taking time to study records that have nothing to do with my own ancestors?

Continuing genealogy education.

A careful study of a set of records can help you learn more than if you are simply using a record or two for your own personal genealogical research. Take for instance the Long Beach, Los Angeles County California Death Certificates I read. I was able to learn more about the form used (including some of the instructions that were also part of the digitized images). 

Record-image_ (5)
"California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89SV-C5Y8?cc=2001287&wc=XY3Y-N38%3A285173401%2C285228401 : 12 November 2014), Los Angeles, Long Beach > Death certificates 1921 no 600-900 > image 150 of 326; California State Archives, Sacramento. 

But in studying these records:

  • I learned more about what people died from (whether naturally, by suicide, homicide or accident).
  • I learned what cemeteries and funeral homes existed.
  • I learned about occupations in the area and the deaths caused by various occupations (Long Beach was home to oil drilling and not surprisingly many occupational accidents resulting in death for those oil workers).
  • I also learned that not all death certificates provide the information we expect. For example, this certificate for my great-grandmother's brother that is missing his  cause of death .
Joseph Chatham Death
"California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9SV-QBNQ?cc=2001287&wc=X137-3TL%3A285174601%2C285454701 : 26 September 2019), Los Angeles > Death certificates 1956 no 6170-8250 > image 1568 of 2529; California State Archives, Sacramento.

I also learned more about that specific FamilySearch collection.  For example, in the link for Death Certificates 1902-1963, the first few images are not of death certificates but instead they are for a Transportation of a Corpse

Record-image_ (7)
"California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9SV-C968-Y?cc=2001287&wc=XB44-N38%3A285173401%2C285218801 : 12 November 2014), Los Angeles, Long Beach > Death certificates 1902-1963 > image 1 of 371; California State Archives, Sacramento.

Finding these anomalies is one of the benefits of browsing rather than searching.

Who Cares?

On the surface this may appear to be a meaningless exercise that serves no real purpose other than adding one more thing to your to-do list, taking away time from finding your ancestors. However, when I think about browsing and studying  records rather than just searching I’m reminded of the ‘good old days’ of genealogy when we didn’t have access to digitized images which meant we had to go through microfilm image-by-image to find what we needed. That is real research. And what we miss in today’s world of search engines and automated hints is the opportunity to get to know the records we are searching and to find information we weren’t expecting.  Remember that there can be all kinds of reasons you don’t find someone in a record including transcription and indexing errors but also items filmed out of order.

Will I continue to go through a record set document by document? Absolutely, and I frequently do it to learn more about a record that is unfamiliar to me or to see what may exist. Genealogy education is about watching, listening, and doing. Going through records one-by-one is one way to do that.

 

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.


Vetting Published Genealogies for Research - free webinar by Shannon Combs-Bennett now online for limited time

Vetting Published Genealogies for Research - free webinar by Shannon Combs-Bennett now online for limited time

The recording of today's webinar by Shannon Combs-Bennett, "Vetting Published Genealogies for Research” is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

Genealogy is written in stone and should be looked at carefully. Follow the case of Mayflower ancestor William White as Shannon Combs-Bennett shows how his genealogy was corrected over the last century.
 
View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 20 minute recording of "Vetting Published Genealogies for Research" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. If you have a webinar membership, it is available anytime.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 1,130 classes, 1,382 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 4,677 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Print the 2020 webinar brochure here.

See you online!


10 Must-Have MyHeritage Databases - free webinar by Gena Philibert-Ortega now online

10 Must-Have MyHeritage Databases - free webinar by Gena Philibert-Ortega now online

The recording of today's webinar, "10 Must-Have MyHeritage Databases” by Gena Philibert-Ortega, is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free.

Webinar Description

Looking for an ancestor? MyHeritage has many research options. However, there are 10 that are must-haves for any researcher. Join me as we explore what databases you need to know about and how to research them so you can find that ancestor.
 
View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 4 minute recording of "10 Must-Have MyHeritage Databases" is now available to view in our webinar library for free. If you have a webinar membership, it is available anytime.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 1,129 classes, 1,381 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 4,675 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Print the 2020 webinar brochure here.


Register for Webinar Wednesday: Vetting Published Genealogy for Research by Shannon Combs-Bennett

Register
 
Genealogy is written in stone and should be looked at carefully. Follow the case of Mayflower ancestor William White as Shannon Combs-Bennett shows how his genealogy was corrected over the last century.
 
Join us and Shannon Combs-Bennett for the live webinar Wednesday, January 15, at 2pm eastern U.S. time. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion. 

Registerbut 

Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

Not sure if you already registered?

Login to view your registration status for this webinar (available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers).

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

ShannonBennett-144x144Shannon Combs-Bennett, owner of T2 Family History, is a speaker and author based out of Virginia. She enjoys teaching about a wide range of topics from DNA to methodology. Currently Shannon is the Creative Director for The In-Depth Genealogist. You can learn more about her at http://t2familyhistory.com.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific
  • 7pm GMT

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at www.java.com.
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone. 

 

We look forward to seeing you all there!


Tuesday's Tip - Estimating Dates (Intermediate)

TT - Estimating Dates

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Estimating Dates (Intermediate)

When you enter a person in Legacy it is common to not know all of their vital dates. Estimating the dates that you don't have can be helpful. 

Legacy's Research Guidance tool will work to your advantage if you have these estimated dates entered. It is possible that you might miss something if you are way off but you can always go in and make adjustments if needed. For more information about the Research Guidance tool please see Legacy 101 - Help with Your Research: Hints, Research Guidance, Internet Searches and Research Guidance and the To-Do List.

But even if you don't use this tool, estimating dates will help you narrow down when and where you should be looking for records. In Legacy you can enter an estimated date like this:

Est 1840
Estimated 1840 

Even though you don't see Est as a prefix in Options > Customize > Dates > Option 5.7 Legacy DOES recognize this as a legitimate date prefix.

There are a few tricks to estimating dates. These are just guidelines! You will immediately see that they don't hold true in all situations but these do give you a starting point and as more information comes in you can fine tune your estimates. The rules for legal documents can vary from state to state and from time period to time period but the ones listed are the most common. Also, these "rules" are more valid before about 1950.

  • You can estimate that a couple married when the husband was 21 and the wife was 18 (first marriage)
  • Second marriages for males were commonly within 2 years of the death of the previous spouse (a new wife was needed to care for the children)
  • You can estimate that a couple married one year before their first known child was born
  • Mothers don't die until after the birth of their youngest known child. Father's can die within 9 months before the birth of their youngest known child
  • Full term pregnancies are 38-42 weeks
  • Premature infants 34 weeks or less normally did not survive
  • Children are born an average of two years apart
  • Mothers do not normally give birth after about age 46
  • You can assume a person died after he is mentioned on a document (census, surviving family in an obituary, witness on a legal document, etc.)
  • You can assume a person was at least 21 years of age when named as a guardian, listed on a voter roll, listed as an executor/executrix to a will, or witnessed a legal document
  • A male was at least 21 to pay the poll tax
  • A person was at least 21 to own property (land)
  • A person had either died OR was at least 50 when he drops off of the tax rolls 
  • You can estimate that a male is at least 16 year old in military records
  • A child who was allowed to choose his own guardian was between the age of 14 and 21
  • A person who died between the date he signed his will and the date that the will was proved (probated)

Another great trick is to use the date ranges on the 1800-1840 censuses to narrow down a person's date of birth. The 1790 is not as helpful but don't discount it completely. The ranges are different from year to year so you can compare them to knock out a few years. You can also do this with the later censuses using the OFFICIAL census date as your baseline to calculate when a person was born based on their age. For more information on that, please read William Dollarhide's article, The Census Day.

The trick is to use multiple bits of information to narrow down the dates. Here is a tool from The Golden Egg Genealogist that will help you do just that. You can download the Date Narrowing Calculator (for Excel) for free after signing up for her blog.

Another thing to remember is that you can also "estimate" locations to go along with those dates. If a person is living in Columbia County, GA as a 2 year old in 1850, is living in Columbia County as a 12 year old in 1860, is living in Columbia County as a 22 year old in 1870, and is living in Columbia County as a 32 year old in 1880, chances are he was born in Columbia County and he married in Columbia County. One thing to note, if the husband and the wife were from two different counties it is more common for them to have married in the wife's home county and not the husband's.

I hope this information will help you estimate your dates for your blank vital events so you can narrow down when and where to look for records that will give you more definitive information.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.


Register for Tuesday's MyHeritage Webinar: 10 Must-Have MyHeritage Databases by Gena Philibert-Ortega

Register-mh
 
Looking for an ancestor? MyHeritage has many research options. However, there are 10 that are must-haves for any researcher. Join me as we explore what databases you need to know about and how to research them so you can find that ancestor.
 
Join us, MyHeritage, and Gena Philibert-Ortega for the live webinar Tuesday, January 14, at 2pm eastern U.S. time. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion. 

Registerbut 

Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

Not sure if you already registered?

Login to view your registration status for this webinar (available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers).

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

GenaOrtega-144x144Gena Philibert-Ortega holds a Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women's Studies) and a Master's degree in Religion. Presenting on various subjects involving genealogy, women's studies, and social history, Gena has spoken to groups throughout the United States as well as virtually to audiences worldwide. Gena is the author of hundreds of articles published in genealogy newsletters and magazines including FGS Forum, APG Quarterly, Internet Genealogy, Family Chronicle, Family Tree Magazine, GenWeekly and the WorldVitalRecords newsletter. Her writings can also be found on her blogs, Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. She is the author of the books, From The Family Kitchen (F + WMedia, 2012), Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra (Arcadia Publishing, 2007) and Putting the Pieces Together. Gena is the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association's journal Crossroads. An instructor for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, Gena has written courses about social media and Google. She serves as a board member of the Utah Genealogical Association. Her current research interests include women's social history, community cookbooks, signature quilts and researching women's lives using material artifacts. Gena Philibert-Ortega is the author of IDG's monthly column, Remember the Ladies: Researching Your Female Ancestor. 

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific
  • 7pm GMT

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at www.java.com.
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone. 

 

We look forward to seeing you all there!


New TechZone Video - The Best Built-in Windows 10 Storage Hack by Marian Pierre-Louis

New TechZone Video - The Best Built-in Windows 10 Storage Hack by Marian Pierre-Louis

Every Friday we're pleased to offer Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers a new short ten minute or less new TechZone video just for them! This Friday enjoy "The Best Built-in Windows 10 Storage Hack" by Marian Pierre-Louis. 

The Best Built-in Windows 10 Storage Hack

Learn how to use the built-in Windows 10 Storage Manager to determine how much space is being used on your computer and by what programs.

_WatchVideo


About the Presenter


Marian Pierre-LouisMarian Pierre-Louis is a genealogy professional who specializes in educational outreach through webinars, internet broadcasts and video. Her areas of expertise include house history research, southern New England research and solving brick walls. Since the rise in interest of genetic genealogy Marian has become addicted to using dna to help solve genealogy mysteries. Marian produced and hosted 100 episodes of Fieldstone Common, a history podcast, and 50 episodes of The Genealogy Professional podcast. Both of which are still available online. Marian is the Online Education Producer for Legacy Family Tree Webinars where she produces online genealogy education classes. Once a month you'll find her as the evening host of Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

See all the webinars and videos by Marian Pierre-Louis in the Legacy library.
 
Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 1,128 classes in the library (1,379 hours of quality genealogy education)
  • 4,665 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at FamilyTreeWebinars.com
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It's just $49.95/year.


Mistakes I Have Made: Confessions of a Repentant Genealogist - free webinar by Cheri Passey now online for limited time

Mistakes I Have Made: Confessions of a Repentant Genealogist - free webinar by Cheri Passey

The recording of today's webinar by Cheri Hudson Passey, "Mistakes I Have Made: Confessions of a Repentant Genealogist” is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

Let's face it. We all make mistakes when we are doing something new. True confessions: as a beginning and not-so-beginning genealogist, I made them all. Still do if I am not careful. “Mistakes I Have Made: Confessions of a Repentant Genealogist” shares examples of the most common genealogy errors with examples from my own experiences. Learn what NOT to do and how to avoid making these mistakes with your research.
 
View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 30 minute recording of "Mistakes I Have Made: Confessions of a Repentant Genealogist" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. If you have a webinar membership, it is available anytime.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 1,131 classes, 1,379 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 4,665 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Print the 2020 webinar brochure here.

See you online!


Not Everything Is Found By Searching For a Name

Names

Name, date, place. That’s the way we learn to search websites for our ancestors. But is that always the best way?

If you’ve watched my Legacy Webinars you probably know that the answer to that question is no. Sometimes searching by a keyword is the best way to search. While the majority of content found on a genealogy website is found using a name, not all of the databases are indexed or searchable that way. Sometimes the content has to do with a place or event, for example image collections. There are other research techniques to help you  find what you need.

Here's one great example of why you need to expand your search beyond a name, date, and place.  

Browsing ArchiveGrid

ArchiveGrid FS

The other day I was looking at FamilySearch materials on ArchiveGrid. To do this,  I went to ArchiveGrid  and I clicked on Utah>FamilySearch-Family History Library. That presented me with a list of over 600 archival items held by FamilySearch. Now, you know that FamilySearch is not an archive, it’s a library. These items are manuscript items that were digitized and can be found in the FamilySearch Digital Library. One of the items that caught my eye was the birth register kept by Esther Sessions  (Esther Jane Tolman Sessions). Just looking at the title I knew this was most likely the record of a midwife and would include information that we family historians crave: names and dates.

Esther Sessions’ Birth Register

Cover of register

What’s found and not found in the register is  interesting. The first page of the register documents a death, not a birth. The single entry documents the death of a 3-month-old infant of what appears to be “La grippe” or the flu. While the top of the page says January 1901, the day of death on this entry is 17 March 1901. But what a great entry it is; we learn this baby’s name, age, race, and residence. An important record for a state [Utah] that didn’t mandate vital record registration until 1905.

The remaining pages of this register reflect the ledger’s title - registers of birth. However, they do not include the name of the babies they document. Instead there is the birth date, sex, race, color, parent’s names (but not mother’s maiden name), and residence. In some cases there is a notation with a number of months by the city of residence, perhaps indicating the length of residence but that would need to be explored further. If this register was indexed, it would be searchable by the parent’s name, not the child’s which is something to remember when we encounter a brick wall searching one specific person.

Example page 3 of 22

Esther ends her ledger by stating “I haven’t recorded any babies delivered by me that have arrived before the Dr has arrived.” It appears she has written the date “Nov 1854” before that statement which most likely is an error since she herself was born after that date but she died in 1957, so perhaps she meant Nov 1954.

Subject headings

Now one last point. I found this by just being curious and reading through the list of manuscripts owned by FamilySearch, as found on ArchiveGrid. If I had known about Esther, I could have found her birth registers by searching on the keywords “Esther Sessions” on the FamilySearch Catalog. In addition, as I look through this register it’s important to check the subject headings. If I click on those, I can find even more related works that could help me in my research.

FS Catalog

There’s More to Research than Searching by Name

The lesson here? Go beyond that name search. Explore by conducting a Place Search, use Subject Headings to find additional materials. Be curious, and browse through collections for a library or archive of interest. There are wonderful sources out there but you have to go beyond that name date, and place search.

 

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.