Genealogy: Most Popular Hobby? Here are the Stats

I often hear people claim that genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies (or THE most popular hobby) in the world. Certainly from where I sit, I can see the

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industry is growing. More and more people are getting excited about exploring their roots.

Here’s an infographic sent to me by Zacary Spencer at the popular tech webiste TopTenReviews.com. He gathered data from several different sources buy medication from mexico (including the Genealogy Gems Podcast) that shows a thriving international interest!

Demand is high for Genealogy Gems free and premium content, as you can see by my stats:

  • Downloads in August 2013 alone: 72,458!
  • Free Podcasts: 160
  • Premium Podcasts: 102
  • Free Videos on our YouTube channel: over 75, and over 200,000 views
  • Premium Videos: 18
  • Apps: 3 (iOS, Android, Windows8)
  • The Real Genealogy Gems: YOU! Our thousands of listeners and viewers! THANK YOU!!

Avoid the Eye Roll with New Video Creation Tool

It’s a common phenomenon for the genealogist: the eye roll!

image_1Relatives who have never had a desire to delve into genealogy often roll their eyes when an enthusiastic genealogist in the family shares a newly discovered census or other genealogical record. And who can blame either party? The genealogist is giddy having won a long fought battle to unearth another piece of the family tree puzzle, and the non-genealogist hasn’t a clue what difference it all makes.

Creating a short story slideshow video about your family history is an ideal way to bridge that gap. Here at Genealogy Gems (on my blog, podcast, and YouTube channel) I’ve shared not only examples of professional-quality videos, but also the step-by-step instructions for creating them with one of my favorite website tools called Animoto. It’s an online video creation tool that requires no special skills or software. You just drag and drop your content (digital images and even video files) and select from Animoto’s cache of professional video styles and music tracks. Within minutes you can whip together a video that generates not eye rolls, but instead, ooos and ahhhs!

(Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Thank you for supporting the Genealogy Gems blog!)

Simple slideshow videos aren’t the only eye-rolling defense weapon in Animoto’s arsenal. You can take your video creation to the next level with Animoto’s Marketing Video Builder. Don’t let the name fool you, because it’s rich with features that any genealogist can sink their teeth into.

One of the key features you get with the Marketing Video Builder, available with Professional and Business subscriptions, is the ability to add voice narration to your video. Your voice (or the voice of relatives that you interview) will bring an intimacy and personalization to your video project that will tug on your viewer’s heart strings.

Raymond and Harry

Raymond age 13 (4th from left) and his father Harry Cooke (2nd from right), Tunbridge Wells, England circa 1909

Recently I took the Marketing Video Builder for a whirl on a project that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: the story of my husband’s great grandfather. My husband’s grandfather, Raymond Cooke, wrote up a short autobiography just before his death in 1987. It’s a wonderful glimpse into the world of his youth and his memories of his father, Harry Cooke.

I used the portion of the autobiography that was focused on Raymond’s father Harry to create an outline for my video. I then set up a project folder on my hard drive, selected images that represented the story, and copied them into the folder. In the image below you can see how I laid out my plan in a simple Word document. This created a script that indicated which portion of the autobiography would be read for each image. 

video script

The video script indicates the image and the narration that accompanies it.

The next step was to head to Animoto.com, sign in to my account, click the “Create” button and select “Marketing Video.”. I selected a pre-built storyboard called Portfolio because I really liked the design, but changed the music to a lilting melody called A Thousand Years that I found in the vast music collection. It had just the right for the feel of the story!

The beauty of a marketing video is that you can personalize the storyboard with your choice of font and colors, and you can add and delete sections as you see fit. Animoto always gives you the ability to customize your storyboard so that it fits your imagery perfectly.

With my storyboard set up, I proceeded to upload all the content I had gathered in my project folder. It’s super simple to drag and drop them into the right order.

record video narration

Bill recording his Grandfather’s words for the video

Next, I recruited Raymond’s grandson, my husband Bill, to narrate the video, using Animoto’s voice-over feature. He was a little hesitant at first, but once he saw my outline and script, his enthusiasm for the project grew and he agreed. 

I kept the dialogue brief for each image, because the length of the narration dictates how long the image appears on the screen. I found that 2-3 sentences per image was plenty, and the recordings averaged about 14 seconds each. You will be able to see in the bottom left corner of the tile how many seconds you recorded. And rest assured, you can record as many takes as you like and play them back to ensure you love the final result!

The Preview button is your friend, and I encourage you to preview your project several times throughout the creation process. When you are happy with the final video, click the Produce button that appears in the Preview window. This part of the process is just like Animoto’s Slideshow Video Builder. Click here to read my blog post and watch my step-by-step tutorial video.

With a bit of planning out your story, collecting your content, and production time on the Animoto website, you can get results like this:

I love that Raymond’s grandsons voice shares his words with the viewer!

Videos like these are so simple to create, and will bring your family history to life in a way that every member of your family will enjoy. And the holidays are just around the corner. Why not share your family history video when your family gathers togethers? Then, get ready for the ooos and ahhhs!

US & UK Newspapers, Vital Records & More! New Genealogy Records Online This Week

Extra, extra! Thousands of pages of US and UK newspapers are newly online for your genealogy research. Also new this week are birth, marriage, death, and parish records for England and the United States, a large historic Irish photo collection and a unique family history research aid for Iceland.

UK Newspapers records update

Feature Photo: Newspapers

UK Newspapers, Parish Records and More

England: Parish records and  newspapers

Ancestry.com got a big update recently to their English records! The following collections have been added for Derbyshire, England:

Originals of these documents come from Derbyshire Church of England Parish Registers, and dozens of parishes are included. You can narrow your results by parish by selecting from the drop-down menu in the Browse this Collection box (shown here) on the right side of the page.

Also brand new this week are several newspapers for England, hosted by the British Newspaper Archive:

Hampshire: Hants and Berks Gazette and Middlesex and Surrey Journal 1892-1902
Oxfordshire: Thame Gazette 1857-1928 (some gaps).
Durham: Darlington & Stockton Times, Ripon & Richmond Chronicle 1847-1894 (some gaps).
London: Barking, East Ham & Ilford Advertiser, Upton Park and Dagenham Gazette 1889-1909

You can search the British Newspaper Archive for free, and they’ve recently created a brand new package: Save 31% with their 3 Month package for just £25.90! You’ll get access to over 22 million newspaper pages across Britain and Ireland, with more added every day.

Scotland: Parish records & newspapers

A new collection of Scottish parish records is now available at Ancestry.com: Extracted Parish Records, 1571-1997. The records in this collection include baptisms/christenings, burials, marriages, tombstone inscriptions, obituaries, tax lists, wills, and other miscellaneous types of records. For copies of the originals, “the microfilm number of pertinent corroborating records can often be found on the LDS Church’s FamilySearch site (www.familysearch.org) in the Family History Library Catalog.”

Also new for Scotland, the Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette newspaper is available at the British Newspaper Archive. Years span 1875-1908 (except 1877) and it was published by Newsquest in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. 1,722 issues comprised of 14,000 pages are now available to view online.

Historic Irish photos & newspapers

More than 10,000 historic pictures from have been added to a folklore website, duchas.ie. A recent article announcing the launch stated that “the Collection contains photographs taken by professional photographers and by collectors working with the National Folklore Commission, amongst others, and are classified under 14 different topics including: festivals; holy wells; settlement; folklore collection; and games and pastimes.” A large number of the photographs date from the early 20th century.

The British Newspaper Archive has added a new newspaper title from Antrim, Northern Ireland: Carrickfergus Advertiser 1884-1895, 1897-1910. Nearly 1,400 issues and over 5,000 pages are included in this new digitized collection.

Iceland: New language resource

If you have ancestors from Iceland, this unique resource is for you! A new website has made Icelandic spelling, declension, and etymology dictionaries now free online. From Iceland Magazine: “In an effort to protect the Icelandic language in a time of smartphones and computers, The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies at the University of Iceland has opened a website which offers free access to the institute’s large catalogue of dictionaries, including etymology- and spelling dictionaries and the institute’s declension database for the Icelandic language.” Here’s a tip: The site is in Icelandic, but use Google Translate to navigate in English! Plus check out our favorite resources for pronunciation help.

United States: Vital records & more

California. County Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, 1849-1980 are new online at Ancestry.com. This collection contains records from various counties throughout California, and you can use the drop-down table to search by the county, record type, and year range of your ancestor’s life events.

Connecticut. New records are available online at Findmypast for Connecticut baptisms, church records, and burials from the 1600s-1800s. These records cover various towns and have been transcribed from public domain records.

Georgia. New from the Georgia Archives: Colonial Conveyances. This collection contains 11 volumes of property transactions between private citizens in the Colony of Georgia from 1750-1804. Each book contains a grantor index at the end of the volume.

Maryland. The University of Maryland Student Newspapers Database has recently launched. From the press release: “[This collection] provides keyword and date access to issues of The Diamondback and its seven predecessor newspapers from 1910 to October 1971. Users can search names and topics across all the issues, as well as focusing in on a particular day, month, or year of publication or publication title.”

Want more help with newspapers, Google Translate, and more? Genealogy Gems Premium Members can watch full-length video classes by Lisa Louise Cooke on those topics and more! Sign up today

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

New and Updated Genealogy Records Come in All Shapes and Sizes

New records at genealogy websites can come in all shapes and sizes. They may include new or updated indexes, digitized records, or improvements to the search function. It all adds up to new opportunities for you to find more information on your family history. Here’s the latest from some of the most popular genealogy records sites. 

new genealogy records

New at MyHeritage 

Here’s the latest on new records from MyHeritage:

1801 Norway Census Index

“The 1801 census was carried out on Sunday, February 1, 1801, and is based on complete lists of individuals.

The census contains the names of farms (in rural areas), the full names of inhabitants, the familial ties between household members, their age, marital status, and occupation.

For married and previously married people, it was recorded how many times they had been married or widowed.

The age listed was the age on the next birthday.

The names of smallholdings are typically not included. People were registered in the regions where they belonged. Those who were absent, e.g. sailors, should be listed in their hometowns.

The department of statistics of the Exchequer in Copenhagen prepared the census and processed its results. In the rural districts, the census was carried out by parsons with the assistance of precentors and school teachers. In the towns the efforts were supervised by the Town Administration and carried out by the Subdivision Heads of each conscription district. The town lists are arranged by building numbers. This collection is provided through cooperation with the National Archives of Norway.”

Genealogy Records for Norway

1865 Norway Census Index

“This collection of over 1.68 million records is the first national census to list a place of birth for all persons recorded. This census contains the person’s name, residence, status in the family, occupation, sex, marital status, age, place of birth, religion if not a member of the state church, and other miscellaneous information.

Censuses have been taken by the Norwegian government and by ecclesiastical officials for population studies and taxation purposes.

Census and census-like records are found from the 1500s to 2000. After 1900, a national census was taken every 10 years until 2000. Access to the national census records is restricted for a period of 100 years after the date of enumeration.

Generally, you will find more detailed family information in more recent censuses.

Some known deficiencies in the 1865 original census material include records from Gol parish in Buskerud county, Holtålen Parish in Sør-Trøndelag county, Bjerke parish in the Nannestad dioceses in Akershus county, and at least 106 special lists in Kristiania (Old name for Oslo). This collection is provided through cooperation with the National Archives of Norway.”

United Kingdom, War Memorials, 1914–1949 Index

“This free collection of 1.1 million records provides details on soldiers from the United Kingdom that died during the wars in the early to mid 20th century.

During the first World War, alone, there was an average of over 450 British casualties per day. Information listed on these records may include: name, date of death or burial, burial place, and age at death. These records might also include rank, service and unit of the military as well as any honors earned during service.

The records primarily consist of soldiers from the First and Second World Wars with a few records from different wars. The number of British casualties was smaller in wars following World War II, and the number of records from other conflicts is consequently low.

This collection content is copyright of the Imperial War Museums and the index is provided by MyHeritage free of charge as a beneficial service to the genealogy community.”

Estonia, Gravestones, 1812–2019 Index

“This collection includes information from Estonia cemeteries and consists of records from 1812-2019. These include the name of the deceased, birth date when available, death date when available, date of burial when available, and the name of the cemetery.

Cemeteries can help you trace the burial and or death place of an Estonian relative. Cemetery records may also help identify ancestors when access to church records and census records is limited, or the death was not recorded in other records.”

North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Birth Index, 1913–2019 Index

“This collection is an index of birth records from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The records may contain the first name, middle name, last name, gender, and date of birth of the individual. Mecklenburg County is the largest county in North Carolina by population, and its county seat is Charlotte.”

North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Marriage Index, 1884–2019 Index

“This free collection is an index of marriage records from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The records may contain the following searchable information: first name, middle name, and last name of the bride and groom, and the marriage date of the couple. Records may also contain the marriage license number and the date of the application.

Mecklenburg County is the largest county in North Carolina by population, and its county seat is Charlotte.

Most records in this collection are from the 20th century or later, with just three percent from before the year 1900. However, there is a select amount of records dated from before 1884, with approximately one percent of the collection falling under this category.”

North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Death Index, 1916–2019 Index

“This free collection is an index of death records from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The records may contain the following searchable information: first name, middle name, last name, gender, and death date of the individual. Records may also contain the certificate number for the death. Mecklenburg County is the largest county in North Carolina by population, and its county seat is Charlotte.

In some cases, the gender is given as unknown along with a missing given name. This usually means the record is for a still-born baby. All records in this collection are from the 20th century or later. However, there is a select amount of records dated before 1916, with the earliest from 1908.”

Pennsylvania, Lawrence County Index of Obituaries, 1871–2016 Index

“This collection includes an index of obituaries and death records from Lawrence County Pennsylvania for the years 1871-2016. A record may include the first and last name of the deceased, death date, date of death announcement, name of spouse, name of parent(s), and the name of the newspaper that published the information.

Obituaries can be a good source of information about a person and may also include information about the deceased’s family members. Often an obituary will include information such as the birth date, marriage date, children, occupation, education, and the location of living family members at the time the obituary was written.”

Pennsylvania, Lawrence County Index of Marriage Announcement, 1858–2006 Index

“This collection includes marriage announcements from Lawrence County, Pennsylvania for the years 1858-2006. Records may include the first and last name of the bride and groom, the names of parent(s), the title of the newspaper that published the announcement, the page on which the announcement is located, the date of the marriage announcement, and the year of the marriage.

Marriage records are a valuable source of information. Marriage records found in newspapers are not limited to a specific form, like most government marriage records, therefore newspapers may contain details about a marriage not found elsewhere, such as names of siblings or other relatives.

Newspapers can report marriages of people who no longer live in the area but who still have friends or family there.”

Chile, Electoral Rolls, 2013 Index

“This collection of over 12 million records contains information about Chilean voters during the November 17, 2013 elections. Records include the names of voters and the location of the vote. The collection also includes records about canceled voters, mostly because of the death of the voter, and disqualified voters.

Search these collections at MyHeritage here.

All of the above newly updated collections are now available through MyHeritage SuperSearch™. Searching these records is free, but a Data or Complete subscription is required to view the records, save them to your family tree, and access Record Matches. Our Record Matching technology will get to work and notify you automatically if any of these records mention a member of your family tree. You’ll then have the ability to review the record and decide if you’d like to add the new information to your family tree.”

New Newspaper Content at GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank is one of the leading providers of digitized newspapers, and they’ve recently added new content for 152 newspaper titles from across 35 states including:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Search GenealogyBank here.

Here’s a short video about another historic newspaper resource (click for sound):

 

More New Newspaper Content at the British Newspaper Archive

One of my favorite websites, the British Newspaper Archive celebrated its 8th birthday this week (the Archive was launched on 29th November 2011)  and also reached the milestone of 35 million searchable pages. Here’s ta brief overview of the 128,362 new pages recently added.

New title added:

  • Sporting Gazette

Updated:

  • Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser (Scotland, 1863-1905)
  • The Reading Evening Post
  • Wells Journal and the Bristol Times and Mirror (West country area)

Search or start a free trial here.

 

New at Ancestry

Here’s the latest from Ancestry:

Finland, Pre-Confirmation Books, 1670-1918

Pre-Confirmation Books

“Pre-Confirmation books, otherwise known as Childrens’ Books, were used to record the names of children who had not yet been confirmed into the Lutheran church. These records are extremely valuable as they record family groups and provide dates of birth and sometimes a place of birth as well. Death dates may also occasionally be included. Once the child became eligible for Communion, they were then recorded in the Communion books.

Pre-Confirmation books were organised by villages and then by farm and household.

This Collection

Users may find the following details for individuals found in the communion books (where available):

  • Name
  • Gender
  • Relation to Head
  • Birth Date
  • Birth Place
  • Burial Date
  • Death Date
  • Residence”

Search the collection here.  

On November 14, 2019 changes were made to improve the performance of this collection, so if you’ve ever searched it and not found what you were looking for, it might be worth another try. Note: no new records were added.

Search the collection here. 

Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013

On May 20 Ancestry added 1,388,625 new records to this collection.

Marriage Records

Marriage Records

“This database contains both images of and indexes extracted from various records of marriages in Washington.

Marriage records can offer a wide range of details. While the indexes in this database may provide the basic facts surrounding a wedding—bride, groom, date, and place—images of marriage certificates may also include additional information such as

  • addresses
  • ages
  • race
  • birthplaces
  • occupations
  • marital status (single, divorced)
  • whether a first marriage
  • fathers’ names and birthplaces
  • mothers’ names, maiden names, and birthplaces

This database does not contain an image for every document included in the index.”

Search the newly update collection here.

U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

WWII draft records genealogy

Military Records

On Nov 7 Ancestry added 4,651,830 new records from the following states to the U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 collection:

  1. New Jersey
  2. New York
  3. North Dakota
  4. Vermont
  5. Illinois
  6. Kentucky 
  7. New Hampshire

Search the updated collection here.

What Did You Find in the New Online Records?

We’ve got our fingers crossed that you are able to unearth some new genealogy gems from these new updates. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know, and then share this post with your friends. 

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