Native American Census Rolls Online & More

Enjoy brand new records online this week starting with a new collection of Native American Census Rolls at FamilySearch! Also new are civil registrations for France, half a million new records for Kent County, England, and a new digital archive of Japanese American Internment records. 

Native American Census Rolls

Genealogy giant website has made a huge update to their Native American Census Rolls, 1885-1940 collection. Nearly 2 million indexed names have been added, pulling from the original records from the NARA Series M595. This NARA series also includes some vital records. You can search by name, life event, and relationship to another person.

If you have Native American ancestors, whether you’re just starting out or you need a research reset, the free FamilySearch Wiki, “American Indian Genealogy,” is an invaluable resource! Start your Native American research off on the right foot by exploring this free research guide to develop a research plan, learn about available record types, and find additional resources to support your search.


France Civil Registrations

Also online at FamilySearch is a brand new collection of records for France, Calvados, Civil Registration, 1792-1942. You’ll find over 1.5 million indexed names and records may reveal information about your ancestor’s birth, marriage, death, ages at life events, parents’ names, spouse’s name, locations, and more.

Kent County, England is the front-runner when it comes to records in the U.K. and this week they have added over half a million new records for Kent County, England.

  • Kent Parish Records 1538-1988 – Baptisms, Banns, Marriages, and Burials.
  • Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Registers – Baptisms, Banns, Marriages, and Burials.  “The new additions cover the parishes of Hythe, Paddlesworth, Sandgate and Westgate on Sea and span the years 1813 to 2001. Each entry includes both a transcript and an image of the original document.”
  • Kent Poor Law Union – “The collection includes Admission and Discharge Registers, Court of the Guardians records, births, baptisms, deaths, burials, relief Lists and more. Each result will include a transcript of the original source material.”

A fun tidbit about Kent: “Affectionately known as the Garden of England, Kent is an ancient county in the southeast. One of the Home Counties, it borders London, Essex, Surrey, and Sussex, and nominally France, midway through the Channel Tunnel.”

Japanese American Internment Sites: A Digital Archive

A brand new collection is now available online from the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The Japanese American Internment Sites: A Digital Archive contains documents such as personal papers of internees, correspondence, extensive photograph collections, maps, artworks and audiovisual materials.

“The project was generously funded as part of the National Park Service’s Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program and includes approximately 150,000 original documents from the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Records (BANC MSS 67/14 c). The records represent the official documentation of the U.S. War Relocation Authority.  Existing from March 1942 to 1946, the WRA was created to assume jurisdiction over the relocation centers, administered an extensive resettlement program, and oversaw the details of the registration and segregation programs.”

Never miss an update!

Each week, we scour the web for the newest online collections that you’ll want to know about and compile them in this helpful article on Fridays. Get the weekly records roundup delivered right to your email inbox with our free e-newsletter! In addition to these records articles, get the latest tips and research strategies from Genealogy Gems, free videos and podcast episodes, and genealogy news. Click here to sign up today!

Lacey Cooke

Lacey Cooke

Lacey has been working with Genealogy Gems since the company’s inception in 2007. Now, as the full-time manager of Genealogy Gems, she creates the free weekly newsletter, writes blogs, coordinates live events, and collaborates on new product development. No stranger to working with dead people, Lacey holds a degree in Forensic Anthropology, and is passionate about criminal justice and investigative techniques. She is the proud dog mom of Renly the corgi.

Disclosure: This article 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!

Millions of New Free Genealogy Records at FamilySearch

Get ready to ride the last waves of summer at FamilySearch with their millions of newly published free genealogy records! Major new or updated collections include England and Wales Wills and Probate Calendar; French census and church records; South Africa probate; and in the US, Illinois naturalizations, Michigan vital records, US-Canada border crossings and WWI American Expeditionary Forces deaths.

England and Wales wills and probate index

The always-free Genealogy Giant has published England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957. With just over a million records, it references the National Probate Calendar, an index to wills and administrations recorded in these countries.

According to The National Archives (UK), “As well as the full name, address and occupation of the deceased, the National Probate Calendar may also contain: full names of executors, administrators and relationships to the deceased; the date and place of the death; the date and place of the probate or administration grant; [and] value of the estate.”

France census and church records

A new collection of France, Haute-Garonne, Toulouse, Church Records, 1539-1793 at FamilySearch includes close to half a million records. These are “Church records (registres paroissiaux) of baptisms, marriages, and burials within the custody of the Municipal Archives of Toulouse (Archives municipales de Toulouse). Includes marriage banns (bans de mariages). Most records are for Catholics, although there are a small quantity of available records for Protestants. Availability of records is largely dependent on time period and locality.”

Also for France, more than 160,000 indexed records have been added to France, Saône-et-Loire, Censuses, 1836.

South African probate records

Just shy of 800,000 indexed records have been added to the free FamilySearch database, South Africa, Transvaal, Probate Records from the Master of the Supreme Court, 1869-1958. According to the collection description, “South African probate records often include heirs, locations, property transfers, wills, and other important information. The most useful records in the collection are the death notices which give detailed information. The probate records usually have multiple pages and are included in a probate file, which is identified by a probate number.”

United States genealogy records

Illinois naturalizations. Over 626,000 indexed records have been added to FamilySearch’s Illinois, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1998. The content and county coverage vary by time period; most records date previous to 1945. This index could prove quite helpful to those seeking naturalization papers for immigrant ancestors who lived in Illinois, as there was no single court in which to naturalize before 1906—so immigrants could (and did) go to several different places.

Michigan vital records. Two important new collections are now free at FamilySearch:

  • Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917. Nearly ¾ of a million indexed records appear in this new collection, which currently includes records from 53 of Michigan’s 83 county courthouses (time-period coverage varies by county). Delayed birth records are among the records. The collection description has this helpful note about how complete birth records are in the state: “Clerks of each County Court recorded births that were reported by parents, doctors and midwives beginning in 1867. This information was then sent to the secretary of the state. From 1867 to 1879, about 15% to 20% of the births were recorded; from 1880-1902, coverage increased to about 60% to 70%. The state required counties to begin recording births to document the occurrence of a birth and to track public health issues.”
  • Michigan Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880. Nearly 40,000 deaths are recorded in this new collection of indexed images taken from the US census special census schedule for deaths recorded in 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. The site explains: “Mortality Schedules…list people who died in the year preceding the census….:Jun 1849 – May 1850, Jun 1859 – May 1860, Jun 1869-May 1870, and Jun 1879 – May 1880.” Here’s what these records look like:

US – Canada border crossings. FamilySearch has expanded its collection of free border-crossing records with a new index: United States, Border Crossings from Canada to United States, 1894-1954. It’s “an index of aliens and citizens crossing into the United States from Canada via various ports of entry along the U.S.-Canada border” (see also an overlapping and much larger FamilySearch collection of Canada-to-US border crossing records here).

US – WWI Expeditionary Forces. A new collection at FamilySearch indexes more than 75,000 deaths in United States, World War I American Expeditionary Forces Deaths, 1917-1919. “This collection contains information regarding soldiers who lost their lives while serving with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during World War I. Each officer’s entry includes their name, rank and organization that they were assigned to at the time of their death, and the date of death. Each enlisted man’s entry includes the above information as well as their military serial number.”

Another free genealogy resource for you

Ready to learn step-by-step how to trace your family history? Listen to Lisa Louise Cooke’s free podcast series, Family History: Genealogy Made Easy. This series of 45 episodes walks you through the essentials of research, like finding and contacting living relatives, understanding various kinds of genealogical record types and even organizing strategies so you’ll be able to keep track of what you’ve discovered. It’s free and easy to listen–you only have to decide whether to listen to every episode or just pick the ones you need the most!

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

Disclosure: This article 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!

All Ellis Island Passenger Records Now Free on FamilySearch

All Ellis Island passenger records are now available and free to search at! It’s one of 8 free fresh FamilySearch collections profiled in this article. You’ll also find: New Jersey brides, France vital records, Northumberland parish records, Palermo and Chieti (Italy) civil registrations, Maryland funeral homes and the 1905 New York state census.

Ellis Island Passenger Records All On FamilySearch

Over 100 million Americans have ancestors who immigrated through Ellis Island or one of its predecessor immigration stations. Now the entire collection of Ellis Island New York Passenger Arrival Lists from 1820 to 1957 are available online on both FamilySearch and The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island website, giving researchers even more options for discovering immigration records.

According to a FamilySearch release, “Originally preserved on microfilm, 9.3 million images of historical New York passenger records spanning 130 years were digitized and indexed in a massive effort by 165,590 online FamilySearch volunteers. The result is a free searchable online database containing 63.7 million names, including immigrants, crew, and other passengers traveling to and from the United States through the nation’s largest port of entry.”

Searching on FamilySearch (in addition to or instead of the Ellis Island site) takes advantage of advanced searching tools on the site and the ability to attach records to profiles in the FamilySearch Family Tree. FamilySearch has divided these records into three collections that represent three phases of migration history:

“The ship manifests list passengers, their names, age, last place of residence, who is sponsoring them in America, the port of departure, and their date of arrival in New York Harbor and sometimes other interesting information, such as how much money they carried on them, number of bags, and where on the ship they resided during its sail from overseas.”

More FamilySearch additions

England. Upwards of a million records have been added to FamilySearch’s existing collection, England, Northumberland, Parish Registers, 1538-1950. These are “Church of England parish registers containing baptisms, marriages, and burials that took place in the county of Northumberland from 1538 to 1950. Records may include: name, parents, spouse, father’s occupation, residence, date of birth, date of marriage, burial date and place and much more depending on the record type. The original records are held at the Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives.”

France. Over 50,000 indexed names have been added to an existing collection of France, Vital Records, 1542-1900. These include “various birth, marriage and death records indexed by Bibliothèque Généalogique et d’Histoire Sociale de France.”

Italy. FamilySearch has made two major additions to its unique online collection of free Italian civil registration records. A new browse-only collection, Italy, Palermo, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1820-1947, contains over 4.3 million images. Also, over 3.2 million images have been added to the existing collection, Italy, Chieti, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-1930. Available records vary by time and locale but may include civil registrations of births, marriages, and deaths; marriage banns; ten-year indexes; residency records and supplemental documents.

United States – Maryland. Over 4,000 records have been added to the collection, Maryland, Baltimore, Lock Funeral Home Records, 1936-2007. Available documents for deceased persons vary but may include death certificates, ledgers, obituaries, and miscellaneous loose papers, filled with rich genealogical information about the deceased and their relatives.

United States—New Jersey. A new collection, New Jersey, Bride Index, 1930-1938, contains nearly 240,000 indexed names. It was acquired by and donated to FamilySearch for publishing of images.

United States—New York. Over 130,000 indexed records have been added to the free-to-search New York State Census, 1905 at FamilySearch. This is a key resource for those with Empire States roots in the early 20th century, given the enormous immigrant and migrant population in New York and the general lack of public access to New York vital records.

Learn more about Ellis Island Immigration records

Learn everything you need to know about using Ellis Island immigration records in 3 special episodes in the free Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast!

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

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