U.S. Naturalization Records & More New Genealogy Records Online

U.S. Naturalization Records at MyHeritage top the charts this week for new records collections online. Over 200 million records are available for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Also new this week are German marriages, baptisms, and burials. Britain marriage licenses dating back to the 12th century may also pique your interest and are available online.  

U.S. Naturalization Records

New this week at MyHeritage are over 200 million U.S. Naturalization Records. First is the record index for Northern Illinois, 1840-1950, containing petitions for naturalization filed in northern Illinois circuit court and INS District 9. In addition to Illinois, INS District 9 covered parts of northwestern Indiana, eastern Iowa, and southern and eastern Wisconsin. Data collected prior to 1906 was limited, likely containing just the name of the petitioner, their country of origin, and record dates and numbers. After 1906, you’ll be more likely to see records with not only names, but also addresses, birth dates, witnesses present, and date and place of arrival the U.S.

Also new is the Naturalization Record Index for New England, 1791-1906. This collection is an index of naturalization documents filed in courts in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont from 1791 to 1906. The 3X5 inch cards in this collection contain limited information. But the 5X8 inch cards will likely contain the name of the petitioner, petition for citizenship, oath of allegiance, record of previous citizenship, place and date of birth, occupation, place and date of arrival in the United States, name of the ship, place of residence at the time of application, and name and address of a witness to these statements.

German Marriages

Genealogy Giant website Ancestry.com has a new collection of Eberswalde, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1936. Within these records, you can find a wealth of information, including names, occupations, birth date, parents, witnesses, and more. Each document has a front and back and are displayed one after the other. Additional events from the life of the couple were sometimes recorded later on in the margins, but these notes are not indexed. In addition to these civil registers, complementary alphabetical directories of names may also have been created. These directories may tell you the names of the bride and groom, occupations, residence, and cross-reference to the marriage register.

Ancestry has also recently partnered with FamilySearch to provide free access to Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971. From the collection description: “This collection contains parish registers from numerous Protestant communities and military garrisons found in former or modern German territories. The records are largely organized according to historical regions and church districts that may differ from current affiliations. These parish records primarily contain information about births and baptisms, marriages, and deaths and burials.” It’s important to note that this collection is in German, so you may want to reference the German Genealogical Word List on the FamilySearch Wiki.

Britain Marriage Licenses

If your ancestors were married in England, you’ll want to explore this great collection of Britain Marriage Licenses at Findmypast. Fifteen English counties are represented including London, Lancashire, Suffolk, Exeter, Lincoln, Yorkshire, and more, and records date back as early as 1115! These marriage licenses may be able to tell you the couple’s names, father’s name, and the marriage location. The collection consists of a mixture of more than 536,000 handwritten and typed record books from 1115 until 1906 provided by the College of Arms, Anguline Research Archives, and Gould Genealogy.

Reconstruct Your Ancestors’ Stories

When records have been destroyed, or simply remain elusive, you can still put the pieces together to discover your ancestors’ stories! In the new Genealogy Gems Premium eLearning Video, instructor Sunny Morton will show you how to reconstruct fascinating experiences from your own family history by combining clues from your family’s knowledge, documents from genealogy websites, good historical research and Googling to fill in the gaps. All while learning the riveting story of one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. Members can watch right now by clicking here. Not a member? 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 FamilySearch.org 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!

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