New! North American Genealogy Records Online

New North American genealogy records online this week! Featured are U.S. military, passenger and yearbook records (including WWII film footage); regional collections for New England and Great Lakes; Congressional statutes; and over 63 million Mexican genealogy records now free at

North American genealogy records

New online recently are North American genealogy records from all four “genealogy giants,” plus tons of other websites, including the Library of Congress and the U.S. National Archives. For those with Mexican roots, you’ll also love the enormous new cache of Mexican civil registration records online, all free to search from a central portal listed below.

U.S. military collections

World War II film footage. The U.S. National Archives has uploaded over 16 minutes’ worth of silent film footage identified as outtakes from the 1944 documentary, “Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.” The film images are from 1942 and 1943. The shot scenes include combat missions and tour scenes.

Veterans History Project adds Guadalcanal coverage. The Library of Congress blog recently announced,The Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project (VHP) today launched its new “Experiencing War” website feature, titled “Guadalcanal: 75 Years Later,” recognizing the anniversary of the end of the major World War II campaign known as the Battle of Guadalcanal. The feature highlights 12 digitized collections found in the VHP archive, each of which includes the first-person narrative of a veteran who fought in this epic, six-month offensive in the South Pacific during 1942 and 1943.”

Military service rolls and records: Revolutionary War through Indian Wars. The always-free genealogy giant,, has added significantly to its resources about Revolutionary War soldiers:

Genealogy giant and subscription website has added a new database, “U.S. Army Indian Campaign Service Records Index, 1815-1858. According to the collection description, this database contains alphabetical card indexes to compiled service records of Volunteer soldiers who served 1836-1939 from units in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee or the Volunteer Field and Staff of the Army of the Cherokee Nation. Also included are others who “served in various Indian wars or participated in the quelling or solving of Indian disturbances or problems, 1815-1858.”

More historical statutes online

The Library of Congress has posted new materials that will enable you to more easily research the laws relating to your ancestors’ lives. According to the site, “The individual statutes for congresses 68 through 81 are now available on the Law Library of Congress website. This addition closes the gap for the years for which the Statutes at Large were not available on the Internet. As with the volumes for previous congresses, each of these statutes is tagged with tailored, descriptive metadata to help users search and browse by facets.” Click here to explore these online collections for free.

U.S. passenger lists: Virgin Islands arrivals has published a small but significant new collection of indexed records,  United States, Virgin Islands Index to Passenger Arrivals, 1906-1947. According to the collection description, “This collection corresponds with NARA publications A3404 and A3407, both of which are passenger index lists. Publication roll A3404 serves as an index to the series “Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, July 16, 1907- May 12, 1923” NAID 2953525 and “Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, June 5, 1925 to-June 30, 1948” NAID 2953511. Publication roll A3407 consists of microfilmed index cards, which contain passenger list information for ships arriving at Honolulu 1900-1952 (ARC identifier 4493348).” Note that the title doesn’t reference Honolulu arrivals but the collection description does.

U.S. yearbooks

MyHeritage has published US Yearbooks, 1890-1979, a new collection claiming 36,207,173 digitized pages in 253,429 yearbooks, “one of the largest collections of digitized US yearbooks in existence,” states the collection description. “Yearbooks are excellent genealogical records that include personal portraits and group photographs. These books can give a researcher insight into students, faculty, and staff who attended or worked at a school. The yearbooks in this huge compendium are primarily from high schools, which in the United States normally comprise grades 9 to 12 or 10 to 12.”

New England

The New England Historic Genealogical Society has published new resources for those with New England heritage:

  • “Thanks to our volunteers, we’re announcing three improved databases this week. These databases are now indexed by first name, last name, parents’ names, spouse’s name, location, date, and record type. They also now include images scanned from our manuscript collection. The improved databases are Guilford, CT Deaths, 1883-1890, Lincoln County, ME: Commissioners Marriages Records, 1759-1777, and Westfield, MA: Deaths in the First Church, 1728-1836.”
  • “The Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS is pleased to announce the launch of our new website, This enhanced website will be another resource for patrons to explore the history of Boston and New England’s Jewish communities, and provide the Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS the opportunity to further tell the stories of families, organizations, and synagogues. The website offers subject guides, links to featured exhibits and events, collection finding aids, and a variety of other resources for those with an interest in Jewish history and genealogy. Make sure to bookmark our website, and check back often for updated content!”

Great Lakes rail history

The Lake States Railway Historical Association is working to build an online archive and expand awareness of its important historical collections. According to this article in the Baraboo News Republic, “The collections at the Lake States Railway Historical Association contain countless stories of early railroads and the people who worked on them, and the organization’s leaders want to share them with the world. The 5,000-square-foot historical archive on Lynn Street in Baraboo is home to thousands of books, negatives, photographs, blueprints, drawings and other historical documents that detail early railroads, with a principal focus on the Western Great Lakes Region from 1880 to 1916. Volunteers are in the process of cataloging the collections in an online database so railroad enthusiasts around the globe can see what resources the organization has to offer.” Click here to explore their online catalog to their collection.

More Mexico civil registration records now online has recently added over 63 million Mexico civil registration records! Among them are records from Aguascalientes, Baja California (and Sur), Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Distrito Federal, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Yucatan and Zacatecas. Search them all from the main search portal for Mexican genealogy.

Please share these North American genealogy records

We scour the internet every week looking for the best new collections you’ll want to see, then group them to help you better find the ones you need. These Friday record roundups are some of our most popular posts. Please help us get the word out about these new North American genealogy records online! Share this post on your favorite social media site or email it to your genie friends and society buddies. Thank you for sharing! You’re a gem!

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!

Did Grandpa Work on the Railway? Railroad Records You’ll Want

railroad records

Library of Congress image. Click to see citation.

Railroad records helped this woman FINALLY find the names of her grandfather’s parents.

Trisha has been searching for a while for the names of her grandfather’s parents. We gave her several suggestions for where to search for parents’ names, but in her case, they remained elusive.  But she didn’t give up, and she continued using some Google search strategies we taught her for locating old records online. She wrote in recently with this success story:

“I wanted to touch base with you about my grandfather’s parent’s names…..I found them!!!!! After your advice and the newsletter I continued to look in various places. And then I remembered that he worked for the railroad, but didn’t know which one.

I found there is a railroad retirement commission in Chicago that has information on all the different railroad systems. So I contacted the railroad retirement commission in Chicago to see if they still had any records from the 1930s and 1940s. They replied…that those records…have been sent to the Atlanta National Archives.

I emailed my grandfather’s information to see if they could find his file. And they were able to find his file that was 385 pages long (1937-1964)….They were able to go through the file and copy 25 pages of what they thought had the most genealogical information for $20. I received that yesterday and I did the happy dance with my son when he handed me the mail. It took about two weeks.

One of the documents was his original pension application that he documented his parents’ names on, as well as a handwritten letter from my grandmother to the disability department regarding an on-the-job injury that happened and the doctor visits my grandfather had to have during his recovery. And I learned that my grandmother’s first marriage that ended in divorce was filed California in 1938.  And that’s why the Jackson County [Missouri] Clerk couldn’t find the records. I am very eager get and go through the entire file hoping for more genealogy gems. Thanks so much for helping me get this information. You have made me start thinking outside the box for additional research ideas. This has truly been more appreciated than you will ever know.”

The National Archives has an entire webpage dedicated to its Railroad Retirement Board records. Click to see what kinds of records they have and how to order them. If you discover what railroad a relative worked for, look for railroad historical societies, books, archival collections and other materials about that railroad. Google the name of the railroad and see what you find (click here for Google search tips or consult Lisa Louise Cooke’s book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox).

You might also visit the list of chapters of the the National Railway Historical Society on its website or this index to railroad historical societies. Some historical or employment records may even be online, like the Chicago and North Western Railroad Employment Records, 1935-1970 at

railroad retirement board paperworkHere’s one kind of document you may find in your family archive that would point to railroad employment. My aunt and I discovered this Certificate of Service Months and Wages recently in an old box. It was sent to my grandfather by the Railroad Retirement Board in 1943.

Unfortunately, he didn’t appear to have served long enough for the Retirement Board to have kept a permanent file on him. But this document does shed light on how my grandfather (recently graduated from high school) could be listed as a semi-skilled switchman for the railroad on his WWII enlistment papers the year before. He must have worked for them temporarily, as the National Archives says was sometimes the case.

With a grandfather and great grandfather (father and son) who both worked on the railroad, Lisa has been inquiring about railroad records as well. She tells me, “I emailed the National Archives at Atlanta, and within 24 hours received a response saying a complete response would be received within 10 business days.” Stay tuned!

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