Cemetery Preserved, and Just In Time

You're not going to believe what happened at this cemetery yesterday, just one day after this Eagle Scout project photographed it....Here's the background.

Genealogists from around the world came together today to transcribe the headstones of one of our local cemeteries here in Idaho. In case you missed it, here was our call for your help. My son, Evan, is so thankful for everyone's support. His Eagle Scout project was a big success, and was completed just in time (keep reading to learn what happened yesterday).

The purpose of his project was to help preserve the Greenleaf Cemetery in Greenleaf, Idaho. He read stories and saw pictures of cemeteries being destroyed by vandalism and natural disasters. Even our town cemetery here in Middleton was vandalized a couple of years back.

This morning we visited with the head of the Greenleaf Cemetery District to give her Evan's report of the project. Evan explained that all the headstones had been photographed two nights before, published to the BillionGraves website, and that within the next week the cemetery's database would be created and be searchable. She said she's wanted to have something like this for years since people are always asking her for help in finding their loved ones there.

What she showed us next caused the hairs on my arms to stand.

She said that just yesterday, one of the gravesites collapsed. Not one of the headstones, but the entire gravesite. I had to see this and find out what caused it. Sure enough, there was a big hole in the ground. She explained that prior to the 1970s, caskets were made of pine. Pine disintegrates over time and when it does, it causes the ground above it to cave in. Nothing under the ground at this site was exposed and they'll have it fixed quickly. We asked if it was anything that our group of photographers had done to cause this, and she thankfully replied that no, the lawnmower goes over it all the time, and it was just time for this to happen to the 80-year-old site. When this happens, the headstone often breaks off as well and needs replaced.

So...thank goodness for Evan's Eagle Scout project. Every site in the cemetery was photographed the night before, including this site. And thus, due to the efforts of 20 of us here taking pictures, and hundreds of you from around the world transcribing those pictures here, the cemetery is preserved and even searchable.


You're Invited! Transcribe 1 headstone today to help with Evan's Eagle project

EvanscoutHi my name is Evan Rasmussen. Some of you might know my dad, Geoff. I am working on my Eagle project which is to help preserve a cemetery by photographing the gravestones and uploading the images to a website called billiongraves.com.

On Wednesday I and a group of people (20 of us) went to one of my local cemeteries and completed the photographing stage of the project. We took 687 pictures. The next thing I need to get done is to transcribe the images we took. This makes it so anyone who is looking for a relative in this cemetery can find them. If you want to help me out by transcribing ONE gravestone click here. Just zoom in,  click on one of the green pins and transcribe away. (You'll have to first create a free account if you haven't already.) Thanks!

Here's what the cemetery looked like before we started:


Here's what it looks like now:


Here's what it looks like when you click on one of the yellow bubbles:


And here's what it looks like when you click on one of the green bubbles:



A few hours later...

...and the entire cemetery has been indexed! Thanks everybody for helping. It went really quickly. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed your help! There's just a few pictures that I need to go back out and retake (some were blurry or cut off).

What you can do now...

1) Take pictures. Using the free BillionGraves app on your smart phone, you can click on the Cemeteries button to see which cemeteries are nearby where you are. Some will have lots of pictures taken, others won't have any yet. Just click on the Take Picture button and have fun!

2) At BillionGraves.com, click on the Transcribe tab at the top. Looks like there are more than 700,000 pictures from other cemeteries that still need to be indexed.

Thanks again everyone for your help!

Here's what it looks like now:



Now I'd better go finish my project's paperwork.

Note from Geoff...

Not bad for Evan's first-ever blog post, eh? And not a bad choice for a worthwhile Eagle project. It's been really difficult for me, as a genealogist and as a father, to not step in and just do this whole project for him. :) Evan has done all the planning, obtained permission from the cemetery district (they're really excited about this), and organized the group's efforts the other night. The root beer floats afterwards were pretty good too! Another of our local cemeteries was vandalized a couple of years back. Had it been digitized previously they would have had a permanent record without the damage. This experience has helped Evan learn how to be a leader which is one of the purposes of the Eagle project.

I wrote about BillionGraves a few years back. You can read about it here. It is a worldwide project with the intent to digitize, geocode, and thus preserve cemeteries. It's come a long ways since I first wrote about it. Its index is also now searchable at FamilySearch.

Thanks for your help with Evan's project. And give BillionGraves a try too, maybe you'll find one of your ancestors today.

Watch Legacy Webinars on the Go!

You don't have to be tied to your computer to watch a legacy webinar! You can easily watch LIVE on the go if you have a smart phone or tablet.

You'll need to go to FamilyTreeWebinars.com first and register for a free webinar.

What you'll need to do to get started is to go to either the Apple or Android App Store depending on whether you are using an Apple or Android device. Then download the FREE GoToWebinar app. It looks like this:


Once you open the app you will see this screen:


In the white box enter the webinar id number that you will find in the confirmation email of your webinar registration. Then click the JOIN link in the blue box.

Next you will see the title page for the webinar. You may need to fill in registration info again toward the bottom if you registered after the webinar started.


A notice will let you know that you've been muted. Click that box for more information.



Here are the microphone options:


Tilt your phone or tablet to the horizontal position to see the webinar in a larger screen mode:


When you want to leave the GoToWebinar app, tap the box with the left pointing arrow in the top left of your screen. Then press Leave Webinar on the bottom of the screen when it appears.


At the end fill out the survey and let us know how you enjoyed the webinar!


Just remember that watching a webinar on your mobile device can use up your data plan quickly if you are not on wifi. If you are in public, try to login into a local free wifi network.

Give it a try and let me know if you have any questions.


New Legacy QuickTip Video - How to Create a Mother's Chart

We have another great Legacy QuickTip Video for you today! Learn:

  • How to use create a Mother's Chart
  • How to emphasize the photographs by using the mugshot theme
  • How to utilize the invisible feature to exclude the men on the chart

This QuickTip was presented live during the after-webinar party of this week's The Secret Lives of Women: Researching Female Ancestors webinar by Gena Philibert-Ortega.

Click here for the video.


Click here for more Legacy QuickTip videos.

Find Ancestors in Upper Canada Land Records

How many of us overlook searching for an ancestor in land records? Sometimes genealogists don’t realize how much information can be found in a land record. Originally all land in Upper Canada (later called Canada West, then Ontario) belonged to the Crown. Although there were small areas of settlement in 1763 after the British took over, major settlement of Upper Canada began in 1783 and utilized Crown Grants. Many early settlers, both military and civilian, submitted land petitions to the Governor in order to obtain Crown land.

The following steps were involved in a settler acquiring land in Upper Canada:

  1. To apply for a land grant from the Crown, he (or she) may have submitted a petition to the Crown (further explanation below under Crown Land Grants).
  2. If the petition was successful, the Crown issued a land grant to the petitioner. It was a complex process to receive a land grant.
  3. If the settler took up residence on the land and fulfilled certain settlement duties, he or she ended up owning the land. In that case the settler was issued a patent, showing that the ownership of the land had passed from the Crown to a private individual.
  4. If there were any later transactions relating to that property (e.g., sale to another individual, taking out a mortgage on the property, etc.), they were documented in the records of the county Land Registry Offices.

Free Grants of Crown Land

Until 1826 free land grants were available to all settlers, to government favourites, and to United Empire Loyalist (UEL) children. In 1826 these free grants were abolished except for Loyalist grants and soldiers, thus anyone wanting Crown land had to buy it. 

Land Petitions

There were two types of land petitions:

  • pre-1827 petitions for free grants of land under the UEL and military categories
  • post-1827 petitions for purchase of Crown lands 


1797 Upper Canada Land Petition. Library Archives Canada


The Canada Company

Settlers could also buy lands from the Canada Company, a private company owning all of the Huron District. These records are held at the Archives of Ontario. All land sales after the initial Crown grant were registered with local land registry offices. 

Crown Land Grants

Procedures for granting Crown Land changed constantly but could involve:

  • The settler's initial Petition to the Crown for land
  • An Order-in-Council from a federal Land Board granting their request
  • A Warrant from Ontario's Attorney General ordering the surveying of a lot
  • The Fiat from Ontario Surveyor General authorizing a grant of the surveyed lot
  • A Location Ticket permitting the settler to reside on the lot
  • The Patent transferring ownership of the lot from the Crown to the settler.

CLRI (Computerized Land Record Index)

The Computerized Land Record Index (aka Ontario Land Record Index) summarizes land grants of Crown Land, sales of land from Canada Company sales or leases and from Peter Robinson settlers' grants. If your ancestor settled anywhere in Ontario and he was the first time owner of Crown Land, he should be on this index. 

Heir & Devisee Commission

In 1797, the government of Upper Canada (now Ontario) established the Heir and Devisee Commission to clarify land titles for settlers on unpatented land. If your ancestor was living in Upper Canada around this time, there is a chance that you might find them referenced in this collection. Records can include: affidavits, bonds, location certificates, powers of attorney, orders-in-council, copies of wills, mortgages, deeds of sale, and testimonial letters. The digitized films are challenging to search but for a corrected list of online digitized film numbers with their contents, see Olive Tree Genealogy’s Heir & Devisee Commission Microfilm Listings.

LFT HDV74H1146CorneliusVOLLICK 1795 copy
Heir & Devisee Commission, 1795. http://Heritage.Canadiana.ca

Abstract Indexes to Deeds

The Abstract Indexes to Deeds are the indexed record of every transaction on a plot of land from Crown ownership to the present day. Using the Abstract Indexes to Deeds you can check for every instance of your name of interest on that parcel of land. By referring to the date and Instrument Number found with each transaction, you can look up the complete record. You may find a will (many wills are filed in the Land Records Offices) or other important genealogical information or document. 

Assessment Records

Assessment and Tax Records contain location of an individual's land. There are some very early assessment records, but each area in Ontario has different surviving records, so you must check for the county or township of interest to you. 

Township Papers

Township Papers deal mostly with the original locatees, but may contain other pre-patent records. Some petitions for land can be found in the Township Papers. This miscellaneous group of land-related records have been arranged by township name, then by concession and lot or by town name and lot number. Under any lot which has documents, researchers may find the following: copies of orders-in-council; copies of location certificates and location tickets; copies of assignments; certificates verifying the completion of settlement duties; copies of receipt; copies of descriptions; and copies of patents; and copies of incoming correspondence. See Finding Aid to Township Papers

Other Resources for Land Records

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.

Researching Female Ancestors - free webinar by Gena Philibert-Ortega now online for limited time


The recording of today's excellent webinar, "The Secret Lives of Women - Researching Female Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind," by Gena Philibert-Ortega is now available to view for free at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for a limited time. Some great comments:

  • I really appreciated the tips for "alternate" sources for finding information on female ancestors. I already have used the tip for finding female relatives in city directories, but today's seminar was filled with ideas for so many more. Thank you so much for today's broadcast!!!
  • I have been trying to find my female ancestors and it's been hard. Now I have so many more places to check. Wow! This is going to be fun!! Thanks for another superb webinar!!
  • She changed my thought process when she questioned why we search for women in the same places we search for men!

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 43 minute recording of "The Secret Lives of Women - Researching Female Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind" PLUS the after-webinar party is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership.

Coupon code

Use webinar coupon code - female - for 10% off anything at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com or www.LegacyFamilyTreeStore.com, valid through Monday, July 6, 2015.

QDFEMALELegacy QuickGuide: Finding Your Female Ancestors 2.95

Most historical records have been created for and about men, making it more challenging to research and write about female ancestors. The Finding Your Female Ancestors Legacy QuickGuide™ contains useful information including best places to find maiden names, locate women’s history resources, and other key strategies for tracing your maternal lines. This handy 4-page PDF guide can be used on your computer or mobile device for anytime access.

Click here to purchase for 2.95.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

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Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Pinning Your Family History by Thomas MacEntee. July 8.
  • Making a Federal Case Out of It by Judy Russell (bonus webinar for annual/monthly webinar subscribers only). July 10.
  • Researching with Karen! by Karen Clifford. July 15.
  • Have Swedish Roots and Don't Know How to Get Started? by Kathy Meade. July 22.
  • Storyboard Your Family History by Lisa Alzo. July 29.
  • Mending Broken Ties: Reconstructing Family Trees Sawed by Slavery by Melvin J. Collier. July 31.
  • What's in a Name? Trouble! by Ron Arons. August 5.
  • Power Platting - Technology Tools to Create Pictures from Property Descriptions by Chris Staats. August 12.
  • Discovering Your Kentucky Ancestors by Mark Lowe. August 19.
  • Digital Family Reunions by Devin Ashby. August 21.
  • German Names and Naming Patterns by Jim Beidler. August 26.
  • Break Down Brick Walls in Eastern European Research - Tips, Tools and Tricks by Lisa Alzo. September 2.
  • Research Your Swedish Ancestors in Living Color Using ArkivDigital Online by Kathy Meade. September 9.
  • Technology and Techniques for Differentiating Two People with the Same Name by Geoff Rasmussen. September 11.
  • Researching Your Dutch Ancestors by Yvette Hoitink. September 16.
  • Researching Your Ancestors in England and Wales by Kirsty Gray. September 23.
  • Maps Tell Some of the Story for the African-Ancestored Genealogist by Angela Walton-Raji. September 25.
  • Using Periodicals to Find Your Ancestors by Gena Philibert-Ortega. September 30.
  • Wearables and Genealogy - Wacky and Wild or Worth the Wait by Thomas MacEntee. October 7.
  • Colonial Immigration - The English Pioneers of Early America by Beth Foulk. October 14.
  • Billions of Records, Billions of Stories by Devin Ashby. October 16.
  • What Happened to the State of Frankland - Using Tennessee's Pre-Statehood Records by Mark Lowe. October 21.
  • Complex Evidence - What is It? How Does it Work? And Why Does it Matter? by Warren Bittner. October 28.
  • Researching with Karen! by Karen Clifford. November 4.
  • Organizing Your Genetic Genealogy by Diahan Southard. November 11.
  • Bringing it All Together and Leaving a Permanent Record by Tom Kemp. November 13.
  • Mapping Madness by Ron Arons. November 18.
  • Stories in Stone - Cemetery Research by Gail Blankenau. December 2.
  • Thinking about Becoming an Accredited Genealogist? by Apryl Cox and Kelly Summers. December 9.
  • Pointing Fingers at Ancestors' Siblings - Breaking Down Brick Walls with Collateral Research by Marian Pierre-Louis. December 16.

Click here to register. Or click here register for multiple webinars at the same time.

Print the 2015 webinar brochure here.

See you online!

My Grandfather was a Sea Captain: Researching Maritime Ancestors

Learning about seafaring ancestors can prove to be as exciting as the adventures of many who crossed oceans to destinations around the world. My great, great, grandfather, Owen O’Neill, was born off the coast of South America aboard his Irish father’s frigate. After courting his wife in Boston, Owen sailed his family to California. From the 1850s until his death in 1871, he piloted a cargo ship that traversed daily from San Francisco to Belmont, California.

Clipper ship-LOC
 N. Currier, Clipper Ship "Red Jacket" off Coast of Cape Horn.
Image from the  Library of Congress.

Many men of his time living near ports were employed in the maritime industries. The importance of the maritime industry led to the creation of records that, in many cases, have discoveries waiting for genealogists. With the right know-how, any researcher can re-tell the tale of their sea captain.

Many resources exist at the National Archives that remain only partially digitized. The Act of 1789 by the United States Government mandated that private seagoing vessels be officially recorded by the government. As a result, 100 district offices throughout the country were established for the agency of the U.S. Customs Collection Service. The U.S. Customs Service became responsible for recording information on vessels and their contents. Ships arriving at port were directed to the local customhouse. The customhouse was operated by the collector and his subordinate officers who collected details on the arriving ships. Among the records produced at the customhouse are:

  • Arrival and Departure of American Merchant Ships
  • Seamen and Marine Passenger Protection Certificates
  • Names of Owners and Masters of a Ship
  • Crew Lists
  • Names of Officials at the Customhouse
  • Manifests of Cargo on Board

Records of United States customhouses are located in National Archives Record Group 36, Records of the U.S. Customs Service. There are collections of passenger and crew lists that are digitized and searchable on Ancestry. These lists mostly come from Record Group 85, Bureau of Immigration. More federal records are accessible to researchers online if the seafaring ancestor in question served in the Navy.

While the National Archives has a majority of these records, some maritime collections were deposited with public libraries and local history repositories before the National Archives was created in 1934. Here are a few examples of maritime records from local history collections that are FREE to search:

Researchers new to these records will come across unusual terms. Here are definitions of some important terms to help your research:

    Before documents could be obtained for a vessel, it had to be measured. These certificates show name of ship builder and name of owner.

    Each certificate shows date of issue, name of seaman, his age and nationality and a brief physical description. These persons were required to give oaths of citizenship that were signed by witnesses.    

  • DRAWBACK           
    Historically the word drawback denotes refunding the tax on goods to the master of the ship importing goods. The rationale for drawback was to encourage American commerce and manufacturing.     

  • DUTIES         
    Same as tax.

  • GAUGER      
    A customs official who inspects dimensions of bulk goods subject to duty.

    Lists of cargo.

    Certificates protecting seamen from being impressed by foreign entities.

  • SHIPPING ARTICLES                     
    Agreements between masters of vessels and seamen on contract of the voyage. After the general agreement, they include the seamen’s signature, age, nationality, personal description, birthplace, address, and information on next of kin.

Genealogists should prepare in advance for searching these records. Many are not indexed and will require looking for multiple boxes of archival material. You will have greater success if you know name of the ship and the home port. Historical newspapers may contain information on your ship-owning ancestor. Court and probate records are also worth checking because boats are important property. Save time by confirming that your ancestor had a maritime job by checking the US Federal Census 1850 or later to determine your ancestor's occupation.

Finding Maritime ancestors can be a great surprise, but learning details about their lives is even better. If someone asked me to research the career of Captain Joseph Peabody of Salem, Massachusetts, I would use Records of The Customs Service in the District of Salem and Beverly to find what ships he mastered, where he imported goods, whom he worked with, and so many great details that would otherwise be overlooked.

Do you have any maritime ancestors in your family history? Share your ancestor's maritime stories here!


Jake Fletcher is a genealogist and blogger. He received his Bachelor Degree for History in 2013 and is now researching genealogy professionally. Jake has been researching and writing about genealogy  since high school using his blog page Travelogues of a Genealogist.



Happy Canada Day!


Lots and lots of our Legacy Family Tree users and webinar listeners are Canadians (so is my wife!). Today is their special day. Happy Canada Day!!

Here's one of my favorite views in Canada, a picture taken in Nova Scotia during one of our Legacy Genealogy Cruises.


And here's my one Canadian-born ancestor in the family's Bible:


Some of the best people I have met are from Canada. Have a great day!

Got Irish Ancestors? Your genealogical gold mine is almost here


If you are researching an Irish ancestor, be sure to clear your appointments for July 8, 2015 (except for your 9pm eastern U.S. appointment with Thomas MacEntee's webinar). That is the anticipated date of the release of the digitization of the entire collection of Catholic parish registers held by the National Library of Ireland. More than 390,000 digital images of these records will be online and available for free. Read more about it in their recent press release below.

National Library of Ireland Announces Launch Date for New Online Genealogy Resource 

– Almost 400,000 images of Catholic parish register microfilms to be available online for free from 8th July 2015 – 

The entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) will be made available online – for free – from 8th July 2015 onwards. On that date, a dedicated website will go live, with over 390,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded.  

The NLI has been working to digitise the microfilms for over three years under its most ambitious digitisation programme to date.  

The parish register records are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census.  Dating from the 1740s to the 1880s, they cover 1,091 parishes throughout the island of Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.  

Commenting today, the NLI’s Ciara Kerrigan, who is managing the digitisation of the parish registers, said: “We announced initial details of this project last December, and received a hugely enthusiastic response from people worldwide with an interest in Irish family history.  We are delighted to announce that the project has been progressing well, and we will be able to publish all the digitised records online from 8th July onwards.  

“This is the most significant ever genealogy project in the history of the NLI.  The microfilms have been available to visitors to the NLI since the 1970s.  However, their digitisation means that, for the first time, anyone who likes will be able to access these registers without having to travel to Dublin.” 

Typically, the parish registers include information such as the dates of baptisms and marriages, and the names of the key people involved, including godparents or witnesses.  The digital images of the registers will be searchable by parish location only, and will not be transcribed or indexed by the NLI. 

“The images will be in black and white, and will be of the microfilms of the original registers,” explained Ms. Kerrigan.  “There will not be transcripts or indexes for the images.  However, the nationwide network of local family history centres holds indexes and transcripts of parish registers for their local areas.  So those who access our new online resource will be able to cross-reference the information they uncover, and identify wider links and connections to their ancestral community by also liaising with the relevant local family history centre.” 

The NLI is planning an official launch event for the new online resource on 8th July. 

Judy Wight spoke about this in her recent webinar, "Irish Genealogical Records in the 17th-19th Centuries. Webinar subscribers can watch the recording here, or here's a 15-minute preview.

FamilySearch Records Update: More than 15.6 million new records for Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, India, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, and the United States

These records updates are among my favorite announcements! It's always fun to see what new records FamilySearch has. Thanks to all the indexing volunteers for making this possible!

FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 15.6 million indexed records and images for Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, India, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 5,573,816 records from the US, Iowa, State Census, 1925 collection; 2,086,638 records from the US, California Death Index, 1905–1939 collection; and 1,325,362 images from the Italy, Cremona, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1744–1942 collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 5.8 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historical genealogical records online atFamilySearch.org .

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Indexed Records

Digital Images


Australia, New South Wales, Census (fragment), 1891



Added images to an existing collection.

Canada, Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840–1949



Added indexed records to an existing collection.

Canada, Ontario Births, 1869–1912



Added images to an existing collection.

Canada, Ontario Deaths, 1869–1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939–1947



Added images to an existing collection.

Canada, Ontario Marriages, 1869–1927



Added images to an existing collection.

Canada, Quebec, Index to Civil Copy of Church Records, 1642–1902



New browsable image collection.

Canada, Ontario Births, 1869–1912



Added images to an existing collection.

Czech Republic Church Books, 1552–1963



Added images to an existing collection.

India, Bihar, Koilukh, Pandit Kirtinand Jha, Maithil Brahmin Genealogical Records, 1750–1990



Added images to an existing collection.

India, Hindu Pilgrimage Records, 1194–2015



Added images to an existing collection.

India, Madras Diocese Protestant Church Records, 1743–1990



New browsable image collection.

Italy, Caltanissetta, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1820–1935



Added images to an existing collection.

Italy, Cremona, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1744–1942



New browsable image collection.

Italy, Grosseto, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1851–1907



New browsable image collection.

Italy, L'Aquila, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809–1865, 1911–1943



Added images to an existing collection.

Italy, Pesaro e Urbino, Pesaro, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1808–1813, 1861–1865



New browsable image collection.

Italy, Ragusa, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1900–1940



New browsable image collection.

Mexico, Baja California and Baja California Sur, Catholic Church Records, 1750–1984



Added images to an existing collection.

Mexico, Chihuahua, Catholic Church Records, 1632–1958



New browsable image collection.

Mexico, Guanajuato, Catholic Church Records, 1519–1984



Added images to an existing collection.

Mexico, Hidalgo, Catholic Church Records, 1546–1971



Added images to an existing collection.

Mexico, Michoacán, Catholic Church Records, 1555–1996



Added images to an existing collection.

Mexico, Tamaulipas, Catholic Church Records, 1703–1964



Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, Tacna, Civil Registration, 1850–1998



New browsable image collection.

Philippines, Negros Occidental, Roman Catholic Diocese of Bacolod, Parish Registers, 1755–1976



New browsable image collection.

US, California Death Index, 1905–1939



Added indexed records to an existing collection.

US, Connecticut, District Court Naturalization Indexes, 1851–1992



New browsable image collection.

US, District of Columbia Marriages, 1811–1950



Added indexed records to an existing collection.

US, Iowa, State Census, 1925



Added indexed records to an existing collection.

US, Louisiana, First Registration Draft Cards, compiled 1940–1945



Added indexed records to an existing collection.

US, Michigan, Births, 1867–1902



Added images to an existing collection.

US, South Dakota, Pennington County Probate Case Files, 1880–1937



New browsable image collection.

US, United States Census, 1790



Added indexed records and images to an existing collection.

US, United States Census, 1800



Added indexed records and images to an existing collection.

US, Utah Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel Database, 1847–1868



New indexed record collection.

US, Utah, Uintah County Discharge Records, 1893–2009



New browsable image collection.

US, Utah, Uintah County Land and Property Records, 1888–2004



New browsable image collection.

Brand New! Join our Legacy User Group on Facebook Today

FB-fLogo-onlineThere's a new place for Legacy Family Tree users to hang out! Join our new Legacy User Group on Facebook today to share ideas, ask questions, or just lurk. Or if you're thinking about using Legacy, come hang out in the group and see what others are saying.

How to join

Click here and then click on the green Join Group button. As it is a closed group (to prevent spam, etc.), your request to join will be reviewed by our administrators. This shouldn't take long though.

What's Next?

Look for the Legacy User Group link in your Facebook "GROUPS" panel (it's on the left). Click on it and read what others have written, post a comment, or ask a question. 



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Other groups

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  • Or if you have a technical support question, visit our Support Home here.
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Legacy Genealogy Cruise - We're Back!

We have returned from our 12th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise and had the time of our lives! We sailed on board the largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

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It was my kids' first cruise and it lived up to all of their expectations.

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Am I a bad Dad for watching my second oldest down 8 ice cream cones in one day?

Our first day at sea was Father's Day...

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...and our first day of classes. We heard from Lisa Louise Cooke (wow, was she ever terrific!!)...


...Steve Salisbury, Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis, and myself. And it was fun sailing with about 200 friends and genealogists in our group.

In Jamaica we enjoyed a relaxing river cruise down the Martha Brae River.

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We also visited the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza. Such an amazing place!

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In addition to all the good food on board (my kids were impressed that they could even have macaroni and french fries in the formal dining room)...

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...we had fun on the carousel...

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...and even on the zip line...

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I was even spotted next to this billboard...

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We ended the classes as we always do by drawing lots of names for door prizes. Dave (Legacy's founder and President) then announced that all Legacy cruisers would get a free annual webinar membership to www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com. Thanks again to Lisa Louise Cooke, Steve Salisbury, Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis (and myself I suppose) for the great classes! Thanks to all of you who joined us! Thanks to all the rest of our Legacy Family Tree staff who kept our Support, Customer Service, and Shipping departments open while we were away. And thanks to our cruise coordinator, Christy, for all she did for us too!

Next year's cruise to Alaska

It's never too early to begin thinking about next year's cruise (our 13th annual) to Alaska. Registration is not yet available, but save these dates: August 27-September 9, 2016. Write to Christy for more information.

Back to work

Now that I've officially announced our return, it's back to work! We've got great things planned for our Legacy Family Tree software and for our webinar series. I LOVE my job!

Got Female Ancestors? Register for Gena Philibert-Ortega's webinar to learn how to find them


How do you research the women in your family tree? In some of the same ways you research men but you also have to consider what documents and items were left behind by women. In this lecture we look at the specific trail women left including signature quilts, community cookbooks, journals and diaries.

Join us and Gena Philibert-Ortega for the live webinar Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 2pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. Before joining, please visit www.java.com to ensure you have the latest version of Java which our webinar software requires. 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.

Download the syllabus

In preparation for the webinar, download the supplemental syllabus materials here. The syllabus is available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers. Log in here or subscribe here.


Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

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On the Upcoming Webinars tab, login to view the webinars you are already signed up for (available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers).

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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

Gena-100Gena 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. 

View Gena's other webinars here.

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, July 1, 2015 at:

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

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!

Have You Used this Unusual Genealogy Resource?

Funeral and Memorial Cards are often overlooked as a genealogy resource. They can be a treasure trove for the genealogist as they usually contain detailed information on the deceased person, such as birth and death dates, funeral location and burial location. Sometimes a memorial photo of the departed loved one is also found on the card.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, small memorial cards or invitations were often sent to inform friends and neighbours that someone had died. These cards were seen as an invitation to a funeral as well as a funeral notice. If the deceased was someone of great importance, the card usually had to be shown in order to attend the funeral.  Funeral and Memorial cards are a genealogical treasure.

Funeral Cards in the 19th Century

In Victorian times (ca 1837-1901) mourning customs were comprised of rituals and strict rules of etiquette and these were rigidly followed by most individuals. Mourning and funeral rituals were quite strict and anyone who did not wish to be ostracized tried to follow the social customs. This was the time period when mourning jewellery became popular and custom jewellery containing a lock of the deceased person's hair was often made for a widow to wear.

Funeral_Card_Black1896 copyFuneral Card 1896. From private collection of Brian Massey.

Funeral cards were very popular in the 19th Century. After a loved one died, a family member was expected to let others know of the time and date of the funeral. That is where Funeral Cards came in.

The deceased's love ones could order from dozens of styles of cards and have them imprinted with the deceased's name, date of birth and death, age and when and where the funeral was to be held. Often a standard verse was included.

Sometimes there was a photo of the deceased or an image such as an angel if the card was for a child. These cards were usually 4x6 inches and viewed vertically. A commonly used colour was black with gold lettering. A child's Funeral Card was usually white. 

Funeral_Card_White_Child_1902 Child's Funeral Card 1902. From private collection of Brian Massey.

After printing, funeral cards were sent or given to family members, friends, and the surrounding community. Recipients of a funeral card were expected to attend the funeral or risk offending family members. Conversely, those who did not receive an invitation would have been insulted, whether it was intentional or an oversight. 

Funeral cards were sometimes kept as a memento of a person's passing. They often turn up in antique stores, auctions, flea markets, or attics where they have been stored and forgotten.

Memorial Cards

Memorial cards did not have the same purpose as a funeral card. These small cards were sent out after the funeral and often contained more details of the burial location as well as a memorial to the deceased. Usually the name of the person as well as birth and death dates and location of death were included. These cards were usually 3 x 4 1/2 inches and viewed horizontally. They often had elaborate mortuary designs. Often a thick black border was used on Memorial Cards. If there was enough room a poem or verse might be added. 



Memorial_Card_Ada1919_3Small folded 4-sided Memorial card 1919.
From private collection of Brian Massey.

20th Century Cards 

By the 20th Century these Memorial and Funeral cards were out of style and Victorian rules of etiquette were rapidly changing. The cards evolved into other designs, usually a folded 4-sided vertical Memorial Card given out at the Funeral. A photo of the deceased and a great deal of genealogical information was usually included. 

Today's Memorial or Funeral Cards can come in a variety of designs and shapes. They might be bookmarks, or a card similar to a Sympathy card. Families can have their card of choice printed through the Funeral Home or a Printing House. Often a photo of the deceased or of something of significance to that person is included. A poem or religious verse is often added. Some Memorial cards are religious in design and will have religious symbols and relevant religious or biblical verses included.

Funeral and Memorial Card Resources for Genealogists

Genealogists can look for Funeral and Memorial cards at flea markets, in Antique stores and on E-Bay. There is also a large collection of these cards on the AncestorsAtRest website. They are free to search and view at the links below:

Funeral Cards on AncestorsAtRest.com

Memorial Cards on AncestorsAtRest.com

Funeral Cards on Cyndi's List

Historical Funeral Card Collection from the American-French Genealogical Society

Funeral Card Collection of the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana

Marsha Smiley African-American Collection: Memorials

Genealogists can also find Funeral Cards at the Subscription website Genealogy Today. http://www.genealogytoday.com/guide/funeral_cards.html


Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.

5 Online Places to Start Your Southern Genealogy Research

Research in the South can be both challenging and rewarding. Historically, the southern states’ culture and economy have been deeply rooted in agriculture. As an agrarian society, many areas were not meticulous in keeping records. When living on farms any significant distance from the courthouse, taking care of business at home took precedence over a lengthy trip to the courthouse. Births and deaths might not be recorded until months or years later. Deed transfers within the family might not be formalized for a generation. As a researcher of the American South, it is imperative to understand the agrarian way of life.

Another challenge for the Southern researcher is burned counties.  Many counties have lost records over the years to fire and/or natural disasters.  Certainly the Civil War played a role in the loss of courthouse records. While research in a burned county can present a brick wall for the researcher, the brick wall is not insurmountable.

Don’t despair! Research of your southern ancestors will still be a rewarding experience.  

Richardson familyDaniel T. Richardson of Pittsylvania County, VA - ~1906 (Source: Personal Collection of Lisa Talbott Lisson)

5 Online Places to Find Your Southern Ancestors

  1. The State Archives – More and more records are becoming available online for the genealogy researcher.  A good place to start is with the state archives where your ancestors lived. Each state will have its own unique holdings. For example, if you have North Carolina ancestors, visit the State Archives of North Carolina website. You will be able to search their holdings and explore their digital collections. Examples of what you will find include family Bibles, Civil War Pension Applications, and War of 1812 Pay Vouchers.  The State Library and Archives of Florida’s Florida Memory Collection is another good example of using a state archives’ available online records. On their site a sample of what you will find includes Spanish land grants, WWI Service Cards and Civil War Pension Applications.

  2. State and Local Genealogical Societies – The amount of information found on state and local genealogical societies will vary quite a bit. The information is usually provided by the society’s volunteers.  Still, be sure to check these societies for where your ancestor lived. Depending on the individual society, variable local records will be available. For example, transcripts of individual will and deeds might be found. Photographs of local residents and landmarks are another example that may be found. Some of the information may only be available to the society’s members while others are available to the general public. These sites are certainly worth a look.

  3. Documenting the American South (DocSouth) – The University Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) sponsors this online resource for southern history, cultural and literature. Among its collections are first person narratives of slaves, women, farmers and soldiers. Other collections include personal diaries and papers relating to the Civil War and slave narratives. DocSouth is an invaluable resource for any southern researcher.

  4. The Library of Virginia – While obviously focused on the records of Virginia, many southern families of other states such as Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama can trace families back to Virginia.  The LVA website is also a valuable resource for learning about the southern culture and way of life.

  5. The Digital Library on American Slavery – If you have African American ancestry, this site sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is an excellent place to visit. Many slave deeds, runaway slave advertisements and slavery era insurance records may be found here.

Remember: For all the excellent records available online, there are many more that are not. To be complete in your research, sometimes you need to travel to a repository or use the assistance of a local genealogist.

Now…. Go grab a tall glass of iced tea and start exploring your southern roots!

You can learn more about southern genealogy research in these Legacy webinars:

Lisa Lisson is a genealogist, blogger and Etsy-prenuer who writes about her never-ending pursuit of ancestors, the “how” of genealogy research and the importance of sharing genealogy research with our families. Specializing in North Carolina and southern Virginia research, she also provides genealogical research services to clients. You can find Lisa online at Lisa Lisson.com.