As leaders in British and Irish family history, we know the hard work that goes into discovering and confirming what became of your family when they migrated across the pond to North America. That’s why we’re incredibly proud to announce that we’ve launched a new and unique data set to make this milestone easier to achieve. Introducing the
British and Irish Roots Collection
a database consisting of more than 98 million assorted records that have been hand-picked from existing collections by our in-house experts.
This ground-breaking collection gives family historians the chance to trace their ancestors’ journeys across the Atlantic like never before by bringing together a wide range of record sets that list origin or place of birth as anywhere in Britain and Ireland. Millions of passenger lists, census records, naturalisation applications and draft registrations, as well as birth, marriage, and death records spanning more than 400 years (1573 to 1990) of migration between the British Isles and North America can now be explored in one unified search, enabling family historians to trace the migration of ancestors from the Old World to the New through one simple search.
This is the first time such an expansive database has been curated in such a way. Now, exclusively with Findmypast, family historians can trace their transatlantic ancestors all in one place.
The journeys researchers can expect to find include:
- Anyone leaving the UK or Ireland and emigrating to the US, Canada or the Caribbean
- Anyone emigrating from Canada or the Caribbean to the US (this covers the large number of British and Irish immigrants who stopped temporarily in Canada and/or the Caribbean)
- Anyone listed on any US or Canadian record with British or Irish origins, birthplace or parents
For example, if a US Military record mentions that a soldier was born in Wales, or if a US census return states that a household member was born in Athlone, Ireland, those records will be searchable through
British and Irish Roots
All records within this expansive collection will be free to search and explore for a limited period. Visit Findmypast today and start discovering your immigrant relatives.
More on British and Irish Records
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Case studies are presented to show how to avoid the biggest mistakes, including trusting family myths; believing that the posted family trees are accurate; connecting the wrong “same name” people; and believing that all original family records are accurate.
Join us and James Baker, PhD, CG, for the live webinar Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 8pm 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.
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I’ve always had a bit of a sour attitude about going to the movies, mostly because it seems like a lot of money to spend just to go and shush my children in public for a few hours. But when the new Pixar movie Coco came out, my 10-year-old daughter begged me to take her to see it, and my 7-year-old son promised to be good, so I decided to be brave and take them.
Before I go further, I should explain a little bit about my family. My husband is from Peru, and I am from the United States. We kind of have “his and hers” kids when you look at them. My son looks more like me and my family, and my daughter looks more like her dad and his family. For my daughter, though, these affinities go deeper than appearance. She feels a strong connection to her Peruvian side and all things Latino. Sometimes it makes me a little angry that she feels this way because I want her to love her heritage from my side just as much as she does her dad’s. I know, I should just be glad she feels connected to her heritage at all, but I am still working on that.
Back to the story. We made it to the movies, bought the popcorn and candy, and settled in to see the show. If you haven’t seen Coco yet, I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a great story of the deep and eternal bonds of family even across the boundary of death.
Toward the end of the movie, I looked over at my daughter and saw that she was crying. She let me hold her hand for a few minutes (because it was dark, I think) while the story’s little hero helped repair the damage caused by old grudges, hurt feelings, and unresolved conflicts in his family. I’m not sure the movie’s creators knew that they would be teaching the plan of salvation through this story, but that was exactly what came to my mind as we talked about the movie afterward.
A few days later, my daughter asked me who would be on the ofrenda (the wall of family pictures and memories) for our family. This gave me the chance to tell her about a few family members she did not know. Thanks to the Family Tree app, I could even show her some of their pictures. I told her about my maternal grandmother, who always kept fudge in her refrigerator to share with any friend who might drop in, and my great-grandfather, who was so neat and clean that people said they could eat off the engine in his car. I told her about my great-grandmother, who had a fine sewing hand, fiery red hair, and a temper to match. The pictures and stories of several other ancestors were there at our fingertips.
By the end of the conversation, my daughter felt a deeper connection to her ancestors, and I felt a deeper connection to her. I realized that I needed to save my memories of these people for my future grandchildren so that they could also know those on our ofrenda. I also realized that saving such memories could be as easy as chatting with my daughter. Elder Dale G. Renlund has said that through family history and temple work, we can have the “power to turn the hearts of [our] family together and heal that which needs healing.” I felt a little of that power—of God’s power—at work in my own family, thanks to the blessings of family history work, the Family Tree app, and a movie.
Who is on your family’s ofrenda?
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When you start researching in a jurisdiction or a time period that is new to you, you will want to keep track of the little bits of helpful information that you find so that you don’t have to look up that information again. You can do this is by maintaining Locality Files (now known as Locality Guides). The Family History Library detailed this strategy in their Research Guide on how to organize your paper files. You can see it HERE. These Research Guides are what we used before the FamilySearch Wiki. I think I had every Research Guide they ever published.
Let’s say I have an ancestor who lived in Perry County, Mississippi and I have never done research in Perry County before. I need to learn a lot of things about Perry County before I can even get started. These are the things I will add to my Locality Guide for Perry County. I need to know a basic history of the county such as when it was formed and what the parent counties were as well as a basic timeline of events for that county. I love to find old county history books that are in the public domain. Google Books, Internet Archive, Hathi Trust, and FamilySearch Books are my favorite websites to find these books. I also want to have contact info for the courthouse as well as anything special I need to know about accessing their records. What records do they have onsite? Did they have any record losses due to fire or flood? I would include contact info for the local genealogical and/or historical society, the local libraries, and any other possible repositories. I like to have a current map of the area (though I do use Google Maps a lot now) as well as any old maps I can find.
I keep all of my information electronically which means I can create hyperlinks to things on the internet such as online books, the available databases at the major online repositories, and the FamilySearch card catalog. I can link right to the Perry County page. I love newspapers and I use the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website to find what was in publication and when. I only have to do the search once and then I can link to it. For example, HERE is the list for Perry County. It saves me a lot of time not having to go back to the website and do repeated searches. Don’t forget that if you have never done research in the state of Mississippi you will also need to collect some general resources at the state level and not just at the county level. Besides my Locality Guides I also gather reference material on the major records groups (military, land, probate, etc.).
It may seem like a lot of work but this information is essential to be able to thoroughly research your ancestors. It will also save you time in the long run. The next time I have a person of interest in this same county I already have the needed resources. I can always update it if I find any new information. Today most genealogists keep these notes electronically in applications such as Evernote or OneNote instead of using paper files. You can also use a word processing program or a spreadsheet program. These are great because not only can you hyperlink to the resources you find on the internet, you can also scan anything you have that is on paper (pages out of the above referenced books for example) and have those pages readily available instead of having to lug out the books each time. You can even design a template so that all of your guides follow the same format.
I have included an example as a downloadable PDF. This example comes from my friend Eva Goodwin. We were in ProGen together and creating a Locality Guide was one of our assignments. I liked Eva’s better than mine so I asked her if I could use hers an an example and she very graciously sent it to me.
My real Locality Guides are not as fancy as what we did for our ProGen assignment but I wanted to give you an idea of the types of things you should include. I will say that I am working on designing a template so that my guides are more uniform.
The best way to get started is to create a locality guide for a jurisdiction that you are very familiar with. I’ll bet that by the time you are done you will have found some resources that you didn’t know about.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
— Benjamin Franklin
Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.
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