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Meet the German and Slavic Research Team!

FamilySearch - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 13:53

Many who have looked into tracing their German or Slavic family lines have quickly learned that they have their work cut out for them. Germany itself was once made up of over 300 countries, and sifting through the confusing mix can be a headache! But uncovering vital clues or discovering missing ancestors is what the Family History Library German and Slavic research team finds extremely rewarding.

German and Slavic Research Seminar Meet the Team

The team’s area covers over 20 countries and more than a dozen languages. These fearless team members include:

The research team regularly hones their knowledge and skills by playing an active role in genealogical societies and networking with fellow researchers. They also take time out of their usual schedules to travel to genealogical conferences and archives throughout the United States and Europe. These conferences help them to add more handy tools to their belt for when they jump back into assisting visitors or creating more online help.

How They Can Help

The German and Slavic Research team members are determined to help patrons with researching their ancestors by teaching research strategy, paleography, and translation skills. In doing so, the team aims to help patrons become confident in their abilities to continue research on their own.

You can access the team’s research and translation help by visiting the Family History Library or by visiting online via the FamilySearch Community page. You can also access the team’s research knowledge through videos that are available in the FamilySearch learning center and articles on the FamilySearch wiki.

Whether you’ve been hunting for the same ancestor for several years or you’re still stuck on just trying to pronounce “gazetteer,” there is hope! This research team is here and eager to help!

For help with your German and Slavic Research, check out the German and Slavic Research Seminar on October 21–25. You can attend these classes at the Family History Library or watch the classes via an online webinar.

Discover Fun Facts about Yourself

FamilySearch - Mon, 10/14/2019 - 16:00

Most of us know what it’s like to scramble for something interesting to say when someone asks the classic question, “Tell me something about yourself.” It’s similar to the feeling when you’re asked to share a fun fact about yourself on the first day of school or at a new job.

Thankfully, there’s a quick way to discover fascinating information about yourself. Our All About Me feature can tell you everything from the meaning and frequency of your name, to the cost of gas when you were born, to the most popular music when you were 8.

These facts put your life in context, and context brings your story to life. Discover your unique story.

All About Me

Start by logging into FamilySearch.org, or, if you don’t have an account, get started by simply entering your name, what country you are from, and when you were born.

Everything You Ever Needed to Know about Your Name

Did you know that Shakespeare was the first to use the name “Jessica”? I didn’t—not until All About Me, that is. There, you can learn the following information about your first, middle, and last names:

  • Places in the world your name is commonly found
  • Number of people who share your name
  • Meaning of your name

If you are logged into FamilySearch.org and you’ve entered the names of your family into your tree, you can see how common their names are or what part of the world they come from by selecting your family member’s name from a list below the experience.

How Has the World Changed Since You Were Born?

Quiz yourself on the difference between the world’s population when you were born and now. Hint: There’s likely a billion-person difference between now and then.

You can also see how many people lived on the earth when a relative, such as your father or grandmother, was born. If you don’t have that person’s date of birth yet in your family tree, All About Me will prompt you to enter a birthday for the person so it can calculate the population.

Another fun game you can play is comparing the price of items—such as a movie ticket or postage stamp—now, when you were born, and when your parents and grandparents were born.

Music, Popular Culture, and Sports

Here’s an idea for your next birthday—watch the movie that won best picture, or listen to the most popular song from the year you were born.

Know how you can find out what those were? You guessed it. All About Me can tell you such things as the top grossing film, the album of the year, sports trivia such as the Grand Slam winner and World Series winner from the year you were born.

The feature can also give the same information for the years you turned 8, 16, and older, so you can nostalgically listen to some of the most popular songs on the radio from when you were a young.

You can also connect with family members who came before you by seeing what shows, music, and sports they were experiencing when they were growing up. What better way to honor Grandma and Grandpa on their birthdays than trying to experience the world they grew up in?

Learn More about Your Family

Though you can compare your name and facts with your family’s throughout each experience, you can also focus specifically on a member of your family by changing the page settings to that person’s name.

Change the settings by clicking the black button in the top-right corner that says View a Different Year. From there, you can choose a family member from your tree, and learn more about that person’s life and past.

All About Me puts your family’s life in a larger context, and you might be surprised by what you discover.

Learn All about You

FamilySearch’s All About Me feature can help you get to know yourself and connect with others—especially family—in a meaningful way.

All you have to do is sign up for a FamilySearch account (which is absolutely FREE), and enter some basic information such as your name and when you were born. Then you are set to learn all sorts of cool things about yourself!

Meet the Latin America Research Team!

FamilySearch - Mon, 10/14/2019 - 13:00

Latin American research presents a variety of challenges, especially if you can’t understand the different languages that the records are written in. Thankfully, the Family History Library Latin America research team is here to help!

The purpose of the Latin America research team is to help people become personally inspired by the lives and stories of their ancestors. To do that, the team assists visitors at the Family History Library and answers questions at the online FamilySearch Community page. They also teach webinars twice a month and help train the dedicated team of volunteers who work on the International floor of the library.

2019 Latin America Research Seminar Meet the Team

The Latin America research team recognizes that not everyone can make it to the library, so they constantly look for ways to spread their efforts to other places in the world. Debbie Gurtler is the fearless manager, and her team of multilingual experts includes the following:

All members of the team speak Spanish, and Noriane also speaks Portuguese. They can also read records in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, and even some Latin!

In order to stay up to date in their area of research, the Latin America research team frequently attends conferences and networks with others in the field. They also peruse genealogical journals and visit archives and repositories so that they have more information and experience to help others with their own research.

Passion for Latin American Culture

One of the things that the team loves most about their work is the Latin American culture, which often centers on remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed away. For this reason, the team especially enjoys reuniting people with the stories of their family.

Your Latin American ancestors come from a part of the world with a rich and colorful history and stories that are just waiting to be told—and the Latin America team is here to help you tell that story.

For help with your Latin American research, check out the 2019 Latin America Research Seminar on October 29–November 2. You can attend these classes at the Family History Library or watch the classes via an online webinar.

What Is Google Photos and How Can It Help You with Family History?

FamilySearch - Mon, 10/14/2019 - 11:50

Some of the richest pieces of our family’s history come in the form of photos. Being able to take and store pictures of family members, past and present, has become a vital part of recording our family story. There are many resources and apps today that make it easy to do this. One great resource is the Google Photos app. You may be wondering, what exactly is Google Photos and what interesting things can you do with the app?  

Google Photos is a free photo app that can make storing, managing, and sharing your photos simple. One of the most intriguing features is facial recognition technology that lets you create and share albums, collages, videos, stories, and much more. It offers unlimited backup and is unlike any other photo app available. 


Sharing precious memories with family members should be rewarding, not frustrating. With available technology these days, it has never been easier to take, edit, and store pictures digitally. And yet people still lose photos, or they struggle to keep them organized. Learning how to use Google Photos will help you keep track of all your photos and organize, edit, and share them with ease.  

Easy Access 

There are two simple ways to access Google Photos. If you have a phone or a tablet, go to the app store, and download the Google Photos app. If you have a newer Android phone, the technology might be already built in.  

You can also access the photo app online. Go to photos.google.com, and sign in. Keep in mind that some of the functionality you see on the mobile Google Photos app isn’t yet available in the desktop version. 


Another reason Google Photos is a great photo app is the quick, easy, and unlimited photo backup the app provides (once you select this option). Having a digital backup of photos protects all those priceless memories you’ve collected from harm, such as when you accidentally delete files or your computer crashes. Snap away with your phone camera, and then, when you get to a place where Wi-Fi is available, just connect, and open the app on your phone. For photos up to 16MP and video up to 1080p HD, the app will automatically back up your photos and videos for free. You can then access them from any phone, tablet, or computer, and pull them off your phone if you like. 

Remember, the power of Google Photos is in the features. 

  1. Assistant. This feature creates collages, animations, and movies with your photos. If you like them, just save them. 
  2. Photos. This feature is basically your photo stream. All your pictures are kept here, organized by year.  
  3. Albums. You can easily create albums to keep track of the pictures you upload. This feature also makes the photos easy to share with others through sending them a link or by inviting them to contribute their own photos.  

Google Photos also has powerful editing tools. The editing process is pretty intuitive, and you can easily save your changes. You may have used Picasa in the past, and most of that functionality is now in Google Photos. This app is Google’s replacement tool.  


The same technology that Google employs for its search engine can now be used for sifting through your photos! With the facial character recognition, Google Photos can create albums for you. Simply click in the search bar, and tag people or places, and the app will organize the photos for you. It is a huge time saver when it comes to hunting for photos of something specific. You can also search for things in a photo and for text in photos. 

The best kind of camera is the one in your pocket! So, download it, open the app, and watch the magic happen. For more information on Google Photos, listen to this free Legacy FamilyTree Webinar.

Brazilian Food—Authentic Recipes

FamilySearch - Sat, 10/12/2019 - 07:00

Ah, Brazil—a truly special country! Many Brazilians have left Brazil, but Brazil has never left them. Our culture, our music, our language are well-liked all over the world. Our food is also very well-known and enjoyed across the globe.

In this article, we would like to introduce you to traditional Brazilian foods that are unique and delicious.

To Brazilians everywhere—If your family is from Brazil and your favorite family recipes are not listed here, please share them with us in the comments section. You can also add your family’s traditional recipes to FamilySearch.org and pass them on to generations to come!

Add Recipes to Your Family Tree on FamilySearch.org

If you are not from Brazil but have eaten Brazilian food that you would like to try again, make a comment below, and we will try to help you find the dish that you liked.


Who can resist a good feijoada? Feijoada is a stew of black beans with various types of pork and beef. It is served with farofa, rice, braised collard greens, and sliced ​​orange, among other sides.

Feijoada Recipe in English Feijoada Recipe in Portuguese Churrasco

Brazilian churrasco originated in the south, around Rio Grande do Sul, where you can find the best barbecue in the country.

“Churrasco is much more than a way of cooking in the Rio Grande do Sul—it’s a way of life.”
Derrick Riches (“Guide to Brazilian Barbecue”)

Churrasco is a dish made with meat “in natura,” or roasted on a fire or embers using skewers or grills. The standard formula for Brazilian-style churrasco is to coat meats in coarse salt, but the seasoning varies and becomes more elaborate according to taste and local custom. By far, beef is the preferred meat, but pork, sheep, poultry, and sausage, such as linguiça, are also very popular.

Churrasco Recipe in English Churrasco Recipe in Portuguese Tropeiro Beans

Just thinking about tropeiro beans makes my mouth water. Yum! This is one of the most typical dishes of the state of Minas Gerais. Its name comes from it being prepared by the cooks of the troops (“tropas”) who led the cattle, so it was referred to as tropeiro. This dish is made with beans, manioc flour, sausage, crackling, collard greens, eggs, garlic, onion, and other seasonings.

Tropeiro Beans Recipe in English Tropeiro Beans Recipe in Portuguese Tacacá

Tacacá is a delicacy typical of the Amazon region in Brazil. The name tacacá may sound funny to the foreign ear but is very well-known on the north of Brazil and is widely consumed in the states of Pará, Acre, Roraima, Amapá, Amazonas, and Rondônia.

Tacacá is a soup made with jambú (a native variety of paracress, a flowering herb with slight anesthetic properties), and tucupi (a yellow sauce made from manioc root), as well as dry shrimp. It is served very hot, seasoned with pepper, typically in gourds.

Tacacá Recipe in English Tacacá Recipe in Portuguese Tapioca

Tapioca is the starch extracted from the root of the cassava plant. It is the main ingredient of some typical Brazilian dishes, such as beiju, an indigenous delicacy. There are tapiocas with salty fillings, used in recipes with ham and meat, and tapiocas with sweet fillings, often used in recipes with condensed milk.

Tapioca Recipe in English Tapioca Recipe in Portuguese Chicken with Pequi

Rice with chicken and pequi goiano is a delicious recipe that is perfect to serve for lunch. The pequi is a tree of the cariocaráceas family, native to the Brazilian cerrado, a large tropical savanna region. Its fruit is widely used in cooking.

Pequi fruits are often eaten cooked, pure or in a recipe with rice and chicken. The taste and aroma of the fruits are very striking and peculiar. Although found in many places, pequi is very common in the state of Goiás.

Chicken and Pequi Recipe in English Chicken and Pequi Recipe in Portuguese Cheese Bread

In an article about traditional Brazil recipes, we could not fail to mention our famous cheese bread. Cheese bread can be found all over Brazil, but nothing compares to what we find in the state of Minas Gerais.

The origin of Brazilian cheese bread is uncertain, but it is speculated that the recipe has existed since the 18th century, though it has become effectively popular in Brazil since the 1950s. Brazilian cheese bread is made with sour cassava flour or tapioca flour, milk, eggs, olive oil, and cheese.

Cheese Bread Recipe in English Cheese Bread Recipe in Portuguese Brigadeiro

Brigadeiro is the most popular and favorite of Brazil’s sweets. The ingredients of brigadeiro are sweetened condensed milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, unsalted butter, and chocolate sprinkles. It is very tasty and will win your heart in one bite!

Brigadeiro Recipe in English Brigadeiro Recipe in Portuguese

The many traditional foods of Brazil are delicious, and we could make a giant list. We have incredible dishes such as barreado, carne de sol, acarajé, moqueca capixaba, caldinhos de sururu, and maçunim that were not mentioned. However, in a quick search on the internet, you can find many amazing recipes and dishes to connect with your origins!

What about you? What is your favorite dish of Brazilian cuisine?

Discover Your Brazilian Heritage on FamilySearch.org!

How to Review Indexed Batches

FamilySearch - Fri, 10/11/2019 - 12:00

When you review a batch in web indexing, you check over a batch that was indexed by someone else. You determine whether the information was indexed correctly, and you make any needed corrections.

Becoming an Index Reviewer

You can qualify to review records after you index 1,000 records in the web indexing system. Once you are a reviewer, you will begin seeing the Review button when you look for a batch to index or review.

Reviewing Batches

If you are new to the review process, it can be helpful to index about as many records as you review. In this way, you can more easily remember the requirements of the project while still minimizing the number of batches waiting for review.

As for the actual review process, here is a simple how-to:

  1. Go to the FamilySearch.org home page, and hover your mouse over Indexing in the top toolbar;  then, in the drop-down menu, click Web Indexing.

2. On the web indexing page, click Find Batches.

3. A pop-up screen will appear. On this screen, select a batch to review in a project you are familiar with. You can sort by difficulty and language or use the Search bar to find a specific batch.

4. Next to the name of the batch you want to work on, click Review.

5. Read the project instructions, which you can find by clicking the Project Instructions icon in the toolbar.

6. Compare the information in each field with the information in the document.

7. If the information in the field is correct, click the check box with your mouse, or press Tab or Enter, and the box will be checked for you.

8. If the information is incorrect, type the correct information, and then press Tab or Enter to move to the next field.

9. Add any missing entries requested in the project instructions, or remove any entries that didn’t need to be indexed.

10. If you have looked over all the information and determined it was indexed correctly, you can also click the box next to “I’ve verified every field,” which will automatically add a green check mark to all the unchecked boxes.

11. After you have reviewed every entry on every image and there is a check mark or red arrow icon next to every field, submit the batch. Quality Check will make sure you verified every field.

12. Celebrate!

You can ignore some things as you go through the indexed fields. They will automatically be corrected during the publication of the project. These include the following:

  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Fields marked <Blank>

If you come across a batch that would take a lot of time to fix, you can send it back for reindexing and find another batch to review. There is a large backlog of indexed records waiting for review, so your time is likely best spent getting on to a new batch.

You can keep the data that was already entered or delete it if it is completely wrong.

To send a batch back for an indexer to finish, click the Batch in main menu, and then click Reindex Batch.

Thank You!

We are so grateful for the time you take to volunteer. Every name you index or review represents an ancestor that a family can now find!

Discover Your Welsh Ancestry in These 3 Key Sources

FamilySearch - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 18:00

Wales is a land of rugged beauty and deep history. Castles dating to Norman times overlook windswept vistas that have remained essentially unchanged for centuries. The Welsh language has been spoken for 1,500 years. The ancient Celtic culture of Wales still proudly shapes its modern identity.

Those with Welsh ancestry are fortunate that so many historical records have survived. Many are available online, but start your search with these three C’s—censuses, civil registrations, and church records.

Welsh Ancestry in Wales Censuses

Census records are a good place to start your Welsh family research because they identify both individuals and the relatives with whom they were living. Censuses of genealogical interest begin in 1841 and are available every 10 years after that until 1911. (The 1921 census will released after its 100-year privacy period expires in 2021.) The 1939 Register of England and Wales, although not a regular national census, contains censuslike information, too.

In Welsh census records, you’ll typically find:

  • The names and address of every member of each household
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Occupation

Some censuses also reveal:

  • Individuals’ relationships to the head of household
  • Birthplaces
  • Language spoken
  • Other details

Welsh censuses from 1841 to 1911 and the 1939 register are searchable for free on FamilySearch.org. People with appropriate subscriptions to Ancestry.com and findmypast.com can also search Welsh censuses and the 1939 register on those websites.

Civil Registration Records in Wales

Follow up on what you learn in censuses by searching for individual family members’ civil registration records. Civil registration of all births, marriages, and deaths in Wales began on July 1, 1837. Obtaining civil registration certificates is a two-step process:

  1. First, look up each life event in quarterly indexes that reveal the citation information needed to order a copy of a certificate. It’s easy to search these indexes on major genealogy websites, including FamilySearch.org. The records date from 1837 to the mid-2000s.
  2. Next, order a copy of each civil registration record from the General Register Office of the United Kingdom. This order requires a small fee. These records are not online.

Civil registration often records reveal key information not found in the indexes.

For example, on a birth registration you will typically find the following information:

  • The child’s name at birth
  • Date and place of birth
  • Father’s name and occupation
  • Mother’s full name

Marriage registers include the following:

  • Names
  • Ages
  • Professions
  • Residences
  • Marital status of bride and groom
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names and professions of the fathers of both parties
  • Identities of witnesses, who may have been relatives

Death entries include the following:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Occupation of the decedent
  • Date
  • Place
  • Cause of death

All these records also identify the informant, or the person who registered the event, who was often a relative.

Welsh Church Records

Beginning in 1538, local parishes of the church in Wales were charged with keeping baptism, marriage, and burial records. Many early records have not survived, and records may not include your ancestors or all the details you would like to see. But existing entries can reveal the dates and places of your ancestors’ births, marriages, and deaths, along with names of parents, spouses and other relatives. In addition, between 1598 and about 1860, bishops created transcripts of parish records. Some of these bishops’ transcripts survive and may contain unique details that don’t appear in original parish records.

Other Protestant denominations, known generally as Nonconformist churches, became popular beginning in the 1700s. In fact, by 1851, about 75 percent of Welsh people attended a nonconformist church.  Surviving records from these churches may be rich in genealogical content. Even so, between 1754 and 1837, all marriages (except for Quakers and Jews) were required by law to be performed by the Church in Wales, so look for vital records there.

Many Church in Wales and Nonconformist records are searchable for free on FamilySearch.org or by subscription at findmypast.com or Ancestry.com. You may need to look for others in published or microfilmed format or order copies of original records from archives. Learn more about locating Welsh ancestors’ church records.

Start Exploring Your Welsh Ancestry

These three record types are just the beginning! Monumental inscriptions, newspapers, wills, probate records, and other records may also reveal your Welsh ancestors’ stories and identities. You may also encounter some challenges in old records, such as the use of common names, the Welsh language, and old naming customs. Free advice and instruction on tracing Welsh ancestors is available in the FamilySearch wiki whenever you need it.

 Start searching for your ancestors in Welsh records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Electronic Records Day 2019: What FamilySearch Is Doing to Preserve Electronic Records

FamilySearch - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 16:29

Did you know that CDs have an expiration date? So do external hard drives, flash disk storage, and many other technologies that hold electronic records. Saving these electronic records is an important work, which is why each year on October 10th, we celebrate Electronic Records Day, a day set aside remember the vital work of preserving electronic records and the difference that these records make in our world today.

FamilySearch’s Efforts

Record preservation is the sort of thing we get passionate about here at FamilySearch! One of our main goals is to help more records become available to more people. Last year, we created 32 million images of records in North America, many of which were probate and marriage records, along with naturalization, immigration, and military records.

Some of our most exciting collections that came from those images include records from the War of 1812, World War II, and Ellis Island.

Preserving Electronic Records

A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into preserving these records. As part of Electronic Records Day, we want to thank the research teams, engineers, archivists, and countless others, including our indexing volunteers, who put in over 4 million service hours in 2018!

We are continuing to work to make more records available to more countries so that others can discover the story of their families. We are especially excited to join with other organizations on this special day to celebrate the saving of these important records.

The story of the human family is vibrant, colorful, and unique, and there is something grounding about discovering our family’s place in it. Maintaining access to these historical records means maintaining lessons from our past. We hope you celebrate with us today by saving some of your own electronic records!

Why Didn’t People Smile in Old Photos?

FamilySearch - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 13:39

Ever looked at an old, black-and-white photograph and wondered, “Why the long face?” You might have heard that it was because the camera’s exposure time was too long, or maybe you were told that poor dental work meant that fewer people wanted to show their teeth.

While these explanations may play a part, the main reason why people didn’t smile in old photos had more to do with culture than it did with poor technology.

See Yourself Smile in Old Photos People Rarely Smiled for Paintings

Before photography, the main mode of preserving a family’s or person’s image was through portrait painting. It was customary for families and individuals in these commissioned paintings to have stoic, regal expressions. If they did smile, it would be only slightly.

This custom was because wide-mouthed, toothy grins were considered inappropriate for portraiture. Even in other kinds of paintings, wide smiles were often associated with madness, drunkenness, or otherwise informal, immature behavior.  

When photography was introduced as a new way of preserving a person or family’s likeness, people continued the tradition of unsmiling expressions because it was familiar to them, and the ideals for capturing someone’s likeness had not changed.

When Did We Start Smiling in Photographs?

So what changed? How did we go from stoic expressions to saying “Cheese!” for grins? It goes back to the 1900 Brownie camera, one of the first cameras that were accessible and affordable to the public. People began to capture images of people outside of formal portraiture, which included photos of candid smiles and laughter.

As photograph technology became more accessible to everyday people, spontaneous, candid photography of smiling became more common. Smiles crept into more formal photography as people chose to present themselves differently than old-time stoicism.

Turn That Frown Upside Down

If you’ve ever wondered what those old-time photos might have looked like with a few more cheesy grins, now is your chance! Using Picture My Heritage, you can pose with whatever expression you want in old, black-and-white photographs.

1. Visit Picture My Heritage, and either sign in with your FamilySearch account or continue as a guest.

2. If you aren’t immediately taken to a page with old, black-and-white photos, be sure to click the top-right silhouette icon.

3. Click a photo you wish to picture yourself in.

4. Select the face you want to replace with your own.

5. On the next screen, make sure your camera is turned on (if your laptop does not have a camera, you can also use your phone), and place your face where you want it in the image. A white outline of a face will guide you to the best placement.

6. Click the black button to take the image.

7. Adjust the brightness and contrast by clicking either the sun or the black-and-white circle icon and moving the slider. You can also enlarge or minimize the photo by clicking and dragging the rectangle box on the image.

8. When you have finished, click either Retake, if you want to redo the photo, or Done. If you click Done, you will be taken to the final image. Save the image by clicking the black Download button, or you can return to the home page, and try other photos.

Picture My Heritage

Thank a Volunteer on FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch - Tue, 10/08/2019 - 18:00

Many records on the FamilySearch website are available thanks to the hard work of volunteers. In fact, over 250 million records are indexed by 200,000 to 300,000 volunteers every year.

These people have given their time to help index documents on FamilySearch.org, making it possible for you to search the records and easily find your ancestors. Now it is possible for you to thank these volunteers for their hard work!

How You Can Thank a Volunteer

The new Thank a Volunteer feature on FamilySearch.org is available for all records that have the name of a volunteer attached to them. The feature is easy to use. If you come across a record that you wish to thank an indexer for, open the record and follow these simple steps: ‘

1. When viewing a record, click the Document Information section found under the preview image. If a record has the name of an indexer attached to it, an icon labeled Indexed Record will appear there. Not all records will have this feature available.

2. Below the Indexed Record icon and its description, click the Thank the Volunteer link. A prewritten thank you message will pop up. This message cannot be edited.

3. Click Send, and the message will be sent to the volunteer’s FamilySearch Messages inbox! A small notification on the top-right side of your screen will confirm that the message has been sent.

Family history is truly a worldwide endeavor, and the efforts of people you’ve never met may make the difference when you are trying to make a particularly tricky link. Next time you see the option on a record you’re searching, take time to thank the volunteer! That person gave his or her time to make your family history find possible.

Recipe for Traditional Welsh Rarebit

FamilySearch - Sun, 10/06/2019 - 18:00

This traditional dish, historically known as “Welsh Rabbit,” features a salty, spicy cheese sauce served over toast, and eaten hot with a knife and fork. 

Rabbits were never an ingredient, but the savory spices and luscious taste of creamy cheese may just be the ultimate comfort food in this easy-to-prepare Welsh recipe.

Throughout history, the Welsh were often, for the most part, extremely poor. Meat was an unaffordable luxury, and peasants weren’t allowed to hunt on the landlord’s property. Yet the Welsh were known to be particularly fond of cheese, and they may have borrowed this dish from the British and adapted it as “toasted cheese” or “caws pobi” in the 1500s. It became more formally known as “Welsh Rabbit” in the 18th century when it appeared in a popular cookbook  of the day titled The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, by Hannah Glasse.

Today, you’ll find many variations of Welsh rarebit and many added complements, such as a fried egg on top, tomato slices, cooked bacon, or fresh herbs. But the secret that makes Welsh rarebit special is in the spices added to the sauce.

Food has a way of bringing families together across generations. If you have a family recipe that has stood the test of time, preserve it as an important part of your legacy and heritage. Add a photo, and tell the story of how it became part of your family food traditions in the FamilySearch Memories app or in Memories in the Family Tree online. Learn more about family food traditions, and get to know your Welsh ancestors in FamilySearch record collections.

Record your Family Recipes Welsh Rarebit Recipe

This recipe is an adaptation from the Culinary Ginger recipe, using calorie-trimmed ingredients and no alcohol. It tastes delicious and maintains the creamy, luscious texture of the original.

  • 1 tablespoon butter                     
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce  
  • 1/4 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of “all-around” dry rub meat seasoning or substitution
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice and 3 tablespoons unflavored seltzer water mixed
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat white cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices crusty bread pre-toasted on both sides
  1. Toast bread in a toaster or under the broiler, turning over to toast both sides. Set aside.
  2. Using a heavy, nonstick saucepot, melt the butter, add the flour, and mix until you have a smooth roux with no lumps.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer, and add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, pepper, and dry rub (or substitute paprika, cayenne pepper, a pinch of brown sugar, salt, and a dash of Tabasco or hot sauce in place of the dry rub.)
  4. Gradually add the apple juice and seltzer mixture, and whisk until it starts to bubble and thicken. Cook for about 1–2 minutes, stirring out any lumps.
  5. Add grated, reduced-fat cheese, and cook just until the cheese is melted. The sauce will be thick.
  6. Pour cheese sauce on toasted crusty bread, and place under a broiler for 2–3 minutes until the cheese bubbles and starts to brown. Remove and serve immediately.

Learn about Your Scottish Heritage

FamilySearch - Sat, 10/05/2019 - 18:00

Do you have Scottish blood running through your veins? Scottish heritage and Scottish history is rich and expansive, and there are many ways to discover your Scottish family history.

Scottish clans are a great way to research your family history. A Scottish clan is a group of people who band together because they share a surname—a family, really. Clan names are also tied to land, and often clans had a leader. They would create their own shield and tartan pattern. Ancient clans started as far back as the 12th century, and each generation has added to it. Today, over 50 million people have some sort of tie to Scottish ancestry. 

There are many ways to begin researching and discovering your Scottish heritage, but the resources below are a good start!

Ancestry in Scotland

Learn how to discover your own Scottish ancestry! FamilySearch has free online collections to help you get started, as well as the FamilySearch wiki to give some guidance. Many groups of people have Scottish heritage, so you may find some piece of your history in Scotland.

Scottish Folklore

Scotland has a rich tradition of folklore, with fascinating stories. Read more about how the history ties to Scotland’s great folklore.

Highland Games

Scottish culture and Gaelic traditions come to life during the Highland games, which started more than 1,000 years ago. There are various hard-hitting athletics at the Highland games, and many families like to recreate some variation to celebrate their family history.

Scottish Sayings and Dialect

Although Scots speak English, there are many twists and turns in the Scottish tongue. It’s fun and easy to pick up on a few Scottish sayings and feel like you are a true Scot. This article explains what some of them mean and gives you the chance to try a few.

Castles in Scotland

Finding your family history in over 1,000 castles in Scotland can be an interesting adventure. Learn more about the castles and some of the stories these ancient relics hold inside.

Scottish Names

Many traditional names we hear today derive from Scotland. Find out if your name has Scottish roots, or if you know you have Scottish ancestry, learn the names that might be in your family tree.

The Scottish Kilt

The Scottish kilt can be traced back to the 16th century. Learn about the belted plaid, which holds historical and family significance to many who claim a Scottish heritage.

Enjoy many of the articles linked here to get started on your journey of discovery of Scottish family history and Scottish heritage. The journey will be rewarding, entertaining, and meaningful.

You’ve Visited the Family History Library—Now What?

FamilySearch - Sat, 10/05/2019 - 12:00

Congrats on making the trip to the Family History Library! Isn’t it amazing the difference that perusing records in person and talking to an expert can make?

Hopefully you walked out the door with a promising lead or two—something to help you take your personal family history journey one step farther!   

Upward and Onward: Your Family History Journey Continues

Now that you are home, you might be wondering what happens next. Maybe you’re not sure what to do with the information you found, or maybe you’ve burned through all the leads you were so excited about!

Don’t worry, the journey is just beginning. You don’t have to be in Salt Lake City in a state-of-the-art library to continue making discoveries. Consider the following ideas and resources to help you keep the momentum going.

Online Discovery Experiences

All those fun discovery experiences that you had at the library? Most of them are available through our website. Visit them anytime you want to relive the excitement or take a deeper dive (or share with your family!).

Family History Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Whether or not you live close to the Family History Library, chances are that you may be within traveling distance of a family history center or a library that is affiliated with FamilySearch. These facilities provide access to many records and services that you can otherwise access only from a computer or device inside the library.

You’ll also meet volunteers at a family history center who can support you and help answer any questions you might have. Use our building locator to find the family history center nearest you.

Not within range of a family history center or affiliate library? That can change. Suggest to your local library that they become an affiliate of FamilySearch. This collaboration will make records and services available to you and to your community, giving more people the chance to discover the magic and joy of their own family’s history.

FamilySearch Research Wiki

The online wiki is a great place to turn for extra information. You can find pages about a variety of topics, from research tips to specific localities. The wiki also provides lists of available communities that may be able to answer your questions.

Plan a Second Trip to the Family History Library

Now that you’ve already been to the library, you know all the great resources that are available to you there when you visit in person. If another visit is feasible, consider what tasks you could complete in advance of the trip to make your time there even more rewarding!

Above All, Stay Diligent

Family history is not for the faint of heart—don’t let an empty line on your family pedigree chart get you down!

You Can Do It!

Remember this: among all those long hours of research and red herrings (you found Jane Thomas—only it’s the wrong Jane Thomas!) are those golden glimmers of discovery that will inspire members of your family for generations to come.

So keep going! You’re making history—and an awesome history at that.

Scottish Legends and Folklore

FamilySearch - Fri, 10/04/2019 - 18:00

Scotland is a small country with a big impact. Boasting a diverse culture, Scotland prides itself on its unique history. From the arrival of the Roman Empire in AD 124 to the Vikings in AD 800 to today’s refugees, people from around the world have played a part in Scotland’s past.

Scottish Legends

Mingled in Scotland’s rich history are stories of heroes, monsters, and more. These tales from Scottish folklore have played an important role in Scotland’s culture. 

Among the heroes is Robert the Bruce, who was King of Scots from 1306 until 1329. He fought for and won Scotland’s independence as a country. Along the way, Robert faced defeat but looked to a spider for the inspiration to keep fighting.

More famously, rumors of the Loch Ness Monster have been floating around for years. Nessie, the fabled sea creature in the Scottish highlands, started cropping up in the 6th century. Since then, the rumors have only grown in popularity. 

To learn about more Scottish folklore, such as the nine maidens of Dundee or kelpies, visit Scotland.org.

Robert the Bruce The Loch Ness Monster Your Unique History

Like Scotland, you have a unique history. You have a present, a past, and a future. Learning more about your family can give you a sense of identity. Sharing your story can do the same for your children, your nieces, or your nephews. 

FamilySearch Memories is the perfect place to start sharing your stories. Upload photos, record audio, or write your memories to share them with your family. You can also find the memories your family has recorded.

Discover your family, and along the way, discover yourself.

Scottish Heritage

Your family heritage carries with it a story of your beginnings. Where did your family originate? Today, more than 50 million people around the world share Scottish heritage. Are you one of them? 

Discover your Scottish ancestry, or start with a DNA test to find your family’s origins.

How to Prepare for Your First Visit to the Family History Library

FamilySearch - Fri, 10/04/2019 - 12:03

What you do before visiting the FamilySearch Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah, will help you find what you need while you are there.

Preparing for the Family History Library includes more than packing your luggage.

Plan Your Visit with the End Result in Mind

What do you plan on doing while at the library? Are you looking for a fun, immersive family history experience in the Discovery Center? Do you need one-on-one help to grow your family tree?  Do you want to scan pages from a catalog, book, or record that is available only at the library?

Going to the FHL with a specific purpose will ease unnecessary stress and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

Prepare to Research at the Family History Library

If you plan on researching your family history at the FHL but don’t know where to start, follow these simple steps and suggestions.

1. Review Your Family Tree

First things first—look at your family tree, and see what areas you are most interested in researching. If you are a beginner at genealogy and don’t have a family tree mapped out, consider creating a FamilySearch account.

Once you’ve signed up, try your best to add the first four generations to your tree. After you’ve filled in what you can, you’ll be able to see where you have missing information or could add to your tree.

2. Decide What Areas You Want to Focus on

Is there a specific family line you want to research? Do you want to find more information about a particular ancestor? Determine the questions you hope to answer. Then write down realistic and specific goals for your visit based on answering those questions.

3. Gather Information about Your Family

Find all the information you can about the ancestor or family line you plan on researching. You can do this by asking family members and searching online databases, including FamilySearch’s online records.

Make a list of ancestors based on memories, electronic records, and printed records and bring it with you to help with your research. Establish where your ancestors lived, and then create a list of cities, states, and countries that you plan on researching.

4. Record the Sources of Your Family’s Information

Be sure to record the sources of your findings—including dead-ends—to refer to later and to share with an FHL consultant. Your source logs will let FHL staff see where you’ve already looked. They will then be able to focus attention on different areas.

5. Search the FamilySearch Catalog

Look at your list of places your ancestors lived. Pick one of those locations, and then go to the Search button at the top of the FamilySearch.org home page. A menu of options will take you to the catalog. When you type in a place-name, you will see what records are available for that locale.

Note: Even after searching the FamilySearch Catalog before visiting the FHL, when you are at the FHL, ask one of the staff to review your searches and share any tips or tricks that might help with future searches.

6. Create a List of Records You Want to View at the Library during Your Visit

As you compare records from family and other sources such as the FamilySearch Catalog, create (and take with you) a list of records you plan on viewing while at the FHL. You can print a list of the records or open each document to get call numbers or film and item numbers that identify the item you want to look up.

You may also want to make a list of books, photos, or documents that can be seen only at the library. Search these items first unless you plan a return trip.

You can order microfilms before your visit so they will be ready when you arrive. The phone number for the FHL is 1-801-240-6996.

What to Bring

To make your visit successful, take printed copies with key data or a flash drive with most of the data that relates to the people or questions you are researching, including your source logs. It’s also a good idea to have a blank flash drive to use to copy information that you find at the library.

Finally, before you leave for the FHL, please check  the library hours, class schedules, driving directions, and parking.

With preparation and your plan in hand, you can look forward to a fascinating visit and a chance to have the time of your life!

For Additional Information

Ask questions at the Family History Library—the staff and missionaries are there to serve you!

For additional information, visit the FamilySearch wiki article “Family History Library.”

Welsh Cake, or Picau ar y maen, Is Surprisingly Delicious

FamilySearch - Thu, 10/03/2019 - 18:00

Are you familiar with Welsh cake? I wasn’t, but as soon as I read the name, my mind indulged in beautiful visions of a dense, decorated delicacy. 

Welsh cake doesn’t fall in that category—not at all. The cakes look like a cross between a thick cookie and a small pancake. What they lack in looks, they make up in quantity, distinctive texture, and a taste that somehow reminds you of home. They are cooked on a griddle and have just the right amount of sweetness and substance.

Originating around the second half of the 19th century, Welsh cakes became popular at a time when pantries were stocked with flour, sugar, eggs, lard, and dried fruit. As a tasty tea-time treat, they are best when eaten warm but are hearty and last for a week in an airtight container. Since they are the perfect size to fit into a pocket, they became treats that miners carried to work and school children often had for lunch.

Over time, Welsh cake recipes had slight variations and have been called different names, such as cage bach, picau ar y maen, pice bach, tishan lechwan or tishan ar y mân, depending on the region of Wales where they were made. In English, they have been known as griddle cakes, Welsh tea cakes, and Welsh miner cakes.

“Welsh cakes are an example of a unique and traditional food that reflects the resourceful, wholesome, and practical nature of the Welsh people,” said Denise Carbone on her website, Welsh Baker.

The following recipe and directions are modified from the Daring Gourmet. I added a few of my own observations and increased the ingredients by half. This recipe made about 20 Welsh cakes.

Recipes are important treasures of family heritage. Do you have recipes that have been passed down? Consider sharing them on the FamilySearch Memories App to preserve them for future generations!

Record Your Family’s Recipes Welsh Cake Recipe Ingredients:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar (This sugar is made by pulsing granulated sugar in a blender until it is ultra fine but slightly grainy. Do not substitute powdered sugar—it will ruin the texture of the dough.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground mace (Don’t substitute this spice. It is aromatic and flavorful and makes a huge difference in the taste of the cake.)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons lard, chilled (Lard improves the texture of the cakes. It is available in most grocery stores.)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to a froth
  • 3/4 cup dried currants
  • Milk as needed
  1. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, mace, and cinnamon.
  2. Mix in the lard and butter using your fingers, pastry cutter or food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the currants, and stir to combine.
  4. Add the beaten egg, gently mixing but not over-beating. If needed, add a little milk. The dough should be soft but not wet or sticky. The less the dough is handled, the better the texture.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Dough can be made well in advance and chilled until ready for use.)
  6. Roll the dough out on a slightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Cut out rounds using a cutter or glass about 3 inches in diameter. (I used a jar ring). Take the remaining pieces, and repeat the process.
  8. Heat a griddle to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to sprinkle a bit of sugar on the cakes when they are finished, lightly butter the griddle. Otherwise, the cakes don’t stick so there’s no need to add butter.
  9. Cook on each side until lightly browned, about 3–4 minutes. Similar to pancakes, the cakes are ready to turn on the first side when they bubble slightly. When they are browned on both sides, they are done.

Serving: 1 Welsh cake 
Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 102mg | Sugar: 7g

The Scottish Kilt

FamilySearch - Wed, 10/02/2019 - 18:00

The Scottish kilt, also known as the national dress of Scotland, can be traced back to the 16th century. The belted plaid has changed in look over the centuries and holds historical and family significance to many who claim a Scottish heritage.

How Did the Original Belted Plaid Differ from Today’s Scottish Kilt? The Belted Plaid

Traditionally, the kilt was first known as the feilidh-mor (pronounced something like “feela more,” depending on the dialect) meaning “great wrap.” It was worn by men and boys as a full-length garment. The wearer had the great wrap arranged so it hit above the knees in front and hung longer in the back. The long tartan (woven cloth) was gathered into folds and belted around the body. Then, the excess fabric could be draped over a shoulder for protection against the elements or for a show of wealth!

The Phillabeg

Phillabeg, which means “little wrap” and is pronounced “feela beck” or “feela beg,” is essentially the lower half of the belted plaid. The original phillabeg would be gathered into folds and belted at the waist much like the great wrap. The front or bottom would fall just above the knees while the top would fold slightly over the belt.

The wearing of the phillabeg was most definitely popular in the 18th century but began to decline after 1790 when a more tailored look came into fashion.

The Scottish Kilt

The kilt’s distinctive feature is the pleats that are sewn rather than gathered into folds and belted. Originally, a wide box pleat was used. The kilt evolved with time, as all clothing does. Pleating style and size changed to give the tartan kilt its now traditional look.

Today’s most popular kilt style has a flat front with small pleats sewn close together in the back. Usually, there are adjustable leather straps around or near the waist. Adornments such as fancy pins are sometimes added to the front hem.

The Tartan’s Pattern and Color Significance

At first, tartans may have been dyed in solid but natural colors. Over time, tartan fabric designs included more colors and the varied plaid patterns we are familiar with today. As the colors and patterns of the tartans increased, weavers first assigned them numbers. By the end of the 1700s, the commercial producer of tartan cloth in Scotland (William Wilson and Sons of Bannockburn) began to label the different patterns by names of towns or districts, instead of numbers. This was the beginning of how clans and families adopted a tartan to represent themselves.

Not long after the Jacobite uprisings were put down, the kilt was no longer worn as daily dress. Instead, the kilt was mostly worn as ceremonial clothing. It was at this time that identification of a tartan with a family or clan became tradition. As the clans began to move across the world, the tartan color and pattern was a way of identifying clan members and feeling unified.

Many would like to believe that there is meaning behind the colors, such as red standing for courage, or some such notion. This is not the case, says the Scottish Tartan’s Museum curator in Franklin, North Carolina, Matthew Newsome. “The reality,” Newsome says, “is we don’t know why certain colors were used in the designs of traditional Scottish tartans.” It should be noted that Newsome does mention that some color dyes were harder to come by, which may in turn be a way to indicate the wealth of a clan.

Patterns can have a significance, however. A slight change in a given pattern could indicate which parent clan you are a part of. Newsome gives an example of the Morrison green tartan. It was based on the MacKay tartan but added a red line with the blue line to indicate the relationship between the two clans.

Find Your Family Tartan

When you begin searching for your family tartan, you will notice that often more than one pattern represents your clan. There may be a dress pattern, a hunting pattern, or some other variation. Any of them would be appropriate. Below are a few places you can try online to determine your family tartan:

Researching your Scottish heritage can mean more than names, dates, and places! Was there a family tartan for your surname? Do you have a unique way in which you display your family colors? Consider uploading this information to your ancestors’ profiles in the FamilySearch Memories App. Also share with us your family tartan and history in the comments below. We love to hear from you!

German Gazetteers: What You Can Learn from Early Maps of Poland and Germany

FamilySearch - Wed, 10/02/2019 - 14:21

Germany wasn’t always one big country the way we sometimes think of it now. Up until the late 1800s, the area we know as Germany was made up of various kingdoms and principalities, some of which had their names changed as different nations stepped in and took over.

This change over time can make for a dizzying trail when it comes to finding German ancestors. Thankfully, many of these little puzzle pieces of land and cities were recorded on early maps of Poland and Germany called gazetteers.

You can review gazetteers for help with German and Polish research, including the following:

Why Should I Use a Gazetteer?

Although you can’t really search for your ancestors on a 1900s map of Poland the same way you can search for them in a census, gazetteers are a fantastic resource to help you learn where to look for important records and other information.

Locate Records

Gazetteers can help you identify the correct spelling of locations that may be inconsistent in other records. They can also give you the jurisdictions of those locations, including the names civil registration districts or church parishes. Using this information, you can investigate which of these jurisdictions are most likely to have records about your family.

Learn More about Your Ancestors’ Lives

As a fun addition, gazetteers also give specific details about locations, such as the population and local features. They can tell you if your ancestors came from a single cluster of houses or from a town near the train tracks with a bank on the corner.

Starting Your Gazetteer Research

Anyone who has ever glanced through a German gazetteer knows that it can be intimidating. These records are known to be abbreviation-heavy and to use a much older typeface, with some letters we wouldn’t even recognize today.

Below are a couple resources that can help you feel more comfortable in navigating gazetteers.

FamilySearch Wiki

Several online sources are available to help you begin your search. Here at FamilySearch.org, we have an entire wiki page dedicated to helping you make heads and tails of Germany gazetteers, with step-by-step guides, handwriting helps, information on historical place-name changes, and a reference for common abbreviations.

Online Meyers Gazetteer

You can do a search through the online version of the Meyers Gazetteer. This search provides English translations and allows you to see the specified area on both historical maps and Google maps.

Building a family tree of your German heritage can be difficult, but Germany gazetteers can serve as a great springboard for further insight into the lives and stories of your ancestors.

The subject of this article and some of its material was taken from Kory Meyerink’s class, “German Gazetteers: Necessary Tools for Successful Research,” at the 2019 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy.  The BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy is held annually and offers classes for genealogists and others wanting to learn about their ancestors. Keep an eye on the BYU conference page for announcements about next year’s schedule and when registration opens.

New Records on FamilySearch from September 2019

FamilySearch - Tue, 10/01/2019 - 18:00

FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in September of 2019 with almost 13.2 million new indexed family history records and over 13.6 million digital images from all over the world. New historical records were added from Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the United States, which includes Alabama, California, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. The United States Deceased Physician Files, United States Census 1880, United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, United States Cemetery Abstracts, and United States Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Military Servicemen in World War 1 Records 1919 are included as well. Digital Images came from Italy, Peru, and The United States Census 1880.

Find your ancestors using these free archives online, including birth, marriage, death, and church records. Millions of new genealogy records are added each month to make your search easier.

CountryCollectionIndexed RecordsDigital ImagesCommentsBoliviaBolivia Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996120,3280Added indexed records to an existing collectionBrazilBrazil, Pernambuco, Civil Registration, 1804-2016162,7060Added indexed records to an existing collectionBrazilBrazil, Rio de Janeiro, Civil Registration, 1829-20126,9140Added indexed records to an existing collectionBrazilBrazil, São Paulo, Civil Registration, 1925-19951990Added indexed records to an existing collectionCanadaManitoba, Church Records, 1800-19592,5250Added indexed records to an existing collectionCanadaNova Scotia Deaths, 1864-18774070Added indexed records to an existing collectionCanadaNova Scotia Marriages, 1864-19182220Added indexed records to an existing collectionColombiaColombia, Bogotá, Burial Permits, 1960-19917170New indexed records collectionCosta RicaCosta Rica, Civil Registration, 1823-197542,4620Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Herefordshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1583-1898170Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Huntingdonshire Parish Registers122,5120Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Lancashire, Rusholme Road Cemetery 1821-193367,1770New indexed records collectionFranceFrance, Gironde, Civil Registration, 1696-19121,219,1190New indexed records collectionGermanyGermany, Baden, Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau, Catholic Church Records, 1678-19301,045,1130Added indexed records to an existing collectionGermanyGermany, Bavaria, Diocese of Augsburg, Catholic Church Records, 1615-19392,598,8800Added indexed records to an existing collectionGermanyGermany, Bavaria, Diocese of Augsburg, Catholic Church Records, 1615-1939383,4800Added indexed records to an existing collectionGermanyGermany, Prussia, Saxony, Census Lists, 1770-193461,2230New indexed records collectionGermanyGermany, Prussia, Westphalia, Minden, Miscellaneous Collections from the Municipal Archives, 1574-1912180Added indexed records to an existing collectionGermanyGermany, Rhineland, Diocese of Trier, Catholic Church Records,   1704-19571,139,9860Added indexed records to an existing collectionIrelandIreland, Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage License Bonds Indexes, 1623-1866218,4340New indexed records collectionIrelandIreland, Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administrations Indexes, 1595-1858364,1220New indexed records collectionItalyItaly, Avellino, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-194703,099,458Added images to an existing collectionItalyItaly, Belluno, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1806-1815043,298New browsable image collection.ItalyItaly, Caserta, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-18666130Added indexed records to an existing collectionItalyItaly, Caserta, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-186604,543,698Added images to an existing collectionItalyItaly, Matera, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-192501,323,614New browsable image collection.ItalyItaly, Verona, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1630-194202,796,910New browsable image collection.ItalyItaly, Vicenza, Bassano del Grappa, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1871-194201,637,660Added images to an existing collectionOtherFind A Grave Index1,948,0190Added indexed records to an existing collectionPanamaPanama, Catholic Church Records, 1707-197336,4610Added indexed records to an existing collectionParaguayParaguay, Catholic Church Records, 1754-2015159,5250Added indexed records to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Áncash, Civil Registration, 1888-2005141,1700Added indexed records to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Cemetery Records, 1912-201320,1580Added indexed records to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874-1996306,7960Added indexed records to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874-19960175,257Added images to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Puno, Civil Registration, 1890-20059,1610Added indexed records to an existing collectionPortugalPortugal, Porto, Catholic Church Records, 1535-194927,590Added indexed records to an existing collectionRussiaRussia, Samara Church Books 1748-19346,4630Added indexed records to an existing collectionSouth AfricaSouth Africa, Natal, Passenger Lists, 1860-1911154,0910Added indexed records to an existing collectionSouth AfricaSouth Africa, Natal, Passenger Lists, 1860-19115310Added indexed records to an existing collectionSpainSpain, Province of La Coruña, Municipal Records, 1648-194130,2640Added indexed records to an existing collectionSpainSpain, Soldier Personal Service Files, 1835-19407,4070Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesAlabama, County Birth Registers, 1881-1930109,5700New indexed records collectionUnited StatesAlabama, Jefferson County Circuit Court Papers, 1870-191630,0700Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesCalifornia, Los Angeles, Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery, Deceased Card File Index, 1877-198982,1100Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesDelaware, Vital Record Index Cards, 1680-19344,0240Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesIllinois, Kane County, Elgin, Gail Borden Public Library District, Local Newspaper Obituary Digital Index, 1922-201766,8200New indexed records collectionUnited StatesKansas, Grant County, Census Records, 1895-198287,9280New indexed records collectionUnited StatesLouisiana, Orleans Parish, Birth Records, 1819-190610,2440New indexed records collectionUnited StatesMaine, Kennebec County, Togus National Cemetery Records140Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMinnesota Deaths, 1887-20019,1460New indexed records collectionUnited StatesNorth Carolina, Wake County, Death Records, 1900-19091790Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesPennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Allegheny Cemetery Records, 1845 – 196035,6040Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesSouth Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Birth Registers, 1901-19262,9040Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUnited States Census, 1880013Added images to an existing collectionUnited StatesUnited States Deceased Physician File (AMA), 1864-1968192,0730Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUnited States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-19181,850,4340Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUnited States, Cemetery Abstracts179,7570Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUnited States, Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Military Servicemen in World War I Records, 19194,7360New indexed records collectionUnited StatesVirginia, Slave Birth Index, 1853-1866141,7500New indexed records collection

Scottish Names—What Are They All About?

FamilySearch - Mon, 09/30/2019 - 18:18

Scottish names are rich with history—both surnames and given names.

The most wealthy and high nobility first started using surnames, but it wasn’t long before merchants and townspeople started using them as well because it was an easy way to identify one another. But the process to adopt and adapt surnames took centuries. In the 13th century, about 30 percent of men in Scotland’s were named William, John, or Richard. But surnames have been complicated over time because of the Scottish Highlands, Lowlands, and the clan system. Even though surnames started to be used with regularity as early as the 10th or 12th centuries, there wasn’t a lot of consistency with surnames until the 16th century. This is helpful when searching your own family records.

Scottish Surnames

Scottish surnames are based on many things—occupations, geography, patronymics (based on a person’s father’s name), and descriptions (based on a nickname, hair color, complexion, or so on).

In 1746, after the Battle of Culloden, many people changed their surnames from clan names to less Gaelic-sounding names so they would not be punished by the British government. If someone’s name was clan-like, he or she could be associated with disfavoring the crown. But after a few generations, some changed their names back to the clan name.

 Some surnames were also translated into English. Surnames like “Mac a’ Bhrataich” and “MacGhilledhuinn” were sometimes changed to “Bannerman” and “Brown” or “Broun.” There were even times when names were changed by authorities, sometimes without the bearer’s knowledge.

Scottish surnames were often taken from Gaelic Scottish given names with a “Mc” or “Mac” added to the beginning. This naming convention is patronymic, and the prefix means “son”. This naming trait was used most often in the Highlands. One in 8 surnames in Scotland begin with “Mc” or “Mac,” with one of the most common names being “MacDonald.” Surnames can be different based on regions, but below are some of the most common surnames in Scotland.

20 Common Scottish Surnames
  1. Smith
  2. Brown
  3. Wilson
  4. Stewart
  5. Thomson
  6. Robertson
  7. Campbell
  8. Anderson
  9. Murray
  10. MacDonald
  11. Taylor
  12. Scott
  13. Reid
  14. Clark
  15. Young
  16. Morrison
  17. Walker
  18. Ross
  19. Watson
  20. Graham
Scottish Boy Names

Many Scottish given names are of Gaelic origins, and many are intertwined with Irish origins as well. The Scottish also used naming patterns for given names. For example, the first son was often named after the father’s father, the second son named after the mother’s father, and the third son named after the father. It was not uncommon after a child died for the next child of the same sex to be given the name of the deceased child.

Here are some popular Scottish boy names:

  • Adair
  • Alastair
  • Alban
  • Alexander
  • Baldwin
  • Cameron
  • Donald
  • Duncan
  • Gavin
  • Graham
  • Hamish
  • Leslie
  • Muir
  • Mungo
  • Rory
  • Stuart
  • Tamhas
Scottish Girl Names

Given names for girls follow much the same pattern as used for boys, if families chose to use the naming pattern. The first daughter was often named after the mother’s mother, the second daughter after the father’s mother, and the third daughter after the mother. Scottish variants of common English names are also common. For example, for Elizabeth, Elspeth might be used, or Catrina, Caitriona, or Ceitedh might be used for Katherine. The suffix “ina” is also popular for Scottish girl names.

 Here are some other common Scottish girl names:

  • Adamina
  • Agnes
  • Annis
  • Bridget
  • Blair
  • Catriona
  • Davina
  • Elspeth
  • Fiona
  • Gavina
  • Isla
  • Kirstine
  • Morag
  • Sorcha
  • Una
Search Your Family Tree for Scottish Ancestors

Now that you’re armed with both Scottish surnames and Scottish given names, try searching your family tree for a few. You may have some Scottish ancestors that you didn’t know about, and you may also find some names that you could add to your own family tree!