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Monthly Record Update for July 2020

Sun, 08/02/2020 - 14:00

FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in June of 2020 with over 16.5 million new indexed family history records from all over the world. New historical records were added from American Samoa, Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Ecuador, England, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Honduras, Luxembourg, Mexico, Micronesia, Netherlands, Niue, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico,  Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Uruguay, Venezuela, Wales, Zambia, and the United States, which includes Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Check back next month and, in the meantime, search existing records on FamilySearch.

CountryCollectionIndexed RecordsDigital ImagesCommentsAmerican Samoa American Samoa, Census Records, 1900-1945250Added indexed records to an existing collection American Samoa American Samoa, Passports, 1919-19241650Added indexed records to an existing collection ArgentinaArgentina, Corrientes, Catholic Church Records, 1734-1977100Added indexed records to an existing collection AustriaAustria, Carinthia, Gurk Diocese, Catholic Church Records, 1527-198612,4120Added indexed records to an existing collection AustriaAustria, Vienna, Jewish Registers of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1784-191117,2820Added indexed records to an existing collection BoliviaBolivia Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996146,8210Added indexed records to an existing collection BrazilBrazil Minas Gerais, Civil Registration, 1879-194910,4170Added indexed records to an existing collection BrazilBrazil, Bahia, Civil Registration, 1877-19763,9640Added indexed records to an existing collection BrazilBrazil, Civil Registration, 1860-200610,0780New indexed records collection BrazilBrazil, Minas Gerais, Civil Registration, 1879-194915,1690Added indexed records to an existing collection BrazilBrazil, Paraná, Civil Registration, 1852-1996627,3800Added indexed records to an existing collection BrazilBrazil, Santa Catarina, Civil Registration, 1850-199937,6080Added indexed records to an existing collection CanadaCanada, New Brunswick, County Register of Births, 1801-192050,8950Added indexed records to an existing collection CanadaNova Scotia Deaths, 1864-187711150Added indexed records to an existing collection CanadaNova Scotia Delayed Births, 1837-19042,0190Added indexed records to an existing collection CanadaOntario, Toronto Cemetery Records, 1989-199573,0120Added indexed records to an existing collection CanadaOntario, Toronto Cemetery Records, 1989-1995 3,7030New indexed records collection Cape VerdeCape Verde, Catholic Church Records, 1787-19577,1190Added indexed records to an existing collection ChileChile, Catholic Church Records, 1710-192849,2100Added indexed records to an existing collection EcuadorEcuador, Catholic Church Records, 1565-2011480,3250Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Cumbria Parish Registers, 1538-199023,2360Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-19182,2180Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-1996780Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Herefordshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1583-189816,5570Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Isle of Wight Parish Registers, 1538-198310,6980Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Lancashire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1647-1996131,0550Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988231,3680Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-19201,1860Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Yorkshire Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1613-188711760Added indexed records to an existing collection FijiFiji, Immigration Passes, 1879-191614,3100New indexed records collection FijiFiji, Indian Death Records, 1899-192211,4650Added indexed records to an existing collection FijiFiji, Passports, 1915-1991136,9520New indexed records collection FinlandFinland, Tax Lists, 1809-191535,6630Added indexed records to an existing collection GermanyGermany, Prussia, Saxony, Census Lists, 1770-193461,2360Added indexed records to an existing collection GermanyGermany, Saxony, Church Book Indexes, 1500-190017,5780Added indexed records to an existing collection HondurasHonduras, Catholic Church Records, 1633-197869,8580Added indexed records to an existing collection LuxembourgLuxembourg, Civil Registration, 1796-19412,6140Added indexed records to an existing collection MexicoMexico, Sinaloa, Civil Registration, 1861-192931,3270Added indexed records to an existing collection MicronesiaMicronesia, Civil Registration, 1883-19832,0180Added indexed records to an existing collection MicronesiaMicronesia, Death Records, 1970-19869670New indexed records collection NetherlandsNetherlands, Bibliothèque Wallonne, Card Indexes, ca. 1500-18586,4630Added indexed records to an existing collection NiueNiue, Register of Baptisms, 1926-19479760Added indexed records to an existing collection NiueNiue, Vital Records, 1818-19949,4670Added indexed records to an existing collection NorwayNorway, Oslo, Census, 1832-195435,6720Added indexed records to an existing collection NorwayNorway, Probate Index Cards, 1640-19034,7360Added indexed records to an existing collection OtherFind A Grave Index946,8890Added indexed records to an existing collection ParaguayParaguay, Catholic Church Records, 1754-2015250,4850Added indexed records to an existing collection PeruPeru, Ayacucho, Civil Registration, 1903-1999161,8870Added indexed records to an existing collection PeruPeru, Huánuco, Civil Registration, 1888-1998800Added indexed records to an existing collection PeruPeru, Piura, Civil Registration, 1874-199681,4700Added indexed records to an existing collection PeruPeru, Prelature of Yauyos-Cañete-Huarochirí, Catholic Church Records, 1665-201815,2720Added indexed records to an existing collection Puerto RicoPuerto Rico, Catholic Church Records, 1645-196943,5710Added indexed records to an existing collection Puerto RicoPuerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-200111,8970Added indexed records to an existing collection ScotlandScotland Church Records and Kirk Session Records, 1658-19193400Added indexed records to an existing collection SloveniaSlovenia, Ljubljana, Funeral Accounts, 1937-19703,7280Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895-197221,7730Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-200427,6710Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Civil Death Registration, 1955-196643,9770Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Civil Marriage Records, 1840-1973126,5860Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, KwaZulu Natal, Vital Records, 1868-197674950Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Natal Province, Civil Deaths, 1863-195550,4570Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Orange Free State, Civil Death Registration, 1902-195433130New indexed records collection SpainSpain, Diocese of Cartagena, Catholic Church Records, 1503-19694,0470Added indexed records to an existing collection SpainSpain, Diocese of Lugo, Catholic Parish Records, 1550-19663,7490Added indexed records to an existing collection SpainSpain, Province of La Coruña, Municipal Records, 1648-194154,7380Added indexed records to an existing collection Sri LankaSri Lanka, Colombo District, Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1677-19902,5600Added indexed records to an existing collection SwedenSweden, Örebro Church Records, 1613-1918; index 1635-18607,9750Added indexed records to an existing collection SwedenSweden, Stockholm City Archives, Index to Church Records, 1546-192799,0220Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesAlabama, Jefferson County Circuit Court Papers, 1870-19161,7380Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesArizona, Greenlee County, Voting Records, 1910-192621,2760New indexed records collection United StatesArizona, Maricopa County, Voting Records, 1876-19324,2570Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesArizona, Pima County, Voting Records, 1876-19261,7740Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesArizona, Various County Divorce Records, 1877-193718,0950New indexed records collection United StatesArizona, Yavapai County, Voting Records, 1875-1932156,2110New indexed records collection United StatesCalifornia, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994152,2130Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesCalifornia, customs passenger lists of vessels arriving at San Francisco, 1903-1918314,2970New indexed records collection United StatesCalifornia, Los Angeles, Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery/Crematory Records, 1884-200214,8440Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesCalifornia, passenger and crew lists at various ports, 1907-195685,9600Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesConnecticut, Military Census Questionnaires, 1917518,8620New indexed records collection United StatesConnecticut, passenger and crew lists, 1804-195998,7900New indexed records collection United StatesGeorgia, Confederate Pension Rolls, 1879-19203,9140Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesHawaii, Collector of Customs, Ships’ Passenger Manifests, 1843-1900202,6790Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesHawaii, Death Records and Death Registers, 1841-19251830Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesHawaii, Hansen’s Disease Records, Kalaupapa Census Index, 1839-197090Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesHawaii, Hawaiian Islands Newspaper Obituaries, 1900-ca.201048,7770Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIdaho, County Marriages, 1864-19501950Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIdaho, County Naturalizations, 1861-197443,2160Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIllinois, Quincy, Greenmount Cemetery Records, 1875-198578,2710New indexed records collection United StatesIowa, Scott County, Oakdale Cemetery, Interment Records, 1856-198923,8670New indexed records collection United StatesKansas, Riley County, Sunset Cemetery, Burial Index Cards, 1856-1998930New indexed records collection United StatesLouisiana, New Orleans, Quarterly Abstracts of Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, 1820-1875349,2650Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesLouisiana, Orleans Parish Death Records and Certificates, 1835-195423,8260Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMaine, Kennebec County, Togus National Cemetery Records100Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMassachusetts, City of Boston Voter Registers, 1857-1920179,7420Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMinnesota Deaths, 1887-2001481,8540Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMinnesota, Blue Earth County, Glenwood Cemetery, Burial Records, ca. 1869-199060Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMinnesota, Hennepin County, Minneapolis, Layman Cemetery Burial Records, 1860-19261090Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMinnesota, Olmsted County, Oakwood Cemetery Records, 1863-19982930Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMississippi, County Marriages, 1858-1979119,4520Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMissouri, Jackson County Voter Registration Records, 1928-19561,2400Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNebraska, Lancaster County, Fairview Cemetery, Burial Records, 1864-19996,2190New indexed records collection United StatesNebraska, Lancaster County, Wyuka Cemetery Burial Permits, 1883-19991800Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNew Jersey, Gloucester County, Clarksboro, Eglington Cemetery Records, 1880-198339,9870Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNew York, Church Records, 1660-195413,5760Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNorth Carolina, Center for Health Statistics, Vital Records Unit, County Birth Records, 1913-1922147,4870Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNorth Carolina, Wilmington, Cemetery Records, 1852-20058560Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNorth Dakota and South Dakota Naturalization Records, 1851-18834920New indexed records collection United StatesOhio, Clermont County Tax Records, 1816-1900450Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesOhio, Toledo, Historic Woodlawn Cemetery Index of Burials, 1877-1955270Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesOhio, Washington County Newspaper Obituaries, 1884-20138670Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesOklahoma, Comanche County, Highland Cemetery Records, 1901-19941,0030Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesOregon, Multnomah County, Voting Registration Records, 1908-1958380Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesPennsylvania Cemetery Records, ca. 1700-ca. 1950221,3740Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesPennsylvania Delayed Birth Records, 1941-1976173,2800Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesTexas, Hardin County, Marriage Records, 1837-2009179660New indexed records collection United StatesUnited States Deceased Physician File (AMA), 1864-196850Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUnited States, Alaska, Alien Arrivals at Various Locations, 1906-19566,8060Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUnited States, GenealogyBank Historical Newspaper Obituaries, 1815-20117,659,4260Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUnited States, Texas, Laredo, Index to Manifests of Permanent and Statistical Alien Arrivals, Dec 1929-Apr 19554060Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUtah Death Certificates, 1904-19644,1460Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUtah, County Birth and Death Records,1892-19514,8810New indexed records collection United StatesUtah, Salt Lake City Cemetery Records, 1847-197625,9940Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUtah, World War II Index to Army Veterans of Utah, 1939-19453170Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesVirginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-193549,5740Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesVirginia, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Applications for the Relief of Needy Confederate Women, 1915-19673,3710New indexed records collection United StatesWashington, County Birth Registers, 1873-196529,1790Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesWashington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-198231,8160Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesWisconsin, County Naturalization Records, 1807-1992301,1460Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesWisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records, 1887-1945970Added indexed records to an existing collection UruguayUruguay, Passenger Lists, 1888-1980445,5810Added indexed records to an existing collection VenezuelaVenezuela, Catholic Church Records, 1577-199526,1900Added indexed records to an existing collection WalesWales, Marriage Bonds, 1650-190015,6330Added indexed records to an existing collection ZambiaZambia, Archdiocese of Lusaka, Church Records, 1950-201512,4360Added indexed records to an existing collection 

Finding Your French Ancestors

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 17:00

Do you have French ancestry and wonder where to start learning more about them? As you learn about your ancestors, take some time to learn about the country and the records that you can access to discover more about them. You’ll learn that a wealth of information and records are available to help you!

France is a country with a long, storied past. If you’re new to French genealogy research and looking for a place to start, this FamilySearch article gives fascinating insight into French history and the records that are available. However, if you’re looking for basic how-to starters, read on!

FamilySearch Research Wiki

The FamilySearch Research Wiki is a good place to start. To find the wiki, as well as other helpful information, click the Help button at the top of the main FamilySearch page. The wiki focuses on research strategies, gives lists of websites and suggestions for finding records, and offers a clickable map of countries that leads you to pages to browse for information. For French research, you can find information and help including the following:

The France Online Genealogy Records button on the wiki page takes you to a page with more links to available records, histories, lists, directories, and periodicals.

More Help Available

The FamilySearch wiki page also has links to other genealogy sites that can help you find your French ancestors. Take a look at these sites that may give more information that you need.

Chat Rooms

Still looking for more help? Do you want to connect with others searching in the same area? Modern technology makes it easy to connect with others who have similar interests.

At the bottom of the wiki page, click the Ask the Community button to find groups that you can connect to, such as the Southern Europe Genealogy Research Community. Who knows? Maybe you’ll connect to a cousin!

Start Now to Explore Your French Connections

Our ancestors were affected by events surrounding them, so as you start researching your French ancestors, take time to learn the history and culture that impacted them. One of the ways to help make history and geography come alive is by accessing the FamilySearch Where Am I From? feature, which can give you a view of where your ancestors lived during important world events, allow you to trace family lines across the world, and more! Try using this feature in tandem with Google Maps to see photos of your family’s homeland and virtually stand where your ancestors stood.

Try also to learn about local traditions or find dishes that your ancestors may have enjoyed. You might even adopt some of the traditions and foods in your immediate family!

Be sure to share what you learn on your FamilySearch tree and the FamilySearch Memories page to help them come alive for future generations.

Quarantine Diary Prompts—How to Journal about the Historic Events of 2020

Thu, 07/30/2020 - 14:58

We are living in historic times. Are you recording your experiences? Not only can journaling help you cope better with day-to-day life, but one day your family will be interested in knowing what it was like to live through the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. If you haven’t already begun a COVID diary detailing your thoughts and experiences of this historic moment, below are a few journal prompts to get you started.

Think Back to the Beginning

It’s easy to forget to write about what life was like at the start of 2020, especially because so much has happened since January! Below are some journal prompts to jog your memory.

  • Record when and where you were when you first heard about COVID-19.

Did your family or friends tell you? Did you first learn about it from the news?

  • Reflect on your initial thoughts and feelings about the virus.

Have your feelings or perspective changed since you first learned about COVID-19?

Write about the New (Albeit Temporary) Normal

Depending on where you lived or other circumstances, you may have experienced unique disruptions to your daily life. Even if the disruptions are minor, record the ways in which your life changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • If you were a parent whose children were out of school, what was homeschooling like?

No shame if you had to refresh yourself on 5th-grade math.

  • If you were a student whose school closed down, how did you feel about learning from home?

The year 2020 took homework to a whole new level.

  • If you were an employee who worked from home, what was your daily schedule? How did it change compared to being in the office?

Bonus points if you include a tally of how many times you heard co-workers say “Sorry, you cut out” and “I think you’re on mute” during a teleconference.

  • Did any of your plans change because of the pandemic?

Was a family vacation postponed? Did an event get canceled? Did you briefly contemplate buying a really cheap flight to another country?

  • How did your hometown, city, region, or country respond to the pandemic?

What social trends happened where you lived? Did people in your hometown buy out toilet paper? Did your city erupt in song from apartment balconies? Write about it!

Write about Daily Activities and Pastimes

While it may not seem interesting right now, you or family reading your COVID diary in the future might be interested in how you passed the time—especially if you were stuck at home for weeks on end! The following journal prompts can get you started.

  • How did your schedule change during the pandemic?

Be honest—you slept in a lot, didn’t you?

  • Did you try any new hobbies?

Did you jump on the sour dough starter trend?

  • What books, movies, TV shows, or other activities did you engage in?

Be sure to include how many times you watched the same TV show in a row.

  • If you were quarantined during the pandemic, did you dress differently?

And yes, I’m asking if you wore pajamas all day.

Reflect on How You Have Changed

In all seriousness, COVID-19 has been difficult and life-altering for many people throughout the world. You can cope better with the present moment by reflecting deeply on the ways you and the world have changed, and your reflections can also benefit future readers.

  • Did you learn anything about yourself from this experience?
  • What is one aspect of your life that was harder during the pandemic?
  • What is one aspect of your life that was easier during the pandemic?
  • How has this experience changed you or those around you?
  • In what ways, if at all, do you think the world will be changed because of COVID-19?
Record Your Memories in a Safe Place

Remember to save your experiences in a safe place! One place to preserve your memories is on You can type right into the app, or, if you prefer pen and paper, you can upload images of your COVID diary to FamilySearch Memories for safekeeping.   

If writing isn’t your thing—that’s OK! You can record your experiences as well. Just go to FamilySearch Memories on your desktop, or download the Memories app. When you’re ready, here’s how to make your recording:

  1. Download or open the Memories app (to download the app, click on the Google Play or App Store button below).
  2. Tap the menu icon (3 bars for Android, or 3 dots for iOS).
  3. Tap Memories.
  4. Tap the plus sign for making a memory.
  5. Tap Record Audio.
  6. Tap Begin Recording.

All About Armenian Culture

Fri, 07/24/2020 - 16:00

Armenia is one of the oldest countries in the world. Its capital city, Yerevan, dates to about 600 BC. Ancient Armenia encompassed the Armenian Highlands, an enormous historical region shared today with Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. Modern-day Armenia is much smaller, but it still occupies a key position where Europe, Asia and the Middle East meet.

Over the centuries, Armenians interacted with many cultures and created a sophisticated society. But the country’s strategic location made it vulnerable to emigration and conquest. Invasions between AD 1000 and 1500 led many Armenians to flee to Cilicia (in southcentral Turkey), Constantinople, Smyrna, Poland, and the Crimea. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, persecution under the rule of the Ottoman Empire pushed more Armenians into exile.

Today, more than twice as many Armenians live outside the country as inside it. About 7 million people of Armenian descent live in Russia, the United States, France, Ukraine, Georgia, Lebanon, and elsewhere. If you have Armenian ancestors, knowing more about Armenian culture can help you feel connected to them.

Armenian Culture

Armenian religion, family life, and the rituals and traditions expressed in their culture have played a powerful role in helping Armenians around the world hold on to a strong sense of identity and heritage.


Armenia proudly claims the distinction of being the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion. Tradition has it that two of Jesus’s Apostles, Thaddeus and Bartholomew, successfully preached Christianity to Armenians as early as AD 40. In 301, Christianity was declared the official religion, and a church was built at Etchmiadzin, which today is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Armenians are proud that their homeland is the location of Mount Ararat, which may have been the resting place of Noah’s ark after the flood, and other Biblical events.

As the unique Armenian alphabet developed in the 5th century, so did a flowering of Christian religious literature. Armenian religious scholars made important contributions to the wider Christian world. Translations of key scriptural texts by early Armenian scholars are now some of the earliest versions available.

Throughout the past 1,000 years, Armenians who migrated out of the country have taken their faith with them. When the Kingdom of Armenia fell in 1375, the church not only survived, but it assumed a leadership role that helped keep Armenian identity alive. Today, the Armenian Apostolic Church numbers between 8 and 9 million members. This membership includes about 94 percent of the population of the country, more than 3.5 million members in Europe, and more than a million members in the United States.

Family Life

Armenian culture celebrates families and family life. Weddings no longer last for several days, but they are still lively affairs filled with joyous rituals. Extended families of both bride and groom play important roles; a godparent couple serves as witnesses and role models. At church wedding services, a priest crowns the couple to symbolize the creation of their “little kingdom” as a family. Dancing, music, and food follow, and large numbers of friends and family bestow generous gifts.

Wedding rituals express hope that the marriage will be blessed with children. Traditional Armenian families welcome many children. The community celebrates birth with music and by decorating the infant’s home with green branches that symbolize the continuity of the family. There is even a formal celebration when a baby’s first tooth appears. This love for children outlasts childhood; extended families may live together or visit each other frequently. The family unit is so important that Armenian names often identify an ancestor or ancestral place, which can help those who are researching their Armenian family history.

Music and Dance

The related arts of music and dance are deeply ingrained in Armenian culture. Ancient petroglyphs in the Armenian Highlands depict dancing figures. The philosopher Plutarch described amphitheater performances 2,000 years ago. One of the oldest Armenian dances—which is still performed today—is the kochari, which was originally about bravery but which more broadly addresses the relationship between mortals and the divine.

Special dances are performed at weddings, funerals, military occasions, and other important events. Their movements are symbolic. For example, dancers circling a bride and groom may move to the left and then to the right. The circle represents infinity, while the shifting directions represent the vagaries of life and fortune.

Scholars have catalogued over 30,000 folk songs from the Armenian Highlands. Traditional music is modal and often has a strong, lyrical melodic line; each of the 60 language dialects has a distinct folk style. Many songs serve express purposes, such as worship, planting, funerals, romantic love, patriotism, and other acts of daily life. Over 100 musical elements are sung during Armenian weddings alone. Instruments include the duduk (a double-reed pipe), oud (a short-necked lute), zurna (a woodwind instrument), and kopal (a large, two-headed drum).

Traditional Armenian Arts

Carpet making is an ancient Armenian handicraft that is still practiced today. Traditional rugs have bright colors and decorative motifs such as dragons, stylized geometric shapes, and other ornamentation that can be highly symbolic. Rugs decorate more than the floor in Armenian homes; they may rest on tables, chairs, and beds.

Khachkars are an ancient form of Armenian sculpture. Used as tombstones or memorials, these outdoor stone monuments are decorated with crosses, sometimes ornately. Khachkar building peaked in the 12th and 14th centuries. Today, more than 50,000 unique, hand-carved khachkars survive.

These aren’t the only important Armenian handicrafts. Armenian jewelers have been creating beautiful jewelry from gold, silver, and precious stones for both men and women for 1,000 years. A lot of jewelry carried special symbolism and served as amulets; some could be worn only by women or men of a certain status. For hundreds of years, delicate, intricate embroidery and needle lace has adorned Armenian churches and homes, as well as clothing, carpets, and religious vestments. 

Share Your Armenian Culture

If you have Armenian heritage, you can help preserve the rich culture of your homeland by sharing your stories. Share memories and photos of your family in online family trees such as the free FamilySearch Family Tree.

If you want to learn more about Armenian culture, check out TOTA’s Armenian Culture page. TOTA is a website “dedicated to sharing cultural knowledge and engaging experiences to create a more connected and respectful world.” The website has dozens of articles about Armenian history, heritage, and culture.

1950s Fashions: Mid-Century Clothing Styles

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 16:00

Poodle skirts and ponytails, jeans and slick-backed hair—that’s what many people consider iconic 1950s fashions. These looks were popular for teens, but what did everyone else wear? Style in the 1950s offered both men and women a new range of options. The people in your mid-century family photos may have worn lots of styles, but there were some common themes. Here’s what you may see and why.

View 1950s Fashion Gallery The Stories behind 1950s Styles

As the 1950s dawned, many war-torn countries were still rebuilding. Goods were available again in many places that had seen shortages. In many cases, returning soldiers had married and started families, and women had left the workplace to become stay-at-home wives and mothers. Some countries, including the United States, encouraged consumerism as a way of strengthening the economy.

During and after the war, designers came to prominence from places other than Paris, France (the longtime fashion capital of the West). In the 1950s, the greater geographic diversity in designers meant more styles from which to choose. Furthermore, new synthetic fabrics offered fresh possibilities for mass-produced clothing. Strong consumer spending led to even more demand for clothing—and accessories to accompany every style. Film stars and fashion magazines promoted new looks and showed how to wear new styles of clothing well.

Women’s 1950s Styles Women’s Dresses

In 1947, French designer Christian Dior launched his elegant, opulent “New Look” for women, and it remained popular in the 1950s. Dresses had rounded shoulders, cinched-in waistlines, exaggerated hips, and full skirts. The New Look celebrated an end to wartime thrift and embraced an ideal of decorative femininity. The shape was echoed in many 1950s styles, from everyday shirtwaists and sundresses to crinoline-covered circle skirt ensembles, coatdresses, and formalwear.

Dior’s New Look wasn’t the only popular silhouette for women. Pencil dresses sheathed a woman’s body from bodice to to mid-calf hemline. Pencil skirts could be paired with tailored, tucked-in blouses for a similar look. Other dress designs of the decade loosened or moved the waistline, such as the sack dress, the A-line dress, and bell-shaped skirts.

Women around the Western world (and beyond) embraced these new styles. The New Look was especially popular in West Germany. Australian women loved both the New Look and pencil silhouettes. Film footage of a 1950s Japanese fashion show reveals dresses inspired by all these Western trends.

Women’s Casual Clothing

Women’s trousers and casual clothing became increasingly common. Female fashion designers in the United States were especially known for creating practical, casual clothing—such as playsuits, pants, and designer sportswear—that could serve the versatile needs of active women. Actress Audrey Hepburn helped popularize a casual, chic look, pairing dark, slim pants with simple boat-necked tops and flat pumps.

The Beatnik style pared down a women’s appearance even further. Beatnik styles (both dresses and slacks) were crisp and fitted. Colors were generally dark neutrals, unembellished except for ethnic or bohemian flourishes.

Women’s Shoes and Accessories

“A pair of shoes for every occasion”—this idea sums up the 1950s mentality perfectly. An endless variety of new styles of women’s shoes proved hard to resistible; shoes were more comfortable, sturdy, lightweight, and beautiful than ever. Closed-toed pumps, stiletto heels, flats, wedges, sandals, moccasins, and other kinds of shoes could be purchased in a variety of solid or print colors.

Hats continued to be fashionable, if optional, with choices such as iconic pillboxes, veiled fascinators, dainty Juliette caps, flat pancake hats, and large-brimmed straw hats for summer. Some women tied colorful scarves over their hair instead of wearing hats. A complete ladies’ outfit may have included coordinated costume jewelry, gloves, and boxy, short-handled handbags or clutch purses.

Men’s 1950s Fashions

Thanks in part to United States influence, men’s fashions became decidedly more casual. In the early 1950s, many men wore conservatively-colored, baggy suits with narrow ties. As the decade progressed, men’s wardrobes became more textured, colorful, and casual. For leisure, men often donned lightweight sports coats and colored shirts paired with trousers. Hawaiian-style shirts and knee-length shorts became summer staples.

Men’s shoes offered less variety than women’s, but the shoes were a lot more practical. Wingtip oxfords or other leather dress shoes in black or brown accompanied a suit. For more casual times, men might slip on penny loafers or saddle shoes.

Youth and Teens Fashions in the 1950s

Young men of the 1950s found alternatives to dressing like their parents. The Teddy Boy style was based on retro-Edwardian (Teddy) suits made on London’s Savile Row. Straight stovepipe trousers, velvet-collar jackets, white shirts, colorful socks, suede creeper shoes, and carefully combed-back hair completed the look. In the United States, film stars Marlon Brando and James Dean popularized jeans, white shirts, leather jackets, and greased-back hair.

Teen girls often chose more youthful interpretations of their mothers’ styles. A common look was a fitted blouse with a Peter Pan collar tucked into a wide, elastic cinch belt with a round circle skirt or a pencil skirt. (The now-iconic “poodle skirt” was simply a round, full circle skirt with a poodle decoration on it, but other decorations were at least as popular.) Fitted sweaters, including cardigans, were sometimes worn alone or over a blouse. Teenage girls may have finished the look with scarves knotted around the neck, white bobby socks, and saddle shoes.

1950s Styles in Family Photos

Look through your family photos from the 1950s to see which styles your relatives favored. Consider sharing these photos on the FamilySearch Memories and tagging the picture with “1950s fashion” so others can enjoy them too!

Amazing Armenian Foods You’ve Never Tried

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 16:00

Levon Avdoyan grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, on what he thought was traditional Armenian food. In 1972, he moved to Soviet Armenia to study for a Ph.D. He said, “It was then I realized that Armenian food in the Caucasus was different from Armenian cuisine in historical Armenia.”

Avdoyan’s ancestors came from Kharpert in present-day Turkey. He grew up eating his grandmother’s pilaf, stuffed grape leaves, lamb, bulgur, and homemade yogurt. But when he visited Armenia in 1972, those foods were nowhere to be found.

The definition of traditional Armenian food depends on whom you speak to. The Armenian people were scattered during times of turmoil, and the food was influenced by the places they moved to.

Armenian cuisine is influenced by Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European foods. Lamb, vegetables, and bread are staples at the Armenian family table. Lots of fresh herbs, nuts, and fresh and dried fruits add to the beautiful array of color, texture, and taste of Armenian food.

A traditional meal in Armenia might include bread, butter, buttermilk, cheese, and fresh vegetables. Lunch might include a meatball soup with sour milk.

Here is a look at some of the favorite dishes your Armenian ancestors may have enjoyed. Click the links provided to see a recipe.

Armenian Breads and Sweets

Lavash—This traditional unleavened bread is a delicious flatbread treat.

Boerag—Boerag is a flaky pastry filled with cheeses, meats, or sweet fillings.

Manti—These boats of dough are filled with meat and spices and can be served as an appetizer or main meal.

Topik (or topig)—Sometimes thought of as a vegetarian meatball, this appetizer is usually served during Lent.

Zhingyalov or jingalov hats—This fried flatbread is filled with greens and herbs.

Gata—With a taste of vanilla, gata is a sweet bread and a favorite Armenian food.

Lahmacun, or lahmajoon—Sometimes called the Armenian pizza, Lahmacun is a round, thin dough topped with minced meat, herbs, spices, onions, and tomatoes.

Baklava or traditional paklava—There is a slight difference between baklava and paklava, but both are sweet treats. Baklava is usually sweetened with honey, while paklava uses syrup. The unique taste of paklava requires clarified butter.

Choreg—Choreg is a traditionally braided sweet bread flavored with fennel and mahlab, a spice that comes from ground cherry pits. It’s made year-round, but especially during the Easter season.

Armenian Meat Dishes

Dolma—Dolma is a satisfying stuffed dish made of minced meat, onion, rice, and spices all rolled up in grape leaves. This traditional Armenian food is sometimes made by replacing the grape leaves with cabbage leaves.

Basturma—Basturma is a highly seasoned, air-dried, cured beef.

Tjvjik—A traditional fried beef liver dish with onions and seasoned with salt and pepper is what your Armenian ancestors would have called tjvjik. Today, the dish may be found with additional ingredients such as tomatoes, peppers, and herbs.

Harissa—This hearty dish is similar to a porridge made of stewed meat and coarsely ground wheat. Traditionally, harissa was made with lamb, but today chicken is often substituted. It is often served on Easter day.

Armenian Soups and Sides

Khash—Eaten mostly in the cold season, this soup dish is made of boiled cow or sheep parts.

Ghapama—This pumpkin dish can be eaten as a main dish, a side dish, or a dessert. Ghapama is beautifully and colorfully adorned with raisins, dried plums and apricots, nuts, and cinnamon.

Eech—This Armenian salad is also known as Armenian bulgur salad. It is made with cracked wheat, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and parsley.

Do you have Armenian ancestral roots? How about some Armenian food recipes that have been passed down to you? Be sure to add your heritage recipes to the Memories section of the FamilySearch Family Tree.

Discover the Story of Your Pioneer Ancestor’s Immigration

Tue, 07/21/2020 - 13:03

Did your ancestors immigrate to the United States and trek West during the 19th century? If they did, chances are they could be one of the 90,000 Latter-day Saint converts who heeded the call to come to Zion. You can now learn more than ever about these historic pioneers and their voyage to the United States thanks to the help of Saints by Sea—an incredible online collection about pioneer immigrants.

Saints by Sea: The Story of Latter-day Saint Immigration

Brigham Young University’s Saints by Sea collection is an incredible resource for discovering stories and records about early Latter-day Saint immigrant pioneers. On the main page of Saints by Sea, you can search the name, place, ship, or even the date that you think is associated with immigrant Latter-day Saint ancestor. You can also explore the hundreds of firsthand and secondhand accounts of these immigrant pioneers.

Explore Saints by Sea Identifying a Pioneer Ancestor

If you have a family tree on FamilySearch, you can also quickly discover if your ancestor was an immigrant pioneer using the link below. If you do not have an account, create a free account here. For better chances of finding a connection, learn how to add family members to your family tree.

Discover Your Immigrant Pioneer Origins

FamilySearch will search your family tree for a connection to one of these early Latter-day Saint immigrants. If we find a connection, the results will look like this:

From the profile card, you can see how you are related to the ancestor by clicking View Relationship. You can also discover more about the person’s journey by clicking Discover Her Voyage (or Discover His Voyage). A Saints by Sea page will then give additional details about your ancestor and the journey. The page may even include accounts about the voyage itself!

How Much French Exists in Your Life?

Sun, 07/19/2020 - 20:00

Have you ever wondered when we started wearing denim jeans or where all those sci-fi novels came from? As it turns out, these and many other everyday things originated—or were perfected—in France. Whether or not the branches of your family tree grow in that direction, you likely enjoy French influence in your daily life. Here are just a few examples.


The art of ballet dates to the Renaissance period. While the art form itself originated in Italy, we have the 15th-century French court to thank for its popularity. Catherine de’ Medici, the wife of King Henry II, was Italian and had a deep love for the arts. Her elaborate celebrations allowed ballet to blossom in the French courts. Ballet academies were opened a century later when King Louis XIV, who loved ballet so much he did it himself, made the dance form more popular.


Several famous French foods originated in other countries, but we recognize them today by what the French culture added. Crêpes are one of these. While some form of crêpes can be found in earlier civilizations, the ones that stuck originated in Brittany, France, where they are still sold to locals and tourists. These crêpes resemble a work of art with different fillings and syrups, both savory and sweet, but they started out as a dish that medieval peasants would present to their feudal lords as a token of loyalty.


The French have a long and unique history in the world of fashion. Many of their clothing articles are still popular today, including the ballet tutu and the beret—and denim clothing. The word denim, or ‘de Nîmes’, is a direct reference to the city of its origin: Nîmes, France. This fashion staple was then sold to gold miners in California to make clothing that offered better protection.


Quiche is another one of the many popular French dishes that you can find even in places well outside of France. While this dish came from Germany, the quiche that we are familiar with today came from the French. They adopted the idea of filling pie crust with egg and other ingredients but added an extra spark by including cheese in the recipe. They then changed the name of this dish to quiche Lorraine.


While French culture has many renowned and prolific writers, only one has been named “the Father of Science Fiction”: French author Jules Verne. His writings are a large part of what created the world of science fiction. Novels like Around the World in 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Journey to the Center of the Earth continue to influence popular media even today.


France is known for its writers and artists, but it was also home to one of the world’s most important inventors: Louis Pasteur. A brilliant scientist, Pasteur’s early understanding of microbes and germs led to his invention of the vaccine. His findings on microbes also led to pasteurized milk, named after the scientist himself. It is dairy milk that has gone through a special heating and cooling process to kill off harmful germs and make it safer to drink. Since Pasteur’s scientific breakthrough, millions of lives have been saved from a variety of diseases.

Metric System

Before the metric system, countries each had different ways of calculating weights and measurements. However, in 1799 French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte put a new measuring system into place called the metric system. This system was influenced by French scientist and mathematician Gabriel Mouton, who had lived a century earlier. Under this system, countries have become more unified in their calculations, influencing things from science to time zones.


Have you ever seen a cliché movie? Or committed a social faux pas? Maybe you grew up in a cul-de-sac. These terms, along with so many others, are French! The English language is a melting pot and has borrowed words from dozens of languages—and French is no exception. In fact, it is estimated that anywhere from 30 to 45% of English words have French roots—and over 7,000 French words have been directly integrated into the English language. Here are some more French words and terms you may use in your everyday conversations:

  • silhouette
  • petite
  • déjà vu
  • critique
  • en route
  • souvenir
  • bouquet
  • blonde
  • carte blanche
  • liaison
  • genre
  • chauffeur
  • boutique

There are so many others! Can you think of any we missed?

This is only scratching the surface. Are you native to France, or do you have French ancestors? If so, you have a powerful heritage. French culture and French influence has made an impact on the world in everything from food to fashion. Add your part of the legacy by sharing your memories or experiences in FamilySearch Memories.

31 Traditional French Foods and Recipes

Fri, 07/17/2020 - 18:00

French food and cooking styles have been developed for generations. Historically influenced by surrounding areas like Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium, France eventually developed a unique style. Today, French cuisine has influenced and inspired various cuisines around the world.

Traditional French cooking features cheese, wine, sauces, and bread as staples. For a look into authentic French recipes from the middle ages, try finding a copy of Le Viandier, one of the earliest-known French recipe collections to be printed. This version even has English translations along with the original French recipes. Le Viandier will take you straight to the source to find French foods your ancestors would have enjoyed. 

If you have French ancestors or you’re interested in visiting France, French food provides a unique way of understanding French people and culture. Food and culinary traditions open a window into the daily lives of people in a region. Common ingredients often reflect what was available in the area, and cooking styles provide insight into cultural traditions.

Do you have family recipes for French foods? Record them with FamilySearch Memories to preserve them and share them with your family. You can also explore to find other French recipes shared on FamilySearch.


Breakfast in France is often a simple or quick meal. It’s common practice to eat a slice of bread topped with butter, honey, jam, cheese, or ham. Alongside this, you’ll typically find a hot beverage such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Variations are still usually based on bread with a hot beverage. Pastries such as a croissant are a sweeter treat while more savory versions include meats and eggs.

Alternatively, dishes such as an omelette or quiche are another option for breakfast in France.

Croissant: a buttery, flaky pastry shaped like a crescent

Omelette: an egg mixture that’s cooked and folded

Quiche: a tart filled with a savory, cooked custard

Lunch and Dinner

While breakfast is typically short and simple, lunch and dinner are longer meals that often include multiple courses. Lunch breaks are often one- or two-hour events enjoyed in work cafeterias, at local eateries, or at home with family.

Dinner is typically three or four courses, a tradition developed over centuries. The following are common or famous recipes for the traditional courses of a French lunch or dinner:

Hors D’œuvres

Hors d’œuvres are traditionally served as the first course. These dishes are typically small and savory. You can expect a range of French foods, including anything from toast with a savory topping to French soups or frog legs. 

Lobster bisque: a thick and creamy lobster soup

Croque monsieur: a ham and cheese sandwich served with béchamel sauce

Tartare de filet de boeuf: finely chopped, raw beef tartare

Grenouille à la Provençale: floured and sautéed frog legs

Escargot: rich and buttery snails

Estouffade printanière: a spring vegetable stew


The word entrée in English refers to the main course of a meal. In France, entrée is more often used to describe starter courses or appetizers. The main course would instead be called plat principal

The main dish in a French meal is often a hot meat dish served with a side of vegetables. French foods often reflect the foods that are in season, so common dishes might vary season to season.

Pot-au-feu: a simple and hearty beef stew

Steak frites: classic French steak and fries

Ratatouille: baked or stewed summer vegetables

Coq au vin: chicken braised with onions and mushrooms

Cassoulet: a stewed casserole of mixed meats and beans with a crumb topping

Cheese Course

The cheese course is referred to as fromage and follows the main course. Most cheese courses feature a platter of cheeses presented alone without additional preparation to preserve their integrity. Some cheese dishes, however, involve baking or melting the cheese.

Baked camembert: camembert cheese baked with seasoning

Fondue Savoyarde: goat’s cheese melted with seasoning

French Desserts

French desserts are beautiful and rich but are served in small portions. Most French desserts center around pastries, creams, and fruits. The dessert ends the meal on a sweet but light note, aiming to prevent people from feeling overly full.

Crème brûlée: a custard baked in a water bath and served with a melted sugar crust

Mousse au chocolat: a soft, cream-based dessert that is airy and rich

Crêpe: a thin pancake served with sweet or savory fillings

Îles Flottantes: an island of meringue floating in custard

Poire tarte tatin: a tart made with caramelized pears or apples

Poire avec orange: an orange-poached pear drizzled with syrup

French Breads

Bread is one of the staples of French cuisine. While it isn’t its own course, most meals are served with a side of bread. Baguettes are especially popular, but there are many varieties of French bread.

Baguette: a long, thin bread with a crispy crust and airy center

Brioche: a rich and crumby bread similar to pastry

Fougasse: an herbed bread usually shaped like an ear of wheat

Pain de campagne: a country bread made with mixed flours

French Pastries

French pastries can be found at pâtisseries, French bakeries that specialize in pastries and sweets. Pâtissiers, or pastry chefs, are highly qualified after years of training, exams, and apprenticeships. 

Mille-feuille: puff pastry layered with cream filling

Macaron: a meringue-based cookie sandwich

Éclair: an elongated pastry filled with cream and topped with chocolate

Madeleines: small, shell-shaped cakes

Profiterole: a pastry filled with cream or custard and served with chocolate sauce

Try your hand at making a traditional French meal of your own to truly understand the French eating experience. It will help you better understand French food, French culture, and French ancestors.

1900s Fashion: Clothing Styles in the Edwardian Era

Fri, 07/17/2020 - 14:05

The 20th century brought major transformations in Western fashion, but these changes didn’t appear immediately. Trends of the late 19th century (like Edwardian fashion) lingered through the decade of 1900–1909; in fact, these 1900s fashion trends lasted up until about the Great War (World War I).

That said, the 1900s fashion saw subtle but important shifts toward modern styles of dressing. Here’s a look at Edwardian fashion and what your ancestors may have worn during the first decade of the century.

View 1900s Fashion Gallery Fashion of Edwardian Era

The decade of 1900–1910 was part of what was known in the Western world as the Edwardian age, in reference to the reign of British monarch Edward VII (1901–1910). The Edwardian age was known for the excesses, elegance, and strict social rules modeled by the wealthy.

Edwardian fashion from the late 1800s continued to influence the early 1900s. Women still wore corsets and long skirts. Men still wore suits. A complete wardrobe included hats and gloves and, for women, often an umbrella. Edwardian fashion was opulent and formal, with expensive fabrics and trimmings. They favored a distinguished, mature look.

One of the hallmarks of the Edwardian era was dressing to fit the occasion. The advent of department stores selling ready-to-wear clothing made it possible for more people to have a variety of outfits. Clever home seamstresses could copy patterns they couldn’t afford to purchase.

What Did Edwardian Women Wear?

The well-dressed 1900s woman was covered from the neck down. Her silhouette was an S-curve. The shape came from a corset that put less pressure at the waistline by pushing a woman’s chest forward and her hips back.

Women’s Dresses in the 1900s

Women wore dresses or tailored suit dresses. Those who could afford it chose sumptuous and elegant fabrics, such as silk, satin, damask, or chiffon. High lace collars topped long-sleeved tops that were often heavily embellished and bloused loosely at the bodice. Hemlines grazed the floor and sometimes dragged in a modest train. If working women weren’t in uniform or workwear, they often favored versatile two-piece outfits. Party dresses included delicate, lacy tea dresses and evening wear with deeper necklines.

At the beginning of the decade, skirts were fitted at the waistline and flared at the hemline. Gradually, the curvy bell shape relaxed. Straighter, tailored suits became popular by the end of the decade. In resistance to mainstream styles, French designer Paul Poiret created corset-free dresses that draped in loose, straight lines down the body. (This look would become much more popular during the 1920s.) When participating in sports such as tennis, cycling, or horseback riding, women donned clothing made for these activities. Ladies also sometimes donned chunky, button-down cardigan sweaters while working or playing.

Women’s hats and hairstyles

Edwardian fashion is known for dramatically large hats, such as wide-brimmed, straw cartwheel or sailor hats, heavily-embellished picture hats, and wide, flat caps. Smaller hats, such as straw boaters, were popular for sports. For driving, some women tied long, sheer veils over silk motoring hats. 

Enormous hats required hairstyles that could support them. The most popular hairstyle was a full pompadour, with hair swept loosely up into coils or buns. Women might have added braids, false hairpieces, or wigs to give styles more structure and height. Some women used hot curling irons to create frizzy or curly edges. It was also stylish to tuck fresh flowers or decorative combs or hatpins into styled hair.

What did Men Wear in the 1900s?

If not dressed for manual labor, in the early 1900s men generally wore three-piece suits (jacket, trousers, and waistcoat, or vest) with high, round-collared white shirts, neckties, and derby or bowler hats. Some men, including younger men, donned sack suits (similar to modern business suits) all day. Men who could afford it chose different suits and accessories for morning, daytime, and evening use. Though some men sported beards, the clean-shaven look was popular; so was a fairly bushy mustache that curled up on the ends, an iconic 1900s fashion look.

Summertime allowed an escape into cooler and slightly more casual linen or flannel suits, which men topped with a straw boater or Panama hat. When it was time to play, men changed into sportswear specific to the sport, such as golf, motorcycling, tennis, or baseball.

On the job, working men wore uniforms or sturdy, practical clothing that protected them from hazards or the elements. Men in photos from this period may appear in canvas, duck cloth, corduroy, or leather clothing, perhaps topped with a wool jacket or heavy sweater (jumper) if the weather was cold. Factory workers often wore white shirts and ties beneath protective aprons.

How Did Children Dress in the 1900s?

During the Edwardian era, crawling babies wore practical one-piece rompers. Otherwise, children’s clothing styles were simplified adult styles. Young girls wore knee-length dresses, often starched and decorated with lace, with black stockings and shoes or boots. They tied ribbons in their hair; fancier outfits may have included a hat. Playtime might call for a pinafore dress and blouse. Young boys wore long-sleeve shirts with knee-length shorts and tall, dark socks, sometimes with jackets. As children grew older, the hemlines of trousers or dresses crept closer to the ground.

View 1900s Fashion in Your Family Photos

What did your ancestors wear during the early 1900s? Look for details in their outfits that might hint at their lifestyles, tastes, or ages. Ask relatives for old family photos, or search the free FamilySearch Memories to see what others may have shared about your family. You can even upload some of your own 1900s fashionable family photos to Memories!

U.S. Immigration Records Research Guide: Passenger Lists, Naturalization, and More

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 15:20

Our immigrant ancestors often created documents that were especially valuable for genealogy. Passenger lists, border crossings, naturalizations, and passports are just a few. Though these record sets were difficult to access in the past, they are easily found online today. Let’s take a look at what some of these immigration records can tell us and where to find them.

Passenger Lists and Passenger Arrival Records

The most important thing to know about a passenger list is when it was created. In some cases, the passenger list may have been created at the time of arrival in the United States. At other times, the passenger list could have been created at the port of departure.

Between 1820 and 1902, list of passengers were typically referred to as a customs passenger list. After 1893, the lists were referred to as immigration passenger lists.

Learn More about Passenger Lists United States Border Crossing Records

Recording arrivals at land borders, such as the borders between the United States and Mexico and Canada, were not required by early immigration acts. Immigration records of arrivals at the Canadian border began in 1895 and at the Mexican border in 1906. Card manifests for each person were used to record information about arrivals in the United States across land. These cards contain information similar to the information on passenger lists.

Learn More about Border Crossing Records Naturalization Records

Naturalization in the United States began in 1790 and has changed significantly over time. The naturalization process created records that are filled with information about our ancestors. The amount of information varies depending on the time period. The court in which the naturalization took place also varies depending on when your ancestor naturalized.

Learn More about Naturalization Records

Make a list of your immigrant ancestors, and then use the resources you’ve learned about in this article to find the immigration records for each of them. You may find that you break down a brick wall or two!

Ellis Island and Castle Garden Immigration Records Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Record Trail 5 Online Resources to Help You Find Your Immigrant Ancestors Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors with FamilySearch

Unlock Your Family Story with Passenger Arrival Records

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 12:00

Do you have immigrant ancestors who came to the United States? If you do, then looking for their passenger arrival records could provide you with more of their story. Here’s what you need to know about finding your loved ones of the past in immigration ships’ passenger lists.

Search Collections of Passenger Lists*

*Note: This collection includes passenger lists for other countries outside of the U.S., including Australia and Brazil.

The most important thing to know about a passenger list is when it was created. In some cases, the passenger list may have been created at the time of the immigration ships’ arrival in the United States. At other times, the passenger list could have been created at the port of departure.

Between 1820 and 1891, lists of passengers were referred to as a customs passenger list. After 1891, the lists were referred to as immigration passenger lists. Immigration passenger lists usually contain more information than earlier customs passenger lists.

Passenger Lists before 1820

Few customs passenger lists of immigration ships survive from before 1820. To find passenger arrival lists from before 1820, you will need to rely on printed sources such as indexes, newspapers, naturalization oaths, and so on.

Some pre-1820 online resources can be found here (Note: Some of these resources may cost money to use):

Customs Passenger Lists from 1820 to 1891

The United States government began keeping better track of immigrant passengers in 1820. Passenger arrival lists, also known as customs passenger lists or customs manifests, were typically filled out by the immigration ship’s captain after arrival at the port in the United States.

Information found on these passenger lists may include the following:

  • Port of departure
  • Port of arrival
  • Date of arrival
  • Name of ship
  • Country, province, or town of origin
  • Name of immigrant (and family members’ names if they traveled on the same ship)
  • Age and sex of immigrant
  • Occupation
  • Destination of immigrant

You can find customs passenger lists on,, and, and many other places, such as in the National Archives. At, databases are free to search, although a free account is required. You can see a large list of United States customs passenger lists, with links, of both the free and subscription databases online in the FamilySearch wiki.

Immigration Passenger Lists from 1891 to 1906

The office of the Superintendent of Immigration was established in the United States in 1891, and the customs passenger lists changed to immigration passenger lists. These immigration records typically included more information than the earlier customs passenger records.

Information on these lists may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Port of departure
  • Port of arrival
  • Date of arrival
  • Name of ship
  • Nationality of immigrant
  • Name of immigrant (and family members’ names if they traveled on the same ship)
  • Age and sex of immigrant
  • Occupation
  • Whether the immigrant had been to the United States before
  • Final destination of the immigrant
  • If the passenger was joining a relative, the name of the relative and where the person lived
  • Who paid for the passage
  • The amount of money the immigrant had in his or her possession

After 1906, a physical description of the immigrant and place of birth may have been included. Your ancestor’s story is waiting! Check out the FamilySearch wiki for a list of places you can find immigrant records.

Everything You Need to Know about United States Border Crossing Records

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 08:58

The United States borders both Canada and Mexico. If you have immigrant ancestors who entered the United States through Canada or Mexico—or even had ancestors who lived near the border—you might find them in collections of U.S. border crossing records.

Search U.S. Border Crossing Records from Mexico Search U.S. Border Crossing Records from Canada

You’re unlikely to find U.S. border crossing records before 1895. That’s because recording arrivals at land borders, such as the borders between the United States and Mexico and the United States and Canada, was not required by early immigration acts.

Immigration records of arrivals at the Canadian border began in 1895 and at the Mexican border in 1906. Initially, card manifests for each person were used to record information about arrivals in the United States across land. These cards contained information similar to the information found on a passenger list.

Information found on a manifest card may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Full name
  • Place of birth
  • Age and sex
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Point of arrival in the United States.
  • Final destination
  • Physical description
  • Individual picture or family picture
Mexican Border Crossing Records

You might be surprised to learn that it was not only Mexican nationals who crossed the land border between the United States and Mexico. Europeans also entered in this fashion. For example, many Syrians and Japanese entered at Eagle Pass, Texas, in 1906 and 1907. You might also find your Palestinian or Filipino relatives may have crossed the Mexican and United States border at Brownsville, Texas.

Indexed immigration records for Mexican border crossings between 1903 and 1957 can be searched for free on These records are only in index form; however, you may be able to use the information from the index to locate additional records for your ancestor in digital form.

When searching for these records, keep in mind that they are alphabetically-arranged and filed by surname, then first name. Because many Mexican citizens had double names, their cards may be filed as if the second part of the double name were not there. If a persons last name was Gomez-Miguel and their first name was Maria, then the card may be filed as Gomez, Maria. Surnames like De La Vega could be filed simply under Vega.

Canadian Border Crossing Records

Prior to 1895, the United States did not keep records of crossings on the northern land border. For this reason, many immigrants traveled to Canadian ports and then over the border to the United States to avoid delays or complications of immigration.

These early immigrants were often from Great Britain, Scandinavia, or Russia. In the 1890s, it was quite popular for steamship companies to advertise passage through Canada as easier to settle in the United States. This led to more immigrants from Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, and Greece.

Immigration records for the border between the United States and Canada are commonly known as “St. Albans Lists.” This record collection contains an index and passenger manifests and covers the years between 1895 and 1956.

To find records for arrivals at the Canadian border between 1895 to 1956, researchers can search the index on With the information found in the index, you may be able to find a digital image of the manifest card for your ancestor.

Information found on a manifest card may include the following:

  • Full name
  • Current address
  • Age and sex
  • Marital status
  • Nationality
  • Place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Physical description

If you have had difficulty finding your immigrant ancestors arrival in a U.S. port, it may because they sailed to Mexico or Canada and entered the U.S. over land. Try looking for your immigrant ancestors border crossing records by clicking on the links below!

Search U.S. Border Crossing Records from Canada Search U.S. Border Crossing Records from Mexico

Online Volunteer Opportunity: Help Improve Place-Names

Tue, 07/07/2020 - 13:50

Sometimes all you need to help others with family history is a computer, a few minutes, and an internet search engine.

Over the last month and a half, over 230,000 volunteers have been using a new, super simple volunteer tool on to help improve place-names in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

After a recent update, the improve place-names tool now lets you select specific countries you would like to work on, allowing you to focus on countries you are most familiar with. You can also change place information when it is slightly incorrect to get an updated list of possible standards.

What Are Place-Names and Why Do They Need to Be Improved?

Most ancestors in the Family Tree have at least a few place-names (names of locations) documented on their profiles—these locations could be birth places, places the ancestor lived, and so on. When these place-names are standardized, FamilySearch can help website users see a map of where their ancestors have been, show free record hints, and more.

How Can I Help?

In the past, FamilySearch has used automation to help people select missing standards. But automation can do only so much—and that is where you can help! A new tool is available (on both desktop and mobile) that allows you to improve place-names by matching them with a standard place that can be recognized by a map.

Click Here to Volunteer on Desktop

For mobile: In the Family Tree app, click the 3 bar menu at the top (Android) or the 3 dots in the bottom menu (iOS). Then find where it says Improve Place-Names.

What Does the Experience Look Like?

The new tool allows you to review a small batch of 10 places at a time. For each place-name, you complete two very easy steps:

  1. Look at the user-entered place, and compare it to the places in other life events.
  1. When the list of standard places pops up, pick the one most similar to what the user entered.

When you select a standard place-name, the Family Tree won’t delete any information, only add to it. The user-entered data will remain next to the new standard.

User tip: When you can’t find an exact or similar match in the list of standards, you can select a broader area. For example, if “Albany, Cape Province, South Africa” doesn’t show up, you could select “Cape Province, South Africa.”

Feedback from Volunteers Who Have Tried the Tool

By doing simple batches of 10 place-names at a time, thousands of volunteers have helped standardize 1.7 million place-names, though there are many still to do. Here is what some have said about their experience:

From Amanda:

I love standardizing the place names! This is ingenious! I wish I had more time to help. That would be very cool and a great motivator for people. Thank you for continuing to think of ways to make FS better!! ❤️

From Eliza:

This was actually pretty fun and not too hard to do! Thanks for the experience. I will keep going!

From Anonymous:

I really enjoy the “Improve Place-Names” feature added. It is really fun and really relaxing. It allows me to feel like I’m making a difference in Family History work without needing to dedicate a lot of time. If I’m ever just feeling some stress, I can go there and spend a few minutes trying to help. I like it a lot!

From Julie:

It’s a fun, fast way to get a little family history in each day. Thanks!

From Danielle:

Love this kind of contribution! So easy and really hard to mess up. You feel like you get a lot done in a short amount of time. I also really like that adding a standard place won’t replace the more specific nonstandard location manually put in. Great job! Keep doing amazing work.