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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.

United States Immigration in the 1920s

Sun, 07/05/2020 - 11:16

During the 1800s and early 1900s, millions of people immigrated to the United States. But the mostly “open door” policy slammed shut during the mid-1920s, when the numbers and origins of immigrants changed dramatically.

Did your family immigrate to the United States in the 1920s? Search for their names in our records on

Search FamilySearch Records How Did Immigration Change during the 1920s?

In the 75 years before World War I, the number of immigrants to the United States rose sharply. In the 1850s, only about 2.2 million foreign-born people lived in the country. That figure doubled within 10 years and continued to climb steadily until it peaked in the 1930s, during which time about 14.2 million of the nation’s residents had been born abroad.

During the 1920s, immigration trends in the United States changed in two ways. First, the numbers leveled out and then fell dramatically—fewer than 700,000 people arrived during the following decade. Second, though Europeans continued to constitute most new arrivals, the most common places of origin shifted from Southern and Eastern Europe to Western Europe.

How Did Nativism and Immigration Laws Impact Immigration in the 1920s?

During the early 1900s, growing numbers of United States citizens expressed sentiments of nativism, an attitude that favors people born within a country over its immigrant residents. Anti-immigration sentiment increased after World War I. Soldiers returned home looking for jobs—just as a fresh surge of job-seeking immigrants also arrived. Among some, ethnic prejudice fueled nativist feelings.

Immigration Act of 1917

Anti-immigration sentiment resulted in a series of increasingly restrictive immigration laws. Laws dating to the 1880s already barred Chinese immigrants. The Immigration Act of 1917 introduced a literacy test and prohibited entry of most others born in the Asian-Pacific region.

Emergency Quota Law

In 1921, Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act, which drastically scaled back the number of entries to the country and assigned new birthplace quotas. An annual quota was set at 3 percent of the number of immigrants in the 1910 census (about 358,000 people total). The quota was divided proportionately according to the birthplaces of the foreign-born listed in the 1910 census. This quota was meant to ensure that the nation would continue to have similar ethnic demographic as in the past.

Immigration Act of 1924

The Immigration Act of 1924 reduced the quota to 2 percent; altered geographic quotas to further favor those born in Western Europe, Britain, and Ireland; and completely prohibited Asians, including Japanese (who had not been previously restricted). The approval process moved from United States ports of entry to offices in the places of departure, where hopeful immigrants applied for visas. The 1924 changes contributed to the closure of Ellis Island in New York City, which had once been the largest immigrant processing station in the nation.

Where Can I Find Records about Immigrants in the 1920s? Passenger Arrival Lists

Immigrant passenger arrival lists for the 1920s are searchable by port of arrival. These records preserved detailed information about passengers, including their visa numbers (once that process went into effect). Visa files may reveal additional information about immigrant ancestors.

Naturalization Records

You may also find later records about immigrants. Some may have applied for citizenship. Their naturalization files may include various types of documents pertaining to their arrival, in addition to their petitions for citizenship.

Other Records

Later, during World War II, anyone who wasn’t a citizen had to fill out detailed alien registration forms. If your relatives were of Japanese, German, or Italian origin, they may have been detained in internment camps during World War II, and additional records or histories may exist.

How Can I Learn about the Immigrant Experience in the 1920s?

Millions of immigrants in the early 1900s lived in urban areas, often near their ports of arrival. (By one estimate, immigrants and their children constituted 75 percent of New York City’s population in 1910.) Others migrated to areas where their labor was sought in particular industries, such as mining or automobile production. In some areas, immigrants clustered together in neighborhood enclaves, where they worshipped, shopped, and socialized together.

You can sometimes learn about these ethnic communities in local histories or from heritage groups that have preserved their stories. To learn about the specific experiences of your ancestors, ask your older relatives about family stories, memories, and documents. Trace your immigrant ancestors in United States censuses, newspapers, and other historical records.

French History and Records for Genealogy

Sun, 07/05/2020 - 11:00

Over the centuries, France’s government and culture has changed many times. These changes often affected record keeping. The good news is that historical change in France sometimes resulted in the creation of valuable French genealogy records. Here are a few examples of how French history may have affected records kept about your ancestors in France.

The Catholic Church and Parish Records

For hundreds of years, the Roman Catholic Church played an influential role in French history—and record keeping. Clovis I, considered the founder of modern France, converted to Catholicism around the year 500. The church and the French monarchy mutually supported each other; the Roman Catholic Church in France became a state church.

In 1539, King Francis I signed the Ordinance of Villers Cotterêts, which required that priests keep registers of baptisms. Forty years later, another law mandated that they keep marriage and burial records too. Louis XIV further required that copies of parish vital records be created, beginning in 1667, which increased chances that at least one copy would survive in future years.

These records now sometimes make it possible to trace your French ancestry back to the 1600s or even the 1500s. They typically include details that help genealogists reconstruct family trees. For example, baptismal registers typically included an infant’s name and baptismal date (usually within two days of birth) and parents’ names. Marriage registers also identified the parents of the bride and groom and perhaps a deceased spouse (for later marriages) and explained familial relationships between brides and grooms who were related to each other. Burial records named the surviving spouse or parents of the deceased.

Learn more about finding and using French church records.

The French Revolution and Civil Registration

The French Revolution, which started in 1789, upended the monarchy and the Catholic Church’s political power. In 1792, a new law transferred responsibility for official vital record keeping from parish priests to new civil offices. Local civil registration officials gathered registers from local churches and began recording new births, marriages, and deaths. Parish priests continued to maintain registers for church use, so, from this point forward, you may be able to find both civil registration and parish records for your French ancestors.

The earliest French civil registration records weren’t very detailed, but eventually they included quite a bit of genealogical information. Birth records named children and identified their sex, birthdate and place, parents’ names (including mother’s maiden surname), and more. Marriage records identified the bride and groom and gave their birth information, details about their parents, identities of four witnesses, and sometimes more. In death records, you’ll generally find at least the decedent’s name, death date and place, age at death, birthplace, and parents’ names.

Learn more about French civil registration.

Censuses and a Nation in Transition

France was slow to conduct nationwide censuses. Citizens feared that being enumerated would lead to greater taxation and forced military service. A scattering of local censuses were taken in the late 1700s, but what survives is mostly statistical data. Napoleon ordered the first full census in 1801. Though some censuses followed, logistical issues and political upheaval prevented a successful nationwide, every-name census until 1836.

After 1836, censuses were taken every five years in France, except for 1871 (which was delayed a year due to the Franco-Prussian war) and during World War I and II. Censuses are taken on a regional level (département), so the content varies. But you will generally find each person’s full name (sometimes with the maiden surnames of women), age or year of birth, occupation, relationship to the head of household, and marital status. You may see nationality, birthplace, an address information as well as more detailed employment information.

Learn more about French censuses.

The Paris Commune and Family Registers

In the spring of 1871, civil unrest beset the city of Paris. The French government under Napoleon III had just been defeated in the Franco-Prussian (or Franco-German) War. The postwar government was not popular in Paris. City elections led to the formation of the opposing Paris Commune. On May 21, violent clashes led to the burning of public buildings, including the city hall in Paris, where civil registration records were kept. Almost all of the city’s civil registers were destroyed.

This devastating loss led the French government to add family civil registration records to vital record keeping (in Paris in 1877 and across the rest of France in 1884). Couples received family registration booklets when they married and took these booklets to civil registration offices to be updated whenever they had a child (or lost one). The booklet served as a backup copy for individual birth and death records. These booklets were sometimes handed down through generations in French families.

Many other French genealogy records came about because of historical events and political policy, including Paris identity cards (1792–1795), pension records, military conscription records, and electoral rolls.

To learn more about your ancestors in France and the stories of their lives, explore French genealogy records for free on

Monthly Record Update for June 2020

Sat, 07/04/2020 - 18:00

FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in June of 2020 with over 25.1 million new indexed family history records from all over the world. New historical records were added from American Samoa, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, England, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Iceland, Ireland, Liberia, Micronesia, Niue, Norway, Peru, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Wales, Zambia, and the United States, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Colombia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

United States, Compiled Military Service Records Of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served With The U.S. Colored Troops are included as well.

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 mean time, search existing records on FamilySearch.

CountryCollectionIndexed RecordsDigital ImagesCommentsAmerican Samoa American Samoa, Vital Records, 1850-19305,6980Added indexed records to an existing collection ArgentinaArgentina, Buenos Aires, Catholic Church Records, 1635-198161,9370Added indexed records to an existing collection BelgiumBelgium, Antwerp, Civil Registration, 1588-19134,0740Added indexed records to an existing collection (Some Restrictions May Apply)BelgiumBelgium, Hainaut, Civil Registration, 1600-19137,3870Added indexed records to an existing collection (Some Restrictions May Apply)BelgiumBelgium, Limburg, Civil Registration, 1798-19069,9310Added indexed records to an existing collection BelgiumBelgium, Namur, Civil Registration, 1800-19125,8030Added indexed records to an existing collection (Some Restrictions May Apply)BoliviaBolivia Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996138,2120Added indexed records to an existing collection BrazilBrazil, Bahia, Civil Registration, 1877-197645,6560Added indexed records to an existing collection BrazilBrazil, Bahia, Civil Registration, 1877-1976 150Added indexed records to an existing collection BrazilBrazil, Minas Gerais, Civil Registration, 1879-194913,6310Added indexed records to an existing collection BrazilBrazil, Santa Catarina, Civil Registration, 1850-199927,3920Added indexed records to an existing collection CanadaCanada Census, 1851181,0170Added indexed records to an existing collection CanadaCanada, New Brunswick, County Register of Births, 1801-192023,8730Added indexed records to an existing collection CanadaCanada, New Brunswick, County Register of Births, 1801-1920 10,4450Added indexed records to an existing collection CanadaNova Scotia Deaths, 1864-187746,3060Added indexed records to an existing collection ChileChile, Catholic Church Records, 1710-192852,9680Added indexed records to an existing collection ChileChile, Catholic Church Records, 1710-1928 20,3390Added indexed records to an existing collection ChileChile, Civil Registration, 1885-193218,7900Added indexed records to an existing collection CroatiaCroatia, Delnice Deanery Catholic Church Books, 1571-19266,8770Added indexed records to an existing collection DenmarkDenmark, Military Conscription Rolls, 1789-179213,0640Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Cambridge Parish Registers, 1538-19832,9790Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Devon and Cornwall Marriages, 1660-19122400Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Essex Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-197190Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Essex Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1971 1820Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-199648,2990Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Herefordshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1583-18984680Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988187,2510Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988 30,6180Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-19204,7230Added indexed records to an existing collection EnglandEngland, Yorkshire Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1613-188747,9890Added indexed records to an existing collection FijiFiji, Indian Death Records, 1899-19224440New indexed records collection FranceFrance, Rhône, Military Registration Cards, 1865-193265,8680Added indexed records to an existing collection French PolynesiaFrench Polynesia, Civil Registration, 1780-19995,1150Added indexed records to an existing collectionIcelandIceland Church Census, 1744-196516,3890Added indexed records to an existing collectionIrelandIreland, Dublin, 1924 Alumni Dublinenses, 1593-184629,8830New indexed records collection (Some Restrictions May Apply)IrelandIreland, Estate Commissioners Offices, Applications from Evicted Tenants, 19073,4030New indexed records collectionIrelandIreland, Parliamentary Papers on Emigration to Canada, 18263160New indexed records collectionIrelandIreland, Registers of Queen’s Colleges, 1849-18582,0560New indexed records collectionLiberiaLiberia, Marriage Records, 1912-20151,6670Added indexed records to an existing collection MicronesiaMicronesia, Civil Registration, 1883-19831,8220Added indexed records to an existing collection NiueNiue, Register of Baptisms, 1926-19475570New indexed records collection NiueNiue, Vital Records, 1818-19947,6780Added indexed records to an existing collection NorwayNorway, Oslo, Census, 1832-195421,3530New indexed records collectionParaguayParaguay, Catholic Church Records, 1754-2015210,1430Added indexed records to an existing collection PeruPeru, Ayacucho, Civil Registration, 1903-199948,5310Added indexed records to an existing collection PeruPeru, Huánuco, Civil Registration, 1888-199876,2480Added indexed records to an existing collection PeruPeru, Piura, Civil Registration, 1874-199632,8840Added indexed records to an existing collection PeruPeru, Piura, Civil Registration, 1874-1996 9,0180Added indexed records to an existing collection PeruPeru, Prelature of Yauyos-Cañete-Huarochirí, Catholic Church Records, 1665-201824,3470Added indexed records to an existing collection PortugalPortugal, Portalegre, Catholic Church Records, 1859-191150Added indexed records to an existing collection (Some Restrictions May Apply)Puerto RicoPuerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-20015,0070Added indexed records to an existing collection RussiaRussia, Samara Church Books 1748-19343,0920Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-200417,7870Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Civil Death Registration, 1955-196630,6420Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Civil Marriage Records, 1840-1973118,8980Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, KwaZulu Natal, Vital Records, 1868-19765,8000Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Natal Province, Civil Deaths, 1863-195527,8380Added indexed records to an existing collection South AfricaSouth Africa, Netherdutch Reformed Church Registers (Pretoria Archive), 1838-19916570Added indexed records to an existing collection SpainSpain, Province of La Coruña, Municipal Records, 1648-194145,5140Added indexed records to an existing collectionSwitzerlandSwitzerland, Fribourg, Census, 188025,5910Added indexed records to an existing collection United KingdomGreat Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935269,1560Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesAlaska, Pribilof Islands (particularly St. Paul Island) Census Records, 1881-191013,7640New indexed records collectionUnited StatesArizona Deaths, 1870-19518680Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesArizona, Birth Certificates, 1909-191724,7220New indexed records collection United StatesCalifornia, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994133,7590Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesCalifornia, Los Angeles, Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery/Crematory Records, 1884-20024,8120Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesCalifornia, Los Angeles, Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery/Crematory Records, 1884-2002 3,0550Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesCalifornia, Los Angeles, Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery, Deceased Card File Index, 1877-19893120Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesCalifornia, San Mateo County, Colma, Italian Cemetery Records, 1899-20115,3050Added indexed records to an existing collection (Some Restrictions May Apply)United StatesConnecticut Naturalization Records, 1795-1942174,4190New indexed records collection United StatesConnecticut, Births and Baptisms, 1639-194137,6320New indexed records collection United StatesConnecticut, Charles R. Hale Collection, Vital Records, 1640-195599,5090New indexed records collection United StatesConnecticut, Deaths, 1640-19551,384,2330New indexed records collection United StatesDelaware Vital Records, 1650-19748270Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesDelaware, County Naturalization Records, 1796-195820Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesDistrict of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1961720Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesFlorida, County Voter Registration Records, 1867-190510Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesGeorgia, Chatham, Savannah, Laurel Grove Cemetery Record Keeper’s Book (colored), 1852-19426150Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesGeorgia, Columbus, Linwood and Porterdale Colored Cemeteries, Interment Records, 1866-20003190Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesHawaii, Collector of Customs, Ships’ Passenger Manifests, 1843-190070,0100Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesHawaii, Grantor and Grantee Index, 1845-19091,1320Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesHawaii, Hawaiian Islands Newspaper Obituaries, 1900-ca.201037,0610Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesHawaii, Kauai County, Obituaries, 1982-20101930Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIdaho, County Marriages, 1864-19506,3830Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIdaho, Jefferson Star, County Cemetery Records, 1800-20001,7260Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIdaho, Nez Perce County, Brower Wann Funeral Home Records, 1925-19869,3190Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIllinois, County Naturalization Records, 1800-199831,5010Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIowa, Buchanan County Obituaries and Cemetery Records, ca.1796-198894,2580Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIowa, Lyon County, Cemetery Records, ca.1800- ca.200011,2660New indexed records collection United StatesIowa, Marshall County, Marshalltown, Riverside Cemetery Burial Records, ca.1800-ca.1975 1840Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesIowa, Old Age Tax Assistance Records, 1934-19588,2880Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesKansas, Grant County, Census Records, 1895-1982157,7130Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesKentucky, Livingston County, Colored School Censuses, 1898-191380Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesLouisiana Confederate Pensions, 1898-19502640Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesLouisiana State Penitentiary Records, 1866-19632580Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesLouisiana, Orleans Parish Death Records and Certificates, 1835-1954156,8430Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMaryland, Baltimore, Locks Funeral Home Records, 1936-200780Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMichigan, County Births, 1867-1917370Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMichigan, Detroit Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of Detroit, 1906-1954195,6620Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMichigan, Saginaw County, Biographical Card File, ca. 1830-20002170Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMinnesota Deaths, 1887-2001448,9800Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMinnesota, Blue Earth County, Glenwood Cemetery, Burial Records, ca. 1869-19902890Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMinnesota, Hennepin County, Minneapolis, Layman Cemetery Burial Records, 1860-19261950Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMinnesota, Olmsted County, Oakwood Cemetery Records, 1863-199823,5170New indexed records collection United StatesMinnesota, Waseca County Historical Society, Burial Cards, ca.1860-199210,3480Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMississippi, County Marriages, 1858-1979159,5400Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMississippi, Death Certificate Index, 1912-19434,0060Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMississippi, Death Certificate Index, 1912-1943 7,6190Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMississippi, State Archives, Various Records, 1820-1951970Added indexed records to an existing collection (Some Restrictions May Apply)United StatesMontana, Flathead County Records, 1871-200710Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesMontana, Silver Bow County, Cemetery Indexes, 1880-2003 400Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNebraska, Lancaster County, Wyuka Cemetery Burial Permits, 1883-19998040Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNew Hampshire, County Naturalization Records, 1771-2001152,0330Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNew Jersey, County Naturalization Records, 1749-198635,9910Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNew Jersey, Newark, Woodland Cemetery Records, 1895-1980 100Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNew York Passenger Lists, 1820-189113,6620Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNew York, Lackawanna, Holy Cross Cemetery Records, 1855-1965169,7100Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNorth Carolina, Center for Health Statistics, Vital Records Unit, County Birth Records, 1913-192287,0940Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNorth Carolina, Center for Health Statistics, Vital Records Unit, County Birth Records, 1913-1922 26,8830Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesNorth Carolina, Wilmington, Cemetery Records, 1852-20052,0810Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesOhio Tax Records, 1800-185017,9550Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesOhio, Toledo, Historic Woodlawn Cemetery Index of Burials, 1877-19553,2390Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesOhio, Western Division Naturalization Records, 1906-194345,1090New indexed records collection United StatesOklahoma, Comanche County, Highland Cemetery Records, 1901-199418,3630Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesOklahoma, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-19202620Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesOregon Marriage Index, 1849-1884; 1991-200610,9830New indexed records collection United StatesPennsylvania Cemetery Records, ca. 1700-ca. 1950130,7190Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesPennsylvania Delayed Birth Records, 1941-197628,7500Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesPennsylvania Mortality Schedules, 1850-18804960Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesPennsylvania, Register of Military Volunteers, 1861-18655060Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesRhode Island Naturalization Records 1907-19914,3700Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesTexas, Eagle Pass Arrival Manifests and Indexes, 1905-1954118,3290Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesTexas, Grimes County, Marriage Records, 1951-1966 120Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesTexas, Passenger and Crew Lists Arriving at Various Ports, 1896-1951179,7650New indexed records collection United StatesUnited States, Compiled Military Service Records Of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served With The U.S. Colored Troops, 1861-1866567,4050New indexed records collection United StatesUnited States, GenealogyBank Historical Newspaper Obituaries, 1815-20117,787,8790Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUnited States, New York Land Records, 1630-19757,708,9260Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUtah Death Certificates, 1904-19642,1500Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUtah, Brigham City Family History Center, Obituary Collection, 1930-201552,2560Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUtah, Brigham City Family History Center, Obituary Collection, 1930-2015 17,1970Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesUtah, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church Census Records, 1914-1960378,6550New indexed records collection United StatesVirginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-193523,5860Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesVirginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-1935 7,0260Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesWashington, County Birth Registers, 1873-19652,1820Added indexed records to an existing collection United StatesWashington, Seattle, Passenger Lists, 1890-195797,3800Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesWisconsin, County Naturalization Records, 1807-1992150,7680Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesWisconsin, Milwaukee, Holy Cross Cemetery, Interment Records, 1909-19791,1120Added indexed records to an existing collection UruguayUruguay, Civil Registration Index Card, 1900-193713,7610Added indexed records to an existing collection UruguayUruguay, Passenger Lists, 1888-19801,022,8780Added indexed records to an existing collection VenezuelaVenezuela, Archdiocese of Valencia, Catholic Church Records, 1760, 1905-2013350,3720Added indexed records to an existing collection WalesWales, Monmouthshire (Gwent), Electoral Registers 1839-1889455,3480New indexed records collection ZambiaZambia, Archdiocese of Lusaka, Church Records, 1950-20156,9250Added indexed records to an existing collection 

FamilySearch Updates Enhance your Experience

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 22:42

To keep you up to date on the latest FamilySearch experience changes, we will be listing them here chronologically. Check back often to see how your FamilySearch experience has improved!

#sp-ea-49760 .spcollapsing { height: 0; overflow: hidden; transition-property: height;transition-duration: 500ms;} .sp-easy-accordion iframe {width: 100%;}#sp-ea-49760.sp-easy-accordion .sp-ea-single {border: 1px solid #e2e2e2; }#sp-ea-49760.sp-easy-accordion .sp-ea-single .ea-header a {color: #444;}#sp-ea-49760.sp-easy-accordion .sp-ea-single .ea-body {background: #fff; color: #444;}#sp-ea-49760.sp-easy-accordion .sp-ea-single {background: #eee;}#sp-ea-49760.sp-easy-accordion .sp-ea-single .ea-header a .ea-expand-icon.fa { float: left; color: #444;font-size: 16px;} Update: July 13, 2020—”My Contributions” available on Desktop Site

Previously, the “My Contributions” feature, which allows users to see ways that they have helped to build the FamilySearch Family Tree, was only available on the FamilySearch Tree App. Now, the feature is available on the desktop version of To access “My Contributions”, select “Family Tree” on the FamilySearch header. A drop-down will appear; the last option, “My Contributions”, will allow you to view the work you have done to further your genealogy.

Check the FamilySearch Blog for more information on the “My Contributions” feature.

Update: July 13, 2020—Changes to Watch Feature and Watch Notifications

The Watch feature on—which notifies you of changes to a person’s information in the Family Tree—has been renamed “Follow.” This term is similar to what other social media sites use and is more intuitive. In addition to this name change, the Lists drop-down menu option is now labeled “Following.” The Following page shows a list of the persons you follow and a history of recent changes.

To follow a person’s changes in the Tree, you can click Follow on their profile page. Also, anywhere an ancestor name appears in Family Tree, you can click the name to show the Person Card, and then you can click Follow. To unfollow a person, click Following. Notice that the star is filled in when you are following the person.

You can view a list of the people you are following and see all the changes to them for the last 60 days. Just click the Following tab found at the top of the Family Tree or person page.

Notifications of changes made to people you are following will now appear only in FamilySearch messages or notifications, rather than in an email. This change helps avoid excessive messages and unnecessary cluttering of your mailbox.

Update: June 07, 2020—Improve Place-Names Online Volunteer Opportunity

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

This simple volunteer opportunity takes very little time but has a big impact on the Family Tree. With better place-names, FamilySearch can provide more free record hints and can map your ancestors’ life events more accurately.

Learn more about the improve place-names tool, or try it now.

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Update: June 17, 2020—No Longer Using Labels

The label tool in the right sidebar of FamilySearch person pages will no longer be used as a way to note an ancestor was part of a well-known group or participated in a historical event, and the corresponding labels (previously shown in the top right corner of a person page) will be retired.

Example from Before Update:

After Update:

While existing labels will be removed, FamilySearch users can still add rich details about their ancestor’s involvement in these groups and events by using these different methods:

  1. Add a source showing the person’s involvement.
  2. Use the Other Information feature to add an event or fact about the person. (This feature allows you to pick from common types of events and facts or create a custom one.)
  3. Add important biographical details to the person’s Life Sketch.
  4. Create a story or attach a document sharing the details of your ancestor’s involvement.

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Update: June 4, 2020—Add a Topic Tag to More Than One Memory at a Time

Earlier this year, FamilySearch added the topic tags feature to Memories. Topic tags make it easier for users to categorize and find memories later. Now you can add a single topic tag to multiple memories at the same time.

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Update: June 4, 2020—Improved Memories Search

Recent improvements to Memories have made searching Memories easier and faster than ever before. Below are a few updates you may notice to the search experience:

  • Results now display up to 10,000 artifacts per search.
  • Boolean search strategies—such as using AND, OR, NOT, “phrase,” and wildcard*— are more effective. (Learn how to use Boolean search.)
  • Stop words (words that search engines typically ignore) are now recognized by language.

Stem searches are now supported by language. For example, a search for “fish” will turn up search results with related words such as “fishing,” “fished,” and “fisher.”

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Update: May 28th, 2020—Updates to Account Creation for Children

It is now easier than ever for children ages 8–12 to create a FamilySearch account. Parental permission is still required for children in this age group to create a FamilySearch account; however, the process has been streamlined. A new option was added to allow parents to use a text message to confirm their permission for their child’s account. Parents can also use a mobile number to give their child permission to create an account, and they can use the same mobile number to recover the account. So you and your family members can create accounts using only one mobile number.

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Update: May 15, 2020—Change Log Updates

The change log for ancestors in the FamilySearch Family Tree has been updated, making it much simpler to see changes made to an ancestor’s profile. To view the updated change log, go to an ancestor’s page, and, under the Latest Changes tab, select Show All. A page will open that shows in a simple-easy-to-digest summary every change made to that ancestor’s profile.

It’s also now possible to filter changes using a button on the upper right side of the page. Select an option to see all changes related to that option—whether it is a change in a relationship, an alternate name, life events, and more.

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Update: May 7, 2020—Change to Indexing Group Reports

To preserve privacy, information in indexing group reports has been updated to show only a summary of the records indexed and number of people participating. This updated report also helps indexing groups and indexing group coordinators focus more on accuracy over quantity of indexed batches.

Have you ever joined an indexing group on Or created one? An indexing group is a great way to collaborate and stay motivated while indexing. Even better, you can participate in an indexing group remotely or in person, whichever best fits your circumstances.

For some fun ideas of how to index as a group without relying on individual statistics, read this article.

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Update: May 5, 2020—Standardized Places

A systemwide update will take place for a small percentage of places listed in the FamilySearch Family Tree that are not standardized properly. FamilySearch strives to have standardized places and dates to improve record matching and other user experiences.

In cases where a place listed in the Family Tree is not a location, FamilySearch will remove the attached standard, though the original text entry will remain. When the standard is removed, the change will appear with the contributor listed as “FamilySearch” and the date the change occurred. This change will cause a data problem message to appear for vital events. Users who notice the data problem can correct the standard by editing the place data.

This update will help provide more standardized place entries, resulting in better record hints and better matching for possible duplicates. It will also help improve discovery experiences on

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Update: April 9, 2020—Additions to Record Merging Process

Merging two records into one can be an intimidating process. However, new updates to the merging process can help you make the decision. For example, when you begin reviewing possible duplicate records, you may see a merge warning at the top of the screen. This warning lets you know if the two records have previously been merged and will give you some of the details.

Additionally, the merging process now displays the possible duplicate on the left and the current record on the right. This change means you are merging the record on the left into the record on the right. This simple adjustment matches the rest of the website and will help the process flow more smoothly.

Learn more about the merging process.

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Update: April 11, 2020 — Expanded Print Options for Family Tree Fan Chart users now have more printing options for the fan chart display on Family Tree. Not only can they print a fan chart that shows up to seven generations, but any of the seven fan chart views can be printed. These views include Family Lines, Birth Country, Sources, Stories, Photos, Research Helps, and Ordinances.

Learn more about the Family Tree fan chart.

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Update: March 5, 2020 —Mobile App Fan Chart Update

The FamilySearch Family Tree app now has a new way to see your family story—the fan chart, which was previously available only on a laptop or desktop! To turn on this feature, go to your app settings, and select Enable Fan Chart View. You can toggle this selection on or off as desired.

With the fan chart view enabled, you will see a small button in the lower corner that allows you to customize your fan chart view. The fan chart view can show four to seven generations and can be viewed from several perspectives—family lines, birth country, number of sources, stories or photos attached to profiles, and which ancestors have research recommendations. Latter-day Saint users are also able to view which ancestors have ordinances available.

Download the FamilySearch Family Tree app, and give this update a try!

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Update: February 20, 2020—Sharing and Liking Albums, Album Slideshows on Memories

Albums on Memories can now be shared easily to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest via the Share menu in an album.

FamilySearch users can also now “Like” an album. Liking an album is a way to bookmark an album that belongs to another user. To like an album, click the blue heart Like icon located below the album title. All liked albums display in the user’s My Likes list in the gallery.

Additionally, you can view your album’s photos in a slideshow. To play a slideshow, click on the Slideshow icon below the album title. A window will pop up and give you the options to loop the slideshow or include audio (if the images have audio).

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Update: February 18, 2020—Explore Historical Images Unlocks Data in Digital Records

Have you ever tried searching for your ancestor’s name in online records? FamilySearch, FamilySearch partners, and volunteers worldwide have worked to make over 3 billion records easily findable online with a very simple name search. But did you know that these indexed records represent only 20 percent of the historical records FamilySearch has available online?

Well ahead of any formal indexing or cataloging, the new FamilySearch Explore Historical Images tool can help you find records about your ancestors more easily, even when their information is not text-searchable and seems to be locked inside a digital image. Learn more here.

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Update: February 6, 2020—Topic Tags Added to Memories

FamilySearch Memories released a new feature, “Topic Tags,” that makes it easier than ever before to categorize and find memories.

On the website, the topic tags option is found to the right of images and documents that you are viewing in Memories. Just click the link Add Topic Tags to add tags such as “Recipes,” “World War II,” “Wedding,” and other descriptive terms. Once you start typing, a drop-down menu will give you ideas.

Later, when you want to find memories with a specific topic, you can click the Find tab, select the Search Topic Tags option, and search all of FamilySearch Memories for photos tagged with the topic you are looking for. You can limit your searches to close relatives only by clicking the option Search Only My Close Relatives, found on the search results page.

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Update: February 5, 2020—Header Redesign on

The FamilySearch website has a new, streamlined header that is more readable and takes up less space. The Help menu is now more visible and easier for users to find. 

Also—exciting news!—the new Activities page, created early in 2019, has a prominent position in the main header. To discover more about yourself and your family, simply click Activities at the top of the page on

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Update: January 15, 2020—Free 2020 Calendar

FamilySearch has made it possible to print out a free 2020 Calendar that gives you dates that would have been important to your ancestors. This calendar includes birth dates, death dates, and wedding anniversaries. Additionally, it is now possible to get calendar reminders in your FamilySearch notifications. These reminders will notify you on the date of your ancestor’s event, and tell you how many years it has been since that day. Click here to view your own personalized calendar and download a free copy.

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More Updates from 2019

See What’s Coming in 2020 All about the FamilySearch Family Tree

New: Online Genealogy Consultations with Family History Library Experts

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 16:10

Humans have an innate need to know their identities—who their ancestors are and where they come from. Finding that past sometimes requires individualized expert assistance.

Now such assistance is available worldwide—for free—through, regardless of location or research question. Anyone can share the vast resources and expert services of the Family History Library by scheduling one-on-one online consultations. Genealogical specialists talk with guests in English and Spanish and will soon be available in other languages as well.

Family History Library—A Wealth of Genealogical Information

The Family History Library is the world’s largest repository of genealogical records, and it is staffed with experts in area-specific genealogical research. The library is extending access to that expertise and their resources so people throughout the world can succeed in their family history research regardless of their ability to travel to the library in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Online Genealogy Help for Several Countries

A pilot program focused on Nordic assistance, but it has now been expanded to include Brazil, the British Isles, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Latin America, Norway, Portugal, the area comprising the historical Russian empire, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Other areas will be added soon.

The pool of experts features specialists from the Family History Library but will be expanded to involve more specialists, including some from partner organizations worldwide, to provide expert help around the clock.

Help Navigating Online Resources

 Staff and guests alike are finding the consultations to be very useful, especially when it comes to navigating the many online resources and records that are available. For example, Russian and Slavic research specialist Ellie Vance was able to connect a man from Israel—who had previously never heard of FamilySearch—with a variety of resources and records.

“He had already done research on and, but we were able to locate a few other websites he can use to further his research,” Vance said.

The two were able to find a Yizkor book, a memorial book documenting Jewish life before World War II, that contained the man’s family name. In the last few minutes of the consultation, the man from Israel asked what the “Microfilm” column was in the indexes on both JewishGen and JRI-Poland.

“Imagine his surprise when I told him those were Family History Library microfilms that are now digital images that he can view from home! He was thrilled,” Vance said. “This is a great example of how we are expanding our global outreach to those who could never imagine coming to the library in Salt Lake City.”

Breaking through Brick Walls

Online consultations can also help patrons break through genealogical brick walls. For example, Nordic consultant Geoffrey Morris helped a woman named Patti find the parents of her immigrant great-grandfather in Finland.

The woman had done a lot of research already, but Geoffrey helped her identify good next steps and to join the Nordic research group in FamilySearch Communities. Communities are interactive groups of individuals around the world who share common research interests.

Help Getting Started

Age or inexperience need not discourage anyone from attempting family history research. United States and Canada specialist Vicki Standing spoke with a 70-year-old woman named Mollie who was just starting her quest.

Standing helped Mollie through the process of using FamilySearch historical records and narrowing the search to a specific collection. Mollie was delighted to receive images of a draft card, baptismal record, and marriage record, providing names of parents for both sides of the family. She was able to attach memories from funeral cards to her ancestors’ profiles on

How to Sign-up for Online Consultation

Using the FamilySearch Research Wiki, guests can schedule specific time slots in English or Spanish for their 20-minute online consultation. The booking app provides time schedule information in the guest’s own local time to simplify making the connection across time zones.

Participants are asked to fill out a short survey following their experience to help improve the technological and personal aspects of online consultations. These improvements will allow further expansion. The one-on-one consultations are expected eventually to reach throughout the world in many languages. 

French Traditions and Culture

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 10:50

Since the 17th century, France has been regarded as a “center of high culture.” As such, French culture has played a vital role in shaping world arts, cultures, and sciences. In particular, France is internationally recognized for its fashion, cuisine, art, and cinema.

Understanding French culture and traditions can help you better understand your family heritage if you have French ancestors. Discover where you’re from and more about your ancestors with the help of FamilySearch Discoveries

Cultural Variety in France

French culture was historically shaped by Celtic, Roman, and Germanic cultures. As these influences evolved, France became a patchwork of local communities and customs. What’s true for one community may not be true for another. Despite the growing global culture today, France has made an effort to preserve the cultures of its smaller communities.

If you’re interested in learning more about the intricacies of French culture and communities, try exploring books from this list or this list. Or if you’re lucky enough, traveling the French countryside will give you firsthand experience.


As the official language of France, French is the first language of 88% of the population. Even then, most others speak French as a second language.

However, minority languages flourish in specific regions. For example, eastern provinces speak German while Flemish is spoken in the northeast and Italian is spoken in the southeast. Other communities within France speak several other languages.


The family has served as the founding unit of French society for generations. Traditionally, the family structure could include either extended families or nuclear families. In recent years, that structure has shifted to primarily reflect nuclear families as well as variations such as single-parent households or civil unions known as PACS

If you have French ancestors, they may have lived together as an extended unit. Find or share stories about your French family with FamilySearch Memories to explore the lives they led.

Religion in France

Most French citizens consider themselves to be Christian (primarily Catholic). Historically, Catholicism played a significant role in shaping French culture and was the state religion until 1789. In French tradition, kings were even crowned within the Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral until 1825. 

Most of the remaining population today identifies as agnostic or atheist. However, there are also significant groups of Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist residents in modern France.

French Values

The French motto “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” reflects the values of French society. Equality and unity are important to the French. The French also value style and sophistication, and they take pride in the beauty and artistry of their country. 

Family is also highly valued in French culture. Mealtimes are often shared with family, and extended-family gatherings and meals are common over the weekend.

French Cuisine

Meals in France are meant to be enjoyed. Food is made with great care, and mealtimes are a prime time for socializing. While French cooking is recognized around the world, there are many varieties in cooking styles, ingredients, and dishes from region to region. For example, Normandy cuisine is known for seafood and cheeses while Burgundy is known for beef.

That being said, traditional French cuisine is characterized by its cheeses, wines, breads, and sauces. Recently, French cuisine has shifted to reflect lighter fare rather than the more traditional heavy sauces and complicated preparations.

Breakfast in French culture is typically light: a French pastry or bread served with a hot beverage. Lunch and dinner, on the other hand, are considered to be the main meals of the day. Formal meals will have four courses: a starter, a salad, a main course, and a cheese or dessert course.

French Fashion

Paris is often regarded as the fashion capital of the world. It is home to several worldwide brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel. France became a major influencer in fashion beginning with the reign of Louis XIV in the 1600s. During that time, France became known for its luxury goods throughout Europe.

Today, French style can be described as sophisticated and fashionable. A typical outfit may include dresses or suits with long coats and scarves.

French Art and Media

The arts are deeply appreciated in French traditions. Hobbies and professions are historically shown deep respect for the craftsmanship that goes into them. French literature, painting, and cinema are all historically significant around the world. Works such as Les Misérables or artists such as Monet are some of the most recognizable in the world.

Today, art is still highly regarded in France. The Louvre, housed in Paris, is the largest art museum in the world. If you visit France, you’ll also likely see artists in the streets painting.

French Traditions and Tips for Traveling

If you travel to France, understanding these French traditions might help you prepare:

  • Kissing on the left cheek and then the right cheek is a common greeting for informal woman-to-man, woman-to-woman, or man-to-woman interactions
  • Handshakes are a common greeting for man-to-man interactions or formal settings
  • When getting someone’s attention, start by saying “Bonjour Madame/Monsieur
Public Behavior
  • Patrons bag their own food at grocery stores
  • If you speak English, ask someone if they speak English before speaking to them in English
  • It is polite to be formal and reserved, particularly with strangers or acquaintances
  • Quiet tones are expected in public
  • “Dressing down” is not common in France
  • Beverages are served at room temperature rather than cold or with ice
  • If invited into a French home, it’s customary to bring a small gift such as chocolates, flowers, or candies
  • Appetizers are served with most meals, so don’t fill up before the main dish is served
  • To know when to start eating or how to eat certain foods, observe what the host does
  • Keep both hands at the table while eating, but keep your elbows off the table

If you’re ever uncertain how to behave while in France, observe what locals do. Mimicking the behaviors of French locals will help you remain polite and respectful to their culture and traditions.

French traditions and culture reflect the French values of unity, beauty, respect, and family. If you have French family, which French traditions does your family have? 

Fiji Culture: Traditional Food, Art, and More

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 16:26

Bula! This oft-used greeting in Fiji translates to “life,” with its longer use ni sa bula vinaka translating to “wishing you happiness and good health.”This warm well-wishing lies at the heart of Fiji culture, which is just as vibrant and inviting as Fiji’s white-sand beaches, tropical scents, and lush green forests.

Below we’ve highlighted just a few of the island’s traditions that make Fiji culture so inviting and full of life!

Fijian Art Masi (Tapa Cloth)

A popular art form in Fiji is the creation of the Fijian masi, also known as tapa cloth. Masi is made from inner white bark of the paper mulberry. To create masi, Fijians strip the bark, soak it in water, and then beat and felt the cloth for hours.

Once the cloth is prepared, designs are added using red, brown, or black vegetable dyes. Masi patterns commonly include repeated geometric motifs, created either by freehand or with stencils. Traditionally, these stencils were made from banana leaves or other large-leaved plants.

Masi can be used as a ceremonial dress or wall décor or as a table mat or blanket.

Mat and Basket Weaving

The traditional Fijian art of mat and basket weaving is alive and well on the islands. It is not uncommon to see people weaving hats, mats, and other materials from durable coconut palm fronds.

Voi voi (known also as pandanus leaves) is another popular weaving material—though preparing the leaves can take longer than the actual weaving! The voi voi leaves must be stripped of their thorns, boiled, and then dried in the sun. Sometimes, the material is blackened through a process of burying the leaves in mud for several days and then reboiling them.

Similar to masi, these woven projects can be a form of décor, or they can work more practically as baskets, floor coverings, or sleeping mats. But more often than not, the weavings have both artistic and practical purposes—an everyday reminder of Fijian heritage.


Traditionally, weaving and creating masi were done by women. The men’s crafts centered more on wood carving, especially in crafting canoes.

One of the most recognizable and impressive traditional Fijian canoes was the drua, sometimes referred to as the sacred canoe. Drua in Fijian means “double,” and the canoe gets its name from the double-hulled, twin-like construction. The drua functioned mainly as a war canoe and was known for its impressive size and speed—reaching up to 25 knots and varying from 100 to 118 feet in length.

Unfortunately, the arts of canoe crafting and wood carving are declining arts. However, some Fijians seek to revive these arts, embracing their past heritage.

Traditional Fijian Dancing

Dancing is an important part of Fiji culture. The most popular performance, called a meke, involves both dancers and singers or percussionists.

These storytelling musical displays preserve the legends and tales passed down over the years. The performances capture aspects of traditional Fijian life, from elegant fan performances to rousing war dances. Typically, men wear the clothes of a warrior while the women wear dresses with traditional ornate patterns.

When performed in villages, meke dancers are afterwards given gifts of appreciation from the audience.

Fijian Food

Fijian food is an important part to Fiji’s culture because it’s an important part of the island itself—much of the authentic, traditional dishes prepared in Fiji are based on natural, local resources. This means that most traditional meals are made with seafood, vegetables, roots, and tropical fruit like coconut.

The traditional way of cooking Fijian food includes wrapping the meals in banana leaves and palm fronds and then cooking them in an underground, earth oven heated by hot stones. This earth oven is called a lovo.

Traditional Fijian food includes the following:

  • Kokoda. Similar to sushi, this dish consists mainly of raw fish. It’s mixed with coconut milk broth and raw vegetables.
  • Cooked Cassava and Taro Root. These roots are cooked and eaten as a side dish. The cooked roots are similar to potatoes in texture and are a staple in many Pacific island cultures.
  • Palusami. Palusami, which is also common in Samoa, is made up of crushed taro leaves. There are no spices involved. This simple dish is served with coconut cream or pieces of meat, commonly lamb or corned beef. The taste is comparable to cooked spinach. 
  • Cooked fish. The Fiji cuisine wouldn’t be complete without this important island staple. You can find a variety of fish cooked in all sorts of ways, including smoked, grilled, and steamed. 

Indian-Fijian food is also an important aspect to Fiji’s food heritage. For this reason, curry is a common staple of Fijian meals, including the popular to-go chicken curry roti.

Religion in Fiji

The Fiji culture is renowned for being warm and welcoming, so it’s no surprise that the islands are home to people of many different religions, from Christianity to Sikh.

Fijians with Asian ancestry, such as Fijian Indians, tend toward Islam, Hinduism, and Sikh, whereas many indigenous Fijians identify as Christian. This is because during the 19th century, when Britain colonized Fiji, many Fijian village chiefs were converted to Christianity. Prior to conversion, shamanism and animism were the predominant religious beliefs of indigenous Fijians.

Fijian Community

Perhaps the biggest hallmark of Fiji culture is the sense of community. It’s not unusual for strangers to wave and smile as you pass by.

If there was a word to describe the Fijian people, it would be family. In this beautiful culture, it takes a village to raise a child. Communities are made up of close friends and family members and the islands even report a low crime rate.

If you have Fijian heritage, it’s something to be proud of. The culture and lifestyle of your ancestors or current family members continue to lift communities worldwide. Continue the legacy by sharing what your heritage means to you in FamilySearch Memories.

Want to learn more about your islander ancestors? Visit and see what you can find!

Radio and Music in the 1920s United States

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 17:59

The radio as a form of entertainment grew in popularity in the 1920s United States. This inexpensive form of enjoyment for the whole family included radio shows, music, and more. The decade started off in 1921 with just 5 radio stations in the country but ended with 606 stations. That is some serious growth!

Let’s take a look at 1920s radio and music in the United States.

Interested in knowing what music was popular when you were born? Find out here.

1920s Radio What made the radio important in the 1920s?

In the 1920s, radio was able to bridge the divide in American culture from coast to coast. It was more effective than print media at sharing thoughts, culture, language, style, and more. For this reason, the importance of radio was more than just entertainment. It was a tool to communicate, interact, and bring the nation together.

The 1920s introduced an era of more innovation than what had been seen in the past. The economy was doing well and income increased. With that prosperity, families had more leisure time, and a favorite pastime became listening to the radio.

The first radio stations focused on broadcast news, serial stories, and political speeches, but they later included music, weather, and sports.

What radio shows were popular in the 1920s?

The most popular 1920s radio show was a situation comedy titled Amos ‘n’ Andy. The show was based around the taxicab business of Amos Jones, his friend Andrew Hogg Brown, and George “Kingfish” Stevens. It lasted more than 30 years.

Though popular in the 1920s, Amos ‘n’ Andy, which was performed by white artists, encouraged negative Black stereotypes. Many radio shows of this decade emulated this minstrel-style comedy. However, in 1929, Chicago’s WSBC introduced The All-Negro Hour, the first variety show with all African American entertainers. The show helped pave the way for better representation of African Americans in radio and entertainment.

Radio in the 1920s also introduced sports programs into the home, which quickly became popular. Play-by-play descriptions were broadcast on the radio and helped popularize athletes such as Jim Thorpe, Gertrude Ederle, Helen Wills, and Babe Ruth.

1920s Music What was the most popular music in the 1920s?

Music in the 1920s in the United States had variety, to say the least! Jazz, blues, swing, dance band, and ragtime were just a few of the most popular music genres of the decade. Almost all of these genres originated from the creative work of African Americans influenced by their culture and heritage.

Prior to the radio, music could be shared only through sheet music, piano rolls, or live performances. With the use of the radio waves, music of all kinds could easily be introduced to homes across the United States.

Jazz Music of the 1920s

Jazz music was created from the fusion of Anglo-American, African, and Creole influences, born in the melting pot of New Orleans, Louisiana. The 1920s are often called the Jazz Age because Jazz music became very popular during that time. With lots of improvising and syncopated rhythms, jazz music influenced dances, fashion, and culture. The upbeat sounds of jazz became a favorite on the radio. The most popular jazz musicians of the 1920s were Louis Armstrong and Duke Wellington.

Some of Armstrong’s most famous hits were “Heebie Jeebies” (1926), “West End Blues” (1928), and “Ain’t Misbehavin” (1929). Some of Duke Ellington’s 1920s hits included “Creole Love Call” and “Black and Tan Fantasy.”

Blues Music of the 1920s

Blues music used repetitive chords and a 12-bar structure. Often associated with personal trials, blues music frequently shared the stories of a prejudiced and segregated South. In fact, blues music was heavily influenced by the African spirituals sung by those who were enslaved. The singing of spirituals was a form of retaining resiliency and reprieve amidst oppressive circumstances.  Sometimes, a blues tune could be considered comical or even witty.

Mamie Smith, a popular blues singer, was credited with being the first to record a blues vocal. The song she sang was titled “Crazy Blues.” Other famous blues singers were Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. Ma Rainey’s most famous 1920s music included “See See Rider” (1924) and “Black Bottom” (1927). Bessie Smith had several hits during the 1920s as well, which included “Downhearted Blues” (1923) and “Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-Ness If I Do” (1923).

Dance Music of the 1920s

The most famous dance of the 1920s was the Charleston. This fun dance was set to music we might consider big band music of today, though it did have elements of ragtime. The Charleston made its debut in the 1923 Broadway show Runnin’ Wild and quickly became a favorite in dance halls across the states.

Music in the 1920s also influenced dances such as the fox-trot, tango, and lindy hop. Big band orchestras would create music to the movements of the dancers.

What were the most popular songs of the 1920s?

The most popular songs of the 1920s covered a wide variety of genres. Here’s a look at some of the top songs of the decade:

  • “Ain’t Misbehavin’”—Fats Waller
  • “Dark Was the Night”—Blind Willie Johnson
  • “Downhearted Blues”—Bessie Smith
  • “In the Jailhouse Now”—Jimmie Rodgers
  • “My Man”—Fanny Brice
  • “Swanee”—Al Jolson
  • “West End Blues”—Louis Armstrong
Discover the Popular Songs and Shows of Your Childhood

You can also discover what songs and shows were popular when you were a child—or even when your parents or grandparents were! Enter your name and birthday into FamilySearch’s All about Me experience (or sign in to your FamilySearch account—it’s free!), and discover all sorts of fun facts about your birthday.

Discover Popular Songs from Your Childhood

Spiffy Slang Words and Phrases from the 1920s

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 12:00

Wouldn’t it be swell to travel back in time to the 1920s America? Maybe you could grill an ancestor and get them to sing (that means “talk” in 1920s lingo!). But be sure you know your onions! We can help you with that. Read ahead to learn some popular 1920s slang and sayings so you don’t sound like a sap.

When you’re finished learning 1920s slang, test your family friends on these slang words (and discover any fun family sayings!) and audio record their reactions!

Doll: 1920s Slang for Woman

The term “doll” was used to describe a pretty young woman in the 1920s, but it had been a term used as early as the 1550s when it began as a shortened form of “Dorothy.”

Cool Cat: 1920s Slang for a Hip Man

My Uncle John was one cool cat! The American 1920s slang phrase “cool cat” likely got its origin in the Jazz community. The Jazz Age of the 1920s greatly influenced American slang with other words and phrases such as an “Oliver Twist.” An Oliver Twist was an extremely good dancer that could really cut a rug (hey look, more 1920s lingo!).

Cutting a rug derives its meaning from when couples would dance the jitterbug. When the dance was performed in one area for a long period of time, it would make the carpet appear as though it was cut, hence the 1920s slang cut a rug.

Bathtub Gin: 1920s Lingo for Homemade Liquor

The American prohibition lasted throughout the 1920s, making people a little more creative in making and distributing liquor. That’s where terms like bathtub gin, speakeasies, and bootleggers became popular 1920s terms.

Bathtub gin was slang for homemade liquor that could be made in the bathtub. Bootleggers, the transporters of the alcohol, would stock the illegal establishments, called speakeasies, with all sorts of homemade drinks, including this famous bathtub gin.

A speakeasy, also sometimes called a blind pig or blind tiger, was a place to sell illegal alcoholic beverages. In the U.S., the term speakeasy emerged in the 1880s. These illegal places of business were called speakeasies because people would need to speak quietly about such a place so that authorities wouldn’t be tipped off.

Other similar phrases were the cat’s meow, the cat’s whiskers, the tiger’s spots, and the elephant’s adenoids! These silly animal pairings seem to have been quite popular in 1920s slang.

Gold Digger: 1920s Lingo for a Woman Who Marries a Man for His Money

Gold-digger is the perfect example of an idiom, which is a group of words that has a figurative meaning instead of a literal one. The 1920s slang phrase “gold digger” was made popular by the 1929 Broadway show titled The Gold Diggers of Broadway in which three chorus girls seek rich husbands.

Gams and Dogs: 1920s Slang for Legs and Feet

“Will you look at the gams on that doll,” said Howard to Dean. Howard was obviously referring to a woman’s nice-looking legs! But, where in the world did that 1920s saying come from? There are two lines of thought about the origin of the word “gams” referring to legs. One traces it to the Italian word “gamba,” meaning leg. Another theory believes the word comes from “gamb,” meaning the representation of a leg on a coat of arms.

Speaking of legs, are your dogs barking? Maybe after a hard day at work on the factory floor? “Dogs” was a 1920s slang word for feet. When people said their dogs were barking, they were referring to the fact that their feet were hurting. This 1920s phrase actually appeared in print in 1913 when a journalist for the New York Evening, T. A. Dorgan, used the term “dog” to represent his foot. He was well known for his rhyming slang, and this little diddy stuck.

The Bee’s Knees: 1920s Saying for Outstanding

This funny phrase was actually first recorded in the 1700s. It was used to refer to something small and insignificant. But by the 1920s, the bee’s knees referred to something thought to be outstanding!

1920s Slang Challenge

Now that you are the Big Cheese with 1920s slang and lingo, don’t lollygag around all day. Challenge your family—especially your parents and grandparents—to see if they recognize any of these phrases or have any fun family sayings of their own.

To participate in the challenge, download the FamilySearch Memories app, and sign in to your FamilySearch account (or create a free account if you don’t have one). Once in the Memories app, click the microphone icon, and then click the plus icon in the bottom right corner to record audio. When you’re finished recording, don’t forget to tag the memory under “1920s Slang.”

1920s Clothing: Fashions from 1920–1929

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 12:00

When you think of Western fashions in the 1920s, glamorous flapper dresses may come to mind. But there was much more to 1920s clothing than the “Roaring 20s” style of the flappers.

The 1920s brought prosperity and opportunity to many, though not all. More people purchased consumer goods such as automobiles and ready-to-wear clothing. They went on more outings. They wanted everyday wardrobes that were more simple, casual, and practical than the previous decade. Women’s styles changed the most, as they enjoyed newfound freedoms and greater participation in public life.

The simpler styles of the 1920s meant that even those who sewed their own clothes could copy the day’s fashions. Here’s what you may see people wearing in pictures from the 1920s.

View 1920s Fashion Photos What Did Women Wear in the 1920s?

The classic 1920s female silhouette reflected the era’s new sense of freedom. It was loose, straight, and slender, with dropped waists and shorter hemlines.

Women’s Dresses: They Weren’t All Flappers

Everyday dress for most women was a casual cotton housedress, sometimes homemade. Housedresses were loose pullover styles in colorful gingham, plaid, vertical stripes, or solids. The use of aprons and labor-saving appliances at home—and the enlargement of women’s life outside the home—meant that by the end of the 1920s, women were wearing more sophisticated day dresses all day long.

Women donned fancier dresses for special occasions. For warm-weather parties, ladies wore elegant afternoon or tea dresses of sheer, layered fabrics in white or pastel colors. The iconic flapper dress—sleeveless, knee-length, and often beaded, embroidered, or sequined—was a more flamboyant choice for a night on the town, especially for those who lived the lifestyle of the Lost Generation.

Women’s Casual 1920s Clothing for Sports and Leisure

An active lifestyle became more popular for women. A sun-tanned appearance for those with pale skin became more popular. Some women wore sleeveless tennis dresses both on and off the court. Toward the end of the decade, sailor-inspired “middy” style and menswear-inspired button-down blouses were popular. Women wore these with pleated skirts or—more daringly—wide-legged chiffon trousers.

Women’s Hats and Hairstyles

Women wore hats in public. Straw hats with wide brims, trimmed with ribbon and flowers, were popular for outdoor life. Turbans, berets, and Tam O’Shanter hats were also perched confidently on many women’s heads. The close-fitting, narrow-brimmed cloche hat is the most iconic women’s hat of the decade. Cloche hats were often banded with large ribbons or decorated with bows or embroidery.

Women’s hairstyles had to accommodate these tight-fitting hats. In the early 1920s, many women still wore their hair long, but styled it to look short, with curls on the side and the rest in a bun. The decade’s most famous women’s hairstyle was the daring bob cut, with earlobe-length locks styled straight or curly.

What Did Men Wear in the 1920s?

Men’s fashions didn’t change so dramatically. Overall, their dressed-up, buttoned-down look became more casual.

Men’s Suits

Unless working or playing, men wore suits in public. Slim-fitting “jazz suits” complemented the trim physiques of Great War veterans at the outset of the 1920s. As the decade progressed, suits became looser and wider. British menswear, which set Western trends, was well tailored; the typical lounge suit was wide in the shoulder, with a loose-fitting, double-breasted jacket, matching vest, and high-waisted trousers, worn with a white shirt.

In the United States, suits were generally looser and longer, with flashier ties and stripes in both the shirt and suit fabric. Suit colors were fairly conservative; African American men sometimes wore bolder colors.

The 1920s saw several menswear fads. College students popularized the “Ivy League” look, with a slimmer fit, and longer, single-breasted jacket. Jazz Age culture produced the super-baggy “zoot suit.” Traditional suspenders generally gave way to belts, but some young men preferred flashy suspenders. Toward the end of the decade, mismatched vests were trendy.

Men’s Casual 1920s Clothing and Sportswear

Men appeared more frequently in public in sportswear. The popularity of golf fueled a fad for wearing knickerbockers, longer plus-fours, and wide-legged oxford bag pants. Sweaters and sweater vests, especially in Argyle patterns, became a sporty, casual alternative to wearing a suit jacket. Men sometimes donned white or light-colored flannel suits during the summer. 

Men’s Hats and Hairstyles

Men with straight hair often wore it longer on the top and shorter on the sides. Whether slicked straight back or parted on the side, it was often combed into place with a greasy hair product. A variety of hats topped their look. Formal occasions called for bowler hats or similar-looking Homburgs. Banded fedoras were a popular everyday choice; the wide brim could be shaped to the owner’s preference.

What Did Children Wear in the 1920s?

Until toddlerhood, both boys and girls wore white gowns, which shortened to knee-length once they could walk. Young girls’ dress styles included baby doll, drop-waist, and sailor-style dresses. Older girls more closely copied women’s styles, with the straight, drop-waist dress a popular choice. Little boys wore short pants with matching jackets or short overalls and shirts. Older boys’ clothing more closely matched that of men: knickers, long pants, and button-down shirts.

Fashion in Your Family History

What did your family wear during the 1920s? Look for photos of them in FamilySearch Memories. Or upload your own family photos to share these treasures with others.

Celebrate Juneteenth by searching Freedmen’s Bureau Records

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 10:00

Juneteenth is an important historical and joyous holiday that celebrates the abolition of slavery. It begins June 19 and lasts at least that day, a week, or an entire month.

What is Juneteenth?

The Juneteenth celebration commemorates June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger and 2,000 troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce the freeing of slaves. The celebration of Juneteenth (Emancipation Day) began in the streets of Galveston by the former slaves. Today, Juneteenth is celebrated by millions of people throughout the nation.

General Gordon Granger (right).What are the Freedmen’s Bureau Records?

In March of 1865, the Federal Government created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, later renamed the Freedmen’s Bureau. The goal of the Bureau was to help 4 million slaves make the transition to freedom.

The Freedmen’s Bureau had vast responsibilities. It provided needful services including rations, medical care, employment assistance, and support for education. Two hundred hospitals were built and 4,000 schools were established.

And of course, where such orchestrated government support services were offered, and abundance of records were required. This can be a great resource for those researching their African American roots during this time period.

The Freedmen’s Bureau records include:

  • Documentation of the legalization of marriages entered during slavery
  • Labor contracts (the beginning of share cropping)
  • Military payment registers
  • Hospital logs
  • Former slave owners
  • The number of children an enslaved person had
Search the Freedmen’s Bureau Records 5th Anniversary of the Freedmen’s Bureau Project

Many of these records were brought to light thanks to the work of volunteers in their participation of the Freedmen’s Bureau project. Five years ago today, FamilySearch made the announcement to begin a national wide effort to index these works.

Over 25,000 volunteers participated in the project coast to coast in the United States and Canada. Out of the four million people who were enslaved, participants uncovered the names of nearly 1.8 million of them.

Searching the Freedmen’s Bureau Records

Robin Foster, a National Genealogy Examiner and a member of the South Carolina Genealogical Society suggests the Freedman Bureau records are crucial to tracing your African American genealogy back past 1870.

Records from the Slave Era in the U.S. are so valuable because they create the bridge from before the Civil War—when few records existed that mention identifying information about individual slaves—to the 1870s where former slaves began appearing. Records give names, dates of birth, marriage, and death. Additionally, records provide clues to past slave owners and locations.

The value of a single Bureau record to your family tree can be very exciting. Janis Forté, a lecturer, author, and publisher, and Recording Secretary of the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago, was able to trace back three generations from one record. It even mentioned his slave ancestor’s daughters’ names and their married names. He discovered a great-great uncle had two marriages, one he didn’t know about.

Their records can bridge the genealogical gap from slavery to freedom.

20 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day

Wed, 06/17/2020 - 18:30

Father’s Day is that one special day every year to celebrate the fathers in your life. It can look different for everyone, whether you’re celebrating your father, spouse, step-father, brother, or a role model. 

Finding things to do for Father’s Day can be difficult. If you’re having a hard time thinking of something, try some of the ideas below. Or, use them to get started as you look for ways to honor and celebrate the men in your life!

1. Learn about his family tree.

Tracing your father’s family tree can help you learn more about his family’s past and cultural heritage. It can be a meaningful way to feel more connected to your family, past and present.

2.  Prepare a scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts can be a fun family activity, and it’s a great way to hide gifts as well. Try this father’s day scavenger hunt to get you started.

3. Do a puzzle together.

Combine a gift with an activity, and get a new puzzle as a gift for Father’s Day. To make it extra special, order a custom puzzle made with family photos.

4. Share your favorite memories of your father.

Sharing and saving your favorite memories of your dad or a father-figure in your life will keep your favorite memories fresh in your mind. It can also help him feel loved and appreciated.

5. Host a friendly family competition.

Come up with a series of games to compete as a whole family. You could play minute-to-win-it games or look for easy festival games. Bonus if there are prizes involved!

6. Make a home-made gift.

Taking the time to come up with a thoughtful gift you can make at a home will make the gift all the more meaningful. Or, if he enjoys doing crafts, make it a family activity.

7. Take a minivacation.

You could take a weekend road trip somewhere new or even just explore new sites in your own city. Have you ever considered heritage tourism? Whatever you do, it’ll be a great way to experience new things together. Or, if you can’t get out of the house, try one of these virtual tours.

8. Play games.

Playing board games, card games, or even video games is the perfect way to bond as a family. Find a favorite game, and play it together to get in some good quality time.

9. Explore ancestral locations.

If you’re connected to the FamilySearch Family Tree, Map My Ancestors allows you to find sites that are significant to your father’s family. It could help you find birth and burial sites, hometowns, and more places to visit.

10. Put on a show.

Put on a show just for your dad. It could be a skit, song, stand-up comedy, or talent show. This is especially fun if you have kids.

11. Bake a Father’s Day treat or dinner.

Making something delicious that you can enjoy as a family is a wonderful way to show your love for someone. For an extra special treat, try new recipes from around the world, particularly if you can find recipes that reflect your cultural heritage

12. Participate in his favorite hobby.

If your dad loves cooking, working with his hands, or gardening, dedicate time during the day to doing it with him. He’ll enjoy doing what he loves, and he’ll love it even more because you’re doing it with him.

13. Do some crazy science experiments.

If there’s something everyone loves, it’s watching fascinating chemical reactions. Try making a baking-soda volcano, dropping mentos in coke, or doing other fun and easy science experiments at home.

14. Play in the water.

Father’s Day just happens to be in June, the prime time to play in the water! Swimming, kayaking, rafting, and tubing are just some of the ways you can take advantage of that.

15. Discover memories.

Reading family memories can help foster a sense of nostalgia or a feeling of belonging. Discover memories that can help you feel closer as a family. 

16. Enjoy an outing to the park.

Take the whole family to the park to enjoy some quality time together. Here are a few ideas to make your time at the park memorable:

  • Have a picnic.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Play tag.
  • Play hide-and-go-seek.
  • Play catch.
  • Hold a relay race.
  • Ride your bikes.
  • Barbecue.
17. Watch a movie.

Make popcorn, turn out the lights, and settle in for a favorite movie. Alternatively, make it a night out to the movie theater or drive-in theater.

18. Enjoy the great outdoors.

What does your dad enjoy doing outdoors? Hiking? Fishing? Camping? Boating? Whatever it is, get the whole family to join in for a memorable day together.

19. Do an act of service.

Service is one of the 5 love languages. If your father really appreciates acts of service, then there’s no better way to show him that you care. Try finishing that one project he never gets around to, or maybe clean out his car.

20. Learn about your family name.

Your last name can say a lot about your family’s story. Try learning about your name and the meaning behind it to see what you can find.

In the end, you’re the one who knows your dad best. You’ll know what he will appreciate more than anyone. Whether or not this list of things to do for Father’s Day provided you with a plan to celebrate, we hope it gave you the needed inspiration to get you started!

7 Genealogy TV Shows That Will Inspire You to Do More Family History

Tue, 06/16/2020 - 14:28

You don’t have to be a professional genealogist to have an interest in your family’s history. Family connection has become an increasingly popular topic in entertainment and media, making it the theme of multiple successful genealogy tv show series.

Feeling stuck in a rut trying to disentangle your family lines? Here are some genealogy TV shows to help you find a little boost of inspiration.

Who Do You Think You Are?

In this show, you can follow your favorite well-known celebrities as they work alongside professional genealogists and historians to uncover their family’s story. Each journey is tailored to the individual, and you get to see your favorite artists or actors in a different light.

Learn more.

Genealogy Roadshow

Maybe you have an entire tackle box of fish stories that have been passed down in your family. If so, Genealogy Roadshow is for you. In this three-season series, a team of professionals visits cities throughout the United States to prove—or disprove—far-fetched genealogical claims and stories of everyday families.

Learn more.


Ancestors is a 23-episode series produced by BYUtv. Rather than following a single individual through family discoveries, this show highlights family history records from different parts of the world. The show weaves together personal stories with the more technical side of doing family history, so you can be entertained while picking up on some more know-how for your own research.

Learn more.

The Generations Project

The Generations Project focuses on discovering some of the hidden secrets that have been woven into the family lines of the show’s participants. But don’t be mistaken. This show isn’t about uncovering the skeletons in the closet, it’s about uncovering the strength and resilience that come with knowing your background.

Learn more.

Long Lost Family

Long Lost Family explores the life and journey of family members who have been separated for years by the challenges and realities of life. Like many of us, participants in the show feel the drive to discover the missing pieces of their family puzzle.

To apply to be a participant, email You can also follow the Long Lost Family Casting Page on social media to watch for new opportunities.

Learn more.

Relative Race

Genealogy research can sometimes be slow-going, but not in Relative Race. In this show, teams of family members race to see who can meet all their unknown relatives first. The producers of the show use DNA testing to research the family beforehand to provide them with the locations of these relatives—and some epic game-changers.

To apply to be one of the teams on the show, fill out an online application. Be sure to get your application in before June 1 to be considered for the upcoming season!

Learn more.

Roots Less Traveled

Roots Less Traveled is one of the newer genealogy TV shows. It follows pairs of family members on a long road trip to discover more about their ancestors—and each other. Each team works together to play detective and solve some of the mysteries and tall tales in their family tree.

Learn more.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the genealogy TV shows out there—and those that are still coming—it’s a good place to start. But you don’t have to wait until you’re a big TV star to enjoy genealogy. Check out our online records today and start building your family tree to embark on your own journey of self-discovery.