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See Historical Events Your Ancestors Lived Through and More—FamilySearch Update

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 22:32

When we learn about historical events in our ancestors’ lives, we can better understand who they were.

I recently read my grandfather’s account of visiting his first air show in 1912. He described seeing his first “airship” and the excitement he felt watching a prominent aviator perform an aerial stunt. Reading about his experience reminded me of his enthusiasm when he watched men land on the moon 57 years later. Do you know what historical events your relatives lived through? FamilySearch can help you find out!

A recently-released feature on FamilySearch.org helps you see historical events your relatives lived through. An additional update to the person page lets you toggle details on and off, giving you extra insight about who has added or changed information.

Historical Events Added to the Time Line Feature

Last year, FamilySearch updated the time line feature to help you make discoveries about your ancestors’ life events. With a more recent update, you can also see up to eight historical events on the time line. The historical events are randomly selected, but they give additional insights into what your ancestors might have experienced.

To try the time line feature, go to a relative’s person page in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

Under the person’s name, click Time Line to see your relative’s time line and map (you may need to toggle the map on to see it). Click Show to make sure Historical Events are turned on.

Look through the time line to find a listed historical event. It will give a brief description of the significance of the event, and it may let you click the title for a more detailed explanation. My grandfather’s time line shows that a regional airport was built near his home in 1949—which was 37 years after he saw his first air show.

For help using the time line feature, see Using the Time Line and Map in Family Tree.

Toggle Details On and Off

Another improved feature on the person page is found in the Details tab. When you go to this tab, you can now toggle the detail view on and off in the Vitals section and the Other Information section.

The detail view gives additional information about changes that have been made to a person’s record, including when it was changed and by whom.

This feature allows better collaboration among family members who are interested in learning more about a common ancestor. When you click on the name of the person who made a change, a pop-up shows the person’s contact information and allows you to send a message.

Both of these new features can give us additional insight into our loved ones’ lives and allow us to connect and collaborate with family members to learn more about them. Visit the Family Tree on FamilySearch.org to explore your relative’s pages and see what new things you can find!

Did You Miss These Other Family Tree Updates? Changes in Family Tree Shed New Light on Your Ancestors’ Lives

FamilySearch’s newly released update to the person pages in Family Tree will make learning about your ancestors easier than ever…

Add Audio to Pictures on FamilySearch.org

For years, FamilySearch has helped you preserve family memories by allowing you to upload photos and attach them to your…

Five Things Every New FamilySearch User Should Try

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 16:10

At FamilySearch.org, you have multiple ways to experience the excitement of family history. Now that you have an account, it’s time to start exploring some of the amazing things you can do.   

Here are five activities worth trying.

1. Start Your Family Tree

As the saying goes, we’re all related if we go back far enough. With the FamilySearch Family Tree, you can see how.

Begin by entering your own name into the tree, followed by your parents. Add information about your grandparents and even their grandparents, if you have it. The goal is to connect your family line with someone else’s.

As you make this connection, FamilySearch will automatically add you to the largest shared family tree in the world. You’ll be able to see the names and details of any ancestors that you share. 

In this way, the Family Tree helps you discover your family history. And when you enter information about yourself and your family, you might be helping others discover their history too—who knows!

Start Your Family Tree

If you have questions about starting your family tree, start with the online booklet My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together. We’ll help you record family information, including adding photos, names, dates, and precious family stories.

Or you can learn more online about starting your family tree.

Users also read: The World’s Largest Shared Family Tree

2. Find Fun Facts about You with Discovery Experiences

Part of family history is learning about yourself—seeing how you connect to the world around you, to the members of your family, and to the people who came before you.

FamilySearch’s online discovery activities enhance this connection to the past. What will you feel when you recognize your smile on the face of a long-lost ancestor, or read the inscription on a great-grandparent’s headstone?

With a click of the mouse, our gallery of discovery activities can provide you with these and other experiences, such as Picture My Heritage or All About Me. They are most fun when you invite someone else—like a close friend or family member—to enjoy them with you.  

Discover Your Past Users also read: New Family History Discovery Experiences on FamilySearch.org

3. Search Our Records

Family history comes to life with details, which is why you’ll want to spend time searching collections of historical documents for references to your family and ancestors.

Birth certificates, marriage certificates, obituaries, census reports, church records, draft cards—these are all important family artifacts. They are tangible evidence of your ancestors’ lives and of the lives of others they interacted with.

Records also often offer clues about the everyday experiences of your ancestors. With the right historical records, you might be able to discover an ancestor’s occupation, see where he or she lived, and learn the person’s exact height, weight, and eye color.

When you find a historical document that mentions someone you’re related to, be sure to attach it to his or her profile in Family Tree for other people to enjoy.

Search Free Records on FamilySearch.org Users also read: Learn about Your Family on FamilySearch.org

4. Record or Upload a Family Memory

Part of family history is creating your own history—photos, stories, and even sound recordings—for future generations to enjoy. At FamilySearch, we call these items “Memories,” and we want to help you preserve them.

The FamilySearch Memories App and the Memories tab on FamilySearch.org are both dedicated to helping you create, upload, view, and preserve these memories. Once they are saved, they go into the same “Memories” gallery so you can view them anywhere.

Now that you have an account, try uploading a photo of yourself or of a loved one. Click the link below to learn how.

Create a Memory Users also read: Add Audio to Pictures on FamilySearch.org

5. Help Others

Finally, with your FamilySearch account set up, you can give your time and knowledge by indexing historical records.

When you index a historical record, you view the digital image of an actual document—for example, a marriage certificate—and enter its information into our systems. When you index records, the documents and their information become searchable in FamilySearch’s Records Collections. With this resource, other users can benefit and find information about their families.

Indexing records is a great way to help someone else make a meaningful family history discovery. Click the link below to give indexing a try—you’ll truly be making a positive difference for others.  

Index a Record Users also read: How to Get Started with Indexing Online

Explore Your Global Heritage with the New FamilySearch Country Pages

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:42

We are all proud of where we come from. Whether you’re a first-generation immigrant, or you have just discovered your roots by taking a DNA test, your national heritage is an intrinsic part of who you are. Your international roots tell you about a lot more than just yourself—knowing where you come from is an integral step to learning about your ancestors.

FamilySearch’s country pages provide resources for those seeking to learn more about their heritage across the globe. Each page contains information that teaches where your family comes from, gives resources to help you start your research, and provides links to FamilySearch’s records collections for that country.

Explore the FamilySearch country pages by clicking the links below! You might learn something about yourself, where you come from, or the world around you.

If you don’t see the country you are looking for, check back. We’ll be adding more!

China Italy Denmark Mexico

Finland Sweden

Three Key Functions of the Archives of Michigan—Kris Rzepczynski at RootsTech 2019

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:05

At RootsTech 2019, archivist Kris Rzepczynski shared one of his favorite records—the death certificate of Harry Houdini. (See it here.) Because the famous magician died in Detroit, Rzepczynski has access to the document through the Archives of Michigan, a treasure trove of records any family history enthusiast can appreciate.

Rzepczynski, a senior archivist at the Archives of Michigan, spoke during the Access and Preservation Day at RootsTech about this massive repository of records in his presentation “Access and Preservation in Action: The Archives of Michigan and Seeking Michigan.”

Three Key Functions

In his presentation, Rzepczynski explained the three key functions of the Archives of Michigan:

1. The archive is responsible for collecting and preserving important records for the state of Michigan. The collection also includes primary documents from local private individuals and organizations.

2. The Archives of Michigan manages the Abrams Foundation Historical Collection, which provides published genealogical materials for states east of the Mississippi River, including the Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern states. They also service the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

3. The archive’s digital platform, SeekingMichigan.org, provides family historians and others with access to many valuable records, including death records, Civil War service records, GLO plat maps, photographs, and all known surviving state census records. New digitized records are added regularly to the website. Thanks to the support of the Abrams Foundation, SeekingMichigan.org is a free website. It also operates independent of the government. Those who run this platform are currently working with FamilySearch to publish naturalization and probate collections.

Our Success

Rzepczynski attributed the Archives of Michigan’s success to four things: the Abrams Foundation and its contributions, the visionary leadership of the state archivist and other state leaders, relationships with organizations including FamilySearch and the Michigan Genealogical Council, and great records.

“We do everything we can to assist and work with genealogists,” Kris said.

Kris Rzepczynski is a senior archivist at the Archives of Michigan, where he specializes in family history and Michigan research. Rzepczynski has worked in the genealogical community for nearly 20 years. He holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts degree in history from Western Michigan University. He is a former vice president of membership for the Federation of Genealogical Societies and a former president of the Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society.

Using the 1940 U.S. Census to Build Your Family Tree

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 10:28

If you’re looking for ancestors who were alive in 1940 in the United States, the census is one of the best resources available. The 1940 census has the most detailed information of all United States censuses that have been released so far. 1940 U.S. census data is also a fantastic starting place for building or extending your family tree.  

Let’s take a closer look at this census. (If you would like to learn more about censuses in general, see “U.S. Census Records.”)

Who Can You Find in the 1940 Census?

Are you searching for information about a grandparent, a great-grandparent, or another close relative? Your ancestors might be in the 1940 census if the following conditions apply:  

  1. They were alive at 12:01 a.m. on April 1, 1940, the official census date.i  
  2. They lived in one of the following places in the United States:
    1. The 48 existing states at the time 
    2. The District of Columbia 
    3. The following territories: 
      1. Alaska
      2. American Samoa
      3. Guam 
      4. Hawaii 
      5. The Panama Canal Zone 
      6. Puerto Rico 
      7. The Virgin Islands 
      8. An American consulateii 

Since the 1940 census was released to the public in 2012, it is possible that the 1940 census information about your relatives may not have been added to your family tree. Gather the information you already know about your ancestors who were alive in 1940, and get ready to start searching! 

How to Search 1940 Census Data

The 1940 U.S. census collection has been indexed and is available on most major genealogy sites, including FamilySearch.org.

On FamilySearch.org, you can use your relative’s name, sex, race, marital status, residence, and more to narrow your record results. In the 1940 U.S. census collection, you can even search according to where your ancestors lived in 1935. 

How to Read a 1940 Census Record 

To get the most from the 1940 census, it helps to understand the information it contains. When you first look at a census page, it might seem overwhelming! But we can break the page into five sections to make it easier to understand.

  • Section 1: Information about the family’s residence, including the street address, house number, and whether they owned or rented. 
  • Section 2: The person’s name and some personal information, such as age, marital status, birthplace, and citizenship. 
  • Section 3: The person’s residence information for 1935, five years prior to this census.  
  • Section 4: Detailed employment information, including occupation, industry, salary, and even length of unemployment prior to the census. 
  • Section 5: Additional information about two people on the census page, including parents’ birthplaces, native language, age at first marriage, and even whether the person had a Social Security number. 
What Are All the Codes on 1940 U.S. Census Records?

Some columns on the 1940 census included codes that may seem confusing. Explanations for most codes appear at the bottom of the census page, but you may find it easier to read the explanations on this National Archives page for the 1940 U.S. census.  

When you look at a 1940 census record, you might also notice that some column headings have letters instead of numbers. The columns with letters don’t contain unique information, but they may make it easier to read a record. If needed, you can use this handy tool to understand the codes in these columns.  

Clues That Are Unique to the 1940 Census

While most United States censuses contain the same basic information (name, age, marital status, and so forth), each census also offers unique information. These clues in 1940 census data may give additional insights about your ancestors: 

  • Who provided the information. In the 1940 U.S. census, a circled X appears next to the name of the person the census taker talked to in each household. If someone outside the home was the informant—for instance, a neighbor—that person’s name appears in the left margin.iii Knowing who the informant was can give you a clue to how accurate the information is. 
  • Residence in 1935. Knowing where someone lived in 1935 may help you find the same person in earlier census records or confirm that you have found the right family.
  • Employment Information. Employment information is much more detailed in the 1940 census than in earlier censuses. For example, people not currently working were asked if they were looking for work and even how long they had been out of work. You can feel a connection to your family by learning more about their employment situation.
  • Supplementary Questions. In this census, census takers were instructed to ask two people on each page some extra questions. (The two people were indicated by marks in the margin.) If your relative was asked extra questions, you get a wealth of additional information. For instance, the marriage information here can help you estimate a marriage year or notify you of multiple marriages. If you find a Social Security number in this section, you can look in Social Security records for more information.  

Read more about “Questions on the 1940 U.S. Census” on the FamilySearch blog. 

Try it Yourself

Want to practice using the 1940 census? Use the 1940 U.S. census collection on FamilySearch.org to try the following tasks. (Answers are below.) 

  1. Who gave the information for John W. Quibell’s household?  
  2. Philis Bowermaster was born in Ohio. Where did he live in 1935? 
  3. What is the relationship of Clifton R. Entwistle to his head of household? What was Clifton’s occupation and industry? 
  4. Margaret Esquibel was chosen to answer the supplementary questions. Was Margaret married more than once? How old was she at the time of her first marriage? (Hint: See columns 48 and 49.) 
  5. Choose some of your own family members who was alive in 1940 and locate them in the 1940 U.S. census. What were their occupations? Who was enumerated with your family members? If they were chosen to complete the supplementary questions, what else do you learn about them? 

The 1940 U.S. census is a wonderful tool for connecting with your family who lived in the United States. Use this census to gain a more complete picture of your family and extend your family lines.

More Information on the 1940 U.S. Census  View U.S. Census Records on the Following Websites  

Records on FamilySearch.org are free to the public. Fees and other terms may apply for these other sites. 

Answers to TryItYourself Tasks 
  1. John’s wife Annie gave the information for the household. 
  2. In 1935, Philis Bowermaster lived in Jefferson County, Ohio. 
  3. Clifton R. Entwistle is listed as a brother of the head of household. He was listed as a clerk in the supreme court. 
  4. Margaret Esquibel was not married more than once. She was age 20 when she got married. 


Exploring Your Danish Heritage

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 14:23

Denmark is a country that may sometimes be overlooked, but recently it has started attracting more of the limelight. Lonely Planet picked Copenhagen as its top city to visit in 2019. After all, doesn’t a country that consistently finishes in the top 5 in the World Happiness Report deserve a little attention?  

So what’s great about Denmark? As the land of Viking explorers, LEGO bricks, Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, and smørrebrød sandwiches, Denmark has a rich heritage. It also has one of the highest standards of living in the world.  

If you have Danish ancestors, FamilySearch has a strong collection of online Danish records that can help you find them. With immigration records, thorough church records, and even government census records available to you, your search efforts to are likely to yield positive results!  

But before you jump into locating names and dates, take a moment to learn a little more about your Danish heritage. 

Search for your Danish Ancestors A History of Denmark 

Although Denmark may be an exemplar of peace and prosperity now, this hasn’t always been the case. Much of Denmark’s history is entangled with other Scandinavian countries. These countries shared an early Viking history, a period and people known for raids and war. 

 In 1397, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland united in the Kalmar Union. This union lasted well over 100 years until Sweden declared its independence. A series of wars followed.  

In the 1814 Congress of Vienna at the conclusion of the Napoleonic wars, Denmark was forced to give up Norway. Iceland gained independence in the 20th century. But Greenland, colonized by Denmark in 1721, remains officially part of the kingdom of Denmark. Understanding these border changes can be important in locating records about your family.  

Because of the importance of church records in tracing ancestors, a basic understanding of religion in Denmark is also useful. Christianity entered Denmark in 965. In the 1520s, the Reformation swept through with vigor. Denmark officially became Lutheran in 1536. Even today, 74 percent of Danes identify as Lutheran.  

Many of Denmark’s church records have been preserved and are indexed. However, keep in mind that using church records takes some familiarity with reading the Gothic script as well as with the patronymic naming system in which children took on a form of their father’s first name instead of his last name.   

Life in Denmark Today 

Today, the concept of hygge is at the center of Danish life and culture. Hygge is a word meant to capture coziness or the good things in life—friends, family, relaxing, gathering.  

Many people attribute Denmark’s hygge and high happiness ratings to its egalitarian society, which gives everyone free access to quality education and healthcare. Others link it partially to a slower pace of life. The average workweek in Denmark is 37 hours, and more people ride bikes than drive cars in Copenhagen. Collectively, Danes bike about 1.6 kilometers per day.  

Danish Emigration  

Although few Danes are looking to leave their country now, Denmark experienced a strong emigration movement in the 19th century. Today, 5 million Danes live outside of Denmark, including 1.4 million in the United States and 50,000 in Germany. 

Danish emigration started as early as the 1600s but was only a trickle until the 1850s. Emigration gradually increased during the next decades, peaking in the 1880s. For many emigrants, the motivation was economic. The population had increased rapidly, decreasing the amount of land available.  

The promise of land in the United States proved an irresistible draw for some. Many Danes settled in the Midwestern United States, where farmland abounded. Copenhagen was the most popular port for Danes to leave from. Records here begin in 1869 and are available on FamilySearch.org and in other places. However, keep in mind that some Danes did leave through Hamburg or other ports.  

Ready to learn even more about your own Danish heritage? Follow the links below, and start looking for new Danish ancestors to add to your family tree. 

Danish Church and Census Records

Danish Church and Census Records

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 11:45

Danish records are an excellent resource for family history! While individual situations vary, if you have Danish heritage, it is often possible to extend your family line to the middle of the 17th century.

FamilySearch has an excellent online Danish collection, with millions of images and records. Read on to learn more about what you can find.

A Brief History of Danish Records

On May 30, 1645, King Christian IV decreed that all parishes in eastern Denmark were to record the christenings, marriages, and burials for each person in the parish. The following year, this same requirement was made to apply to the rest of Denmark.

Starting in 1812, it was required that two copies of these records be kept, each in a separate location. Only in the most extreme of circumstances are there no parish records after 1814, when general compliance began.

Danish Birth and Christening Records

Birth and christening records give information about each child born or christened in the parish. In Danish, these are called fødelse og dåb optegnelser.

Information you can find in these records includes the following:

  • Name of the child
  • Name of the father
  • Name of the mother
  • The family’s residence
  • Names of the godparents

After 1814, the name of the mother was always listed. Before 1814, often only the name of the father was included.

Learn more about Danish birth and christening records.

Danish Confirmation Records

Confirmation records were made of each person who was confirmed a member of the Danish church. Confirmation first became required in 1736 and typically took place when a person was between the ages of 14–19. These records are a middle record between birth and marriage and help establish residency. In Danish, confirmation records are called konfirmations optegnelser.

Information you can find in these records includes the following:

  • Name of the teenager
  • Age of the teenager
  • Name of the father
  • Name of the mother (after 1814)

Learn more about Danish confirmation records.

Danish Engagement and Marriage Records

Engagement and marriage records are records of each bride and groom who were engaged or married in the parish. In Danish, these records are called trolovelse og vielser optegnelser.

Information you can find in these records includes the following:

  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Date of the engagement
  • Date of the wedding
  • Residence of the bride and groom
  • Age of the bride and groom

Learn more about Danish engagement and marriage records.

Danish Moving-In and Moving-Out Records

Starting in 1814, priests also recorded information about people who moved in and out of their parishes. These records are wonderful for tracking a family over time! Often these records continue until 1875. In Danish, these records are called tilgangs-lister og afgangs-lister.

Information you can find in these records includes the following:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Place moving to or from in the other parish
  • Date of the move

Learn more about Danish moving-in and moving-out records.

Danish Death and Burial Records

Death and burial records give information about each person who died or was buried in the parish. In Danish, these records are called døde og begravelser optegnelser.

Information you can find in these records includes the following:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Name of the person’s father or husband
  • Date of death
  • Date of burial
  • Place of residence
  • Age at the time of death
  • Cause of death

Prior to 1814, death and burial records might refer to women only by their husband’s name and might give only the date of burial rather than the date of death.

Learn more about Danish death and burial records.

Danish Census Records

In addition to parish records, Denmark also kept excellent census records. The first national census was taken in 1769, but only fragments survive. The second census was in 1787, and all censuses from this point on contain wonderful information to help you find your family.

Information you can find in these records includes the following:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Relationship to the head of the household
  • Parish of birth (after 1845)

Learn more about Danish census records.

Now that you’ve learned about Denmark’s records, search FamilySearch’s Danish record collections, and find your family—hopefully you’ll learn something new!

Exploring Your Danish Heritage

Finding her Chinese Family: Sannie Phaik San Lewis

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:46

On January 8, 2019, Sannie Lewis, a Malaysian American from American Fork, Utah, slipped and slid as she climbed a muddy path up a tree-covered hill in rural Guangxi Province, China. At the top of the hill, a Chinese family—her Chinese family—welcomed her. Although she had never met them before, she had already come to know and love them from more than 7,000 miles away. 

At an ancient ancestral cottage still used by her family, relatives were gathered from throughout the village and surrounding countryside to greet her.

 “Because they were so welcoming, I felt like I had an instant connection with them,” Sannie said.

After a series of introductions and stories, a distant cousin presented Sannie with a 1,000-page book—a jiapu, or a Chinese compiled genealogy. The jiapu covered 77 generations of her family reaching back to her first known ancestor, Lu Tong, who was born in northern China during the fourth century B.C.

This unlikely family reunion would have seemed impossible just a year earlier. 

The Clues

Sannie was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents who immigrated there before the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Sannie’s journey to find her family began in September 2017 when she went to Malaysia to help her mother. Among her mother’s things, Sannie discovered a Chinese booklet of her family genealogy.

Because Sannie had attended an English school, she could not read the faded, nearly illegible characters. Although she had learned to speak Cantonese, she could neither read nor write Chinese. She nearly disposed of the book, but decided instead to take it home to the United States.

Help with the Language

Earlier, Sannie’s mother had told a friend, Danielle Leach, of the genealogy book she had. When Sannie returned home from Malaysia, Danielle’s husband, Eric Leach, approached her about the book. Eric is an IT specialist with FamilySearch . He spent two years in Taiwan, where he learned Chinese. After returning home, he earned a master’s degree in Chinese and Chinese history. He was willing to help her translate the book.

According to Sannie, Eric went the full distance to assist her. He translated the entire genealogy of her mother’s line. Much information was ancient, but Eric was up to the task. He interpreted the Chinese Lunar calendar dates and traced ancient names to their modern versions. He wrote to the provinces and cities to get help in finding Sannie’s maternal family, the Loke family, and they responded.

“He was wonderful. What he found strikes deep into my heart. I owe much to my ancestors, and they are waiting for me to do their genealogy work,” Sannie said.

The possibility of finding her ancestors had seemed remote. Sannie knew neither of her grandfathers. Her parents, who divorced, knew little about their ancestry. Her grandmothers had passed away, and no one had kept documents.

 Information and connection were completely cut off, Sannie explained. Although she was interested, she saw no way to find her ancestry. She glossed over it and thought, “Someday I’ll do my genealogy. Nobody has any information. I don’t even know where to begin.”

But the call to find her past beckoned to her. “When Eric asked me for the genealogy book, I thought, ‘It will know where to go.’ He translated the story from where the family began—back to 300–400 B.C.” Eric also gathered background on the family story from being able to read the language.

Relatives in China

Sannie’s son, anticipating a two-week winter break from school, wanted to visit his ancestral land. Sannie was hesitant to go. However, she introduced him to Eric, who mentored him.

Eric knew other Chinese dialects, so he accompanied Sannie and her son to China and interpreted for them. To Sannie’s delight, some of her relatives spoke Cantonese so she could speak with them herself.

Sannie learned that during the Cultural Revolution, several jiapu, including the jiapu of Sannie’s maternal Loke family, were destroyed. However, the family quickly rerecorded the genealogy before it was forgotten.

 Sannie was deeply moved by her cousins’ generosity in giving her a copy of their book. As she tearfully thanked them, they kept repeating the words “Yang gai de,” a phrase referring to an inner drive to share with family. “It’s what we owe to each other, what we owe to our family, what we owe to our ancestors,” Sannie explained. 

The jiapu Sannie’s family gave her was an update of her mother’s book. It included a little information about her maternal grandfather and two sons. Sannie supplied additional information that she knew. Eric wrote it and sent it to Sannie’s family so they could add it to the next jiapu update, a task repeated about every 10 years.

Finding Your Chinese Roots

Tracing genealogy back into China is difficult, Sannie says. “It’s so hard for us. We are so scattered. Most of us don’t have records of where we come from. We are immigrant Chinese. The Cultural Revolution destroyed some of our history. But the Loke family gave me a copy of the only book they had in their family, and I brought it back.”

Sannie continues, “We as people read a lot of stories that intrigue us, but the coolest stories are about us. Our family. Real people, not fictitious characters. We share the same blood. Our families are calling to be recognized and rediscovered through family research. Finding that past is almost an archeological find. Go dig, go find.  Find your living relatives. Then go find the people who are waiting for you to find them—people who share your same blood.”  

FamilySearch has several resources for those seeking their Chinese heritage. Learn more about jiapu, Chinese genealogy research, Chinese last names, and much more—and how this information can help you search for your own family.



How to Find My Chinese Ancestors

Chinese Genealogy Research Chinese Last Names: A History of Culture and Family

New Records on FamilySearch from April 2019

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 14:30

FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in April of 2019 with an astounding 47.4 million new indexed family history records from all over the world. Over 272,000 new digital images were added as well. New historical records were added from Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Cook Islands, England, France, French Polynesia, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Wales, and the United States, which includes Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. United States records also include Border Crossings from Canada, Freedmen’s Bureau Ration Records, World War I Draft records, and World War I Service Questionnaires. FamilySearch also added digital images from BillionGraves, Colombia, and Missouri.

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

CountryCollectionIndexed RecordsDigital ImagesCommentsAustraliaAustralia, South Australia, Immigrants Ship Papers, 1849-194049,1590Added indexed records to an existing collectionCanadaNew Brunswick, Late Registration of Births, 1810-18991200Added indexed records to an existing collectionColombiaColombia, Catholic Church Records, 1576-20180103,792Added images to an existing collectionCook IslandsCook Islands, Public Records, 1846-19893,5820Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Northumberland, Parish Registers, 1538-19506,9210Added indexed records to an existing collectionFranceFrance, Calvados, Military Registration Cards, 1867-19213,6510Added indexed records to an existing collectionFranceFrance, Saône-et-Loire, Census, 18361200Added indexed records to an existing collectionFranceFrance, Saône-et-Loire, Census, 1896622,8110New indexed records collectionFrench PolynesiaFrench Polynesia, Civil Registration, 1780-199915,0340Added indexed records to an existing collectionItalyItaly, Macerata, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1808-18144370Added indexed records to an existing collectionItalyItaly, Napoli, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-186531,9670Added indexed records to an existing collectionItalyItaly, Pesaro e Urbino, Urbino, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1866-19425,6910Added indexed records to an existing collectionItalyItaly, Salerno, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1806-19499790Added indexed records to an existing collectionItalyItaly, Trento, Diocesi di Trento, Catholic Church Records, 1548-193748,0940Added indexed records to an existing collectionLuxembourgLuxembourg, Civil Registration, 1796-194116,2150Added indexed records to an existing collectionNew ZealandNew Zealand, Cemetery Transcriptions, 1840-198111,3740Added indexed records to an existing collectionOtherBillionGraves Index168,465168,465Added indexed records and images to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Áncash, Civil Registration, 1888-2005195,7780Added indexed records to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Tacna Civil Registration, 1850-19981,6180Added indexed records to an existing collectionPhilippinesPhilippines Civil Registration (National) 1945-19849,7180Added indexed records to an existing collectionSouth AfricaSouth Africa, Transvaal, Civil Marriages, 1870-19301190Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited KingdomEngland and Wales National Register, 193942,048,3060New indexed records collection. Accessible through FamilySearch Family History Centers.United StatesColorado, Statewide Divorce Index, 1900-19392,2380Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesConnecticut, World War I, Military Census of Nurses, 19171320Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesFlorida, World War I Navy Card Roster, 1917-19201370Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesGeorgia Deaths, 1928-19421,5100Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesGeorgia, World War I, Statement of Service Cards, 1920-19294,0100Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesIllinois, Macon County, Decatur Public Library Collections, 1879-20071,1070Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesIowa, Birth Records, 1921-1942301,4290Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesIowa, Death Records, 1904-195111,7390Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesIowa, Monroe County, Card index of births, deaths & marriages from newspaper clippings, 1898-201590Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesIowa, Records of Persons Subject to Military Duty, 1862-1910282,7860Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesKentucky, Louisville, Cemetery Index Cards, 1840-19881200Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesLouisiana, Ascension Parish, Index of Marriages, 1773-196339,8350Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMaine, Tombstone Inscriptions, Surname Index, 1620-20143,2980Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMassachusetts, Boston Crew Lists, 1917-19432,019,0820Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMassachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-17833,9110Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMichigan, Census of World War I Veterans with Card Index, 1917-1919277,2450New indexed records collectionUnited StatesMichigan, County Births, 1867-19171040Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMinnesota, County Deaths, 1850-2001138,4860Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMississippi, World War I Army Veterans, Master alphabetical index, 1917-19181,5170Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMissouri Births, 1817-19396,3910Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMissouri Deaths, 1835-197642,2890Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMissouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-19910623Added images to an existing collectionUnited StatesMissouri, Pre-WWII Adjutant General Enlistment Contracts, 1900-19413580Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMontana, Cascade County Records, 1880-20096320Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMontana, Flathead County Records, 1871-20071,4540Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMontana, Granite County Records, 1865-2009130Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMontana, Military Records, 1904-19181,7790Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesNew Hampshire, Hillsborough County, Manchester, Cemetery Records, 1800-20075,9900Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesNew Jersey, Reclaim the Records, New Jersey Birth Index, 1901-19039,8990Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesNorth Carolina, County Divorce Records, 1926-197510140Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesNorth Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records, 1867-20066460Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesNorth Carolina, Historical Records Survey, Cemetery Inscription Card Index1350Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesOhio, Marietta Cemetery Records, 1788-20133110Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesOhio, Summit County, Coroner Inquests, Hospital and Cemetery Records, 1882-194911,8580Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesOhio, World War I Statement of Service Cards, 1914-191930,4250New indexed records collectionUnited StatesOregon, World War I, County Military Service Records, 1919-1920330Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesOregon, World War I, Veteran State Aid Applications, 1921-19381,5050Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesPennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-19067,0750Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesTennessee Deaths, 1914-19666,0970Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesTexas Birth Certificates, 1903-1935120Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesTexas, Bexar County, San Antonio Cemetery Records, 1893-20074890Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUnited States, Border Crossings from Canada to United States, 1894-195410,2970Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUnited States, Freedmen’s Bureau Ration Records,1865-187210,6980Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUnited States, World War I American Expeditionary Forces Deaths, 1917-19194090Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUtah, World War I County Draft Board Registers, Name Index, 1917-1918137,8050New indexed records collectionUnited StatesUtah, World War I Service Questionnaires, 1914-19186,4960New indexed records collectionUnited StatesVirginia, Danville City Cemetery Records, 1833-200640Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesVirginia, Lynchburg, Diuguid Funeral Home records, 1820-19716700Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesVirginia, Petersburg, Gillfield Baptist Church Record, 1827-19061680Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesWashington, Native American, Census Records, 1880-19525,9220Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesWyoming, Reclaim the Records, State Archives Vital Records, 1908-1966297,5950New indexed records collectionVenezuelaVenezuela, Archdiocese of Valencia, Catholic Church Records, 1760, 1905-2013471,0690Added indexed records to an existing collectionWalesWales, Marriage Bonds, 1650-19001,4300Added indexed records to an existing collection