Archive for December, 2008

Genealogy is Like a Treasure Hunt

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

For those of you who like to watch rightful heirs earn an inheritance, there is a show just for you titled The Wealth Hunters.

In a treasure hunt, most treasure hunters try to find the treasure. Heir Hunters International, America’s preeminent heir finding firm that produced The Wealth Hunters, starts with the treasure and try to find out to whom it belongs. Their job is to trace millions of unclaimed dollars back to their owners. They could be looking for you. Often, the Heir Hunter team uses genealogical research to hunt for these clues.

According to Heir Hunters, 8 out of 10 individuals of the general population have some stake in an asset–have some money coming to them. That asset may be an inheritance, the right to open a safety deposit box, etc.

The pilot episode of The Wealth Hunters aired last week. However, if you are interested in watching clips of the show, here are the links:

Heir Hunters International on Court TV Part 1
Heir Hunters International on Court TV Part 2
Heir Hunters International on Court TV Part 3

About Heir Hunters International
Heir Hunters International is a company whose purpose is to search the world over for those who could possibly have an interest in an asset. Heir Hunters International produced The Wealth Hunters.

“What Content Do You Have That I Can’t Get Anywhere Else?”

Monday, December 15th, 2008

At WorldVitalRecords.com, we are often asked, “What content do you have that I can’t get anywhere else?

This is obviously an important question, as there are several subscription genealogy database sites available. In this article, we’ll detail some of our unique content.

Through our exclusive relationships in the family history community we are able to provide more than150 databases and 200 million records that are unique to our search engine, and this number continues to grow!

Here is a list of some of the unique content at WorldVitalRecords.com, with a short description of each database.

American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI) will be exclusively available at WorldVitalRecords.com beginning next month! The AGBI is a 226-volume, every name index of hundreds of genealogies, including unindexed and partially indexed genealogies. The AGBI also indexes the “Boston Transcript” genealogical column that appeared from 1896 to 1941, the 1790 census, parts of the Pennsylvania Archives, and various vital, church, and military records. About 300 large libraries, in addition to the Godfrey Library, have print copies. The American Genealogical Biographical Index is an invaluable first step in any genealogical search.

Family Tree DNA: The Family Tree DNA database contains 222,723 records–141,774 males and 80,949 females, with records being added every day. As of December 10, there are 85,492 unique surnames. The list is growing rapidly in the United States and because of more rare surnames in Poland, Finland, and throughout Europe.

Social Security Death Index: Historical Events and GeoMapping: This feature, unique to WorldVitalRecords.com, pairs a subject’s information from the Social Security Death Index and other databases to events in history, as well as to Google and Microsoft satellite mapping technology.  This is another fascinating way to add texture and background to research.

SmallTownPapers®: With current agreements, including those with SmallTownPapers, NewspaperARCHIVE, and The International Collection, we have the most diverse collection of newspapers on the Web. SmallTownPapers is a database of more than 300 newspapers, with data beginning as early as 1865 from some samples. It is an invaluable source of information on both individuals and regions, and provides necessary background texture to research.

Ellis Island Passenger Arrival Records:  Ellis Island was arguably the most important port for immigrants to the United States for the thirty years around the turn of the previous century.  This collection contains details for more than 24 million passengers and crew who arrived through the Port of New York at Ellis Island between January 1, 1892 and December 31, 1924. This index is provided in cooperation with FamilySearch and The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and contains passenger name, residence, year of arrival, and age on arrival.

WebTree Index:  This is an index of more than 12.5 million family names submitted to the WebTree website. Growing at a fantastic rate, WebTree is a valuable tool both for displaying research and for collecting information to add to your tree.

Scottish Deaths: The Scottish Death Records on WorldVitalRecords.com were extracted from parish records of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Specific parishes include Cockpen, Midlothian; Cranston; Crichton; Dalkeith; Dunfermline, Fife; Edinburgh; Fala; Gladsmuir; Heriot; Humbie; Newbattle; Pencaitland, Midlothian; Prestonpans, East Lothian; Salton; Shotts; Tranent, East Lothian. Record information may contain family relatives, occupation, residence, cause of death, the modern name for cause of death, the individual’s parish, county, and estimated date of birth.

Genealogical Helper (1946-2001): Everton’s Genealogical Helper is a venerable trade magazine in the genealogical industry emphasizing genealogical content, continuing education, and research resources, for both professional and amateur family history researchers.

Everton Publishers Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets: Originally called Everton’s Root Cellar, this database now contains more than 3.5 million names in more than 150,000 pedigree charts and family group sheets.

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild: More than 9,000 ship lists. As indexed in our global search, this is the most useable and unique version of this data in the industry.

Nauvoo Land Records: This database is a collection of abstracts of property transactions in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, and its surrounding communities for the years 1839-1859.

Australia and New Zealand Records: Almost 20 million searchable names from every state in Australia and New Zealand.

German and Hungarian Land Census records from 19th Century: About 25 counties have been extracted, with a total of more than 1.5 million names.

Take advantage of our special holiday offer and gain access to all of these unique databases, and much, much, more! Purchase the World Collection for only 99.40 ($20 savings). The US Collection has also been discounted to $34.95 ($5 savings)!

Upload Your Family Tree at We’re Related

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Many of you have used We’re Related to connect with your family members on Facebook, to upload photos, to share news, and to give gifts. One feature you may not have used is the We’re Related Tree. The We’re Related Tree allows you to easily input put in your pedigree chart onto the We’re Related application.

Here’s how you add your chart: First, go to the We’re Related application on Facebook.com. Next, simply click on the Tree button. Once you click on this button, you should see a pedigree chart with your picture as the starting point. Next begin to add information, starting with your father and mother. To add information, click on the title where you would like to add information. For example, if you would like to list the name of your mother, you would click on Add Mother. Once you click on this link, you will be prompted to input information including first name, last name, birth date, birth place, death date, death place, and email address. There is also a feature to “Link this individual to one of my Facebook friends“.

Once you have added all of the information, click on the Add Mother button (Depending on the information you are adding, the caption on this button will vary.). If you don’t know all of the information, just include what you do know. If you need to edit the information you have added, click on the edit button in the top, right-hand corner of the box that lists the individual whose information you would like to edit.

Next, click on the Tree Permissions button. This feature allows you to choose relatives and friends whom you would like to be able to view your tree. You can also see a list of your friends on Facebook and select the names of individuals whose tree you would like to view. If you select a friend or family member, a request will be sent to this individual. Once he or she confirms that you can view their tree, you will be able to access it.

We’re Related formerly offered a feature to upload GEDCOMs. Within the next week, this feature will be working again, making it that much easier to upload your family tree information and share it with your family on Facebook.

Find Deep Ancestral Roots Using Family Tree DNA Database

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Discover your deep ancestral origins starting with a quick search of this week’s Major Collection that features records from the Family Tree DNA database. These records will point individuals to the information collected by Family Tree DNA. Although access to the records will always be free at WorldVitalRecords.com, individuals will need to pay for the DNA kit at the Family Tree DNA website to see how they fit in with the ever-growing compilation of information.

Family Tree DNA, started in April 2000, now has 223,373 names–141,774 males and 80,949 females, with new names being added every day. As of December 10, there are 85,492 unique surnames.

Family Tree DNA is the only organization in the field of Genetic Genealogy that has been constantly developing the particular science that assists many genealogists around the world to advance their family’s research. They currently have the largest DNA databases in the field of genetic genealogy.

Uncovering The Legacy Pages

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

One of the little known features on the WorldVitalRecords.com Web site is the Legacy Pages. Did you know that WorldVitalRecords.com used to be a reference site only, a few years before it became a subscription site? This old WorldVitalRecords.com site is still part of the current site, but the material in the site are referred to as “Legacy Pages.”

The Legacy Pages contain about 150 links to sites where you can find US state vital records, with notes that indicate the number of records on the site, the date range of the records, whether or not the site is free, and comments about what can be found on the site.

The Site Map contains links to virtually every important searchable database on our site as well as links to our Legacy Pages. You can access the Legacy Pages here: http://www.worldvitalrecords.com/site-map.aspx. Just click on that link and scroll down to the bottom of the page until you see the words Legacy Pages.

Many of these pages were created for our original reference site. The Legacy Pages also contain links to historic timelines for many US states and several countries. These timelines contain information that can provide you with a historical context for when your ancestors lived. Your children may also find them helpful when doing history reports!

For example, the Montana timeline http://www.worldvitalrecords.com/montanatimeline.html starts at the 1740s when French explorers are believed to have explored the area. Before the white settlers arrived, Montana was the home to many Indian tribes. On the other hand, the Netherlands timeline http://www.worldvitalrecords.com/netherlandstimeline.html starts at 50 BC with Julius Caesar and extends to 2002.

Take the time to learn about the legacy of your ancestors. The Legacy Pages on WorldVitalRecords.com are completely free to access!

How Do I Get The Most Out of My WorldVitalRecords.com Subscription?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

First of all, we are thrilled that you are a member of WorldVitalRecords.com, and if you aren’t, we hope you will consider subscribing soon! At WorldVitalRecords.com, we want you to get the most out of your subscription. To help you with this endeavor, here are a few tips and facts to assist you along the way…

  1. Read the weekly newsletter. The newsletter provides you with information on upcoming databases, the major collection, company and industry news, and genealogical tips. The newsletter is free and is sent out every Thursday evening.
  2. If you know the location of the ancestor you are searching, try researching using the Places button on the main toolbar on the top left hand corner of the homepage. The Places button allows you to search by country and also by state.
  3. We add content every business day. If you cannot find the content you are searching for today, try again in the future.
  4. If you are looking for a certain collection on our site, try our Browse Popular Collections button When you click on this button, you will be directed to a page containing more than 26 of our most popular collections, including SmallTownPapers, Find My Past, Genealogical Publishing Company, and many more.
  5. On WorldVitalRecords.com, our data is separated into World Collection and US Collection. Any content from the World Collection (any content outside of the US) is represented by the following symbol: Any content from the US collection is represented by the following symbol: Any content that is free, is represented by the following symbol: WorldVitalRecords.com offers a US Collection annual membership for $3.33 per month, and a World Collection annual membership for only $9.95 per month. (Note, you must purchase a subscription for a year to receive that low month-per-month rate.)
  6. If you perform a search at WorldVitalRecords.com and do not find the results you need, try putting just the first name and surname into the Search Box. Sometimes when you perform an advanced search with content in every box, the results you need to do not show up because one of the pieces of information in the box is not documented in the database. Simple is good sometimes!
  7. If you need assistance, please contact our Customer Support Team. Simply call our toll-free number 888-377-0588 to speak with a representative. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. -5 p.m (MST).
  8. Share your research findings with your family. They may be able to provide tips and additional information you need to assist with your searching.
  9. The WorldVitalRecords.com site map has been designed to help you quickly find the specific place you want to visit on the site. Here is the link: http://www.worldvitalrecords.com/site-map.aspx.
  10. WorldVitalRecords.com provides 3 types of surname searching. The “Matching Type” option lets you select what type of search you would like to do. The three options are “Exact“, “Soundex“, and “Double Metaphone.” To access these options, you must perform an advanced search. Here is the link to begin an advanced search: http://www.worldvitalrecords.com/search.aspx

Why Be Concerned About Great Grandpa’s Health?

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Over the holiday break, I had the opportunity to talk with my aunt who was adopted when she was a child. She is now in her 40’s. A few years ago, she decided she wanted to try to find her real parents. My aunt has had many health problems. In fact, she has been a multiple kidney transplant recipient and has experienced dialysis, and a variety of other challenges.

The first time she needed a kidney transplant her adopted sister actually matched up and was able to donate her kidney to her. It was a great blessing! When my aunt was telling me about the search to find her mother (and she was able to locate her – although she found her a little too late because her mother had passed away a year prior to that time.), she said that one of the main reasons she was interested in finding out who her real parents are was because she wanted to better understand their health history. In fact, she was very curious to know whether her mother or father also had kidney problems. As my aunt was speaking with me, I started asking myself, “What do I know about my family’s health history? and “Why should this information be important to me?”

During the rest of this article, I would like to discuss the importance of knowing the health history of your family.

Why Should I Know My Family’s Health History?

Knowing your family’s health history is important for a variety of reasons. Oftentimes diseases and health problems can run in families. For example, if your grandmother has high blood pressure, your mother may also have high blood pressure. In fact, your blood pressure may be high as well. This is true for many health problems such as cancer, heart problems, diabetes, etc. If you have had a medical examination, you may recall that before the doctor treats you, you are often asked to fill out a stream of papers documenting your medical history.

Acting Surgeon General Steven K Galson, M.D., M.P.H., declared Thanksgiving 2008 as the fifth annual National Family History Day. When you are gathered with your family for the holidays (perhaps for Christmas, since Thanksgiving has past), Dr. Galson encourages you to talk with your family and/or write down your families health history. He claims that by taking the time to do this, you may ensure a longer, healthier future together.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has created a program to allow you to create on the Web a personalized family health history report. Here is the link if you want to try it out: https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/.

I decided to fill it out, and here are the results:

Both of my grandparents passed away from heart problems, so heart disease is something that I (as well as my family members) should pay attention to. If heart disease runs in your family, here are some ways to prevent it:

1. Participate in a form of physical activity each day.
2. Do not smoke. If you do smoke, take steps to stop smoking.
3. Eat healthy: Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterols, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains

How Do I Learn More About My Family Health History?

The best way to find out about your family health history is simply to talk with your family. Ask your parents about the health history of your grandparents and great grandparents. If you are a parent, talk to your children about your family health history.

Records From Queensland: Public Service Employees, Classification Lists, and Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions

Friday, December 5th, 2008


The major collection this week at WorldVitalRecords.com includes a variety of records from the Queensland Family History Society, Queensland’s leading family history and genealogy organization as well as the State’s largest genealogical bookshop.

The databases in this launch include the following (Note the Queensland Public Service database has been launched. The rest of the databases will be launched throughout the week.)

* Queensland Public Service 1864 – 1948
* Classification List of the Queensland Loco Enginemen, Firemen, & Cleaners 1912 South
* Brisbane Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions
* Toowong Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions

The Queensland Public Service 1864 – 1948 database includes:

1. An index to approx 65,000 Queensland Public Service Employees’ entries published periodically in the Queensland Government Gazette from 1864 to 1948 (or Queensland Blue Book for 1870-1879). The index gives name, present office, location, date of birth, date of initial appointment, and the date, page and volume of the Government Gazette reference. Further information in the Gazette or Blue Book may include salary, allowance, qualifications and appointment details.

2. An index to approx 35,000 names of teachers mentioned in the Education Office Gazette from 1907 to 1920. The index covers teacher admissions, promotions, transfers and resignations, listing the name, type of entry, standing, school/s, date and page reference in the Education Office Gazette.

3. An index to approx 12,500 names from School Committee notices in the Queensland Government Gazette between commencement year of 1876 and 1899. The school committee index covers notices of appointments and resignations for over 300 schools from all regions of Queensland.

Classification List of the Queensland Loco Enginemen, Firemen, & Cleaners 1912 is an excellent database for researching Queensland railway families and railway history. The database includes many records not previously published on microfiche.

South Brisbane Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions presents an index to the inscriptions on headstones and plaques in the South Brisbane (Dutton Park) cemetery, Brisbane, as transcribed during the 1980s by members of the Queensland Family History Society, with some more recent inscriptions added later. The original transcriptions were published by QFHS on microfiche.

The index covers 12,620 names from the inscriptions. The first burial listed in this database was in 1870. The cemetery was closed for new plots in 1961-1962, although a few were released in 1998-1999 and burials continued in family plots. Memorials range from those of prominent early residents to those of prisoners from nearby Boggo Road Gaol.

This data is a valuable resource, especially as time and vandalism take their toll on the headstones. As well as confirming or showing possible errors in the burial register, the database often show family relationships for 3 or 4 generations, including names of people not buried in the grave. Details can include parents, birth place and date, marriage information, titles and honors. Neighbouring plots can include related families.

Toowong Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions is an index that references approximately 47,000 names – on memorials still standing, on graves demolished once they were considered unsafe; and on inscriptions from the columbarium.

Toowong Cemetery is Brisbane’s largest. The transcriptions were undertaken by members of the Queensland Family History Society Inc. between 1983 and 1987.

Although Colonel Samuel Wensley Blackall (Queensland’s second Governor) was the first person to be buried at Toowong Cemetery in 1871, several memorials predate his grave. In 1881, the bodies of the three children of the guards (convict settlement) who died in the early 1830s, were exhumed from a North Quay site and, with the original headstones, transferred to Toowong. After the Paddington Cemeteries Act of 1911, a number of remains and memorials from this cemetery were also removed to Toowong.

The number of burials in Toowong Cemetery is unknown, though by 1963 a total of 106,000 burials were said to have taken place.

Described by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, in 1994, as a project of great significance for the records of the City of Brisbane – no library or family historian should be without it.

Note: Sources for databases provided by the Queensland Family History Society.

About the Queensland Family History Society
The Queensland Family History Society Incorporated (QFHS) was formed in Brisbane in 1979 as a non-profit, non-sectarian, non-political organisation. The Society aims to promote the study of family, and local history, genealogy, and heraldry, and encourage the collection and preservation of records relating to the history of Queensland families. The Society has a variety of affiliations, including the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations Inc. (AFFHO) , the Royal Historical Society of Queensland (RHSQ), History Queensland Inc. (HQ) formerly the Queensland Association of Local and Family History Societies Inc (QALFHS), and the Federation of Family History Societies (UK) (FFHS).

Collection of Family Histories, Transactions and Visitation Books

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Our major collection this week is called the “Bloxham Database” and contains many old transactions and visitation books of the British Isles, along with a variety of family histories that genealogist Ben Bloxham compiled.

Click on the links below to view some of these databases from the Bloxham Collection:

Bonnie Hanks: Collection of Old Documents Given to W. Ben Bloxham October 2001

Collection of Vintage Postcards, 1900 – 1960 (Bloxham)

Bloxham was well known for his involvement in the field of genealogy. He started the Family History Department at BYU in 1978 after receiving his Ph.D. in Southampton England. He taught at BYU for more than 30 years. During these years, Bloxham also did genealogy for some very well known people such as Alan Ashton of WordPerfectBlake Roney of NuSkin, and many leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bloxham traveled all over the world teaching and participating in genealogy seminars. He died three years ago from cancer. His daughter, Lauri K. Brock has spent the last 2 1/2 years digitizing this collection (and there is still more to digitize).

The databases from the Bloxham collection will be free to access for ten days at WorldVitalRecords.com. After this trial period is over, subscriptions to access this content on WorldVitalRecords.com may be purchased here.

Important Technology Book For Genealogists, Google Your Family Tree, Available For Purchase

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Google Your Family Tree, a book written with the sole purpose of helping individuals use Google to discover their family tree, is available for purchase. Orders for the book have been brisk, and it has received very positive reviews. The book is 352 pages and sells for $34.95 (USD). It also makes a great Christmas gift!

If you are interested in learning more about the book, click here to watch a short video clip, or simply click on the video below.

You can also click here to view the video clip on YouTube.com.