Archive for February, 2009

Life Expectancy of Our Ancestors Versus Our Life Expectancy

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

by Whitney Ransom McGowan

Today we live in a wonderful world filled with modern medicines. We also can easily obtain access to information regarding health. Yesterday I stumbled upon an article titled, “Live to 90: 5 Lifestyle Factors for Longevity.” My first thought was, “Wow! I bet my ancestors would have loved to get their hands on this article.” The five factors that were mentioned were:

1. Don’t smoke—Non-smokers were twice as likely to see 90 as smokers.2. Keep a healthy weight—Obese people had a 44 percent increase in the chance of death before age 90.
3. Maintain good blood pressure control—High blood pressure increased the chance of death before 90 by 28 percent.
4. Exercise regularly—Men who exercise reduced their death risk before 90 by 20 to 30 percent (depending on how much and how often they exercise).
5. No diabetes—Diabetics increased the chance of death before 90 by 86 percent.

Today, life expectancy has risen to more than 77 years. However, the life expectancy of your ancestors was much lower. For example, just 100 year ago,the average life expectancy was 47 years. The five leading causes of death were:

1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

Today, the leading causes of death include heart disease (the number four cause of death more than 100 years ago) and cancer (not included in the top five causes— possibly because the average life span of someone living today has increased). According to Science Daily, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide in the year 2010. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for your ancestors and trying to determine either their reason for death, or even their lifespan.

1. If your ancestor had a very short lifespan, he or she might have lived in harsh conditions or had health problems.
2. Women usually died earlier than men, primarily because of the rigors of bearing children.
3. Herbal remedies were frequently used prior to the advent of modern medicine.
4. Old newspapers can provide leads on the lifespan of your ancestors.
5. Particularly before the nineteenth century, epidemic diseases affected many communities.
6. Many people died at their homes instead of at hospitals. has a large collection of birth, marriage, and death records. We hope you will be able to find information about your ancestors using these databases, along with information regarding the longevity of your ancestors:

New Feature: Search By Database Title at

Monday, February 9th, 2009

This week, has added a new search feature to the site. Now, you can search by database title.

Here is how it works:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Search (located at the top of the homepage, next to the buttons labeled Record Types and Newsletter.
  3. Click on Search by Database Title
  4. Type in the title of the database you would like to search, or type in a word that the title contains that you would like to search.

Why is searching by database title important?

This new feature is important for a number of reasons. First, each week at we announce the titles of the upcoming databases, as well as the titles of the databases included in the major collection for the week. If there is a title you are interested in, simply copy and paste the name into the database title search box. This allows you to easily and quickly locate the database.

Using the Search by Database Title feature makes searching for popular databases such as the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), UK census records, and Everton’s Genealogical Helper even easier.

Don’t forget, you can also Browse By Place, View All Databases at, Browse by Popular Collection, or use the Advanced Search.

BMD Records, Stories and Histories, and Maps and Gazetteers From England and Wales

Friday, February 6th, 2009

The major collection this week at includes 15 collections from the Anguline Research Archives (ARA). The launch this week includes birth, marriage, and death records, stories and histories, maps, atlases, and gazetteers. The new databases are listed below according to data type.  Following are descriptions of some of the titles in the collection, provided by ARA.

Stories and Histories
Acta Regia by Rapin de Thoyras, 1733
This is an account of the Acts, Treaties, Letters and Instruments between English Monarchs and foreign powers, as well as details of many Public Acts relating to various domestic matters. Covering hundreds of years–from the beginning of the reign of Henry I to the 10th year of the reign of Charles I–the book also contains biographical details of each monarch. Contains over 800 pages of information–a real treasure trove of English history. Includes a comprehensive index. An essential reference book for every historian.

The Brave Men of Eyam
A descriptive and moving tale of the plague year 1665-1666, in the famous Derbyshire village of Eyam. Includes transcripts of three letters written by the Rev. William Mompesson.

The English Village Community
A masterly study of the development of the English village, its organization and agricultural field systems in Roman, Saxon, and Norman times. Also includes chapters on the tribal systems of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and a comparison with western European village structure. Illustrated with several maps and drawings, some in color. Useful for local, social, and economic historians.

A Short History of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) 42nd , 73rd . 1725 – 1907
History of the regiment compiled from regimental records of the 1st & 2nd Battalions, the Perthshire Militia and from the official histories of the 42nd and 73rd.  Unfortunately the last four pages of the “Book of Days” are missing as are two of the fold-out maps.

Historic Sketch of the Parish Church, Wakefield
All Saints Parish Church, Wakefield (now the Cathedral) is one of the most magnificent in Yorkshire. This account, written in 1824 by the Rev. J.L. Sisson A.M., gives a detailed history of the church, illustrated with three fine engravings. A notable feature is the transcription of monumental inscriptions of many of those buried within the church.

The Beautiful and Historic Villages of Yorkshire Illustrated
The Beautiful & Historic Villages of Yorkshire Illustrated. Published by the Leeds and Yorkshire Mercury newspaper in 1907. Includes topographical and historical notes and over 50 full-page photographs. A real ’snapshot’ of Edwardian rural Yorkshire.

Illustrated Notes on English Church History, Volumes 1 and  2
Two books in one describing the fascinating and eventful history of the English Church from earliest times up to the late Victorian period. Written by the Rev. C. Arthur Lane. Published by the SPCK in 1888 and 1893. Includes 200 illustrations.

Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
Key to the Ancient Parish Registers of England and Wales
A guide to the parish registers of England and Wales, written by A.M. Burke in 1908. Including: an overview and history of parish registers, illustrations showing examples of actual old register pages, and a large and comprehensive alphabetical index, giving the name of each parish, county and date of earliest register entry. Invaluable source book for historians.

Transcripts of the parish registers of Sheffield, Yorkshire
Transcripts of the parish registers for the town of Sheffield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, including the following: Volume I–Marriages & Baptisms 1560-1635
Volume II–Marriages & Baptisms 1635-1653 ; Burials 1560-1634
Volume III– Marriages & Baptisms 1653-1686 ; Burials 1635-1653, plus name and place indexes for each volume. Also included banns of marriage 1653-1660.

The Episcopal Registers of the Diocese St. David’s, 1397-1518
From the original registers, in the diocesan registry of Carmarthen, with a translation and General Index by R.F. Isaacson. This CD contains both Volume I (1397-1407) and Volume II (1407-1518)

Maps, Atlases, Gazetteers
Highways and Byways in Buckinghamshire
Contemporary review–WORLD: “A thoroughly delightful little volume. Mr. Frederick L. Griggs contributes a copious series of delicately graceful illustrations.” Over 80 illustrations plus map.

Highways and Byways in Hampshire
Contemporary reviews–WORLD: “Mr. Moutray Read has written a well-nigh perfect guide-book.” STANDARD: “In our judgment, as excellent and as a lively a book as has yet appeared in the Highways and Byways Series.” Over 90 illustrations by Arthur B. Connor, plus map.

Highways and Byways in North Wales
A blend of detailed description, history, and a smattering of gossip draws the reader deep into the heartland of the region. An experience enhanced by the drawings and sketches of Joseph Pennell and Hugh Thomson. Tour of the towns and villages of North Wales steeped in the history of ages. Ninety-six illustrations including a route map.

Highways and Byways in Nottinghamshire
A topographical sojourn through the towns and villages of Nottinghamshire, including Nottingham and its castle, Southwell Minster, Sherwood Forest, Retford, Newark etc., plus genealogical, historical, literary, or political anecdotes about prominent county families or the localities. Includes over 120 illustrations.
About Anguline Research Archives (ARA)
ARA was founded by Guy Etchells and Angela Petyt B.A. (hons.). ARA is an organization dedicated to offering rare books on CD at an affordable price. It caters to both local history and family history researchers. ARA is located in Ossett, England.

ARA also offers school and college registers, directories, local histories and topography, wills, study aids, and maps. Plus, it provides some rare printed resources from Medieval times up to the 20th century.

Fifteen New Anguline Research Archive Databases Containing Content From the United Kingdom

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The major collection this week includes 15 titles from the Anguline Research Archive (ARA). All of the data includes content from the United Kingdom. These databases include birth, marriage, and death records; stories and histories; court, land, and probate records; and genealogy guides. Here’s a list of each of the databases that will be launched this week:

Monumental Inscriptions in the Graveyards of Brigham and Bridekirk, Near Cockermouth in the county of Cumberland, 1666- 1876

Antiquityes and Memoyres of the Parish of Myddle

New Sharlston: A Social History of a West Yorkshire Mining Village, 1865- 1914

The Constables’ Accounts of the Manor of Manchester From the Year 1612 To the Year 1647, and From the Year 1743 To the Year 1776.

The Registers of Edinghamm, County of Northumberland, 1658- 1812

The Parish Register of Wintringham 1558

A History of the Parish of Gedling, in the County of Nottingham

Registers of Stanhope

Parish Register of Durness, 1764- 1814

The Registers of St. Mary-Le-Bow, in the City of Durham. Baptisms, 1571- 1812. Marriages, 1573 – 1812. Burials, 1571- 1812

Church of St George in the Parish of Wiltonztaunton

The Court Rolls of the Honor of Clitheroe in the County of Lancaster, Volume 1

The International Genealogical Dictionary

The Northern Genealogist, January 1895

Registra Antiqua de Caerwent, 1568- 1812

ARA was founded by Guy Etchells and Angela Petyt B.A.(hons.). ARA is an organization dedicated to offering rare books on CD at an affordable price. It caters to local history researchers, as well as to family history researchers.

ARA also offers school and college registers, directories, local histories and topography, wills, study aids, and maps. Plus, they provide some rare printed resources from Medieval times up to the 20th century.

Preserving the Past to Protect the Future

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) just started a year-long commemoration of its 75th anniversary . Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 19, 1934, legislation established a National Archives to preserve the permanently valuable papers of the Federal government.At the dedication of his Presidential library, Franklin Roosevelt said, “To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.”

NARA remains committed to President Roosevelt’s credo. It continues to preserve the records of the past, so that upcoming generations can make informed decisions about the future of our nation.

As a special feature this month to celebrate the Presidential inauguration, NARA presented a series of public programs on Presidential transitions with displays of original documents such as the first printed draft of the Constitution, with notes in George Washington’s handwriting; a letter from President George Washington to his Cabinet asking for their recommendations for procedures for his inauguration in 1793; and clips from Presidential inaugurations such as coverage of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural, and President Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Ceremony.

NARA’s Services for Family Historians and Genealogists

With all of the inaugural celebrations going on this week in Washington, D.C., there still is the continual undercurrent of family historians and genealogists who flood the capital every day to visit NARA to search for their ancestors. NARA’s extensive record holdings most commonly used by genealogists include census, land, military, and immigration. NARA also has a comprehensive genealogy section on the web

WorldVital features many of the NARA digital databases in its global search such as the

For individuals across the country who don’t live in or travel to Washington, D.C., NARA also offers a program of genealogical workshops and courses in its facilities nationwide (14 regional archives and 12 Presidential libraries) to introduce and expand the know-how of family historians. Topics include an introduction to genealogy and research into records such as census schedules, military service and pension records, and passenger lists. The calendar of events chronicles workshops through the end of the year at locations such as Atlanta, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Seattle.

“Every day we work to preserve and provide access to the records of our Government,” commented Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, “from the Declaration of Independence, to the census records enumerating the individuals that make up our nation, to the service records of the men and women who serve in our military, to documentation on homeland security issues that will make our country safer. The records we hold are the original sources of American history, telling the story of our nation through the actions of individuals and institutions.”

About NARA
The National Archives and Records Administration is the nation’s record keeper. An independent agency created by statute in 1934, NARA safeguards the records of all three branches of the Federal Government. Its job is to ensure continuing access to essential documentation and, in doing so, serve a broad spectrum of American society. Genealogists and family historians; veterans and their authorized representatives; academics, scholars, historians, business and occupational researchers; publication and broadcast journalists; Congress, the Courts, the White House, and other public officials; Federal Government agencies and the individuals they serve; state and local government personnel; professional organizations and their members; students and teachers; and the general public-all seek answers from the records it preserves.