Net Notes January 2007
Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records
This is a great website to visit early in your US research project and to revisit as your project progresses. It is a no-frills site, yet very informative, for resources to visit when you seek the death date of an individual, where he or she is buried or if an obituary exists.
The information for each state is arranged similarly, though the amount of information varies depending on what is available. For example, Oklahoma lists a few statewide resources and then a couple of Tulsa indexes and one for Greer County. Kansas, on the other hand, lists a couple of statewide resources, then includes a list of resources for many specific counties. And, for states that include really large metropolitan areas, you’ll find the statewide and county-specific information, then, for example, New York City, you find sub-entries for each of the boroughs. Sometimes, a metropolitan area will have so many entries, like Chicago (Illinois), that it will have its own resource page.
Do recheck this website periodically as new resources are constantly being added. When writing this piece, I revisited the North Carolina resources and found a new link to the North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection — Biblical Recorder Search 1834-1994 (includes some obituaries)! To receive notices on updates to this and related websites, subscribe to Genealogy Roots Newsletter at: http://genealogyroots.googlepages.com/.
Whether you are researching New Hampshire or Texas, you will quickly learn which death indexes and records are easily accessible to you!
— Diane L. Richard
UK Telephone Directories
www.ancestry.co.uk (Subscription service)
Despite my habit of plugging my unusual surname into virtually every new genealogical database, however unpromising, I had ignored Ancestry’s UK Telephone Directories. I had thought that this resource was added only to bulk up their numbers. I now admit that I was wrong to ignore this resource. Indeed, it has made me realize that if other countries follow Britain’s lead on this (as far as I know, they are the first), this could become a great new resource for genealogists.
My grandfather, who was born in the US, went to live in Britain in 1919. I thought I knew all the dates and addresses of my family from that point — knowing their phone numbers added very little to the family history.
The UK phone books have been scanned by British Telecom (the successor of the UK Post Office who had a monopoly on phone service in Britain until recently). The indexes — and the images — are on the Ancestry.co.uk site and are only available by subscription.
The directories currently available are for 1880 to 1984 and cover only London and the surrounding area — it is not clear what plans exist for greater coverage. The most extraordinary thing is that, in the early years, the phone directories were issued twice a year and later, annually. The number of people with phones in the early days of the technology staggered me. The April 1919 London directory has more than one thousand pages!
The frequency of the directories has enabled me to check — and correct — the movement of my family over several years.
I knew the family had arrived in the London area in 1919: I found them settled in their home in the directory dated April 1919, so I have a time frame — and confirmation that the phone books appear to be well up-to-date.
Many of us have found city directories to be really useful: Phone directories can now be added as another great resource — and one that gives us access to information that is often otherwise unavailable due to privacy legislation.
— Halvor Moorshead
Irish Famine Passenger Lists
of the stories written about this tragic event are by people whose motive appears to be political, rather than historical.
The potato blight first appeared in Ireland in the mid-1840s. Initially, the impact was local and the seriousness of the problem was not immediately recognized, but, in 1847, the entire potato crop was virtually destroyed. For a considerable time, food reserves made up for the shortages. In 1849, the blight returned with a vengeance; the reserves had been used and people began to die in large numbers.
The estimates of the dead vary, but the most widely published figures are in the 700-800,000 range. Similarly, the
number who left Ireland as a result of the famine has to remain an estimate; maybe one million left immediately with another
million emigrating in the following decades.
The numbers who left and their destinations are not easy to track. For example, many Irish immigrants traveled first to Liverpool in England, then to Canada, where many went south to the US. Those who left Ireland because of the famine were not identified directly in many records; famine and non-famine passengers who travelled the same routes at the same time are hard to separate.
There are at least two websites where these immigrants can be searched online. The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has a site with more than 600,000 names, although the site is careful to mention that not all are Irish famine immigrants — their estimates are that 70 percent may be in this category. All these names are of arrivals from Ireland to New York or Britain between 12 January 1846 and 31 December 1851. The site does not provide original images but the information includes the name, the age, the destination (almost all simply state USA), the name of the ship, the manifest number and the arrival date.
The second site is part of the New Brunswick Provincial Archives and is different in many ways. Many of the fields are left blank, but it has one major advantage over the National Archives site in that the person’s origin is shown. Sometimes this is only the county, but frequently, the village and county are given. This adds enormously to the genealogical usefulness of the site.
The NB site lists more than 23,000 names. It is compiled from several different sources and the website admits that it may contain many duplicates.
Those who know, or suspect, that their ancestors emigrated because of the famine are advised to search both sites.
— Halvor Moorshead