I haven’t been doing a lot of my own research of late; just research for a client, organizing my files, making a folder of things to research in coming months, and inputting information from my last two research trips into my genealogy software program.
But, here are just a few tidbits I’ve come across online and in magazines lately, and a few insights gained in doing research for someone else (which takes you out of your comfort zone and yields fresh ideas).
Bus trip to Boston
The R.I. Genealogical Society is offering a research trip to Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Choose from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), Boston Public Library or Massachusetts State Archives. The cost is $25. Bring a bag lunch or there’s a small restaurant next door.
If you are not a member of NEHGS, admission is $10 (free for members). The other two facilities are free. Learn more about these locations and what each offers on their websites: NEHGS is at americanancestors.org, the library is at bpl.org and the Archives is at sec.state.ma.us/arc.
Departure is from the Warwick Park and Ride at Routes 95 and 117 at 7 a.m. and from the East Providence Park and Ride on Route 44 (just down the hill from Gregg’s Restaurant) at 7:20 a.m. Return is at about 7 p.m.
Send a check for $25 payable to RIGS to Helen Smith, 530 West Reach Drive, Jamestown, RI 02835. Include your name, address, phone number, choice of pickup location and which research facility you will attend. For more information, call Helen at 423-0442.
I love these trips and go to the NEHGS library. You can do quite a bit of digging ahead of time on their website. I print out anything I find at home, saving lots of time when I get there. If you’re doing research anywhere in New England, NEHGS is a treasure trove of vital records, censuses, court records, city directories, newspapers, pre-1906 naturalizations, compiled genealogies, books on history, towns, states and more, 4,500 genealogy periodicals and journals, and records for Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England and Portugal. Go to their website, click on Library and take a look.
Free genealogy conference
The annual New England Family History Conference sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on Saturday, March 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the church, 91 Jordan Road, Franklin, Mass. There are four sessions with nine classes to choose from in each session. A networking session follows from 3:10 to 4 p.m. with refreshments.
The conference is free and the syllabus is online ($7 if you want a paper copy). There is an Ancestors’ Roadshow, but spaces are limited. The deadline for lunch payment is March 14 (it’s $8). Or, you can bring a sandwich; although, the lunch is great for the price. Advance registration online closes on March 14. Walk-ins are welcome, but some classes could be full. For more information, visit www.nefamilyhistory.com or call 339/206-1628.
Give help/get help
If you miss RAOGK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness), check out Mocavo’s Genealogy Karma at www.mocavo.com/karma. Mocavo created Karma in 2011 to help fill the void for those who want to volunteer to help and those who need help. Go to www.mocavo.com/karma and you can post a query asking for help or check out the requests for help. Last week, there were 387 requests listed by name and state. You can sort them by state; but, there were none for Rhode Island and three for Massachusetts.
R.I. State Censuses
I did some descendancy research recently — something I’ve never done before and it’s a real challenge. It’s almost easier to find people in the past than in the present. But, a tool that came in very handy in tracking family groups was the R.I. State Census for 1925 and 1935. They are available on ancestry.com, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (both paid sites) and on familysearch.org (free).
The 1925 census lists the whole family like the federal census; but, the 1935 census has a card for each family member that includes birthdate, occupation, country of birth, whether a citizen, marital status, if not working why, physical disabilities, if head of household the number of family members and, for students it includes which school they attend and which grade.
elephind.com is a place where you can search multiple digitized newspaper archives at once. Elephind searches collections at libraries, universities, the Library of Congress and more. Last time I checked, there were 110,863,789 items from 2,063,996 newspapers and 1,985 newspaper titles. You can take a look at the list of places the newspapers (listed by country) or simply do a master search. The goal is to “make it possible to search all the world’s online historic newspapers from one place,” and more newspapers are added periodically.
British National Archives
The British National Archives in Kew has a website where you can access free records at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk and then click on “Online collections.” There are categories (crime, military, maps, migration, wills and probate, censuses and more) or click on one of the categories in the Help and Advice section (Looking for a Person? Looking for a Place?). If you click on “Looking for a Person?”, you get a list of possibilities divided into vital records and life events, population and the electorate, military personnel, workers and occupations, criminals and court cases, migrants and passengers, and much more, all with subcategories you can search. There is an amazing amount of information here for those of us doing research in the British Isles who can’t make it to London.
Lynda Rego has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lynda.rego where she shares tips on genealogy and other topics. Stop by, click on Like and share any interests you have for upcoming columns.