This is a weblog about genealogy in and about the State of Ohio. It will feature news and views (mostly mine) about developments of interest to genealogists doing research in Ohio, no matter where they reside.--Wally Huskonen

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ancestry Expands Military Records Resources; Offers Free Access through June 6

The latest news release from Ancestry.com:

PROVO, Utah, May 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Ancestry.com, the world's largest online resource for family history, today announced it has launched the largest collection of U.S. military records available and searchable online, featuring more than 90 million names that span more than four centuries of American history from the 1600s through Vietnam.

Beginning now through June 6th (D-Day), Ancestry.com will make its entire U.S. Military Collection free to the public. To search Ancestry.com's U.S. Military Collection, visit http://www.ancestry.com/military.

A highlight of Ancestry.com's U.S. Military Collection is the only complete online collection of WWII United Newsreels from 1942 - 1945. These counter-propaganda films were produced by the Office of War Information and shown in U.S. theaters and abroad during WWII. Newsreels were also dropped behind enemy lines in a German language version.

Ancestry.com's collection also includes The Stars and Stripes newspapers from WWI and WWII, commemorative military yearbooks, and the only complete collection of WWI draft registration cards. Combined, the records -- the bulk of which were digitized and indexed from original documents on microfilm at the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA) -- bring to life the stories and sacrifices of the millions of brave men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

"So many of us have had an ancestor or a loved one sacrifice to serve our country, and some may not even be aware of their military heritage and how proud they should be of their forebears," said Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.com. "This new military collection now available online will offer Americans the opportunity to discover their military heritage and the role their own families played in forging this country. We encourage everyone to create a family tree, upload photos and capture personal stories as a way of memorializing their ancestors and military history as our nation celebrates Memorial Day next week."

Inside the U.S. Military Collection

Ancestry.com's U.S. Military Collection captures all major wars and conflicts from American history, including the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts as well as the Spanish-American War and the War of 1812.

The eclectic volume of records features more than 700 databases and titles and 37 million images of original and often personally autographed documents including --

- World War I and World War II draft registration cards
- Prisoner of war records from the War of 1812, Civil War, World War II,
and Korea
- Muster rolls (unit rosters) for the Marine Corps 1893-1958 and WWII
U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Muster rolls, 1939-1949
- U.S. Military burial registers 1768-1921
- Service Records from Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War
- Civil War Pension Index
- Casualty listings from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam
- WWI and WWII The Stars and Stripes newspapers
- Young American Patriots Military Yearbooks (WWII)

"Much like the U.S. Federal Census records, military records are among our most comprehensive and therefore treasured documents," said Retired U.S. Sen. Jake Garn, also a retired U.S. Navy pilot and Brig. Gen., Utah Air National Guard and astronaut. "Military records are one of the foundations to family history, providing precious links that can often be found no where else. Through the digitization and online availability of these documents, Americans can discover the story of our nation and remember the military legacies of their ancestors through details such as names, service dates and locations, battles fought, medals or honors awarded and even sometimes, very distinct physical descriptions."

Customer Stories from the Front Line

Ancestry.com has seen an incredible outpouring of inspirational stories from across the country, illustrating the emotional and historical depth of U.S. Military Collection. A Massachusetts family spilt by the Revolutionary War discovered the other half of their family now living in Canada -- both revolutionary and loyalist sides planned a family reunion that was two hundred years in the making. In another story, historical records on Ancestry.com helped locate a soldier's family to return his dog tags 30-years after he was killed in action. The solemn and miraculous find finally brought closure to the family of the fallen Vietnam hero.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Witcher to Lecture at 2007 Tri-C GO in September

Curt B. Witcher, MLS, manager of the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne IN will present four lectures at the Tri-C GO Annual Family History Benefit Seminar. The seminar will be held at the Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, Westlake OH on Saturday, September 29th. Doors open at 9 a.m.; seminar 9:15 – 3:30.

Witcher is scheduled to present the following lectures: 1) Passenger & Immigration Research: Leaving, Arriving and Settling Down; 2) The Road Not Taken: Mega Internet Sites for Genealogists Off the Beaten Path; 3) Historical Research Methodology: Using the Process to Find All the Answers; and 4) Effective Use of the Allen Co. Public Library Genealogy Department (and other libraries) for Genealogical Research.

The seminar is sponsored by the Cuyahoga County Council of Genealogical Organizations (CCCGO), a coalition of the genealogical groups in the Cuyahoga County area. All proceeds benefit Genealogical Research Libraries. The host group is the Cuyahoga West Chapter OGS.

Jayne Broestl, seminar chair, expressed how pleased the Cuyahoga West Chapter OGS was to have Curt Witcher in Cleveland for this annual seminar. In addition to his association with the Allen County Public Library, he is founding president and current regional director of the Indiana Genealogical Society, a Fellow of Utah Genealogical Association, a Federation of Genealogical Societies director, is widely influential in genealogy, and a speaker of national repute. His informative and entertaining lectures are always in great demand. Seating is limited, pre-registration is strongly recommended.

Registration is by donation before September 15th of $20; add a $5 late fee after that date or at the door. Checks should be made payable to Cuyahoga West Chapter OGS and mailed to: CCCGO Seminar, c/o 1637 Westhill Blvd., Westlake OH 44145-2515. For more information call 440-899-9201.

Coffee and donuts will be furnished in the morning; beverages at lunch. Attendees may bring a brown bag lunch or order from Picc-A-Deli Café at the library by calling 440-808-3354 w/credit card before Thursday, September 27th.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mexico Border Crossing Records on Ancestry

News release from Ancestry.com:

PROVO, Utah, May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Ancestry.com, the world's largest online resource for family history, today announced the release of the first and only online collection of border crossing records for individuals who crossed the U.S. - Mexico border between 1903 and 1957. This new collection, which includes more than 3.5 million names, is the latest addition to Ancestry.com's Immigration Records Collection, which also includes the largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names from 1820 to 1960.

These border crossing records primarily document early 20th-century Mexican immigration to the United States. During the first 30 years of the 1900s, more than 1 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States as a result of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, job opportunities during WWI and U.S. agricultural advances.

"There are unique and untold stories waiting to be discovered about the American southwest and Mexico," said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for Ancestry.com. "This collection represents a significant opportunity for Mexican-Americans to discover their family's footsteps to the United States and for everyone to celebrate Mexican contributions to American culture. Interestingly, the records cut across several ethnicities. For instance, those of French, Russian and Chinese heritage may be surprised to find their ancestors in this collection."

These records contain insightful clues into a family's past, such as names and birthdates of travelers, names of friends or family in Mexico or the United States, as well as some signatures. This collection will be an especially useful tool for individuals whose ancestors arrived from Mexico between 1908 and 1957, as the most complete records were kept during this time period. Many of these border crossing records also include passport-type photos that were attached to the original documents.

Ancestry.com transcribed the names in the collection from more than 3 million documents. The records were culled from 24 land ports of entry from California to Texas. Among the busiest ports of entry were Laredo, Brownsville and El Paso, Texas; Nogales, Arizona; and San Ysidro, California.