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On Monday morning, April 2nd, at 9:00 am (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) the 1940 Census of the United States will be released online.  The web address for this 16th Official Census is http://1940census.archives.gov/ .  Experts predict that so many genealogists will be clicking on this URL simultaneously that the servers will crash, but my hope is that with new cloud computing, this won't happen.  If you can't access the site the first time you try, revisit it in a few minutes.  You will be just part of the millions of folks worldwide who want their first peek at this important resource!

1940_census_map_usaThis article was posted on Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Blog this morning.  He was re-posting it from Archives.com -

"Today Archives.com and the National Archives are revealing the website that will host the 1940 Census beginning April 2, 2012: 1940census.archives.gov. We encourage you to bookmark the website, and watch the informational video providing behind-the-scenes look at the preparations made to publish the 1940 Census."

View the questions asked of individuals by census takers in 1940 as well as the 1940 Enumeration District Maps.

For those of you who order film from the Family History Library in Westland, this notice on the FamilySearch site applies to you.

Due to the increase in the price of raw microfilm stock and the decreasing availability of this product on the market, it has become necessary for FamilySearch to increase the price of film loans in family history centers. As of 15 February 2012 the following prices will be in effect for film loans in the United States and Canada:            

Short-term Film Loan   $7.50
Short-term Film Loan Extension $7.50
Extended Film Loan   $18.75
Microfiche Loan   $4.75

 FamilySearch’s Microfilm Ordering service is your gateway to a vast collection of genealogical and historical records. The service allows you to reserve and loan films to family history centers and affiliate libraries. The loan is free, but there is a small shipping and handling charge for each film.

I know we all love to search databases such as Ancestry and HeritageQuest, but the Library is still adding to valuable reference print resources as well.  We recently purchased Volumes VI (R-S) and VII (T-Y) of the series The Great Migration; Immigrants to New England 1634-1635 by Robert Charles Anderson.  Entries in this series include such personal details as origin, migration, church membership, occupation, education, listing of estate and much more!  Find the new volumes right next to the rest of the set on the Upper Level in Ref. 929.2A.

Another long-awaited addition is Volume X (Paine to Rogers) in The Settlers of the Beekman Patent series by Frank J. Doherty.  This reference work centers on Dutchess County, New York, and all of the 18th century settlers who lived there.  If you have ancestors from that county, this is an essential research tool!  All volumes in this set are on the Upper Level in our Genealogy Section with the call number of Ref. 929.374 D.

kerry_ancestorsIf you have ancestors from Ireland, we have a new set of books that are county-specific to help you in your research.  These brief paperbacks cover the following counties:
Cork
Donegal
Galway
Kerry
Limerick
Mayo
Roscommon

Find them on the Upper Level of the Library in the Genealogy Collection under the call number of 929.1.  They may be checked out for three weeks at a time.  Good luck with your research !!

1940_censusIn less than six months (April 2, 2012 to be exact) the National Archives will release the U.S. Census for 1940.  Those of us who are avid genealogists have been waiting for this event for the past ten years - the day after the 1930 Census was released.  The good news is that researchers will be able to view the entire census online for free.  The bad news is that there is no index and we'll have to wade through screen after screen of names, just like we did before the computerized indexes were produced. 

FamilySearch.org is gathering a team of volunteers to create an online index for this new census.  The work can be done from the comfort of your home computer.  All that is needed is time and patience!!  Visit their special site - https://familysearch.org/1940Census to read more about this important project.  The more indexers who volunteer, the faster the work will get done.  You even get to specify your favorite state to index.  (I selected Georgia since my grandmother was a census taker in 1940 and I'm hoping to read her handwriting as she listed the people in her hometown.)

When I was a small child, my grandmother used to recite the Longfellow poem, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie. This epic poem told the tale of the French settlers of the region now known as Nova Scotia.  TheyStatue of Evangeline standing in Nova Scotia today. arrived in the far eastern part of Canada somewhere around 1604 and settled in as farmers until 1755 when the British wanted them to take up arms against the French during the French and Indian War.  When they refused, they were exiled from their homes and sent to a number of other areas, including Louisiana.  This is the start of the Cajun culture in that state.

Last week, Ancestry Library Edition released ten new databases relating to this sad tale in the history of North America.  Some of these entries are in French and some in English.  If you have Acadian ancestors, or are just curious about the tragic story of the Acadians, please be sure to take a look at some of the great information contained online at Ancestry.  

According to an article posted recently in Dick Eastman's wonderful genealogy blog, the Social Security Administration has changed its policies about which records they will use in their Death Index.  They will no longer allow state death records to be used in compiling their Index.  In fact, they have removed 4.2 million records already in the index because the information had been obtained using state records.  These changes took effect on November 1, so you might want to check and see if a loved one has disappeared from this valuable resource.

STO LAT: A MODERN GUIDE TO POLISH GENEALOGY by Cecile Wendt Jensen.
Ceil Jensen, a native of Detroit and lead developer of the Polonica Americana Research Institute, has written an excellent book on how to research Polish Genealogy.  She covers traditional topics such as stolatimmigration and naturalization records, U.S. military records, and maps & geographical tools in an easy-to-understand manner.  She then gives added value to her product by discussing archival problems like curling documents, preserving your photographs and negatives, and even safegarding digital media.  Ceil offers a number of case studies to illustrate possible difficulties if your Polish ancestors were Jewish, sent to Concentration Camps, or were Displaced Persons following World War II.  This is a "must read" for anyone who is researching ancestors who came from Poland, Galicia, or the Borderlands.  Find it in our Genealogy Collection with the call number 929.34 J.

The popular history and genealogy database, Footnote, has not only changed its name but also fold3 its focus.  Always a leader in making military resources available online, Fold3 will now focus on presenting US Military Records and stories.  Since Footnote is owned by Ancestry.com, the thought seems to be to suggest users  subscribe to Ancestry for general genealogical information and then have a second subscription to Fold3 for anything to do with historic military research. 

In case you are wondering about the name Fold3, the official press release from Ancestry states: "The Fold3 name is derived from the third fold in a traditional military flag folding ceremony which "is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world."

Both Ancestry Library Edition and Fold3 are available here at the Plymouth District Library!

I am posting a link to an excellent paper on the Tech Tips Blog from FamilySearch.org called Preserving Your Family History Records Digitally.  Although this is a very long article, it's an excellent resource as well as a refresher course for those of us documenting our family history.  Since I started gathering various papers, photographs and documents over fifty years ago, I've progressed from strictly paper files to floppy discs to CD-ROMs and then to flash or thumb drives.  Currently I have an external hard drive, but I'm also saving photos and special items on remote servers "in the cloud."  Gary Wright discusses many of these options in his paper and goes on to talk about the challenges involved with the various storage options.  Whether you are a genealogy novice or an experienced researcher, you'll find this article very worthwhile!

mocavoI'd be willing to bet that not many of you use a search engine with the strange name of Mocavo.  Yet, for genealogists, it's a wonderful tool and one highly praised by those in the profession.  Mocavo is strictly a genealogy search engine.  Unlike Google, which brings results from everywhere, Mocavo hones in on sites such as Find-a-Grave, the free pages from RootsWeb at Ancestry.com, war records that have been posted online, state genealogy sites, and even the Ellis Island Search site.  You end up with fewer results than you'd get with Googling your name, but they tend to be quality results relating to family research.  Give this research tool a try by clicking on the image in this article or by going to http://mocavo.com !

familysearchIf you have been doing genealogy for any number of years, I'm sure you are used to using the web site from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) called Family Search.  For the past few years, there has been another version of this great product called Record Search Pilot which contained records indexed by volunteers throughout the world.  The information from this Pilot site is now part of the NEW familysearch.org site which boasts having over 2.1 billion records either indexed or available online.  The tradional familysearch page is still up and running at http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp, while the new one is just slightly different - https://familysearch.org .  If you are doing a thorough search, especially for someone NOT in the United States, I suggest that you try both of this searches.

whodoyouthinkyouare

Who Do You Think You Are?: the essential guide to tracing your family history by Megan Smolenyak.

This book is a companion guide to the popular television series now in its second season.  In addition to containing basic information for those just beginning research into family history, this work also features "Full-color profiles of celebrities' surprising revelations."  Although this may not appeal to everyone's interests, those who have avidly followed the TV program might appreciate this content. 
Other books on beginning your research include Unpuzzling your Past: the best-selling basic guide to genealogy by Emily Ann Croom (2010) and First Steps in Genealogy: a beginner's guide to researching your family history by Desmond Walls Allen. 
Find these and other books on beginning genealogy in the Genealogy Collection on the Upper Level.