I recently learned this fact by delving into the expanding world of internet genealogical research. Advances in the size and scope of vast digital databases, as well as the low cost of DNA testing, have made it easier than ever to learn about one’s family tree, and whether everything you’ve heard at family gatherings all your life is true.
Any child of the 1980s is familiar with the basic skeleton of the Oregon Trail, from the celebrations warranted by a sight of Chimney Rock to the dangers of running a team of oxen at a grueling pace with meager rations. But even devoted players of the classic computer game, which turned 45 this year, may not know that relics of the trail itself are still carved into the landscapes of the United States.
Imagine taking a quiet stroll through the expansive wilderness of Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, New York. You’re surrounded by a forest of oak trees, stony ridges, and a tranquil lake—completely isolated and alone in nature. But in 1918, visitors to the 1,146-acre park were unaware that they were in the company of a group of women hiding among the rocks, trees, and grass.
New York Public Library is digitizing its collection of New York City Directories, 1786 through 1922/3, serving them free through the NYPL Digital Collections portal. The first batch—1849/50 through 1923—have already been scanned, and the 1786–1848/9 directories are right now being scanned. The whole collection will be going online over the coming months.
These photographs show a tiny handful of the more than 12 million immigrants who entered the United States through the immigration station at New York’s Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. The men and women portrayed are wearing their finest clothes, often their national dress, brought with them from their homeland to America.
When the dust had settled over the ruins of Sackville Street at the end of Easter Week 1916, down at the Four Courts, the deputy keeper of the records, MJ McEnery, found that despite the building being occupied and its contents disturbed, the Public Record Office of Ireland had escaped virtually unscathed.
WikiTree will be kicking off Family History Month with a three-day sourcing marathon, October 1-3, 2016. Individuals and organizations from around the genealogy community are coming together to support this event by donating door prizes for participants. Over $3,000 in genealogy prizes have already been pledged.
The Founding Fathers may have declared that all men were created equal, but when it came to slaves, they sang a different tune. Many of these men, including George Washington, owned hundreds of slaves on their farms and plantations. Now, the National Park Service is acknowledging centuries-old rumors that Washington’s adopted son fathered children with slaves, making the family biracial to its roots.
The world’s first large study into ancient cat DNA reveals that the earliest ancestors of our furry friends reached Eurasia and Africa at the same time as early farmers, and were later helped by mariners, including the Vikings.
Each of the photos in Capt. William A. Prickitt’s album could fit in a locket: headshots of 17 black soldiers who served under the Union Army officer during the Civil War, most of their names handwritten on the mat surrounding the images.
The dead man reclined against a beach wall that morning in a suit and tie, with an unlit cigarette resting on his collar, as if merely dozing on the pristine sand.
“I beg to report that on the morning of the 1st December, 1948, an unidentified body of a man was found on the beach of Somerton,” began the police report. Investigators found no missing persons, immigrants, or ship’s deserters to explain the “Somerton Man,” one of Australia’s most enduring cold-case mysteries.
The Seattle Times in 2013 published a real-life mystery story about Lori Ruff, who died in 2010, leaving a husband and child in Texas. Years earlier, she had stolen another person’s identity. Who was she really? Finally, we have an answer.
For those working on family history, nothing is more frustrating than getting stuck on an ancestral line due to little or no historical information. FamilySearch, however, can help. From July 15 to 17, FamilySearch hosted a worldwide indexing event with more than 100,000 volunteers. These volunteers helped make old records available in FamilySearch’s database.
We’ve all wondered at one point where our family has come from. Websites like ancestry.com have given us the opportunity to trace our genealogy through several generations. However, have you ever wondered what your pet’s genealogy would be like? Wonder no more.
A man who went on a personal quest to learn more about his family heritage recently discovered that a centuries-old Bible that belonged to his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather is still in existence.
One hundred and sixty-four years ago, William Henson Holland left his family behind in Maryland and risked his life to travel the Underground Railroad to Canada. His brother Thomas John wasn’t far behind.
Beverley Scarlett has been making kilts by hand for the past 15 years, and when her daughter asked to learn how to create the traditional Scottish garments, the 64-year-old not only agreed, but helped to set up a national qualification in the skill.
About a month ago, some facilities management personnel at Southeast Missouri State University were going through a storage area and made a discovery that would become an intriguing project for Terry Davis.
Cities are shaped by their past: it courses through them like blood, unseen but vital. Charlaine Scholten’s boyfriend told her about the suitcase in his attic shortly after they started dating last February. It was a hard brown leather case, weighing about 30 kilos, familiar from those black-and-white photographs where cases are piled high on the quayside behind families waiting to board passenger steamers for a new life across the ocean. When Charlaine sprung open the brass clasps, it began a year-long quest spanning three continents and 70 years of history.
Genetic inheritance is an amazing thing. Sometimes, when you look at different members of one family, it seems as if nature is being downright lazy; you could say that all it’s doing is using the ‘copy & paste’ function!
Imagine a world in which the font you use is chosen for you, based entirely on your demographic affiliations. All doctors write in Garamond, while designers are mandated Futura Bold. Middle-aged men get Arial; women, Helvetica. Goofy aunts must use Comic Sans.
In the explosive 19th century, women produced maps (entire atlases, actually) that attempted to make sense of America’s relatively new nationhood, its boundaries and beliefs, and who belonged there. In the maps presented here, women cartographers conveyed both facts and fictions about a country in upheaval, and developed new visual techniques in the process.
While the face of the Mona Lisa is famous the world over, the face of its painter Leonardo da Vinci is a mystery.
But that all could change as a group of scientists are attempting to trace the artist and inventor’s DNA.
Researchers hope they will be able to reconstruct the face from genetic materials – such as hairs within a painting – while bones could allow researchers to reconstruct the face of the Italian polymath.
After they cast their votes in Tuesday’s New York primary, several dozen New Yorkers visited the pioneer of the women’s rights movement.
Throughout the day, they arrived at the grave of Susan B. Anthony in Rochester’s Mount Hope Cemetery. They came to say thank you to the woman who paved the way for them to be able to fulfill their civic right. They took their “I Voted” sticker and pressed it on the tombstone.
Centuries ago, the islands of Texel and Eyerland (they merged in 1835 to become the island of Texel) were important waypoints for trade ships on their way to Holland. And divers have long known that the waters around present-day Texel Island hold a trove of sunken ships that were unable to survive Wadden Sea’s storms and severe weather to make it safely to shore. But recently, a group of divers found something amazing buried under the Wadden Sea: a 17th-century chest containing a surprisingly well-preserved collection of clothing, books and other items that may have once belonged to an English noblewoman.
The grave of King Richard III was discovered under a parking lot in Leicester in September 2012. He was re-interred at Leicester Cathedral on March 26th in 2015. Now, experts have decided to recreate his skeleton and grave.
Chelsea Schell and her friends had driven 12 long hours to stand before the gray, hulking mass anchored in Norfolk, the city her grandpa had talked about for years. She’d been planning this journey from Waterford, Mich., for months. She carried a couple of black-and-white photos of her grandpa, James Schell, that would’ve been taken 70 years ago somewhere aboard the battleship Wisconsin.
When Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519, the artist, inventor and all-around Renaissance man left behind 6,000 journal pages and dozens of personal questions that remain unanswered to this day. This week, however, a pair of historians in Florence shone some light on the enigmatic genius, revealing Leonardo’s genealogy, including newly discovered burial grounds for his family, and 35 living descendents.
She’s been the symbol of generations of Irish emigrants full of hope leaving home to carve out a new life in America. But it is only now – almost 125 years after she became the first person to pass through Ellis Island in New York – that Annie Moore’s relatives in Ireland have been traced.
Started in 2011, the DNA project is sponsored by the Maine Irish Heritage Center in Portland and overseen by several volunteers, including Gellerson. Collectively, they have spent thousands of hours and their own dollars developing what is essentially a massive family tree of Irish immigrants who came to Maine in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and the Great Famine of 1845-1852.
Who joins the Daughters of the American Revolution in this day and age? Plenty of women. Access to genealogical records is more readily available than ever before, so the group is growing in size and diversity. We’re not all thin-lipped white women with our noses in the air.
Now a nearly completed initiative by the Norfolk County registry is promising to make it much easier for modern readers to decipher the contents of the Adams deed and other old land records. In what officials say is the first project of its kind in New England, the registry in Dedham is transcribing into type all the county’s handwritten deeds from the time of its founding in 1793 to 1900, when the office switched to typing its documents.
Almost 2,000 years after being buried, the remarkably well-preserved remains of 150 skeletons and their personal possessions have been discovered in a small market town at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds.
The remains of the burial ground that contained skeletons of people from the middle-iron age Arras culture in Pocklington, east Yorkshire is being hailed as one of the largest and most significant iron age findings of recent times.
Hello, I'm Elizabeth! I'm a genealogist, writer, and educator, and I've been looking for my descendant's ancestors for 3x's longer than she's been alive. I tell some of their stories here, but I also share tech and blogging tips, news, and other stuff I like. I am the host of the Genealogy Blog Party, which I hope you will join! Find out more right here.