Sunday, November 4, 2012

Voter Registrations

Now that we're past the dramatic focus on the elections and voters, you may want to consider the value of voter registration in a totally different way.  Voter Registration records can be a great source of birth and residence information in family history research.  

Online collections of voter registration records are available through both free and "for pay" sites, including the California, Great Registers, 1866-1910 (, Alabama 1867 Voter Registration at and voter registration records for Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom at  The Family History Library Catalog includes more than 2,000 listings for voter records. Go to, click on Catalog, select "Subject" search and type the state where your ancestor lived plus the word "vote." (Not every location will have voter records.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Marriages of Surry County, Virginia

If you have ancestors from Surry County, Virginia you'll want to check out the new database Surry County, Virginia Marriage Records, 1735-1950 at  The collection includes more than 18,000 marriage bonds and consents, licenses, and marriage returns. 

If your ancestors aren't from Surry County, Virginia, there are more than a hundred other databases of marriage records at!  Just scroll down and click on "All Record Collections" and then type the word "Marriage" in the Collection Name box in the upper left corner. 

Early records may only contain the name of the bride and groom, plus the name of the person officiating.  Marriage records from the 20th century often provide much more, including age at time of marriage, place of birth, home address, occupation, father's name and mother's maiden name.  Marriage records can help lead you to birth records, and even more information about your family!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A library without books?

Libraries are places with lots of books, right?  Well, if you visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, you may be surprised to see empty shelves! FamilySearch is removing their book collections from the shelves and digitizing them.  

While this may be an unpleasant surprise for someone visiting the Family History Library in person, this is great news for those of us who can't jump in the car and quickly arrive. 

Books that are no longer under copyright from the Family History Library, along with family history books from six other libraries, are available digitally now at Family History Books.  You can get there by going to and choosing the "Books" tab or by going directly to "".  

Books still under copyright may soon be available digitally, as well, on a "check out" basis. In the mean time, start searching their extensive collection today at!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Writing a Personal History

It's often difficult to begin writing a personal history. What do you say? What's important? Consider using family photos as a starting point.  Bring out old family pictures, then videotape yourself describing what is in each picture and what you remember about the event. Be sure to videotape the photo as you are speaking.

Don't wait for one of your children or grandchildren to ask to interview you! Start now to videotape (or audiotape) your own recollections.  It doesn't need to be a major projection.  Start with one family picture and spend 10-20 minutes (or whatever it takes), describing it. It won't be long before most of your family story is recorded.

Family History isn't just learning about our ancestors.  It's also about preserving our memories and sharing them with our children and grandchildren.