I was able to go to the FHC last night. In particular I wanted to check out some of the subscription databases in the free Online Research Portal. I also wanted to check into ancestryinstitution.com, the limited access version of Ancestry.com which we were told is available to all FHCs. Their site asks for a username and password. We were unable to find these, so I phoned FHC Support, and they are sending an email to the FHC director to help get the access codes. I believe this is the same type of Ancestry.com account as some public libraries have. Here are my current impressions of the subscription services that are free in the Online Research Portal of a Family History Center: I did not find the 19th Century British Library Newspapers very helpful, but maybe I was looking for the wrong people. The poor seldom made it into the newspapers unless they ran afoul of the law, in which case the free Old Bailey records (available elsewhere) give the court proceedings in London. FamilyHistoryLink does not seem to be much different that some of the free online forums such as RootsWeb or GenForum. i.e. the sort of thing that may eventually pay big dividends, but is unlikely to produce quick results. FindMyPast.com is an absolute gem! I especially love the 1841-1911 census for England and Wales. I usually save the digital images of the pages that have my people. Their passenger information is wonderful too, for passengers leaving the UK. They probably have other useful things too that I will yet discover. Footnote.com I found somewhat disappointing. They had few census records and they overlay the census image with layers of "stuff" that may be intended to be helpful, but I found an impediment. Their historic newspapers show a lot of promise. (Ordinary people were more likely to be mentioned in newspapers in Canada and the USA, especially in small towns.) I need to spend more time checking out Footnote.com. I think they have more than I have found so far. TheGenealogist.co.uk will be checked out in the future. Genline.com will be checked out in the future. Godfrey Memorial Library will be checked out in the future. I have given it a cursory glance and it looks promising. HeritageQuest.com - The US census 1790-1930 (missing 1850) is the big thing here! The page images could be clearer, but are still acceptable. The 1850 census is among those accessible in FamilySearch Record Search, so the patrons have access to all of the US census that the US census Bureau has made public. Their book search engine and I don't seem to think along similar lines. It seemed to take me nowhere. The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) keeps sending me to the form where I can purchase copies of the printed periodial pages from Allen County Public Library, so the periodicals themselves do not seem to be digitized. Revolutionary War, the Freedman's Bank, and U.S. Serial Set: I didn't have anyone to search for. Historic Map Works - Coverage seems to be hit-or-miss. I could find a great map of my ancestors' 1879 farms in Elma Township, Perth County, Ontario - complete with the owners' names. But I could not find a map of Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England. As a geographical resource, it is worth a try. Most online map sites show areas as they are now, not as they were back then. Urban sprawl has absorbed former rural towns, villages and farmland. World Vital Records will be checked out in the future. Alexander Street Press - American Civil War records - I have no one to look up. Those are my current impressions, subject to change. I invite your comments on these services. Which do you use, and how do you use them? Bill website: http://billbuchanan.co.cc blog: http://billbuchanan.blogspot.com
Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living at Onoway, Alberta, Canada.
Main website: http://billbuchanan.byethost17.com This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.
- Name: Bill Buchanan
- Location: Onoway, Alberta, Canada
I am a retired online school teacher. During July 2007 - January 2010, and September 2011 until the present I have provided part-time support for http://www.familysearch.org This is very rewarding. My greatest strength in this area is the free genealogy software Personal Ancestral File 5 (PAF5). I continue to help others with PAF and New FamilySearch. See
Since April 2010, I am an assistant director of Edmonton Riverbend Family History Center. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click http://mormon.org/