08 August 2014

Upfront Mini Bytes – RootsMapper, PA Cemetery Photos, Obituary Research, Irish Research, London Maps, Ship Routes, Audio Video and non-textual collection at NARA, and UK Coalmining

Welcome to our newest edition of our periodic feature Upfront Mini Bytes.  In Upfront Mini Bytes we provide eight tasty bits of genealogy news that will help give you a deeper byte into your family history research. Each item is short and sweet.  We encourage you to check out the links to articles, blog posts, resources, and anything genealogical!

We hope you found the past editions helpful.  Use your favorite search engine with “Upfront with NGS” “Mini Bytes” or use this Google search link.

Do you have questions, suggestions for future posts, or comments?  Please post a comment or send an e-mail to [email protected].


If you have your family information stored on FamilySearch, check out the RootsMapper.com capabilities.  Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog, Tech Tuesday: Rootsmapper.com ~ Ya, this is pretty cool!,  gives a great overview on how to use this tool.

This project, FamilyHart’s Harry Senft Cemetery Pictures makes me wish that I had ancestors in York, Adams or Cumberland County PA!  Starting in 2005 Harry Senft has been taking pictures of headstones in the mentioned counties (as well as Carroll County MD).  They are initially placed online in their raw picture form.  As indexed, those indices are placed online.  You can also access custom Google maps for each cemetery location.  A gem of a resource!

I couldn’t agree more ... 30 Reasons Why Searching for Obituaries is Like Finding Gold.  So often, once a researcher has a death certificate or knows in what cemetery someone is buried, they stop looking for more.  It is almost always worth looking for an obituary for a deceased ancestor.  For some, in the absence of a tombstone or death certificate, it might be the only source of death information never mind the “gold” mentioned by Kenneth R Marks in his post.

DigDat Genealogy lets us check out the residents of Cork City (Ireland) in 1875.  The site also has lists for Officers in Regiments of Militia in Ireland from: 1811 Directory of Ireland.

It wouldn’t be an Upfront Mini Bytes post if we didn’t have a map item! The National Library of Scotland has a collection of Ordnance Survey Maps for London (1893-1896).

Why stop at one map item when we can have two.  As someone with 19th century emigrant ancestors, I found Visualization of 19th Century Ship Routes from Publicly Available NOAA Data Set just fascinating to look at.  The article also includes a link to American Whaling Mapped. One of the comments posted had a link to Climatological Database for the World’s Oceans, 1750-1850, British, Dutch, French and Spanish logged sailings (the actual database can be accessed here).  Put these two together and you have a sense of the weather for any given route through time.  With more research like this, pretty soon we might be able to smell the salt air as our ancestors did.

Fess up.  Are you like me and mostly think of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as a great source for “paper” records and maps?  There is so much more held by NARA.  I was reminded of this when I came across The Unwritten Record: Exploring History with the National Archives’ Special Media Division which publishes about filmphotographsvideossound recordings, and other non-textual records from the National Archives’ holdings.  What initially caught my eye were the Declassified Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings reports. Thank goodness that none of this content is available digitally or I would never get any work done.

This database caught my eye since I did have a branch of my family who worked in the mines of Lancashire in the early 1800s. The Coalmining History Resource Centre has a database of over 164,000 records of coalmining accidents and deaths in the UK.  Additionally, there is information about disasters (during which 5 or more miners died) as well as reports covering 1707-1979 and providing details on each disaster. Fortunately my miner died of old age and not all did.

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