The National Archives' collection of nonconformist birth, marriage and death records from 1567 has gone online for the first time.
"); //--> A new partnership project between The National Archives and S&N Genealogy Supplies means that you can now access images of these records online. BMD Registers provides access to the non-parochial and nonconformist registers 1567-1840 held in RG 4 and RG 5.
Birth, marriage and death records are crucial tools for anyone researching their family history. Before 1837, when civil registration was introduced in England and Wales, church registers provided an important source of information on births, baptisms, marriages and burials.
The National Archives holds 5,000 registers of a huge variety of nonconformist congregations, including Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Protestant Dissenters (known as 'Dr Williams Library') and Independents. There are also registers from a small number of Roman Catholic communities. Basic searching is free of charge, but there is a fee for advanced searching and to download images.
The entries are rich in detail and may include material about up to three generations of a family, helping you to add many branches to your family trees.
As well as discovering details about your own family history, you can also find records of famous names from the past, such as Mary Shelley (Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin), Florence Nightingale and William Blake.
When the project is complete you will also be able to access further miscellaneous birth, marriage and death records from the series RG 6-8, RG 32-36 and BT 158-160. These include records of Quakers, of foreign congregations in England and of clandestine marriages before 1754, as well as miscellaneous foreign returns, and records of life events occurring at sea.
Many American Indian families have stories of their distant ancestry, with long lost memories of their relation to an Indian princess in their family tree. However this simply is not the case for many of these people, usually they are remnants of somebody else's story or they are just embellishments for children's bedtime stories.
According to this report many people are having difficulties gaining access to information on their Indian heritage, due to the fact that if an Indian heritage can be established it can mean access to college funds and revenue shares.
Of course this is also skewed by the fact that some people try to claim monies they are not rightly owed.
"Betty Gaeng has met dozens of Indian princesses.
Or so they thought.
Most often, she said, those desperately clutching brittle photographs of a distant ancestor have more hope than American Indian lineage.
There's very little information for people who have too little Indian blood to enroll in a tribe, but just enough blood for a family tale to balloon into a legend of native royalty, said Gaeng, a research volunteer at the Sno-Isle Genealogical Society in Lynnwood.
"We get so many of those," Gaeng said.
All family trees have mystery in their branches, but few more so than those of people with a small amount of Indian blood in their veins.
That's what Gaeng and other volunteers at the genealogical society discovered last year, when they tried to purchase books on Coast Salish history and genealogies with a $2,000 grant from the Tulalip Tribes.
"We found nothing," said Carol Thul, the society's librarian.
That discovery was unthinkable to Gaeng, Thul and other society members, who have been known to travel around the country to rummage through dusty boxes stuffed with yellowed notes on who was born and when, who died and where.
"Every person, regardless of ethnicity, should have access to this information," society member Teresa Verhey said.
Using decades of genealogical expertise, the group is working to develop a searchable database to be used by people who believe they may have Indian blood. Gaeng, Thul and others are collecting information about tribal members and their descendents that is of public record but difficult for the average person to track down and interpret.
"These are public records, but it's hard for an ordinary person to figure out what they mean," said Gaeng, secretary for the society. "There's a certain method for extracting that information."
Faulty information has led countless people to believe they have Indian blood or are even descended from Indian chiefs, said Kathleen Hinckley, executive director of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Colorado.
"It's a common ancestral story in families that they descend from an Indian princess," she said. "Some stories may be true, but it's the task of the genealogist to filter out fact from fiction, especially when oral history is involved."
Tracing Indian genealogies are more difficult than others because much of the pertinent information is closely guarded by tribal governments, Hinckley said.
Proof of Indian blood, especially if it leads to membership in an Indian tribe, can mean a potential windfall through casino revenues, college scholarships and other benefits."
This is a story produced in the Yankton.net online paper. The idea is to get prisoners who have plenty of time on their hands to transcribe all the data in the public records. Seems like an excellent line of work for them to me. Wish it could be done everywhere!
In a nearby area, Kelli Tjeerdsma works with inmates microfilming documents for long-term preservation. Tjeerdsma works with the microfilm unit of the South Dakota State Historical Society.
The inmates' microfilm work includes the state's newspapers, historical documents, census cards, vital records and work for state agencies, Tjeerdsma said. Some of the microfilmed items date back to the 1800s. The side of one box says it contains material from the Dakota Territory District Court clerk of courts from Yankton County.
Not all of the work is historical, Tjeerdsma said, as one of the projects alphabetizes voter-registration lists. While such a task can be tedious, the inmates seem to enjoy the work and do a good job, she said.
New technology has helped in getting all of the work done, but it still takes elbow grease, Tjeerdsma said.
"We have 16 inmates and two staff members, one besides myself," she said. "There's quite a demand. We have seen twice the work during just the last two years."
I have just put up my new videos on the site for family tree software and websites hope you enjoy!