"You have to know where you come from, if you want to know who you are. We are also our origin. The wishes, the life images, the life expectancy of people who have lived before us are entered in our presence. To track them, means to learn more about yourself."
About The Glarus Family Tree Project (the Methodology of Research Work)
For many years, I run the family research on the Glarus families as my hobby. About five years ago I have started an ambitious project which will show the family links between the about 200 original families from Glarus. Starting point of my family research is always the outstanding genealogical oeuvre of Johann Jakob Kubly-Müller. In more than 30 years of work (1893-1923) Kubly-Müller created this unique reference book. It comprises a total of 36 large and small volumes as well as the registry on the older Glarus genealogy and an alphabetical index. Built on the entire stock of the parish books of the Canton of Glarus and supplemented by historical directories, documents and material from public and private archives, Kubly Müller's monumental book lists all Glarus families from the 15th century to the present in their sequence and links in a clean and readable font.
After the death of Johann Jakob Kubly-Müller and the sale of the work to the canton, the respective state archivists or librarians or their employees seem to have updated the births, deaths and marriages on the basis of the official notifications. My research has shown that at least the deaths were updated until 2010. Also on the basis of the various handwritings, one can recognise the persons who made the additions at least on the basis of this characteristic:
1893 - 1923 Johann Jakob Kubly-Müller
1923 - 1932 Hans Schiesser (national archivist, national librarian and interrogator)
1932 - 1965 Dr. phil. Jakob Winteler (National Archivist)
1965 - 2005 Josef Müller (Secretary of the National Library, National Librarian)
1987 - 2017 Erika Kamm-Weber (Genealogy, only partial updating of the Kubly-Müller records and on an external database)
2017 - Lara Caetano (Genealogy, no updating of the Kubly-Müller records any more)
Whenever possible, I have included the Kubly-Müller reference in The Glarus Family Tree. In addition, I also use information which I find on relevant websites (e.g. Ancestry.com, Finde A Grave etc). Since such information has to be accepted with some reservation, I try whenever possible to verify the information gathered from the internet.
In Switzerland, I mainly use the work of Kubly-Müller and the corresponding church records for my research work. In order to keep the Glarus Family Tree up to date, I have started to analyze the current obituaries on www.todesanzeigenportal.ch as well as the obituaries published in the Official Gazette of the Canton of Glarus until 2017. The research work is being continued on an ongoing basis and the goal is to close the gap that arose in the Kubly-Müller work as a result of the official tracking work stopped about 2010. Currently, the current period back to 2010 is covered by my own research.
I publish my results on various websites, one is my own site on Geneanet, another on is Geneal-Tree, a German website and the third one is the Ancestry which is subject to a fee (links see below). Through these websites, I get access to interested genealogists with whom I like to share further available information and so in return receive additional information which will support my project. Family history is not only to collect dates of birth, marriage and death. Family history is interesting and accessible only by individual stories and photos. Therefore, whenever possible I incorporate photographs and historical facts in the Pedigrees. I get most of these documents by the ever-widening circle of interested hobby genealogists. Therefore, any additional information on missing family members is always highly welcome.
The Glarus Family Tree with more than 286'000 individuals on
Geneal-Tree (Free / German / living people are disabled and can only be viewed with an access code) - Update every new 5'000 individuals
MyHeritage (Free / German and English / living people are disabled and can only be viewed with an access code) - Update every new 5'000 individuals
Geneanet (Free / German, English and French / living people are disabled and can only be viewed with an access code) - Update every new 5'000 individuals
Ancestry (with cost / German and English / living people are disabled and can only be viewed with special granted access) / Update every new 5'000 individuals
With a voluntary donation everyone can contribute to the financing of The Glarus Family Tree project. These donations are used, in order to settle the costs of Web space, Webhosting and domain. The webmaster of this website expresses his thanks for your donation.
Family Research In Switzerland
Civil Status: Civil status documents (birth, marriage, divorce, death) have only been recorded by Swiss authorities since 1876. Prior to this, civil status was recorded by the Roman Catholic and Protestant (Calvinist and Zwingli) churches. You do want to discover which religion an emigrant belonged in Switzerland. Records would be held in a Catholic or a Protestant church prior to 1876. It is rare for people to change religion upon emigration, so if in doubt, it can be assumed that the religion practiced overseas is the same as in Switzerland.
Place of Origin: Where is the town of origin. This refers to city, small town or commune/community where civil documents are kept. Town is known as the "Bürgerort”. This place of origin is handed down from father to child, and to the wife upon marriage. Until recently, a woman would acquire the place of origin from her husband and lose her own.
Documents concerning changes in civil status are recorded in the the place of origin, regardless of the location where the event actually took place. This has been true since 1876, although in some cases since the end of the 17th century.
There is however one important exception: the places of origin registers only those documents which are sent to them. In past centuries when a person emigrated it was very seldom that changes in civil status were reported back to Switzerland and therefore the family registers were not kept up to date.
Switzerland’s data protection regulations have made finding living relatives more complicated. The Federal Civil Registry Ordinance requires a cantonal research authorization, which is subject to a fee which is set by the Canton. The Swiss law on data protection has been translated into English: Federal Act on Data Protection 235.1
Family Research In Glarus
Data from persons born before 1918 or dead since 1988 can be viewed without authorization. For access to data of persons who are younger than 100 years or not yet 30 years dead, an approval from the cantonal civil registry office is needed. A respective application has to be sent in advance to email@example.com the reasoning of such an inspection. The permit will be normally given without any problem if you want to do research about your own family. If you need support, cklick here.
The Kubly-Müller volumes with all the family information are archived in the Landesarchiv in Glarus.
Landesarchiv des Kantons Glarus
Before you are going there you must ask for permission resp. reserve a desk:
Wappen und Genealogie
Phone: +41-55 646 63 11
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Wednesday until Friday from 8am to 12pm and 1.30am to 5pm, on Thursday until 5.30pm
Plan for enough time for your research. It may take 5 minutes or it may take several hours. I prepared a User Guide On How To Read The Kubly-Müller Records.
Here the official new User Guide prepared by the Landesarchiv in Glarus
The Church Books in Glarus
The introduction of church books in Glarus happened relatively late, that is nearly 100 years after the appearance of the oldest church books in Switzerland (in Pruntrut 1481). It is true that the Council of Trient of 1563 had passed resolutions on the introduction of church registers, but in very markedly Catholic communities like Näfels they did not begin until 1655, while, for example, the Protestant community of Mollis was the first to have these registers in the Canton from 1570 onwards. The use of the church registers will have to be clear on the basis of which church congregations existed at which time and where their inhabitants belowent to church before. The community of Bilten belonged until 1607 to Niederurnen, Netstal until 1699 (Protestant) resp. 1708 (Catholic) to Glarus, as well as Mitlödi before 1725, while Luchsingen belonged until 1753 partly to Betschwanden and partly to Schwanden. Mühlehorn belonged until 1760 to Obstalden and Ennenda before 1774 to Glarus. Oberurnen, which was raised as the last church before the introduction of the civilian registers in 1868 to its own church community, had until then belonged to the parish of Näfels.
The church records before 1876 leave much to be desired, as the control of the organs of the church committee and the synod had little effect. Some church books are also loose and torn in the cover and binding, in many cases leaves are missing from the back and front and have been lost through carelessness and indifference. Remarkably, the books of the Sernftal are almost the best kept. They contain, for example, all those who died of the plague in the years 1611, 1625 and 1626, while in all the other church books of the canton there is a complete lack of records of those who died of the plague; only in the marriage books is there occasionally a corresponding entry. To the credit of the parish priests, however, it must be mentioned that he must have been very strict during the plague. In addition, most clergymen had the inglorious habit of not entering children who died under the age of 16, i.e. before confirmation, in the registers of the dead at all. Some registrars only mentioned at the end of the year that so and so many people had died, including so and so many children, but the names of the children were missing. The infant mortality rate was, by the way, alarmingly high in view of the usually abundant supply of children, with infantile leprosy (variola) and dissenteria (dysentery) having a major influence. The highest infant mortality rate was in 1801, a truly terrible year for the youth of the canton of Glarus, in which over 2000 children died of smallpox alone.
The parish priests of earlier times did not always bear honourable witness to the keeping of registers entrusted to them and, above all, the mutual exchange and reporting of civil status incidents to the home parishes was in a bad way. The clergy of both denominations were not subject to any control and they would not have tolerated any superintendence. They possessed an unconditional blind trust in this regard, which was by no means always appropriate. The Civil Status and Marriage Act of 1876, however, brought about a thorough change in these abuses.
A praiseworthy exception from the 17th century is Pastor Johannes Marti von Glarusl, pastor in Betschwanden from 1692-1702, who, when he took office in 1692, freely recorded a register of the population in the entire parish of Betschwanden and entered each family with all its members, their names and dates of birth in a booklet with a beautiful leather cover. His successor, Pastor Johann Heinrich Zwicki from Mollis and Glarus, was the exact opposite, leaving behind a terrible disorder in Betschwanden and later also in Netstal, not to mention Pastor Leonhardi from Filisur, who entered nothing at all in the parish register during his entire term of office from 1809 - 1829. And like him, the parish priest Levin Feldmann in Schwanden also did not make any entries from 1729-1735.
It is also very regrettable that the books of the Kerenzerberg, which according to credible reports were kept very carefully and in which a parish priest is said to have inscribed himself as having died of the plague, were destroyed by the fire of the parsonage in Obstalden on 4 March 1834. The parish priest at the time, Jakob Menzi, was startled by the fire in the house, and when this was done, it was no longer possible to save the parish registers. An irreplaceable loss that is to be greatly regretted. Although the community of Kerenzen later had a makeshift register of citizens compiled again, going back to a shorter period of time, it was no longer possible to fall back on the earlier periods. Unfortunately, these church records have been destroyed for all time. Niederurnen also lost its parish registers in a fire in the 17th century and the records from that time are therefore also incomplete, although attempts were made to at least collect the names of the male deceased, which was partially successful. Fortunately, the Protestant books of Glarus were preserved during the fire of Glarus. Pastor Johann Jakob Streiff had the presence of mind during the fire to first throw the books from the already burning rectory down into the garden, where they could be found and salvaged completely intact the following morning, protected by a corner of the wall. Unfortunately, a large part of the Catholic parish books burnt and the entries only go back to 1722, while nothing is known about the fate of the earlier books of the Catholics of Glarus, Netstal, Ennenda and Mitlödi. In addition, the oldest church book of the parish of Elm was burnt in 1861.
A source that is still important for the genealogy of the canton of Glarus is the Zurich lucky draw. In 1504, a large international shooting competition was held in the city of Zurich. A so-called "Glückshafen", a kind of lottery, was connected with this shooting competition, in which considerable lucky tickets could be won for a small deposit. A precise register was kept of these entries, which contained between 500 and 600 names from Glarus. This register is all the more valuable because the church records in the canton of Glarus, as shown, do not go back to this time. For a list of the names appearing in it, see Johann Jakob Kubly-Müller, Die Glarner am grossen internationalen Freischiessen im Jahre 1504 zu Zürich und ihre Beteiligung am sogenannten Glückshafen, in: Jahrbuch des Historischen Vereins des Kantons Glarus, Band 36 (1910), 64ff.
First Church Records by Church Communities
B: Birth and Baptism records
M: Marriage records
D: Death records
Betschwanden: B: 1598-1875 / M: 1606-1875 / D: 1771-1875
Bilten: belonged before to Niederurnen / B: 1607-1875 / M: 1607-1875 / D: 1607-1875
Braunwald: belonged to Betschwanden and Linthal
Diesbach: belonged to Betschwanden
Elm: B: 1595-1875 / M: 1595-1875 / D: 1595-1875
Engi: belonged before to Matt / B: 1801-1875 / M: 1801-1875 / D: 1801-1875
Ennenda: belonged before to Glarus / B: 1775-1875 / M: 1775-1875 / D: 1775-1875
Filzbach: belonged to Kerenzen (Obstalden)
Glarus Protestant: B: 1598-1875 / M: 1598-1875 / D: 1620-1875
Glarus Catholic: B: 1800-1875 / M: 1800-1875 / D: 1800-1875
Hätzingen: belonged to Betschwanden
Haslen: belonged before to Schwanden / B: 1801-1875
Kerenzen (Obstalden): B: 1834-1875 / M: 1834-1875 / D: 1834-1875 (reconstruction of earlier years based on old church protocols)
Leuggelbach: belonged to Schwanden
Linthal Protestant: B: 1601-1875 / M: 1601-1875 / D: 1640-1875
Linthal Catholic: B: 1654-1875 / M: 1654-1875 / D: 1654-1875
Luchsingen: belonged before partly to Betschwanden and partly to Schwanden / B: 1752-1875 / M: 1752-1875 / D: 1752-1875
Matt: B: 1595-1875 / E: 1595-1875 / D: 1595-1875
Mitlödi: belonged before to Glarus / B: 1725-1875 / M: 1725-1875 / D: 1725-1875
Mollis: B: 1571-1875 / M: 1627-1875 / D: 1617-1875
Mühlehorn: belonged before to Kerenzen (Obstalden) / B: 1761-1875 / M: 1761-1875 / D: 1761-1875
Näfels: B: 1655-1875 / M: 1655-1875 / D: 1655-1875
Netstal Protestant: belonged before to Glarus / B: 1698-1875 / M: 1698-1875 / D: 1698-1875
Netstal Catholic: belonged before to Glarus / B: 1861-1875 / D: 1861-1875
Nidfurn: belonged to Schwanden
Niederurnen: B: 1680-1875 / M: 1680-1875 / D: 1680-1875
Oberurnen: belonged before to Näfels / B: 1868-1875 / M: 1868-1875 / D: 1868-1875
Riedern: belonged to Glarus
Rüti: belonged before to Betschwanden / B: 1809-1875
Schwändi: belonged before to Schwanden / B: 1801-1875
Schwanden: B: 1611-1875 / M: 1611-1875 / D: 1662-1875
Sool: belonged before to Schwanden / B: 1750-1875 / M: 1750-1875 / D: 1750-1875
Swiss Cemetery Information
In North America, cemeteries can be an important resource for gathering genealogical information. Tombstone inscriptions and plot placemens can lead to new information about your ancestors. Find a Grave is a website which helps you to find tombstones all over the world.
You won’t find that resource in Switzerland. Very few graves are older than 25 years. Switzerland is a very small country with limited land availability. Therefore, it is important to know that grave sites are rented for 25 years. After that, a new headstone will go up for 25 years.
Families can purchase space, or rent it on a very long-term basis. You might also find a headstone of a pastor or a citizen of prominence that could date back more than 40 years. But for most, once the grave is dug up, the headstone is returned to the family or recycled.
What happens now when the term of the graves expires?
In addition to the official announcement and posting at the cemetery, the communities also inform the relatives a few months in advance about the impending grave clearance. An extension of the grave dormancy period is not possible for row graves, but it is possible for family graves or other rental graves. However, in these cases the grave site is also subject to a fee.
The clearing is always done in blocks. Therefore it can happen that some graves exist exactly as long as the legal term allows, others a little longer - depending on the difference of the burial date between the first and last grave of the field.
In the case of grave dissolution, the grave is only cleared above ground. All this clearing work only goes 15 to 20 centimetres deep, i.e. far above the buried urns and coffins. Then fresh humus is added at the same level and sown. The human remains or the urn with the ashes of the deceased person remain in the ground. It takes 60 to 80 years until the next burial, depending on the space required, until a coffin is buried in the same place again. During this time nothing is left of the former buried person, because today's cemeteries are constructed in such a way that there is no waterlogging. Also a good ventilation of the earth is provided. The decay of urns is also accelerated, because they have to be made of lightly burnt material.
Publication of civil registrations in Switzerland and specifically in Glarus
The publication of civil status cases (births, weddings or funerals) only began with the introduction of the cantonal civil status system on 1.1.1870. From this time on, civil registrars had to publish all entries in the civil status registers in a shortened form in the cantonal official gazettes.
From 1978 onwards, the publication of a civil status case could be omitted on the basis of a substantiated request from the persons concerned to the civil status office. In the Canton of Glarus, births and deaths were published in the Official Gazette at the request of relatives.
In Switzerland, the application for the marriage ceremony was referred to as the "order of the marriage banns" until 30 June 1998 and was publicly displayed or published in the Official Journal for 14 days. Since 1.7.1998 the publication of marriages has been waived for reasons of data protection.
As of 1 July 2017, Article 57 of the Federal Ordinance on Civil Status was repealed for data protection reasons, so that the cantons may no longer authorise the civil registers to publish civil status cases. In the Canton of Glarus, since the amendment to the Federal Act, marriages, births and deaths are no longer automatically reported to the Official Gazette, and from 1 July 2019, no civil status reports have been published in the Official Gazette. However, relatives may report events to the public themselves by means of a private announcement.
The website Todesanzeigenportal.ch publishes all obituaries published in Switzerland in magazines or online.
In the communes, it is important for residents to be informed about life in the village or commune. It is not for nothing that birth, marriage and death notices are among the most widely read sections of newspapers and newsletters. Civil status announcements published online are always among the top news items and are read the most. The argument that the publication does not correspond to a predominant interest must therefore be contradicted. In the autumn session 2019, National Councillor David Zuberbühler therefore submitted a motion to the Council to lift the ban on publication of civil status reports.
Counting your Ancestors
Many of us are interested in where our families come from as well as who our ancestors were. What and where are our ‘roots’? Some of you might even have researched your genealogy or family history. Yet have you ever seriously considered how many direct ancestors you really have? Obviously it’s a lot, but how many? You might have even heard statements to the effect that all Europeans are descendants of Charlemagne in the eighth century or that all people of English ancestry are descended from 86% of the people living in England at the time of William the Conqueror almost a thousand years ago. If you live in North America and have English or European ancestors the same questions apply. Indeed wherever you live and whatever your ethnic ancestry the questions of descent and ancestry are the same. A short article which was posted in 2012 in the The Wild Peas Blog attempts, in a non-mathematical way, to answer or at least elucidate some of these issues.
How many people have ever lived on earth? Link to the article
Table showing the theoretical number of ancestors, the age and the birth year of all your direct ancestors
Download this list and you can calculate the age and year of your ancestors by filling in your birth year as proband (e.g. 1960)
Degree of Kinship Chart
Degree of Kinship is the level of relationship between two persons related by blood, such as parent to child, one sibling to another, grandparent to grandchild or uncle to nephew, first cousins, etc.
Anthropologists call the process of figuring out cousin relationships “collateral degree calculation”. Multiple removes and degrees of cousinhood can get complicated, but you don’t have to be a scientist to get it right. The chart below will help straighten out your cousin confusion; just follow the instructions for using it. For example, to figure out how you’re related to your great-great-grandfather’s brother’s son, first determine the ancestor you share with him: your great-great-great-grandfather (third-great-grandfather). Find him on the chart, then count down one generation for the brother and one more to the brother’s son. He’s your first cousin three times removed.
Click here for downloading another diagram which shows the same as above but including the DNA data (average shared centimorgans) to estimate your relationship to a genetic match.
Due to limited mobility in our ancestors’ day, most of us have instances in our family trees of cousins who married, whether knowingly or unknowingly. That means you can be related to the same person in multiple ways. This leads also to the so called Pedigree collapse or loosely translated a loss of lineage.
Someone you’re related to by marriage, rather than by blood, isn’t your cousin. You might be in-laws, or your relationship might not have a name other than (we hope) good friends. You can read more about collateral degree calculation in Dozens of Cousins by Lois Horowitz and Jackie Smith Arnold’s Kinship: It’s All Relative.
Ancestor Communities - our distant kinship
In genealogy, ancestor community refers to the consensus between persons in relation to common ancestors. A full equilibrium ancestor community has full siblings due to their identical ancestors.
In genealogy, an ancestor community between two persons is given, when their last common ancestor is dated back at least five generations. Often such a distant blood relationship does not appear until a detailed comparison of their two ancestral lines will be done. They may, for example, be descended from the same great-great-grand grandmother, but subsequently their two sides developed separately. Particularly in the formerly usual used forefather lines the information about ancestors of the maternal sides was given less attention. If test subjects from different generations are compared, each reference person has a different number of generations from the last common ancestor.
Until the kinship in the fourth generation of ancestors, concrete names of the relatives are used, for example cousins or cousins of the third degree with the common descent of great-grandparents. If the last common ancestor is further back, the unspecific is called an ancestor community.
Starting from the image of a large pedigree, two branches can be traced back until they reach the point of their branching, where they branch off from one another. Viewed from the bottom, the whole tribe and the main branch belong to the same ancestor community, while the (lateral) lines of the kinship developed separately from each other after the diversion. As a result, all the branches of the tree in the past share an ancestral community which, depending on the individual branch, continues to pass. In this way, innumerable living people are even blood-related without being aware of this fact.
For example, out of the last common ancestor in the 11th pre-generation of the great-great … grandparents, each child of these parents has statistically reckoned 1024 offspring (210), provided the line is not extinct and no pedigree collapse was seen in it. The presently living descendants of these side lines are to each other cousins 10th degree. Numerous such side lines branched out in previous generations as in later ones, with a corresponding number of descendants. Each person within one of these lines is (remotely) related to all other persons from all other side lines, and forms with them an ancestor community that goes back to the time of primitive times.
By comparing their own family tree with those of famous personalities, they often find surprising common ancestors, sometimes even their own direct descent from the well-known person. In the German cultural area popular cross-relations are with the Frankish king Charlemagne. Many Glarner families are able to trace their lines back to him.
To determine all ancestor communities will hardly be possible with today's means. Perhaps later generations will be able to easily identify and prove these progeny by means of an advanced DNA test or by means of analyzes which are still unknown. Approaches to this already exist, the so-called Genetic Communities.
Genetic Communities are groups of persons who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived. For example, some Genetic Communities trace their roots back to groups of people who were isolated geographically. Mountains, rivers, lack of roads, or other barriers made it likely that each new generation would marry someone who lived close to home. Others have their roots in groups who typically married others of the same religion or ethnic group. In each case, these groups came to share a significant amount of DNA. Modern-day descendants who inherited some of that DNA make up Genetic Communities (see Ancestry Genetic Communities White Paper).
Used sources for genealogical research in the USA
United States Federal Census
The United States Census is a ten-yearly census of the population of the United States of America that has been conducted every ten years since 1790, in accordance with the Constitution of the United States. It is conducted by the United States Census Bureau.
The Constitution of the United States of September 17, 1787, provides in Article 1, Paragraph 2 for a census every ten years. At that time, the thirteen states counted about 2.5 million people. Originally, since about 1600, censuses were established in Virginia by counting the inhabitants of almost all British colonies. Over time, the aspects investigated became increasingly complex. In 1840, for example, industries such as fishing were investigated, and social, ecclesiastical and fiscal issues were also expanded.
The following data collections are researched:
1850 United States Federal Census
1860 United States Federal Census
1870 United States Federal Census
1880 United States Federal Census
1890 United States Federal Census
1900 United States Federal Census
1910 United States Federal Census
1920 United States Federal Census
1930 United States Federal Census
1940 United States Federal Census
Birth, Baptism & Christening Records
Birth records can provide details about your family member’s birth and for baptism records, religious affiliation. They typically contain the name, date and place of the event, parents’ names, ages, birthplaces, occupation, and residence. Birth, baptism, and christening records are primary resources for family history research because they were typically created at or shortly after the birth, making the record more likely to be accurate.
Marriage & Divorce Records
Marriage information can establish religious and congregation affiliation, and other details can include age and place of birth, occupation, residences, and parents’ names. Divorce records include similar details, as well as date of divorce, children’s names, reasons for dissolution, and more.
Marriage records are primary resources for the marriage details, since they were created at the time of the marriage. This collection includes indexes that can help you request the record, and in some cases, actual images of the marriage records.
Social Security Death Index (1935-2014) and other US Death Indices
The Death Master File (DMF) from the Social Security Administration (SSA) currently contains over 94 million records. The file is created from internal SSA records of deceased persons possessing social security numbers and whose deaths were reported to the SSA. Often this was done in connection with filing for death benefits by a family member, an attorney, a mortuary, etc. Each update of the DMF includes corrections to old data as well as additional names.
Death, Burial, Cemetery & Obituaries
This category includes civil, church, cemetery, obituary, and other death-related collections. In addition to details about the death, they can contain birth information, family origins, cause of death, and more. Death records are primary resources for details about the death, since they were typically created relatively near the time of the death. This collection includes indexes that can help you request the actual record, and in some cases, actual images of the death records.
Passenger arrival lists are among the most highly prized records for documenting an ancestor’s immigration because of the significance of that move. Lists were not kept for every ship and some have been lost, but those that survive are becoming increasingly available online and new indexes afford us much better access to them. Because the forms used for passenger arrival records for the most part weren’t standardized until the twentieth century, earlier records will vary in content, but even the earliest records have a story to tell when you put them in the context of history, your family, and the journey itself. Early passenger lists typically include the name of the ship, the names of passengers, ages, ports of arrival and departure, date, country of origin, and occupation. 20th century lists include even more details, giving the town or county of origin, and the names of other family members, destination, physical description, and more. Passenger lists are typically used by family historians to document their immigrant ancestor’s trip to their new country, but don’t overlook the possibility of finding ancestors who were visiting relatives, traveling for business, or for pleasure.
The following data collections are researched:
New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957
New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1963
Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934
When researching in military records, it is helpful to determine when and where in the armed service a soldier served, and whether he or she was in the enlisted ranks or an officer. Clues may be found in family stories, old newspaper clippings, correspondence, scrapbooks, journals or diaries, service medals and memorabilia, and photographs of the soldier in uniform. The grave marker of a veteran may contain information about military service as well. Military records may have been created in peacetime or during time of war, depending on the record type, and you may even find military records for ancestors who never served. For example, the U.S. World War I Draft Registrations include records for 24 million men, both immigrant and U.S. citizens, who were born between about 1872 and 1900. Many of these men were never called up for service. Military records are wonderful sources that provide unique facts and insights into the lives of men and women who have served in the armed forces. They may include dates of birth and death, residence, names and addresses of family members, military rank and affiliation, among other details. The types of records you’ll find in this category include draft records, service records, pension records, bounty land records, claim records, and military histories.
The following data collections are researched:
U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 UPDATED
U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
U.S., Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
This database picks up where the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) leaves off by providing more details than those included in the SSDI. It includes information filed with the Social Security Administration through the application or claims process, including valuable details such as birth date, birth place, and parents’ names.
US Find A Grave Index
This database contains an index to cemetery and burial details posted on Find A Grave. Find A Grave provides users a virtual cemetery experience, with images of grave markers from around the world, as well as photos, biographies, and other details uploaded by volunteers. You may find obituaries and links to other family members included as well. Find A Grave got its start in 1995 when founder Jim Tipton built a website to share his hobby of visiting the graves of famous people. The website attracted thousands of visitors and soon grew to be more than just a collection of famous people’s graves, as volunteers began uploading images of headstones, burial information, and personal memorials from around the world.
BillionGraves is the world's largest resource for searchable GPS graveyard data. Every day it grows and improves. You can help by collecting gravestone images from local and other cemeteries and then transcribing the personal information on the images.