January 31, 2017

Video Tutorial: Looking at Digital Records on FamilySearch

If you have written to me and I have not responded, it is not that I am ignoring you.  It simply means that I cannot keep up with the questions being asked. So knowing how frustrating it can be in researching your ancestry, I created a quick tutorial on how to view digitized records.  Yes a long time ago I was right there with you in frustration but hoping that I can assist in removing some of it.

Keep in mind that the video is done on collections I am very familiar with but that this applies to all records on Familysearch.  So if you're looking in Jamaica, Barbados, or even Brazil, you'll be able to easily navigate the images.

I recommend that you have to separate windows if you are on a computer to follow along. If you're on a mobile device, you may have to watch it a couple of times before venturing on your own.  Just know that the video will remain on the website. 




Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

How to Find Ancestors on Family Search Website

I get many private messages on how to find records.  I wanted to post a video that will help everyone to find records no matter where your family is from.  The below video is the first that provides you with instructions on searching on the website. It is meant to be basic so that you can get comfortable with the website.

There are many that enter the world of genealogy and tend to feel lost.  I know that feeling as I started off this way years ago. I wanted to take away the frustration for many.  I hope this video helps you along with the many other videos I plan to post.



Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

January 26, 2017

Digitized Brazilian Slave Church Records

One of the struggles with those who descend from enslaved Africans in the USA is trying to connect the dots to determine where you came from.  One pattern I have noticed in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America is that religion was the key controller of documentation. I am posting images for those who are not aware they exist and are no longer under copyright since they are extremely old. All images are from the 1800's in Brazil.

Slavery in Brazil by Jean-Baptiste Debret (1834–1839)

The Roman Catholic Church was known to document every person via baptism, marriages and deaths.  This included people who were made slaves and there was nothing good about the slavery that occurred to our ancestors.  Believe me that they fought just as hard for their freedom just like we would today so don't think otherwise.

Today I get many requests about African culture and where to find records which is why I make it a point to post these records.  I too have many questions as I now have African cousins on both my paternal and maternal side.  It seems that people from Gambia are testing the most as I now have a Gambia cousin who is 100% African on both sides.

I was able to determine what line my Gambia cousins are coming from on my father's side and tonight I was able to determine the same for my maternal side.  Without a doubt the Gambia cousin is coming from my maternal grandmother.  I am still researching to determine if this Gambia cousin comes from my grandmother's father, which is Cartagena, or from my grandmother's mother, which is Rivas.  Either way the Gambia cousin is definitely from my maternal grandmother. I hope as I continue to build my tree I can place this person on my tree.

I had completely forgotten that there are actual church books that are available online and are digitized by Vanderbilt University for Brazil. The access is free and you do not need student access.  You will need to use Google Translate as the records are in Portuguese.

1824 Slave Market in Rio de Janeiro Brazil - Children Being Sold

For Antonio de Sa, there are 2,745 images to go through.  The books start off in 1761 and ends in 1861. There are many other regions and churches so Antonio de Sa isn't the only collection.  Just scroll down to view more records.


This collection has baptisms, marriages, and death records for both Africans and African descents enslaved as well as those that are free.  There is also books with Wills and Obituaries for both slaves and freed blacks so these images are a great resource to do research if you're looking for ancestry in Brazil.




Slave Ship on Way to Brazil in 1800's
Most important there are other posts on this blog for Brazil so don't think that this is the only post.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.


Cemetery Records for Caguas in Puerto Rico

Familysearch has kept themselves busy converting microfilmed images into digitizes records.  Although it seems like a simple task, it really isn't and the process is very long and requires expertise.  These records are then made available on their website.

So last night before calling it a night, I saw that more records have become available online for Puerto Rico. This is a great thing as many people from the Caribbean have taken on wanting to know their ancestry.  We no longer live in the world of now but in a world of wanting to know how we got here.

The collections contains cemetery records from 1900 to 1910 and then records from 1942 to 1990.  The 1900 to 1910 will be a great source of information as many Puerto Ricans died during that 10 year period after Hurricane San Ciriaco in 1899 made landfall in Guayama, which is southwest of Caguas and cut across the island leaving destruction and death behind.  

Caguas, Puerto Rico 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane Damage
The hurricane killed 3,369 people and this figure does not include the many that died following this devastation. It manage to destroy the island's coffee crop as it hit prior to picking season which led to poverty. The next 10 years we see many dying from anemia, cholera, and starvation. Many children died but also many children were left as orphans. You will find this as you dig through records.

Cementerio 1º Books:

Cementerio 3º Books:


Registry of Cemetery 

Arecibo, Puerto Rico 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane Damage
Most important there are other posts on this blog for Puerto Rico so don't think that this is the only post.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.


January 25, 2017

Georgetown Guyana Birth Marriage and Death Annoucements

As I continue to find documents or information on Guyana and any other place for the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, I'll add them to the blog to help in your research.

So one of the best places to search for ancestors is in newspapers.  It may not have been a place we would think to do so today with the technology we have in place but it is definitely a great place to look for back when our ancestors were around.

In Georgetown Guyana there were at least two newspapers that were in print in the 1800's.  Newspapers were used to make announcements and this goes for entire Caribbean and South America.

The first one is the Colonist newspaper.  The newspaper can be found on one film but covers from 1864 to 1880.  Simply scroll down to the bottom to find the film. Take a look at my prior posts before ordering films.

Colonist 1864 to 1880 - Births, Marriages, and Deaths

Another newspaper is The Argosy.  This collection covers announcements for birth, marriages and deaths during the years of 1880 to 1896. This collection can be found on two films.

The Argosy 1880 - 1896 - Births, Marriages, and Deaths

Most important there are other posts on this blog for Guyana so don't think that this is the only post.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

I hope this addition helps you in finding records to add to your family tree.






Brazil Digitized Civil Records

This is my third post on Brazil, however it is about many different type of records that are available online. 

The records on Brazil are extensive and the best part is that they are available for free to review.  Since they make the records available at no charge, I ask that you volunteer for one of the many projects they have to help others in their research.  To help, simply click on the Indexing link at the top of the website. 

So now back to Brazil, these links are descriptive below and go beyond just civil records.  The  miscellaneous records for Rio Grande do Sul contain marriage records as well as court records.  This is a goldmine of information as it has close to 3 million records for those of you researching your ancestry in such a large country.  As previously posted on prior posts, visit http://www.genealogianuestra.com/2017/01/where-to-find-church-records-for-us.html to understand how to view the records, it's an easy to follow tutorial.

So now that you have viewed the above post, here are the digitized images for church records throughout Brazil.  Hopefully you read my prior post for Brazil.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.


Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.


Many of these links have searchable databases so I recommend that you use both options. 

If you're looking for ancestors that entered the country at some point in time, here are some records for different States in Brazil.

Here are some burial records that are available online:


Finally last but far from minimizing them, the following are civil registration records available.  

I hope this post is helpful in your research in Brazil.








Brazil Digitized Church Records Available Online

There are many digitized church records for Brazil available online and the best thing is that they are available for free.  You can assist the website with indexing projects they have underway to make researching easier for all.  Note that if you don't read or speak the language, Google Translate is a great option.  I provide a link on my blog for all to use.  Don't skip in researching your ancestry simply because you can read the language.

So before we start and so that I don't find myself writing really long blog posts, click on the following link so that you'll know how to view the digitize images.  It will take away a lot of frustration.  It is a reference only so pay attention to the images so that when you get to the link you're not screaming "Where are the images!?!"

http://www.genealogianuestra.com/2017/01/where-to-find-church-records-for-us.html

So now that you have viewed the above post, here are the digitized images for church records throughout Brazil.  Hopefully you read my prior post for Brazil.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.




 

Seeing Brazilian Church Records - Searchable Databases

When I first took my DNA test years ago with 23andMe, the last thing I expected to find was Brazilian cousins.  As I wrote to them, many stated that they always known that their ancestors were from Brazil and didn't realize that they would match with cousins from the Caribbean.  Although I am born in the USA, I am first generation born since both my parents were born in the Caribbean. 

Once I tested with AncestryDNA, I found many more Brazilian cousins who are 4th cousins. This had to do with the fact that Ancestry has the largest database of matching cousins.  While having your DNA done for genealogical purposes is a great move to help in your research, I need to kill the idea that you'll have an instant tree.  That is not the purpose of having your DNA tested.  It is another tool in helping you confirm that your tree is correct or assists you in knowing where else to look for your ancestors.

That being said, yes I have many Brazilian cousins and know I will be able to connect them as I add more ancestors to my tree. I recommend that you read up on Brazilian history to understand where to search for your ancestors.  There is a really great GIF on the history link that shows you how the layout of the country changed, it will be useful in your research.

So the first three links below provide you with a search database for marriages, deaths, and births.  All links will open in a new window to make it easier for you. 



Note that these are not for all churches so first search these databases and if you can't locate the record, I will be posting an additional post addressing images.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

My next post will be on digital images of church records. Hopefully the above databases have come to great use to you.




January 17, 2017

Where to Find Church Records for the US Virgin Islands?

As you know, the US Virgin Islands consist of 3 islands which are Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix.  Trying to find family for these islands is not as difficult as it used to be and not as impossible as many seem to think.  There are films and digitized church records available online. This post will only be about the digitized images and I'll speak about the films on a future separate post. Most importantly, review all other blog posts here as it will help you, even if you think it doesn't pertain to you. 

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.


I've pointed it out in prior posts about knowing the history of the region where you are seeking information about your ancestors. It doesn't require you to know deep history but enough to know where to go digging for the records.  Part of my success in finding records and information on my ancestors is not just following their path but also following the path of history. This will minimize the number of records you have to search through.

Like many other islands, these islands faced hurricanes and invasions from pirates or other nations. So if you are looking for an ancestors during a certain time period, the key is knowing what was happening during that time period to determine how you'll locate them.

Another key resources is knowing that many islanders, although not having today's technology, were know to island hop.  I know that I have found many people from all three islands in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. I have even posted on the blog about finding an enslaved person of African descent who was from St. Thomas and being baptism in Puerto Rico as a slave. Never assume that your ancestor never left the island, even if for a short trip, you'll be surprised how many have made trips.

Another important item is age. Just remember that when you are attempting to estimate the birth of an ancestor, take the last known ancestor's birth and minus 20 to 25 years of age for the mother.  Most of our ancestors were married very young and also had many children.  To give you an example, one of my great grandmothers was married off at the age of 11 but didn't have her first son, my grandfather, until she was nearly 16 years of age.  Yes it was shocking but a reality during that era. I tend to give men between 25 to 30 years of age to estimate their age. This is how I manage to reduce records I have to search through. When going through church records I take that ancestor and search through 20 years of records (plus or minus 10 years from estimated date of birth).

When going through records, I collect all of the children's names for a great grandparent. If you've read my blog, you'll discover that I have 3 sisters who turned out to be my 4th great grandmothers for different lines. This reduces time on research.


The link below has digitized images or you can use the search engine available. There are 10,633 images available for you to view and they cover Saint Thomas and Saint Croix.  I'm going to walk you through the long process on this. This is to help first timers or for those who struggle navigating the website. I tend to use both options; search engine and going through images. I do this as I recognize that the person reading the document may have misinterpreted the image while indexing. I have found records that I thought were not available using both options.  You must setup a free account with FamilySearch to view these records. Please do that before we start by visiting www.familysearch.org. After registering, click on the below link.


Below is an image of where the above link will take you. You can print this image if you want to view it larger. Simply click on it and it should open into a bigger window, then right click it and save it to the computer. The link is setup to open in a new tab so you will not navigate away from this page.


So if you used the above search window and found what you were seeking, then there is no need to go further. However if you know that your ancestor should be found in the books, then I recommend you continue further with me. In the above image it tells you where you can browse through the images.



You will be led to a new window, but no images. For this example click on St. Croix. I will also advise you how to be back if you want to view St. Thomas. Once you click on St. Croix, a list of towns will appear.


Click on Christiansted for this example.  Then as shown in the below screenshot click on St John's Episcopal Anglican Church

You will be taken to the screen below. Notice how the images are split up by years and types of records. For this example, click on Baptism 1841 -1854.



 By clicking on it, it will lead you to a screen as seen below. I took a small snapshot of the screen as I want to talk about navigating the images.


The white box with the one indicates that it is the first image. You can enter any number from 1 though 124 but never greater as it will return an error; only this example.  Once you enter an number, you can hit enter and the screen below (whitish area) will update with the image.

The plus and minus signs on the left hand side permit you to zoom in and out of an image. You are also permitted to download the image to your computer (didn't grab a snapshot).  You can find the download option to the right of the window.

The dots indicate multiple images.  Click on it to see what it does.  Yes it allow you to zoom out and see many images. When in that view, you can jump forward by click on any image in the screen and notice that the icon changes after you click it. It appears as it does below.


You can click on the new icon and it will zoom into the image you selected.  When in multiple image view, you can also hold down your mouse and scroll down and grab an image further down. The last icon with the four corners permits you to blow the image to full screen.  So plenty of features to make it easier to navigate.

Now how do you navigate back? Do not use the back button on your browser and you won't get the results you expect by it. Instead, lets look at the below image. Notice that above the menus on every screen you drilled down that they appear in blue.  These are hyperlinks that allow you to move backwards.  If you click on the church name, all the images under that church will appear. If you click on the town and there was more than one church, the other churches will appear there. However there was only one church for this town.  If you click on St Croix, the cities will appear. And if you click on link for the Virgina Islands, you will notice that St Croix and St Thomas will appear.

I purposely went through this lengthy explanation as I know that many have come to me and struggle to navigate this website. I hope that this explanation will assist you in finding your ancestors.


January 14, 2017

How Recent was an Ancestor from a Region?

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

One of the struggles that we deal with is trying to figure out when an ancestor from a specific region of the world occurred when reviewing your DNA results.

23andMe recently added a new feature to DNA results that will help many in determining when to search for a specific ancestor and where.  The new feature provides you with a timeline that then places the ethnicity within a time period. Below are my results on 23andMe.  This is a new added feature if you're on the line on whether you should do an ancestral test with 23andMe.

My 23andMe DNA Results

My middle eastern is in sync with my family tree as my great grandfather who was the last from that region of the world was born in the 1800's and died in 1949.  The test results are not perfect as he was born closer to the 1870's but it still is better than nothing when you're playing guessing games. I know that I can research my African ancestry in Puerto Rico since I have a line that comes from Gabon and yes it is smacked right where West Africa appears.  If you have your test done at 23andMe previously, I recommend that you go and visit the page found under reports.

The best feature about it is that it lets you know what level of great grandparent existed at the time.  So hovering over my North African, you'll see where the bubble window pops up and provides additional information. A step in the right direction for 23andMe.

January 8, 2017

Genealogy Help for All of the Caribbean

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Was hoping that I would be able to post one more island before classes start for me on Monday, however my weekend proved to be too busy.  I will not be able to post again until Spring break as I'm in classes full time and studying for a certification exam.

However, I failed to mentioned for many Caribbean island posts here that there are some common databases that are searchable for everyone.  The following links are databases that cover the entire Caribbean.  Take a look at the databases if you haven't used them in the past.  It is a hit or miss but never skip over it.

All Caribbean Islands:

Note:  For the three books listed above (last three bullet points), use the WorldCat link to see if a local library near you has the books.

The Candoo Forums also maintains a great forum for surnames for all of the Caribbean; this includes Guyana, Venezuela, and Mexico (Caribbean facing).  The forum is split by country/island names.

Guyana 

Chinese in Guyana: Their Roots - Make sure that when you visit the Passenger page that you click on ship's name as it will lead to the list of people on the ship and to ancestors.

Jamaica

Jamaica Registrar General
University of West Indies




January 6, 2017

Finding Your Ancestry in Antigua and Barbuda

I am hoping to be able to cover a few more countries before classes begin for me on Monday as I am attending classes full time as well as working full time.  I will be going on silent mode for the most part since my schedule is busy.  So I wanted to cover Antigua and Barbuda as I have an half aunt who has many relatives in this region of the Caribbean.

Although there are limited digitized records for Antigua and Barbuda available, there are may microfilms available that you can request to view locally via a Family History Center (FHC).  I know that using Familysearch can be daunting for many as it was for me when I first came across it.  I share this information to make it easier for others. It will be amazing to see how many more people I will connect with.

So here is the thing about Antigua and Barbuda.  If you initially search on these islands, you'll think that there are no civil records for the island or very limited options. Playing around in the catalog will surprise you.  I tend to like using "Keywords" when I feel that the search results is too small when using the catalog.  So here is what I found.

Registers of slaves in Antigua, 1817-1833 (There are 4 films, scroll down and review)

For the following list of links, scroll down on each to see the film number you'll need.  If you get the same film number for many items, it is just one film.  The item number just lets you know where on the film you'll find the type of records.  Capture that information so that when the film arrives at the local FHC, you'll know where to fast forward on the film. Ask for assistance as they will help you at the location.

Civil Registration Records:


A catalog list of what is available, beyond the above, can be found as follows:  Antigua and Barbuda 

This book is available online, click on the link and you'll see the sub-links on the page. It is always good to read history so that you'll know where to search next. It has always worked for me.


Familysearch has the book but not for borrowing at a local location. I have used the WorldCat in the past and have ordered books and picked them up from my local library.  I recommend that if you live in the USA, just enter your zip code to view where you can look at this book. It is even available for purchase at Barnes & Nobles and Better World Books.  I will post about WorldCat as a separate post but the link is below for now.


Best of luck in your search!


Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

   

What To Do With Your DNA Test Kit And How To Understand It?

So now that you've had your DNA tested for genealogical purposes, what to do with it? One of the best free tools online that I've come across is GEDMatch.

GEDMatch is a website that allows you to upload your DNA file, analyze it further, and provides an ability to find genetic DNA cousins who tested with other DNA companies. The website is full of great features and options.

So if you tested with AncestryDNA, 23andMe (personally don't recommend health report option),  FamilyTreeDNA, and WeeGene, you can download or use one of GEDMatch's automation tools (depending on testing company) to transfer data.  They provide you with great instructions on what steps you need to take.

I recommend that if you're new to DNA testing, that you read their Beginner's Guide which will be a menu option on the screen after logging in. The website also provides a forum and wiki pages; so plenty of support.

There is also many Facebook groups for those of you on Facebook.  Just use search and you'll be surprised to uncover how many groups are out there willing to help.  I previously posted about them in a prior post and the list is provided below. There are many more beyond what I listed below so you are not alone in this. 💛 💜

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DNAAfricans/ (researching your African ancestry)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ALLGeneticGenealogy (a good friend, Kelly, runs this group, very welcoming)  - she also has a wonderful blog with lessons on DNA, VERY easy to follow.


I have posted in my blog about DNA testing but at the time it was directed to Puerto Ricans and Dominicans.  However I highly recommend it to EVERYONE!  If you're from the Caribbean, you'll be surprised how many others have taken the plunge.

I encourage that you have your eldest relatives tested first.  Tests consist of spitting into a tube or swabbing of the cheek.  Before spitting into the tube, I recommend scratching your cheek gently with your teeth, swishing around saliva to get the it into the saliva and spit; yes sounds nasty but works.  You should not eat, drink or smoke for at least one hour before spitting as it can ruin the test and require retesting.


23andMe Test Results
So far I have tested with AncestryDNA and 23andMe.  I originally tested with 23andMe years ago before Ancestry offered DNA testing but also had it done there.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover many cousins on the same path with me. I have always called myself a human mutt since a kid because I knew my family was a rainbow of colors; my DNA simply confirmed it. Below I'm providing a view of the breakdown of my 23andMe test results.
DNA Results from 23andMe

All companies have their plus and minus.  If you're of African descent, I recommend AncestryDNA and then 23andMe.  The reason in that order is that Ancestry has the largest number of DNA testers with well over 3 million people as 23andMe doesn't provide that much.  However if budgets are tight then skip on 23andMe and go for GEDMatch.  You'll discover cousins there and many tools to analyze.

GEDMatch also provides a Lazarus tool; creation of tool kits of parents/grandparents without them testing; example they're deceased.  I recommend you read up on it to understand how it works. ($10 monthly fee needed to access)


January 5, 2017

1611 - 1808 Panama Census Records

Familysearch has uploaded digital images for census records that cover from 1611 to 1808.  The images for the earlier time period look to be written in Latin.  However that shouldn't stop you from being able to determine what the records state with Google Translate.

Most importantly not all images are in Latin but in Spanish.  If you can read Spanish then half the battle is done and you shouldn't have too much of a hard time determining what the Latin says either.  I didn't zoom into the images but it looks like Latin.

There are 3 items on the film and only item one pertains to Panama and the other two belonging to Colombia.  The records come from Colombia's National Archives and there are 3,142 total images on the film. I counted 963 images for Item 1 alone.  Anything beyond image 963 is for Columbia so skip over those unless you want to search their Census records too.

Click on the following link and it will lead you to the images, best wishes on your research!



Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country. 

Finding Records on FamilySearch for Genealogical Research

The LDS, which owns www.familysearch.org, provides you with resources to genealogical records.  A simple search in their catalog, then ordering the film and visiting a local Family History Center (FHC) to view these films is very easy.

I recommend that you should add one more step to this process. Remember that there may have been someone before you that may have ordered the film you want to review and it may already be available at the local FHC. So the steps I recommend is as follows and I will explain how to use the search function on the familysearch website.

  1. Search for records. 
  2. Document the film numbers
  3. VISIT your local FHC to see if they are there
  4. If not available at the FHC, place order to request films
The staff at the FHC are very helpful and knowledgeable, I recommend that you speak to them if you feel you need further assistance.  To use the catalog is actually very easy

To begin, after arriving at the website, hover over the word "Search" and on the dropdown menu you should see "Catalog"; click on it.  You should arrive at the following image:



Notice that in the above image, it defaults to "Place" but you can also select, "Surnames", "Titles", "Author", "Subjects" and "Keywords".  For this example, I started typing Dominican Republic, a dropdown  appears to select a searchable option; you have to select it.  If you are searching in the Caribbean, the best option is to first try the island name only.  Review the results and also see if the page provides a breakdown.

You're given the option of selecting a FHC but I recommend that you don't use that option yet, as you'll soon see why.


So the above results show that there are quite a few records in their possession for Dominican Republic. Notice the hyperlink (indicated in blue) for "Places within Dominican Republic".  If you click on that hyperlink, it will expand out and provide you with many regions within the country which can include districts, municipalities, cities, towns, or even villages.  By visiting each option, you're given more results that are not displayed above.

So why did I say don't add the library? Well because it will eliminate microfilms from the catalog that a FHC location may not have in their possession and thereby limiting you from knowing that they exist.

Another reason I don't use it is because it just so happens that my local FHC isn't listed which happens to be in Brandon, Florida.  I know that I've ordered many films for the Caribbean but none are listed as being at that location.  I am also aware of others that I've met during my years of research that have also ordered films and paid to have the films remain at the FHC in Brandon.  From what I can tell, they haven't taken the steps yet to provide what they have in their possession online. The view below shows how the Brandon, Florida location is missing from the dropdown list. So until all libraries are listed, I suggest that you visit location with film numbers in hand versus using the filter.




January 4, 2017

Researching Your Guyanese Ancestry


I suspect that my Guyanese DNA genetic cousins connection occurred during the enslavement of African people.  The ugly treatment that our ancestors faced with being enslaved continues to impact us today.

They were ripped from their families and sold from plantation to plantation across the Caribbean and South America.  Discovering Guyanese cousins was truly unexpected but it helps to recognize what our ancestors faced. We still face hardships based on the pigmentation of our skin today but I embrace all of my cousins no matter where they are from.  💖

Although Guyana is considered a Caribbean country, they didn't have to face the many hurricanes that destroyed documents.  However researching from your computer will prove a bit of a challenge.  It is also a region that isn't easy to research as there aren't as many records available as with other Caribbean locations.

It turns out that Familysearch does have church records for Guyana but you'll need to use Google Translate if you don't speak Dutch.  I have been able to successfully read documents in other languages using it and it all depends on your determination of finding ancestors.

The following is only available on microfilm.  I've posted on my blog in the past about ordering microfilms.  I recommend that you read before you place an order; especially if you live in a part of the world where there are many others from Guyana in the region; it will save you money in the long run.

(Colony de Demerary) Mariages 1758-1804 and (Colony de Essequibo) Mariages 1779-1811 
Catalog contents for Guyana (outside of the above church records))

Click on the triangles to expand the menu item and clicking the hyperlink will lead you to microfilm information.

There is Guyana's National Archives as they are digitizing many records.  I've provide their link as well as the University of Guyana's library catalog below. 

There is also a blog for Guyana Genealogical and Biographical Society with a lot of good information.

Last but most important, Dr. Henry Louis Gates did an article in 2014 called, How Do I Research My Guyanese Heritage?  I recommend that you review this article to ensure nothing is missed.

Wishing you well in your research of your ancestors.  This post will help me down the road as I continue to dig through records and breakdown my DNA. I will post if I find any more sources here on the blog.

If you haven't taken a DNA test yet, I recommend that you take one with Ancestry You do not need a subscription to view results, just a one time kit order.  If you have siblings, have them take the test too as you each inherit an approximate random 50% of DNA from each of your parents.  No two children will be identical unless you're identical twins.



Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

January 3, 2017

Where to Search for Jamaican Ancestors?

One of the genres of music I have enjoyed since a kid is reggae music. Although I know that my ancestry is embedded in the Caribbean, the last thing I expected was discovering that I actually have many DNA cousins who show 100% Jamaican ancestry.  Since this island shares Taino and African ancestry with the two islands that my parents come from, I wasn't expecting to discover that I have genetic Jamaican DNA cousin.

So where can you search your ancestry where it doesn't cost you a trip back to the island?  Or even if you are on the island, you don't have to visit some archive to get data?

Well Familysearch is the option available to you.  Currently they have quite a few libraries available to you.  First let's start with searchable databases.



For the following databases, you can either search or scroll down to the bottom and click on the image number which will lead you to the digitized images.

You can even review their catalog to determine if there a a microfilm in their possession that will assist you in your research.  I'm providing the link below, click on the the side triangles next to each subtitle to expand and click through to view what is actually available.  The catalog is very extensive. Notice at the time there is a clickable link, "Places within Jamaica", make sure you visit all the towns in the catalog to ensure you didn't miss anything.  In addition, at the top you should also see a link for the Cayman Islands, I recommend that you follow that link as well. 

 
Another good resource that I came across is JamaicanFamilySearch.

Happy to see that Jamaica has many resources available.  As I continue to research and eventually find my Jamaican connection, all of these links will hopefully lead me to more answers.  Good luck in your research!


Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.