Bones Collector

Thank you for visiting our latest innovative genealogy tool that will keep you up-to-date on all the happenings in the genealogy world both locally and elsewhere. As your guide and 'Head Bones Collector' for this blog, the primary goal is to provide information that can be referred to over and over again. We're very glad you stopped by! Visit us in person on 3rd floor of the Main Library in the Heritage Room!

Slave Trade

Quoting from Diane Richard's article in 'Internet Genealogy', "the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on almost 35,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked more than 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between 1514 and 1866. . . . the African names database identifies over 67,000 Africans aboard slave ships, using name, age, gender, origin and place of embarkation. Additionally, the website has essays about the slave trade, maps illustrating the evolution of the slave trade, images of ship registers, period maps, people and vessels used in the slave trade." All in all, an excellent web site for individuals researching African ancestry.

Ancestor Searching Newsletter, Volume 3, # 9

The National Library of Ireland was established by the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act, 1877, which provided that the bulk of the collections in the possession of the Royal Dublin Society, should be vested in the then Department of Science and Art for the benefit of the public and of the Society, and for the purposes of the Act.

Opened in 1890 to house the collection of the Royal Dublin Society, this library contains a vast collection of books, manuscripts, records, photographs, maps and newspapers. If you’re lucky enough to go to Ireland and you want to trace your family tree, go to the Heraldic Museum in the Genealogical Office a few doors down from the National Library at Nos. 2 and 3 Kildare Street. The National Library of Ireland's holdings constitute the most comprehensive collection of Irish documentary material in the world and offer an invaluable representation of Ireland's history and heritage. The National Library collections comprise a number of formats including printed material, manuscripts (approximately one million items in its collections spanning nearly a thousand years), visual and digital material.

The library is a reference library and, as such, does not lend and any reading is done in the various reading rooms. It has a large quantity of Irish and Irish-related material which can be consulted without charge; again, this includes books, maps, manuscripts, music, newspapers, periodicals and photographs. Included in their collections is material issued by private as well as government publishers. Copying service is available to get photocopies, photographs, slides, or microfilm of most items in the collections. The Library also has an ongoing program of exhibitions. The National Library of Ireland is a cultural institution under the auspices of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. Its mission is to collect, preserve and make available books, manuscripts and illustrative material of Irish interest.

Users of the Library have a wide variety of interests. They can include those engaged in long-term research with a view to publishing a book or articles and those with a specific once-time need. The Library's Genealogy Service is designed to assist all of those who wish to research their family history in Ireland. For first time researchers the Genealogy Service is an ideal starting point, allowing them the opportunity to discuss their research with experienced genealogists and Library staff, ready access to important finding aids and useful information panels. More experienced family historians are also welcome to avail themselves of the Service as from time to time they may need assistance with on-going research. The Library does not offer a research service. It is possible to commission research and a list of researchers - private individuals and organizations - who have indicated a willingness to carry out family history research on a professional, fee-paying basis, and can be found on the National Library of Ireland's website Family History Research.

Roman Catholic Parish registers of most parishes up to 1880 are held on microfilm. A Parish Registers list is available as a PDF. Their collections also include Estate Records, Gaelic Manuscripts, and a guide to family history in the library. Excellent Catalogues of Photographs, and Prints and Drawings are available too, many items viewable online.

The Library's photographic collection is housed in the National Photographic Archive in Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Here, approximately 300,000 photographs are kept, both historical and contemporary, the vast majority of which were taken in Ireland. While most of the collections of historical, there are some contemporary collections. Subject matter ranges from topographical views to studio portraits and from political events to early tourist photographs.

The National Library has the largest newspaper collection in Ireland. The earliest newspaper in the National Library newspaper collection dates from 1660. Irish titles are the primary focus of the collection. The policy is to collect all newspapers published in Ireland and Northern Ireland, including free newspapers.

Of special interest to genealogists is the map collection. The Early Manuscript map group which includes a 12th-century map of Europe found in "Topographia Hiberniae" (the topography of Ireland); Estate and other 18th-century maps and, of course, Ordnance Survey Maps. These range from the 16th century to the 20th century. As a result of a project to place the maps in a new viewing format, the collection of Ordnance Survey maps are currently being withdrawn from public circulation.

The Chief Herald of Ireland (the State authority on heraldic matters) and National Photographic Archive are attached to the library. The library holds exhibitions and maintains an archive of Irish newspapers. It is also ISSN National Centre for Ireland.

A Readers Ticket is necessary to access all collections in the Library, with the exception of the Newspaper Section, which offers a one-day pass. Application for a Readers Ticket can be made at the Ticket Office, located in the main library. Identification and two passport-sized photographs are required. To order copies of library material, send details of the particular piece, along with contact details, to copy-orders [at] nli [dot] ie. An invoice will be sent within 10 working days. On receipt of payment, the chosen material(s) will be copied.

Genealogy Workshop

Fact: For anyone just beginning their research in Ireland, the National Library's downloadable file Family History - Getting Started  online brochure is an excellent starting point for available information on Ireland research.

Tip: Digital images of some of the collection's Gaelic manuscripts can be accessed online on the ISOS (Irish Script on Screen) site.

Acadian Records

For research on Acadian, French Canadian roots, there is a site that offers a variety of many genealogy records and resources of interest. is devoted strictly to genealogical and census records of Acadian people. Currently, the site has extracted census records of Acadian family names found in the following census records:

1861 Bathurst, New Brunswick
1871 Bathurst, New Brunswick
1871 Beresford, New Brunswick
1881 Beresford, New Brunswick
1878 Palmer Road, Prince Edward Island
1861 Saint Basile, New Brunswick
1861 Shediac Parish, New Brunswick
1861 Shippagan, New Brunswick
1891 Cocagne, Notre Dame, Grand Digue, Kent County, NB
1851 Northumberland, New Brunswick

Genealogy Wikis

From Mark Tucker of ThinkGenealogy comes this bit of information . . .

"In the last few years, wikis have become popular as a way for many people to collaborate and share information. Particularly interesting to the genealogy community are genealogy wikis. Two of the most well known are Dick Eastman’s Encyclopedia of Genealogy and FamilySearch’s Research Wiki.

There are three main uses for wikis in genealogy:

  1. Articles about genealogy and family history (ex: Encyclopedia of Genealogy & FamilySearch Research Wiki)
  2. Personal genealogy (ex: Genealogy Wikia, WeRelate)
  3. Links to genealogy sites but no articles"

Ancestor Searching Newsletter, Volume 3, #8

How to Locate Maiden Names for your Genealogy Search

 When working on your genealogy, sometimes the most difficult obstacle to overcome is that of finding the maiden names of female ancestors. However, by finding this information you can be lead to an entirely new branch of your family tree and a whole new set of information and history to explore. To get to that point, though, you do have to find the maiden names in the first place. How do you do it? Here are eight tips on where to look for such information in your genealogy quest.

First of all, as obvious as it may seem, check with marriage records. The bride's maiden name is always listed on her marriage record. If you can't find a license, look for marriage certificates, announcements, bonds, or anything else that may have been used to mark the occasion at the time. You will be surprised at what you might find if you are creative.

Secondly, you can check out cemetery records. It may seem morbid, but especially in the past, the only proof you may find that a female ancestor even had a maiden name may be on her tombstone. Many of them will list a woman under her maiden name with her married name listed in terms of "married to" inscriptions.

Third, you can check census records. If you go back far enough you will see the maiden name of your ancestor shown by looking at the records of who lived in the household. You may see that a young couple lived with the wife's parents, or that other relatives moved into the home that may give away the maiden name.

Fourth, check land records. Land records are a great resource any time you are working in genealogy, and for seeking a maiden name they can be as well. Many times in the past, land was passed from father to daughter. If you look at your family's deeds you may find the names of females or of children of owners that can give away the maiden name to you as you search. If you see a man or couple sold land to someone for a dollar or other small amount, it is often a relative, so use that as well.

Fifth, it may seem unusual, but churches can be a great resource for maiden names. The birth and christening records in many cases will have the names of both parents on them. The mother's name, in most cases, will be listed under her maiden name. Churches may also have marriage information, including maiden names, since there were times when civil registration was not in effect in certain areas.

Sixth, try probate records and even the wills themselves. If you find that you may have found a set of parents to go with the mystery relative, check their will or probate. They often listed the surnames of female children separately from those of their spouses. This information can be valuable in tracking down a maiden name.

Seventh, check the newspaper. That's right; the newspaper can be a great resource. If you look in the area where your relative lived or was married, you may be able to find announcements or obituaries, which like the tombstones, will often times include the maiden name of the deceased.

Finally, check out death records. If the ancestor you are searching for died recently enough that there is a death certificate, it may be one of the only places her maiden name will be listed. You should also read the certificate carefully, though, since the information on old death certificates can be inaccurate. If you look you will be able to find out who the informant is. The closer the relationship between the deceased and the informant, the more accurate the information often will be.

There are a number of things you can run into with genealogy that can be frustrating. One of the most common obstacles, though, is maiden names. Often times there just were not kept track of with any sort of regularity so it becomes a real challenge to find out which way that branch of your family tree goes. However, there are some things you can do to track down maiden names. The eight tips above should get you a good start on tracking down who married whom so that you can extend that family tree to include new and exciting branches.

About the Authors

Paul Duxbury and Kevin Cook own and two of the leading Genealogy Websites.  In addition Paul owns a wide range of exciting websites which can be viewed at Article reprinted here by permission.

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Genealogy Workshop

Fact: In some religions, a dispensation was necessary, under certain circumstances, for a couple to be married in a religious ceremony. These records reveal a good bit of biographical information and very often included a female’s maiden name.
Tip: A mother’s maiden name is frequently used as a middle name for either boys or girls. Other family surnames may have been used as well.
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Genealogy News

Having trouble with nicknames? Here are three sites that feature common names and corresponding nicknames that just might help make the right connection. First,; second, and, finally,


Ancestor Searching Newsletter, Volume 3, # 7

Civil War Maps: For those who have researched their Civil War ancestors and located service records, there still may be some nagging questions about their military careers. For instance, you might like to know where they marched and the battles involving their unit. Luckily, there are now several sites on the Internet that contain large collections of Civil War maps. Some of these may indicate the location of forts or artillery pieces. Possibly, a POW camp or even parts of battlefields. Other maps such as state and regional, can be full of names and locations of old towns, bridges, river landings, etc. that may have some connections to the soldier travels. Also, many of these same websites will offer pre-war and post-war maps with potentially valuable clues or pieces of information about war regions.

Civil War maps available online include hand-drawn as well as printed maps. In many cases, more than one map can be found on major battles that took place during the war years. With enough detail included on the map, where an ancestor’s unit was located will most likely be marked.

One of the first places researchers look on the Internet for Civil War maps is the Library of Congress website. Currently, there are over 2,200 maps and charts along with 76 atlases and sketchbook. A great number of these files are in MrSID, DjVU or JPEG2000 format. These three particular formats compress the images without the loss of detail. To view these files online, doesn’t require special software, usually. However, should the files be downloaded to personal computers, a special viewer will be necessary. The Library of Congress’s Wavelet Compression Technology page has useful information on viewing the downloaded files. Lizardtech offers FREE,  two separate Plug-ins. One is DjVu Browser Plug-in and the other is the ExpressView Browser Plug-in. These viewers decompress ONLY the enlarged portion of an image being viewed. It’s best to open the software first, then the file to view.

The Gilmer Civil War Maps Collection at the University of North CarolinaChapel Hill website contains the war images of 161 Confederate Army maps. This collection can be searched by keyword, such as a town, county or river.

Maps in the National Archives are held by the Cartographic and Architectural Records Section. Upon arriving at the Archival Research Catalog, click on the yellow search button. Searching “maps and charts”, select digital files only and indicate a date range (optional). To purchase maps from the National Archives, go to the “Ordering Reproductions of Maps, Plans and Aerial Photographs” page. Copies are placed to private vendors and not the Archives itself. The National Archives maintains a collection of more than 8000 Civil War maps.

The US Military Academy Digital Library online collection contains 40 viewable Union and Confederate maps, mostly Virginia locations. Again, searching by keyword is available as well as the capability to enlarge sections of maps to view fine details. ‘Colonial and Federal Era Maps’ and ‘West Point Maps’ can also be found.

Lastly, the Official Military Atlas of the Civil War is available online from two locations. The University of Alabama Map Library and on the Civil War research page at Simmons Games.

Genealogy Workshop

Fact: The US Geological Survey’s Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) has over 2 million place names in the United States within the database.

Tip: ER Mapper offers a FREE ER Viewer that will open large JPEG2000 as well as other files.

Genealogy News

From the Allen County Public Library’s genealogy newsletter, ‘Genealogy Gems’ . . .

“International Black Genealogy Summit
Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN
October 29-31, 2009

This momentous event signifies the first time that all of the black historical and genealogical societies in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean will come together to celebrate the joys and challenges of black genealogy.

The idea to host this event is the brainchild of two visionaries:  Marjorie Sholes, professional genealogist, FGS Delegate and former President of the California African American Genealogical Society; and Curt Witcher, former President of the National Genealogical Society and the Department Manager for the Historical Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library.

Frazine Taylor has a new book out entitled Researching African-American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide. Frazine is the Head of Reference for the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) and very experienced in researching African-Americans in pre-Civil War records.

From Dick Eastman’s Newsletter comes the following news: “TGN CEO promises to open to developers"

Ian Lamont reported recently in The Standard that the CEO of The Generations Network, the company that owns genealogy site, has pledged to open up the platform to outside developers.

In an interview, The Generations Network CEO Tim Sullivan said was committed to opening up the platform, which has been developed over the last 10 years. "We will absolutely open up our platform," Sullivan said. "It's on our roadmap." However, Sullivan added that that it was unlikely to happen in the next six months, owing to other unspecified priorities for the company. He also did not describe what opening up would entail, or how long it would take.

If the Application Programming Interface (API) is built and if enough developers become interested, this could become monumental news for genealogists. The only program that can interface directly with right now is Family Tree Maker which is also owned by The Generations Network. However, once the API is in place, other programs and even other web sites theoretically could access the databases stored on and use the information in many different ways. I can envision several new applications that could utilize's data. However, there are many "ifs, ands, and buts" between now and a date when all this could happen. Don't hold your breath waiting for this.

You can read a bit more about the recent interview at

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