- February 2010 -

Last month we asked you for your feedback and the Ancestry.ca community answered. We received thousands of replies with great feedback on what you're looking for from Ancestry.ca in our monthly newsletters. We've already started working on our new email format, and you can expect to see the fruits of your input in the months to come.

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In This Issue



Before they made the harrowing journey to this large brown land, many convicts spent time aboard the Prison Hulks - decommissioned ships, moored in the Thames Estuary or Plymouth Harbour, used as 'temporary' prisons by the British government. Some were awaiting trial, and others were awaiting a place aboard a ship bound for the colony.

The appalling living conditions on board these floating prisons, and poor hygiene, meant disease spread quickly. In fact, many of the convicts sent to New South Wales in the early years were already disease-ridden when they departed England and a considerable loss of life through typhoid and cholera epidemics was the result.

These records reach back to the very earliest days of the settlement and are now available for keying as part of the Ancestry World Archives Project (AWAP).


NEW COLLECTIONS: Available for World Deluxe Members

England & Wales,
Death Index, 1916–2005

Browse images of records from Lutheran and Catholic churches and Jewish synagogues in the former areas of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz, which are now a part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. You’ll find birth, baptism, confirmation, marriage, death and burial records, including names, dates, parents’ names and sometimes more.

London, England,
Bishops’ Transcripts, 1700s–1900s

If you haven’t been able to find your English ancestors in our London vital records yet, try searching them again. We’ve updated these collections to include bishops’ transcripts, which were copies of parish registers kept by the clergy and sent to the bishop annually. Sometimes parish records that were lost or destroyed were preserved in the bishops’ copies.
Australian Convict Records, 1700s–1800s

Our latest addition of convict records now bring our grand total of Australian criminal records to more than 2.3 million – the largest online convict resource anywhere.

Once a cause of embarrassment, convict ancestry is now being embraced by many Australians, especially considering the number of “criminals” who were sent to Australia for petty crimes.

Beginning in 1788, Britain transported nearly 80,000 convicts to Australia to help relieve their overcrowded prisons. Many received conditional or absolute pardons after several years. The detailed records surrounding these pardons include information on where the individual came from, his offense, the place and date of his trial and the ship he traveled on. They may also include information like occupation, physical description and even religion.

New South Wales, Australia, Applications and Admissions,to Orphan Schools, 1817–1833

Your ancestor didn’t have to be an orphan to have attended an Orphan School. These institutions were also for children whose parents could no longer care for them. This collection includes letters of application written by parents or guardians and school registers noting students’ admission, both record types containing many personal details about the students’ lives.

New Vital Records
(Birth, Marriage and Death), 1909– 2008—*TOP MEMBER REQUEST

Find an original birth, marriage or death certificate for your parents, grandparents or maybe even yourself in one of our most comprehensive vital record collections to–date, covering nearly a century of records. Unlike an index, this collection contains actual images of the records themselves.

Having spent much of last year listening to what customers wanted, we will be launching a series of filters in new search with the aim of giving the experienced searcher a lot more control over their searches, and therefore making it much easier to understand your results.

Over the next few months we plan to add a series of filters to new search, which you will be able to find in advanced search.

Our collections fall into a number of different record types. (If you’ve ever used Old Search, you might be familiar with historical records, family trees, stories & publications and photos & maps). Different types of records are useful in different ways, and sometimes it’s easier to look at one type at a time. In advanced search you will now be able to pick and choose which types of records you see in your results or category list.

You can choose all four (which is the default), or any combination of the four. Each time you do a new search, we will reset to the default and you can choose the record types that are most appropriate for the ancestor you are searching for.

We’ve broken our record types into four groups:

  • Historical Records: This includes census records, vital records, immigration records and other structured record types
  • Stories and Publications: This includes records such as public and private member stories, and family histories
  • Family Trees: This includes public and private family trees on the site
  • Photos and Maps: This includes public and private member photos as well as other photos and maps we have on the site


Link to our US Blog

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. And you celebrate your birthday every year. And the same was true for your ancestors.

Now, a new feature in your tree allows you to attach photos, video, audio clips and stories to these and other important events in your ancestors’ lives, so you can document a more complete story.

To get started, visit an ancestor’s profile page in your family tree, select one of the events in their timeline (birth, marriage, move, etc.) and click “Add media.” Once you’re done, be sure to click on the actual life event itself to see all the facts, records, sources and media surrounding that event in one central location.


*14 day free trial: Terms and conditions apply. Only one free trial of one of our membership options is allowed per person. Free trial requires registration with a valid credit card, but no money will be taken during the free trial. To cancel your membership without incurring cost, simply login, go to My Account’ and select ‘Cancel’ under ‘Subscription Options’, or call us on 1-800-958-9073 (toll free from Canada) 9am-6pm Mon to Fri (EST), before the expiry of the 14 day free trial, otherwise 100% of your chosen membership price will automatically be charged to your credit card on expiry of the 14 day free trial.

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