- May 2009 -

We’re celebrating the return of the warm weather with our hottest newsletter yet. Mother’s Day may be over but we’ve got fabulous tips on how to find the mothers in your family tree, insider info on what’s coming soon, and a sneak peek of our next big launch! So, take a break from your gardening and get the dirt on what’s happening at Ancestry.ca.

Mothers Day
Find the Mothers in Your Family Tree.

This month thousands of people set aside May 10th to honour their mothers. While we’ve come a long way in not only honouring the women in our lives, but assuring them more civil rights and equal opportunities, pinpointing them on our family tress can still be difficult since historical records tend to focus more on men. So what do you do if the women in your family tree elude you? Here are seven way to locate those tough-to-find female ancestors.

1. Look for mothers-in-law in census records. 
After their husbands died, many women went to live with children. You’ll often find mothers-in-law (and other in-laws) listed in census records.
2. Search the vital records of other family members. 
Don’t know great-grandmother’s maiden name? Check grandma’s birth certificate. Or marriage certificate. Or death certificate. And if you don’t find it listed there, check the vital records of other siblings and even half-siblings.
3. Search local newspapers at the time. 
Personal columns of local newspapers can be very revealing.You might find that “Mr. and Mrs. X invited their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Y, for Thanksgiving dinner.”
4. Conduct a thorough search of the husband’s records. 
You can often find out about the women in your family tree by researching the men. The husband and father’s records usually offer the most information, but you may want to try those of brothers and other male relatives as well. 
5. Pay attention to witnesses, neighbours, and friends.
Witnesses were often family members, so male witnesses on a record may have been brothers, fathers or uncles to any female mentioned. Neighbours on censuses, directories, and town maps are also potential in-laws. And, finally, women sometimes married brothers’ friends.
6. Locate cemeteries. 
Records might not mention women’s last names, but headstones usually do. If you can locate a woman buried beside her husband, you can often find out her maiden name.
7. Understand the laws of the time. 
Get to know the culture and laws surrounding the area and time-period when your female family member was living. Understanding what records she may have left behind can help you know what to search for. For instance, throughout most of the 19th century a single, divorced, or widowed woman, known as a “feme sole,” often produced more paperwork than a “feme covert,” or a married woman. She could enter into contracts, sue her debtors, and create a will. However, she lost most of these rights when she married.

Hope these tips help you track down the hard-to-find
women in your family history! Good luck and have fun
with your search!

In This Issue

The completion of all the available Canadian census records (we will be adding 1861, 1871, and 1881 to our existing collection)
Marriages of the Deaf in America, 1889-1894
Historical Newspaper Collection Update – adding papers from more than 100 new cities.



The Historical Canadian Census Collection - indexed, imaged, and online for the first time ever!
When it comes to filling in the blanks of your family story, census records are a real gold mine.  Dig in these records and you’ll be rewarded with vital details such as names of spouses, immigration years, occupations and so much more.  With the launch of the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses this June, Ancestry.ca will finally have every Canadian census available to researchers online – including 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1916!  Soon Canadians, and people around the word, will be able to research their Canadian roots faster and easier than ever before.
Just Launched on Ancestry.ca
NEW COLLECTIONS: Available for Canadian Deluxe and World Deluxe Members
Sketches illustrating the early settlement and history of Glengarry in Canada
This historical text features a rich recounting of the military exploits of the people of Glengarry county and includes detailed accounts of relating to the revolutionary war of 1775-83, the war of 1812-14, the rebellion of 1837-8, and much more.

The Province of Ontario gazetteer and directory
These records are a great source for concise descriptions of cities, towns and villages in the province. They contain the names of professional and business men and principal inhabitants, together with a full list of members of the executive governments as well as a large amount of other interesting and useful information.

Foot-Prints; Or, Incidents in Early History of New Brunswick

NEW COLLECTIONS: Available for World Deluxe Members

Returns from US Military Posts, 1800-1916
These returns from military posts around the United States consist of reports filled out by clerks on a monthly or quarterly basis. The reports contain statistics like the number of personnel at the post; the names and duties of the officers; a listing of official communications received; and a record of casualties, transfers, and other notable events that occurred at the post.

They are a great way to get a glimpse into the service your Veteran ancestor provided.

Scanned images of the reports are currently available on our website and can be browsed by post and then by year. Meanwhile, World Archives Project contributors are busy transcribing the records to make them searchable by name.

German Phone Directories, 1915-1981
We've partnered with the German National Library and Deutsche Telekom (the national German phone company) to bring you this unique collection of German phone directories, with some of the most current German content available on our site. Because there were no federal censuses taken in Germany, directories are a particularly important resource. These directories cover the five major cities in Germany-Frankfurt, Leipzig, Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg-and contain more than 25 million names. This is in addition to the 30 million names already in our historical German Historical Directories collection.

Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934
Hamburg was the busiest port of emigration from Europe during the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Besides Germans, many Eastern Europeans, including many Jews, sailed from there. And more than 80 percent of these passengers went to the United States.
We have recently updated the index to our Hamburg Passenger Lists so that it includes an additional 750,000 names, covering the years 1885-1914 (previously it covered 1890-1913).


"I only wish my grandmother could have lived to know what I now know."

In 1975, I sat down with my beloved grand-mother and asked her to tell me everything she could remember about her childhood. She lost her mother at a young age and she and her siblings were divided up and sent to live with relatives on both sides of her Irish family. It was a difficult time for my grandmother, who eventually ran away and was placed as a live-in domestic with a well-off family.

For 30 years after our talk, I tried (with little success) to trace her Irish roots. In 2007, I tried the Ancestry triall subscription and quickly started finding census records that provided small pieces of information. I signed up for a full year subscription as a Christmas gift to myself in December 2007. Just one week later, in searching public trees and reading postings from others looking for people with our family surname, I found two people who turned out to be the grandchildren of my great-grandmother's brother! I invited both families to my home for a Saturday lunch and we compared notes. We were soon able to not only identify our common Irish immigrant ancestors, but also the ship they sailed on and that they were, in fact, refugees from the great Irish famine of the late 1840s. It was a dream come true for three families who, a few months before, didn't know each other but for Ancestry. I only wish my grandmother could have lived to know what I now know about her Irish roots. She would have been amazed!

--Maureen Wlodarczyk, New Jersey

New Site Features

Improved Navigation Helps You Move Around the Site More Quickly
In the next couple weeks, we'll be improving the site navigation to make it quicker and easier for you to go where you want to go.

New Search Feature Brings Better Results
You asked us to limit your search results to more relevant date ranges, so we did.

Up until now, if you searched for someone living in the early 1800s, for example, you might still get search results for someone on the 1930 census or other 1900-era records, if other information, such as the name, matched.

Now, we've added a new feature that automatically limits your search results to the years you specify for birth and death, with a fudge factor of five years before and two years after. If you only specify a birth year we'll search for 100 years after that date; if you only enter a death year we'll search for 100 years before that date.

So, if you enter a birth year of 1901 and a death year of 1929, the search engine will return records between 1896 and 1931.

If you put in a death year of 1920, but no birth year, the search engine will return records from between 1815 and 1922.


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