Genealogical Society of Sarasota, Inc.
Welcome to the Genealogical Society of Sarasota

WDYTYA Episodes Online!

Have you missed some of the Who Do You Think You Are episodes?  You can watch them online!  There are two locations:
TLC - Those with a key icon require you to sign in with your television provider credentials.

Ontario Universities Libaries Digitize 1,000+ Maps

The Historical Topographic Map Digitization project highlights Ontario’s history and its changing landscape from 1906 to 1977.  Here's a link to the map project.

Free Genealogy Research Sites for Every U.S. State

Article with links to free record collections per state.

New Brunswick 1966 Death Certificates

The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick released the Index to Death Certificates for 1966 --  4,863 records.  The 1918-1966 Death Certificates collection now holds more than 230,000 records.
Currently there is no image available for the 1965 & 1966 death certificates, but the index includes the person's name, sex, date and location of death, registration and volume numbers, and microfilm number. You can contact the provincial archives from the indexed item about how to obtain a complete copy of the record.
Images of deaths before 1965 will are available to view and download.  Here's a link to the site.

Foreign-Born 1907 Canadian Militia Database

Taken from Gail Dever's Genealogy a la carte newsletter 23 March 2017
The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa has produced a database of almost 2,000 names of Canadian Militia personnel who served in 1907 and were born outside Canada.
The publicly available database is an alphabetical index to a list of 1,991 foreign-born Canadian militia personnel in the permanent or volunteer force in 1907. Nearly three-quarters of the men — 1,467 — were born in England, 266 were Irish, and 149 were Scottish. The next most numerous birthplaces were Wales, India, the United States, Australia, the Channel Islands, France, and Newfoundland.
The index contains surname and forenames or initials, rank, age, country of origin, military division, page on which the name is found, and a link to an image of the original table.

Article on Future Updated FindaGrave Site

This was announced at RootsTech.  The article can be found here.

Finding Your Ancestor in U.S. Passenger Lists

Ancestry has published a 4 page guide to help you identify your immigrant ancestors.  It can be found here.

Transgenders & NYC Birth Certificates

Taken from Records Access Alerts Digest, Vol 52, Issue 10
In 2014 the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York City, City Council,  eased the requirements for changing gender on the birth certificates. The changes were implemented in January 2015 and since then 731 birth certificates have changed the gender marking. According to the NYC Department of Health press released, 55 percent of the applicants changed their marker from male to female and 45 percent changed from female to male.  Those under the age of majority (18) had the applications approved  with parental consent. Last year was the first time NYC Health Department issued a birth certificate in the United States with "intersex" reflected on the document.  Here's the press release.

Danish National Archives Website Announced!

Known historically as the Danish West Indies or Danish Antilles, it consisted of the islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix. The Dutch controlled these islands from 1754 until 1917. It was transferred over to the United States on 31 March 1917.

This new website contains some 5 million images of original documents, maps and drawings related to the time when the Dutch controlled the island. More than 150 volunteers have been working on digitizing these records for genealogical research. It is a treasure trove for anyone looking for ancestral records, including slave records.

The site is called the DanishWest Indies - Sources of History.

Online Card Index on Jewish Holocaust Victims

Taken from the International Tracking Service Press Release:
A card index full of stories about Jewish victims of persecution
A small proportion of the card index of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany has been published online.  In addition to names, the cards contain such information as dates of birth, professions, and addresses from the period before the mass deportations of the Jewish population, which began in 1941. Hermann Göring ordered the founding of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany in 1939. All persons classified as Jews according to the Nuremberg Laws were obligated to register. The card index aided the Gestapo in organizing the deportations. Between 1947 and 1950, 32,264 cards from this index made their way into the ITS archive. They include, for example, the “Berlin school pupils index” testifying to the lives of Jewish children during persecution and containing biographical data on the children themselves and their parents as well as information on the schools they attended.
Documents on the death marches
In the late 1940s, the ITS undertook to reconstruct the death marches and compile eye-witness reports as well as maps showing the locations of graves. In 1950, the so-called “Identification Unit” was founded with the goal of giving the often unknown dead their names back. The documents on the frequently successful efforts to identify the victims of National Socialism now supplement the holdings on the death marches in the ITS’s online archive.
In the online archive of the ITS, the death marches are shown on a map with georeferenced documents. When users click the name of a town or village, the documents related to that place appear on the screen, for example the answers to questionnaires that were sent to the communities or – recently added – the material on the identification program.
Here's a link to the database.

Londonderry, NH Vital Records 1720-1910

Londonderry was settled b yScotch-Irish immigrants from Londonderry, Northern Ireland.  A database of vital records covering 1720-1910 is now available at NEHGS, American  As a reminder, this website is a subscription service.

Genealogy Industry Benchmark Numbers 01-01-2017

Iowa DOH to Reissue 630,000 Birth Certificates

Taken from Records-Access-Alerts Digest, Vol 51, Issue 12
The Iowa Department of Public Health will exchange any newborn birth certificate issued from May 1993 to October 2009 when the issued birth certificate is the small wallet-sized card which is not adequate for identification purposes. Due to the miniature size inadequate vital record  information was included adequate to be used for governmental  identification purposes.  More than 630,000 birth certificates in Iowa need to be exchanged. The birth certificates may be exchanged in person or by mail.  An application for a certified copy  is available ​here.

Sources for Digitized Mug Books

Here is a list of websites where you may find digitized mug books: 

Google Books
Open Library
FamilySearch Books
Smithsonian Library Digital Library 


A Source for London Lives

A fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.

Early Victorian Photos

Taken from Dick Eastman's blog 15 Feb 2017.
The William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné contains the complete corpus of the works of the Victorian inventor of photography on paper. More than 25,000 known surviving Talbot negatives and prints are now online.

The photographs are mostly from Talbot’s home in Wiltshire home of Lacock Abbey as well as from Oxford, Reading, and York (England) and a few from Paris, all taken from 1839 to 1846. In most cases, these are the only known photographs of that era. It should provide the best available views or life in those areas in the 1840s.

The online collection is available at with a rather long description of the holdings at Wikipedia also has an article about the life and works of William Henry Fox Talbot at

Sources of Free eBooks!

Taken from Dick Eastman's Blog 3 Feb 2017:
Genealogy Gophers may be found at:

Family History Library from FamilySearch (more than 80,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world):

Allen County (Indiana) Public Library‘s Genealogy Center

Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library and at

Brigham Young University Hawaii’s Joseph F. Smith Library

Houston Public Library – Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

Mid-Continent Public Library – Midwest Genealogy Center

HathiTrust’s Digital Library

Dozens of free online ebooks dealing with Canadian genealogy may be found by starting at

British History Online is a digital library of primary and secondary sources on medieval and modern history of Great Britain. It was created and is managed, as a cooperative venture by the Institute of Historical Research, the University of London and the History of Parliament Trust.

British Columbia Historical Books Online

British Columbia Historical Books is a collection of over 1,300 items showcashing British Columbia's history from 1783 through 1952.  The books are digitized and available for download here.

Free Webinar: Scottish Criminals/Lunatics/Paupers

Canadian genealogist Christine Woodcock has offered her one-hour webinar, Criminals, Lunatics and Paupers: Finding Your Inmate Ancestors in the Scottish Records, for free on her YouTube channel.

Auschwitz Death Camp Prison Guards Database

Taken from Dick Eastman's Blog 31 Jan 2017:
The names of Nazi SS commanders and guards at the Auschwitz death camp in German-occupied Poland have been put online by the country’s Institute of National Remembrance (INR). It has been hailed as the most comprehensive list to date.
About 9,000 names – nearly all German – are on the Auschwitz garrison list, some with photographs attached.  The INR hopes the list will prove that Auschwitz was not a Polish-run camp. More than a million people died there. The victims were overwhelmingly Jewish – but Poles, Roma and political prisoners were also murdered.  You can read more in an article in the BBC News web site.  The listing can be found on this website.



New York Philharmonic Subscribers 1883-1907

Taken from Dick Eastman's Blog 26 Jan 2017.
It is indexed and linked to digital images of the subscription books. The books contain names and home address of concert goers. This may be a great resource for someone with ancestors in New York City.  
The search screen is located here.  In addition, the complete database, through 1997, may be downloaded for free here.

Ukrainian Studies Digital Archive Collection

The University of Alberta's Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) has launched a website that provides free access to a number of digitized publications about Ukrainians in Canada.
The online resources on the website that will interest genealogists include:

• 33 books published by CIUS Press, consisting mainly of out-of-print books and books on Ukrainians in Canada. One of the publications is a collection of essays, Loyalists in Conflict: Ukrainians in Canada during the Great War.

• 65 research reports, consisting largely of descriptions of archival collections, rare bibliographies, and other guides to researchers, and including British Foreign Office Files on Ukraine and Ukrainians.

• All of the back issues of the Journal of Ukrainian Studies, CIUS' academic journal.

According to The Ukrainian Weekly, "Plans are also being made to digitize collections of important historical documents that have never been previously available in digital format, including British Foreign Office documents relating to Ukraine from the years 1917-1948."

The Digital Archive Project of the CIUS was developed in close cooperation with the University of Alberta Libraries and the Arts Resource Centre. The goal of the initiative is to digitize, systematize, and describe the core publications of the institute that have been produced over the last 40 years, since the founding of CIUS in 1976.

6 Things to Look for in FamilySearch in 2017

Click here to read some goals of FamilySearch in 2017.

Future Database of Church Records

Taken from Dick Eastman's blog 12 January 2017.
The Boston Archdiocese is partnering with the New England Historic Genealogical Society to create the nation’s first extensive database of church records to help people trace family histories.

The plan is to create a searchable database of millions of baptisms, marriages, ordinations and other pivotal life events recorded from 1789 to 1900 at more than 100 Boston and Eastern Massachusetts parishes — a project that could take up to 10 years and cost an estimated $1 million, which will be paid for with proceeds to a Historic Catholic Records Fund the society is launching.

Here's a link to the Boston Herald article.

Family Trees on FindMyPast

Users can add a family tree on FindMyPast.  Here's a link to a video and FAQs.

Colonial North American Project at Harvard Univ

This project will make available to the world digitized images of all known archival and manuscript materials in the Harvard Library that relate to 17th and 18th century North America. Scattered through twelve repositories, these documents reveal a great deal about topics such as social life, education, trade, finance, politics, revolution, war, women, Native American life, slavery, science, medicine, and religion.”  The website can be found here.

Scottish Witchcraft Book Now Online

The pages of a 350-year-old book covering the Names of Witches in Scotland, 1658 collection, has been published online.  It can be found on Ancestry.  An article announcing the book can be found here.


The Red Baron Film

Taken from Dick Eastman's Online Newsletter 14 January 2017.
Talk about an old film! It’s from 1917, and it’s an up-close and personal look at the most legendary combat pilot who ever lived, the infamous Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen. It shows the Baron preparing for a mission, as well as film of him putting on a flying suit prior to a flight in cold weather. If you look closely you will also see a brief glimpse of Hermann Goering.

The Baron was shot down on 21 April 1918 by Roy Brown of the Royal Navy Air Services, long before it was called the R.A.F.


You can view the film on YouTube

New Archdiocese of Boston Database

This week NEHGS is announcing Massachusetts: (Image Only) Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Records 1789-1900.   Thanks to their partnership with the Archdiocese of Boston, they have a browsable collection of the records of five Boston parishes from this time period that will continue to grow as more volumes are scanned. Learn more about the history of Catholics in Boston and the creation of this database on a new webpage dedicated to this project. Be sure to check out a video (under the header "How to Browse Parish Records") explaining how to locate records in this unique collection. 

1924 New York City List of Registered Voters

Reclaim the Records has done it again!  They posted the 1924 New York City List of Registered Voters---the first digital and online publication of this list.  This is a joint project of Reclaim the Records, the New York City Municipal Archives and Jewish genealogist Phyllis Kramer.
(Taken from their website announcement - click to read more):

If you see a name of interest here, you can then put in a request with the New York City Municipal Archives or New York City Board of Elections to obtain a copy of that person’s full one-page voter registration form, which will have all sorts of interesting and potentially useful information on it. The usual fields will be there, like name and address, but also tidbits like political party affiliation, how long they had been in the state and the city, and when they had last voted.

But even more importantly, for New Yorkers who were naturalized citizens, those one-page voter registration forms will tell you the exact court name and the exact date on which they were naturalized. That information is otherwise fairly hard to determine, especialy if the person you’re researching had a common name, or if other sources, such as census information, are conflicting or inconclusive. If the voter had obtained citizenship through marriage, the voter registration form would also provide their spouse’s name.

And once you have that naturalization information from their one-page voter registration form, you can then locate and obtain a copy of their naturalization file from USCIS or the National Archives (NARA), and that file may have further detailed information about that person, such as their exact town of origin.

Check out Reclaim's page on here to view the list of registered voters.

NYC Marriage Records 1930-1949 Moved!!

Effective 31 October 2016, copies of marriage records from 1930-1949 will no longer be available at the City Clerk's Office.  
They will be available at the Department of Records and Information Services (aka Municipal Archives) at 31 Chambers Street.
NYC Clerk's website
NYC Municipal Archives website

NY Pub Lbry Digitizes 137 Yrs of City Directories

Taken from Records Access Alerts Digest, Vol 47, Issue 2

The New York Public Library announced they are digitizing its collection of New York City Directories 1786-1922/23. Using City Directories is a wonderful genealogical tool as it gives us perspective of where our ancestors were at a specific time and place. Prior to telephone directories, city directories were the way to locate people. The information in the directories include: name, address, profession and sometimes marital status (listing a woman as a widow). As the city directories lists addresses, they are helpful when searching for people in the census. Unlike telephone directories, one did not require a telephone to be listed.  The city directories began in the United States after the Revolutionary War. In some instances they provide history of the area and era. One had to subscribe (pay) to be included. The directories were available to those who were not included, again for a fee.


The first of the city directories to be digitized are 1849/50 through 1923, the next being scanned are 1786-1848/9.  The entire collection will be completely online in the coming months.


You may access them free from the New York Public Library Digital Collections portal. Type New York City Directories into the search bar.


To read more about the New York Public Library digitization of city directories see this site.


Digitized NYC Marriages on FamilySearch!

FamilySearch has begun digitizing NYC marriage certificates!!  11 rolls of microfilm for marriage certificates covering part of 1916 and part of 1917 for Manhattan are now able to be viewed:

Announcement from Cyndi Ingle

I'm very excited to announce a new service to help you succeed in your research. I've joined genealogyDOTcoach to help coach you through your research questions and tasks. One-on-one live sessions in which we can screenshare and exchange documents. I've started taking appointments now. Take a look here.

York’s Archbishops’ Registers Revealed

This article was taken from Dick Eastman's March 3, 2016 blog.
The York’s Archbishops’ Registers from 1225 to 1650 are now available online. The available records include 21,647 high quality images of 45 Archbishops’ Registers. Held at the Borthwick Institute, these documents record the formal acts of the Archbishop of York. They are the earliest systematic records of the archbishops’ office, and document the government of the Church, the management and staffing of parishes and the Church’s oversight and regulation of the moral and spiritual conduct of the mass of the population across Yorkshire, Northern England and beyond.

The period covered by the Project spans the struggles over Magna Carta; the Anglo Scottish wars; the loss of nearly a quarter of the population to the Black Death in 1349; the Wars of the Roses; the societal earthquake of the Reformation and the first English Civil War in the seventeenth century.

The registers are key sources for the study of medieval and early modern religious and political history, for art and buildings history, for studies of the historic environment, and for legal and economic history, to name but a few of the areas covered. As a result of the project, the content of the registers is now open to a much wider audience, including genealogists and local historians.

You can learn more here while the records themselves are available free of charge by starting here.

Reclaim Has Posted New Jersey Indexes!!

The following indexes were obtained from New Jersey by Reclaim the Records and posted on InternetArchive!
Birth index 1901-1903 - 100,000 birth records
Marriages (Grooms Index) 1901-1903 - 44,000 marriage records
Marriages (Brides Index) 1901-1914 - 205,000 marriage records
Death index 1901-1903 - 96,000 death records
Click here to view the indexes!

Free UK Websites

Taken from Records Access Alerts Digest Vol 41, Issue 11

London’s Pulse: Medical Officer of Health Reports 1848-1972  

5500 Medical Officer of Health reports from the Greater London area, including present day London and boroughs.


History to Herstory 

Lives of women in Yorkshire from the 1100’s to the present day.


Statistical Accounts of Scotland  1791-1845

Detailed parish reports on agriculture, trades, education and more.


Proceedings of the Old Bailey  1674-1913 

Search names and historical information from almost 200,000 criminal trials.


Free UK Genealogy 

Online, searchable, free genealogical databases created through the efforts of thousands of volunteers


A Vision of Britain Through Time 

Look at British history between 1801 and 2001 through topographic, boundary, and land use maps,


Crime and Punishment in Wales 1730-1830


British Convict Transportation Transfers 1787-1867

Records may contain the convict's name, the place of trial, the duration of the sentence, the name of the transportation ship and date of departure, and the place of arrival in Australia


Commonwealth War Graves Commission   

Commemorating the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars-- who died in some 154 countries across the world.

MyHeritage Now Has DNA Matching

Taken from Dick Eastman's Blog 7 Sep 2016:
MyHeritage has just announced that DNA Matching is now live!
MyHeritage compares DNA data of individuals, which has been uploaded to the MyHeritage website, in order to find matches based on shared DNA. Your DNA matches are people who are highly likely to be relatives (close or distant) because there are significant similarities between their DNA and yours. MyHeritage DNA Matching can open up exciting new research directions, and allow you to find and connect with relatives you may not have known about.
The DNA matching has been available for a few months in a limited beta test but now is available to everyone. The DNA Matching is free and will remain free for those who have already uploaded their DNA test results to MyHeritage. Anyone who has taken a DNA test with other test providers, or has DNA test results from other family members, and has not uploaded them to MyHeritage yet, the company recommends they hurry and upload the DNA data now, in order to enjoy free DNA Matching on MyHeritage forever.
What I like best about the MyHeritage DNA service is that the test results are presented in a manner that is easier to read than that of some competitive services. Quoting from the MyHeritage Blog:
“MyHeritage displays the matches in a new page called DNA Matches, in the Discoveries tab. This page lists all the DNA Matches, sorted by the amount of shared DNA, so closest relatives will be listed first. The page lists the top 500 matches. Keep in mind that DNA Matches listed at the very bottom who share very little to almost no DNA with you could be the result of identity by state rather than identity by descent. This is a technical way of saying that these are false positives and the DNA they share with you is a result of coincidence. Starting with 3rd cousins and going further, you should take DNA Matches with a grain of salt and look for additional pieces of information as an indication on whether a family connection exists (such as shared surnames or similar geographical locations between their family tree and yours).
“For every match listed, the page displays basic information about the person who matched your DNA, the possible relationship(s) between you and that person as implied by the DNA characteristics, information about the DNA Match quality, and family tree details if your match has a family tree.”
You can read a lot more about MyHeritage DNA Matching in the MyHeritage blog post.

British Red Cross Personnel Records-FREE

The British Red Cross has been digitizing the index cards held at their London headquarters for the almost 100,000 volunteers during World War 1 –1914-1918. Currently the personnel records for surnames starting with A through V are available. Their website is constantly being updated.  Free images are displayed with search results.

Alberta Homestead Records

Homestead records from the province of Alberta, Canada, are online, free to download, at  There are a total of 686 reels of microfilm and approximately 500 have been uploaded to date.  While these are not indexed, an index is located at the Alberta Genealogical Society's website.  The search results will provide you with a film number and a file number.  The film number can then be downloaded for free from  Once downloaded, the file number can be used to locate the specific image on the roll.


April 25
United Kingdom SIG

May 8
GSS Board Meeting
Agenda to be distributed prior to meeting.

May 11
New England SIG

May 13
Bryan L. Mulcahy - How to Overcome Genealogical Brick Wall Issues
Bryan L. Mulcahy, Research Librarian with Fort Myers Regional Library, will present "How to Overcome Genealogical Brick Wall Issues."   Overcoming dead-ends, also known as brick walls, are occupational hazards with genealogists as they progress through the research process. This ...

May 30
United Kingdom SIG