Monday, November 27, 2006

Looking for a Pennsylvania Ancestor? Part II

Want to research your family in Pennsylvania? Here are more great transcriptions of original source material and other resources to help find your Pennsylvania ancestors.

Passenger Lists to Pennsylvania Ship Passenger Lists to Philadelphia 1727-1808.

Pennsylvania GenWeb State & county resources on include census, vital records, queries, surname listings, publications, associations and libraries, lookup volunteers.

Pennsylvania GenWeb Archives Transcriptions of original source material from the state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Mailing Lists Genealogy mailing lists for Pennsylvania and its counties.

GenForum Pennsylvania Add or post Pennsylvania queries.

Ancestry Message Boards Pennsylvania Add or post Pennsylvania queries

Pennsylvania Research Guides The Mormon Church offers these free genealogy research guides to help you locate genealogy records. Includes an individualized search strategy by event and date.

Pennsylvania State Archives
Box 1026 Attn: ERA Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026
Tel: 717-783-3281

Archives Research Service
Division of Vital Records
State Department of Health Central Building 101 South Mercer Street
P.O. Box 1528 New Castle, PA 16103

(724) 656-3100
Birth (since 1906) $4.00;
Death (since 1906) $3.00
Marriage: Marriage License Clerks, County Court House, in county where license was issued. Cost varies
Divorce: Prothonotary, Court House, in county seat of county where divorce was granted.
Cost varies.
Access to birth and death certificates is limited to next of kin. Submit a readable copy of applicant's driver's license or other picture ID with your request. Make check or money order payable to Division of Vital Records.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cousin Relationships

Are you confused by the term "removed" in cousin relationships? Have you wondered how to determine who is your second cousin once-removed or first cousin three-times removed?

The word "Cousin" is usually good enough when we are meeting someone casually, but genealogists like to know precise relationships.

When the word "removed" is used to describe a relationship, it indicates that the two people are from different generations. You are in the same generation if you have an equal amount of generations from the common ancestor, whether grandparent, great-grandparent or even further back.

"First cousins once removed" describes two individuals with one cousin's grandparents as the common ancestor but who themselves are one generation different from each other.

Generation when defining a cousin relationship has nothing to do with age. You can be 50 years difference in age, yet still be in the same generation as cousins.


Try the Cousin Relation Calculator.

Play with the cousin calculator, display a relationship chart, and read the relationship definitions.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Soundex Search

What does it mean when a database offers a soundex search?

Soundex sorts together surnames that sound similar but have different spellings. A soundex code begins with the first letter of the surname followed by a three-digit code that represents the first three remaining consonants. Zeros will be added to names that do not have enough letters to be coded.

Soundex Calculator
Calculate the soundex codes for your surname.

Searching a genealogy database using a soundex search option is a way of doing a phonetic search. Searching for Johnson in a database with a soundex search will bring results that include Johnson, Johnsson, Johnsen, Johanson and any other surname that has the soundex code of J525.

Even if you think your surname has always been spelled the same, the name may have been mis-transcribed into the database.

It's not a good idea to begin a database search with a soundex search as you will receive many more results than from a non-soundex search. A soundex search is best after being unsuccessful in a first search OR if you are unsure how to spell a name.

Some genealogy databases offer soundex searches. Take a look at the little pull-down tab on the search box. If it offers a soundex search in addtion to an exact search, take advantage!