Are you regularly checking the big four genealogy databases for newly added records? If not, you are missing out on potential clues to finding your ancestors.
I missed some important genealogy clues early on in my genealogy research and wasted research time needlessly. Why? Because new records were added to the genealogy databases such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, and I did not know about those.
Rookie mistake, right? I don’t want this to happen to you, my friend.
Let’s Talk About the Genealogy Databases
Genealogy researchers refer to FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindMyPast and MyHeritage as “The Big 4” in terms of genealogy databases. Genealogy databases in general will update regularly with new records as they come online. Fortunately, for us as researchers, the genealogy companies will highlight their new additions. You just need to know where to look.
FamilySearch releases an article in their online newsroom on their newest collections each week on Mondays.
Looking at the entry for March 30, 2020, 1.7 million new records were added to find your English ancestor and 4.8 million records were added for other countries such as Brazil, Germany, South Africa and more.
Millions of U.S. based records have been added as well. Hmm….I see new North Carolina records are included. A quick look show that 17,000+ records from the North Carolina, Center for Health Statistics, Vital Records Unit, County Birth Records, 1913-1922 includes birth and delayed birth certificates from all 100 counties. This is definitely a collection I will need to go back to and search.
Each week FamilySearch releases its list, and it would be a good practice to check the new databases to see if any are pertinent to your research.
Ancestry frequently posts new and updated databases on their Recently Added and Updated Collections on Ancestry page.
First I usually take a look at the “New” databases. I see that recently the South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964 were added to Ancestry. Again, here is another database I need to search as I continue to search for my southern ancestors. We also see that South Carolina Death records have been updated. The South Carolina researcher had some new avenues of research to pursue.
Once I’ve seen what is new and made note of any new and/or updated record collections, I add those to my research plan(s).
Notice that Ancestry.com has a nice feature over to the right of the new and updated listings – The Coming Soon section. I make note of the new records that are coming and the ongoing record updates as well. When I see one of particular interest to my research, I make a note on my calendar to check back in the future. I don’t trust my memory to remember what is coming and when I should look for it.
Most recently FindMyPast added 19th century Scotland records, more UK newspaper editions, new Irish family records and even Jamaican records. One misconception is FindMyPast only covers UK records, but that is not accurate. They absolutely have US and World records and continue to build their collections.
Mark you calendar for each Friday, so you can stay up to day on the latest additions.
For example, in February 2020, MyHeritage added 815 million records (!) that included U.S. City directories [You know I love researching in city directories!], inventors of historical patents, Canadian newspapers, 1752 – 2007 and even Minnesota birth and death indices. It was quite a variety in February.
Additionally, check out MyHeritage’s blog to learn about special features and find inspirational stories as well.
Mark your calendars to check each month the new record offerings at MyHeritage.
How To Use Genealogy Databases to Think “Outside of the Genealogy Box”
Now that you know how to find new genealogy record collections for your research, let’s look at another way to use those record collections.
Stick with me, we are going to think “outside of the genealogy box”.
Sometimes to break through a genealogical brick wall, researchers have to move beyond the tradition records and determine what other type of records an ancestor could possibly appear in. This can be hard. After all, if we have no idea of the unique types of records for a specific area or group of people, how can we make our research plans? How do we know where to look?
I regularly peruse the new record lists in all four of the big four genealogy companies to see what unusual records are listed.
Take a look at this abbreviated list of Ancestry’s new and update record collections as of 1 April 2020.
Notice the records in the red boxes. These are not the usual genealogy records I would search. In fact, I likely would never think to even check for these types of records.
If I discover I have railroad workers in my family history, I now know to check personnel files. I would never have thought about a Congressional Medal of Honor Society Recipients list! Prison records, anyone? Okay, some of my ancestors are more likely to be in prison records than on the Congressional Medal of Honor list. Do you have miners among your ancestors? Mining accident lists may be of benefit to your research.
Your takeaway here is to take a few moments and see what records are being added to a genealogy database. Use that list to get your creative research ideas flowing and seek out your own “out of the genealogy box” or uncommon genealogy resources.
Other Posts of Interest
- Uncommon Genealogy Resources – 6 “Outside of the Genealogy Box” Resources!
- How To Research “Out of the Box” Genealogy – (Round 2)
- 31 Days of “Out of the Box” Genealogy Tips – Volunteer! – Check out the whole 31 Day series!