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November 28, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Overcoming inaccurate OCR results
Thanks to IGSI Co-President Donna Jones for sharing this tip:
"Kenneth Marks’ blog, The Ancestor Hunt, has a new post titled “The Best Way to Find Hidden Ancestor Articles in Historic Newspapers Online”.

The article has a link to a free downloadable Quicksheet pdf. (Read the article here.) The pdf includes letter pairs often confused when the newspaper in scanned using OCR (optical character recognition).

The post indicates, “Overcome inaccurate OCR results! I guarantee that if you implement these tips, you will achieve more and better online newspaper search results (possibly up to 20% more) in your research!”
Do you have advice or a story we could share with other blog readers? Contact me anytime at
November 22, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Strategic Searching on Findmypast--FREE!
IGSI invites you to an important free webinar on December 16:
Strategic Searching on Findmypast
Saturday, December 16, 2023
10:30 AM - Noon CST (UTC-6)
Instructor: Jen Baldwin
This GoToWebinar is free to all--IGSI members and non-members--but registration is required! A recording for later viewing will be available to all registrants.
Jen Baldwin has been working in the realm of professional genealogy since 2010 but has been pursuing her family history since she was ten years old, enjoying her grandmother's stories - and her cookies. She is the Research Specialist and North American Content Manager for Findmypast. Jen lectures, writes, and consults on a variety of genealogy related topics, and was part of the research team for Genealogy Roadshow,  season two, on PBS. She is the author of course materials for the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. She is excited to discover unique resources that allow for a different perspective in genealogical research.
Jen's presentation will help you to make the most of the site's resources by learning best practices and seeing different ways to search the site. She is a renowned presenter who will help you leverage the site to your greatest advantage in your research. The newest site features will be highlighted.
To quote Family Tree Magazine: “Findmypast’s core content is for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, with some coverage of places settled by British Isles emigrants. If you’re researching in these regions, Findmypast is a must-use resource.”
Lucky webinar registrants will win door prizes, including a free one-year subscription to Findmypast.
Register here:
Questions? You can reach the IGSI Education team at
November 21, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
'Tis the season for discounts
One can't talk about Thanksgiving without mentioning Black Friday discounts.
If you're shopping for special deals on subscriptions (etc) for genealogy research, take a look at the Irish Genealogy Toolkit page of discounts, which Claire Santry updates regularly. Click here to see what's currently listed and bookmark the link for future use.
An added note for U.S. residents: MyHeritage recently announced their lowest price ever of $33 for DNA testing kits.  Free shipping on 2+ kits; sale ends Nov 24.
November 19, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
December 2023 at IGSI
The newest episode of our podcast This month at the IGSI is available on You Tube:
In the December edition (Episode 6 of Season 2) of the “This month at the IGSI” podcast, genealogist Dave Miller wraps up the last episode of the year with a tour of the Irish Whiskey Museum in Dublin. Do you know how many brands of whiskey are distilled in Ireland? Are you aware of the history and culture of Irish Whiskey? Dave will explain and talk about the tour.
The December webinar features Jen Baldwin who will be talking about Strategic Searching on Findmypast. Learn how to make the most of the site's resources by learning best practices and seeing different ways to search the site. Jen is a renowned presenter who will help you to leverage the site to your greatest advantage in your research. The newest site features will also be highlighted. These stories and previous podcast episodes are available on the IGSI YouTube channel.
These stories and previous episodes can be found on the YouTube IGSI channel and on the Our podcasts page on the IGSI website.
November 15, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
DNA Ethnicity Estimates
It's not too late to join IGSI's November webinar, live or by tape-delay! Find out what DNA results say about family places of origin.
November 18 - DNA Ethnicity Estimates Aren’t Always Useless: Learn what they are (and aren’t) telling you
by Paula Williams, an administrator for Blaine Bettinger’s “Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques” FB group 
10:30 AM - Noon CST (UTC-6)
$15 for IGSI members (with Discount Code); $25 for non-members 
Ethnicity estimates are intriguing, frustrating, and often misunderstood. Learn how to understand what the results can teach us and the limitations we should respect. Paula serves as an administrator for Blaine Bettinger’s “Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques” group on Facebook, helping to answer people’s questions about DNA testing and analysis tools.
Register here. The member Discount Code was sent to members via email and is also posted on the member-only webpage (link).
November 14, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Asking family history questions
The holiday season is just around the corner, a time for big family get-togethers and celebrations. To make the most of the opportunity to interview your relatives about family history, review tips from the pros and put some forethought into what questions to ask. 
Family History Daily provides excellent advice including "100 questions every family history should ask their relatives." You will definitely not want to ask that many questions, but reviewing the suggested list will help you determine what you most want to discover and who is most likely to have good information. Tailor your questions to the individual family member. Keep it simple and fun.
Click here to get started.
November 12, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Time won't dim the glory of their deeds
A touching segment about honoring America's war dead--far from home--was featured on today's CBS "Sunday Morning" TV news show.
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) is an independent agency of the U.S. government charged with administration of 26 permanent burial grounds and 32 memorials, monuments and markers located primarily outside the United States. Watch (or read) the full "Sunday Morning" story here.
My mom's first husband, Maurice "Pete" Henrichsen, was killed in the Battle of the Bulge during WWII. Pete is buried at the Henri Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium, where Mom and I visited twice to pay our respects. The beautifully maintained grounds were a comfort to her.
The American Battle Monuments Commission maintains an online database of names associated with the sites. You can research the 200,000+ Americans who died in WWI or WWII and who are buried at an ABMC location here.
When I queried the surname "Henrichsen," I found only two. In addition to the entry for Maurice was a listing for Jimmie Henrichsen, his cousin, who was serving on the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked 7 Dec 1941.
November 9, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Free access to Fold3 this weekend
This Veteran’s Day, honor the military heroes in your family tree.
Access Fold3® military records for free through Sunday. Explore 600 million+ records from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, and more.

Access to the records on Fold3® will be free until 12 Nov 2023 at 11:59 p.m. MT. Registration required. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view records using a paid Fold3® membership.
Start your search here.
November 8, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish Lives Remembered
The 60th issue of Irish Lives Remembered, official magazine of the Irish Farmily History Centre, is now available.
To find out more and read the articles, click here.

Welcome to the Summer 2023 issue

We're delighted to announce the latest issue of Irish Lives Remembered is now available to enjoy - a special extended issue to celebrate Irish diversity and remember our Irish LGBTQ+ lives. We also have our usual trove of genealogy stories and tips to help you with your research.
November 4, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
More than names and dates
Last week an acquaintance asked me to help locate her father. She'd had no contact with him since she was a toddler, after her parents separated/divorced in the early 1950s. She assumed he was deceased.
She gave me the name and birthdate of her deceased mother and the name of her father. (I'll exclude the surname here, but her parents' first names were George and Harriet.) She thought her paternal grandparents were named Lester and Ruth and that they may have been from Tennessee. She'd heard her father remarried and had a family. What an intriguing mystery and what a blessing to be involved in solving it!
A lucky start. Her parents (George and Harriet) were together in the 1950 census where I found them living with their young daughter in Oregon. Next door was a couple about 20 years older with the same surname, Leslie and Ruth. Leslie reported his birthplace as Oklahoma; Ruth was born in Missouri.
The dominoes fell quickly going backwards. helped me fill in names and dates going back to George's grandparents and great-grandparents. Obituaries found at provided hints about relatives and where they lived. Ruth died in a car accident in 1953. Her husband was a passenger in the car; she was driving because her husband's eyesight was too poor to permit him to drive. Ruth was reported as being survived by two sons, George and Don.
Leslie was killed by a train in 1963. A newspaper article reported he was partially blind and taking a shortcut to a relative's house when struck by the train. A sister who lived in a nearby suburb survived him as did two sons, Donald of Sunnyville, CA, and George of Chicago, IL.
With that tidbit, I found George's 2019 obituary including the names of his deceased (second) wife, his three daughters and one son. The obit reported George was a grandfather to thirteen and a great-grandfather to ten. Obviously--but sadly--his obituary did not acknowledge his daughter and son (born after 1950) who live in Minnesota or their children. 
I now have lots of information to share with my friend, including a few photos I found posted on Ancestry and newspaper stories to fill in some blanks. While  I've done a fair amount of reverse genealogy over the years, I've not been successful (so far) in tracking down contact information for George's three daughters and son or brother Don. Finding living descendants is more difficult than it used to be.
October 27, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Halloween special at MyHeritage
An announcement from MyHeritage:
From October 27 to November 1, 2023, MyHeritage is offering free access to all death, burial, cemetery, and obituary records: 370 collections and 881,738,760 records in all.  Start your research here.
Death records are essential for family history research. They often include birth and death dates, the names of family members, last known addresses, and sometimes even cause of death. Providing a wealth of information, all in one place, death records can act as springboards for further investigations into other areas of an ancestor’s life. Sometimes they might even contain personal anecdotes, especially obituaries.
Non-MyHeritage members will be asked to register in order to access the records. More information can be found on the MyHeritage blog.
October 25, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
UHF Genealogy Course
From the Irish Genealogy Matters newsletter,

Ulster Historical Foundation’s next online Genealogy Course is set to begin on 22 November.

Take the time this winter to further explore your family history, gain a better understanding of the archives and genealogical sources in Ireland and find your elusive Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors.

Scheduled to run from 22 November 2023 until 17 January 2024 this course consists of:

  • 21 pre-recorded lectures on essential topics
    relating to Irish genealogical research (over 28 hours of content)

  • Four live “Q and A” sessions/Tutorials with the course lecturers (to be scheduled at different times to suit different time zones)

  • Downloadable lecture handouts and reading list 

October 19, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
November Podcast

In the Nov edition (episode 2 of season 5) of the "This month at the IGSI" podcast, genealogist Dave Miller interviews the head of Public Services for the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), which is celebrating its 100th anniverary. He also learns about the records that are archived at PRONI and how important these records are for the entire island.


The November webinar features Paula Williams, who will be talking about why Ethnicity Estimates aren't always useless. Learn what they are and aren't telling you! Ethnicity estimates are intriguing but also misunderstood. Jill will show you how to better understand what these tests are telling and what you should expect.


Dave also provides the dates for the November "Irish Saturday" event. These stories and previous podcast episodes are available on the IGSI YouTube channel and on the Our Podcasts page on the IGSI website.

October 17, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Where do I look next?
Another excellent webinar brought to us by the IGSI Education Committee:
October 21 - Finding Genealogy Collections Everywhere
by Jill Fuller, Reference Librarian & Stacks Manager, Wisconsin Historical Society
10:30 AM - Noon CST (UTC-6)
$15 for IGSI member: $25 for non-members  
Celebrate American Archives Month with us, reflecting on the goal of a "reasonably exhaustive search." Where can we find collections to provide sources for genealogy research? Public and private repositories, and digital collections will be considered. What’s online and what isn’t? Jill will introduce us to places we may have overlooked in our research efforts, and help you understand how many places hold pieces of our history. Online and in institutions, so many collections may tell a story about the lives of our ancestors.
(The Discount Code was emailed to members and is also posted on the Activities page at left if you're signed in as a member.)
October 15, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Top 10 Irish surnames
Mike Collins' weekly Letter from Ireland reported on the Top 10 most numerous Irish surnames among their readers:
10. Collins
9. Murray
8. O'Connor
7. O'Brien
6. Ryan
5. McCarthy
4. Walsh/Walshe/Welsh
3. Sullivan
2. Kelly
1. Murphy
Read more here
October 10, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
More Photo Sleuth Portraits
As a follow-up to yesterday's posting about the mysterious album found  IGSI reincords, here are a few more of the 57 portraits.
We hope readers can help us identify who the pictured people are or when/where the photos may have been taken. Send us clues here.
October 9, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
A Project for Photo Sleuths
During a recent organizing project at the IGSI office at the Hoffman Library in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, volunteers discovered a small, 3½" x 5" album containing 57 photos, of which approximately 26 are tintypes.
The photos are in very good shape, and the icing on the cake is an "Index to Portraits" listing 34 names, shown at right.
The album was likely donated to IGSI with other family history material, but the donation record failed to mention the photo album. Thus, no one knows who donated this album to IGSI or the year it was donated (although it was likely within the last 20 years).
Unfortunately the mystery deepens because the handwriting on the index is not always legible. One can make out the surname "Whipps" several times, with possible first names James, David and Charles.
  • Are the 34 people listed in the index related to each other?
  • Where did they live? 
  • What is the connection, if any, to Minnesota?
Some portraits (like the one below left) suggest Civil War-era. Others appears to be 1870s or later. Any ideas? Please share them with
October 2, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
DNA in Ulster counties
Did your Irish ancestors come from Northern Ireland? Do you wish you
understood more about DNA studies?
If so, a YouTube channel sponsored by the North of Ireland Family History Society and described as "All Things DNA in the Nine Counties of Ulster" may be helpful.
Nine videos have been posted here in the past year. Many concentrate on using FTDNA (FamilyTreeDNA).
Browse, download or subscribe by clicking here.
September 29, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Additions to County Kildare Archives
Another scoop from Claire Santry at Irish Genealogy News:
"More than 6000 pages of Grand Jury Presentments and Query Books have been digitised by Kildare County Archives. They are now online, free to download in pdf format and to explore to your heart's content."
Read more and find the link on the 21 Sept 2023 blog posting here.
September 26, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
October at the IGSI podcast
The newest episode of our podcast This month at the IGSI is available on You Tube:
In the October 2023 edition (episode 2 of Season 3) of the “This month at the IGSI” podcast, genealogist Dave Miller interviews Tom Whelan, head of the Minnesota Irish Fair. Tom describes how the MN fair - which started in 1980 - is now attracting younger people and more families.
IGSI's October webinar will feature Jill Fuller's webinar Finding Genealogy Collections Everywhere (October 21).

Dave also provides the date for the October “Irish Saturday” event:  October 14.
These stories and previous episodes can be found on the YouTube IGSI channel and on the Our podcasts page on the IGSI website.
September 25, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish Ordnance Survey maps
Location, location, location -- just as important in family history research as in business decisions.

The National Library of Scotland’s map department has announced that the Irish Ordnance Survey maps have been added to their collection. These are at a six-inch scale and are first edition maps from the 1820s to 1840s.  

Details about the new collection can be found here, in their September 2023 posting.

September 20, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
One-Place Study Challenge

Here's an intriguing opportunity brought to you by several well-known genealogical organizations:

Announcing “All About That Place” - the One-Place Study Challenge Event taking place 22nd September to 1st October 2023

You are invited to take part in an exciting free event guaranteed to take the genealogy world by storm! Join like-minded history lovers and discover the places your ancestors lived in, all from the comfort of your own home. Perhaps you’ll even start your own One Place Study.

We’re proud to announce, “All About That Place” a unique free challenge event celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Society for One-Place Studies, spearheaded by the Society of Genealogists, the Society for One-Place Studies, Genealogy Stories, and the British Association for Local History.

We'll be throwing open the doors on a pop-up Facebook Group and our YouTube channel to provide you with a plethora of free online bite-sized recorded talks from a wide range of speakers (all of whom have kindly donated their time in order to celebrate One Place Studies). With headline sponsors including eminent organisations like The Genealogist, Name & Place, University of Strathclyde, Pharos Tutors, The Historic Towns Trust, and Family Tree magazine, you can be sure to enjoy a truly engaging educational opportunity like no other.

This one-of-a-kind event isn’t just about idly watching, it’s specially designed to help you to take part and start diving into local history. Alongside the wide collection of talks on research tools, analytical techniques, and place history, you’ll be provided with motivating challenge instructions, created to help you to begin exploring place history. You’ll be able to download a free challenge workbook to record your learning activity and challenge progress.

Plus to celebrate your amazing progress you’ll be offered the opportunity to enter a prize draw consisting of a wide range of history goodies (such as 1-year membership to the SoG, the Curious Descendants Club, BALH, Name & Place, a discount on The Genealogist’s Diamond subscription, and 4 Historic Towns maps)!

As well as our headline sponsors, we're delighted to welcome gold sponsors; WeAre.XYZ, and The Halstead Trust, and silver sponsors; National Library of Scotland and FACHRS.


Sign up here.

September 18, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
County Laois parish records
TheGenealogist has released this announcement:

Another whole county’s worth of Irish parish records now bolsters the record collections of  TheGenealogist! Today, one of the leading providers of family history resources has added the records of 510,007 individuals from County Laois to its site in their latest release.

                                                          [County Laois, once known as Queen's County from 1556 to 1922]

County Laois, once known as Queen's County from 1556 to 1922, is a double landlocked county in the Eastern and Midland Region of the Republic of Ireland. As the Irish diaspora has spread out across the globe, especially during the terrible events of the Great Famine of 1845–49 which devastated the county at the time, many people from across the world will be able to trace their roots back to this part of Ireland.

Searching TheGenealogist’s transcriptions provides an easy way to find records which then provides a handy link to the National Library of Ireland (NLI) in order to see the digitised image of the actual register. TheGenealogist’s transcription greatly benefits from its powerful SmartSearch that can be used to identify possible siblings, as well as parent’s potential marriage details.

To find out more about how to use these records see TheGenealogist’s article: Searching for ancestors in the Laois parish records

About TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, which puts a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections. 

TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

September 15, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
FindMyPast 3-month Premium Subscription
FindMyPast has introduced a new subscription option: a 3-month Premium membership for $89.95.
This could be a good choice for researchers with particular interest in the 1921 Census of England and Wales since FindMyPast Premium allows unlimited access. 
Read more here.
September 12, 2023 By: IGSI Blogger
More from John Grenham
John Grenham continues to be a miracle worker. He has successfully layered the Irish townland map onto the civil parish map, standardized location names and made it all clickable!
As he says, "What this means is that for 98% of townlands in rural Ireland, you can now click through to the universally relevant records from the 1850s to the 1920s, while seeing the location of each townland in relation to its neighbours."
Fantastic! Read more at his Sept 5 blog posting.