Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project

Are you good at reading other people’s handwriting?  Put your skills to the test by helping with the Smithsonian’s transcription of the Freedman’s Bureau Records. These records of the United States Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands tell the story of the post-Civil War transition of enslaved people to freedom. Once transcribed, these letters, contracts, censuses, and marriage and hospital records will be keyword-searchable, giving future generations a chance to reclaim their history.

Anyone can start transcribing; a tutorial and reference documents are provided. You don’t need an account on the site unless you’d like to help review other people’s transcriptions. The activity is addictive, so be prepared to stay up late and miss some Netfix time. These records about post-Emancipation family life will draw you in and give you a unique view of social conditions in the South after the Civil War. Learn more about the project or browse volunteer opportunities.

American Ancestors Library Databases From Home

In addition to the hundreds of databases published by NEHGS and available on, there are databases published by other organizations which NEHGS subscribes to and makes available for its Research and Contributing members to access from home. These databases can be accessed by logging in with your AmericanAncestors username and password.

If you are a member of American Ancestors, this “perk” available during the COVID-19 pandemic could provide a significant addition to your research opportunities.

Check out what’s available at the following link:

Searching the Library of Congress Virtually

Searching the Library of Congress Virtually

8 May 2020

Mobile apps help us do all sorts of things. I personally love how apps help us to make our research portable. Think about what apps you use for genealogy. They may include library apps, productivity apps, and genealogy apps. They help us take our research with us as we navigate libraries and archives. They help us search online catalogs. They even help us find our way to the libraries and archives! Library of Congress has a great digital collection and it only makes sense that eventually it would be available to search via an app.

The new free LOC Collections app allows you to easily search the library’s vast digital collections wherever you are. The benefit of using the app over the website is that you can access collections and save your favorite items for future reference.

The new app is fairly easy to navigate. You can Search or Browse collections and View your favorites. That’s it. This app does not feature the entirety of the Library of Congress website, it includes only the Digital Collections (including Chronicling America, the Library of Congresses historical newspaper website. BUT it does not include all of Chronicling America’s features you would find on the website).

To get started, download the free app from your mobile device’s app store.

Click this link for more information:

National Emergency Library

In response to the unprecedented closure of libraries around the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internet Archive has created The National Emergency Library.  The Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in their lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.

During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.

This is an amazing resource.  Be sure and check it out at the link below.

New York State Adoptee Birth Certificates Now Legally Accessible

As a strategic partner of the New York Adoptee Rights Coalition (NYARC), “Reclaim The Records” announces that the bill to equalize the right of access to original and un-redacted birth certificates for New York adoptees and the descendants of deceased New York adoptees has been signed into law. This means that if you’re someone who was born and adopted in the state of New York, even if you don’t live there anymore, or if you’re the direct descendant of a deceased New York adoptee, you can apply for a copy of the original and un-redacted birth certificate starting on January 15, 2020.

Further information, and specific details about the application process, will be posted on the NYARC website in the coming months:

New York is now the tenth state to allow people to reclaim their own records, without preconditions or redactions. And there will be many more coalitions pushing for similar laws in other states in the next few years. So if you’re a genealogist or a historian, or a member of a genealogical or historical or lineage society, please consider formally and publicly supporting these other states’ efforts, too.

Researching Ancestors who fought in the Civil War

If you are interested in researching ancestors who fought in the Civil War, pay a visit to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database, provided by the US National Parks Service at

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) is a database containing information about the men who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Other information on the site includes histories of Union and Confederate regiments, links to descriptions of significant battles, and selected lists of prisoner-of-war records and cemetery records, which will be amended over time. The CWSS is a cooperative effort between the National Park Service and several public and private partners whose goal is to increase Americans’ understanding of this decisive era in American history by making information about it widely accessible.