Tennessee Birth, Marriage, and Death (BMD) Record Links

In the first half of 2021, I separated the links for Birth, Marriage, and Death Records and Indexes into three web pages rather than one combined page with all three categories. This was due to the length of one web page for all categories becoming too long. Choose your category below (sorry for the extra click).


Maine Birth, Marriage, and Death (BMD) Record Links

In the first half of 2021, I separated the links for Birth, Marriage, and Death Records and Indexes into three web pages rather than one combined page with all three categories. This was due to the length of one web page for all categories becoming too long. Choose your category below (sorry for the extra click).


Kentucky Birth, Marriage, and Death (BMD) Record Links

In the first half of 2021, I separated the links for Birth, Marriage, and Death Records and Indexes into three web pages rather than one combined page with all three categories. This was due to the length of one web page for all categories becoming too long. Choose your category below (sorry for the extra click).


New Jersey Birth, Marriage, and Death (BMD) Record Links

In the first half of 2021, I separated the links for Birth, Marriage, and Death Records and Indexes into three web pages rather than one combined page with all three categories. This was due to the length of one web page for all categories becoming too long. Choose your category below (sorry for the extra click).

New Jersey

The Ancestor Hunt Greatest Hits

To celebrate this, the 8th anniversary of the birth of “The Ancestor Hunt”, we are making available a Greatest Hits Album. There are two sides (A Side and B Side), each with 6 Tracks (posts) each, along with 4 Bonus Tracks (posts).

These are the most popular of the hundreds of posts published by The Ancestor Hunt over these last 8 years. Some have been “remastered”.  Click on the links to see each article.

A Side

B Side

Bonus Tracks

These are the 4 most popular lists of links to free record collections:

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

540 Free Online Immigration and Travel Collections for the United States

Immigration Records are some of the richest genealogy record sets and can provide excellent clues as well as data about your ancestors. Specifically, when they came to America, or traveled but did not immigrate. Emigration records can tell you when they left their homeland and can direct you when they might have immigrated if you are having trouble finding the immigration record.

What types of information are available in these records? First of all, let me clarify that naturalization records are a related type of record. You can discover online naturalization collections and records available via links on this website on the Naturalizations Page. In the Petition for Naturalization record for example, where and when the applicant arrived in the U.S. is stated. And the Certificate of Arrival is another immigration document used in the naturalization process.

Here’s an article that will list the information available: 45 Reasons to Research Immigration Records

Regarding immigration – it bears repeating – not EVERYONE came through Ellis Island. It was open between 1892 and 1954. Approximately 12 million people came through that immigration station. The highest year was 1907 when just over 1,000,000 people came through. For immigrants landing at the U.S, ports in the 19th century and early 20th century, the busiest ports were New York, Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. There were almost 100 ports that were used by immigrants to enter the U.S., via the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes.

Below are state-by-state links to a page that lists links to immigration and travel collections that are available for free to search and browse.

It is also helpful to review emigration records as well. It sometimes occurs that an immigration record is not available online for a variety of reasons, but you might find some useful information from emigration records where one of you’re ancestors embarked on their journey to America.

Here are a few free online sites that have online emigration records available.

Denmark – The Digital Danish Emigration Archives
Norway – Digital Archives – Emigrant Records
Germany – Oldenburg Emigrants Database
Ireland – Irish Famine Emigrants 1846-1851 database
Russia – Russians to America Passenger Data File, 1834 – 1897
Germany – Germans to America Passenger Data File, 1850 – 1897
Italy – Italians to America Passenger Data File, 1855 – 1900
Germany – Hamburg Passenger List

​Also listed are passenger lists for travel that may not have been immigration-related.  I have discovered interesting clues and information from non-immigration travel records as well.

Below, listed by state are links to Free Online Immigration and Travel Collections.​

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

Write Your Autobiography Easily with “A Life Untold”


For those of you who follow The Ancestor Hunt, you know that I rarely if ever promote products.  However, I do like to make you aware of new offerings that you might wish to explore.

I have always wanted to write my autobiography, not to mention writing biographies of some of my favorite ancestors. But I keep procrastinating, which is kinda dumb.

I have come across an Australian company who provides a product/service that makes it really easy to do just that.  It is called “A Life Untold” and the founder, Josh Kates was kind enough to provide me with an interview, which follows:

Tell me a little about A Life Untold

A Life Untold’s mission is to make it easy, fun and affordable for absolutely anyone to turn their life story into a beautifully printed autobiography. Most people that have tried writing their life story never finish. Others would love to help their parents and grandparents pass down their stories, but don’t know how. That’s where A Life Untold comes in. We help “regular people” who want to capture their life story for their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond!

What prompted you to start A Life Untold?

When my daughter Eve was born my wife and I got into a very sentimental mood and wanted to record our parents’ life stories for her (and to be honest, for us too). We wanted these stories to be written down, so they could be retold and remembered for years to come. We couldn’t find a good way to do that so decided to interview them and publish their answers into a book. We love the books (and so do our parents), so I took the idea and created A Life Untold.

How does it work?

We have a simple 2 step process. The first step is to answer 101 thought-provoking questions about your life through our online interview. Our interview covers a broad range of “life chapters” like childhood, work, love and more philosophical questions as well, but you can always add your own questions as well to make sure nothing is missed. Alongside your written answers, you can also include photos which we think is an important part of telling your story.

After you’ve finished the interview, A Life Untold takes over and combines all the questions, answers and photos to create a unique and professionally designed autobiography of your life. After the final draft is approved, we’ll print your book in stunning quality and deliver it to your home. We’ll also give you a free digital e-book so you can easily share your story with friends and family over email. And of course, there’s also the option to order extra printed copies.

What has been the response to A Life Untold so far?

The response has been truly incredible. The most consistent feedback we get is one of gratitude. We have children and grandchildren write to us saying how much they’ve learned about their family members. We have people write to us about how simple and therapeutic the writing process has been for them. The feedback has been extremely motivating. We’re now helping countless people all over the world capture their life stories in books that will be treasured by their family for generations. It’s a privilege to be helping people in such a personal and meaningful way.

How many pages is an average book based on your experience?

This is an interesting question! We’ve noticed that some people get too caught up in having the right number of pages before their book is “complete”. This is how we look at it. Imagine for a second that you owned a book written by your grandmother. In that book is an interview with her answering questions about her life – everything from her relationship with her parents, to her thoughts on being a mother and even how she met and fell in love with your grandfather. Alongside her interview is a curated collection of photos with her describing what’s going on in each. How much would you like to own that book? Would you like to own it any less if it was 100 pages rather than 200 pages? I’m sure you would love that book whatever the length!

The truth is, we’ve published books that are 50 pages and others that are 300 pages. The average book is probably around 100 pages, which includes both text and photos. At the end of the day, the length of the book is totally up to the author, we don’t restrict the number or words, pages or photos.

Are there many people who sign up, and then drag their feet in responding to all the questions? Or never finish?

This does happen occasionally, but in each case our team will proactively reach out to provide inspiration and assist people in finishing their books. There are a few strategies that we’ve found most helpful for people.
When you get started with A Life Untold, we recommend jotting down your first thoughts for each of our interview questions. By doing this you’ll finish answering all our questions in a short amount of time, and at that stage you’ve “finished” your book. That’s a very motivating feeling! After that you can return to the interview as many times as you like to edit the stories you’ve already written. If you follow this strategy, I guarantee you will end up completing your book.

The other strategy that we know is very effective is to ask one of your friends or family members to use our questions to interview you. In these cases we recommend setting aside at least 3 hours to get through everything. Our questions will spark a wonderful conversation and the interview should be recorded so it can be typed up later either by the author or the interviewer.

Have you changed the set of questions much since you started this?

When my wife and I first created the list of questions to interview our own parents, we did it by writing down every single question we ever wanted to know about our parents. These questions created the foundation of the interview that people see today. As we grew as a company our questions changed based on customer feedback. We also allow people to add their own questions so nothing important in their life story is missed. Our philosophy has always been to have our questions be open-ended so the answers are as diverse as people’s lives.

How much does it cost?

Normally, the price is $199, but we have an exclusive offer for The Ancestor Hunt readers! You can claim a 10% discount when ordering A Life Untold which brings the price to $179 (down from $199). To claim this discount, just apply the coupon code HUNT on the checkout screen.

The price includes access to our online interview as well as your life story designed, printed and delivered to your door. You will also receive a digital e-book so you can easily share your story with friends & family over email. And of course, there’s also the option to order extra copies at a discounted rate.

Where can I find out more?

You can find all the details on our website by clicking here: www.alifeuntold.com

Do many people decide later to buy additional books after they have received their first one?

The first book is included as part of every purchase. Alongside the printed book we also give every customer a digital e-book so they can easily share their story with friends and family over email. And of course, many people like extra printed copies to give to their family and friends which we can print at a discounted rate.

Do you have any new offerings that you have in mind besides the autobiography book?

Yes. We’re looking at helping people create “tribute books” which will allow people to celebrate the life of a loved one through the stories of family and friends. One of the things we get asked a lot is if A Life Untold’s process will work to capture someone’s life story that has already passed away. Our Tribute Book aims to allow you to do just that. Complete information and the roll out of Tribute Books will occur later this year.

Thank you Josh, for spending some time with me.  I think I may just dive in and make my story “A Life Told”. I might be just inspired enough to actually do this!

Brooklyn Public Library Adds 55 Free Online High School Newspapers

The Brooklyn Public library just announced the successful digitization, and availability online of student newspapers from 55 Brooklyn area High Schools.  There are a total of 925 issues – some have short runs, but many have dozens of issues.

You can read the full story at Get Some Teen Perspective With Digitized High School Newspapers From Brooklyn Public Library

Here is a list of the high schools that have their publications available in this collection:

  • Abraham Lincoln High School
  • Alexander Hamilton Vocational High School
  • All Saints High School
  • Bay Ridge High School
  • Bishop Ford Central High School
  • Bishop Ford Central High School:
  • Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School
  • Bishop Mcdonnell Memorial High School
  • Boys High School
  • Brooklyn Female Academy
  • Brooklyn High School Of Automotive Trades
  • Brooklyn Preparatory School
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • Bushwick High School
  • Catherine Mcauley High School
  • Clara Barton Vocational High School
  • East New York Vocational And Technical High School
  • Eli Whitney Vocational High School
  • Erasmus Hall High School
  • Euphrasian High School
  • Fontbonne Hall
  • Fort Hamilton High School
  • Franklin K. Lane High School
  • George W. Wingate High School
  • Girls’ High School
  • James Madison High School
  • John Jay High School
  • Lafayette High School
  • Midwood High School
  • New Utrecht High School
  • Polytechnic Preparatory Country Day School
  • Prospect Heights High School
  • Queen Of All Saints
  • Saint Agnes Seminary
  • Saint Angela Hall
  • Saint Brendan Diocesan High School
  • Saint Edmund’S High School
  • Saint Francis Prep
  • Saint Francis Xavier
  • Saint John’S Preparatory School
  • Saint Joseph’S Commercial High School
  • Saint Michael’S Commercial High School
  • Saint Saviour High School
  • Saint Stephen’S High School
  • Samuel J. Tilden High School
  • Sarah J Hale Vocational High School
  • Sarah J. Hale Vocational High School
  • Sheepshead Bay High School
  • St. Augustine’S High School
  • The Berkeley Institute
  • The Mercy Juniorate
  • Thomas Jefferson High School
  • William E. Grady Vocational And Technical High School
  • William H. Maxwell Vocational High School
  • Xaverian High School

You can access this new collection HERE

Want Better Newspaper Search Results? Get an Attitude

If you’ve read any prior articles or tips regarding online newspaper research, then you know that the quality of the scanned newspaper as well as the OCR process dictate the quality of the search index. You need to realize that you are searching for combinations of letters, not words. And when you are using those letter combinations as your search criteria, you essentially are trying to match that search criteria against that index.

Here’s a news flash – the search index for older newspapers, especially, may not be very good. 

Here’s an example of a 115-year-old newspaper, with the original first, followed by the search index:

There are words missing and several of the words are “misspelled.” It is charitable to assign a “50% correct” value to this representation of the original to the search index.

The thing that many newspaper researchers forget and why they get frustrated is that they think that they are searching against an index that is an EXACT (or near-exact) replica of the original newspaper article. Many researchers quit or get discouraged searching newspapers primarily because of three reasons:

  • ​This feeling they have that the search index is an exact replica or near an exact replica (say 90% of words represented correctly) is so stuck in their brain, that when the index is only 50% or less of the exact words in the original, that they just can’t handle this difference. It just becomes “too hard for them to deal with.”
  • The search criteria that they create is not very detailed and is simplified, such as searching for just a person’s surname. They may get too many results in the case of a common surname, or not enough or none for a more complex surname.  And they don’t put in a date range or a first name, or other distinguishing words that would help. So, in this case, their lack of training or lack of desire to learn results in failure.
  • They can’t find what they are looking for because the information is not available because the dates for an event or a person are not available in the newspaper collection. For example, if you are looking for an event or an event in a person’s life that happened say between 1915 and 1935, and the newspaper collection that is online does not have any newspapers for that date range, guess what the search results will be?  Not very many if any.

Let’s look at this from an emotional or attitudinal perspective. Some of these emotions or attitudes are as follows:

  • This stuff is in a database so it should be easy to find.
  • Why should I spend time learning how to search newspapers – it can’t be that hard.
  • Everything is online isn’t it, so how come I can’t find anything?
  • Why can’t I just put the name of the person or event in the box and have the system give me the results I want?

Here’s the deal and you may not like what I am going to say, but here goes:

If you can’t find what you are looking for, then ask yourself these questions – “Have I really tried to learn about successful search techniques, or am I just winging it? Do I have unreal expectations of the software vendor? Am I searching really old newspapers where the quality is most assuredly sub-optimal? Have I really tried to overcome the likely less than optimal search index by trying the many search tips that are available for me to learn about?”

You see the problem is more than likely ATTITUDE. To be successful as a newspaper researcher, you must be DETERMINED. You must LEARN and apply what you have learned to create better search criteria.

You know why this ATTITUDE is important?  Because more than likely the SEARCH INDEX is sub-optimal and what I mean by that is it likely does not fit your expectations. And that more than likely is NOT the software vendor’s fault.

So, what do you do?  Get determined to OUTSMART the search index. Read about different search techniques and tips and view tutorials. Apply what you have learned with vigor. Then and only then will you have as much success as you can get when searching old newspapers.

Researching old newspapers online is a battle of wits. Positive results are found when you outwit the index.