Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Stand Corrected ... Upon Further Investigation It is the Full Pension File on HeritageQuest Now

HeritageQuest Rev. File
Wednesday something started to bug me so I did a bit more investigation. After some looking and comparing between images at HeritageQuest and Fold3, I have realized that HeritageQuest does now have digital images of the complete U.S. Revolutionary Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files.

Upon initial investigation it looked like nothing had changed. The first page after the file summary cover said "Selected."  Now if I had done what I did yesterday, I would have seen that, yes, more digital images of pages have been added.
HeritageQuest Rev. File Selected

One thing that did not help is that it has been almost ten years since I used the actual microfilming of the complete files while at the Allen County Public Library. I failed to remember how those files were presented on the microfilm. As the descriptive pamphlet explained: first the summary cover of the file was filmed; next were "Selected pages" for files of larger size; followed by the "Nonselected" pages of the file. When the digital collection at HeritageQuest was updated recently that Nonselected portion was added.
HeritageQuest Rev. File Unselected

Now there are still differences between the Revolutionary Pension/Bounty-Land collections at HeritageQuest and Fold3. One difference is image quality. The images at HeritageQuest are black and white while the images at Fold3 are grayscale. Just a little tweaking in PhotoShop will brighten the grayscale images at Fold3 making them even better. 

HeritageQuest Rev. Pension File
Fold3 Rev. Pension File

Another difference is that the Selected/Nonselected Header Cards used for the microfilming were not digitally imaged in Fold3's collection. (I'm guessing to save server space and I believe because the header cards are not actually in each file at the archives.) So your total image count for each file is going to differ by two when comparing files at HeritageQuest and Fold3. Of course, the file I used for comparison had to be an exception. At HeritageQuest there are 44 digital images for Caleb Foster's file. At Fold3 there are 43 digital images for Caleb Foster's file. The difference should have been 2 accounting for the two headers that were not filmed by Fold3. Using the filmstrip view I can see that a header was not accidentally filmed by Fold3 so it must be an actual page. To figure it out, I will have compare the images at HeritageQuest and Fold3 page by page to see if there is a missing page or if one page was filmed twice. HeritageQuest does not show each file's total page count while Fold3 does show each file's total page count.

The third difference is that HeritageQuest does not have an every name index like Fold3 has with its collection.  HeritageQuest simply indexes the soldier/pensioner (and widows) who applied for pensions. I again tested this with my Robert Rider of New York. He does not have his own file but he appears in the files of others.

HeritageQuest Rev. File Results
Fold3 Rev. File Results

As you can see there are no hits for him at HeritageQuest (just a guy of the same name from Massachusetts) while at Fold3 my Robert Rider can be found in three files (the fourth is for that guy of the same name from Massachusetts.)

So if you are looking for a soldier/pensioner or widow HeritageQuest will work but do check the collection at Fold3 -- you might find your guy mentioned in someone else's file and learn something new like I did years ago. 

If only we could locate that bible of Robert Rider to which Caleb was referring when stating his birth in his papers. We still can't figure out what Caleb would be doing in Robert's bible.

©2015, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

They're Here!!!!!!!! Michigan Death Certificates 1921 to 1939 are Now on

I've checked several times a day for a couple months. And the one time I go to bed early so I'm rested for the next day, look what happens ... the Michigan Death Certificates for 1921 to 1939 go live online.

These long awaited images are at the Archives of Michigan website a.k.a. SeekingMichigan. Website Screen Capture
Once there, click on Advanced Search in the upper right corner of the webpage. From there you will see a listing of the various collections available. The one you want is: Death Records, 1921-1952 OCLC LOADING.

Because specific search fields do not automatically load when you select a collection to search, you need to do a little trick. 

Click to check on the box for the Death Records, 1921-1952, and click to uncheck all other collections that are already showing a checked box. (Generally, advanced search starts with just the Death Records, 1897-1920, pre-checked.) Then select search with no information filled in. Once the results page appears click on advanced search to return to the search page. Now the specific search fields are loaded for the Death Records, 1921-1952, collection.

SeekingMichigan Screen Capture
The specific search fields available for this collection are: County; city/village/township; Last Name; Given Name; Death Year; Death Month; Death Year; Age; Father's Given Name; Father's Last Name; Mother's Given Name; Mother's Last Name. That's more fields than are available for the earlier death records collection for 1897-1920.

SeekingMichigan Screen Capture
If you perform a search using one field, remember to remove the second search field line or you will get an error. (Click on remove to the right of the line.)

SeekingMichigan Screen Capture
Once on the results page, to see the death certificate click on the thumbnail image. The image viewer is the same and has not been updated. You can enlarge your view, expand the viewer in the browser, pan/move around the image, or rotate the image.

SeekingMichigan Screen Capture
Digital images of the certificates can be downloaded in a choice of three different sizes: small, medium and large. The file is saved as JPEG (jpg) image.

Remember that the search capability of SeekingMichigan is limited. There is no Soundex and wildcard use does not always seem to work.  So think of it as exact search only and try different spellings. (Ask yourself, how could someone have read this name?)

FamilySearch Screen Capture
To get around this, try searching the Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952, collection on the FamilySearch website. This is an index to this collection but there is no direct link to the images at SeekingMichigan. FamilySearch uses a fuzzy search and catches different spellings. If you find the one you want in the index at FamilySearch, put that spelling into the search at SeekingMichigan.

I wouldn't be surprised if an index with links to the images appears on at some point. Having an index database at like there is for the earlier Death Certificates for 1897-1920 would give us Soundex search capability.

Finally, remember that even though the collection says 1921 to 1952, you will only see actual images up to the year 1939 due to Michigan laws. With each coming year, another year of death certificates will be release for viewing.

Have fun finding your ancestors and relatives!

©2015, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Monday, March 16, 2015

HeritageQuest from ProQuest Gets Remodel and Upgrades Thanks to Partnership with

Image Capture of HQ website
Have you visited HeritageQuest lately? 

About 10 days ago, the site got a makeover and some new research tools for patrons to utilize.

Michigan residents can access HeritageQuest from home through the which is the Michigan Electronic Library website. The service is free for Michigan residents who access the site using their Michigan Driver License/State Identification Card or participating Michigan Library Card. Many other states have similar setups though the state access website would go by a different name.

HeritageQuest is offered as a subscription service for institutions by ProQuest. According to a press release earlier this month, "The enhancements are a result of the expanded partnership and distribution agreement between ProQuest and Ancestry announced last June [2014.]"

So what is different or new?

Image Capture of HQ website
With regards to the CENSUS on HeritageQuest, gone are the former census images and the limited search capabilities. Now HeritageQuest is utilizing Ancestry's census images and search engine -- every name indexed with the power of Exact, Soundex, Phonetic and Wildcard search capabilities. (The internet might be a little slower at night with more researchers and their bunny slippers staying up late to get find just one more relative in the census before calling it a night or morning.)

With regards to the FAMILY AND LOCAL HISTORY PUBLICATIONS, there are a quite a few changes. The collection has been expanded and now includes city directories. There has also been a major redesign of the search engine. Results will give a thumbnail image of the hit, and hits will be highlighted. Choosing People, Publications or Directories presents you with different search parameters.

Image Capture of HQ website
Image Capture of HQ website

Image Capture of HQ website
I am not sure if I like these new search engines because my test results were not encouraging. Using the People Search, I entered Pazzi Lapham in the First Name and Last Name fields. If I just left things as is, I got way too many results. (I've done this search prior so I know what I should get and 5,624 results means anything and everything barely close to what was entered in the search fields came up as a result.) If I changed both fields to exact, I got not one single result. (I know this is wrong.) So I tried "Pazzi Lapham" in quotes in the Keyword field and got the results I expected to see the first time.

Unfortunately it looks like my favorite way to search is no more. The Publications Search no longer has a keyword parameter field -- only the People and Directories Search has it now. My favorite way to search was to put just a word or two in the Title search field (like a State or County name) and generally a surname in the keyword field. I often found things using this method that would not come up in other searches. I'll have to see if my second favorite way to search (keywords only) works the same under the new People Search as it did under the old Publications Search.

Image Capture of HQ website
With regards to the US Revolutionary Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, this collection has NOT changed. These are still digitized images of the selected microfilming of these files. That means only certain pages from each file were chosen to be microfilmed. The search engine to this collection is not an every name index to any name that appears in the files. It is only an index to the soldiers/pensioners for whom files exist.

There had been some mention that these were now digitized images of the complete files meaning every page microfilmed. But I did a couple tests and my results say otherwise. In a search for the file of Caleb Foster of New York, the first page after the image of his file cover (looks like an index card) is an inserted sheet of paper that says "selected" indicating this is the selected filming.

A second test was for an ancestor's brother, Robert Rider of New York who served and never requested a pension or bounty-land for himself but did write affidavits for his fellow soldiers. Robert did not come up in the old HeritageQuest Revolutionary Files search and still does not come up on this revised website. But Robert does come up as a result on Fold3's collection because it has an every name index to the digitized images from the filming of the complete files. Though Robert does not have a file himself, because it is an every name index Robert's name appears because he is mentioned in other soldier's files. So my tip here is if your ancestor does not come up in a search at HeritageQuest, check Fold3 -- many libraries have subscriptions if you don't have one yourself.

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With regards to the Freedman's Bank collection, there appear to be more search parameters to utilize on this updated website. Earlier this year or late last year, a couple more locations were added. It is not clear if all surviving records have been added to this collection making it complete or not.

Image Capture of HQ website
With regards to the PERidoical Source Index (PERSI), this collection is now an archive version. The search engine to this collection has not been updated. The information in this collection which covers articles from the years 1800 to 2009 has not and will not be added to because the contract for PERSI online is now held by FindMyPast. So if you use this collection, remember it only goes up to the year 2009. Regardless, there is a lot of information there to utilize. Categories to search under remain: People, Places, How To's and Periodicals.

For newer articles from the year 2009 and forward, you will have to access PERSI on FindMyPast. If you don't have a FindMyPast subscription yourself, go visit your local Family History Center (FamilySearch Center) at an LDS Church and ask to use their portal services to access FindMyPast for free -- just pay for printouts or bring a USB drive with you.
Image Capture of HQ website

With regards to the U.S. Serial Set, it too has not changed and is still using the old HeritageQuest search engine. This collection is used to find memorials, petitions and private relief actions of the U.S. Congress.

In addition to HeritageQuest's collections, there is now a Research Aids collection and a Maps collection. 

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The Research Aids collection consists of a variety of tips and guides covering six major research areas: Getting Started, Census, Beyond the Basics, Immigration, Military and Ethnic. Essentially this is a learning area where you can expand your genealogy and research knowledge.

Image Capture of HQ website
The Maps collection allows you to see boundary changes for individual states or the entire United States through the decades from 1790 to 1920. The title of the collection is, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920. It is a good tool for seeing changes at the country or state level.

For another boundary change resource that covers a greater time period, try the Newberry Library's online Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. In addition to the online interactive version, you can download data files to use with Google Earth.

Have fun exploring these changes.

Side Note: I am still working on my Clean-Up My Act. It is slow work but I am making progress. I am currently working on cleaning up my sources in my new file/program that did not transfer between programs very well. I'll explain more later.

©2015, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.