British & Irish Roots Collection – A Genealogy Bridge Across The Atlantic. Making the connection between USA/Canada and Britain is one of the major family history challenges for American and Canadian researchers. It is one thing to be told that great granny’s family came from Britain or Ireland and quite another to be able to find documentation to prove it. That is why I was very pleased and intrigued to see that FindMyPast had established a new collection called British & Irish Roots. I did wonder how they were going to get their computers to know which records should be brought together for this new addition to their list of databases. The answer is that their computers didn’t, in fact it was their in-house experts who with their vast knowledge of the records that FindMyPast holds handpicked the collections that were most likely to hold such information. They then set their computers off to go and find the references. Nice to think that computers can’t do everything isn’t it?!
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British & Irish Roots Collection – A Genealogy Bridge Across The Atlantic – What does this collection hold?
The British & Irish Roots Collection is made up of over 98 million individual records that have be extracted from documents such as Military Records, Birth, Marriage and Death Records, Passenger Lists, Census, Naturalization Applications, and Draft Registrations. And no doubt more will be added as they come to hand. As I understand it this is the first time a bringing together of references from a wide collection has been attempted and what’s more achieved to a high standard, so congratulations to FindMyPast on taking on such a challenging project.
The next question you have is, I am sure, just what does this collection hold? If you look below the Search Page for this collection and click on “Discover More About These Records” you will come to a list of exactly which documents have been searched to bring this collection together. The list is extensive, I did a quick count and it was 62 different record sets. Within these records sets have been identified all British or Irish emigrants who made the journey from the UK and Ireland to North America, but also included are records of individuals who traveled from the Caribbean or Canada into the US.
British & Irish Roots Collection – A Genealogy Bridge Across The Atlantic – What can be found?
This collection comprises of transcripts and I know that I always say that viewing original documents should be the preference, but the great joy of this collection is that in many cases there is a link which takes you through to the original source so you can read what was written yourself. Treat the information as a good index and you won’t go wrong. Plus of course do cite, even if there isn’t a link to the original source, where you found the information when you include it in your online or offline family tree. Click Here to read my recent post on Genealogy Citation – Why It Is So Important To Your Family History.
The amount of information available depends on what the original document holds, but as a rough rule you should expect to find the following:-
- Birth year
- Birth place
- Event year
- Origin country
- Destination country
- View original source record – this link will bring you through to the original source; in most cases, you will be able to view an image of the original record.
British & Irish Roots Collection – A Genealogy Bridge Across The Atlantic – Examples
I couldn’t resist running some of my family names through this FindMyPast database to show you some examples and I wasn’t disappointed with the results.
Anna Pottinger, born 1843 in Ireland, left the port of Liverpool for the US. Clicking on the link to the original source tab took me to the database Irish Famine Immigrants, 1846-1851 which is again a transcript, the original document (Irish Famine Immigrants, 1846-1851) is held at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. so I know where I have to go if I want to view the original. Anna who is 7 years old has an occupation, rather sweetly as a child youngster, she arrived with other passengers of the same name which could be her family (possibly parents and four siblings) on 14 May 1850 aboard the William Rathbone.
Top Genealogy Tip. I found the other passengers because when I first started out in genealogy I was told by my mentor, a head archivist at a county archives, to always look at the back of a document not just the front and that has now transferred into always working my way down to see the whole page on the internet.
Alice Diddams, born 1863, from England, traveled to Boston, Massachusetts in 1874, her final destination was Baltimore, Maryland. The ship she sailed on was the Nestorian and clicking on the link to the original source took me to the image of the original record which showed me that she arrived on 6 May 1874. This time a list of other passengers with the same name wasn’t displayed and the original record had a box for “accompanied by” and the word Over was written in. I would need to investigate further to discover what that meant.
Hiram Mulcock, born 1867, traveled from England in 25 February 1909, he departed Liverpool and was destined for Portland, Oregon. Hiram was a farmer and traveled with his wife and their three children. They traveled on the ship the Dominion and the Captains name was W L Menclus.
These three examples give a good idea of what can be discovered. Armed with this information searches of census, church records etc. can be made to discover the full story of their life in the US. Similar research on the other side of the Atlantic can be undertaken to establish where in the UK or Ireland they were living prior to boarding ship.
British & Irish Roots Collection – A Genealogy Bridge Across The Atlantic – Summary
I hope this has inspired you to make good use of this collection which is essentially a database of databases. Most of the records seem to be 19th and 20th century, I have yet to find a 18th century or earlier record. This collection can only get even better with time as more data is added, I shall keep a watch for it appearing in FindMyPast weekly notice of new records and updates.
To get the best use out of the collection I would strongly advise you to search this collection in a targeted search rather than a general search. This is my preferred method of searching such collections because you don’t have to wade your way through lots of other collections to find the one entry you wish to search.
To do this do the following:-
- FindMyPast Front Page
- Click on Search
- Chose A – Z of Record Sets from the drop down menu
- Click on United Kingdom
- Type in British & Irish Roots into the Search Box
- Click on British & Irish Roots
- You have arrived at the Search Page for just that one collection
Take a look at the British & Irish Roots Collection and build your genealogy bridge between the USA and Canada and the UK and Ireland. Happy ancestor hunting!
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