National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair – October 28-30, 2014

Join the National Archives for the 2014 Virtual Genealogy Fair on October 28, 29, & 30, starting daily at 10 a.m. eastern time.

Set your alarms and get ready to LEARN – long distance and virtually, that is. Once again the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is hosting a FREE online Virtual Genealogy Fair starting tomorrow, 28 October through Thursday, 30 October.

Starting at 10:00 am Eastern (9:00 am Central), you can visit YouTube via this link to watch the live streaming or return here to GeneaBloggers and watch the screen above.

Not sure which session to attend? Click here to access the entire schedule for the three-day fair and the FREE handouts.

For those of you on social media, the Twitter hashtag for this event is #genfair2014 and you should follow the National Archives on Twitter at @USNatArchives.

In the meantime, visit the Virtual Genealogy Fair page here for more information.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved. Adds Additional Pennsylvania Death Records announced the expansion of its Pennsylvania Death Records database to include death certificates and indexes through 1963.

Just after midnight today, released additional records as part of its Pennsylvania Death Records collection. The database – Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1963, had previously contained records only through 1944.

About the Pennsylvania Death Certificates Database

With provided by, here is additional information about this record set:

  • The collection consists of ALL publicly available death records from the Pennsylvania State Archives.
  • The collection was launched in three parts starting April 4, 2014:
    First – 2,477,238
    Second – 2,374,698
    Third – 2,199,145
    Total: 7,051,081
    Year Range: 1906-1963
  • Previously a closed record state, recent Pennsylvania legislation has opened death records for those occurring after 50 years with a birth after 105 years.
  • Collection has received 12 million page views since first part went live on April 4, 2014.

Additional Pennsylvania Records currently has 3,099,615 records from the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg – these do not include the death records described above. In addition, since marriage records are held at the county level, they are not included with the Pennsylvania State Archive records.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Tuesday’s Tip: Try It! Illinois 2014 and Other State Specific Online Database Services

Did you know that many states, like Illinois, provide their residents at home access to online informational databases like Try It! Illinois?

Do you live in a state that provides its residents with access to various online research databases? Here in Illinois, each October and November, Illinois residents are given FREE trial access to ILLINET through a program called Try It! Illinois.  ILLINET is the Illinois Library and Information Network which is a consortium of over 5,000 libraries in Illinois.

Here is how TryIt! Illinois works, according to their website:

Try-It! Illinois offers the staffs and library users of the more than 5,000 ILLINET member libraries the opportunity to survey and evaluate a wide variety of electronic resources. Thanks to the partnerships between the Illinois State Library and the participating electronic resource vendors, there is no charge for accessing these databases during Try-It! Illinois.

How Do I Sign Up for TryIt! Illinois?

You must be an Illinois resident to be eligible for the at-home trial of TryIt! Illinois. Click the link in the sidebar that reads “Please send me the login and password” and then fill out the form with your name, address, zip code and the name of your Illinois library that you use. Once submitted, you should receive an email with the login and password information.

The idea behind TryIt! Illinois is so you can sample and evaluate the various databases available. After the trial, some of these may be available through your local library either in-person or through an at home login. I know that for me, through my Chicago Public Library card, I can access many databases at home including some ProQuest offerings such as the Chicago Tribune Historical Archive.

What Databases Are Available?

The full list of databases available with TryIt! Illinois 2014 are listed here.  For genealogists, there is a gold mine of items available – many are from the Gale-Cengage Learning series such as 19th Century British Library Newspapers, 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, etc. Also included is Ancestry Library Edition and many EBSCO and Sage Publications databases.

Other States with Similar Online Resources

Several other states offer similar online databases for research such as BadgerLink for Wisconsin residents. Many of these sites require proof of state residents, a library card from a public library within the state, and they also may verify your IP address and check that you are accessing the site from a location within the state.

Also, if you live in a city or town with a university or college, see if they offer access to residents through a library card program. The benefits may include the ability to access research resources online from the comfort of your home or office.

Click here to download the list below in PDF format!

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.