In almost twenty years of genealogy research, I have found a considerable amount of the sources, data and images on free genealogy databases online. They still exist in large numbers and can be very valuable.
Finding free genealogy databases.
The tough part in some cases is finding them, as most sites created by amateur genealogists and website owners are not optimized for the internet and therefore may not rank well in Google searches.
Be sure to sift through as many links as you can. If the site entered from a Google search result links to other sites, then by all means check them out. It’s important to bookmark any sites you find valuable as it’s very likely that days, weeks, months or even years down the road, you may never be able to find it again.
One tool I find very helpful for finding free genealogy databases is the Google Genealogy Search Tool at the Ancestor Search website. Scroll to the very bottom for the search tool, just one of many on the page. This tool incorporates most of all the search types above it. Just proceed to the next search results once you’ve waded through a set. This is very quick, easy and fruitful.
It is also important to search by other means than just names, such as location, topical sites (i.e. military service, war records, births, deaths, etc.) and dedicated surname websites.
When you begin to study genealogy, the resources that you have are few and far between. Most of us don’t go out and purchase expensive books or buy memberships in larger sites to get the information that we want. We tend to rely more on our own experiences and family members, but the truth is that those resources, while good, won’t carry you back through too many generations before you need some additional help.
Frustration can be an integral part of genealogy research. When it gets to the point where I’m very frustrated and feeling blocked, I create a ‘to do’ note on the person’s record in my genealogy software and turn to a different item. I find when I return later, either with a fresh, clear mind, or having given the database time to make updates, I will find something useful.
While you’re working online on your family tree, the free genealogy database will very often be a life saver. Those of us who don’t, or can’t buy the online access to the many paid databases, use the free ones religiously to find our way through family members. While you may not find all of the things that you want to know, you will find a great deal of information that will point you in another direction you weren’t even aware that you had to explore.
Even paid genealogy sites offer some specific databases for free access. These sites include Ancestry.com, and Fold3.com, amongst others. To search for free records on any given paid genealogy site, find the search link, go to advanced search, and enter the keyword ‘free.’ Most sites will produce a list of all free databases on the site. Also, try a general ‘free database’ keyword search on Google. Be prepared for thousands of search results, but at least it’s a place to start.
It is also important to subscribe to the blogs or newsletters to learn of any time limited free database promotions that may be coming up.
For all of you who thought the free genealogy search was a thing of the past, and that nothing worth having was free any more, take heart. There are literally thousands of free genealogy database sites out there that are waiting for you to come and pick through them and get what you can for your own genealogy.
I, TURMEL ALFRED, do solemnly declare that the above particulars refer to me, and are true.
Alfred Turmel (Signature of Recruit)
DESCRIPTION ON CALLING UP
range of expansion……30 1/2………………..ins.
Small print to right of description area: Distinctive marks, and marks indicating congenital peculiarities or previous disease.
C. E. Le Blanc Capt.
for [?] Co. 1st DEPOS BATTALION, 2nd QUEBEC REGIMENT.
Place……Valcartier Camp………. Date…….24-8-18……………..
(Stamp on right side of above line: M. S. A.)
Small print in bottom left corner::
M. F. W. 133.
The BACK of this document is missing from the Archives of Canada.
The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.
It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.
All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.
I mentioned in a previous post about William B. Coon, who served as a soldier for the United States in the War of 1812 and was the father of Civil War casualty David Coon, that I would be writing about Alanson Adams (fifth great grandfather to my kids) who was father to David Coon’s first wife Mary Ann Adams. Alanson and Gardner Adams both fought in the War of 1812.
Alanson was born April 16, 1792 to Joseph Adams (born 1756) in Williston, Vermont, United States and was the brother of Gardner Adams.
Alanson and Gardner Adams – War of 1812 Muster Roll.
Alanson worked as a farmer until he enlisted along with his brother Gardner on January 28, 1813 for service as soldiers for the United States in the War of 1812, both as Privates with Captain Samuel R. Gordon and Captain (later Lieutenant) Valentine R. Goodrich’s Company of the 11th Infantry Regiment in Vermont.
On February 28, 1814, Alanson’s brother Gardner was recorded to be sick in hospital at Brownsville. He had been shot in the leg, and as a result of this injury, he received a military pension after his discharge on January 28, 1818, just one day following the discharge of his brother Alanson.
Sometime between 1840 and 1844, Alanson and his family relocated to Licking County, Ohio, living there until after 1860, when they are recorded in the census at Fold du Lac, Wisconsin, where he is shown living near his son Elam Dennis Adams.
The wealth of Alanson and his family appears to have fluctuated considerably. In 1850, he owned $600 value in real estate, yet in 1860 his wealth had reduced to just $100 in personal goods (no real estate), and then in 1870 he owned $1,000 in real estate. It is unknown whether Alanson had any personal wealth in 1880 as he is showing in the Canadian census to be living with the family of his son Elam Dennis Adams, while still in Fold du Lac, Wisconsin.
Alanson and his family were members of the Baptist Church.
Alanson died April 23, 1881 while living in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The following obituary was published in the Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth of Tuesday, April 26, 1881, on page 4.
The death of Mr. Alanson Adams of our city on the 23rd instant, is an event of more than ordinary interest. Born in the year 1792, in the third year of Washington’s first term, his life covers nearly the whole period of our constitutional history. We are fairly startled at the rapidity of our country’s development, as compared with other countries, when we contemplate its history being crowded into the lifetime of one man. During this period the small circle of States bordering the Atlantic coast, few in population and impoverished by war, has been enlarged until it now engirdles the continent. A great nation, ranking among the first in power, wealth and influence has been developed within this comparatively short space of time. Human life can no longer be said to be short, if we measure it by the achievements comprehended within its.limits.
Mr. Adams is identified with the history of our country in one of the most endearing relations. Every country venerates the memory of its soldiers. Especially is this true of a republic, which must depend very largely on the valor and patriotism of its volunteer soldiers for defense. The deceased belongs to that noble band whom our nation delights to honor. In early manhood, at the call of his country, he entered her service in the war of 1812. He was in several engagements during this war, among which were the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane. At the latter place he was wounded. Thus another one of the few surviving heroes of this war has been laid away to that rest which no battle call, or shock —–will ever disturb.
But in still another and not less important cause was the deceased identified with the history and progress of our country. He belonged in the class of pioneers peculiar to our country, and yet sometimes overlooked, and underestimated in making our estimates of the elements entering late American progress. To this class of our population, essentially nomadic in its character, does our country owe very much of its greatness to-day. By it has been laid the foundations of that grand super-structure of American nationality which has no parallel in history. Reared in central Vermont he became identified with the early struggles of that State. In 1818 he was married. The union thus formed continued some fifty-four years. In 1844 with his family, consisting of one son and two daughters, he removed to Ohio. Here he remained until 1860, when he moved to Wisconsin, where he has since resided. Since the death of his wife, some ten years ago, he has made his home with his son, E.D. Adams, of our city, where he died.
The deceased was a devoted Christian, having been a member of the Baptist church nearly sixty years. He will be deeply mourned by the church to which he had endeared himself, and the circle of friends how knew him best. The sympathies of its many friends are extended to the bereaved family, with the assurance that our loss is his gain.
Payroll of a Company of Infantry Commanded by Lt. Valentine R. Goodrich, the Eleventh Regiment of the United States, for the Months of January and February, 1813, online , accessed.
Emily Bailey, “Mary Ann Adams,” e-mail message to Christine Blythe, 20 Nov 2006.
Coon, David, death certificate no. Widow’s Claim to Pension – Emma and Hiram Coon (1864).
Affidavit of Alanson and Mitty Adams (31 Mar 1869).
Adams, Alanson obituary, Fond du Lac Commonwealth, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Tuesday, April 26, 1881, Pg. 4.
1840 US Census, , (Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont); 541, Roll: 48; Page: 541; Image: 101, Family History Library Film: 0027439, 48, Original data: Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. (NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, National Archives, Washington, D.C..
1870 US Census, , (Fond du Lac Ward 3, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin); Page: 285B, Roll: M593_1713; Page: 285B; Image: 577, Family History Library Film: 553212, Roll: M593_1713, Image: 577, National Archives and Records Administration, n.d., Washington, D.C..
1880 US Census, , (Fond du Lac Ward 3, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin); 212A, Roll: 1425; Page: 212A; Enumeration District: 41, Family History Film: 1255425, 1425, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
1800 US Census, , (Williston, Chittenden, Vermont, USA); 350, Roll: 51; Page: 350; Image: 195, Family History Library Film: 218688, 51, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C..
Adjutant-General, “Adjutant-General’s Report,” jpg, Roll of Capt. V. R. Goodrich’s Company (: accessed ).
“William B. Coon Family,” e-mail message to Christine Blythe, 20 Nov 2006.
The Story Behind the Starvation of the Lady of Hay
William de Briouse III (25th great grandfather to my children, Erin and Stuart) was the son of William de Briouse II, Lord of Abergavenny (as well as Briouse, Bramber, Brecon and Over-Gwent) and his wife Berthe of Hereford.
He is believed to have been born about 1155 and he died August 9, 1211 and was buried August 10, 1211 in Paris. He married Maud (Mathilde) de Saint-Valéry, Dame de la Haie of the famed tale of the starvation of the Lady of Hay, (…and 25th great grandmother to Erin and Stuart), about 1170 or 1175. Maud de Saint-Valéry was the daughter of Bernard III, de Saint-Valéry and his wife Anora (Avoris).
Hay Castle, location of the starvation of the Lady of Hay and her son, William IV de Briouse.
William III was descended from William de Braose, Lord of Braose, who had received great estates at the time of the conquest in England and had settled at Bramber. William III had also inherited lands in one of either Totnes or Barnstaple through his grandmother, and had also inherited great Welsh estates of his grandfather, Bernard de Neufmarche through his mother, Bertha, including that of Hay Castle in Wales (see right).
During the reign of Richard III, William III was Sheriff of Herefordshire between 1192 and 1199 and a Justice Itinerant for Staffordshire in 1196. Having been with Richard in Normandy in 1195, he received both Totnes and Barnstaple by agreement with his original co-heir.
Upon the accession and coronation of King John (24th great grandfather to Erin and Stuart), and having achieved a place in the King’s favour, he accompanied King John to Normandy in 1200, and was granted all lands he conquered from the Welsh. he was also made Sheriff of Herefordshire between 1206 and 1207. Other lands William III had acquired through various means during these years included Limerick (without the city), custody of Glamorgan Castle, Gowerland, Grosmont, Llantilio (or White Castle), and Skenfrith Castles. , but shortly after he began to fall from favour, although the reasons for this have never been clear.
From records in the Red Book of the Exchequer, it would appear that it was a quarrel about repayment of his agreed debts. The evidence shows that in 1207, he had only paid 700 marks in total, a small portion of what should have been paid based on the agreed 500 marks per year. After being five years in arrears, the crown had the right to seize his estates. It was learned that he had removed the stock, and the king’s bailiff then acted under orders to seize him.
William III’s friends having acted on his behalf, they met with the King and William was permitted to come to the King at Hereford to surrender his castles of Hay, Brecknock, and Radnor in repayment of his arrears. William III, however, failed to make any further repayment of the debt and the King sent his men to demand hostages of William, but supposedly against William’s advice, Maud refused them. Having reached a point of no return, William attempted to seize control of his castles. However, he failed at this and subsequently attacked Leominster. As the royal forces approached, he and his family fled to Ireland and his estates were seized by the King.
William III was harboured in Ireland by friends who promised to surrender him within a certain time. However, they only sent William III when John’s invasion of Ireland became imminent. William III proceeded no further than Wales, however, where he later offered 40,000 marks in return for his lands. William’s wife, Maud, was besieged by John in Ireland and fled to Scotland, where she, her son William and his wife were captured in Galloway and escorted to John at Carrickfergus. Using Maud as leverage, John bargained for repayment of the 40,000 marks. Yet again, however, payment was not forthcoming and William III was outlawed, resulting in his fleeing in disguise to France, where he died.
His wife, Maud, who was largely blamed for his downfall, was imprisoned with her eldest son William IV by John in Corfe Castle (see above) and they were both starved to death there.
The second son, the Philip de Briouse, Bishop of Hereford, returned to England on July 16, 1214, and paid a 9,000 mark fine for his father’s lands. As this son died very soon after, John allowed the lands to then pass to the third son Reynold de Briouse on May 26, 1216, who also, under Henry III, recovered the Irish estates.
Dictionary of National Biography, Vols. 1-21; George Smith; Oxford Press, (1885-1990).
The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdon, Extant, Extinct or Dormant; G.E. Cokayne with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I).
The Magna Carta Sureties; 1215; Weis, Frederick Lewis, Th.D. (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.), 5th Ed., c 1999.
A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire; Sir Bernard Burke (1883).