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22 April 2014

Knowles Collection Updated - Records of 1,000,000 Jews

In August of 2007, the Knowles Collection first went live as a search able database of genealogical records of the Jewish people. At that time the collection was made up entirely of records of the Jews of Great Britain.That introduction of the collection contained the records of about 7,500 Jews. Those first records came from making a computerized record of the Mordy Collection, the wonderful work compiled by the late Isobel Mordy, before her death in the 1980's.
From that first day, the collection continued to grow, but remained solely a record of the Jewish people in the British Isles. As time passed that database grew to contain the records of well over 100,000 Jews. At that time, five additional databases were added to give coverage of the entire world. The collection now consisted of the 6 databases that it has today.
New records continued to be added. These consisted of vital records, synagogue records, civil records, probate, census and family histories. The family histories have been donated by families from throughout the world, all wishing for their records to be preserved. I am extremely grateful to all who have added their own records. The six databases now consist of records from almost 2,000 different sources.
 The six databases that make up the Knowles Collection have now been updated. Thanks to the work of so many people the combined collection now holds the genealogical  records of over 1,000,000 Jewish people. Each of the 6 databases has grown considerably over the years. The amount of people contained in each database is as follows;

  • Jews of the British Isles              191,000
  • Jews of North America               393,000
  • Jews of Europe                           360,000
  • Jews of South America and Caribbean   21,000
  • Jews of South Pacific                              21,000
  • Jews of Africa, Orient and Middle East   37,000

Even after so much growth, an amazing amount of records continue to be submitted to the database. These records will be added as quickly as we can. Of the records now being added a large number of cemetery transcriptions from all parts of the world are included. With those records added to everything else already published, it truly has become a collection that covers the world. The collection is available at the community trees section at The link in the top right corner of this blog will help you access those records.
Thank you to all for your help, and may we never forget our ancestors.

15 April 2014

Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916 to 1947

So many of those just beginning their family history research start with one of those most basic records, the Census.  It helps to identify a family at a certain time in a specific location. If the researcher knows where the family was from and some of the names of other family members, the census can be a great tool. The record below shows the family of Addie Cohen in Illinois at the time of the 1940 United States Census.

The record shows us that she is 80 years of age and a widow. Living with her in the household are 2 sons, Julius (age 51) and Sol (age 49). All three of them were born in the State of Illinois. To many this is where the first obstacles start to pop up, trying to identify what Addie's maiden name was and then identifying her parents. Now, as more and more states are making their records available to websites such as FamilySearch and Ancestry, it is becoming a little easier to answer those questions.
In the last week, has added a new Historical Collection, the Illinois Deaths and Stillborns, 1916-1947.  This collection, which as of this date has just under 2,900,000 records, will be a great source to break down the obstacles for Jewish families in Illinois. The record below is for the same Addie Cohen whose family we located in the census.

From this record we are able to add a lot of information to our records of her life. We now know that she was born in Urbana, Illinois on 17 August 1859 the daughter of Sol Bernstein and Fannie Wertheim. We also know that she died on 25 May 1943 also in Urbana and was buried in that same city on 27 May 1943 at the Mt. Hope Cemetery. The information for this came from FHL film #1983453.
As more and more people become involved in finding their families, lets hope more and more communities will make those records available.

04 April 2014

Canada Census 1916

The national census of Canada has been taken every 10 years since 1871 and every five years since 1971. Only the four original provinces, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario were included in that first census of 1871. The census of 1881 was the first to include the entire country, however Newfoundland was not part of Canada until 1949, so those records are not included.
The census of 1916 only includes three provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Now, FamilySearch has added the Canadian Census, 1916 database to the Historical Collections section at As of today over 500,000 records are included in this collection. The original images have not been included, however the records have been indexed and the information includes the original Family History Library film number.
The record below is the family of Aron and Lina Cohen and there three children. Included is all the vital information, such as names, ages, birthplaces, marital status, and ethnicity. The Family History Library film number of 2,434,941 is also included.

 This  1916 census is added to the censuses of 1851, 1871,1881, 1891, 1901, 1906 and 1911, which are already part of the Historical Collections at These records are a great way to follow your ancestors through their life in Canada. As with all records at FamilySearch, the collection can be searched for free from the comfort of your own home.
More great information on the various Canadian Censuses can be found at the FamilySearch Wiki, on the Canada Census page.