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19 August 2014

New Zealand, Archives New Zealand Probate Records, 1848-1991

Familysearch has just published a collection of probate records held by Archives New Zealand for the time period 1848-1991. The records come from various courts throughout New Zealand. The published collection has over 2.7 million images, however the images for probates issued during the past 50 years are not available for viewing.
The collection is very easy to use as it is name search able. Searching for the name Cohen, there were 158 different probates for that name. The record below is for Siegmund Cohen, whose will was probated in 1903 in the court of Wanganui. The index information (shown below) gives all the vital information.

The original record can be found by clicking on the "View the Document" linked located in the upper right corner. The wills are very easy to read and in the case of Siegmund Cohen give a lot of good family information. The record below is page one of the will which gives the name of his wife, Mathilda,  the names of their four sons,  Maurice, Louis, Edward and Leon, and their sons.

Page two of the will also provides the names of his two daughters, Clara and Lena. This collection may not have as many Jewish families as a European collection but it does give great help to those with ancestry in the Pacific.

13 August 2014

Maine, Vital Records, 1670-1907

For those with Jewish ancestry in the State of Maine, one of the newest collections at Familysearch will be of great benefit. That collection, Maine, Vital Records, 1670-1907, contains over 1.8 million images of birth, marriage and death records from Maine. Also included in the collection is a complete name index which makes it a lot easier to search for your family.
The records in the collection come from 2 sources, the State Board of Health, Division of Vital Statistics and the State Archives. The collection is divided into three parts, Vital Records Prior to 1892, 80 towns, Vital Records, 1892-1907, and Delayed returns for births, deaths, and marriages, 1670-1891.The records themselves, are very easy to understand. The 2 examples shown below, are a birth and death.

The marriage records are slightly different, they are actually a two part document. The first part is a simple record of the marriage. The record below is for the wedding of Max Cohen, a 37 year old widower, and Rebecca Povich, a 30 year old widow. The marriage took place on 16 November 1903 in Ellsworth, Maine.

This marriage record provides very good information, however the second part of the marriage record adds even more vital information. The document below, gives the information on the parents of both the bride and groom. With that information and due to the fact most of these records are during the census years, it makes it possible to locate the families in the various United States censuses.

As with all of the collections at, these records are available for free from any computer.

05 August 2014

IAJGS 2015 Jerusalem, 6-10 July 2015

The 2014 IAJGS conference in Salt lake City, was another very successful event. Now its time to start looking ahead to the 2015 IAJGS conference to be held in Jerusalem. Follow all the upcoming news about the conference at Hope to see you there.