December 2003 Making Connections: 101 Best Web Sites, Swedish Church Records and More

By Family Tree Editors Premium

‘Best’ Addressed

Since I lecture on genealogy research on the Internet, I read with great interest “Simply the Best,” your 101 Best Web Sites (August 2003). I was interested to see the new sites that made the list this time. I would offer two significant additions to some information in the article. The Hamburg Link to Your Roots Web site <> allows researchers to look for passengers who departed from that port from 1890 to 1902, although the digitized images cover fewer years. Besides the Ellis Island site, researchers should be aware of Searching the Ellis Island Database in One Step <> which permits searches that can be narrowed by age, gender, first name, year of arrival, ship’s name and more. This provides much more flexibility and has led to discoveries not made on the Ellis Island Web site.

Joseph F. Martin, Romeoville, Ill.

I hit the jackpot as a result of your magazine. Your August issue featured your 101 Best Web Sites. The Worldwide Directory of Cities and Towns Web site <> interested me, so I went to it and looked up my grandfather’s hometown (population about 1000) in Sweden. I found out that the town had a Web site, so I went to it. When I left the site, I signed the guest book, leaving the names and birth dates for my grandfather, his parents and his grandfather. The next day, I got an e-mail from the Webmaster. He said he would check the town’s database for my family’s history. A few days later, he sent me a second e-mail telling me I descend from the noble family Sabelskjold. He sent me a copy of the lineage from Carl Jonsson Sabelskjold to my grandfather’s grandmother. So as a result of that Web site in your magazine — a site I did not know about before — I discovered my connection to Swedish nobility and extended the timeline for my family tree from 1799 to the birth of Carl Jonsson in 1590.

John Swanson, Sumner, Mich.

Editor’s Note: This Web site recently was renamed Global Gazetteer. It’s not the only 101 honoree to undergo changes since our August issue went to press — several other sites have new Web addresses. See our index to the 101 Best Web Sites <> for up-to-date links (or simply to avoid typing all those URLs in your browsers address bar!).

Swede Success

As a new subscriber, I just read David Fryxell’s column (Out on a Limb, August 2003) with a remark on the Swedish church records online, which he saw at a 2002 genealogy conference. I am happy to inform him and Family Tree Magazine readers that the project is still working, and now has more provinces online — including all records up to the 1890s for Värmland and Smäland, two of the most important provinces as regards the number of emigrants.

The Web address for these records is <>. The subscription can be on a yearly basis for $300, or parts of the year for lower prices. Other Swedish records have been placed online, as well. For example, the Swedish census for 1890 is available, for an annual subscription of about $95, at the Arkion Web site <>.

Elisabeth Thorsell, Järfälla, Sweden

On the Road

I take issue with “The Loyal Road” in your feature on Revolutionary War roots (August 2003). No mention was made of the Battle of Quebec, which took place in a blinding snowstorm Dec. 31, 1775. This key battle decided the fate of the northern British provinces. Col. Benedict Arnold and Gen. Richard Montgomery attacked the British at Quebec City, as the enlistment of most of their troops was up the next day. The British won, thus preserving the northern colonies in British hands.

No mention was made, either, that the United Empire Loyalists and their descendants are the only titled class in North America. They were granted the right to use the initials UE after their names. And no mention was made of the so-called Late Loyalists, American settlers who came to the remaining British colonies after 1784 chiefly for land and family connections. These people especially posed a threat to the British, and some of them supported the American army in the War Of 1812.

The piece implies that it was the militia, composed chiefly of loyalist descendants, that saved Canada in the War Of 1812. The British regulars did. The militia played a key role in only a few battles. Also, the American army failed to attack Montreal and Quebec City. Had it done so and these places fallen, everything west of there would have become American.

At the time of the War Of 1812, 80 percent of the population of British North America was not American-born. While this may have been true of Upper Canada, it certainly wasn’t true of Lower Canada and the other British North American colonies.

And it wasn’t just the provinces of Quebec and Nova Scotia that remained loyal to the British. The provinces of St. John’s Island (later renamed Prince Edward Island) and Newfoundland also remained loyal. And in 1784, Nova Scotia was split into the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island. Cape Breton Island wasn’t reunited with Nova Scotia until 1820.

Finally, a large group of loyalists went elsewhere in the British Empire, notably to the Caribbean and Sierra Leone in west Africa. A few even returned to Britain.

Peter D.A. Warwick, St. Catharines, Ontario

A Good Start

I have recently subscribed to your magazine. I love it! All the knowledge and research information is great. I just started my family tree research last winter, and I have found a lot already. But now, with your information, my search will be a lot smoother. Keep up the good work!

Bobbi Marshall, St. Paul, Minn.

Different Strokes

In the June 2003 issue, the Toolkit section had a very informative article on Google and other hints. Mr. Crume showed a way to insert accented characters into your documents. He neglected to show a simpler way than cutting and pasting in Windows.

Following his instructions for opening the Character Map, in the lower right corner, it shows shortcut keystrokes. For example, to obtain the accented ä, all you need to do is hold down the Alt key and type 0228. The beauty of this is that it works in most Windows-based software, such as genealogy software. Excellent magazine — keep it up.

Bob Baehr, Diamond Bar, Calif.

Raising a Flag

Regarding Rick Crume’s article on Internet translation tools (June 2003), there is one more simple translation tip. If a foreign page looks useful, check to see if it has a link to an English translation. Sometimes, these links are symbols, not words. For example, the Italian archives page <> pictured on page 65 has several small flags at the bottom of the screen. One is the British flag. Clicking on it brings up a better English translation than the one done by the translation site, which looks at the words individually rather than in context. Americans should learn to recognize the British flag, since European Web sires are more likely to use it than an American flag. (By the way, the Italian archives page now has a link to “English sitemap” in words.)

Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer, author of Long-Distance Genealogy (Betterway Books)

From the December 2003 Family Tree Magazine