My Tangent - A New Genealogy Archive & Great-Granduncle Josiah Crossley

02 June 2010


My Tangent this afternoon is about a relatively online new site… that is, new to me - Archives.

I received a complimentary short subscription courtesy of the National Genealogical Society. Thank you NGS.

Archives is a very slick looking website, but I’m not sure of what it will provide me more than a new online search gateway. Archives is offering a free 7-day trial period and then there is an annual subscription fee of $39.95. Archives which began January 2010 is owned by Inflection.

I decided to test Archives' search function with my great-granduncle Josiah Crossley’s name.

As a background great-granduncle Josiah Crossley was born in Walsden in Lancashire in England, 11 July 1877. He was christened at St. Peter’s Church in Walsden. He immigrated to the United States aboard the SS Franconia on 7 May 1914 to Boston, Massachusetts. On 27 April 1942 great-granduncle Josiah registered during the Draft for World War II in Burlington, Vermont. He passed away 6 March 1959 in Forsyth, North Carolina.

Using Archives search form I entered great-granduncle Josiah Crossley’s name and allowed the required Location to default to “All United States”. After churning, Archives presented me with 1,827 Results in 11 categories. If I changed the Location to the "United Kingdom", I am prompted to enter a value for Birth Year. I entered 1877. I now received 91% less results or 180: 29 Birth; 1 Census; and 150 Soundex & Double Metaphone records. This is a good “narrowing down” of the search results.

I decided to check the Birth Record results and I found one listed, number 18, under Vital Records for the Name: J Crossley and the Year: 1877. I clicked on the linked name, J Crossley, and I was presented with a download of a PDF file of an Index page from the General Register Office cross-referenced to the surname Crossley. The only problem is that the Index page presented by Archives is for the 4th Quarter of 1881. There is no Josiah. (And I repeated this four times.)

At FreeBMD I can discover great-granduncle Josiah’s Birth Registration Index entry at September or 3rd Quarter 1877. There is no cost, but I do not get the image of the page just the supposed same indexed information. Using Find My Past, which requires a subscription, I was able to find the actual Index and correct page.

At Archives another link is presented for Josiah Crossley, with the correct birth date of 7-11-1877. ( I wonder why it was determined to change the date format, for the norm of 11-7-1877?) This link leads me to an indexed record at Family Search. This appears to be indexed information from the Record Search Pilot.

I then decided to check out the Death Record for great-granduncle Josiah of 6 March 1959. As above I was linked to an Indexed Record at Family Search. The record mentioned the FHL microfilm number – 1952929. I followed that lead and found the title “Death Certificates, 1906-1994 and Indexes; Still Birth, 1914-1954; Fetal Death Indexes, 1950-1974". The exact information is indexed in the Family Search Record Search Pilot, which thanks to the Family History Library is online without cost. An image of the actual document is not online as yet but one could go through Vital Records which from my first time ordering through them I paid $47.00. On the other hand I could order the FHL microfilm for $5.50 and find the copy myself.

And now, on to the Immigration and Naturalization records of great-granduncle Josiah. presents two records from the Collection U.S. Naturalization Records and Petitions. The first record, great-granduncle Josiah’s Oath of Allegiance was filed April 28, 1924. This document is available through a linked connection between Archives and Footnote which also requires a membership subscription. There is an Archives view pricing for Archives’ members – “You can view an original copy of this image for as little as $2.95.” This definitely would be a savings of note rather than the alternative of having to get a Footnote subscription. Just another alternative, one can download the exact same document at any one of the Family History Library’s Family History Centers, typically for a minimal paper cost. This is due to an arrangement between the Family History Library and Footnote. The same applies for the other record, the Naturalization Index – MA as noted by the Indexed record at Archives. And for your information I was able to find other documents at Footnote, which have not yet been uploaded to the Archives connection. Footnote has an arrangement with The National Archives.

Please understand that I am not criticizing the new Archives. I’m just checking it out and asking as to why I should pay an additional $39.95 per year just to do that which I can do and find for myself. A great resource online is His gateways do just about the same thing and he presents upfront as to whether there may or may not be an associated cost.

Genealogy research has become and is continuing to become a big business. My only point here is not to downgrade or denigrate any provider. My Tangent is just a note to the reader to check out what's available, and do some comparison shopping. You never know you may be able to bet the exact or similar service for free or at least at a considerable reduction in costs.

And thank you great-granduncle Josiah Crossley.




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