Families who crossed frontiers or Familias que cruzaron fronteras, was the theme of a recent Hispanic genealogy conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah September 9-14. The conference consisted of two distinct portions. Monday, September 9, to Thursday, September 12, was devoted to academic genealogical studies and presentations while Friday, September 13, and Saturday, September 14, were days full of free classes open to the general public.
One of the great benefits of attending conferences of this nature is to learn about other research techniques and resources available to researchers. The migration of ancestors to the New World is a common challenge among genealogists especially for those whose ancestors came to the Americas. One of the academic presentations given by Noel Maxfield, former student director of the Immigrant Ancestors Project, on Tuesday, September 10, provided information about the Immigrant Ancestors Project sponsored by Brigham Young University’s Center for Family History and Genealogy. The objectives of the project as stated in her presentation are:
- Identify emigration records.
- Acquire copies of the records
- Extract data on individuals in those records
- Publish extracted data in an online index/database available free on the Internet.
The almost half a million immigration records in their database are divided into seven language sections: British, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Under the guidance of instructors and the student director, students gather the records on trips to archives all across Europe. These records come primarily from small collections that large institutions such as FamilySearch or Ancestry.com might consider too insignificant to capture. Working closely with archives and repositories, students gather digital images of documents which they then bring back to BYU for processing. Processing involves four stages: cataloging, formatting, editing, and batching. Once records have been placed in batches and extracted they are searchable through the website search engine.
For more information about the Immigrant Ancestors Project I would invite you to visit their website. Many who attended the conference were excited to learn about this project and anxious to search for the names of their ancestors who crossed frontiers. Who will you find as you search the Immigrant Ancestors Project?