The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Need photos of your American grandparents or great-grandparents? A great source of 20th century photos is the U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 database from Ancestry.com.  It is not going to work for everyone but if your ancestors lived in the United States and either immigrated in the 20th century or had the means to travel abroad you just may be in luck.

United States Passport Applications

If your family had the means to travel abroad there is a good chance that they were included in this database. In addition to the wealthy, the staff and servants might have accompanied their employers abroad. And let's not forget about recent immigrants! They had a tendency to go back and forth to the old country. They are good candidates for passports as well.

There are almost 2 million records of passport applications on Ancestry.com. There are another 6,000 in a companion database for emergency passport applications. One thing to watch out for when using this database is indexing errors. There seem to be an unusually high number of indexing errors. If you don't find your ancestor with an initial first name - surname search try getting a little creative. Search instead for the first name plus the birth town (but exclude county). Also try the first name and residence combination. If you still strike out with that try using the keyword field in addition to the first or last name.

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Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?


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