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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Don't Forget Nearby Countries When Searching for a Genealogy Record

Beth sent the following question to Olive Tree Genealogy:

I’m looking for a marriage record John Staehli born in Switzerland 1865, father and mother unknown. Magdalena Gasho born 1863 Canada father Andrew Gascho and mother Lydia Ginerich,  married in 1891-1892 in Canada. (on Ancestry trees someone put Nov 1891, and I’m looking for confirmation) I’ve researched many places and haven’t come across this record. Magdalena was a mennonite.

Beth - first let me correct an error in your family tree information. Magdalena's mother was Lydia GINGERICH/GINGRICH, not GINERICH. I'm also a GINGRICH descendant.

Since this couple's first child, Anna Maria, was born in Michigan (see image) and they continued to reside in Michigan, i would not be so sure they married in Ontario. Have you checked Michigan marriage records?


Notice also that the surname Staehli was badly recorded and then corrected in 1940. Have you used wildcards when searching for this couple?

Their surnames are such that they can easily be incorrectly recorded or indexed on websites.

In summary, I'd check Michigan marriages and I would use wildcards to search for this couple online. See Wildcards are Your Friend! A Canadian Case Study Part 2  for help with using wildcards.
















Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Why You Can't Find an Ancestor in the 1851 Canadian Census

Sharon recently wrote to AskOliveTree@gmail.com

My ancestor John Davis was born in Whitechurch in 1820.  So were his children.  I can not find any census of Whitechurch, was the name changed, if so, to what?


Hello Sharon,

Here is a link to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) where the list of surviving census returns for 1851 are listed. Many did not survive.

I'm afraid Whitchurch was one that has not survived the years. You may want to look for alternate records for that time period.

Perhaps land records might prove helpful. See Ontario Land Records.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Why You Should Check Your Sources Carefully

This email came to Olive Tree Genealogy from Sam:

Hi my name is Sam .. I have a eill [sic] from 1856 for John Calvert... a family chart with that has Obed Calvert 1743-1809 as Father. also refered to as Francis ( Obed ) Calvert. Also Ino Calvert as Obed's father.. I faxed to a Calvert genealogist who told me he had never seen the names Ino or Obed in U.S. Calvert circles. here.. do you see these names over there? I live in Oceanside Ca., near San Diego Ca.
Hi Sam-

I'm guessing that you meant "will" not "eill". Your reference to "Ino" Calvert is almost certainly a misreading of the abbreviation "Jno.". Jno. was often used in place of the first name Jonathan (although some genealogists will argue it stood for the name "John") So the man you are searching is John or Jonathan Calvert, not Ino. 

Remember too that Obed could be a shortened version of Obediah. If you are positive the reference to Francis is for the same man, perhaps he used his first and middle names indiscriminately. However they could be different men. Without knowing your sources I cannot comment.  As well, the word "ibid" means the same as "ditto" and I have to wonder if there is confusion there as well. I suggest you study your sources carefully - go over them again and again to make sure you have not missed a clue or misunderstood something. See my article Everyone Makes Mistakes: Why You Should Review YourResearch Notes

Your last question as to whether I have seen the names "over there" is confusing as I live in Canada and I wouldn't call that "over there" from California! In any case your best bet is to continue your search by looking for documents for the men whose names you know to be correct. That will be the best way to find out where the family originated and who the immigrant ancestor was.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Online Search Engines are a Genealogist's Friend

Diane wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with this question


These 2 ancestors [William and Martha Medcalf] emigrated from Ireland to Ontario Canada in 1819 with 10 children we think. They are from Delgany, Country Wicklow but have not been able to access any information about them before coming to Canada. Much appreciated for any suggestions.

Diane - this is where Google is your friend (or any other search engine you prefer). A quick search using search terms "delgany ireland church records" brought several results indicating that these records are online.

After going to the website and downloading the PDF files for the transcribed records of THE PARISH REGISTERS OF CHRIST CHURCH, DELGANY VOLUME 2 BAPTISMS 1777-1819, MARRIAGES 1777-1819 & BURIALS 1777-1819, I found the following baptisms for children of William and Martha:

23 Nov 1809 Eliz’th MEDCALF Will’m/Martha, Downs
27 Jun 1805 John MEDCALF Wm/Martha, Downs
9 Feb 1812 Henry MEDCALF Wm/Martha, Downs
16 Oct 1813 Will’m MEDCALF Wm/Martha, Downs

"Downs" is their residence. I am sure you can find much more by downloading and searching more records.

You should also search the Upper Canada Land Petitions to see if the family applied for land once in Canada. Their petitions may reveal more about their lives in Ireland. You may wish to read my tutorials on searching those petitions and finding the actual images onlline once you have completed your search in the index.

Using Land Petitions to Learn about an Ancestor

Finding an Ancestor in the Challenging Upper Canada Land Books

Searching Ontario Canada Land Records, eh? 

 In fact I did a quick search and here are the results for MEDCALF. Using my tutorials to guide you, you can now find the actual petitions online using the index information for any names below that are of interest.

 

It appears that one of William and Martha's sons (Francis Henry Medcalf) became a mayor in Toronto Ontario. There may be quite a bit of biographical information about him in Toronto archives or libraries.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Are We Related?

My series of books on my direct McGinnis Family ancestry
D. McGinnis asked Olive Tree Genealogy about our identical surnames:

My name is D. McGinnis.  I was born in Iowa in 1935.  I was just curious if you had come across my line of the mcginnis family.  I have not come across your name in my geanological wanderings.  Are we related somehow?
Olive Tree Genealogy Answer:  The McGinnis surname is one of the most common in Ireland. It is also wide-spread across North America. Without knowing your McGinnis ancestry to compare with what I know of mine, and without knowing if paths ever crossed geographically, there is no way to answer your question.  We could compare DNA results if you had yours done.

Please see my McGinnis family information on my website and see if you spot anything familiar. I have written a series of books on my direct McGinnis line (see image) but I am also working on a book on the 7 sons and 2 daughters of John McGinnis who came from Ireland to Canada in the 1830s which I hope to finish by the end of this year.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

FInding a Ships Passenger List in 1852

Recently Billy F. wrote to ask Olive Tree Genealogy about a ships' passenger list. Here is Billy's email:


I can't seem to locate the ship's manifest on-line - but my cousin sent me a copy of the Ships Manifest. ( so I know it exists ) Our family ( Fields  - 5 family members ) came  over from Liverpool on the SS City of Washington in 1852. Pithin Page  was the Master.

My question is that I noticed that you wrote that ships coming to the States before 1855 had no receiving station - what does that exactly mean? Is there anyway to find out the location ( or most likely ) where the ship docked and let off my anscestors??? Or do you think I will never know the answer?

Can you point me to a place I can go that might be able to give me as much information as possible? Ex. - who did all of these ship's manifests filled out by the Masters get turned in to ???  If they all got saved, someone must be holding them  ( correct ??? )
Olive Tree Genealogy's answer:

Billy you haven't told me where your ancestor landed - America? Canada? Or somewhere else?  If it was in Canada, you have a challenge ahead of you. 


Before 1865 ships passenger list to Canada did not have to be archived. There are some lists but the challenge is finding them as they are few and far between. However there are substitute lists such as Shipping Company Records, Immigration Agent Records, St. Lawrence Steamship Records, etc. See Filling in the Gaps at http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/canada/ for links to alternate records for pre 1865 immigration AND for details on any that are available only offline.

If your ancestor landed in America you can search passenger lists from 1820 on at Ancestry.com. They have published indexes and images for all ships landing in USA.  In fact I had a quick look and Ancestry.com has published indexes and images for the City of Washington landing in New York in March, July, and October of 1852.

Re your comment that I wrote "ships coming to the States before 1855 had no receiving station" that is not an accurate quote. I assume you are talking about my page online for ships arriving in New York at http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/tousa_ny.shtml. The accurate quote on my page, which referred only to New York, is "1624-31 July 1855: no receiving station" 

For years after 1855 I provided the name of the receiving station. It is important to understand that a receiving station was an official place that received and processed passengers. That does not mean ships did not land in New York before 1855, it simply means there was no official place to process them.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

More Questions Answered re Relationshp Terms

Ann asked about relationship terms:

What is my sons relationship to a) my first cousin and b) to her children. And what is my sons relationship to my nieces children.
I keep coming up with the same answer to each of the questions but surely they cant be the same??
No they aren't the same. First thing you should note is that you have different generations so there will be some times removed (as in 2nd cousin 3 times removed). Times removed refers to the number of generations between each person.

Then you have cousins versus nieces so right away you have different relationships.

For example the child of your first cousin is your son's second cousin. 
Your first cousin is your son's first cousin once removed

You could try Steve Morse's Relationship Calculator.  Read his instructions and start entering your terms. Also try this Relationship chart as it may be easier to use.