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Sunday, November 18, 2012

FIguring Out Where an Ancestor Arrived and Settled in Canada Before 1865

Gail wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with a challenge.

Since you say you love a challenge, I have one for you. Franz Alois Frankenberger was born in Monchberg, Germany in 1833. He came to Canada before moving on to Buffalo, N.Y.  My challenge is to find the port they came into, and where they actually settled. The first 4 children were born in Canada before 1865. The other 3 were born in Buffalo. Can you help find them?

Gail - Here are some ideas and suggestions for your research.

The first important thing you need to know is that ships passenger lists arriving in Canada did not have to be archived until 1865. So your chances of finding your ancestors on a ship manifest IF they came in directly to a Canadian port are slim. However - and here is the second important thing for you to note - there are scattered substitutes. There are shipping agent records, immigration agent records and records of steamship passage along the Great Lakes carrying immigrants further inland.

There is a comprehensive list of *all* available substitute records, and links if they are online, at Filling in the Gaps in Ships Passenger Lists to Canada 

Third important fact - Ontario vital records were not registered until 1869 so if Franz' children were born in Ontario before that year you will need to locate church records IF they still exist. Remember that these are early years for Ontario as it was not settled until after the American Revolution. So records are sparse and scattered. It takes time, energy and patience to find what might be relevant to your ancestral search. 

You may have noticed my assumption that Ontario was where Franz settled. I only suggest that due to your noting that he ended up in Buffalo. Had he settled in Quebec he would likely have gone to Vermont. If an eastern Maritime province, Maine or another eastern seaboard state is more likely. That doesn't mean he couldn't have gone to Buffalo from another province, I'm just suggesting the most likely candidate.

Other things you can look for: 

* Try to find a more precise location of settlement in Canada. Here's a few ideas:

1. Check USA census records for each of the Canadian born children as well as their parents. Do they say those four children were born in Canada or do they say Canada Eng (usually refers to Ontario), Canada East, Canada West or some other designation. Canada East = Quebec. Canada West = Ontario. 
2. Look for death records and obituaries of the four Canadian born children.
3. Look for the death record and obituary of Franz and his wife.
4. Look for marriage records of the Canadian-born children as they might contain more precise birth locations

I like for Canadian census records and GenealogyBank for American newspaper records. You can also consult Fulton Postcards for New York newspapers.

* Did you look for the family in available Canadian census records for 1861? You haven't told me when his four children were born so I don't know if they were in Canada in that year. 

These are just a few of the next steps you might want to take in your search.

1 comment:

  1. I like reading all this knowledge you have, on display! I've so often run across that "no vital records until xx date" obstacle. Wish I had relatives in Canada, so that I could ask for your help, and if I find someone who does, I'll refer them to you!