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Friday, July 26, 2013

So Many Clues You Can Follow to Find an Ancestor's Immigration in USA or Canada


So Many Clues You Can Follow to Find an Ancestor's Immigration in USA or CanadaOlive Tree Genealogy received a request from a reader (Hillary M.)

Because my answer covers so many generic research suggestions I thought it might be helpful to post it here. I have edited the query as follows:
Dear Olive Tree,

I need assistance locating immigration/migration records for my gr-gr-grandfather Henry Arthur Bolton and my gr-gr-grandmother Emily Meyrick.

The problem is, I don't know exactly when Henry immigrated to Canada from England, or when he migrated from Canada to the United States.  In the US census records his immigration date changes; 1900 census states 1875, 1910 census states 1871, 1920 census states 1872.

What I do know is he married Emily Jane Meyrick on October 14 1886 is Worcester Massachusetts.  His marriage record states his parents names as George and Elizabeth.  At the time of his marriage his age is listed as 25. 

He died in Massachusetts May 14, 1942 (My grandmother was 19 years old)
Hello Hillary - The first thing that jumps out at me in your query is that immigration date for Henry. That date does not likely refer to his immigration to Canada but rather into the USA. So if he was first in Canada for a period of time, the year he crossed the border to USA is almost certainly what is being referred to. (immigration years 1871, 1872, 1875)

Continue reading  So Many Clues You Can Follow to Find an Ancestor's Immigration in USA or Canada

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Evaluate Your Sources When Finding Conflicting Information

Evaluate Your Sources When Finding Conflicting Information
Dawn asked Olive Tree Genealogy about her great-grandmother:

I live in the states and I am having an issues with the 1911 Canadian  census.  My great grandmother Mary Ann Lavallee was born of Joseph Nazaire Lavalle and Delia Desautels. The 1911 census has him born Feb of 1872  but all info from other sources has him born in 1870. We think the census might be incorrect with his bday listed as Feb 1872. We also can find no records of marriage for Delia and Nazaire here in the states.

Ask Olive Tree Answer:

Census records are often incorrect but  we should not reject what is found in a census record without further proof. Remember that we do not know three things - WHO gave the answers to the census taker,  HOW the census taker worded his question, and WHAT the level of understanding was of the person providing answers.

You mention that "all info from other sources" shows your ancestor born in 1870 but you do not tell me what those sources are. You should look at those sources and determine how accurate they might be, in other words, how much weight should you assign to them as "good" sources.

Unless the source involves the individual him/herself providing answers, that source is questionable. A death record for example, contains information given by others. It might be accurate, but it also might be completely wrong. A marriage record would have information provided by the individual so it is far more believable.

You should always evaluate your sources when you uncover conflicting information. This will allow you to determine the most reliable source. 

But if you know your great-grandmother's parents, why not hunt for a church baptismal or birth registration for her? That will give an accurate date of birth. Or are you hunting for her father's date of birth? Your query does not make it clear.

As for a marriage record for Delia and Nazaire, you neglected to tell me where in Canada they lived or were born. And Canada is the second biggest country in the world, so without knowing a more exact location (province/County, town or township or...) I cannot direct you to marriage records.

It also depends on their religion, that is, what church did they attend and are there records available for that church in the necessary time period. Depending on the province, there may be civil registration records available.

So my advice is to search for the location where your ancestors lived and find out what records are available for that location.

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