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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Don't Overlook FamilySearch in your Genealogy Hunt

Bonnie asked about her Grandmother

I have recently found my Grandmother listed on the 1901 Ontario Census in the township of Wroxeter in Huron County.  She was born on August 5, 1899.  Her parents were George J Harris and Agnes J Harris born Jan 3, 1875 and Sept 21, 1877 respectively.  I was hoping to find where George and Agnes were born, and when their families emigrated and from where?  We know very little about the Harris side of the family so I was very excited to see this much!

Marriage Registration 1898 Wellington Co. Ontario
Bonnie - A look at that 1901 census gives you more clues. For example George is recorded as George Jr leading me to suspect that his father might also be called George. He is Presbyterian so you can have a look for Presbyterian churches in the area where you might find births, marriages or burials for the family.

You should also check the online Ontario Vital Registrations for the births of George and Agnes and their marriage.  In fact a very quick visit to FamilySearch and their marriage registration of 1898 pops up.

George is recorded as born 1875 in Wroxeter to George Harris and Elizabeth Stewart. Agnes is recorded as born in California in to John Burns & Margaret Oliver.  George's birth record is also found on FamilySearch

Look for Agnes in the 1880 Census for California - she is found with her parents and siblings in Vallejo, Solano, California

Armed with these new findings you should be able to trace the families further back in time.  




Thursday, October 15, 2015

Look for Siblings Obituaries for Info on an Ancestor

Deloris asked about her grandfather.
My maternal grandfather, John Russell Horne, b Nov 1877 in Reach, Ontario, Canada emigrated to Kittson, MN, USA in circa 1892 and disappeared from Hallock, MN, USA sometime in 1905 or very early 1906.  Can not find any evidence of his being in the USA after that date so am thinking he returned to his home territory but have been unable to find any information on him.  Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated!
 Well Deloris you sent me scrambling to find out what state MN refers to. It's easy to assume that everyone knows what you know, but the person you're asking for help might not know anything about USA state abbreviations. Like me. I'm Canadian eh.....

Okay so I now know it is Minnesota. I would check Minnesota newspapers for an obituary and death records. I will warn you about an entry for your grandfather on FindAGrave that might lead to confusion. His name comes up as being in a cemetery and there is a nice biography of him plus a death year of 1910. At first I thought I'd found his death and grave but nope. He is not buried there and there is no marker for him. So unless the person who put the memorial online has a source for that death year of 1910 you can't trust that information.

I see that in 1920 his wife is recorded as a widow in the Minnesota census but even that cannot be trusted as factual. She may have lied to avoid a stigma of being a deserted or divorced wife. 

If he were my ancestor I would search for obituaries for all his siblings in hopes he is mentioned as being either alive or dead.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Finding Meaning in Alphabet Soup

Kevin asked for help reading and understanding a record

My wife's grandfather Carl Gastone Casattas was born 26 Oct 1894 in San Francisco, California, and died 9 Sept 1970 in Santa Cruz, California.  In between he resided for a long time in Oakland, Alameda, California.

Imagine the surprise when we found the attached Index Card in the Civil War Pension file at NARA.  NARA was surprised too!  They said it did not belong and had no idea what it was doing there.

Can you tell us what is says and what it means?  We can find no record of him having military service.

Kevin - All I could find was this reference to C.A.C. being a Common Access Card, the standard identification for active duty uniformed service personnel, Selected Reserve, DoD civilian employees, and eligible contractor personnel.

I see in the 1930 census that Carl was employed by the US Army as a clerk so I suspect the record above has something to do with that. He no doubt needed an Employee ID Card and that may have been the C.A.C. mentioned in the top record. In 1920 he is listed as clerk working for the Government in the Navy Yard in San Francisco.

I think we've solved your mystery. Carl was a civilian employee in a Government/Military organization and as such needed an ID Card. 


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Google is Your Friend

Clara asked:

Do you know where I might find a copy of the book "History of Wellington County" by J. Hutchinson?  It is mentioned in "The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855 by Lucille H. Campey as a source.

Sure thing. A Google Search for the book gave me the answer to your question. You can purchase a copy of The History of Wellington County on Amazon.ca

There is a cheaper copy (half the price!) available  here http://amzn.to/1MdVjLq