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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finding Ships Passenger List to Canada After 1865 & Finding England Records

Tracy asked
I am seeking assistance with my ancestors, Edward Arnold and his wife Emma Smith. Edward was born 6 Jan 1828 in Stoke Golding, Buckinghamshire, England and died 25 Mar 1909 in Niagara Township, Ontario, Canada. He is the son of John Arnold (1791-?) and Ann Sharp (1802-?). He married Emma Smith sometime in the early to mid 1850s. Emma Smith was born 3 Jan 1831 in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, England and died 16 May 1913 in Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of Thomas Smith (died before 1841) and Sarah Watts (1791-?).

Edward can be found in the 1841 census in Holy Trinity, Warwickshire, in 1851 in Allesley, Warwickshire, and in 1861 in Berkswell, Warwickshire with wife Emma. By 1871 Edward can be found in Niagara Township, Ontario, Canada listed as head of household. They remained in the Niagara/Lincoln area until their deaths and can be found there in the 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses.

They had the following children: Elizabeth born abt 1855; Fannie born 7 Nov 1856 and died 2 Jun 1945 in Clark Co, South Dakota; William born 10 May 1861; Harriett born 30 Dec 1861 and died 12 Dec 1910 in Niagara Township; Emma born abt 1861; Ellen (perhaps called Nellie per family lore) born 27 Apr 1863 and died 26 Jun 1927 in York, Ontario, Canada; Edward born abt 1865 and died 9 Nov 1932 in Lincoln, Ontario, Canada; Frederick born Jun 1866; Henry born 10 Mar 1871 in Lincoln, Ontario, Canada; Susan Jane born 12 Sept 1871 in Queenstown, Ontario Canada and died 10 Jan 1931 in York, Ontario, Canada; Frank b. 1 Aug 1873 in Welland, Ontario, Canada; and Caroline born 9 May 1877 in Welland. Elizabeth, Fannie, William, Harriett, Emma, Ellen, Edward, and Frederick were all born in Warwickshire, England likely in Berkswell. There may have been another child named Mary for which I’ve found no record of in any of the census records, but handwritten notes by Fannie’s daughter-in-law include her. Also, family lore indicates my ancestor, Fannie, was about 10 years old when they came to Canada. Family records indicate about 1867

My questions are as follows: Where could I find passenger lists for a late 1860s crossing from England to Canada? Where can I find the burial of Edward Arnold and wife Emma Smith? I know they were Anglican per the 1871 Canadian census so is there a church cemetery where they may have been buried? Where can I find obituaries for Edward and Emma? I’ve tried to do research on some of the other children in hopes of finding more answers, but can’t get much past the 1911 census. I’m wondering if there were other children besides my ancestor Fannie who came to the U.S.? She was listed in the 1881 Niagara census though I’m unsure of the exact month it was taken. She came to Whiteside Co, Illinois and by Feb 1882 married Walter Harmon in that county. Lastly, any suggestions for finding further records on Edward and Emma’s parents?

My various sources include the English and Canadian census databases at, the 1881 census at the Library and Archives of Canada website, the various birth, marriage and death databases for Ontario at as well as the Ontario Deaths 1869-1947 database at FamilySearch. I have found various marriages and census records for Fannie’s siblings which I have omitted from this narrative (it’s already long enough J) but was attempting to get further into the 20th century in the hopes of living descendants of Edward and Emma.

Thank you for your consideration and help. Several of your previous Ask Olive blog posts have already helped me get further along on researching this family.

Olive Tree Answer: Tracy you have done a lot of research and the way you outlined it for your query is very helpful, so thank you! I'm pleased that my AskOliveTree Blog has been helpful.

Now, you have a lot of questions so forgive me but I am only going to tackle one or two today.

First question:
Where could I find passenger lists for a late 1860s crossing from England to Canada?
If your family lore is correct and their arrival was after 1865 you are in luck! Ships passenger lists to Canada did not have to be kept before 1865. So finding a passenger list for an ancestor's arrival before 1865 is extremely difficult and often without success. After 1865, you can browse the free online images (no index available) at Library & Archives Canada or you can consult the indexes at Ancestry for
Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 The images are linked to the indexes so you can see the actual page your ancestor's name was recorded on.

Second question:
Lastly, any suggestions for finding further records on Edward and Emma’s parents?
Since you already have their names, you can obtain Edward & Emma's marriage certificate, which will give their father's occupations. I use Free BMD to find the record in the index. Write down the details for ordering (Year, Quarter, District, Volume, Page) and then you order the certificate from the Government website, GRO. It is very easy to use and the certificates arrive quite promptly by mail

Being the curious sort, I had a look at FreeBMD. The only marriage for an Edward Arnold and Emma Smith occured in 1860, which is after the two births you have given. Are those birth years confirmed by a birth registration? Or are they from other sources such as census, which is much less reliable. The marriage I found took place in Meriden District which is covers the boundaries of the counties of Warwickshire and West Midlands. With Emma from Warwickshire, it would be logical for her wedding to take place there.

You can also search the census online at for their parents. Start at 1841 and work upwards - 1851, 1861 and so on. This will give you family groups, occupations and locations of birth.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Relationship Calculator

Cynthia asked
"If Abigail Sherman married my 8th granduncle, and her brother was Jeff's 8th great grandfather, what does that make me to Jeff?"

Olive Tree Answer: I had to write to Cynthia to ask if she meant Abigail married her 8th GREAT grand-uncle (because what she first wrote did not make sense to me) She replied with
"Yes. She married Daniel Lockwood who is my 8th great granduncle. Her brother Isaac Sherwood is Jeff's 8th great grandfather."
NOW it makes sense!

Jeff and Cynthia have no blood relationship. Daniel (Cynthia's 8th great uncle) is the husband of Jeff's 8th Great Aunt Abigail.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Finding German Ancestor's Arrival in USA

Teresa asked
I'm trying to track down precisely when and where my ancestors, George and Wilhelmina Loupee, came to the United States. I know an approximate year, and have a few other clues gleaned from census records and county histories, as well as some stories passed down as family lore. The problem is that I don't have any idea how to continue researching this, having tried the online immigration indexes (, Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild, etc.) that I've been able to find and come up empty.Here's the scoop:

1825: George Loupee weds Wilhelmina Steiner, Germany (Baden)
1826: March 15, eldest son George Loupee born in Baden.
1828: August, 2nd son Lewis Loupee born in Baden (date from 1900 census)
1829: November, third son Fred Loupee born in New York (some stories say on boat crossing over) (date from 1900 census)
1829: Family immigrates to America, settles in/near Lebanon (city or county?), Pennsylvania "was brought to America by his parents, in an old-style sailing vessel, which, during the voyage, was driven on a rock upon which it stuck fast for thirty-six hours." Another family history created in the early 1970s reads "In the year 1829, a poor family by the name of Loupee emigrated from Baden, Germany to America. The voyage to America in a sailing ship, required three months. During the trip, the vessel was shipwrecked on the rocks for three days. Some were singing, some were crying, and some were praying. They had all given up hope, when finally the tide raised the ship and carried it from the rocks."

Is there any source that records unusual details of the trip - such as the boat having gotten stuck on rocks on the way over?

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Teresa, You have some good dates to help you find your ancestors. I wouldn't rely too much on the 1970 family history if it has no sources! But you can estimate a time frame for immigration of 1825-1830 or even a bit later. (that is the range I would use in searching) It seems you have searched the New York arrivals but unfortunately there's a problem with those for the years you want. Late 1820s and early 1830s seem to be missing many ships so there is a good chance your ancestor may not be found. However you may want to check Pennsylvania Ship arrivals on just in case they came in that way.

Don't forget to be very creative in spelling of names and use the wildcard feature to allow for mistakes and mis-spellings. Also, George was probably Anglicized to George from something more like Jury or Jurgen (and variant spellings). Lewis and Fred likewise probably began as something else. Fred would possibly be Friedrich. For Lewis I am not certain, perhaps a reader knows. Wilhelmina could be Mina on that passenger list.

Unfortunately your arrival years are before the publication of the New York Times, which printed details of ship arrivals, departures, weather conditions, shipwrecks and bad storms affecting arrivals. All of this makes me wonder where the author of that 1970s family history obtained his/her information. Unless a descendant has a family bible or journal from your ancestor, I would be very sceptical about that story of the voyage and shipwreck.

Did they naturalize? Check the 1870 census to see if there is a check mark in the column for American citizen age 21 or over. If they did, you may want to search for the Naturalization Records as they may help you

Monday, April 27, 2009

Finding Ships Passenger List to Canada Before 1865

Dawn asked
I have been looking for a ships list for my DEARING/DEERING family, who according to the 1901 census for son Edward DEARING, immigrated to Canada , Proton ON in 1851. I have searched the Ships List, Transcribers Guild and various other sites including Olive Tree and cannot find a thing on them. Family do not know what ship they were aboard. Family members were: Father: Edward “Gilbert”, mother: Mary, Children: Mary Ann 1838, Robert 1843 and Edward 1849. The name was originally DEERING but when Edward Gilbert’s brother came to Canada abt 1837, he changed the spelling and it remained for all family members from then on in Canada. Any suggestions of where I might find this info?

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Dawn, You have a challenge ahead of you because ships passenger lists to Canada did not have to be kept before 1865. So finding a passenger list for an ancestor's arrival is extremely difficult and often without success. There are however, alternate (substitute) records where you can hunt. My best advice to you is to go to the page Filling in the Gaps. Look on the left hand side of the double sided chart for the title "Canadian Passenger Lists Before 1865". This is a list of ALL current online projects (with links) which have records of names - either in Emigrant Agent records, or Shipping Company records or steamship travel on the Great Lakes which ferried immigrants from the arrival ports in Canada to their final destination. Good luck!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to find a Ships Passenger Lists to Virginia 1650s

reese asked
my original ancestor in the u.s (colonies) arrived in virginia in 1652. his name was john smith and was sponsored by henry woodhouse, although the Family Archives calls him Henry Hoodhouse. they were settled in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia. I am trying to find the ship and manifest for his arrival. for some reason, i believe that he had a stop over in Bermuda. any suggestions for my search?

Olive Tree Answer: Reese, Passenger Lists of Ships to the colony of Virginia in that time period are tricky to find.

Have you tried this online Directory of Ships sailing to Virginia 1609-1737 or Online Directory of Links to Ships to New England

You can also consult the books by Coldham, Peter Wilson. I've talked about these books before, just last week in fact, but here is the information again

* The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1660: A Comprehensive Listing Compiled from English Public Records of Those Who Took Ship to the Americas for Political, Religious, and Economic Reasons; ....
* English Adventurers and Emigrants Immigration Sixteen Hundred and Sixty-One Thru Seventeen Hundred and Thirty-Three
* The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775
* More Emigrants in Bondage: 1614-1775
* British Emigrants In Bondage, 1614-1788

Here is the complete List of Peter Coldham's Books on Amazon. I think Google Books has some of these online.

Last but not least, you can also sub to Ships Lists to USA
Pre 1820
and ask for help from subscribers. Choose US-SHIPSLISTS-PRE1820 to join

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Answer from Brenda re Help Finding an Immigrant Russia to America

From Brenda:
The AskOliveTree query on 9 April made me wonder if Russian Consular Records would help (me not knowing if Morris Yudavich was still considered a Russian "citizen" after time spent in England), assuming he/she wants to know more about their origins in Russia. I'm sure you know about the Canadian records, but similar ones exist in the U.S. approximately 1862-1892 It could be a source to assist other queries of this nature.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Finding Merchant Marine Records

Ray asked
I am looking for records of my Father, Alexander Arsenault born June 10, 1893 in Margaree, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in Canada. In particular I'm looking for records of his time spent in the Merchant Marines during WWII and his time as a street car condutor in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Ray, You're in luck, as Merchant Marine records are available. Wartime records for the Merchant Navy, 1939-1947 and 1951-1953, are held by:

Merchant Navy Registry
Veterans Affairs Canada
PO Box 7700
Charlottetown, PEI
C1A 8M9
Tel.: 1-888-289-8512
Fax: 1-902-368-0564

For more details on what is available see the Merchant Marine section of Library & Archives Canada

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Find Information on a Ship in 1852

Anna asked
I am searching for information about the ship Empire State that arrived in New York from Liverpool, England on July 9. 1852. My great grandparents were on that voyage. I would greatly appreciate any information you have about the ship.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Anna, You didn't specify if you were looking for a ships passenger list or a drawing or technical information about the ship (size, type of ship etc) or who owned and captained it....

To find the passenger list for this ship you may want to search complete database for arrivals in New York. You can also try other sites with ships passenger lists for New York to see if anyone has transcribed it for free. Finding the passenger list images on Ancestry will provide you with answers such as the name of the Captain, the size of the ship etc. That is found on the first page of the manifest.

It's fun to look for these ships in the New York Times newspaper Archives. You can find out when the ship arrived in port and sometimes other details especially if they encountered bad weather en route. For example look at this entry for a voyage that this ship made
New York Times, 19 July 1854

Ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, June 3, with mdse. and 655 passengers to D. & A. Kingsland & Co. Had 2 deaths and 1 birth on passage. Lat. 43, lon. 49 to 51, saw large islands of ice." cleared 6 April 1854

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Finding Ira Totten in New Jersey

Gary asked
Ira Totten, b. abt. 1861, Paterson, NJ and his parents, George Toten and Adelia Henry, are listed in the Marriage section of the Sharon Springs, NY town register. I have found several George Tot(t)ens but I cannot connect Ira to any of them nor have I been successful in finding Adelia Henry.

Ira appears in the 1892 NY State census, Sharon Springs, with wife Cecelia and son, my grandfather, Clarence. The index for the 1892 census listed Ira Totten as Ira Fetters! The discovery of gross errors like this one have convinced me to do volunteer census transcriptions.

I could not find a birth record in Paterson, NJ for Ira Totten (or Toten) so I am currently searching under the premise that Ira is a middle name and that he is possible Charles Ira Totten.

Out of frustration I do volunteer genealogy work for other families, including scanning the web for people who, like me, are dead ended. (I am embarrassed that can do this for others with ease but yet I cannot flesh out my own family history!) I use, Heritage Quest, and the LDS Family search as my springboards. If you can solve this one.....I will be amazed.

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Gary, It sounds from your email that you know what you're doing and that you've very carefully done your research on this puzzle! I have one small suggestion for you and that is - have you considered that your Adelia Henry may in fact be Delia, Adelle or even Amelia?

Also the surname Totten could be mistranscribed in many ways - you already found Fetters as one! As an example, the ending "n" could be misread as an "r", rendering the surname as Totter. Just the first syllable alone (TOT) could be mis indexed as Tet, Tat, Fot, Fet, Fat, etc. So be sure you try all those when you conduct a search.

I think you are wise to consider that Ira might be his middle name, but where did you get Charles as a possible first? Given your background with helping others, I'm quite sure you have some clues that have led you in this direction, and if so, then I'd continue searching with that in mind.

Have you found Ira with his parents George and Adelia in 1870 or 1880 census? Perhaps if you search using no names, but instead use gender and ages plus locations, you will find a family that fits. Dont' forget that sometimes only initials were used on those census forms, so George might be listed as G. Totten and Ira as I. Totten.

Re Paterson New Jersey birth records - have you tried area churches? I'd search in locations near Paterson as well, because it is possible that Ira was born in rural area and moved to Paterson as a baby, but gave Paterson as his place of birth.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

How to Finding an Ancestor's Birth Location

Wendy asked
What sources are we missing that will lead us to a place of birth? We are searching for the birthplace of my husbands ggg grandfather in Ireland. Henry McCord 1823c-1884. Henry died 16 April 1884 North Gower Carleton County ,Ontario. Info taken from headstone. He is buried in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Cemetery in Richmond, no record can be found in the death index either online or microfilm index. We’re told by the church secretary as well as the Presbyterian Archives that the church records of this time frame did not survive.

We have been unable to find estate files, he owned farmland at the time of his death. I realize Estate files do not exist for everyone who died in Ontario, only those whose estates passed through the court process. He purchased N1/2 Lot 2 Con 4 North Gower in April 1857 from Edward Malloch’s widow. The McCord family were on this land in the 1852 census and the Malloch’s lived in Bytown. We have traced the Malloch family in case they lead to a clue of Henry’s origin, no luck. We have land records but no place of birth is listed.

There is no place of birth mentioned on any of his children’s birth, marriage nor death records. His marriage, 19 February 1842, was found in the Anglican church records Richmond, again no place of birth. We have researched the witnesses at his marriage and nothing.

All census, 1851-1881, have him being born Ireland 1823-1825 and living on N1/2 Lot 2 Con 4 North Gower, Carleton County.We have not been able to locate him on any ship or immigration records. He would have come to Canada between 1823 and Feb 1842

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Wendy, It sounds like you have hunted very diligently for more information on Henry's place of birth. Given the difficulty with early Ontario records (many have not survived, or are held in obscure locations), you are going to have to go even further in your quest. The first thing I suggest is consult my Ancestor Birth Record Finder for ideas.

What happens when a child is born? When a woman becomes pregnant? What events take place around the birth of a child? What kind of birth record paper trail is created on the birth of an individual? The answers to these questions will lead you to other sources of birth records and hopefully end that brick-wall.

After hopefully getting some more ideas from my Ancestor Birth Record Finder you will need to start searching for all members of Henry's family - siblings, children, grandchildren etc. When struggling with a challenging ancestor, it can be very helpful to search for such items as a newspaper obituary or vital record of a child or grandchild or sibling of the ancestor. One of those might have mention of where Henry was born.

I also suggest making contact with as many other descendants as you can. Descendants should include all branches, that is, all of Henry's children, not just your own direct line. One of them may have some family lore or document on their ancestor that gives the origin of the family.

That is what happened in my research on my McGinnis family. After dozens of years of contacting dozens of descendants, of searching every family branch, down several generations, trying to find a record that provided a county in Ireland for my ancestor, I connected with a descendant who had a photograph of her ancestor (my ancestor's sister). On the back was written, in period handwriting, her name and the town in Ireland where she was from.

This fit in with bits and pieces of family lore from two different branches which I had also gathered in my research. I talked about this in My Key To Ireland if you are interested.

You mentioned you have land records but what exactly do you have? Have you checked the Abstract Indexes to Deeds? Often there are wills and other documents filed in those papers. There are also the Upper Canada Sundries and Upper Canada Land Petitions, as well as Township Papers. Any of those might have a document (letter, petition etc) which mentions where Henry was from so you should check them if you have not already done so. See Ontario Land Records for more help with this if you haven't checked all these sources yet.

Friday, April 17, 2009

FInding an Ancestor Who Disappears from the Records

Virginia asked
My grandfather: Melvin Augustave Hileman born August 21 1891 information gathered from WWI Draft Registration Card

I found Melvin spelled Melvan living with parents 1900 census in Ohio...cannot find a single thing on him after the date above when he registered for the draft. I am wondering if he was killed in the war, went to Panama...or maybe prison...I have searched the West Virginia, Parkersburg for birth info...none found...

Albert Melvin Hileman son born November 13, 1915 later changed name to Albert Melvin Heilmanon his original certified copy of Birth cert says father Melvin A Hileman , 1006 E Thomas Seattle, Washington

Any help would be appreciated...I have been spinning my wheels for quite some time on this one...

Olive Tree Answer: Virginia, I'm not quite clear on why you think Melvin may have gone to Panama, but nonetheless, I do have some ideas for you.

I notice that at his son's birth in 1915, Melvin ws living in Seattle Washington and in his WW1 Draft Registration in 1917, he was living in Portland Oregon. He also claims to be single in 1917 so either he and Bertha married and divorced (in which case you might want to look for divorce records), or they never married, or he lied and they were still married in 1917. It's interesting to me that in the 1920 census his son Albert Melvin is living with his mother who is married to a George E Sprague. Have you found her marriage to George? I'd look for it to see if it says she was a widow, or single or divorced at the time she married George.

Since Melvin Augustave was in the West Coast region before he disappears from the records, there is also the chance that he went to Canada, most likely British Columbia as that is quite near. So why not have a look in British Columbia records such as the Online indexes to Vital Stats

You could also try Directories, Obituaries and other newspaper items for mention of him. But I would not limit my search to USA, I'd also include Canadian records.

Search his siblings - look for their obits, perhaps they mention him. Also try to find his parents' obits. I found this online which appears to be your Melvin and his parents and siblings so i t might help you find obituaries for his family members. See if he is mentioned as often a location is given when a sibling or son is named. Or if he is named and listed as deceased you will have more facts to go on.

-Bertha Amanda Varner, born 9 Sept 1867, died 1943, buried at the Varner Cemetery, near Summitt, in Wood Co, WV.
-Alonzo Melvin Hileman, born 19 May 1866, died 26 Mar 1936,buried at the Varner Cemetery. They were married 12 Nov 1890 in Wood Co, WV.


-Illa Hileman, married --Bumgarner;
-Melvin Hileman;
-Cora Hileman, married --- Allison; buried Varner Cemetery born 5/30,1894, died 7/4/1920
-Lester Hileman, buried Varner Cemetery;born 9/17/1903, died 12/23/1926
-Ona Hileman, buried Varner Cemetery; born 4/9/1907 died 3/6/1923
-Roy L Hileman, buried Varner Cemetery; born 10/8/1912 died 7/23/1969 married Maude -Looney born 4/11/1913 died 1/9/2003

Also, be careful to check surname variations and mistranscriptions such as Hillman(n) , Hilleman(n) , Hellman(n) , Hiteman(n) , Holeman(n) - use wildcards to allow for double "l", double "n" at end and vowel substitutions. You may want to see Using Search Engines to Find Ancestors for more ideas for successful searching

One little point - you say in your email "I found Melvin spelled Melvan living with parents 1900 census in Ohio..." Be very careful in assuming an index is correct! Your Melvin is INDEXED as Melvan in that census. But when you check the image, you can see that the name is in fact Melvin and has been mistranscribed. In this case it's not a big deal as spelling wasn't exact and there may very well be small variations in names in different records. But it could be a very big deal and could lead you astray. So always check the original record and verify for yourself what is recorded there.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Where to Find Handmarks

Jan asked
Is there an example of Switzerland handmarks available?

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Jan, Interesting question! Usually you find handmarks in official documents. Remember, handmarks were used in place of signatures. So look for any documents that required a signature - marriages, contracts, land deeds, military papers, and so on. You might want to read Ancestor Handmarks Revisited and Learn about Hand Marks - Elaborate Symbols that Replace an Ancestor's Signature

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to Obtain a Canadian Ships Passenger List after 1936

Judy asked
My husbands family arrived in Quebec June 1952 on Empress of France. Do you know of any passenger lists for this year?

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Judy,

Records of immigrants arriving at Canadian land and seaports from January 1, 1936 onwards remain in the custody of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. To request a copy of another person's immigration record, you must mail your request to:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Public Rights Administration
360 Laurier Avenue West
10th Floor
Ottawa, ON
K1A 1L1

There are some rules to applying:

1. You have to submit an Access to Information Request Form and you must have a Canadian address.

2. Provide passenger's full name, date of birth and year of entry. If you know their country of birth, port of entry and names of accompanying family members, provide that too.

3. You have to have a signed consent form from the person who immigrated, or proof they have been deceased for at least 20 years. (Unless they would be over 110 years old if alive today, so in your case, anyone born before 1899 doesn't require a consent form or proof of death)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Answer to Question: When did Surnames Begin in New York?

Duke asked
Old Dutch records are found with family names, patronyms, surnames and sometimes a combination of names. When did the English first demand the use of surnames? Does a record exist with the new names, or were they destroyed durning the Revolution

Olive Tree Answer: Duke, that's a very good question. The Dutch in the Netherlands did not require surnames until the time of Napolean but in the New World, that requirement came much sooner.

In 1674, New Netherland was ceded to the British by treaty, and renamed New York. The British quickly became frustrated by the practice of patronymics and the difficulties it created for the government. The practice of using a patronymic to identify individuals was confusing to the British and so their use was discouraged in favour of one surname for everyone in the same family.

Although Patronymics ended theoretically under English rule in 1687, not everyone followed the new guidelines. You will find individuals in official records who followed the new rules and used a surname, but you will also find those who continued to use their patronymics into the early 1700s. In fact some individuals switched about, from a new surname to their old patronymic so it can be a bit confusing when looking through records of that time.

You may wish to read Understanding Patronyics for more information on this interesting subject.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Search the Canadian Census Records for an Ancestor

Donna asked
I am looking for the history of my mother Anne Or anna Steele born in Antler Falls Saskatchewan around 1900-1920 Can you help me??

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Donna - Another contender for briefest query :-) Have you checked for Anna in the 1906 census for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta? You can do that online at The 1916 census for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta on should also be helfpul to you. There is a nice candidate there, an Anna Bella Steele born circa 1912 in Saskatchewan.

Don't overlook the 1901 and 1911 census for all of Canada. They are available on,, some for 1901 are on and some on the Ontario GenWeb Census Project pages.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Help Finding an Immigrant Russia to America

MR writes to ask 4 questions
I am trying to find an ancestor that emigrated from Russia to England, then England to the US. I found his marriage certificate stating that his name was Morris Yudavich and that he was married in Nov.,1902 to Katie Kishon in Mile End, Old Town, London. His grandson told me that prior to his marriage, Morris came to the US to make certain arrangements and then returned to England to marry. His wife became pregnant but remained in England and Morris returned to the US without her in 1903 or 1904. I found that she emigrated to England via Antwerp in June,1904 on the Kroonland with her newborn, Hillel (born Apr. 1904); and her name appeared on the ship manifest as Gittel Judowitz/Judowitz.

Morris's brothers, Israel and Shomer (Shamer) immigrated to the US in 1905 and 1906 (SS St. Paul), respectively, as did his brother, Abraham (Abram) Judin in 1912, but the last name that was listed for them was "Judin" not Judowitz (or a version of Judowitz).

I cannot located a Morris leaving or entering England or the US with any of the above surnames. The only possibility, based on the timeframe, was the transcribed name of Mosche Judin, listed on, (Hamburg Passenger List) departing Hamburg on Mar. 27,1901, arriving in port of Grimsby (destination, Hull). But, when I checked the accompanying original manifest, the name was not on the actual passenger list, so I could not check for any additional information or any misspelling of the names.

So, the questions are, how do I find:1. the ships Morris was on both inbound and outbound to/from England and to/from the US?
2. the ships Shomer (Sam) Judin (Yudin) traveled on from Russia (Sharkovshchina) to England? (Israel went to
London, via Hamburg and then to NY two months later on the SS Viola)
3. What ships or means would they have taken to get to European ports from Russia (I know that some people
took transport from the Kovno area--one brother listed his last place of residence as Kovno)
4. Did the travel agencies/shipping companies that sold travel packages to immigrants, maintain lists of those
they served?

Olive Tree Answer: You've done a lot of good research on your family and explained it very clearly for me. Thank you! I'll tackle one of your questions above - the arrival of your Morris. First though, you said that you could not see Mosche Judin on the Hamburg Passenger List on but I just clicked on it and he is there, second from the top. There is a thick black line drawn through the entire entry for him, it is possible he was booked to be on that ship but did not take it.

There is also a Mowsche Judin age 29 departing 5 Apr 1906 on the ship Bl├╝cher in the Hamburg Passenger Lists. He is accompanied by one family member so you may want to have a look at the image to see if this is your ancestor.

I wish I knew when your Morris Yudavich was born - even a approximate year - because there are several possiblities for his arrival in America in those Hamburg Passenger Lists. But without an idea of his date of birth, I've no way of knowing if any might be him. For example, this man "Morische Judowitz". Say it out loud. It sounds enough like Morris Yudavich to be your ancestor! Also this man "Moritz Judkiewicz". Try using wildcards in the search engine and just search for MOR* and JUD* to see who pops up.

For the second part of your question - that is, the outbound voyage that Morris may have taken from USA to England - have you checked UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960? These are ships going from USA to England. There is a Morris Judowitz sailing from New York to Liverpool on 29 Apr 1913. The year is off but this man is a better fit - Capt M Judon leaving New York for England on 23 Oct 1901.

Again, since I don't know your Morris' date of birth, I can't eliminate anyone, so am just presenting to you some names that seem to be in the ballpark. If you are searching this database, you may want to read the two CAVEATS I wrote regarding the problems with it , and also that there are many hits for men named MORRIS with NO SURNAME transcribed. So a search under your ancestor's first name and year of birth (+/-) with no surname may be a good idea for you to try.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

HINT: Use the Ethnic Name of Your Ancestor and NOT his Americanized Name when Researching!

Norma asked about:
Name: CHARLES W. ERNENPUTSCH b: 1844 Germany d: 3 MAR 1918 Newaygo County, White Cloud Michigan. I Searched, German directory, Passenger Lists

His one son Charles was murdered (unsolved) in White Cloud 3 May 1933. He
was a farmer. I am searching for the entry date of both Charles, Port of entry, and the names of parents of Charles W. Ernenputsch Sr.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Norma, Three questions in one email is good as it allows me to pick and choose :-) Actually you may be able to find out the answers to all three in one document - naturalization papers or passport applications. Footnote.comlicon is what I use to look for naturalization records (including passports).

You haven't given an estimated year for his arrival in America. You should find him on all possible census records in USA, that will help narrow the timeline for his immigration. Also the 1900, 1910 ,1920 and 1930 census identify citizenship status, with notations showing the individual was an Alien,
or had started the Naturalization process or had his final papers. Finding your ancestor in the 1900 and 1910 census will give you more to go on. For more help with what you can find in the various census records regarding citizenship status, see

Remember though that "Charles" is not a German name. In all probability your ancestor was Karl or Carl which anglized to Charles in America. Also he probably had a formal first (baptismal name) which is how he might be found on a passenger list. In other words his name might be something like Johannes Carl and he may be recorded on a ship manifest by whatever first name he was given at his baptism. Be cautious too with his surname of ERNENPUTSCH. That can be misspelled in a variety of ways! I would definitely use wildcards in any search you conduct, so for example if you are seaching the passenger lists, search under ERN* as that will allow for misspellings or misrecordings of his name.

In fact I had a quick look in the Hamburg Passenger Lists on and bingo! This looks like your man:

Carl Ernenputsch arrival 6 Nov 1885 born abt 1845 Hartlepool (Amerika (USA) via Liverpool) Ship Name: German Empire

You will have to view the image to get full details and see who was travelling with him. It shows his port of departure, residence, occupation and much more. I do see 3 other family members with him, including his son Carl (Charles). Knowing his specific town of origin, you may be able to find church records for the births of the family members, including your Carl/Charles Sr.

Don't forget you can also look for this ship and your family in the New York arrivals. They may have different information or details.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finding an English Indentured Servant in 17th Century America

Russ asked
I have an Ancestor who came to Annapolis, Maryland ABOUT 1665. I say about, as that is a guess based on the first time I found his name in Maryland. John Worthington 1650 - 1701. The story goes, that he came to the new world with Lord Baltimore. Great, I can find him. In reality, there are at least 3 Lord Baltimore's. These are Calvert's who were given this title. John, was apparently intentured to Lord Baltimore.

I haven't found any good evidence on a passage of any of the Calvert's into Maryland (actually looked from Pennsylvania to Virgiinia, that might have happened after 1650 but before 1700. The story goes, that John was about 14 years old when he arrived in Maryland. I have been to the Maryland Historical Society and spoke with a person who knew the Lord Baltimores, but was not able to provide any further information.

So, my Question:Where should I be looking to find this John Worthington? The other side of the pond, that is England, I have found conflicting information to know where John Worthington came from, which is really what I am trying to identify.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Russ, glad you found your way over here! My question to you is - what is your source that John Worthington came to the New World with Lord Baltimore? Is it family lore or do you have a reliable source?

Moving on though, you say he may have been an indentured servant and that could be very helpful to you in your search. An indentured servant is under contract to an employer for a certain length of time, so somewhere there may be a contract in existence for your ancestor. Just out of interest, you may want to read what it was like for an Indentured servant in the 17th and 18th centuries.

I think you should check the lists of names of Child Apprentices in America from Christ's Hospital, London 1617-1778 Have you checked the Peter Coldham books on English migration to USA? He has written many, but the ones that might be of most interest to you are

* The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1660: A Comprehensive Listing Compiled from English Public Records of Those Who Took Ship to the Americas for Political, Religious, and Economic Reasons; ....
* English Adventurers and Emigrants Immigration Sixteen Hundred and Sixty-One Thru Seventeen Hundred and Thirty-Three
* The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775
* More Emigrants in Bondage: 1614-1775
* British Emigrants In Bondage, 1614-1788

Here is the complete List of Peter Coldham's Books on Amazon. I think Google Books has some of these online.

Lastly - have you read my blog post called Finding English ancestors in the National Archives UK ? I'm hooked on that website, and you might want to have a search for your John Worthington there. I've just ordered four records from the 1700s for two of my English ancestors, and it was very reasonable cost-wise.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Help to Find a Biological Grandfather

Kathi's question: [edited]
I am searching for my biological grandmother. I am the daughter of a man that was adopted in 1934. My father passed away when I was pretty young. For the past couple of years I have been looking for any information about his adoption. I have found my biological grandfathers family but cannot come up with too much of my grandmothers. Here's what I know...
Her name is/was Gearldine Marie Leach. She was born on June 18, between 1913 and 1916 in Vinton County, Ohio. She married a Chester Napper in October of 1934. I sent away for the marriage license to confirm this marriage. I found a 1920 census with Gearldine but the last name was misspelled as Loach. Found out she had a sister, Pearline...brothers Arthur Ishmel and George Dewey both younger. Her fathers name was Leo and her mothers maiden name was Morris. There is not trace of her after the marriage in 1934. I don't know where to search now.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Kathi, You've already discovered quite a bit, good going! Here are a few more items for you to add to your research and to follow up on -

First, you say that you found Geraldine/Gearldine in the 1920 census but her name was "misspelled as Loach". That is an error in transcribing. If you look at the actual census image (as I did) you can see that the surname is LEACH. Don't be too quick to believe an index or a transcribed version of an event. We all make mistakes and human error is very common when indexing or transcribing records. Also to be fair in this case, the image shows that the "e" in LEACH is rather like a blog of ink, so it is easy to see how the surname could be misrecorded as Loach. But even if it WERE written on the image as LOACH that would not be a reason to discard it, as spelling was not always exact.

Moving on, I think you need to find all the siblings in the 1930 census. I use for this. You could try Heritage Quest if you have access. You found George living with his grandparents, so perhaps the others were split up and placed elsewhere. Remember to use wildcards to search, be creative with spelling and don't restrict yourself too much. Use only a first name and date of birth. Try only a date of birth and location of birth. Be creative

I believe I may have found your Leo's death - there is an Arthur Leo Leach born 31 July 1886 in Vinton Ohio who died 18 Feb 1952 in Zanesville Ohio. His parents were Enoch and Martha. I found this online in Family Search Labs Ohio Deaths 1908-1953. has Ohio Births, Marriages & Deaths, you may want to try using their search engine. Try finding an obituary or burial record for him in local Zanesville newspapers. Don't let the name "Arthur Leo" throw you off track, people often used first or middle names interchangeably. Given his naming of a son Arthur Ishmael, and the year and location of birth, my money is on this being your Leo.

Lastly I found a death for Chester A. Napper in the SSDI (Social Security Death Indexes) online. He was born 1 Nov. 1911 and died 14 May 1984 in Hamden, Vinton Ohio. He is also in the 1930 census for Wilkesville, Vinton Ohio. You should try tracking Chester since you say he married your grandmother. He may never have left the area, so have a look around for him. By finding him, or by finding your grandmother's siblings, you may find her.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Finding the Identity of Denes Tunison and wife Sarah Hoogland

LewisK asked:
Derek Tunison was born in 1754 to Denes Tunison and his wife Sarah, nee Hoglandt. I believe they lived in Bridgewater Twp. of Somerset Co., NJ. I am searchng for the wife and descendents of Derek.
Olive Tree Answer: Hello Lewis, you are now in the thick of genealogy of Dutch ancestors in America, and its sometimes confusing world.

You should check the will abstracts found in "Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey" for you. These books are in 3 vols -- V. I Calendar of New Jersey Wills 1670-1730; V. II 1730-1750; V. III 1751-1760.

Denes Tunison did live in Bridgewater Tp.Somerset Co. He is named in the will of Robert BOLMER,farmer of Bridgewater, 30 Dec. 1754. His neighbour is John
Sebring. Don't overlook the will of Cornelis Tunison, who appears to be your Denes' father, in Vol. II - 1730-1750 p 475. The will was written 24 Aug. 1727 and proved 3 Oct AND 3 Nov. 1731. The original can be found in Lib. B, p. 238. It was written by Cornelius Teunissen of Raratan River, Somerset Co. His wife was Neelye.

His children are: oldest son Cornelius; eldest daughter Fenmeye widow of George Fairly; second son Tunis; youngest daughter Sarah; third son John; youngest son Dinis [sic] Dinis is given 'that plantation between the first and second mountains bought of Jacob Sebring, on which my son Cornelius now lives" The land having been bought from a Sebring, and a Sebring being your Denes' neighbour in 1754 indicates to me that this is the correct man.

In this same volume, on p. 245 I found the will for the man I believe is your Sarah Hoogland's father. The will is of Dirrick Hoogelandt, written 21 April 1746 and proved 8 Aug.1746. It can be found in Lib D p 399. He is a farmer of Middlesex Co.with wife Annatie and children Hendrick, Derrick,Annatie, Sarah and Maria. He names his sister Antie Quick; brother Adrian Hoogland; brother Adrian Hoogland's son Hendrick Hooghland [sic].

If you are not familiar with your Tunison ancestry, it appears that your Denis Tunison may be the son of Cornelius Tunisson and wife Neeltje Bogart. Cornelis Teunise was the s/o Teunis Nyssen and his second wife Femmetje Jans aka Phaebea Faelix. This leads you to the infamous John Celes aka Jan Seals who was Phaebea's father.

For more information on these families, refer to the well documented articles:

"Jan Cornelis Buys (alias Jan Damen) and His Three Wives Eybe Lubbertse, Phaebea Faelix (alias Phebe or Femmetje Jans) WIllemtie Thyssen; Teunis Nyssen (or Denyse) and his wife Phaebea Faelix (alias Phebea or Femmetje Jans); Roelof Willemszen and his wife Willemtie Thyssen" by John Reynolds Totten in New York Genealogical and Biographical Record July 1935, and "The True Identity of John Sales alias Jan Celes of Manhattan" by Gwenn F. Epperson in New York Genealogical and Biographical Record April 1992

You may also want to peek at THE DAMEN FAMILY OF LONG ISLAND New York Also you may find it helpful to read The Nephews of Jan Jansz Damen by Dorothy Koenig and Pim Nieuwenhuis in Volume 4, Number 2 May 1999 pages 36-39 of New Netherland Connections. The two nephews discussed are Jan Cornelisz Buys (aka Damen) who had three wives, 1) Eybe Lubberts, 2) Phebe Sales, and 3) Willemptje Thyssen; and his first cousin, Jan Cornelisz Damen, who married Fytje Martens.

Also this may be helpful Jan Corneliszen Damen in the New World by Lorine McGinnis Schulze (yes, yours truly), published on pages 47-56 of Volume 4, number 2 (May 1999) of New Netherland Connections. It is an account of the 13 children of Jan Corneliszen Damen and Sophia Marten, to the 3rd generation (grandchildren of Jan and Sophia)

Last but not least, Utrecht Farmers In Netherland From M.S.F. Kemp's Krommerijners in de nieuwe wereld Excerpted and translated by John H. Van Schaick in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, VOL. 127, January & April 1996

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finding an Ancestor on a Ship Arriving Canada 1854

Marilyn asked :
Hello, I am writing to ask if you know of any place I can find out about a ship that landed in Quebec or Montreal in the fall or early winter of 1854? I keep checking the list and they have only up to July. My people left Liverpool in August on the Megan Enterprise. I have documentation of them being in the US on December 10th of 1854. I am interested to see if there is any available log from that ship showing the deaths at sea.My gg grandmother died on the journey and was reportedly buried at sea.
Olive Tree Answer: Hi Marilyn, Finding a ships passenger list arriving in Canada before 1865 is a very challenging task. Prior to that year, it was not required that the passenger list manifests be kept. So finding one is a bit hit and miss. There is a nice little chart with links showing online projects with ships passenger lists (or substitutes) for BEFORE 1865 and AFTER 1865 at Filling in the Gaps

Have you seen the list of Names of individual passengers on ships sailing to Canada in the 1850s extracted from the Alms House Admission Foreigners & Nativity Records New York City, New York 1855-1858? These individuals sailed from their home countries to Canadian ports, then to New York in the 1850s and were admitted to the Almshouse for care. Although they were in the Almshouse after 1855, their ship arrivals were earlier.

As a gentle tip for writing a query, I have one comment. Putting this sentence in your email ("I keep checking the list and they have only up to July ") is frustrating for me, since I don't know what "the list" is, nor do I know who "they" refers to! But I hope my answer above is a help to you in your search.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Finding an Ancestor in a Colorado orphanage

any info on Colorado orphanages...???
Olive Tree Answer: Carolyne, that has to be the briefest question I've had on AskOliveTree! You haven't specified if you want to see a list of all orphanages currently in Colorado, a list of historical orphanges, pointer to a website with records from Colorado orphanages, or.....??

I'll assume you are looking for records of orphans in Colorado orphanages. I like to use a variety of resources to find out what records exist for specific topics in specific locations. One is the online catalogue at They have microfilmed many records and it's a good idea to check their first to see if what you want is available

My second resource is to check the GenWeb site for the location of interest. I suggest you go to the USGenWeb site for Colorado and see if there is any information there

Third - try the state archives for Colorado. If you don't know where these websites are, try Google. See what records the State Archives holds.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Finding a Death at Sea

Angela wants to know
My g-grandmother is listed on the manifest at Ellis Island June 14, 1897 with her 4 small sons. Final destinations - New Orleans, Louisiana. Her husband is already in the United States.

Looking for any records/information on passengers who may have died before arriving at port or deported back to her homeland for some reason. There were no markings or notations on the manifest indicating a passenger died on the ship. I have been searching for an answer for at least 7 years.

I can only surmise that something happened to her. Husband remarried a year and half later to help raise the boys. I have their marriage record.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Angela. That's terrific that you found your ancestor on a ships' passenger list! If a passenger died on board ship, that fact would be entered on the passenger list. It might be noted beside the name of the individual on the list or it might be noted on the last page of the entire manifest. But it will be noted somewhere.

If you have checked every page of the manifest without finding a record of anyone dying on board, then she very likely died sometime in that 18 months after her arrival and her husband's remarriage. Have you searched for her death record or notices in newspapers in New Orleans for that time period 1897-1898?

There are some pre-1911 death records online at Lousiana Secretary of State Archives. There is also a New Orleans, Louisiana Death Records Index, 1804-1949 online on Searching for her death in Louisiana would be my next research course of action if it were my ancestor.

Also, take a look at the Ancestor Death Record Finder for more ideas of other places to hunt for an ancestor's death record.