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Friday, July 31, 2009

FInding a picture of a Dutch ship from 1637

Marty wanted to know
I have an ancestor named Dr. Hans Kierstede who sailed on the Den Harinck 7 Sept 1637. I’m trying to get a picture of that ship or another one like it. Is it known what type of ship it was?

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Marty. Your best bet might be to visit the online Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam You can find photos and drawings of ships there but if you cannot find what you want I would write to them. The site is in Dutch but just click on the small English flag beside the search box labelled ZOEK

Have you checked De Scheepvaart en handel van de Nederlandse Republiek op Nieuw-Nederland 1609-1675 to see if the type of ship is listed there?

You can see your ancestor's name which is NOT found on the "passenger list" for the ship Den Harinck which arrived in New Amsterdam 28 March 1638. Are you familiar with my project to reconstruct names of those who sailed on board these ships between 1624 and 1664? We know Hans Kierstede sailed on that ship, as stated in a Notarial Document dated 27 Oct 1649. I added Hans to the previously published list of names of those who still owed money for their passage.

Or you can search for other New Netherland ancestors at the online free database of Ships Passenger Lists to New Netherland, New York 1624 to 1664

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Finding an Ancestor in Black Hawk War in Illinois

Diane's question was:
For years I have tried to find my ancestor, Thomas Palmer on the Black Hawk War veterans database. He does not seem to appear. The family story was that Thomas ( if that actually was his first name) Palmer frrom Philadelphia, Pa fought in the Black Hawk War and died of cholera. I have found that many did die of cholera in that war. My question being, where could I find lists of soldiers who died of cholera in this war (assuming they are not on the Illionis database)

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Robin. You didn't specify which Black Hawk War (there were two, one in Illinois and a later one in Utah) but I suspect you meant the earlier Illinois one.

I think the Illinois database you mention is only for the names of men who lived in Illinois. So you might not find your Pennsylvania ancestor listed. But here are some links that may be of help to you. Consult their catalogue to see what they have for the Black Hawk War miscellaneous companies muster rolls

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finding Proof of Unsubstantiated Family Trees

Robin asked
I'm trying to research an ancestor in New York. I've been given the information that he was born in Ireland in 1812. He died in New York (possibly NYC) on March 9, 1897. His name is Robert Graham and he married a woman named Jane. They had a daughter named Elizabeth, who was born in New York,November, 1845 and died in Oakland, CA, May 1906. But, I unfortunately don't have any documentation to prove any of this information. I'd like to know the best way to follow up on the documentation for this information? What do you suggest as the next step? Thank you, in advance, so very much for your help!!!!

Olive Tree Answer: Robin, it sounds like you have family lore or a family tree you found online. Since you have dates of birth (unproven) and death (also unproven) you have several census years you can search for verification of names and ages

The first census you should find Elizabeth on is 1850, then 1860, 1870, 1880, and one more in 1900 before she died. I like to use for census records.

You can also search California Death Records for her death. You can order California Birth or Death Certificates Online from VitalChek back to July 1, 1905

Once you have established the family group (Elizabeth and her parents and siblings) plus approximate years and locations of birth, you can branch out to other source documents.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Figuring out an old Occupation on Census Records

Jim asked
I'm researching my Cornish roots and the occupation of the person on the census, often young women, is 'DUPMAKER'.
Is it connected with the mining industry?

Olive Tree Answer: Jim, this was an intriguing question! I could not find an occupation "dupmaker" anywhere. As you noted, it was most often used for young women. So I had a hunt and discovered that there are many genealogy researchers asking this same question. The consensus seems to be that it is a case of old handwriting being misinterpreted and that the actual occupation is "dressmaker"

I will have to leave it to you (or interested readers) to decide if this seems accurate for your specific case. I did have a look at some census where this word is used, and I can see how it could be "dress" and not "dup". But I cannot tell you with authority that this is the correct interpretation. I hope someone else can!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Finding Military Records in Canada

Bill wanted to know
Can you tell me who in Canada, would keep the muster rolls of the 36 th. Peel Regiment, Toronto area, circa 1911. Can you reccommend independent researchers in the miltary field in Ottawa? Any advice is appreciated.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Bill, Your best bet is to try the Military and Peacekeeping section of Library and Archives Canada to see what records they hold in their collections.

For a list of researchers see The Ontario Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists

Friday, July 24, 2009

Naturalization Papers Can be Wrong re Dates of Arrival, etc

Jerry asked:
I have my grandfather's complete Naturalization Papers which gives the date and ship name he arrived on in New York City Harbor in 1902. However, when I contacted NARA regarding locating my grandfather's name on the manifest, they wrote back saying his name does not appear.

I understand that some people worked as a crew member in return for free passage which may have been the case with my grandfather but shouldn't his name still be included on the manifest? I'm truly confused on this issue. Any share information most greatly appreciated.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Jerry. It's great that you have your grandfather's Naturalization Papers! However depending on the year he naturalized, the dates and ship name may be incorrect. Before 1906 there was no requirement that a petitioner's statements be verified. So the forms were filled out based on memory, and that could be very faulty. The petiioner might be out by several years or might mis-remember the name of the ship he/she was on.

As well, even after 1906, the Declarations of Intent could be incorrect, for it was not verified. Only the petition was verified to an actual arrival record. You may want to read more about these post 1906 Naturalization Records if that is when your grandfather naturalized.

If I were you I would search online and see what, if anything, you can find on the ships passenger lists records on as they are the most complete (and indexed). As far as I know, crew members names were not recorded on the passenger manifest. But don't get stuck on 1902 as the firm year of immigration, allow a couple of years on either side.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Finding Records for a Death at Sea

Terry asked:
How do I find the record of an Uncle who died from measles and was buried at sea while travelling from Austria/Ukraine to Canada with his mother and younger sister. This could be around 1912-1914. He was around 5 years old. Is there somewhere that it would be recorded?

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Terry. Deaths at sea were recorded on the passenger manifest. It may be noted beside your uncle's name on the passenger list, or it may be noted on the last page of the full manifest. Have you checked the incoming Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 for your family? The link takes you to the Ancestry indexed lists. Then you can decide whether to view the actual image on Ancestry or go to Library & Archives Canada website to view the image there.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How to find an immigration record by looking in other databases

Ruth's Question:
Looking for Immigration Information : ship, year etc.

MOTHER:Sarah Murphy ALLISON widowed 1890, Belfast , came to Vancouver, B.C. & married
James CURRAN Widower, on Sept. 27, 1891, Vancouver, B.C. ( I have the marriage certificate.)

CHILDREN: ( came after 1891 )
Robert ALLISON b 1871 Ballynure Co. Antrim
John " b 1876 Belfast, Co. Antrim
Elizabeth " b 1876 Belfast Co. Antrim ( twins)
Joseph " b 1879 Glasgow

I have the 1901 Census Belfast & can document all the children there. I have the BC Archives copy of them in Vancouver, B.C. in 1903. They were not monied & I wonder if they immigrated under some assisted scheme? ANY help GREATLY appreciated as I have been looking for YEARS!

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Ruth. It looks like you have done some good work finding data for your Allison family. Sometimes in order to find one record we have to look at others! In this case, to help you find that immigration record of a ships passenger list, you may want to seach the 1911 Canadian census. It will give an immigration year, and although it may be slightly off, you can use it to narrow your timeframe. The 1911 Census for Canada can be found at AutomatedGenealogy (a free transcription which links to the free LAC images). You can also search the index to the 1911 Canadian Census at The indexed entries are linked to the actual images of the census page.

Having said that, I had a quick peek and found Robert, John and Elizabeth living in Vancouver BC in 1911. Their dates of birth are not what you have provided, but it is them. You can have a look for yourself and decide which is correct. They all state their year of immigration was 1902. So you can search the online
Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 on Ancestry using that year plus/minus 1 or 2 years. They should turn up!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Russian Immigrants to Kentucky?

Question from Richard
...concerning the family name Cawn, some of whom settled in the state of Kentucky; near Barbourville, Pineville, Corbin area? Believe they were Russian immigrants. I'm searching for their Russian names, also.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Richard. I waited to respond to your question, hoping you would send more details as requested - such as a time period! You haven't told me if your family settled in Kentucky in the 1800s, 1900s or.... whenever.

You also haven't told me what sources you have already consulted. So I can only give you a very broad generic answer, and that is to consult census records. I use for USA Census records but you may prefer another method.

After you have found the family in all applicable census records (assuming they arrived after Census records began in 1790), then you can start your hunt for their origins in Russia.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Help Finding an Ancestor's Ships Passenger List

Question from Kansas:
I have been an avid reader of Olive Tree Genealogy for many months now and started reading Ask Olive Tree as soon as it debuted. I thought that Ask Olive Tree was a wonderful way to help "those" who may need a little guidance. I am now one of "those" people.

I am currently researching the surname, Truant. I am at this point stuck in how to find a ships manifest for their immigration to the United States. This is what I have found:

Innocent and Anna Truant were the parents of 10 children, 7 surviving childhood.
1. Anna: Jun 21, 1871 in Germany
2. Frank: May 29, 1873 in Germany
3. Augusta: Jul 31, 1875 in Germany
4. Richard: Apr 9, 1880 in Germany
5. Fred: Nov 13, 1882 in Pennsylvania
6. Elizabeth: Feb 6, 1884 in Pennsylvania
7. Emma: Nov 1888 in Missouri

I have verified the above information through census records, death certificates, and obituaries. It is consistant on all records. The stated year of immigration on most records is 1882. Truant is often mentioned as an italian surname, but all records I have located indicate that this family was born in Germany, some records vary for Innocent and Anna and state Austria. I have run different spellings of the first and last names through every index available at I also went through the handwritten german indexes both direkt and indirekt for the periods of April 1880 through Feb 1884. (In case Fred's location of birth was wrong-I have confirmed the birthdate and location for Elizabeth with a church in Hazelton, Pa) I have come up empty in all avenues. Can you please shed some light on what I should be doing next to locate the family on a ship's manifest? I thank you for any assistance that you are able to offer.

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Hello Kansas, I would run, not walk, to find Naturalization Papers. I had a quick peek in the 1900 and 1910 census and Innocent states in both that he is a naturalized citizen. So you know that before 1900 he naturalized. has Naturalization Recordsicon from NARA. also has Naturalization indexes and documents. I'd also check for naturalization records for any children born in Germany. Often if you can't find something about an ancestor, you can find the information you need by searching a sibling or a child.

If you can't find the Naturalization Papers online, then you should search offline for them. You can try the free website to search for naturalization papers. There are links to online records, searchable records on the site, and instructions how to find naturalization records offline for each state.

You should also consider a few things - the variant spelling or mis spellings that might have been used (for example, T can be misread as F or even L), and the fact that your family may have arrived via Canada. It was cheaper to sail to Canada then the USA ports. Also consider that the names you have given seem rather anglized. Try to find out what the German equivalents would be, because that might be what you need to search under.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Finding an Ancestor who migrated Canada>USA>Canada

Question from Ron:
We have a relative born in Tavistock, Devon, England bet 1852 - 1855. He was orphaned at age 9. The following year after being orphaned which was around 1862 or 1863 he left with an Aunt and Grandmother from Liverpool by sailing ship to Quebec, Canada. From there they travelled inland by train making their way to meet another relative who was working in the gold mines at Cave Gulch, Montana. Three months after their arrival at the mining camp they all died from an epidemic which swept through the mining camp with the exception of the child James Phillips. Apparently no Death Records exist on his relatives. Later in his teens around 1868 James Phillips crossed the border into Alberta, Canada and many years later passed away in Winnipeg, Manitoba on May 28, 1935.

Would James and his relatives had to have signed Naturalization papers or some other official documents in order to cross and travel from Canada into the USA and subsequently Montana? I have check Ancestry for US indexes for Nat. papers and could not find anything. Canada Passenger Lists are non existent prior to 1865.

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Hi Ron, How wonderful that you have so much detail on an ancestor! Unfortunately for your search, there were no requirements for any type of documentation to cross the US-Canada border. There are Border Crossing records but they do not begin until 1895. I'd check them anyway in case James crossed back to Canada for any reason. For an explanation of the US Canada Border Crossing Records and to understand how to find ancestors in these records, see Sue Swiggum's article published on Olive Tree Genealogy Blog

I must correct your statement that "Canada Passenger Lists are non existent prior to 1865" as that is not correct. Before 1865 passenger lists did not have to be archived. But there are many alternate lists to help you in a search for an ancestors arrival before 1865. There are shipping company records, such as the JJ COOKE records which are online. There are immigrant agent records, also online. The Hawke papers which are online and searchable, fit your time period very nicely! There are records of those who travelled inland once they arrived at a Canadian port. There are more, but too numerous to mention here. To search all online records pre-1865, please see Filling in the Gaps (left hand side of the 2 column chart has lists of online projects with links) has Naturalization Recordsicon from NARA. You can also try the free website to search for naturalization papers. Choose USA then MONTANA.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Finding an Alberta Land Grant

Question from Sarah
I am looking for the land description of the homesteads settled on by Richard Charles Armstrong and Sarah Ann Jane(Jellis )Armstrong in the spring ofn1906 in Alberta. He became the first postmaster of Egremont in !908 but the location of the town was changed so I do not have any idea where it was originally located all I know was it was on their homestead. They were my great-grandparents.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Sarah, Since your ancestors settled a homestead in Alberta, you can search online at Alberta Homestead Records 1870-1930

I had a look and Richard Charles is there so if you go and search you will see the exact land location (Section/Township/Range/Meridian) plus the source film number so you can order the records to see details.

If you are not familiar with Alberta's land system, see Western Land Grants for an explanation. Armed with the exact location you will be able to find it on a map.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finding Records of War of Independence in Ireland

Kathryn's Question:
In the book, The Parish of Aughavas, Co. Leitrim, I found a photo of my Grandpa, Francis Kiernan, and Great Uncle, Pat McKiernan, while they were imprisoned in the Curragh in Ireland in 1921. I had previously known about him serving in the IRA but did not know that he was ever imprisoned until I
saw the photo. I would like to know if the British Government ever kept any
records of the men that were held prisoners in the Curragh during the War of
Independence. I have searched online but not found anything. I guess I would
like additional proof that he was imprisoned there. I would appreciate any
information that you might have.

Olive Tree Answer: Kathryn, You may want to go to The National Archives. Search for Curragh and prisoners and see what pops up. You could also contact the Archives to ask them if such records exist.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How to find records for Waterford Ireland

Ann's Question:
.My ggggrandfather is listed by the family in the
1850 Md. USA census as being from Ireland........ On an old piece of
paper in the family archives is a pencil notation "Waterford"..... I
have tried to get info from Genuki, but there does not seem to ba any
re Waterford....... Can you help?

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Ann. Lucky you having found mention of a place of origin in Ireland for your ancestor! Information on Waterford on GenUKI is found here. Have you checked the FamilySearch Catalogue to see what is available on microfilm? Also you may want to have a peek at this list of IGI Batch Numbers for Waterford, Ireland

Monday, July 6, 2009

How to Find an Ancestor in New York 1840s

Robin's question was
I’m trying to research an ancestor in New York. I’ve been given the information that he was born in Ireland in 1812. He died in New York (possibly NYC) on March 9, 1897. His name is Robert Graham and he married a woman named Jane. They had a daughter named Elizabeth, who was born in New York, November, 1845 and died in Oakland, CA, May 1906. But, I unfortunately don’t have any documentation to prove any of this information. I’d like to know the best way to follow up on the documentation for this information? What do you suggest as the next step? Thank you, in advance, so very much for your help!!!!

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Robin, what fun for you to gather documentation now on your ancestors! You haven't mentioned if you have found him in census records. If not, that is where I would start.

Since his daughter Elizabeth was born 1845 in New York, you should be able to find Robert in 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 census records. This will help you in many ways- it will give you complete family groups, locations of births, an occupation for Robert and more. If you are lucky, you will be able to narrow the timeframe for his immigration by looking at the years and locations of the births of his children. I use for census records but you can hunt around and see if there are any free sites. The 1880 census is available online for free at FamilySearch website and their Pilot website has other census years available too.

After you narrow the timeframe for Robert's immigration from Ireland to New York it will be time to hunt for a ships passenger list. Again, has such complete records for ships passenger lists that it is easiest to go directly there and do a search!

Then you can start looking for the birth record for Elizabeth if that is what you are after. Once you find the family in 1850 census it will narrow your location a bit. You may want to find her death record in California first though as that might give more details on her birth (such as an exact location and/or date). You can order California Death Certificates back to July 1, 1905 from Vitalchek

That 1870 census record will also tell you whether or not Robert naturalized. Look for a check mark in the column about men over the age of 16 being citizens of the United States. If it is ticked, then Robert has naturalization papers somewhere!

There is much more you can do of course, and your search will not be over even after completing all of the suggestions I've given you. But I'll leave you with this for now as it may take you some time to find all the genealogy information that is out there!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Finding a Long Lost Love

Maggie asked
My name is Maggie and I writing this on behalf of a friend of mine, Ramona. She is 79 yrs old. She has been trying to find this Merchant Marine, whom she dated and always regarded him as 'her first' love. This was back in the mid 1940's. She since married, had a family and they are all grown and she is widowed now. After Ramona's mother died, she found many letters that she had written to Sgt. Taylor, but her mother did not mail them. She hid them in a trunk.... Sad story. (What could have been???) Anyway, here is all the information Ramona has given to me thus far:

Sgt. Earl Lloyd Taylor
Lived in possibly Woodland, CA or Oakland, CA
High School, Oakland, CA 1945-46?
Went into Reg Marines
Musterd (sp?) out in S.F., CA
Camp Lejeune
Sgt. Taylor would be 80-81 yrs old at present, if still alive.

This is my last search to try and find Sgt. Taylor. Your help would be so very much appreciated. I would love to let Ramona know something soon if there is any information at all.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Maggie. I can certainly understand Ramona's wish to find her old friend but it may be difficult. There are places you can look on her behalf - such as the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) and Newspaper Obituaries for any hint of Earl's death. You might also try Intellius or one of the other People Search websites.

I did have a little peek and found a death record on that might be his

California Death Index, 1940-1997
Name: Earl Lloyd Taylor
Social Security #: 571304108
Birth Date: 11 Feb 1928
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Death Date: 21 Jul 1993
Death Place: Shasta
Mother's Maiden Name: Long

You can see that Earl's year of birth fits with the age Ramona gave you. The SSDI showed that Earl's last Residence was 94589 Vallejo, Solano, California. I also found a birth notice on in The Press-Courier for Oxnard California which may or may not be the man you want, but the mention of Vallejo made me take notice

Birth. The 6th child of Mr & Mrs. Earl Lloyd Taylor, 311 West Dempsey Rd, Oxnard born January 1964 - Cody Kinkaid. Siblings Ronald, Linda, Beverley, howard, Kelly. Grandparents are Mr & Mrs Earl Rodgers of Vallejo

Perhaps if you track down one or more of the children listed, you can determine if this is the correct Earl Lloyd Taylor. I hope Ramona finds Earl alive and well but I kind of have a feeling that may not be the case.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Finding an elusive ancestor in Canada

Beth wrote to ask:
I am looking for a great Aunt, I believe she lived in Petersburg/ Peterborough .She was born Annie Bench, 1887 in Chorley, Lancashire, parents William Bench and Anne Burnett, married Mr. Friend and moved to Canada - somewhere. She visited New Zealand after 1945, she believed in Faith Healing and died of cancer, Faith did not cure it !! Hope you can help.

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Beth. How sure are you that your Annie married a Mr. Friend? I ask because a search of the OCFA (Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid) for Peterborough turns up the burial of Annie Mary Field nee Bench, wife of William Field. (Could your Mr. Friend be Mr. Field?) I also note that in the England 1901 census Annie is listed as "Annie M" Could the middle initial M stand for Mary?

She is buried in Little Lake Cemetery, Monaghan North Township, Peterborough County. You can send for the complete tombstone inscription by visiting the OCFA website and making note of the source information, then going to their page which explains who holds those records and how to obtain them.