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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Scrutinize Your Sources Carefully Before Accepting Them as Set in Stone!

Mike asked:
I've been trying to find the ship my Great Grandparents arrived on and have been unsuccessful to date. I've checked Castle Garden and Ancestry both and come up empty.

My Great Grandparents, William and Mary Carey, were married in Ireland on Feb. 25, 1865 and arrived in this Country in either March or April of 1865. This is based on the 1900 Census Record, his Death Certificate, Obituary, the birth of their first son, which was in Jan 1866.

The only William Carey I found that could possibly have been him was on the Tripoli in 1866, but that was too late and no Mary was mentioned.

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Hi Mike. You've written a good query except for one detail - what country your ancestors came to! You say "this country" but I don't know if that is USA or Canada. I'm kind of assuming it's New York because you mention checking Castle Garden.....

With that in mind (New York) you should be able to find a passenger list for the ship he arrived on. I'm sure you know already that ships passenger lists to USA were archived from 1820 on.

So, let's look at what you have:

You say they arrived together but perhaps they came separately. Mary coming first isn't as likely as her husband arriving first and her following but it's a possibility.

You have given your sources for their immigration date and that's good except I do want to point out that you can't believe the census year exactly. You always need to allow a year or two on either side, as folks often did not recall exactly what year it was when the arrived.

Death Certificates and Obituaries are only as good as the person submitting the information! So you always have to ask yourself - did the informant know the correct details? Did the informant understand the question being asked?

So taking all that into consideration it's my belief that the only reliable source you have is that January 1866 birth - and the only person who had to be present for that was the mother!

So I'd go back to if I were you and I'd search all ports (not just New York) in the range 1865-1867 and see what pops up. Also, search Canadian ports of arrival as the fare from Ireland to Canada was much cheaper than to USA and often immigrants arrived via Canada then went on to their final destination.

Also be sure to be creative in your search as the surname Carey might be spelled a variety of ways. A few that come to mind are Carrey, Cary, Carry, Carie, Carrie, Karey and so on.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finding Naturalization Records

Larry's Question:
Would you be able to locate the dates that my father, Saul Eisenman, and his two brothers, Morris Eisenman and Louis Eisenman, became naturalized citizens. I think that they were became citizens in Columbus, Ohio.

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Larry. I think you may have misunderstood the purpose of my blog Ask Olive Tree.

It was never intended to do lookups or conduct research for other genealogists. The purpose is to answer questions - to help guide or direct you to where YOU can find the answers. Sometimes I find information while looking around for resources and when that happens I happily share it with whoever asked the question.

To find the naturalization records for your ancestors you should start at Take your time, read the information about what records are available for different years, then click on through to the Ohio page.

There you can follow links or find out where you can search offline for those records.

Census records will also provide you with dates. See the section on CENSUS RECORDS on the website above

Friday, May 21, 2010

New Amsterdam & New Netherland Resources (now New York)

Cornelia asked
my husband has New Amsterdam ancestors, most notedly
Hargerinck/Harpending, but others as well. I'm unversed in New Amsterdam research, was given a cousin's research with names but not much data. where do I look for New Amsterdam records? not many appear to be online. we are in Oregon so we are not in easy reach of NY archives.

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Cornelia. First off, you say "New Amsterdam" but I'm guessing you may have meant New Netherland? New Amsterdam was the name of what is now New York City. New Netherland is now New York state (and bits of other states).

In any case, there are many many resources available for research in both these areas. Those of us with ancestors who settled these areas in the 17th Century are very lucky!

I have many online on my New Netherland section of my website. They include ships passenger lists from Netherlands to New Netherland 1624-1664 the Reformed Dutch Church records for baptisms (1639-1801), marriages (1639-1801) and membership lists (1649-1701), land records and so on.

There are also many 18th Century records online on my website. You can search those by going to the same URL for New Netherland and choosing the type of record (church, census, land records, ships passenger lists, etc) that you want from the Menu.

I also have a list of resource books I highly recommend for New Netherland research. They include court records (there is an abundance of court records for very early years for New Netherland), wills, etc.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Help Find a WW2 Soldier from Illinois

The Olive Tree Genealogy Blog has another interesting little puzzle. Jill in Australia found another Dog Tag belonging to an American WW2 soldier. Please drop by and read the story. Maybe you can help get the Dog tags back to a descendant.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't Give Up Hunting for an Elusive Ancestor

Margaret's Question:
Looking for emmigration, ships list for Fernande Pradier... new info,, born Pont st Esprit France, 1893. Born to a black father and white mother,, know of one brother, (don't know name) Fernande put add in La Press news paper , looking to come to Canada and get married. arrival?? from 1922 - 1924.. cannot seem to find her in gov records, cannot even find her marriage record to Emile J Rochat as they got married the same day as arrival Edmonton Alberta..I do have everything on Emile , his arrival was long before Fernande. For Fernande, where else can I look.?.. would also like to know who her parents were, and name of brother.. I'm ready to give up after a year of looking..

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Dear Margaret, You're ready to give up after a year of looking? Oh my! That's a drop in the bucket time-wise. If you are serious about genealogy research and finding your ancestors, you'll need to prepare yourself to search for years. And I do mean years. Most of us have been searching for at least one elusive ancestor (or many more!) for 10, 20 or even 30 years.

I don't want to discourage you, I want to encourage you to continue your search.

New records become available all the time. New clues present themselves to you when you read over documents you've already found. It sounds like you have found a lot already and that's good.

A few things jump out at me from your query. First, if you know that they married the same day they arrived in Edmonton Alberta, you have a date and a location. Have you checked Vital Records for that location?

Secondly you seem to have a nice narrow timeline for their immigration. Have you searched online ships passenger lists for their names? Be sure you are creative in spelling as the names may be badly mangled. Use wildcards if they are available. Try ships passenger lists which have been indexed by Each passenger name found in the index links to the actual manifest page.

I think you have much more you can do and lots of fun left chasing your ancestors down!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Finding Info on Father Philippines to Hawaii

Jolynde's Question:
Hi I am trying to find any records for my father. He was born August 7 1944 in the Philippines and he has no birth certificate because he said it may have gotten burned in the war. He came to Honolulu, Hawaii with a visa with his father and he said that they had to go to court and everything and he had witnesses and I was just wondering if you may have any copies of anything that may help so much.

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Hi Jolynde. Your best bet may be to have a hunt for your father's naturalization records. Also see this blog post on Ships Passenger Records & Naturalization Records

You didn't say what year your father arrived in Hawaii so I can't give you any specific help.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I'm Kind of Strict About This!

An anonymous researcher posted this question in the comment section of my blog
I have a John O'brien who supposedly left Dublin Ireland about 1813 for the Phillipines. Would there be ship records for this location, from there they according to family stories went to Norfolk VA abt 1826, then on to Caswell Co. NC. Would I be able to find any ship records from either place to look for this family?

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: I'm posting this to remind readers to please abide by two "rules"

1. Provide your name in your query. I don't respond to anonymous questions

2. Don't post your query as a comment on the AskOliveTree Blog. You must email queries to me at the email address provided on this blog ( I will delete all queries posted as comments. Comment sections on blogs are meant to be used as a way for readers to add their own thoughts, ideas, questions or suggestions related to whatever the blog post was about.

Sorry, anonymous, but your question won't get answered unless you write to me at the email provided and tell me who you are.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finding an ancestor's arrival in Canada before 1865

Marie asked a question
I have been having a lot of problems trying to get information on my family thomas wingle birth around 1829 in ireland he was married to Johanna O'Brien they were married around 1865, in our Lady of Angels Church in Brudenell Renfrew Country of Ontario Canada. Johannas parent were James O'Brine and Ellen Gisson (spelled Kissan or Kissane).i think they were from Co. Kerry. Thomas had a sister Hannah there patients were Michael Windle and Bridget Moore. information i have is the hannah died in 1917. i have not been able to find any more information or any way to find out when and were they landed in canada if it was canada or the U.S.A i would appreacate any help you can give me in the line of information or help.

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Hi Marie. Unfortunately finding a ships passenger list to Canada in the time period you need is a challenging task. Ships Passenger lists were not required to be kept before 1865 so it is hit and miss whether or not you will find one. However if you go to SHIPS PASSENGER LISTS TO CANADA you will see a section called "Filling in the Gaps in Ships Passenger Lists to Canada"

There is a lookup service provided there (for a small fee) in the following Books of Immigration and Ships Passenger Lists Records.
[BOOK 1] Names of Emigrants 1845-1847. Records of James Allison, Emigrant Agent at Montreal (Quebec Canada)
[BOOKS 2-4] Canada Company Remittance Books 1843-1847 in 3 Volumes.
[BOOK 5] Index of Passengers Who Emigrated to Canada between 1817 and 1849.

As well you will find links to online sites that have miscellaneous ships passenger lists to Canada in the time period you need (1829-1865).

Here are just a few of the ones that may be of most help to you

* The Hawke Papers, letterbooks of Chief Emigrant Agent Anthony B. Hawke are available at the Archives of Ontario from 1831 to 1892. The 1831-1865 records are not online but can be consulted at the Ontario Archives

* Passenger Books of J & J Cooke, Shipping Agents with sailings from Londonderry Ireland to Quebec and St. John New Brunswick from 1847 to 1871.

* Return of Emigrants Landed at the Port of Kingston Ontario, Canada 1861-1882 gives the final destination of the individuals, their date of arrival at Kingston and more.

Don't overlook death records as a source of information on an ancestor's origins and place of birth or immigration year. You might find Ancestor Death Record Finder helpful

Did you check census records for the year of immigration?

There are many avenues of research open to you. I'm sure you can find out much more about your ancestors with a bit more work.