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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Finding Ships Passenger Lists 1870s

Brett asked about an immigration record circa 1872 to USA.
im looking for immigration records for one of my relatives. Iver Frank Olson was born June 1850 in Norway and emigrated to Chicago Illinois in 1872. i would like to find these records as it may say his 3 siblings on there. i think he came across alone as his dad died in 1854 and his mom in 1871. any help would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Brett - The fastest easiest way for you to find Iver is to search the complete ships passenger lists on Even if he came in via a Canadian port, you should be able to find him since they also have Canadian records after 1865.

There are other free sites where you can have a hunt for a passenger, but no one has the complete passenger lists except

Be creative in your search and use the wildcard feature to search for names such as ive* ols*n, iv*r *ls*n and so on. That will pick up mis-spellings and variations in the name

Here are some free websites you might want to start with:

Olive Tree Genealogy Ships Passenger Lists

The Ships List

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Abstract Indexes to Deeds Sometimes Have Blank Pages

A reader who remained anonymous posted a comment on my blog post Abstract Index to Deeds: An Explanation

Dear Anonymous - I think I can explain but welcome other readers who have more knowledge of this complicated process to offer their comments.
I took your advice and secured a FHC film to research my Humberstone twp family. I was so disappointed to find the page blank - (correct concession #, lot #, county, etc.) In fact the next page was also blank, and the following page had one entry regarding a Sheriff's sale of 4 acres. Can you explain?

The Abstract Indexes are indexes to land transactions that took place after a patent was granted on a specific piece of land, and which were registered at the County Land Registry Office. Sadly not all transactions in the early part of the 1800s were registered. As well if an individual leased rather than owned their land, it might not be found because only leases longer than 21 years had to be registered.

Your question is an excellent one and I hope readers who have more knowledge of the early Ontario Land Records will jump in and either confirm what I've told you or offer their own explanation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ships Passenger Lists - How Many Per Voyage?

Richard asked about finding ships manifests for a ship which his ancestor was supposedly on.

I need help finding a manifest from the port of disembarkation because my great great grandfather's name is not on the one for the port of arrival. The ship arrived in New York from England in 1854. How do I find that manifest taken when the ship left England?

Perhaps your ancestor travelled on a different ship, or on that ship but on a different voyage.

Ask Olive Tree Response: Hi Richard - Unfortunately for your needs, there is only one manifest taken for a ship. It is made at the port of departure and turned in at the port of arrival.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Looking for a Palatine Ancestor

Barry asked about Palatine ancestors:

Ask Olive Tree response: Barry - As far as I know, the only lists that have survived have been published in Pennsylvania German Pioneers by Ralph B. Strassburger and William J. Hinke, published in 1934 by the Pennsylvania German Society, Norristown, Pennsylvania

This publication gives all available lists for each ship - the Captain's list, the list of signers of the Oaths of Allegiance and a third list which is supposedly a duplicate of the signers of the Oath but really isn't. It is signatures of those who signed a *different* oath.

To quote from the Strassburger book

"The order relating to the duty of the captains had three points. First, they were to make a list of all the people they imported. .... Not even the first point, that they should hand in lists of the names of the people they imported, was interpreted alike by all the captains. Most of them thought that to give the names of the male adults was all that was required. Only twenty-five captains have given complete lists of all the men, women and children. Three captains have given the names of the men and women, but omitted the children, while sixty-four captains atoned somewhat for their remissness in carrying out the orders by giving the ages of the passengers, an item that they had not been asked to give, but which we are glad to insert, wherever they are found. Sometimes the captains give the total number of freights, children being
counted as "half freights." In two instances (Nos. 1-2) the totals in each family are given. Looking at the captains' lists as a whole, we must say, that they are of all sorts and descriptions. Each one made his list to suit himself, without any reference to the orders of the Council. "

The list of all known ships plus the names of passengers and oaths taken, can be found at Palatine Ships Passenger Lists

Also see Palatine Denizations (Naturalizations) for 1708

Does anyone know of the location of information on the
alleged passports, or embarkation lists, that were
supposed to have been made by the masters of the early
Palatine ships and others of that time. Do you know
where the early English records are and/of if they are
available... they would been made at Cowes at the time of
Oath Saying?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Finding an Early Ancestor to the New World

Carol asked about an early ancestor to the New World:

I have trouble in spelling surname on ships. my name now is GARRISON, Garret Jansen von Oldenburg was my ancestor. He came to New York in the 1600s. what spelling should I use in tracing him on the ships.
Ask Olive Tree Response: Carol that's a great question. It can be very confusing for researchers trying to find an early Dutch ancestor.

It depends whether or not your Garret used his patronymic of Jansen (with variant spellings), or an established surname, or some other identifying name.

You will have to search all variations or possible names, or
start browsing through each ships passenger list in the years you think he came over. Remember too that passenger lists as we know them did not exist for those early Dutch ships. All we have are the lists of who owed for their voyage, not the list of those who paid before sailing.

Also, remember that if he was Dutch he didn't use "von", he was a "van". "von" is German. Even if he was German, the Dutch may have applied "van" to indicate where he came from. Van Oldenburg might be his 'surname' or it might be a location name.

Using search engines when looking for these early Dutch lines is challenging as the names can vary so much in spelling and even in what name was used by the individual.

For example you write his name as Garret but you must try Gerret and Gerrit and Gerritt. For his patronymic of Jansen, try Jansz, Janse and even Janszen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Creative Searching is a Must for Finding More on Early Ancestors!

Cindy asked about an ancestor born in 1808. Ask Olive Tree Response: Hi Cindy. There are several alternate resources you might want to try to find to discover who your ancestor's parents were.
My brickwall is my great-great-grandmother Mary Harriet Jackson born on 8-22-1808 in Greenville, South Carolina. To continue with my family tree I need the name of at least her father. I have all kinds of information about her after she married my great-great-grandfather Daniel Ballew. Her childrens births and deaths , where she lived in North Georgia and even the fact that she died in 1885 and is buried not one mile from where I live. How does a person find information on someone born before they were listed on the census. I believe hers would be 1810. I know about checking church records and the Historical Society but all ot these things have not panned out. My best bet is the 1810 census and the finding of her father. I have tried matching male Jackson names to hers and have gotten 0 infromation. Any help would be appreciated.

1. Look for her obituary

2. Look for her children's obituaries. Any one might mention their grandparents

3. Look for a marriage record - often parents' names are included

4. Look for other Jackson individuals near her in census records after she was married. They may be relatives

5. Carefully note her children's names. Compare them to the names of her husband's parents. Did she follow a naming pattern by naming any children after her in-laws? If so she may very well have given names in honour of her own parents. Did she use a surname as a middle name for any of her children? That surname might be her own mother's maiden name.

6. Since you have an exact date of birth for your ancestor, you must have a source. Was it a church record? That will have her parents' names. Was it a family bible? If you can find her birth or baptism you will find her parents' names

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finding out what P.L.A. means on a Canadian Census Record

Catherine asked a very good question on one of the mailing lists I administer. I thought it would be helpful to other genealogists to see the answer given by J. Brian Gilchrist to her question, so am publishing it here.

Catherine asked about someone committed to the Kingston Insane Asylum (Rockwood) in 1855. Under "Previous place of abode" was "Lennox & Addington, P.L.A. Toronto". She wanted to know what P.L.A. stood for.

Brian's response was that P.L.A. stood for "Provincial Lunatic Asylum" So if anyone else finds this abbreviation on a Canadian Census record, you now know what it means.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Understanding the CLRI and its Value in Finding an Ancestor's Land Records

Holly asked about land records for an early Upper Canada (Ontario) ancestor:
Calvin Wheeler b circa 1789/90 US is the ancestor who had land. What I know is; supposedly c 1812 he left Vermont/NY to Canada and first settled in Strathcona, and had a farm there-I have nothing to substantiate this. He married ELIZABETH CARSCALLEN UEL c 1810/12 in this or the Fredericksburg area- Lennox and Addington County-was there for awhile. He then went into Sheffield Twp L & A Co. c1820 and at some point 'acquired' abt 300/400a in what is now Tamworth, L & A County. Supposedly the town/area was originally called- Wheeler's Mills.

The first known child to be baptized in Fredericksburg was in 1819 Found:in Upper Canada Land Petitions (1763-1865) - Elizabeth Carscallen. Elizabeth's first 'petition' is dated in 1817, there are two. Her whole family siblings, father are listed in the petition list and are found residing in the Fredericksburg area- L & A. They still had children being born in Camden L&A by 1826. Last child born 1828 but I don't know the location.

Looking for: Calvin Wheeler re: land. (never have found his parents/birth place either!)

Ask Olive Tree Response: Holly, you've got some good information so I had a look in the CLRI (Ontario Land Record Index) on your behalf. If Calvin filed a petition for land, it should be noted there. Sometimes Petitions are not found in the Upper Canada Land Petitions index but mention of them can be found elsewhere (CLRI or Land Books for example)

The headings (fields) in the CLRI are:

Surname; First Names; Residence; Location; Lot; Conc.; Date ID ;Issued; Date ID; Issued; Trans. Type; FG Type; Type Sale /Lease; Archives RG Series; Reference Volume Page
Here is the entry I found:
Calvin; Wheeler; Murray; Murray; FR 1/2 28; 1; 8; 1816-05-25; FG; M; 01 C13; 123 027
I'll translate for you: Calvin Wheeler living in Murray received a Free Grant of land in right of his Militia claim, on 25 May 1815 by Order in Council. His land was in Murray, the front half of lot 28 Concession 1. The Archival Reference is 01 C13 and it is on Vol. 123 page 027.
This record appears in Record Group 1 (Crown Land Records), Series C-I-3 (Fiats and Warrants), Vol. 123 (Register for Military Fiats), Page 27, which has been microfilmed on MS 693, Reel 138.
There should be a petition on file which was heard in Council. No doubt his Military service was during the War of 1812 so you might find more in War of 1812 records (although they are sparse). The microfilmed fiat and warrant mentioned above will give the petitioner's rank and regiment. 
I'd also check Township papers for that lot and concession number, just in case there is something of note there. While I cannot be sure that the entry I found is for *your* Calvin, I urge you to look further, and check the Abstract Indexes to Deeds for the specific land location entered.