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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Deciphering Old Handwriting

Jewish Gem wrote with several challenging questions. I'm answering one about deciphering handwriting today. There is a graphic which goes with the question

I am having difficulty reading Jennie's husband's name on Yetta Meyerson's birth certificate. Can you help me???
Dear Jewish Gem - I've taken the liberty of cropping and enlarging the name on the graphic you sent me. I have compared the letter formations of the name with other words on the same certificate.

My reading of this name is "Abraham" I am sorry I can't show you how I arrived at that, but I think you can clearly see the ending "aham" on the name.

What looks at first glance like 2 letters in front of "aham" is in reality 3 letters, rather scrunched together - those letters being "Abr"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Census Records Hold Many Clues!

Over on the Olive Tree Genealogy Page on Facebook, Marilyn

asked about a challenge she has in her genealogy.
what do you do when all you have is first name and married last name.first name in 1880 census as on marriage licence in1866 my ggreatgrandmother was velinda/velinder (do not know maiden name ) married jacob b brown 1866.they are on 1880 census.with son charles andrew brown and emma .i lived next door to emma until she passed in 1954.came a berry family tre with the names and dates correct.but 2 other children mary a and scoto born i 1860s.i am thinking she was married previous or my ggreatgrandfather was a father at not have a death or anything on her or first 2 children.the main names in the tree were jagodzinski poland and ill.had our dates of birth as jacob ohio/the rest indiana.
Hi Marilyn,

It doesn't sound like you have seen this family in any census other than 1880. The 1900 and 1910 give the number of children a woman has had and how many are living. This will help you figure out how many children your Verlinda had.

I noted that in both 1900 and 1910 she is listed as Malinda, so be sure to check for her under this name too. In 1900 she says she had 6 children with 5 living; in 1910 she says 7 children with 6 living. A little discrepancy you will have to try to resolve

If you search 1870 census you will find the children you spotted on that Berry Family Tree. Plus another child (10 year old Mary), no telling if it is hers, Jacobs (unlikely) or a niece or other relative!

By 1900 they have 3 more children listed.

So all in all 7 children if you don't count Mary, the 10 year old living with them in 1870

I would hunt for the marriage records of all those 7 children. Almost certainly their mother's maiden name will be given. Also hunt for their deaths and see what information is available there.

I'm going to go out on a limb though and suggest that this person may be your Verlinda - she is indexed on as Malinda Anderson and is a 19 year old in the 1860 census for Hamilton, Jackson, Indiana. She has a 3 month old daughter named Mary Ann Anderson. A look at the image shows her first name to be Verlinda at least that is how I read it.

The little girl is the right age to be the 10 year old Mary A. "Brown" found living with Malinda/Verlinda and her husband Jacob Brown in 1870. We know Mary A. is not Jacob's daughter as he was 13 when she was born. Malinda is with Paul Anderson age 21.

It's a working theory, and that is how I approach challenges. Develop a theory, and then work to prove or disprove it. Try to find Paul and Malinda/Verlinda Anderson in 1870. If you find them, you've proven the theory wrong.

Keep going and keep gathering records, as many as you can, until you have sorted out all the players (ancestors and others not related)

I'll leave you to have some fun now!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Finding What You Want Online

Sarah G. asked about my McGinnis Ancestors:

Where can I find your McGinnis material? I am a descendant of Edward's daughter Margaret, d 21 Oct 1843 in Limestone Co AL She m Stephen Brundidge,Washington
Dear Sarah,

It's always nice to hear from another McGinnis researcher - or any researcher looking for the same family names as I am! Here is a little tip for finding things on the 'net: go to Google and type in what you are looking for.

For example you wanted to see my McGinnis Family Tree. If you go to Google and type in my name (Lorine McGinnis Schulze) or the name of my website (Olive Tree Genealogy) followed by the words McGinnis Family, you will see the following (for me it was the first result displayed on the page, it may be in a different position for you)

You can then click on the link in Google to go directly to the page.

The link for my McGinnis family information is
The McGinnis Family of Puslinch Township, Wellington County Ontario - 13 visits - 6 Nov

Find ancestors on the family tree of The McGinnis & Bell & King Family of Puslinch Township, Wellington County Ontario.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FInding Relationship in a Complex Family

Zubeida asked a relationship question. I admit that I thought the query was bogus and a prank but I'm answering it anyway! It does remind me of the song "I'm my own Grandpa..."

My mom had a son with her first husband which made him my step brother. My mother's brother (my auncle) had 2 daughters.... and they are my cousins as well as my step brother's cousin.

My father had 2 daughters with the 2 cousins (one by each of them), which made me also their sister. The one had a son and he wants to get married to my step brother's grandchild.

Are they related? If so, how? And are they allowed to get married?
Well Zubeida I had to enter all your family members into my FTM program to get the answer to this. First though let me correct you.

 You state that your mother had a son by another husband (not your father). That makes the son your HALF-brother, not your step-brother as you stated.
A step relationship is one that has no blood ties. But you and this son share your mother as a common parent and thus you are related by blood.
Okay moving on - your HALF-brother's grandchild is the third cousin to the grandson of the daughter your father sired with your uncle's daughter. So the two people wishing to marry are third cousins.

Whether or not it is legal for them to marry depends on where they live. You would have to check into the law in that country.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Finding Information on a British Home Child

Helen posed an interesting question about a British Home Child.

The Canadian Parliament designated 2010 as the Year of the British Home Children. Volunteers and descendants are making a special effort to alert people to this part of Canadian history, as well as discover the histories/relations of the children.

Charles Thomas BULPITT b. 1907 (parents Andrew Sidney BULPITT - Alice Emily SMITH) emigrated to Canada - age 16, August 4, 1923, on the ship S.S. Megantic, under the auspices of the Marchmont Home, Belleville. He was placed on the farm of J. Benson Cox near Goderich. This proved to be an abusive environment. Charles committed suicide Dec. 22, 1923, & is buried in the Colborne cemetery.

We have contacted Charles' niece in England who was not aware of his life in Canada. She has contacted Barnardo's for information but will not receive documents for another 8 months.

With your experience you probably know where to find facts re this boy's short life in Canada, where he is buried in Colborne, who paid for the headstone (picture found/sent by a BHC volunteer),community feelings, & other facts to complete a picture of Charles BULPITT's life. The material is all forwarded to the English relatives.

Dear Helen - Such a sad fate for a young teenage boy. I can tell you from personal experience researching a British Home Child that the Barnardo's files are very complete.

The files I received for my husband's ancestor Albert Finch contained summaries of letters exchanged between the Home and young Albert. These summaries gave a very good glimpse into Albert's life in Ontario. His first placement was not a happy one and he ran away. Full details were given for this event, and also what was done when the boy was found. His second placement was successful and he was treated very well there.

There were also sketchy details of the families Albert was placed with, and his determination to save enough money to bring his younger brother and sister to Canada to join him.

All in all a fascinating glimpse into a young orphan's life and plenty of detail to flesh out his first years in Ontario.

In the meantime, while you are waiting for the Barnardo records to arrive, here are some suggestions for further research:

I see that Charles was attended at the Brophy Funeral Home in Goderich Ontario. I would find out if they still exist and if so, write to them

Write to the Cemetery where Charles is buried and ask them to send you the information from his burial.

Write to the local church

Write to the Funeral Home

Write to Huron Co. Museum and see if they have any details

Is there a newspaper for that area and that time period? There may be some mention of young Charles and his suicide.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Digging Deep Sometimes Means Slowing Down

A few days ago I wrote about disliking anonymous queries. I also posted an anonymous query because I thought the problem was probably something that many genealogists experience. So I broke the query into 4 "topics" and posted responses to all.

Well this morning I received an email from my anonymous researcher. She apologized for her oversight and gave me her name. Thank you Judy!!

In her email she went through each of my 4 points with her own comments and explanations. I really appreciate that as it's great to have ongoing discussion and really good to know that she is willing to dig deeper!

I want to post one of her comments and give another answer, as I think this will also help in her search.

Judy said:

Hi Judy, I'm not sure I'm understanding your response. Depending where you meant to put the period to show the end of your sentence, it can be read two ways. I'm going to assume you meant to put a period here:

In your last response you state that the 1842 census can be obtained [PERIOD HERE?) on it states that that is not available.....

Yes I did say the 1842 census should be something you look at for your ancestors. BUT I directed you via a link to not to or Ancestry does not have that census online.

If you go to the link I gave you, you will see the note with information as to where you can obtain that 1842 census. It is not on Ancestry and must be consulted elswhere. The note on that 1842 page explains exactly how to obtain it.

This is another example of sometimes needing to dig deep and search OFFline as well as online.

I can tell you are really excited about your genealogy and want to find the answers fast, but I urge you to slow down just a bit. You've done a lot of work and I sense that you are chomping at the bit and want to do more but I think you might be missing things in your eagerness.

I'm going to re-read your last email carefully and see if there is any more direction or guidance I can offer you. Thank you for the feedback, I really appreciate that!
In your last response you state that the 1842 census can be obtained on it states that that is not available.....