Saturday, July 18, 2015

New Brunswick Research Sites

It has been a while since my last post but my new job has kept me busy and at the end of the day I haven't had the energy to do any genealogy research. However, I'm slowly getting back into working on my own tree. This means my posts here will, unfortunately, be infrequent.

One province where I find a number of branches of my family tree is New Brunswick, Canada. Fortunately there are some great online resources that touch upon that province. The best and my go to site is the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, AKA PANB. There you will find quite a number of freely available resources including1:
  • Vital Statistics from Government Records. This collection often includes the images of the documents that you can download to your computer...for free. It includes:
    • Index to Late Registration of Births (1810-1919)
    • Index to Late Registration of Births: County Series (1869-1901)
    • Index to County Birth Registers (1800-1913)
    • Index to Provincial Registrations of Births (1870-1919)
    • Index to New Brunswick Marriages (1847-1964)
    • Index to County Death Registers (1885-1921)
    • Provincial Returns of Deaths (1815-1919)
    • Index to Death Certificates (1920-1964)
  • Daniel F Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics. The late Daniel F. Johnson, over a span of 23 years, went through many of the early New Brunswick newspapers and indexed the names found within. Many times this index will be the only clue concerning a birth, marriage, or death of your ancestor.
  • Wallace Hale's Early New Brunswick Probate, 1785-1835. This is a database created from Wallace Hale's "Early New Brunswick Probates, 1785-1835" and has been made freely available to all researchers through this site. Since this is an abstract of the probates you should go to your local library and order, through the Interlibrary Loan program, the microfilm containing the probate file from PANB.
  • Index to Marriage Bonds 1810-1932. This is an index of the marriage bonds. Just note that the date of the bond is not that of the marriage. Additionally the couple may not have gone through with the marriage.
  • Index to Land Petitions: Original Series, 1783-1918. If you are tracing Loyalist ancestors in New Brunswick this is a great resource. Although an index it does tell you which microfilm you need to order via the Interlibrary Loan program so you can view the petition.
  • Wallace Hale's Fort Havoc. For my Loyalist research Wallace Hale's Fort Havoc collection has been very useful since PANB has posted many of his transcriptions of documents that may be hard to find.
  • Place Names of New Brunswick. If I am trying to find a name of a community in New Brunswick this is my starting place. Here you will find descriptions of communities, some of their history, distances to nearby places, and, most importantly, cadastral maps from the early to mid 1800s. and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) are where I find the ancestors in the census records. Since I already have a subscription to Ancestry they make it easy2 for me to locate those distant connections in the census. However, for the 1901 and 1911 census Ancestry gives a range for the microfilm number the page came from so I head on over to the LAC Census page to find the entry there so I can record the correct microfilm number in my citation.

FamilySearch has also a number of freely available records on their site concerning New Brunswick. Although you can find the vital statistics collection on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick site sometimes using the search by the names of parents only to find missing children is easier on FamilySearch. But the main reason to use FamilySearch is for the New Brunswick, County Deed Registry Books, 1780-1930 collection. Although not computer indexed this collection isn't that hard to use. You will not only find land transactions like deeds and mortgages but also copies of wills and separation agreements. Basically if it had to do with buying, selling, or transferring land you will probably find it in this collection.

For recent obituaries, besides searching the Obituary Daily Times, I also stop by the obituary search page for the Telegraph-Journal. Since that site searches the contents of the posted obituaries I often find mentions of siblings and spouses within the obituaries. is another site I make use of after I have found the information in the vital statistics and census pages. Maybe you have come across a notation like "NYGBR v35" when looking for your New Brunswick Loyalists. First you need to know that NYGBR refers to the "New York Genealogical and Biographical Record". Since that volume is out of copyright the fine folks at the Internet Archive have actually digitized that book for your viewing and reading pleasure. You can also find a black and white scan of the Atlas of the Maritime Provinces of the Dominion of Canada for viewing and even downloading to your computer.

For the first edition of the Atlas of the Maritime Province of the Dominion of Canada then check out the David Rumsey Map Collection. Actually, just check out his site for an amazing collection of old maps. You can also drop by the Grant Reference Plan Viewer provided by GeoNB. Of course if helps if you already know where your ancestor settled in the province first.

There is always a good Google search to find interesting sites. Places such as and New Brunswick GenWeb

Hopefully these sites will help in your exploration of your New Brunswick ancestors.

1. This is just a highlight of what is available. There is so much more.
2. Sort of easy. It all depends on the index transcription.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Voices from the Dust - Ottawa's Rootstech - Jun 20, 2015

If you are in Ottawa or the surrounding area and you can't make it out to the Quebec Family History Society's Roots 2015 Conference in Montreal then the Ottawa Ontario Stake Family History Centre will be the place to be on Saturday, June 20th, 2015 between 1 pm and 5 pm for Voices from the Dust.

The speakers and talks are:

Sarah ChatfieldResearching Your Family History at Library and Archives Canada
The basics of the genealogical research and the genealogical information resources available at Library and Archives Canada.

Romaine HoneyGenealogy Resources and Services at the Ottawa Public Library
An introduction to books, online resources, research guides, and professional services available to you at the public library. Come find out how the library can help with your genealogy.

Gloria TubmanParish Records a Resource for Family Historians
The usefulness of parish records as a resource for researchers of family history will be discussed. These records can be a substitute for or use to verify information on civil registrations. The discussion will include the information one can expect to find, the types of records, the differences in records among some of the various churches and the possible gems one can discover in the parish records. Parish records from England, Ontario and Quebec will be discussed.

Magdalene CarsonYour Family History in Book Form as an Enduring Heirloom
Once you have completed your research, you have the stories and facts, the photos and documents — then what? This session will look at various options for putting your genealogical project into book format as enduring heirloom for future generations. Topics such as the proper preparation of text and visuals, copyright questions, and the citing of sources will be covered. Whatever the stage of your project, you will find this session pertinent.

Ken McKinlay (Yours truly) – Doing Family Tree Research in Your Pajamas
As more records become available, doing your research from the comfort of your own home is a big plus. Ken will be touching upon the various on-line data sources and the methodologies to find the information. Using real life examples Ken will be referring to the various records and information that can be used to help trace your family history all via the use of information found in Internet resources.

Kyla UbbinkKeeping the Past: Storing and Preserving Family Archives and Memorabilia
Stop the deterioration of your family’s historic documents, letters, photographs, albums, clippings, books, memorabilia and scrapbooks through the practice of archival preservation. Learn how to avoid damage caused by pollutants, poor climate, light, pests, and mould through proper boxing, housing and storage. Acquire safe handling techniques, explore digitization options, and gain knowledge in regular maintenance and basic treatments that you can apply at home. Demonstrations in cleaning books and paper, removing clips and staples, separating photographs from ‘sticky’ album pages, and how to make simple book jackets will provide you with the skills needed to start saving your family archives now.

Brenda BowmanLearn FamilySearch Indexing
Understand what FamilySearch Indexing is, and how easy it is do participate in and assist in a worthwhile cause.

Shirley-Ann A Place for You and Me!
Learn what tools and resources are available for free with Gain an understanding of how to enable online collaboration with family members and other researchers to get the research results you need.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Answering Facebook Genealogy Questions

Due to a new job I haven't been spending much time on genealogy research or even reading the posts within the various genealogy related Facebook groups. However, I decided to spend some of my "free" time this past weekend reading and answering some of the queries recently posted in several on the Canadian focused groups.

I know I shouldn't be surprised but the number of responses where all that is given is an answer with no indication of the source or how it was found still bothers me. Sometimes it is a image from a record collection behind a paywall such as from Ancestry or Findmypast. Other times it is a copy and paste of the text from a web site. Besides the issue of copyright, something that both Judy G. Russell of The Legal Genealogist and James Tanner of Genealogy's Star write about often, there is the issue of education. If you, my gentle reader, just spoon feeds the information without any form of explanation of how or where it was found then the original poster won't learn how to find the information for themselves in the future.

For example, if someone was to ask a question about trying to find the obituary which is the better answer:
  1. Copy and pasting the obituary without any citation or indication of where it came from.
  2. Walking them through the web site used and providing the links so that they can learn how to do it themselves plus they get the question answered.

Note that I didn't say the right answer. Both are good answers since they provide an answer to the original question. However, if you said that "2" was the better answer then you are ready to start helping someone to learn about the "how to" of genealogy.

Of course this means that the original poster has to do some work1 by actually reading what you wrote and following links but it may mean they find additional resources to help them answer even more of questions. It also requires those that may be in the position to answer the question to read your posting. This takes work2 and I've noticed that is often not done.

Additionally, by teaching or showing how you found the record you give back something to the genealogy community. At the same time you get a better understanding of how you do your research.

So, although it may take a few minutes longer to answer the question and you may not be the first one to post, try providing a link to where you found the answer. Maybe even take the time to explain how you found it.

1. Oh no! I'm actually expected to do something?
2. See footnote #1

Monday, May 18, 2015

Searching the Files of Rejected CEF Volunteers

Sometimes, despite everything we do and know, we can have problems when following instructions given to us by another researcher as we try to duplicate a search result. A few weeks ago I helped another researcher in her attempt to search a collection on the Library and Archives Canada web site. She had sent a query to LAC and the instructions sent back looked like they should have worked but she was just not having any luck.

It all started off with receiving instructions on how to search the Files of rejected CEF volunteers. The description of this collection, from the LAC web site, is as follows:
"Sub-series consists of personnel files belonging to CEF volunteers who were not sent beyond Valcartier, generally on medical ground. Shortly after the British declaration of war in August 1914, Canada offered an initial contingent of twenty-five thousand men for service overseas. Volunteers gathered at a hastily-erected camp at Valcartier, Québec, prior to being despatched overseas in October. Most files contain simply an attestation paper. Completed at the time of enlistment, it indicated the recruit's name and address, next-of-kin, date and place of birth, occupation and previous military service, and distinguishing physical characteristics. In the case of those rejected on medical grounds, the reason is recorded on the attestation paper."
As you can see, this collection can be quite useful in finding out more about those that volunteered yet were not fit to serve overseas.

The instructions to search this collection is to go to the Advanced Search page, enter in the MIKAN number of 136933 and also the last name. Should be simple, right?

Regrettably it wasn't. Below is my search using the MIKAN number and the last name. The initial query was to look for records concerning George John Seale in this collection. Instead of using his full last name I used '*' as a wildcard just in case there was a spelling issue. The result was not what was expected:

"Library and Archives Canada Archives Search - Advanced using MIKAN number." Library and Archives Canada.

"Library and Archives Canada Archives Search - Advanced using MIKAN number search results." Library and Archives Canada.

So where do you go from here?

I decided to just search on the MIKAN number and it brought me to the description page for that collection and I then clicked on the "3280 lower level description(s)" link to see what was going to be shown.

"Library and Archives Canada - Description of MIKAN 136933." Library and Archives Canada.

"Library and Archives Canada - MIKAN 136933 Lower Level results." Library and Archives Canada.
Now I wasn't about to go through all the 3,280 possible lower level records to look for the person that may or may not be there but what I was looking for was something that may be common to all of them. Notice that "RG9-II-B-13, R180" appears in all the search result entries. Let's give that a try for the search instead of the MIKAN number.

"Library and Archives Canada Archives Search - using RG9-II-B-13, R180." Library and Archives Canada.
"Library and Archives Canada Archives Search - using RG9-II-B-13, R180 search results." Library and Archives Canada.
That worked much better! There isn't a George Seale in the list but there is a George Searle. Since this isn't a digitized collection, without ordering the record, we don't know if this is a transcription issue or it is a different person. However, a check of the Soldiers of the First World War: 1914-1918 database would seem to indicate that there were also several George Searles that enlisted in the CEF. Unfortunately the resulting page in the "Files of rejected CEF volunteers" collection for George Searle doesn't provide a regimental number or any other descriptive details and without seeing the records we just don't know if this is the right person.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Five Ws (and an H) and Genealogy

When it comes to any sort of research, whether it be journalism or criminal investigation, there are  five or six very basic questions that have to be answered. The same goes for genealogy research. These questions are: who, what, when, where, why, and sometimes how.

Let's see how these questions can be applied to your genealogy research.

Who are you looking for? Since genealogy and family history research is tied to the people in the family this is one of those obvious questions. Are you looking for a spouse? Maybe a sibling?

What are you looking for concerning the person from the Who question? Are you looking for a name or a date? Are searching for a specific document such as a birth, marriage, or death registration? Possibly the What you are looking for is more specific such as "What did the Who die from?"

When might the person have lived? Figuring out the time period can help you determine what sorts of documents exist in order to answer the What. Did the Who live in the years prior to civil registration? If so, then looking for a birth registration document (a What) might be a futile exercise since now you may have to look for a family bible or baptism document as the What. You might just have to refine the What question.

Where did the person live? Knowing Where the Who lived can often help you answer the What question since the documents are often created where someone lived. The Where can be the name of the country, province or state, county, township, or town. Yet here we can run in to a little problem. Borders are man-made and due to war or other disputes the borders can move. Even names of places can change. If you are looking for someone that lived in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s then you might be out of luck if you only look for them in "Kitchener" since before 1916 that place was called "Berlin". The When can help you determine the borders and names of the places for the time in question. Then you will know where to search.

Why did something happen? Once the first four questions are dealt with often most people stop and move on to the next Who. Yet the Why can often lead you learn more about the history of an area or the driving forces in your ancestor's life. "Why did the Who die of the What in Where in the When year?" can lead to finding out more about the 1918 flu pandemic and the effects it had on the soldiers and civilian populations. Maybe you are tracing a relative that in one census they are living in Scotland and the next census they are found in New Jersey, USA. Your question could be "Why did they leave their family and go across the ocean?" Answering that can help bring your family to life.

How did it happen? I'm not talking about the birds and the bees here. Instead this question often is important when trying to figure out the Why. If your ancestor travelled from one coast to another look at how they made the journey. Was it by ship or by rail? Depending on the time and mode of travel that could indicate a certain amount of wealth or social standing. If they were well off at a particular time in their life yet when they died they were a pauper then looking at the social and economic history of the time may shed some light into their life.

Answer these questions for each person in your family tree and you will find that their lives will start coming to life for you.

[Corrected the new name for Berlin, Ontario thanks to some observant readers.]

Monday, May 4, 2015

Genealogy and Continual Learning

The more we learn about our family roots the more we realize that what was taught in our high-school history class just scratched the surface. Events like how a nation was formed or the major events in our ancestors lives were often distilled down to a few key dates and a page or two in the history text book. So where can we go to learn more about historical events, those apparently tiny (yet important) changes in borders, or the changes to village and town names?

We are fortunate that there is a wealth of information and videos being made available to us. Here are just some of the sites I go to when I'm seeking help or just wanting to learn about genealogy research tips.

Wikipedia: This is a community built encyclopedia where anyone can create and edit articles. I often go here to quickly check the history of places and dates of events. Of course, with anyone being able to edit the articles, you need to verify the sources used to make sure you aren't being led astray.

FamilySearch Family History Wiki: This is another site that has community build content much like Wikipedia. Here though you will find articles of a more genealogical focus. A big plus with this site is that in addition to a bit of history the articles will also point you to where you can find those documents you need to prove you are descended from a Loyalist. You will also find articles on how to do genealogy research. Perhaps you are looking for ideas on how to look for information from American places where the records have been destroyed due to fire. The article "Burned Counties Research" might just hold the clues you need to go around that stubborn obstacle in your research. Maybe you are just starting your family history research and you are using Ancestry for the first time. Then drop by the Learning Centre for tips on the collections and how to use the search features.

Ancestry Wiki: For some unknown reason the Ancestry Wiki doesn't appear on the Learning Centre page for the Canadian version of Ancestry. But don't worry since you can access it by going to Like Wikipedia and the FamilySearch Family History Wiki content can be created and edited by just about anyone. However, there are two key books that have been added that are invaluable when doing research on our ancestors that lived in the United States: The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy and Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. What is really great about the Ancestry Wiki is that you don't even need to be an Ancestry member to access it.

GENUKI: For those doing research on their ancestors in the United Kingdom and Ireland then GENUKI is the place to check out. There you will learn a bit about the history of that tiny village that almost no one has heard about plus a synopsis of what records may be available and where the records are kept.

Ancestry Webinars: This is an archived collection of various Ancestry videos with subjects like "Common Surnames: Finding Your Smiths" to "Finding Collections with State Pages".

Ancestry Academy: Here you will find both free or member only tutorials on a wide range of genealogy subjects. If you already have an Ancestry account (not necessarily a subscription) you may already have access to the free tutorials. For the non-free courses you can subscribe to the Academy for $11.99 per month or $99.99 per year. The Academy subscriptions include unlimited access to all of the courses.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars: In addition to creating the Legacy Family Tree software Millennia also has the Legacy Family Tree Webinars hosted by Geoff Rasmussen. The webinars are usually held on Wednesdays and Fridays and are available for free for 7 days after they are held. A monthly membership to view all the webinars is normally $12.95 with an annual membership of $79.95 (but they sometimes hold sales).

YouTube: For videos YouTube has become one of those go to places on the Internet. Search for subjects like "Genealogy OGS" to find videos of the various Ontario Genealogical Society meetings or "genealogy webinars" to find Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems or DearMyrtle as a few examples.

Of course, don't forget about visiting or contacting the local library, archives, historical association, or museum. There you will find people knowledgeable in the local and often unwritten history of the place. They may be able to point you to books on the subjects you are interested in or introduce you to the local people that are the subject matter experts.

Finally, attend genealogy and historical society meetings and conferences. There you will have the opportunity to directly interact with the speakers and experts that are interested in the same genealogy subjects that fascinate you.

No matter what you do just keep in mind one thing:

Keep Learning!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Am I Descended From a Loyalist?

One question that is periodically brought in the various Canadian related genealogy Facebook groups is "How do I know if I'm a related to a Loyalist?". Often that question surfaces due to a family tale being passed down through the generations. Unfortunately, like many genealogy related questions, there is no easy answer to that question. Instead we need to rely on our research skills and methodologies to work through the problem.

First we need to agree upon a definition of a Loyalist. In this case I refer you to the general guidelines published on the web site of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada for their definition:
  • Either male or female, as of 19 April 1775, a resident of the American colonies, and joined the Royal Standard prior to the Treaty of Separation of 1783, or otherwise demonstrated loyalty to the Crown, and settled in territory remaining under the rule of the Crown; or
  • a soldier who served in an American Loyalist Regiment and was disbanded in Canada; or
  • a member of the Six Nations of either the Grand River or the Bay of Quinte Reserve who is descended from one whose migration was similar to that of other Loyalists.

This typically means that a soldier that was born in the United Kingdom and joined the military in the UK and then fought in the Revolutionary War in British North America is not considered a Loyalist.

The starting place is to work back in the family tree until we get to someone born in the late 1700s or early 1800s. That person may be a son or daughter of a Loyalist. Yet we still have one more generation to get back to ... their parents. If we can get back that far then the next challenge appears: proving that they are Loyalists. So what resources can you use to help you out?

  • Census Records (may state "Loyalist")
  • Land Records such as petitions and deed may state UEL1, SOL2, DOL3
  • Military records such as nominal rolls, pension records and applications
  • Government publications especially those lists compiled from lists from the above sources
  • Books on the history of military regiments and Loyalists
Don't forget about the Loyalist Directory found on the UELAC web site. There you may find a listing of known Loyalists and possibly even the completed certificate application to be recognized by UELAC as a descendant of a Loyalist.

Many of those resources above may not be online so a visit to your local archive or library may be in order. If an Interlibrary Loan isn't possible then you may even need to plan a genealogy vacation to visit a national or provincial archive in order to review the documents. However, there are many online resources to be found. For a list of those sites and collections that I commonly use in my own research see my post from December 2014 titled "Online Resources for Your Loyalist Research Project".

1. UEL: United Empire Loyalist
2. SOL: Son of a Loyalist
3. DOL: Daughter of a Loyalist

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In Honour of Samuel McKinlay

A hundred years ago today or tomorrow, the date is a little uncertain, my grand-uncle Samuel McKinlay, like many others during the First World War, gave his life in the service of his country. The only picture I have of Samuel McKinlay, Jr. as an adult is that of the eldest sons found in the "The McKinlay Family" article by Bill McKinlay in A History of North Monaghan Township, 1817-1989 (Samuel Jr. is circled in red).

McKinlay, Bill. "The McKinlay Family." The North Monaghan Historical Research Committee, editor, A History of North Monaghan Township, 1817-1989. Canada: The North Monaghan Historical Research Committee, 1990. p. 99.
McKinlay, Bill. "The McKinlay Family." The North Monaghan Historical Research Committee, editor, A History of North Monaghan Township, 1817-1989. Canada: The North Monaghan Historical Research Committee, 1990. p. 99.
In a situation seen across Canada several of the McKinlay sons enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Unfortunately for Samuel he was the only one that didn't make it back home.

Sometime between April 22nd and 23rd, 1915 he was killed when the Canadians were brought up to fill the gap due to the lines collapsing during the Ypres Gas Attack.

So for all those that went off to fight for their country, regardless of the nation they were fighting for, yet never came home thank you for your sacrifice. For all those that have served or are still serving their country, thank you for your service.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
- John McCrae1

1. John McCrae, In Flanders Fields and Other Poems. Edited by Sir Andrew Macphail, Toronto, Briggs, 1919.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Some Lessons Learned from WDYTYA

Out of the several current television shows with a primary focus on genealogy1 I find that TLC's Who Do You Thing You Are?2 is the most interesting to me. Much like the Canadian History Channel's earlier Ancestors in the Attic you get to follow the trail of research and learn about some of the resources used. Unlike Ancestors in the Attic where they helped the average person, WDYTYA focuses on a family branch or two of a celebrity. Now the celebrity focus really doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is that they show some of the the leg work and also keep the brick and mortar buildings in the forefront of their research toolkit.

Of course with only an hour of time, including commercials, the other 999+ hours of behind the scenes efforts of the researchers, archivists, and librarians are often glossed over or presented as a fait accompli. Yet we as the family historians often do the same when we give the 50 page descendants report to a family member. They don't realize the time and effort taken to find, analyze, and compile the information into something that is readable.

Another thing I enjoy about WDYTYA is reading the tweets of many of my fellow genealogists while the show is taking place. Even without a Twitter account you can follow the #WDYTYA hashtag in real time while the show is on or even go back and look at older posts.

So here are just some of my thoughts and lessons learn over the past several years of watching Who Do You Think You Are? I find myself repeating many of them when I live tweet during the East Coast broadcast.

It comes down to perspective. A person's motives are always complex. It is rare you find a truly good or evil person. What a person does in the past needs to be judged based on that time and not through your own personal bias.

Since our ancestors were either willing or unwilling participants in events you need to learn about the times they lived in. Why would a 15 year old become an indentured servant? Could it be that that was the price to pay for their passage to get away from a land struck with famine and poverty?

Something to keep in mind when researching: most documents aren't online, indexed, or digitized. WDYTYA does a great job in keeping idea this in the forefront. They may start with visiting but more often than not the celebrity ends up at a library or archive to find the actual document that connects them to the ancestor.

Before it is too late ask your living relatives about their life, their experiences, and what they remember about their ancestors. Often the starting place for the show is a visit to a relative to learn what they know or have in their possession. Sometimes the celebrity will express remorse that they didn't ask their parents or grandparents those all so important family history questions.

Many of the newspapers of the past had a very visible political bent. Keep that perspective in mind when reading those papers. Much like the political bent of some of the news broadcasts on television today the newspapers of the past were often also platforms for the political views of the owners and editors. If an article is talking about your ancestor in a glowing positive way or vilifying them check to see what the viewpoint is of the editor. If your ancestor was a Whig and the newspaper was owned by a Tory then their might be some bias in the words used to describe your ancestor.

Before visiting an archive you may want to contact them 1st to order the files. It may take a day or so to get them from the vaults. This is a very important detail to remember. When I visit Library and Archives Canada I see this often. Many times it is a visitor from out of town that comes by with only a day available to do research. However, because they didn't pre-order the material that is held in the vaults at the Preservation Centre in Gatineau they go away disappointed that they couldn't see the document immediately.

When doing US genealogy research make sure you know when the states formed & when the various borders changed (state/county). This not only applies to the United States of America but to any country. Why is this important? When borders change the documents stored in court houses and archives aren't picked up lock, stock, and barrel and shipped to the jurisdiction of the county, state, or country where the place now falls under. The files just stay where they are. So you need to learn about the border changes so you know where to look for that key document.

Remember to record the various spelling of the names of your ancestors. When searching records use those spellings in your searches. How we spell our surname right now isn't necessarily how it was spelled in the past (or even by future generations). Depending on who was recording the information it might not even be your ancestor that was doing the spelling. It could have been a town clerk or clergy member and they spelled the name as they heard it. Is the name spelled Houghten, Haughten, or Hutten?3

Always read the source details when looking at those index records. What is extracted is often only a portion of the full document! An index just provides enough information to allow you to find a person in the collection. What is often missing from the index are the details to confirm that the record really does apply to your ancestor. Always go to the document in question to read and analyze the contents before jumping to any conclusion.

Often the stops along the journey into your ancestors' past brings more joy than finally reaching your genealogy research goal. To aid in our research we should always set a goal. It helps us keep focused and keeps us from being distracted by the BSOs4 we come across. However, during this journey we should also stop and reflect on what we have discovered.

When doing your genealogy research you need to leave present day ethics aside & consider the events in the times they occurred. If you have a well off ancestor that lived in the southern United States in the early 1800s then expect to find that they may have owned slaves. It was just a normal part of their existence. Maybe you have an ancestor that fought in World War II for the Germans. That doesn't mean he was a Nazi but it could just be that he was fighting for his fatherland. Look at the situation through the eyes of those living at that time and don't be so quick to judge their actions.

So set aside some time on Sunday night at 10 pm to watch Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC and follow the live tweets (#WDYTYA) or catch up on the various US, UK, and Australian episodes on YouTube. You might just learn about some unknown resource or some interesting history.

1. PBS's The Genealogy Road Show, PBS's Finding Your Roots, and TLC's Who Do You Think You Are?
2. Often abbreviated as WDYTYA.
3. This was a real life challenge for me. The last various was a phonetic spelling found in the census.
4. BSO - Bright Shiny Object. Those records we stumble upon that drag us away from our current research goal.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

One of the Least Used Genealogy Resources

As more people come to the party known as family history and genealogy research the majority start their hobby with on-line resources. There are many sites on the Internet that help facilitate that research by permitting people to quickly find records such as:
  • census enumerations
  • civil birth, marriage, and death registrations
  • parish baptism, marriage, and funeral records
  • passenger lists
  • border crossing forms
  • military records
  • city directories
  • electoral rolls

Yet that only scratches the surface of what is available. The various archives, libraries, and museums are a treasure trove of those hidden gems that often contain the answers to our brick walls. I've mentioned in past posts the need to Check the Local Library and have often mentioned the collections at Library and Archives Canada.

However there is one resource that is often not used. This resource is not a document or microfilm. It isn't composed of paper, plastic, or celluloid. Rather this resource consists of the amazing Librarians and Archivists in those brick and mortar, glass and steel, and concrete buildings that I keep encouraging you to visit.

Maybe you are visiting a library in a town where your ancestors settled. You think you know the exact book you want to consult since your found that book in one of the online catalogues such as WorldCat or on the library's own web site. So you head over to the genealogy section, read the applicable pages in the book and then you are done right?

Not even close!

Before going to that book you should have dropped by the reference desk and said hello to the Librarian. Then you should have let them know what you are researching and if they might be able to point you to what they have in their collection that can help you in your quest.

That is how I met up with another researcher who just happened to be researching the same family line I was interested in. The Librarian brought me over to the genealogy section and made the introductions. We were then able to compare notes, help each other out, and save time by not duplicating our research efforts.

Maybe you have a brick wall and you have looked everywhere in the library or archive. Actually that should be you think you have looked everywhere. Walk over to the reference desk and ask if they have a moment to help you out. Explain your problem and where you have looked. You may just be amazed to find out you really haven't looked everywhere. You see the Librarians and Archivists know their collections. They will ask some probing questions, maybe even check their computer or card catalogue (yes, these still exist), and then take you to the document or book that you didn't even know existed.

So make use of that wonderful resource known as the Librarian or Archivist!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Working Backwards to Move Forward

Much like many of you I too have a family tree hosted on Ancestry. I use that tree for cousin bait and also to let the computers at Ancestry do some of the easy research for me while I sleep. Many of those hints are for census records and after reviewing the documents I make an informed decision as to whether the person on the census page really does match who I am presently working on. With my world subscription (vital for my Canadian, USA, UK, Australian, and even some Irish research) I sometimes get some very strange possible matches to people in my tree. This is one of those cases.

In my tree I have a John McKinlay (my 1st cousin twice removed) born 4 Jul 1891 at 33 Maxwell Street in Pollokshaw, Scotland1. He is the son of James McKinlay, a cloth bleacher foreman, and Mary Baird. I had found him in the 1901 census of Scotland living with his parents and siblings. The last record of him I could find was as the informant of his father's death in 1916. At that time John was residing at 6 College Street, Glasgow (same place his father's home). After that John disappeared.

In the waning days of 2014 a little hint appeared on John's page. This hint was for a record in the "World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942" collection., "U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," database on-line, ( : accessed 9 Mar 2015), entry for John Baird McKinlay, serial number U601, Draft Board 8, Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey; citing Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147, National Archives and Records Administration., "U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," database on-line, ( : accessed 9 Mar 2015), entry for John Baird McKinlay, serial number U601, Draft Board 8, Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey; citing Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147, National Archives and Records Administration.

The birth date was right and that document recorded that he was born in Glasgow, Scotland. Also knowing that a mother's maiden surname may be used for a middle name I was tempted to added that record. Yet a name and a matching birth date didn't necessarily mean it was the same person. It did mention that a Mrs. Lily McKinlay living at the same address was a "person who will always know your address". Could she be his wife? However, I had to put those questions to the side and deal with other branches of my tree first. Instead of getting distracted by this BSO2 I created a To Do item and carried on with my research task I had initially started working on.

Today, while avoiding other activities, I decided to look into this To Do item3.

Instead of linking that record to my existing John McKinlay I created a new person John Baird McKinlay and connected that record to him. I also added a spouse with the first name of Lily. It was a guess that she was his wife but I needed to start somewhere4.

Next I looked for John and Lily in the 1940 US Federal Census. From the registration card I knew that John and Lily lived at 867 Sheridan Avenue, Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey, USA and there I found them. But I still don't really have any additional details on John. I do now know that Lily is his wife and she was born about 1892 in England.

1940 U.S. census, Union County, New Jersey, population schedule, Elizabeth, enumeration district (ED) 23-90, sheet 4B, household 120, John McKinlay household; digital images, ( : accessed 9 Mar 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T627, roll 2400.
1940 U.S. census, Union County, New Jersey, population schedule, Elizabeth, enumeration district (ED) 23-90, sheet 4B, household 120, John McKinlay household; digital images, ( : accessed 9 Mar 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T627, roll 2400.

Can I find them in the 1930 Federal Census of the USA? I didn't really even need to search since an Ancestry hint popped up for that census. But I still needed to read and analyze to make sure it was the correct census for John and Lily ... and it seemed to be the right entry.

1930 U.S. census, Union County, New Jersey, population schedule, Elizabeh, enumeration district (ED) 66, sheet 23A, p. 35 [stamped], dwelling 387, family 574, John McKinlay household; digital images, ( : accessed 9 Mar 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1387; Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.
1930 U.S. census, Union County, New Jersey, population schedule, Elizabeh, enumeration district (ED) 66, sheet 23A, p. 35 [stamped], dwelling 387, family 574, John McKinlay household; digital images, ( : accessed 9 Mar 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1387; Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

A few more facts appeared. The first is that they were both first married at the age of 27 years. This puts their marriage happening around 1919. As a starting point I'm assuming they were married to each other at that time and this is not a second marriage for both of them. The second is that they immigrated to the United States in 1920. So the odds are that they were married before they came to the USA.

With any luck they married in England (Lily's birth country) or Scotland (last place I found John). If England then I will need to order from the General Register Office for England and Wales for £9.25 and wait a few weeks to get a document. So off to FreeBMD to search for a John McKinlay marrying a Lily. search for marriages for John McKinlay between 1st quarter 1917 and 4th quarter 1920 search for marriages for John McKinlay between 1st quarter 1917 and 4th quarter 1920

Only three matches and when I looked at each one none had a Lily or anything close as a possible spouse. So it was off to ScotlandsPeople to see if there was a marriage there for John McKinlay. search for statutory marriages for John McKinlay, wife's forename starting with "Li", with a year range between 1917 and 1920. search for statutory marriages for John McKinlay, wife's forename starting with "Li", with a year range between 1917 and 1920.

Since it only found two possible matches it was definitely worth spending the 1 credit necessary to see the search results (note that the image above was taken after I viewed the index that is why it is free to view the page). search results for statutory marriages for John McKinlay, wife's forename starting with "Li", with a year range between 1917 and 1920. search results for statutory marriages for John McKinlay, wife's forename starting with "Li", with a year range between 1917 and 1920.
Usually I don't this lucky in my searches but there is John Baird McKinlay marrying a Lila Ada Dunbar in 1918. Since the Scottish statutory marriage registrations normally include the names of the parents of both parties it is definitely worth spending the 5 credits needed to view the marriage registration.

Lanarkshire, Scotland, Statutory Marriages 1855-2009, 1918 Marriages in the District of Garngadhill: 44, John Baird McKinlay-Lily Ada Dunbar, 1918; digital images, General Register Office for Scotland, ScotlandsPeople ( : accessed 9 Mar 2015).
Lanarkshire, Scotland, Statutory Marriages 1855-2009, 1918 Marriages in the District of Garngadhill: 44, John Baird McKinlay-Lily Ada Dunbar, 1918; digital images, General Register Office for Scotland, ScotlandsPeople ( : accessed 9 Mar 2015).
There is the John Baird McKinlay that I was hoping to find. Here he states that he is the son of the late James McKinlay, a bleacher, and the late Mary Baird. I actually have documents for James and Mary showing that they died before 24 Dec 1918 so that helps confirm this statement. Even the address for John matches (spelling to be ignored) the information on his father's death registration and John's last known address. This is a definitely a match to my John McKinlay.

I now even have the full name of Lily ... it is Lily Ada Dunbar, the daughter of Oliver Dunbar and Lily Ada Adkins.

So the James Baird McKinlay initially flagged as a hint in the "World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942" collection is the John McKinlay in my tree. Of course a new To Do item needs to be created: find their arrival in the New World.

Tip: Don't discount those hints that don't seem to fit at first. Form a hypotheses and work through the records. Sometimes you need to work backwards to find the answer.

1. Renfrewshire, Scotland, "Statutory Births 1855-2009," 1891 Births in the Parish of Eastwood, p. 102, John McKinlay; digital image, General Register Office for Scotland, ScotlandsPeople ( 25 Aug 2011).

2. BSO: Bright Shiny Object - the bane of most genealogy researchers since one can easily distract you from what you are presently working on.

3. 530 open items with 239 just for ordering records from the General Register Office of England and Wales. That is over £2200 or about $4200 CDN! Maybe I'll get them when I win the lottery.

4. Always be willing to throw away a theory if it doesn't pan out. However, make sure you record in your Research Log what you found and why it didn't work out.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Searching the Obituary Daily Times

One of those sites that have become invaluable to me for locating fairly recent obituaries is the Obituary Daily Times. If you have a subscription to you can also find the Obituary Daily Times in their collections under "Web: Obituary Daily Times Index, 1995-Current". But the Obituary Daily Times web site is constantly updated so use that whenever possible.

Not all newspapers are indexed by the fabulous contributors. However, the list of publications that are or have been indexed can be found on the Publications page. Just be aware that the Obituary Daily Times DOES NOT have the obituaries. It is just an index to help you find the newspaper that does have the obituary or notice of death.

There are two ways you can use this site for your genealogy research. The first is to subscribe to their daily (or twice daily) e-mail. You do that by sending an e-mail to GEN-OBIT-L-request AT (replace the "AT" with the "@" symbol) and putting "subscribe" in the body of the e-mail. No subject for the e-mail is required. However, since I already get enough e-mails every day I make use of the second option and that is searching their online index.

Searching the Obituary Daily Times database is as simple as going to their search form found at There you can search for anything recorded in the index.

For example, I'm looking for recent obituaries for Jenkins. For the keywords I just type in Jenkins. That returns back almost 18,000 possible matches for people with a surname of Jenkins, maiden surname of Jenkins, previously married surname of Jenkins, people who died in Jenkins township in Pennsylvania. That is just a few too many to review in my lifetime. Yet I can also use more than one keyword in the search. In this case, I am looking for any obituaries in the index for any Jenkins in New Brunswick. For the keywords I just use Jenkins NB. Just by adding "NB" I now only have 60 possible obituaries to look through. Below is a snippet of what was returned:

BEERS, Constance (JENKINS)[KING]; 92; St John NB>Auburndale FL; Tampa Trib; 2007-9-18; evallie
CYR, Margaret Helen (JENKINS); 74; Woostock NB; Telegraph Journal; 2002-11-22; jdlmwc
FIDLER, Maxine J (JENKINS); 78; York NB>Troy MT; Missoulian; 1999-4-16; hharley
HANLEY, Dorothy "Dot" (JENKINS); 88; Saint John NB>Halifax NS; Telegraph Journal (NB); 2005-8-31; jdlmwc
HANLEY, Dorothy Parker (JENKINS); 88; Saint John NB>Halifax NS; Chron-Herald; 2005-8-31; kbutler
HEDBERG, Brenda J (ESTEY)[JENKINS]; ; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2003-3-8; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Betsy Maria (PAGET); 89; Plaster Rock NB; Daily Gleaner; 2007-2-19; rmdi
JENKINS, Betsy Marie (PAGET); 89; Plaster Rock NB; Telegraph Journal; 2007-2-19; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Carl Beecher; 76; Minto NB; Daily Gleaner; 2008-4-28; rmdi
JENKINS, Carmen A (OUELLETTE); ; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2011-12-19; jdlmwc
JENKINS, David G Rev; ; Rothesay NB; Telegraph Journal; 2013-8-14; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Donald M; ; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2008-4-19; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Donald Osbourne; 73; Fredericton NB; Saint John E-T-G; 1990-9-28; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Doris Gertrude (CUMBERLAND); 90; Hampton NB; Telegraph Journal; 2008-11-11; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Dow A "Dowie"; ; Nauwigewauk NB; Telegraph Journal; 2006-10-31; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Edith Gertrude (SMITH); 96; Long Reach NB>Cumberland MD; Cumberland T-N; 2006-3-14; gschubert
JENKINS, Eileen Ruth (TOMPKINS); 61; Waterville NB; Daily Gleaner; 2009-4-21; rmdi
JENKINS, Ellen "Nellie" (STACKHOUSE); 101; Medford ME>Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2007-5-22; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Flora A (McGARITY); 77; Cambridge Narrows NB; Telegraph Journal; 2013-9-17; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Fred W "Roop"; 78; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2009-11-21; jdlmwc

Note how the index is formatted (taken from the Obituary Daily Times Contributors' Handbook):
Surname, Firstname; Age; Place of Birth>Death; Pub Name; Pub Date; Tagname

The surnames are always in upper case and if a maiden surname is provided in the obituary then it is included between "()". If the person was married previously and the previous married surname (or surnames) is in the obituary then that too is included but encased in "[]".

The age, if provided in the obituary, is recorded.

You will see sometimes the place is listed like "Long Reach NB>Cumberland MD". This means that the place of birth is also recorded. In this case the obituary stated that the person was born in Long Reach, New Brunswick and died in Cumberland, Maryland.

The publication name can be a challenge since often the full publication name isn't typed in but instead a short form or abbreviation is used. You can find all the publication name abbreviations on their Publications page. Always double-check the abbreviation to make sure you are looking for the correct newspaper.

The date of publication is in the format of YYYY-M-D. So a publication date of 2003-3-8 converts to March 8th, 2003. Note that there are no leading zeros for the months and days.

Finally the tagname is the code for the contributor's name.

Let's look at the line "JENKINS, Fred W "Roop"; 78; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2009-11-21; jdlmwc". I note that his nickname appears to be "Roop". An unusual nickname but since I've been researching his line for some time now I know that his grandmother's name is Lena Garner Roop. According to this obituary he was 78 years old when he died in Saint John, New Brunswick. I should be able to find his obituary in the November 21st, 2009 edition of the Telegraph-Journal. I can either see if a local library or archive has this edition or I can check online to see if the Telegraph-Journal has an online presence (they do and their recent obituaries can be searched at

I could have searched for Jenkins 2009 or Fred Jenkins and his entry in the index would have popped up. The search keywords can be anything recorded in the index.

Just remember, the Obituary Daily Times is just an index. You still have to locate the newspaper and read the obituary to confirm that it is for the person you are searching for.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Canadian Census Enumerator Instructions

Many times as we do our research into the lives of our ancestors we come across census entries that cause us to scratch our head in bewilderment and confusion. Just why did the enumerator record the religion as "N.C." or the birth place as "U.C."? There must be a rational reason and many times there is. First of all, make sure you visit the Censuses page at Library and Archives Canada and read the various sections, especially the "About" page, for clues concerning abbreviations and when the enumerations took place.

However, the next challenge is to find out what were the instructions given to the enumerators. For those censuses taking place after the 1867 Confederation you can find PDF copies of the proclamations and/or manuals on several web sites such as the Internet Archive, Library and Archives Canada, or even the University of Ottawa.

For those censuses taken before Canadian Confederation it becomes a little more of a challenge. Fortunately the Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), Département de Démographie, Université de Montréal as part of their historical census database construction projects for the Canadian censuses of 1851/52 and 1881 has pulled together some transcriptions to help understand those censuses.

Those excerpts may be found in David P. Gagan's article "Enumerator's Instructions for the Census of Canada 1852 and 1861" in the "Histoire Sociale/Social History", Vol. VII, No. 14 (November 1974). Use WorldCat to see if you can find a copy close to you to peruse.

For those more recent census enumerations of Canada such as those taken in 1926, 1931, 1936, 1941, and 1946 a search of the Internet Archive can locate the enumerator manuals.

Tip: Save those PDF files to your computer just in case they disappear from the various web sites.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Missing Sub-Districts in the Canadian Censuses?

One of the key resources we make use of in order to track our ancestors over the years are the nominal census enumerations. In Canada, for most provinces1, we have records of the decennial nominal census enumerations from 18512 to 19213 available to us. In the Prairie Provinces there are also the 1906 and 1916 censuses available. All except for the 1921 census are available on the Library and Archives Canada web site on their Censuses page. There is even the 1870 census of that brand new province of Manitoba.

Yet have you ever run into the problem where you just can't locate the family in a specific census?

You know the family was in the township and county during the census so why can't you find them using Ancestry or FamilySearch?

Beyond the obvious issues of horrible handwriting making transcriptions difficult or the family being missed by the enumerator (it happens) there is another reason ... the pages may have been lost. This is more common in the enumerations prior to Confederation. A good example is the 1851 census enumeration of Bytown4. If you had ancestors residing in the East and West sub-districts then you are in luck. However, if the family you are interest in was in the Centre sub-district then stop banging your head against the monitor or keyboard trying to find them in the census5. The census records for that sub-district didn't survive.

District: 46 - Bytown (town)

Sub-district NumberSub-district Name
444​Centre (census records have not survived)

Yet how do you know if the pages from the census for a sub-district survived the ravages of time? There we are fortunate that Library and Archives Canada has listed all the numbers and names of the various districts and sub-districts. On each of the About pages for each census there is a link to the "Districts and Sub-districts" for that census. Go to the Districts and Sub-districts, select the province in question and a list of the districts and sub-districts will be display.

While you are on the About page take some time to read what schedules have also survived and have been microfilmed (and later digitized). For example, the 1871 census of Canada has all 9 schedules preserved while for the 1881 census of Canada only "Schedule 1, Nominal return of the living" has been preserved.

Tip: Before you go insane looking for records that may not exist become familiar with what records have survived.

1. Nova Scotia didn't start listing everyone in a household until the the 1871 census.
2. Sometimes also called the 1852 census since they didn't get around to taking the census until 12 Jan 1852.
3. The 1921 census of Canada is available for free on Ancestry to those using an Internet Service Provider in Canada.
4. Now called Ottawa. 
5. Don't give up though. Have you checked the city or county directories for a listing for the head of household?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Extra Children or a Bigger Mystery - Wrap-up

When we last left the tale of Marjorie and Louetta at the end of January (see Extra Children or a Bigger Mystery - Part 4) I had a hypothesis that they were not the children of Margaret McKinnon and Joseph Bailey but actually of John Nelson and a Christina. Yet I needed to confirm this belief and clean up some loose ends by ordering several birth, marriage, and death registrations from Manitoba. It only took a few weeks to have the paper copies mailed to me (and longer for me to get to writing this post).

The first document of interest is the marriage of John Wm Stratford to Christina A. Nelson on 7 Nov 1883 in Winnipeg.

Manitoba Vital Statistics, Marriages, 1883-06-001701, John William Stratford-Christina A Nelson; Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg.
Manitoba Vital Statistics, Marriages, 1883-06-001701, John William Stratford-Christina A Nelson; Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg
Here we see that Christina was born in Ontario, she is a widow, and her parents are Alexander and Anna McKinnon. Could her parents be the Alexander McKinnon and Ann McDonald that we found in part 4 when an Annie McKinnon married John Nelson in 1873? Christina A. Nelson here is listed as a widow so it is a possibility. But we still have the issue of Annie McKinnon vs. Christina A. Nelson (nee McKinnon).

There is the birth of an unnamed female on 11 Oct 1884 that seems to shed some light on her name. In that registration of birth this unnamed female child is the daughter of John Wm. Stratford and Christina Annie McKinnon.

Manitoba Vital Statistics, Birth Registration 1884-06-004388 (1884), Unnamed Stratford (female); Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg.
Manitoba Vital Statistics, Birth Registration 1884-06-004388 (1884), Unnamed Stratford (female); Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg.
There we see that the Christina A. Nelson (nee McKinnon) in the marriage registration is probably Christina Annie McKinnon. But we still have a few loose ends and questions to be answered.

In the 1891 census we had Louetta and Margery Nelson listed as step-daughters of John W. Stratford but the wife of John W. Stratford is Sarah not a Christina or Annie. That is why I ordered the marriage registration for John William Stratford and Sarah Givens. I wanted to confirm that John William Stratford was a widower and find out who he married.

Manitoba Vital Statistics, Marriages, 1891-06-001114, John William Stratford-Sarah Givens; Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg.
Manitoba Vital Statistics, Marriages, 1891-06-001114, John William Stratford-Sarah Givens; Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg.
So yes, John William Stratford was a widower and had remarried prior to when the 1891 census was taken starting in April 1891. Now the 1891 census makes some sense. Christina Annie McKinnon died sometime between the birth of a unnamed daughter on 11 Oct 1884 and John William Stratford's marriage to Sarah Givens on 11 Mar 1891. I have yet to find her death registration or where she was buried though.

What about Marjorie and Louetta is there anything that can connect them to their parents? I didn't find a marriage registration for Louetta but I did order the marriage registration for Marjorie to Herbert Alan Waterhouse (see Extra Children or a Bigger Mystery - Part 3 for that initial possible connection).

Manitoba Vital Statistics, Marriages, 1917-06-046011, Herbert Alan Waterhouse-Marjorie V Nelson; Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg.
Manitoba Vital Statistics, Marriages, 1917-06-046011, Herbert Alan Waterhouse-Marjorie V Nelson; Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg.
Here we get confirmation of what was recorded in "The Carberry Plains: 75 Years of Progress" where Marjorie is mentioned as being a nurse and marrying a Mr. H. A. Waterhouse in 1917. The marriage registration has John Nelson and Annie McKinnon as the parents of Marjorie V. Nelson. Those are the same names as listed in the marriage of John Nelson and Annie McKinnon in 1873. This is a very good thing.

However, there is still one more document that I ordered and that is the death of John Nelson on 22 Mar 1883. The age of John, birth place, occupation, and religion (Bible Christian) all match so it is highly likely this is the right person. He died seven months before the widow Christina A. Nelson married John William Stratford. Everything seems to line up quite nicely.

In that original chart it seems that "Margory" and "Lousia" are actually Marjorie and Louetta. Just how is Marjorie and Louetta connected to the McKinnon tree you ask? (OK, you probably didn't.) Using all of the records together I believe I can state that those two women are still the grandchildren of Alexander McKinnon and Ann McDonald but through their daughter Christina Annie McKinnon's marriage to John Nelson.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Changing Name of Caspard van Den Bergh - Addendum

In my last post "The Changing Name of Caspard van Den Bergh" I had mentioned that "[t]he perfect document would have all his known aliases but I'd be happy just find some document with two of the known names listed for Caspard van Den Bergh." It just so happened that I hadn't looked hard and long enough. As I continued to look for additional documents a lovely green leaf on Ancestry popped up for both Caspard and his son Gary. It was for a New York Passenger List for their arrival in the Port of New York on 21 May 1933 on board the Saturnia., "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," database, ( : accessed 5 Feb 2015), entry for Caspard Van Den Bergh, arriving 21 May 1933., "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," database, ( : accessed 5 Feb 2015), entry for Caspard Van Den Bergh, arriving 21 May 1933.
Note the dark typewritten comment above Caspard's name. There it is written "Proff. Known Wash West  Guy"

Yet one record doesn't necessarily help establish that it is true. So back to Ancestry to search for any additional immigration records. There were several more found but the real winner was the one when on 16 Sep 1934 Capard and his second wife Rosalie arrived in Seattle, Washington, USA from a trip to Japan. The immigration official was kind enough to write above Caspard's entry the following, "Known as Guy West".

"Washington, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1961," database, ( : accessed 5 Feb 2015), entry for Caspard Litrio Van Den Bergh (known as Guy West), arriving 16 Sep 1934.
"Washington, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1961," database, ( : accessed 5 Feb 2015), entry for Caspard Litrio Van Den Bergh (known as Guy West), arriving 16 Sep 1934.

I think these two documents go a long way in establishing that Caspard Van den Bergh and Guy West are the same person. Combine these documents with the census and other records in "The Changing Name of Caspard van Den Bergh" post I think it goes along way in making the connection between Caspard's various names.

Tip: Remember that each record you find can provide a clue or hint to solving that supposed brick wall.