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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Search Alternates to Ships Passenger Lists to Canada Before 1865

Barbara asked the following question about her great-grandmother Elizabeth Hayes, born 1841 in Newcastle, England


My great grandmother emigrated from Staffordshire England between 1851 and 1861. She was found in the 1851 of Staffordshire and I can’t find her in the 1861 of either England or Ontario.  I’ve spent years trying to find records of who she might have come from, the ship, and where she entered Canada.  In 1862 she was in Toronto and married my great grandfather in 1863 in Toronto. She was a witness to her Aunt’s marriage in 1862.
 Barbara - You have a challenge ahead of you. Before 1865 ships passenger list to Canada did not have to be archived. There are some lists but the challenge is finding them as they are few and far between. However there are substitute lists such as Shipping Company Records, Immigration Agent Records, St. Lawrence Steamship Records, etc. 

See Filling in the Gaps at http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/canada/ for links to alternate records for pre 1865 immigration AND for details on any that are available only offline.

You may also wish to purchase the e-book which contains much more information than found in the links provided above

 Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada on Amazon.com also available as Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada  on Amazon.ca

It is also available as
Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada is available in paperback format on CreateSpace

Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada Paperback version on Amazon.com




Thursday, August 20, 2015

Look for Obituaries & Death Records of Everyone in the Family

Diane asked for help with William Henry Leitch


Son of John E Leitch and Sarah Blagborough in Brantford, Ontario.  He is my grandfather.  I found reference to him in the 1924 Brantford City Directory, working as a salesman for Met Life Insurance.  After that……..nothing.  I know he and my G.mother separated shortly after that date……any suggestions on how I might find out what happened to him?  Have not been able to locate him in any local cemetery or find an obit or death record for him.  His sister emigrated to Mass, USA and I found her but he was not with her.
Diane

1953 Voter's List
I did a little digging and found William born ca 1887 and often going by his middle name of Henry in the records. In 1891 he is 4 years old in Brantford with his parents and sister Florence May. In 1901 he is a lodger in Brantford with his wife Nellie. In 1921 he and Nellie and their son Harold are still in Brantford.

In 1953 his wife Nellie is listed as a widow living in Brantford with their son Harold and a Mavis Leitch who I suspect is a daughter.

Nellie may have lied about her matrimonial status but it is also possible she was telling the truth. I would look for cemetery records in and around Brantford between 1924 and 1953. Also you might check newspapers for an obituary of either his sister in Massachusetts or William Henry himself. Try death records and obituaries of his children as well.

Could this be your Nellie Leitch celebrating her 90th birthday? Brantford Expositor Index:
Leitch Mrs Nellie 90th
Birthday
Jul 16, 1980
P20

Leitch Nellie 90th
Birthday
Jul 26, 1980
P19




Perhaps this is her death?

LEITCH, NELLIE ADA
Death
Jan 25, 1992

You can search for yourself at http://brantford.library.on.ca/localhistory/bmd/search-the-bmd/ 

Obituaries and death records of all family members may prove to be very helpful

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Methodical Searching Pays Off!

Shannah wrote to ask Olive Tree Genealogy about her Great grandfather William James Twiss
I have been trying to find out where my Grfa., TWISS, William James, had "landed" for over ten years, to no avail, from Cty. Cork, Ireland to New York, USA..  He was a mere 17 year old, at the time.  


The story I was told was that it was my Grfa. who had left Cork, Ireland, from Sept. to December of 1887 (I believe these are the months) on the Barque Julia, from Edinburough to Cork and to New York.  This particular Barque was a ship of supplies and the Captain was a friend of my Gr-Grpars., TWISS, Francis Edward Day, Sr..  It was my Grfa. who had suggested that he, himself, come out to Canada, first and they allowed it but he must go with someone they knew.  It was only a few days' trip and have researched into several ports along the eastern coast to no avail.  When he had landed, he had stayed with friends of his pars., (never knew who they were) Francis Edward Day and Ellen THOMPSON, in New York for a while then travelled up into BINBROOK, Wentworth Cty., Ontario, Canada to stay with our cousins/family there while his own pars. arrived through Montreal, Quebec, Canada in the following springtime.
 Shannah - 

Here is what I found which does not seem to agree with your family lore. That is not unusual as family lore can be family myth and is often incorrect or confused.

Source: Ancestry.com
Ed Twiss, age 40, farmer, his wife Ellen age 40 and three daughters Sarah
(20) Mildred (17) and Marcella (17) arrived 4 September 1888 at Halifax  on
board the steamer Peruvian. Their destination was noted as "Victoria BC"

Your ancestor is not with them on this journey.

The 1901 Census for British Columbia shows the family as Edward D. Twiss born 1839 Ontario, his wife Ellen born 1842 Ireland and two children - your ancestor William born 1872 Ireland and his sister Marcia born 1877 Ireland. Their year of immigration of Ellen and her children is given as 1889. 

We find Edward Day Twiss dying in July 1925 in British Columbia and his son William James dying in February 1953 in Vancouver British Columbia. His death registration found on FamilySearch indicates his date of birth as 11 November 1869, his father as Edward Day Twiss, his mother as Ellen Thomson and his wife as Sadie Jewell Brenton.

There are several death records on FamilySearch for your siblings of your William James Twiss: Mildred Jemima Twiss born 22 Sep 1868; Sarah Helena Nash Keen born 1866 in Kerry Ireland; Marcella Ellen Moodie born 22 Mar 1875 in Co. Kerry. Also William James Twiss marriage record 05 Jul 1906 shows he was born in Kerry, Ireland too. All these records come with images - how lucky is that!

I did find a few other items that might interest you - namely the marriage of William's father Edward to Ellen Thompson in Killarney Ireland. Her father is recorded as James Thompson. This might give you clues for more research in Killarney for the family.

 I found the birth of another son named Edward born 05 Sept 1872 in Ireland to Edward D. Twiss and his wife Ellen Thompson. Sarah Helena Twiss' birth was also found in the Irish birth records and her place of birth is recorded as Castle Island, Kerry Ireland. 

I am beginning to envy you all the records for your ancestors! And best of all here is your ancestor William James Twiss. A second birth record for William shows his place of birth as Annascall, Kerry Ireland. Now you have an exact date of birth and a location. Armed with this new information you have a lot of clues to help you in your search.


Summary of my findings:
Edward Day Twiss married Ellen Thomson/Thompson daughter of James in 1865 in Killarney, Kerry Ireland.  They immigrated to Canada 1888

Children:
* Sarah Helena Twiss  born 1866 in Castle Island, Kerry Ireland md 1 Nash m2 1893 B.C. John Keen, immigrated to Canada 1888
* Mildred Jemima Twiss born 1868 Castle Island, Kerry Ireland immigrated to Canada 1888
* William James Twiss born 1869 Annascall, Kerry Ireland md. 1906 B.C. Sadie Bointon
* Edward Twiss born 1872 Ireland
* Marcella Ellen Twiss  born 22 Mar 1875 in Kerry Ireland md. Walter Moodie
immigrated to Canada 1888

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Extend Your Search When You Find Discrepancies in Ancestor Records

Linda M. asked in an email titled "Naturilisation [sic] records for Canada for Leo Mason"

My siblings and I have been trying for years to research our paternal grandfathers birthplace. He was supposed to have been born in Germany but became a Canadian citizen and fought in the First World War with the CEF. We have applied to the Canadian government but because we do not live in Canada and my surname is not the same I have been unsuccessful. I would be grateful if you could advise me as to my options. I have been on their website but the database does not open.
Olive Tree Genealogy responds: Linda, I'm sure it was just a typo but the word should be "naturalization". The first thing you should do is check the online CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) database for World War 1 Soldiers.  Library and Archives Canada is busy digitizing all the personnel records but even if Leo's has not been completed you will still be able to view his Attestation form.

Because there were several Leo Mason names (and variants) on the CEF database I asked Linda for more details. She replied
His name was Leo William Mason birthday 5/8/1880. He married our grandmother Elizabeth Marion Newington on 4/4/1911 in Stonewall. He died in Vancouver on 26/5/1955. He remarried in 1932 without divorcing our grandmother who had returned to England with our father in 1922.
Linda added that she thought he put Ohio on his Attestation papers because he was afraid to put Germany. I am not sure I believe that but she needs to find other records for Leo (census, vital registrations, etc) to verify his country of birth.

Also an index to Naturalization Records from 1915 to 1951 are online and the full record (if a name is found in the index that is of interest) can be ordered. These records can be searched by name up to 1939.  See http://www.naturalizationrecords.com/canada/ for the link

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Read Documents Carefully to be Sure You Understand What is Being Asked

Brenda recently wrote to AskOliveTree with this question:
My grandmother [Daisy McKean] was born in  Preston, Ontario [in 1912].  Her Ontario birth place is listed at a Hospital on Jacob Street.  Would you know the name of that hospital so I can update my records
This is a very good example of a slight misinterpretation of a document. I checked  Ancestry.com for Daisy's birth registration so that I could verify Brenda's statement "her birth place is listed AT A HOSPITAL ON JACOB STREET" (upper case mine for emphasis)

See if you can spot Brenda's misinterpretation of little Daisy's birth record below. It was an easy mistake to make.  It's  to read documents carefully. Read the instructions to the clerk/minister/whoever filling out the document. Read the small print on the document.

Daisy's birth registration shows the instructions to the left of the field where "Jacob Street" is written in.

In the spot where the place of the child's birth is to be recorded, we see "If in a hospital give its name" The clerk has entered "Jacob St." which would almost certainly indicate that Daisy's birth was not in a hospital but was instead a home birth.

It was most likely her parents' home on Jacob St. but we do not know that with certainty. Her grandmother was the informant and  genealogists must keep an open mind as to whose house the child was born in. Perhaps Grandma lived on Jacob St. and Daisy's mother went there to have her child.

I suggest looking at 1911 census and 1921 to see if the family was living on Jacob St. I would also check Voter's lists to see if the parents can be found there.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Finding an Ancestor in WW1 RAF Service Records Online

Finding an Ancestor in WW1 RAF Service Records Online
The Royal Air Force (RAF) was the world's first independent military air arm and by the end of the First World War it had become the largest.

Now you can search and download First World War service records of RAF officers. This database is of interest to Canadians whose ancestor may have enlisted in WW1 as a pilot. Canada did not have its own Air Force and any individual wishing to join the Air Force had to join the RAF. 


Approximately one-quarter of the aircrew in British Royal Air Force (RAF) squadrons were Canadian. A large RAF training establishment operated in Canada to produce new aircrew.

The collection contains records for over 99,000 individuals and is searchable by first name, last name and date of birth.


Searching the indexes is free but to obtain full details a small fee is charged by the National Archives UK. I tried this database with a generic search for my PEER ancestors. Because I search for all PEER individuals in North America, it's always of interest to me to see if one of them can be found in any new database online.


My search gave me two results for PEER. In order to view the scans of their service records I saw that it would cost me 3.50L for each man (that converts to $11.00 Canadian) The website stated each man's records consisted of 3 pages. I added both to my Shopping Cart and then made the purchase. This is what I love about ordering from the National Archives UK website - after entering my Credit Card details, I was given an immediate link to download the service records. The link is good for 28 days.


As is common with Military Service Records you never know what you're going to get. Some are full of information, others are not.



The Service Record I downloaded for Walter James Peer gave his name, date of birth, next-of-kin in Canada, address in Canada and place of employment. There wasn't much recorded in the section for his whereabouts throughout the War.


The second record for Harold Emerson Peer had a full page of entries for his movements throughout his time in the RAF but no date of birth, no next of kin and no location in Canada. For me that $11.00 was well worth it as I pursue my genealogy with the goal of obtaining as much detail as possible about every individual in my database.

One caveat - when the National Archives UK website states there are x number of pages in a set of records, be aware that the first page is a Title Page with no information on the person involved.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Deciphering Challenging Handwriting in Genealogy Records

This question came from Allison


Are you able to decipher this Place of Residence from an Army Record?

 Olive Tree Genealogy response: Without seeing the entire page or pages to compare letter formations and without knowing the country of origin of the original record, I can only give my best "guess". I believe the entry might be "Chelsea and Essex" 

This is a good time and place to explain that when you are trying to decipher challenging handwriting there are a few simple methods you should use.

1. Compare other words and letters in the record. For example in this case, how does the scribe make an upper case "C" - is it the same as the word I believe is Chelsea? What about upper case "E"? How does he write a double "s" (ss) Does it look like the word I think is Essex? You may have to look a few pages ahead or before to get a good overall comparison of letter formations used.

Read the rest of my tips and tricks at http://olivetreegenealogy.blogspot.ca/2014/10/tricks-to-deciphering-old-handwriting.html