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March 2, 2012

Wildcards are Your Friend! A Canadian Case Study Part 2

Continued from Part 1 of A Canadian Case Study

Elmira's Death

Using I searched first for Elmira's death. Using wildcards for both first and last name, I typed *lmira Ste*en* into the search engine, with keyword "Essex" and date of death 1873 +/-2

*lm*ra allows for variant spellings of Almira, Almyra and Elmira, Elmyra
Ste*en* allows for variations in the surname such as Stephens, Stephen, Stevens and Steven

And there she was. Almira died 12 Mar 1872 of consumption which she had for 9 months. The informant was William Stephens of Anderdon, so we know it is the right person. I'm already suspecting that little Annie may also have died of the same disease as it was very contagious. But back to Almira. She is listed as having died at age 23 years and 7 months and was born in Malden Township Essex.

Clues: We can look for Almira in the 1861 and 1851 census for Malden Township. But I want to hunt for Elmira's marriage to William first.

Elmira's Marriage to William James Stephens

 When I found Elmira's death record, very nicely gave me some "Suggested Records" for individuals they believed might be Elmira. I've learned not to ignore these but to check them out. The first thing I noticed was that there was an Almira Lane listed in 1851, 1861 census and the Ontario Marriage Records. I've shown you this in the image below.
Suggested Records for Almira
And bingo, what appears to be her marriage to William. He's been transcribed incorrectly as Shephard instead of Stephens but we can be 99.9% certain it is him. There's no image attached so if I were you I would get the original image from the Archives of Ontario or a local FamilySearch centre to verify.

But here is what the transcription showed: William James Shepherd [sic] age 25 born England s/o John and Bridget, Willliam living Anderdon married Almira Lane, age 23 d/o Levi and Patience, living Colchester. They married 10 Nov. 1868 in Amherstburg Township in Essex

To learn more about Elmira you can look at the 1851 and 1861 census for Almira Lane in Malden Township. 

Little Annie's Death?

I may have found little Annie's death. She is recorded in Ontario Death records as Sarah Almeda Stephens but after her first name Sarah, it appears the name Ann has been written and then crossed out with one line. The reason I believe this may be little Annie is because she died of consumption at age 3 years, 6 months in October 1873,  she was born in Anderdon and the informant was William Stephens, farmer

To be absolutely sure this is the correct individual we could hunt for her birth registration under Ann or Sarah or even Almeda. You do need to verify that this is not a different child and a diffferent William Stephens


So what have we learned from these records?

William was in Ontario at least by November 1868 when he married Elmira/Almyra Lane in Essex County.

Elmira died in March 1872.

William & Elmira had one daughter known who was born in 1870 probably in April and who died in October 1873.

William remarried in 1875. At both of his marriages he gave his parents' names as John and Bridget.

William was a farmer and thus a search of land records is warranted. Finding out when/if he purchased land in Essex Co. will provide a better timeline for immigration

Further Research Avenues

William should be found in 1861 Ontario census or in 1861 England. Many of the 1861 census returns for Ontario are missing so we can't conclusively say he was not in Ontario that year. A search of English records for 1841 and 1851 may find him with his parents. I would search under his parents' names, but realize that Delia can be a nickname for Bridget and that Bridget may be an Irish name.

Of course there's always the chance that William's parents also came to Ontario. If so, they might be found in the online records.

I'll continue sharing my research into William pre 1868, and William's parents, John and Bridget Stephens,  in Part 3


The Grandmother Here said...

I really enjoy Ancestry's "suggested records" too.

rosemary55 said...

Wow - I really appreciate the tips on how to do these searches, use of wildcards etc. I have learned something new on both the 1st and 2nd installments and am eagerly waiting for the next. I really do like these! Thank you!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Rosemary - so glad these posts are proving helpful!


Diana - not sure how many genealogists notice those Suggested Records but I think they're great


Celia said...

Very nice use of wildcards, Lorine. I tend not to use them as much as I could, I see! As for the suggested records - sometimes they're quite helpful, you're right. Thanks for such an educational case study. said...

Was the card catalog part of where you used the wildcards ?? This is a very informative post of searching , ingeberal. Thanks for taking the time to share these case stories.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

I didn't use the card catalog on Ancestry. I used the search engine and used wildcards to allow for mistranscriptions and mis-spellings