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January 22, 2020

RIP Rootsweb Mailing Lists

As many of my readers most likely already know, the following message was sent from Rootsweb earlier this month.

Beginning March 2nd, 2020 the Mailing Lists functionality on RootsWeb will be discontinued. Users will no longer be able to send outgoing emails or accept incoming emails.  Additionally, administration tools will no longer be available to list administrators and mailing lists will be put into an archival state.

You heard it right. All mailing lists on Rootsweb will be discontinued. It's a shame to lose all the wonderful genealogists sharing and asking questions on these lists so I've started a few replacement lists and groups.

If you are on Facebook be sure to check out the following groups and pages:

Olive Tree Genealogy

Ancestors At Rest

New Netherland Settlers

Van Slyke Genealogy

Van Valkenburg to Vollick

Vrooman Genealogy

Barheit Genealogy

Van Alstyne Genealogy

Goeway Genealogy

Descendants of Adriaen Crijnen Post

Straetsman Genealogy

Peer Genealogy in N. America

Pioneers of Arkell Wellington County

We Are Genealogy Bloggers 

Not on Facebook?

Not to worry I also set up some mailing lists using Google Groups.

New Netherland Settlers
This group is about the history and settlement of New Netherland (present day New York) & the early settlers. In 1624 the first colonists arrived in New Netherland to settle at Fort Orange (present day Albany) & other locations.    
Peer Genealogy
Following the descendants and ancestors of Jacob & Anne Peer and their 8 children from New Jersey to Ontario Canada 1797. Descendants settled in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ontario & New York.    

For anyone interested in the genealogy of Cornelis Antonissen Van Slyke and his nephew Willem Pieterse Van Slyke aka Neef. Both settled in New York in the 1600s.    
Van Valkenburg to Vollick
This group is for descendants of Isaac Van Valkenburg aka Vollick, Loyalist who left New York for Canada during the American Revolution    


January 20, 2020

Beyond 22: Virtual Record Treasury for Irish history

Thanks to Gail Dever of Genealogy a la Carte for reporting on "Beyond 22: Ireland's Virtual Record Treasury"

The Beyond 22 website explains:

June 30th, 2022, marks the centenary of the terrible explosion and fire at the Four Courts, Dublin, which destroyed the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI) and, with it, seven centuries of Ireland’s collective memories. While incomparable with the loss of human life, the destruction of the Record Treasury at the PROI was one of the great tragedies of the Civil War.  
Beyond 2022 is an all-island and international collaboration. Working together, we will launch a Virtual Record Treasury for Irish history—an open-access, virtual reconstruction of the Record Treasury destroyed in 1922.
What an exciting new project for those of us with Irish ancestors! According to the organizers, more than seventy repositories world-wide hold substitute materials that can replace the documents destroyed in the Four Courts fire.

The Project has four phases: Discover, Digitize, Reconstruct, Reveal

With the identification of those records, Beyond 22 will digitize and restore what is found, then bring them online for researchers, historians, and genealogists to access.

I am looking forward to searching these records for my McGinnis, Downey, Jamieson, and Greenlees families. What names will you be looking for?

January 18, 2020

Why You Should Check Your Sources Carefully

This email came to Olive Tree Genealogy from Sam:

Hi my name is Sam .. I have a eill [sic] from 1856 for John Calvert... a family chart with that has Obed Calvert 1743-1809 as Father. also refered to as Francis ( Obed ) Calvert. Also Ino Calvert as Obed's father.. I faxed to a Calvert genealogist who told me he had never seen the names Ino or Obed in U.S. Calvert circles. here.. do you see these names over there? I live in Oceanside Ca., near San Diego Ca.
Hi Sam-

I'm guessing that you meant "will" not "eill". Your reference to "Ino" Calvert is almost certainly a misreading of the abbreviation "Jno.". Jno. was often used in place of the first name Jonathan (although some genealogists will argue it stood for the name "John") So the man you are searching is John or Jonathan Calvert, not Ino.

Remember too that Obed could be a shortened version of Obediah. If you are positive the reference to Francis is for the same man, perhaps he used his first and middle names indiscriminately. However they could be different men. Without knowing your sources I cannot comment.  As well, the word "ibid" means the same as "ditto" and I have to wonder if there is confusion there as well. I suggest you study your sources carefully - go over them again and again to make sure you have not missed a clue or misunderstood something. See my article Everyone Makes Mistakes: Why You Should Review YourResearch Notes

Your last question as to whether I have seen the names "over there" is confusing as I live in Canada and I wouldn't call that "over there" from California! In any case your best bet is to continue your search by looking for documents for the men whose names you know to be correct. That will be the best way to find out where the family originated and who the immigrant ancestor was.

January 16, 2020

Finding Meaning in Alphabet Soup

Kevin asked for help reading and understanding a record

My wife's grandfather Carl Gastone Casattas was born 26 Oct 1894 in San Francisco, California, and died 9 Sept 1970 in Santa Cruz, California.  In between he resided for a long time in Oakland, Alameda, California.

Imagine the surprise when we found the attached Index Card in the Civil War Pension file at NARA.  NARA was surprised too!  They said it did not belong and had no idea what it was doing there.

Can you tell us what is says and what it means?  We can find no record of him having military service.

Kevin - All I could find was this reference to C.A.C. being a Common Access Card, the standard identification for active duty uniformed service personnel, Selected Reserve, DoD civilian employees, and eligible contractor personnel.

I see in the 1930 census that Carl was employed by the US Army as a clerk so I suspect the record above has something to do with that. He no doubt needed an Employee ID Card and that may have been the C.A.C. mentioned in the top record. In 1920 he is listed as clerk working for the Government in the Navy Yard in San Francisco.

I think we've solved your mystery. Carl was a civilian employee in a Government/Military organization and as such needed an ID Card. 

January 13, 2020

Don't Let Family Lore Confuse You!

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. Don't let it lead you down the wrong path when researching!

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

* 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

January 11, 2020

Don't Forget Nearby Countries When Searching for a Genealogy Record

Beth sent the following question to Olive Tree Genealogy:

I’m looking for a marriage record John Staehli born in Switzerland 1865, father and mother unknown. Magdalena Gasho born 1863 Canada father Andrew Gascho and mother Lydia Ginerich,  married in 1891-1892 in Canada. (on Ancestry trees someone put Nov 1891, and I’m looking for confirmation) I’ve researched many places and haven’t come across this record. Magdalena was a mennonite.

Beth - first let me correct an error in your family tree information. Magdalena's mother was Lydia GINGERICH/GINGRICH, not GINERICH. I'm also a GINGRICH descendant. You can read about my Gingrich family here

Since this couple's first child, Anna Maria, was born in Michigan (see image) and they continued to reside in Michigan, i would not be so sure they married in Ontario. Have you checked Michigan marriage records?

Notice also that the surname Staehli was badly recorded and then corrected in 1940. Have you used wildcards when searching for this couple?

Their surnames are such that they can easily be incorrectly recorded or indexed on websites.

In summary, I'd check Michigan marriages and I would use wildcards to search for this couple online. See Wildcards are Your Friend! A Canadian Case Study Part 2  for help with using wildcards.

January 9, 2020

New Netherland (NY) Research is Not Simple or Quick

New Netherland Research is Not Simple or Quick

Lois asked a rather convoluted question which does not have a simple answer. Because of the several questions Lois asked, i am going to intersperse my answers with her questions.

Q: After 200 years of historical accounts of the immigrants from the Netherlands, debate is still continuing when the surname Teunise/Teunisen is researched. My ancestor was Teunis Nyssen, who had  7 children based on baptism records, one (Cornelis) from guardianship record after his mother Phoebe Janse died. By 1660, when the 2nd generation started marriage and having children, the names of daughters were Teunis with an “e” added and sons with “en”. Historians and genealogists either made decisions which person had which “Teunis” father, so for the children of Teunis Nyssen, Denyse was added to the name “de Nys, or of Nys, as opposed to child of Teunis Bogaert. 

Is my assumption on the addition of the “e” and “en” correct?
A: The simple answer is "NO". The patronymic was formed by adding -se, -sen, or -szen. Daughters would very often have the ending -x or -dr. added. I suggest that what you are finding ("e" vs "en") is simply the way the name/patronymic was recorded by that specific clerk or individual. See Dutch Patronymics of the 1600s for more help. 

Also, if you have not seen my page on the DAMEN family of New Netherland I urge you to take a look.  As well as a brief expanation of the family origins, you will find several resources for you to use. You will definitely want the 4th one but you may find the others very helpful as well:

Q: The “Teunis” problem seems to have led to the following children  being attributed to Nyssen:   Hillegonde, Geertje, James, Joris and Teunis. So the second question relates to children naming  traditions.    First son after father’s father, 2nd mother’s father and 1st daughter after mother’s mother, 2nd after father’s mother...with exceptions.    A son Teunis for Nyssen is possible, but many records show him by age as 1st son, whereas he would be Dionys (name for Teunis’ father), 2nd son was Jan named for mother’s father.  
A:  You should never take naming traditions or customs as being set in stone. They might be observed by the couple but they might not be. One parent might be honoured by having a grandchild named after him/her but another might be on the "outs" with the family. A rich uncle or someone who could bestow favours on the couple might be the person honoured with a child's name. There may be a missing child which had the name of the missing parent. There are many reasons why naming patterns cannot be relied on!

Q: Is there any way to ID all the men named Teunis who would have been fathers between 1640 and 1670, so the “supposed children” could be linked to the correct parents?  If there is, how can it be communicated to people who have ancestry trees in various websites?  
A: You could certainly devote many years of research and study into an attempt to find all men named Teunis (or Antonis) who could have been fathers in that 30 year time span.  But if you were thinking of the entire area of New Netherland you would have quite a lifetime project ahead of you. Even if you found them all, determing which children belong to which father would quite likely take yet another lifetime, if indeed it could be done. 

Researching the Dutch in New Netherland is not an easy task. It requires years of study to understand naming patterns, customs, patronymics etc *and* to find the records to assist in the research. There are records that Dr. Gehring has been working on translating from the Dutch for over 25 years now! 

Photo credit: Stuart Miles on FreeDigital.Net