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January 18, 2019

Sorting My Dutch Ancestors

I like sorting things. I love to organize items, and my labeller and storage tubs are my friends. My spice cupboard is in alphabetical order, and all labels face out.

I am always saying to my husband "Like things go together" when I discover he has put the cans of black beans in the cupboard with crackers. My canned goods are arranged in groups - all the beans are together, and within that broad category, they are arranged by type of bean. And of course, all labels face outwards!

I suspect that is why I have always loved math. For me math brings order and pattern out of chaos. 

So when I saw a recent post in a Dutch Genealogy group, it immediately appealed to me. One member posed a question to the group "According to your family tree, from which provinces in the Netherlands did your ancestors come from?"

My father's line comes from early 17th century Dutch who came to what is now New York. I have dozens of Dutch ancestors, and while I know the general area or town they were from, it never occurred to me to sort them by provinces in the Netherlands. So I've begun that project.

  • Limburg - Van Valkenburg, Vrooman, Gerritsen
  • South Holland - Wouters, Post, de Groot
  • Utrecht - Van Slyke, Damen,  Van Schaik, Van Reumsthofste,
  • North Holland - Ryckman, Van Horn, Shubber, Van der Straaten
  • Friesland - Shuart
  • Zeeland - Michaelsen
  • North Brabant - Clopper 
  • Overyssel - Ecker
  • Gelderland - Coerten

That's as far as I've gone but there are many more that I need to slot into their correct provinces. I still have to sort DeGraw, Van Alstyne, Snediker (probably German), Vonk, Van Woert, Idens, Van Horn, Vanderburg, Van Rottmer, Moockers,  Leydecker, Walings/Wallich, Van Huyse, and Van der Morsch

January 16, 2019

Burial Cards for WW1 American Soldiers

As part of a recent digitization project this series of burial cards is now available in NARA’s online catalog in the RG 92 Card Register of Burials of Deceased American Soldiers (NAID 6943087). These records are arranged alphabetically by name of soldier. 

The Newly Digitized Series : Initial Burial Plats for World War I American Soldiers consists of blueprints of survey maps and field drawings created by the 29th Army Corps of Engineers for the Graves Registration Service. The maps detail locations of scattered and isolated soldier grave sites. Each grave is identified by the soldier’s name, rank, serial number, and unit, if known. The plats also show surrounding landmarks, buildings, and other markers that could be used to identify the location of the burial.

The Initial Burial Plats for World War I American Soldiers series has recently been digitized and is now available online through the National Archives Catalog.

National Archives at St. Louis plan to start a multi-year project to digitize the series Correspondence, Reports, Telegrams, Applications, and Other Papers Relating to Burials of Service Personnel, 1/1/1915-12/31/1939 aka as “Burial Case Files” in RG 92 (NAID 595318).  The records contain correspondence, Graves Registration Service forms, headstone applications, Gold Star Mothers’ itineraries, and other pertinent information relating to the burial of members and veterans of the United States military, mainly the U.S. Army. Of the approximately 218,905 files, 30,922 files pertain to soldiers who died during World War I. The World War I files will be digitized first and will be made available in the National Archives Catalog on a rolling basis.

January 14, 2019

Dancing on the Dead

According to The Lady's Newspaper, by 1849 there were 52,000 deaths each year in London, yet the total space set aside for burial only allowed for 100,000 bodies.

Body-snatchers ran rampant and churches offered more secure burial sites in their basements and in tight spaces between buildings. Some churches showed between 1000 to almost 3500 burials per acre of land.

One man was convinced that the overflowing burial grounds were responsible for diseases such as cholera and maleria. The dead were buried in layers, on top of each other, in order to save space. Dances were held over top of burials - sometimes advertised as "Dancing on the Dead"
The new and improved 1852 burial act changed burials in England. Read the full story in The Disgusting Victorian Cemetery That Helped Change Burials in London Forever

January 11, 2019

Caveat: Transcripts Can be Wrong!

Janice Mann posted this query: I'm having trouble finding any information on a baby in my family tree. He's found in the 1871 census in McKillop Township as a 2 month old, illegitimate child - living with the McCallum family. There are 3 sisters in the family (aged 15, 20 and 24) and I presume one of them is his mother. I'm struggling to determine his name (it's transcribed as Morrison Rone) and I cannot find him after the 1871 census.

Transcripts Can Be Wrong
First let's clear up the misreading of this census image. The name of the child on that 1871 census is given as "Born Morrison" (not Morrison Rone) meaning that he was born a Morrison. Apparently he had not been given a first name when the census was taken.

The family in 1871 is given as
Name     Age
Zachery Mc Callum     54
Elisabeth Mc Callum     52
Margary Mc Callum     24 
Susanna Mc Callum     20
John Mc Callum     18
Elisabeth Mc Callum     15
Born Morrison     2/12

Birth Records

Since we know that the baby was born with the surname Morrison we might theorize that his biological father was a Morrison. We know from the census the child was a boy so we might look for a birth of a child in late 1870 or early 1871. The 1871 census was started on April 2, 1871 so we know the child was born before February of that year. If we could find out when the census taker was in McKillop we could narrow the child's date of birth.

We can look under the surname Morrison and McCallum but those are the only clues we have.

March 11, 1871 Birth: Anthony illegitimate son of Catherine Bellon McCallum in Renfrew found on Ancestry

I recommend searching local church records for a baptism record for this child.

Search the Siblings

I only took a few minutes to research all the children of Zachery and Elizabeth, but Janice would be wise to investigate the family thoroughly. Here is a start to the family:

  • Margary Mc Callum  married Joseph Samme
  • Susanna Mc Callum  married John Galbraith
  • Elisabeth Mc Callum  baptised as Lydia Elizabeth married William George McSpadden
It's an interesting puzzle and I wish I had more time to investigate! 

January 9, 2019

Be Cautious Even When Your Ancestor Has an Unusual Name

Olive Tree Genealogy did some research to try to help a researcher who posted the following query on Facebook:

I am researching Wilsons of Irish descent in Goulboum , Torbolton, and Fitzroy Townships in Carleton County and Wilsons of English/Scotch descent in the same three townships. I am especially interested to find someone who might know the father of Charles Broughton Wilson who came to Canada about 1834 . He possibly came on the ship "John Stamp". Samuel Sumner Tripp and his wife, Sarah Storey may have been on the same ship. He married Mary Ann Tripp in Bytown in Feb. 1839 and purchased a homestead in Fitzroy Township in 1841. Information from the 1851 census indicates C. Broughton (pronounced Broten) was born in London about 1817. There is fairly substantial evidence that Charles' father was Henry Wilson,
The first thing I can tell this researcher is that ship John Stamp sailed from London and arrived in Quebec on June 17, 1835. Unfortunately no passenger list survives but we do know that "Mr and Mrs Newman and family, Mr Johnston, and Mr Marshall and 170 settlers" were on board. (Source:

Census Records

The second thing I did was look for Charles in census records on I wanted to confirm that he was indeed born in England. I found him in 1851 under the name Brougton Wilson. He is recorded as being born in London England but of course we do not know who gave that birth information the census taker, so we should still treat it as not definite.

Church Records

A search online brought up the baptism of Broughton Wilson in Lambeth, Surrey, England (Source: England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975) That sounds exciting except .... further searching finds a Broughton Wilson dying in 1846 in London England. Is it the same man? We do not know and more research would need to be done to try to prove or disprove that the baby baptised in Surrey is the same man who died in London.

Hopefully the descendant who is seeking information will be cautious and do more checking on what I found, and not assume this is the right ancestor.

January 8, 2019

Great News! NYG&B Obtains over 300 Kinship publications!

The (NYG&B) announced today that Arthur C.M. and Nancy V. Kelly, co-founders and owners of Kinship Books, have donated the assets of their business, Kinship Books, to the NYG&B. 

This generous gift includes rights to more than 300 publications, including transcribed and indexed materials from more than 50 New York counties.

 Continue reading at

NYG&B Welcomes 150th Anniversary Year with Landmark Gift from Kinship Books



January 7, 2019

Ads for Irish Immigrants in Boston Globe

Boston College has a free online database of Advertisements for Irish Immigrants. These ads were published in the Boston Globe in the 19th century and sometimes contain the name of the ship the immigrant travelled on.

I've put together an index, with links, of the names of passengers on ships arriving in Canada, since before 1865 the ships passenger lists were not kept. It is a challenging time period to find passenger lists! However there ARE alternate records - shipping agent records, emigration agent ledger books, newspaper extracts to name but a few. 

My book Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada is available on Amazon and is another resource for these early years. There is a  Paperback version and an e-book version available.

Mary Buttler (nee Slatterly) and husband William Buttler, from Clare, on Ship Maria, Limerick to Quebec June 1847

John Hogan, from Limerick, 1849 to Quebec on Ship Anna Maria

Mary Keanes, nee Monaghan, from Mayo on Sarah Maria, Kilalla to Quebec 1846

Mary Reaney born ca 1824, from Mayo, on Ship Sarah Maria from  Kilalla to quebec 1844

Patrick Cahill from Tipperary, son of Patrick, July 1847 on board Admiral, Waterford to Quebec

John Mullin from Tipperary, April 1844 on board Admiral, Waterford to Quebec

John Quillan from Tipperary, Waterford to Quebec on Admiral, before 1856

Michael Quillan from Tipperary, Waterford to Quebec on Admiral, before 1856

If you want to see more listings for immigrants arriving in USA and Canada go to Missing Friends on Olive Tree Genealogy