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December 30, 2003

Almshouse Records New York City, 1819-1844

In the early 1800's port cities in the USA bore the burden of immigration. By the time they arrived, so many immigrants were tired, hungry and poor they ended up in the City Almshouse.

As far back as the colonial era, New York City assumed responsibility for its citizens who were destitute, sick, homeless, or otherwise unable to care for themselves. The city maintained an almshouse, various hospitals, and a workhouse on Blackwell's Island (now called Roosevelt Island) for the poor.

Part of the information taken Almshouse clerks was the place of birth of each person, the name of the ship they arrived on and where the ship sailed from. Using this online (free) database will allow you to find individuals from many countries and many states within USA.

I have just uploaded new records for NY City Almshouse for 1826 and 1827. This adds to the existing records on Olive Tree Genealogy for 1819, 1820, 1821, 1822, 1823, 1824, 1855,1856,1857 and 1858. When this project is finished the records will be complete from 1819-1844 and 1855-1858

1826 Almshouse Registers

There are 180 individuals listed in the 1826 Alms House Registers, along with the following ships they sailed on:

Albion, Ann, Ann Marie, Atlantic, Baltic, Barcelona, Bimmahome?, Boston, Bowditch, Camillons, Carolina Ann, Catherine, Chesapeake, Cincinnatus ,Combine ,Comhand?, Compeer, Constitution, Courier, Cuba, Danube, Diana, Dublin Packet, Edward Bonasse, General Putnam, Gulorace?Gulosase?, Henry, Hibernian, Howard, Hunter, Huskinson, Isaac[illegible], James Cegzar, John & Elizabeth, John & James, Lady Hunter, Laurel, Leonidas, Lord Strangford, Louisa, Maine, Margaret, Orizambo, Panther, Phoenix , Plutarch, Remittance, Reunion, Richmond, Sabina, Salidas , Silas Richmond, Splendid,Superior, Sylvester Haley, Thames, Thompson, Tontine, Two Mary's, United States, Virginia, William, Wilson, Zenophon

Of the 180 individuals listed, 125 were from Ireland.

1827 Almshouse Registers

There are 270 individuals listed with the following ship names in the 1827 Alms House Admission Records:

Albion, Alicia, Amelia, American, Ann Marie, Atlantic, Aurora, Baltic, Blakely, Borneo, Brighton, Brittania, Candis, Carleton, Carolina Ann, Clover, Compeer, Concordia, Constitution, Cortes, Courier, Curlew, Dalhousie Castle,Dancer, Danish Iris, Diana, Dublin Packet, Edward, Edward Bonasse, Eliza, Eliza Baker, Emulous, Fame, Fenwick, Francis Henrietta, Franklin, Ganges, Garland, Gen. Putnam, Gentile, George Clinton, Gridley , Hamilton, Hector, Henrietta, Henry Freeland? Kneeland?, Holbert, Hope & Easter, Hudson, Hunter, India, Ivory, James & Margaret, Java, Jno (John) & Elizabeth, John Adams, Jubilee, Lady Henrietta, Lady Hunter, Lady Wellington, Lark, Leeds, Liverpool,Lord Wellington, Louisa, Lydia, Main, Manchester, Margaret Boyle, Martha , Mary, Mary Howland, Meteor, Michaels, Nelson? Wilson?, New England, New Hampshire, New Orleans, Newry, Peru, Plutarch , Princess Charlotte, Robert Edwards, Robert Fulton, Roman, Sarah George, Silvanus Genkins, St Michael, St. Croix, St. Nichady, Thomas, Thomas & William, Thompson, Torn? Tom?, Traveler, Trident, Trio, Union, Venus, Virginia, Westmoreland, William, William & George, William Byrnes, William Dawson, Wilson, Wm. H. Pantheon

Of the 270 individuals listed, 201 were from Ireland.

Places of birth for these years were "at sea", Canada,England, France, Germany, Glascow, Ireland, Liverpool, London, Long Island, Massachusetts, New York, Newry, Quebec, Sag Harbour, Scotland, St Johns NB, Switzerland, Virginia and Wales

Ports of departure were Belfast, Bremen ,Cork, Dublin,Dundee,Easport, Galway, Greenock, Halifax NS, Havre, Jamaica, Liverpool,London, Londonderry, Marseilles, New Castle, New Haven, Newry, Porto Cabello, Savannah, Sligo, Richmond, Rotterdam ,Sligo, Newfoundland, St. Johns N.B.

November 9, 2003

Register of Passports 1834-1843

Passport applications are often a valuable source of genealogical information. NARA has passport applications from October 1795-March 1925. The U. S. Department of State has passport applications from April 1925 to the present.

Some immigrants applied for passports to return home to visit family or friends. These records usually give a place of birth or at least the destination (which is often the home town)

I have a Register of Passports 1834-1843 for all states at

The index to Passport Records and an explanation of Passport Records as a research tool is at

You can pass this message on to anyone you think might be interested, and if you find an ancestor on any of my projects please let me know!

October 9, 2003

Finding Ancestors in Ontario Land Records

Land records are very useful research tools. Often they provide wive's first and maiden names, children's names, information as to origin, and even wills!

Originally all land in Ontario belonged to the Crown. Although there were small areas of settlement in 1763 after the British took over, major settlement of Upper Canada began in 1783 and utilized Crown Grants.

Up to 1826 free land grants were available to all settlers, to government favourites, and to UEL children. In 1826 these free grants were abolished except Loyalist grants and soldiers, and anyone wanting Crown land had to buy it.

There were two types of land petitions:

  • pre 1827 petitions for free grants of land under the UEL and military categories
  • post 1827 petitions for purchase of Crown lands

Settlers could also buy lands from the Canada Company, a private company owning all of the Huron District. These records are held at the Archives of Ontario. All land sales after the initial Crown grant were registered with local land registry offices.

Procedures for granting Crown Land changed constantly but could involve:

  • The settler's initial Petition to the Crown for land
  • An Order-in-Council from a federal Land Board granting their request
  • A Warrant from Ontario's Attorney General ordering the surveying of a lot
  • The Fiat from Ontario Surveyor General authorizing a grant of the surveyed lot
  • A Location Ticket permitting the settler to reside on the lot
  • The Patent transferring ownership of the lot from the Crown to the settler.

Other Resources for Land Records

  • Upper Canada Land Petitions and Land Books 1793-1826 [NA RG 1, L3 and RG1, E1] or indexes on C-10810 to C10836 on microfilm at the Ontario Archives or NAC.
  • Loyalist Claims and Conversion List [NA MG14] 1790-1837 - Audit Office 12 and 13 compensation claims for land and goods lost during the American Revolution - 178 reels of microfilm
  • CLRI (Computerized Land Records Index) aka Ontario Land Record Index, summarizes land grants from sales of Crown Land, from Canada Company sales or leases and from Peter Robinson settlers' grants. If your ancestor settled anywhere in Ontario and he was the first time buyer of Crown Land, he will be on these lists. I offer a lookup service for the CLRI.

More details on Land Records in Upper Canada (aka Canada West and present day Ontario) as well as links to online searchable databases for land is available at

July 9, 2003

Immigration to USA After 1820

Between 1820 and 1920, 35 million immigrants arrived in the USA, the majority of them at the port of New York. To search for an existing list you need to know your ancestor's name, approximate date of arrival, approximate age at arrival and port of arrival.

If your ancestor arrived after 1819, he may be listed in any of the following

Customs Passenger lists begin in 1820. A passenger list will usually provide you with name, age, sex, occupation, country of origin, port of departure, destination, date of arrival and name of the ship.

Immigration Lists (Ships' Manifests) after 1883 give more detailed information.

The National Archives has the customs and immigration passenger lists and indexes from 1820 to the 1950s. You can request a search of the records at the National Archives with form NATF 81. You must submit one form each person or family group traveling together. You can obtain the NATF Form 81 by providing your name and mailing address to Specify "Form 81" and the number of forms you need.

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has microfilmed copies of passenger arrival records and indexes from the National Archives. If you find your ancestors in any of the indexes you should then consult the original passenger lists.

Indexes for which are microfilmed and available through your local FHC are:

New York

1820-1846 FHL computer number 15681
1897-1902 FHL computer number 92040
1902-1943 FHL computer number 92040


1848-1891 FHL computer number 217426
1899-1940 FHL computer number 92077


1820-1897 FHL computer number 218234
1897-1952 FHL computer number 175219
1833-1866 FHL computer number 175226


1800-1906 FHL computer number 216604
1883-1948 FHL computer number 175209

New Orleans

1853-1952 FHL computer number 216594

Lists and indexes for Charleston, Galveston, Key West, New Bedford, Passamaquoddy, Portland Maine, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, and other ports can be found at the Family History Library and the National Archives.

There are also CD-Roms that index arrivals 1820-1850. See the list of CDs on the right hand navigation bar of

There are various hard copies (books) of indexes and lists, and I will discuss those at another time. There is also the online Ellis Island Database 1892-1924. The best way to search it is through the One-Step Search Engines at

There are many online lists and to start your Internet search for ships' passenger lists, begin at The Olive Tree Genealogy Ships Section

Ships to USA start at Index to USA Ships Once on this page you can choose by state, or by year of arrival.

June 12, 2003

Ships Passenger Lists to Canada Before 1865

There are no comprehensive lists of immigrants arriving in Canada prior to 1865. Until that year, shipping companies were not required by the government to keep their passenger manifests.

If your ancestor arrived from the UK you may find him/her in lists pertaining to British-subsidized immigration schemes for the period 1817-1831.

You might also find an ancestor in correspondence of the Secretary of State on immigration for 1817-1857. There are lists of immigrants, mainly Irish, and entry books re immigration, and assisted emigration to British North America.

These must be ordered offline.

There are passenger lists to Canada before 1865 on The Olive Tree Genealogy.

There are also some passenger lists which were kept by shipping agents in the originating country. For example, the Passenger Books of J & J Cooke, Shipping Agents gives sailings from Londonderry to Philadelphia PA, Quebec, and St. John New Brunswick from 1847 to 1871.

Olive Tree has some passenger lists from these records online, and will be adding more as time permits. For an index of clickable links to those JJ Cooke passenger lists online to date, see

There are also the William McCorkell & Co. lists beginning in 1863 and ending in 1871.

The Hawke Papers, letterbooks of Chief Emigrant Agent Anthony B. Hawke are also available. They cover the years 1831 to 1892.

Details on these (where they are, how to get them) can be found in "Immigration to Canada before 1865" at

You can also search the online database at

You might also want to join the mailing list for immigration to Canada before 1865. You can sub from the URL above.

If you want to search online, you may have limited success because only a very small percentage of ships to Canada have been transcribed and put online.

However here is a custom search engine I recommend to make your search time more efficient (and hopefully more successful!)It searches dozens of websites at once.

You can also check out the pages for ships passenger lists to the following parts of Canada:

Ships Passenger Lists to Quebec

Ships Passenger Lists to New Brunswick

Ships Passenger Lists to Nova Scotia

June 9, 2003

Naturalization & Citizenship Records in Canada: What's Available

© Lorine McGinnis Schulze

The Canadian Citizenship Act began on 1 January 1947. From 1763 to that date, people born in the provinces and colonies of British North America were all British subjects. Thus immigrants from Great Britain and the Commonwealth did not have to be naturalized.

Before 1854
A few naturalization registers exist for Upper Canada (Ontario), for the years 1828-1850 only. A nominal card index is available at the National Archives of Canada. You can request a search by sending a written inquiry to

1854 to the present
Citizenship and Immigration Canada holds records of naturalization and citizenship from 1854. The originals of records dated between 1854 and 1917 have been destroyed. However a nominal card index survives. It provides information compiled at the time of naturalization, such as present and former place of residence, former nationality, occupation, date of certification, name and location of the responsible court. The index rarely contains any other genealogical information.
Records created after 1917 are more detailed, indicating the surname, given name, date and place of birth, entry into Canada, and in some cases, the names of spouses and children.

Requests for copies of naturalization/citizenship records should be mailed to:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Public Rights Administration
360 Laurier Ave West
10th Floor

You must be a Canadian citizen or an individual present in Canada. Each application for copies must be submitted on an Access to Information Request Form available from most Canadian public libraries and federal government offices. The cost is $5.00, payable to the Receiver General for Canada.

You must enclose a signed consent from the person concerned or proof that he/she has been deceased twenty years. Proof of death can be a copy of a death record, a newspaper obituary or a photograph of the gravestone showing name and death date.

You must include the following information: full name, date and place of birth, and if possible, the number of the Canadian citizenship or naturalization certificate.

For help finding your ancestors' Canadian Naturalization Records see

To search for Ships to Canada see

Permission to copy and reproduce
© Lorine McGinnis Schulze

The Olive Tree Genealogy

Article may be copied as long as identifying information and link to website is left intact

May 29, 2003

Home Children - English Immigration to Canada

Between 1869 and the early 1930s, over 100,000 children were sent to Canada from Great Britain during the child emigration movement

NAC (National Archives of Canada) has indexed the names of these Home Children found in passenger lists at NAC, and there is a searchable database at

Be forewarned though that not all years have been completed, so a negative result does not mean your ancestor isn't there. As NAC completes the indexing, you may find the name you want.

If you find a name of interest, you can contact Barnardo's for the records. They can be reached at

And of course you can order the microfilm to view the passenger list for yourself..

Have you visited Marj Kholi's "Young Immigrants to Canada" website?

See also the link to "Barnardo After Care" on Marj's website.

For ships to Canada in general you may also want to consult PASSENGER LISTS & IMMIGRATION at

April 21, 2003

Special Passports 1829-1894

Special passports were issued to US diplomatic and consular officers, military attaches, secretaries of legations, and other government officers and their families. brings you an Index to Special Passports for the USA 1829-1887. This is for all states.

Remember this is an index to the records -- details are given online for obtaining the full record for any person you find of interest.

Also online is the companion project, Index to Special Passports for the USA 1887-1894 at

If you enjoy these free records, please tell others about them.

March 15, 2003

New York Times Ships Arrivals Extracts of Passenger Names 1851-1929

Thanks to volunteer transcriber Diane McClay, Olive Tree Genealogy has a new database online.

Diane is extracting and transcribing passenger names found in Notices of Arrivals, Departures and in Miscellaneous Articles in the New York Times

This project will transcribe names of passengers found in announcements and articles in the New York Times. There will be brief summaries of each ship arriving or leaving New York. If names of passengers were found, there will be a clickable link to take you directly to that list of names. This is an ongoing project, check back often to see what has been added.

If the date of arrival is known, you can read the arrival report in a New York newspaper. The New York Times is available at many libraries (publication began in September, 1851).

You can also search the NY Times online for a fee. Search 1857-1880 or 1881-1906 from the URL above.

March 12, 2003

Ships Passenger Lists to Canada After 1865

Unfortunately the records of ships passenger lists to Canada before 1925 are not indexed. To find a passenger you will need to know an exact date of arrival.

There is no easy way to search Canadian arrival records for this unindexed period other than reading microfilm

The National Archives of Canada (NAC) holds immigration records from 1865 to 1935.

Ships are on the reel, in order of arrival. You can borrow this reel on Inter Library Loan [ILL]. You can find the details at this URL

You are also able to ILL free of charge, from Ottawa, to libraries in the US, and outside North America. The NAC will allow your Library to borrow up to six microfilms on your behalf, per request.

If you want to order filmed passenger lists (remember they aren't indexed!), a list of NAC microfilm numbers for passenger lists to Canada 1865-1922 can be found at

If you want to try your luck searching transcribed ships passenger lists online, passenger lists for Ships to Canada after 1865 are freely available at

There are search engines to search online free databases on multiple websites for ships to Canada at

March 4, 2003

Understanding Patronymics

© Lorine McGinnis Schulze

The Dutch were much slower than the English in adopting surnames as we know them. Patronymics ended theoretically under English rule in 1687 with the advent of surnames, but not everyone followed the new guidelines. In the Netherlands, patron ymics ended mostly (especially Friesland) during the Napoleantic period around 1811 when everyone had to register and select a family name.

The most common Dutch naming custom was that of patronymics, or identification of an individual based on the father's name. For example, Jan Albertszen is named after his father, Albert. Albertszen means son of a man named Albert. The patronymic was formed by adding -se, -sen, or -szen. Daughters would very often have the ending -x or -dr. added. For example, Geesjie Barentsdr. (Barentsdochter) is named after her father Barent.

An individual could also be known by his place of origin. For example, Cornelis Antoniszen, my 9th great- grandfather, was known in some records as 'van Breuckelen', meaning 'from Breuckelen' (Breuckelen being a town in the Netherlands). The place-origin name could be a nationality, as in the case of Albert Andriessen from Norway and my 9th great-grandpa, originator of the Bradt and Vanderzee families - he is entered in many records as Albert Andriessen de Noorman, meaning the Norseman.

Thus we see naming differences over the generations: Albert's sons and daughters took the surname BRADT except for his son Storm, born on the Atlantic Ocean during the family's sailing to the New World. Storm adopted the surname Van Der Zee (from the sea) and this is the name his descendants carry.

An individual might be known by a personal characteristic: e.g. Vrooman means a pious or wise man;Krom means bent or crippled; De Witt means the white one. The most fascinating one I've seen is that of Pieter Adrianszen (Peter, s/o Adrian) who was giv en the nickname of Soo Gemackelyck (so easy-going) but was also known as Pieter Van Waggelen/Van Woggelum - his children adopted the surnames Mackelyck and Woglom.

Sometimes an occupation became the surname. Smit=Smith; Schenck= cupbearer, Metsalaer= mason. An individual might be known by many different 'surnames' and entered in official records under these different names, making research difficult unless you're aware of the names in use. For example, my Cornelis Antoniszen Van Slyke mentioned above, was known and written of under the following names:

Cornelis Antoniszen
Cornelis Teuniszen (Teunis being the diminuitive of Antony)
Cornelis Antoniszen/Teuniszen van Breuckelen
Cornelis Antoniszen/Teuniszen Van Slicht (this is how he signed his name and might have been a hereditary family name based on an old place of origin)
Broer Cornelis (name given him by Mohawks)

Remember that there are tremendous variations in spelling of these names, and changes from Dutch to to English record keeping in the New World affected the spelling even more.

Another thing to look for in searching the early records is to be aware of the different ways names might be pronounced in different areas, or how clerks might write them down. For example, a boy might be registered as Jan "Kiek in 't Veld", and his father would sign with "Kijk in het Veld". "Kiek in't Veld" is how it is said in the eastern dialect, "Kijk in het Veld" is how it is said in proper Dutch. The father could write down it properly, but he couldn't say it properly. The clerk at that time may have come from the West and just wrote down what he heard without translating it. If you were searching such a family, you would have to look for both lines.

You also have to be aware of the diminuitives of regular first names, because the patronymic might be formed from the normal name or its diminuitive. For example:

Antonis=Theunis/Teunis (patronymic of Antonisz or Theunisz)
Matthys=Thys/Tice (patronymic of Thyssen)
Harmanus=Harman or Manus
Nicolas=Claes (patronymic of Claessen)
Denys=Nys (patronymic of Dennysen or Nyssen)
Bartolomeus=Bartol or Meese/Meus (patronymic of Meesen)

For more help with Dutch words, church records and patronymics see This also includes records for New York State in the 1600s

There's more to Dutch naming systems of the 1600s than this, and two articles that are excellent are:

Dutch Systems in Family Naming New York-New Jersey by Rosalie Fellows Bailey in Genealogical Publications of the NGS May 1954 No. 12,
New Netherland Naming Systems and Customs, by Kenn Stryker-Rodda, published in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume 126, number 1, January 1995, pages 35-45.

NOTE: A footnote states that the text is a talk that Dr. Stryker-Rodda gave at the World Conference on Records and Genealogical Seminar held in Salt Lake City 5-8 August 1969, and it was originally published in the papers of that Conference, Area 1-27. The original talk was copyrighted in 1969 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Permission granted to distribute this article as long as nothing is changed, and all identifying information and URLs remain. Be sure to include the following footer:

Article by Lorine McGinnis Schulze of Olive Tree Genealogy at


February 9, 2003

Alms House Admission Records, New York City, NY 1855-1858

In the early 1800's port cities in the USA bore the burden of immigration. By the time they arrived, so many immigrants were tired, hungry and poor they ended up in the City Almshouse.

I've transcribed more records from the Alms House Admission Foreigners & Nativity Records ( New York City, NY)

These records apply to immigrants to Quebec, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Boston.

These records are from the years 1855 to 1858 and include the name of the ship each person sailed on (if they remembered it), the date they arrived, the ports of departure and arrival,their age, their place of origin and more.

I'm transcribing the records as best I can but the originals were only in fair shape, and some of the writing is almost illegible. They are in a very cramped hand, it seems the clerks had little room to make their entries in these ledger books, and some of the writing is so tiny that it is difficult if not impossible to read!

Here is an example of the kinds of information found in the Almshouse records:

In Mar 1856 John Coleman, age 15, single, from Ireland applied for relief. He told the clerk of the Almshouse that sailed from Liverpool on the Ship Ontario, arriving on 19 Dec. 1855 in New York. He didn't know the Captain's name, and had no one to vouch for him from New York City.

It was his first time 'on the island" (meaning applying for relief). He was discharged in April 1856. A search of's New York Passenger Lists 1851-1891 did turn up the Ship Ontario arriving New York City on 30 December 1855, no John Coleman listed, but some of the passenger names were illegible. Was John on board? Probably, although he may have been a stowaway and not on the passenger list

Sometimes comments were added in the column for death or discharge dates. For example, poor Bridget Connor applied for relief on Apr 30, 1855. Bridget, 26, a spinster from Ireland told the clerk she sailed "about 20 months ago" from Tralee to Quebec.

Bridget gave her ship name as Payoo or Payne, Captain O'Donohan commanding. This was her third time on the island,and the clerk recorded "Stupid" beside her discharge date of 16 Jan. '57 (If you find an ancestor with such a notation, or "insane" as I have also seen, don't be alarmed - sometimes not knowing how to add was enough to be labelled as "stupid"!)

One poor man was noted as having run off and eloped to Quebec!

There are many entries for individuals sailing to Quebec and Montreal, mainly from Ireland, so if you are looking for an elusive ancestor arriving in Canada in the time period 1850-1858 you will want to check these records.

The ports of arrival so far are New York, New Orleans,Quebec, Montreal, Philadelphia and Boston.

Places of origin are Ireland, England, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland, with the majority being Irish

For New York arrivals, this is a wonderful addition to help with those UNindexed years.

The index to the records can be found at

This set of records adds to the existing records I have already transcribed and put online for the NYC Almshouse for 1819-1822(with 1823 to 1840 to follow) starting at

I hope you enjoy this set of records; it's great fun reading and transcribing these wonderful entries!