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May 31, 2007

Civil War NARA Records Available online

Through its partnership with the National Archives (NARA) has been able to digitize and index records including Confederate Soldiers Service Records, the Southern Claims Commission Records, and the Lincoln Assassination Trial Papers. Each of these titles features information and details that few have had the opportunity to view. brings to life these stories within millions of original Civil War documents, most of which have never been available before on the internet.

Footnote plans to eventually create the largest Civil War community on the web with additional options. Visitors to are encouraged to highlight and discuss what they’ve found. Members are also able to upload their own photos and documents and create their own footnotes by annotating and commenting on the records.

May 23, 2007

Milwaukee County Wisconsin Almshouse & Poor Farm Cemeteries List of Burials

The Milwaukee County Farm Cemetery (a.k.a. Potter's Field) was used during the years 1872-1974. This cemetery was used for the poorhouse inmates and also for burial of other indigent people and transients for whom no funds were available for burial.

There are nearly 6,400 names in the burial register book the names of the deceased and these are now online starting in 1872 at Milwaukee County Wisconsin Almshouse & Poor Farm Cemeteries List of Burials

Search other Almshouse records for Canada, USA & England on Olive Tree Genealogy

May 20, 2007

Getting Real with Naming Patterns

I've been following some genealogy discussions on mailing lists recently and noticed that many genealogists fall into the trap of taking sides on a question - sides that are emphatically one way or another, with no middle ground or room for a "Maybe...."

One of the discussions started over a seemingly simple question -- were there naming patterns for children in the 1800s in [fill in blank with any country].

Subscribers began to jump in with their opinions - all either YES or NO with reasons or rationale or examples to support their YES or NO stance.

But no one jumped in with "MAYBE.... SOMETIMES... YES BUT...."

Let's get real! Naming patterns existed.

Were they identical in all cultures? No

Were they identical in all centuries? No.

Were they always used? No.

It's easy to forget that our ancestors were living breathing people, just as we are. They fought, they loved, they cried, they laughed, they had good days, they had bad days, and so on.

Even if there are established naming patterns that are used 99.9% of the time (as is the case with the Dutch who settled New Netherland, now New York in 1600s) --- as researchers we must keep an open mind as to whether or not the customs might not have been followed

Maybe *your* ancestor fought with his father or mother and vowed to never name a child after him or her.

Maybe *your* ancestor was a free spirit and loved the name Lancelot even though the first born male in her family had been called James for the last 10 generations

Maybe your ancestor wanted to cozy up to his rich great uncle so he named his first born son after that person instead of his father.... and gave his second born his father's name.

If you find 7 children in a family and 6 are named after known family members (paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents, aunts, uncles...) then there is a good chance that the 7th was also named after a family member - but it's not guaranteed, they might have named that child after a good friend - or an important contemporary person or a benefector.

On the opposite side of the fence, you may be trying to find parents' names. You spot what looks like a naming pattern of children which fits with the parents you are fairly confident are the correct parents. But one parent's name is missing from the pattern... That's not the time to toss out your theory! There may be a missing child, one whose existence you aren't aware of, or who died. And that child may be the missing link, named after that one parent who is missing from the pattern.

So, use Naming Patterns as a guide. That's all it is, it is not a set of rules set in stone

May 15, 2007

Revolutionary War Pension Files To be Released by Teaming with FamilySearch

Today, announced an agreement with FamilySearch, historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch is the world’s largest repository of genealogical information.

This new partnership brings together two organizations that will utilize their combined resources to digitize and make available many large historical collections. The first project will be the three million U.S. Revolutionary War Pension files which will be published for the first time online in their entirety.

The Revolutionary War Pension Files feature original records that include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns and other miscellaneous personnel pay and supply records of American Army Units from 1775-1783. They provide a wealth of new information for historians and genealogists which they can share with other colleagues and family members.

May 14, 2007

Declarations of Intent, New York, Justice's Court, Albany, New York Index to Books 4-6 1837-1843

Just wanted to let everyone know that I've completed the transcription project for Declarations of Intent, New York 1827-1895, Justice's Court, Albany, New York Index to Book 4, 5 & 6 (1837-1843)

This adds just over 2,800 new names to the original set of records previously online. Surnames A-Z are now complete, except for B which is missing starts Surname A, just scroll down to choose another surname letter

May 7, 2007

Ships Passenger Lists to Canada Before 1865

© Lorine McGinnis Schulze of (Article may be republished or distributed in its entirety providing this header, all URLs and copyright notice are left intact)

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.

There are individual projects and databases online that may be of help in your search

Shipping Company & Customs Agents Records

There are a few surviving passenger lists which were kept by shipping agents in the originating country. The Passenger Books of J & J Cooke, Shipping Agents gives sailings from Londonderry to Quebec and St. John New Brunswick from 1847 to 1871. These are online at

St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. Passenger Records 1819-1836 at

The Hawke Papers, letterbooks of Chief Emigrant Agent Anthony B. Hawke are also available at the Archives of Ontario. They cover the years 1831 to 1892. See the
searchable database for years 1865 - 1883 at

Names of Emigrants from the 1845-1847 Records of James Allison, Emigrant Agent at Montreal is online at This an index only but if you find a name of interest you can consult the published book

There is also the Return of Emigrants Landed at the Port of Kingston Ontario, Canada 1861-1882 which gives the final
destination of the individuals, their date of arrival at Kingston and more. It is found at

Immigration Projects Online

Ships passenger lists for Peter Robinson Settlers sailing 1825 Ireland to Canada are online at
Petworth Immigrants 1832-1837 at

Emigrants from England in New York City Almshouse 1818-1830
- 254 names of English immigrants to Canada & USA including the name of the ship they sailed on at

If you are looking for Irish ancestors, you may want to search the online database Irish Immigrants at Grosse-Île at This database has information on 33,026 immigrants whose names appear in surviving records of the Grosse-Île Quarantine Station between 1832 and 1937.

Search Engines

There are search engines to search multiple websites for
ships going to Canada at
They include most ships lists on the Internet going to Canada and the online InGeneas databases for immigration to Canada 1800s

New Brunswick Arrivals

The Saint John Customs House Passenger Lists 1815, 1832,1833-1834 & 1837-1838 are the only known surviving listsfrom this time period. Some can be found online at Most of the Customs House records were lost in 1877 in the Great Fire of Saint John. Famine lists from 1845-1850 appear also to have been lost.

Mailing Lists

There is a mailing list called CAN-SHIPSLISTS-PRE1865-L for queries and discussion involving immigration to Canada before 1865. You can subscribe from this page

Newspaper Arrivals

TheShipsList website has Quebec ship arrivals extracted from contemporary newspapers.

Library & Archives Canada Holdings

There are a few ship passengerlists pertaining to British-subsidized immigration schemes for the period 1817-1831 and these are available from the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa.

The Miscellaneous Immigration Index is a nominal card index to some of those records and it is available for consultation in the NAC Reference Room. It relates mostly to immigrants from the British Isles to Quebec and Ontario between the years 1801 and 1849. The Miscellaneous Immigration Index has been put into a database, which you can consult on the InGeneas web site.

For immigrants from France, the NAC holds scattered records for the years 1732 and 1749 to 1760. Microfilm copies of these lists are available through ILL - ask your local library for help. You can also consult the NAC microfilm shelf-list for reel numbers.

Miscellaneous Websites with Immigration Information on Shipsto Canada

Immigrants to Canada

The Ships List

Ships Passenger Lists Online

Finding Ships Passenger Lists to Canada

Ships Passenger Lists to Canada 1400-1930