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June 30, 2008

Outbound Ships Passenger Lists from USA Added

Olive Tree Genealogy added more ships passenger lists for outbound ships leaving New York. USA did not keep its outbound lists so finding any is very challenging. This
project is an ongoing one and is entirely free for all.

Today's new ships added are easiest to get to by going to the What's New in June page on Olive Tree Genealogy at

The new ships are listed below and they are linked from the URL above.

* Added partial List of passengers on board steamship Europa for Liverpool from New York 20 May 1852

* Added partial List of passengers on board steamship Jason for Liverpool from New York 2 Nov 1857

* Added partial List of passengers on board Steamship Kangaroo for Liverpool from New York 18 June 1858

* Added partial List of passengers on board steamship Kangaroo for Liverpool from New York 30 July 1858

* Added partial List of passengers on board steamship Minestora for Liverpool from New York 4 May 1867

* Added partial List of passengers on board steamship Jamestown from Norfolk, Richmond etc Virginia from New York 30 July 1858

* Added partial List of passengers on board steamship Jamestown for Norfolk, Petersburg and Richmond Virginia from New York 2 Nov 1857

June 29, 2008

Domestics Brought to Canada

Mr Leverne Baxter and the Canadian Genealogy Centre signed a memorandum of agreement on July 9, 2007. This agreement will permit users of the Canadian Genealogy Centre Web site to consult a new online searchable nominal index of over 1500 domestics brought to Canada from Great Britain by Mrs Helen Sanford between 1898 and 1914 and by Mr. Benjamin Pipe, between 1905 and 1911.

This online nominal index will offer genealogists and all researchers interested in social and women's history increased access to Library and Archives Canada significant collection on immigration to Canada.


June 28, 2008

Finding Naturalization Records in USA - Part 1

Naturalization in the United States was a two-step process that generally took a minimum of 5 years. These two steps did not have to take place in the same court.

In general, after living in the United States for 2 years, an alien could file a Declaration of Intent (also called First Papers) to become a citizen.

After 2 additional years, the alien could Petition for Naturalization. After the petition was granted, a Certificate of Citizenship was issued to the alien.

See Changes in Naturalization Requirements for information on specific time periods from 1790 to present.

June 27, 2008

Understanding Naturalization Records information in Census Records

Naturalization Records are very important to your genealogy research. They can help you find the date, ship, port of arrival, and the place of birth for your ancestor.

You will find Naturalization information on census records. The 1900, 1910 ,1920 and 1930 American census identify citizenship status, with notations showing the individual was an Alien,or had started the Naturalization process or had his final

* PA means he had started his first papers
* NA means he was naturalized
* AL means he was still an alien (not naturalized)

Remember that the years of immigration and naturalization are the most MISremembered years so allow a year or two on either side of any date you find in the Census.

June 26, 2008

Figuring out Canada Locations on USA Census Records

We've all seen it - an ancestor found in a USA census record and under place of birth "Can-Eng".

Sometimes this reference is misindexed as "England". It isn't England but where is it?

Earlier census records might indicate "C.W." or even earlier ones may have the notation "U.C" but what does that mean?? Where are these locations?

You can't find an ancestor in Canada without knowing at least a Province of origin. You will need to determine what Province your ancestor came from in order to search for records.

Here is a handy little guide for anyone finding a Canadian ancestor in the American Census Records. You will also find some of these same abbreviations in Canadian Census Records.

U.C. = Upper Canada. This is now the Province of Ontario and is often found in early Canadian Census records.
L.C. = Lower Canada. This is now the Province of Quebec

C.W. = Canada West. This was Upper Canada until 1842 and is now Ontario
C.E. = Canada East. This was Lower Canada until 1842 and is now Quebec

Can.Eng. = Canada English usually referring to Ontario
Can.Fr. = Canada French usually referring to Quebec

For more on name and boundary changes in Canadian Records see

If you are bewildered by Canadian Genealogy research you may want to start at the Canadian Genealogy pages at

June 25, 2008

The Pitfalls of Census Records

How accurate are census records? I'm sure this question has arisen for every genealogist at some point in their research.

Why does Great Grandma's age change every census by less (or more!) than the 10 years between census? What's up with Great Grandpa's surname being spelled incorrectly? Why does Grandpa have a different first name every census year? Is it even the right man?? And why does great great grandma give a different place of birth for her parents each time?

These are all questions that might arise as you delve into census records. We quickly learn that census records cannot be considered the absolute and final authority. There are good reasons why we see so many discrepancies, but discrepancies doesn't mean we should disregard the information, just that we need to check for other collaborating records (or records which will disprove the anomalous information)

How can the census be so wrong sometimes? Consider first what question was actually asked by the census taker. For example with ages - did he ask how old the person was, or how old they were on their last birthday or.....

People lie about their ages. In past generations individuals often did not know their exact year of birth. I have a letter written in 1847 by my ancestor Levi Peer to his mother, asking her when he was born! At the time he was 38 years old but he obviously only had a vague idea of his birth year.

What about names? Spelling was not exact back in the 1800s and earlier. A census taker wrote what he heard, and whether or not he was a good speller or was familiar with the surname dictated what we see rendered on the census page. Don't forget that great grandpa might have been a recent immigrant with a difficult accent. The census taker might not have had any idea what name was being spoken.

If great grandpa was German or Polish or.... any other nationality find out what the English equivalent of his first name is. If you only know him as Walter but you know he came from another country, find out what his English name is in his native land. You may find him recorded either with his English equivalent or his ethnic origin name. For example Wladyslaw can be Walter. And on and on it goes...

Different first names? Children were usually given at least two names at birth and a man (or woman) might choose to use his first or his middle, or perhaps a nickname. Your ancestor might not have settled on his or her name until later in life, so may have used one name on one census and another on the next. Parents may have called their child by the name they bestowed on him but when he grew up he may have decided he didn't like his given name and used his middle.

People also had nicknames - Jack for John, Delia for Bridget, Polly for Mary - there are many standard nicknames which we can easily find with a search of Google. But what about invented nicknames? My husband's grandfather had the first name of Leon and middle name of Thomas but was called Charlie his entire life. We have to keep an open mind about whether or not individual A is the same person as individual B on another census!

The next question we need to ask ourselves is - who provided the answers on that census? Was it a parent? And if so, was it Mom or Dad. Mothers may have had a better idea of their children's birth years and ages than dad. Was it an older child (perhaps mom or dad were not home) or even a neighbour giving the information? All these factors will affect the quality of the census information.

Immigration and naturalization years are among the most mis-remembered of all on the census. Let's face it, can you recall the exact year you did something? If I am asked what year I went backpacking through Europe, I can only say it was sometime in the mid 1970s. To figure it out more precisely I'd need some time to sit and think about how old my children were, or some other trigger for my memory. The census taker was not going to sit there while mom or dad thought about what year they arrived in this country so the year you see on the census may be pretty much their best guess, given quickly.

As for great great Grandma giving a different place of birth for her parents (or even herself!) remember that she may only have heard how her mother lived in New York, and not have heard that actually her mother was born in Illinois and moved to New York as an infant. She may know that she herself was born in New York but moved elsewhere as a child and considers that her birth place. Again, think about who might have given the information! Perhaps great great grandma was sick in bed and her husband provided the details, or an older child.

In essence treat the census as you should every other genealogical source - with a bit of suspicion. Find other records and assess them all before arriving at a decision as to which (if any) is correct. But don't toss away information in one record as being completely wrong until you have thought about all the variables involved. You may find that you are indeed on the right track chasing Jurgen Muzzel even though you were told your great great grandpa was George Maxwell.....

June 24, 2008

Genealogy Journal Writing Part 2

After filling my first 100 page Journal with notes and memories of the town I have lived in for over 30 years, I began Journal 2. This Journal was to be about the town I was born and lived in for the first 17 years of my life.

I also added hand drawn family trees showing my genealogy to Journal 1, and redid them for Journal 2. Why? Because there is no guarantee that any of my Journals will survive, but hopefully at least one will, and I want my genealogy available in it for any descendants.

It has been a lot of fun dredging up old memories - childhood friends, games we played (Kick the Can, anyone?), schools I went to, teachers I remember and so on. Describing the town I lived in (Ajax) was important, because when I lived there it was a village and now it is almost a suburb of Toronto. As I write I remind myself of what I like to read in old journals and pioneer memories - not only do I want to hear about the people who lived there but also how they lived, what they ate, what they wore, how much money they earned, and so on. I add those details to my journals.

The wonderful thing is that adding a simple detail (a memory of the milkman carrying clanging bottles of milk to our front door) often brings back a flood of other memories, such as my mother cooking on a coal burning stove and how archaic that seems now in our days of microwaves! I think (hope) my descendants might get a kick out of reading that, and how we did not own a television until I was 10 years old.

Journal #2 is well underway, I have about 25 pages to go before it too is filled. I have a third journal (100 pages) ready and waiting, and my son knows they are to be his at some time in the future. Hopefully he will take over as caretaker of all the family photos, documents and journals until the next generation has someone ready and willing to carry on with the job.

It's fun to think about which of your grandchildren or nieces or nephews you might groom for the job. I have several grandchildren but one grandson age 10 has already expressed great interest in being the family historian and loves the Ancestor Cards I created last summer.

What more could a genealogist ask for?

June 23, 2008

Coffin Plate Genealogy Inscription

Coffin plates are decorative adornments attached to the coffin that contain free genealogical information like the name and death date of the deceased. Here is the inscription from a coffin plate I spotted in an antique store in Massachusetts

Henry F. Fisk
Died May 17, 1900
age 2 days

More Coffin Plates (almost 400 now!) can be freely viewed at

June 22, 2008

Genealogy Antique Treasure - Trial Eights Crew 1875

Found in an antique store - a framed photo with ids


Winning Crew

H J Lewis
2. H L Young
3. J H Lloyd
4. H St. J. Wilding
5. R P Stedman
6. R C Smith
STK/H T Kemp
COX/ C Pendlebury

December 1875

I did a little research and learned that LMBC is Lady Margaret Boat Club of St John's College. It seems to have something to do with Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Clubs but perhaps a reader will know more than I do.

June 21, 2008

American Shipmasters Association Examination New York

Here is another genealogy inscription spotted on a framed certificate in an antique shop in Massachusetts

American Shipmasters Association Examination New York

Benjamin A. Sheldon
March -- 1873

Nautical Science & Seamanship

Approved Shipmates


-- Taylor
Ambrose Snow
T. W. Ellison
Geo. W. Black
T. ----

Note: The American Shipmasters' Association was organized in 1861 to improve the American Mercantile Marine Service and the general skill and moral character of those in the seamen's profession. Licenses had previously been issued intermittently by the United States Steamboat Inspection Service, but no continuous effort had been made until John D. Hones formed the American Shipmasters'Association in 1861. The Association was made up of maritime insurers, shipbuilders, government officials and maritime experts.

The ASA began issuing certificates to qualified mates and masters of sailing vessels receiving the first application from Captain Isaiah Pratt in September 1861.

To receive a certificate, seamen had to meet rigorous requirements, including six years experience at sea and a high score on the nautical science and seaman ship
examinations administered by the ASA. Applicants also had to produce testimonials to their good character.

Each certificate was valid for one year and could be renewed annually. Seamen retained their ASA numbers for life and a number once used was never reissued.

The ASA continued its program of certification until 1900, by which time Federal law required that most shipmasters be licensed by the federal governmentof the United States. It then became known as the American Bureau of Shipping.

June 20, 2008

Finding ancestors on Ships to Canada Before 1865

In 1844 18,330 immigrants arrived at the port of Montreal - and that's just ONE port, so imagine how many arrived at all Canadian ports in total.

Before 1865, it wasn't mandatory that passenger lists of ships arriving in Canada be kept. So you may find a few stray lists, or shipping company records - such as the JJ Cooke Shipping Records online at

These are sailings from Londonderry to Philadelphia, Quebec, St. John,New Brunswick, and Louisiana from 1847-71, or shipping agent reports like the Hawke Papers, Records of assisted passage, and so on.

There are other records that can substitute for a passenger list. For example, is extracting newspaper reports of arrivals and also listing names of passengers who took steamboats once they landed. In many cases you can consider yourself lucky if you find an ancestor on one of these lists!

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 These may have your ancestor's name travelling inland once he or she arrived in Canada.

Here is an example of the variety of records that fill in the gaps of pre 1865 Canadian passenger lists ---

Nancy Boggs, 39, Sarah Boggs 17 and Eliza Boggs 14 were listed, along with several others, in a letter that A. C. Buchanan, Chief Agent in the Quebec Immigration Office sent on 19 June 1846.

He prefaces the list of names with "the undermentioned person have been sent out by the Londonderry Union and I have paid them here a sum equal to 10/Stg. each. They are well recommended and the entire of them young and old are well conducted and may be safely employed as servants."

There is more, but this is just an example to show that if you happened to be looking for Nancy or someone else in that letter, you'd be very lucky to find this much!

So, hoping I haven't discouraged anyone - here's two URLs for Ships arriving in Canada

June 19, 2008

Silverplated Victorian Coffee Tankard with Genealogy

Yet another Genealogy related item I found in an antique store (this one I bought to add to my collection of Victorian Coffee Tankards) had this engraved faintly under the spout:

Presented to
A. M. Hilborn
By the
Blair Scholars
16 April 1887

The tankard was made in Toronto (Ontario Canada). I did a little checking and although I could not find A. M. Hilborn easily, Blair was a town in what is now Cambridge Ontario (Waterloo County) and Hilborn was a common name there.

As well, I think this may have been presented to a teacher by her students in a Blair School, but that's only a guess. I don't think an ornate coffee tankard would have been given to a man. I hope A. M. Hilborn's descendants see this and contact me to fill me in on details of his or her life.

June 18, 2008

Obenauer-Keifer Marriage Certificate

Here is another genealogy find in an antique store - a framed marriage certificate from Buffalo New York

Adam Obenauer from Meitelheim? Bavaria married Barbara Keifer (Heifer?) of Buffalo in Buffalo New York on 19 February 1884

Witnesses: Jacob Keizel & George Greiner.

Married by the Pastor of the German Evangelical St. Stephen's Church

June 17, 2008

Antiques and Genealogy Treasures

One thing I've noticed, being an avid antique hunter and collector, is that quite often you will see antiques with a genealogy interest. I always carry a small memo pad and pen in my purse and recently I began jotting down the genealogy notations or inscriptions on antique items.

The more obvious antiques are framed marriage certificates or baptism records, as well as identified photographs or photo albums. Postcards have names and addresses as well as the sender's names. But there are more obscure genealogy items just waiting to be found -- a silver inscribed baby's cup, an engraved trophy, soldier's framed photos or records of service, etc

On a weekend trip I found a 10 inch high silver plated trophy cup engraved

Interstate Association Trophy
Buffalo Audubon Club
May 31, 1915
First prize won by George N. Fish

Perhaps one of George's descendants will read this post and reunite with the item or at the very least, learn about George's interests.

June 16, 2008

Keeping a Journal for History & Genealogy

I wonder how many of us read those old Pioneer Memories and think "Boy I wish my ancestor had kept his (or her) memories in a journal!"

I've often thought that. I've often wished my ancestor were mentioned in a Pioneer or Settler's Memory book.... then one day I realized that all the years I'd spent wishing I could have put to better use. Why not write my own "Pioneer Memories"?

I know, I'm not a pioneer. But I have lived in the same small town for 35 years. I could start keeping track of friends and neighbours and relatives, documenting events and other happenings. I don't mean spy on them! Basically I started a journal with a two-fold purpose

I started with my memories of arriving in the town I now live in, the people I met, jobs I held, who I worked with, socialized with and so on. I talked about changes in the town since I first arrived - such as new subdivisions where once there was forest. I drew little maps showing who lived where. I made a decision early on to not put in any gossip or unsubstantiated stories unless they were humourous and of a positive nature.

As I began writing, more ideas began to unfold. I copied out obituaries, births and marriage notices from our local newspaper. I wrote about my friends' parents or backgrounds - things like "Linda F.'s father was Harold and he arrived from England sometime around WW2" "Louise M has 2 sisters named Margaret and Ethel" Essentially I simply wrote about the people I had met and everything I could remember about them.

My journal was a leather bound old-fashioned journal with hand made paper which I purchased from Iona Handcrafted Books. For me it made writing in it much more fun and something I looked forward to at the end of each day. I felt like Leonardo Da Vinci keeping his notebooks for posterity! But you could use any kind of journal that suits you

As Journal #1 began to fill, my husband suggested I start another one for the town I grew up in. In that one I would write about my memories of childhood friends, their parents and so on. Since Journal #1 had begun to take on a historical as well as genealogical slant, I thought this was a good idea and Journal #2 was born.

I filled 100 pages which was Journal #1 in 6 months. I'm going to talk about Journal #2 and what I've done to ensure the journals are cared for in my next post.

June 12, 2008

Arabic Transliterator

Arabic Transliterator

New Features on the One-Step website

The One-Step site already had transliterators between
Hebrew and English, between Cyrillic and English, and between
Greek and English. Recently a transliterator for Arabic has been

This appears in the Foreign Language section of the One-
Step site.

Everton’s Genealogical Helper Adds New Online Edition!

New Online Edition of Everton’s Genealogical Helper will debut July 1! Subscribe today for only $10.00!

LOGAN, Utah, June 12, 2008. Genealogy Online, Inc., publisher of Everton’s Genealogical Helper, today, announced the publication of the Genealogical Helper in an Online Edition. The Online Edition is an identical copy of the 176-page paper edition – complete with hotlinks to the hundreds of website addresses found therein.

Launch Date – The new Online Edition will launch on July 1 – simultaneous with the home delivery and newsstand date of the paper edition of the July-August issue.

Free Access – Subscribers to the traditional Genealogical Helper will have 100% FREE online access to the magazine – with no extra fees whatsoever. See for sign-up information.

Online Edition subscriptionsEverton’s Genealogical Helper, Online Edition, will sell for just $12.00 per year! That is only $2 per issue! And it’s only $10.00 for subscriptions made before July 1 at or phone 1-800-443-6325.

Net Family History – An important feature of Everton’s Genealogical Helper is the magazine within a magazine entitled Net Family History. New information specific to using the Internet for genealogy is always found in this portion of the bimonthly publication. Extensive website reviews are always located here, as well as articles dealing with Internet-related activities.

Why an online edition? – Every issue of Everton’s Genealogical Helper now contains hundreds of website addresses. The Internet is where some of the most exciting genealogical resource advances are taking place, so it’s required that information about these resources be disseminated to the Helper’s thousands of readers in every issue. Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Online Edition, will allow readers to go from their paper edition to the hotlinked Online Edition and access any of the websites with just a keystroke or two – no more typing in those lengthy website addresses! The Online Edition offers more than just the links found in the magazine – it is the entire magazine itself!

Format & hostingEverton’s Genealogical Helper, Online Edition, will be in pdf format, readable by anyone, with any computer running an Adobe Acrobat Reader (Available at as a FREE download.) The Online Edition will be hosted by, Inc.

Why subscribe to the Genealogical Helper? – Subscribe to have access to the Helper’s how-to & historical articles, Net Family History (see above), genealogical sharing, extensive book and CD-ROM reviews & announcements, queries, the most complete event calendar available anywhere, and hundreds of ads detailing new products and services. In addition to these day-to-day features, you will also have access to the NEW updated, hotlinked Directory of Genealogical and Historical Societies – to be published in the Sept/Oct and Nov-Dec issues! Edited by Leland K. Meitzler, the Helper is guaranteed to help you extend your lines and fill in those blanks in your family tree.

WHAT A DEAL! – Your cost for a full subscription (the paper magazine & online access both) is less than 3 cents per page – delivered to your home, and now accessible online. Subscribe to the Online Edition alone for just over a penny a page! Subscribe by July 1 and it’s less than a penny per page!

Subscribe NOW at: or phone 1-800-443-6325.


About Genealogy Online, Inc.
Genealogy Online, dba Everton Publishers, is the publisher of Everton’s Genealogical Helper, now in its 62nd year of helping genealogists find their ancestors. Genealogy Online, Inc. also publishes the Handybook for Genealogists, 11th edition, a top-selling guidebook for family historians. Their website is found at: Also see:

June 11, 2008

French Revolutionary Calendar Converter and Muslim Calendar Converter

French Revolutionary Calendar Converter and Muslim Calendar Converter

New Features on the One-Step website

The One-Step site has had a Jewish Calendar Converter for
some time. Now two more calendar converters were added to
the One-Step site -- one for the French Revolutionary
Calendar and the other for the Muslim Calendar. The French
Revolutionary calendar is unique in that it takes
decimalization to the extreme, and the Muslim calendar is
purely lunar with no synchronization to the seasons.

These appear in the Calendar section of the One-Step site.

June 10, 2008

Searching Reference Books

New Features on the One-Step website

There are several reference books containing Jewish
surnames in various countries. Most of these books have been
written by Alexander Beider and one by Lars Menk. A new One-Step
form has been developed for searching for names in these

This new form appears in the Holocaust and Eastern Europe section of the One-Step site.

June 9, 2008

Phonetic Name Matching

New Features on the One-Step website

Steve Morse, together with Alexander Beider, has developed
a method of phonetic name matching that has advantages over
soundex name matching. Soundex matching considers the way
the name is spelled whereas phonetic matching considers the
way the name is pronounced. The pronunciation is language
specific, and a determination of the language is made from
the spelling of the name. As a consequence, a soundex
search will result an a large number of false hits that the
researcher needs to examine whereas a phonetic search will
give relatively few false hits.

The phonetic name matching has been or is about to be
included on several existing One-Step search forms. These
include the gold form for searching for passengers in the
Ellis Island database (coming soon) as well as the One-Step
Dachau Concentration Camp search form. In addition, the
two new search forms described below (Searching Naturalization
Records and Searching Reference Books) also include
phonetic name matching.

June 8, 2008

New Orleans Ship Records

New Features on the One-Step website

A commercial website,, has the ship records
for the major US ports These include the Ports of New York,
Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Galveston, and San
Francisco. The One-Step website already had a trio of
search forms for each of those ports -- one to simplify the
searching for passengers, the second to provide for direct
access to the manifest microfilms if you know the roll and
frame number, and the third to determine the roll and frame
number for any ship arrival. Now the One-Step site has
added such tools for the Port of New Orleans as well.

These new forms appear in the Other Ports section of the
One-Step site.

Also see New Orleans ships passenger lists at Don't miss the JJ Cooke Shipping Lists arriving in New Orleans 1847-1871

June 7, 2008

Searching Naturalization Records in One Step

New Features on the One-Step website

A commercial website,, has collections of
Naturalization Records for several states. There are
currently about 2 million records in this collection.
However the search facility for finding people in these
collections is very limited in its abilities. A new
One-Step form has been developed to provide flexible
searches through these records.

This new form appears in the Vital Records section of the
One-Step site.

More naturalization records can be freely searched at