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December 31, 2008

More Census Records Coming Online in 2009 is bringing some great genealogy databases online in 2009. There's no set dates yet but here's the scoop on one topic area - census records.

The most complete online collection of state census records will be exploding with new additions — more than 10 million records and 50,000 images.

U.S. and World Deluxe Subscriptions will be able to see

Improved U.S. Federal Censuses,1790–1890
You’ll soon have access to even cleaner, crisper U.S. Census images that will create more accurate indexes — including thousands of previously unreadable names.

U.S. Native American Records from Southeastern States, 1850–1930

Track down your Native-American ancestors in original documents listing individuals and families from southern tribes.

World Deluxe Subscriptions will have access to

The Complete Canada Census

You’ll soon be able to search indexes from 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1916 to complete this invaluable collection of Canadian Censuses. This will make the only place online to find the complete collection of Canada Census indexes.

Mexican Census

The 1930 Mexico Census — the only Mexican federal census available to the public — includes the names of about 16 million individuals. You’ll soon be able to search for your Mexican ancestors and their ages, birthplaces, occupations, religions and more.

Australia Electoral Rolls, 1901–1936

You’re getting 8 million new names added to the existing collection of Australian Electoral Rolls — an incredibly helpful tool in a country where voting is compulsory.

Meantime, you can search for your ancestors in the Complete US Federal Census Records online 1790-1930

December 29, 2008

Fannie Slaven Family Photo - Who is in the picture?

Fannie Slavens Family

This photo was tucked inside an antique Civil War Era Family Photo Album I purchased. Inside the album the inscription read "Sarah J. Taylor Album Presented by Thomas Taylor June 1871"

Can you identify anyone in this photo? For a list of other identified photos in this album, see Civil War Era Taylor Family Album with CDVs (Cartes de Visites)

December 26, 2008

Are You in this Photo? Ajax Public School 1945

Ajax Public School 1945

Are you in this photo? The only person I can identify is Charles Bonar who is the young boy sitting behind the girl holding the sign. Charles is wearing a striped shirt and suspenders.

Ajax is in Ontario Canada and was a small village in 1945, built primarly to house workers in the Munitions Factory during WW2.

To see a larger image, please click on the photo.

December 23, 2008

Wisconsin Divorce Index, 1965-1984 online

Wisconsin Divorce Index, 1965-1984 are now online on

This database contains an index to divorces granted in Wisconsin between 1965 and 1984. Information listed includes names of husband and wife, ages of husband and wife, divorce date, and divorce county.

December 22, 2008

1911 Irish Census for Antrim, Kerry & Down online

Library and Archives, Canada signed an agreement with the National Archives of Ireland in December 2005 and the two institutions have been working to make the censuses of Ireland for 1901 and 1911 accessible online, free of charge.

Library and Archives Canada's contribution included digitizing microfilm reels, linking images to the database and making the records searchable by name.

Irish-Canadian Documentary Heritage at Library and Archives Canada

"(Ottawa) December 22, 2008 - Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce that its partner, the National Archives of Ireland, has launched the next important phase of an 1911 online census research tool for the Irish counties of Antrim, Kerry, and Down. The census records for all counties for 1911 and for 1901 will be made available online throughout 2009."

Delaware Marriage Records, 1744-1912

Delaware Marriage Records, 1744-1912 are now on

Information listed in this database may include: names of bride and groom, ages of bride and groom, marriage date, and marriage place. There are many early marriages in this set of records. Great news for those searching for ancestors in Delaware

December 21, 2008

Before Albany: An Archaeology of Native-Dutch Relations in the Capital Region 1600-1664

Before Albany: An Archaeology of Native-Dutch Relations in the Capital Region 1600-1664 by James W. Bradley is my latest find. I bought this book as a gift to myself and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Mr. Bradley covers the history of New Netherland and various settlements such as Fort Orange, Beverwijck (present day Albany), New Amsterdam (now New York City). He presents the history and the past through archaeological finds in the area and gives the reader an in depth and fascinating view into the lives and relationships of the Dutch settlers and the native populations, particularly the Mohawks.

Since I am descended from many Dutch settlers in New Netherland and from a Mohawk woman Ots-Toch who married Cornelis Van Slyke in the Albany area circa 1640, I am finding the book fascinating. Many of the early Dutch and English families that I have encountered in my research are discussed in this book.

The book is chock full of drawings, diagrams and paintings of the various items unearthed in archeaological digs of the Rensellaerswyck Colony, and of images of what the various settlements and buildings probably looked like. It is not the kind of book you can finish quickly, I find myself poring over pages very slowly and letting the wealth of information and facts sink in.

Anyone with Dutch or native ancestors in New Netherland in this time period of the early 17th century will no doubt find this a fascinating glimpse into their ancestors lives.

December 19, 2008

Quebec City Passenger Lists 1865-1900 online

Quebec City Passenger Lists Index 1865-1900 are now online at Library and Archives Canada

This LAC database allows you to search by name of passengers to access digitized images of original passenger lists for arrivals at Quebec from 1865 to 1900 which list the name, age, country of origin, occupation and destination of each passenger.

Browse more Canadian ships passenger lists

December 18, 2008

Michigan Vollick Family Dead Ends

Here are some of my missing Vollick (aka Follick) relatives and ancestors, last seen in Michigan

Levina Vollick born circa 1841 Ontario married Henry May. Last spotted in 1880 census in Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan. There is a chance that she remarried and is the Lovina Coe found in 1900 in Grand Rapids Ward 6, Kent, Michigan

Hestor (Estor Mary) Vollick born circa 1842 in Upper Canada (present day Ontario) Married Francis William Mills. Last sighting: 1880 census for Wales, St. Clair, Michigan

Martha Jane Follick born 17 July 1846 in Hespeler Ontario. Married Charles Whiteman. Last seen in 1910 census for Detroit, Michigan

December 17, 2008

Michigan Dead Ends (no pun intended)

I have a lot of Michigan dead ends in my genealogy family tree. These are ancestors or relatives who disappear from the records and for whom I am unable to find anything more.

Just in case there are other researchers looking for the same families, here is my brief summary of who's missing in Michigan in the Butler Family and where and when I last saw them.

Caroline (Carrie A.) Kirsch born 2 April 1857 Carrick Tp. Bruce Co. Ontario. Found in 1920 Detroit Michigan with daughter Kathleen and son in law Lambert Peter Garth. After 1920 she goes missing.

Kathleen (Katie) Butler born 02 Sep 1889 in Ontario. Married to Lambert Peter Gerth. Last spotted in the 1930 census St Clair Shores, Macomb, Michigan. Katie may have died 1950 to 1962.

Pauline (Lillie) M. Butler (sister to Katie above) born 20 February 1893 Ontario. Married to James Arthur Sullivan. Last seen in the 1930 census for St Clair Shores, Macomb, Michigan

December 16, 2008

Jews to New Netherland (New York)

Back in 2000, I was approached by the Jewish Archives in Recife Brazil, asking for my help in identifying the 23 Jewish refugees who were on board the ship St. Charles sailing from Recife to New Netherland in 1654. According to the Archives in Recife, the first Jewish Synagogue in America was built in Recife, this is known from archeological excavations.

I have a small connection with the Dutch settlement in Recife Brazil through my 8th great grandmother Maria Post who was born there and baptised on 6 June 1649 in the Dutch church in Recife. See FN 1:

The Archives interest was in the names of the refugees, and what their lives were like in New Netherland. As far as I am aware, there is no passenger list for the St. Charles. Names of the Jewish refugees may be able to be pieced together by using other documents. I managed to find the names of some of the adult passengers from other records -- mainly court documents of the time. The names I found (using primary records only) were: Abram Israel, David Israel, Asser Levy, Moses Ambrosius & Judicq de Mereda

One source I consulted stated that there were 23 Jews "big and little" (meaning adults and children)

On 7 Sept. 1654 Capt. Jacques de la Motthe aka Motte, skipper of the St. Charles, appeared in court with a petition. He requires payment for freight and board 'of the Jews whom he brought here from Cape St. Anthony". de la Motte states that "the Netherlanders who came over with them" are not included in his suit and that they have paid him. Solomon Pietersen "a Jew" appears and says that "900 guilders of the 2500 are paid and that there are 23 souls, big and little [meaning adults and children] who must pay equally" [Source: The Records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1674 Anno Domini, edited by Berthold Fernow in 7 volumes. reprint Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc. Baltimore. 1976 Vol. I Minutes of the Court of Burgomasters and Schepens 1653-1655 p 240]

It is not clear if Solomon Pietersen was on board the ship so I have not added his name to the list. There are some published materials on the Jewish refugees who came from Brazil to New Netherland, but I have not attempted to find them. I have found the names of several other Jewish settlers to New Netherland who may have been passengers on St. Charles -- but they may also have arrived before or after the Recife refugees.

From what can be pieced together about them, it seem probable that the twenty-three consisted of six family heads---four men (with their wives) and two other women who in all likelihood were widows, since they were counted separately---and thirteen young people. The heads of the families were Asser Levy, Abraham Israel De Piza (or Dias), David Israel Faro, Mose Lumbosco, and ---the two women---Judith (or Judica) Mercado) (or De Mercado, or de Mereda) and Ricke (or Rachel) Nunes. [Source: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite by Stephen Birmingham]

The Jewish Archives representative informed me that they plan on establishing a Jewish Center Study at the old Synagogue, and they will place the information and sources I find for others to use. I do not know if this happened.

Historical Background

On January 26, 1654, approximately 150 Jewish families of Portuguese background fled the city of Recife, in Pernambuco, Brazil. By September a number of these refugees had established the first community of Jews in the future United States.

Known as Sephardim (Jews of Spanish-Portuguese extraction), theirs was a complex saga. After 1497, the kingdom of Portugal outlawed Jewish life, causing many to flee to Holland where a climate of acceptance prevailed. From there, some migrated on to Pernambuco, a colony of the Dutch West India Company in modern day Brazil. Their community flourished there until the Dutch eventually surrendered Pernambuco to the Portuguese and the Sephardim were again forced to flee.

After being driven ashore in Jamaica by Spanish ships, twenty-three members of the community, along with a group of Dutch Calvinists, made their way to New Netherland (New York)—another colony run by the Dutch West India Company. Peter Stuyvesant, Director General of all Dutch possessions in North America, feared the indigent newcomers would burden the colony but when he motioned to eject the Jewish newcomers the Company refused his petition (many of the company's shareholders themselves being Jewish). [Library of Congress.]

Helpful Sources

A book cited by Stokes in his Iconography: Samuel Oppenheim, _The Early History of the Jews in New York, 1654-1664_ (1909) As cited by Russell Shorto in The Island at the Center of the World: Hershkowitz, Leo, "New Amsterdam's Twenty-Three Jews -- Myth or Reality?" In Shalom Goldman, ed., _Hebrew and the Bible in America: The First Two Centuries_; Hanover, N.H.: Brandeis Unirversity Press, 1993. [Howard Swain]

Harry Macy has an interesting article in the latest (vol 15, nos 2-3; Spring/Summer 2004) NYGBS newsletter now titled The New York Researcher. The article is titled: "1654-2004: The 350th Anniversay of New York's First Jewish Settlers" and is on pp 35-37. In a footnote he mentions that Leo Hershkowitz has "compiled a probable list of those coming in 1654 and the next few years." This is in his article, "Original Inventories of Early New York jews (1682-1763)" in American Jewish History vol 90 (2002) pp 246-47, note 7. Mr. Macy''s article lists many other sources of interest to those researching these early Jewish settlers. [Howard Swain]

(Summer 2004) issue of "de Halve Maen", the quarterly publication of The Holland Society of New York. It is Professor Leo Hershkowitz' article, "By chance or by choice: Jews in New Amsterdam 1654", pages 23-30. Herkowitz says that de Peereboom (The Peartree) sailed from Amsterdam to New Amsterdam on 8 July 1654. New Amsterdam is now New York City.

Among those who disembarked were Jacob Barsimon, probably with Asser Levy and Solomon Pieterson. These were the first known Jews to set foot in the Dutch settlement...

"The 23 Jews whose voyage had originated in Brazil arrived shortly after "de Peereboom". On page 29 Herkowitz says, "Though Jews asked for permission to build a synagogue, it was not granted by Stuyvesant, and this issue was never pursued..." [courtesy of Dorothy Koenig]

Visit's free JEWISH FAMILY HISTORY COLLECTION for access to their Jewish records

FN 1: C.J. Wasch, Doopregister der Hollanders in Brazilie 1633-1654, (1889), Adriaen Crijnen Post, Clara Moockers. Wt Christoffel ---, Andelijina Caron, Dorothea Montanier.

December 15, 2008

First Canadian Christmas Carol - The Huron Carol Jesous Ahatonhia

The first Canadian Christmas Carol was written by a Jesuit Missionary (Jean de Brebeuf) circa 1643 for the Huron Indians in the wilderness of what is now Ontario. The Jesuits ministered to the Hurons at Ste Marie - a wilderness fortified village.

In 1649 the Iroquois, enemies of the Hurons, attacked and the Jesuit fathers set fire to the village fort rather than see it fall into Iroquois hands. Father Brebeuf and 7 others were tortured and killed by the Iroquois. The eight martyred missionaries were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930, and are known in Canada as the Canadian Martyrs.

The village has been reconstructed at the original site and is now a living museum as well as complete working village. Ste Marie Among the Hurons is a very popular tourist attraction in the Georgian Bay area and it is not far from my home.

Written in the Huron language, Father Brebeuf's Huron Carol is called Jesous Ahatonhia meaning Jesus is Born. It was not translated until the early 1900s at which time it was translated to French. In 1926 it was finally translated to English. It is still a very popular hymn sung by school children and in churches. The English version is called "TWas in the Moon of Wintertime" and it is a haunting melody based on a 16th century French Canadian Melody.

I love this carol, I find it very stirring and can picture the Hurons sitting with the Jesuit fathers in the middle of our cold snowy winters, listening to the missionaries sing. As well it has many meaningful connections for me - first, I live near Ste. Marie Among the Hurons. Secondly, Father Brebeuf, now the patron saint of Canada, baptised my half-9th great grand uncle Francois-Joseph Hertel in Trois-Rivieres in 1642 during the short time he was in Quebec recuperating from a broken shoulder. Lastly, I am descended from Francois-Joseph Hertel's half sister Ots Toch, a half Mohawk, half French woman from New York who went on to marry the Dutchman Cornelis Van Slyke. The Mohawk were part of the Iroquois Confederacy, the enemy of the Hurons at Ste. Marie.

And now without further ado, here is the Huron Carol Jesous Ahatonhia on video sung in the original Huron language version followed by the French version and a slightly different English version translated by Father Kierans

Huron Wendat Language Version

Estennialon de tsonwe
Jesous ahatonhia
Onnawatewa d' oki
n' onwandaskwaentak
Ennonchien skwatrihotat
n' onwandilonrachatha
Jesous ahatonhia Jesous ahatonhia

English Version by Middleton, most often sung

The Huron Carol ('Twas In The Moon of Winter Time)

'Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim and wondering hunters heard the hymn,
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark the tender babe was found;
A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped his beauty round
But as the hunter braves drew nigh the angel song rang loud and high
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt with gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free, O sons of Manitou
The holy Child of earth and heaven is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy who brings you beauty peace and joy.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Thanks to FootnoteMaven for inviting me to go Christmas Blog Caroling.

December 14, 2008

Cabinet of Curiosities: A Christmas Toast!

My great-grandmother Sarah Jane Simpson, who was born in England in 1862, owned this toast rack. Sarah lived in Ramsgate England, where she kept a boarding house. I suspect she used this toast rack on the table for her family and boarders.

In Victorian times, toast was made and then placed in a rack to be set out on the table. The toast rack, along with many other small items owned by Sarah, were given to me by my grandmother (her daughter). It is always difficult to know how or when to use such items but I have a yearly use for this toast rack.

Here is Sarah's toast rack with napkins which I set on our table for the Christmas Dinner. I also own a set of Sarah's silverware, but it is a set made specifically for fish dinners, so I really can't use it. I've tried to come up with ways to use the other treasures left to me by my Grandmother - items which belonged to her, to her mother Sarah and to her grandmother (also named Sarah) but to no avail. So the toast rack conversion to a napkin holder pleases me greatly.

Q & A Time: Ships Passenger List ca 1859 to USA or Canada?

I often respond to queries on mailing lists. I established 2 Rootsweb mailing lists for Ships Passenger lists ( & and another 2 for Naturalization records ( & several years ago and as List Admin I follow them closely. But I also read other immigration mailing lists and jump in when I can. The following is an example that I thought might be of interest. It's a query and it's very well written (which sad to say is unusual on mailing lists)

This query gives us details of the ancestors being sought. It explains where the questioner has looked (so we don't waste our time by going over old ground) and it explains exactly what he wants to find. It provides a nice summary of resources he has used, which is so helpful to others who want to help, but is rarely given by those asking for help. Usually all you see is "I have looked everywhere for..." Sadly that's not very precise, and when I see that phrase in a query, I am reluctant to spend time hunting as I may find out I've spent an hour or more searching the same resources as the questioner!

Because this query was so well-written, I took some time to have a hunt and I'm happy to say I found his ancestors. His private reply to me (which I won't publish in full here as it was not sent to the public mailing list) said in part:

I was resigned to the fact that I would never find them, and I never would have dreamt of searching the site as you did. That was incredibly resourceful.

There might be some readers who also did not realize the different ways one can search websites, so here's the scoop (with some minor editing for brevity)

QUESTION: On 12 Dec 2008 at 22:30, xxx wrote:

Hello listers! Sorry for the length of this post, but after exhausting every source I can think of, this is my last chance.

I am searching the ship on which my ancestors arrived in the New World. I believe my GGG grandfather ADALBERT KARL, spouse KATHARINA MULTRUS and their four children ROSA, JOHN, JOSEPH, and ALBERT from HRADZEN, BOHEMIA, AUSTRIA near PILSEN departed BREMEN in 1859. They do not show up in any incoming passenger lists in America. To no
avail I have searched the Steve Morse site using the following wildcards: ada* ade* cat* kat* ros* joh* jos* alb* and surname kar* car* har* and ear*. This leads me to believe they did not enter through the U.S.

The reason I believe they departed Bremen is because in the1860 U.S. Census from Allegany, NY they indicate they were from Bremen, Germany. However in every future census, they correctly state they are from Austria. In Adalbert's obituary from 1903 it states that he and his family of four mistakenly went to DAYTON, OHIO instead of DAYTONS SUMMIT, NEW YORK.

Here is a summary of the records I have searched to date:

a) Every U.S. arrival site - including the Steve Morse site - for every combination I can think of.
b) All of the websites of pre-1865 passsenger lists for Canadian Arrivals on the Olive Tree Genealogy site.
c) The "Germans To America" Series.
d) "German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1855-1862"
e) The Leo Baca Book "Czech Immigration Passenger Lists, Volumes 1-9 "
f) I have requested citizenship records of Adalbert Karl in the hope that they would reveal the date and place of entry into the U.S. but Immigration wrote me
that there is no record. He was naturalized in 1866 according to the local county records, but these shed no light on his date or mode of entry to the U.S..
g) I have written to the Ship List and other genealogy listservs in the hope of finding a morsel of information that I could follow up on. I posted on the message boards and received a response from a gentleman apparently
writing from the Czech Republic who informed me, I quote:

"Accordings to the proceeding protocoll of Regional Office of Plzen asked on 1859 Adalbert Karl from Hradzen (Hradec u Stoda) for issuing of emigrant passport to USA...."

While promising, my replies to this post requesting further information have never been answered. I am willing to accept that the absence of data means that my ancestors must have entered through Canada on some impossible-to-trace ship. But I must at least ask the question if there are any stones I have left unturned.

My questions are this: what would be the typical route for a family from Austria, departing Bremen for America in 1859? Assuming they departed Bremen, would they have stopped in the British Isles? And would there be a record of this arrival or departure? And then, would they typically have arrived at Quebec if they were bound for Dayton? Once at Quebec, would their voyage to the wrong Dayton be via the U.S. or Canada?

You have done a great job of writing up your research and asking for help.

I think I have found your Adalbert on the ships list "Republic" arriving NY 7 Nov. 1859 from Bremen. His origin is given as Bohemia, Czechoslovakia and he is 51 years

I'm familiar with the NY lists and they are very difficult to read sometimes. Some passengers have no first name in the index. Some have only an initial.

I found your ancestor by searching without any names at all and only using his date of birth (which was the only thing missing from your excellent query below) and his year of arrival.

He is misindexed on Ancestry as "Balbert Kar" Had you searched with wildcards on surname for "kar*" and no first name, he should have shown up. But sometimes the Ancestry search glitches and a result will not appear one time, but will appear the next!

In any case, with "Balbert" are the following individuals

Adalbert b ca 1852
Catharine b ca 1818
Johann b ca 1842
Joseph b ca 1849
Rosalia b ca 1840

This appears to be the correct family. Enjoy!

Note: more examples of Good Queries and Bad Queries can be found at Good Query - Bad Query

December 13, 2008

December Ancestor Most Wanted - Quebec, Michigan, Ontario

December Ancestor Most Wanted - $75.00 Reward

The Ancestor Most Wanted this month is not mine, but my husband's. William Ivis Massey was born 16 Nov 1847 in Quebec to William Massey and Ellen (Eleanor) Montgomery.

The last confirmed record of William was in the 1861 census for St. Marys Ontario as a 14 year old living with his parents. We knew he was deceased by August 1912 as his brother Thomas Massey's' obit mentions an "only brother James Massey"

I had found an entry in the 1881 Census St. Thomas, Elgin Co. Ontario which I believed might be William Ivis Massey and a son George William.

William MASSEY 32 Irish born Quebec Occ: Brakeman Religion:Church of England
George MASSEY 2 Irish born Ontario Religion:Church of England

But who had William married? He is listed as married in this 1881 census but where is his wife? How could I prove or disprove that he was William Ivis? No birth record was found for a George Massey born ca 1879 in Ontario so that was no help.

I hunted for William and George (born ca 1879), convinced this was our man.

I found a marriage record that could have been George - but it was badly written and hard to read. The index showed it as

Name: George H Massey
Birth Place: Ontario
Age: 22
Father Name: W F Massey
Mother Name: W Wheeley [Wheeling?]
Estimated birth year: abt 1879
Spouse Name: Elizabeth H Nagle
Spouse's Age: 24
Spouse Birth Place: On
Spouse Father Name: George Nagle
Spouse Mother Name : Sarah Charles
Marriage Date: 17 Aug 1901
Marriage Place: Essex
Marriage County: Essex
George was a fireman

Could the father "W F Massey" be W I (for Ivis)? I could not find a marriage for a William Massey and "W Wheeley" or variants

Finally this year I found a George William Massey born Jan 1878 in Ontario, living in Detroit Michigan in the 1900 census. He was with his mother Jennie Orr age 37 and born May 1863 in Ontario, his stepfather Andrew T. Orr age 32, and siblings (all born Michigan) Ellen E Massay [sic] 14, James Massay 9, William Massay 7 and Jeanett Orr 1. The census claims that George immigrated to Michigan in 1881.

This looked good - it seems quite possible that George was the son of William found in the 1881 census for St. Thomas. Possibly Jennie the mother had gone on ahead to Michigan? William and George must have followed shortly after the 1881 census was taken, and then more children were born (Ellen, James and William) in Michigan.

The fact that the daughter's name was Ellen and the last born son William gave more credence to my theory that this William was our William Ivis, son of William and Ellen.

William, the father of George, must have died between the birth of little 7 year old William Massey and 1 year old Jeanett Orr. So I had a death date of circa 1891-1899

I have found more clues and bits of circumstantial evidence to place William the father of George, as our William Ivis Massey.


* George is found in 1910 United States Federal Census for Detroit Ward 3, Wayne, Michigan with a spouse Elizabeth.

* He is found in World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 with wife Elizabeth Hilda [this fits with the marriage I found in Ontario in 1901]. They live at 1860 Joseph Campeau Street

* The 1920 United States Federal Census finds George & Elizabeth Massey living in Hamtramck, Wayne, Michigan with her parents. They are living at 1860 Joseph Campeau Ave

* The 1930 United States Federal Census for Groveland, Oakland, Michigan find George & Elizabeth and her Nagle relatives

The circumstantial bit of evidence linking this George to our William Ivis Massey is the finding of William Ivis's brother Frank Massey in the 1916 Border Crossing Records for Detroit Michigan. This record states that Frank and his wife Lena are visiting Frank's Uncle [sic] George Massey at 1860 Jos Campau, Detroit Michigan. George Massey who lived at 1860 Joseph Campau was Frank's nephew not his uncle but confusion over relative terms is not unusual so that does not concern me.

Other Facts

* Ellen E. Massey born Nov. 1885 Michigan married David H. Mitchell and had a daughter Ruth E. Mitchell born 1920 Michigan. Ellen's birth or marriage certificate would verify who her father was (William Ivis?) and her mother Jennie's maiden name. Ellen is found in the following census records 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930

* James Massey born Bet. 15 Sep 1890 - 1891 in Michigan married Alice (surname unknown) They had 3 known children - Donald, Douglas & Eleanor. Finding his birth or marriage record would provide parents' names. James is found in the 1900, 1910, 1920 census, not in 1930. He is also found in World War I Draft Registration Cards (fireman living Detroit, was in US Merchant Marine)

* William Massey born 05 Jun 1892 in Michigan married Olga H. Thiel and had 2 known children - Grant and Robert. Finding his birth or marriage record would provide parents' details. William is found in the following census records 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930. He is also found in World War I Draft Registration Cards (ship carpenter)

* Jeanett Orr, Jennie's daughter was born Oct 1898 in Michigan. She is in the 1900, 1910 census for Detroit Ward 9, Wayne, Michigan with her parents Andrew and Jennie. In 1920 she is with her aunt and uncle Ellen and David Mitchell in Detroit Michigan. I have not found her in 1930

* Margaret Orr, another daughter of Jennie, was born circa 1903 Michigan. She is in the 1910 census for Detroit Ward 9, Wayne, Michigan with her parents Andrew and Jennie. In 1920 and 1930 she is with her aunt and uncle Ellen and David Mitchell in Detroit Michigan

What's Missing

I cannot find Jennie or her husband Andrew Orr after 1910 in Detroit.

I cannot find a death certificate for William Ivis Massey. Did he die in Michigan? Ontario? Or elsewhere.. he worked the railroads so he may have been in another location at the time of his death

I cannot find a marriage record for William Ivis Massey and Jennie (the W Wheeley of George's marriage in 1901??) UPDATE: FOUND by Apple!

I cannot find William after 1881 in St. Thomas but we know he was alive at least until 1894, possibly until 1899.

$75.00 Reward for any one of the following

Proof of William Massey's death

Proof that George, James, Ellen and William Massey are children of William Ivis Massey and Jennie UPDATE: George is not the so of Jenny, he is from William's first wife. The birth records of James, Ellen, William and three other children have been found, proving them as children of William and Jenny Massey

Marriage record of William Massey & Jennie (or Jennie's surname) UPDATE: FOUND by Apple!

William Ivis Massey from 1881-his death (ca 1891-1899)

$25.00 Reward for any one of the following

Location of Jennie Orr after 1910

Location of James & Alice Massey after 1920

December 12, 2008

Christmas Tour: Christmas Past & Present

Christmas Tour: Christmas Past & Present

This slide show of Christmas Past & Present is 1 and 1/2 minutes long. It starts in the 1950s and ends in 2008. I hope you enjoy the glimpse into the past!

If you are unable to view the slideshow, you can click on the album below and view the photos one at a time.

Christmas Tour

December 11, 2008

Update to What's Available in 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.

Immigration Projects Online which may help you in your search for an immigrant ancestors in this challenging time period are:

* Return of Irish Catholic ( Counties Wexford & Carlow) families who Sailed from New Ross to Upper Eastern Canada in 1817
* Ships passenger lists for Peter Robinson Settlers sailing 1825 Ireland to Canada
* St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. Passenger Records 1819-1836
* Alms House Admission Foreigners & Nativity Records with Ships Names 1819 - 1840 (New York City, New York) includes individuals who had sailed into Canada first
* The Hawke Papers, letterbooks of Chief Emigrant Agent Anthony B. Hawke are available at the Archives of Ontario from 1831 to 1892. Search the searchable database 1865 - 1883
* Passenger Books of J & J Cooke, Shipping Agents with sailings from Londonderry Ireland to Quebec and St. John New Brunswick from 1847 to 1871.
* People from the Fitzwilliam estate in Ireland who settled in Ontario, 1847-1855 Settlement in East half of Ontario
* A Story of Emigration: Southwest Wicklow (Ireland) to Ontario 1840s Settlement in West half of Ontario
* Names of Emigrants from the 1845-1847 Records of James Allison, Emigrant Agent at Montreal
* Filling in the Gaps: Partial Ships Passenger Lists 1850-1855 Names of Individuals in the New York Almshouse who arrived in Canada before going on to New York (includes name of ship, date of arrival and more)
* Return of Emigrants Landed at the Port of Kingston Ontario, Canada 1861-1882 gives the final destination of the individuals, their date of arrival at Kingston and more.
* Petworth Immigrants 1832-1837
* 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
* Irish Immigrants at Grosse-Île - 33,026 immigrants whose names appear in surviving records of the Grosse-Île Quarantine Station between 1832 and 1937.
* Search most ships lists on the Internet going to
and the online InGeneas databases for immigration to Canada 1800s
* Saint John New Brunswick Customs House Passenger Lists 1815, 1832, 1833-1834 & 1837-1838 - the only known surviving lists from this time period. 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.
* Colonial Archives Database contains over 70,000 detailed descriptions of documents in the archival collection mainly of the British and French colonial periods.
* Index to Miscellaneous Immigrants to Canada Before 1865 A number of lists have been indexed by name in this database. Many of the records relate to immigrants from the British Isles to Quebec and Ontario, but there are also references to settlers in other provinces. The database also includes other types of records such as declarations of aliens and names of some Irish orphans.

December 9, 2008

Genealogy Stocking Stuffer For My Father

Photo courtesy of Annie Tobin.

The 8th Edition of Smile For the Camera: Stocking Stuffer asks us to "Show us that picture that would make a great Stocking Stuffer and tell us whose stocking you'd stuff."

The photo above is a framed early photograph of Sarah Tobin nee McGinnis, sent to me this year by a descendant, Annie Tobin. Sarah was the sister of my 2nd great grandfather Joseph McGinnis. On the back in period handwriting is written the town where Sarah was born - Katesbridge in County Down Ireland. For over 25 years I have searched for this information on where our McGinnis family originated.

My father was consumed with curiousity about this and he often spoke of wanting to know our origins in Ireland. My father died on Christmas Day when I was 13 years old and so I am stuffing his stocking with this photo. I know how happy this would have made him.

December 7, 2008

Carnival of Genealogy: Famous Canadian Ancestor Eileen Vollick, first licenced female pilot in Canada

Kathryn at LookingForAncestors Blog had a great idea for the Carnival of Genealogy: My Famous Canadian Ancestor. I've already posted about my circus cousins the Marriott Twins and my cousin who walked Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

Now I want to tell you about my third cousin twice removed, Eileen Vollick (1908-1968) who became the first Canadian woman to obtain a pilot's licence in March 1928. Eileen was related to me in two ways, and was also my 7th cousin twice removed.

"Canada’s first licenced woman pilot was born in Wiarton, Ontario. By the age of 19, she was a textile analyst at the Hamilton Cotton Company and had also won a local beauty contest. She was a spirited girl who had parachuted into Burlington Bay before taking flying lessons. It was 1927. Charles Lindbergh had just flown the Atlantic and Amelia Earhart was beginning to capture the public’s imagination. The diminutive Beach Boulevard resident had already set her sights much higher than anyone could have imagined!

She enrolled in the Flying School owned by Jack V. Elliot at Ghents Crossing on Burlington Bay. The only reservation that her instructor, Len Trip had, was that she was only 5' 1"s and had to use pillows to see out of the cockpit of the ski-equipped Curtiss JN-4 Bi-plane (affectionately known as a "Jenny")

The Comptroller of Civil Aviation issued Eileen a private pilot’s licence #77 on March 13, 1928, the first woman in Canada to qualify as a pilot.

After passing her flight test, she flew in the U.S. and Canada, often demonstrating aerobatic flying which she enjoyed immensely. Shortly afterwards she became Mrs James Hopkin, moved to New York State and raised a family, where she lived until her death in 1968."

A historical plaque in honour of Eileen Vollick, our first licenced woman pilot was unveiled by three members of Eileen’s family, including her husband Mr. James Hopkin. The plaque can be seen at the entrance to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Hamilton Airport.

The First Canadian Chapter had previously (posthumously) awarded Eileen with an Amelia Earhart Medallion in 1975 at the occasion of their 25th Anniversary and East Canada Section Fall Meeting.

Eileen is also featured in the 99s East Canada Collection Display at the Toronto Aerospace Museum in Downsview.

In 2005, a several of us who are related to Eileen campaigned to have her admitted to Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. We were joined in our efforts by thte Canadian 99s and Wiarton Musuem. Although we presented all our research with supporting documentation our nomination of Eileen was denied as:

"The names for the 2006 inductees have been published on our website ( under the "What's New!" heading. My apologises [sic] for not being successful this year with Eileen Vollick's nomination, but it will be reconsidered for next year."

Sadly it is almost 2009 and we have yet to see Eileen's name added.

Carnival of Genealogy: My Famous Canadian Ancestor in the Circus

Albert George Marriott and his twin brother were my 3rd cousins, twice removed. Both were born in Guelph Ontario in June 1882. The winning of a baton contest in the old Guelph skating rink gave the Marriott twins their start for 60 years in show business. They started off in Downie Brothers Circus as jugglers on bicycles but in later years developed an arial act, and gained international fame.

 ANDREW DOWNIE'S CIRCUS made several successful visits around the turn of the century. For a one-ring show hauled overland by wagons, Downie achieved maximum results from 50 performers and a profusion of animals

In 1896 the twins joined the Harry Lindely Dramatic Company, playing in Canada up to Dawson City in the Yukon. Engagements with other companies included the Andrew Downie Company of Vancouver.

 It was with the Downie circus that the Marriotts orignated their bicycle juggling act which they repeated at the opening of Tony Pastor's Theatre in New York.

"We played with the Orrin Circus in Mexico for three years then going to the Million Dollar Theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina for six months." [letter from Al Marriott] ..."My research found Albert and his wife Maud as passengers on board the SS Verdi from Buenos Aires to New York. They are listed as "theatrical artists"

"Next came several months at theatres in Havana Cuba. On five occasions we played return engagements in front of the grandstand at Toronto Exhibition and making appearances before the Prince of Wales" [letter from Al Marriott] I found Albert and his twin brother (whose name is uncertain, in various records it appears as Menard, Murray and Manet) sailing back to New York from Havana Cuba in 1907.

The Marriott Twins were booked for a world tour and played the large cities of Europe and other continents. Following this was a booking to represent the USA at th ePan-Pacific Peace Exposition at Nagoya Japan for six months.  Albert and Maud's names appear on the passenger list of the Kongo Maru sailing from Nagoya to New York

Among the engagements was one with President Truman at a county fair in Missouri and the following week at Washington DC. There followed references in Al Marriott's letter to numreous other engagements including seven years at the Hippodrome in New York.

In later years with the coming of the aeroplane their act took the form of a large plane mounted on a high tower. The players performed on a trapeze hanging from the plane, as well as being fastened to the propeller. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Al Marriott is now Georgia [Guelph Mercury Sept 21, 1939: The Marriott Twins Scored World Fame]

This ad was found in the Billboard on November 15, 1913 on page 23.

1886 - Downie & Austin's Parlor Circus
1890 - Rich & Downie Circus
1891 - 1892 - Downie & Gallagher Circus
1905 - Downie's Dog & Pony Show
1905 - McPhee's Big Company
1909 - 1910 - Andrew Downie's Circus
1911 -1913 - Downie & Wheeler's Circus
1914 - 1917 - LaTena's Circus
1918 - 1923 - Walter L. Main Circus
1924 - Andrew Downie's Circus
1926 - 1929 - Downie Bros. Circus ( sold it to Charles Sparks

Searching for Albert, his wife and his twin brother in the various genealogy records has proven rather challenging. To date I have found Albert and his twin's birth records in the Ontario Vital Statistics. They are found in 1891 and 1901 census for Guelph Ontario. Interestingly in 1901 Albert, age 18 is listed as a Hardware Clerk while his brother is listed as a photographer.

In the 1930 census for Michigan, Albert and his wife are listed as vaudeville performers. The various ships passenger lists I have found them in lists them as jugglers, arial artists and theatrical artists. I am still hunting for a photograph or poster of the twin brothers' act.

December 6, 2008

New WW11 Records Available held a press conference together with the National Archives on Friday, Dec. 5.

This press conference announced Footnote and Nara's commemorating Pearl Harbor Day with the launch of a new interactive online collection of World War II records from the holdings of the National Archives.

These records include the first-ever interactive version of the USS Arizona Memorial, WWII Hero Pages, and millions of WWII photos and documents previously unavailable on the internet.

Search the WW2 Records

Carnival of Genealogy: My Famous Canadian Ancestor

My second cousin three times removed, Stephen David Peer (whose flyer proclaims him as Professor Steve Peere), walked Niagara Falls on a tighrope, then fell or was pushed to his death a few days later on 25 June 1887.

Stephen started out as an assistant to the famous tightrope walker Henry Bellini in 1873. Watching Blondin and Bellini perform their walks was his inspiration to walk the falls himself.

From Niagara Falls Public Library:

Stephen Peer was born in Stamford Township in 1840. He was nineteen when Blondin performed the first of his many tight rope walking feats at Niagara Falls. Peer became determined to become the first real "Niagaran" to walk the Gorge. In 1873 he became an assistant to Henry Bellini, he then illicitly used Bellini's equipment to perform his own first stunt. Bellini was not amused and attempted to cut down the tight rope. The residents chased him out of town, after all Peer was the home town boy ! By 1887 he had become famous enough to begin performing under his own billing and on June 22, 1887 he successfully walked on a wire cable stretched between the present Whirlpool Bridge and the Pen Central Bridge. Three days later he went to the platform from which he had started his crossing, with friends. Speculation is that they had been drinking, Peer began to walk across the cable and fell forty five feet to his death

The first report of his successful first walk across the Falls follows:

"NIAGARA FALLS TIGHT ROPE WALKER in The Hamilton Daily Spectator, Hamilton Wed. June, 1887, pg. 1 Col 7

Niagara Falls Ont. June 22 Steve Peer, a local tight rope walker, crossed the Niagara River on a 5/8 inch cable stretched from the Canadian to the American side between the Cantilever and Suspension bridges at 4 o’clock this afternoon successfully. A stiff breeze was blowing during the time, and the cable was not properly guyed and he says that several times he very nearly lost his balance from its vibrations. Several thousand people witnessed the daring performance. Peer will repeat his performance several times during the season. "

The Canadian author Pierre Berton wrote about Stephen's walk and mysterious death in his book Niagara: A History of the Falls

It was unusually windy on June 22, 1887, but Peer gave his performance as scheduled. His five-eighths inch cable was a mere thread compared to the heavier ropes of his prdecessors, and the wire was held steady by 20-30 guy wires and weighted down between them with 12-20 sandbags, each weighing about 35 lbs. His walk was a complete success, and he returned to Canada in a carriage via the suspension bridge, welcomed by thousand sof applauding spectators. Three days later he ws dead, discovered on the gorge bank below his cable. The reason for his death remains a mystery, but stories suggest murder.

December 5, 2008

U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880

U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 are now available on

In the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 census, names were recorded for individuals who died that year. These mortality death records usually have the name of the person who died, their age, sex, race, occupation, month of death, cause of death and often other details.

For more death records see with a variety of free death records including the largest online collection of coffin plates which contain birth and death dates for individuals.

December 3, 2008

Alien Registration Records USA

Alien Registrations are a terrific genealogy resource for finding ancestors. An alien was anyone who had not naturalized. From November 1917 to April 1918 all those considered alien enemies were ordered to register with the U. S. Marshal in the county where they lived.

World War I Alien Registrations in the United States
All states were required to complete alien registrations but not all records were kept.

Alien Registration Records 1940-1944
The Alien Registration Program began 1 July 1940. Every alien resident of the USA had to register at a local post office. Aliens entering USA had to register when they applied for admission. All aliens over 14 fell under this law. Forms filled out by aliens were sent to INS (now BCIS), along with a registration number. They are known as "AR-2" files

Registrations from 1940-1944 are on microfilm at INS. To obtain copies of AR-2 Files, you must submit a request identifying the immigrant by name, date of birth, and place of birth to the INS (now BCIS), Freedom of Information Act program.

The following Alien Registrations can be found on

* Index to Alien Registration Affidavits: U.S. District Court, Phoenix Division, February 6, 1918-June 28, 1918

* Index to Enemy Alien Registration Affidavits 6,000 affidavits created by U.S. Marshals, Kansas Judicial District, 1917-1921 []

* McKeesport, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania Alien Identification Card for Elizabeth Koval 1940 includes her immigration date and port of entry

Links to the following registration for Aliens are also found at

St. Paul, Minnesota Alien Registrations, 1918

Alien Personal History and Statements, Iowa 1942-1946

Alien Applications for Permission to Depart from USA, 1919-1920, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas

Alien's Personal History and Statement (DSS Form 304), 1942-1945, for Michigan

Alien Personal History and Statements, Minnesota 1942-1946

Alien Personal History and Statements, Missouri 1942-1946

Alien Personal History and Statements, Nebraska 1942-1946

Alien Personal History and Statements North Dakota, 1942-1946