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January 31, 2009

Almost a Dozen Boxes of Life, Where do I Begin?

Yesterday I looked at the 11 large cardboard boxes and 2 huge plastic tubs containing my mother's life. As I mentioned in my posts Packing Up a Life, the boxes contain an assortment of items from her apartment. Mother was not an organized person and her living areas reflected that.

So each box contains eclectic items that were packed as I found them - a trip diary, old photos, earrings she had taken off and laid down on top of a pile of papers. One room may have held 3 trip diaries, others were scattered in one of two bedrooms, some were in drawers. This makes for difficult unpacking as I don't know what is in each box. We had very little time and could not sort before packing, it all has to be done now that the boxes are here ready to unpack.

As I stood and gazed at the boxes sitting on top of each other in my computer room, I wondered how on earth I should tackle this huge job. "Start with one box" said my husband. His idea was that I would unpack one box, sort it, organize it, archive it and scan or copy any papers to share with my siblings. Then all the items in that box would be stored in their proper place. But where WAS their proper place?

And how could I unpack one box and go through it carefully when it might contain one trip diary but none of the others. Shouldn't I unpack everything and organize items in some kind of chronological order? And did I really want 10 boxes sitting for weeks while I took my time with one?

Finally I decided I had to unpack one box and organize the items within by putting them in plastic storage tubs. I knew I would find my mother's writings, her memoirs, her trip diaries, photographs and her genealogy papers. So I would need (at a minimum) one tub for photos, one for memoirs and souvenirs relating to her life, one for her trip diaries and one huge tub for her genealogy papers.

I decided I could not allow myself to enjoy what was inside each box, but instead unpack, sort, organize into tubs until all boxes were empty. When all the boxes were unpacked I would allow myself to take one tub at a time and go slowly through it.

Easier said than done! The first box had many surprises and treasures. Besides the dust there was a very nice photo of my grandmother on her wedding day to her second of three husbands, several other photos I had never seen before taken in the 1920s in Guelph Ontario, her writings about her trips to Australia, Alaska and Russia, two published articles about mother, my aunt and my grandmother living and travelling around N. America in a Winnebago in the 1970s, a book of minutes of meetings where she was secretary, an envelope of newspaper clippings of births, deaths and marriages from the early 1900s, a 1967 Expo Souvenir Glass, and my step-father's death certificate.

How could I not sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy reading her trip diaries at the very least!

I confess that I gave in. I read her trip diaries. I glanced at the photos but fought the impulse to scan them and put them up in a Picassa Web Album or print them off for siblings. I spent a wonderful afternoon curled up in a chair, feeling like my mother was sitting in my living room telling me all about her adventures.

Now I have to go back to unpacking, sorting and organizing. I welcome any suggestions as to the best method of tackling the unpacking and sorting, but also how to archive and share the treasures with my siblings and other family members!

January 30, 2009

Packing Up A Life, Day 2

Day 1 of packing up my mother's belongings from her apartment was over. After my brother left my husband and I stayed another 2 hours to clear out the rest of the kitchen and the bathroom. Then it was off to our hotel to shower and change for supper and collapse into bed at 11 p.m.

I woke at 3 am, unable to sleep. Day 1 had passed in such a blur of activity and frantic sorting and packing that I really didn't have time to think about the circumstances and the emotional impact this was having on us. Objects that had been precious to my mother had been tossed in the garbage. Her earrings that she purchased on each of her many trips still dangled from her earring board on her dresser. I couldn't stop worrying about what we were going to do with those earrings!

On Day 1 the Writer's Group she was part of had invited us to attend a memorial service they were holding in mother's honour on Day 2 of our packing and sorting. My brother had a lawyer's appointment so could not go but I was honoured to be asked and told them I would be there. They asked if I would read the obituary I had written for mother, and also a poem that I found in her apartment on Day 1. Mother had written the poem for her group and it seemed fitting that it be read at the Service. Mother was a very reserved woman who did not share her emotions or feelings with others but her writing gave her that opportunity to allow her inner thoughts and feelings to shine through. Her poem touched me as it revealed a part of her I had not known. So I agreed to read it. All these thoughts kept me awake from 3 am on.

The service was lovely. Each of the women in her writing group shared their impressions of Joan (my mother). It was a unique opportunity for me to glimpse my mother through their eyes, as a friend rather than a mother. Then it was my turn. As I read her poem, I was overwhelmed and could not continue. But one of the women took over and finished it. It all seemed so fitting as mother's writing was extremely important to her. Here is her poem written when she was 90:

Heaven knows what destiny is in store for any of us
I am sure that God has our fate in his hands
I believe that at our birth our death is decided
And the date is already set
No matter what crisis we may go through
It makes no difference
When our time arrives we leave this life
And no amount of counsel will change it
The devil that is in each of us
Will not be able to change this
God will prevail this I firmly believe

Poem by Joan

Then it was back up the apartment where my brother and my husband were busy sorting and packing. I wanted to finish up her office files. I had to read the title of each file folder so that I could either pack it in a box destined for my home or put it in my brother's executor pile. It was quite frustrating to have to bypass opening and reading such files as "My Life", "Trip to Russia", "Trip to China", "Friends", and so on. But I knew I would have lots of time to read and share with the rest of the family once I got everything home.

Day 2 was more emotional than Day 1. Whether it was fatigue or the fact that Day 2 was a slightly slower pace, thus there was more time to think about what we were doing, I do not know. But I felt very sad to think that 93 years of living was being sorted into "keep" "throw out" or "give to grandchildren" The apartment complex was planning a bazaar in a few weeks so we added "bazaar items" to our sorting piles.

Because we had so little time left before my husband and I had to head out on the long drive home, we decided that I would also take the little mementoes we hoped to distribute to grandchildren or great-grandchildren. It would be easier to pass those items on to family at a later date. At this point our SUV was almost full. We had 11 cardboard boxes, 2 large plastic storage tubs, and some smaller items already packed and in the vehicle. Now we had to find room for 2 more boxes of mementoes.

Finally we were done. The apartment was sorted and packed. Larger furniture that we did not want was set aside for the local thrift store. Neither Goodwill nor Salvation Army offered a pickup service and we could not deliver the items ourselves. The ladies had their bazaar items and a few smaller mementoes went to mother's closest friends in the building. Her life was now packed into those few cardboard boxes and tubs. It felt very unceremonious and I had to keep reminding myself that it was simply the natural course of living and dying.

Our last stop was to pick up mother's ashes. Such a small box. It seemed surreal, less than a week before she had been talking to us and laughing. Her ashes have come home with me for safekeeping until we can inter them.

I have also arranged to have my father's ashes disinterred and shipped to me so that he too can be interrred in Guelph with my mother. He has been waiting 49 years to go home and lie with his brothers, parents and grandparents in Woodlawn Cemetery in Guelph. Now everyone will be together.

We plan a Memorial in the spring or early summer when the weather is better and my son is back from Afghanistan. At that time we can say our farewells to our mother and our father, and celebrate their lives. Because packing up a life doesn't mean the person is gone and forgotten, it is a process of moving forward through the cycle of life and death. Mother will be remembered, her "treasures" will help family to think of her each time they look at an object she once held dear and now in their possession.

And now I have dozens of boxes to unpack and many more memories to be rekindled. I suspect there will be genealogy treasures in those boxes too.

January 29, 2009

African American History Collection Launch

The National Archives and Footnote.comicon Launch Online African American History Collection

Over a million pages of original documents, letters and photos, most digitized for the first time.

Lindon, UT - January 29, 2009 – In celebration of Black History Month, is launching its African American Collection. Footnote.comicon has been working with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C., to digitize records that provide a view into the lives of African Americans that few have seen before.

“These records cover subjects including slavery, military service, and issues facing African Americans dating back to the late 18th century,” explains James Hastings, Director of Access Programs at NARA. “Making these records available online will help people to better understand the history and sacrifice that took place in this country.” has spent the last two years with NARA compiling this collection and is currently working on adding more records that will be released in the upcoming months. African American records currently on include:

Service Records for Colored Troops in the Civil War – Records for the 2nd-13th infantries including enlistment papers, casualty sheets, oaths of allegiance, proof of ownership and bills of sale.

American Colonization Society – Letters and reports relating to this colony established in 1817 for free people of color residing in the U.S.
Amistad Case – Handwritten records of this landmark case beginning in 1839 involving the Spanish schooner Amistad, used to transport illegal slaves.
Southern Claims Commission – Petitions for compensation resulting from the Civil War.

“The Southern Claims Commission records are a very rich, often overlooked resource for African American family research. They often contain information that cannot be found anywhere else,” says Toni Carrier, Founding Director of the USF Africana Heritage Project. “These records document the experiences of former slaves during the Civil War and in the days immediately after. Many contain detailed narratives that make it possible for descendants to envision the lives and experiences of ancestors.”

Footnote.comicon is also working on additional record collections that will be released shortly. Those records include:

Records of the US District Court for the District of Columbia Relating to Slaves, 1851-1863 – includes slave schedules, manumission papers and case papers relating to fugitive slaves.

Records for the Emancipation of Slaves in the District of Columbia, 1862-63 – minutes of meetings, docket books and petitions pertaining to emancipation of slaves.

Registro Central de Esclavos 1872 (Slave Schedules) – registers from Puerto Rico giving information for each slave: name, country of origin, name of parents, physical description, master’s name and more.

Records Relating to the Suppression of the African Slave Trade and Negro Colonization, 1854-1872 - letters, accounts, and other documents relating to the suppression of the African slave trade.

Correspondence of the Military Intelligence Division Relation to “Negro Subversion” 1917-1941 - record cards and correspondence of the Military Intelligence Division (MID) that relate to activities of blacks in both civilian and military life.

In addition to these records, also features member contributions that include topics ranging from the Underground Railroad to Women Abolitionists to African Americans receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor.

“The contributions to our site have been impressive,” says Russell Wilding, CEO of “It’s exciting to see people connect with history and with each other.”

You may use the Footnote.comicon Free Trial to view the Black History documents

January 28, 2009

Packing Up a Life

How do you pack up a life? That is what my brother and I had to do this past Monday and Tuesday. With my mother's passing last week, we had to clear out her 2 bedroom apartment.

Although tiny, her apartment was crammed full of her papers, writings, trip diaries, memoirs in progress, photo albums and all kinds of miscellaneous items. So my husband and I headed off to join my brother, knowing that we only had 2 half days and one evening to accomplish the task.

Mother had joined a writing group and was working on her memoirs when she died. Of course as a genealogist I could not bear the thought that these might be lost. I was determined to gather every scrap of paper I could find and take it home to sort through at my leisure. That way I could preserve and share it with others in the family.

I had not realized the enormity of the task. Papers and journals and binders full of notes, were everywhere. I counted 25 large 3 ring binders chock full of writing and printed genealogy reports. I packed 7 photo albums then my brother found hundreds of loose photos stuffed into large envelopes in her basement storage locker. Mother had an office where she wrote on her computer late into the night. Beside her desk were 2 large filing cabinets (4 drawers) full of file folders. One extra filing drawer was part of her desk and when I started in the office I found another rolling cabinet also full of files.

So we organized ourselves - my husband would tackle the kitchen. A small job we thought - perhaps an hour tops to finish it. Hah! The kitchen took hubby almost 7 hours to sort and empty out.

My brother was to sort larger items of furniture and go through mother's clothes and dresser drawers. That was very difficult, it is a sad thing to look through pockets and pack your mother's favourite outfits into bags for Goodwill.

My job was to gather all the file folders, photo albums and looose papers. At first I felt intrusive and very uncomfortable about "prying" as I skimmed papers to know whether it was something I should take or something that my brother, as executor, needed.

Partway through our packing we were surprised by the arrival of two women who had been friends of mother's and in her writing group. We had a lovely talk with them, it was very nice to hear them talk about our mom and how much they enjoyed having her in the group and as a friend. They invited us to join them the next day for a service they were having in honour of our mother.

Many of the people living in the apartment building dropped by to offer condolences or have a chat about mother and her impact on them. It was quite heartwarming to hear their stories and to realize how well they treated her.

Calling it a day at 7:30 pm we looked around and felt that we were in a worse mess than when we had started. We had boxes ready for our vehicle and my husband had taken out load after load of food items (some with expiry dates of 1995!!) to the garbage but it looked like we had hardly made a dent. We left feeling a bit depressed both at the seemingly never-ending job ahead, and at the realization that we were packing up a life. Once packed it would be over. A life lived, now gone.

I'll talk about Packing Up a Life, Day 2 in tomorrow's blog post.

January 25, 2009

Ireland Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958 online

Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958 are now online at FamilySearch website

There are no images of the original record, but there are images of the indexes

Anyone with Irish ancestors will want to take a look

January 22, 2009

Joan McGinnis 2 Sept 1916-22 Jan 2009

My mother
Joan McGinnis
2 Sept 1916-22 Jan 2009

My mother passed away early this morning. I saw her yesterday in the hospital. When I went to kiss her goodbye, it was difficult to manouever around her tubes and machines. She tried to raise her head, and my glasses hit her cheek. She laughed at our bumping of heads. As I left she smiled and waved. I'm glad I have that nice last memory of her. This is her obituary:

Joan Dorien Edith McGinnis passed away peacefully in Lakeridge Health Hospital in Bowmanville Ontario on Thursday January 22, 2009. She was 92 years old. Born in Guelph Ontario on 2 September 1916 to parents Charles Fuller & Ruth Simpson, she married Cecil McGinnis (who predeceased her in 1960) in Guelph in 1936.

Joan moved to Ajax Ontario and worked in the Munitions Factory during WW2, then as a Medical Secretary. She later lived in a Winnebago with her mother and sister Lillian, travelling throughout Canada and USA. In later years she moved to British Columbia with her companion Godfrey Harwood (who pre-deceased her in 1994), then returned to Whitby Ontario where she lived with her sister Lillian Bonar (who pre-deceased her in 2004). Joan lived on her own in an apartment in Whitby until her death. In recent years Joan joined a Writing Club and was working on her memoirs when she fell ill.

At age 80, Joan became an avid traveller and journeyed to many places including Australia, China, S. Africa, Russia and England. On her last trip to Australia at age 85 she hiked and camped in the Australian outback. Joan lived life to the fullest and leaves behind 2 sons Larry & David, 2 daughters Charleen & Lorine, a younger sister Eileen and an uncle Walter. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are numerous.

January 21, 2009

Fuller Family Guelph 1919

This photo was taken in Guelph Ontario 13 September 1919. I love the beautiful dress and shoes my grandmother Ruth (Simpson) Fuller is wearing.

Her two daughters are also dressed beautifully, with my mother on the right, age 5 and her older sister on the left, age 6. Imagine dressing our children in this type of clothing today! How difficult it must have been to keep them clean.

My grandmother could do beautiful crochet work, knitting, and embroidery. I think what is on her daughters' dresses (or petticoats) is called tatting which she also did but I could be wrong. Perhaps someone who knows more about these amazing domestic skills than I do, could enlighten me?

January 20, 2009

Where are you, Elizabeth Shuart Jamieson?

Dear Elizabeth Jamieson nee Shuart

Where are you? Are your parents Henry Shuart and Rachel DeGraw? Are you descended from the Soert (Shuart) line of New Netherland (New York)?

I know you were born in either New York, Pennsylvania or New Jersey circa 1801

I know you married James Jamieson, an Irishman before 1835.

I know you lived in Flamborough Twp West, Wentworth County Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1851. The census says your husband was James Jameson [sic], age 65, born Ireland, cooper. You were listed as born United States, age 50. Your children were James age 16, Lydia (my ancestor) age 14 and George age 10, all born in Ontario.

After 1851 everyone in your family disappears except for my ancestor Lydia who is found in the 1861 census married to Isaac Vollick.

After many years of searching for you, your husband and your sons, I finally found your sons George and James in the 1870 Census for Austin, Sanilac, Michigan.

George is in every census after 1870 - in some he says his mother Elizabeth was born in New York. In others you say New Jersey. George says he arrived in Michigan in 1863 so why can't I find him in 1861 in Ontario?

I was pretty happy to find out that George's middle name is Henry! That helps support my theory that you, Elizabeth, are the daughter of Henry Shuart and Rachel DeGraw. You probably named little George Henry after your dad and your husband James' dad.

James is being more difficult. I found him in the census records after 1870 but he says you were born in Pennsylvania in 3 census years, then claims New York as your birthplace. It would really help if I knew where you were born Elizabeth!

Elizabeth, some family members say that you married a Mr. Hunt after James Jamieson died. I haven't found any proof of that but then again, you pulled your disappearing act after that 1851 census.

The 3 Shuart individuals (Lydia, Margaret and Hiram Shuart) who I think are your siblings are also said to be born in either New York or Pennsylvania. I kind of think Joseph Shuart is another sibling. All of you settled in Ontario in the early 1800s.

Here's an outline descendant tree, can you look it over and tell me if it's correct so far?

Descendants of Henry Shuart

Henry Shuart 1768 -? +Rachel De Graw 1770 -?

Possible Children:

Joseph Shuart 1790 - 1851 +Christina 1791 -
Lydia Shuart 1794 - 1865+Job Skinner 1787 - 1815
*2nd Husband +James McGarry 1796 - 1882
Margaret Shuart 1798 - 1851 +Adonijah Taylor 1788 - 1851
Elizabeth Shuart 1801 -? +James Jamieson 1786 - ?
*possible 2nd Husband +Daniel Hunt? 1804 - ?
Hiram Shuart 1807 - 1881 +Catherine Alice (Alice) Skinner 1812 - 1868

So Elizabeth, let me know where you are and who you are! I've been looking for you for many years now and I'm getting tired of chasing a shadow.

Your 3rd great-granddaughter,

P.S. Could you maybe drop me a line to tell me what happened to your husband James Jamieson, my 4th great grandfather? Thanks!

January 19, 2009

I May Be My Own Grandma.....

I use FTM for my preferred Genealogy program. One day out of sheer boredom I ran a kinship report and was shocked to learn that my father was also my cousin.

To be exact, my father is listed as my father AND as

my 8th cousin once removed
my 9th cousin once removed
my 11th cousin once removed
my 10th cousin twice removed
the husband of my 5th cousin once removed


I was stunned. And confused. I knew what once removed meant - that we were a generation apart. Okay so far. Being 8th cousins meant we shared a common 7th great-grandparent. Being 9th cousins meant we shared a common 8th great-grandparent, and so on.

"husband of my 5th cousin once removed"? Well that meant my mother was my 5th cousin once removed and that she and I shared a common 4th great grandparent.

It wasn't making sense to me, as of course my parents and I share common ancestors! But how did we get to be cousins as well as father-daughter? This sent me off to have a good look at how my relationship to my father became a cousin relationship too.

It's a bit confusing but here is how it happened beginning with my father's 3rd great grandparents, Cornelius Vollick and Eve Larroway who married in 1795.

Cornelius and Eve shared two sets of common 2nd great grandparents. That is, Cornelius' great great grandparents were Jochem & Eva (Vrooman) Van Valkenburg. So were Eve's. Cornelius' other set of great great grandparents were Pierre & Cornelia (Damen) Uzielle. So were Eve's.

Two of Jochem & Eva's grandchildren (through their son Isaac and daughter Jannetje) married two grandchildren of Pierre Uziele and Cornelia Damen.

The Van Valkenburg grandchildren were Isaac Van Valkenburg (who married Maria Bradt the daughter of Storm Bradt and Sophia Uziele) and Marytje Van Alstyne who married Petrus LeRoy the son of Maria Uziele (who was Sophia's sister!) and Leonard Le Roy.

Here's a chart which might show the relationships in a less confusing way

I'll go into my mother's line and that tangled web of cousinship on another day.

The confusing relationships reminded me of I'm My Own Grandpaw a song written about a man who, through a combination of marriages, becomes stepfather to his own stepmother — that is, he becomes his own grandfather. Am I my own Grandma? My grandchildren love hearing how they are my cousins as well as my grandchildren....

January 18, 2009

Putting Flesh on the Genealogy Bones

It's always interesting to find out more details about an ancestor. I don't want just a name and birth and death dates for my great grandmother or any other ancestor. I want to know about that ancestor, find out how my great-grandmother felt about a war, learn what great grandpa did for a living. Even better is finding a court case or a long obituary or write ups in newspapers about an ancestor. Photographs or letters are a wonderful treasure!

My great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Peer (nee Vollick) has long been a mystery to me. My grandmother McGinnis (Mary's daughter) never spoke of her parents. I knew they both died in Guelph Ontario but that was all. I knew Grandma's father (my great grandfather) died when she was a young girl and the oldest of several children.

I did not know anything else until my Uncle wrote a series of letters in the 1960s which came into my possession in 1980. He knew Mary's full name and who she married.

He thought Mary was born in Elmvale Ontario, which turned out not to be correct but gave me a starting point for my search. It turns out that Mary's parents moved to Elmvale in the 1880s and in fact most of Mary's siblings died near or in the Elmvale area of Simcoe County, as did her parents.

My uncle had heard whispers as a young boy that Mary's parents disowned her when she eloped with my great grandfather Stephen Peer. And so my search began. Using standard genealogy research methods, I looked for Stephen and Mary in the census records.

I was saddened to find her in the 1901 Guelph census as a 40 year old widow with 9 children ages 4 to 20. My grandmother was the oldest and I had never known she had so many brothers and sisters!

Continuing through the census years I was able to find Mary Elizabeth with her husband Stephen Peer. Next I found her marriage record in 1879 showing both Stephen's and her parents.

This allowed me to carry on researching backwards but I still was not satisfied. I wanted to know details of her life! Then I found Stephen's death registration and his obituary. According to the death record he had died in 1897 at age 45 of typhoid fever. His obituary was quite sad for two reasons - he was listed under the wrong name! His obit is found in the Milton Champion but he is listed as Levi Peer which was his father's name.

The circumstances of his death and the condition of his surviving family (including my grandmother) was tragic. The family was left with no money and could not even afford a burial for Stephen. An excerpt from the paper:

..... leaves a wife and nine children in destitute circumstances. Capt. Clark, City relief officer has made every arrangement for the proper burial of the remains at the expense of the city, and also attended to the immediate wants of the family. Mayor Hower collected a considerable amount from the citizens and handed it to Capt. Clalke to be used in the interests of the family. The authorities at Trinity Baptist church are also assisting in their relief.

This may explain why I have never found a burial location or tombstone for Stephen. So at the age of 34 my great-grandmother was left a poor widow with 9 children ages 1 to 11 years old. I have often wondered if she had to take the children to the poorhouse which is now the Wellington County Museum.

But Mary Elizabeth's tragic story does not end there. She died in 1914 of starvation with her youngest son Philip Edgar Peer at her side. He was 17 years old and he was the informant for her death registration (which is incorrect, he presumably being so confused and grief stricken that when asked for his mother's parents' names, he gave his own parents names)

Edgar, as he was called, was now an orphan. He joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force one year later and rose to the rank of Sargeant before being wounded at Passchendale. After recuperating he was sent back to the front and was killed in 1918, just a few weeks short of his 22nd birthday.

I always found this a tragic story. My grandmother never spoke of it. Perhaps the memories were too painful. I would still like to know more about her mother Mary Elizabeth. I now know when she was born. I know who her parents were. I know when and who she married and when she died. I know the names of all her children. But I have no photos of her nor of my great grandfather.

I have photos of three of my grandmother's brothers, shared by other descendants with whom I made contact. (from left Philip Edgar, Leonard, George)

I have beautiful photos of all of Mary Elizabeth's siblings, also shared with me by a descendant of one of her sisters. Their family lore was that my great grandmother was the black sheep of the family who horrified everyone when she ran off with my great grandfather. Their family remembers her as being called "Lizzie" by her sisters and that the family lost all contact with her after her marriage in 1879.

Great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Peer nee Vollick had 9 children. Surely someone descended from them has photos or knows more about Mary ELizabeth as a person! But to this day I've not been successful finding them. So if anyone is descended from the PEER family of Guelph Ontario I hope they find me or I find them one day.

January 17, 2009

The Name Game Part 2

Continuing from The Name Game

But as we delved further back we found that during the Napoleonic years (early 1800s) the church records were now written in French. Still okay though as I took 5 years of French in High School and remember enough to read basic French text.

What I wasn't counting on was a brand new calendar! I had never seen this calendar before, it used different names in place of the months as we know them, and did not even encompass the same days in each month as we know them. So for example "pluviose" might be used in the date. I now know that "pluviose" covered 20 January to 18 February but I had no idea what it meant when we first found it used in a record we needed.

I've learned now that this callendar was started by the French in 1792 with Year 1 and it ended in 1805 with year XIV. It is called the French Republican Calendar Once we got back to those years in the Belgium records we were lost. We had to find a resource in the library that explained this French Republican Calendar, then try to read it in super-fast speed, understand it and then convert all the records we found to a date that we understood.

Okay that problem was solved and we continued searching backward. Suddenly we were looking at church records written in Latin! Luckily for us, I'm a bit of a geek and actually took Latin for 6 years. Unluckily for us, it was many many years ago and I really don't remember much except "nulli secundus" (second to none) and "veni, vidi, vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered).

I didn't figure that would do us much good in trying to read the church records. To my relief the Latin records were very brief and had words that one could easily recognize and convert to English. The names were "Latinized" with "us" added to the end of many of them, but still it was possible with some scrutiny to pick out the important bits.

We did find a great deal on Archie DeMeuleneare's ancestry. It wasn't easy. Reading the early handwriting was difficult. Translating clumsily from French to English, or Flemish to English or Latin to English was severe brain-strain and gave me a major headache. But we made Grandma very happy when we returned from Salt Lake City and created a book complete with graphics of the original church records on her Belgium heritage.

January 16, 2009

The Name Game

My husband's great grandfather Archie DeMeulenaere was born in Tielt Belgium. We didn't know much about him or his ancestors. One year we decided that a trip to Salt Lake City was in order and we planned to search for Archie and his ancestors in the Belgium records on micrfilm. At that time there were few, if any Belgium records online. Just recently brought Wallonia, Belgium Births, 1580-1796 (in French); Wallonia, Belgium Marriages, 1580-1796 (in French) and Wallonia, Belgium Deaths, 1580-1796 (in French) online so searching is much easier.

Archie's surname DeMeulenaere can be pronounced and spelled in a dizzying variety of ways - De Millionaire, De Muelenar, and so on. So before heading off on our genealogy research trip we asked Archie's daughter (my husband's grandmother) to tell us everything she could remember about her dad - his date of birth, when he came to Canada, any middle names and so on. Nothing new was forthcoming, she knew only his first and last name (Archie DeMeulenaere), his date of birth (29 March 1884), born in Tielt, father Henry, mother's maiden name Blondell, brother Cyril (called Charles) born in September 1888.

We knew enough to know that Archie is not a Belgium name but we had no idea what the original name might be. We assumed (incorrectly as it turned out!) it would be something similar to "Archie" - perhaps Archibaldus or something like that.

On arriving at the Library in Salt Lake City we had to learn quite a bit about the Belgium records before we could begin. One important item was that Tielt is in West Flanders. It was a bit confusing for us at first, as we were not sure what language the church records would be in. Viewing the Belgium church records we realized we might be in trouble. The records were written in what I assume is Flemish - it was similiar to Dutch but it wasn't Dutch. That was okay though, as I can, with some struggling, read enough Dutch to figure out the basics of birth, marriage and death records.

We checked the birth records of the Catholic church in Tielt and rather quickly found Cyril aka Charles. He was baptised as Cyrillus with father Henri De Meulenaere and mother Maria Rosalia Blondeel. Next we began looking for other children of Henri and Rosalia, but in particular Archie born in 1884. We found 6 other siblings for Cyrillus, including one born in 1884, but Archie and no boy with a name that looked to us like it could possibly convert to Archie or Archibald in English.

Even though we did not think we had found Archie, we knew his father and mother thanks to finding Cyril's baptism record, so we continued our hunt backwards for Henri DeMeulenaere and Rosalie Blondeel's ancestry.

See The Name Game Part 2 for the rest of our story on searching the Beligium records pre 1850, including our encounter with the French Republican Calendar!

On our return back home we showed Archie's daughter our findings. The child we had found being baptised in March 1884 (on the same day as her father Archie's birthday) was called "Achillus Camillus". "Oh yes" exclaimed hubby's grandmother, "that was my father's real name." Turns out grandma knew his real name all along but didn't think to tell us....

To our N. American English ears the first name was pronounced "A-Kill-Us" so how on earth could it convert to Archie! When I told this story to my French sister-in-law, she laughed and explained that "Achillus" is pronounced "Aw-Shee". Wow, that sounds just like Archie!! And so the mystery of Archie=Achillus was solved. When Archie arrived at Ellis Island (New York) in 1900 he was recorded as "Achilles". Once he settled in Ontario Canada his new-found friends would have quickly converted his name to one they were familiar with. Thus "Aw-She" became "Archie"

Another mystery solved and over the next few days we did find quite a bit on Archie's Belgium ancestry. But it was not without a struggle and major headaches for me! You can read about that at The Name Game, Part 2

January 15, 2009

Tracking the Elusive Fanny Downey McGinnis

Sometimes researching an elusive direct ancestor requires leaps in other directions - such as researching others who may or may not be siblings. My elusive 2nd great-grandmother Fanny Downey (born circa 1820-130 in Ireland) is such an ancestor. In trying to find out the names of Fanny's parents and her birth location in Ireland I have researched other Downey individuals who either lived near her in Ontario or had some kind of relationship to her.

I first stumbled on John Downey in the 1851 census for Eramosa Township, Wellington County Ontario. He was visiting Patrick Downey who was a schoolteacher living near my Frances (Fanny) McGinnis nee Downey. Over the next few years I researched Patrick Downey and his family thoroughly, in hopes of discovering a relationship to my Fanny Downey McGinnis. I found nothing to either prove or disprove that Patrick Downey and my ancestor Fanny were related. I did find many connections, but nothing conclusive.

So I turned back to John, the visitor in Patrick Downey's household in 1851. In that year, John was 24 years old, born Ireland and had a wife Mary age 24 also born in Ireland, and a daughter Margaret age 1 born in Canada. Patrick and his wife Barbara lived in the Public School House on Concession 1, Lot 5 in Eramosa.

I have not yet found John Downey in 1861, 1871 or 1891 Census records.

The 1881 census for Guelph Ontario showed John, age 55, a Miller, visiting his brother Patrick once more. Where was Mary? Was little Margaret born circa 1850, married? Did John and Mary have more children?

The 1891 census was not conclusive. There was a John Downey but he was living in the wrong location, had the wrong wife (of course he could have remarried) and was the wrong religion!

In 1901 I found him in Guelph, noted as an Indigent. His date of birth was recorded as 14 February 1826 in Ireland, and his immigration year as 1843. He was also recorded as Catholic which was correct. He was noted as single. Had Mary died or left him?

His death is recorded in the Ontario Vital Statistics on 27 October 1907 in the House of Providence in Guelph. He is noted here as being married. His occupation is noted as miller so we know it is the correct John. Unfortunately no mention of parents was made and the informant was not a relative.

Ontario, Canada Deaths, 1869-1932 Wellington 1907, John Downey, married, miller, living House of Providence. Born Canada, 81 years old. Died Oct. 27, 1907. Catholic. Sister of St Joseph was informant.

I knew from my research of Patrick Downey (John's brother) that Patrick began teaching in Adjala Township, Simcoe County, in 1842. There was a large Downey family living there but whether or not they are related I do not know at this time. On 2 January 1845 Patrick Downey was hired as a teacher in Eramosa Township, Wellington County, Ontario in School District #1. Perhaps his brother John joined Patrick in Simcoe County in 1843. If so that would be another research avenue still to explore.

John's brother Patrick died in Renfrew Ontario on 20 Sep 1901, too early for parents' names to be recorded. My ancestor Fanny (Downey) McGinnis died in Morriston, Puslinch Twp Wellington County Ontario on 07 December 1904. No parents names were recorded. One more Downey can be added to the picture - Margaret Downey who married Fanny Downey's husband's brother Daniel McGinnis.

Margaret Downey and Daniel McGinnis have also proved to be elusive. I found a record of Daniel owning land in Puslinch Towship in 1847, but the first record of him in the census is in 1871 in Oxford County, Blenheim Tp. Ontario. He and Margaret baptised little Margaret in 1858 in Church of Our Lady in Guelph, where he is recorded as living in Plattsville, Bleinham Tp Oxford Co. By 1880 Daniel and Margaret are in Lapeer, Michigan. They are recorded in later census records as having had 8 children, but I have only found the names of 3! Margaret Sr died in Michigan on 31 December 1907 and her death record records her parents as Matthew & Catherine Downey.


Patrick Joseph Downey was born 17 Mar 1820 possibly in Cork Ireland. He was in Ontario before 1842. He was a well known figure in the Guelph area and the first Separate School Teacher ever hired. Left Guelph for Renfrew Ontario circa 1894 and died in Renfrew in 1901.

John Downey known to be Patrick's brother, born 14 February 1826 in Ireland, immigrated to ontario circa 1843, worked as a miller, died impoverished in 1907 in Guelph

Frances (Fanny) Downey born circa 1820-1830 in Ireland, died 1904 in Morriston (near Guelph) Ontario. Married Joseph McGinnis and immigrated to Guelph area of Ontario circa 1847

Margaret Downey born February 1824 in Ireland, married Daniel McGinnis. Immigrated to Guelph area of Ontario circa 1848. Left Ontario for Michigan circa 1880 and died in Michigan in 1907. Parents Matthew & Catherine Downey.


Were these four Downeys related? Or was their proximity throughout their lives in the Guelph area, a co-incidence? I feel my search may never end!

January 14, 2009

Carnival of Irish Heritage: My Key to Ireland

For over 25 years I have searched for information on where our McGinnis family originated in Ireland.

Family lore spoke of Belfast as their origin. Two branches of the family shared the same memory - that someone in the distant past had come to Canada from Belfast. But no proof of this could be found.

The McGinnis family was a large one - 7 sons and 2 daughters found so far, plus their father, came to Ontario Canada circa 1834. I have spent years hunting down every son and daughter, their spouses, their children and their grandchildren. I have searched for gravestones in hopes of finding an inscription with a town or even county of origin. I have searched for obituaries. I have searched for burial and church records. Nothing in the 4 generational search I've conducted has given me one iota of a clue except for "Northern Ireland" as a place of origin.

I had my brother scrape his cheeks for a Y DNA test - and found that we connected with McGinnis families in Castlewellan, Co. Down Ireland. Castlewellan is not far from Belfast so the family lore was looking good, but I wanted more. I wanted an exact location and I wanted proof!

This year, another McGinnis descendant, Annie Tobin, sent me copies of several early family photographs that her aunt had recently left her. One was of Sarah Tobin nee McGinnis. Sarah was the sister of my 2nd great grandfather Joseph McGinnis. On the back in period handwriting was written the town where Sarah was born - Katesbridge in County Down Ireland. I cannot tell you how excited I was to finally learn where my Irish roots began.

I learned that Katesbridge is a hop, skip and jump to Castlewellan. So far I've not found any existing church records but I'm planning a trip to Ireland in the spring and will visit the village where my McGinnis ancestors lived.

January 13, 2009

Ancestors Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Carnival of Genealogy - 64th Edition - Walking In A Winter Wonderland

The description for this Carnival was "Show us those wintertime photo(s) of your ancestors or family members and tell us the story that goes along with them. Winter is here! Let's record it and celebrate it!"

This photo was taken in Guelph Ontario during one of my great-grandmother's trips from Ramsgate England to visit her son and daughter (my grandmother) in Canada. That's my great-grandmother Sarah (Stead) Simpson in the middle. She has her sensible boots and cane as well as what looks like a very warm winter coat. Of course the hat is for fashion as it does not even cover her ears.

The woman on the left is my Grandmother's daughter, my aunt (Great-Grandma's grandaughter Lillian (Fuller) Bonar) and on the right is my Grandmother's sister-in-law Cordelia (Cook) Simpson. I don't know why they went out into the snow and cold that day unless it was to go for a walk but they seem to be dressed in their Sunday best.

January 12, 2009

1911 UK Census Launches Jan. 13/09 - more counties!

Dear family historian,

We wanted you to be the first to know that the website launches officially tomorrow.

We have added many more of the counties that were unavailable on the beta site over Christmas, including Lancashire, Essex, Kent, Yorkshire (West Riding), Nottinghamshire and Herefordshire. We continue to scan the remainder of the census and will make the remaining counties available as soon as possible. A full list of the counties available at launch, and those still to come, appears at the end of this email.

We expect the site to be very busy at first, and so we have taken a number of measures to make sure that as many people as possible can get their searches completed successfully. The first is that we have deliberately restricted some of the search functions on the site, meaning that the search is not as flexible as it will be later on. Secondly, we are only allowing users to download original pages, rather than view them directly on the website.

Obviously, we will 'unlock' the powerful search features and switch on image viewers as soon as possible after launch and let you know by email and via the blog when we have done this.

During launch, if the site becomes exceptionally busy, we will also restrict the number of new people entering the site. We want to allow the people who are already using the site to complete their searches rather than make the site impossibly slow for everybody. We have built the site to withstand a very large (but not infinite) number of visitors, so if you find that you are not being allowed in, please bear with us. Real-time service updates can be found on our blog, which we advise you to check frequently for the latest news.

Finally, we know many of you are as excited as we are to see the remaining counties that will become available over the coming months. However, we cannot give you specific launch dates for these remaining counties - we are continuing to scan the census into the spring and anticipate that the census will be complete by this summer. Rest assured that by staying signed up to our newsletter and checking the blog, you will be the first to know of all new developments.

Thank you to all those who participated in the beta period and we wish you the very best of success in using the website to broaden your family history research.

The team

Counties available at launch:

Yorkshire West Riding

Counties not available for launch but coming soon:

Yorkshire – East Riding and North Riding


Isle of Man
Channel Islands
Royal Navy
Overseas Military Establishments

Toronto Ontario 1861 Census Transcriptions

The Old Census Scribe has a new blog online called Toronto 1861 The Blog description states:
A progress history of transcribing a big Canadian city census from 1861, including my method and organization, and the social and geographical details of the area at that time.

The Old Census Scribe has been making a transcription of the 1861 censuses of Toronto and York Township over the past few years. With the New Year she has decided to write a blog, outlining her progress and also looking at the people who made up Toronto in the 19th century.

At present, the transcription (not proofread!) is complete for St James's, St David's and St Lawrence's Wards, and for York Township. You can ask for lookups via the "comments" feature on the blog if you leave your e-mail address. The comments are moderated, and lookup requests will not appear on the blog. But she will answer your requests as soon as she can.

January 11, 2009

The Things I Thought I Knew But Don't

My mother, who will be 93 this year, underwent a serious operation yesterday. She was given two days to live without the operation but the surgery was risky and she was not expected to pull through. Thankfully the surgery was sucessful and she is recuperating in Intensive Care.

The night before her operation I could not sleep for worrying about the outcome. So I got up and started writing down the facts for her obituary. I hear you gasping but those of you who follow my blog know that I urge all genealogists to write their own obituaries or at the very least write down the facts that they want to have put in their obituaries. You can read about writing your own obituary at Writing Your Own Obituary or How to Really Creep Yourself Out

As genealogists we want to get the facts correct. We want future descendants to have lots of detail - how often have we been frustrated by an ancestor's obit that states "she came to America with her parents" Arrgh! Why could the obit writer not give a year? How about adding the names of her parents??

So I thought what better time to write my mother's obit than now, because if she does not make it through, it will be much more difficult to write her obituary while in a grieving period.

It was as I was writing down the basic facts that I realized there were things I did not know. That surprised me because as the family genealogist and keeper of the documents and photos, I thought I had a good handle on writing a biography of any of my ancestors, but especially my mother or father!

I know the basic event facts - birth, marriage and so on. But I realized I don't know where she went to school. I don't know where she lived growing up in Guelph Ontario. I don't know when my step-father died. That last one makes grimace in embarrassment as a genealogist! But I simply can't remember except as a 5-8 year time frame. I didn't mark it down anywhere (ouch!).

It may be too late to ask mother as she is suffering from dementia. I'm hoping I can find the information I'm missing by asking her 86 year old sister but who knows! Now I'm kicking myself for not asking my mother more questions when I had the chance

January 10, 2009

Are You My Grandfather?

9th Edition of Smile For The Camera: Who Are You - I Really Want To Know?
Are you my grandfather who died before I was born?

I know this picture was taken in Guelph Ontario circa early 1930s.

I know that the two individuals in the front, on the left are my Uncles Roy McGinnis and Joe McGinnis. Joe was born in Guelph in 1925 so that helps date the photo slightly.

I don't know who the man on the far right (front) is.

I think the man standing on the left in the back might be my grandfather McGinnis who died in Guelph in 1937 and who I never knew!

I think the man on the right wearing the hat might be his brother Henry McGinnis.

Does anyone recognize these 3 individuals?

January 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to my 3rd great-grandmother Elizabeth (Betty) Higginson

Happy Birthday to my 3rd great-grandmother Elizabeth (Betty) Higginson.

Betty was born 09 Jan 1788 in Lower Peover, Cheshire England. She married Peter Bell on 08 Oct 1809 in Lower Peover, and had several children before sailing to New York on board the ship Charles Joseph in December 1831. With Betty were her mother Frances Higginson and children Ann, Phoebe, Mary, Peter & Joseph. Little Joseph, the youngest, was 10.

Once in New York Betty and her headed to Sullivan County to join her husband Peter. In 1839 Peter and his family left New York and made their way to the wilds of Arkell, Wellington County Ontario where Peter purchased a farm consisting of 80 acres. The family settled there in December that same year. What a Christmas they must have had!

On 18 Sep 1855 Betty died and is buried in Farnham Cemetery, Arkell Ontario

Her tombstone reads
In Memory of Elizabeth wife of Peter Bell who died Sept. 18,1855

According to the "Annals of Puslinch", On October 11th, 1830 a small group of Englishmen among whose names were John and Thomas Arkell, T. W. Stone, John Oulton, John and James Carter, Chas. Willoughby, Peter Bell and Henry Haines, left England on a sailing vessel which took 14 weeks to reach New York. In the spring they wended their way on foot to their destination which became known as the settlement of Farnham, so named after their home town in England. The village was called Arkell and named in honour of one of the group.

January 8, 2009

To Believe or Not To Believe, That is the Question

Today I worked on some queries for my new blog Ask Olive Tree. There are some very challenging and interesting questions coming my way! As I searched immigration records for one query, I came upon a fairly common problem that I realized probably stops many researchers in their tracks. So I thought an explanation of what I encountered and the steps I took to try to resolve the issue might be helpful.

In searching for an individual who was known to immigrate from a specific country in a narrow time frame, there were no hits on his name. Using wildcards did not help
nor did widening the search parameters. So I searched just under his surname and also using wildcards. There were several hits of males arriving from the right country, of the right age and in the right timeframe. One that kept jumping out at me was a man whose first name was indexed as JOHN. I wanted a man whose name was GUSTAV. There were several JOHN, JOHANNES and so on, but no GUSTAV or anything similar.

But one entry kept calling me back and I finally decided to check the image. That doesn't sound like a big deal but I'm on dialup with an average connection speed of 30kbps and loading images takes quite a long time. But I believe in hunches and I believe in serendipity so I had to check.

One look at the image convinced me that the first name was not JOHN. The first letter did not look like a J to me, even in old hard to read script. The image on the left is the name. Ignore the first little "slash" as it is the number 1.

This is where it is helpful to compare. Don't believe what the index said! The indexer was human just like you or me and the lists are hard to read. Compare names and words on the image that you CAN read! Look for the name JOHN (recongizable as John) or look for a word starting with G.

I was lucky because the word GERMANY was large and readable on the page. The upper case "G" was identical to the first letter of the individual's name. See how the G drops below the line? Also note the large beginning swirl which starts the letter G. It is not the same as the starting smaller swirl of J.

I found the name JOHN elsewhere on the list and the formation of the Upper Case "J" was not the same as the first letter in the individual's name that I was looking at. You can see that the J does not go below the line.

So I was able to determine that the individual I was interested in had a first name starting with "G". It appears to me that it could very well say "Gustav". He also had the right surname, right age, came from the right country and was arriving in America in the right time period to be the individual I wanted. Is it my man? I don't know. I cannot prove that he is. But the point is that I can prove that his first name is not JOHN and it does start with G. It could be Gustav. It's difficult to say with complete certainty from the handwriting.

Where would a researcher go from here? That's a question for my Ask Olive Tree blog. I just wanted to point out that researchers should be very open-minded when researching indexed data that is difficult to read. Remember that the index can be very wrong so always check the original image for yourself.

January 7, 2009

Hudson's Bay Company Archives

The Hudson's Bay Company Archives (HBCA), a division of the Archives of Manitoba, is home to one of Canada's national treasures - the records of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC).

Founded by Royal Charter in 1670, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) is the oldest chartered trading company in the world. Meticulous records were kept, leaving a legacy of information of tremendous significance documenting the growth and expansion of the Hudson's Bay Company in the vast territories of Rupert's Land, through the fur trade and exploration and the later development of a retail empire.

The records of the Hudson's Bay Company were donated to the Province of Manitoba in 1994. They form part of the holdings of the Archives of Manitoba and are administered by a distinct division, the Hudson's Bay Company Archives. In addition to the records of the Hudson's Bay Company, the HBCA has a significant collection of private records which includes the records of related and/or subsidiary companies (including the North West Company) and individuals [Source: Hudson's Bay Co. website]

You can browse the HBC Archives catalogue online, read biographies of some of the men employed by the Hudson Bay Company or request copies of records.

January 5, 2009

Ellis Island Missing (Cabin) Manifests, 1897-1903

Marian Smith starts off with "I was thinking..."

Marian has written on her new blog about those missing Cabin class passengers at Ellis Island, 1897-1903

Ellis Island Missing (Cabin) Manifests, 1897-1903

January 4, 2009

Ask Olive Tree!

Some of you probably know that I read and answer a lot of questions on various genealogy mailing lists. I've been doing this for years but I decided that starting in 2009 I would use a slightly different method.

Don't get me wrong, I am still going to respond to mailing list queries whenever possible. But I thought there was a better way to help other researchers, so I started a Blog called Ask Olive Tree.

AskOliveTree is a central place where I can post your questions and my answers, and where anyone dropping by can read them - and join in! Yes, anyone can leave a comment on any of the queries and answers on AskOliveTree.

Do you need help finding an ancestor? Do you have a genealogy question you would like to ask me? Do you want to know where to find certain genealogy records?

You can ask any kind of question from "How do I find my grandpa Harry on a ships' passenger list from Ireland to New York in the 1800s?" to "What's the Dutch name for Anna?" to "What does the British Bonus System mean?" (all of these are actual questions asked and answered)

If you want help finding an elusive ancestor, please be sure that you provide me with a concise (brief) summary of your ancestor with dates and locations. Tell me where you have looked and what you want to find out.

Basically I want to help - either by finding your elusive ancestor, or by directing you to the sources you need to find him/her yourself or by answering a question about resources or name and boundary changes or.... whatever!

The email address to use if you want to submit a question is (Be sure to replace AT with @ in the email)

So take a peek at my new site Ask Olive Tree, read a few of the queries already posted and then flex your typing fingers and send me a question.

January 3, 2009

Diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King contain passenger names on ships

LAC (Library & Archives Canada, formerly National Archives of Canada) has the Diaries of Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King online as a searchable database.

Using various search terms I was able to find entries for ships and passengers and voyages that King took. Many American as well as Canadian names appear in these diaries.

For instance, one 'hit' on the search terms "Passenger AND Ship" took me to the following entries for a voyage he was taking. Below is just a brief excerpt from the diary entries for those few days, which I've outlined just to give you the idea of what can be found:

Sept. 27/99. Mentions he sailed 'out of Boston" at 4:30 pm while bugles played Auld Lang Syne.

Sept. 28, 1899 Mentions a Mr. Street, a manufacturer in Beford and his little boy; Mr. Clough, connected with telephone work in Providence; Mr. Sturmay of Coventry England

Sept. 29, 1899: Mentions a Boston family named Bossom, Mr. W. Evans Darby, Mr Barry the first Officer, Mrs. Campbell.

Sept 30, 1899 On the Atlantic Ocean en route to England.Speaks in detail of a young girl, 25 years old, who died on board and was buried at sea

Oct. 1, 1899. He mentions various passengers, including

Miss Welder, Miss Minshall, Miss Saunders, Miss Clough

a 'little girl' Pauline Bossom (presumably of the Boston family mentioned earlier)

Minshall of Bristol England

Mrs. Schlosser

Mr. Street, Mr. Callender of Adam Black and Co. Publishing House in London Eng; Mr. Morton

Search the Diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King

January 1, 2009

South Carolina Death Records, 1821-1955 online

South Carolina Death Records 1821-1955 contains the following South Carolina death records: statewide death certificates, 1915-1955; Charleston City death records, 1821-1914; Spartanburg City death records, 1895-1897 and 1903-1914; and Union City death records, 1900 and 1913-1914.

I had a bit of fun searching South Carolina Death Records 1821-1955 and discovered that there are many deaths that occured in other locations in the USA, Canada and even Germany. The bodies were brought back to South Carolina for burial and thus ended up in the S. Carolina Death records database.

For example, Marie H Gamwell age 57 died in Toronto Ontario Canada in 1901 and her body was sent via Canadian Pacific Railway to Charleston South Carolina. Her cause of death, name of person being given permission to ship the body etc are given on the image.

These records are brought to us by and Information generally listed in these records includes: name of deceased, death date, death place, age at time of death, gender, race or color, and death certificate number.

You can also search more South Carolina genealogy records at Olive Tree Genealogy