January 27, 2015

Love it, Don't Care, Hate it! How Families React to Genealogy

Love it, Don't Care, Hate it! How Families React to Genealogy
Have you ever noticed that friends and family react in different ways when you start to relate a genealogy story or find?

In my family most are mildly interested if it's a good story about a rogue or an ancestor who did something exciting. They don't want to hear about 3rd great grandpa Joe who was a farmer his whole life or how I can't find Great Great Grandma Harriet's maiden name. 

There are a couple of my family members who tell me bluntly they aren't interested. At all. Not one little bit. This is usually followed by a yawn.

How many ask me what new things I've found? Zero. None.  I will admit that there are a couple who say the right things "Oh that's cool!" "Wow, good stuff!" but I know they're just being kind. And that's okay because at least I feel like my hard work over the last 30+ years hasn't been totally in vain.

I do wish there were one or two family members who cared, perhaps not as passionately as I do, but who showed more than a passing interest. I'd love to share genealogy discoveries with them. I'd enjoy chatting about brick walls, or brainstorming how to move ahead with a challenging ancestor.

However I count myself lucky to have a husband who shares my love for genealogy and family history. He listens, He enjoys brainstorming sessions. He understands and accepts that if I'm deep into census or church records, I am not stopping to make supper.

What kind of reactions do you get in your family?

Credit: Photo by Stuart Miles

January 26, 2015

Bridgeport Connecticut Photos Rescued

Recently I purchased 35 loose Cabinet Cards and CDVs (Cartes de Visite) that had been removed from an old photo album and were up for sale. Every photo except one was clearly identified and I had a bit of fun yesterday scanning the photos and researching the family.

 This is one of the photos. It's a really lovely photograph of two children, almost certainly brother and sister. They are labelled in period handwriting "Edmon & Fannie". This is the only identified photo that does not include a surname.

Because little Edmon is wearing a dress, we know he is a toddler and not toilet-trained, so probably around 2 years of age. 

The photo is a CDV with rounded corners and this can help date it. Rounded corners on CDVs did not begin until 1872.

Studying the photographer's mark on the verso of this CDV and finding out when M. Smith was in business, as well as studying the clothing styles, children's hair and other clues would allow this photo to be dated with some precision.

From my research yesterday it appears the photos may all connected through family relationships. For example there are 5 photos of brothers and sisters of the Williams family of Bridgeport Connecticut. This became evident as I searched census records on Ancestry.com . I believe, but have not yet proven. that 2 other Williams photos are of wives of two of the brothers.

The Williams family consisted of Benjamin Williams and his wife Elizabeth Goss. Benjamin was born in Maine and Elizabeth in New Brunswick Canada. All the children were born in New Brunswick. The photos I have are of the siblings Simeon, Orlo, Hartley, Eva and Samuel. 

There are photos of the Deniger family, also of Bridgeport. Joseph Henry Deniger and his sister Gertrude are two that I have found so far. Interestingly, their father Joseph Deniger Sr. was born in Canada and their mother Harriet was a Chatfield before her marriage. In the group of photos is one labelled "Uncle Lew Chatfield" and I found 21 year old Lewis Chatfield living with Joseph Deniger Sr in 1860 in Bridgeport.

I hope to have these lovely photos scanned, researched and online on Lost Faces soon. Meantime here is a list of the surnames written on the photos:

Williams, Jackson, Henderson, Morgan, Wells, Deniger, Night, Curtis, Dumbull, Marley, Carpenter, Ferry, Chatfield, Rider, Bowen, Smith, Diott, Polk

Locations of photographic studios were: New York, Bridgeport Conneticut, Danbury Connecticut, Boston Massachusetts, Norwalk Connecticut, Kingston Ontario, Gananoque Ontario, Davis New York, Poughkeepsie New York, Chicago Illinois, Detroit Michigan, and Lynn (Massachusetts?)

Sixteen of the photos were taken in Bridgeport Connecticut.

January 25, 2015

Update on Early Irish Marriage Records Online

The IGRS (Irish Genealogical Research Society) now has over 66,000 marriage records online. The index of early marriages is free to search. A quote from the website states:

With so many parishes in Ireland not having any register of marriages before the 1840s, the database is fast becoming an invaluable tool in identifying where and when ancestors tied-the-knot. It includes references from a myriad of different sources: books, gravestones, family bibles, deeds, wills, letters, court records, published journals, newspapers, census transcripts and old age pensions forms, to name just a few.
Sources drawn upon for this particular update include marriage licence bonds from a number of diocese covering all or parts of counties Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow; and there are further references to marriages from the Registry of Deeds.

January 24, 2015

Lambert Van Valkenburg in the New World

Official Seal of New Netherland
My 9th great-grandfather Lambert Van Valkenburg was born in the Netherlands circa 1614. With his wife Annetje Jacobs, Lambert sailed for the New World of New Netherland (present day New York state). 

From his son Jochem Lambertse Van Valkenburg, there are 10 recognized branches of the Van Valkenburg family (one for each of Jochem's children with his wife Eva Vrooman) and I descend from two - his son Isaac Jochemse (with wife Lydia Van Slyke) and Isaac's sister Jannetje Jochemse (with husband Isaac Van Alstyne)
Records found for Lambert indicate he was in New Amsterdam as early as Jan. 1644. Since it is unlikely the ships sailed in the winter, he was probably in New Amsterdam in the summer or fall of 1643. Existing records indicate he purchased land in July 1644. That 1644 plot of land  is now the site of the Empire State Building in New York City.

29 July 1644: Deed. Jan Jacobssen to Lambert van Valckenburgh, of house and plantation on the island of Manhattan, near Fort Amsterdam. [Register of Provincial Secretary Vol. II p. 121] [Source: Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the office of the Secretary of State, Albany NY edited by EB O'Callaghan]

16 March 1647: Patent. Lammert van Valckenborch; lot south of Fort Amsterdam, Manhattan Island. [Land Papers Vol. G.G. p. 192] [Source: Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the office of the Secretary of State, Albany NY edited by EB O'Callaghan]

Court records are a wonderful resource. Those of us with ancestors in early New Netherland are lucky for the Dutch kept meticulous records. It was a litigious time period and settlers were frequently in court suing their friends and neighbours. Lambert is found many times in the court records for New Netherland. Here is one of the more volatile examples:

Source:"Minutes of the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwyck 1657-1660", translated and edited by A.J.F. Van Laer, Vol.2, Albany, 1923. Page 9:
"Ordinary Session held in Fort Orange, January 9 Anno 1657


"President, J. La Montagne, Rutger Jacobsen, Jacob Schermerhoorn, Andries Herbertsen, Philip Pietersen

"Lambert van Valckenborch, plaintiff, against Henderick Claessen and Gerrit Willemsen, defendants.The plaintiff complains that the defendants beat him and his wife in his own house. The defendants deny it and claim that the plaintiff chased them with a naked rapier out of his house and pursued them to the center of the fort. The court orders the parties respectively to prove their assertions."

In 1659 Lambert was appointed to the Rattle Watch. The Rattle Watch was responsible for walking the streets at night, watching for crimes or fires and from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. they called out the hour every hour as well as ringing their rattles.

Source:"Minutes of the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwyck 1657-1660", translated and edited by A.J.F. Van Laer, Vol.2, Albany, 1923: Page 209-210:"Extraordinary Session held in Fort Orange, August 8 Anno 1659

"Instructions issued by the honorable commissary and magistrates of Fort Orange and the village of Beverwyck for the rattle watch, appointed at the request of the burghers to relieve them of night-watch duty; to the rattle watch of which place Lambert van Valckenborgh and Pieter Winnen were appointed the 6th of July of this year 1659, on condition that they together are to receive for the term of one year one thousand and one hundred guilders in seawan and one hundred guilders in beavers.

Read more about Lambert from the Court Records online at Lambert Van Valkenburg in The New World This was first published as "Lambert Van Valkenburg: His Life in the New World as Revealed in Court Documents and Other Primary Source Records From 1644 - 1664" by Lorine McGinnis Schulze in The National Association of the Van Valkenburg Family of America serialized beginning in the Fall of 1999

January 23, 2015

Earl G. Gregory's WW2 Navy ID Tags Need to Go Home (Case #24)

Sue wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with a request for help sending a WW2 Navy ID Tag back to family
Earl G. Gregory's WW2 Navy ID Tags Need to Go Home (Case #24)
I would like to find a home for the attached dog tag.  My father ran a wrecker service in DeKalb, Illinois and found this in a car many years ago.  It is for Earl George Gregory.
After receiving Sue's email I did some research. The first thing I noticed was that this was a Navy ID Tag (USN on the tag)

A search on Ancestry.com found this record for Earl:

Earl George Gregory
Service Info.: CWT US NAVY WORLD WAR II
Birth Date:18 Dec 1916
Death Date:11 Jun 1990
Cemetery:Thomason Cemetery
Cemetery Address:Main St Wayne City, IL 62895

Find-A-Grave shows his wife as Anna, buried with him.

If you can help find Earl's family, we can add this to our solved cases with a happy ending. There is probably a family member who would treasure this item, let's help find Earl's family and send it home.  

January 22, 2015

More Rescued Postcards 1900-1918 Added to Lost Faces

Recently I rescued 28 vintage orphaned postcards from antique shops. They range in date from 1900 to 1918. 27 are from United States and 1 is from Ontario Canada. 

I have scanned and added more of these postcards to Lost Faces and will be adding the rest of these wonderful cards over the next month. I hope descendants will see these postcards and recognize an ancestor.  

  • Bowman To "Dear Friend" Mr. Oland Bowman, Hammond New York from Cassie W. 1912
  • Bennet Pte A. Bennet, Port Sanitary Hospital, New Ferry, Cheshire from B.R. 13 Sept. 1918
  • Dunmire To Mr. Claire Dunmire, Punxsutawey, from Charlotte A. 1913

January 21, 2015

What Happens To Your Genealogy Research When You're Gone?

Have you thought about what will happen to your genealogy research after you are gone? I don't know about you but I have several filing cabinets full of genealogy papers and records that I have compiled over the years. It's unlikely that any one person would be willing to take all these home and start going through them.

What Plans Have You Made For Your Genealogy Research When You're Gone?
Often there is only one genealogy addict for each generation. I'm the one in my generation and have been for over 30 years. That means no one else is very interested. Oh sure they like the occasional interesting story of an ancestor but to scroll through reel after reel of microfilm or puzzle over a census record for clues - nope. 

After we've done all that work for the past 10 or 20 or 30  years, it is human nature to want to see it passed on and not discarded as if it had no meaning or importance.

Perhaps you have an appointed person who will pick up the torch and carry on after your demise. But even if there is one person you hope will do this, do you think they really want your boxes or drawers full of papers to sort through? I'm an avid genealogist and can never get enough. But when my mother died I took 4 filing cabinet drawers full of her genealogy research and put them in boxes to bring home. I've never gone through it and it's been 6 years. Every time I look at the boxes full of miscellaneous notes and papers and records I am overwhelmed at the task of sorting, analyzing and figuring out what to keep and what to toss. 

So what's the solution? How do we find and prepare a suitable torch-bearer and how can we get our genealogy research into a state that will make it easy for the next generation to carry on?

What Plans Have You Made For Your Genealogy Research When You're Gone?
I've approached this in different ways. One thing I've been doing for a few years now is creating hard cover "coffee table" books on Shutterfly. Here's a tutorial on how I create them:

Creating a Memory Book in Shutterfly (Tutorial 1 of 3)

Each book is about one family. I like to keep them 25 pages or less and they are meant to highlight the family with stories, photos and some of the documents I have obtained.  For my McGinnis family  I created 4 different volumes, one for each generation starting with mine. These are given to each of my children in hopes that they will find their way down to my grandchildren and perhaps continue to be passed on. 

The second method I'm working on is putting all my copies of original records - vital registrations, wills, census and so on, into binders (one per family) which also contain a pedigree chart for that family. In my mind it is a summary of the family with documentation and I am hopeful it is something that anyone remotely interested in the genealogy would be happy to take to their home and keep. 

I also am currently working on getting all these papers digitized, put on flash drives and given to my children. That's a big job and it's not high on my list since technology changes so quickly the day will almost certainly come when the data cannot be retrieved. Remember those big floppy discs for computers? Or the smaller ones? Who can read them now? 

Digitizing the papers is important though because then you can save them in the cloud and on your computer.  It's a great back-up method for your work but I don't see it as viable for passing on to family. 

Don't be fooled into thinking the local genealogy society or library or museum will want your papers. They may happily accept a book about your families but loose papers are unlikely to be given a home.

What's your plan?  Share your ideas here and let's see what plans and projects we can come up with.




Names of Ontario Teachers Retiring 1871-1879

Names of Ontario Teachers Retiring 1871-1879
A little known source for information regarding teachers in early Ontario Canada is the series of booklets called "Annual Report of the Minister of Education, on the Public, Separate, and High Schools, Also on the Normal and Model Schools, of the Province of Ontario"  

This series contains detail on retired teachers (their names, county they taught in, how much money they received, and more), names of individuals granted teaching certificates and more. Olive Tree Genealogy has been gathering and transcribing when possible, the various record sets and publishing them on the Early Ontario Education Records
section of my website. 

The newest set of records includes the following: 

* Teachers Retired From the Profession in 1871-1872 No. 1-181
* Teachers Retired From the Profession in 1873-1874 No. 182-341. Includes names of widows and representatives of deceased teachers who are owned money 
* Teachers Retired From the Profession in 1875 No. 342-515
* Teachers Retired From the Profession in 1876 No. 516-685
* Teachers Retired From the Profession in 1877 No. 686-870
* Teachers Retired From the Profession in 1878 No. 871-1068
* Teachers Retired From the Profession in 1879 No. 1069-1291

January 20, 2015

Rescued Postcards 1900-1918

Recently I rescued 28 vintage orphaned postcards from antique shops. They range in date from 1900 to 1918. 27 are from United States and 1 is from Ontario Canada. I have scanned and added 6 of these postcards to Lost Faces and will be adding the rest of these wonderful cards over the next month. I hope descendants will see these postcards and recognize an ancestor. 

Index to Family Postcards

  • Larson Mrs. Amanda Engell Larson, 210 Eagle st., Dunkirk NY from "your cousin Mildred Wallin. 1914 (found in 1940 census Dunkirk,Chautauqua, New York . She was born ca 1871 in Sweden and is a widow, living with her married daughter Ellen Pruss)
  • Duttweiler Miss Dorothea Duttweiler, Alden, Erie Co. New York, Genesee Road, from Ella? 1913 (1900 census Alden, New York age 1, daughter of Fred & Ella)
  • Duttweiler Miss Dorothea Duttweiler, Alden, Erie Co. New York. from "your friend Minnie F." 1914
  • Roth Mrs. Jacob Roth, North East, Pennsylvania.To "my dear Audie, with love to all and a kiss to you, Jake July 8, 1918
  • Roth Master John Roth, North East, Pennsylvania. For his first birthday. From Aunt Pena? and Uncle John. Can't read date
  • Roth Master John Oldach Roth, North East, Pennsylvania c/o Mrs. Johanna Oldach. to "Dear Hans" Birthday greetings from "Aunt Bessie and Uncle Herman. 1912