Saturday, June 10, 2017

Yes, there were two deaths in the family that week.


Oh, how I wish I had been citing my sources when I first began my tree on Ancestry!  I don't know that it would have changed the story I'm about to tell you, but it would be great to know where I got the information about these ancestors.

I'm still getting ready for the Dean reunion in August and I'm really having a blast. I'm researching people who have been in my tree for years but who are collateral ancestors; not in my direct ancestral line. People I have not taken the time to dig into before.

As I mentioned in a post last week, I've been searching in Google Newspapers, I've also been searching in Ancestry for baptismal, marriage and burial records as well as census records and obituaries. So many dots are connecting for me as I work on all these people one after the other and I find myself wishing at least three times a day that I had been more interested in these details when my grandmother and her siblings were alive, but I digress.

Last week I mentioned that I found death notices for John Dean, my 2nd great-grandfather, Bessie Nimmo, his wife and Elizabeth Louden, Bessie's mother. What I found was this.

From The Sherbrooke Examiner, June 18, 1897

Almost the entire column has information about members of my family, but the first thing that surprised me was the comment that there were two deaths in the family that week. As I read on I found information about Elizabeth's death but also about someone I didn't know; William Millin from Belfast and his now widow, Martha, who were living with the family. I called my mother and she wasn't familiar with the names nor had she ever heard that we had family from Belfast. She thought maybe he was a farm hand but his burial record said he was a carpenter. It was a mystery and, I thought, likely to remain so.

A few days ago I discovered Martha again. Four years after the death of her husband she was captured in the 1901 Census of Canada living with John and Bessie's daughter Lizzie (now Elizabeth Morrissette) and her family. Again, we asked ourselves, who was this person that family members kept providing a home for her? Was it just out of duty because her husband had met his accidental death at the family farm? Could she be family? The census offered no clues, under relationship to head of household, it just said Martha was a pensioner.

Then yesterday afternoon I was looking at a tree that my mother had been writing out in 1988 when things suddenly came together for me. Bessie Nimmo had two sisters, Martha and Margaret, and a brother, Charles, and my mother had scribbled some details for them at the top of the chart. The dates looked familiar. I went into Martha's record on Ancestry. I have a photo of her, the photo at the top of my post. I enlarged it (which you can as well by clicking on it), I looked at the writing on the bottom. I gasped. Martha's husband was not William Miller - he was William Millen!!! I ran to my box of photos and turned the photo of Martha and William over...Belfast!



Martha Millen of Belfast was Aunt Martha. William Millen was family. There were indeed two deaths in the family that week.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Hunt

There are many reasons to love genealogy, but for me, the addictive part, the part that keeps me up way too late on occasion, gives my dust bunnies the upper hand and makes Donald a genealogy widower, is the hunt. That is what really got me hooked, I think, researching my family history. That is what turned it from an interest into an obsession passion.

And my first hunt ever, beginning nine years ago when I knew nothing about anything, was for the burials of two of my maternal grandfather's brothers who died in infancy. I knew where my grandfather was buried and his six other siblings, but I could not find little Benjamin or little Norman. Although I had a strong suspicion that I knew the answer, I had no proof at all.

Benjamin and Norman Parker died in Quebec in 1889 and 1903 respectively. From my home on Long Island, NY I searched whatever records I could find. I contacted family, I looked through family records, I manually combed the Quebec Vital and Church records (Drouin Collection) on Ancestry, I searched online cemetery listings and online newspapers.

Nine years and many hours of research later, yesterday I finally found my answer. In the online collections of the National Library and Archives of Quebec, I found the burial record of Norman Parker Smith. Reading the record breaks my heart but finding the record made me want to shout from the rooftops!



Norman Parker was the 7th live-born child of George Robert Smith and Isabella Frances Parker. He died at three months and twenty-two days and was the second of George and Isabella's nine children to die in infancy. The births and deaths of both babies were listed in the family bible, the only record I had of their existence when I began my genealogy journey.

A few years ago, Ancestry matched me with Norman's baptismal record. I never would have found it on my own in a manual search; he was baptized somewhere unexpected and only eight days before his death. I hoped that it would lead me to his burial record, but a manual search of the same church's records came up empty as did related cemetery and newspaper searches.

I strongly suspected that Norman was buried with his brother, Benjamin and that both brothers were buried in a cemetery in Buckingham (now merged into Ville de Gatineau), Quebec. George and Isabella began their married life and family there with Isabella's father and very early in my research I found an index of burials in a Presbyterian cemetery there that included members of Isabella's family, including her parents, but not the babies.

The Drouin collection on Ancestry is wonderful, but incomplete. The fact that it holds no records from the Presbyterian Church in Buckingham is one example but there are others in my Quebec families. Those records do exist in other places however, and yesterday's find was one of them. Unfortunately this record set did not include anything before 1900 which is the majority of the Smith and Parker records, but at least I know I'm headed in the right direction.

Baby Norman was baptized in Montreal just eight days before his death, and was buried in Buckingham two days later. The fact that in 1903 he was taken 125 miles away from Montreal or 272 miles from their home in Thetford Mines for burial leads me to strongly suspect that both he and Benjamin are buried in this cemetery with their maternal grandmother who died in 1881. Of course I will continue to search for records, but I think at last I have my answer.

Friday, June 2, 2017

I didn't mean to be gone so long...

...but that's just the way life is sometimes.

I'm O.K., things in my non-genealogy life have been a little stressful and there wasn't much time for research for a while which left me without much to share. I have missed it, mostly because my blog reading time was cut down also and that took me out of the genealogy blogging community all together, and that was not too fun.

But I am back at it, researching and hoping to catch up on blog reading this weekend.


John Dean
Elizabeth "Bessie" Nimmo

In August I will be attending a reunion of descendants of my second great-grandparents, John Dean and Elizabeth "Bessie" Nimmo, so this family has been one focus of what research I have done this year. One important complication of this research is distance; they lived in North Hatley, Quebec, an eight hour drive from my home on Long Island, NY, so anything not online is quite a distance away. Lucky for me, I do have good leads from Ancestry collections, family lore, photos and artifacts and a helpful if unreliable book about the families of the area.

Still, I have been unable so far to find burial records for either John, Bessie or Bessie's mother, Elizabeth Louden, who lived with them for years and is buried with them. After spending a lot of time on Google Newspapers over the holiday weekend, I now at least have death notices and approximate dates of death for all three.

While pay sites like Newspapers.com and Genealogy Bank are great, (I've written previously about my many finds for the Matthews family of Pittston, PA) they do not have much Canadian content and of course their content is behind a paywall. Google Newspapers has a ton of Canadian newspapers and they are free. One big drawback is that while the papers on the pay sites are searchable thanks to optical character recognition, the papers on Google Newspapers have no search function. You must bring your time and patience to the search party but the rewards can be great.

After this weekend's searching I know that Elizabeth Louden was sick for many years before she died at 93 and 3 months and relied on her deep faith to see her through it. I know that John and Bessie's youngest daughter, Anna Mina, was not just a teacher at the little red schoolhouse my grandmother would attend years later, she was the teacher and seems to have enjoyed preparing her little scholars to give recitations and other entertainments for their neighbors to much appreciation. And I know that in 1912 when John and Bessie's eldest, my great-grandfather James Louden, lost an arm in a farming accident, his wonderful neighbors and friends helped with farm work and house work and even held a successful fundraiser for him while he and my great-grandmother, who was already ill, were recovering in the hospital.

So, whether it's one of the sites I've mentioned or something else like Chronicling America or in an archive or historical society, I highly recommend some newspaper research, I'm finding it very addictive.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Photo Friday - February

I mentioned last month that I made calendars with Snapfish as Christmas gifts using some of Dad's photographs. This is the image that I used for February.


This photo was taken in my grandparents' backyard in Middletown, CT in 1953.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Family Recipe Friday - A Recipe I'll Probably Never Make

Selma Carlin (who married Carl Olson) wasn't really family but she did immigrate to the United States from Sweden with my great-grandmother and her sister, and by all appearances the three remained quite close.

Anna Olivia Johnson, Selma Carlin,
Mathilda Alfina Johnson (my great-grandmother)

This recipe for lutefisk pudding is from a cookbook produced by members of the Emmanuel Swedish Lutheran Church in Manchester, CT, the church that all three families attended. Although I can't say for sure, I believe this one was probably submitted by my great-grandmother's friend.

A reformed picky-eater, I'm still not exactly what you would call adventurous, and I've never acquired a taste for fish. I thank goodness that lutefisk (dried whitefish - usually cod - treated with lye) was not in my grandmother's repertoire, at least not that I recall.



While no lutefisk recipe is ever likely to make it into my meal rotation, it is still interesting to get a window into the daily lives of my ancestors and their friends and the traditional recipes that they brought with them to their new home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Case Studies - GPS Study Group Chapter 4


Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group

Homework
Chapter Four – Case Studies
Anna Matthews

Reference:
Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition Revised. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2014.

Carl Johan Anderson ca. 1888
In chapter four of Christine Rose's book she presents case studies. Panelists in DearMYRTLE's study group were asked to present last week's homework again this week but in the following format:

I    Research question
II   What do we know?
III  What documents are found?
IV  Analysis, Correlation, Resolving Conflicting Information
V   Conclusion, End-notes or Footnotes (Citations)

Since I am not a panelist in this study group, my post will be just a bit different. I will stick to just one of the questions from last week - When did Carl Johan Anderson immigrate to the United States? - and I will present all of my current evidence - not just the census records that I examined last week.

I. When did Carl Johan Anderson immigrate to the United States?

II. I have evidence of his departure and arrival dates from various sources.

III. A) The translation and transcription of a letter written by Carl in 1941.
      B) An audio taped interview of Carl conducted in 1955.
      C) Swedish Lutheran church record; image of moving-out list.
      D) Two passenger lists from his journey from Sweden to England and England to the U.S.
      E) Census records from 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930.


A) On January 23, 1941, Carl wrote a letter [1] about his early life that was "only to be opened after his death." This letter was translated from Swedish and transcribed in English by his son, Elmer Carl Ragnar. In the letter he gives the date of his departure from Sweden as March 25, 1888 and says that he arrived in New York on April 8, 1888.



B) Carl was interviewed on tape [2] by his son, Axel Heinrich Wilhem, on October 12, 1955 at the age of 89. In this interview he states that he traveled by boat to Hull, England and by train to Liverpool where he boarded a ship of the Inman line called City of Chester. When asked by Axel when he arrived in New York, he states that it was April 7, 1888.

C) A well-meaning member of a FB genealogy group voluntarily shared an image of a household book from 1888 in Sweden showing that a Karl Johan Anderson moved to America. I don't know the source of the image and haven't yet found it on my own, so I won't share it here.

D) A passenger list [3] found on Ancestry has the following information:

The passenger ship Romeo left Goteborg, Sweden for Hull, England on March 23, 1888.


Another passenger list [4] found on Ancestry shows a manifest of the SS City of Chester which arrived at the Port of New York on April 7, 1888 from Liverpool. On the manifest is a passenger with the following information:



E) This table contains a summary of the relevant information found in four censuses [5, 6, 7, 8].



IV   In analyzing the evidence, I first apply the genealogical proof standard.

1. Has reasonably exhaustive research been completed? Well, no, actually. Since the person who was the informant on the census records indicated in all four years above that Carl was naturalized, we need to look for his naturalization records to see of they contain an immigration date. I did find a Charles Anderson (see 1900 census above) who applied for citizenship in this area in 1892 at the age of 25, which is somewhat consistent with my ancestor. The information was only an index, more research is needed.

2. My source citations are incomplete until I find the household record referenced above for myself - see below for the remainder which I'll be completing throughout the day today.

3. Tests - analysis and correlation:

A) This letter [1] which was translated and transcribed from the original is a derivative record containing primary information and direct evidence. The original was created 43 years after the event to record information about Carl's life to his descendants. The record was created by Carl's son from a record created by Carl himself.

B) This recording [2] is a 2nd generation copy of the original but I believe that it can be considered an original source; there is no evidence to suggest that the recording was altered in any way other than format. The information is primary and the evidence is direct. The original was created 67 years after the event and the informant was 89-years-old. Although Carl was 89 and there is some slight indication of confusion on Carl's part when answering a few of his son's questions, he gives an emphatic answer to the question of his immigration date. It seems clear to me that this is an important date for Carl that has remained ingrained in his memory for 67 years. The record was created by Carl and his son in order to record information about Carl's life for future generations.

C) This is a derivative record because the image did not display the entire page and I do not have the source information - more research is needed. The source is primary and the evidence is direct. The record was created on March 11, 1888 to note that a member of the parish was leaving and was an indication that Carl was given a certificate to give to the minister of his new parish.

D) The passenger list for the Romeo [3] is original, contains primary information and indirect evidence.The record does not provide direct evidence of Carl's arrival in the United States, only of a passage from Sweden to England. It provides direct evidence of his travels, but not of the question we are asking.  This record was created to record the names of the passengers aboard this ship on this date, where they were from, where they were going. The data was supplied by Carl.

The passenger list for the S.S. City of Chester [4] is also original, provides primary information and direct evidence, it states the arrival date of this ship at the Port of New York. This record was created to record the names of passengers arriving at the Port of New York and immigrating to the United States. The data was supplied by Carl.

E) These census records [5, 6, 7, 8] are original but the information is indeterminable because we do not know the informant. The evidence they provide is direct. The record was created to capture information about United States citizens and residents. We do not know who supplied the data for any of these records.

4. As I wrote last week, the conflicting information about Carl's immigration date is contained mainly in the census records. These records are the weakest of the documentation that I have for this question because we do not know who the informant is for any of them but we do know that mistakes were common in census records for a myriad of reasons. I believe that the conflicting years of immigration for Carl in the 1910 and 1920 census can be attributed to error or to the possibility that the information was supplied by someone other than Carl, perhaps one of his children, a relative or even a boarder.

The letter written by Carl in 1941 states that he arrived in the United States on April 8, 1888 but his taped interview and the immigration record state that it was the 7th. The date in the letter could be attributed to a typo on the part of Carl's son who translated and transcribed his original letter or Elmer could have had trouble with his father's handwriting or Carl could have made a mistake when he wrote the letter; without the original it is difficult to make an educated guess.

V) The last point of the Genealogical Proof Standard is a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion. Since that is the focus of Chapter five, I will make that my next post in this "series". Suffice it to say, I do feel that we have enough evidence now to say exactly when Carl immigrated to the United States; April 7, 1888.


_________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Carl Johan Anderson, Manchester, Connecticut, to his descendants, letter, 23 January 1941, relating details of his early life; Personal Correspondence, Anderson, Carl J.; Anderson family, Matthews Research Files; privately held by Anna C. Matthews [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE] Rockville Centre, New York.

[2] Carl Johan Anderson, (Healthland, 305 Walpole Street, Norwood, Massachusetts) interview by Axel Heinrich Wilhelm Anderson, 12 October 1955; copy of audio file held privately by Anna C. Matthews [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Rockville Centre, New York.

[3] "Gothenburg, Sweden, Passenger Lists, 1869-1951," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 24 January 2017), image 44 of 58, line 4685, Carl J. Anderson entry; ship Romeo out of Gothenburg, Sweden, departed 23 March 1888 for Hull, England.

[4] "New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 January 2017), Date > 1888 > April > 07 > City of Chester, Line 150, Carl J. Anderson entry; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M237

[5] 1900 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 22B, dwelling 383/family 433, Chas Anderson, Alfina Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623,18, roll 138; imaged from FHL microfilm 1,240.138.

[6] 1910 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 14B, dwelling 272/family 294, Carl J Anderson, Alfina Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T624, roll T624_131; imaged from FHL microfilm 1,374,144.

[7] 1920 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 4B, dwelling 65/family 96, Carl Anderson, Matilda Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623, roll 625_181.

[8] 1930 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 17A, dwelling 244/family 358, Carl J. Anderson, Matilda A. Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 267; imaged from FHL microfilm 2,340,002.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Family Recipe Friday - Spritz Cookies

On New Year's Eve Day Donald and I had lunch with my stepmother at the home she shared with my father before he died in 2005. Some of you may remember that we spent two very full days there in September of 2015 finding amazing photos, family keepsakes, etc.

I'd had this nagging feeling ever since that I didn't take a close enough look at the cookbook section of Dad's library and might have missed some of my grandmother's recipes, so I was very happy to discover that almost nothing had been touched since our last visit. After lunch I headed down there and found that I was right!


These are the cookbooks that I brought home. One is a Swedish cookbook, apparently a gift from my great-aunt Anna to my grandmother, that had three distinctly different recipes for Swedish rye bread on index cards paper-clipped to the back cover. Some of the others are church cookbooks, most of which contain recipes supplied by family and family friends. One is from 1932 and another had additional recipes written in blank spaces in my grandmother's handwriting.


This cookbook, from my grandparents church in Middletown, CT, begins with a history of the church, which was a nice score. It also contains two cookie recipes that my grandmother submitted. I decided to make the Spritz cookies last weekend.  Although I had a few issues with our cookie press (an ancient, as seen on TV, Super Shooter) they were as good as I remembered, like taking a trip down memory lane.



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