Monday, August 14, 2017

Best Laid Cemetery Plans

It looks like I accidentally deleted my pre-reunion post detailing my plans for visiting cemeteries in Quebec and the contents of my new cemetery kit, so I'll review it a bit here.

Before heading home from last week's reunion, Mum and I had hoped to visit six cemeteries to pay our respects to our ancestors and photograph their headstones. Our previous attempt three years ago had to be called for weather when the area was hit with six inches of snow the night before our arrival.


Well, you know about best laid plans, right? I still think we could have completed our mission, but we chose to spend some extra time with our cousins instead. There was also one cemetery we decided to skip on this trip because the cemetery didn't respond to my inquiries for plot numbers before we left, and it is a big cemetery.

As I packed my clothes and other necessities, I also assembled a cemetery kit in a large knapsack on wheels. Inside were:

First aid kit that included a whistle and compass
Bug spray (containing Deet due to a bad tick season in the area)
Lint rollers (to check ourselves for ticks, they can be very small)
Long dishwashing gloves (again, tick protection)
Gardening gloves
Exam gloves just because I had some
Pruning shears
Cardboard wrapped in foil for directing sunlight on hard to read stones (a large mirror would also work but I was trying to reduce weight)
Soft paint brush for removing dirt from lettering
Spray bottle filled with plain water which I had heard can sometimes enhance the lettering on stone if it is difficult to read/photograph.
Old throw pillow covered in plastic tarp for kneeling on while trimming any overgrowth around flat stones or foot stones.
Crate for sitting on to take photos at the level of the stone.
Extra memory card for camera.
Extra/rechargeable batteries for camera.
Directions because I didn't have cell service in Canada, printed lists of stones, extra paper and pen all on a clipboard.

I also had soft cleaning brushes with me from cleaning Donald's grandmother's headstone, something his parents wanted us to do. We hadn't planned to use them, but we did decide to remove some of the lichen from my great-grandparent's stone. It is a thick, sturdy stone and was practically illegible when we got there. I know that scrubbing stones is controversial and there are plenty of stones we saw and visited that we would not have touched, but this one in particular we thought would be okay. If both of us hadn't had sore backs that day, we probably would have gotten a better result.

George R. Smith M.L.C./Feb 17 1860-Feb 20,1922
Isabella F. Smith/Aug 12 1868-Feb 20 1940

I still had to spray the stone with plain water to get it this legible. I'm not sure if we're going to leave it at this point, or try again with the soft brushes and water on our next visit. I'm sure the stone can take it, but I don't want to damage the raised lettering.

Even though this plot is in the same cemetery as my grandparents, I only remember visiting my great-grandparents once before and had forgotten that George's foot stone included the Masonic symbol, or that he was even a Mason.

All three of these stones must have been something to see when they were new. I hope we can figure out a way to keep them legible and looking as my great-grandparents wanted without harming them.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Bean Burying Ground of North Hatley, Quebec

When I first saw "Bean Burying Ground" in one of my ancestors burial records, I thought I might have to make my my way there through a stand of maple trees or find it inaccessible due to growing crops. Thankfully though, the Bean Burying Ground is now Lakeview Cemetery and is accessible to anyone.

As its former name implies, Lakeview Cemetery started as a burial ground for the Bean family on the farm of Moses Quimby Bean, my 4th great-grandfather, an early settler in North Hatley, Quebec, who was born in New Hampshire. It was quite something to stand on this hallowed ground, taking in the beautiful scenery and the surrounding farmland and know that it was originally cleared and farmed by my ancestors.

Although it isn't quite the quiet spot it once was due to the fact that it now lies on a busy route through this countryside, it is still a beautiful place to farm or to spend one's eternal rest.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Funeral Card Friday - John Dean

Well, if you read my last blog post about my then upcoming trip to Quebec for a family reunion, I'll end the suspense for you now and let you know we did not make it to six cemeteries while we were there.

We did have a wonderful time, I did meet cousins I'd never met before and see others I hadn't seen in decades. I did get to share my research and photos to much appreciation and I don't regret a moment of how we spent our time, only that we couldn't have stayed longer.

And I wasn't the only one to bring goodies. One of my cousins made a foam board display covered in photos and ephemera that was absolutely wonderful! It included the funeral card (1) of my 2nd great-grandfather, John Dean, who died of pneumonia in February of 1888.

I cannot even describe my reaction to this piece of family history. I just about fell over when I saw it. I had no idea that Susan had such treasures. I am able to share this scan with you thanks to the treat that I bought myself a the week before we left, a Flip-Pal mobile scanner. It paid for itself the moment I was able to bring home all of Susan's treasures in digital form.

You may notice that the scan is cut off at the top. That is not the fault of the scanner. The Flip-Pal comes with instructions and software for stitching scans together when you scan something larger than the glass, but I didn't have time to learn that trick before I left. I have this image for now, though, and I can always ask Susan to take this out for me the next time we visit.

I still haven't found the burial record for John Dean, but I do have two newspaper notices with conflicting dates of death, so this is a nice addition to my documentation about his death.

(1) Funeral card for John Dean, Dean Family Collection, privately owned by Susan Dean [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 2017. Inherited from Kenneth E. Dean, grandson of John Dean.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lt. Frank McConnell Park - Richmond Hill, Queens, NY

On Thursday morning, Donald and I found ourselves sitting in a park on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Queens while waiting for a diagnosis on our car from a new mechanic. While we were waiting I realized that there was a memorial of some kind at one end of the park and Donald went over to investigate.

He discovered that this park was dedicated to the memory Lt. Frank McConnell, the first Richmond Hill resident killed in World War I who gave his life, according to a city parks website, on July 26, 1918 in the second battle of the Marne.

Although the monument is dedicated to all of the Morris Park (neighborhood boundaries in Queens are very fluid) residents killed in the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean Campaign and the Viet-Nam Campaign, only those killed in WWI are listed.

Last year I shared the WWI memorials in Rockville Centre, NY where I live. Rockville Centre is a village in Nassau County, about a half hour drive from this park. RVC is just a village and Queens is a city county, but I am struck by the difference in the number of casualties between Rockville Centre and just one Queens neighborhood, even 100 years ago.

Anyway, I hope that this post may enable another genealogist to find their relative on this memorial. As listed on the plaque, those killed in action are:

Charles F. Albrecht
Louis E. Ammarell
Edward M. Anderson
Charles G. Baird
Mortimer Benjamin
George B. Burling, Jr.
Robert J. Burtis
Edward Cater
Frederick A. Clark
Harold J. Cokeley
George M. Coleman
Charles. F. Cook
Albert M. Dow
Charles F. Gans
David E. Gladd
Robert Gray, Jr.
Eugene A. Griffith
George B. Hall
Joesph Hartel, Jr.
William F. Hausman
Herome Heime
Charles M. Hoerning
William B. Holler
Andrew J. Hummer
Johannes A. Jensen
Albert A. Justis
Henry Lerch, Jr.
Lewis Lichtenstein
Frederick Lippert
John W. Mark
Daniel C. McCauley
Frank W. McConnell, Jr.
Frank J. Menninger
John J. Mertz
Frank A. Meyer
Finlay W. Millar
Cuthbert C. Murphy
Frederick W. Neumeyer
George R. Nicholson
Bertram S. Noble
George F. Pettit
Louis Pine
Andrew J. Provost, Jr.
Frederick H. Reif
William A. Reihl
Bernard Ripoll
Archibald E. Robbins
Thomas R. Roberts
Paul E. Sallah
Arthur A. Schnorr
Frank L. Schweithelm
Joseph Sheridan
Frederick H. Shirs
John A. Smith
Arthur J. Struck
Stephen T. Sullivan
Adam H. Suttmeier
Frederick W. Sundermier
John Tallario
Dominick Trapasso
Charles L. Trinkard
John T. Vermaelen
George A. Weber
Lawrence Whalen
Harry J. Whitman
William A. Williams
Charles Worth
James P. Young
Peter A. Zeis
Alfred N. Dow

I will be adding this post to the Honor Roll Project.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Planting a Seed - Sharing Family Photos

For the past two months, I have been spending a good deal of my free time preparing for the Dean reunion which is now less than a month away.

Eva Maud Bean and James Louden Dean

I know that at least one cousin who is "into" genealogy will be there, but I am hoping, of course, that many more will be interested in hearing about the family history that my mother's generation remembers, the added details that Sherril and I have uncovered and in seeing the old photos that bring it to life.

But what is the best way to share the photos? I thought about a book, but I just wasn't feeling it, the time and expense are just not happening right now. And I know that when I do eventually start to write, I want to know more than I do now about our immigrant ancestors.

I would love to bring the originals; there's just something about holding that original in my hand, even in a protective sleeve, that really gets me and I'd love to share that feeling. But a 400-mile drive each way, two nights in a hotel and the fact that we would be gathering around food in a large group, no, I had to admit that sharing the originals would not be possible. And digital sharing isn't an option because I don't have a laptop and the farm is very rural and not internet friendly.

So, I have had prints made of all those cabinet cards, cartes de visite and tintypes, but there were 20th century photos that I wanted to share also and didn't want to have too many more individual prints made. Finally, while I was uploading the older photos to Snapfish (with whom I have no affiliation) I was reminded that they make collage prints in 4x4, 4x6, 5x7, 8x8 and 8x10. After experimenting a bit, I decided that this was the best way to share a lot of photos. I made a total of ten collages and I'm so happy with them that I am sure that I will be framing a few of them if they make it back from the reunion in good condition.

This one contains photos from my grandparent's wedding.

I love how this turned out so much that I ordered two so that I can frame one for myself and one for my mother. And it was easy to make. I just uploaded the .jpg files that I wanted to use, and let Snapfish format the photos for me. If I didn't like the auto arrangement it was fairly easy to swap photos within the collage or remove photos, although once or twice in the process of making all ten collages, I did just start over with fewer photos. You also have the option of choosing from their templates.

One word of caution about Snapfish. I'm not sure that I will use them again. I didn't like the fact that you can only use the coupon codes if you want to have the photos shipped to you and then you have to pay for shipping. So, depending on the size of your order, the coupon codes may not save you much money. The package arrived yesterday, two days earlier than their estimate. It was on my door  mat when I got home. The package (a standard shipping envelope) was not in good shape and there was a footprint on one side. That is the fault of the shipping company. But, the 8x10s and the envelopes of smaller prints were just thrown into the envelope with no stiff cardboard or anything inside to protect them. If you look carefully at the above photo you can see that two of the corners are bent. Four of these 8x10s arrived this way. That is Snapfish's responsibility. It has been about twenty hours since I contacted them as I write this and I haven't heard back yet.

Overall, though, I was pleased with the order. I have put the prints in protective sleeves and will start labeling them soon. I even decided to print a few backs to give everyone the feel of the old photos.

At least a couple of my grandmother's siblings were interested in family history and my mother and at least another cousin of her generation are also. I know that a cousin from my generation has a tree on Ancestry, but it seems to be in need of some attention. I'm hoping that we can snag someone from the next generation at this reunion. Or at least plant a seed.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Canada 150 Genealogy Challenge

As you probably already know, Canada celebrated the 150th anniversary of Confederation on Saturday, the day that the colonies were united under the Constitution Act.

I'm a bit late, but I am taking up Patricia Greber's challenge to list my Canadian ancestors living in Canada in 1867 when Confederation was accomplished. The challenge is to list their names, the year they arrived in Canada (can be approximate) and where they originally settled.

John Dean
Elizabeth Nimmo
Denison Minser Bean
Isabella Frances Parker (Center)

James Dean - 3rd great grandfather                               by 1837                 Harrington Twnshp, Quebec
Jane Irwin - 3rd great grandmother                                by 1837                 Montreal, Quebec

John Dean - 2nd great grandfather                                  b. 1839                 St. Patrick, Quebec

Elizabeth Louden - 3rd great grandmother                          1851-1856       Montreal, Quebec

Elizabeth Nimmo - 2nd great grandmother                          1851-1856      Montreal, Quebec

Mark Bean - 3rd great grandfather                                   b. 1806                Hatley Township, Quebec

Denison Minser Bean - 2nd great grandfather                 b. 1848                Hatley Township, Quebec

John Emery - 3rd great grandfather                                      1805-1829     Hatley Township, Quebec

Jane Louisa Emery - 2nd great grandmother                    b. 1850               Hatley Township, Quebec

George Lakin Parker - 2nd great grandmother                     1840               St. Angelique, Quebec
Lucy A. B. Hamilton - 2nd great grandmother                b. 1828                Montreal, Quebec

Isabella Francis Parker - great grandmother                     b. 1867               Manotick, Ontario

James Dean and Jane Irwin both came from Ireland, according to census records, and were married Montreal, Quebec in 1837 at a Scotch Presbyterian Church.

Oral family history says that Elizabeth Louden and her children, including Elizabeth Nimmo, came from Scotland. Census records say Ireland right up to Elizabeth Nimmo's last census, 1921, which says Scotland. I also may have found the family in the Scottish census in 1851 but that is to be determined. Elizabeth Louden first appears in a Montreal directory in 1856.

John Emery appears to have been born in Newbury, New Hampshire in 1805. He may have come as a child, but his first record in Canada, so far, is his marriage to my 3rd great-grandmother, Fanny Chamberlin, in 1829.

George Lakin Parker came to Canada as a child from Barton, Vermont so his parents may also have been alive and in Canada for Confederation, but that is yet to be determined, as is the status of Lucy Hamilton's parents in 1867.

I've made so many fascinating discoveries about my direct and collateral Canadian ancestors preparing for the Dean reunion next month, but putting this list together emphasizes how much I don't know. So much family, only 24 hours in a day!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Explaining Likely, Probable and Possible Identifications to my Cousins

This week I have been getting scans of some mid-1800s family photos ready for upload to Snapfish (I have no affiliation) so that I can have copies made to take with me to the Dean reunion in August. In doing so I was reminded that there are a number photos that have no identification and also some that are labeled with names that mean nothing to me.

Identified as
Mary McCullough
Mrs. Oliver Emerson
Mrs. Oliver Emerson
Identified as Oliver Emerson

When I took these photos out of their original album, which is preserved separately, put them in protective  sleeves and labeled them, I omitted Mary McCullough's name from her label and identified her only as Mrs. Oliver Emerson, so that is where my search began.

Even though it seemed to me like a common name, I searched All Collections on Ancestry for an Oliver Emerson in Quebec, Canada. That was it, no other information. I was rewarded with a top result that was a marriage record for an Oliver Emerson and a Mary Ann McCullough at the same church in Waterville, Quebec where my great-grandfather Dean and his siblings were baptized and he was married. Again, as I was looking at this record, I had no idea that the woman in my photo was Mary McCullough but my interest was piqued anyway because I have another photo in my Dean box that is labeled Alex McCullough.

Reading the marriage record brought me another clue, the bride's mother was named Martha Irwin (God bless pastors who included maiden names). Irwin is a known name in my family. My third great-grandmother, grandmother of the same Dean generation baptized in this church, was Jane Irwin. So who is Martha?

Well, I was already in Ancestry, so I decided to take a look at some member trees. Not the best research method, I know, but I was just trying to ID some photos. One of the first trees that contained Martha Irwin showed that one of her siblings was a Jane with a date of birth consistent with my Jane. The tree was not documented but contained dates and other facts consistent with my research. It showed that this Martha had married Thomas McCullough, that they had ten children including Mary Ann and a son named Alex. Following Mary Ann, this tree showed that she had married Oliver Emerson with whom she moved to Manitoba and had three children. A quick check of census records show an Emerson family in Manitoba with a family of three children and a Martha McCullough.

If I were thoroughly researching this collateral line, these searches would be just the beginning. But I am satisfied, for now, that I have identified the reason that these photos were in a family album. I mean, what are the chances that this is another Oliver and Mary Emerson?

Last night I was kind of picturing myself explaining these relationships to my cousins, telling them that Mary McCullough was likely the daughter of Jane Irwin's sister, making her the first cousin of John Dean. I was wondering if the words like likely, possibly or probably would even make an impression as they take in all this family history. These words are so meaningful to genealogists and family historians, be they hobbyist or professional. But will the mean anything to my cousins, or will they just take my searches at face value?

Maybe I should have time for a genealogy class added to the itinerary.

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 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

Chapter Four – Case Studies
Anna Matthews

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, ( : 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, ( : 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, ( 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, ( 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, ( 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, ( 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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Evaluating Records - GPS Study Group Chapter 3

Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group

Chapter Three – Evaluating Records
Anna Matthews

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

"The Immigrants", Sculptor Luis Sanguino
Castle Garden, NYC

A couple trying to hide the pre-marriage conception of their first child, a neighbor supplying your ancestor's census information to a tired enumerator, a child supplying information about grandparents they never met for their mother's death certificate; these are just some of circumstances that could affect the accuracy of information we seek. Knowing your record set, why it was created and under what circumstances will help with those evaluations.

Although I know now that ship's records and citizenship applications are the best places to look for information about ancestors' immigration and citizenship, census records were the first documentation I found (or Ancestry found for me) that contained immigration and citizenship information for my Anderson great-grandparents. Although I have better sources for this information now, conflicting information still needs to be addressed, so understanding census records will be important to my conclusions.

Carl Johan Anderson
1900 - Name: Chas, Born June 1865, Immigrated 1888, Naturalized
1910 - Name: Carl J., 44 years old, Immigrated 1891, Naturalized
1920 - Name: Carl, 54 years old, Immigrated 1895, Naturalized
1930 - Name: Carl J., 63 years old, Immigrated 1888, Naturalized

Mathilda Alfina Anderson
1900 - Name: Alfina, Born Mar 1868, Immigration year blank, Naturalization status blank
1910 - Name: Alfina, 42 years old, Immigrated 1893, Naturalization status blank
1920 - Name: Matilda, 52 years old, Immigrated 1895, Naturalized
1930 - Name: Matilda A., 62 years old, Immigrated 1890, Naturalized

My census experience is distinctly different from that of my ancestors. I received a form in the mail, completed and returned it to the census bureau but my ancestors may or may not have been the informants of their own record. My form was in my mother tongue, but my ancestors were answering questions in their second language. I could answer questions at my leisure but my ancestors may have been rushed by a busy enumerator or interrupted while preparing for dinner, dealing with children or any number of possible distractions. These are some of the things to keep in mind when evaluating census information.  Just this week I was reminded while watching one of Christa Cowan's videos for Ancestry that an enumerator may have recorded information obtained from neighbors if the family they were looking for wasn't home. Of the records available for research only the 1940 census indicates the informant, and even then, not in every case.

Although these census records are a primary source offering direct evidence, the fact that we cannot determine the informant makes the information indeterminable and weakens any case we would make using them alone to answer questions of immigration years and citizenship. I do have more information available to me consider in my conclusion, but I'll share that in another post.

Even a good understanding of our records and informants is not always enough for us to reach a solid conclusion, but whatever conclusion we come to can be recorded. We can then keep searching for records or set aside the question for another time, because there is always another ancestor to be researched.


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

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

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

1931 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 17A, dwelling 244/family 358, Carl J. Anderson, Matilda A. Anderson; digital image, ( accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 267; imaged from FHL microfilm 2,340,002.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Photo Friday - A Photo Restoration Shoutout

I can't remember when my mother gave me this photo of our ancestors; my 2nd great-grandmother Elizabeth Nimmo and her children including my great-grandfather, James Louden Dean, seated next to her at the viewer's right.

It is a wonderful photo but has obvious condition issues; fading, spots and what looks like mold scars. I decided a few months ago that I wanted to have the image restored and have a print framed for my mother for Christmas.

Last year, Michelle Ganus Taggert of A Southern Sleuth blogged about a photo restoration that was done for her by Miles at 399Retouch. He had done such a masterful job restoring the face of Michelle's 2nd great grandmother that I decided to send them my photo.  Below is the amazing result.

Back Row L-R: Robert Irwin Dean, Margaret or Elizabeth Dean, Anna Mina Dean
Front Row L-R: Margaret or Elizabeth Dean, Elizabeth Nimmo, James Louden Dean 

My ancestors the way they were meant to be seen! I can almost feel the fabric and the weight of their clothes, the fringe on the chair and hear the rustle of their skirts.

With just a few clicks and a quick pick-up I had two 8x10 prints made through Snapfish, bought some suitable frames, and now Mum and I each have a copy of this restored photo hanging in our homes.

I highly recommend 399Retouch and can't wait to share this photo with cousins at the family reunion coming up in August. Maybe we'll even be able to figure out which sister is Margaret and which is Elizabeth.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Building a Solid Case - GPS Study Group Chapter 2

Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group

Chapter Two – Building a Solid Case
Anna Matthews

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

Due to ongoing issues within Google, today's study group has been moved. Please go to DearMYRTLE's blog post for the links. If information is available about a replay after the webinar, I'll post it here.

Chapter 2, Building a Solid Case deals with when to apply the GPS.  Three scenarios are presented, the second of which deals in part with conflicting evidence and seeking every piece of evidence which could resolve the conflict.

I haven't done much research offline so far, due mainly to constraints of time and budget, so I don't have a lot of conflicting information in my research. There are some age discrepancies and immigration year discrepancies and citizenship discrepancies, but almost all are from census records which I don't, in general, consider a very reliable source for those facts.

The example I chose to blog about today was one of the first times a discovery caught me by surprise because it was different from what I thought I knew.

This obituary is for my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Ann Codner Smith, which contains a few pieces of misinformation.

1. Her name. Her initials should be Mary A. C. Smith or Mary A. Codner Smith as her name was Mary Ann. This I know from family lore, a family Bible and her marriage notice.

2. The occupation of her son George R. which is mentioned at the end of the article. George R. Smith was my great-grandfather and he did hold office, but he was a member of the Quebec Legislative Council, not the Canadian Parliament. This I know from multiple sources.

3. Mary Ann's place of death. The obituary (for which I have no publication name or date) states that she died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. James M. Fisk, in Newark, NJ. When I first received this clipping, I had no reason to believe Mary Ann died anywhere other than her daughter Charlotte's home. Mary Ann and her husband Benjamin had lived in Newark since at least 1860 according to the family and census records and Benjamin had died six years earlier, so Newark as a place of death made perfect sense. Obviously, more than an obituary would have been needed to try to verify that information, but it wasn't something in my immediate research plans, when....

this death certificate popped up as a hint on when Pennsylvania death certificates were added to their database and indexed. (Ancestry hints can be frustrating sometimes, but I don't know if I'd have ever thought to look in PA for Mary Ann's death record.)

At first I was ready to dismiss it out of hand as a bad match since I was still a relatively new researcher then, but something told me to give the record a better look and I realized that there was a chance the decedent was my Mary Ann. I didn't add the record to my tree, however. Even with no knowledge of the GPS or any genealogy standards, I decided I didn't know enough to be sure and put it in what Ancestry calls the shoebox and forgot all about it until I was considering this post.

So, what next? After last week's post about this study group, one of the panelists, Kate Challis, read and commented on my post, specifically my statement that records should be analyzed when you have done your reasonably exhaustive search. She reminded me that this is not a linear process, we don't - generally - go out in search of documents from a checklist and analyze the information once we have checked the last box. Thoughtful analysis of each document as we find them is important to better research and to staying organized.

Taking a closer look at this death certificate, I see that the dates of birth and death are a match to my Mary Ann. Also, this Mary had only lived at her current address for 8 months, 20 days, previously residing in Newark and her body was being removed to Newark, N.J. The informant, a vital piece of information to consider, appears to be one of her sons, Wm (William) Smith.  But there is some conflicting information, other than the place of death. My Mary Ann's daughter Charlotte was a member of the D.A.R. This lineage goes through Mary Ann's line and I have the application which lists Mary Ann's parents as Robert Codner (not John) and Phoebe Chidester (not Mary Chedister).

I still lean towards the decedent being my Mary Ann, but I won't be able to make a case for it without more information. While I can't imagine not knowing the names of my grandparents, it is possible William grew up knowing little or nothing about his. As an adult he certainly moved around quite a lot, spending years in Canada and possibly some time in China, according to a passport application. William also had a brother, John Codner Smith, who he may have assumed was named for his grandfather because of his middle name. Although the identity of the informant and the reason for the record's creation are important facts to consider, they can't tell us everything we need to know about every fact in the document. Clearly, this case is calling for more research to be done,

1. Was my William Smith living in Ambler, PA in 1914?

2. Can I find out if William knew his grandparents and knew them well?

3. What newspaper carried this obituary?

4. Was Mary Ann's obituary published in any other papers?

5. Try again to find Mary Ann's burial record.

6. Search in New Jersey for Mary Ann's death certificate.

Although this familial line is not part of my current research plan, I'm glad that I took another look at these documents. A thoughtful written analysis is so much more helpful than a quick glance and a "could be her" and throwing it onto a deal-with-it-later pile. Practicing these skills will help me whoever I am researching.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Foto Friday - January

One of the gifts that I gave this season were calendars using some of my father's nature photography that I love so much. I used photos taken between 1952 and 1983. The current background of my blog is the photo that I used for January. Here is the whole photo.

It was taken somewhere in Litchfield County, Connecticut, according to my father, in the winter of 1963.
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