The Canadian Library & Archives

Tuesday Tips

I had the opportunity to do some genealogical research for a friend who knew virtually nothing about her grandfather, Andrew Halcro.  He died in 1925 at the age of 48 and was not talked about much by the family.  What made him of interest to me is that he was born, lived his entire life, and died in Quebec, Canada. I have very little experience with Canadian ancestors and thought researching him would be a great exercise for me to learn more about Canadian research.

First – Family Search

My first step in learning about an ancestor is to try to find the individual in Family Search. I quickly found my subject as ID: LYBX-5WS. Next, I go to Sources for the individual. In this case, I learned that someone had associated three sources with events in my subject’s life.

    1. 1881 Canada Census showing Andrew in the household of his father, Frank.
    2. 1891 Canada Census showing Andrew in 1891 Census but no image of the record.
    3. A 1998 obituary of one of Andrew’s sons indicating that Andrew was the son’s father.

Going from the most recent record back, I reviewed the 1998 obituary and then incorporated it into my research. The 1891 Canada Census was something of a conundrum. Why was there no image at FamilySearch?

Library & Archives of Canada

I was pretty sure I’d find it at Ancestry.Com, but that requires a World Explorer License. So, I did a Google search for: 1891 Canada Census.  I immediately saw an entry for the Library and Archives of Canada. I did a search for Andrew there and immediately found him. His entry was the only result.  There were links to download an image for the entry in either JPG or PDF format; I like that.

I then began to look at what else they have at the Library and Archives of Canada. All kinds of Census records from 1825 “Lower Canada” to a “1926 Prairie Provinces” Census.

As I wandered around the site a little bit, I learned they have Military Records, Passenger and Border Entry Lists (Immigration records), Birth, Marriage, & Death Records, Divorce records, and even some city directories online. What a great resource; not only does it have wonderful records, it is free. Anyway, it is a “Bright, Shiny Object” in my current project, so I took some notes to come back and data-mine the resource soon.

I searched the Family Search Records and was not successful in finding any new records relating to my Andrew. However, I noted there was another person with the same name living in the same town at the same time. I would need to be careful to differentiate between my Andrew (1876-1925) and this other Andrew (1811-1878) in any records I find.

Future Actions:

Datamine for the Halcro family in the Library & Archive of Canada.

John Parsons, Jr. & The Family Search Wiki

John Parsons, Jr. & The Hartford – Albany Turnpike

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Sometimes, the obvious eludes me. After my first pass on an individual searching Family Search, Ancestry, and drafting up a basic sketch for an individual, I like to go to my “stage 2” activities. That is to go through my hundreds of bookmarks looking for other potential sources. Virtually every ancestor I have came from somewhere different.  For example, my eight great-grandparents were born in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Likewise, they died in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and “unknown.” Many of my ancestors began on the East Coast and migrated west every other generation or so, to Western New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, the Dakotas, Minnesota, and so on to me who was born in Oregon. That results in many places for me to learn how to research. It gets exhausting and overwhelming.

The Family Search Wiki

I’ve long advocated using the FamilySearch (FS) Wiki to help find specific things. I even manage the page for Scarborough, Cumberland County, Maine Genealogy. But, I never thought about using the FamilySearch Wiki as the basis for my “stage 2” research. Then, I watched a Roots Tech 2020 talk on “Unlocking the Power of the FamilySearch Wiki” and reconsidered my lists of links. I thought I’d give it a try. To start, I’d use the FS Wiki and look at the entries for the towns my ancestor of interest lived in. My current work relates to John Parsons, Jr. He was born in 1764 in Sandisfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. He lived and married there. Then in 1802 moved west to Windham, Greene County, New York where he died and was buried.

This file is attributed to DiltsGD and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

The FS Wiki page for Sandisfield had this really cool little map showing the “Routes and Turnpikes” that people used to migrate to and from Sandisfield. One of those routes was the Massachusetts 10th Turnpike dated 1800. References indicated to see the map between pages 56 and 57 and to see pages 76 to 78 of The Turnpikes of New England and the Evolution of the Same Through England, Virginia, and Maryland by  Frederic J. Wood(Boston: Marshall Jones, 1919), and provided a link to the Internet Archive version online.

Besides a nice map of the area showing the pikes, the accompanying article on pages 76 to 78 provided a lot of information. The 10th Mass Turnpike Corporation was created by an act passed in 1800. It began at the Connecticut line and ran thirty-six miles. It was known locally as the “Hartford and Albany turnpike.” The date the 10th Mass. Turnpike went into service isn’t given, however, I suspect that opening up the road helped John Parsons and his family locate west to Windham, Green County, New York in 1802.

Update to John Parsons, Jr.’s Ancestry sketch:

In 1800, the Tenth Massachusetts Turnpike Corporation was created to form a link in the turnpike system connecting Hartford with Albany. Known locally as the “Hartford and Albany turnpike” the road commenced at the Connecticut line and followed the Farmington River up the valley through Sandisfield, Tolland, Otis, and Becket, thence through Lee, Lenox, Richmond, and Hancock, to the New York Line. The new pike probably played a role in John Parsons, Jr. and his family’s relocation to Windham, Greene County, New York in 1802.

There wasn’t anything else in the FS Wiki Page of interest on the Sandisfield page. I wonder if there is something of interest on the Windham page….

Family Search’s “Watch” & Barbara Bertha Trumpi

Darling/Huber/Trümpi

Family Search Watch

Family Search is one of my favorite genealogical websites. They have many great features, but one of my favorites is their “Watch” function. It is simple but really powerful.

Click “Watch”.

Family Search uses a universal tree. That is to say, everyone with a FamilySearch account sees the same tree (except for living individuals you created). Some people don’t like that feature because it means you do not have complete control over your tree. But once you have a person in the tree, you can watch that individual and be informed of any changes that occur with that person.  Those changes can provide import clues for your own research and can suggest contacts clearly interested in the same individuals as you are.

One of my problem research areas has been my wife’s great-grandmother Bertha Barbara (Trümpi) Huber and her parents [Bernhard and Bertha (Koch) Trümpi]. Little more than their names were in the tree when I began watching each of them. Over the past few months, another researcher has added several children to the couple that I didn’t know about, a second wife, who I knew about but didn’t have a name for, and Bernhard’s parents’ names. Wow!

Now, I don’t accept that new information at face value; but I consider it as clues to other facts, which I can investigate. In this case, the researcher suggested four new siblings for Bertha:

  • New Brother: Heinrich (1886-1914)  Potential –
  • New Sister: Barbara (1888-____)    Probably a mistake (same name as Bertha Barbara)
  • New Brother: Bernhard (1891-1961) Potential.
  • New Sister: Emma (1901-1901) Potential.

The entries also confirmed information I have about Bertha, Frieda, August, and Ernst.

It also suggested a first wife for Bertha’s father, Bernhard was Regula Stüssi and seven children for Bernhard and Regula. Following the Family Search additions, it seems that

Bernhard Trümpi married Regula Staüsi in 1867. They had seven children, four of whom died as infants. Regula died in 1882 and Bernhard married Bertha Koch in 1883. Although Regula was only two years younger than Bernhard, Bertha was 19 years younger. Now the family oral history which said that Bertha Barbara came from a large family makes sense. I had her with six siblings, with the addition of new family members she may have had 15 siblings, 11 of which live to adulthood. That would be a large family.

Finally, the researcher suggested that Bernhard’s father was Bernard and his mother was Anna Maria Oertli. That knowledge opens an entirely new avenue of research.

That which I thought was a brick wall now has many new holes for me to pick at and find a way through. Thanks to the “Watch” feature of Family Search I circle around and have a new direction for my research. If you aren’t using the Family Search “Watch” feature, I highly recommend you do so.

Maine Marriage Records

By Don Taylor

photo of hole in a brick wall
Hole in Brick Wall – Photo by counterclockwise via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I recently had the opportunity to be a Genealogy “brick wall buster,” which is a person who helps someone break through their genealogical brick walls. They say teaching a subject helps the teacher learn the topic even more. Likewise, helping others with their “brick walls” is an amazing process wherein I learn so much more. Anyway, one of my querists wanted to know, How to find marriage records in Maine.

As I thought about how I would approach the question I thought of several Wikis and ask the person if they used the Family Search wiki. She said, “No.” As I went through the day, I realized how few people knew about the two best genealogy wiki sites on the Internet. Everyone I spoke to during the day used Family Search and Ancestry.Com, but none of them ever used either of the two wikis.

I prefer the Family Search wiki. http://familysearch.org/wiki.  It seems to always provide the answer to my research questions.  For example, a search for Maine Marriage Records brings me to a page about the differences in records before 1892, between 1892 and 1922, and since 1922.

The Ancestry Wiki: http://ancestry.com/wiki/ is also a hidden gem – a fountain of information. Many people have subscriptions to Ancestry and many others access Ancestry through their local libraries, but I found few use the Ancestry Wiki. The results received from searching the Ancestry Wiki for “Maine Marriage Records,” was not quite as clear as Family Search but did quickly lead me to a Maine Vital Records page, which also told me all I needed to know.

The Maine Genealogy Network is one of my favorite sites for specifically Maine research. They have many Maine Specific databases, see http://www.mainegenealogy.net/databases.asp for a list of them. There is also a great article about “Finding Maine County Marriage Returns”

http://network.mainegenealogy.net/profiles/blogs/maine-county-marriage-returns, which explains methods to access some of the early Maine marriage records that may exist.

Scarborough Records

For Scarborough Records, the Cumberland County Marriages from 1786 thru 1886 may be browsed on the Family Search site at https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/553508. Look for the camera icon at the bottom right to see the images.

Image of Book Cover - Vital Records of Scarborough Maine.

There is a great book, Vital Records of Scarborough, Maine by James H. Wick published by the Maine Genealogical Society (MGS). The book is currently out of print and unavailable from the MGS, however, Minerva indicates it is available at several libraries in the area, (See https://tinyurl.com/ycb5ga9x) including the Scarborough Public Library. We also have a copy of it at the Scarborough Museum which may be viewed at the museum.

Also at the museum, we have several boxes of microfilm.  As an example, one of the boxes, Number 225, is a reel of “Town Records Births prior to 1891 with some dates to 1908, deaths ca. 1819-1891, intentions of marriage and marriage records 1816-1879.  I need to find a way to get these digitized and available or, better yet, find where someone else has already digitized these records.

Do you know of additional Maine Marriage Record sources available?  If so, please let me know through the comment form below.

Five Steps to Genealogical Success

Complete genealogical foundations help answer family questions 

A Case Study: D’Amico

By Don Taylor

A friend was telling me that his wife knew her ancestors, the D’Amico side, were Italian, but didn’t know where in Italy they were from. He also told me he didn’t have any idea where to start. He said they had poked around Ellis Island records but found nothing. He provided me very little information, just the parents names, grandmother’s name.  He mentioned they settled in New England (Mass. & Maine) and one key bit of information, her father died in 1959 at the age of 43.
As a former Project Manager, I really believe in the process. My process is to always enter what I think I know into a family tree program.  I currently use Heredis 2015 World (Mac) [By the way, Heredis is running a 50% off sale which ends today.]  as my preferred genealogy organization software, but I could as easily other software or even paper. The process is the same either way.
1.  Enter what you think you know.
a.     Enter the known relationships and any known vital facts. In this case, there wasn’t much to begin with, but entered it and started.
Starting point for D’Amico Project.
2.  My next goal is to find the family unit in at least two censuses and make sure that I have a family unit understood.  I typically use Family Search for my initial start.  I like Family Search particularly because I like their “copy” feature. It provides an easy way to copy all of the data of the record plus the source citation in a single click so I can easily paste it into a source record in my software. I also like to confirm any of the seed facts from step 1.

a.     I then created a source entry and pasted the information into it. I saved that and then created the facts I wish, and drag and drop my source to the fact I’ve entered. In this case the month and place of death as well as the birthdate. 

b.     1940 Census, 23 year-old Michael with wife and daughter living in Maine.[i] 

c.     (1935 Living at Same Place)[ii] 

d.     1930 Census, 13 year-old Michael living with his widowed mother, Margaret, and four siblings in Franklin, Norfolk Co., MA. It also indicated her grandmother was born in Italy immigrated in 1900, and was naturalized.[iii]

I was fairly certain that this 1930 Census record was the correct family but wanted to be absolutely certain. I contacted my friend to have him ask his wife if her father grew up in Franklin, MA, and did she have an aunt Elinora and uncles, Frank, Joseph, and Victor. She responded that she did, so I knew I was with the right family.

3.  My next process is to follow the individual through all the censuses of his or her life. I found him in the 1920 Census with his father, Michael (new name) his mother, and his four siblings. The census reported that the father, Michael, was born in Italy, immigrated in 1890, and was naturalized in 1900.[iv] That finished all of the census records for the Michael the son. 
Next, a quick check found Michael’s birth registration which yielded the maiden name for his mother, Marguerita Melano.[v]
Now on to follow Michael the father through more census records; he should be listed in 1910 and 1900. 
The 1910 Census finds Michael in Franklin, MA with his wife and three children. His oldest child, Donato is 4 years old doesn’t show up in the 1920 census, so I suspect something happened to him. It also indicated that he immigrated in 1886 and is naturalized. This broadens his immigration date to between 1886 and 1890 for future searches. It also indicates that Marguerita immigrated in 1904.[vi]

1920 Census
1910 Census
Michael Immigration
1890
1896
Michael Naturalization
1900
Na.
Marguerita Immigration
1904
1904
Marguerita Naturalization
1904
*
* Note: Before the 19th Amendment women took the citizenship of their husbands upon marriage.
I wasn’t successful in quickly finding Michael D’Amico nor Marguerita Melano in the 1900 Census but I decided to continue on anyway and see if I could answer the questions.
Switching to Ancestry.com I searched Immigration & Travel for Margherita Melano arriving in 1904.
Searched Immigration & Travel for Margherita Melano.
There she was in the New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 arriving on 23 Jul 1904 aboard the Citta Di Torino sailing from Napoli (Naples). Her “race or peoples” is listed at So Italian and her last Residence was Caserta.  We don’t know for certain if that is Caserta the city or Caserta the province. Caserta (the city) is only about 15 miles north of Naples, so it makes sense that she would take a ship out of Naples to America.[vii] 
Using the information, I had regarding Michael, I didn’t find anything in Immigration & Travel that seemed to fit him. Then I searched the Birth, Marriage & Death records for Michael D’Amico born in Italy 1864. Up came an index record for Michele D’Amico, Baptized 1 May 1864 in Civile, Casalvecchio Di Puglia, Foggia, Italy.  Father Donato D’ Amico and Mother Eleonora Rossacci.[viii]  That must be him. Michael’s first son was named Donato and his first daughter was named Elenora clearly after his parents. The age was right. Casalvecchio Di Puglia is about 100 miles northeast of Naples.
I know that it is a leap to ascribe the Baptism record of Michele D’Amico of Casalvecchio Di Puglia to Michael D’Amico, the grandfather of my subject individual, but because of the expected birth date and the parents’ names (as they relate to the grandfather’s children’s names) I believe it is a good fit. So tentatively, I have him with that baptism and birth location.
According to The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. website, there was a Michele D’Amico who arrived in 1899 aboard the SS EMS whose last address was Cercemaggiore, which is about 35 miles from Casalvecchio Di Puglia. That is his likely immigration, however, I can’t prove it and it will take a bunch more research to prove it.
But going back to the process:
1.     Start a tree. Fill in what you think you know.
2.     Confirm what you think you know with evidence.
3.     Find the individual in every census.
4.     Find the individual’s vital (birth, marriage, death) information.
5.     Seek answers to specific questions in appropriate locations.
Move on to another ancestor.
In this case, I believe that Michael D’Amico was born in Casalvecchio De Puglia and possibly lived in Cercemaggiore.  I also believe that Marguerita Melano was from Caserta. Both were from southern Italy within 100 miles of Naples.

Endnotes

[i] 1940 Census; Michael A D’Amico – Ward 9, Portland, Portland City, Cumberland, Maine, United States; Family Search.
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] 1930 Census; Margaret Damico – Franklin, Norfolk, Massachusetts, District ED 52, Sheet 15A, Household 351, Line 27; Family Search
[iv] 1920 Census; Michael D’Amico – Franklin, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Sheet 5A, Household 82, Line 44; Family Search
[v] Massachusetts State Vital Records, 1841-1920; Michele Archangelo D’Amico – 1916 – Record #115; Family Search
[vi] 1910 Census; Michael D’Amico – Franklin, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Sheet 26A, Household 525; Family Search.
[vii] New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957; Margherita Melano – 1904 Arrival, New York, New York; Ancestry.com.
[viii] Italy, Select Births and Baptisms, 1806-1900; Michele D’Amico – Baptism Index; Ancestry.com

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