Using Ancestry: Miscellaneous Search Tips, by Juliana Smith

Clipper ship For the past several weeks, we’ve been covering various ways to search the data at Ancestry (see the links following this article if you missed these articles). This week we’re going to stray a little and we’ll begin this installment with some hand-slapping. Not high-fives mind you, this will be hand-slapping of the reprimand variety. The target of this reprimand? Yours truly.

Tobins Revisited
In last week’s column, I used an example of how I had found a possible passenger arrival for my Tobin ancestors by searching by surname, ship name, and date.

In the article, I said, “Images are not available for this database. . .” but as my co-worker Chad Milliner told me in an e-mail, these records are also available as part of a larger database–New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 and in this database there are images available. Clearly I hadn’t investigated all the possibilities when this new database was posted. Slap! I was still basing research on my original search from several years ago and hadn’t taken the time to follow up with the original record. Slap! Slap! Continue reading

Great-Great-Grandma Was an Indian? by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

Indian Village Upper Mississippi-Currier and IvesFollowing my 2 July column on the 1880-1940 U.S. Indian censuses at, I received many questions about tracing elusive American Indian ancestry. While I can’t answer each of you personally, the basic steps and tips below should get you started.
Perhaps you have a family legend that Great-great-grandma Pearl had Indian blood. Usually the story doesn’t share a clue whether that blood is from her maternal or paternal side. It’s important to note that a specific tribe will not have a master index of anyone who ever had that Indian blood. Nor will the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). There is no “master index.” So, how do you go about solving this mystery? Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Build a Research Trip Tool Kit, from George G. Morgan

Prepare yourself for research trips and visits by building a take-along tool kit. Pretend you are headed off to school because, after all, this is just another academic research trip!

Include a small stapler and staples, zipper-lock sandwich bags containing different size paper clips and rubber bands, several sharpened pencils, an eraser, small notepads whose pages you can clip to others or stick-on notes, a lined pad or notebook with pages for copious notes and transcriptions, and a zipper-lock sandwich bags with a variety of coins and dollar bills for copy machines and microfilm printers. Libraries and archives may have CD-Read/Write machines that allow you to save images and other data to CD. Therefore, take along a writable CD that allows you to write to it and a thin CD case to protect it.

Share some of the items in your toolkit in the comments section of this post.

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

Your Quick Tips, 17 September 2007

Polite Persistence Pays Off
When searching for documents, you should not always take the word of the person onsite. I recently revisited a courthouse that merely had a note in a book that divorce proceedings had been dropped. After explaining that there had to be documentation for the divorce entry and refusing to accept that there was not any documentation, I was led to the basement where twenty-six boxes sat. There I found the filing for the divorce of the ancestor I was searching and it listed all living children, a marriage date, etc. My determination paid off.

Anita Keller Continue reading

The Year Was 1819

The year was 1819 and the United States experienced its first major financial crisis in the Panic of 1819. Following a period Image: American methodists proceeding to their camp meeting / J. Milbert del.; M. Dubourg sculp., ca. 1819of economic development after the War of 1812, property values collapsed, and unemployment was on the rise. Thousands of people found themselves in debtors’ prisons, and soup kitchens and charitable institutions were in demand.

The Ohio Repository from 1 October 1819 cites a report from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the industries of cotton spinning, hosiery, thread, silver plating, smithing, coach making, chemicals, hatting, carving and gilding, potteries, tobacco pipes, printing ink, book printing, type foundry, brass foundry, wire factory and floor cloth manufacturing. The report states that,

It appears that in these the average weekly wages, in 1814 and 1816 was $6.51 and the average number of persons employed 4906…While in 1819, weekly wages averaged $4.95 [and] the number of persons employed was reduced to 900…

“Unless some early change takes place in the affairs of the community, your committee regret to say, that, in their opinion, the sufferings of the poor during the approaching winter will far exceed anything that America has heretofore witnessed.–Already are there many reputable manufacturers & mechanicks [sic] offering to work for their bare food, whilst others unhesitatingly declare, that they have no prospect before them, but to be entered with their families upon the pauper list.” Continue reading

Photo Corner

Francesco Brunetto and Manorela MogattaContributed by Phyllis Sgarellino
This is a copy of my grandparents wedding picture from 1906–Francesco Brunetto and Manorela Mogatta–in Middletown, Connecticut.

Lizzie Learmonth (1861-1883)Contributed by Anne Slater, Ardmore, Pennsylvania
This is my great grandmother, Lizzie Learmonth (1861-1883), probably taken in Edinburgh, Scotland, although possibly in Kirkwall, the main town of Orkney, a group of islands north of Scotland, where she and my great grandfather were born and grew up.

Where Am I? Three Ladies in Canada

3 ladies in Canada.bmpHere’s a little mystery that hopefully someone can help Pat solve:

This is a photo of my two great aunts, Celina and Melanese Parker, and probably their Aunt or cousin Evelyn Brunelle, whom they were visiting. Aunt “Cel” as we called her is on the right and Aunt “Mel” is on the left with Evelyn in the middle. It was taken in 1910 in Canada. Would anyone happen to know where?
Pat Lavato

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Photo Corner: The Taylor Family, Canada, ca. 1903

Taylor Family, Canada, ca. 1903--Ernest Taylor, Isaac Taylor, Mary Ann Squibb Taylor, Jan Fryer TaylorThanks to Karen Taylor, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada for sharing this beautiful photograph with us! She tells us,

This photo was taken in Canada circa 1903, after emigration from Southampton in 1890. It includes my grandfather Ernest William Taylor (1891-1965) front row right, eight of his twelve brothers and sisters, my great-grandparents, Isaac William Taylor (1857-?) born in Southampton (middle row right), Mary Ann Squibb Taylor (1857-1951) born in Dorset (middle row left), and my great-great-grandmother Jane Fryer Taylor (1833-1912) born in Wiltshire (middle of the middle row).

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Ancestry Posts Mississippi State and Territorial Census Collection

Ancestry____logo1.bmpThis week Ancestry posted the Mississippi State and Territorial Census Collection to its growing collection of databases. This database contains indexes and images of state and territorial censuses for Mississippi for various years between 1792 and 1866. For a complete list of the counties and years included in this database click here.

Information available in this database includes:

  • Name
  • Place of enumeration
  • Census date
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Birthplace

Additional information about an individual may be found by viewing the corresponding image.

Click here for more information and to search this database.

Similar collections at Ancestry:

Click here to browse more census records at Ancestry, or search the Ancestry Card Catalog.

Ancestry Posts Mecklenburg-Schwerin Censuses, 1890 and 1900

Ancestry____logo.bmpThe Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was formed in 1815 through a division of the Duchy of Mecklenburg. It was the larger of the two resulting Mecklenburg Grand Duchies. Ancestry has added censuses for this area available for the years 1890 and 1900 for Ancestry members with World Deluxe or memberships.

In 1890, Mecklenburg-Schwerin was divided up into different district jurisdictions. These four district types were 1) Ritteramt (R.A.), 2) Domanialamt (D.A.), 3) Klosteramt (K.A.), and 4) Stadt. Each individual district, except for the Stadt districts, encompassed numerous towns. Each Stadt district included the city by the same name and, generally, suburbs.

The 1890 census consists of five form types:

  • Form A – Namensliste (Name List): Lists the members of a given household
  • Form B – Zählkarte (Census Card): Card providing more detailed personal information about an individual
  • Form C – Zählkarte, Abwesende (Census Card, Absentee): Card similar to Form B for members of the household not present at the time of enumeration
  • Form D – Bevölkerungs-Tabelle (Population Schedule): Lists the heads of house for each household in a given enumeration district
  • Form E – Control-Liste (Control List): Same as Form D

The 1900 census consists of two form types:

  • Haushaltungslisten (Household Lists): lists the members of each household and indicates relationships
  • Zählkarten (Census Cards): provides more details on each individual of the household, including birth date and birthplace. There were two types of Census Cards – one for individuals present at the time of enumeration, and another for individuals who were absent. Both cards contain the same information, except that the absentee card has an additional line where the individual’s whereabouts could be indicated, if known.

In both enumerations, since individuals may be listed on more than one form type, it is possible that you will get multiple search result hits for the same person. Please also note that discrepancies in information between forms for the same individual may exist. For example, a name may be abbreviated on one form, but not on another. Likewise, discrepancies in Ancestry’s indexing of a name between forms may also exist. For example, a name may be clearly decipherable on one form, but more illegible on another, resulting in two different indexed spellings of the same name.

For more information and to search these censuses, click through the following links:

Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1890 (in German)  
Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1900 (in German) 

Other Mecklenburg-Schwerin Censuses available at Ancestry:

Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1819
Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1867

Note: These forms are in German, but online translators like AltaVista’s Babelfish can aid in translations.