Emigrant Savings Bank Question

James Kelly Account ledger - Emigrant Savings Bank database at AncestryIn last week’s column,  Spicing Up Your Family History with Detail, I mentioned looking at your ancestor’s finances. Taking my own advice, I realized that although I keep an eye on the real estate and personal estate columns in the census, I had overlooked an even better indicator for one of my ancestors.

One of my favorite finds in recent years (if you can really have a favorite!) was my fourth great-grandfather in the Emigrant Savings Bank database at Ancestry. Through that one record, I found his town of origin in Ireland, his wife’s maiden name, and that he had “arrived at Halifax 30 yrs. ago.” That information was found in the “Test Books” and although I had looked at his Deposit-Account Ledger, I had never really analyzed it. (I’m including images of his account with this post. Click on the image to enlarge it.)

So this week I took another look at it, and was wondering about a few things. First, does anyone know what the abbreviations following the date mean? Deposit transactions every January and July 1 have what looks like the letter I, presumably for interest. Many of the larger deposits have the letter B listed with them and withdrawals, the letter T (?). 

Also, the larger deposits for the most part seem to come in six month intervals, the first couple in May and November, and in 1862 and 1863, four $100 deposits, all around the end of April and the end of October/beginning of November. Could these perhaps be some kind of bond? We do have records of quite a few real estate transactions with this family and know that they were relatively well off.

It is interesting to note that towards the end of the account ledger, withdrawals were more frequent. The last withdrawal prior to the account closing was in April 1864, the month in which he died.

Anyway, I thought I would throw this out there and see if anyone had any ideas. If you’ve found your ancestor in this database, have you checked out their ledger? You may find similar transactions.

James Kelly test book- Emigrant Savings Bank database at Ancestry.com

3 thoughts on “Emigrant Savings Bank Question

  1. I looked up my Great GF, Dennis Graham, account number 48317, on the Immigrant Savings Bank site.

    His name, address, occupation, county of origin is correct, but, it is listed that he arrived in 1832 aboard the “Grace of Workington”

    I researched the ship only to find that it sank off the coast of Scotland in 1825.

    How about that?

  2. Regarding the conflict in dates you pointed out, your ancester may have “remembered” the wrong date of his arrival when he said he came in 1832. It might have been in 1822, for instance, a couple of years before the “Grace of Workington” sank. I have found in my research that there are often discrepancies in when my ancestors say they immigrated to the US in a Census question (decades after the event) and when they actually did according to other documents or facts that seem reliable.

  3. I agree with the #2 comment. The brother of my grandfather, once said that one of his parents came over on the “Batory”. It wasn’t until years later when the Ellis Island site opened that I learned it was my great grand mother Maria who came over on the Batory! It was easy to see how he got it mixed up. Maria was his brother’s mother in law and she arrived much later than his parents making it easier for him to remember. He remembered the name of the ship of someone he wasn’t related to.

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