How to Access Canadian WW2 Service Records

A few months ago I sent for the military records of my father's brother, Clarence E. McGinnis. I knew Uncle Clare had been in WW2 as I have several photos of him in uniform. But I never knew where he served, what unit he was in, or what he did during the War.

Clare McGinnis WW2
Photo owned by Lorine McGinnis Schulze



World War 2 Canadian records are restricted. Note that there are no access restrictions on the service files for members of the Canadian Armed Forces who died in service. But the restricted records can be accessed with a bit of time. They are worth the time spent to obtain them, as they can include documentation about enlistment, discharge, military units served with, and may also include other documents concerning medical history, medals awarded, personal evaluation reports and dental charts.

Library and Archives Canada holds military service files for those who served after 1918. Their website explanation of who can access what files and how to obtain them is a bit confusing, so I'll share  with you what I did. It was simple.

I wrote a one page letter requesting the complete military service files for [individual's name] who was born [individual's full birth date or estimated year] in [name of city/town plus county and province in Ontario] to parents [names of father and mother].

I included my uncle's death date and a photograph of his tombstone as proof of death. Interestingly enough they actually returned the photo to me!

That was it. I mailed the letter and photo to

ATIP and Personnel Records Division
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0N4


You can also fax your request to them at this number: 613-947-8456

Your request can be written as a letter or you can print off a blank copy of the Application for Military Service Information form [PDF file 663 KB] also available in Rich Text Format [RTF file 44,516 KB], which should be filled in, signed and sent by mail or fax.

WW2 Uncle Clare Envelope

After a wait of about 5 months a very large package arrived with Uncle Clare's complete military file. I estimate there are about 80 or more pages.  The wait was not unexpected as it is made clear on the Library & Archives Canada website that they are backlogged and requests can take up to 6 months to fill.

There was a lot of interesting information in the military file for Uncle Clare - such as details of his work history prior to enlisting. It include what he was paid! I wish my dad's files had been as complete.

I am really pleased to have some more details to add to my knowledge of my uncle. I knew him quite well but he never spoke of his military service or his early years. I suppose I was too young for him to think I'd be interested.


But I'm really enjoying reading through his files to find out where he went during the war (to England and France) and what he saw and did during that difficult time.

For more information on finding ancestors who were in the Canadian Military during other years you might want to check out The Canadian Military Project.

For WW1 personnel files you will be able to view these online very soon. Library and Archives Canada is busy scanning and uploading the full files to the online CEF Searchable database.


Other WW2 Links

Second World War Service Files: Canadian Armed Forces War Dead
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/second-world-war/second-world-war-dead-1939-1947/Pages/files-second-war-dead.aspx

Last Post: Legion Magazine
https://legionmagazine.com/en/last-post/

Since 1928, Legion Magazine has honoured those Canadians who have served their country by publishing in print short death notices for Royal Canadian Legion members with military backgrounds, Canadian war veterans and Legion members with police service.

Books of Remembrance
http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/books

The seven Books of Remembrance housed in the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower of the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa are illuminated manuscript volumes recording the names of members of the Canadian Forces and Canadian Merchant Navy killed on active service in wartime, and in other conflicts. Once you find your relative's name, you can view the actual page and you can also find out the exact date when that page will be displayed in the Peace Tower.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial
http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial

The names inscribed in the Books of Remembrance can also be found in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

 

Learn more about Canadian genealogy research from these webinars in the Legacy webinar library: http://familytreewebinars.com/canada

 

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.

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A Melting Pot of Money and Manners: Researching Newport’s Bellevue Ave Neighborhood in the 1880 Census

Researching Newport’s Bellevue Ave Neighborhood in the 1880 Census

The evidence of Newport’s pre-eminence in the world of money is clear from one glance at the 1880 US Federal Census.  Ignore the names and look at the occupations and places of birth. Children born while their parents were working overseas. Servants from so many countries it’s a wonder they could communicate with each other and their employers.  A long list of jobs meant to support the tiny families living in big houses.

Census enumerations keep a basic record of who’s where. Addresses. Birthplaces. Occupations. The amount of detail provided depends on the census and when enumerators captured that information. In the 1880 census that date was June 1st. It was the second decade of the period that Mark Twain later named The Gilded Age.  Wealth expressed in property and lifestyles.  Robin Leach, host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (1984-1995) would have had a field day.

Browsing the census at the beginning of the summer season of 1880, is a who’s who of nineteenth century personalities. Newport was the place to be seen.

Max Outrey lived on Narragansett Boulevard with his wife steps from the Atlantic Ocean along with their three children and seven servants—private cooks, maids and a butler. His occupation. French Minister. Not a clergyman, but the Minister of France who worked with Presidents and Senators in Washington, D.C.  His household staff was primarily French, with the exception of one woman from Norway and one born in Washington, D.C.

Next-door were John Carey, Jr. and his wife living in their home known as Grasslands. He was a retired metallurgic engineer. They had nine servants from England, Ireland, Massachusetts and New York. Mrs. Carey was the former Mary Alida Astor, daughter of William Astor, of the New York Astors.

In the winter these families lived in Washington, D.C. and New York City but in the summer the social season revolved around Newport. Local newspapers ran columns discussing who was renting which houses and who was in town.

Along Bellevue Avenue stands a series of buildings that stood when the Carey’s and Outrey’s visited.  In July 1880, the Newport Casino opened with grass tennis courts. The building and the grounds are now the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  It was one of the first social clubs that included sports activities. You can still play tennis on the original horseshoe court!

The Newport Casino, now the building and the grounds are now the International Tennis Hall of Fame
The Newport Casino

It’s not surprising that New York businesses that relied on wealthy patrons would also travel to Rhode Island following the money and opportunities. Photographer Louis Alman, who operated studios in both Newport and New York, moved seasonally with his clients beginning circa 1885. He set up his studio on Bellevue Avenue. Down the street was the internationally famous Notman Photographic Studio, which operated establishments in major cities in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere. Every day coachmen drove their employers down Bellevue Avenue in a parade of envy.    

Alman’s city directory listing mentioned that his studio was near Ocean House. It was a significant well-known local landmark. Ocean House was a much-copied symbol of first class nineteenth century tourism located near the Casino. Built in 1846 the Gothic-inspired structure replaced the original Ocean House that burned down in 1845 only a year after being built.  Bigger and better than its predecessor, it was a five-story hotel featuring two hundred and fifty feet of frontage along Bellevue Avenue and accommodations for over four hundred guests.   It is now a parking lot.  Alman knew with that many guests in the area he was bound to get business.

He photographed this woman with her well-groomed poodle in the 1880s. Based on her dress and the dog she was likely a summer visitor. The dog is a pampered pet, likely kept clean, trained and groomed by a servant. A luxury.  Her owner wears the latest style of dress with a modest bustle and a summer style straw turban shaped hat. Her side pose not only shows off the shape of her silhouette, but also presents the best qualities of her canine, reaching for a treat from her gloved hand.  In this period, photo studios used architectural details like balustrades and fake grass to make it appear their customers posed outside. The painted backdrop in the background makes it clear this was taken indoors.

Photo by photographer Louis Alman
Photo by photographer Louis Alman

Unfortunately, this cabinet card ended up discarded. No name on the back and no history of ownership to link it to a family.

If you want to see how the wealthy lived in nineteenth century Newport, RI you can browse the census looking for particulars about where they resided. On Ancestry.com, select the 1880 census then on the right hand side of the screen select browse, then Rhode Island for the state, Newport County and then Newport (ED 95). Street names appear along the left hand edge of the census page. Watch for Bellevue Avenue and Narragansett Avenue to see how the affluent lived.

Learn more about Rhode Island and photographic research in Maureen's Legacy Webinars.

 

Maureen A. Taylor is an internationally known photo detective who specializes in solving photo mysteries for clients and organizations. She is also specializes in Rhode Island research. Learn more about Maureen at www.maureentaylor.com.

 

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Avoid Being Overwhelmed By Your Genealogy Research

Avoid Being Overwhelmed By Your Genealogy Research

Tips On How To Avoid Being Overwhelmed by Genealogy Research

How could genealogy possibly be overwhelming? You might be saying to yourself after reading the title of this post, that genealogy is what in fact keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. While genealogy is fun and relaxing, it also challenges us to process a lot more data and information then we may normally encounter. Our brain doesn’t treat genealogy like any other part of our daily life; when it’s overwhelmed, it lets us know. This can make us feel frustrated, defeated, and less interested in genealogy then we once were. So how does someone work to avoid this? Try some of these suggestions to prevent this from happening:

Stick to your research plan

A couple weeks ago, I suggested to readers 4 Steps To Better Research Plans. Plans are used for a reason: they keep us on task. With the plethora of online databases and archives we use for genealogy, I think we can all say it’s a bit easy to get sidetracked. I might see something in the stacks that looks interesting, but was it a part of my plan for things to look at for this day? In some cases, our intuition might be telling us something, but we can get easily overwhelmed if we lose focus or try too look at too much in one day. You can incorporate into your plan when you visit the archives to reserve a bit of time to just browse. We shouldn’t completely suppress our curiosity, but when our research time is limited, we need to focus and manage our time effectively to achieve our research goals.

Consider how you organize your information

A common problem for people doing genealogy is being organized and not having an effective system for processing information. Too many documents can make us susceptible to feeling overwhelmed. Organization is especially important if you’re someone who is “on and off” researcher. Without a system for organizing your research, the relevance of a particular source or page you printed may escape you if it’s not documented in some form.

If you feel your organization could use improvement or you have a lot of documents to process to achieve your genealogy goals, take a break from research to get organized. It’s one of the best things I ever did when I realized it was too cumbersome to keep going without a system in place. Whatever system you decide to work with, documenting as you go is very important because you don’t need to rely on personal memory later.

One of my goals in getting my genealogy organized was to make it easier to access my information on a particular ancestor. You never know when your going to need something or share it with a relative, so having your documentation and records in one place helps in being prepared. As a millennial, I have an affinity for working digitally. Even though I have many family documents and take hand written notes, I scan them all or copy them into my logs. Of course, genealogy was done well before the digital age, so there are systems that rely on charts and booklets that can help us stay organized. Explore and think about what systems for organizing best serves you. You can try some of these resources to explore different methods for organizing your genealogy research:

 Don’t overdo it and take care of yourself first

Overdoing anything is not good. Whether we're working on genealogy or not, maintaining a balance is the key to health and happiness. Too much time on the computer or microfilm reader is not good for our eyes and it may be just that were so focused on doing research that it’s becoming stressful and our brain would like us to take a break. Staying off the research every once in a while is definitely a good thing. Try new activities or other hobbies that you enjoy, or devote sometime to your genealogy education with a class, book, or webinar. All of this will help you recharge yourself for research and in the process, give you some new strategies and ideas to use in your genealogy pursuits.

Writers hear all the time that they should proofread work with a fresh set of eyes, so why not do the same with genealogy? Looking at our research or brickwall with a fresh set of eyes can lead us to new clues. This concept reminds me of one of my favorite personal research stories, which led me to solve the mystery of my great-great grandmother Elizabeth Williams Freeman. A long standing brickwall in my family tree, it all came crashing down after browsing old family documents, which included a picture postcard of her son (my great-grandfather) James Wallace Freeman. The name of the recipient “Mrs. Elizabeth Shields of Kellogg, Idaho” intrigued me enough to look into it. Sure enough, my research was able to identify her as Elizabeth Freeman Williams and ultimately led me to learn about what happened to her after she divorced Wallace Freeman.

Screen Shot 2016-11-06 at 8.16.39 PM Screen Shot 2016-11-06 at 8.16.47 PM

James Wallace Freeman Photo Postcard to Mrs. Elizabeth Shields [ca. 1916]. Author's Personal Collection.

 Try a different family or line in your tree

There’s always a tendency to get involved in one particular family. It’s great to be determined, but this determination could turn into frustration. Genealogy is never done and there’s always ground to gain somewhere. Maybe there’s a particular family or ancestor you spent much time on. Perhaps you heard about a new source or database that could help you with a different ancestor. This might be a good way to continue research, but also divert your attention away from the frustration.

Feeling like there’s no ground to gain on your family? Help others with their genealogy. Not only do you give yourself a break from personal frustration, but you get to share your love and knowledge of genealogy with others!

Avid genealogists might say there’s no way genealogy can be overwhelming, but this post serves as a gentle reminder of how we need to approach genealogy with balance. It’s not just about diligent research. We all got into genealogy because of the benefits it brought to our lives and wellbeing. Don’t let being overwhelmed or frustrated take away from that!

 

Jake Fletcher is a professional genealogist, educator and blogger. Jake has been researching and writing about his ancestors since 2008 on his research blog. He currently volunteers as a research assistant at the National Archives in Waltham, Massachusetts and is Vice President of the New England Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG).

 


Searching the Heir & Devisee Commission for Canadian Ancestors

Searching the Heir & Devisee Commission for Canadian Ancestors

For those searching ancestors in Upper Canada (present day Ontario), Canadiana.org has some wonderful digital images of miscellaneous databases online. One of these is the overlooked but valuable Heir & Devisee Commission papers 1797-1854, which are found in their Heritage Collection.

Quoting from their website "In 1797, the government of Upper Canada (now Ontario) established the Heir and Devisee Commission. Its purpose was to clarify land titles for settlers on unpatented land. If your ancestor was living in Upper Canada around this time, there is a chance that you might find them referenced in this collection. Records can include: affidavits, bonds, location certificates, powers of attorney, orders-in-council, copies of wills, mortgages, deeds of sale, and testimonial letters." [Source: Canadiana.org]

Film 1146. 1795 Certificate that Jonas & Abraham Larroway were in Butler's Rangers in American Revolution
Film 1146. 1795 Certificate that Jonas & Abraham Larroway were in Butler's Rangers in American Revolution

This digitized but unindexed collection consists of 21 microfilm reels. The reels contain various volumes of the Heir & Devisee Commission papers, starting from Volume 1 to Volume 104. Canadiana.org provides a list of each microfilm and what volume numbers are included, plus a very brief description of what is contained in the volumes. For example, the first microfilm H 1143 contains Volumes 1 to 6. Volume 5, as an example, is said to contain Notices of claims, received but disallowed or unresolved, arranged alphabetically for the Eastern District ca 1809-1841.

Film 1140. German Birth Certificate 1767
Film 1140. German Birth Certificate 1767


These descriptions are very useful to the researcher as we can narrow our browsing to those microfilms of interest to us. It's still a time-consuming task as there are no indexes and each volume is arranged differently. Some are alphabetical, some are by district and some appear to have little, if any, organization.  But this listing of microfilms with volumes contained should narrow our search.

Unfortunately Canadiana.org's listings of what is in each microfilm are incorrect, as is their main title "Heir and Devisee Commission, 1777-1854". The correct dates are 1797-1854.

10 of 21 Films Are Wrong on Canadiana.org

As mentioned, Canadiana.Org has digitized 21 films of the Heir & Devisee Commission Papers and that's a good thing for genealogists. But since their index and description of what is in each film is incorrect for almost half of the films, their usefulness for genealogists is greatly diminished.

I discovered the incorrect listings in the online finding aid when searching for a specific time period in a specific location. Using the list provided on Canadiana.org, I chose the appropriate images for Niagara.  But as I scrolled through I realized something was wrong. I seemed to be looking at documents for the Johnston District, not Niagara area. Then I came across a cover page - a typewritten sheet stating what volume number I was viewing and a description of what images came next. But the volume number was wrong and should not have been on that particular microfilm according to the list provided by Canadiana.org.

With that I began a methodical (slow!) search of every microfilm that has been digitized and placed online. That allowed me to create a corrected list of films and their contents.

I should mention that I approached Canadiana.org about the incorrect indexing and offered them my corrected index. After several unanswered emails from me, they finally responded and explained they cannot change the index as that is how it was given to them by Library and Archives Canada. Library and Archives Canada did not respond to my emails about the errors.

To assist other genealogists and researchers, I decided to publish online my correctly identified contents of each microfilm. I will be providing a list of where each volume starts within each film. That is, I will provide image numbers for each volume buried in the films so that researchers can quickly and easily jump to the volume of interest.  This project is underway and I have most of the films completed with only a few more to look through. Please check the Heir & Devisee Commission page for updates as I work through the 10 incorrectly identified microfilms.

Film 1144. Land Record Letter from Christian Bradt in Newark, Lincoln County, Upper Canada
Film 1144. Land Record Letter from Christian Bradt in Newark, Lincoln County, Upper Canada

Following is the corrected list of Heir & Devisee Commission microfilms and volumes contained within each compared to the Canadiana.org list. Those in red are incorrectly labelled and identified on Canadiana.org. For those microfilms with no cover pages indicating volume numbers, I compared page numbers at the start and the end of each film to determine what volume(s) were in each film. I have begun adding a detailed list of what is found within each volume.

Corrected List of Heir & Devisee Commission Films

Film #

Candiana.org Volume list

Actual Volumes

H 1133

V 1-6

V 1-6

H 1134

V 6-8

V 6-8

H 1135

V 9-15

V 16-20

H 1136

V 16-20

No V# labels but is V 20-24

H 1137

V 20-24

No V# labels but is V 24-28

H 1138

V 24-28

No V# labels but is V 28-32

H 1139

V 28-32

V 33-37

H 1140

V 33-37

V 38-44

H 1141

V 37-44

V 45-46

H 1142

V 46-51

V 9-15

H 1143

V 51-54

No V# labels but it is V 51-54

H 1144

V 54-63

No V# labels at start but V 56-62 labelled. This is V 54-63

H 1145

V 64-73

V 64-73

H 1146

V 74-78

V 74-78

H 1147

V 78-80

V 78-80

H 1148

V 81-83

V 81-83

H 1149

V 84-86

V 84-86

H 1150

V 87-89

V 90-98

H 1151

V 90-98

V 86-89

H 1152

V 99-103

V 99-103

H 1153

V 103-104

V 103-104

Example of the Detailed Listings I am Preparing for each Film

Here is an example of my listings that I have provided online as I work through each microfilm. H 1135 (Volumes 16-20 Johnston District Location Certificates) does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed. H 1135 is described on Canadiana.org as containing Volumes 9-15. In fact this digitized film contains volumes 16-20. I have gone through the entire film and provided image numbers and a brief description of what can be found there.

  • Image 14  V16 Johnston District  
  • Image 148 V 17 Johnston District Location Certificates, alphabetical  A-B
  • Image 149 A names Land Certificates
  • Image 186 B names Land Certificates
  • Image 319 V 18  Location Certificates C-F
  • Image 319 C names Land Certificates
  • Image 402 D names Land Certificates
  • Image 434 E names Land Certificates 1787-1795
  • Image 448 F names Land Certificates 1784-1803
  • Image 485 V 19 Location Certificates G & H
  • Image 486 G names Land Certificates 1785-1806
  • Image 547 H names Land Certificates 1784-1803
  • Image 619 J names Land Certificates 1784-1802
  • Image 665 V 20 Location Certificates K-M
  • Image  666 K names Land Certificates 1784-1810
  • Image  701 L names Land Certificates 1784-1801
  • Image 757 M names Land Certificates  1783-1803

I am continuing to work on this project to help those searching for ancestors in Upper Canada so please check the site frequently for updates.

 

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.


Where is my ancestor hiding in that big database?

Often times the large database providers like FamilySearch, Ancestry and FindMyPast will release a really big database that encompasses an entire state or maybe even a whole country. The dates of the database look promising - perhaps you'll see 1610-1950.  You think "Perfect, my ancestor should be in there!"  

But then you search and you don't find them.  What on earth is going on?

There are two issues at play.

First the date range of the database. Let's take a look at the Ancestry database "Rhode Island, Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932" as an example. You think to yourself, and rightly so, "But Rhode Island didn't exist in 1582!"

From what I understand (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that it is a standard practice of archivists to title or name a date range so that it encompasses the entire date range found in a record set rather than the logical and expected date range of the jurisdiction (in this case Rhode Island). So for instance, if a record from London, England from 1582 gets recorded in the Rhode Island probate records in 1685 then it is included as part of the date range of the database record set.

Don't worry about the date range of the database. That's actually the smaller of the two issues.

The second issue, and this is the really important one, is that big databases are really made up of a bunch of smaller databases. You will encounter this in most state databases especially when the individual counties have started recording at different times.

Let's take a look at the "Rhode Island, Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932" database again. If you go straight to the Search box and type in your ancestor's name you may be frustrated when they don't turn up in the results.

A better approach is to "browse" the database information before using the search feature. 

You'll find the browse feature on the main page of the database on the right hand side. It says "Browse this collection."

Rhode Island, Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932

Click on the arrow to the right of the word "Choose" and you will  find a county list. Select the county that your ancestor lived in.

What you'll soon discover is that there are different date ranges for each county. See these examples for Bristol County, Rhode Island and Providence County, Rhode Island.

Bristol County Rhode Island Probate records on Ancestry.com
Bristol County Rhode Island Probate records on Ancestry.com
Providence County Rhode Island Probate records on Ancestry.com
Providence County Rhode Island Probate records on Ancestry.com

By determining the date range for your target county through the browse feature you'll be able to figure out in advance whether your ancestor is likely to be included in the database. Knowing that your ancestor's 1685 will is not included in the Bristol County database will save you the frustration of many futile searches.

It's important to keep in mind that there are at least two considerations impacting the date range of any given county.

When you search databases in any of the original colonies you have to consider that counties were formed, divided and re-formed over time. One county may have been formed in the 1600s and another in the 1800s. You really need to understand when counties were formed to know where to find the records you were looking for.

For instance, Norfolk County, Massachusetts was founded in 1793. Records from 1793 to the present will be found in Norfolk County. Records before 1793 will be found in Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

The other consideration is that regardless of when a county was formed they may have started recording records at different times from other counties in the same state. What's even worse is it may vary from town to town. 

You can use a tool such as the Research Guidance feature in Legacy Family Tree software as well as research guides such as the FamilySearch Wiki to find out what records were created when for the place where your ancestor lived.

The next time you use a large online database don't get frustrated when your ancestor goes missing! Take charge by understanding specifically what records are included in the database for your specific county. 

For more research strategies from Marian Pierre-Louis see her classes in the Legacy Webinar Library.

Good luck with your research!

 

 


Identifying Family Photographs: 5 Types of 19th Century Photos

Have you ever wished you had a photo of a long ago ancestor? Wouldn't it be great to find out what great-grandpa Bert or great-grandma Olive looked like?

If you are lucky enough to own such a photograph, you might want to know a bit more about it, and what clues there are to date it. There are five types of early photographs, and each was popular in certain periods. Knowing the type of photograph you own will help you date it.

1. Daguerreotypes (c. 1839)

A daguerreotype is a unique image on a silvered copper plate. They are very reflective and look like a mirror when turned at certain angles from the viewer. They were put into cases where they were sealed behind glass to prevent tarnishing. The easiest way to tell if your heirloom photo is a daguerreotype is to tilt it back and forth to see if it refects as a mirror would. Photography arrived in the United States in 1839 thanks to Samuel F. B. Morse, an American artist and inventor. Morse visited Daguerre in Paris in March 1839 and observed a demonstration of the daguerreotype process. He returned to the United States to spread the news, and by the end of 1839 some larger cities on the East Coast had very successful portrait studios. A fascinating look at the birth of the daguerreotype process can be found here http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/dagprocess.htm

LFphoto-daguerreotype-6thplate18546th plate Daguerreotype from 1854. L. Massey Collection

2. Ambrotypes (c. 1854)

The ambrotype was a glass negative backed with black material, which enabled it to appear as a positive image. Patented in 1854, the ambrotype was made, packaged, and sold in portrait studios just as the daguerreotype had been, but at a lower cost. The ambrotype produced a single image on glass. Ambrotypes were usually put into cases just as daguerreotypes were.

LFphoto-ambrotype9thplate18589th plate Ambrotype from 1858. L. Massey Collection

LFT Cased Ambrotype 1861-1862Cased Ambrotype 1861-1862. L. Massey Collection

3. Tintypes (c. 1855)

The Ferrotype process (tintypes) was introduced in the United States in 1855. It substituted an iron plate for glass and was even cheaper than the ambrotype. Because tintypes were placed in albums along with CDVs, they were often trimmed at the sides and corners. Tintypes were produced in various sizes

  • Full plate 6 1/2" x 8 1/2"
  • Half plate 4 1/2" x 51/2"
  • 1/4 plate 3 1/8" x 4 1/8"
  • 1/6 plate 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
  • 1/9 plate 2" x 2 ½"
  • Gem approximately 1/2" x 1"

LFT Tintype Young ChildTintype of a young child. L. Massey Collection

4. Carte de Visite or CDVs (c. 1859)

CDV stands for carte de visite, a photographic calling card. The CDV process, which began in France in 1854, involved a special camera that produced eight poses on one negative. The CDV quickly replaced the old glass images of the ambrotypes, producing a card the size of the then standard calling card, around 2.5 by 4".

The CDV’s albumen process produced a negative from which any number of prints could be made - and on early CDVs it was important for the photographer to note that more prints were always available.

CDVs arrived in the United States around 1859, on the eve of the Civil War (1861-1865) during which demand skyrocketed as soldiers and their loved ones sought an affordable image remembrance. Many people began collecting portraits of political figures, actors and actresses, Civil War generals, as well as family and friends. Special photo albums were designed especially for cartes-de-visite.

In the United States, the carte-de-visite played second fiddle to cheaper variations on the daguerreotype theme. Thus the early CDVs are rather uncommon.

LFT CDV Mrs Joseph Curtis 1862

CDV Mrs Joseph Curtis 1862. L. Massey Collection

5. Cabinet Cards (c. 1870)

CDV’s were eventually replaced in the 1870s by the larger Cabinet Cards which used the same photographic process but were on a larger 4 by 6" card. Cabinet Cards continued in popularity well into the 20th Century.

  LFphoto-cabinetcard19002
Cabinet Card 1902. L. Massey Collection


Learn more about old photographs in Photo Detective Maureen Taylor's webinar "Preserving Family Photographs: 1839 to the Present" in the Legacy Library.

 

You may wish to watch my YouTube Video showing examples of the five different types of Early 19th. Century Photographs.

If you are looking for a photo of an ancestor you might want to try these sites:

Dead Fred http://www.deadfred.com/ A genealogy photo archive with thousands of identified images

Cyndi’s List http://www.cyndislist.com/lost/photos/ has an alphabetical list of sites with ancestor photos

Lost Faces http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/LostFaces/ has 69 Civil War era photo albums online with over 3,000 identified photographs.

 

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.


Using Yearbooks For Genealogical Research

Looking through our school yearbooks evoke for many of us cherished memories of youth. They may almost present laughable (for me personally, cringe-worthy) moments when we see awkward photos of ourselves. However, for genealogical research, yearbooks are an important resource for several reasons. Consider that when we research our ancestors, most of the records begin in their adult life, when they are legally able to marry, vote, and own property. The formative childhood years are often lost to time, but researching in yearbooks and other types of school records are an important avenue for genealogists.

This post focuses on the importance of yearbooks because in many cases, other types of school records such as transcripts and student files are lost or difficult to access. There may exist a variety of records pertaining to schools and students. However, a discussion about those will be for another post. Yearbooks are the best place to start for tracking ancestors as students or teachers, because they are the most available and complete source to date of those who attended or worked in the school.

There’s not a whole lot of history on why and when yearbooks were created, but beginning in the 1600s, students compiled their own yearbooks with newspaper clippings, dried flowers, and personal musings. The first published yearbooks were created in the 19th century, which were traditionally called annuals or class books. Soon after the daguerreotype was invented, a few schools had photographers come into take pictures of graduating students, but the yearbook photograph did not become mainstream until the invention of the Kodak Camera in 1888. Around this time is when yearbook publication in schools begins to greatly increase in popularity and most collections date back to at least the early 20th century. With that in mind, yearbooks may only be useful for genealogy in the more recent generations of our family trees.

Photographs of Graduates, Lebanon Valley College Bizarre (1914). Image source: Internet Archive.
Photographs of Graduates, Lebanon Valley College Bizarre (1914). Image source: Internet Archive.


First and foremost, yearbooks are able to put our ancestors in a time and place. Beyond that, they offer a variety of detail we couldn’t glean from traditional genealogical sources. In yearbook listings, particularly from colleges, they offer a detailed record of a student’s experience at the school. They include any student clubs or organizations they belonged to and sometimes provide insight into what they might have been like in terms of personality, academic performance, and other personal qualities. I have seen some which include date and place of birth, but this is less common. The military and its academies have published annuals for a long time, which could facilitate in a genealogist’s search for military records of their ancestor. If an ancestor were absent altogether from a particular school’s yearbooks even when they had been known to attend, it would provide a strong clue they either dropped out or transferred to another institution.

Amherst College Classbook (1903). Image Source: Digital Commonwealth. 
Amherst College Classbook (1903). Image Source: Digital Commonwealth. 

 

When you are using yearbooks for genealogical research, examine the entirety of it’s contents. They are never indexed, so take your time with them to find useful pieces of information. I would suggest surveying the entire listing for each class because these are people your ancestor interacted with directly, thus belonging to the “FAN” club and could prove significant in further research.

There are often pages that include personal musings, class histories, photographs of student life and all the student-run organizations. They do provide faculty information and perhaps even photographs of the faculty, so it’s important to think of yearbooks as more useful than just for researching students. Many yearbooks also included advertisements from businesses that sponsored the publication of the yearbook or were closely affiliated with the school, so in some cases, yearbooks have information on ancestors who didn’t attend school at all.

Almeida' Bus Service Advertisement in New Bedford Textile School's Yearbook The Fabricator (1961). Image Source: Internet Archive. 
Almeida' Bus Service Advertisement in New Bedford Textile School's Yearbook The Fabricator (1961). Image Source: Internet Archive. 

 

Finding yearbooks is relatively easy because they don’t contain sensitive information like other school records and survive in much greater numbers. They could exist in physical, digital, or both forms of publication. It’s best to start by contacting the school directly or library for the town in which your ancestor attended school for the whereabouts of physical copies. In many cases, other local repositories such as historical and genealogical societies have copies of yearbooks as well. If you can’t make an in-person visit, they should be able to do a lookup if you know the school and years of attendance/graduation.

Thousands of volumes of old yearbooks are available online too. Many yearbook sites were created to help facilitate class reunions, but they help genealogists too. Relatively Curious has a great post on yearbook research, listing important sites and databases. Here are a few sites to start with:

Internet Archive

Ancestry.com

Cyndi’s List

Classmates.com

Yearbooks provide us with a fascinating perspective on our ancestors' lives and serve as an important document of social history. What have you learned about your ancestors through yearbooks?

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Jake Fletcher is a professional genealogist, educator and blogger. Jake has been researching and writing about his ancestors since 2008 on his research blog. He currently volunteers as a research assistant at the National Archives in Waltham, Massachusetts and is Vice President of the New England Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG).


Finding and Understanding Removal Orders in England

FB-removal-crest

A search of the National Archives United Kingdom website can provide many interesting documents for genealogy research. One of the items I found was a Removal Order for my 5th great grandfather Thomas Blanden. Thomas was born in Wenhaston, Suffolk, England in 1739, enlisted in the Suffolk Militia as a drummer at the age of 20, and was discharged in bad health 28 years later.

removal order thomas blandon mary jackson-1
Removal Order FC189/G4/14. Suffolk, Ipswich Branch, Wenhaston Paris Records Date: 1778

Removal Orders were new to me so after ordering the documents from the Archives I did my homework and researched the history of Removal Orders. In 1662 England, an Act of Settlement was passed to define which parish had responsibility for a poor person. A child's birthplace was its place of settlement, unless its mother had a settlement certificate from somewhere else stating that the unborn child was included on the certificate. From the age of 7 the child could have been apprenticed and gained a settlement for himself or he could have obtained settlement for himself by service by the time he was 16.

After 1697, the poor were allowed to enter any parish in search of work, as long as they had a Settlement Certificate signed by the church wardens and overseers of their place of settlement and two magistrates guaranteeing to receive them back should they become chargeable. No one was allowed to move from town to town without the appropriate documentation.

If a person entered a parish in which he did not have official settlement, and if it seemed likely he might become chargeable to the new parish, then an examination would be made by the justices or parish overseers. From this examination on oath, the justices would determine if that person had the means to sustain himself and, if not, which was that person's parish of settlement. As a result of the examination the intruder would then either be allowed to stay, or would be removed by means of what was known as a Removal Order.

A Removal Order was sometimes accompanied by a written pass to the parish of settlement showing the route to be taken. This would apply even within a city or town which consisted of more than one parish. Your parish of settlement was obliged to take you back.

Removal Orders would often take a person or a family back to a place of settlement miles across the country, sometimes to a parish they had only known briefly as a small child. It was not uncommon for a husband and wife to have their children taken from them, each being removed to separate scattered parishes.

On 18 May 1778, a Removal Order was served on my 5th Great Grandfather who was recorded as Thomas Blandon, Drummer in the Western Battalion Militia of Suffolk. Thomas, Mary, his wife, and their children Mary, Elizabeth, Ann, Thomas & Susannah were ordered removed from St. James, Bury St. Edmunds and sent to Wenhaston.

The order made me wonder what the circumstances were surrounding Thomas and his run of bad luck. Having found a Chelsea Pensioner record for Thomas dated 1787 I knew that he had been in the Army for 28 years and was being discharged with “bad eyes” and “worn out.” No doubt he couldn’t provide much, if any, income to support his family and thus the Parish did not want to accept responsibility for supporting them.

 

Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners WO 121/1/38
Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners WO 121/1/38



A Settlement Certificate would have more genealogical information but since I did not find one for Thomas I was happy to see that the Removal Order gave the ages of each of Thomas and Mary's children – they were aged 1 to 13 years old. How difficult it must have been to be uprooted from friends and neighbours, and sent from the Parish of St. James back to the parish of Thomas’ birth in Wenhaston.

To my surprise the Removal Order was a form with blanks to fill in by the clerk recording the details, which indicates to me that there must have been a lot of them served! What a wonderful item to find. If you have English ancestors, why not have a look on the National Archives website? You might be surprised at what is there. If you have not used this resource, see How to Use the National Archives United Kingdom Website to Obtain Ancestor Documents.

UPDATE: Thanks to Helen Smith for pointing out that most settlement examinations, removal orders will be found in parish chest material for individual parishes so should be found in County Archives rather than in the UK National Archive. Genealogists can use the Discovery Search Engine at the UK National Archives but if a search does not return results they are advised to go directly to the county Archive of interest.

 

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.


Three Reasons You Should be Using Scrivener to Write Your Family History

It is no secret that I am an avid user of Scrivener, a multifaceted word processor and project management tool. I have been using this program for all of my personal and professional writing projects since 2011.

Three Reasons You Should be Using Scrivener to Write Your Family History


Here are three reasons why you will want to use this amazing tool for your family history and other writing projects.

  1. It’s Plot Perfect. Whether you are a visual writer who likes to storyboard, or if you prefer text outlines, you can use Scrivener your  way! When you start a new blank project, you will be see the “Binder” (located on the left-hand side), which is the source list showing all documents in the project.

    By default you’ll see three folders:

    The “Draft” board (called “Manuscript” in other Scrivener templates) is the main space where you type your text (you can compile everything in that folder for printing or export as one long document later on). You will have one Untitled Document showing. Simply add a title and then start typing. You can move sections around by dragging and dropping. Click the green plus sign (+) icon to add files or folders. Scrivener also lets you import files that you already have prepared in Microsoft Word or text based formats.

    As you work, Scrivener allow to easily “toggle” between its key modes: Corkboard (where you can summarize on “virtual index cards” the key points you want to cover—the virtual cards can easily be arranged in any order you like); Outline (use it if you prefer to control the structure of your work); and Scrivenings (this mode temporarily combines individual documents into a single text, allowing you to view some or all documents in a folder as though they were all part of one long text).

    There is another pane called the “Inspector” that offers additional features to help you manage your project so you can easily plot, plan, and outline away!  Watch the Storyboarding and Editing with Scrivener Bonus Webinar to learn the secrets of Scrivener storyboarding. 

Scrivener_corkboard

  1. It’s Research Ready. Scrivener has a designated Research folder where you can store notes, PDF files, images, etc. (not included in your final compiled document). Research is one of the three main container folders (the other two are Draft or Manuscript and Trash) automatically included in all of the Scrivener templates. Use the super handy Split Screen feature to have your research items there on the screen as you write. This saves you from having to open up your image or PDF viewer or other program while you are in writing mode. You can even add annotations, comments, footnotes and endnotes to your final output. Watch the Getting Started with Scrivener: Footnotes, Endnotes and Formatting bonus webinar to learn more.
  1. It Does all the Heavy Lifting. The true power of Scrivener resides in its “Compile” (Compile is just a fancy term for exporting your project into any number of final formats—print, eBook, Kindle, PDF, etc.). With compile you specify what Scrivener does/does not include, and how it should look. You will get a crash course in the key steps in the Compiling and Publishing with Scrivener bonus webinar. Mastering Compile takes some practice, so you should also refer to the Scrivener tutorials and forums for guidance.

Here’s a bonus tip: Start small! Begin with a smaller project like an ancestor profile or blog post rather than attempting to write a 200-page family history book your first time in. 

Scrivener is created by Literature and Latte and is available for purchase for use on Mac ($45) and Windows ($40). There is also a 30-day free trial available. Double click the Scrivener “S” icon on your desktop to open the program. Before you start your first project, take a few minutes to review the Scrivener manual for your and watch the helpful interactive tutorials.

I was pleased to be able to record a new five-part bonus webinar series on Scrivener for Legacy subscribers. 

The Legacy Bonus Webinars on Scrivener cover the following topics:

  1. Getting Started with Scrivener
  2. Storyboarding and Editing with Scrivener
  3. Footnotes, Endnotes and Formatting in Scrivener
  4. Compiling and Publishing with Scrivener
  5. Scrivener Ninja Tips and Tricks

Want even more Scrivener secrets? Pick up a  copy of my Scrivener for Genealogists QuickSheet (available for both Mac and Windows versions).

ScrivenerPC

 

Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A. is a freelance writer, instructor and internationally recognized lecturer specializing in Eastern European genealogy, writing your family history, and finding female and immigrant ancestors.  She is the author of 10 books, including The Family Tree Polish, Czech and Slovak Genealogy Guide, and the award-winning Three Slovak Women.  Lisa is a frequent speaker for Legacy Family Tree Webinars, and blogs at The Accidental Genealogist. She can be reached at http://www.lisaalzo.com.


Ledger Books - a Little Known Genealogy Resource

Ledger books are hand-written books kept by storekeepers, schools and business men in the days before typewriters or computers. Finding 19th century or early 20th century ledger books can lead to wonderful genealogical discoveries.

FB-oldbooks

Several years ago we purchased two ledger books from Winfield, Herkimer County, New York. One is a West Winfield Academy Cash Book and Store Ledger kept by John G. Robinson from 1865-1866.

It is a thin ledger, 12x8 inches in size and laid out inside in an odd format. There are several pages of entries for expenses for what appears to be a store and also for items used in the Academy. The Academy was an early school established in 1850 in the town of West Winfield.

There are two pages from July 1865 with student or parents' names and monies spent or received, followed by pages for January and February 1866, then October 1865. Following the October 1865 entries are several pages of names and items they purchased at what might have been an auction.

Screenshot 2016-09-27 10.16.41 Here are a few of the July 1865 names:

July 1. Amount invested by S S Paerd 4000.00
July 1. Amount invested by John B. Penn 500.00
July 2 Rec'd of Henry Fish in full of acct 500.00
July 6 Rec'd of David Colman 500.00
July 6 Rec'd of Robert Williams 87.50


Wouldn’t it be exciting to find your ancestor’s name in one of these books?

Another fascinating ledger book is an account book kept by a local shoemaker living in or near the communities of Cross Creek and Ritsey's Cove, Lunenburg Nova Scotia. There are no identifying notations to tell me who the shoemaker was, so I researched the names of his customers found in the book. I found them all living in Cross Creek and Ritsey's Cove so we might assume the shoemaker lived nearby.

The entries I read date from 1897 to 1919. There may be some earlier or later - they are not in date order. Whoever kept the account book decided to keep track of money owed and paid by family. Each family has its own page (or pages) and shoe repairs and purchases are noted throughout the years the family used the service.

This shoemaker's ledger book contains 212 pages covering 22 years. It's a fascinating book as it names children and sometimes wives. The shoemaker noted who he made the shoes for, and their cost, putting everyone under the father's name. Sometimes he added a note as to who the father was - if it was a name shared by more than one man, he would put "xx son of yy" as the head of the house. So he might put James Jones son of Levi and then list all of the work he did for James Jones and family.

This shoemaker also sold prescription glasses and other items. He describes shoes and boots being made, being repaired and so on. As an example, under the name Daniel Himmelman he has the date 10 February 1897 and the notation "pair boots Albert" and the cost $1.75. So we know that Daniel's son Albert had boots made in the winter of 1897.

It seems many of the villagers kept running accounts with the shoemaker, some for over a year before paying. When the items are paid for, he wrote a large PAID in script over the entire set of transactions.

Ledger Shoemaker NS.png

His spellng is bad but it's not hard to figure what the names really are. Some villagers have many pages devoted to them. Leonard Oxner for example has a page starting in 1911 and ending 1914 with a final notation "Paid Jan 17, 1916"

In 1914 he repaired Leonard' s harness for 30 cents. In December 1911 he charged Alex Smith 10 cents for "putting on skates" for Arthur (the day after Christmas, I think we all know what Arthur got for Christmas that year!). Arthur must have been quite an active young lad, because he is listed several times between July 3, 1911 and Dec. 26 as having shoes patched, shoes repaired, shoes soled and heeled, shoes patched and the skates put on.

Ledger Books Currently Available

  1.  Staunton, Macoupin County Illinois 1930 ~ 1957 Court Records.
  2.  Orono, Lagrange, Howland, Penobscot County, Maine 1923 to 1925 Store Ledger.
  3.  Maine Store Ledger 1922-1927
  4.  Lubec, Washington County, Maine 1894 to 1995 Store Ledger.
  5.  Lincoln County, Maine 1832 Samuel Hinds Ledger.
  6.  Clear Spring, Washington County Maryland 1861 to 1874 Store Ledger.
  7.  Salem and area Essex County, Massachusetts 1772 to 1780 Student Work Book And Store Ledger.
  8.  Townsend Middlesex County Massachusetts 1868 General Store Ledger.
  9.  Massachusetts Boston Environs Ledger 1892-1894.
  10.  Wheeling, Livingston County, Missouri 1879 to 1889 Ledger Book Of Edward Moore.
  11.  Fillmore Village, Andrews County, Missouri. Town Council Minutes 1900-1913
  12.  Grafton County, New Hampshire 1841 ~ 1877 Account Book Of William Thissel.
  13.  Rushford and area, Allegany County, New York 1868 ~ 1872 Stacy And Kyes Ledger Book.
  14.  Oswego, Oswego County, New York 1858 ~ 1859 Samuel Stevenson Saw Mill Ledger Book.
  15.  Oswego, Oswego County, New York 1875 Samuel Stevenson Saw Mill Ledger Book Money Owed .
  16.  Oswego, Oswego County, New York Samuel Stevenson Saw Mill Ledger Book List of Electors .
  17.  West Winfield, Herkimer County, New York 1865 ~ 1866 West Winfield Academy Cash Book.
  18.  Richfield, Otsego County, New York Auction sale 1880 ~ 1890. Found in the West Winfield Academy Cash Book.
  19.  Lubec, Washington County, Maine 1894 to 1995 Store Ledger.
  20.  Rose Bay and River Port, Lunenburg County Shoemakers Ledger Book 1897 ~ 1918
  21.  Findlay, Hancock County, Ohio 1889 Store Ledger.
  22.  Marietta, Washington County, Ohio 1837~1838 Store Ledger.
  23.  Frederick, Miami County, Ohio 1869~1877 Blacksmith Ledger,
  24.  1858 Bucks County Ledger
  25.  Bernville, Berks County, Pennsylvania 1867 to 1877 Haag, Kline & Co Ledger.
  26.  Bernville, Berks County, Pennsylvania 1863 to 1870 Haag, Kline & Co Ledger.
  27.  Mill Creek Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania 1885 to 1890 Mountain Spring Mills Ledger. O
  28.  Elk Creek Township, Erie County 1876 to 1878 General Store Ledger.
  29.  Lower Heidelberg Township, Berks County 1874 to 1903 Farm Ledger of John W Gaul.
  30.  New Hanover Township, Montgomery County 1858 to 1904 Farm Ledger.
  31.  Muncy, Lycoming County, PA 1831 to 1865 Docket Ledger of General William A Petrikin.
  32.  Lebanon County, PA 1887 Heilman Dale Creamery Milk Book.
  33.  Hopewell Township, York County, PA 1890 Tax Collectors Book.
  34.  Schuykill, Pennsylvania Tax Collection Ledger 1913-1922
  35.  Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas 1908 to 1915 Jackson McFarland Store Ledger .
  36.  S. R. Turley Ledger Book, Culpeper Virginia. 1896
  37.  Wytheville, Wythe County, Virginia Court Records Ledger.
  38.  History Of Tazewell County Virginia Book Sales Ledger.
  39.  Clear Spring, Washington County Maryland 1861 to 1874 Store Ledger

Links to the ledger books listed above will be found at http://ancestorsatrest.com/Ledger_Books/

Ledger book images copyright Brian L. Massey published with permission

 

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.