Sunday, 31 May 2015

Serendipity Sunday - Use it or Lose it

I came across this publication put out by the Upper Canada Crown Lands Office, dated April 4, 1839.  It states as follows:

When a person wanted to get a land grant he had to send in a petition. After a bunch of red tape if his petition was successful the person would be issued a grant and he is now a settler.  The settler had to take up residence on the land and fulfill "settlement duties" which may have included clearing a portion of the land to connect to the road and to start to build a house.  When this was done to the satisfaction of the Land Office agent, they owned the land.

If he did not do this the land would be forfeited.
This publication is a list of people who were awarded the land grants but who had not claimed their lots by this date. There could be several reasons for this, one of them being that the work was much harder than they were led to believe.  The would-be settler could not go out and rent a backhoe or borrow a chain saw, everything had to be done by hand and perhaps with the help of a horse or an ox.
I have also given the link to the Land Grants at Library and Archive Canada for comparison.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Finding an Obituary... with Tenacity

In many FaceBook Groups I see people asking for help in locating an obituary. Finding an obituary for an ancestor that died many years ago is not always that easy.  Some reasons being... not everyone placed a notice in the paper, some poverty-stricken persons' deaths went unnoticed, or simply the edition of the paper it may have been published in was not digitized or it may no longer exist.
Many obituaries are not found by simply doing a search of the person's name in a newspaper archive search box. It is not a live person that went through each newspaper and diligently indexed each person's name they found.  Most digitalized newspapers are scanned with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software and especially with older papers where the print is hard to read you may get gobbledygook, like this:

If I have one trait that serves me well searching for my ancestors, it is tenacity! I have found quite a few of my ancestors' notice of death by browsing.  With most newspaper sites you can narrow down the search by dates, then browse through them looking for the Births and Deaths column.  Some of the newer papers have the page listed in the index near the front of the paper. Most older ones don't.  But once you get used to a paper you can see it is mostly in the same place in all issues. So if you know (or suspect) an approximate date it is not too tedious a job.  When I found one notice looking for creditors of a "late" ancestor, I knew his death date was not far before.

One ancestor immigrated from Devon, England and died in Montreal on December 20, 1875. So I turned to google newspaper archives to find his obituary. I had found quite a few ancestors in Montreal and area newspapers. So I started with a general name search... that was a no-go. I clicked on the M to go browse the Montreal Gazette. Oh oh, one problem... there was no Montreal Gazette for 1875. So one by one I checked all the newspapers from Montreal that had issues digitized for around that date.

You can see by the dark "visited" link that I tried quite a few newspapers looking for my ancestor, and that is only the ones with the word Montreal in the title. These are the papers that supposedly covered 1875, although I found that not all papers had any issues for either the month, or they skipped the year 1875 completely.

Looking at the Montreal Daily Witness, I checked around dates that are close. Finally for Wednesday December 22, 1875 I found it! 

Notice right after the obit is says "Halifax NS and Charlottetown PEI papers please copy". I have seen this after a few obituaries and I wonder if it means they had relatives there? Hmmmm something to look into!

I found many of my ancestors the same way at British Newspaper Archives, at FindMyPast and some US newspaper sites.

Do you have tenacity?

** As a side comment for those of you searching in Montreal, The Montreal Daily Witness, a religious and literary paper, has what they title a "Colonne Francaise" with news from the French community. It is also available at BANQ Newspaper Collection.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Flower Power

Spring is here for many of us. The risk of frost has past (hopefully, these days you never know) and thoughts are turning to sprucing up the front yard with flowers and shrubs... whether to have beautiful curb appeal or to attract hummingbirds and bees.

My Dad didn't know, or know anything about, his paternal line beyond his father who was estranged from his family.  If he had known them, he would have realized he got his love of carpentry from his grandfather and great grandfather, and his love of flowers and gardening from his great uncle William Seale.  


William was a member of the Ottawa Horticultural Society. Specializing in roses, his yard was "a flower lovers' paradise" and he won many medals, bars and diplomas in competitions. William's nephew Henry was also an award winning horticulturist and his specialty was gladioli. After winning The Viscountess Willingdon Trophy (for an exhibitor scoring the highest number of points in all classes) and many other awards for a number of years, and always winning in every class of Gladioli with at least 12 varieties, Henry's bulbs were highly sought after.  People hoping to achieve award winning flowers could buy the Seale Gladiolus Bulbs for $2 a box.

At a young age my Dad's neighbor got him interested in growing Dahlias and gladiolus and year after year they won prizes at the Montreal West Flower Shows. I remember him growing gladioli at home, and he was also proud of his hibiscus. My brother Mike inherited his gardening gene and loved growing plants and vegetables.  This is Mike with his First Prize winning carrot in a local vegetable contest in 1985.

I on the other hand seem to have a knack for weeds.

Do you have an ancestor with a love for flowers and gardening?

Check local newspapers for lists of prize winners in flower shows, horticultural competitions, etc.  Search at google books and internet archive using keywords:
[state, city, town name] Horticultural Society, garden show, floral exhibit, country fair.

Relevant Links:

Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, London (several issues)

Massachusetts Horticultural Society - yearbooks and reports

National Flower Show of the Society of American Florists and Ornamental Horticulturists - Philadelphia 1916

Annual of the Rose Society of Ontario (various years 1914-1954)

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society - memberships, yearbooks, flower shows, etc

The Minnesota Horticultural Society

Worcester (Mass) County Horticultural Society

Wisconsin State Horticultural Society

Horticultural Society of New York:  Memoirs Vol 1 - 1902

Horticultural Society of London

Annual report of the Montreal Agricultural & Horticultural Society - 1865

Quebec Horticultural Society: list of officers and schedule of prizes - 1867

Quebec Horticultural Society: list of officers and schedule of prizes - 1888

Annual Report of the British Columbia Horticultural and Fruit Growers Society

Ottawa, a city gardens: guide for improvement of lawns and gardens 1916

Manitoba Horticultural Society - 1898

Australian Horticultural Societies at Trove

The Canadian Horticulturist

Nova Scotia Agricultural & Horticultural Fair 1894

Report of the Horticultural Societies of Ontario: 1917-1921

Ontario Horticultural Societies of Ontario 1920

The Grand Parada: for the benefit of the Horticultural Association, St John, NB 1897

Horticultural Exhibitions and Garden Competitions (explained)

Official Catalogue of Exhibitors: Universal Exposition- St Louis, USA 1904

Bulletin de la Société d'Horticulture de Genève

Bulletin de la Société d'Horticulture de Cherbourg, France

Journal de la Société National d'Horiculture de France

Bulletin de la Fédération des Société d'Horticulture de Belgique

Memoirs of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, Scotland

Programma della seconda esposizione orticola che avrà luogo in Venezianel giardino della Società Campo S. orivolo,  1873


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Serendipity Sunday - Not your Ordinary Black Book

The Extraordinary Black Book : an exposition of the United Church of England and Ireland ; civil list and crown revenues ; incomes, privileges, and power, of the aristocracy, privy council, diplomatic, and consular establishments ; law and judicial administration ; representation and prospects of reform under the new ministry ; profits, influence, and monopoly of the Bank of England and East-India Company ; with strictures on the renewal of these charters ; debt and funding system ; salaries, fees and emoluments in courts of justice, public offices, and colonies ; alphabetical list of pluralists, placemen, pensioners and sinecurists ; the whole corrected from the latest official returns, and presenting a complete view of the expenditure, patronage, influence and abuses of the government in church, state, law and representation - 1831
And what it cost for King George to go to war with the Americans...

Relevant Link:

The Extraordinary Black Book

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Tell a Story with History Lines App

Have you tried the History Lines app from Family Search?
I was nosing about today, reading some blogs from my lineup, clicking on this and that, and the Family Search Blog suggested trying some of their partner apps.  So what the heck, I decided to take a look-see. 

The one called History Lines looked interesting so I clicked on it.  You don't have to upload a tree, or start one at Family Search, although you can if you wish - all you have to do is create a free account and fill out the form with one of your ancestor's information.  Name, year and place of birth, year and place of death.  That's it - Get Started.

You can edit and add known facts and photos as you wish before you print, or after.  When you are done you click on Print and Save (top left), and wait while it prints to a PDF.  It may take a while, as the program has to gather all the facts for your ancestor's time period. Then you can save the PDF to your to your computer. (I clicked on save and it didn't seem to do anything, but the 'save as' window had gone behind main window). 

Although it says it is free, it looks like you only get 2 free stories.  So choose a time you want to know more about.  Look at my example to see what it gives you.  For my first story I chose James Tait who lived between 1679-1753 in Scotland.

You can see down the left side the categories it tells about - childbirth, clothing, diet, education, entertainment, hygiene, military, marriage, etc... all what it was like at the time of your ancestor's life. I added some things... bits about his apprenticeships and goldsmith work, and a photo of his death record.

Here is my finished story: James Tait - History Line

To create your own story, go to Family Search, scroll down to the bottom of the page to the App Gallery and click on Get Started. Scroll down to the History Lines app.
Or just click here.

You can sign back into your account on the home page, click on Stories on the top right menu to see your stories, click on the one you made and edit it at any time, rearrange photos etc (don't forget to save), then print and save it again to your computer.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Forfieted Lands & War Claims

When a country was at war, after the dust had settled individuals, corporations or even States for that matter could make a claim against the country for losses suffered during the war. An example would be if soldiers used a school for billeting. Or someone's farm, and confiscated their animals or their crops.

I recently came across this book of interest to those of us with ancestors from the UK:

"Names of  the Roman Catholics, Nonjurors and Others who refus'd to take the Oaths to His Majesty King George... with the value of their estates... Transmitted to the late Commissioners for the Forfeited Estates of England and Wales, after the Unnatural Rebellion in the North, in the year 1715"

This refers to the first Jacobite Rebellion of 1715.  It states that those that refused to take the Oath of Allegiance had their lands confiscated.

One set of claims not stemming from war, are the Indian Depredation cases - these are claims filed with the United States Government by western settlers for property stolen by Natives, mainly cattle and other livestock.

Relevant Links:

A list of claims referred to the Court of Claims under the provisions of the Bowman Act by the Committee on war claims 1911

List of judgments of the Court of Claims in Indian Depredation cases paid - 1894

List of Indian depredation cases pending (USA) 1915

Stub entries to indents issued in payment of claims against South Carolina growing out of the revolution. Bk 1

Stub entries to indents issued in payment of claims against South Carolina growing out of the revolution. Bk 2

War of 1812: Board of Claims for Losses, 1813-1848 at LAC (Browse)

Supplement to The Observer: return of claims for losses sustained during the late War with the United States of America... Canada 1824

Private Claims presented to the House of Commons 1853

List of claims including a few exceptional cases of claims for churches; 1912

Cape of Good Hope War Claims - 1883

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Serendipity Sunday - Back to the Past

Books and pamphlets don't need to mention your ancestor to be of value to family historians (although a treasure if they do!) I have ancestors from the Fylde area of Lancashire, England and I found this wonderful book packed with information that helps me to see the history of the place and how they lived. 

These are some of the things mentioned in this book:

  • Lists of families residing there during different reigns
  • Lists of men fit to be knights and value of their estates
  • Church info and list of vicars
  • Schools
  • Military information and pay
  • Who from this area was High Sherriff and year of office
  • When and what epidemics there were
  • Info on agriculture
  • Wages of servants
  • An interesting bit about "Plough Monday" and other festivities
  • Prices of food and some articles
  • and much more....

Here is a general list of contents. You can see you have to dig further to uncover the gems.  I did find that one of my ancestor names goes way back, I'm just not there yet.

This is what the author of the book tells us of the people of Poulton Parish, where some of my ancestors lived:

I had found a similar book for the area where my children's agnate ancestors lived in Quebec - Cap-St-Ignace.

This book is in French, but I did an online translate of the list of contents so you can see what to expect to find in a good book on local history.

There are also books with old photographs of towns and cities, like those listed on my blog post of Souvenir Books, from March 2015.

Search at Internet Archive for history of the cities and towns of your ancestors.  For Canada also search at Our Roots.

There are too many to list here, but you should have no problems finding histories of your ancestor's town. Use keywords: history +place name, ancestral homes, photo-gravures, souvenir +place name, souvenir photo, etc.  Sometimes you have to get creative. The name of a town or village may not necessarily be in the title. For Example...  " As the wheels turn : a history of Rosalind, Kelsey and districts" also has some history of Daysland, Alberta where my ancestor's brother lived. So perhaps broaden your search to neighbouring towns or villages, or the county.

Relevant Links:

History of the Fylde of Lancashire

Monographie de St-Ignace du Cap St-Ignace, Quebec*

A Glossary of the Lancashire Dialect 1875

As the Wheels Turn: a history of Rosalind, Kelsey and districts - Alberta

*Note:  Our Roots is making changes to their site.  In the meantime I have provided a link to the Cap St Ignace book at Early Canadiana Online

Monday, 11 May 2015

Aboriginal Genealogy

If you are researching Aboriginal roots in North America, there are many books at Internet Archive that can help to add to the stories of your ancestors. 

There are books on language, culture, crafts, wars etc... for different areas and tribes.  What I have tried to find for you are materials that have people's names in them. So listed below are some books of interest, and quite a few that list people by name. Also some websites where you may find more information.

In Canada there were often censuses taken, some only reported how many people in a tribe, but quite a few are with names of people. These are at LAC and the link is below.
I also gave some links to Department of Indian Affairs, where my great-grand uncle was a clerk for 27 years.

To search use keywords: indian, native, aboriginal, eskimo, aleut, indigenous people, etc

Relevant Links

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (US)

LAC (Library and Archives Canada) Aboriginal Heritage

Guide to searching Aboriginal records at LAC

Tip* Go to Advanced Research, in the first search box type RG10, in next box type what you are looking for (ie; census, register, etc from list on Guide)

LAC - Native censuses - browse, scroll down, next page - click on MIKAN number or "continue viewing this series of images" to go to that record set.

Indian Census Rolls of North America (US) 1885-1940

Rolls of Certain Indian Tribes in Oregon and Washington - 1906

Records for Indigenous Australians

The administration of Indian Affairs in Canada 1915

Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs (Several Years) Employees at back

Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada (Indian Affairs - employees and salaries)

List of Cherokee general fund warrants unpaid August 20, 1898

Personal names of Indians of New Jersey; List of Six Hundred and Fifty names 1904

Our Indian Homes at Sault Ste Marie, Ont - 1887 ("homes" for boys and girls)

Descriptions and Plans of Certain Indian Reserves in the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories

Document ordering Daniel Claus, agent for Indian Affairs in Canada, to pay for leggings

Grammar and dictionary of the Blackfoot language in the Dominion of Canada 1889

Census of the Indians and Eskimos in Canada 1924 (Agencies and Bands)

C. Hart Merriam papers relating to work with California Indians 1850-1974

Charleston 1860 - Tax on property paid by persons of Indian descent and free persons of colour.

The Constitution of the Cambridge branch of the Massachusetts Indian Association; and a list of its officers and members - 1886

Bishop Hare's Indian boarding schools in South Dakota 1910

Chilocco Indian Agricultural School yearbooks (Oklahoma) 1931, 1932, 1933

Voyages and travels of an Indian interpreter and trader; also dictionary of Chippeway, Iroquois, Mohegan, Shawnee and Esquimeaux tongues. 1791

Genealogy on FaceBook list, containing groups for Native American researchers. April 2014

See also the article on Métis

Sunday, 10 May 2015

In Honour of the Best Mother who Ever Lived!

Northern Pacific Railway Mother's Day postcard - 1915 - white carnations are the symbol of pure love

When I was young there was an elderly couple that lived near us and they sold flowers and plants. On the Saturday before Mother's Day all the kids in the neighbourhood went to their house to get potted flowers for Mom.

My Mom loves Chinese Food, and one of the first places where I worked I was teamed up with a guy from China. His sister gave me some instructions and bought some ingredients for me in Chinatown, and I spent hours (most of it chopping) to make a delicious Chinese dinner for my Mom. Sweet and Sour Ribs, Rice, Chop Suey and Egg Rolls. Mmmmmm. Since the only other entree I had made at home was spaghetti, my Mom was very pleased and impressed!

When I had my own kids, although it was becoming vogue to buy gifts, I steered my girls more toward  doing something nice for me, plus whatever they made for me at school. When they all got old enough, they banded together each year and washed my car.  After a long dirty winter it sure needed it, and the girls had a great time with the hose and buckets of soapy water.  I don't know which was wetter, the kids or the car! The joy for me was merely watching them working and having fun together.

1908 - wear a  white carnation to honour your mother.   "People with bad mothers are also invited to wear the carnation on Mother's Day in honour of someone else's mother who was good." 

1909 - over 50,000 people wearing the white carnation as an expression of filial love.

1913 - Mother's Day is spreading - an appeal to men to honour their mothers ...

 More recent newspapers from the 60's on carried Mother's Day messages like these ones...

 What traditions do you have, and how do you honour your Mother?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Winning the Lottery!

I used to buy lottery tickets where I worked - 10 of us employees would each choose our lucky numbers and kick in $10 every week.  Come to think of it, maybe I should get tickets again as each time we won it was with my numbers! The most I won (after the split) was $189. My Dad and my husband's Dad kept hoping to win the big ticket!!  Even my husband keeps dreaming of what he would "spend" it all on.

Our ancestors may have hoped to win the lottery and bought their lucky tickets at their local vendor. 

State Lotteries 1781 (Bath Chronicle 1781)     
I actually knew someone who won almost $10M. *sigh* 
Here are some lottery winners from the UK in 1781 and 1782...
And from Paris in 1879...

I agree with this - except of course if I win, then it's all mine hehehe!

But.... be careful what you wish for!
Independence Daily Reporter: January 16, 1874
Check local newspapers for lotteries in your ancestor's area.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Fealty, Loyalty, Allegiance

Swearing an Oath of Fealty, Loyalty or Allegiance could have been to King, Country, Church (cardinals swear fealty to the Pope), or even to an Organization. Soldiers would swear fealty to their leader before heading into battle, and the defeated would swear fealty to the new ruler. 

In the traditional sense of swearing fealty to ones king, I can imagine my ancestor swearing fealty to William of Orange before the Battle of the Boyne.

I found a list of names of
Oaths sworn at The George, Kingsbridge, 4 November 1723 before Courtenay Croker; William Ilbert, William Cholwich and John Fowell esqs.
This oath of fealty was taken during the local Quarter Sessions and administered by the justices of the peace.

Included on the list is one Thomas King of Loddiswell.  This may be the father of my 5x great grandfather Thomas King who ran the mill in Loddiswell. Also a Dorothy King, widow (his grandmother?) There were not a lot of King surnames in Loddiwell in the 1700's, I just have no proof of relationship... yet! But it gives me something to go on.

Try looking in archives.  I found a book which says that according to the Report of the Deputy Keeper of Public Records, in a box somewhere is a list of 300 names of barons and knights of Tarbe, Bigorro who signed the oath of allegiance to the King of England in 1362.
You can take a look at the Guide at National Archives UK.

Relevant Links

Devon and Exeter Oath Rolls, 1723

Reports of Deputy Keeper of Public Records - oaths of Tarbe, Bigorro 1362

Allegiance to His Most Sacred Britanick Majesty King George the Third (English and French)
(Oath only)

List of freemen, Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1630-1691: with freeman's oath

Names of Foreigners who took the oath of allegiance to the province and state of Pennsylvania, 1727-1775, with the foreign arrivals 1786-1808

Names of persons who took the oath of allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania, 1777-1789

Oath of Allegiance to King George III signed at Chippewa 1812

Oath of Allegiance Sworn in Bedford County, Aug - Nov 1777

Oath of Loyalty to Gustavus Hamilton, Fermanagh, Ireland

Patriots Oaths of Fidelity and Support - 1778

Oaths of Fealty & Acceptances website

I Swear! Historical Oaths of Fealty website

The Association Oath Rolls of the British Plantations (all over the world) 1696

Related Posts

L is for Loyalty (2016 A to Z Challenge)

The Day Thomas Took the Oath of Fealty



Sunday, 3 May 2015

Serendipity Sunday - The Royals

I came across this book the while researching Royal genealogy...

     ~names of Royal families of England, France, Portugal, Denmark and other countries
     ~the Kalendar for the year 1790, with holidays and special days
     ~complete Register; nobles, peers, bishops, house of commons, etc



Saturday, 2 May 2015

Next in Line

William and Kate welcome their newborn daughter, who is fourth in line to the throne... following her grandfather Prince Charles who is 1st in line, her father Prince William is 2nd and her brother Prince George is 3rd. Bumped next down the line are Prince Harry to 5th, Prince Andrew to 6th and Princess Beatrice to 7th.  

Charlotte Elizabeth Diana

In 1973 a book was published titled The Book of Kings: a Royal Genealogy (in three volumes).  The author was Charles Arnold McNaughton (1930-1979) of Hemmingford, Quebec (I know, seems weird, eh?) .... genealogist for his own family and for the Royals.  Arnold did extensive research for over 26 years to write this book, including travelling to London and meeting with the Queen herself, and others of the Royal family. With no internet or email at that time, Arnold did most of his research by writing letters and anxiously awaiting replies. The forward for his book was written by Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl of Burma. They had become good friends, writing back and forth over the years.  When Arnold got word that Earl Mountbatten was murdered by the IRA in Ireland in 1979, it devastated him and he killed himself.

His work, The Book of Kings is considered "the" authority on Royal genealogy throughout the world, and can be found in most libraries or on inter-library loan.

Relevant Links

Review - The Book of Kings (PDF)

Notes from Arnold McNaughton (meeting the Royal family)

The Jubilee Date Book; the regnal years of the kings and queens of England, from William the Conqueror to Victoria- 1887

A collection of all the wills of the Kings and Queens of England - 1780

Debrett's peerage, baronetage, knightage and companionage - 1893

Letters of the Kings of England, from Royal Archives and other authentic sources 

Christmas Card from King George VI and Queen Elizabeth - 1939

English Coronation Records - 1901

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