Monday, 22 April 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 16 - Merchant Marine Records on Family Search

This week's 52 Ancestor's prompt is "Out of Place". If you have maritime ancestors, then you know they can turn up in any location. A good record set covering Canadian ports is the collection Canada, Merchant Marine Agreements and Accounts of Crews, 1890-1920 on Family Search.

This collection is a browse only collection. This means that it is not indexed, so if you use the regular search engine, you will not get hits from here. According to the Wiki of the collection, it covers mainly ports in British Columbia, and mostly Victoria. However, you can find records from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and a few ports outside Canada.

Agreements and Crew Lists can give you valuable clues of your ancestor. Among the information you can find in the agreements are:

  • Year and place of birth
  • Date of sailing and route
  • Their position on the crew
  • Previous ship they sailed on
  • Death information
  • Pay
It helps to know the ship they sailed on when looking at the collection. However, if you don't it just means more time spent browsing. Each microfilm holds the index and images for 5-7 boxes of records. It is set up that first there will be an index to each ship's records in a particular box. The images proceeding that are the crew lists and agreements relating to that index. They seem to go into chronological order. Then there will be the index for the next box, and then the images relating to that index. Here is the index for box 1 on microfilm 1:

Because there are multiple boxes on each microfilm, you will have to to do some jumping around between images to find what you need. If a particular index doesn't have what you want, I found a fairly quick way to find the next index. At the bottom of each image, it states what box and file number an image belongs to:

By jumping ahead by 50 images or so at a time, I was able to find where the next box's images were, and then go back page by page to find the index. I found that each box runs just over 400 images or so. 

Once you find a crew list you want to look at, the first page will be the over all particulars of the ship.

The next few pages are crew registers:

What is really neat is that the crew had to sign, so you can also obtain a copy of your ancestor's handwriting. Look at this one where you can actually get street addresses:

After the crew particulars, I also found some telegrams and correspondence linked with some of the ships. My maritime ancestor Dugald McArthur was a ship's cook and steward on Scottish vessels. His period of time sailing was before this collection starts, so I knew that there wouldn't be a chance of finding him in here at all. But it's quite an interesting read none the less. If your ancestor was connected to a particular ship for a long time, you're in luck. While scanning the indexes, I saw certain ships mentioned repeatedly, especially if Victoria, BC was their home port. It would be quite possible to trace decades of sailing for a particular vessel.

If you are looking for the originals of these images, they are in the custody of the Royal BC Museum and Archives in Victoria, British Columbia.

52 Ancestors: Week 15 - Do You Have Florence Elizabeth Hance in Your Family Tree?

Image by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=163710">PublicDomainPictures</a> from <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=163710">Pixabay</a>

I am a new addict to DNA. I hemmed and hawed for a long time before I took a DNA test through Ancestry last year. Since I got my results in November, I have been obsessed with unraveling the mystery of some of my DNA matches.

I've had a group of matches that all trace back to one woman, Florence Elizabeth Hance or Hence (1865-1935). These matches look to relate to my paternal side. She appears to be a 2x great grandmother. I have narrowed down to her being the mother of one of my paternal great grandfathers: John Wellington McDonald or James Henry Douglas. I have eliminated my great grandmothers as being possible connections. My great grandmother Edna Johnson was born and raised in Nova Scotia, and the mysterious Elizabeth Hance has no connection to there. Also Edna's line goes back to the Foreign Protestants, which is a very well documented group of early settlers. My other great grandmother, Mary Black MacArthur, came to Canada in 1919 from Scotland. Elizabeth spent her entire life in Ontario, Quebec, and New York State. I also know who Mary's mother was: an Irish born woman named Annie O'Connell.

Finding these matches has been so exciting and yet so frustrating. Finding where she fits into my tree will break one of my two biggest brick walls. Both my great grandfathers were born between the years 1885 and 1895. Either one could very well be one of her children. I built what they call a "quick and dirty" tree on Ancestry for Elizabeth, and she did not have an easy life. This is a quick time line for her:

  • 31 October 1865: Florence Elizabeth Hence is born in Williamstown, Glengarry, Ontario. She is the youngest daughter of Henry Hance and Josephet LaBerge (source: Census records)
  • 1871: Elizabeth Hence is living in Charlottenburg, Glengarry, Ontario with her parents and siblings (Source: and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1871 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009.) 
  • 1881: Elizabeth Hence is living in Chalottenburg, Glengary, Ontario as a servant in the house of Ronald and Adelaide Pariseau (Source: and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009.)
  • 31 August 1886: Elizabeth Hence marries Joseph Taillon in Dundee Quebec (Source: Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2008.)
  • 7 February 1889: Elizabeth gives birth to her son Walter Joseph Tyo/ Taillon in Fort Covington, New York, USA (Source: New York State, Birth Index, 1881-1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2018.)
  • 20 April 1890: Elizabeth remarries to Moses Ledger in Fort Covington, New York, USA (Source: New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2017.)
  • 1893 to 1900: Elizabeth gives birth to children Florence, Agnes, Francis and Rose. (Source: Census Records)
  • 27 November 1899 : Husband Moses Ledger dies in a logging accident in Franklin, New York, USA (Source: The Malone Palladium newspaper obituary 7 December 1899. Image of the obit on a public Ancestry tree)
  • 1900: Elizabeth Ledger is living in Fort Covington, New York, USA with her children. She is listed as a widow (Source: 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.)
  • 9 March 1902: Elizabeth marries Alonzo Mitchell in Fort Covington, New York, USA (Source: New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2017.)
  • 1904 to 1908: Elizabeth gives birth to sons Alonzo and Darwin Mitchell (Source: Census Records)
  • 1910: Elizabeth Mitchell is living with her children in Fort Covington, New York, USA. She is listed as a widow (Source: 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.)
  • 1915: Elizabeth is now the wife of Peter Blair and living in Bombay, New York, USA. Living with her are Peter's children as well as her 3 youngest children Rose, Alonzo and Darwin. (Source: New York, State Census, 1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.)
  • 1920: Elizabeth Blair is listed as a widow again and living in Bombay, New York, USA. Living with her are her two youngest boys Alonzo and Darwin. Also living there is her eldest daughter Florence, her husband Nolan Reynolds, and their children (Source: 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.)
  • 1930: Elizabeth is now married to Nelson McDonald and living in Malone, New York, USA. They are living with her daughter Agnes, her husband Arthur Noreault and their children. (Source: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.)
  • 12 June 1935: Apparently, this is the death date of Elizabeth in Fort Covington, New York, USA. I have not found a definitive death date. This information is taken from the trees of my matches, and none are sourced.

I have followed Elizabeth's children, and have been able to trace the lives of all but two: her eldest son Walter Joseph Tyo, and her son Francis W Ledger. Because of all the half sibling relationships, it is difficult to say which son I could descend from. Both sons fit into a birth timeline for my great grandfathers. Without finding information on them and "killing them off", I cannot say which one might be either James Henry Douglas or John Wellington McDonald. Of course, there is also the possibility that Elizabeth had another son that was adopted into the Douglas or McDonald line. I want to eliminate Walter Tyo and Francis Ledger as possibilities before I try and go down that route.

If you are a descendant of Elizabeth Hance, I would love to hear from you. I would especially like to hear from descendants of Walter Joseph Tyo/Taillon or Francis W Ledger. You can reach me by the contact information of my contact page. 

Monday, 8 April 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 14 - The craftsman and Canadian Masonic record

This week's 52 Ancestors prompt is Brick Wall. I'm giving it a bit of twist in that I'm going to look at the Canadiana collection of the periodical the craftsman and Canadian Masonic record. This collection runs from 1869 to 1877.

The amount of information in here is excellent. Even though the issues were published in Ontario, the information in it is not limited to Ontario. I found articles about Lodges from other parts of Canada, and from around the world. Here's some correspondence about accepting the Quebec lodges from lodges in western Canada in 1870:

Scattered throughout these publications, you will find individual names. Here's an obituary for George T. Malcolmson, who drowned:

Now these publications seem to be an annual compilation of newsletters. Each microfilm is numbered to the Volume, and all except the last one has 12 microfilms. The volumes shown are:

  • Volume 4 October 1869 to September 1870
  • Volume 5 October 1870 to September 1871
  • Volume 6 October 1871 to September 1872
  • Volume 7 October 1872 to September 1873
  • Volume 8 January to December 1874
  • Volume 9 January to December 1875 
  • Volume 10 January to December 1876
  • Volume 11 January to June 1877
The trick is to look at number 1 of each volume.

The first roll of each volume shows an index of articles and corresponding page number. Then click on the subsequent rolls to find the page number you want. You can find the page numbers of each roll by clicking on the drop down menu on the top left:

Once you have found what your looking for, right click on your mouse, and then click on Save image As... This will save the image to your computer.

While your on the Canadiana site, type in the search word Masonic into the general search engine, and see what else they have digitized in relation to your Masonic ancestor.