More Genealogy on Spokane’s South Hill

The route across town, down the North Hill, across the Spokane River, then up the steep South Hill and onto the edges of the Palouse (puh-LOOSE) Prairie, is becoming more and more familiar to me–all six miles of stop-and-go 20- and 30-mph traffic–as I take my son to meet his online math course teacher several times a week. Neither of us are morning people, so we chug down our caffeinated cold drinks to prepare our brains for work. My work is likely much more fun than his, given that he’s doing school work during summer vacation, and I am indulging myself in my passion of genealogy.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I stopped by the Southside Family History Center to check out their facility and see what kinds of materials they have on permanent loan from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. I reported at the end of that week that I hadn’t seen a microfilm printer/scanner hooked up to a computer station; when I showed up the next Tuesday, I realized that in my busyness to look through the materials and chat with the volunteers I somehow had missed the equipment set up off in a corner of the room! Going through my list of interesting possibilities in microfilmed Ontario records where my ancestors had once lived, I decided to check out “Index to Whitchurch Township residents as shown in directories and census, 1837-1891” from York County, where my WILKINSON family appears in the 1871 and 1881 Canadian Censuses. The microfiche contained a combination of extracted township directories and census indexes. I kept an eye out for any references to the LAMOREAUX and TERRY families, looking for a possible connection to Mary (LAMOREAUX or TERRY) WILKINSON, my 4th-great-grandmother, as well as for collateral lines marrying into this family.

None of my WILKINSONs showed up in Whitchurch Township until 1871; my Richard (4th-great-grandfather), married to Mary above, appears in both the 1871 and 1881 census indexes (not new information for me). However, Moses TERRY showed up in the 1837 and 1846-7 directories, Jacob and the Widow TERRY showed up in the 1850-1 directory, and various other TERRYs appeared in the 1861, 1871, and 1891 censuses. No LAMOREAUXs appeared at all. The collateral line searches didn’t turn up much of anything, except for information of which I was already aware. I scanned and saved the pertinent images to my flash drive, and vowed to return the next day to look at more Ontario records.

My research attempts on Wednesday were dampened by the fact that the printer/scanner was down. It was just as well, because my search in early Ontario birth records (“Births, stillbirths, and delayed registrations with indexes 1869 – 1910”) yielded nothing new. Using my RootsMagic program on my laptop, I did a Find search looking for births for each year for each Ontario county. Most of the names that turned up in my database search were very distant relatives to my ancestors, and none were found in the records I looked viewed.

The following week, I again brought my laptop with me and instead of visiting the Family History Center, stayed in the classroom with my son and spent three hours citing sources in my RootsMagic program of recent records I found; specifically, city/county directory listings for my various Grand Rapids and Kent County, Michigan families, and military records for my paternal grandfather, Robert Lewis ROBBINS. This takes such an incredible amount of time to do correctly, even with RootsMagic’s Source Wizard! The benefits, besides knowing I’m doing the right thing by correctly citing my sources, are that it does slow me down and I automatically start analyzing and synthesizing my data. I notice gaps in my information, or start wondering about certain things and come up with lists of records I could next research to find more resources. Say, this isn’t so bad after all!

More Genealogy on Spokane’s South Hill

The route across town, down the North Hill, across the Spokane River, then up the steep South Hill and onto the edges of the Palouse (puh-LOOSE) Prairie, is becoming more and more familiar to me–all six miles of stop-and-go 20- and 30-mph traffic–as I take my son to meet his online math course teacher several times a week. Neither of us are morning people, so we chug down our caffeinated cold drinks to prepare our brains for work. My work is likely much more fun than his, given that he’s doing school work during summer vacation, and I am indulging myself in my passion of genealogy.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I stopped by the Southside Family History Center to check out their facility and see what kinds of materials they have on permanent loan from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. I reported at the end of that week that I hadn’t seen a microfilm printer/scanner hooked up to a computer station; when I showed up the next Tuesday, I realized that in my busyness to look through the materials and chat with the volunteers I somehow had missed the equipment set up off in a corner of the room! Going through my list of interesting possibilities in microfilmed Ontario records where my ancestors had once lived, I decided to check out “Index to Whitchurch Township residents as shown in directories and census, 1837-1891” from York County, where my WILKINSON family appears in the 1871 and 1881 Canadian Censuses. The microfiche contained a combination of extracted township directories and census indexes. I kept an eye out for any references to the LAMOREAUX and TERRY families, looking for a possible connection to Mary (LAMOREAUX or TERRY) WILKINSON, my 4th-great-grandmother, as well as for collateral lines marrying into this family.

None of my WILKINSONs showed up in Whitchurch Township until 1871; my Richard (4th-great-grandfather), married to Mary above, appears in both the 1871 and 1881 census indexes (not new information for me). However, Moses TERRY showed up in the 1837 and 1846-7 directories, Jacob and the Widow TERRY showed up in the 1850-1 directory, and various other TERRYs appeared in the 1861, 1871, and 1891 censuses. No LAMOREAUXs appeared at all. The collateral line searches didn’t turn up much of anything, except for information of which I was already aware. I scanned and saved the pertinent images to my flash drive, and vowed to return the next day to look at more Ontario records.

My research attempts on Wednesday were dampened by the fact that the printer/scanner was down. It was just as well, because my search in early Ontario birth records (“Births, stillbirths, and delayed registrations with indexes 1869 – 1910”) yielded nothing new. Using my RootsMagic program on my laptop, I did a Find search looking for births for each year for each Ontario county. Most of the names that turned up in my database search were very distant relatives to my ancestors, and none were found in the records I looked viewed.

The following week, I again brought my laptop with me and instead of visiting the Family History Center, stayed in the classroom with my son and spent three hours citing sources in my RootsMagic program of recent records I found; specifically, city/county directory listings for my various Grand Rapids and Kent County, Michigan families, and military records for my paternal grandfather, Robert Lewis ROBBINS. This takes such an incredible amount of time to do correctly, even with RootsMagic’s Source Wizard! The benefits, besides knowing I’m doing the right thing by correctly citing my sources, are that it does slow me down and I automatically start analyzing and synthesizing my data. I notice gaps in my information, or start wondering about certain things and come up with lists of records I could next research to find more resources. Say, this isn’t so bad after all!

Happy Canada Day!

To my Canadian relatives, friends and readers, I wish a Happy Canada Day!

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My ancestral connections to Canada are as follows:

  • My father was born in Edmonton, Alberta while his father and uncle were stationed there with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II (back in the day when being born in a U.S. military hospital on foreign soil did not automatically qualify you for American citizenship). Dad became a U.S. citizen when he was 16. When I was a kid, I used to tease him that he could never become the President of the United States. I don’t think that was ever a disappointment for him…! Dad also had many Canadian ancestors.
  • On his father’s side, Richard John WILKINSON, b. c. 1815 in Yorkshire, England, immigrated to Canada and lived in what is now Whitchurch, York Co., Ontario. His wife, Mary TERRY, a.k.a. Mary LAMOREAUX, may have been French-Canadian…or she may have been born in New Brunswick…or she may have been born to a Loyalist family from New Jersey. It’s one of those vague family stories that I would love to focus on and get documented and clarified!
  • Richard and Mary’s son John WILKINSON married Mahala SAYERS, who was the daughter of Scots-Irish immigrants, John Henry SAYERS and Mary CAHOON. John SAYER’s family came to Athol Township, Prince Edward Co. (not to be confused with Prince Edward Island), Ontario from Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland in the mid-1830s, in several trips. Mary CAHOON’s father was Preston CAHOON, and our line dead-ends there. John and Mahala (SAYERS) WILKINSON immigrated around 1880 – 1881 to Musekgon County, Michigan along with many of her siblings, thereby missing both the 1880 U.S. Federal Census and the 1881 Canadian Census (they were sneaky like that!). Mahala was alive when her great-grandson Robert Lewis ROBBINS (my paternal grandfather) was born, and he had a few memories of her to share with me.
  • On dad’s mother’s side, her paternal YORK and SWEERS ancestors took advantage of offers of homesteading land that were provided by the Canadian goverment during the early 19th century. We know that the SWEERS family emigrated to Chippewa Creek, Welland County, Ontario from Worcester, Washington County, Vermont in May 1809, and that the YORKs from Bath, Stueben County, New York were there around the same time. This became a problem for these American citizens when the War of 1812 broke out. Ancestor Daniel SWEARS, III, escaped across the Niagara River to join up with a New York regiment. Ancestor Jeremiah F. YORK (Daniel’s future son-in-law) and his brother Stephen VanRensselaer YORK were pressed into the 3rd Regiment of the Lincoln Militia of the British army, but also managed to escape to Canadaigua, Cattaraugus County, New York to join Captain Justus P. Spencer’s militia there. The SWEERS and YORK families eventually settled in the Town of Clarence, Erie County, New York, and later Atlas Township, Genesee County, Michigan.
  • Grandma’s paternal great-grandfather, Daniel J. MacARTHUR was born in Glengarry County, Ontario in 1827, a grandson of immigrants from Kenmore, Perthsire, Scotland. He emigrated to Montcalm County, Michigan in the mid-1840s. During the Civil War, he enlisted in Company I of Berdan’s Regiment, U.S. Sharpshooters (Michigan), rising to the rank of sergeant. Taking ill within weeks of the close of the war, he returned home on leave, and apparently never reported back for duty, disqualifying him for a veteran’s pension years later, although he made several applications.
  • Grandma’s maternal grandfather, Orlando BARBER, was born in Ontario in 1868, and the household is found in Amabel, Bruce County in the 1871 Canadian Census. The family emigrated to Lapeer County, Michigan around 1876. Orlando’s father, James, was born “in England” in 1839. His death record gives no clues as to his parentage. Orlando’s mother, Elizabeth A. “Betsey” COLE, was born in South Dorchester, Elgin County, Ontario to parents James COLE and Lavina WILLIS who were a first-generation Canadian (James’ parents were from Vermont) and a direct immigrant from New York, respectively. It is likely they came to Canada for the same reasons the YORKs and SWEERs did.

My husband has two lines that also hail from Canada:

  • His great-great-grandmother, Rachel HUBBY, was born somewhere in Ontario in 1832 to John HUBBY from Scotland and Hannah JONES from New York.
  • Henry LYTON was born as George TURK in Ottawa around 1841. He, like 10,000 other Canadian men, immigrated to the U.S. during the Civil War expressly to join the Union forces. He served from Iowa.

So as you can see, Canada may not be my home, or my native land, but it is one of my ancestral homelands!

Happy Canada Day!

To my Canadian relatives, friends and readers, I wish a Happy Canada Day!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Flag Image from 3DFlags

My ancestral connections to Canada are as follows:

  • My father was born in Edmonton, Alberta while his father and uncle were stationed there with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II (back in the day when being born in a U.S. military hospital on foreign soil did not automatically qualify you for American citizenship). Dad became a U.S. citizen when he was 16. When I was a kid, I used to tease him that he could never become the President of the United States. I don’t think that was ever a disappointment for him…! Dad also had many Canadian ancestors.
  • On his father’s side, Richard John WILKINSON, b. c. 1815 in Yorkshire, England, immigrated to Canada and lived in what is now Whitchurch, York Co., Ontario. His wife, Mary TERRY, a.k.a. Mary LAMOREAUX, may have been French-Canadian…or she may have been born in New Brunswick…or she may have been born to a Loyalist family from New Jersey. It’s one of those vague family stories that I would love to focus on and get documented and clarified!
  • Richard and Mary’s son John WILKINSON married Mahala SAYERS, who was the daughter of Scots-Irish immigrants, John Henry SAYERS and Mary CAHOON. John SAYER’s family came to Athol Township, Prince Edward Co. (not to be confused with Prince Edward Island), Ontario from Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland in the mid-1830s, in several trips. Mary CAHOON’s father was Preston CAHOON, and our line dead-ends there. John and Mahala (SAYERS) WILKINSON immigrated around 1880 – 1881 to Musekgon County, Michigan along with many of her siblings, thereby missing both the 1880 U.S. Federal Census and the 1881 Canadian Census (they were sneaky like that!). Mahala was alive when her great-grandson Robert Lewis ROBBINS (my paternal grandfather) was born, and he had a few memories of her to share with me.
  • On dad’s mother’s side, her paternal YORK and SWEERS ancestors took advantage of offers of homesteading land that were provided by the Canadian goverment during the early 19th century. We know that the SWEERS family emigrated to Chippewa Creek, Welland County, Ontario from Worcester, Washington County, Vermont in May 1809, and that the YORKs from Bath, Stueben County, New York were there around the same time. This became a problem for these American citizens when the War of 1812 broke out. Ancestor Daniel SWEARS, III, escaped across the Niagara River to join up with a New York regiment. Ancestor Jeremiah F. YORK (Daniel’s future son-in-law) and his brother Stephen VanRensselaer YORK were pressed into the 3rd Regiment of the Lincoln Militia of the British army, but also managed to escape to Canadaigua, Cattaraugus County, New York to join Captain Justus P. Spencer’s militia there. The SWEERS and YORK families eventually settled in the Town of Clarence, Erie County, New York, and later Atlas Township, Genesee County, Michigan.
  • Grandma’s paternal great-grandfather, Daniel J. MacARTHUR was born in Glengarry County, Ontario in 1827, a grandson of immigrants from Kenmore, Perthsire, Scotland. He emigrated to Montcalm County, Michigan in the mid-1840s. During the Civil War, he enlisted in Company I of Berdan’s Regiment, U.S. Sharpshooters (Michigan), rising to the rank of sergeant. Taking ill within weeks of the close of the war, he returned home on leave, and apparently never reported back for duty, disqualifying him for a veteran’s pension years later, although he made several applications.
  • Grandma’s maternal grandfather, Orlando BARBER, was born in Ontario in 1868, and the household is found in Amabel, Bruce County in the 1871 Canadian Census. The family emigrated to Lapeer County, Michigan around 1876. Orlando’s father, James, was born “in England” in 1839. His death record gives no clues as to his parentage. Orlando’s mother, Elizabeth A. “Betsey” COLE, was born in South Dorchester, Elgin County, Ontario to parents James COLE and Lavina WILLIS who were a first-generation Canadian (James’ parents were from Vermont) and a direct immigrant from New York, respectively. It is likely they came to Canada for the same reasons the YORKs and SWEERs did.

My husband has two lines that also hail from Canada:

  • His great-great-grandmother, Rachel HUBBY, was born somewhere in Ontario in 1832 to John HUBBY from Scotland and Hannah JONES from New York.
  • Henry LYTON was born as George TURK in Ottawa around 1841. He, like 10,000 other Canadian men, immigrated to the U.S. during the Civil War expressly to join the Union forces. He served from Iowa.

So as you can see, Canada may not be my home, or my native land, but it is one of my ancestral homelands!

Another Busy Weekend

This is the second of three busy genealogical weekends for me, so I’m doing a quick summary:

  • *At our local LDS Genealogy Conference yesterday, I taught two classes twice: “County Genealogy Websites” and “Finding Volunteer (or Low-Cost) Researchers Online.” Attendance was great at the conference; they were expecting 400 people, and I’m sure they exceeded it. Ugo Perego of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation was superb as our keynote speaker, and I participated in the free DNA sample project. I was able to meet fellow blogger Amy Crooks of Untangled Family Roots as well! There were many members of EWGS in attendance, as well as several people from the Online Genealogy classes I’ve taught through the Community College of Spokane, and even a co-worker who I invited from the middle school where I am employed. I’ll have to blog more about this conference later.
  • *I received the EWGS quarterly, The Bulletin (March 2007 issue), full of terrific articles as always. Found a couple of links to sites of interest.
  • *I also received the May 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine. Haven’t had time to read it, but have glanced at a few interesting titles. I see Lisa Alzo has an article on Polish research.
  • *One of my former Online Genealogy students e-mailed me with a question regarding how to properly use “dit” names (French-Canadian nicknames or aliases). I found some great answers at Genealogy.com; it was a learning experience for me, and has me wondering about my 4th-great-grandmother, Mary (LAMOUREAUX, also known as TERRY) WILKINSON, about whom I blogged earlier. Could she be French-Canadian? LAMOUREAUX is so very French. Is TERRY a dit name?
  • *As a member of the Computer Class Education committee for EWGS, it’s my duty to e-mail (or call) all those who’ve signed up for the computer classes with a reminder one week before class. I realized next Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day, and the parade route and number of people downtown will definitely impact driving and parking, so gave a warning and a link to the parade map to help out fellow members with planning and parking alternatives.
  • *We’re getting ready to have some family time this evening. My husband’s brother and sister-in-law have picked up a pizza from Costco to feed their youngest and our two kids (all teens) while they take Norm and I out for dinner to celebrate our March birthdays (his the 6th, mine the 19th). After dinner, we’ll all head over to their place for dessert and birthday time and to call Norm’s sister who lives on the West Side of the state to wish her happy birthday as well.

Another Busy Weekend

This is the second of three busy genealogical weekends for me, so I’m doing a quick summary:

  • *At our local LDS Genealogy Conference yesterday, I taught two classes twice: “County Genealogy Websites” and “Finding Volunteer (or Low-Cost) Researchers Online.” Attendance was great at the conference; they were expecting 400 people, and I’m sure they exceeded it. Ugo Perego of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation was superb as our keynote speaker, and I participated in the free DNA sample project. I was able to meet fellow blogger Amy Crooks of Untangled Family Roots as well! There were many members of EWGS in attendance, as well as several people from the Online Genealogy classes I’ve taught through the Community College of Spokane, and even a co-worker who I invited from the middle school where I am employed. I’ll have to blog more about this conference later.
  • *I received the EWGS quarterly, The Bulletin (March 2007 issue), full of terrific articles as always. Found a couple of links to sites of interest.
  • *I also received the May 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine. Haven’t had time to read it, but have glanced at a few interesting titles. I see Lisa Alzo has an article on Polish research.
  • *One of my former Online Genealogy students e-mailed me with a question regarding how to properly use “dit” names (French-Canadian nicknames or aliases). I found some great answers at Genealogy.com; it was a learning experience for me, and has me wondering about my 4th-great-grandmother, Mary (LAMOUREAUX, also known as TERRY) WILKINSON, about whom I blogged earlier. Could she be French-Canadian? LAMOUREAUX is so very French. Is TERRY a dit name?
  • *As a member of the Computer Class Education committee for EWGS, it’s my duty to e-mail (or call) all those who’ve signed up for the computer classes with a reminder one week before class. I realized next Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day, and the parade route and number of people downtown will definitely impact driving and parking, so gave a warning and a link to the parade map to help out fellow members with planning and parking alternatives.
  • *We’re getting ready to have some family time this evening. My husband’s brother and sister-in-law have picked up a pizza from Costco to feed their youngest and our two kids (all teens) while they take Norm and I out for dinner to celebrate our March birthdays (his the 6th, mine the 19th). After dinner, we’ll all head over to their place for dessert and birthday time and to call Norm’s sister who lives on the West Side of the state to wish her happy birthday as well.

Ontario, Canada Vital Records at Ancestry

I have the feed to Joe Beine’s blog on my Google home page (along with feeds from many of my favorite blogs), and I noticed yesterday that he had a new post entitled “Online Canada Death Records Indexes.” I discovered that not only were the death records indexes for Ontario available at Ancestry.com, but so were Ontario birth and marriage records indexes. Where have I been?

I have no idea when these databases were added to Ancestry, so that’s what I love about Joe’s blog. It highlights new online databases, links of which are posted at his website. For someone like me who can be very easily overwhelmed by visual clutter, this blog is a godsend. Whenever I try to find out what’s new at Ancestry, it’s too hard for me to process all the information available on their “What’s New” page. Besides, Ancestry isn’t the only kid on the block. Joe’s easy-on-the-eyes blog and website have links simply categorized from all over the web.

I was very excited to find birth, marriage, and death records for many of my SAYERS, WILKINSON, and SWEERS (SWEARS) kin in Ontario. I wasn’t as successful with my BARBER, COLE, and McARTHUR (MacARTHUR) searches, probably because I didn’t have enough information to do a specific search, and/or the records I needed were too early for registration. At long last, I believe I found a death record for my 4th-great-grandmother, Mary (TERRY) WILKINSON (or was her maiden name LAMOREAUX?…I have documents that support both as her maiden name). Here’s a snippet of her death record from Markham Village, York County, Ontario:

For a full-size view, click here.

If you’ve got Canadian ancestors in Ontario from 1858 to 1932, I recommend you visit Ancestry. And no matter from where your ancestors hailed, I definitely recommend you visit Joe!