Ancestors Born in England or New England? Part 1

If you are researching ancestors in New England by using Ancestry.com, you may well be led astray on the birth places of many who were early arrivals to the New World. Here’s why.

We all have been told to beware of errors in family trees posted online. So we are. But if you use Ancestry.com for New England ancestors, you also must beware of all those records that seem to be “official,” called Family Data Collections, Millennium Files, American Genealogical-Biographical Index records and so on.

Over and over, I have found English ancestors listed as born in towns in New England with dates such as 1600, 1612, 1615 and so on. Clearly impossible as these dates were before the Great Migration of 1620-1640, starting with the arrival of the Mayflower in November 1620. And often before the date that the individual towns were founded.

Here are just a few examples:

[A] William Barstow, Parents:  John Barstow
Birth Place:  Hanover, MA, Birth Date: 1612
Marriage Date:  8 May 1638
Death Date:  1 Jan 1668, Death Place:  Scituate, MA
Source: Family Data Collection – Individual Records

William’s proposed 1612 birth date is before the 1620 arrival of the Mayflower, making a birth in New England highly unlikely. And Hanover, Massachusetts, was first settled by English settlers in 1649 when William Barstow, a farmer, built a bridge along the North River at what is now Washington Street. [Source: Wikipedia]. So this one of my ancestors played a key role in founding Hanover when he was about 37 years old. He clearly was not born there. Rather he was surely born in England.

[B] Mary Sims, Spouse: Robert Royce, Parents: John Sims Symes, Sarah Baker
Birth Place: CT, Birth Date: 1609
Marriage Place: Long Sutton, Parish, Marriage Date: 4 Jun 1634
Death Place: Wallingford, CT, Death Date: 1696
Source: Family Data Collection – Individual Records

If we believed this record, May Sims would have been born in Connecticut, returned to England for marriage and then came back to Connecticut. Of course that is erroneous. Other sources suggest she was born in Long Sutton, Somerset, England.

[C] Lucy Williams, Father: John Williams, Mother: Ann
Birth Date: 1620, City: Duxbury, County: Plymouth, State: MA, Country: USA
Sources: Family Data Collection – Individual Records and Family Data Collection – Births

While the Mayflower did arrive in late fall 1620, the town of Duxbury was not settled until about 1624, although some sources say 1627. So Lucy was not born in Duxbury in 1620, but more likely in England.

These records at Ancestry.com – that we will discuss in more detail in a future posting – have other kinds of problems with accuracy. For example:

[D] Mabel Yeomans, Birth Date: 25 Feb 1698
Birth Place: Stonington, N-Lndn, Connecticut, USA
Death Date: 29 May 1714
Father: John Yeomans, Mother: Millicent Utter
Spouse: Beriah Garnsey, Children: Mary GurnseyGarnsey
Source: Millennium File

The problem here? Mabel Yeomans married Beriah Garnsey on 18 Oct 1738 in Stonington, Connecticut, according to The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records: 1719-1850 and they had at least eight children between 1740 and 1757, also included in the Connecticut Town Vital Records. So the death date is clearly incorrect.

If you read the small type, you will see that Ancestry.com typically offers these files with no published sources or primary sources for the individual records, saying they are only “finding tools” for further research. The problem is that a high percentage of Ancestry users trust these records as accurate and merge the details into their trees.

At minimum, Ancestry should have more visible disclaimers on these files, perhaps the text about “use as finding tools only” in red. For credibility’s sake, Ancestry.com should find a way to alert users to the most obvious errors in the files. Perhaps the firm might offer webinars on using these records that appear to be so official. In the next post, we’ll share insights on the source of these records and why some of them are flawed.

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Thank you! And good researching!

Published in: on August 13, 2013 at 1:12 am  Comments (2)  
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FreeBMD & FreeREG

Are you researching your roots in England and Wales? Then there are two very helpful websites with free databases that you need to be using.

I have used the website FreeBMD for some time with good results. Here you will find transcriptions of the Civil Registration index (GRO Index) of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales. As of May 2011, there were more than 200 million distinct records in the database that you can search for free. This large number of records means you have a good chance of finding what you are seeking.

Civil Registration started in 1837 so there are no earlier records in its database. And the site does not have scans of the original documents themselves, but does provide the details you need to order copies of your ancestors’ original birth, marriage and death records from the General Registration Office (GRO) here. Learn more about FreeBMD by reading its FAQs here.

An important companion to FreeBMD is the website FreeREG where you can find baptism, marriage, and burial records transcribed from parish and non-conformist registers in the U.K. As of June 1, 2011, the database had some 15 million records that you can search for free. FreeREG states that it is a “finding tool” and you should always review the original parish record in person or via microfilm, for example.

I am currently researching my BOOTH ancestors of northern Shropshire, England. My third great-grandfather, Joseph Booth, reported in census and other documents that he was born in Shakeford, a small village or hamlet south of Market Drayton. When he married a second time, on 12 April 1863, his marriage certificate states that his father was George Booth, a farmer.

Who was George Booth? I have found a 1794 marriage record and an 1845 death record for a George Booth in Market Drayton who may be my fourth great-grandfather, although these are unconfirmed. But when using FreeREG recently, I found a record that seems likely to be for the right George Booth. The baptism record dated 5 Aug 1795 at St. Mary’s Church in Market Drayton is for Mary Booth, daughter of George Booth of Shakerford, quite likely Shakeford.

Now I have two records pointing to a Booth family in Shakeford, Shropshire, in the relevant time period. Joseph was born about 1808 according to family and census records. This inspires me to keep searching, and to order the microfilms for St. Mary’s Church, to look at the records myself. I would love to add another generation to my Booth ancestral line.

The third in this volunteer-driven system of databases is the website FreeCEN which has census transcriptions for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891. Many counties are far from complete, however, but it is another free resource to use in your search for your ancestors. It might have what you are looking for!

Please follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBPetura

Why not check out my helpful Genealogy Resources webpage: http://bit.ly/GenealogyResources

Please join my group Finding Family for Free at GenealogyWise:
http://www.genealogywise.com/group/findingfamilyforfree

Thank you! And good researching!

Published in: on June 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Milwaukee Marriage Records

Records of marriages in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, can be found through various websites and online databases. Some provide an index with basic details, which is helpful. However, several provide full transcriptions of the records, including parents of the bride and groom, while others offer the actual microfilmed images of the records.

Here is a listing of free websites with Milwaukee marriages:

[1] FamilySearch.org – find IGI and other marriage records.

[2] The beta version of the new FamilySearch with many records, including Milwaukee marriages, fully transcribed.

[3] Wisconsin Pre-1907 Vital Records, with a bride and groom matching system, from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

[4] Milwaukee Marriages, Additional, 1822-1876, based on records found in the Milwaukee County Courthouse. You will find an online index to search by bride or groom at the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society website.

[5] These same Milwaukee marriage certificates and documents — created between 1822 and 1876 and found at the Milwaukee County Courthouse in the 1960s — were microfilmed. These are now online.
> Learn how these marriage records were saved and put online.
> Search these marriage records here.

[6] Marriages are part of Milwaukee Family Pages at Links to the Past.

NOTE: images of marriage records in the database in No. 5 are found for
> Mr. Martin Friedrich Bruss and Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Gerschwitz, 1850 [no legal impediment, name of pastor]
> Joachim Speich and Marianna Stocker, 1857 [family details]
> Sherman A Bradley and Hannah M Church, 1859 [family details, see middle column]
> Sherman A Bradley and Hannah M Church, 1859 [basic details]
> Henry Moore and Annie Augusta Church, 1875 [family details]

Hope this is helpful to those searching for their Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ancestors.

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Published in: on November 20, 2010 at 12:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Genealogy Mystery: Jane Finally Found

Our family has long known that ancestors Benjamin Booth married Jane Ebrey in 1866 in northern Shropshire, England, and they came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on their honeymoon.  Benjamin’s older brother George, also a carpenter, was already in Milwaukee, a likely reason they came. Ben and Jane stayed to work and raise their family.
 
Benjamin’s parents and birth date and place were known. But when was Jane born and where, and who were her parents? The usual online records did not yield an answer. No International Genealogy Index or IGI record for her and nothing in FreeBMD that matched what we knew from later records.

Following considerable genealogy sleuth work, answers have turned up in a number of records –  including Benjamin and Jane’s marriage certificate ordered from the General Register Office or  GRO in England. It proved to be the key that opened the door to solving the mystery of Jane Ebrey’s family and early life.

An important clue was found on a family tree that a cousin wrote out some years ago, based on his research. It was this:
> In the 1861 Census, Jane Ebrey was recorded as keeping house for her uncle Robert Ebrey and his sons Henry and Frederick in Prees, Shropshire. They lived on on Whitchurch Street. The men all worked as butchers.
 
Benjamin and Jane’s marriage record revealed that:
> Benjamin, a carpenter, age 21, and Jane, age 27, were married in the Prees parish church on 23 April 1866
> Benjamin’s father was Joseph Booth, a builder
> Jane’s father was John Ebrey, a butcher
 
With Jane’s father’s correct name, I at last was able to find Jane’s family and her presence in key records.

John and Robert Ebrey were among the sons of Thomas Ebrey who in 1828 and 1835 was listed in Shropshire Directories as Thomas Aberey & Sons, Butchers, in Prees. Thomas Aberey [also Eberey and Ebrey] had on 31 Dec 1795 married Isabelle Gilchrist, who sometimes was recorded as Elizabeth [Elizabeth is the English version of the name Isabelle].
 
John Ebrey was recorded as John Gilchrist Ebrey when he was baptized on 15 Aug 1802 in Prees. He most likely was named for his maternal grandfather John Gilchrist, Isabelle’s father.
 
On 15 Nov 1827, John Ebrey married Mary Palin, or Paling, in Ightfield, a rural village about 4 miles northeast of Prees and 4 miles southeast of Whitchurch. He and Mary then settled in her home village of Ightfield where John was a butcher while his brother Robert continued the butcher business in Prees. John and Mary had 10 children.
 
So that’s one reason Jane Ebrey was hard to find. It turns out that she was born in Ightfield, not Prees or Hodnet as the family had assumed. Likely born in October 1836, she was baptized in Ightfield on 20 Nov 1836 as shown in the parish records on microfilm. [In the 1900 Census, Jane’s birth was recorded as October 1855. She never liked giving her real age!]

But why no IGI for Jane’s baptism? It turns out that the IGIs for Ightfield are based on a document the ended with 1830.  And the FreeBMD records start with required registration in 1837. Jane’s birth fell in the gap, but the microfilm of Ightfield parish records , ordered through the local Family History Center,  had records of her birth and those of her siblings.
 
So why was Jane not with her parents in the 1841 Census? In fact, I believe she was – but the census taker hearing “Jane who is four” wrote down “James, age 4, son.” There is no birth of a James Ebrey to John and Mary in the microfilm records. So the census error is the likely reason Jane seems to be missing in 1841. In that year, the John Ebrey family lived in Prees but by 1851 they were again in Ightfield.
 
In the 1851 Census, Jane Ebrey, 14, born in Ightfield – surely our Jane – was in service in the household of John Paling in Prees. John, a grazier and butcher, was Jane’s maternal uncle, being her mother Mary Paling’s brother. [It was this record, giving her birthplace in Ightfield, that sent me to the Ightfield microfilm].
 
In this period, it was typical for young women from families of modest means to work as a servant in another household.  In 1861, Jane, as yet unmarried, was recorded as keeping house for her paternal uncle Robert Ebrey in Prees. Robert was a widower with two sons and so in need of someone to run his household.

Then on 23 April 1866, in the Prees parish church, Jane married Benjamin Booth, who had been baptized and confirmed at the church in Hodnet. The Booth family lived in the nearby village of Marchamley at the entrance to Hawkstone where the Booth men were carpenters and builders. Benjamin and Jane came to Milwaukee where he was listed in the 1866 Milwaukee Directory as a carpenter, living with George Booth, carpenter.
 
A fun extra. On 15 May 1866, at the Prees parish church, Sarah Booth, Benjamin’s sister, married Henry Ebrey, Jane’s first cousin and the son of Robert Ebrey mentioned earlier. Sarah had been a witness when Benjamin and Jane married.
 
One last bit gleaned from Shropshire Directories about John and Robert Ebrey. In the 1851 Directory for Shropshre, in the Whitchurch Trades Directory section, both John Ebrey and Robert Ebrey were listed as “country butchers who stand at the market in High Street” in Whitchurch [History, Gazetteer & Directory of Shropshire, 1851, p. 351.] Whitchurch was a market town where on Fridays merchants and tradesmen set up their booths to sell their wares.

Thus a genealogy brickwall – built of various errors and omissions – was finally overcome. Evidence that it can be done!

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BBPetura on Twitter

Using Twitter is a fun way to meet genealogists, get tips on new family history resources and record research progress.  And also to follow news media, experts on archaeology and gardening, and more! Unique diary! Here are some of my recent tweets:

9/12/2009

Wisconsin 1875 Census on FamilySearch with index & scans is great! Ancestors Benjamin Church & Sherman A. Bradley in Milwaukee!

RT @Palaeogeek Thirty thousand year-old colored twine found in Georgia: http://is.gd/37AYC | Europe that is!

Beautiful day so I enjoyed a visit to Living in the Garden north of #Pullman for fall #flowers, food treats: http://tiny.cc/LvngInGrdn9

RT @Cherryteatime Condense #genealogy w/geography – Suffolk, Shropshire, Yorkshire ENG, Glarus SWISS, Pomerania, Holstein, Trier GER, more!

My http://books.google.com/ search – ancestor Ferdinand Hachez did weather observations 1865, helped found a hail insurance company 1870

#Genealogy tip: At least once a year, search for your ancestors in old books & documents at http://books.google.com/ Great finds possible!

Great idea: search anew for ancestors’ info on their birthday. Thanks @mjnrootdig for #Genealogy tip of the day: http://tinyurl.com/Bdays9

9/9/2009

RT @jefferymartin Skull has been found that rewrites the history of man — http://bit.ly/ypKRY | And woman we presume!

9/7/2009

Try to be a generous genealogy volunteer and help others find their families! See an example at Relative Musings: http://tiny.cc/RMsng939

Labor Day #genealogy – Ancestor Sherman A. Bradley was a carpenter, then pumpmaker, owned Badger Pump, Milwaukee. Pumps then made of wood!

Labor Day #genealogy – Ancestor John Nicholas Luehr was stonemason & farmer in late 1800s. His hard work meant two sons could go to college!

Labor Day #genealogy – Ancestor Benjamin Church, pioneer carpenter in 1835 in Milwaukee, from Ulster County, NY: http://tiny.cc/BnjChurch35

Labor Day #genealogy – Both of my grandmothers, Beatrice and Lucille, were teachers before marrying: one home ec, one elementary school.

Labor Day #genealogy – William Henry Luehr was a newspaper publisher, a school teacher & principal in Wisconsin: http://tiny.cc/WHLuehr

Labor Day #genealogy – Martin Friedrich Bruss came to Milwaukee from Cammin, Pomerania, to continue family tradtion of ship building, 1839.

Labor Day #genealogy fun: tweet about the labors of your ancestors – any of their occupations a suprise? a family tradition? Please RT!

9/6/2009

Amazed at my Hachez ancestors’ migrations: Brugge, Belgium, to Bremen, Germany, to village of New Holstein, Wisconsin, in 1854!

Just finished replying to a distanct cousin in Germany about the Hachez family of 3 who came to Wisconsin in 1854: http://tiny.cc/FHHachez

Note: The hash # tags and at @ tags you see above don’t work outside Twitter! You can find those tweeting by putting their Twitter handle after http://twitter.com/. Mine, for example, is http://twitter.com/BBPetura.  Please follow me!

Genealogy Scavenger Hunt

How about a Genealogy Scavenger Hunt? Randy Seaver at GeneaMusing posed a challenge to find a missing census entry a great-great-grandparent [or other relative] for SNGF or weekend genealogical fun. So here we go:

First, I did try one more time to find my second great-grandfather Sherman A. Bradley in the 1850 Census. I tried again a variety of strategies in the Ancestry.com search such as using just part of the surname like this: Bradl* plus born in Connecticut in 1835. And other variations. No luck.

I don’t think he was recorded. Neither were his parents, Leaming Hawkins Bradley and Mary C. Simons Bradley, as far as I can tell. The family was from Bradleyville, Litchfield Township, Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Sherman’s grandfather Horace Bradley and uncles John and Clark Bradley were in Trenton, Dodge County, Wisconsin, in the 1850 Census.  Sherman arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about 1857-1858, based on a Milwaukee City Directories.

What about Sherman’s other uncles and aunts in the 1850 Census?
> Frederick Abernathy Bradley was in New York City.
> Dan Augustus Bradley was in Washington, Litchfield County, Connecticut where Leaming H. Bradley was found in 1840.
> Julia Ann Bradley, not found in 1850 Census.
> Henry Bradley, only listed in a family genealogy book
> Edward S. Bradley, Guilford, Chenango, New York, a location where other of his siblings settled over the years.
> Aaron Bradley, Guilford, Chenango, New York
> Amelia Bradley, New York City, lived with brother Frederick

Since I wanted to find a new census record for the scavenger hunt, I returned to Wisconsin and my great-grandfather William Henry Luehr , an educator, newspaper publisher and state government official. I noticed that I had not found him in the 1895 Wisconsin Census. Attempts with his surname spelled correctly turned up nothing in 1895, but I was sure he should be there. He was a school principal and newspaper publisher at that time in the Grand Rapids / Centralia area, Wood County, Wisconsin, now Wisconsin Rapids.

After several more attempts, now using Luhr and Lehr, I searched in the 1895 Wisconsin Census, Wood County, with just William — and there he was, his surname mistranscribed as Luchr. The original clearly shows Luehr. So I have a new entry in his timeline:

William Luehr, household 1 male, 2 females [wife Clara, daughter Lucille], Grand Rapids, Wood, Wisconsin. Source:  Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Census, 1895 Microfilm, 10 reels. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin. Via Ancestry.com.

I now have all eight possible census records for him, including the 1895 and 1905 Wisconsin Census records. Very satisfying.

This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research articles with ideas to help you find your family and ancestors. Please follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBPetura

Published in: on August 23, 2009 at 4:15 pm  Comments (1)  

GenealogyWise Networking

One of the best ways to learn more about your ancestors is to network with others researching your surnames. But finding those genealogists and family history researchers isn’t always easy.

Now, the new GenealogyWise Social Network is making it possible for you to find people interested in your family surnames, your family locations, your Y or mtDNA Haplogroup, and much more. And membership is free.

In keeping with the spirit of this blog — Finding Family for Free — we encourage you to visit the GenealogyWise Web site. If you like what you see, and we think you will, please join and get into the conversations underway.

The site has not yet been officially launched, but as of July 10, 2009, it had more 1,600 registered members who had created more than 450 special interest groups.

GenealogyWise reported that among the most active groups at that time were such groups as:
Germany and German Ancestry
Ireland and Irish Ancestry
Genealogy Tips and Links
The Genealogy Guys Podcast
— Scotland and Scottish Ancestry

Of course you’ll want to join groups. And, if you are researching a surname or location, you’ll want to create a group if one doesn’t exist.  I’ve created these groups:

> Bradley Genealogy
> Conger Genealogy 
> Haplogroup U – for all in mtDNA U Haplogroup

You can post your queries, invite and make friends, help other members, find out about upcoming genealogy events and much more.  You’ll enjoy genealogy networking as never before.

And if you join, please invite me to be a Friend. You’ll find me at:
http://www.genealogywise.com/profile/BarbaraBradleyPetura

This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research articles to help you find your family and ancestors, often for modest or no cost.

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