Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Recap - Wentworth Bygones No. 11

Today I ventured to my local library.  My main reason for being there was story time for my little girl, but also on my agenda was to start in my search of Hamilton History books.  I found out that I need to go to another one that has the large collection for all the microfilms and other genealogical specific resources.  I'll have to do  that someday when I can be "baby free", so for today, for various reasons I only came home with one book.

From this book, I have discovered a historical society, who have produced several publications.  Their website is here
This book has no information about my family, but I thought maybe I would do a slight Recap about what is in it. It is basically a few little stories that were presented at "The Head-of-the-Lake" historical society meetings.  It was interesting reading about what this area was like back in the mid-late 1800's!

Wentworth Bygones
From the Papers and Records of 
The Head-of-the-Lake 
Historical Society, 
Hamilton Ontario.
No.11, 1975

The Following are the titles of the excerpts from their meetings told in this book:

The Journal of a Scottish Farm Pupil in Ancaster
by Eleanor S.D. Farmer
(an address to the Society on April 19, 1974)

The Reverend Thomas Geoghegan
By Katharine Greenfield
(an address to the Society on Feb 9, 1974)

From the Mayor's Chair: Then and Now
by Mayor Victor K. Copps
(The Bailey Memorial Lecture)
(an Address to the Society on Oct 12, 1973)

The Story of William Sampson
First Recot of Grimsby, 1817-1822
by The Rev. Canon E.A. Brooks
(An Address to the Society on Jan 11, 1974)

The Railways of Hamilton
by Andrew Merrilees
(An Address to the Society on March 8, 1974)

A History of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Hamilton
By J.T.L. Fletcher
(An Address to the Society on February 14, 1975)

Early American and Canadian Glass
by Miss Lottie M Jones U.E.
(An Address to the Society on Nove 9, 1973)

Baptismal Records of the Church of the Ascension (Anglican) Hamilton, 1851-53 
These records are listed at the back of the book...Unless I find out otherwise that I'm not allowed to post them, I will post my scanned photos here.  Maybe they will help someone out in the future?  By clicking on them it should open into a larger window to make viewing possible.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

If you happen to catch me when I still have the book, I will gladly through it for any surnames you might be researching in the are.  Just leave a comment below.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Tapleytown Cemetery

It's Tombstone Tuesday.  I'm a little late, almost wednesday, but better late then never right? :)

This is the same picture I used early this week for my "brickwall" post, but since they are on my mind, I thought it appropriate to use here.

I have also just found out that I may have some more relatives buried in this cemetery, so I will need to take another trip out there sometime this summer.

This is Eve Neal, and her daughter in law Ruth Neal, in Tapleytown Cemtery, Wentworth County, Ontario, Canada.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

52 weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge #13 - Cyndi's List

After reading   Dr. Bills blog today, I decided to check out Cyndi's list as part of the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge # 13. (as discussed by Geneabloggers and We Tree)

My experience with this website in the past was one of confusion.  I have come across it before during my searches, but never gained much information from the links, simply because it was so overwhelming, and I didn't know where to begin.

Today I gave it another go.  And, to be honest I have come away with the same feeling.

First I used the search bar and typed in Wentworth Ontario.  For a county I want to research.  It came back with 68 sites. 1-10 results on the first page, but when I went to the second page, it said there was only 13 results in total.  So I'm not sure what happened so the rest of the results?   

It was not easy to determine what the search results were about exactly, but I could easily click on them to find out if it was of inerest.  So I did, thinking it would take me to a page that talked Wentworth and Ontario, and I would determine then if they were relevant or not.  I expected to be taken to various webpages.  But instead I was taken back to various index pages, where I had to search for the page they were talking about.  The pages were often very long, filled with lots of writing and links. Only by using my "find" button, could I easily find the links talking about Wentworth. 
With all that searching, I did get one page that could be useful, that I have used in the past.  Ontario genweb: Wentworth County

Now compare this to typing in Wentworth Ontario in google.  It came up as my second or third option.

So in conclusion, while Cyndi's List is FULL of lots of valuable information I am sure, in my opinion it is just not worth the time needed to search it.  I much prefer Mr Google.

p.s There is a small list of blogs listed there...I think geneabloggers should add their site, as should some of the other bloggers around here.  Although I think they would just get lost in the huge collections of information.

My Brick Wall - Eve and Samuel NEIL

I'm stuck, and I'm not sure where to look.  Maybe some of you out there will have some thoughts to point me in the right direction?

My goals of breaking down my brick wall are primarily to...

Find out where Levi NEIL was born
Find any siblings of Levi NEIL
Find Samuel NEIL
Find the maiden name, residence and migration of Eve NEIL

I am using the surname NEIL here as it is the modern day spelling, however in earlier documents it is found to also be spelled numerous different ways.

What I know:
About Levi Neil:
  • Born - May 9 1822
  • abt 1842 - Married Ruth Dean,  not sure yet  if the USA or Wentworth County
  • 1851 Census of Canada East/Canada West - Wentworth County, Saltfleet - says born in Saltfleet
  • 1861 - can't find him in that census
  • 1871 - Census of Canada, Ontario, Wentworth, Saltfleet - says born in Ontario
  • 1881- Census of Canada, Ontario, Wentworth, Saltfleet - says born in Ontario
  • Marriage record in 1864 to second wife (Elizabeth Hannon) says born in Canada. Says his mother is Eve Neal and his father is Samuel Neal.
  • Possibly died 1890 - no record yet.
 One of Levi's son's - Nelson Murray Neil - always lists his father as born in the USA in the census's so I'm not 100% convinced that Levi was born in Ontario.  Maybe he was born in PA?  I would need to find out when Eve came to Canada.

About Eve Neil:

I have found her grave in Tapleytown (which is in the same county as Saltfleet), it is next too Levi's first wife Ruth. I also have the census record for 1871 that lists her as dying that year.

From this I know:
  • Eve's last name spelled NEAL, Ruth's last name spelled NEEL
  • She is a "native" of Pennsylvania (I assume that means she was born there? or does it just mean she lived there?)
  • Died March 25 1871, and can figure out that she was born on Oct 20 1776
  • In 1822 when Levi was born, Eve would have been 46, so I would assume she would have children when she was younger, where would they be? I don't know of any siblings to Levi.

Samuel NEIL
  • I can't find him in Canada, and I am not sure where to look in the states.  I am assuming somewhere in PA but not sure.
  • There seems to be a Samuel Neil that others are researching, that would have been born around the same time, but he is in Tennessee so I have ruled him out, now that Eve is from PA

So some questions I have for you experts...

Was there some event in PA history, that caused migration up to this area of Canada.  I have read that mennonites may have migrated, but I don't think they were mennonites, it says their religion is E. Meth on all census's.  (I need to do some research on religion I think.  Maybe a topic for a future blog.)

So that's my brick way...if anyone has any thoughts I'm open for suggestions!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ontario Genealogy Society Conference

For anyone that is in the area, or is interested, here is a link for the

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2010 in Toronto May 14-16

I really want to go, since it's less then 2 hours away...but I'm not sure if I can yet.

Has anyone been to a genealogy conference? What are they like? Worth the money?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring cleaning - Organization continues!

I wrote earlier about feeling motivated to do some genealogy spring cleaning. Well I am still feeling that way with this dreary weather. Mind you, I can only do a little at a time since I do have my 9 month old daughter to take care of, but I feel like I am actually getting somewhere now with some organization.

Up until now I have had papers everywhere. I have finally followed my own advice and did a colour coded file system. It is making things so much easier!

Now I am going through what I put in those files and working on scanning what I need into my computer. I do just a few pictures a day so that it is not so overwhelming.

The next step is organizing my computer files. So I can find everything more easily. This is how I decided to organize my computer files.

  • Have one file called Genealogy - placed on desktop for easy access.
  • Have the 4 surnames listed in here, just like in my file cabinet. I will put other file folders with names in that line as needed.
  • Within those folder I will label the pictures documents like this:

SURNAME_Firstname_name of document_Date if available
This should make things more consistent, and easier to find.
  • I will also have files labeled like I will in the paper format such as, maps, history, forms etc.

After this is done, my next step will be organizing my bookmarks on my web browser. This will be a big job!

If anyone has any ideas for what they do as they search the web I would love to hear it. I tend to bookmark everything I find genealogy related, but it then becomes impossible to find what I really need.

It would be great to have one user friendly, master list, organized by category of genealogy websites that users could submit and maybe rate don't you think? Maybe one already exists? If it does please pass along the link.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Chippawa Ontario

Its Tombstone Tuesday...check out Geneabloggers for other great posts!

Holy Trinity Church Cemetery
Chippawa, Ontario

A place where several of my ROWE and ALDOUS relatives are buried.
Several ancestors were also married in this church

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Cleaning - Scanning Sunday!

The Family Curator posted a blog about Spring cleaning today, and that got me motivated.
So I went through some bins of old pictures, and was suprised by what I had that I had forgotten about. I have a LOT to get organized, but I started scanning some pictures today. Maybe I'll start my own "Scanning Sunday" so I can gradually work away at it.

Here are a couple of what I have found today.

This first one is my grandmother - Jane Cahill - taken at Holyrood Palace, Endinburgh Scotland.

This one is Bill Shanks, Nov 23, 1959. It is a professional photo (Thos Calder, 38 Munches st. Dumfries, Scotland) I believe it is for a hotel he managed. I have a picture of that hotel, but haven't scanned it in yet.
I used google maps to look at the street view of that photography place in Scotland....I find it so interesting to get a glimpse into an area that my relatives might have visited.

Sentimental Sunday - Family stories - Getting the information

It's Sentimental Sunday from Geneabloggers!
I'm not sure if this exactly fits into that theme, but I'll give it a go!

After a visit from my mom this weekend I have realized I really do need to get all this information that is in my family members heads down onto paper. They have so much to share, it's my job to find out the best way to get it from them before it is too late.

I personally have found it difficult up to this point to get the information I have been looking for in an organized fashion.

What hasn't worked so far:

  • Listening to stories - While I love the family stories, and don't want anyone to stop telling them to me, I admit I have a terrible memory and am afraid I will mess up the details of the stories they have told me.
  • E-mail requests - I have tried to extract information this way, but many of my relatives are not necessarily as computer literate as I am, so I can understand the confusion.

So this is what I am going to do:

Send them (via snail mail) a package of information. This will include:

  1. Letter - stating what my goals are, and an explaination of how to fill out the included forms.
  2. Family group record - partially filled out
  3. Family tree - a part of my family tree that relates to them to show what I have so far
  4. Self addressed stamped envelope

Here is a generic letter I was thinking of sending. I would personalize it depending on whom I am sending it too.

Dear Family Member;

I am so excited to be working on our family history!

I want to be able to give all of this information I have to anyone in our family that might be interested, in particular I want to be able to pass this along to my young daughter.

But first I need your help!

How can you help? Just tell me everything you can about our family! A big task I know, so I've included some forms that will help get things organized.

I would be so grateful if you could fill them out for me at your convenience. Don’t worry if you can’t fill out everything, just do the best you can. I have partially filled out some information to get you started. If what I have is wrong, please correct it.

Each record is meant to be for a couple and their children.

For example - Your parents information would be filled out on the top of one of the sheets, at the bottom you will include their children's information (so you and any siblings)

You could do the same form then, for your grandparents, aunts/uncles, and yes, don't forget you and your spouse! And even for your own children as well!

If you want to add stories or other information, go right ahead, write on backs of sheets, or add your own paper, I’d love to hear it all!

When you are done, just put all of those sheets into the envelope I've provided.

I have also included a little snippet from our family tree that I have so far.

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at ***-***-**** or email or "facebook" me.

I have also started a blog I am very excited about, where you can follow my stories of doing genealogy research

Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out!

Love Kelly

Here is a family group record form I was thinking of using from Ancestry.

Any feedback? Do you think that is a good way to start? What do the rest of you do to get information you are looking for from family members?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Irish Roots

With St. Patrick's day here, I starting thinking about my Irish ancestors. I suspect one of my surnames, NEIL, to have originated from there, although I can't trace it back to there yet.

Another name, CAHILL, can be traced back to Ireland but I have much research and digging to do.
According to the census below, my GG Grandfather, Robert CAHILL came to the states in 1874. from Ireland. His wife Mary came in 1860 it appears. There seem to be several Mary and Robert Cahills in the PA and NY census', so I really do have to look at them more closely to make sure I have the correct ones. I am a bit confused on how/when/why they moved around in the United States since my G grandfather James was born in PA, lived in NY in 1900, then back to PA just before he joined the Canadian army for WWI. I am starting think that Mary (possibly with the maiden name MAHOONEY?) was married before Robert and had some children with him.

So many mysteries to unravel!

1900 United States Federal Census
Penn Yan, Milo Town, Yates, NewYork

I think I first need to search some more, and try to get more information about their habitation in the states before I go back to them in Ireland. I want to be sure I have the correct people before I go back too much further.

Happy Searching and Happy St. Patty's Day!

Tombstone Tuesday

It's Tombstone of many daily themes with geneabloggers. You should check them out, there are tons of great bloggers listed there!

So look for more daily themes like this one!

Abrham Dean (October 20 1842 to March 16, 1905)
Mary J Neil (1843 to JUne 23 1926)

This grave is in the Fruitland Cemetery, Stoney Creek (Originally Saltfleet), Wentworth, Ontario

I'm not sure who was supposed to be on the other side of the grave...maybe their kids? (Murray and Mary Ann Dean)

I think this weekly theme might make me go out and get more pictures...I only have so many right now.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Start off organized!

If I could give just one piece of advice to someone just starting out is get organized early on. I was not organized, and now it is taking me a lot of time and effort to get things that way.

I was originally using only to keep my family tree. (Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this site. And I wouldn’t have half the information I have if it wasn’t for them.) But now that I want to share my family tree with others and want to print off various reports I have outgrown ancestry as my only source of record keeping. So I find myself finally buying a family tree program (Roots magic), and converting everything into the new system. A big pain let me tell you. It would have been a lot easier to have started out with this program.

As you gather more and more information, you will quickly realize that you will be accumulating a lot of pieces of paper. Even if you tend to do things on the computer, you will still have things you have printed out, or records given to you by family members.

There are lots of possible solutions. Everyone will have their own way to keep track of items but below is just one possible way, and one that I might try.

Start with 4 coloured files. For example: 1 blue, orange, green and red

Each colour will represent 1 of the four family lines starting with your grandparents. Label each of these folders with the surname.

So for me it could be..

Cahill - Red

Shanks - Green

Rowe - Orange

Neil –Blue

This first file will contain all information from your grandparents down to you.

The second file for each colour would be all of your grandparents’ parents’ information, including their siblings. You would label it with whatever reference # system you are using.

The third would be your great grandparents’ information, including their siblings.

And so on.

As you can see, these files could become quite full the further back you go. In this case you would simply subdivide them and label appropriately. But no matter how far back you go, you will be able to tell simply by colour what side of the family you are looking at. This would be particularily useful for me since I have a common surname "DEAN" in 2 different lines of my family tree.

It is recommended that within each of these folders to include a large envelope so you can place any small documents or pictures in them. This will help protect them to some degree, and also help them from getting lost.

It is suggested that these files be used for “inactive” work. So those documents that you are not currently working on. The work you are still working on may be put into binders for easier access. These too need to be organized too, but we’ll discuss ideas for that shortly.

I may try this system, but I am also interested in hearing what works or doesn’t work for other people!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Getting started

So you’ve thought that maybe looking into your family history would be an interesting hobby.

Now what?

You may be inclined to jump right into some online searches, but first you should concentrate on gathering the information that you already have in your possession. It will save you a lot of frustrations later on.

Start by writing down things you know for sure. (I will discuss in a later entry about types of forms you can use, but here is an example of one.)

Information about you. Your birth date, where you were born. Are you married? When were you married? To whom, where? This information may or not be useful in further searches, but your family tree will start with you, so thats a good place to begin.

Next you will move on to your parents. When were they born, where? When and where were they married. Where in their lives have they lived. What are the names and date of births of all of their children (your siblings).

Then, what do you know about your grandparents. List anything you can think of. Where they in the military? If they are no longer living, do you also know the date they died? Do you know where they were buried?

You might know a little something about your great grandparents. If you do, write it down.

See, already you have some information to go on. Maybe it’s not all complete, but what you have will hopefully give you a good place to move on from. The more information you can start with though, the easier it will be. So, the next step is too look at any documents you might have in your possession. Maybe you have a family bible, or old military records, or anything else that would contain any hints of your family.

Now that you have some information, you will want to talk to your family members. Go visit them, and see what they can tell you. Some people might be able to tell you stories. Maybe you will want to record your conversation so you can refer to it later, or bring along some paper to record things. Don’t trust that you’ll remember everything they tell you. I’ll talk about sources later, but also knowing who gave you the information will become very important later on, so make sure you keep track of who told you what.

Your family will be able to give you lots of information. Learn from my mistakes. Make sure you talk to your eldest relatives and write down whatever you can remember from the stories they tell you. They may provide a piece of information that may help you later on in your research. Maybe you could even get them to write down information that they recall. They can do this on their own time and then give you that information at a later date.

So have fun!

If you've already done this stage (maybe even a long time ago) what was your experience. Were family members willing to share stories with you? How did it help you out?

What got you started?

There can be numerous reasons why you are are getting into researching your family history.
Maybe you want to find living relatives. Maybe you want to know where your family originated from? Maybe we want to find out about various illnesses or causes of death? Maybe you are just the curious type.

This last one, would be my reason. I am a curious person by nature.

I have a relative who has been into genealogy for as long as I can remember. I was introduced to it through her enthusiasm and love of family history. She really had be intrigued. She is an excellent story teller and she makes everything sound so interesting. Myself, I am not such a great story teller, but my thing is doing the actual research and finding the documents to support the stories. I love doing this kind of thing.

When I first started there wasn't the wealth of information on the internet that there is now, or at least I didn't know about it then. So in the beginning I didn't do too much research at all, it was more about writing down what I had. Then, about 5 years later I got into it some more. I found out quite a bit of information through online resources and was excited about what I was finding out. Then life took over and I took a break for quite a while. I started up again this past year and I am discovering more and more how much I am loving it!

Whatever our reason for looking into our family history, if it has become your hobby I am sure you can agree that it is very addictive. Even if you only do it sporadically, once you start it's in your blood!

So tell me, what got you started on genealogy?

Family History Fun

My name is Kelly and I am an addict!

Addicted to genealogy that is.

So what am I going to do about it? Well blog about it of course!

I'm super excited to be starting up this blog. I have some ideas of where I would like to take it, but if you have thoughts of what you'd like to see, post a comment below!

I am not an "expert genealogist" like I see so many people claim to be, rather I am simply someone who loves the action of learning about my families history. Finding the old documents that help to unravel the mysteries is a great way to pass some time. I like the idea of being a detective! I think I chose the wrong career!

Hopefully with this blog I can share what information I have been gathering with some other amateur genealogists. Along the way I am sure to learn lots myself through my research and with others who will interact with me on here!

So hello to anyone that has stopped by, and I hope we'll learn lots together!