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Can you offer me some instruction where I can find the prison records for a relative? He shows up in the Charles Street Jail in Boston at the time of the 1930 U.S. Census. Thank you for your help.
Reply by David Allen Lambert, NEHGS Chief Genealogist
Thank you for your question to "Ask a Genealogist" regarding the Boston Children's Friend Society. This organization was founded in 1883, and continued until 1960 when it was merged with the Children's Aid Association and became Boston Children's Services. In 1999 Boston Children's Services became part of the Home for Little Wanderer's. I would contact this organization about the archival records of the previous institution. They can be reached at:
The Home for Little Wanderers
271 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
888-HOME-321 or 617-267-3700 | Fax: 617-267-8142
If you have any other questions please let me know.
Research by Judy Lucey, NEHGS Archivist
Your question to Ask A Genealogist was forwarded to me as my areas of research are Newfoundland and Ireland. The quest for the Irish origins of your Newfoundland ancestors may reside in Newfoundland or in the U.S. if they immigrated here. Your search for their origins resides on this side of the Atlantic, not in Ireland, I’m afraid. You will need to identify where in Newfoundland they came from and make sure you know their religion as you will have to use church records to locate a marriage record for the couple. All records are organized by place in Newfoundland, there is no province wide index for church records, for example. Civil registration of marriages do not begin until 1891. There are two free websites to assist you, both contain some transcriptions of various church records. The first is Newfoundland Grand Banks Genealogy site, http://ngb.chebucto.org/ and Newfoundland GenWeb http://nl.canadagenweb.org/ There are places at the bottom of each site’s home page where you can enter names and it will search across all databases. Note that many Irish came to Newfoundland from the south east counties of Wexford, Kilkenny, Waterford and Southern Tipperary. That being said, if your ancestors were Catholic, and resided in the city of St. John’s, the priests recorded the place of origin in Ireland for the marriages through most of the 19th century for immigrant couples. The Catholic Church registers for the Basilica of St. John the Baptist are online at www.familysearch.org. They are not indexed, you must browse through the database but it is a free website. The link for the exact location for the databse is here, https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https://familysearch.org/records/collection/1939435/waypoints Once on this page, select St. John’s and then select the link to the Basilica records. I will warn you the handwriting can be a challenge but it is a treasure trove of information if you have ancestors who married and had children in the city. In summary, you should:
• Identify where in Newfoundland your ancestors came from. If you do not know this and they emigrated to the U.S. then, review U.S. records they created here or their children’s records if they were born in Newfoundland. • Utilize the free websites I mentioned above to see if you can find them in any records. If you know they are of St. John’s I highly recommend you use the church records online at www.familysearch.org • You will not find this couple in Ireland if you have not located an exact place of origin. In order to do research in Irish records, you must know the exact place of origin. Once this is known, you can then identify and locate available records for research. Best of luck in your research. If I can assist you further, please do not to contact me.
By David Allen Lambert, NEHGS Chief Genealogist
Thank you for your "Ask a Genealogist" question regarding Catholic births in the 1850's and 1860's in Saint John, New Brunswick. At the St. John the Diocesan Archives they have a wonderful database of families grouped together from the sacramental records. If you contact the archives I am certain you will find it helpful.
Mary Kilfoil McDevitt, M.A.Diocesan Archives,One Bayard DriveSaint John NBE2L 3l5CanadaTel: (506) 653-6807E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Births were not required on a government level until the late 1880's for the province. An informative article by Peter Murphy on the holdings of the archives can be read online from our American Ancestors website at:
If you have any further questions please let me know.
Reply by Alice Kane, NEHGS Genealogist
The U.S. population censuses of 1900 to 1930 include information about the arrival year of immigrants as well as the immigrant's citizenship status. If your ancestor is a naturalized citizen, his naturalization petition may provide not only his date and place of birth, but also the date and port of his entry into the United States. Naturalization petitions for Massachusetts as well as those from other New England states are available from the National Archives and Records Center in Waltham, MA (380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA, 02452-6399; phone: 781-663-0144; email: email@example.com Indexes to Massachusetts naturalizations can be found at FamilySearch.org at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 for 1791-1906 naturalizations, and at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1834334 for 1906-1966 naturalizations. Since your ancestor worked for a railroad, information sources available about Boston and Maine Railroad employees include the archives of the Boston and Maine Railroad Historical Society which is maintained by the Center for Lowell History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Libraries (40 French Street, Lowell, MA, 01852; phone: 978-934-4997; http://library.uml.edu/clh/BM.Html , and the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (844 North Rush Street, Chicago, IL, 60611-2092; phone: 877-772-5772; http://www.rrb.gov/mep/genealogy.asp .
"The Sugar House" was the name used in reference to three large sugar warehouses used befre the Revolutionary War. They were all located in New York City. One was located on Crown Street (now Liberty Street); a second on Rose Street (now William Street); and the last in the northwest corner of the churchyard of Trinity Church. Within the walls of each of these large structures hundred of American prisoners of war were kept. These temporary prisons offered horrible conditions. It is estimated that over 17,000 perished in the Sugar House prisons, and within the British prison ships in New York harbor. Most of what remained of these structures were demolished during the middle of the 19th century.
The reports that you are seeking do exist. In fact they were recently digitized by the Massachusetts State Library in Boston, Massachusetts. You can utilize reports for the 1850's online, as well as other years. The collection online spans 1832 until 1953. The name of the hospital has changed over the years - State Lunatic Hospital (1832, 1833); State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester (1834-1884); Worcester Lunatic Hospital (1885-1898); Worcester Insane Hospital (1899-1908); and the Worcester State Hospital (1909-present).
To search the annual reports online go to the following website: http://www.mass.gov/anf/research-and-tech/oversight-agencies/lib/worcester-state-hospital.html