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Ask a Genealogist: In search of Boston prison records.

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Question:

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.

Answer:

Reply by Alice Kane, NEHGS Genealogist

Thank you for your query to the Ask A Genealogist service concerning your ancestor who was found at the Suffolk Jail in the 1930 federal census.

The Boston City Archives hold the records of the Charles Street Jail (aka Suffolk County Jail) that include intake logs which might have references to your ancestor. A finding aid to the collection can be found at this URL http://www.cityofboston.gov/Images_Documents/Guide%20to%20the%20Charles%20Street%20Jail%20records_tcm3-30030.pdf . The Boston City Archives can be contacted at 201 Rivermoor Street, West Roxbury, MA, 02132; phone: 617-635-1195; email: archives@cityofboston.gov .

You may also wish to consult with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives for locating municipal court records related to George Mudge's assignment to the Suffolk Jail. Ms. Elizabeth Bouvier is the head archivist and can be reached at Supreme Judicial Court Archives, 3 Pemberton Square, 16th Floor, Boston, MA, 02108; phone: 617-557-1082; email: elizabeth.bouvier@sjc.state.ma.us .

Thank you again for contacting our Ask A Genealogist service.

Ask a Genealogist: Boston Children’s Friend Society

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Question:

Can you offer some advice where the records for the Boston Children's Friend Society would be?  I have an ancestor who was there in the 1890's, and would like to know more about him and the organization.

Answer:

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

www.thehome.org

 

If you have any other questions please let me know.

Ask a Genealogist: Looking for Newfoundland relatives from Ireland.

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Question:

I am going to Ireland and I have reached a dead end tracing my ancestors back to Ireland. Joseph Joy and Mary Daunt were married in Newfoundland around 1840 and his parents remained in Ireland. Any advice on where to look for the connect in Ireland?

Answer:

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.

Ask a Genealogist: Catholic church records in Saint John, New Brunswick

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Question:

Recently I was searching some births for my some Catholic relatives in Saint John, N.B. in the 1850's and 1860's.  Can you recommend where I can start my search?

Answer:

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 Drive
Saint John NB
E2L 3l5
Canada

Tel: (506) 653-6807
E-Mail: archives@dioceseofsaintjohn.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:

http://www.americanancestors.org/new-brunswick-repositories-archives-of-the-diocese-of-saint-john/

If you have any further questions please let me know.

Ask a Genealogist: In search of Canadian immigrants to New England.

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Question:

Can you offer some assistance regarding my Canadian ancestors who immigrated to Massachusetts in the 19th century? My ancestor later would work for the Boston & Maine Railroad

Answer:

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: boston.archives@nara.gov  

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 .

 

Ask a Genealogist: Prisoners in the Sugar House

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Question:

Can you explain where my ancestor was held prison during the Revolutionary War?  In his pension it says he was an inmate of the "Sugar house" in New York.

Answer:

Reply by David Allen Lambert, NEHGS Chief Genealogist

"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.

Ask a Genealogist: Annual Reports of the Worcester State Hospital

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Question:

I understand that patient records for the Worcester State Hospital located in Worcester, Massachusetts are not available.  I would like to know how I can locate some of the annual reports that were issued from that institution?  Thank you always for your help.

Answer:

Reply by David Allen Lambert, NEHGS Chief Genealogist

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

 

 

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