American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
Go

Ask a Genealogist

RSS Feed

Ask a Genealogist: Searching for Whaling crew lists.

 Permanent link
 

Question:

Can you advise me where I can locate crew lists for a whaling ship from New Bedford, Massachusetts?  I understand my 3rd great grandfather was on a ship right after the Civil War.

Answer:

The database I have used in the past is  provided by the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  This crew database covers crew from 1809 to 1927. You can search it for free on the following website: http://www.whalingmuseum.org/online_exhibits/crewlist/

Ask a Genealogist: Canadian World War I service.

 Permanent link
 

Question:

I am trying to determine if a couple cousins of my great-grandfather from Ontario served in World War I.  Can I search this online? I am fairly new to genealogy and family history.

Answer:

You can begin by searching the Canadian veteran attestation papers.  These papers are name searchable on the Archives of Canada website.  You can then order the entire file from the Archives after confirming you have the right veteran.  You should be able to locate the veteran in over 600,000 Canadian Expeditionary Forces searchable names: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/cef/index-e.html?PHPSESSID=drgu28ld358srec7dsek0hjk94

Ask a Genealogist: What birthplace is actually B.P. ?

 Permanent link
 

Question:

My family has been in Boston for many generations.  However one branch I believe is Canadian.  Can you tell me if the birthplace from an 1860 birth gives a clue?  A birth record I have located states a birthplace simply as "B.P." 

Answer:

Before July 1, 1867 (Canadian Independence Day), when Canada was recognized as the Dominion of Canada, I have seen the reference "B.P." used occasionally.  This abbreviation on the birth indicates the person was born in the British Provinces.  Sadly this does not indicate which province in Canada he/she was born.  If you need some further sugestions on how to determine this, feel free to contact us.

Ask a Genealogist: What is the occupation of a Guilderer?

 Permanent link
 

Question:

Can you tell me what the occupation a "Gulderiorer" was in the 16th century in England?

Answer:

The occupation you mention I believe is actually a "Guilderer."  A Guilderer was a maker of silver and gold coints.  This person was often involved in working at the Royal Mint, and may have been the main person in the process of making the coins.

Ask a Genealogist: Searching for an Irish birth certificate.

 Permanent link
 

Question:

I am trying to obtain birth certificate for grandmother born in Ireland in 1910, is there a specific registry that I should try?

Answer:

There is a registry which issues birth certificates in Ireland. There are actually two, one in Belfast (for Northern Ireland counties post 1922 births) and one in the Republic. You can now request birth certificates online at www.certificates.ie for a fee of 20 Euros.

Ask a Genealogist: Name changes in 19th century New Hampshire

 Permanent link
 

Question:

Is there a resource available for searching for name changes in 19th century New Hampshire at NEHGS?

Answer:

The first place I would consult is Richard P. Roberts, New Hampshire Name Changes, 1768-1923, (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1996). This book is available on the 5th floor under call number F33.R63.1996].  NEHGS also has probate files for many New Hampshire counties on microfilm.  If you need any further assistance please let us know when you visit.

Ask a Genealogist: Contacting a Native American tribal office.

 Permanent link
 

Question:

I have long been told that I am part Native American on my dad's side.  Even the name of the tribe in Michigan is known to my family.  Do you think it would be okay to contact the tribe to see if I belong genealogically?  What should I supply when I contact them?

Answer:

You will want to send a formal letter of introduction, and outline your genealogical connection.  It is important to list each generation from yourself back to the Native American ancestor(s) in question.  If they can consult their tribal records, or tribal rolls it will be easier to see if your family are included.  In some cases a surname may be helpful enough to determine if this name is know to the tribal families currently, or historically.  You will want to send your letter c/o the "Tribal Historian" or "Tribal Genealogist."  Most tribal governments can be located by a basic Google search, but I will be happy to help you locate an address if you need one.

Ask a Genealogist: Understanding Private Records from the Mass. VRs.

 Permanent link
 

Question:

I would like to know what "P.R." is referring to in the pre-1850 Massachusetts Vital Record series volumes?  Does NEHGS have these records?

Answer:

When the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 series was being created various sources were utilized. This includes vital records, church records, gravestone records, and often "Private Records." These were records in private hands not in the custody of the town or city clerk. These records consisted of diaries, account books, or journals that contained vital records. NEHGS has many transcriptions, and original records of this nature in our Manuscript collection. If you have any questions on a particular community please let us know.

Ask a Genealogist: Researching in Belfast, Ireland.

 Permanent link
 

Question:

This fall I will be visiting Ireland, and researching my ancestors that lived near Belfast.  Can you recommend some research facilities I can visit?  Also I am looking for a researcher to hire in Ireland.   Looking forward to joining NEHGS on a trip to Ireland in the near future.

Answer:

The best place to go for genealogical research in Belfast is the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (aka PRONI). Their website is www.proni.gov.uk. Although there are buses, they best way to get there is in a taxi. The following is a list of professional genealogists in Ireland, which includes people from Northern Ireland: http://www.apgi.ie/members.html. You can also check with the Ulster Historical Foundation at http://www.ancestryireland.com/.

Ask a Genealogist: Researching colonial clergy in my famly tree.

(Lineage Societies and Fraternal Organizations) Permanent link
 

Question:

Once in awhile I think of joining hereditary societies relating to my ancestors.  Can you tell me if the Colonial Clergy Society is still active?

Answer:

The Society of the Descendants of Colonial Clergy is still an actrve association.  According to a blog posting you can make application to join via the following steps "An applicant must have a proven lineal, lawful descent from a clergyman who was regularly ordained, installed, or settled over a Christian church within the limits of the thirteen colonies prior to July 4, 1776, and must be acceptable to the National Council of the Society. If you believe that you meet these requirements or would like more information, contact Mrs. Alexander Joshua Smith, Jr. or write the Society of the Descendants of the Colonial Clergy, 17 Lowell Mason Rd., Medfield, MA 02052-1709."

Ask a Genealogist: What was a Sleymaker?

(New England, Occupations) Permanent link
 

Question:

Can I ask you if you have heard of the occupation for a woman as a "Sleymaker"? I do not assume this has anything to do with the production of sleighs.

Answer:

In the trade of weaving the "Sleymaker" was the person who seperated the thread into two or more sections.

Ask a Genealogist: Revolutionary War Pension records at NEHGS

(Military Records, NEHGS) Permanent link
 

Question:

When I visit NEHGS this week will I be able to research the pension files of my Revolutionary War soldiers?  Or do I need to order microfilm ahead of time.

Answer:

NEHGS offers many subscription databases for you to utilize during your visit to our research center in Boston.  Any patron computer will have access to FOLD3, and HeritageQuest. Both of these websites have images of the Revolutionary War pensions.  The images offered on FOLD3 are a much sharper resolution, and contain the entire file itself.

Ask a Genealogists: A list of Synagogues records in Massachusetts

 Permanent link
 

Question:

Today I learned there was a listing of surviving Jewish Synagogue records in Massachusetts online. However I do not know where to locate it.  Are you familiar with this website?

Answer:

I believe you are referring to the work of  Carol Clingan.  She produced a list titled Massachusetts Synagogues and Their Records, Past and Present.  This file can be downloaded as a PDF file from the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston's website.  http://jgsgb.org/pdfs/MassSynagogues.pdf

Ask a Genealogist: Researching a Colonial clock maker.

 Permanent link
 

Question:

I am a research member who has not used your services (I live in Houston, TX) I am seeking information about Peter Stretch, a clock maker born in Leek, Staffordshire County, England in 1670, who emigrated with his wife Marjorie Hall and son Thomas to Philadelphia, PA in 1702. Peter Stretch was a Quaker, lived until 1746, producing a number of tall case clocks. Our MFA location here (Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens) owns and displays one of them. My task is to give a paper (read powerpoint presentation) about Peter Stretch, his sons, their clock making and the milieu of Philadelphia (1720-50) in which Stretch worked, for the Bayou Bend Study Group this fall. Could you possibly suggest sources? (e.g. personal diaries of fellow citizens, civic actions, other avenues) I am aware of and have ordered a forthcoming book by Donald Fennimore of Winterthur, but want to go beyond that source and call upon your expertise!

Answer:

 Many of the searches online, as I am sure you are aware, are the result of entries for specific clocks that Peter Stretch and his sons made throughout their careers. However, I did find that there is an article in the Minutes and Special Articles, 1934 Jan. 13 – 1940 April 6 of Boston’s Clock Club. The club was founded in Boston by 62 clock historians and collectors. Most of their research was never published. In this particular issue of their publication is an article entitled “Peter Stretch, Clockmaker.” This issue of the club’s publication is located at the Boston Athenaeum, 10 ½ Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108, phone 617-227-0270. There is also a published volume by James W. Gibbs, Pennsylvania Clocks and Watches: Antique Timepieces and Their Makers (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1984).

Thomas Stretch, son of Peter, served as the first governor of The Fishing Company, a club, from October 1732, and was reelected each year until 1765 when health issues required him to retire.

Also, because the family were Quaker, if you are interested in finding out more about their lives outside of their occupation, you may want to turn to Hinshaw’s Quaker Records as well as the actual Quaker minutes which may be located at Swarthmore College.

There are a number of volumes that you may also want to investigate in regard to the history of Pennsylvania, rather than the history of clockmakers to see what other ways the Stretch family interacted in their town. One such book that mentions Peter Stretch is David S. Shields’ Civil Tongues and Polite Letters in British America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997).
New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA
888-296-3447

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society