Thursday, July 27, 2006

Old Photographs

Online Collections
DeadFred (46,348 records):

Ancient Faces (30,700+ photos):

Family Old Photos (10,000+ photos) :

Lost Faces: - 50 albums, each with many surnames

Family Fotos Online (1759 surnames):

A couple of sites new, or new to me - FordandNagle (Kentucky based):, and, hosted by PhotoGrafix:

Dating Old Photos
Follow the Clues - Dating Your Photographs:

Date an old Photo (links to Brit photo sites):

Dating Old Photographs:

Dating Old Photographs:

Carte-de-vistePhotographs & Memories:

Dating Old Family Photographs using Fashion History and Styles of Photo-mounts:

Dating Photographs by Format and Technology:

Identifying Family Photographs:

Preserving and Protecting Photos:

Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. - David Frost

Labels: , , , ,


Shtetl Seeker:

Maps of Poland, provinces and towns:

Polish Historical Maps:

Maps of Poland:

Polish Maps 1921, 1939:

Poltran for translations in Polish:

POLISH GENEALOGY - directory to Polish genealogy resources, databases and websites related to Polish ancestry and research of roots with links to Austrian, Belarusian, German, Jewish, Russian, Ukrainian and
worldwide genealogy-related sites:

Please also see European Research for many more general links:

Poland And Information About Polish Business And Culture:

He who possesses the source of enthusiasm will achieve great things. Doubt not. You will gather friends around you as a hair clasp gathers the hair. - I Ching

Monday, July 17, 2006

Google Earth and Moon

Fun, and practical! The latest from Google is Google Moon, which debuted on the 30th anniversary of "one giant step for mankind." Be sure to go to full magnification!

Next, a program you must download from Google (9MB, free):; Google Earth.

Available is a tool where you can overlay images on top of satellite photos. Try importing a plat map image on top of a satellite photo of the area where your ancestors lived, and you will be looking at a photographic map of your ancestors' property! Adjust the size, orientation, and the transparency level of the imported image, so you can match up the roads, rivers, or other landmarks of the satellite image to your transparency. Drag to toggle between the map and the satellite image. This idea is from an Ancestry Quick Tip by Scott Aaron. Thanks, Scott!

For $20, you can get Google Earth Plus, which allows you to integrate GPS information, and print higher-res maps.

On Eastman's I saw a link to a blog about using Google Earth for genealogy; and in particular, "Creating a Family History Tour" with GE. Start here:

What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists...and it becomes available only when you are in that state of mind in which you know exactly what you want...and are fully determined not to quit until you get it. - Alexander Graham Bell

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cowans in the Wellington County Historical Atlas

James Cowan Sr. in Biographical Sketches of Early Settlers of Wellington County, Ontario, Canada (Historical Atlas of the County of Wellington, Ontario. Toronto: Historical Atlas Publishing Co., 1906):
   James was born in Selkirk, Scotland in 1790. He married Margaret NICHOL (d. 1883 age 92), and came to Galt in 1829, and died there in 1867. James' son Thomas lived on the Galt homestead of 235 acres. The oldest son James Jr. was b. Selkirk SCT in 1825, and lived in Guelph on the West End Road. He m. Jane BEATTY (d. 1888 age 59).

William Cowan (my gggrandfather):
   William b. "Yarrow Fews, (sic)" Selkirkshire, Scotland, came to Canada in 1831. He was a weaver in Scotland. He took up a farm about one mile outside of Galt which he cleared and where he died. He was a Presbyterian and a Conservative. He m. (1) Jennie SCOTT, of the Scotts of Harden, and after Jennie's death, Agnes WILLISON (in Selkirk). With Jennie SCOTT: James (1809 Yarrow Feus - 1893, m. Ann MATHESON, of North Dumfries), *Walter (d.), Puslinch Tp. With Agnes WILLISON: William (d, 1905), on the homestead, and Jane (d. unmarried).

James was b. at "Yarrow Fews,"[sic] Selkirkshire, Scot., 1809; d. 1893. He was a weaver by trade, and was friend and crony of Hogg, the "Ettrick Shepherd." He was 21 years old when he came to Canada by way of Quebec and worked with his father in the bush until he m., when he started to work for Hon. Wm. Dickson in Galt, who owned all of the townships of North and South Dumfries (12 miles square). After working for Mr. Dickson about five years he purchased a farm about 2 1/2 miles from Galt, on Roseville road, con. 12, N.D., where he lived until his death. He was a Presbyterian and a Reformer. He m. Ann Matheson, of North Dumfries. Issue: Walter Scott; Alexander (d. 11); James (d. Minto Tp); Dr. William (d.), who was a physician for 30 years in Guelph; Alexander, on the homestead in North Dumfries; Isabella, m. William Marshall, set. Clifford; Jean (d.), m. R. R. Dalgleish, dentist in Winnipeg; Agnes, m. Geo. McEwen, engineer, Raymond factory, Guelph, and Annie, unm. on the homestead.

Walter Scott, b. 1834, in Galt, learned the carpenters' trade there. In 1858 he came to the Paisley Block in Guelph, where he had a carpenter's shop on lot 8, con. 11, Div. B., and worked there until 1875, when he moved to Guelph to give his family a better chance. He is a Congregationalist and a Reformer, and was License Inspector in the South Riding of Wellington 18 years, until 1904. He m. Margaret, (d.), May, 1906, dau. of the late James Watson, of Guelph. Issue: James, dentist, in Genneseo, N.Y.; Walter, dentist; Davey, in Regina, Sask.; William A., at home; Margaret, m. John McDonald, Chicago; Janie, m. C. A. Richardson, Toledo, and Annabel, at home. Of these William A. carries on the carpenter's business which his father established on the London road, when he came to Guelph in 1875.

The information about Walter Scott Cowan seems completely wrong. I think I have it -- this is Walter Scott Cowan the son of James, eldest son of the immigrant William. Too bad they just ignored MY Walter Scott Cowan.

Also - Donald "Dhu" McPHERSON (b. 1784 Badenoch, Inverness-shire, Scotland, d. 1881) and family. Donald was grandfather to Annie McPherson, wife to Walter Scott COWAN II. Annie's father was Alexander, 1822 - 1890, came to Canada in 1838 at the age of 16, with his father. Alexander McPherson m. Jane, dau. of "White" Duncan McPherson, drover, Kingussie, Scotland, according to this account. I have Annie's mother as Margaret McPHAIL:

There is also an entry for William Cowan of Roxburgh (b. 1819), but I don't know the relationship:

Another William Cowan, b. Co. Armagh, Ireland, 1825:
Relationship distant if there is one.

Thanks to Our Pioneering Families: Biographical Sketches of Early Settlers of Wellington County:
The maps are here:

Please see FOUR COWAN FAMILIES by Jennie F. Cowan: for comparison.

Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day. - Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790


from a copy of a typescript with notes, sent to me by Dr. Mathison. -v

(Note across the top in JFCs writing: To keep up interest in the Cowans)


By Jennie F. Cowan [written after 1985, JFmathison]

In the early 1800's there lived in Selkirkshire, Scotland, four Cowan brothers, sons of a James Cowan, according to the family of [ii] Andrew, who was born in 1767. The other brothers were; [I] William, born in 1752, [iii] Thomas in 1771 and [iv] Walter in 1778. A couple of these dates have been calculated from newspaper articles at the time of their deaths. [i, ii remained in USA; iii died in Scotland, iv came to Canada)

The people in Scotland had been hearing more and more about America, a land on the other side of the Atlantic needing settlers. There the common man could own land, cut down the trees on it, construct buildings, till the soil, sow seed and reap fruits of his handiwork. In Scotland most of the land was still in the hands of the Lords.

[ii] Andrew and his family of Whitefield were the first of these Cowans to settle in Delaware County, N.Y. State. They settled near Fall Clove.

No descendants of [ii] Andrew have ever moved to Ontario. Mrs Adam Scott, one of Walter's grandchildren could remember when cousins, with the surname "Biggar", were over visiting. Andrew's second daughter, Janet, married Walter Biggar of Bovina, N.Y.

James Cowan of Clochmhor corresponded with another daughter, Mrs Margaret Neish of Erin, N.Y. When his youngest son, A. B. Cowan was spending a holiday in California, he saw a great deal of Adam Cowan and his daughter, Dr. Isabel Cowan of Rodney, Iowa. They were descendants of Andrew.

[Wm, like Andrew never moved to ONTARIO, but his son, James of the Plains, came to Dumfries near Galt in 1829]
i) William was the next one to settle in Deleware County. A very high hill separated the two Cowan farms. A grandson of William could remember his grandfather walking over the mountain once a year to visit his brother. After his death, there was no contact with that family until Mrs Murray Mayes (Bertha Cowan), a descendant of William, made it.

William had come over to Deleware county in 1821. He was a widower, coming over with a daughter and her family. His oldest son had already gone to Australia. In 1829 his second son, James [later ? Cowan Lake], and his family settled in Dumfries, Upper Canada. They took up land on the Plains at the western edge of the village of Galt. Later his farm was usually described as being on the Cedar Creek Rd. Mr. R.K. Cowan, one of his grandsons told he had heard of American relatives, who had visited that farm. One had taken the children to see the circus which had just come to Galt. None of them were allowed to enter for their cousin had only American currency. Later they realized how fortunate they were for many of the attenders contracted the fatal Asiatic cholera. W. D. Cowan, off the West River Road told me in the early 1920's, after my sister married Thomas D. Cowan, that these Cowan families were related but they didn't know how.

Some of the descendants of William, through his son, James are Charlton Cowan, Southwood Dr., Mrs. A. E. Dedman, New Dundee, Jessie, Ethel and Stewart Cowan, Drumbo, Wm. NcCulloch, Toronto. Some in this family went to the prairies. One descendant is Mrs Jean Taylor, Wawota, Saskatchewan. Mrs Murray Mayes (Bertha Cowan)[Fleischmanns,] N.Y. 1230 knows more of William's descendants in Deleware County N.Y.

iii) Walter came over to Dumfries in 1829 on the same boat as his nephew, James [James of the Plains]. He settled on land at the southern edge of the village on the West River Road. His oldest son, James Scott Cowan [later of Altrieve Lake] had come to Galt before his father, and had arranged for his father to purchase this land if he wished it. James Scott Cowan was the first Cowan into this part of Upper Canada, working for the Hon. Wm. Dickson. He later bought land for himself on what became known as the Roseville Rd. He had found a small lake on this land which reminded him of the Altrieve Lake on the farm of James Hogg, the Ettrich (sic) Shepherd writer and poet. James Hogg helped to advertise the Hon. Wm. Dickson's land in Scotland.

Walter became a strong member of the orginal St. Andrew's Church in connection with the Church of Scotland. At one time, he had been in the Manor Church, near Cademuir, Presbytery of Peebles, Scotland. When Bertha Mayes visited that old church she was given circulars telling its age, etc. It was founded in 1186 and its bell had been "summoning the folk of the lovely valley to worship God" from 1478 on. It was the church in which Walter's son, William had been baptized.

In 1889, one night when the wreckers would soon be demolishing the Old St. Andrew's Church, Galt, William Cowan [half brother of James Scott Cowan], son of Walter, along with some friends removed the bell from the belfry and hid it. It can still summon folk to worship God, for it was bought by Knox's Presbyterian Church in 1893 and hangs in its belfry.

Some of Walter's descendants are Dr. J.W.G. Grant McEwen [commonly known as Grant McEwan b. Aug 12, 1902], Calgary, former Lt. Governor of Alberta, Mrs Milton Mann (Jennie Cowan) London, Mrs Norman Wainman, (Margaret Blake) Avenue Rd. Ian Landreth, Thomas Cowan (Landreth), Helen Scott Arthur, John McIntyre all of Cambridge.

Thomas the other brother never left Scotland. His arthritic legs forced him to even give up his work as a shepherd at Cramilt. He and his wife [Elizabeth Hastie, sister of James Hastie] retired in Moffat, where she gained experience in midwifery. Thomas was anxious his family would be prepared to leave for Dumfries after his death, so he corresponded with the relatives who had already settled there. Mrs Thomas Cowan, her sons, James and William and daughter Margaret as well as James' bride, Helen Laing, her mother and two sisters settled north of Galt, in 1834; Thomas had died in 1833. This farm was in Waterloo Township but touched the town line between Dumfries and Waterloo Townships. They named this farm, Clochmhor, after the high hill on Cramilt.

William [brother of James of Clochmhor] died in 1839 and Margaret married James Shaw, who lived nearer Hespeler. James Cowan was soon into municipal politics: he was a member of Parliament in the early 1860's. He lost his seat in 1866 for he had lost faith in Geo. Brown [Liberal], and was supporting John A. Macdonald [Tory]. In a couple of years, he was appointed a Dominion Arbitrator serving until 1892. He was born in 1803 and died 1900. Soon after he came to Galt, he supported Dr. John Bayne in founding the Free Presbyterian Church of Canada and Knox's Church, Galt. He gave many years of service as Clerk of the Kirk Session of Knox's Church.

Some of Thomas' descendants are, James [F.] Cowan, West River Rd., Mrs Douglas Chalk,(Janet Cowan) Cambridge, James E. Cowan Cambridge (H), Marion Cowan, Toronto, Mrs Don Virgo, (Helen Cowan), Montreal, Mrs Wm. Little (Joan Cowan) Stratford, Dr. Laing Gray Cowan of near Washington D.C., R. D. Ferguson, Walkerton, and Mrs Ken Campbell, (Helen Ferguson), grandchildren of Helen Shaw Ferguson, Marion Shaw, John Shaw, Kitchener, James Shaw, Guelph, Mrs Gordon Klager (Margaret Shaw), William Shaw, Mississauga, Mrs Archie Lawrence, (Isabel Shaw) Burlington, and Marjorie Shaw, Ottawa. [James F. + Janet(?) of James Hastie Cowan. James E + Marim + Helen ch. of Thomas Deans Cowan]

James Cowan of Clochmhor corresponded with his American cousins and kept some of the letters. These helped in finding the descendants of [i] William and [ii] Andrew in Delaware, County N.Y. The husband of a school friend of my mother's contacted Andrew Cowan of New Kingston for me. Andrew wrote saying he knew he had relatives in this part of Canada but they had lost track of them.

I copied out the letter we had from New Kingston N.Y. Andrew and his daughter Bertha went through his grandfather's correspondence. They found a page with a blot on it, with the first part of the letter to his cousin, James Cowan of Galt.

Andrew Cowan, his wife and daughter came to Galt to meet their Canadian long lost relatives.

(I am indebted to Dr. James Matheson for xeroxing some of the articles in the early Galt papers, written at the time of the deaths of the Cowan men).

Jennie Cowan

(Note in handwriting: When Dr. C. Cowan of Hamilton was Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, on meeting him I said something about marrying a Cowan. He said "You are a Cowan." JFC)


Please see Cowans in the Wellington County Historical Atlas: for comparison.


1869-1917 Ontario Archives, microfilm MS 932
#011719-78 Walter Scott COWAN, 35, Canada, Puslinch, b, farmer, s/o Walter COWAN & Margaret McPHAIL, married Annie McPHERSON, 20, Canada, Puslinch, s, d/o Alex McPHERSON & Jane McPHERSON, witn; Donald STEWART, Daniel McNAUGHTON, both Puslinch, married 16 October 1878, Gore of Puslinch
1878 marriages from MS 932, Wellington:


Digging in my garden it's come to me that living relatives can be like dandelions... popping up all over and everywhere. And most times you want to yank them around! Now dead relatives, that's another thing. They're like tulips and daffodils. These beauties come up from deep below bringing messages of love to all who see them. I like to think that they carry messages from my departed grandparents straight to me. - Donna Phillips, May 13, 2004,

James Cowan, Wellington 1901 Census

James & family, Wellington County 1901 Census - Guelph

Guelph Township Census Index 1901

1901 Census Province/Territory: Ontario district name: WELLINGTON (South/Sud) District Number; 1S -Sub-district name: Guelph Sub-district Number: d -1chedule: 1 Reference: RG31 Statistics Canada Microfilm Reel Number: T-6505 Finding aid Number: 31-40 -13 Pages

Entry may include:

* The Name (and initials in many cases)
* The Sex
* The position in the household
* Whether married, single, widowed, lodger, niece, etc
* The complete date of birth
* Age at last birthday
* Place born
The ‘u’ or ‘r’ that follows the Place born is important. Eg. Ont ‘r’ stands for rural or a ‘u’ stands for urban (although they are often difficult to distinguish). They can help you locate birth information.
* Year of Immigration if born outside of Canada
* Religion
* Ethnic Origin
* Occupation
* The number of months worked
* Wages, etc.

Guelph Twp. Part 2 - Pg 4

Cowan, James ……………………..M Head W 9 Apr 1825 -75 Scotland 1829 Scot Presb Farmer [entry 16 33-33]
Cowan, William M Son M 3 July 1854 -46 Ont r Scot Presb Farmer Farmer’s Son
Cowan, Mary F Dau in Law M 26 Nov 1864 -36 Ont r English Presb
Cowan, James M Gr Son S 17 Mar 1890 -11 Ont r Scot Presb Student
Cowan, George M Gr Son S 10 Apr 1894 -6 Ont r Scot Presb Student
Cowan, Ella F Gr Dau S 10 Mar 1899 -2 Ont r Scot Presb Student

Fourth group down, page 4. If the above link doesn't work, try:

1901 Wellington County Census Transcriptions:

The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve. - Albert Schweitzer

Ontario COWANs, 1871 Census

Canadian Federal Census of 1871, Wellington South (Ontario Index) ArchiviaNet:
I need to read these films! I left out the Irish Cowans.


Sex: Male
Age: 54
Birthplace: SCOTLAND
Religion: Canada Presbyterian/C. Presb.
Origin: SCOTCH
Occupation: FARMER
District: WELLINGTON SOUTH ( 033 )
Sub-district: Puslinch ( A )
Division: 1
Page: 22
Microfilm reel: C-9945
Reference: RG31 — Statistics Canada


Sex: Male
Age: 36
Birthplace: ONT
Religion: Evangelical Union
Origin: SCOTCH
Occupation: CARPENTER
District: WELLINGTON SOUTH ( 033 )
Sub-district: Guelph Township ( B )
Division: 3
Page: 18
Microfilm reel: C-9945
Reference: RG31 — Statistics Canada


Sex: Male
Age: 51
Birthplace: SCOTLAND
Religion: Canada Presbyterian/C. Presb.
Origin: SCOTCH
Occupation: FARMER
District: WELLINGTON SOUTH ( 033 )
Sub-district: Guelph Township ( B )
Division: 3
Page: 18
Microfilm reel: C-9945
Reference: RG31 — Statistics Canada


Stray: Individual bears a different surname than the head of the family
Sex: Male
Age: 20
Birthplace: SCOTLAND
Religion: Canada Presbyterian/C. Presb.
Origin: SCOTCH
Occupation: LAB
District: WELLINGTON SOUTH ( 033 )
Sub-district: Guelph Township ( B )
Division: 1
Page: 18
Microfilm reel: C-9945
Reference: RG31 — Statistics Canada

COWAN , BETSY JANE - Does anyone know which family Betsy Jane was a member of?

Sex: Female
Birthplace: ONT
Religion: Canada Presbyterian/C. Presb.
District: WELLINGTON SOUTH ( 033 )
Sub-district: Guelph Township ( B )
Division: 2
Note: Schedule Two: deaths in the preceding twelve months ending 2 April 1871
Microfilm reel: C-9945
Reference: RG31 — Statistics Canada


Sex: Male
Age: 46
Birthplace: SCOTLAND
Religion: Canada Presbyterian/C. Presb.
Origin: SCOTCH
Occupation: FARMER
District: WELLINGTON SOUTH ( 033 )
Sub-district: Guelph Township ( B )
Division: 2
Page: 14
Microfilm reel: C-9945
Reference: RG31 — Statistics Canada

There is another group of Cowans in Waterloo South:


I need to sort all these Cowans out.

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities. An optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties. - Reginald B. Mansell

Cowan Marriage Bonds in Upper and Lower Canada

Library and Archives Canada/Canadian Genealogy Centre have put the Upper and Lower Canada Marriage Bonds online:
Lower Canada later became Quebec, while Upper Canada became Ontario. Here are the Cowan Marriage Bonds:

Lower Canada
Name of Future Husband: O'SULLIVAN, Timothy
Residence: Quebec
Name of Future Wife: COWAN, Catherine
Residence: Quebec
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 30
Bond Number: 79
Date: 1819-09-21
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1129

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, James
Residence: late of Belfast, Ireland
Name of Future Wife: PATTERSON, Mary
Residence: late of Belfast, Ireland
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 31
Bond Number: 285
Date: 1822-08-06
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1129

Name of Future Husband: BARWIS, Thomas Bienvenue
Residence: Quebec
Name of Future Wife: COWAN, Ann Elizabeth
Residence: Quebec
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 33
Bond Number: 529
Date: 1825-10-31
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1130

Name of Future Husband: HOYT, Sandford Liverston
Residence: Quebec
Name of Future Wife: COWAN, Julia Hannah
Residence: Quebec
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 33
Bond Number: 572
Date: 1825-10-07
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1130

Name of Future Husband: MARTIN, Edward
Residence: late of Belfast, Ireland
Name of Future Wife: COWAN, Margaret
Residence: late of Belfast, Ireland
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 34-C
Bond Number: 1372
Date: 1832-07-24
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1130

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, Hugh
Residence: Quebec
Name of Future Wife: COULSON, Harriet Sarah
Residence: Quebec
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 35
Bond Number: 1461
Date: 1833-10-28
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1131

Name of Future Husband: AHERN, John Urquhart
Residence: Quebec
Name of Future Wife: COWAN, Henrietta Eliza
Residence: Quebec
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 35-A
Bond Number: 1591
Date: 1835-12-12
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1131

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, John
Residence: Soulanges
Name of Future Wife: RODGERS, Mary
Residence: Soulanges
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 36
Bond Number: 1664
Date: 1836-06-10
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1131

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, Peter
Residence: Dunham
Name of Future Wife: HACKETT, Jane
Residence: Montreal
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 36
Bond Number: 1665
Date: 1836-11-28
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1131

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, William
Residence: Montreal
Name of Future Wife: CROSS, Elizabeth
Residence: Beauharnois
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 37
Bond Number: 1835
Date: 1837-03-10
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1131

Name of Future Husband: WELCH, Hy.W.
Residence: Quebec
Name of Future Wife: COWAN, Lucretia Mary
Residence: Quebec
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 38
Bond Number: 2086
Date: 1838-05-21
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1131

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, David
Residence: Montreal
Name of Future Wife: FLINN, Ann
Residence: Montreal
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 39
Bond Number: 2133
Date: 1839-03-15
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1131

Name of Future Husband: LANCONS, John
Residence: St.Andrews
Name of Future Wife: COWAN, Maria
Residence: St.Andrews
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 40
Bond Number: 2520
Date: 1840-02-03
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1131

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, Hugh
Residence: Montreal
Name of Future Wife: LINTON, Elizabeth
Residence: Montreal
Reference: RG 4 B28
Volume: 41
Bond Number: 2713
Date: 1841-07-19
Microfilm Reel Number: H-1132
Upper Canada
Name of Future Husband: COWAN, Alexander
Residence: Pittsburgh tp.
Name of Future Wife: MABEE, Rachel
Residence: Charlotteville Township
Reference: RG 5 B9
Volume: 20
Bond Number: 2238
Date: 1831-06-04
Microfilm Reel Number: C-6780

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, James
Residence: Elizabethtown Township, Leeds County
Name of Future Wife: SHERIFF, Marie
Residence: Cornwall
Reference: RG 5 B9
Volume: 17
Bond Number: 1319
Date: 1827-10-29
Microfilm Reel Number: C-6779

Name of Future Husband: GRAY, William
Residence: Dumfries Township, Halton County
Name of Future Wife: COWAN, Anette
Residence: Dumfries Township, Halton County
Reference: RG 5 B9
Volume: 35
Bond Number: 6374
Date: 1838-10-21
Microfilm Reel Number: C-6787

Name of Future Husband: SHAW, James
Residence: Puslinch Township, Halton County
Name of Future Wife: COWAN, Margaret
Residence: Waterloo Township, Halton County
Reference: RG 5 B9
Volume: 42
Bond Number: 8174
Date: 1840-03-02
Microfilm Reel Number: C-6790

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, Thomas
Residence: Richmond Township, Midland District
Name of Future Wife: CAMPBELL, Margaret
Residence: Richmond Township, Midland District
Reference: RG 5 B9
Volume: 43
Bond Number: 8528
Date: 1841-03-06
Microfilm Reel Number: C-6791

Name of Future Husband: COWAN, George
Residence: Bytown
Name of Future Wife: PATTERSON, Margaret
Reference: RG 5 B9
Volume: 44
Bond Number: 8836
Date: 1844-11-06
Microfilm Reel Number: C-6791

The only thing you take with you when you're gone is what you leave behind. - John Allston

Thomas Cowan WWI Attestation

COWAN , THOMAS (not Grandpa, though)
Regimental number: 3032575
Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 2069 - 11

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Finding places in old Germany:

Meyers Geographical and Commercial Gazetteer of the German Empire (Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs in German) now FREE at Ancestry:

GEOserv (email process):

German Place Database:

Topography Keyword list with links to sources:
   in German

German Maps: (German & English):

Germany GenWeb:

Links for German Genealogy on the Internet: (in German; IRC chat as well as information): and

Evangelische Archives in Germany:


Passenger Departure Lists of German Emigrants, 1709-1914:

Emigration Lists of Hamburg, 1890 to 1914 (free to search for names, $$$ for complete results of birthplace, state of origin, etc.):

Emigration from/through Bremen & Bremerhaven 1920-1939 - Deutsche Auswanderer-Datenbank (DAD):
Bremen Passenger Lists 1920-1939:

French Emigration Indexes:

German History in Postcards:
   Click the "Translate this Page" link to see the English version.

From an article in Rootsweb Review, quoting Jan Hart (12 July 2006, Vol. 9, No. 28)
Directory of several towns in the Rheinland state of Germany, including lists of births and marriages from the 1600s - 1800s. Some files have 15,000 records! Use Control-F (find) to search each set of records.

"The area covered is quite large, mostly west of the Rhein (Rhine) River up to Koblenz, Bernkastel, Bitburg, the Mosel Valley, over to Trier, and south toward the Saar."

Westdeutsche Gesellschaft fur Familienkunde e.V (in German): home page in English: or
Language Translation:

Deciphering Older Writing:

Naming customs in Germany and France:

Alsace Genealogy Lists:



European Research:

Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don't wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom. - Jim Rohn

If it was easy... everybody would be doing it. - Will Rogers

Labels: , , , ,

1880 US Census Free to Search at Ancestry

Interesting article from the the Ancestry newsletter -


We have looked at the 1880 census search interface at in the past. This week we revisit the search interface, which now offers researchers eighteen fields upon which to search. The variety of search options allows researchers to potentially locate undiscovered family members. However, the increased number of search options requires the researcher to be organized and systematic. This week we look at some strategies I used in my attempts to locate two of my ancestors' lost siblings in the 1880 census.

Note: The 1880 Census Index at is free and use of the database does not require a paying membership. Access to images of the census is available for a subscription fee.
The entire article is available at

It is truly wonderful when you can find the object of your search with a few basic techniques. Some cases are more difficult, and Neill's systematic approach is one way to find the person using online indexes of all sorts. Jan Nutter Alpert asks, in her article More Tips From From The NGS Winter Warm Up Recently In
in the NGS UpFront Vol. 4, No. 3, 1 February 2005, "Did you know that if you go to the 1880 Census search page, you can enter your surname with an occupation and see where your ancestors lived who had the same occupation?" [I would qualify that to say "persons who shared surname and occupation"] She adds,
Did you know you can save the results of your searches on by using the "MyAncestry" link? Why is this helpful? If you need to look at the census again, you just click on the name under "MyAncestry" and everything you have saved for that ancestor is there. Even though I make a paper copy of the census, it is easier to "zoom in" to analyze difficult handwriting online. Also when you want to take another look at the census page to see if other relatives live nearby, you can find the prior census page more easily. Since the conference I have also used the email feature to forward these new census pages to others who are researching the same family. Once you have entered an ancestor in MyAncestry you can enter the birth and/or death data you have and launch future searches from here, saving the time of having to enter the same data for each search.

Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind. - Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cowans to Australia

I met Marleemia in the #Australia Rootsweb IRC channel tonight, and she directed me to the State Records NSW - The New South Wales Government's Archives and Records Management Authority:

I know that family stories say that one of the Cowans went from Selkirkshire to Australia before 1832, when our bunch went to Ontario, Canada, but I have not learned WHO went, or exactly when. So I searched on the Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825 and found:

COWAN, James. Came free per "Triton", 1825
1825 n.d., Nov 24
Memorial (Fiche 3125; 4/1841A No.166 pp.73-86)
1825 Nov 19,28
On list of persons who have received orders for grants of land (Fiche 3266; 9/2652 p.87); on list of lands granted and reserved by Sir Thomas Brisbane (Fiche 3269; 9/2740 p.7)


COWAN, Andrew. Came free per "Triton", 1825
1825 n.d., Nov 24
Memorial (Fiche 3125; 4/1841A No.166 pp.73-86)
1825 Nov 19,28
On list of persons who have received orders for grants of land (Fiche 3266; 9/2652 p.87); on list of lands granted and reserved by Sir Thomas Brisbane (Fiche 3269; 9/2740 p.7)

And this is interesting: 1825 Nov 24
Attesting to character of James and Andrew Cowan (Fiche 3125 4/1841A No.166 p.85)

The person doing the attesting is DICKSON, John. Came free per "Earl Spencer", 1813; proprietor of steam engine, Cockle Bay. It was a Dickson from the Selkirkshire area who came to Ontario early on, obtained land, then brought people to Ontario to buy it from him. Was the entire family doing land speculation?

Here's another entry: CSreLand -
Item Reel Surname Firstname 1stDate LastDate Remarks
2/7833 1114 COWAN James 1831 1839 includes papers of AINSLIE, James (1831)

There were Ainslies in Selkirkshire, too. But maybe there were Ainslies everywhere.....

I'll have to follow up on this another day..... too late tonight.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

WWII Enlistment File

New at NARA - World War II Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File - 9 million records

The NARA website says:
This series has records on about nine million men and women who enlisted during World War II in the United States Army, including Army Reserves and the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. NARA scanned War Department microfilmed punch cards on enlistments to support the reconstruction of the military personnel records at its National Personnel Record Center. Because of the microfilm's poor condition, approximately 1.5 million records could not be scanned. Also, the file has no records for Army officers, members of other services or enlistments for other time periods. In general, each record has the serial number of a soldier, person's name, state and county of residence, place of enlistment, date of enlistment, grade, branch, term of enlistment, place of birth, year of birth, race, education, civilian occupation, marital status, and component. These records present unique searching challenges.
WWII Army Serial Number Records can be found at the Access to Archival Databases (AAD)

Click on the Genealogy/ Personal History > Military Personnel, and then World War II Army Enlistment Records, created, 6/1/2002 - 9/30/2002, documenting the period ca. 1938 - 1946 - Record Group 64, the top search button.

Thanks to Joe Beine for sending notice of this database to the APG list.

Here is a sample record, for my father, Ted Cowan (Theodore E.):

Column Title Value Meaning Notes
GRADE: CODE 8 Private
BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION NO# No branch assignment
BRANCH: CODE 02 No branch assignment
TERM OF ENLISTMENT 5 Enlistment for the duration of the War or other
emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
EDUCATION 4 4 years of high school
MARITAL STATUS 6 Single, without dependents
COMPONENT OF THE ARMY 7 Selectees (Enlisted Men)

Military Record Requests (SF-180) from NARA (National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO): now has WWII Enlistments, too. Let's compare, by looking at the record for my dad's cousin Walter McAninch:

U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946

Name: Walter H McAninch
Birth Year: 1920
Race: White, not yet a citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: British North America or Canada or Labrador or Newfoundland
State: Washington
County or City: King

Enlistment Date: 19 Apr 1943
Enlistment State: Washington
Enlistment City: Seattle
Branch: No branch assignment
Branch Code: No branch assignment
Grade: Private
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life

Education: 4 years of high school
Civil Occupation: Foreman, Warehouse (Warehouseman. )
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
Height: 88
Weight: 145

Source Information:
National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

This database contains information on about 8.3 million men and women who enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II. Information contained in this database usually includes: name of enlistee, army serial number, residence (county and state), place of enlistment, enlistment date, grade, army branch, component, term of enlistment, birthplace, year of birth, race and citizenship, height and weight, education, and marital status.

Australian WWII Nominal Roll:
WWII Service Records:

Canadian Military Records and Service Files (all wars):

Commonwealth War Graves Commission (both World Wars, all of the Commonwealth):

So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself. - Florence Nightingale

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History of the United States Naturalization Process:

INS - History, Genealogy and Education:

National Archives - Naturalization Records:

Pledging Allegiance - Naturalization Records:

Sample Certificate of Naturalization:

A Gold Mine Of Naturalization Records In New England:
   Index to naturalization records from 301 courts in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, & Vermont, available as NARA Microfilm Publication M1299, Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791–1906 from NARA, and from the LDS as FHL US/CAN Film 1429671 - 1429787, 117 films in all. Consult the film notes page on the FHL Catalog for coverage of each film.
   The indexes to dexigraph records for New York City and Illinois have also been microfilmed: M1285, Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois, and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840–1950. 179 rolls. M1674, Index (Soundex) to Naturalization Petitions Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York, New York, Including New York, Kings, Queens, and Richmond Counties, 1792–1906. 294 rolls. I didn't check the FHL Catalog for these series.

M1827: District of Columbia Naturalization Index, 1802-1909:

State Archives of Michigan Naturalization Record Indexes:,1607,7-160-17449_18635_20684---,00.html

Naturalization in NY State:
   Albany County NY:
   Declarations of Intent, Petitions Indexes, and more:

Kings County (Brooklyn, NY) Naturalization Index:

State-wide index to North Dakota naturalization records. Index complete for every county; more than 212,000 entries. Name, country of emigration, date of declaration of intention (first papers) or date of naturalization (second papers), county where the record was created, with volume and page number:

Finding US Naturalization Records (especially for New York and Illinois):

Rootsweb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees - Naturalization:

NARA: (Olive Tree Genealogy):

U.S. Naturalization Research and Records (

U.S. Naturalization Records (British Isles Family History Society):

$$$ Petitions for Naturalizations: (Search is free)
   Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Utah, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon

Book - They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins by Loretto Dennis Szucs. Salt Lake City:, 1998. ISBN 091648971X.

The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. - Charles Du Bos

The difference between a geologist and a genealogist is that one digs in the dirt and sometimes find artifacts, while the other digs in facts and sometimes finds dirt.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

French Emigration Indexes

From the Research Outline at
Many Germans either lived in Elsaß-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine) or passed through it to emigrate. The following sources help identify many of them.

Alsace Emigration Index. The Family History Library has compiled an index of persons who emigrated from or through Elsaß-Lothringen from 1817 to 1866. About half the names are from southern Germany. The alphabetical index gives the emigrant's name, age, occupation, place of origin, residence, destination, passport date, and source microfilm number. Not everyone who emigrated via Alsace is in this index. The index is easiest to find in the Author/Title Search of the Family History Library Catalog under Alsace Emigration Index.Look this term up in the glossary. It is also listed as:

France. Ministre de l'Intrieur. Registres des émigrés, 1817-1866 (Index of emigrants, 1817-1866). Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1977. (FHL films 1125002-7; computer number 403094.)

Annexation and Emigration in Alsace-Lorraine 1871-1872 and their influences on French and German Nationalism in the Region:

New France (later Quebec, Canada) (From Rootsweb Review) Two websites of ships that came to New France with sailors and passengers lists.
1497 - 1699:
1700 - 1763:

French in Argentina, Uruguay and Perú: consular registers:

Alsace Emigration Books. Cornelia Schrader-Muggenthaler used the Alsace Emigration Index, other emigration records, passenger lists, genealogies, genealogy periodicals, and newspaper articles to compile the following index:

Schrader-Muggenthaler, Cornelia. The Alsace Emigration Book. 2 vols. Apollo, Penn.: Closson Press, 1989-1991. (FHL book 944.38 W2s; computer number 549007.) This index has over 20,000 entries, mostly of 1817 to 1870 emigrants.

More books on the subject:

  • Burgert, Annette Kunselman. Eighteenth Century Emigrants from the Northern Alsace to America. Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1992. (FHL book 974.8 B4pgp v. 26; computer number 684917.) This book is still for sale from the publisher, Picton Press, and as such are not available on microfilm or microfiche through the FHL lending system. It is also available directly from the author,at: AKB Publications, 691 Weavertown Road, Myerstown, PA 17067. *** Excellent book! ***

  • Alsatian Connections, by Doris Wesner. Covers 5 villages in Krumme Elsass (Hilly Alsace): Dehlingen, Diemeringen, Butten, Waldhambach, and Ratzwiller. Closson Press, 1995

  • Emigrants from France (Haut-Rhin Department) to America. Part 1 (1837-1844) and Part 2 (1845-1847) by Clifford Neal Smith. 84 pages. Republished 2004, ISBN 0806352329. Available from Genealogical Publishing Company.

  • Liste nominative des Haut-Rhinois ayant émigré en Amérique (1800-1870) by Dominique DREYER

The books may be available via Interlibrary Loan; ask your local librarian. Support your local author -- buy genealogy books! Read the entire Research Guide, too. :-)

Every now and then, go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. - Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Searching Census

U.S. federal census records are a common starting point for most American researchers after they have gathered information from home sources. The population schedules were used for censuses from 1790 to 2000, including the 1885 census for Colorado, the Dakota Territory, Florida, Nebraska, and the New Mexico Territory. The cost for the 1885 enumeration was split between the federal and state/territorial governments.

Population schedules are, of course, the most frequently used census record type. These are followed by mortality schedules (available for 1850-1885) and slave schedules (1850 and 1860). There were, however, other non-population census schedules used over time for the collection of other information. These include agricultural schedules (1850-1885), industry or manufacturing schedules (1810, 1820, 1850-1885), veterans’ and widows’ schedules (1890), social statistics (1850-1870), and the defective and delinquent classes schedules (1880). We also use enumeration district (ED) maps (1880 to present).
- George G. Morgan,

Charts and Forms:

The best advice I've ever heard (thanks, Julie!) is to always read the three pages before and after your target person or family. That is where you will find the in-laws, siblings and parents, the people the children will marry, and fellow immigrants. You can often save yourself YEARS of work with this one simple step. - links to USA Census Records, Canadian Census Records, Census Indexes & Images, Census Transcriptions, Blank Census Forms, City Directories, Tax & Assessment Lists, Voters Registrations, Veterans Census, Questions on Census Records: -- Directory of Free Census Records (US, UK, Canada, Native American, Norway, Sweden):
   Thanks for this link, Kimberly!

1880/1 US, Canadian & English Census:
Canadian 1871 Index:

Canadian 1901 Census:

1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta; not searchable by surname):

1911 Canadian census - search it by locality, not yet by name:

Prince Edward Island (PEI)census indexes 1841, 1881, 1891, 1901:

Canadian Census substitute 1940-1946:

Canadian census records before 1842:

English, Welsh & Scottish Census - FreeCen, UK Census Online:

1790 Census of Population & Housing (pdf or zip file by state):

AIS US Census Indexes at Ancestry:
   Search is free, but to view indivual results, you must subscribe.

USGenWeb Census Project (transcriptions):,

Free! US Census Images (no index I could see):
1790 through 1860 U.S. Federal Census, 1818 Illinois Territorial Census, 1820 Illinois State Census, 1835 Illinois State Census, 1840 Illinois State Census, 1840 U.S. Federal Census of Pensioners. Not all years are complete for all states.

US Census Maps 1790-1930:

Free! 1870 Federal Census of Michigan, index & images:

Free! Nevada 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 complete extract of the Federal Census:

State Census (table):

Maryland State Archives Census Indexes 1776, 1778, 1870, 1880:
   Search the following Census Indexes available at the Maryland State Archives: 1776 (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Caroline, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Prince George's, Queen Anne, and Talbot Counties), 1778 (Caroline, Charles, and Queen Anne's Counties), 1870 (Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties and Baltimore City) and 1880 (Anne Arundel County only).

Michigan County Histories - 192 histories, 1866-1926:

Every name index for the city of Pittsburgh, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880; Allegheny City 1850, 1860, 1870:

Census Diggins:

GenealogySpot - Census:

Interesting fee site ($10/yr) - Census Trail:
Territorial Papers index and other attempts to recreate lost censuses. So far, they have Territorial Papers of the U.S. [1st phase] volumes 2-9, 12-17; IN Election Returns 1809, 1812; NJ Petitions 1740-1754; Rowan Co. NC Tax Lists 1758-9, 1761, 1768, 1778, 1779; SC Jury Lists 1720, 1740, 1751, 1767; Prince Edward Co. VA Tithables 1773, 1774.

Cyndislist - U.S. Census Records Online: Indexes, Extractions & Transcriptions: Many state census records are included, along with Federal

See if your local library system gives you access to the Heritage Quest US census indices and images. Fully indexed: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1860, 1870, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930. Or join the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Missouri for $20 to access remotely. Looks as if you must visit a branch to pay the fee for a card.

NEW! Eastman is maintaining a list in his Encyclopedia of Genealogy at of all the places HQ can be accessed for free or low-cost:

$$$ Of course, offers all of the US census images, the AIS indexes, and their own linked indexes for 1930, 1920, their 1890 Project, plus the remaining 1890, 1880, 1870, 1850, 1840, 1830, 1820,1810, 1800, and 1790. It is very nice to have access to both Ancestry and HQ. :-)
now offers the 1860 Census in their Civil War collection for $7.95/mo.

The pilot project of FamilySearch is now offering the 1850, 1870, and 1900 censuses, although only 15 states are completed. Massachusetts and Wisconsin state census records are also available.

Geographical search tool on the Morse One Step Site:

Historical Census Browser - The data presented here describe the population and economy of U.S. states and counties from 1790 to 1960 (no surname search):

IPUMS - Census Enumerator Instructions (1850-2000):

Census Questions and Enumeration Forms:

U.S. Census Abbreviations:

Census Abbreviations:

Census Microdata for Social and Economic Research:

Juliana Smith - Why I Love the Census:

George G. Morgan - The Dilemma of Federal Census Copies:

The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children. - G. K. Chesterton

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Revolutionary War Ancestor Research

The following article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2006 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

Searching for Your Revolutionary War Ancestor

As Americans celebrate Independence Day this week, perhaps now is the time to focus on finding more information about your ancestors who took part in the war that brought independence to this great nation. Luckily, there are numerous online resources to help you get started.

I would suggest that you first read an excellent introductory article, Finding Your Patriot: Basic Sources for Starting Revolutionary War Research by Curt Witcher. Curt is the department manager for the Historical Genealogy Department of Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is a well-known and respected genealogy researcher. His excellent article can be found at Finding Your Patriot: Basic Sources for Starting Revolutionary War Research.

James C. Neagles has written an excellent article on how to find Revolutionary War service records. The article Compiled Service Records: Revolutionary War Period, 1775-83 can be found at Compiled Service Records: Revolutionary War Period, 1775-83

Revolutionary War Sources by Kip Sperry also contains many excellent references. You can find Kip's article at Revolutionary War Sources

Perhaps the best online resource available anywhere is the Revolutionary War Era Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files available on HeritageQuest Online. These are some of the most popular records for those researching 18th and early 19th century ancestors. Best of all, these are not transcribed records. This database allows you to view the original, hand-written records on your screen and to print them on a local printer. HeritageQuest Online is not directly accessible by individuals. If you want to access these online records, you must use the services of a subscribing library or perhaps a genealogical or historical society or museum. You may have to travel to that society or library although some do offer remote, in-home access to these records. Further information is available on the Encyclopedia of Genealogy at

Here are other articles and online resources worthy of note:

Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck:

Revolutionary War Military Records by Myra Vanderpool Gormley:

Researching Your Revolutionary War Ancestor by Jaime Simmons focuses on Virginia and West Virginia resources but has excellent background information of interest to all:

The Revolutionary War Forum is an online message board containing discussions about many topics associated with the War, including researching of ancestors:

American Revolutionary War Soldiers & Their Descendants is an online "clearinghouse:" web pages containing the email and/or URL addresses of descendants or persons who can give you some background on many Revolutionary War veterans:

Loyalist Genealogy is a web site about those Americans who remained loyal to the King and then paid a high price for that loyalty: most were exiled to Canada or to other places outside of the new United States. Those who went to Canada are discussed at

Do you have comments, questions or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at
Richard does not mention it in his fine article, but another resource for those beginning Rev. War research is the DAR lookups available on the DAR Message Board:

In her article CELEBRATING REVOLUTIONARY-WAR-ERA ANCESTORS, Paula Stuart-Warren cautions
There are two sets of pension records for Revolutionary War service and this often causes confusion for researchers. If you don't know the difference, read on.

M804 AND M805

M804 and M805 are National Archives publication numbers for the microfilmed records of the Revolutionary War pension, service, and bounty land records. When you check any indexes or abstracts of Revolutionary War records, be sure to read the introductory details to see which set of records is covered by the index. Determine if the index or abstract is of state- or federal-level records. When genealogists tell me that the pension record for an ancestor didn't tell them anything, I usually ask if they went beyond the index or abstract and have the selected or complete record.


This is the set of records referred to as the "complete" records and includes about 80,000 files of applications for "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1906." These alphabetical files are based on the participation of Army, Navy, and Marine officers and enlisted men in the Revolutionary War. The files are part of "National Archives Record Group 15, Records of the Veterans Administration," on 2,670 rolls of microfilm. An individual file may give a birth date and place and a list of minor children, and may include a Bible record, a testimony from neighbors or a fellow military man, or even a later letter from a descendant seeking info. If a widow was involved in the application, you are likely to find more genealogically significant details.


This National Archives microfilm publication is the "Selected Records from Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files" and is on 898 rolls of microfilm. It includes selected records from the 80,000 pension and bounty-land applications. If a complete file was more than ten pages long, only the supposedly most significant genealogical documents were included in the filming of M805. Some of the selected records files in this series do include more than ten pages. Don't stop with just these selected records; check the full file to see if there are more helpful pages.


The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City have both sets of microfilm. NARA regional branches should also have the complete set. Many libraries with genealogical research collections have M804, the selected records, because it has fewer rolls of film.

But although denying that we have a special position in the natural world might seem becomingly modest in the eye of eternity, it might also be used as an excuse for evading our responsibilities. The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility. In our hands now lies not only our own future, but that of all living creatures with whom we share the earth. - David Attenborough

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Heritage Quest in Sumner, Washington

From Barbara Heutchy, and Nell Snodgrass:

Heritage Quest Research Library in Sumner has an institutional membership to New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) online, giving patrons access to " has grown to include access to over 110 million names in 2,200 databases!"

The library has 2 computers, and also is wired so you can take your own laptop and have wireless internet access. They also have Ancestry Library edition (same as King County libraries have). If you're not a member of HQRL, there is a fee of $5/day to use the facility. More info is available on their website: Their library catalog is easy to browse online before you go to get some idea of what books are available there.

Heritage Quest, formerly in Orting, is now in Sumner on Main Street next to the burned-out KC Caboose Restaurant. 909 Main Street, Sumner.

To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science. - Albert Einstein