New Post From Legacy News – “My Grandfather was a Sea Captain: Researching Maritime Ancestors”

Hi Everyone,

I am pleased to share my first blog post for Legacy News. One of my interests is maritime history and I wrote an article to help genealogists whose ancestors worked on ships.

Check out the post from Legacy News here.

Legacy News of Legacy Family Tree brings genealogy news and tips to you every day.

Needle In The Haystack: Personal Strategies for Researching Irish-Americans

Researching an Irish family is usually no small undertaking. Therefore, the first strategy is diligence and to keep looking. The fire of 1922 has in fact terminated millions of records that would save genealogists a lot of headache. Researchers also have to use a different methodology for Irish Ancestors because surnames existed all over the country by the 18th and 19th centuries. Irish ancestors with common surnames can be among the most difficult to pinpoint. The second strategy is to trace your ancestor’s steps backwards, making sure you have enough specifics before researching in Irish Records. Whether it be the US, England, Australia, etc., consult the records of the ancestors’ adopted home. I find myself very intrigued by Irish-American families and larger networks as I dig deeper into records. I have listed some observations and personal strategies.
– Choose your Jurisdiction with which you will be researching the surname. It could be a particularly city, county, state, etc.

– Be thorough and exhaustive. Create an excel document and be prepared to enter a lot of data. Table headers should include essential information, including citations.

-In addition to the United States Federal Population Census, I find city directories particularly useful because they run yearly. Among the useful information provided by city directories are address, occupation, and indicating if a person removed and if so, where.

– Try collecting different types of data from a particular source, i.e. If I am looking for Owen O’Neill who arrived 1852, I would search passenger manifests for Owen O’Neill and record all persons named Owen O’Neill that arrived in a 10 year range (1847-57), but I would also like to record all people with the last name O’Neill that arrived in the year 1852.

-Naturalization records are also important to consult. Recently, I took a more time consuming approach of using the index on microfilm and found several naturalizations that ancestry did not list when I first conducted an online search. In fact, one naturalization record that came to my attention in the microfilm could very possibly be the individual I was seeking out the whole time.

Important Resources:

– Ancestry.com has digitized versions of all the collections mentioned, although in the city directories I have used, there are years missing.

https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Main_Page

Search Passenger Lists for Free:

– Ellis Island  http://libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger
– Castle Garden http://www.castlegarden.org/searcher.php

Copyright (c) 2015 Jake Fletcher

Pittsfield, Massachusetts City Directory, 1898, p 179. Taken from Ancestry.com, US City Directories, 1821-1989 [online database]. — at Fletcher FamilyTree Research.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts City Directory, 1898, p 179. Taken from Ancestry.com, US City Directories, 1821-1989 [online database]. — at Fletcher FamilyTree Research.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 10.45.42 AM

Author’s example of a data spreadsheet for research on Doyle Families in Berkshire Co.

(fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com)

The Reason My Name is Fletcher

Everyday I live as Jake Fletcher, but three generations ago my grandfather (or my father’s father) made a motivated decision to forego his heritage and namesake. My grandfather was born Robert Frank Fleischhauer in the borough of Queens, New York.[1] His research files and tales of military service invigorate my curiosity deeply. This is in part because I never even had a chance to meet him; he died in 1965.[2] However, I have procured more photographs of him than probably any ancestor on file. Such interesting relics include war ration booklets, foreign coins he collected while at sea with the Navy, school report cards and letters he wrote as young as eight years old.

Grandpa Bob WWII pic 1

Fig 1. Robert during the War period enjoying a pipe. Notice the endless convoy of ships in the distance.[3]

 

 

Grandpa Bob School Report Cards

Fig 2. Report Cards, Board of Education, City of New York. Note the parent’s signatures, their names were Frank Julius Fleischhauer and Caroline Marie Pralle.[4]

With all these sources to understand his legacy, what remains unclear and without genealogical truth is the reason he dropped Fleischhauer for the surname Fletcher, I needed to look at what sources I could to recollect the facts of his name change. The family tradition as presented my father suggests that a sequence of events led to the name change. First, it was Robert’s marriage to Margarette Freeman. This allied him with Margarette’s father, James Freeman who ran a flooring business in Hartford, Connecticut and thus they became business partners. The circumstances of post-war and the business somehow motivated him to forever change his identity to Robert Fletcher. The narrative as explained by my father provides concrete evidence that the name change occurred between the date of marriage and my father’s birth in 1947. Some boxes that were re-obtained during a recent spring cleaning provided some important clues to my investigation. Someone, mostly likely my grandmother, had created a photo album from the wedding.

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Fig 3. An original copy of the wedding invitation for Margarette Elizabeth Freeman and Robert Frank Fleischauer, Ensign U.S. Navy. The wedding took place 12 Dec 1943 at Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford.[5]

 

Having a copy of the wedding invitation saves me the time of placing a record order to Connecticut or does it? At least I find myself able to pull out many clues from this single source. The spelling of Fleischauer is significant, the use of one letter h is different from the original two h spelling. Robert did not become a Fletcher before the marriage and the name change may have occurred shortly after. Ordering the marriage record from Connecticut would give me definitive proof as to what surname he registered under the marriage license. Another important part of Robert’s legacy is his military career. After speaking to an archivist at NARA, I understand the process of obtaining his WWII service records. In the meantime, I have procured a few clues which explain to some degree the nature of his service. I utilized Fold3.com and their collection of Navy Muster Rolls to come across a Robert F. Fleischauer in a passenger manifest from the USS Shipley Bay (CVE-85).[6] His rank is listed as corporal and his destination is noted as “USMCR Fray”. Previously, my father’s own interest in Robert’s service led to some research on the ships he sailed with including Ajax IV (AR-6) and Delta II (AK-29),[7] therefore I had not come across a vessel named Shipley Bay. I also cannot prove this Robert F. Fleischauer is the same individual without consulting the service records held in St. Louis. Whatever the archivists can provide me with will certainly enlighten me to the full story of my grandfather’s service.

 

Grandpa Bob North Africa

 

Fig 4. A photo of Robert taken during his service in North Africa Campaign.[8]

 

One detail which always fascinates me resonates in another photograph from the war era. Robert had apparently taken part in the campaign against Germany in North Africa. You can see in the distance the sandy foothills of the desert. While clearly wearing Navy regalia, it seems that his role was partially land-based, perhaps to bring supplies for the ground troops. My father has ascertained that preceding his enlistment in the Navy, Robert had gone to the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point which is based on the quaint and suburban outskirts of Long Island. In 2009, we both drove to Kings Point to search their files and yearbooks, which ended in a negative search.[9] As of now, the understanding of my grandfather’s legacy and the circumstances surrounding his name change remain somewhat unclear and fragmented by the pieces of circumstantial evidence. Having the service records is the next step, followed by seeking out court documents for the name change. However, I do not know if these documents are heavily restricted in the state of Connecticut. I am however certain that these documents lie in Connecticut.

Useful Resources:

NARA – How to obtain U.S. Military Service Records after 1916 and Link to Standard Form 180   Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

 

Copyright © 2015

 

 

[1] Held in author’s research files. [2] Ibid. [3] Ibid. [4] Ibid. [5] Ibid. [6] Passenger Manifest of Robert F. Fleischauer, 23 Sep 1944, Shipley Bay: Accessed on Fold3.com, U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949, National Archives Record Group 24. [7] James L. Mooney, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, (Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, 1981,) p. 101-102, 258-259. [8] Held in author’s research files. [9] See Author’s Blog Post, “ A Day at Kings Point,” 5 Dec 2009.

Upcoming Topics and Case Studies

A lot has been happening between me and the genealogy world. Research cases, webinars, society meetings, and more have been filling up my time. It’s a wonderful thing, but my personal projects have not received much attention lately. But there is a lot I intend to post on and have many case studies in progress. The purpose of this blog is to travelogue my research, because that’s what it has always been. Here are some upcoming topics:

– Ancestors who left Revolutionary War Pension documents

– Three Daughenbaugh brothers served in a Union Civil War Regiment, the Kentucky 5th

– Research in New York’s land and probate has brought down some huge brick walls

– and much more!

I see my blog as something different from popular social media, but I do feel obliged to post on the genealogy world via my Facebook pages

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jake-Fletchers-Genealogy-Blog/893302040726065

https://www.facebook.com/fletcherfamilytree

Please like and share. Send me your page and I’ll do the same.

Olivers of Galway in Petty Sessions Court Registers

[CLICK LINK FOR FULL REPORT] – Bartholomew Oliver of Galway, Ireland

This piece of research explains the process of finding certain records and would be of interest to anyone researching the Irish. The report focuses on new techniques, searching for individuals in an urban population, and different types of Irish records.

The records found reflect the character of working class Ireland in the 19th century; rough. The records belong to one of the more interesting individuals I have encountered in my six plus years of genealogy, a man called Captain Bartholomew Oliver who lived in the City of Galway. I have posted about him greatly before and the pdf link provides a complete list of supplemental blog posts. As to intrigue readers, I wanted to spend a little time talking about the Petty Session Court Records of Ireland, available at findmypast.com

Through my own research on findmypast.com located multiple incidents involving Capt. Bartholomew Oliver in the Petty Session Court Books. Ireland instituted a court known as the Petty Sessions from 1827-1924, which handled smaller incidents, much like the small claims court of America. The summons provide quality details about the famed Capt. Oliver that might have go unnoticed and seem to somehow fit with what appears on paper to be a tumultuous life.

bartholomew oliver 20 Mar 1862 court

Fig 1. On 20 Mar 1862, Bartholomew Oliver brought Stephen Joyce from Arran Island to court for piloting a ship without a license, specifically the “Elizabeth Ann of Sunderland”, thus disputing Captain Oliver who was able to prove his certification and offered to pilot said ship. The defendant was apparently dismissed on merit.[1]

bartholomew oliver court 1864

Fig 2. Oliver is back in court again on 12 Oct 1864, this time for money. Robert Barclay owed Oliver two hundred pounds for salvage services performed four days prior on Barclay’s ship called “Nora” from Liverpool. The defendant did not appear in the court.[2]

bartholomew oliver court 1883

Fig 3. Bartholomew Oliver was unlawfully assaulted by William McDonough of Galway on 29 Oct 1883 at the Galway Rouds [?] while on board a barque called Mars [?] of Glasgow. McDonough did not appear in court.[3]

These are only a few samples of what I uncovered. Please click on the link to read the full report.

[1] Bartholomew Oliver (20 Mar 1862), Petty Sessions Order Books CSPS 1/11749, case no. 504: digitized on Findmypast.com, Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912.

[2] Bartholomew Oliver (12 Oct 1864), Petty Sessions Order Books CSPS 1/11485, case no.62 (original number 608): digitized on Findmypast.com, Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912.

[3] Bartholomew Oliver (12 Nov 1883), Petty Sessions Order Books CSPS 1/11545, case no.341: digitized on Findmypast.com, Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912.

 

Copyright (c) 2015 by Jake Fletcher