***Professional Genealogy Research and Education Services*** 

Welcome to my website! I am Jake Fletcher. I am happy to provide professional genealogy research and education services to help you recognize, reminisce, and revel in your ancestors. I perform client research and my specialities include families in North America and the British Isles, as well as finding records for ancestors affiliated with the military and maritime industries. I also present on a variety of research topics and instruct beginner genealogy courses. Nothing is more fulfilling than connecting with people from all walks of life and across generations through genealogy.

I have been blogging since 2008 about my family history under the blog name Travelogues of a Genealogist. As I document my experiences in genealogy, i intend to provide readers and researchers with tips, success stories, and essential resources for genealogy. Continue scrolling down the page to view my most recent blog posts.

I adhere to the Genealogical Proof Standard and the Association of Professional Genealogists code of ethics.

Sign up for the mailing list for news and blog updates. You can also connect with me through social media:

Instagram (@travelyourgenealogy)




Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher. All rights reserved.

April 2016 Monthly Update


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The benefits of genealogy are not only to discover your ancestors, but also to make new friends along the way. I am grateful to be working with knowledgeable people, but also inspire beginners to pursue their research. Yesterday I ran a table at the town fair in Shirley, Massachusetts, which happened to be my home for 15 years. It was wonderful explaining to people why genealogy is a wonderful form of self-enrichment and seeing them so interested. I have had a great time lecturing this month and attending local conferences and society meetings. Check back often for new resources and templates I will be uploading to my “Publications” page, so it’s more like a research toolbox for others to use freely.

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Next month, I am presenting an Introduction to Genealogy at the Shirley Historical Society. The presentation is scheduled for Saturday, May 14 @ 7:00pm. In June, I begin my continuing education journey in genealogy with the ProGen Study Group, an 18 month course that is designed around Elizabeth Shown Mills’ book Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians. I have only heard alumni say it was extremely beneficial and so I am eager to begin this opportunity.


Genealogy Coaching & Lessons

Are you a researcher looking for extra help? Do you find yourself unable to attend the workshops and presentations that our held in your local community? I am happy to work with you and provide some undivided time to help you gain research skills. For $35 per session or $125 for four, it is a highly affordable option for developing life-long skills to enhance your genealogy aspirations! If you’d like to know more, send me an e-mail at jfletcherfamilygen@outlook.com.


Legacy News

I enjoy touching on a diversity of genealogy topics with my posts for Legacy News. In “Using Researching Logs Effectively in Genealogy,” I explain the benefits of documenting every search and broke down how my own template as to how I capture the details of what I’m looking for and how I find it.

Many of us like to know more about our ancestors beyond just vital statistics. My post “Adding Historical Context to Your Ancestor’s Life” explains what sources can add greater depth and context to the story your ancestors.

You can access a back log of all my Legacy News posts by clicking here.


Record Spotlight – Registers of Applications for the Release of Impressed Seamen

Up until the end of the War of 1812, the Royal Navy took many American merchant seamen sailing the high seas. England was at the time a global empire that heavily relied upon its navy and would go to controversial measures to recruit manpower. The British had declared war on France in 1793. This conflict necessitated the need of able seamen, so the British press gangs would board American ships to impress or forcefully recruit Americans. These often-violent acts were veiled under a thin justification that they were taking back British seamen who deserted the Royal Navy. Impressment caused outrage in the United States; interpreted as an assault on basic human rights and liberties.

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Applications Made By David Lenox, Agent For The Relief of Impressed Seamen, NARA Microfilm M2025, Registers of Applications for the Release of Impressed Seamen, 1793-1802, and Related Indexes. Reproduced at NARA Boston.


The National Archives has two microfilms that document the impressment phenomenon. Several agents and diplomats dealt with the crisis by submitting applications to the British government demanding the release and repatriation of Americans impressed into the Royal Navy. The majority of the contents held on these microfilm rolls include the agent’s registers of applications. Each individual register is self-indexed by the first letter of the seamen’s surname, but no master index exists for the entirety of the microfilm roll.  These include:

  • The name of the seamen
  • The American vessel and it’s master on which he was impressed
  • The state or city in which the seamen resided
  • The British vessel and master which impressed the seamen
  • The proof of American citizenship he provided to American vessels
  • The overall outcome of the application.

The use of National Archives records can provide a document that connects your ancestor to an important moment in early American history.

These microfilm rolls have not been digitized and can only be accessed at certain branches of the National Archives (Boston, Washington). Click on the links to download a more detailed description of each roll provided by NARA.

Roll List for M1839

Roll List for M2025


Past Travelogues

Fleshing Out the Details of the Flesichhauers [part 1], ” posted 28 Apr 2016.

Bartholomew Oliver’s Master Mariner Certificate,” posted 21 Apr 2016.

2016 MGC Conference: What I Learned About Genetic Genealogy from CeCe Moore,”posted 19 Apr 2016.

25 Favorite Free Genealogy Websites,” posted 11 Apr 2016.

Getting The Facts Right: Ancestors Who Amended the Records,” posted 8 Apr 2016.

Genealogical Research in Minutes of Annual Town Meetings,” posted 2 Apr 2016.


Facebook Finds

Shakeeb Asrar. “Online database of Holocaust victims hits 1 million records,” USAToday, posted 8 Apr 2016. Shared by Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.

Zachary Garceau. “ICYMI: Historic Occupations,” Vita Brevis, posted 19 Apr 2016 (originally written 12 Apr 2014). Shared by New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Judy G. Russell. “The name game,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 6 Apr 2016. Shared by Judy G. Russell.

Emily Kowalski Schroeder. “Learning About The Census,” Growing Little Leaves: Genealogy for Children, posted 27 Apr 2016. Shared by Tessa Keough.

Luke Spencer. “Exploring America’s Largest Collection of Early Tavern Signs,” Atlas Obscura, posted 22 Apr 2016. Shared by Connecticut Historical Museum and Library.

William Kidd, the Pirate Who Was Framed,” New England Historical Society, posted 6 Apr 2016. Shared by New England Historical Society.

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “April 2016 Monthly Update,” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 1 May 2016.  https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/april-2016-monthly-update

Fleshing Out the Details of the Fleischhauers [part 1]


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For a long time, I’ve been intrigued by the Fleischhauers and the fact that in their records, they described themselves as glassblowers and manufactured thermometers. In my own family tree, it is a unique trade, but also shows an aptitude for science, chemistry, and craftsmanship. It also represents a dedication to an small enterprise when large manufacturing companies provided stiff competition against artisans and small businesses like those of the Fleischhauers. My curiosity led me to investigate this from many angles and how it shaped their experience of leaving Germany to seek out opportunity in New York City.



My great, great grandfather Franz Emil Fleischhauer left for American in 1890 with his parents, Friedrich and Hermine (Hiegersell), and two sisters, Ida and Annie. [1] The emigration papers for Franz, shown above, state he was born 10 May 1873 in the village of Stüetzerbach. He received permission to emigrate from Prussian officials in the city of Erfurt on 14 June 1890. [2] Stüetzerbach lies in the Ilm-Kreis district of the German state of Thuringia.

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Map of Thuringian States [1890]. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

I quickly learned that the connection to glassblowing and the creation of medical instruments was not a coincidence, but a trade deeply connected to the area of Germany in which they originated. Stüetzerbach was a central hub for innovation in the manufacturing of glass, responsible for the first German thermometer, lightbulb, x-ray tube, and vacuum flask.[3] It is certain that the Fleischhauers were working with the top of their industry. The deep traditions of glass manufacturing in Stüetzerbach dating back to the 17th century suggests why they wouldn’t give up their employment as artisans to work for larger manufacturing companies.



A glassblower in his studio. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

I created tables showing chronologically where the Fleischhauer family lived in New York and what they stated for occupation, because there are subtle differences. They did move several times within the five boroughs, so it helped me to better organize the data I had collected. This information also demonstrates that a diversity of genealogical sources that can tell you something about what occupation your ancestor held.

Friedrich Fleischhauer (born 5 Nov 1851 – d. aft 1920) Occupations


Name Date Occupation Source
Fred [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1892 Artist 1892 NY State Census, Brooklyn, 38th Election Dist., 18th Ward, page 7
Fred   [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1897 Engraver 1897 Lain’s Brooklyn Directory
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1900 Glass Engraver 1900 US Federal Census, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, roll 1067, Ed 517, page 10A.
Fredk (Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1904 Engraver 1904 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1906 Engraver 1906 Brooklyn Directory
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1906 Glass Engraver Naturalization Petition, U.S. Dist. Court, Eastern Dist. of NY, 7 Aug 1906, vol 95, page 53. Witness is John G. Burgtorf, Clerk at 70 A. Linden St. Brooklyn
Fredk [Friedrich] Flesichhauer 1907 Engraver 1907 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1908 Engraver 1908 Brooklyn Directory
Frederick (Friedrich) Fleischhauer 1920 Thermometers (self) 1920 US Census, Brooklyn, ED 1294 [?], sheet 15 A

Franz Emil Fleischhauer (10 May 1873 – 25 Apr 1948) Occupations


Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1895 Glass blower City of NY, Dept. of Health, Cert. of Birth (1895), no. 6192, Franz J. Fleischhauer
Frank (Franz Emil) Fleischhauer 1897 Glass blower 1897 Lain’s Brooklyn Directory, transcription
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1898 Glass blower Naturalization Petition, Kings County Court, petition no. 4808D, 4 Mar 1898. Witness is August Rommel, a wine dealer living at 413 Evergreen Ave., Brooklyn
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1900 Thermometer Manufacturer 1900 US Federal Census (adjacent to Friedrich)
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1902 Thermometer Manufacturer George Upington, Upington’s General Directory of Brooklyn, (1902), p. 291


Frank Fleischhauer 1903 Thermometers, 111 Himrod George Upington, Upington’s General Directory of Brooklyn (1903), p.316
Franz Fleischhauer 1903 Glassblower 1903 Brooklyn Directory
Frank [Franz Emil] Flesichhauer 1904 Thermometers, 111 Himrod Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1904), p. 316
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1905 No occupation 1905 NY State Census, Brooklyn, Election Dist 24, Block C, 20th Assembly District, page 26.
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1906 Thermometers, 111 himrod Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1906), p.350
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1907 Thermometers, 111 himrod Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1907), p. 315
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1908 Thermometers, 111 himrod Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1908), p.325
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1920 Thermometer Manufacturer (runs own business) 1920 US Census, Queens, New York, roll 1234, ED 322, p. 21B.
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1948 Thermometer Manufacturer City of New York, Department of Health, Death Certificate, 1948, no. 3927


Friedrich Fleischhauer’s List of Addresses


Name Date Address Source
Fred (Friedrich) Flesichhauer 1892 38th Elec. Dist., 18th Ward, Brooklyn 1892 NY State Census
Fred (Friedrich) Fleischhauer 1897 225 Woodbine Ave., Brooklyn Lain’s Brooklyn Directory (1897), transcription
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1900 157 Cornelia St. Brooklyn 1900 US Federal Census
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1902 157 Cornelia St. Brooklyn 1902 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1904 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1904 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich Fleischhauer] 1906 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1906 Brooklyn Directory
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1906 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn Naturalization Petition.
Fredk [Friedrich] Flesichhauer 1907 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1907 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1908 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1908 Brooklyn Directory
Frederick [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1920 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1920 US Federal Census


Franz Emil Fleischhauer’s List of Addresses


Name Date Address Source
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1895 360 Hamburg Ave., Brooklyn (later renamed Wilson Ave.) Birth Cert. of Frank J. Fleischhauer
Frank (Franz Emil) Fleischhauer 1897 138 Grove St., Brooklyn Lain’s Brooklyn Directory (1897), transcripton
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1898 138 Grove St. , Brooklyn Naturalization Petition.
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1900 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1900 US Federal Census
Frank Fleischhauer 1903 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1903 Brooklyn Directory
Franz Fleischhauer 1903 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1903 Brooklyn Directory
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1904 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1904 Brooklyn Directory
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1905 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1905 NY State Census
Franz Emil Fleischhauer Sep 1905 89-36 187th place, Queens (husson and prospect ave.) “Schoolboy Killed in Train Accident.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tue 19 Sep 1905.
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1906 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1906 Brooklyn Directory
Frank [Franz Emil]


1907 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1907 Brooklyn Directory
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1908 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1908 Brooklyn Directory
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1930 89-36 187 Place, Queens 1930 US Federal Census, Queens, New York, roll 1610, ED 401, page 9A.
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1948 89-36 187 Place, Queens Death Certificate


Some of the Brooklyn City Directories showed that Franz had a place of business at 111 Himrod St. in Brooklyn from 1903 – 1908. The only clue I could find about this address was that a gold pen maker named F.M. Stark ran his business here at the same time as Franz Fleischauer.[4]

How well off were the Fleischhauers for a family owned small business? The census records may provide some insight to their success, because as genealogists know, the US Census required the head of household to provide information about their income and property. Homeownership was valued greatly among Germans and when they arrived in the U.S., sought to buy a home as soon as possible.[5] The 1900 US Census shows that within a decade of living in their adopted homeland, the Fleischhauers were homeowners living at 157 Cornelia Street in Brooklyn.[6] In 1920, having moved to the borough of Queens, they also owned their home at the corner of Husson and Prospect Ave., which is today 89-36 187th Place.[7] In 1930, the same home was valued at $15,000, which was well above average compared to other homes in their neighborhood.[8] The depression surely had an impact, but to my surprise in the 1940 Census, the Fleischhauers still managed to own their home. However, the value had dropped to $9,000.[9] Evidence suggests that the Fleischhauers were able to keep themselves afloat as self-employed people.

The Fleischhauer family’s aptitude for making glass instruments carried on to there children. My great-grandfather Frank Fleischhauer (1895-1991) also made thermometers and other glass instruments. He was particularly bright and studious, practicing academics till the end of his days and had an affinity for repurposing another man’s trash into his own treasure. He graduated from the Pratt Institute in 1929 with an award for proficiency in chemistry.

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Frank Fleischhauer wins an award for Chemistry from Pratt Institue. Brooklyn Standard Union (Brooklyn, NY), Friday, 23 Mar 1929, page 2. Source: fultonhistory.com

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Frank Fleischhauer’s certificate from the Pratt Institute for completing the Evening Course in Technical Chemistry.

The best part of the story is that when my cousin found my blog and contacted me, I received a wealth of family papers, photos, and heirlooms concerning the Fleischhauers, including the actual thermometers they manufactured. While I don’t know their exact provenance, I can say they are connected to a deep heritage of glass making and represent an important part of my paternal family history.


Thermometers manufactured by the Fleischhauer family.


[1] “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/QVPJ-7QZH : accessed 29 April 2016), Franz Fleischhauer, 10 Jun 1890; citing NARA microfilm publication M237, roll 549, list no. 816, passenger no. 525-29, (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

[2] There appears to be a discrepancy on the date Franz received permission to emigrate (14 Jun 1890). According to the passenger manifest, he would have arrived 4 days before he received permission to emigrate (10 Jun 1890), so the dates wouldn’t make sense.

[3] Innovative Labor Systeme, “Home,”: accessed at http://www.microsyringes.com: 28 Apr 2016. For a more detailed history of prominent manufacturers and glass blowers in Thuringia, visit The Cathode Ray Tube Site (http://www.crtsite.com/glassblowers.html)

[4] Walden’s Stationer and Printer (New York, NY), 25 Jan 1904, page 4: accessed at Google Books. Mr. Stark noted in response to the author’s query regarding his business that production had sorely outgrown the size of the facility and was looking for more room.

[5] The Advocates for Human Rights. “Immigration Library – German Immigrants to the United States,” (accessed at http://www.energyofanation.org/4e667f77-e302-4c1a-9d2e-178a0ca31a32.html?NodeId=: 28 Apr 2016).

[6] Brooklyn, Kings, New York, 1900 US Federal Census, roll 1067, ED 517, p. 10A, household of Frank Fleischauer.

[7] Assembly Dist. 4, Queens County, New York, 1920 US Federal Census, roll 1234, ED 322, p. 21B, household of Frank E. Fleischauer. Steve Morse’s website provides a list of all the street name changes in Queens. See Steve Morse, “Street Name Changes* in Queens, New York,” (accessed at http://www.stevemorse.org/census/changes/QueensChanges2_161to271.htm: 28 Apr 2016).

[8] Hollis, Queens County, New York, 1930 US Federal Census, roll 1601, ED 401, p. 9A, household of Frank Fleischhauer.

[9] Hollis, Queens County, New York, 1940 US Federal Census, roll 2740, ED 41-1075, p. 6A, household of Frank Fleischhauer.

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “Fleshing out the Details of the Flesichhauers [part 1],” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 28 Apr 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/fleshing-out-the-details-of-the-fleischhauers-part-1

Bartholomew Oliver’s Master Mariner Certificate


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A couple months ago, I posted about finding Bartholomew Oliver’s ticket from the British Registry of Seamen through FindMyPast, an interesting document that showcases a glimpse of the shipping history in the British Isles. However, it was only a taste of the genealogy gold on my seafaring ancestor. Thanks to one of my cousins, I now have the Master’s Certificate for Bartholomew Oliver. Not only does it provide his date and place of birth, but includes details about all the voyages he undertook up to that time. Under the specifics of his service, it names the vessels, the capacity in which he served, and dates of the voyages. For me, it is a rich source of information and probes a few interesting facts about Oliver’s life.


Master's Certificate of Service 23 December 1850

Master's Claim for Certificate of Service.jpg

Master’s Certificate of Service, Bartholomew Oliver, No. 44.815 (23 Dec 1850): accessed at “UK and Ireland, Master and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927.” (online database, Ancestry.com.)

This document confirms he was in fact master of the brig St. John which wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod in 1849. Previous sources misidentify Capt. Oliver or fail to mention his first name[1], but now I have source to confirm that Bartholomew Oliver was commanding this ship when it endured massive carnage and loss near Cohasset Bay.

I have a newspaper account to provide more details of his voyage on the Mariner, on which he served as First Mate from April 1842 to April 1844. The brig sprung a major leak and for days, Oliver and his crew had to funnel water out of the hull to keep it afloat, until an American bring John Baring encountered the Mariner and saved the crew. However, the crew of the John Baring were very much “jaded” after taking on the crew of the Mariner until it made it to port in New York 37 days later. The article states that the crew of John Baring sued Capt. Michaels for misconduct and “putting them on allowance”, which leaves me puzzled, considering as P. McDonough, master of the Mariner, said keeping his ship and its 23 men afloat was acting in the “most humane way.” [2] Apparently, the seafaring life rarely caught Bartholomew Oliver any breaks or ease in his transit across the Atlantic Ocean.


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“Galway Shipping Intelligence – Loss of the Mariner.” Galway Vindicator and Connaught Advertiser (Galway, Ireland), 9 Mar 1944, p.2.

Determining the actual birth date of Capt. Oliver

Between both of Bartholomew Oliver’s maritime documents, there are discrepancies in his year of birth. His register ticket states it was 1818, while the master’s certificate is 1820, both sharing the day of May 1st.[3] However, the registers of St. Nicholas parish in Galway show a Bartly Oliver baptized on May 5th 1817 in presence of his parents Bartholomew and Sarah Oliver, so my inference is that Bartholomew was born 1 May 1817.[4] I am thankful the Catholic parish registers are now online, thus allowing me to make this discovery. There are other Olivers mentioned in these sources, so it will take some more time before I post about the Olivers of Galway and determine their exact kinship.


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5 May 1817 – Bartholomew & Sarah Oliver, son Bartley, Quay Street, witnesses are Martin Oliver and Margaret Halloran


By the year alone, it would discount that Master Mariner Bartholomew Oliver is my 4th great-grandfather, but more likely a sibling of Denis James and John Bartholomew Oliver, the brothers who migrated to San Francisco, California. If born in 1817, he only precedes Denis by about 6 years and John, 12, which would be certainly too young to be the father. An important clue lies in the calendar of the will of Bartholomew Oliver, deceased 1834, who is also a mariner (described as pilot) and father of Bartholomew Oliver.[5] It could be very easy to confuse the generations and mix up these two as the same individual.


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Letters of administration for personal estate of Bartholomew Oliver were granted by the probate court 5 Nov 1889 when he died 15 Nov 1834. Executor of estate is “Bartholomew Oliver of Galway Master Mariner the Son.”


I look forward to digging up more clues about the Olivers in Galway, how they struggled in the seafaring life and to maintain order in the harbor against ruffians known as men of the Claddagh. This is some rich family history not to be overlooked!

Researching Master’s and Mates Certificates

For those interested in researching these certificates, they are searchable through Ancestry.com on the collection, “UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927.” These certificates were first introduced in 1845 as part of the process of examination for men of these capacities, but were not fully compulsory until 1854. Bartholomew Oliver was inspected before 1854 because in 1850, inspection was required of master mariners and mates involved in foreign trade.[6] Originals of these certificates are held by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, UK. Copies can be made using this request form.


[1] “Martin Oliver (captain).” Wikipedia, (accessed 20 Apr 2016: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Oliver_(captain); “The Shipwreck of the St. John” Clare County Library (accessed 24 Apr 2009: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/history/shipwreck_st_john.htm); Daniel Wadsworth, “A Shipwreck On Our Shores,” TIARA Newsletter Vol. 8 No. 3 (Summer 1991.)

[2] “Galway Shipping Intelligence – Loss of the Mariner.” Galway Vindicator and Connaught Advertiser (Galway, Ireland), 9 Mar 1944, p.2: accessed at “Irish Newspapers” (online database, findmypast.com.)

[3] Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Registry of Seamen’s Ticket, Bartholomew Oliver, no. 253.765, National Archives volume no. 113, piece no. 127: accessed at “British, Merchant Seamen, 1835-1857” (online database, findmypast.com.); Master’s Certificate of Service, Bartholomew Oliver, No. 44,815 (23 Dec 1850): accessed at “UK and Ireland, Master and Mate’s Certificates, 1850-1927.” (online database, Ancestry.com.)

[4] Baptisms in Galway City, Bartly Oliver (5 May 1817), accessed at “Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915” (online database, ancestry.com), image 8 of 44.

[5] Bartholomew Oliver (1889), page 570. “Calendar of Wills and Administrations.” National Archives of Ireland (accessed 20 Apr 2016: http://www.willcalendars.nationalarchives.ie/reels/cwa/005014903/005014903_00301.pdf)

[6] “Research guide C2: The Merchant Navy.” Royal Museums Greenwich. (accessed 20 Apr 2016: http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/researchers/research-guides/research-guide-c2-merchant-navy-tracing-people-master-mariners)

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “Bartholomew Oliver’s Master Mariner Certificate.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 20 Apr 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/bartholomew-olivers-master-mariner-certificate


2016 MGC Conference: What I Learned About Genetic Genealogy from CeCe Moore


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My experience in genealogy has always dealt with records and historical research. I like to follow the paper trail. Admittedly, I have always shied away from DNA and genetic genealogy. Maybe because it was a field I did not really understand; I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the scientific jargon. It was never really a part of my comfort zone so to speak, but after attending talks given by Genetic Genealogist CeCe Moore at the Massachusetts Genealogical Council Conference, I am inspired to dive deeper into the world of genetic genealogy. Surely some of the chromosome mapping and analysis remains a bit over my head, but I did gain some good tips.

Your Ethnicity Pie Chart is based on Very Broad Estimates

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I took my AncestryDNA around January of this year. Since then, I have barely touched my DNA page. Cece Moore explained that the word ethnicity estimates are a bit misleading, that really the proper term for the composition of one’s DNA is admixture, because ethnicity indicates a definitive culture and type of person, when our DNA is a much more complicated because of human patterns of migration and intermixing with different peoples. What was most revealing to me is that the ethnicity estimates presented in your pie chart on Ancestry DNA are the result of testers running your DNA sample 40 times and then taking the average, therefore the true percentage could fall within a very broad spectrum.

When you’re at the Ancestry DNA homepage for your account, you want to click “See Full Ethnicity Estimate.” At that point, you reach a page that brings you the full pie chart and map highlighting the regions of the world that compose your DNA admixture. By clicking on each part of your pie chart represented in your DNA admixture, lets say “Western Europe,” it shows the actual range of percentages for that ethnicity region. While my pie chart says 71% Western European, it could actually be anywhere from 48%-94%.

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Source: My AncestryDNA Account.


The Importance of Data Mining and Analyzing Your Matches’ Family Trees.

The best part of taking a test from Ancestry DNA is locating close cousin matches, which I have several that are unfamiliar to me. CeCe’s talks prompted to start messaging all of these cousins, those who are removed less than four times. However, I am limited by the fact that I don’t personally subscribe to Ancestry. While I was trying to budget my expenses and not use a home subscription, I figured I could save some dollars using Ancestry at my local library. However, there is a huge difference in the abilities of Ancestry Library Edition and a regular subscription, particularly regarding DNA analysis and the ability to view family tress. To best understand my DNA matches, I need to be able to view their family trees and see what surnames and individuals correlate with my family tree.

One free tool that is available is called GedMatch, which allows you to see what segment of your chromosome is shared between with two users who have matching DNA. It is a useful tool in helping to narrow in one what line of your family tree two individuals share a common ancestor. From the AncestryDNA homepage, click on “Settings.” On the right of that page, a menu for “Actions” is listed, including the action to “Download Your Raw DNA Data.” This is the data taken from your genetic code before it has been processed and synthesized by the testing company into the ethnicity estimates and results you receive on your account. I will be sure to write future posts on my experience with GedMatch, along with other tools for genetic genealogy, and how it helps me in my research.

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Use more testing companies to get the most out of your genetic genealogy research.

As CeCe explained, every testing company has pros and cons. The size of their databases only depend on the users that purchase tests from them, so to ensure more thorough research, use all the testing companies.


CeCe Moore sharing behind the scenes from the PBS Show “Finding Your Roots.” at the 2016 Massachusetts Genealogical Council Conference in Marlborough, Mass.

While I’m still a beginner to the world of genetic genealogy, I am excited to incorporate this into my research more along with more familiar research methods. I always leave genealogy conferences with new perspective on how to conduct successful research! As CeCe stressed throughout her day of talks, exhausting the paper trail, but also utilizing DNA testing and genetic genealogy, can break major brick wall and add a lot of depth to our family history.

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. ” What I Learned About Genetic Genealogy From CeCe Moore.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 17 Apr 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/04/17/what-i-earned-about-genetic-genealogy-from-cece-moore

25 Favorite Free Genealogy Websites


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Who doesn’t like free?! Knowing your family story shouldn’t be deterred by costly subscriptions and fees, so consider starting or continuing your genealogy journey with these 25 websites that offer information and resources at no cost. This is by no means considered to be  a “Best Of” list, but rather free websites and databases that have helped me in my own experience. I’d like to hear from you about what other free sources would make your “Favorite” list.

  1. FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org)

With over one billion records free from over 100 countries, there is no reason why family history cannot be accessible to anyone. FamilySearch.org is a great site for beginning your journey in genealogy. It is also a valuable tool for genealogy education because of the FamilySearch Wiki (https://familysearch.org/wiki), providing guides to county, state, and national records. These articles are very useful as a checklist of sources in your own project.

2. Google (http://www.google.com)

Google’s capabilities for accessing information instantaneously is so powerful because the tools embedded in Google’s search operators are geared to think like researchers. Don’t overlook the other features of Google, including 25 million digitized books, scholarly journals, and newspapers in Google Books, Google Scholar and Google News respectively. In addition, Google Earth is an excellent tool for mapping out your family history.

 3. Internet Archive (https://archive.org)

Search through the entire texts of thousands of genealogies, county histories, and more in the world’s digital public library.

4. Find-A-Grave (http://www.findagrave.com) and BillionGraves.com (https://billiongraves.com)

The collaboration of genealogists and volunteers has led to free searchable data for millions of headstones. Both these websites are a great place to start finding your ancestor’s burial information. You can even get involved; install the apps for either of these websites and upload local headstone photos straight from your smartphone.

5. National Archives of Ireland (http://www.genealogy.nationalarchives.ie)

An excellent example of a database that meets the standards of genealogists. Rich information on Irish Families is available through databases for Irish Census Records (1901, 1911, and all surviving 19th century schedules,) Wills and Administrations, and the Tithe Applotment Books.

6. AfriGeneas (http://afrigeneas.org)

Start here if you are researching the genealogy of African American families. This is a great site containing census records, marriage and death records, and extensive resources.

7. WorldCat (http://www.worldcat.org)

The world’s largest library catalog offers you to find the contents of almost any library in the world. This is a great tool for researching and tracking down specific manuscript sources that may not be digitized online.

8. One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse (http://www.stevemorse.org)

Dr. Morse created an amazing website that serves the genealogy world in a number of ways. The power of this website is in it’s ability to retrieve better results from a number of large genealogy databases, when their own search operators may miss your ancestor’s data entry. This is a particularly useful site for researching passenger lists and immigrants to the U.S.

9. Facebook (https://www.facebook.com)

The social media revolution changed forever how we connect. Facebook can not only help in facilitating contact with relatives, but many genealogy groups are administered by dedicated volunteers who would like to help answer your questions.

10. National Library of Ireland (http://registers.nli.ie)

2015 witnessed a milestone in Irish Genealogy when the National Library of Ireland digitized 373,000 pages of Catholic parish registers from Ireland recording vital and religious events up until 1880.

11. National Gravesite Locator (http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov)

The U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs has uploaded burial information on veterans and their families located in National Cemeteries.

12. Linkpendium (http://www.linkpendium.com/family-discoverer/)

Linkpendium is a great asset for searching the web’s free genealogical data. The site continuously indexes every family tree and genealogy web page appearing on the Internet.

13. ItalianGen.org (http://italiangen.org)

The Italian Genealogical Group is dedicated to furthering Italian family history, but has also made available to users databases for vital records and naturalization papers from all five boroughs of New York City. This is an excellent resource for anyone researching immigrant families in the greater metropolitan area of New York.

14. MapofUS.org (http://www.mapofus.org)

Many brickwalls in genealogy are the result of not looking in the right place. Boundaries of states and their counties have changed overtime. This website uses AniMap software to re-draw historical boundaries and is an essential tool in figuring out the exact jurisdiction of a particular event in our ancestor’s life.

15. National Archives and Records Administration (http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/)

Our ancestors living in America most likely left a paper trail of records from interacting with the Federal Government. Learn more about genealogical research at the National Archives and accessing Federal Records.

16. JewishGen (http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/)

An excellent website for research on Jewish families that live all around the world.

17. Fulton Newspapers (http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html)

Despite minor flaws, this website is an amazing feat because one man has digitized 34 millions of pages of newspapers that are fully searchable. Most of the newspapers are from New York, but other states are starting to come online as well.

18. Daughters of the American Revolution (http://www.dar.org/national-society/genealogy)

Find your patriot ancestor using the DAR’s genealogical research databases. Ancestor searches retrieve basic information on the soldier and users can retrieve potential sources in the DAR Records Committee Index.

19. Bureau of Land Management – General Land Office Records (https://www.glorecords.blm.gov/default.aspx)

Your ancestor could very well have bought land from the U.S. Government. This website contains a database for federal land patents, providing users with coordinates of the land plot and a digitized copy of the original patent.

20. The Massachusetts Vital Records Project (http://ma-vitalrecords.org)

Have deep roots in the Bay State? Try this website containing transcriptions of vital records for Massachusetts towns predating 1850.

21. Boston Public Library – Electronic Resources (http://www.bpl.org/electronic/)

Massachusetts residents and individuals who work in Massachusetts are eligible for a free E-card from the Boston Public Library. This allows you to access to many research databases, including American Historical Newspapers dating back to 1690.

  1. Library and Archives of Canada (http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/search/Pages/ancestors-search.aspx)

Start here for genealogical research in Canada. They host an impressive array of databases including vital records, census records, deeds, passenger lists, military records, and biographical dictionaries.

  1. The USGenWeb Project (http://www.usgenweb.org)

This is a community project run by volunteers, with pages organized by state and their under by county. This includes many abstracts and transcriptions of genealogical sources, but vary in scope and content depending on quality of the administrators for each county.

  1. National Parks Service – Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database (http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-soldiers.htm)

The National Parks Service has gone to great lengths to transcribe the service records of Union and Confederate forces into a free online database. Start here to locate some basic information on your Civil War Veteran.

  1. Cyndi’s List (http://www.cyndislist.com)

For 20 years, Cyndi Ingle has graciously made available and maintained the largest directory of genealogical resources on the web. This is a great tool for finding websites and resources based on location, subject, and more!


Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “25 Favorite Free Genealogy Websites.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 7 Apr 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/25-favorite-free-genealogy-websites


Getting The Facts Right: Ancestors Who Amended the Records


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Surely we should be grateful and give thanks to all of our ancestors. After all, they are the reason we are here. However, genealogists should especially tip their hats to the ones who made sure the facts were right and submitted later corrections to any records. My great-grandfather Franz Julius Fleischhauer’s (later went by Frank) original birth certificate from the Department of Health in New York City states he was born the morning of 9 Apr 1895 by midwife at his parent’s residence.[1]

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 12.25.59 PM


The record of Frank Fleischhauer’s birth named his parents as Franz Fleischhauer, who was at the time of the event 23 years and was a glassblower by occupation, and Meda Lang, 24 years of age.[2] The record stood for over 50 years, until corrections were submitted by Frank’s mother.


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Meta’s affidavit provided two very important corrections to the original birth record, stating that Frank’s actual date of birth was April 5th, not April 9th, and that her maiden name was Meta Rankin not Meda Lang.[3] A belated happy birthday to my great-grandfather Frank Fleischhauer!


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Frank Fleischhauer at wedding of son Bob and Margarette Freeman in Hartford, CT. (1943)


I have not yet ordered a contemporary copy of the birth certificate to see if it was amended with these corrections. The copy of Frank’s birth certificate in my possession was issued 5 Mar 1942. The affidavit came down to me through the family papers, so I’m not sure whether the affidavit remained on file with the NY City Dept. of Health.


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Meta Rankin Fleischhauer.


Thanks to my 2x great grandmother Meta and all the other ancestors who make sure the records have the correct facts! For that, I am definitely a grateful genealogist.



[1] Brooklyn, Kings County, New York. birth certificate no. 6192 (12 May 1895), Franz J. Fleischhauer; New York City Dept. of Health, New York, New York. The address at which Franz J Fleischhauer was born appears to be 360 Hamburg [?] in Brooklyn, however I could not confirm this address existed and is somewhat hard to decipher on the copy of the record.

[2] Brooklyn, NY., birth cert. no. 6192 (12 May 1895, Franz J. Fleischhauer.

[3] Affidavit by Meta Rankin Fleischhauer, 23 Aug 1951.

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “Getting The Facts Right: Ancestors who Amended the Records.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 8 Apr 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/getting-the-facts-right-ancestors-who-amended-the-records


Genealogical Research in Minutes of Annual Town Meetings


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The early town records and minutes of annual town meetings can be very useful in expanding the narrative of your ancestor’s life. New England towns and villages from their burgeoning years and up till the present day, depend on town citizens to perform functions that promote harmonious life in the community. In colonial times, town meetings were held after the harshness of winter subsided, usually in March or April, to elect town officials and other positions necessary for upkeep of the village.[1]


I decided to take a look at the FamilySearch collection, “Vermont, Town and Vital Records” to see what was digitized for the town of Norwich. I was excited to the first volume of town records kept by the town clerk had been digitized. Going through the minutes of town meetings is by no means an easy task. You have to carefully scan each page for the names of interest and at times, the old handwriting can be difficult to decipher, but the results are fruitful and quite interesting. As a genealogist, I don’t settle for just searching the indexed records that are readily available online, but seek out any source or collection that is relevant to my research question. I thought that after tracking down every source on my 5x great-grandfather Elisha Freeman for several years, that I located all the facts on my ancestor. To my pleasant surprise, I was proven quite wrong.



Source: Wikimedia Commons.

At the annual town meeting held in March 1780, Elisha Freeman was elected surveyor of highways along with Hezekiah Goodrich, Capt. [Timothy] Burton, Jonas Richard, Gershom Morse, Ichabod Carly, and William Wildear .[2] Men who held these positions were responsible for maintenance of the town roads and determining if certain pathways warranted the creation of new roads.[3] It is reasonable to assume that in Elisha’s experience some years earlier, already having served in this capacity for the adjacent township of Hanover, New Hampshire, that citizens of Norwich deemed him qualified to do the job of surveying the highways in Norwich. Elisha’s terms of service did not last more than a year and with annual elections, it gave the opportunity for different men to serve in these roles.
The Town of Norwich voted on 2 Sep 1783 to have Lieut. John Hepson and Elisha Freeman to collect the salary and pay the Reverend Lyman Potter.[4] The citizens of Norwich voted annually on the minister’s salary, usually fixed at 75 pounds as was the case in 1783. The funds for the salary came from a special tax, which was to be collected by Hepson and Freeman for that year and delivered to the minister by the 1st of December. Those who refused to pay the tax would have to prove with documentation they were affiliated with another congregation or else strict penalties would be enacted.[5]
A year later, on 15 Mar 1784 Elisha was given double duty; the town elected him both grand juror and lister.[6] As grand juror, he and Joseph Ball, also elected to the position, were to inform local authorities of incidents that happened in Norwich.[7] Town listers performed a number of duties, including compiling lists of all taxable residents and property within the town.[8] Also chosen as lifters that year were Elisha Burton, Elijah Gates, Samuel Brown Jr., & Capt. [Abel] Wilder.

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Minutes of Annual Town Meeting in Norwich, Vermont (15 Mar 1784). Source: Familysearch.org

Elisha disappeared from the town records for a little while, until the annual town meeting held 13 Mar 1797 when he was once again made grand juror, along with Ebenezer Percival Jr. and Samuel Brown Jr.[9] The town meeting that year was held over two days, for a variety of decisions were carried out, including the adjustment of school districts within the town of Norwich.

pomponnosauc area norwich

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In the clerk’s description of the boundaries of each school district, he mentions all the inhabitants whose properties outline the district. Elisha Freeman was mentioned as an inhabitant of School district No.6 along with William Johnson, Elisha Waterman, Joseph Pattril[?], John Greary Jr., Eliot Bartlett, Gershom Bartlett, Gershom Bartlett Jr., Asa Brewster, and Levi Baldwin.[10] The town clerk’s description of inhabitants outlining the school district has provided excellent insight into the neighbors of my ancestor, as well as a source to cross-reference with other land records if I wanted to map and pinpoint the exact location of his property.
School districts as Professor Jere Daniell describes, acted as “the central unit of organization” in Vermont’s towns and allowed for the creation of localized one-room schoolhouses so children in that area could walk to school. Central to the community, it is evident from watching this video, that the town of Norwich prides itself on a reputable and deeply-rooted public education system.[11]


There are so many tidbits and treasures about Elisha Freeman and other ancestors in the town records of Norwich, that it makes the case for genealogists to always consult town records, especially if their ancestor was an early settler. I now know more about Elisha’s contribution to this wonderful town in Vermont more than ever and for that I am a grateful genealogist.
[1] Ann Smith Lainhart. Digging for Genealogical Treasure in New England Town Records, 21.
[2] Norwich, Town and Vital Records, Vol.1, 1761-1793 (State of VT: Filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake at Norwich, 31 July 1952), 14: accessed on Familysearch, “Vermont, Town and Vital Records.”
[3] Digging for Genealogical Treasure in New England Town Records, 25.
[4] Norwich Town Records, Vol. 1, 1761-1793, 49.
[5] M.E. Goddard and Henry V. Partridge. A History of Norwich, Vermont with Portraits and Illustrations. (Hanover, N.H.: The Dartmouth Press, 1905), 70: accessed on Google Books.
[6] Norwich Town Records, vol.1, 1761-1793, 51.
[7] Orion M. Barber, ed. The Vermont Statutes, 1894: Including the Public Acts of 1894, with the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the Constitutions of the United States, and the State of Vermont. (Rutland, VT: The Tuttle Co., 1895), 369: accessed on Google Books.
[8] To learn more about the specific roles and duties of listers in Vermont town government, see James Smith Garland. New England Town Law: A Digest of Statutes and Decisions Concerning Towns and Town Officers. (Boston, MA: The Boston Book Company, 1906), pages Vt. 30-51.
[9] Norwich Town Records, Vol.1, 1761-1793, 106.
[10] Norwich Town Records, Vol.1, 1761-1793, 109.
[11] “Back to School: Lesson’s From Norwich’s One Room School Houses” Video. Uploaded 16 Jul 2015. YouTube: Historic New England’s Channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZZIRMjYaic&index=26&list=LLDML3QpFHeP-MP91WH_kW_A: accessed 2 Apr 2016.), interview with Jere Daniell at 5:35.


Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher, “Genealogical Research in Minutes of Annual Town Meetings.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 2 Apr 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/genealogical-research-in-minutes-of-annual-town-meetings/

March 2016 Monthly Update


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Hi Everyone and Happy Spring! This month has been exciting thanks to the diversity of client cases I’ve undertaken and I have a lot to look forward next month regarding lectures and public appearances. There’s never a dull moment in the world of genealogy! Be sure to check out the Lecture page to find out where I will be speaking next this spring. For anyone in the North Central Massachusetts area, I’d suggest making plans to visit the Queen Bee Festival in Shirley, MA on April 30th. I will be vending a table and offering genealogy consultations. I will also have a sign-up sheet for those who want to receive a FREE Genealogy Research guide, including:

  • 10 Best Sources for Researching Female Ancestors
  • 25 Essential Free Websites for Genealogy
  • Charts, Templates, and more!

RSVP to the Facebook event and come out to support other local business owners!

Legacy News

In honor of Women’s History month, I posted an article on how to research female ancestors using military records by the National Archives. Even before women were able to enlist in WWI, women served in many important capacities as nurses, stewards, and volunteers in order to support the cause. Earlier this month, I wrote about the value of city directories for genealogical research, specifically on how they can be utilized to find information about your ancestor’s neighborhood and community. Visit the Legacy News page to access all of my articles.

Record Spotlight – Reports of the U.S. Steamboat Inspector General


Source: LOC Prints and Photographs Division.

I love being exposed to new types of sources in my research for clients and am compelled to share an example of this. I’ve come to value the importance of published government records in genealogical research. The Steamboat Inspection Service was created in 1852 and was designated to perform routine inspections of vessels registered in U.S. ports as well as administer navigation policies in their district. The Inspector General would submit annual reports to the Secretary of the Treasury, which could prove valuable to those interested in maritime history. The inspector for each of the seven districts within the United States was required to report on maritime accidents, casualties, and investigations. For individuals who died at sea, these reports are useful as a substitute source for vital records. For example, the annual report of the Steamboat Inspector in San Francisco mentions that on 24 Oct 1894, “Dennis Donovan, deck hand on steamer Apache…fell overboard on the gang plank and was drowned.” [1]

The location of these reports are somewhat scattered but some can be viewed for free online. Hathitrust Digital Library has digitized copies from 1880 and 1894-1931. Some personnel information can also be found in the Lists of Officers of Merchant Steam, Motor, and Sailor Vessels that were compiled by the Steamboat Inspection Service. Hathitrust Digital Library holds volumes for 1897 and 1907-1915.

The National Archives has records of the Steamboat Inspection Service including correspondence, letters, and reports in Record Group 41, Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation. Be also sure to check archives and city libraries for any files they may have on the Steamboat Inspection Service. For examples, the Boston Public Library holds reports of the Steamboat Inspector General for Boston in their Manuscripts Department from 1872-1884.

For those who want to delve deeper into maritime research, visit my publications page to download a free copy of my “Maritime Genealogy Guide and Bibliography.”

Past Travelogues

Denis J. Oliver’s Gift to Pope Pius IX,” posted 27 Mar 2016.

St. Patrick’s Day: The Birthday of General Connor and Many Other Irishmen,” posted 17 Mar 2016.

Land Records and Estate Files for Owen O’Neill of Belmont, California,” posted 12 Mar 2016.

Three Cheers: How The Oliver Family  Met Theodore Roosevelt,” posted 7 Mar 2016.

Facebook Finds

Kay Caball. “Kerry Land & Estate Records.” My Kerry Ancestors, 12 Feb 2016. Shared by Kimmitt Genealogical Research.

Amy Cohen. “The Brother Who Stayed Behind: Adventures in Genealogical Research.” Brotmanblog: A Family Journey, 11 Mar 2016. Shared by Amy Cohen in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook Group.

Cape Cod Captain Elijah Cobb Meets the French Guillotine and Lives to Tell Of It.” New England Historical Society. Shared by New England Historical Society.

Jennifer Beeson Gregory. “Who’s the most photographed man of the 19th Century? HINT: It’s Not Abe Lincoln…” The Washington Post, 15 Mar 2016. Shared by Marian Pierre-Louis 

Pamela Guye Holland. “Finding Historical Images Online.Finding the Stories of Your Ancestors, 29 Feb 2016. Shared by Pamela Guye Holland.

John Laidler. “Turning hard-to-read cursive into computer type.The Boston Globe, 18 Mar 2016. Shared by Kate Lowrie.

Donna Moughty. “Creating a Reference Library for Irish Research.” Donna’s Irish Genealogy Resources, 22 Feb 2016. Shared by Stone House Historical Research.

Judy G. Russell. “Educable Children.” The Legal Genealogist, 10 Mar 2016. Shared by Judy G. Russell.

Frederick Wertz. “What you need to know about original and derivative sources.” FindMyPast Blog, 23 Mar 2016. Shared by FindMyPast.


  1. U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service. Annual report of the Supervising Inspector General to the Secretary of the Treasury for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1895. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1895,) 20.

Copyright © 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “March 2016 Monthly Update.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 29 Mar 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/march-2016-monthly-update


Denis J. Oliver’s Gift to Pope Pius IX


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Few gestures are more grand than gifting a 350 pound brick of the world’s finest silver. In 1870,  Pope Pius IX received a brick of Grade-A pure silver that took eight soldiers to lift and carry into the Vatican. The gift was bestowed upon Pope Pius IX by Denis J. Oliver of San Francisco, the brother of my 3x great-grandfather John Bartholomew Oliver, to show his adoration and devout faith to the Catholic Church. At the time, the brick of silver was valued at 1000 pounds and was 98% pure silver.

This stunning gift was not by any means a random act of kindness. Oliver’s present, along with others, came at a time when Pope Pius IX and the Papal authority were in a state of crisis. According to the article, these presents were received with “the intention of…assisting him to meet the extraordinary circumstances to which it has given rise, or of sustaining him against his enemies, the enemies of order and religion.” [1]


Pope Pius IX (1792-1878), born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferreti. He was the first Pope to be photographed. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Who are these enemies that are being referred to? It takes knowing some Italian history to understand the full context. When the pontificate of Pope Pius IX came to being in 1846, the country of Italy was controlled in large part by the Papal States, a set of provinces in the middle of Italy that were under sovereign rule of the Pope. However the sentiments of Italian citizens begin to change during Pope Pius XI’s reign. Nationalist movements swept all over Europe, dissolving long standing monarchies and Italy would experience much inner conflict and revolution during the pope’s reign. At times, the Pope was forced to leave Rome for his safety. When Denis J. Oliver’s gift was received by the Vatican, the Italian nationalists were gaining ground and several months later, the city of Rome fell to the Italian Army on 29 Sep 1870. [2] Perhaps Denis J. Oliver’s efforts to raise money for the Papal authority and military fell short, but would ultimately receive great admiration from Pope Pius XI. When four new bishops were canonized at the Vatican in 1881, Oliver was present wearing the Order of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Gregory the Great. [3]

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Source: Findmypast.com

The article was extracted from a letter by Mr J.F. Maguire, MP, published originally in the Cork Examiner. Many newspapers throughout Ireland and the United States reprinted this article. Once again the Oliver family managed to make international headlines. The article describes Oliver as an Irishman from Galway, who left for New York at the age of seventeen, and after working hard at business in New York City for several years, was “induced to try the new region opened up to hope and industry.” This region of hope and industry was specifically California and while others “toiled and sickened, or died in search of gold,” Denis J. Oliver rose to amass great wealth after “twenty years of honorable industry.” [4] 

By any standards, this is no small gesture and one can only imagine having such a gift bestowed upon them. It was a great risk to send the 350 pound brick of silver 8000 miles from San Francisco to Rome. Whether it made the journey entirely by ship or partially by land through continental Europe is not clear. Regardless of the risk in sending such a valuable item, where an array of possible disasters could have sabotaged the present, Denis Oliver remained firm and convicted in his duty to protect the interests of his church.

  1. “Presents to the Pope.” Dublin Evening Mail (Dublin, Ireland), 12 Jan 1870, p.4: accessed at findmypast.com

2.“Papal States under Pope Pius IX.” Wikipedia: accessed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_States_under_Pope_Pius_IX

3. “The Late Canonization in Rome.” The Freeman’s Journal (Dublin, Ireland), 13 Dec 1881, p.7: accessed at findmypast.com

4. “Presents to the Pope.” Dublin Evening Mail.

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “Denis J. Oliver’s Gift to Pope Pius IX.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 27 Mar 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/denis-j-olivers-gift-to-pope-pius-xi


St. Patrick’s Day: The Birthday of General Patrick E. Connor and Many Other Irishmen


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Many Irishmen, like my 3x great-grandfather General Patrick Edward Connor, were firm in stating that they were born on St. Patrick’s Day.

There is more than enough information and documentation of Gen. Connor’s military career and adult life, but scant details are available about his early life in Ireland. Many immigrants anglicized or altered states to assimilate into their adopted homeland, thus Patrick Edward O’Connor dropped the prefix in his surname and became Connor.  Brigham D. Madsen, General Connor’s biographer and author of Glory Hunter, had attempted to clarify and bring to light the true birthdate of General Connor. In the footnotes of Chapter 1 in the biography, he notes that in 1988, he had written to the Diocesan Secretary of the Bishop’s House, Killarney and asked for a search of the Catholic Parish Registers. While possible matches were located, nothing was conclusive as Patrick Connor never gave the name of his parents. [1]

An act of Congress approved 29 January 1887 (24 Stat. 371), provided pensions for veterans of the Mexican-American War who has served sixty days, or their widows who had no remarried.[2] On my trip to Washington back in 2009, I had requested Gen. Connor’s pension file at the National Archives. It was a massive file and showed he received pensions for both the Civil War and Mexican War.  On his declaration for survivor of pension, he states his birthdate as 17 March 1820. [3] Many other secondary sources including newspaper articles, early biographical accounts, and more, would take the St. Patrick’s birthday as fact.

IMG_1934 copy

General Patrick Edward Connor’s Declaration for Survivor of Pension. Photo taken by author at the National Archives, Washington, D.C. (2009)

As a staunch Irish catholic, General Connor would have considered St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century, a revered figure at the very least. Based on the fact they also shared the same name, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t give his birthdate at St. Patrick’s Day. While part of this stemmed from pride and affinity for heritage, many Irish immigrants came from very poor backgrounds and simply didn’t know their birthday, so the holiday was used quite often as the date of birth.

For genealogists seeking the truth, this can be frustrating. With the release of millions of Irish Catholic church records to online databases, including Ancestry.com and FindMyPast, many researchers can dig into these records to find the correct or more accurate genealogical information of their ancestors.


[1] Madsen’s analysis and research on General Connor’s birthdate can be found in footnotes 3-8 of Chapter 1. See Brigham D. Madsen, Glory Hunter: A Biography of Patrick Edward Connor (Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press, 1990), 4.

[2] National Archives and Records Administration. Genealogical Research in the National Archives (Washington, D.C.: National Archives Trust Fund, 1985), 127.

[3] Patrick Edward Conner (Captain, Texas Vol., Mexican-American War), pension application no. O 21603, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications…, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Record Group 15: Records of the Department of Veteran Affairs; National Archives, Washington D.C.


Further Reading:

Mark Pratt. “Ancestry.com makes 10 million Catholic records from Ireland available free.” The Seattle Times, posted 11 Mar 2016. http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/going-green-ancestry-com-indexes-millions-of-irish-records/

Pat Richley-Erickson. “FindMyPast: 10 million Irish Catholic Parish Registers.” DearMYRTLE’s Genealogy Blog, posted 5 Feb 2016. http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2016/02/findmypast-10-million-irish-catholic.html

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher, “St. Patrick’s Day – The Birthday of General Patrick E. Connor and Many Other Irishmen.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 17 Mar 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/st-patricks-day-the-birthday-of-general-patrick-e-connor-and-many-other-irishmen








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