Monday, December 7, 2009

Using an online Irish database

For those of you who may occasionally "pop" in here, know that whenever I find a online research tool or site, I share it with you all.

My thoughts continually turn towards Eire. Because, even if my airline tickets are not yet purchased ( we are right now fare hunting), my husband & I are earmarking a week in April 2010 for a trip to Ireland !

Now before I get all exicted, I have to do my homework online to the best of my ability.

Recently, as I was combing through a search engine, I typed in " Kilkenny genealogy database"( or something similar). I shall reveal this link in a moment...

I'm fortunate to have a starting point for an ancestral homeland.I'll tell you how :

Two of my elder Carroll cousins, whose names were John and Edward Carroll, had begun in the 1920's, to piece our family's history together. And I'm mighty grateful that they did, because today, a whole family, included an extended family all through the US, now knows about it's heritage.

In one of the documents that the brother's consulted. we have a date of birth and a place of birth in Ireland for our oldest known Carroll ancestor, Andrew Carroll.

Citing one's research sources is always a very serious matter. But for Andrew's birthdate,I'm not sure which document ( naturalization ?) listed his date of birth and birthplace as 31 May,1817, at Saint Canice's RC Catholic church, Kilkenny city, County Kilkenny, Ireland.

But as an old saying goes " never look a gift horse in the mouth". It's always a nice start to have both date + birthplace.
This is quite a different situation from 3 other Irish branches which I also have where I do not have a clue for place of origin.

Coming back to this Irish website, it is HERE. It is with the Rothe House in Ireland,with a very number of birth,marriage & death documents plus the Griffith's Evaluation ( a survey of Irish land occupants) indexed for Kilkenny county.

BUT... If you click the link marked MAP on the very right hand corner ( on the website link), you will have a map like this of Ireland :

This shows you the counties which have been indexed in data bases in the different county Genealogy centers ( in green) and which are not yet available ( in red).

You can make searches in the indexes, but first need to sign up for free.Once you have signed up, you can do all the searches in the indexes.

An example of the info you will have for free :

Church baptism- Carroll-Andrew - 1817- Co Kilkenny

There is for a fee, the possibility to view details of any act/s which may interest you, payable by a secured server.

I found an Andrew Carroll in 1817 and another in 1820. And I did pay a fee to view the information, as this could only help me before researching in Ireland.

On the 1817 birth I learned surprisingly that :

Andrew Carroll,date of baptism/birth 28 July,1817.
In the parish/district of Castlecomer ( to the North of Kilkenny city)

Father: Patrick Mother : Elizabeth SULLIVAN.
Sponsor 1 : William Carroll Sponsor 2 : Catherine Kennedy

The date that I already have for birth/baptism ( 31 May,1817) does not corroborate this one which is 28 July.

My Irish Genealoy reference book at home (Collin's Tracing your Irish Family History by Anthony Adolph), says about baptisms that sometimes,infants were not baptised right off after birth.Sometimes taking even months or years before the child was baptised.

That brings me a bit of hope. But..wasen't Andrew's baptismal place being listed as St Canice.
RC Church ? Or did the ancestor use the name of the principal RC parish for reference ??

I have no idea...

Now, once I will be in the Nat'l Library of Ireland, I will have to investigate both Saint Canice's regiter and the one in the Castlecomer district.

In the meanwhile, I will be combing the index for other clues ( though not paying for them all), including the marriage and death indexes.I should start a notebook and jot in this information to take with me and use it as I work through the microfilms in the Nat'l Library.

It's going to take work, and I urge my family members not to add the above family information YET; I have check my sources in Ireland.
Otherwise, other Andrew Carrolls from Co Kikenny were born in :



Bye for now, fellow Carrolls and genealogist friends ! And best of luck in your research.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Research source for Berks county

This research does not concern the Carrolls, but if it could be handy to anyone, all the better.And since my principal stomping grounds are in Philly, this "touches" the area and could be of interest for Philadelphia researchers.Because yes, branches do move and spread around...

My search for online sources to work in Berks Co PA led me to here :|

This is an online BMD ( Birth,Mariage & Death) research motor at the Register of Wills. So, it is a genuine website

Just link into the above page, click on SEARCH OUR RECORDS. You will then arrive at a second page where you choose the type of certificate, and continue your research there.

It is not a complete answer to online research, but could be a godsend for someone who neads a lead. And if you are ever lucky, you can order a certificate will all the details. Click on "Fee schedule" on the left hand margin to find out more.

My great-great grandfather Hansen was born in Reading a few years before civil registration even began. Which will mean another research in time to even know which were the churches in Reading in the 1800's and how to access these sources. An e mail to the local Genealogy society as to how to search the pre- civil reg era said "try churches,wills,cemeteries etc".

Now why didn't I think of that ?? I got my work cut out for me, people.

This only the second time that my research goes outside Philadelphia county ( the first time being with Schuylkill co, where I had a very ungratifying time writing to church parishes).So I'm coming to the idea that writing to these religious institutions are not always the best way to continue one's research.

I wonder what would have happened if I showed up on their doorstep??

So, Berks County cousins, be aware of the Register of wills source. It's a good one- Use it well !

Good luck to all ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comment moderation begins today

I'm sorry ; I'm had to put in comment moderation and now everyone who comments here has to copy the odd ball words before being published :)

I don't have a huge number of commenters at this blog. So, I had a surprise today when looking at thie dashboard. I found over 20 comments for a single post. Of course, you could already guess it- spam. Of the Asian type. I don't even have the slightest idea what was written .

It is getting harder not to have comment moderation. I also have switched on my personal blog to comment moderation for the same darn reasons.

Thank you for your understanding.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Irish in Quebec city, Canada

My research on my own Carroll lines being slow at this time, I prefer to share with everyone a Historical finding.During a vacation trip in September to Quebec city, my husband & I had an interesting find.

We had the "luck of the Irish" to stumble upon the former Irish quarter in Quebec city. The area happens to possess some fascinating historical signs that we photographed.Also, a church and other commemorative markers.

Lets take our time to discover this.

Do click on each photo ! You will be able to read the print and appreciate the detail better. :

1) Irish roots in Quebec :

This recounts briefly the beginnings of Irish immigration to Quebec, and also about Irish institutions. There is also an excellent map, with important sites marked so anyone can find them today.

2) The Irish settle and Flourish :

Short topics on the percentage of Quebec residents having Irish blood, The Shipfront jobs & Irish and prominent Canadians with Irish blood.

We found a beautiful Celtic cross...

It is a gift from James Callery and the National Famine Museum In Roscommon, Ireland.

Saint Patrick's church.

Plaque dedicated to the Irish ( French version)

Same plaque with Irish Gaelic ( left) and English translations.

Finding these wonderful lanmarks comforts me in the path that will lead me to go to Ireland next year. I'm getting closer each day to my goal.

Happy hunting
everyone !

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trying to fill in the blanks

It's the time of year that always makes me feel studious...
I feel like taking a fresh sheet of ruled paper and a number 2 pencil, to start something new.

So I have decided before hopping off for a brief holiday,to start a new list.

I have elaborated about my Carroll ancestors all through these blog pages.Including the information that is known to me.My idea is that I do not own information,seeing that I'm not the only one out there who could benefit from it.
But, that's great when I have something to share.

And when I don't ?
I go "fishing".Often it's by combing online documents or going to genealogy boards
But because I also operate a blog, this gives me yet another tool to work with.

Below is my "to find" list.

Writing this out will be like sending a "bottle to the ocean". Because you know that Mr Googly picks up a lot of names and details that someone might research one day.
I have had almost all of my information requests like this, when someone scrolled in a name on a search engine, and came up with a page on this blog.

If anyone has any information on these ancestors,or you think that we may belong to the same family, please drop me a line at:

And I'll be happy to get back to you.

I'm placing these ancestors by couple/family for clarity.

CARROLL Andrew- MY great-great grandfather.
When exactly did you pass away ?
No tombstone was found neither any record (so far) detailing a date of death.

BURKE, Catherine- My great-great grandmother who was married to my ancestor Carroll ( Andrew Carroll).

Where in Ireland were you born and what exactly was this date? Who were your parents? Did they come to the US with you ?.


HANSEN Gerry- My great-great grandfather(paternal Grandmother's line)

When & where did you pass away?

Sometime before 1935 when his son,(my great-grandad), Christian Hansen remarried.But, I have no exact date & place He lived in Reading PA/ the area.

HANSEN, Christine- Gerry's wife.Likewise, I have no death info for her.


MORRIS, Catherine "Kate"- My great grandmother( My grandmother Hansen's mother). Spouse to Christian HANSEN.

Where in Ireland were you born in March 1867 ? And who were your parents ? And where in the USA ( you immigrated in 1888) were you & Christian married?

No, not in Phila( already checked).

MC ENTEE, Patrick.- Also my great-great- grandfather ( line of my great-grandfather Carroll's wife, Jennie McEntee).

Where in Ireland were you born? Who were your parents ? Where and when were you married?.
Did you become a US citizen ??

HAINES, Agnes - My great-great-grandmother.
Where were you born ? And who were your parents?

It is said in some records that you were English born,others say Irish.

My lines go no further than my great-great grandparents for the time being( same for my Carroll line)..

Thanks in advance for any information,advice or tips that anyone would have to pass on. I greatly appreciate this.

Have a great day !

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Break time !

I just to let everyone know that I will not be posting this week here. Only exception made to my personal blog to download some photos this weekend
Here's the chance to check out my second blog if you only know me here :

Home in France

This is my blog where I just talk about what's happening with me in France in general. Sometimes it about events, other times writings,photos,musings. Genealogy may occasionally "poke" it's nose in there, but I try and keep the two areas seperate.

I have a friend who is now in Paris( she's from England). This week is earmarked for a few days of R &R with her and other friends . Then the other days, I'll becleaning,organizing and organizing a trip. Because I'm soon to be on vacation ! Yeah !!

I'm going to try and sneak in one last post here, before I leave with my husband on vacation 7 September. I will be back 18 September.

So, there will be a lot of comings and goings in September, and you will know why if it seems a little quiet :)

Have a good return back to your September jobs & schooling.

Cheers to all !

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hats off to Genealogy volunteers !

Say the words "genealogy volunteer" to a genealogist, and note the twinkle in his/her eyes...

Because genealogists are all hungry for new information of all types.
But, there are many obstacles to finding information.
One of these is distance. Finding information or documents when you live far away, or are physically or even financially unable to do a research trip is a big challenge.

Enter stage left, the genealogy volunteer, who does this just to help others, and advance their genealogy.

I have a many a reason to use their kind services ( and I will share my fav websites);First being that distance reason... I live in France and my research is East coast based ! I very rarely have the possibilty to do my research in Schuylkill county or Philadelphia.

Some volunteers can go to town hall and make a copy of a certificate; yet others do look ups on microfilm for newspaper obits or go to cemeteries to take photos of gravestones. Still other can do copies of genealogy books that can contain valuable information.

All do incredible services for either free or at minimal costs because these people live in or near your research areas.

Just a practical note to keep in mind :
Volunteers will not do your genealogy research in your place. Just search information on a punctual basis.
And your success with volunteers will depend a lot on the information that you provide them.
You will need complete dates to order certifcates, and likewise to do a newspaper obit search.
I don't know how many volunteers would have the patience to go through a whole month's or year's newpapers or birth registers, with just a sketchy date in hand.

As for photographing a gravestone, if you are not sure of plot information, write to the cemetery office in question before asking for a grave photograph.
Having the exact plot number will avoid a lot of unescessary plodding about, esp in the often large urban cemeteries.

Here are my favorites which have helped me more than once :
RAOGK ( Random acts of Genealogical kindness).

The top of it's kind, which has volunteers in all 50 states and overseas.

Click on the above link and follow their online instructions to see if a volunteer could help you.

If you are searching for a newspaper obit, you must try the
Obituary look up volunteers page by Rootsweb. Click on the state that interests you, then scroll down to see the available counties.Follow the instructions, including number of requests.

I have had some good luck with both these genealogy services.

Another volunteer website that I found ( but have no direct experience with) is at

If you are just beginning your research and have little information, these may not (yet) be what you need.

If you are courageous to research by yourself( Congratulations !), you are better beginning with ancestry dot com or going to the National archives, to start accessing US census records.
Logicically starting with the generations NEAREST to you- 1930 is the most recent US Census year, which corresponds to the generation of either your parents/grandparents.

Otherwise, hire a serious genealogist who will do the first steps for finding family records.

I think it's wonderful for these genealogy volunteers to give some of their spare time for the rest of us. Don't forget a "Thank you" also, even when s/he has researched and finds nothing; We all love to win but it doesn't happen all the time...

Barbara says :
"Better to have searched and have a negative result, than not trying and never knowing "

Once again, "hats off to you all, wonderful genealogy volunteers ! "

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy 100th !

Here we are at 100 + 1 posts... I have hit ( and passed) my 100th post point !

Happy 100th to Our Carroll family Genealogy ! Wooo !

I know that this is such a tiny and rather sporadic operation.I do not blog about Genealogy on a daily basis, like many of my colleagues. I go with my flow and the research that I may be doing . This sometimes means no Genealogy at times, and no findings to share.

But, I do prod on and hope to continue this blog, which has become my online Genealogy journal.

Just throwing out a few Thank you's :
Thank you to :

Family,friends,fellow Carrolls, and even the curious passersby.
If you have enjoyed what you have read and maybe learned something, then I'm very glad.

Because Genealogy is not my job, nor is it something that I 'am obliged to do. It is above all for me a PASSION.
I'am passionate about my family history and have a great pride for the people, places and lives, (of both past and present ) who make up my family history.

Now to the minus side of this operation, this is a very quiet blog.
So please, if you like what you are reading, drop me some FEEDBACK in the comments !

Clap,rant,share,discuss, debate whatever -be a part of this adventure too ! Even if you just leave an anonymous comment, it is still a voice. And I will be very grateful.

Have a great day and happy ancestor hunting to all :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

President Obama's Genealogy

Genealogy makes it to the Oval office...
How could a Francophile like myself not be intrigued myself to learn that President Obama has French ancestry?
See the enclosed news link to find a learn a few interesting facts.

One of these is President Obama descends from a French Huguenot named Mareen Duvall. Huguenots are Protestants who in the the 17th century massively fled France after the revocation in 1685 of what was called the "Edict of Nantes". This document dated 30 April 1598, had formerly guarenteed Freedom of worship to the Protestants up to when it was unjustly anulled in 1685. Below is a a link about President Obama's ancestor from France.

This made me go read through the President's Family tree again .

I had previously used the above website during a research project. I highly reccomend it for anyone who is interested in Presidential genealogies.

Of course, none of this touches our Carroll lines in anyway. But I find it very interesting.

Happy summer research to all !

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thanks to the Philadelphia Church project

This goes to show, when you appreciate someone, say it to him/her and don't forget to say "Thank you".
I did just that when I e mailed the Philadelphia church project a few days back. And what did I get? My e mail published on their blog page with a write up to my blog.

Once again, to anyone interested in the churches where your family worshiped in Philadelphia & it's suroundings, this is the spot to be.

My e mail and my blog are mentioned HERE on the Philadelphia church project blog.
And don't forget to check out the main website for The Philadelphia church project

Thanks again to the Philadelphia church project ! I'll be following your blog.

And happy hunting to all .

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Saint Boniface RC Church in Philadelphia,PA

It was through an e mail with Ted, (a relation of my cousin Gerry) who is a fellow genealogist, that I got started on the subject of pre Depression era schooling ( which may be for a future post). Ted asked a question which I'm putting here in case someone out there knows :

" Did Kindergarten exist in the Pre-Depression era public schools ?"

( A First cousin of mine was have said to have attended Saint Boniface school from Kindergarten to 2nd grade).And Ted was questioning if it was possible to have Kindergarten classes back then.

And this Genealogy sleuth who is Ted is now sniffing this out... * See end of post for a recent development.

I do not know very much about the issue. But, it got me thinking about and researching again about the school's mother church, Saint Boniface . So many members of my family have worshiped and celebrated their lives here.

For those of you who are not acquainted with this church,in the Northeast suburbs on Philadelphia. Alas, since 2006, the church and it's school are officially closed.I had been tipped off to this about a year ago by a local resident, but I had not researched this further at the time.

Here's a map of the area :

Go see the google street view of the church, use this :On type in 174 Diamond street, Philadelphia PA. You will have to use the "up & down" buttons to see the church in the images. It's across the square; you can't miss it.

I also found a very informative website that is all about Philadelphia's Catholic churches,their history and architecture. Here's a page on their website for Saint Boniface :

I like the idea behind this website, which is in the process of cataloging all of Philadelphia's religious archtecture ( Catholic churches) and to highlight the uniqueness of each of these churches. Which is a joy for a lot of different people; clergy and parishioners,architectural buffs,nostalgics, and yes, the Genealogist.

The Philadelphia church project site also has a blog. And I had the pleasant suprise to find a very recent post written about Saint Boniface. Please take a peek and click on the link:

For our Genealogy work, the spiritual records are kept at Visitation BVM Church, according to the page for Saint Boniface on the Philadelphia Archdiocese's website :

I really don't know how that works for record search here; I have always gone through city hall records for my Genealogy records.

Personally,I'm feeling fortunate to have been able to visit Saint Boniface in 1992.Sadly, I can no longer renew this experience.

Though,I'm hoping to dig out our old slides and get those pictures developed on paper one of these days.And I hope, here on this blog.It was truly gorgeous inside.

I'm sorry to say that it's all a part of the past now.

This post is in memory of you Saint Boniface, our Carroll family's church.

* P.S. A recent e mail by cousin Gerry may have solved our question about Kindergarten in the pre-depression era. Gerry writes :

There was no mention of kindergarten by my father, so I am assuming Ed did not go either. I don't think Catholic schools and probably not public schools had kindergarten then. We (JP & I ) -my note : Gerry's brother & her- never went to was not offered at the Catholic schools and even some of my friends who went to public school did not go to kindergarten. I think it may have been offered at the public schools, but it was an optional thing back then. It was mostly play time for 1/2 a day.

Thanks so much Gerry !

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Of brick & mortar

Sometimes, even a website that is not strictly genealogy related can actually be very informative.

I had gotten started a few weeks back with a google application called " street view".
The link for the US :

It is first a practical way to visulaize an address on a map. Try it...Type in a US address with the state. For example, your home address.

You will generate a classic map and in the right hand corner is a "bubble". Depending on the areas ( some areas are in the process of being photographed), you may find a photo of the street that you are looking for. If you have a photo of your desired address in the "bubble", you can click on it and then naviagte up & down the street.

I was first interested in street view to get a rough idea of what the streets where my family once called home look like today. I have been to Philadelphia twice already, but have only ventured once up to the Northern suburbs of Philly. It was not considered " safe" to go there, and I was not really sure if after all the effort, something was left for us to look at.Because our family neighborhoods change.

For the beginners in Genealogy, you can find addresses for your kin by working the US Census. There are several online ( paid) websites such as Ancestry and Genealogy dot com that let you work the US Census at home. This is where I obtained my ancestor's addresses. Other sources, death certificates,wills or testaments and newspaper obits.

It was google street that gave me my first peek of my family addresses.I highly recommend a try, especially if you live a long ways from your research area like myself ( researching Pennsylvania, while living in France !)

Another interesting tidbit was also made by just... typing in my great-grandparent's addresses on google. You never know when an address is indexed for whatever reason. And they came up on a real estate website.

I will let you see the entry for our great-grandparent's ( John Joseph & Jennie Carroll's) address.There is even the same google map. :
The link is HERE

I gleaned a couple of interesting details about the property.I learned that the home is
Sqft 754 sqft
Lot Size 0.01 acres

And I learned through this website that the property was built in 1920. That makes me think that the original house structure was perhaps rebuilt.Because John Joseph Carroll died at this same address on March 24,1914.

The next area that I'm going to explore on google mapsis the addresses for my great-great-grandparents in Schuylkill county PA.

I'm just looking for research ideas, so I will not stay behind one of these :

The genealogist's brick wall !

Good luck to all ;)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Schuylkill County PA research source

Yes, long time no see...

It's been three months since my last post here at Our Carroll family Genealogy. I'm sorry for those who may have been following this blog.I've been through a sudden hopitalisation (short & quick)+ recovery (longer lasting me through April and part a part of May.Yes, it's been awhile coming. I 've been finding it easier in this time to do reading and continue with my personal blog.

During this time, I have realized that I was in the doldrums for my Genealogy and had no ideas for a new research subject. Then, I acted upon a research offer in the Schuylkill County PA area.
For memory's sake, the oldest known ancestors of this family, Andrew Carroll & Catherine Burke Carroll lived in Schuylkill County.
For anyone researching in the area, the following may be of interest to you :

The Pottsville Free Library does look ups in what is called the Wiley and Ruoff's Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, 1893.
This is a biographical listing of some of the residents of the period.

You have two web pages that you must read if interested first, the INDEX, with a list of names that are in this reference :

If you find a person of interest, the following page tells you how to order copies :

I thank my friend & fellow genealogist, Rita for helping me order a copy . I had noticed in the listing : Catherine Burke. This is one of our family's ancestors for whom we know so little about.

But in Genealogy even the best of efforts do not produce desired results. Rita e mailed the copies once arrived and it was another Catherine . Here's a peek into a page of the Cyclopedia :

( click on image to enlargen)

As seen on the library website, this library can also research the following :

-search the local newspapers for obituaries or other events if given the exact date, and make copies of the articles;

-make copies from local history books if given the names and page numbers from the online indexes (above)

-make copies of Census records if given exact reel and page numbers or if the names are in the indexes for 1790-1850;
-and make referrals to other libraries and genealogical collections if we know or believe that they have relevant information or resources.

All of this can be a very helpful Genealogy resource for the Schuylkill County researcher.

Just passing on a helpful hint...

Happy research to all !

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't buy this one !

A couple of weeks ago,I was on *mazon browsing through their selections .

I had through curiosity typed in CARROLL in the *mazon search engine, and came out with something that sounded pretty glorious at the time.

But, I always want to know more before buying and when I looked closer, I saw what they call are "tags".Other readers have left tags to warn their fellow readers that this book was :

a waste of good money*

bogus genealogy book


Here's what the product information announces :

This book is part of the Our Name in History series, a collection of fascinating facts and statistics, alongside short historical commentary, created to tell the story of previous generations who have shared this name. The information in this book is a compendium of research and data pulled from census records, military records, ships' logs, immigrant and port records, as well as other reputable sources. Topics include:

Name Meaning and Origin
Immigration Patterns and Census Detail
Family Lifestyles
Military Service History
Comprehensive Source Guide, for future research
Plus, the "Discover Your Family" section provides tools and guidance on how you can get started learning more about your own family history.

About the Series
My note : Dig this :)Nearly 300,000 titles are currently available in the Our Name in History series, compiled from Billions of records by the world's largest online resource of family history,

So, I could have the same for any family name, and it would minus a few wee details, sound similar !

Chain production books that are full of general "filler" topics...
By the sound of this, we won't learn much very more on the Carrolls through this book.So, let's save our money for the really good book on the Carroll name that might be on the market.

If I find one of these more serious books on our family name,origins or such, I'll let you all know here.

Happy hunting to all, and " Caveat emptor" or buyer beware !

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's day !

Just a sentimental Irish thought for everyone on this most special day for all those who enter my blog :

An Irish Prayer

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer

Monday, March 16, 2009

Welcoming Charles back into our humble clan

There seems to be no such thing as "neutral" when it comes to my research...
Either it's so quiet that you could hear grass grow or things jump !

Last weekend was definitely a weekend when things were jumping. My friend Rita( who has been helping me so much in my research), came up with an obituary for my Grandad's niece. This niece was Agnes Carroll ( or more precisely, my First cousin once removed ).

Prior to this new element, my information was very sketchy on her; I knew the name of her husband and son, but I did not know where she lived and if she had passed away or still living.

Through my cousin's obituary, I had her age, the date on which she passed away, place of burial and yes, next of kin.This kin included my cousin Agnes' son. Rita suggested that I try and phone him, and lucky for us, my cousin did not have an unlisted telephone number.

And I got my courage up and last evening, called Agnes' son, Charles in Ohio.

I have done this type of telephone calls for Genealogy several times. Even though I have my note sheet before my eyes, and I'm more than prepared to cite dates and names, I will admit to being rather tense each time. After all, you never know how the other person is going to take this type of news...
"Hello... you don't know me but I'm your lost long cousin !" Grin :)
You have to agree; not everyone would be jumping for joy !

But, my anxieties just flew out of the window after the first few minutes... Charles was a very friendly and charming man . Once I identified myself and told him who my Grandfather was ( that was only normal), he recognized Grandad's name and we started talking away like mad ! About his Grandad, my Grandad,and many little things in between.I was so happy to have this talk with Charles. He was very much interested in his Family History and eager to know more.

If Charles is reading this post, I'm so happy to be in touch with you now and look forward to getting to know you ! No problem for talking to your Father too, who probably has many stories to tell about your Carroll relatives.

My Grandfather, John Bernard Carroll Sr was originally from a family of 5 children. But 2 of them, a boy named William and a girl named Agnes died in childhood. This makes for 3 brothers who grew up to adult age, to have children. Along with JB Sr was Edward Patrick Sr ( numerous descendants throughout the East Coast and Florida) and finally, Andrew Martin Carroll, who is Charles' grandad.

I had only some very basic information on Andrew Martin's branch. But, I think through Charles, I may be able to learn more about his grandparents and his family.

I'm so happy to Welcome you "back" to our Carroll Clan my cousin ! If you stick around, you will get to know a lot of information about our family, from both the Past and in the Present. We have cousins living on both the East & West coast and Hawaii too ! And don't forget myself out here in France ;)

Keep in touch, Charles !

May this be a motivation for everyone looking for cousins or other kin that they have not yet found. Never say never... use and reuse Newspaper resources like obits at your local Library or ask a Genealogist or Genealogy volunteer to do a lookup for you, especially when you are from out of State.You can also check with the Genealogy Society of the County where your family lived. Some Genealogy societies have obit collections or will do lookups in the local Newspaper archives for a fee.

Obits can give you much valuable information for finding next of kin that you may have a hard time locating otherwise.

Good luck to everyone in their research and have a nice day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pity the children...

When I look back at my own childhood and the old pictures of my father's & my Aunt's early years, I realize the distance that has been spanned since the time when the family of Andrew Carroll was living and working on US soil.
The first time that I acessed the US Census for my Carroll ancestors in Shendandoah, PA, I felt bad to see the names of working children. Andrew and Catherine Carroll had 7 Children living at their Cherry street home in 1880 during the Census that was done on 11 June,1880.

2 of these offspring were of adult age, James 22, Laborer and my Great-grandfather, John who was 19 and a miner. This was before John Joseph Carroll moved to Philadelphia, married and worked with the Pennsylvania RR.

Among the minor aged children in the Carroll household in Sheandoah, nearly all worked the mines :

- Mary Ann, 17 year was a Tailor.
- Thomas, 15 was a Slate picker.
- Martin, 13 was a Slate picker.
- Elizabeth, 11 was at school.
- Catherine, 4 years .

There was an oldest son, Patrick, who was already married and with a family.Add him to the grim statistics also, as he was a miner and probably grew up doing similar children's work in the mine.

When I think that I went to school full time and I played,socialized with other children,had toys and books, and was able to just be a child...

This seems like an extreme luxury compared to my 19th century ancestors.

I feel very much like a woman of today when I think about chidren working .it both saddens and angers me, but I'am well aware that this was another era with other practices.
Though I'm far from accepting these practices, my mind was also full of questions about the children who worked in the coal mines, for example :

Was there a minimum of mandatory schooling for these children ? How did the children work in the mines?Were the jobs adapted to their smaller size and weight ? What were their hours ?

In an attempt to gain some new knowledge about the lives of these and other child laborers in the Anthracite valley of Pennsylvania, I scanned the Internet for some online sources. One of my finds came from the Pennsylvania Historical Commission. Click on the following link for Child labor in Pennsylvania :

Though the article is short, it's a starting point for further reading.

There is also the History place where some some striking photos of child laborers, including miners, await you here.

Just in the same Pa Historical & Museum commission website, I clicked on the Genealogy link. There is a nice page concerning coal miner's records that can be found at the PA State archives called :

Unearthing your coal miner relatives at the Pennsylvania State Archives :

For my great-great grandfather and coal miner, Andrew Carroll , the document sources are after his era. But,more for his sons or even grandsons who may have carried on the trade.

I think that we all have more of these sad faced young workers in one's family tree than one realizes.
More closely to me in my Genealogy, my paternal grandparents also worked at an early age. Grandmother was a seamstress, Grandfather enroled in the Navy at 16... the family legend has it that Grandad" exagerated" about his age to get in and to be able to have a steady job to help support the family.

But all that is yet another chapter in my Genealogy book to open !

Wishing everyone interesting finds in Genealogy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Genealogy sources in your home

Putting together a family tree on Geni ( see last post if you are tuning in) , forced me to get my act together concerning sources.
I want to look at some of the sources that exist in my family, to help those who may be starting their family research. Because finding documents for one's family can be an enormous task.But I do believe before everything that one's Genenalogy begins at home.

Just a few examples of home sources that were available to me in my family :

Family Bible

An excellent source of data... depending if your family kept their records inside.My Grandparents had a Bible with handwritten dates of birth,marriage & death for their immediate family.There was a mention of my great-grandparents, but no Genealogy going further back.

Page with some information found in our Bible.

It was with the family Bible where I took my first steps in Genealogy ! Of course, the dates are subject to confirmation until you can send away for certificates.But in my family, they proved to be acurate.If you had a family that kept a lot of meentos, you could find also a few tucked away in your family Bible.

Baby book-

This may sound like an odd source, but baby books can contain some very interesting information. In my family, my Father had one ( done in the 1920's) and my Aunt also had one.This may seem more like a collection of anecdotes; when baby first smiled, when he first said Mama, but there are often names of family members.I have lists of gifts and their givers for my Dad's first Christmas & first & second birthday, including some kin. This photograph comes from my Dad's baby book :

Military records-

At my mother's home, there are some military documents for my Grandfather.Numerous yellowing papers that lie quietly in a file cabinet. I have not had the time to look again through them, and common sense tells me that it will be a rather long operation.

But more interestingly, there are also two very unusual documents at my mother's home that I do not have with me in France ( I honestly think that one day, my brother should inherit them). They are "booklets" that contained each sailor's personal & Navy information.Dates of service,rank,military serial numbers,physical description and the like. Very informative, and they are quite an antique since these are records that were in a leather holder that the sailor could fold up & put in his pocket.

Newspaper clippings,articles and the like- These delicate mementos can bring you fresh information for your family tree. In my own home, my father had none of these. But I discovered during a visit with my cousins in San Diego a large collection that was once our Grandmother's.An example : among the black and white photographs was a faded obit from relating the death of my Grandmother's youngest sister.

I had only a "hint" of her existance through the US Census, but here she was deceased at the tender age of 13. The obit shed new light on Kathryn's existance.

This is just an example of a few sources... of course, it's a good idea to look for any type of documents that might be hiding at your home/ a parent's home, including, birth,marriage or death certificates,baptismal certificates,diplomas,awards, old deeds,wills or other legal documents... etc, etc.
The sky is the limit...

Why not look for your family's own documents and if so inclined, be the person who preserves them for your family? It is so easy for family members to toss out such treasures through ignorance or in haste. Let me tell you by experience that documents are nowdays expensive and (depending on the type) sometimes very hard to copy again so many years down the line.

Since I do not live in North America, I have a hard time obtaining sources. So believe me, each one I do get from family/ obtain from other sources is a real treasure !

Wishing you Happy hunting !

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Yes- My Genealogy is alive AND kicking !

Hello Genealogy friends,

Yes; I have been in the silence mode since last June 2008. Following my project which I published in my last posts, to publish my Genealogy website... and eventually close this blog.

But... It looks like I'm not yet ready for website creations; after a small bang ( more like a pop), I got caught up in my first problems. And put everything on hold, due to a trip back to North America in September.
But, I still needed to put everything online in a clear and visual form.
With data, a tree and yes, photo albums.

That's when I saw GENI on a search engine.
This is a private family tree, only visible to your own family and your invited friends.

When I first saw the website and was OK to try it,I put my personal blog on hold for an entire week in January of this year and just typed away.
That was the hard part, like you all know.
The easy part was inviting family...I had my cousins,My first cousins, even first cousins once or twice removed.

Lucky that the website calculates these degrees of relationships because I would go mad doing it.
And family members were accepting day after day !
This is not just a family tree; it is an interactive family tree. You find out who's online,the latest additions ( data,photos, comments, etc) .

Very cool...
It takes awhile to get used to all the features , and one minus point is that there is no section to note your sources. I do serious Genenalogy in the sense that I like to put my sources. I had to used the section called "about me", which is more like for personal anecdotes.

But, all in all, I have been swept off by the response in my family and how quickly that everyone has adopted their family tree.

Want to try it ?? Go to :

I do hope to continue with Genealogy as I go through my findings.
Happy searching everyone, and I hope to see again friends that I made here on this blog.