Posts Tagged ‘Genealogy’

WWI aboard the Ticonderoga

Alexander Haines was the favorite sibling and younger brother of John Haines, my great grandfather (the father of Edith Anna “Nana” (Haines) Hall, who was my dad’s mother).

Alexander Haines

Uncle Alex was stationed on the Ticonderoga.

Following is a story written by dad’s brother in remembrance of Uncle Alex:

When you sail on the Atlantic, you know it is a powerful and treacherous sea with many bad stories to tell.  Also it is incredibly attractive. Occasionally feeling endangered when brushing against the deep you get a prized rush from that shot of emotion called adventure.  Unfortunately, if things don’t go well, terror is a short distance down the road. This has always been true but never more so than during World War 1.

During that conflict American allies fretted over the ocean.  If the Allies were to win, the sea-lanes had to be used to assure supplies.  In an attempt to gain an advantage and because of the importance of this problem strategies were devised and tactics invented.

The United States idea focused on using the Atlantic to swarm cargo ships to France and provide an overwhelming superiority in supplies.  There was no attempt to feint or otherwise baffle with bullshit.  The mission, get as much war goods to France as achievable in the shortest possible time.  For protection, run the ships in convoy and use whatever ships of the line you can spare for escort duty.  However if a vessel malfunctions or warships are unavailable, remember the mission is to maximize the goods on the beach in France not minimize the risk to a few sailors.

By 1917 the U.S. was manufacturing plenty of war goods, but didn’t have enough ships to transport the material. To alleviate this crisis, the U.S. built ships, converted ships, and seized ships.

One of the ships central to this story was the German cargo ship Camilla Rickmers that was seized by U.S. Customs officials in 1917. After being turned over to the Navy, she was fitted out as an animal transport; armed with a 3-inch gun forward and a 6-inch gun aft.

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Renamed Ticonderoga, she was commissioned at Boston in the Naval Overseas Transportation Services on 5 Jan 1918, with Lt. Commander James J. Madison, USNR  in command.

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Sixteen young sailors from New England were included in the crew including Alex Haines of Malden Massachusetts.

Based on some data, I’ve drawn conclusions about our Alex.  Growing up in what today we know was a highly unusual family situation, he had to be a little bit crafty to survive and maintain his popularity with both his father and his brothers. This characteristic would of course help him avoid difficulty with the bureaucracy that surrounds an enlisted man.

In addition, having observed descendent great uncles Bill and Jack Haines as young men, I can say with some certainty that the generation earlier Alex was handsome, had very strong social skills and was popular with guys and attractive to women including his wife the cute, dark haired, Ina.

Ina & Alex

Ina and Alex

Alex was a young guy who laughed a lot, had a zest for life and an itch to see what was over the next hill. I‘m including a letter Alex wrote to his father after his third Atlantic crossing. In it I think you can feel his youthful bravado and enthusiasm for life.

September 16, 1918, USS Ticonderoga Norfolk, Virginia 10 p.m. 

Dear Father,  I have returned from my third tour and will start this week again for France.  I am having a good time and seeing a great many things.  Our first trip was in the spring, and naturally was stormy.  The second trip was very pleasant, until 800 mi. out coming back we ran to a storm, and lost a man, June 21 washed overboard.  I spent the Fourth of July in Virginia.  I might as well have been in a naval yard it was so dead.  I have had Ina come down to spend the week with me this time.  Ina will start back for Boston tomorrow.   

This trip was pretty lively there were 35 ships in the convoy and an American cruiser, which left us in the war zone 800 miles from France on July 21 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. They and the destroyer were to pick us up the next day but there were two subs following along looking for an opportunity.  At 7:30 a torpedo hit the Tippecanoe in the stern.  If it had not hit them, it would have got us amidships.  We saw a torpedo but not the sub.  The Tippecanoe was our sister ship and was riding on our port side.  She sank in 25 minutes.  It got dark, and we were not bothered for the rest of the night.  At four o’clock the next morning we sighted two on the horizon.  At 7:30 one rose four times to get the ship on our starboard side.  But each time, we opened fire, and made it so warm that they could not launch a torpedo.  The destroyers picked up our wireless and got there in time to stop further loss.  The crew of the Tippecanoe was picked up the next morning.  The subs got into our convoy again one day out from France and one of the destroyers launched a depth bomb that brought up a whale. 

We landed in La Police(?)this last time but the first two trips were Bordeaux.  We came back, by way of the Azores where we ran into subs again.  At eight o’clock in the evening we saw a sub off our port bow.  We were escorting an unarmed ship back to the states.  At nine o’clock they opened fire on us, which we returned.  There were about 20 shots fired.  We do not know whether we got him or not, but he did not bother us any more.  The rest of the way was very pleasant.  Labor day we met a ship and hoisted signals, which they did not answer.  We put two shots across their bow and prepared to sink her.  She answered before we got that far. 

I am sending you my picture that I had taken last trip, and would have sent you, but did not have your address.  I would like to get the address of Aunt Mary, as I would like to write to her. Ina and I are thinking of going out that way after the war.  I am feeling fine, and like this life very much.  I would not have missed this trip for anything.  When you write give me your home address.  Will say goodbye for another trip. 

Your loving son,    

Alex  USS TiconderogaNorfolk VA  

Three days after Alex wrote the letter, the Ticonderoga loaded with horse soldiers, their animals, and supplies steamed to New York and joined a convoy. This passage would be the fourth trip to France for Alex.  Things went well from the time they departed New York on September 22nd until they were well out to sea on the night of the 29th.  Then the ships engine began malfunctioning.  The problem attributed to bad coal continued and by the evening of the 30th the convoy drew away leaving them quietly alone.  At least they hoped they were alone.

Unfortunately they were not alone. At dawn, the calm was shattered by lookout shouts and ships alarm. The German submarine U-152 commanded by Captain Adolf Franz from the dreaded Kreuzer Flotilla thrashed to the surface and cleared for action. Within the first six shots, the forward gun of the Ticonderoga was silenced and after that it was a very uneven battle. For two hours round after round screamed in on the nearly defenseless ship with horrific results shattering the wooden lifeboats and wounding almost all 237 men aboard.

Finally, mercifully, the Ticonderoga slipped beneath the sea leaving only 24 left to tell the tale.

There is no way of knowing exactly what happened to Alex.  My guess is that he was every bit as scared as we would have been but still did what he was supposed to do and probably a little more.

But then as in The Abyss, ” For an instant that seemed to him eternal, a globe of scarlet palpitated within him, or perhaps outside him, bleeding on the sea.  Like the summer sun in polar regions, that burning sphere seemed to hesitate, ready to descend one degree toward the nadir; but then, with an almost imperceptible bound upward, it began to ascend toward the zenith, to be finally absorbed in a blinding daylight, which was, at the same time, night.”

This battle wasn’t totally ignored.  There was a front-page report in the NY Times and two consecutive days of front page reporting in the morning edition of the Boston Globe.  However it wasn’t the lead story and there were no headlines although Alex got his name in the Globe as one of the New Englanders killed.  In a newspaper the story of self-interest of nations and posture of leaders always trumps the sacrifice of citizens.

Not true in the hearts of families however.  This writing has in my mind and I hope yours transformed Alex from a name and a date on a genealogy chart to a person.  Next Memorial Day remember Alex a young man deserving of our respect.

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Graves markers for 113 of these brave men, including our Alex, all who are deemed “missing in action” are at Suresnes American Cemetery, France (website:

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I was hoping to learn more of Alex’s life.

On page 275 of the finding aid Lists of Logbooks of US Navy Ships, Stations and Miscellaneous Units, 1801-1947; special list 44 is listed a Ticonderoga log dated 5 January – 31 August 1918.  I learned that in 1918, the log would have been created on a preprinted form and might include such information as temperature, winds, distance travelled, sightings, crew condition and leaves, training exercises and miscellaneous events of the day.  This Ticonderoga log is part of the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, record group 24 (National Archives RG 24, stack area 18w4, row 22, compartment 16, shelf 4).

During a visit to the National Archives in Washington D.C. during the summer of 2011, I found the log book and took photos of its delicate pages (not all organized yet!, but on Flickr)

The story is fascinating!  Alex, a baker, is mentioned several times.  There were men thrown off the ship for various infractions (like drinking), little did they know it ultimately saved their lives. There was even an onboard murder!

The journal not only gives a glimpse of Alex’s last days, but is chock full of genealogical information – for example an entry dated  Saturday, February 16, 1918, reads:

Three officers and 104 enlisted men of the U.S. Army came aboard during the day for passage overseas, names as follows:Ticonderoga


Fairchild, Samuel G.; McComas, Ben C.; Krowl, Chas. J.; Baugh, Clyde C.; Shrivers, Oura O.; O’Brien, Henry J.; Whitmore, Haswell; Kandell, Norman; Parmley, Wm. J.; Real, Thomas H.; Talbot, John L.; Dzik, Standley; Armstrong, Frank; Engle, Harry; Nordli, Arne A; Kirchenstein, J.D.; Powell, Leo; Roberts, Frank M.; Shirley, Walter; Smith, Henry C.; Lalonde, Edward E.; Vernon, Roy C.; Hochleutner, Irwin E.; Wilkinson, Gerald; Carpenter, Ray. C.; Krohn, Herman; Smith, Robert R.; Amsbury, Harvey E.; Arnold, Warren H.; Benson, Martin; Bock, William C.; Coffman, James W.; Consul, Ralph; Craig, George; Claiborne, Joseph S.; Darling, Raymond D.; Dean, Benjamin A.; Dunlap James Jr.; Everett, Tetie; Fitzgerald, Frank F.; Hanson, Ben A.; Harvey, Earl D.; Hill, Noble McK.; Hosen, Wm. S.; Karnes, Alfred R.; King, Lonnie L.; Kain, John M.; Jones, Ray; Lupp, Luther L.; Lane, Milton; LaBunker Wm. F.; Lederle, Walter H.; McCoy, Geo. T.; Merrill, P.P.; Minnich, Henry; McGlynn, Chas. J; McGuinn, Dan P.; Mellen, Oliver A.; Mellen, James K.; Mitchels, C.E.; McNeal, Wm. H.; Morris, Fred D.; Nickerson, Earl J.; Payne, Howard B.; Provost, Ernest F.; Reeves, John F.; Ring, Albert S.; Rourke, Wm. J.; Rooney, John P.; Sammler, Walter W.; Smith, Leonard; Sweeny, Hubert; Sawatzky, August; Saxton, Lucian H.; Short, Wm. W.; Bradshaw, Lee; Carraro, John; Greene, Henry; Sevenresky, Martin; Deyong, Henry; Stone, Hardin E.; Baker, Ralph V.; Burns, Arthur M.; Carden, Samuel A.; Camp, Enoch; Dalton, Walter; Davies, John; Eby, Robert C.; Boyle, Norman R.; Boreman, John; Horn, Elmer B.; Hoolehan, John; Holloway, Sidney L.; Harvey, William H.; Kelly, Floyd V.; Line, Claud C.; Leiber, Eugene; Long, Norwood; Phillips, Crawford; Ryan, Edward L.; Stonesifer, Robt. H.; Vorac, Rudolph; Welsh, James B.; Lillicotch, Frank V.; Tracy, John; Whitney, Leonardo O.; Martin, Walter


Log Book (Summary) – U.S.S. Ticonderoga – Jan 5, 1918 to Aug 31, 1918

The log commences at noon on Monday, December 31, when Lieutenant Commander James J. Madison reported on board.

Wednesday, January 2 – 48 mattresses and pillows are delivered along with two typewriters and a safe.

Thursday, January 3 – the Navy Yard delivers 7 life rafts.  The starboard anchor arrives and is shackled onto the starboard chain.

On Saturday, January 5 a large number of the crew reports for duty.  Ship’s store and provisions are delivered.

A. Haines, Baker 2c reported for duty on Monday, January 7 

On Thursday, January 10, members of the ship not on watch were granted liberty.  They returned and resumed their duties the next morning.

During this week a number of contracted workmen reported to perform repair and construction work on the ship, they worked from 7am to 5 pm most days but remained until 10PM on Sunday, January 6th and Monday, January 7th and worked through the night on Tuesday, January 8th.  They continued working on Wednesday, January 9th from 7am to 10pm and then again through the night on Thursday, January 9th.  This continued with varying hours through Wednesday, January 16th.

Monday, January 14th – 3 chronometers were delivered. A number of men reported for duty.

Tuesday, January 15th – all persons not members of the ship’s company were ordered ashore. The ship prepared to sail on 10 minute notice.

Wednesday, January 16th – 8:25am proceeded from Hodges Wharf, East Boston, MA enroute to adjust compasses.  Ship maneuvered various courses adjusting compasses.  12:42pm full speed enroute to sea. 5pm Cape Cod light abeam.

Thursday, January 17th – 2:46am sighted Nantucket Shoal Lightship bearing WSW.  Gentle breeze, moderate sea, long swell.

Friday, January 18th – 12:07pm heavy fog set in, engines stopped, at 12:26pm the fog lifted and the vessel proceeded full speed ahead.

Saturday, January 19th – 8am to 4am off anchor Cape Charles, VA; clear skies with snow squalls.   Passed Fortress Monroe at 10:54am.  The ship docked and mail was delivered onboard.

  • Arrival notes: Passage Boston, MA to Newport News, VA
  • Bar to bar – 2 days, 6 hours, 48 minutes; 501.5 miles, 9.14 mph
  • Dock to dock – 3 days, 3 hours, 31 minutes; 541.5 miles, 7.17 mph

January 20th – 31st, – seaman continued working, a number of men departed and reboarded the ship and it snowed quite a bit.  Two men lost liberty for 7-12 days for changing quartermaster watch without permission and one man was tried by the deck court for 36 hours overleave and for being arrested for drunkenness (he lost liberty for 90 days). A few were placed on the binnacle list once for influenza and another for orchitis.  Two men were transferred from NTS Naval Operating Base to the Ticonderoga.

Friday, February 1st – seamen exercised in swinging out and lowering the life rafts.

Sunday, February 3rd – US Mail was delivered.

Feb 4th – cleared ice between ship & dock

Feb 16th – 2 men left ship w/o permission and were discovered trying to board the ship unnoticed by the stern line; 3 officers and 104 enlisted men of the US Army came aboard during the day for passage overseas.

Feb 18th – set sail to NY

  • Arrival notes: bar to bar 0 days, 23 hours, 30 min; dock to anchorage 1 day, 5 hours, 25 min. Anchored off Tompkinsville, Staten Island – weather clear, cold & calm.

Feb 19th – Lieut Arey, executive officer was “sent to his room” charged with being under the influence of liquor.  The next day he was detached and left the ship for conduct unbecoming of an officer.

Wed, Feb 20th – headed out of NY Harbor as part of a convoy enroute to Eurpore with Cargo for A.E.F.

Fri, Feb 22nd – A few dead mules were thrown overboard.

Sat Feb 23rd – wind increased in violence & convoy began to scatter, passed a ship displaying the signal “I am out of control”, rain squalls; 8-12pm no ships of convoy in sight.

Sat, Feb 24 – 9 mules dead this morning; 8-12pm unidentified ship of convoy in sight, made signal but she did not answer.

Tues, Feb 26th  – 1:37pm sounded general alarm, and fired 3 shots from each gun

Sat, Mar 2nd – 2 men were confined to only bread and water for 24 hours commencing at 10am for failing to stand guard in a proper manner.  7:25 sighted convoy of ships off port bow, exchanged signals; 4pm to 5:45pm received various signals from “Aclonza” started to zig zag.

Sun, Mar 3rd – lifeboat cut adrift as it was damaged beyond repair; exchanged signals with convoy; weather stormy and overcast

Monday, Mar 4th – rec’d signal from H.M.S. Arlanza to zig zag throughout watch; ship rolling slightly to long ground swells.

Tuesday, Mar 5th – sighted 2 unidentified steamers, change course; zig zagging from 8am to 6:20pm

Wednesday, Mar 6th – sighted patrol boat and two destroyers; resumed zig sagging; changed course a number of times

Thursday, Mar 7th – rec’d orders from destroyer to follow close; Las Pures Novres beacon abeam at 10:55am and Point Mathew beacon abeam at 11:27am; 4pm proceeded up harbor of Brest and anchored at 12:55pm with 60 fathoms of chain.

  • Arrival notes: Bar to bar: 14d, 21h, 15m; 3,074 miles
  • Anchorage to anchorage: 15 days, 0 hours, 40 min; 3,093 miles

Friday, Mar 8th – commenced heaving anchor and fell in line with rest of convoy.  Point De Petit Minion Beacon abeam. 1:38pm Aux Montons Light House abeam.; 1:57pm The Perfect Lighthouse abeam; 3:35pm sighted Le Croix Island.Rec’d orders from USS Truxton to proceed to Bordeaux instead of St. Naziere; weather cool and hazy, sea calm.  5:48pm sighted object which resembled periscope of submarine; order commence firing and general quarter signal sounded; 5:51pm gun commenced rapid firing at object, 10 shots were fired from 3”gun and 3 shots from 6” gun.  USS Truxton investigated object and reported it to be a buoy marking a wreck. Hits were scored from the last two shots of 6” gun, range 4,200 yards.  In convoy from Brest to Quiberon Bay.  6:35pm Belle Island Lighthouse abeam. 7:54pm dropped anchor at Belle Island in 11 fathoms of water.  Hove up anchor at 8:20pm and followed USS Truxton to another anchorage south about 4 miles.

Sat, Mar 9th – under way 5:55am, Peg Rock abeam 6:25am, Grand Cardinaux light abeam at 6:52am. 9:40am received signal from destroyer to change course, 11:28am sighted Isle Drier, Point du Corbeau light abeam at 12:45pm, Nazaire tower abeam at 3:10pm, sighted Grand Baige light at 3:47pm, 5:11pm Balaunes light house abeam, rec’d signal from escorting destroyer “follow me”, ship altered course following in destroyer wake, 6:35pm Chasserion light on starboard, 7:55pm let go anchor in Pallice Roads with 22 fathoms of chain in the water.

Sun, Mar 10th – swung anchor in at 2:45am with tide; signaled to passing destroyer “we are bound for Bordeaux, have you any orders?” They responded, “Southbound convoy will leave sometime today”, weather calm, sky clear, horizon hazy; Cheaveou light on starboard 9:45am; Chassiron light on port 10:45am; 1:15 sighted Point de la Coubre beacon; 1:58pm sighted Cordouan Light House; 2:23pm Point de la Coubre abeam per standard compass distance approx. 2 miles; 2:30pm passed north bound convoy.; rec’d message from vessel of convoy to take on pilot at Verdun Roads;  3:20pm slowed and took on pilot. Anchored near Tallis lightship at 4:04pm at 5:25pm set clocks ahead one hour.

Mon, Mar 11th – swung up anchor just after midnight, full speed ahead, 2:55am dropped anchor at Pauillac; anchored off Lazaret at 4:25am; French Police officials boarded at 8:20am and departed at 8:32am; warm weather; anchor aweigh at 3:15pm steamed up Gironde River and proceeded up to Bordeaux dropped anchor at 6:15pm and sent first line ashore; at 7:10pm Military Police (US Army) of corporal and three men stationed aboard; at 8:45pm Second Lieut Ellas representing Commanding General, Port of Debarkation rec’d field returns, classification list and report of insurance.

Tue, Mar 12 – Field Artillerymen and Machine Gun men were mustered ashore with their equipment; ship underway for Berth 1, American Docks, Bassens at 5pm, anchored at 5:50pm.  Men granted liberty until 9:30pm, 12 men returned 40 minutes overtime, 3 men returned 1 hr and 15 min overtime, 2 returned 18 hours sand 50 min overtime another was 23 ½ hours overtime [Alex was not among them].

Thurs, Mar 13 – SS Mexico of Havre while underway up the river in fog struck the Ticonderoga on port bow, carried away wire and manila moorings and drove her eastern into the bow of the SS Woonsocket, bow of the Ticonderoga damaged slightly, stern damaged more severely.

Fri, Mar 15 & Sat, Mar 16 – 8 men reboarded the ship having been absent without permission [Alex was not among them], a number of punishments were assigned each man losing 12 liberties.

Sun, Mar 17th – EW Mootz released from brig., discontinued unloading cargo out of hold #2 until repairs could be made, 6pm started coaling ship, 8:36pm pilot came aboard with sailing orders for the commanding officer; 11pm all cargo in hold #1 discharged, weather mild and clear.

Mon, Mar 18th – Stevadores at work in #2 hold, finished discharging cargo at 5am, put life boats back aboard, finished taking bunker coal, made preparations for getting underway, deck court was held and 8 men lost 10 days of liberties and pay varying from $11.97 to $23.94, anchored of Verdun Roads.

Wed, Mar 20th – ship heading north, crew stopped cleaning ship at 11:30am, Whaleboat from SS Munplace came alongside with sick man asking for ships doctor, ship left with patient after having rec’d instructions and medicine from doctor.

Thurs, Mar 21 – crew painting side

Fri, Mar 22 – motorboat from SS Munplace came alongside with 4 men needing medical attention.

Saturday, March 23 – A. Haines Bkr 2c admitted to the sick list, diagnosis tonsillitis  

Sun, Mar 24 – rec’d signal from escort to zig zag; 3:55pm notified by USS May to take position in the convoy; alarm bell rung for battle station followed by fire and boat drills.

Mon, Mar 25 – no ships of convoy in sight, started zig sagging, stopped at 12:40pm on the account of engine trouble, 3 American ships passed, 10:19pm engine repaired, full speed ahead, ship rolling slightly.

Tues, Mar 26 – mast held – JS Vanhorn, profanity 3 days bread and water and 12 days restriction to ship; LL Keenan abusive and profane language, 5 days restriction to ship.   Nathan Stern, neglect of duty and falsehood, loss of pay $23.93 and restricted to limits of ship for 20 days.

Thurs, Mar 28 – mast held – E. Metzdorf , disobedience of orders, 2 days of solitary confinement and bread and water. Baylor, skylarking and attention during reading A.G.N., 6 days restriction.  RJ Drew, skylarking and attention during reading A.G.N., 6 hours extra duty.  CB Frantz admitted to sick leave with tonsillitis.  1:15pm sighted Isle of Terceria

Mon, April 1st –Wind increased in violence, stopped engines for 12 minutes, then full steam ahead. Ship rolling, sea rough, ship pounded heavily under #2 tank several time between 8 and 10PM.

The following named men, by their good conduct and attention to duty, have earned advancement, and the Commanding Officer takes pleasure in promoting them to the next higher rank – 7 men are listed, among them: A. Haines, Baker 2c to Baker 1c

Tues, Apr 2nd – fire & boat drills, moderate sea, sighted 2 steamers

Thurs, April 4th – mast held – F.B. Berlucci refusing to obey orders, 5 days solitary confinement and on bread and water; N. Stern sleeping on duty,  refusing to obey orders, falsehood – to be tried by summary court martial.

Fri, Apr 5 – distant thunder and lightning; sighted a large unidentified steamer.

Mon, April 8 – 9:35pm let go of anchor, Statue of Liberty – Departure Verdon Road Mar 22 arrival NY April 8

Tues, April 9  – ship swinging side to side, cleared USS Iris by 20 feet, dropped anchor pier Oriental Mining, Staten Island.

Wed, Apr 10 – Gale driving ship to shoreward could not round NE End light ship so passed between it and the beach, let go anchor and sent out an SOS for assistance; 6:20pm passed Cape Henry light, sent signal for them to have Navy Yard send tug.

  • Arrival notes: New York to Newport News, VA Apr 9-Apr 12.

Fri, Apr 12 – two bags of mail brought onboard, Stevedores resumed work [Stevedore, dockworker, docker, dock labourer, wharfie and longshoreman can have various waterfront-related meanings concerning loading and unloading ships, according to place and country] .

Sat, Apr 13 – two naval tugs assisted in shifting berth, proceeded from Chespeak & Ohio dock to Government docks Norfolk, published the proceeding of court martial in the case of Nathan Stern, rec’d five bags fresh water, a variety of men left and reboarded ship, stevedores working. Water barge #56 came alongside to deliver 27,000 gallons of fresh water.

Sun, Apr 14 – Liberty party shoved off at noon, carpenters and stevedores resumed work (loading cargo from 7AM to midnight).

Mon, Apr 15 – 4 men were taken to the Naval Hospital and 4 others left the ship for dental work.  One bag of first class mail, 3 bags second class mail and 6 registered letters were brought aboard; diver worked on the propeller, stevedores working.

Tues, Apr 16 – Haines, Baker 1c (and a number of others) left the ship on 5 days leave of absence.

Wed, Apr 17 – stevedores resumed work, driver commenced work on screw, iron company men boarded to do work, a number of men left and reboarded, warm weather and clear the entire day, motor launch from Norfolk ship building came alongside and took part of the ships engine away (wheel) for repqir.

Thurs, Apr 18 – stevedores resumed work, liberty party, crew and various repairmen on and off ship.

Fri, Apr  19 – stevedores resumed work, caulker started recaulking deck, motor boat with meat provisions came alongside with 12 tons of commissary store, various crew members off and on ship.

Sat, Apr 20 – stevedores & caulkers resumed work, workman working on propeller,  Riverside came alongside with powder charges, cartridges and GSK stores), various crew off and on ship.

Sun, Apr 21 – stevedores & caulkers resumed work, #56 resumed giving 100,000 gallons of fresh water, commenced coaling, various crew off and on ship.

Mon, Apr 22 – Company D, 310 Battalion (Labor) boarded, stevedores & caulkers resumed work, various crew off and on ship.

Tues, Apr 23 – stevedores & caulkers resumed work, various crew off and on ship, Haines A. Bkr 1st class returned from 5 days leave of absence including travel time, Haines, A. and Tapply, G.S. were 2 hours and 40 minutes late; detachment of troops embarked consisting of 134 enlisted men.

Wed, Apr 24 – stevedores & caulkers resumed work, various crew off and on ship, life raft fell from roof of warehouse to dock in trying to lower aboard.

Thurs, Apr 25 – machinist working on ship engine resumed work, various crew off and on ship, Riverside delivered 15 barrels of oil; rec’d two bearing and anchor engine crank.

Fri, Apr 26 – pipefitters and machinists resumed work, various crew off and on ship, liberty party mustered and sent ashore.

Sat, Apr 27 – cast off lines from dock, docked Lamberts Point, began coaling, various crew off and on ship

Sun, Apr 28 – resumed coaling, ship underway 12:30pm, Craney Island abeam, Craney light abeam, Bush Bluff light abeam, first line to dock #9, various crew off and on ship.

Mon, Apr 29 – cast off pier 12, Newport News and proceeded towards sea 10:58am, cargo 5,113 tons, bunkers 1,444 tons, water 1,150 tons, stores 20 tons, data re cargo to be entered in the bridge log, took departure from Cape Henry fog horn. Passed Fortress Monroe, Fortress Woll, Thimble shoals, Winterquater buoy and lightship.

Tues, Apr 30 – passed Fenwick Island, Tuckers Beach, Barnegat Light, Sea Girt. Practiced abandoned ship drill, went under Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridge – first line ashore Brooklyn Navy Yard 6:35pm, various crew off and on ship.

Wed, May 1 – various crew off and on ship.

Thurs, May 2 – various crew off and on ship, several men transferred to the US Navy Hospital

Fri, May 3 – various crew off and on ship., received radio; steering, telegraph and whistle tested, 12:04 three tugs came alongside to assist us out , 12:30 full ahead, headed down the East River passed Governors Island , Statue of Liberty, Robbins Reef, Tompkins & Lafayette Forts, Hoffman’s Island, Northern Point Light, Union Island, West Bank Light, Buoy #14, Roamer Shoals Light, Ambrose L.V. Exchanged signals with Commodore. Thunder and Lightening followed by rain.  Following WB ship in convoy.

Sat, May 4 – Following WB ship in convoy, gear disabled and repaired.

Sun, May 5 – Following WB ship, ship pitching slightly to moderate –choppy sea

Mon, May 6 – Following WB ship, started zig zag course, put out fog buoy, hauled in fog buoy, ship dropped out of “Convoy not under command”.

Tues, May 7 – Following WB ship, captain personally held sick call, zig zagging

Wed, May 8 – Following WB ship

Thurs, May 9 – Following WB ship, VD ship dropped from column with damaged steering gear, zig zagging

Fri, May 10 – Following WB ship, rec’d order from Commodore to take position as leader of the W column

Sat, May 11 – Steaming in frontal formation, zig zagging

Sun, May 12 – Steaming in frontal formation, heavy fog set in, passed unidentified ship, zig zagging

Mon, May 13 – Steaming in frontal formation, took in fog buoy started zig sagging, ship rolling slightly to a choppy sea

Tues, May 14 – Guiding on Commodore, zig sagging, exchanged signals with the convoy, USS Charlestown (Ocean Escot) left convoy.

Thurs, May 16 – Steaming in frontal formation, zig sagging.

Fri, May 17 – Convoy separated, followed American Destroyers

Sat, May 18 – followed American Destroyers, passed Pte du Petit Minno lighthouse, arrival at Brest France,passed  Mengam Rock

  • Passage 14 days, 12 hours, 47 min – 3,101 miles bar to bar; coal consumed 382 tons

Sun, May 19 – passed Mengam Rock, Pte du Petit Minou, Tevenonee LH, LaVielle LH, Mana LH, Stine buoy, Isle de Penfiet, Isle de Croix, Leno Rk, Paulaine Light, La Tugnouse; let go anchor 8:11pm, 45 fathams cable

Mon, May 20 – underway 4:10am; passed Les Grand Gardinaux, Ide La Duex, Pte de la Francke, Pte de Corbean. Following punishments awarded – two given “warnings” (1) for clothing stowed under bunk and a dirty life preserver, (2)wearning non-regulation clothing; dirty hammock loss of 2 liberties, washing clothes during inspection loss of 2 liberties; wasting food by throwing it at another man, loss of 4 liberties; smoked on deck, loss of 3 liberties

Tues, May 21 – Army doctor came aboard to examine crew

Mon, May 27 – stevadores on board (discharging cargo), various men off and on ship

Tues, May 28 – 10:50 PM O’Grady return aboard from liberty 20 min overtime, intoxicated with intoxicating liquors and using obscene language.

Wed, May 29 – life boat damaged by crane #44, armed guard crew of SS Carolianian came aboard to be paid off by Paymaster.

Sat, Jun 1 – Old Bassens, Berth #5, Bordeaux France

Mon, Jun 3 – Liberty party returned 8 ½ hours overtime – reason, army trucks refused to take them back to ship as usual and they could not return otherwise. Began fumigating soldiers quarters.

Tues, Jun 4 – SS Black Arrow proceeded down river and rec’d salute of 3 whistles, a number of men boarded the ship for transportation to the US, since there was no suitable accommodation available they left.

Wed, Jun 5 – civilian crews of tugs sold to the French Government came aboard for transportation to the US.

Thurs, Jun 6 – Mootz E.W. to the brig for being drunk and disorderly.

Sat, Jun 8 – started back to the US (names a bunch of places passed while leaving)

Tues, Jun 11 – following ship ahead, exchanged signals with the convoy.

Thurs, Jun 13 – SS Armguay found missing at daybreak, sighted suspicious object, fired 3 shots, all clear

Thurs, Jun 20 – steaming in rear of convoy, rest of convoy out of sight

Sun, Jun 23 – 1:25pm reported that Naughtin, T.J. seaman in missing a thorough search was made from forward to aft without results; 3:00pm board of investigation met to investigate the death of Naughtin.

Mon, Jun 24 – carrier pigeon of Red Antwerp breed lighted on deck, was caught and examined, it was found to have a brass ring with #5484 and an aluminum ring with #37169 about its leg; Summary Court Martial convened trying Eannucci, J.

Tues, Jun 25 – Sighted schooner wrechm Chas W. Alcott, fired 4 shots scoring 4 shots from 2000 yards range

Thurs, Jun 27 – let go starboard anchor off Newport News 7:35am, immigration inspector came aboard to inspect passenger passports

Fri, Jun 28 – the 60 men carried as passengers from France left ship, several men were transferred to the naval hospital

Sat, Jun 29 – started scraping ships bottom, several men left on 5 day leave

Sun, Jun 30 – taking coal aboard (docked at Lamberts Point, Norfolk, VA)

Tues, Jul 2 – a number of men reported aboard for duty

Tues, July 9 – effects of Naughton, T.J. sea 2c U.S.N. taken ashore

Fri, Jul 12 – moved from Norfolk, VA and arrived in NY (lists running time and categories of cargo in tons)

Sat, July 13 – Full speed ahead, rec’d signal to take up position in convoy

Sat, Jul 20 – Boex, L.F.B while carrying a bottle along after well deck fell on same receiving severe cuts on left arm and hand.

Thurs, July 25 – SS Tippecanoe struck by a mine or torpedo on stern, battle quarters sounded and crew mustered on station, Tippercanoe was seen to sink at 9:14 GMT, 8 pm A.T.S., when last seen boats of Tippercanoe were together astern of ship.  Proceeded zig sagging.

Fri, July 26 – submarine sighted on starboard quarter, fired 3 shots at 4000 yards; 2 torpedo boat destroyers joined convoy.

Arrival La Pallice France, 14 days, 20 hours, 23 min; 3241 miles

Wed, July 31 – anchor at La Pallice Roads, France

Sat, Aug 3 – 115 troops of USAQMC mustered, baggage and accoutrements placed on board tug, proceeded to La Pallice.

Wed, Aug 7 – German prisoners on board to work cargo, liberty part left ship. Liberty party retured clean and sober.

Thurs, Aug 8 – German prisoners commenced unloading cargo

Fri, Aug 9 – Army Officers came aboard to look over repairs needed to ship and main engine.

Mon, Aug 12 – two men tried by deck court martial, each sentenced to lose 20 days pay and 20 days liberty.

Tues, Aug 13 – 8:30 pm base ball team returned aboard ship, liberty party returned clean and sober

Fri, Aug 16 – fire alarm sounded on dock, fire and rescue team of 30 men left ship

Mon, Aug 19 – 22 men boarded for passage to the US

Tues, Aug 20 –  sailed from La Pallice to Verdon Roads, France.

Wed, Aug 21 – 12:47pm sounded battle stations – a French ship opened fire on some unknown object outside of the nets.  Join convoy, steaming in rear of UX Ship.

Fri, Aug 23 – zig sagging, fog set in, all of the escort but two destroyers departed.  Passed empty lifeboat. 8:45 pm remaining destroyers left convoy

Tues, Aug 27 – 7PM SS Montosa reported submarine, sounded battle stations and crew mustered at stations, 8:25PM suspicious object off starboard quarter, fired 3 shells at a range of 6000 yards, 9pm all secured.

Sat, Aug 31 – stopped engine for repair 2:54pm, 3:14pm engine repaired, full steam ahead…

The log ends here with the boat at sea.  The final page simply remarks: Vessel Sunk October 6th 1918

Epilogue (from Wikipedia)

The Ticonderoga loaded another Army cargo at Norfolk between 5 and 19 September. She then steamed to New York where she joined a convoy bound for Europe. On 22 September, Ticonderoga cleared New York for the last time. During the night of the 29th and 30th, the transport developed engine trouble and dropped behind the convoy. At 05:20 the following morning, she sighted the German submarine U-152 running on the surface; and she cleared for action. For the next two hours, her gun crews fought the enemy in a losing battle. The U-boat’s gunners put her forward gun out of commission after six shots, but the 6-inch gun aft continued the uneven battle. Almost every man on board Ticonderoga — including her captain — suffered wounds. Eventually, the submarine’s two 5.9-inch guns succeeded in silencing Ticonderoga remaining gun. At 07:45, Ticonderoga slipped beneath the sea. Of the 237 sailors and soldiers embarked, only 24 survived. Twenty-two of those survivors were in one lifeboat and were picked up by the British steamer SS Moorish Prince four days later. The other two, the executive officer and the first assistant engineer, were taken prisoner on board the U-boat and eventually landed at Kiel, Germany, when U-152 completed her cruise. Ticonderoga’s name was subsequently struck from the Navy list.


Lieutenant Commander James Jonas Madison received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on the Ticonderoga.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve Force. Born: May 20, 1884, Jersey City, N.J. Appointed from: Mississippi.


For exceptionally heroic service in a position of great responsibility as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, when, on 4 October 1918, that vessel was attacked by an enemy submarine and was sunk after a prolonged and gallant resistance. The submarine opened fire at a range of 500 yards, the first shots taking effect on the bridge and forecastle, 1 of the 2 forward guns of the Ticonderoga being disabled by the second shot. The fire was returned and the fight continued for nearly 2 hours. Lt. Comdr. Madison was severely wounded early in the fight, but caused himself to be placed in a chair on the bridge and continued to direct the fire and to maneuver the ship. When the order was finally given to abandon the sinking ship, he became unconscious from loss of blood, but was lowered into a lifeboat and was saved, with 31 others, out of a total number of 236 on board.[1]


James L. Mooney, editor, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Historical Sketches; 8 volumes(Washington: Naval Historical Center Department of the Navy, 1981), 7: 181-2, 209.

Claudia Bradley, Michael Kurtz, Rebecca Livingston, et al, compilers, Lists of Logbooks of US Navy Ships, Stations and Miscellaneous Units, 1801-1947; special list 44 (Washington: National Archives and Record Service – GSA, 1978), 275.


A Genealogical Scam!

My first experience at genealogical research wasn’t research at all.  But I didn’t know any better. 

I wanted to know more of my ancestor David Pinder/Pindar/Pendar/Pender/Pynder.  His Seaman’s Protection Certificate tells me he was a native of Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts, he was  5’11” with light hair, light complexion, blue eyes and a large scar on his bosom. He died at sea in 1815 at the age of 27.  His young widow and their two young daughters ages 3 and 5, relocated to Malden, Massachusetts a distance of about 20 miles. 

I knew how to research in Malden (or so I thought – keep in mind, this was my first week as a researcher), but had no idea how to research in Ipswich.  So, I “Googled” the Ipswich Historical Society and asked if they could help.  A few days later, they referred me to a local genealogist. We made contact, I sent her a fairly large check and a few weeks later, I received a beautiful report, which I now know as an Ahnentafel Report, tracing my family back to the 1600’s in Massachusetts.

I was soooo excited! This research stuff is easy!  I added the Pinders to my family tree on put the report in my Pinder file and checked them off my research list.

Fast forward a bunch of years.  Now that I have taken some intensive genealogy courses, read blogs, magazines and  practiced the techniques learned (making lots of mistakes along the way), I am revisiting those ancestors added to my tree in the early days.

I pulled out the Pinder report last week.  I realized it was unsourced.  I attempted to locate records online and also consulted microfilmed Essex County probate records (I happened to be at NEHGS for a day).  I have many other records to look at (unfortunately Ipswich is a three-hour drive).   So, I decided to email the researcher who created the report – why recreate the wheel!  She must have a reliable source for David’s parents (she listed them as Moses Pinder & Mary Kimball) and his paternal grandparents (supposedly John Pinder and Katharine Kimball). 

The response was kind of, what word should I use –  horrifying?  First, the genealogist, who will remain nameless, acts insulted that I was asking for her source,  she lists her credentials and indicates I should just “trust” her, why would she lie?  Then she tells me is for amateurs.  After much prodding, she reveals the source. It is the published Ipswich Vital Records (she even lists the Essex Institute as publisher in her email). I tell her that I consulted the same exact source on (and forward her the following cover page of the digitized book) .


She then changes her tune and says that she used the real books and not something on the Internet.

I have copy/pasted the email exchange below (my responses in italics, hers in bold).

This is just so wrong on so many levels.  I feel cheated.  Not only is she unable to provide a source that answers the genealogical question (who are David’s parents and his paternal grandparents?), but she only consulted one source for the entire report?

What happened to the The Genealogical Proof Standard?

  • a reasonably exhaustive search;
  • complete and accurate source citations;
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information;
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

Live and Learn!!  I am writing this for all of you just starting out…  Yes, hire someone to assist you when you are “stuck” or if it is geographically impossible for you to pay a visit to the town/village/city of your ancestors – but take care – hire a Certified Genealogist ( or at least someone who is listed on the APG ( – ask for a sample report and check references before you just write a check!


Hello [name removed],

Several years ago, I had hired you to do some research on my Pender/Pindar/Pinder family.

I  finally have time to do some of my own research.

My 4th g-grandfather was David Pindar who was born in Ipswich and died at sea in 1815. Vital records to 1850 list his son of Moses baptised on16 September 1787.

There seems to be two Moses’s in the area at that time. I found marriage intentions which are 11 days apart; both men named Moses married a Mary:

(1) Mary Kimball – 19 Sep 1778 “Massachusetts, Marriages, 1695-1910,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 May 2012), Moses Pinder, 1778.


Gloucester: (2) Pinder Moses and Mary Procter m Sept 8 1778 by Rev E Forbes.

In the report you gave me, you indicated that David was the son of the Moses (born to John Pinder and Katherine Kimball) who married Mary Kimball. The document that you provided to me did not include sources and I have been unable to find any record which indicates that this Moses is father to David (vs. the Moses who married Mary Procter).

I was hoping that you could let me know the source that you used so that I can obtain a copy for my files and create a proper source citation.



It has been a long time. All the information I supplied to you came directly from Primary sources.  I would have used the vital records from Ipswich and Gloucester. I would have gone to Gloucester to help verify my sources.  I have my Masters in History and archival research and would have only used only primary sources.  Unfortunately I have moved and cannot find your file and it is difficult for me to remember all the research that I have done after all these years.  If you had questions they should have been asked at the time. I will try and check with the info you sent but I cannot make any promises.


Hi again,

My apologies for the delay in inquiring.  It is my fault – I had no idea until very recently of the importance of source citations.

I am sure you did the proper research and that the information you provided is correct, but I would love to have the source for my records. 

I can scan or mail the copy of the report you sent me, if that would be helpful.

As mentioned previously, I descend from David Pinder/Pindar (1787-1815) of Ipswich who married Elizabeth Jones (daughter of Thomas Jones and Hannah Smith).

David’s father was Moses Pindar (see attached birth record). His marriage record (attached – right hand page about half way down) says only that he is from Ipswich. His death record (also attached – see right hand page about 1/4 of the way down), just says that he died at sea. He died intestate – the probate records do not mention his parents, only his wife.

Family search has:

(1)   Moses Pindar  – bride’s name: Elizabeth Safford; marriage date: 04 Oct 1765; marriage place: Ipswich,Essex,Massachusetts – 

(2)   Moses Pinder – bride’s name: Mary Procter; marriage date: 08 Sep 1778;  marriage place: Gloucester,Essex,Massachusetts – the Mary Procter marriage registered in Gloucester states that Mary was now from Ipswich: Moses, and Mary Procter [formerly of this town, now of Ipswich, C. R. 1.], Sept. 8, 1778.

(3)   Moses Pinder – bride’s name: Mary Kimball; marriage date: 19 Sep 1778  marriage place: Ipswich,Essex,Massachusetts –

I don’t know for sure, but since David was born in 1787, I am guessing one of the Mary’s was his mother.  If Elizabeth Safford (a widow) was married to Moses in 1765, if she was living, it is unlikely that she would still be of child bearing age 22 years later.  Maybe Mary Kimball and Mary Proctor are the same person?  Perhaps Mary was married previously and one town uses her maiden name and the other the name she used during her first marriage – since the intentions are 11 days apart?

In the 1790 census there is a Moses in Ipswich – 1 male <16, 1 male >16, 2 females  In the 1800 census there is also one Moses in Ipswich – 1 m < 10, 1 m > 45, 1 female 10-15, 1 female >45; the numbers do not seem to match up, in 1800 there should have been at least 2 sons, George age 7 & David age 13. The children born to Moses in Ipswich include:

(1) Mary Pinder daughter of Moses and Elizabeth, b. 28 May 1769 (Ipswich vital records)

(2) Moses Pinder son of Moses b. 30 Dec 1770 (Ipswich vital records)

(3) Joseph Pinder son of Moses b:Aug 29, 1779 (Ipswich vital records) – no further records found, probably died young

(4) John Pindar son of Moses b: 21 Jul 1782 (Ipswich vital records) – died 1783

(5) Polly Pindar daughter of Moses b: 10 Oct 1784 (Ipswich vital records) – died 1787

(6) George Washington Pinder Son of Moses and Mary Pinder b:7 Feb 1793 (Ipswich vital records) – married Priscilla Allen in 1822

on Fold3 &, in 1775 I found a military service record: Enlistment – Pinder, Moses, Ipswich. Private, Cat. Abraham Dodge’s co., Col. Moses Little’s (17th) regt.; muster roll dated Aug. 1, 1775; enlisted May 3, 1775; service, 12 weeks 6 days; also, company return endorsed “October the 9 1775;” age, 25 yrs. [if this is my Moses, he would have been born in 1750 to be age 25 in 1775 – the Moses born to John Pinder and Katherine Kimball was born 10 years earlier in 1740/1741]

I did not find any probate records in Essex County for any man named Moses Pinder [could he have moved out of the county? or perhaps he did not have an estate at death].  There are records for both John Pinder and his wife Katherine that do mention a number of children as heirs, including a son Moses. 

Any help that you could offer in providing a source proving that the Moses born to John and Katherine is also the father of David would be appreciated.



I did double check my sources last night.  ALL my info came directly from the Vital records of Ipswich, Massachusetts not from the Massachusetts state records. The individual town records are more accurate than the state records.  And all the data was correct starting with Moses’s birth & parents and his marriage.  I do not list each time I use a source when the one source I used was used for all the data I found.  I never assume anything-that only leads to confusion and misinformation.  I did go to Gloucester to check on their Moses.  Two different men, two different birth parent and marriages.  There is no doubt in this case.

If you choose to follow Gloucester it will only confuse you genealogy and send you on a wrong tree.



Thanks!  Can you please forward a copy of what you had found for Moses? I would be happy to pay you for your time and the copies. Please let me know the cost and an address to forward the check and I can send it out today.

I have access to the Ipswich typewritten books on and also to the handwritten Ipswich books on (the first page in the book indicates that it is a copy carefully copied over by the town clerk Wesley Bell in 1884).

Neither of these books list any parents with the marriage intention, so I cannot tell if my Moses married Mary Kimball or Proctor. David’s birth and death record that I have does not list his mother’s name either.

I also could not find a second Moses with different set of parents in Gloucester. Could you please forward a copy of that record as well? 

The Gloucester books that I have says that their Mary (Proctor) was now living in Ipswich – were both Moses also living in Ipswich? I only see one Moses in Essex county in that timeframe in the census and tax records.  When and where did Moses #2 die? I did not find probate records in Essex for any Moses and I only found one death record and one enlistment record in Essex for a Moses.



The Books I used were Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts

                                                 TO THE END OF THE YEAR 1849

                                                                Volume 1, Births
                                                                Volume 2, Marriages
                                                                Volume 3, Deaths

                                                                         Published by
                                                                    The Essex Institute
                                                                        Salem, Mass

Reprinted by…..

Higginson Book Company
Salem, Mass 01970

phone; 978 745 7170

These are actual copies of the town’s vital records books  kept by the town clerks from 1650 to 1849.   All the vital records are in these including Moses birth-his parents-their marriage-Moses’ marriage.  These are the best resources for Ipswich records.  This is all I can do short of sending you my books.  I’m sorry you doubt my word and resources.  I have devoted my life as well as many years of schooling to make sure I do it right.  It does me no good to make up info especially when it is in my own line. is mainly secondary sources for amateurs and I know for sure that these books are not included.



I do have access to the books that you have referenced, reprinted by Higginson Book Company, in your last email via the (New England Genealogical Historical Society website – attached is the cover page of one of them).

If these are the sources that you used, they do not show (at least from what I can see) that David Pinder is the son of Moses Pinder who was born to John Pindar and Mary Kimball, nor does it show that Moses Pindar, father of David married Mary Kimball as stated in the document that you provided.

This morning in your email, you stated that there were two Moses’s born around the same time, to two different sets of parents who married two different wives. In all of Essex County, I see only a Moses born 1732 who also died 1732 to John and Katherine and a Moses born 1740/1741 also to John and Katherine.

In the books that you reference:

David’s birth states that his father is Moses – no mother is named.
David’s marriage lists his wife – no father or mother is named.
David’s death states that he died at sea – no parents or wife is mentioned.

According to these books, there is only one Moses born in Ipswich (and in all of Essex County) in the proper time frame and it does list his parents: Moses, s. John and Katharine, Mar. 3, 1740.

The books you refer to have THREE marriage records for a Moses Pinder in Essex County – (1) Elizabeth Stafford, (2) Mary Kimball (3) Mary Proctor

– NONE of these records lists any parents names. I cannot tell if there are three men named Moses of different parents or one Moses who married three different woman in his lifetime – or if Mary Kimball/Proctor was the same person and perhaps one name was from a first husband and the other her maiden name since the intentions in Gloucester and Ipswich were only 11 days apart.

There is only ONE death of Moses Pindar in Essex, again no mention of parents names or wife – Moses, Oct. 19, 1827, a. 86 yr. – Mary’s death does not give her maiden name: Mary, w. Moses, Mar. 2, 1826, a. 77 y.

As I mentioned this morning, it is unlikely that the mother of David was Elizabeth Stafford as she would have been past child bearing age when David was born.

So David’s mother was most likely either Mary Kimball or Mary Proctor (or both! – maybe they are the same person as I wrote in the prior email). ‘

After looking at the books you reference (along with other sources), I am not sure how you determined that David’s mother was Mary Kimball. I am just seeking clarification from you, and would love a photocopy of your source for my records.



 I am using the actual vital records not books or an internet site.  I think that I can get actual copies of the marriage records & birth records from town hall.  I believe they would cost $15.00 each.  They would also be notarized.  They would be on the new forms with the old info on them.  I have never had to do this before but I see no reason they wouldn’t do it, it is directly from the public records.  As a professional my credentials have never been called into  question before and I have done work for the DAR and the Mayflower descendants.  You may not understand the difference between actual vital records and books someone has written on the subject.  If you want the actual certificates just let me know,  they have to be paid for in advance.  It would take less than a week to get them to you.

Kill the Dog?!?!?

Today, I thought I would share a few hard learned lessons.

The parents of my husband’s maternal grandmother Dorothy Elizabeth White, who married David Charles Little, in Lynn, Massachusetts, have been a mystery.

I easily found Dorothy with her parents Herbert Joseph White and Annie M. in the 1920 and 1930 censuses.  Herbert’s “Petition for Naturalization” is online.  I collected a draft registration and an SS-5 (social security application) for Herbert and a death certificate for Dorothy from the Lynn City Clerk.

In summary:

(1)    Herbert was born on lot 5, Prince Edward Island on 29 August 1889 and arrived in Maine via rail  in December 1908.

(2)    His wife Annie M. was born in Boston , July 1894 to a German father and Irish mother; her daughter Dorothy’s death record lists Annie’s maiden name as Elezer.

(3)    Dorothy was born on 12 June 1912 in Lynn, Massachusetts and married David Charles Little about 1928.

This is where the trail ends.  No record on, Family Search or American Ancestors, nothing in the Massachusetts index books at the Massachusetts vital records office or at the Lynn City Clerk’s office for the marriage of Herbert & Annie, no birth for Dorothy, no marriage for Dorothy and Charles, no death record for Annie or Herbert. Neither Annie or Herbert are found in the 1910 census in Massachusetts and there are no families with a surname close to Elezer in all of Massachusetts with a combination of Irish/German descent.

I decide to post the facts on several genealogy message boards.  About five months later, a wonderful woman named Karen responded with LOTS of information.  She says:

“I noticed in the 1920 Census at Lynn MA, Herbert White is listed as French and since it was quite common for French Canadians to anglicize their names when they moved to english speaking areas, I searched records in PEI under the the surname “LeBlanc” (blanc is french for white). Sure enough, it looks like Herbert’s surname was originally “LeBlanc”….”  The rest of the post can be found here, she basically helps me reconstruct his entire life,ontario::canada::98481.html

I instantly feel like a dope!  My Lithuanian’s changed their name when they arrived, a common occurrence with many immigrant groups; I have been taking Spanish lessons twice a week for the past five years and know full well that blanco (blanc in French) means white; and my maternal grandmother was Acadian (a family I have traced back to the 1600’s thanks to an mtDNA test) and my tree is full of LeBlancs.  [Side note: After a bit more research using the microfilm for St Anthony’s Bloomfield at NEHGS, and other sources, I now know that my husband and I are 10th cousins through at least six different sets of grandparents].

My research propels forward! The Lynn City Clerk has Dorothy LeBlanc’s birth dated 12 June 1912 and Dorothy LeBlanc’s marriage to David Little.  Her mother Annie’s surname on both documents is listed as Brown. I search the Lynn newspapers at the Boston Public library and find obituaries for Annie, Herbert &  Dorothy but none provide clues to Annie’s origins (although it does confirm a Boston birth).

Then, success! Can’t fool me twice!!  Brown “germanized” is Braun. I find an Annie Brown/Braun in the 1910 census living in Boston with her German father George Brown/Braun and Irish mother Mary Keohane/Cohan.  The ONLY German/Irish Brown/Braun family in all of Boston with a child Annie.  Annie is no longer with the family in 1920 (perfect, she shouldn’t be – she is married and living in Lynn with Herbert!). Annie is listed as Agnes in the 1900 census (obviously a census taker error) and her birth date listed as Feb 1893 instead of July 1894 as on Herbert’s naturalization (another census taker error or Herbert not knowing his wife’s birth date; typical man).  And the surname Elezer from Dorothy’s death certificate…  Well, Dorothy was dead.  She couldn’t give her mother’s maiden name.  Herbert was still alive when his daughter died, typical male, perhaps senile – he just messed up his deceased wife’s maiden name.

Anyway, I digress.  The Brown/Braun tree is fascinating. Annie descends from Friderich Braun who was born in 1821 in Germany.  He travelled to America (alone) with his 9 children in 1873, settled in Boston and is buried in Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts.  His son George is employed by a furniture factory.  My husband is thrilled to hear this! His love is his woodshop.  He finally feels a connection to his otherwise dysfunctional, crazy, misfit, alcoholic family.

For 4 days, I stayed up until 1 or 2 AM adding no less than 213 new family members and hundreds of records to the Brown/Braun tree.  I corresponded with seven “cousins”, found the family’s ship manifest on and ordered George’s naturalization from NARA (which is on the way to me as we speak).  Annie M. had 6 siblings, all of whom have birth & marriage records online and all of whom I easily traced forward to 2013.

Then, 4 days later,  I realize I hadn’t discovered Annie’s birth record.  Strange.  I found records for all of her siblings in Boston, Massachusetts. After some creative searching, I found a birth dated February 23 1893 (the same month/year listed in the 1900 census) for a “Sophia Agnes” born to George Brown and Mary Keohane.  The address matched that of a few siblings. The name Annie was written and then crossed off – the informant was not a family member (probably a midwife). Hmmm… I recalled that the 1900 census had her name as Agnes.

Can you say “light dawns on marble head”…. Did I have the right Annie? or did I jump to conclusions….

Then I think…how did Annie M. Brown and Herbert J. LeBlanc meet if he lived and worked in Lynn and she resided in Boston.  I try another search  – 1910 census, Lynn, Massachusetts, Ann* Br*n – father German, mother Irish – I hold my breath, hoping for nothing to appear as I tentatively hit the search button –   Up pops an Annie Brown living with her mother Annie E. Blazer and step-father John.  I search for the Blazer’s in the 1920 & 1930 census.  Crap.  There they are in 1930, living on Summer Street in the same house as Herbert/Annie White and Dorothy/David Little.

Annie M Census 1930

Blazer/Elezer?…pretty close, sounds like an error when the Lynn Clerk was reading/transcribing information onto the death certificate… There is even a French Canadian “Arsenault” boarder living with the German/Irish couple – Arsenault is Herbert White/LeBlanc’s mother’s maiden name.  Why had I not noticed this? I learned long ago to ALWAYS look at the neighbors when I find a census record!

I do a Google search on Annie E. Blazer.  Up pops an article from the Lowell Sun dated 1937.  “Will Orders Dog’s Death”.  Annie Blazer leaves an interest in her Lynn home to her daughter “Mrs. Annie M. White” of Lynn AND she wishes to have her dog killed, because her husband John E. Blazer can’t even take care of himself! Now that sounds more like my husband’s crazy family!


I couldn’t bring myself to delete the 213 Braun/Brown’s – so much effort went into piecing together this unrelated family.  I deleted George Brown and Mary Keohane in the “relationships” tab of Annie M. Brown’s record and instead added Sophia Agnes as their daughter.  Maybe my efforts will help some other researcher.  I still have not found Annie’s father – I am secretly “hoping” that he is somehow part of this Boston Brown/Braun family.  Annie M’s mother, Annie Elizabeth Callan/Callahan, daughter of James Callan/Callahan and Annie Kehon (maybe Keohane ?), was listed as a widow when she married her second husband John Blazer in Maine on 7  December 1905.  Another mystery – what was she doing in Maine? Was Annie M. really born in Boston? Where did her father Brown/Braun die? This time I will be a bit more careful before jumping to conclusions and adding records to my tree.

Need I say more? Hard lesson learned!

And for any cousins reading – here is a copy of the handwritten will that I found at Essex County Probate Court:

5c3af148-072c-4500-a45b-cb4bcb8f8f41 e8433111-f7d0-494b-9ba2-4744a8e83e45

UPDATE 2017: Another lesson – Herbert is not Dorothy’s biological father!  Read here:

My Excellent Adventure to the Middlesex Registry of Probate and Registry of Deeds, Cambridge, Massachusetts

My ancestors resided in Malden, Massachusetts for many generations.  I was hoping to learn more of their lives – thus my visit.

A Google search for Middlesex County Probate and Land records revealed the following:


208 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02141
Tel. 617-679-6300   Fax 617-494-9083
Office Hours: Monday–Friday 8:00a.m.–3:45p.m.

The Middlesex South District consists of the following cities and towns:


probate and deeds

The courthouse was easy to find.  Take the Green Line to Lechmere.  Upon exiting the station (which is right on Cambridge Street), walk to the right  – the courthouse is about 100 yards up on the left.

Do not walk up the large set of steps (like I did).  The entrances are at ground level, one on each side of the building.

It takes a few minutes to get through security – empty all your pockets. Cameras are not allowed, however you can bring cell phones, computers and scanners.  Wifi is available and unsecured access is free.

My first visit – Friday, January 5, 2013:

I came prepared with a list of my Middlesex County ancestors which included death dates.

I headed to the second floor (up the stairs directly in front of you) – circle around and the office is in the corridor to the right (on your left as you are walking up the steps).

The room has lots of different counters.  Lines and people everywhere!!  There is an area with a long desk and chairs, where I dropped my coat and backpack.  The indexes were in large bound books (about 3 rows in as you enter the room – behind the row with the long desk).  They are organized by year and then surname, are typewritten and easy to read.

I found a number of my ancestors and recorded the docket numbers:

–          My dad – Robert Hall, d. 1993, 95P3208

–          My grandfather, d. 1976, Dr Charles George Hall 492413

–          My grandmother, d. 1999, Edith (Haines) Hall 99P4858

–          My g-grandfather, d. 1942, Charles Milton Hall, 246238 & 248536

–          My g-grandmother, d. 1964, Georgianna (Hughes/Clough) Hall, 390288

–          My g-g-grandfather, d. 1917, Ephraim Hall, 108369 & 110786

–          My g-g-grandmother, d. 1910, Roxanne A. (Wilson) Hall, 88895

–          And several of Ephraim’s siblings and their spouses: Abbie F (Hall) Hough, d. 1900, 53444; Thomas Hough, 92855, d. 1912; Mary E. (Hall) Patten, d. 1920, 126314; Ellen (Hall) Nichols, d. 1923, 143131; Levi Nichols, d. 1910, 85778.

The documents I was seeking were labeled either Will or Administration, with one for Ephraim being listed as Guardianship.

I did not find entries for: Horatio Hall d. 1884; Elizabeth (Pinder) Hall d. 1886; David Patten d. 1908; Sofrine Hall d. 1934; Lucy Mason Hall d. 1907; Horatio Hall Jr. d. 1930; John Haines d. 1942; Edith B. (Lansil) Haines d. 1950; Jennie (Ferguson) Haines d. 1938; John William Haines d. 1939; Billy Haines d. 1964 or Elizabeth (Jones) Pinder d. 1853.

I approached the front desk with my list, and inquired as to how I would order the probate packets.  Let’s just say that the woman at the front desk was not a people person.  After being spoken to like I was a school child, she did communicate that records from 1872-1925 were stored offsite in Brookfield and would need to be ordered.    She instructed me to write down my name and list the onsite docket numbers (those dated after 1925) on the pad in front of her.

She then radioed the numbers to someone and within 10 minutes they magically appeared through a tube in the wall. I was instructed (sternly) to review only one packet at a time,  as to not accidentally mix the documents in with the wrong packet.

I had originally planned to scan the documents, but there were so many, it would have taken me days!  There are three copy machines available (two in the room and one in the hallway).  I had no cash ( there is a Bank of America ATM across from the train station – a bit to the left as you exit the train).

I brought my packets to a counter that was labeled “copy service” (another patron told me that they accepted credit cards) and asked that everything be copied ($1.00 a page).  The woman behind the desk was working alone and not thrilled.  When she finished, she had me count the pages myself (I had to pay $2.00 for pages that were double sided).  She wrote the amount ($70) on a slip of white scrap paper and sent me across the room to pay at the divorce desk.

After paying, I returned the packets to a cart in the middle of the room (as instructed by the not so friendly front desk employee  – who, by the way does not discriminate – she freely yelled, argued and spoke sternly to anyone and everyone).  Another patron, told me to deal instead with Steve, also behind the front desk, to order the offsite records (as he was a bit more pleasant).  Steve gave me a a form, where I listed my docket numbers including “record type”, where I listed A, G or W (for Administration, Guardianship or Will). Requests are faxed every Friday and delivered to Cambridge within 5-10 business days.  Steve would call me when they arrived and I would have 5 business days to view them.

Two hours later, I got a voice message from Steve saying that adoption records were sealed and I absolutely could not see a copy.  I returned his call Monday morning, confused because I hadn’t ordered any adoption records (I didn’t think a guardianship was an adoption ?).

Turns out, the confusion was in my writing the letter “A”, for the administration records.  There are apparently just 2 codes allowed (not that anyone told me) – P for probate or A for adoption.   Steve agreed to change my “A’s” to “P’s” and fax the request for them; he offered to make an exception and hold all of my packets for five business days after the second set arrived.

I got a call from Steve on Wednesday, January 23rd indicating that everything had arrived and that I had until Tuesday to view them.

My second visit – Friday, January 25, 2013:

I approached the front desk and asked for the packets, giving my name.  The same not so friendly woman said that I needed the docket numbers.  When I responded that I didn’t have the list with me she was clearly not happy.  She pulled out a pile of about 20 packets.  I could see that my g-aunt Ellen Nichols was on the top of the pile.  I pointed to it and said, “that is one of mine”.  In response, I got a stern: “do NOT tell me which are yours, I will look them up”, then she pointed and angrily instructed, “go stand over there away from my desk”.  Alrighty then….  Luckily Steve approached and found the packets for me.  I knew I had ordered seven, but he handed me only six (I later realized when I was half way home, that Abbie (Hall) Hough was missing).

This time, I had come prepared with three $20 dollar bills.  The “copy card” machine stated that no new cards were available, so I instead inserted a twenty into a machine.  I made about 8 copies before I realized that the orientation was wrong (depending on paper size, the original has to be positioned differently). Cost was .50 cents per copy.

I spent $52.75 copying some fascinating stuff!!   Ellen (Hall) Nichols estate, the majority of which was left to my g-grandfather, was valued at $71,000.00 in 1924. This has the same buying power as $926,168.32 in 2013!

I digress….   Once finished, I hit the coin return and out came only $3.00 instead of $7.25. The green “out of change” light illuminated. Another patron mentioned that the machine running out of change is a frequent problem.  I approached Steve who indicated that the probate office does not own the copy machines – I would have to email or call the company listed on the side of the machine and ask for a refund – they would mail me a check. Live and learn!

I returned the packets to the cart and set off to tackle some land deeds.

The land deed office is directly across the hallway from probate (second floor, on the right, when you walk in the front door of the courthouse). I approached the front desk and a very nice woman directed me to the indexes on the fourth floor and then to the land books in the basement.

The grantor and grantees indexes are organized by year and then by surname.  The earliest indexes (before 1859) do not list a town.  They start out organized in 10 year spans.  In later years there is one book per year.  I searched the Grantee indexes for Hall’s through 1945 and recorded the book and page number (grantee means land that my ancestors purchased – the grantor index would tell me to whom they sold). Indexes 1974 and later and deed images 1986 and later are online and accessible from home or on the 4th floor computers (there were 5 or 6 of them)

There is no elevator to the basement.  As you enter the front door to the courthouse, head to the right.  At the end of the corridor, look to the right and descend a short set of steps.  The shelves are clearly labeled with book numbers (three separate rooms).

The other patrons seemed to be having problems with the copy machine, so I opted to scan the pages with my portable FlipPal scanner, (not to mention I was out of cash).

By that time, I was exhausted and hungry!   I decided to wait until my next visit to tackle the later Grantee indexes and all of the Grantor indexes.

Finding Living Relatives after the 1930 Census

So what happened to all those relatives listed in the 1930 census?  Are you hoping to find your grandmother’s living sister or her children?  Here are some things to try – some obvious, some not so obvious: 

City Directories:  

  • If the family moved in the last year, many times the directory will tell you to what city they “Removed”.  Many of the directories list the names of people who died in town that year, so always check for that as well.  Death information is usually in the back of the directory, so browse those pages.
  •  The data for the directory was sometimes collected a year in advance, so be sure to check all versions.  For example the data collected in 1916 might appear in the 1917 city directory.
  • If the directory you need is not on, you could do a google search for the local library in the city where your ancestor was living. The librarian may be able to help you with street directories if they are not online.  Many times they will copy the pages for you for free or just charge a small fee for copying.

Salvation Army Missing Persons Locator Service  

  • The Missing Persons Service is available in most countries where The Salvation Army operates. Their objective is to bring families together where contact has been lost, either recently or in the distant past.   You must provide: Missing person’s complete name, date of birth, place of birth, and parent’s names.  They do say that they will not search for “genealogical reasons”….  I realize this is a genealogy blog, but sounds like a grey area to me…I met my g-g-g-grandmother’s g-g-grandson online when he discovered a photo I had posted of our common ancestor standing with both of our g-grandmothers…we are friends now.  Genealogy?  maybe, maybe not…  Cost is $25 for a search in the Northeastern US  (I am not sure if the cost varies by region).

Social Security Administration letter-forwarding service 

  • The SSA will forward a letter to someone’s last known address for “under circumstances involving a matter of great importance” if the you have a name, Social Security number and birth date. Letters that have a “humanitarian purpose” will be forwarded for free. Requests for letter forwarding should be sent to: SSA, Letter Forwarding, P.O. Box 33022, Baltimore, MD 21290-3022.

 Driver Records

  •  By writing to the Division of Motor Vehicles Office or Drivers License Office in the state of residence, it may be possible to obtain information such as Social Security number, address, date of birth, and accident history. There are different rules by state.  Do a google search.  Here is an example of what is available in the state of California “How to get a copy of someone else’s driver license, ID card, vehicle or vessel record”:     

Need a Birth Date to contact one of the organizations above?

  • Try –   although it doesn’t give the birth date, you can find it (for free) using trial and error. First, put the year. It usually gives the person’s age, so you should only have to try 2 years. Then try the months. Once you establish the month and year, try the days. If you go to (similar to or some of’s public record indexes, they sometimes give you month and year of birth to get you started.


  • Many “recent” obituaries are easily located online at funeral home websites and local newspaper sites.  When Aunt Mary passes, the obituary sometimes lists the names of those she left behind along with the city/state of residence.  Check for these names at social networking websites like Facebook, Linkedin or  In Linked in and Facebook, you can usually view a person’s “friend” list without becoming  their friend.  Browse the list – any of the other names in the obituary listed?  Bingo you have the right person!

I’ve barely touched the surface, but hopefully have given you a few new ideas.  Check out Cyndi’s list for more ideas:

This quick interview from Lisa Louise Cooke of The Genealogy Gems Podcast with Amy Urman, a private investigator offers a few additional tips:

Do you have additional tips to share?  We’d love to hear them!!

Happy Searching!!

Do you use the American Genealogical Biographical Index??

The Rider Index (named after its creator, Fremont Rider, a librarian and an avid genealogist) also known as the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI) can be a valuable tool when researching your family history.  The index is a useful finding aid which can lead you to published sources which mention your ancestor(s).

Many of today’s researchers don’t bother to consult this index as they feel it is archaic and unnecessary due to the introduction (and growing collections) of Google Books, the Internet Archive, HathiTrust and others

I disagree!!!  Read on……

The AGBI is an ongoing project started in 1942; the owner and publisher is the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, CT.  In over 225 volumes there are more than 850 sources mentioned, equating to over 12 million records which include over 2 million records from the Boston Transcript  (a genealogy newspaper column dating from 1896 to 1941).

According to Wikipedia (quoting Gary Boyd Roberts of NEHGS):

“The Boston Evening Transcript was a newspaper of record. Its genealogical column, which usually ran twice or more a week for several decades in the early twentieth century, was often an exchange among the most devoted and scholarly genealogists of the day. Many materials not published elsewhere are published therein.

The AGBI includes items such as town and county histories, biographies, vital records, Revolutionary war records and the 1790 census to name a few…. Much of this material has never been indexed elsewhere.

So let’s try an EXPERIMENT with one of my Pinder (sometimes spelled Pindar) ancestors from Ipswich, Massachusetts. I searched and found:

Name: Joanna Pinder
Birth Date: 1830
Birthplace: Massachusetts
Volume: 137
Page Number: 221
Reference: Caldwell recds. John and Sarah (Dillingham) Caldwell of Ipswich, Ms, and des. by Augustine Caldwell. Boston, 1873. (80p.)ds:47

How to find the book:

1.  Search in Google Books, Family Search, HathiTrust and Internet Archive for:

  • “Joanna Pindar” OR “Pindar, Joanna” OR “Joanna Pinder” OR “Pinder, Joanna”  Ipswich

– reveals 0 records in the Internet Archive & HathiTrust and 5 records in Google Books, 11 at FamilySearch, none written by Caldwell.

Note that a search of Pinder OR Pindar AND Ipswich in Google Books reveals 2,880 results…1,320 “full view”…too many for me!

2. Search all databases for

  • “Caldwell Family Records”,  Augustine Caldwell

– Google Books doesn’t have the original book but offers a number of places where it can be found – libraries and historical societies.

– Internet archives has actual copies of two Caldwell family books by Augustine Caldwell searchable and available for FREE download:

There are a number of Pinder/Pindar’s mentioned, references I may never have found without the aid of the AGBI:

“John Caldwell and Sarah Dillingham Caldwell, his wife, Ipswich, Mass., 1654 : genealogical records of their descendants, eight generations, 1654-1900 (1904)”

  • Page n46 – . John Pinder. Samuel Wait. Mary (Hart)
  • Page n85 – . Benjamin Pinder was Captain. The brig crossed Ipswich
  • Page 159 – John Pinder was twice married. His first wife,
  • Page 160 – of John Pinder. They had two daughters,
  • Page n89 – married Benjamin Pindar. Deborah, married David Hart, Newburyport,
  • Page 103 – Mrs. Pindar lived years, and departed this

Caldwell records : John and Sarah (Dillingham) Caldwell, Ipswich, Mass., and their descendants, sketches of families connected with them by marriage, brief notices of other Caldwell families

  • Page 30 – Benj. Pindar. iv. Deborah, m. Daniel
  • Page 41 – . Benjamin Pindar, Feb. , . She
  • Page n92 – Sarah Caldwell Pindar Thomas and Elizabeth Sweet Francis
  • Page 19 – , John Pinder, Samuel Wait. Mary Caldwell, widow
  • Page 46 – and Benjamin Pinder, bap. Jan. , .
  • Page 47 – . John Pinder, who has a general oversight of the
  • Page 73 – and Lucy Pinder, m. ( ) Susanna

HathiTrust has a number of Caldwell publications, one being  full copy of “Antiquarian papers. v.1-4 1879-1885.”

  • …Moses Pindar, and Solomon Coleman, these were all living in 1825. Others in the battle with them, were Benjamin Ross, Aaron Perkins, John Fow- ler, Philip Lord, jr., Joseph Wise, Abraham Kaowlton, Nehemiah Choate, Isaac Giddings, and Nathaniel Baker who was wounded in the an- kle and lamed for life.…
  • John Pindar, borne the 16 of August, 1658. Tho: son of Ezekiell Cheever, borne the 23 ot August, 1658. Ruth, daughter of Thomas Burnham, borne the 23 of August, 1658. Mordicha, son of Mordicah Larekum, borne 16 of ‘September, 1658. William, son of William Gutterson, borne the 20 of September, 1658…
  • …Henry Pindar dyed the 6 of February 1661 Elisabeth, daughter of Mr. Thomas Cobbitt dyed 13 Agust 1661 Jonathan son Isaack Foster dyed in May 15, 1661 Elizabeth, daught of Symon Tompson dyed about 12 June 1661 Sarah, daughter of Edward Allen died 10 Febru: Hanah, daughter of John Kindrick, dyed 20 of…
  • … John Pindar, borne 26 Aug. Daniell, sonn of Daniell Hovey, borne the 24 of June. Mary, daughter of Cornelius Waldo borne the 9 of September. Richard, son of Jerimiah Belcher the 10th of September. Sarah, daughter of Newman borne 23 of Aug. Joseph, sonn of John Whipple tersh borne the 17 of Sept. Jo…

There are many others…. But I just wanted to share a sampling.

More about the Index

A large number of the sources indexed are related to New England (since that is where the index was created) but there are other listings: early history of families from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland; entries for the first twelve colonies;  records from parts of the Pennsylvania Archives; and sources related to Vermont, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Alabama.

Only published sources are included in the index, so most of them are likely to be found at a number of libraries (but since most are out of copyright, check Google Books, Family Search, HathiTrust and the Internet Archive). If not online, the two libraries that are likely to have all the sources indexed are: The Godfrey Memorial Library and the Family History Library.

The entries are alphabetical and most index entries includes full name, birthplace, volume, page, biographical information and reference information (when known).

You can search for names listed in the index at, or download/search the actual printed volumes which have been digitized by FamilySearch here (since Ancestry’s indexing isn’t the greatest, I prefer the digitized version).

The website explains how the included names were selected:

Names that Were Indexed—The index is of all persons according to set standards, rather than every name. The following persons have been included in the index: (1) person mentioned as wife, husband, father, mother, son, daughter, or other relative, of some person mentioned; (2) person mentioned as being born or married, or those mentioned dying; (3) person mentioned as having performed military or public service, or mentioned in connection with other facts of biographical importance; (4) person mentioned in a deed or legal document; (5) person mentioned as one of the founders of a settlement, a passenger on an immigrant ship (before 1850), a member of a church (before 1850), etc.

Name the Were Omitted—Omissions include: (1) persons (such as ship captains, ministers, army officers, etc.) mentioned only casually and not related to the family line being followed; (2) all casually mentioned names of well-known persons (e.g., George Washington or Benjamin Franklin); (3) witnesses, and similar incidental names, that appear in legal documents; (4) authors of works cited, or persons cited as authorities for statements.

Also the following information may be useful when structuring your search:

Entry Construction—Each entry consists of the following: (1) Person’s surname, spelled as it appears in the indexed text (Note that names are, in general, written and filed as one word, e.g., “Van Derbilt” and “Van Der Bilt” would be written as “Vanderbilt”; also, surnames with apostrophes have been indexed and alphabetized without the apostrophe, though it does appear in the actual name, e.g., “O’Connor” would be filed as “Oconnor.”); (2) The person’s first name (or initial) and middle names (or initials), if any (Note that if there is no given name, we have substituted a long dash in that area, and where an abbreviated name is given in the text, we have substituted the full name indicated if it is clear (e.g., for “Dan” we write “Daniel”); (3) The person’s birth year, as it appears in the indexed text; (4) The person’s state (or states) of residence (including the states of birth and death, if they are known); (5) Biographical data, abbreviated; (6) The page citation of the text being indexed; consisting of the abbreviated title and page number.

Or you can submit search and photocopy requests to the Godfrey Memorial Library (copies are fairly inexpensive) by using this form:

So give it a try and share your successes with us!!

Finding the Ship Manifest using Naturalization Records

We all have that elusive ancestor who arrived from a port in Europe. Finding your ancestor on a ship manifest can seem like a daunting task.  Names are indexed improperly, inconsistencies of  “arrival year”  the 1910, 20 and 30 census may exist, some changed their names after arrival and others have a name so common that there are hundreds of possibilities.

Today I will talk about using Naturalization records as a Manifest finding aid. 

First find your relatives in the census. Last week’s blog gives some census search tips

  • 1900: If foreign born, year of immigration and whether naturalized
  • 1910: If foreign born, year of immigration and whether naturalized, language spoken if not able to speak English
  • 1920: If foreign born, year of immigration, whether naturalized, year of naturalization
  • 1930: If foreign born, year of immigration, whether naturalized, language spoken in home before coming to US, and ability to speak English

Review the census entries (which aren’t always accurate) and look for “Al” alien, “Pa” papers, which means your ancestor had declared his intent to become a citizen, and “Na” which meant he was already naturalized (meaning he became a US a citizen). If they were naturalized, you are in luck!

The naturalization record for your ancestors will usually list when they arrived and a town of origin plus lots of other great information. Hopefully the dates on the census records will be close to the actual arrival date, but always expand your search by a few years. The declaration and naturalization dates may be estimated using the arrival date + 2 and arrival date +5: immigrants had to be in US for two years before they could “declare intent” and then another three years before finally being naturalized (although there were exceptions to this rule).

Exceptions included (copied from

The first major exception was that “derivative” citizenship was granted to wives and minor children of naturalized men. From 1790 to 1922, wives of naturalized men automatically became citizens. This also meant that an alien woman who married a U.S. citizen automatically became a citizen. (Conversely, an American woman who married an alien lost her U.S. citizenship, even if she never left the United States.) From 1790 to 1940, children under the age of 21 automatically became naturalized citizens upon the naturalization of their father. Unfortunately, however, names and biographical information about wives and children are rarely included in declarations or petitions filed before September 1906. For more information about women in naturalization records, see Marian L. Smith, “Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940,” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Summer 1998): 146-153.

The second major exception to the general rule was that, from 1824 to 1906, minor aliens who had lived in the United States 5 years before their 23rd birthday could file both their declarations and petitions at the same time.

The third major exception to the general rule was the special consideration given to veterans. An 1862 law allowed honorably discharged Army veterans of any war to petition for naturalization–without previously having filed a declaration of intent–after only 1 year of residence in the United States. An 1894 law extended the same no-previous-declaration privilege to honorably discharged 5-year veterans of the Navy or Marine Corps. Over 192,000 aliens were naturalized between May 9, 1918, and June 30, 1919, under an act of May 9, 1918, that allowed aliens serving in the U.S. armed forces during “the present war” to file a petition for naturalization without making a declaration of intent or proving 5 years’ residence. Laws enacted in 1919, 1926, 1940, and 1952 continued various preferential treatment provisions for veterans.

Naturalization records usually name the vessel, the arrival date and the name of the port where your ancestor arrived. You can then use that information to locate ship records.

The petition for naturalization and declaration of intent  have a wealth of information. If you have an subscription, below is a link to an example of what you can expect to see (be sure to “page forward” a few screens to see the different documents):

Where you can search for the naturalization records depends on when they applied. Before 1906 your ancestors could apply to any court, so most went to the county courthouse because it was convenient. Starting in late 1906, all applications had to instead be made in a federal court. recently posted the index of naturalization records from the World Project for a number of states.  The index might give you the court that they went to to be naturalized (i.e. US District Court). If you find the information in the index, you can order a copy of the document online at the National Archives (or you can visit a branch of the Archives).

Here are the related databases in

  • Selected U.S. Naturalization Records – Original Documents, 1790-1974 (World Archives Project)
  • Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989
  • Selected U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1966 (Indexed in World Archives Project)
  • U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995
  • U.S. Naturalization Records – Original Documents, 1795-1972

You will get better results searching in each individual database. Click the search button on the top of the screen in ancestry, then on the right select “View All Ancestry Titles” and then search for those titles. Make sure you are using “old search” – it works much better than “new search”. also has some Naturalization records.

Otherwise go to the National Archives (link above) and order a copy of the document online

A great book is (get it at your  library, via  interlibrary loan or at Schaefer, Christine. Guide to Naturalization Records of the United States (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1997).

 The book  is divided by state, county and city. It  identifies naturalization repositories, giving the types of records held, coverage dates, and the location of both originals and microfilm. More info:

It also should be noted that in 1922 women aged 21 years and older could become citizens regardless of marital status. Wives no longer became citizens upon husband’s naturalization. Also in that year, the residency requirement was reduced to three years.

Last, Federal Naturalizations did not start until the early 1800s. There were oaths of allegiance done in the 1700s which are recorded in the published Pennsylvania Archives. Philadelphia was the largest port in the 1700s and the Germans were coming in for land and freedom of religion, so the English had ship passengers swear oaths of allegiance to King George. If they were  British, this was not a requirement, thus their name was not recorded.

Happy searching!

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