Saturday, May 14, 2016

Locating that elusive Immigration record ~ Margaret Ritchie Milne (1820-1902)

Furnessia_photo of ship
A picture of the ship Furnessia - in service 1880-1912 Photo courtesy of

It doesn’t always happen right away.  I am talking about finding those records.  I’ve been dancing around this particular immigration record for a dozen years.
Margaret Ritchie Milne is my 2nd great grandmother.  She was born in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 23 Oct 1820.  She married Charles Milne, although I don’t yet have a marriage date for them.  They had four children, 3 daughters and a son.  It is the son, Andrew, from whom I descend.  Those three daughters were born first, so I’m glad they kept trying and finally had a son.

I knew Margaret had come to the United States after the death of her husband, Charles, who died in 1877. She is enumerated on the 1881 Scotland census.  But, I found her listed in a Detroit, Michigan city directory in 1886.  She is living with her son, Andrew C. Milne.

I also knew that she eventually moved back to Scotland, since she died and is buried there.

It’s often when we revisit the information we have for our ancestors, that things begin to line up and make sense.  Because we continue to learn as we research, we look at things from a different perspective.  That was the case with Margaret.

I looked at the Events I had listed for her in my Legacy database and realized that I was missing possible city directory listings.

I recently wrote a blog post about how helpful those city directories can be.  You can read that post here.

If Margaret was living in Detroit in 1886, could she have been there in 1885?  Time to check that city directory.  BINGO!  
I was able to locate it and found her daughter, Charlotte, living with her, listed as "Lotta."  Also on that same page is Margaret’s son, Andrew C. Milne, my great grandfather. 

1885_MILNE_Andrew_also Margaret & Lotta_DetroitWayneMichigan

If Margaret was living in Scotland in the 1881 census, but was in Detroit, by 1885, then I’ve really narrowed down her arrival date.
Sure enough, I located a record on for a Passenger list for Margaret Milne, traveling from Glasgow to the U.S. on 3 Nov 1882 on the ship Furnessia.  Who is on that passenger list with her?  Her 20 yr. old daughter, Charlotte.

This record is very difficult to read, but it was clear enough to me.  The ages for Margaret & Charlotte match exactly.

MILNE_Margaret & Charlotte_passenger record_3 Nov 1882_arriving New York_cropped

This was exactly what I’d been looking for these past dozen or so years.  I’m doing my happy dance right now.

Here is the indexed information from that record.

Name    Mgt Milne
Arrival Date    3 Nov 1882
Birth Date    1820
Age    62
Gender    Female
Ethnicity/ Nationality    Scottish
Place of Origin    Scotland
Port of Departure    Glasgow, Scotland and Moville, Ireland
Destination    Scotland
Port of Arrival    New York, New York
Ship Name    Furnessia

I’m very happy to have finally found this record.  What immigration records have you been searching for for a long time?  I’d love to hear about them.  Did you eventually find them?


WHY DIDN'T I SEE THAT?  When the obvious escapes us

STEVE MORSE'S ONE STEP WEBSITE ~ If you thought it was only for passenger records - Think again!

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall

Friday, May 13, 2016

PHOTO FRIDAY ~ Can you help me identify this man?

SMITH_Clyde J_photo sent from Sue Dattolo_labeled by her_cropped& enh_edited
This is a picture shared with me by a cousin.  She found it amongst photos that her mother, Jane, has.  The only thing written on the back is “Scotland.”  Jane is my 1st cousin once removed, on the Milne side of the family.

I know it’s a bit blurry, but in trying to read the printed words on the bottom I see ___Margie? on the lower left.  On the lower right corner I’m fairly certain it says Aberdeen.  What do you think?
UPDATE - Thanks to comments by readers, I now know that the photographer's name on the lower left is J. Hardie.  I have an address of his business in Aberdeen and the years he was in business.

Note:  I am trying to get my cousin to send me a picture or scan of the back of the photograph.

Since we have lots of family on my maternal side, from Aberdeen, this would make sense.  But, who is this man?

Background on my family from Aberdeen

My great grandfather, Andrew Charles Milne was born in Aboyne, Aberdeen, Scotland on 8 Feb 1856.  He came to the United States via Canada in about 1868, with his sister Mary E. Milne.  Both of them eventually settled in Michigan.  Andrew is in Detroit by 1877 and in 1880 he marries Susan Anne Gillespie.  They have four children, 2 of whom died young.  Of the two that survived, Joseph Albert Milne and Irene Marie Milne, both married and had children.  Joseph is my grandfather.

Andrew died of Consumption at the young age of 36, on 8 Dec 1892.

Here is a picture that I had restored, of Andrew Charles Milne.

MILNE_Andrew Charles_portrait
Photo of Andrew Charles Milne - before restoration
MILNE_Andrew Charles_headshot_restored photo_circa 1880-1890
Photo of Andrew Charles Milne - after restoration

I guess my question is, could that photograph of the unidentified man be a member of Andrew’s family?  A father, brother, cousin, in-law?

If you recognize the man in the unidentified photo, please contact me.


WEDDING WEDNESDAY ~ Andrew Charles Milne & Susan Anne Gillespie – 1880

The Joys of the Scotland's People Website

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

WORKDAY WEDNESDAY ~ Can I do a better job listing occupations in my database?

blacksmith linenweaver Railway Workers in the 1900's
Here’s the question I asked my self today.  How many people in my Legacy database have occupations associated with their data?  

Recording occupations should be one of the easiest things we do?  Right?

I mean, we review and record all those census records, most of which contain occupations.  We have death records, obituaries, probate and marriage records which can contain occupations.

The question is… we record them?

Why is this important?  What can we gain from knowing an ancestors occupation?
  • It gives us an insight as to what their financial circumstances might have been.
  • We can use it to gauge whether the John Gould listed in the 1880 census as a Carpenter, could also be the John Gould listed as a Bank Clerk or Lawyer in the 1900 census.  Would the occupation have changed that much?
  • We can use it to determine an identity based on others with the same profession, in the same area.  I found one of my husband’s family members this way.  He was a glass blower, which isn’t a common profession.
  • Perhaps the occupation would mean our ancestor belonged to an organization associated with the profession.  In that case, would there be publications I could find him/her in?
  • Is this a family profession?  Did the parent or do the children have the same occupation?
  • Did the occupation mean the ancestor and family would be moving around a lot.  Such is the case with itinerant preachers, railroad employees, farmers and others.
  • Was the occupation dangerous?  I’ve had ancestors who died at work.
These are just some of the reasons I believe it’s important to record the occupation of our ancestors.
I wanted to see how well I’ve done so I ran a report with Legacy 8 using the search feature.

I not only list occupations as I find them on various census & other records, but also have a separate entry for “occupation at time of death.”  I searched with both criteria.

Here is my search screen.

occupation -1

The resulting list told me that I have 187 individuals with occupation or occupation at time of death, associated with them.

Let’s run the numbers.

- My Legacy 8 database contains 4869 individuals
- That means that I only have occupations recorded for about 2.6% of those individuals.
- Now let’s take a look at how many of the 4869 in my database are males.

Taking into account that until World War II, most women did not work outside the home. 
I have 2548 males.  This means my percentage is a bit better and goes up to 13.6%.
Can I improve these numbers?  Absolutely!

Will doing so provide more information and leads in my research?  Yes.

Should I record every occupation from each census and other record separately?  I’m not certain on this one.  Perhaps only record another occupation if it is different from the one I have?

What do you do?  How do you record occupations?  Do you record them?

What discoveries have you made by following someone’s occupation?


Legacy 8 Search Function - What Can You Find?  I used "Occupation" as an example

Occupation Files on Ancestry - 1600-1995 - Have you seen these?

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall

Friday, May 6, 2016


We all know that city directories can be wonderful resources for information about our ancestors.  I continue to discover more and more surprising and wonderful things in these directories.

Most of my experience with directories involves Detroit, Michigan.  Just last year I wrote about finding an exact death date listed in the alphabetical name and address portion of a Detroit directory.  You can read that post here.  I was very happy to find that reference to the death date for my 2nd great grandfather, William Lindsay.  One more piece of evidence is always welcome.

At the time, I didn’t explore the rest of that particular 1899 Detroit directory.

Fast forward to this week.  I’m doing a little research on some great grand uncles, who are listed in a probate record, as living in Detroit, Michigan in 1884.  These family members were born over in Devonshire, England and I knew some of the immigrated to the U.S.

Sure enough in a search on, there is a reference to the 1884 Detroit city directory.

William Burgess

William Burgess
Residence Year:
Street address:
33 Leverett
Residence Place:
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Publication Title:
Detroit, Michigan, City Directory, 1884

Here’s the image for this entry.

1884_BURGESS_William & John & others_Detroit directory

The next thing I wanted to look for in the directory was the listing of specific addresses, which will usually tell you the person who owned or rented at that location.

Instead of finding that I found, in “Miscellaneous Information” 

LIST OF DEATHS IN DETROIT from May 15th 1884 to May 6th 1885 – Compiled from City Mortuary Reports

Deaths in Detroit - first page


I didn’t know this list existed.  Do the directories from other years contain this list?  I know information can vary from year to year.

I quickly created a search list in Legacy using the exact criteria.

Death search 1884-85

And, got the following results:

Death 1884-85

I know that Elizabeth’s married name was Burgess. 
I located here on page 86.
  • Burgess, Elizabeth……………May 16, 1884
I didn’t  locate William G. Thorpe.  He was just a baby who died at one month and two days of age.  Perhaps they didn’t list children?  Or, he wasn’t taken to a mortuary, since this list results from mortuary records?

I plan to continue my search in the Detroit directories for more death dates.  Who knows what I’ll find?

Have you found records like this in directories from your research areas?  If so, I’d love to hear about them.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lifespans of my 2nd Great Grandparents

Randy Seaver, who writes the well known Genea-Musings blog, always comes up with something fun for us to do in his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun posts.  My problem is, I don’t always have the time to participate on a Saturday.  I really liked the theme for this past Saturday, so I’m going to write about it today.

Directly from Randy’s blog, here is our assignment:

1)  We each have 16 great-great grandparents.  How did their birth and death years vary?  How long were their lifespans? 

2)  For this week, please list your 16 great-great grandparents, their birth year, their death year, and their lifespan in years.  You can do it in plain text, in a table or spreadsheet, or in a graph of some sort.

Here is my list.

From my paternal side:

John C. Gould (1833-after 1911), at least 78 years
Sarah M. Hart (1835-1911), 75 years
Horace Henry Thorp (1836-1907), 71 years
Catherine Dorsey (about 1842-1898), about 56 years
William Lindsay (1830-1898), 68 years
Mary Wallace (abt 1832-1895), about 63 years
John Fitzcharles (abt 1833-1893), about 60 years
Elizabeth “Betty” McGovern (abt 1818-1866), about 48 years

From my maternal side.  Note:  I don’t have all eight of my maternal 2nd great grandparents identified yet.

James Gillen Hunter (1832-1884), 52 years
Susan Caroline Boggs (1842-1913), 70 years
Charles Milne (abt 1822-1877), about 55 years
Margaret Ritchie (1820-1902), 81 years
Joseph Gillespie (1837-1908), 71 years
Susan Burgess (1841-1933), 91 years

The average lifespan on my paternal side is 64.9 years.  The men averaged 69.2 years.   The women averaged 60.5 years.

The average lifespan on my maternal side is 70 years.  The men averaged 59.3 years. The women averaged 80.6 years.

It would seem that it’s better to be woman in my family, especially on my maternal side.  It is well known on my mother’s side of the family, that the women live long lives.

The 2nd great grandparent who lived the longest was Susan Burgess at 91 years.  Here’s a photo of Susan Burgess at about age 70.

BURGESS_SusanGillespie_headshot circa early 1900s.jpg

The 2nd great grandparent who died the youngest was Elizabeth “Betty” McGovern who lived in Scotland.  She was only 48 when she died.  I don’t have a photo of her.

I'm curious about my husband's side of the family now, so I'll have to check the lifespan for his 2nd great grandparents too.

Thanks for the idea Randy.

Here are some other Saturday Night Genealogy Fun posts that I’ve participated in:

SATURDAY DAY FUN! Golden Wedding Anniveraries

SATURDAY NIGHT FUN! What's Your Number? Counting Ancestors 

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall

Saturday, April 30, 2016



During my discoveries about Emily Gillen and her daughter, Emma Pope yesterday, I added information to my Ancestry tree.  My routine is to have both Legacy and the web open at the same time.  I use two monitors here at my desktop and that makes it real easy.  When I locate information, I add it to my Legacy database and also to my Ancestry tree.

Each time we work on someone in our Ancestry trees, or add new people, we will usually generate hints.  I was not disappointed this morning as I had hints for Emma Pope Seed’s children, Maurice and Rhoda.

There were 16 hints for Maurice and 11 for Rhoda.  Let’s take a look at Maurice and see what I can learn.
By the way, Maurice is my half 1st cousin, 3 times removed.  I don’t normally research that deep into the tree, but there are just too many good hints here for me to ignore.

Here are some of the hints:
  • Census records for 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940
  • Florida State Census for 1935
  • U.S. City Directory for 1912 & 1924
  • U.S. School Catalog for 1903
  • Florida Passenger List for 1921
  • Passport Application for 1921
  • U.S. Social Security Applications Index
  • U.S. Find A Grave Index
  • Photo of his headstone
The very first one I went to was the Passport Application. Why?  Because they will often contain photos of the applicant.  I was not disappointed.

Here’s Maurice’s passport application, including his photo.
This application gives his exact place of birth, his father’s name and exact place of birth, where he is traveling to, and a complete physical description of Maurice.  I also collect signatures from my ancestors and this application provides me with one.

SEED_Maurice J_passport application_1921

Certainly a bonanza of information for any genealogist.  I wrote a blog post about Passport Applications which you can read here.
Next, I’ll check that U.S. School Catalog hint.  Maybe I’ll find a picture there too.  Here’s what I found.

Name: Maurice Joy Seed
Publication Year: 1903
Publication Place: Illinois
School Name: Northwestern University

From page 356 of the school catalog for Northwestern University in Illinois, publication year 1903.

SEED_Maurice J_school record_NorthwesternUniv_Illinois_1903_pg 356

This entry gives us more evidence of his date and place of birth and tells us what he studied and where he lives at the time of this publication.

From the U.S. city Directory for 1912 I learn that Maurice was married to a woman named Elizabeth and living in Mount Vernon, Illinois.  His occupation was Editor and Publisher of the Daily & Weekly Register at 806 Main.  That his home is at 1030 Maple and it gives his telephone number as 181 – 1 ring. 

Also of note on this page is his sister Rhoda is listed just below him, working as a teacher, listed as “Miss” so she’s not married and she is living with her parents at 517 N. 10th.  The father, Thos. H. Seed is listed just beneath Rhoda.

Name: Maurice J Seed
Gender: Male
Residence Year: 1912
Residence Place: Mount Vernon, Illinois, USA
Occupation: Editor And Publisher
Spouse: Elizabeth Seed

1912_SEED_Maurice-Rhoda & Thomas_page 182_Mt Vernon Illinois

I’ll take a look at one final item today, the FindAGrave hint.

Now, I have links to the memorials for Maurice’s family and a death year for him.  I can use all the leads from these memorials to find more vital records.

CONCLUSION: Following the hints on Ancestry can lead you to some great discoveries.  Note, that none of the hints I follow involve other member’s trees.  I will occasionally check the trees, but I follow the records, not the trees.

I’ve learned a lot about Maurice today and a little more about his father, Thomas too.  Now I can take a look at other leads on my Ancestry tree for this family and use the FindAGrave memorials to gather more information.

I hope you’ve found this journey today as much fun as I have.

If you think you might be related to anyone mentioned in this blog post, please contact me.
Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall

Friday, April 29, 2016

FRIDAY FINDS ~ I Finally found the 1880 census for my 3rd great grandmother–Emily Gillen 1810-1887

My 3rd great grandmother Emily Gillen, born 8 Aug 1810 in Pennsylvania married 3 times.  First to Rev. Isaac C. Hunter (1798-1842) on 11 Sep 1828 in Lawrence Co., Ohio.  They had 5 children: Susan, James, Martha, Isaac C., and John. Second, she married David Pope (about 1810-?) on 1 Oct 1846 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio.  They had 2 children: George and Emma.  Third, she married Joel Stover (about 1810-after 1870) on 5 Dec 1858 in Lawrence County, Ohio.  There are no known children born from that third marriage.

Here is what I have in my Legacy database for Emily Gillen.

Her family record.


Gillen Emily family

Her pedigree.
Gillen Emily pedigree

I noticed when I looked at her Individual screen that I was missing an 1880 and a place of death for her.
Gillen Emily Ind screen

I went to my tree and looked at the hints.  Nothing there gave me any leads.  I decided to look at some of her children, especially the two youngest ones, George and Emma Pope.

Sure enough on Emma Pope’s hints I found an 1880 census.  Why don’t I check that and see if her mother is living near by.  At this point I don’t even know if Emma’s father David Pope is still living, as I don’t have a death date for him.

Name: Emma Seed
[Emma Pope] 
Age: 29
Birth Year: abt 1851
Birthplace: Ohio
Home in 1880: Bellmont, Wabash, Illinois
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Thomas H. Seed
Father's Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Mother's name: Emily Seed
Mother's Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Housekeeping
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
Name Age
Thomas H. Seed 37
Emma Seed 29
Jay Seed 8
Roda Seed 3
Emily Seed 69

Note that there is an Emily Seed listed with this family.  She is listed as a mother-in-law, widowed, age 69.  If she is the mother-in-law, then her name is probably not Seed.  But, that doesn’t bother me because the age fits and the census is from the same city she is buried in.  Also, you’ll notice someone has added an edit for Emma Seed's name Emma Pope.  When I clicked on the name I see that the change was made by my cousin, Amy.  She must have already located this census and concluded that Emily Seed is actually our Emily Gillen and that Emma Seed is her daughter.

Here’s the actual image, although it’s difficult to read.

1880_SEED_Thomas & Emma & children_BellmontWabashIllinois

I do think this is our Emily Gillen living with her daughter, Emma Seed nee Pope, but I always need more proof than just my supposition.

Next, I went to and looked for a marriage record for Thomas Seed and Emma Pope.  BINGO!  They were married on 28 Mar 1871 in Illinois.
From the census I see that Thomas and Emma had a son named Jay or Joy and a daughter named Roda.

I located a death record for a Rhoda Seed Barclay in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 28 Sep 1960.  The death certificate lists her parents as Thomas Seed and Emma Pope.  BINGO again!!

Here is that death record.

BARCLAY_Rhoda nee SEED_death cert_28 Sep 1960_PittsburghAlleghenyPennsylvania

CONCLUSION: I feel comfortable that the 1880 census I located for Emily “SEED” is actually my 3rd great grandmother, Emily Gillen.

Our research is very much tied to the evidence we can find to support our theories.  I am never comfortable with just a “maybe this is her.”  I want more corroborating evidence and will usually hunt until I find it.
My next step will be to try and locate Emily’s death certificate.  I’ve checked on family search and have had no luck so far.

However, if she was listed as Emily Seed on the 1880 census record, who knows what name is on her death certificate.  I have work to do.


MYSTERY MONDAY - WHO'S YOUR DADDY? Brick Wall Post #5 - William Gillen 1782-1841 (this is Emily Gillen's father)

A GREAT DISCOVERY - Ask for Help and You May Get It

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall