I have been researching a group of Irish folks who came to Buffalo, New York by way of Montreal. Although the State of New York did not mandate vital registration until 1881, the city of Buffalo began keeping its own vital records decades earlier—deaths starting in 1852, marriages starting in 1877, and births starting in 1878. Encouraged by this broad availability, I ordered three death certificates from the city clerk’s office to verify my research subjects and (hopefully) learn the names of their parents.
Of the three that I ordered, Jennie Franklin’s is a model death certificate. Dated 16 Jan 1916, it lists her birthdate as 10 Jul 1868, her birthplace as Montreal, Canada, and her parents’ names as John O’Leary and Catherine Masterson. But most impressive of all: rather than merely naming the parents’ country of origin as Ireland, as I had expected, the record also lists their counties of origin: Tipperary County for John and Dublin County for Catherine. 1 Their parishes of origin were not listed, but I felt good about my research progress already. The informant on the death record is Jennie’s husband, Arthur C. Franklin, who presumably supplied the information in Jennie’s death notice as well. Next, I managed to locate the records that corroborated Arthur’s knowledge of his wife’s family: baptismal records for Jennie and her siblings, census records, and obituaries for other members of her family. Continue reading Forest Lawn Cemetery Burial Records→
African Founders , a recent publication by David Hackett Fischer, discusses Anthony Jansen van Salee (1607-1676), known as the “Black Mohammedan.” His mother was of African origin, and his father was Jan Jansen van Haarlem, known as Reis Mourad the Younger, a highly successful Dutch pirate in Algeria and Morocco. Anthony and his brother or half-brother, Abram Jansen van Salee (d. 1659), were early settlers in New Amsterdam, now New York City. Their surname “Van Salee” refers to their origin in the Republic of Salé in modern Morocco. Anthony had considerable landholdings in Manhattan and later, after some disputes with other Dutch settlers, in Brooklyn near Coney Island. Abram lived in Brooklyn as well. Anthony’s descendants largely married into other Dutch families of the area, while Abram’s descendants largely married other people of African descent. Continue reading Van Salee Descendants→
Many researchers find the Mid-Atlantic region intimidating. However, with so many of our ancestors passing through at some point, it really is worth going through the effort to find resources. The Mid-Atlantic region has such fascinating history as peoples of different backgrounds, especially religious, made homes there. It can be highly enjoyable digging out their stories in the historical societies of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Continuing our series, begun in southern and northern New England, we round out the Northeast. Below are some tips to make the Mid-Atlantic easier to navigate.