We're talking a little
about looking for information on allied lines in your genealogical search.
When you're looking in marriage records, always pick up all of those
"allied" names - the families into which your ancestors married. Look for
biographies of these people and add the surnames to your search list for
Family Bibles often descend through allied lines!
You may find photographs of your own family contained in books about
Many times, family reunions will include both collateral and allied lines.
If you can find newspaper articles about long-ago family reunions, it can
turn into a gold mine of information for today's genealogist.
Always join genealogical societies in the areas where your family -
collateral, direct and allied - lived. These societies can help you with
information and their dues are usually inexpensive - with the bonus of a
newsletter where you may place queries ("Looking for information on James
Madison McDonald who married Mary Cannon ca 1840," etc.). Many times these
genealogical societies will have researchers who will work for you at a
reasonable fee in the area where your family lived. They can always tell
you where to get death certificates and about the local paper where
obituaries and other information may lie in wait for you to find.
Family members might have stayed in those same places long after your
direct ancestors moved away.
I had a phone call the other day asking about Castle Garden. After some
research, I can answer that question here.
Castle Garden was originally a fort named Castle Clinton and was built
between 1807 and 1811 to defend the City of New York against possible
British invasion during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1822, it was turned over
to New York City, who then rented the facility to the highest bidder. It
was renamed Castle Garden when it became a fashionable resort.
When that lease expired in 1854, the New York State Legislature authorized
its use as a depot in the city where all immigrants would land. The
facility was remodeled from the once elegant resort to a bare, but
functional, receiving station for immigrants.
The first three ships arrived at Castle Garden and discharged their
passengers on August 3, 1855. These ships were the forerunners of some
eight million immigrants who would use this facility until 1890. Most of
the immigrants passing through Castle Garden were Germans (3,425,000) and
Castle Garden was declared a national monument in 1950.
It might be helpful to note the immigration processing centers for New
York: 1 August 1855 - 18 April 1890, Castle Garden; 19 April 1890 - 31
December 1891, Barge Office; 1 January 1892 - 13 June 1897, Ellis Island;
14 June 1897 - 16 December 1900, Barge Office; and 17 December 1900 - 31
December 1924, Ellis Island.
If you know the date of your immigrant ancestor's arrival, you can better
search for records.
Names are endlessly fascinating. Surname origins are tiny time capsules
that pepper our language and our days...mostly unnoticed.
Next time you are introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Farber - you'll know that Mr.
Farber's ancestors were painters in Germany. Mr. Kefauver, from Germany,
had folks who made javelins or spears! Mr. Kidder had ancestors in England
who were grain merchants! Mr. Post had ancestors who were letter carriers
and Mr. Scrivener had folks who wrote letters for others!