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Rhonda's Tips: Genealogy Questions Answered
by Rhonda R. McClure

August 5, 1999
See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Finding a Louisiana Birth

Q: I can't seem to find the parents of my great grandmother. Lucretia (Lucetty) REGAN, b. est. 1841 in Louisiana, father from Germany, mother from Georgia. Lucreatia m. Richard H. FRANKS 11 Oct 1860 in Hempstead Count, Arkansas. He was 17 and she was 18. I have looked at State sites on the Internet and seem to come up with a blank. Where should I look next and what would I look for? -- Richard

A: Very often finding the parents of an individual involves weeding out those others with a similar surname. Your information mentions that Lucretia was apparently born about 1841. Based on other information you have shared, I am guessing that you have gotten this information from the census records. However, I would go so far as to suppose that you have not as yet looked in the 1850 and 1860 federal census, primarily because you do not have a given name for her father.

A search of the index in the 1850 US Census for Louisiana revealed 21 REGAN families in Louisiana. However, before jumping immediately back to 1850, a look at 1860 may well be in order. You have discovered a marriage for Lucretia in the latter part of 1860 in Hempstead County, Arkansas.

Generally marriages take place in the town of residence of the bride and her family. So, you could have a working hypothesis that the family was living in Hempstead in 1860. A search of the index for 1860 for Hempstead County, Arkansas came up empty handed for the spelling REGAN, however, I did find one J.D. RAGAN in Carouse Township in Hempstead County. I would strongly suggest that you start with this individual. Remember, that spelling was not as important then as it is today and it was not uncommon to find surnames or given names spelled differently in the records. Many times the individual recording the information would simply write down what they thought it sounded like. This is especially true of the census enumerators.

If this JD RAGAN does turn out to have a female child named Lucretia in the correct age range, then you will have a little more information to take with you to the 1850 census as you begin to go through the 21 families found in Louisiana for REGAN.

Another avenue that may not as yet have been pursued is the marriage records themselves. You did not say where you got the date of marriage. If you haven't done so already, you will want to follow up with the actual marriage records. A search of the Family History Library Catalog revealed that they have marriage certificates and marriage records. Is it possible that you have the certificate and that the marriage record may contain additional information. Very often the certificates only include the pertinent information about who was married and when and where. Whereas the marriage record will include the information about the bride and groom including places of birth, age, names of parents', occupation and so forth.

Is He a KUNTZ or a CUNTZ?

Q: I have traced my KUHNS/KUNTZ/CUNTZ roots back to Pennsylvania and to a Theobald or Dewald KUNTZ. However, there are two Theobald KUNTZ/CUNTZ that arrived in Pennsylvania. One arrived in 1749 on the Edinburgh and the other in 1750 on the Phoenix. How do I determine which one is the correct ancestor? How do I determine where these ships came from? -- Sue

A: A search of P. William Filby's Immigration and Passenger List Index did reveal the two Theobald's. A check of Strassburger and Hinke revealed some interesting information. But first a word about this resource. Pennsylvania German Pioneers by Ralph Beaver Strassburger and edited by William John Hinke offers the names found on the original lists of arrival for the port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808. This work was originally published in three volumes in 1934 by the Pennsylvania German Society in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Genealogical Publishing Company republished volumes one and three in 1966 and then again in the 1980s. Volume two was a facsimile signature volume. It contained the signatures found on the passenger lists from 1727 to 1775. This was reprinted in 1992 by Genealogical Books in Print out of Springfield, Virginia.

Volume One of Strassburger and Hinke included both of your possible ancestors:

On page 403, The Ship Phoenix arriving 15 Sep 1749 from Rotterdam, but last from Cowes in England. It had 550 Whole Freights from Zweybrech, Nassau, Wirtemberg and Palatinate. And among the passengers was one Theobald KUNTZ.

On page 429, The Ship Edinburgh arriving 13 Aug 1750 from Rotterdam, but last from Porthmouth, England. And among its list of passengers was Theobald CUNTZ.

In searching through Filby's index, I discovered that both of these individuals also appear in the following volumes:

Egle, William Henry, ed. Names of Foreigners Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania, 1727-1775, with Foreign Arrivals, 1786-1808. (Pennsylvania Archives, ser. 2, vol. 17). This was reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc. in 1967. And includes both Theobald KUNTZ (page 289) and Theobald CUNTZ (page 310).

Rupp, Israel Daniel. A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776. This was reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc. in 1985. Theobald KUNTZ appears on page 203 and Theobald CUNTZ appears on page 228.

Now whether or not these volumes will hold additional information, is another story. You will need to investigate them.

However, based on this information, it is looking like your Theobald KUNTZ/CUNTZ can be traced back to Germany and it is likely that they likely took their ship from Rotterdam. Of particular interest is the list of places for the Ship Phoenix. It includes Wuerrtemburg, so this might be a useful clue to you.

As for determining which of these individuals is yours, you may need to research both of them. Look for land and probate records.

If you don't know what county, you can begin with those few counties that were in existence at the time of the arrival of the two Theobald KUNTZ/CUNTZs: Bucks (1682), Chester (1682), Cumberland (1750), Lancaster (1729), Philadelphia (1682), and York (1749).

Immigration Records for Castle Garden

Q: I have been searching for my family and at this point I need immigration records for Castle Garden for May or June 1889. -- EDolan5

A: Prior to the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, immigrants coming through the Port of New York City would have gone through Castle Garden. While there are documented customs lists or passenger lists for New York City going back as far as 1820, Castle Garden was not opened until 1855. This was to better help in processing the massive tide of immigrants that seemed to flock to the port of New York. In the forty-year period from 1820 to 1860, according to The Source, two-thirds of the 5.4 million immigrants to the United States would pass through New York.

Castle Garden was an old fort and was located on the lower tip of Manhattan. It would operate as an immigrant station for the next 45 years. By 1890 though, it would be obvious to all that it was outgrowing its capabilities as more and more immigrants flooded in through the port. So, in 1892, Ellis Island would be opened.

While there are passenger lists for New York beginning in 1820 and going on up into the 20th century, they are not all indexed. There is a fifty-year gap in the indexing of New York passenger lists for New York that begins in 1846 and is not ended until June, 1897 when indexing is begun again.

Unfortunately, the records you are interested in fall right in this unindexed period. Therefore, it may be necessary for you to further narrow down the arrival date of your ancestors. However, if you are not adverse to doing a line-by-line search, since you have narrowed down the arrival to May or June of 1889, you would only need to search through four microfilms.

If you haven't done so already, a search for naturalization records may be of use to you. The Declaration of Intent will sometimes list the date of arrival and the name of the ship.

Two books that you might find useful are John Colleta's They Came in Ships and Michael Tepper's American Passenger Arrival Records.

Ontario Research

Q: I have tried everything I can think. My great grandfather, Barnard LEE was born 10 Apr 1812 but I don't know where. Some say he was born in Madagascar and escaped from the slave auction block, but I doubt this story. Anyway, my grandfather (his son), David Moses LEE was born 7 Feb 1847 in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He died in 1936 in Buffalo, NY. His death certificate states that Barnard LEE was born in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. I have checked the 1871 Ontario Census and Barnard does not appear nor does David Moses. I have no idea where or when he died, so I am unable to find his death certificate. Considering that slavery was outlawed in Canada in 1838, but not until 1865/1870 in the US, I doubt that he would have migrated to the US prior to 1870 or so. I also checked the 1860 and 1870 New York census and he does not appear there either. --

A: Vital records for Ontario were not begun until 1 July 1869. However, if you haven't checked the death records for Ontario, you may want to. The Family History Library has deaths up to 1925 on microfilm along with the name indexes that are available at the Archives of Ontario in Toronto. Each year the Archives is given one additional year of records. However, the records are not made available to the public until they have been microfilmed. With the name index, you could search for Barnard LEE even though you are not sure where he died. If it was somewhere in Ontario, then it is likely that he will show up.

While you mentioned searching the 1871 Ontario Census, you will want to also check the 1851 and 1861 every name censuses for southern Ontario. You can find these on microfilm through your local Family History Center.

You mentioned that all of David Moses LEE's children were born in Buffalo, NY. However, you did not mention if you have searched the 1900, 1910 or 1920 census for David Moses LEE. These would tell you when he immigrated to the United States. Then depending on when he did that (if after 1895, you will want to search the Manifest of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895 - January 1921). If nothing else, the US census records should give you additional clues as to the possible place of birth of Barnard LEE.

Cherokee Research

Q: I am researching my husband's family tree. He has a relative named Mary Anna LARKINs who was born 30 Jan 1874 in either Waterford, Oklahoma or Illinois. It is known only that she was Cherokee and came from the Youngblood line. -- NK4inCincy

A: It sounds like you may have jumped too far back on Mary Anna LARKINS. You need to work back to her birth through other records. Even if there is a Cherokee connection, you will still need to research this individual like all others, gathering records in the reverse order.

So, the first record you will want to get is her death certificate. You will then have some additional information about her, perhaps even her parents' names. It will also give you information about her marital status, and perhaps the name of her spouse. You will want to work in the 1920, 1910 and 1900 census records as well. Then armed with all this information, you are likely to know just where she was born.


Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is the author of the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at rhondagen@thegenealogist.com.

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