Saturday, April 8, 2017

So You Found a Whole New Line of Relatives

While looking at the 1900 U.S. federal census to validate one name I found on a gravestone marker, EDWARD H BURKE, I discovered what I think is an entire new line of relatives. Let me explain.

First, as you might recall from my previous posts, I have a lot of "John Burke" relatives, including my maternal grandfather, JOHN FRANCIS BURKE. In fact, I started looking at him when I started this climb up my own family tree years ago. In the process and in addition to John Francis, I found John Edward, and two John Richard's, a generation apart, though they are not shown as "Senior" and/or "Junior." There is also EDWARD HENRY BURKE, brother to my maternal grandfather, who is married to CATHERINE PALMER FAUSTINE. It is while looking into her records and her gravestone that I found what I think are new ancestors.

While looking at the Salem Ward 3, Massachusetts, 1900 Census, taken 06 June 1900,  I discovered a previously unknown family with the same last name as my known relatives,  but none of whom show up in my current tree. In the order they are listed on the Census, they are:
  • JOHN F BURKE -- born Dec 1838 (Head)
  • MARY A -- Jan 1866 (Wife)
  • JOSEPH P -- May 1888 (son)
  • WILLIAM H -- July 1889 (son)
  • MARY M -- Aug 1882 (daughter)
  • ELIZABETH E -- Oct 1893 (daughter)
  • FRANCIS T -- Oct 1896 (son)
  • CATHERINE -- May 1900 (newborn daughter; no middle initial shown)
My next project is to determine if these Burkes are my relations. The name, city, state, and timeframe match, but "Burke" is a very popular name in that time and area, so much care must be taken before adding them to the tree.

So far, there are possible entries in 1910 and 1930 Censuses, but Baby Catherine does not show up; perhaps she died in childhood or her name was misspelled - a KATHERINE T BURKE does show up in the Salem, Mass, birth records, but the original find does not include a middle initial. More validation is needed.

For beginners like me, finding familiar names is very exciting and possibly important. It is also critically important that these names be properly vetted and validated before assuming they are ancestors. For me, adding these names to my family tree on and Family Tree Maker allows their powerful search algorithms to work for me by going places I cannot go and searching records I cannot access personally. I am suspicious and cautious. Until this new family is validated, I am not prepared to say I have new relatives.

But this is the exciting part of genealogy, isn't it?

1 comment:

  1. So far, I have not found any connection between these Burkes and any I already know. That is not to say there is none; because I have no historical or memory data to start at, determining any connection - or cutting any - can be a long process.