Thursday, December 15, 2011

CSI Episode Features Genealogical Research

I posted this on my other blog,, earlier this morning, then I thought because it does connect with my personal views on genealogical research that I would post it here as well.

Series: 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'
Episode Title: 'Genetic Disorder'
Episode Number: 1210
Synopsis: "When the body of a naked dead man is discovered by Dr. Robbins' wife in their master bedroom, it leads to a lot of questions for the CSI team."
Original Airdate: December 14, 2011

Some of you may know that I’m a devotee of this program. I have watched every episode, either in real time or on a delayed basis using my digitial video recorder. The synopsis for this episode gave no hint that the plot line would revolve around genealogy. Imagine my surprise when the victim was identified as a genealogist.

It turns out that he was conducting genealogical research for the wife of a cast member (Dr. Robbins, the ME). He was killed in their home, making her a suspect.

The plot twists and turns as the CSI personnel figure out who the victim was, why he was killed in that particular setting, what he was working on, and, of course, who “done it.”

I won’t give away any plot points, in case you haven’t seen the episode yet. But I do want to comment on the genealogical content. The dead genealogist was a partner in a genealogical research service, and the CSI members spent considerable time interviewing and working with his partner, Dr. Sylvia Sloane (played by Bahar Soomekh). The first contact with her comes in a cemetery where she is giving a demonstration of headstone rubbing. Everything she says seems to be OK with current thinking about this activity.

Later, she assists one of the CSI agents in tracking down some people who eventually figure in the solution to the case. One scene supposedly was set in an archives with lots of file cabinets, which they proceed to look through.

There is lots of “gee whiz” forensic science in the episode, as we all have come to expect from this series, but more than a third of the running time did involve genealogy to one extent or other, including discovery of some rather improbable—to me—family relationships.

If you are a CSI buff, if you are interested in genealogy, and if you missed the presentation last night, watch for it when re-runs come around. I predict that it will be one of the more popular episodes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Official Announcement of RootsMagic 5

This is a followup on my blog posting earlier today about the new RootsMagic 5. The new version has been officially announced on the company blog at Also, the company website at has been updated (it wasn't when I looked early this morning, so remember you read about it first on this blog and at my other blog, NEOhio Genealogy Blog).

Here is what Bruce Buzbee has posted in the RootsMagic Blog:

New RootsMagic 5 Software Released

Latest Version of Genealogy and Family Tree Software Now Available to the Public

SPRINGVILLE, Utah. — November 28, 2011 — RootsMagic, Inc. today announced the official release of RootsMagic 5, the latest version of the award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history easy and enjoyable.  With this release comes an update to the popular “RootsMagic Essentials” free genealogy software.

Family History Made Easy

A July 2009 review of RootsMagic 4 by Family Tree Magazine said, “Probably the best all-around genealogy program, RootsMagic offers a winning combination of features for both casual and serious genealogists.”
Throughout it’s 10-year history, RootsMagic has helped people research and share their family trees with innovative features such as moving people from one file to another with your mouse, a SourceWizard to help you document your work, creating a Shareable CD to give to family and friends, and running RootsMagic off of a USB flash drive when you are away from home.  RootsMagic also received the award for “Easiest to Sync” from FamilySearch for their work in interfacing with that system.

New Features

RootsMagic 5 adds many new features while making existing features even easier to use.  “This release includes something for everybody,” said Bruce Buzbee, president.  “Whether you’re a grandma wanting to share your family history with grandkids or a professional researcher trying to organize your work, RootsMagic 5 has something new for you.”  New features include:
  • Timeline View – put a person’s life in context with events from their own life and from the lives of family members.
  • CountyCheck – confirm and correct the existence of a county, state, or country on any given date from a multi-national database.  It can even show you online maps of county boundaries for that date.
  • Research Manager – avoid “reinventing the wheel” by keeping track of research goals, sources, and results that you have collected on a person, family, or place
  • “On This Day” List – bring your family history to life and view family events along with famous births, deaths, and historical events for any given day of the year.
  • Media Tagging – tag your media with people, families, sources, or places.  For example, tag an image of a census record with the people, families, and places mentioned in the record as well as the census’ source citation.
  • Plus over 80 other enhancements and features

Free “RootsMagic Essentials”

RootsMagic 5 is also available in an updated, free edition named, “RootsMagic 5 Essentials”.  RootsMagic Essentials contains many core features from the RootsMagic software and the two products are fully-compatible with one another.  “Many people are curious about their family history and don’t know where to begin,” said Michael Booth, vice president.  “RootsMagic Essentials is the perfect way for someone to get started, risk-free.”  RootsMagic Essentials is available for download at

Available Now

RootsMagic 5 is now available online at or by calling 1-800-766-8762.  New users may purchase RootsMagic 5 for only $29.95.  Users of previous versions of RootsMagic and it’s predecessor, Family Origins may purchase RootsMagic 5 for the upgrade price of only $19.95.

About RootsMagic, Inc.

For over 20 years, RootsMagic, Inc. has been creating computer software with a special purpose- to unite families. One of our earliest products- the popular “Family Origins” software, introduced thousands of people to the joy and excitement of family history.
That tradition continues today with “RootsMagic”, our award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history fun and easy. “Personal Historian” will help you easily write and preserve your life stories. “Family Reunion Organizer” takes the headaches out of planning those important get-togethers. And “Family Atlas” creates beautiful and educational geographic maps of your family history.
For more information, visit
Source: RootsMagic, Inc.

RootsMagic 5: First Look at New Features

This morning, I ordered a copy of RootsMagic 4 for a client, and learned that the latest version is now RootsMagic 5. I went ahead and placed my order and the confirming email gave me the option of downloading a  copy so that I could take a look.

For now, I am keeping a copy of my databases in RootsMagic 4, but I am also opening them in RootsMagic 5 to make a  comparison between the two versions and learn how 5 is better. 

First impression: I like the look of the new version, and in reading over the What's New list, the enhancements mentioned seem to me to be useful.

Here are some of the new features:

The Research Manager is now able to create unlimited research logs to document your work and aid your research, and you can quickly search for any text in any research log.

One feature that interests me is CountyCheck, which automatically checks every county you enter (US, Canada, UK, Australia) to verify that it actually existed at the time of the event. Also, a report can be printed out that gives you a list of all events in counties which didn't exist at the time. You also can access maps and county histories for the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. This will be a timesaver for me, I believe, as I have been spending considerable time going on and to check county names.

A Timeline View shows a full timeline of the current person's events and those of their parents, siblings, spouses, and children.
There also are numerous changes/improvements to People Views and Database Tools. It will take some time for me to try these out and report on them.

To read the What's New list on your own, click here.

Apparently, I am not the only one that was not aware that a new version was ready to be introduced. A Google search on Rootsmagic 5 turned up only the official website; no blogs, news announcements, or reviews. If you would like to see what is being offered with the new version, click here.

I'll be back with impressions as I work with the new version

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Adding Family Health History to Your Family Tree

A few years ago, I collected death certificates for my parents and grandparents and took them with me to an appointment with my family physician for a physical. He glanced through them but detected no pattern of illnesses to worry about, for which I was thankful.
I recalled this event when I read the article "Exploring Your Health Roots," by Evelyn Theiss, published on Tuesday, Nov. 22, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. (In checking the website,, I found that she initially published the article online the day before. You can read it by clicking here.)

The timeliness of the article was highlighted in the subhead to the newspaper version: "Holiday season is a good time to create a family tree that looks at relatives' medical histories."

A quote pulled from the article and featured prominently in the layout of both the newspaper version and the online version follows:
"Any individual looking at their family history and family background will have a better understanding of what particular genetic disorders they are at risk of developing." Dr. Sean McCandless, medical geneticist, University Hospitals Case Medical Center

Apparently, some families try to avoid talking about family illnesses and causes of death. This apparently was especially true a few decades ago.

The article goes on to point out that problems encountered by siblings and aunts and uncles are important. That has led me to go back and check what I know about others in my family besides my parents and grandparents. Fortunately, I still cannot detect any pattern to worry about.

FYI, if you wish to create a family health history, the U. S. Surgeon General provides a free tool online. Click here to check it out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm Now Following "Who Do You Think You Are" on Twitter

The good news: NBC has announced a third season for the series "Who Do You Think You Are?" known as WDYTYA for short.

The not-so-good news: it won't appear until Friday, February 3, 2012 in the 8 to 9 p.m. time slot. It's obvious that NBC executives value the program series, but not enough to put it in a time slot in the fall season when top shows typically are scheduled.

No details yet on who will be featured in the upcoming season.

I learned that I can receive announcements for the show by "following it" on Twitter, hence I created a Twitter account for myself and signed up to follow it. I don't know how much I will be using Twitter going forward, other than to follow certain people/subjects of interest like WDYTYA.

Back to WDYTYA: You also can get upcoming announcements about the show (who is going to be featured, etc.) by following @nbcwdytya.

And if you would like to see Lisa Kudrow appearing on Rosie O'Donnell's TV show in October, talking about  their experiences on WDYTYA, go to

BTW, if you would like to follow me on Twitter, my handle is @NEOhioGenPro.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Working with Foreign Languages on the Internet

In doing genealogical research, I often encounter documents or phrases in foreign languages that I would like to translate into English.
Over the years, there have been websites that perform translations for you online. In most cases these have been free, at least for single words and phrases. Some websites offered to translate longer passages for you for a fee.
Well, for me at least, the choice today is automatic: I use Google Translate for quick translations and even for translating documents. It doesn't do a perfect translation, but it brings you close enough to understand what the creator of the words or document intended.
Most of my experience has been in translating Finnish into English. Recently, I have been working with a client whose ancestors came from Poland in the early 20th century. He has been able to provide me with a limited number of documents, including a record of birth and baptism for his grandmother. This record, or certificate, really, was produced in 1952 by a clergyman from the original church records.
In this case, I needed to translate from Latin into English. I found that I was able to do a rough translation of the document from Latin into English using Google Translate.
To fine-tune the translation, I accessed the Latin Genealogical Research Word List offered free, online by Working with this word list, I was able to understand some of the terminology that didn't translate smoothly in Google Translate. Working with these two tools, I was able to translate most--but not all--of the terms used in the document prepared back in 1952 by the parish priest.
I also needed to do a little research on the geography of the region in Poland to understand that the subject was born in the village of Dukla in southeastern Poland with a present-day population of about 2000. I learned this by looking up Dukla Poland in Wikipedia. I also found it listed in the website, JewishGen. The page on that website stated: 

“Althought the town began in Poland, it was part of Galicia (an Imperial Province of the Austrian Empire) from 1776 to 1919.”

This cleared up for me why I was seeing references to Galacia in this and other Polish-related records.
This all confirms once again that the Internet has many wonderful resources for genealogical research.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Important Announcement About 1940 Census

I have been preparing for researching in the 1940 U.S. Census when it is made available on 2 Apr 2012. And I have given one talk about this preparation, and I am scheduled to give another talk to the Cuyahoga Valley Genealogical Society at its February meeting and present a workshop for the Genealogical Committee of the Western Reserve Historical Society on the first Saturday in March, 2012.

We have seen that the National Archives and Records Administration plans to make the digital images available on that first April Monday in 2012, but we didn't know how they would be provided to the public. NARA does not have enough server capacity to meet the public demand, so a contractor would be necessary to provide this service. Now we can announce who will be making the 1940 Census available to us on 2 Apr 2012. See the following press release: Parent Company Inflection Awarded Project to Make 1940 Census Records Free to the Public

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 17, 2011 --, the website that makes discovering your family history simple and affordable, has joined in partnership with the National Archives of the United States to provide the public with free digital access to the 1940 Federal Population Census beginning on April 2, 2012. In close collaboration with the National Archives, will build a website for researchers to browse, view, and download images from the 1940 Census, the most important collection of newly released U.S. genealogy records in a decade. is pleased to contribute to this momentous project, allowing researchers to digitally access the latest release of the U.S. Federal Population Census, the ultimate resource for family historians, at no cost. Census day occurred April 1, 1940 and due to the 72-year privacy restriction these records will be available to the public for the first time in 2012. 

CEO Matthew Monahan said, "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this historic moment and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the advancement of online genealogy research. Access to 1940 Census records will allow researchers to discover new family members and previously unknown connections to the past. We're happy to have the opportunity to facilitate the discovery of these records, which document over 130 million U.S. residents, more than any previous U.S. Census."

The 1940 Census will be available to the public April 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) on a new website created in collaboration between and the National Archives. The collection will consist of 3.8 million images that the National Archives scanned from over four thousand rolls of microfilm. Public access to the images will not require payment or registration, and will be available to any person with internet access. The name and web address of the website will be announced at a later date.

Chief Digital Access Strategist for the National Archives Pamela Wright notes, "The importance of the 1940 Census cannot be underestimated. At the National Archives, we have been preparing for the launch of these records for years. We are working closely with Inflection to ensure researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census when it opens next year." At launch, researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census by address, Enumeration District (ED), and geographic location. Researchers will be able to browse images by ED number directly, or use address or geographic information to locate the appropriate census schedule.  

To learn more about and the National Archives bringing the 1940 Census online, please visit The National Archives also has published a number of helpful resources available to researchers on their website, which can help you to prepare to most effectively search the 1940 Census on April 2nd. As the project progresses, updates and additional information will be posted at Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #1940Census. 

About is the website that makes family history simple and affordable. is owned and operated by Inflection a data commerce company headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley. It has proven its leadership in the family history industry through its commitment to building powerful, easy to use tools, and helping researchers discover new family connections with its growing database of over 1.5 billion records. parent company Inflection was chosen by the National Archives to host the 1940 Census. Learn more about the project at

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives is a public trust upon which our democracy depends, ensuring access to essential evidence that protects the rights of American citizens, documents the actions of the government, and reveals the evolving national experience. Visit

Polish Research Leads to Learning About Centralia, Pennsylvania

In doing some research for a client, I learned about the tragic story of Centralia, in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. I was pointed to this town by a passenger manifest reporting that a Polish immigrant (my client’s ancestor) was coming to America in 1910 to meet his uncle, who lived in Centralia. At the time, Centralia apparently was a coal-mining community, and from browsing through the census records for 1910, many recent immigrants from eastern Europe were living in the area, along with earlier immigrants from England and Ireland. Most residents were employed by the local coal-mining industry.

For a quick overview of Centralia, I went to Wikipedia. The entry for Centralia provided this information:

“Centralia is a borough and ghost town in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States. Its population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to 12 in 2005, 9 in 2007, and 10 in 2010, as a result of a mine fire burning beneath the borough since 1962. Centralia is one of the least-populated municipalities in Pennsylvania.

“Centralia was incorporated as a borough in 1866. The anthracite coal industry was the principal employer in the community. Coal mining continued in Centralia until the 1960s, when most of the companies went out of business. Bootleg mining continued until 1982. Strip and open-pit mining is still active in the area, and there is an underground mine employing about 40 people three miles to the west.

"All properties in the borough were claimed under eminent domain by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1992 (and all buildings therein were condemned), and Centralia's ZIP code was revoked by the Post Office in 2002. However, a few residents continue to reside there in spite of the failure of a lawsuit to reverse the eminent domain claim.”

Some maps on the Wikipedia entry for Centralia illustrate the result of the removal of buildings as a result of the mine fire. It's really very sad.

My own family history involves immigration for employment in mining, at least tangentially. When my paternal grandfather came from Finland, he apparently had plans to go to Houghton, Michigan, where there was a mining industry very early in the 20th century. He came first to Ashtabula, Ohio, however, and stayed there, instead, eventually becoming a farmer in Ashtabula County.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Power of Ancestry Family Trees

Today, I received notification of three new possible record matches for people in my Huskonen-Dingman-Van Court-Scheppelmann Family Tree. The new records are for three individuals in my wife's Van Court line, and include one death record and two birth records. These records gave me more precise information that I didn't have for these individuals. The appearance of these records on indicates that Ancestry has added these records recently to the record sets "West Virginia, Deaths Index, 1853-1973" and "West Virginia, Births Index, 1853-1969."

The Births Index was extracted from microfilmed copies of various Virginia and West Virginia birth records created by Family Search in 2008-2009. West Virginia seceded from Virginia and became a separate state in  the Union in 1863.

The Deaths Index also was extracted from  microfilmed copies of various Virginia and West Virginia birth records, and likewise was created by FamilySearch.

I know that the West Virginia Division of Culture and History has been putting many vital records online, and I have used that resource for vital records for other individuals from West Virginia. These databases do not yet, however, include the records for the three West Virginia individuals in my Ancestry family tree.

One final note: all I had to do to add the new information to each individual was to click through from the email notification to the actual record in Ancestry. When I selected "Save," the new information--and the citation--were added automatically.

Monday, October 17, 2011

OGS Tries a Different Approach to Genealogy "Training"

On Saturady, Oct. 15, 2011, I attended the Ohio Genealogical Boot Camp at Camp Isaly, aka the OGS Library in Bellville. I served as a "civilian advistor" to attendees who were learning genealogy in a "military setting" during the all-day session.
The boot camp staff included Drill Instructor Margaret Chaney, Master Sargent Jean Barnes, and Battalion Leaders Sue Zacharias, Dot Martin, and Marlene Applegate. A total of 34 "recruits" signed up for the event and filled the OGS Library conference room almost to capacity. They were divided into three battalions for "G R Duty" (Genealogy Research in the library and computer lab) in between training sessions.
The training sessions covered Vital Records and Courthouse Research, Census Research, and Researching on the Internet.
It was remarkable to see the enthusiasm, especially among some of the recruits who were brand-new to genealogy research.
A selection of photographs is available at the OGS Blog at

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FamilySearch to Launch 1940 Census Indexing Effort on Apr 2, 2012

FamilySearch has issued a news release about the 1940 Census and its efforts to provide an index. It says, in part: 

"On April 2, 2012, NARA will provide access to the images of the 1940 United States Federal Census for the first time. Unlike previous census years, images of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made available as free digital images.

"Upon its release, FamilySearch and its partners will coordinate efforts to provide quick access to these digital images and immediately start indexing these records to make them searchable online for free and open access."

For the complete news release from FamilySearch, with interesting details about the 1940 census, click here:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How I Am Preparing to Research in the 1940 Census

The National Archives will release the 1940 Census on April 2, 2012. A countdown clock and background information about the 1940 Census are provided at the following link:
The release date is 72 years after the official census date for 1940. The 72-year delay in making the census available to the public for research is mandated by law.
The Good News: The 1940 Census will be available for online searching free of charge.
The Bad News: The 1940 Census will not have a name index when it opens on April 2, 2012. Indexes will rolled out later by and perhaps other database providers.
What to do to get ready: In order to locate a “person of interest” in the 1940 census, I will  need to know his or her address and the Census enumeration district in which that address was located.
When the digitized images of the 1940 Census are made available on April 2, 2012, I will be able to go right to the appropriate ED number and then browse for my person of interest's census entry.
Making My 1940 Census Persons of Interest List
1. I have started a list of the people I am interested in looking for in the 1940 census. This is  my 1940 Census Persons of Interest List. I am thinking broadly--ancestors, their siblings, cousins, etc.--anybody to whom I am related.
2. I am collecting addresses for all the people on my 1940 Census Persons of Interest List. Sources that I am using for addresses include:
• City Directories. Some city directories are available online and many libraries hold local directories.
• The 1930 Census. This is useful for people who did not move between 1930 and 1940.
• World War II Draft Records. and Ancestry Library edition offer the Old Man’s Draft registration records.
• Naturalization Petitions or Declarations of Intent. Those filed close to 1940 are useful. Many of these are available online.
3. Then I am identifying the enumeration district (ED) in which each address was located.  I am adding that ED number to my 1940 Census Persons of Interest List.
There are currently several ways to do this. The NARA website provides maps and enumeration district descriptions for this process, but I have found that another website makes accessing these resources a bit easier:
One-Step Website with Helpful Tools and Info for 1940 Census Research
• Overview Essay
• Tools to help determine E.D. numbers, particularly for urban areas
• Quiz to step you through the process of determining and E.D. for each ancestor/relative. Go to
Identifying EDs Using Steve Morse One-Step Tools
1. In some cases, I have a 1930 Census ED for a family member and he or she resided at the same address in 1940. In these cases, I use the One-Step 1930/1940 ED Converter Utility. Go to
2. Some of my family members lived in a large city, so I am using the utility, Obtaining EDs for the 1940 Census in One Step (Large Cities). Go to
3. I also am searching the 1940 Census Maps for Enumeration District Numbers. Caution: Not all towns will have individual maps. Go to
In the search results, I click on the map to see a larger version of the map. Using the address of an ancestor from 1940, I locate where the address falls on the map and then look for the enumeration district number for that address. I have found that the map may have many other numbers on it. The ED number is a two-part number separated by a hyphen. The first number represents the county number and the second number the number of the enumeration district within that county. Save the enumeration district number for each family member you are researching.
4. Yet another approach is to use the 1940 Census Enumeration District Descriptions. In this approach, I go to
This is an important utility for rural areas where you know the state and county.
With my 1940 Census Persons of Interest List in hand, I will be able to efficently research the 1940 Census as soon as it is launched on April 2, 2012.
A Final Note has committed to creating an every-name index to the 1940 census, and will roll it out as it is developed. will make the 1940 Census available FREE for home use until end of 2013 when it expects to have all of its indexing completed. BUT I don't want to wait until Ancestry puts up indexes for the states I am interested in. That's why I am doing the homework outlined above.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

From Finland to America: How the Evert Huuskonen Family Traveled to Ashtabula County, Ohio

(I wrote this piece a few years ago. Except as noted, the links in the end notes still worked as of 2011.10.06)--WDH)
By the time I first became interested in genealogy, my paternal grandparents, my parents, and all my aunts and uncles had passed away. There was no one to ask about the rustic wooden trunk in our attic. When my mother gave it to me, she said only that Grandma Huuskonen brought it from Finland.

About nine years ago, I got the trunk out of the attic and took a close look at it. I could see it had several travel stickers, one saying Cunard Line Steerage Baggage; another saying New York, and yet another saying Aurania. Could these be clues to Grandma Huuskonen’s trip to America?
When I mentioned the trunk to my brother, Walfrid, he answered that he had obtained some information about the Huuskonen emigration from Finland while attending FinnFest 95, an annual gathering of Americans of Finnish descent. The information came from a database called the Emigrant Register, compiled by the Institute of Migration of Turku, Finland.
The Institute is funded in part by grants from Finnish-Americans and the Emigrant Register includes passport application records and passenger records of the Finland Steamship Co.1 Today, the Register has grown to include some 450,000 records of Finns who traveled from their Nordic homeland to America, Canada, Australia, and other destinations around the world between 1892 and 1950, and it is available in English on the Institute’s website.2
The data Walfrid retrieved in 1995 showed that Ida Maria Huuskonen emigrated from Vesanto in Kuopio Province with children Edith, Emil, Wilma, and Mary in July 1903.3 The passenger records further specified that mother and children boarded the SS Polaris on 29 Jul 1903 bound for England, and that they would continue their travels to New York on the Cunard Line’s SS Aurania.
The price of the tickets for Ida and the four children was recorded as $27. The fact that the price is quoted in dollars rather than Finnish markka suggests to me that the tickets were paid for in America by Ida’s husband, Evert Huuskonen, who emigrated the year before. The tickets were for travel to Houghton, Michigan, which is a hint that Evert may have been working in Michigan when he purchased the tickets.
The website of the Finnish Genealogical Society ( explains that the Polaris was operated by the Finland Steamship Co.,4 which had a monopoly on transporting emigrants from Hanko, a port at the southern tip of Finland, to Hull in eastern England. The website also provides the following information on the Polaris: Gross tonnage 2,018, top speed 13.5 knots, 250 ft long by 35 ft wide. Passenger capacities were 80 in first class, 18 in second class, and 167 in third class.
Once the Huuskonen family arrived in Hull, we can assume that they followed the usual transmigratory route across England. A website specializing in Scandinavian emigration provides background on this route.5 “Most of the emigrants entering Hull traveled via the Paragon Railway Station and from there traveled to Liverpool via Leeds, Huddersfield, and Stalybridge (just outside Manchester). The train tickets were part of a package that included the steamship ticket to Hull, a train ticket to Liverpool, and then the steamship ticket to their final destination -- mainly America.” The website further mentions that immigrant trains usually left Hull at around 11:00 a.m. and arrived in Liverpool between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.
            Upon reaching Liverpool, the Huuskonens probably were housed in dormitory-type facilities owned by Cunard until they could begin the next leg of their journey on the SS Aurania. This ship, I learned by consulting The Ships List website, was rated at 7,269 gross tons.6 It had a top speed of 16 knots, measured 470 ft long by 57 ft wide, and had accommodations for 480 first class and 700 third class passengers. Built by J. & G. Thomson, Glasgow, it began service from Liverpool to New York on 23 June 1883.
            My brother ordered a copy of our grandmother’s passenger manifest record from the National Archives, using the date and destination he obtained from the Emigrant Register. It  listed Ida Maria Huuskonen, age 40 [?]; female; married; housewife; able to read and write; nationality, Finnish; last place of residence, Hango [Swedish spelling for the port city of Hanko]; destination, Jester, Ohio; possessing a train ticket; paid for by husband; possessing $10; joining husband, Evert Huuskonen, address Box 12, Jester, Ohio; in good health. It also listed the four Huuskonen children: Edith, 8; Emil, 6; Wilma, 4; and Marie [sic], infant. 7
            Ida apparently had a traveling companion available to assist her with baggage. Nestor Karhu, age 28, male, single, a laborer, is listed on line 18 of the manifest, immediately following lines 13-17 listing Ida and her children.8 He was traveling to the same destination as Ida, and was also planning to meet Evert Huskonen [note alternate spelling], described as a friend. A search of the Emigrant Register reveals that Nestor was from Vesanto, as was Ida, and that he obtained his passport on 29 Jul 1903, the same day that Ida received hers.9
            The manifest also stated that the Aurania departed Liverpool on 4 Aug 1903 and arrived in New York on Thursday, 13 Aug 1903. By doing some additional sleuthing, I learned some more details of the trip. In its daily Maritime Report for August 13, 1903, The New York Times  stated that the Aurania made one stop in Queenstown, Ireland, on August 5, after departing Liverpool on August 4.10 The newspaper item further reported that the Aurania “arrived at The Bar at 9:56 p.m.” on August 12. The Bar was the entrance to New York’s vast harbor area and was considered the official end of an ocean voyage. In addition to passengers, the Aurania carried merchandise for Vernon H. Brown & Co.
            According to the Times, the weather on August 12 was cloudy with a moderate breeze. The temperature hit the high 70s during the day, but dropped to 66 by midnight. Weather conditions were about the same the next day, when Ida and her four children rode a ferry from the Aurania to Ellis Island for processing as immigrants. From there, they probably went to Hoboken, New Jersey, and board a train for the trip to Ohio.
            To find where Jester, Ohio, was, I consulted Julie Overton’s Ohio Towns and Townships to 1900.11 This excellent reference book published by the Ohio Genealogical Society explains that Jester was a hamlet on Lake Erie, just east of Conneaut. With that information, I was able to locate on the Internet a topographical map produced in 1906. It showed Jester in the very northeastern corner of Ashtabula County, halfway between Conneaut and the Pennsylvania boarder.12
            Since their destination was in the vicinity of Conneaut, Grandma and the children probably were reunited with Grandpa at that city’s train station.
            As we indicated earlier, Evert Huuskonen immigrated in 1902. Tracking down his passenger manifest record proved to be another learning experience because he followed a different route than we expected. In his Emigrant Register search, Walfrid learned that in 1902 our grandfather obtained a passport and a ticket to travel from Hanko to England on the SS Acturius, operated by the Finland Steamship Co. According to the Finnish Genealogical Society website, the Acturius was similar to its sister ship, the Polaris.
            Walfrid’s search further revealed that Evert was to sail to America on the SS Tunisian. I looked for records of his arrival in American ports during a trip to the Allen County Library in Ft. Wayne, but came up empty. I posted a query on The Ships’ List about ports that received passengers from the Tunisian. Sue Wiggins, co-owner of the list, responded that because the Tunisian was owned by the Allan Line of Canada, its North American home port was the Canadian city of Quebec from May to mid-November.13 Also, passengers traveling to America via Quebec City were listed on manifests collected by immigration officials operating out of the St. Albans District, headquartered in New Hampshire. With this additional knowledge, I found Grandpa in the St. Albans District records at the National Archives in Washington.
            The manifest for the S.S. Tunisian, sailing from Liverpool, 16 Oct 1902, and arriving in Quebec, Canada, 25 Oct 1902, lists Evert Huuskonen, male; married; age 29; occupation, laborer; able to read and write; nationality, Finnish; last residence, Wauper [?]; final destination, Ashtabula, Ohio; had ticket to final destination; paid for ticket himself; in possession of $20; joining friend, Vieko Pietihani [spelling?], whose address is Box 115, Ashtabula; in good health.14
            The Ships List describes the Tunisian as a 10,576-gross-ton ship built by A. Stephen & Sons, Glasgow in 1900 for the Allan Line. It was 500 long by 60 ft wide with one funnel and two masts. Its top speed was 16 knots.15
            While scanning the Tunisian’s passenger manifest, I noticed that Kalle Hytonen also was traveling to join Vieko Pietihani in Ashtabula.16 This was interesting because his surname was the same as my grandmother’s maiden name. How he might be related to our Grandma we still haven’t figure out yet. He may have returned to Finland because I’ve found no other references to him in U.S. records.
            The Nestor Karhu who traveled with Grandma Huuskonen, however, is another matter. According to the 1920 census, he was living in Conneaut, married to a Finnish girl, and raising a family of four children.17 The census even revealed that he was a repairman for the Nickel Plate Railroad.
            So how did Grandma Huuskonen and the four children travel to Ohio? Some more historical detective work suggests the probable route was a train trip that would last for more than 14 hours.
            The website of the Liberty State Park in New Jersey describes how new arrivals in America would continue their journeys. After being processed at Ellis Island, the website explains, immigrants took steam launches for a short trip to the New Jersey shore and its several railroad terminals. There, the immigrants purchased tickets and boarded trains that would take them to their new homes.18
            Railroad maps of the period show two competing railroad routes for travel to Conneaut in Ohio. One route would be on the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western (D L & W)line from New Jersey to Buffalo, New York, and continuing along the Lake Erie shoreline on the Nickel Plate line to Conneaut. If the Huuskonens followed this route, they would have headed for the Hoboken Terminal of the D, L, & W Railroad to board the train that would take them to their new home in Ohio.
            In fact, a timetable in the 1910 Guide to Railroads lists three daily Nickel Plate connecting trains traveling this route.19 The 1903 timetable probably would have been similar.
            Separate cars would have been provided to carry immigrants from Ellis Island to destinations along the route, including those throughout Ohio, and in Indiana and Illinois, and on to Chicago.
            The first leg of the trip, between Hoboken, New Jersey, and Buffalo, in western New York State, was scheduled to take 12 hours and 30 minutes. At the end of this first leg of the trip, the train would wind its way slowly through a complex maze of rail lines, because by 1900 Buffalo was recognized as having one of the greatest railyard facilities in the world.20 The train would pause at the D, L & W passenger station in downtown Buffalo to let off passengers and to take on new passengers heading to points west. The Huuskonen family, however, probably would continue its trip to Ohio in the same passenger car.
            From Buffalo, the train would travel 115.7 miles along the Lake Erie shore, through Erie, Pennsylvania, to Conneaut, their destination just inside the Ohio border. The final leg of the trip, according to the schedule, would require 2 hours and 20 min.
            Another route would have been on the New York, Lake Erie & Western line that avoided Buffalo and headed more directly across Pennsylvania to Ohio. The Huuskonens would have transferred to a station in Jersey City, NJ, to board this train. The railroad was later known as the New York Central Rail Road.
            We can imagine the happy scene when the train pulled into the Conneaut station and Grandma Huuskonen and the children were reunited with Grandpa Huuskonen.
            They no doubt were happy to see him after nine months of separation. They also would be happy about completing a trip that began approximately three weeks earlier and covered more than 4000 miles by railroad in Finland, England, and America, and by steamship in Europe and across the Atlantic.
            Researching the immigration routes that my Huuskonen ancestors followed in 1902 and 1903 has been very rewarding. I was particularly glad I had undertaken the first steps in this investigation before I visited Ellis Island five years ago. I was able to imagine my grandmother--with three young children in tow and carrying an infant--shuffling through the long inspection lines with other immigrants, and keeping track of her wooden trunk with all the family’s possessions.
            I believe Grandma Huuskonen would be pleased to learn that her trunk, now more than 100 years old, has been moved out of the attic and into a corner of our living room, where we use it to store photo albums and family memorabilia.

End Notes
1. Institute of Migration, online <>, background information on the Institute downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
2. Passport/Passenger Search, Emigrant Register, Institute of Migration, online <>. The search function requires payment of a modest fee for an annual subscription..
3. Emigrant Register, Institute of Migration, Turku, Finland, passport and ticket data for Evert and Ida Maria Huuskonen and children, extracted by Walfrid E. Huskonen at FinnFest 95, Portland, OR. Copy in possession of the author.
4. Emigration, Finnish Genealogical Society, Helsinki, Finland, online <>  information on Finland Steamship Co. downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
5. 100 Years of Emigrant Ships from Norway, Norway Heritage, online <>, information on transmigration from Hull to Liverpool downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
6. Ship Descriptions, The Ships List, online <>, entry for SS Aurania downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
7. Entry for Ida Huuskonen and four children; SS Aurania Passenger Manifest, 13 Aug 1903, p. I, Lines 13-17; Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving in New York, 1897-1942; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, roll 382.
8. Entry for Nestor Karhu; SS Aurania Passenger Manifest, 13 Aug 1903, p. I, Line 18; Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving in New York, 1897-1942; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, roll 382.
9. Emigrant Register, Institute of Migration, Turku, Finland, online <>, passport and passenger entries for Nestor Karhu downloaded 21 Jul 2003.
10. “Maritime Report,” The New York Times, New York, 13 August 1903, page 11. From microfilm at the Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library.
11. Julie Minot Overton, with Kay Ballantyne Hudson and Sunda Anderson Peters, editors, Ohio Towns and Townships to 1900: A Location Guide (Mansfield, Ohio: Ohio Genealogical Society, 2000), page 191.
12. USGS 1900 Era Ohio Index, online <>, Conneaut Quadrant, 1906, showing Jester, Ohio, downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
13. Sue Wiggins, “Re: Query about Allan Line,” e-mail message from <> to author, 29 Jan 1998.
14. Entry for Evert Huuskonen, SS Tunisian Passenger Manifest, 13 Aug 1903, p. E, Line 22; Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving in St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1954; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives Microfilm Publication M1464, roll 15.
15. Ship Descriptions, The Ships List, online <>, entry for SS Tunisian downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
16. Entry for Kalle Hytonen, SS Tunisian Passenger Manifest, 13 Aug 1903, p. E, Line 15; Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving in St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1954; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives Microfilm Publication M1464, roll 15.
17. Nestor Karhu household, 1920 U.S. Census, Ashtabula County, Ohio, population census, City of Conneaut, ED 30, Sheet 5-B, 131 Garden St., dwelling 80, family 102; National Archives Micropublication T625, roll 1345.
18. Liberty State Park, New Jersey, website <>
19. Photocopies of the relevant timetable pages of the 1910 Guide to Railroads were supplied to the author by Robert Gillis, Denville, NJ.
20. Milestone Dates of Buffalo New York Central Terminal website. <> [As of 2011.10.06, this link is no longer working.]

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