Death Record for Elizabeth (Sharp) Norton

Some time ago a DNA match sent me a message, and yes, I was contacted, not doing the contacting.

Jeannine who lives in Australia was a DNA match to my great uncle Herb Jordan who I tested at Family Tree DNA. Initially, Herb had done the Y DNA test but since FTDNA stores the DNA samples there was enough left to later test the Family Finder test. Jeannine had also tested there and after looking at my family tree (very helpful to have your tree public) she recognized my Norton line but also that I had an error.

The Mistake
I had Jeremiah Norton my 3x great grandfather marrying Elizabeth Jillings, although this was correct what I didn’t have right is that his children were not children of Elizabeth Jillings.

The Why
In my defense, on the children’s baptisms, the mother’s name was given as Elizabeth with no maiden name. I had assumed that their mother was Elizabeth Jillings, but it was actually Elizabeth Sharp (aka Elizabeth #2).

Elizabeth #2 was the daughter of Thomas Sharp and Martha LEE!! Here is where things got quite exciting, the Lee name has been passed down through my Norton family for generations. I had speculated but had not figured out where the name originated in the family. Things were starting to piece together.

Jeremiah Norton was first married to Elizabeth Jillings and it does not appear they had any children. In 1805 he married Elizabeth Sharp the widow of Charles Wright. Charles and Elizabeth had a son Samuel Wright and my new found Aussie cousin Jeannine is a descendant of Samuel Wright.

Jeremiah and Elizabeth #2 were married in Kings Lyn, Norfolk, England and six children were born of the union: William Jeremiah in 1806, Mary in 1811, Lee Thomas in 1816, *Richard Lee in 1819, Martha 1822 and Edward 1825. *Richard Lee is my ancestor.

The Record
Before life got crazy in December I decided to take the plunge and order a death record from the National Archives, it was a bit of a guess as it is not a rare name. I got the right one! <insert happy dance>screen shot 2019-01-07 at 6.44.04 pm Elizabeth’s death was reported by her daughter Martha and they were living at 37 Terling, St. George, Middlesex, England.Screen Shot 2019-01-07 at 6.44.15 PM.png I did know that the family had left Norfolk and I thought I had found them in the 1841 census living in St. George’s-in-the-East, another happy dance.

The Questions
One win does not mean the battle is over as I have yet to locate Terling Street in 1849. When I posed the question on Twitter it was suggested Terling to be Tarling Street, more work to be done on that. As it seems clearly written as Terling.

Screen Shot 2019-01-07 at 6.43.23 PM.png

One other thing, as I know one DNA match does not prove the connection but keep in mind that both Jeannine and her brother are matching six Norton relatives. These six testees all descend from three of Richard Lee Norton’s children. At this point, I am feeling confident that the DNA has put me on the right track.

In case you are wondering the relationship between Herb and Jeannine is 1/2 2nd cousins twice removed and they share 41 cM, he shares 60 cM with her brother. I, on the other hand, am a 1/4 4th cousin to Jeannine and her brother and although I do not match her, her brother and I share 16 cM on Ancestry.

The Searching
I am still looking for any living descendants Richard Lee Norton’s siblings, William Jeremiah, Mary, Martha, Lee & Edward with the hopes to do DNA testing to further confirm the above.  FYI if you have the Norton surname in your tree with connections to Great Yarmouth and Kings Lyn, you are my new bestie!

Military Photographs WWI

Yesterday I received a message from a cousin who said he had scanned a few more pictures from his dad’s collection.

I had the time to look at the pictures last night and was surprised to see some military photos.

One picture was from a Musketry School in Montreal taken in 1917. I quickly suspected that my great grandfather Peter Jordan was in the picture on the bottom left. The photo is stamped “9th course Musketry School M.D. 4 Montreal Mar 29, 1917” and the photographer is the Union Photo Company in Montreal.

Musketry School 1917 Jordan

I did a side-by-side with the person I suspected to be my great-grandfather and a known photograph of him

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 9.44.44 PM

Think I am on the right track.

The other military pictures my cousin scanned are below but I do not recognize anyone in them. The soldiers are possibly Canadian.

One picture has a distinctive statue, and some research has identified the location as Versaille in Paris, France. If you recognize the pictures or anyone in them I would be happy to hear from you.

Jordan WWI from JonJordan army WWI from JonJordan war from Jon

100 Years Since the Soldiers Came Home

In one month, it will be time to commemorate the centenary of Armistice of World War I. One century ago thousands of damaged soldiers were returning home, marking the resolution of the war to end all wars.

Dever, John M. WWI Booklet 1:3

Worldwide there were soldiers embarking on the journey home. Some hadn’t met their children or hadn’t laid eyes on any family members for years. Others had seen and done unspeakable things, many returned broken on the outside, while for others the scars were less visible.

What was life like for them when they returned?

Let’s Remember Them

What records have you found about your soldier when they arrived home? Did they come home with all their body parts? Did they resume the same life that they had before they left or did they make different choices in their career, did they return to their home and family or live alone?

There were longterm consequences resulting from the soldiers’ experiences. Some returned but died within a few years from injuries. Most bore some scars, visible or invisible for the remainder of their lives.

What was your soldiers’ experience?


If your soldier fought for Canada the records at Library and Archives Canada that are online are the best places to learn about your Soldiers experience. Many include discharge certificates, like this one:

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 3.57.21 PM.png

Discharge certificate for John M Dever

In the bottom corner, you can see that he was discharged on May 31, 1919, six months after Armistice.

When John began his service in 1916 he was an office clerk, to find out what his occupation was a couple years after his return I checked the 1921 Canadian census (or the first census of the country your soldier returned to). The 1921 census shows my grandfather, John Dever settled back in his parent’s home and went to work in the family grocery store.

Over the next few years, he took courses and became a grain broker, apparently transitioning back quite successfully, and somehow putting his war experiences behind him.

Dever, John M. Correspondence School

Accounting certificate 1923, John Dever

Not one story of his war experience was passed onto me.

I challenge you to write about the soldier in your family who returned. Consider commemorating their memory by sharing about their experience and transition to coming home.





5 Ways I Search The Fulton Newspaper Site

I have been 3 days, yes 3, searching through the Fulton Newspaper site. Here are some key ways I made some fantastic discoveries.

If you do not know about the Fulton site it is created, maintained and added to by one guy, ONE GUY. Its official name is Old Fulton NY Postcards and contains over 43,000,000 newspaper pages from mostly the USA, with some from Canada. I also discovered another page on the site that contains hundreds of historical documents covering both countries. After spending some time searching on the site I have some tips that may help you along.

Here is where you will start searching Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 7.57.13 PM

The “All of the words” has a drop-down menu,Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 7.59.24 PM

With “all of the words” selected type in your search.

Tip #1 Use brackets around the name you are searching for and add in a keyword, you can use a second name like a wife’s first name or maiden name. Example “Thomas McMahon” CullitonThe search will find all instances of the name in quotes and the other name has to show up on the page.

Tip #2 My favorite though is to search for locations. I did a search for a family that had connections to Buffalo but they were from Delhi, Norfolk, Co., Ontario. Voila, I found a mention of a marriage for William McMahon of Delhi, Ontario.

McMahon - McNerney Delhi, Ontario

McMahon-McNerney wedding Buffalo Courrier June 11, 1916

Notice how the search parameters are highlighted? Makes it so nice for finding where the name is mentioned on a page.

Tip #3 Do you know where your family was living in New York? If not have a look in a Street Directory and find the house address. When you have the address try a search for it. This time change your search parameters to “the exact phrase”. Newspapers often gave the address of the people they were writing about.

I found John Lindsay when searching for his home 140 Chenago street. It turns out John was one of the owners of the Queens Hotel in Toronto before moving to New York. John was married to my great grandmother’s sister Margaret McMahon.

Lindsay Buffalo NY Evening News 1927

John Lindsay obituary, Buffalo NY Evening News 1927

Tip #4 What about an occupation? I knew my 2x great Aunt Elizabeth McMahon worked for Hengerer store, I did a search for the store name and McMahon and I found this clipping.

McMahon Eliza Buffalo Evening News Jan 27 1932

Buffalo Evening News Jan 27, 1932

A name search can also reap rewards, you will need patience when scanning all the results, I promise it will be worth it. I discovered I am not the only one searching the McMahon boys who were in Philadelphia. This article indicates that Margaret, their Aunt, was looking for them back in 1919.

McMahon Philadelphia PA Inquirer 1919-2

Philadelphia PA Inquirer 1919

Tip #5 Search names and add the word probate or will. Probates were reported on regularly and can be a wonderful lead to more genealogical information.

Culliton, Marg Niagara Falls NY Gazette 1953 May

Our ancestors were a mobile bunch so searching far and wide for them or more distantly connected relations may be the nugget you need to find unexpected links.

All in all, time well spent and I wish you happy hunting!

Finding the People in the Pictures

Sept. 19th was a great day, a cousin sent me 12 images that she had in her collection. All but one were photos I had never seen before of the McMahon family.

My cousin had identifications for most of them but I have to say, days of research has not uncovered the others. Although she did not send me photographs of the reverse side of the pictures, she did write out what was written or stamped for each photo. The great thing is that a couple of the photographs are from a McMahon family in Philadelphia that I had never heard of. The challenge is to see if I can find the people in the photographs in a paper record.

Day 1 – was spent researching the people named in the photos and the locations. I really wasn’t able to get anywhere using that method.

Day 2 – I was completely focused on the photographer’s stamp to narrow down the dates.The photograph dates appear to be 1895-1915, I have not yet been able to link them to a family in a US census.

The biggest puzzle is the following three pictures, all McMahons. Two of the pictures; the couple and the communion photo are from Philadelphia. I do not have any McMahons living in Philly in my tree, yet. (Hovering your mouse over the photos should bring up the description).

A hint that may help is the name of the boy in the middle photo, Aloy McMahon, short for Aloysius I imagine.

Searching the genealogy sites for a John McMahon in Philly has not narrowed down anything for me, research will be ongoing. SOme possibilities for Aloysius, but nothing concrete as of yet.

The other photos she sent are of Sarah (McHugh) McMahon and her daughter Elizabeth and were taken in Buffalo, NY. These are my direct line, Sarah is my 3x great grandmother!


And here are Ontario ones. I believe the photo in the centre below is another daughter Sarah McMahon above,

What a fun diversion from waiting for DNA matches to arrive!

I was advised of a site that helps you to date an old photo that is a postcard from the empty stamp holder on the reverse side.

And here is the site I used to help date the Ontario photographs.

And guess what? My cousin says she has more to scan! Now I am waiting in anticipation.

If you have McMahons from Philadelphia or if you recognize anyone in the images let’s chat!