New Jersey State Archives: Above and Beyond

I’m currently working on a post about how I deal with negative searches from repositories. Today, I’d like to shine a spotlight on the New Jersey State Archives. Recently I ordered 3 records from them. Two were birth certificates and one was a death record.

A Little Background

The death record is connected to the William Wallace Love and Jane Menzies thing from 1890. No one that I’ve talked to has been able to find her death record yet. One of the reasons seems to be confusion surrounding her actual day of death. The family record that was passed down to me gives the date as September 17th, 1890.

Typed Family Record, Llewellyn’s Boxes, 1986; privately held by Kathleen Moore, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Lexington Park, Maryland. 2005. This collection was taken from Llewellyn Thorward-Moore’s house after her death. They resided with her son until 2005, when they passed to Kathleen Moore.
However, from the Newark Evening News article, published September 23, 1890:

Mrs. Love died yesterday from the effects of her injuries.

That would put her date of death as September 22nd, 1890. Thinking about the circumstances surrounding her death and the trauma that the children must have experienced, I can understand the confusions over the date. I can’t even imagine what those children were going through.

Another perspective to factor in is the date of my family record. The most recent death on that record is my 2x Great Grandmother Jennie Love-Thorward in 1960. According to my previous family tree, the next death would have been Agnes Love-Wambough in 1966. That means my family record was written between 1960 and 1966, almost eighty years after the event. Agnes would have been 11 and Belle only 2 years old when their mother died.

Recent Find

Screenshot of FamilySearch result

Technically, this isn’t a recent find. I actually saw this a few years back and decided I’d look into it later. However, I was already ordering from the Archives and I was kind of comfort-spending anyway, so I decided to look at this again and see if it warranted a record order. I decided that it did! The date is the right time. The husband’s name fits. I even told myself that because the coroner was involved, the death certificate just might have been filed in Trenton and that’s why it has been so hard to find! Without any other thought, I sent off a record request and made a note to them that I had found an index entry on FamilySearch for Mrs. Love but that it might be Jane or Jennie Love.


My results took a little under a month to come back. The envelope came pretty thick, I didn’t know what to think. All 3 record responses came in the same envelope. Only one of requests was found in the archive. When a repository can’t find a record you’ve requested, they send you a form showing what they searched. I keep those “Not Found” responses for my records so I can keep track of what I’ve already paid for.

Death Search, Not Found

As you can see from the scan above, the Archives tried really hard to find what I was looking for. They checked their internal sources and the online sources. Searching the online index didn’t help me either, which should have been my first hint. The surprising part comes when I got to the comment section. You’ll remember I mentioned in my record request that I found Mrs. Love on a death index on Family Search. Until I got back this response, I had forgot to even look to see what the index was for. It was listed as a collection of New Jersey Deaths, so I just assumed it was some sort of Death database.

What It Actually Was

My Results

Turns out that my Mrs. Love actually appeared in a Trenton, NJ newspaper announcing her death. It seems the person fulfilling my request looked up which FamilySearch index I was talking about and found it for me. They ended up sending me a copy of the article, the front page of the newspaper, and gave me specifics on where my article appeared in that paper. How is that for genealogy kindness?

Can we all just hug an archivist employee today? Thank you for being so kind as to go above and beyond for us genealogists who sometimes just send a request off without much thought.

Treasure Chest Thursday: Thank You Note

This Treasure Chest Thursday post is a thank you note between my grandma, Florence Redford-Moore and her husband’s grandma, Jennie Love-Thorward.

Treasure Chest Thursday is a Daily Blogging Prompt given by

Treasure Chest Thursday: Our Wedding Book


You might have thought to yourself that I was done with the family tree that I made last week. Well, as an over-analyzer, I am definitely not done. If you want to blame anyone, feel free to blame Great Grandma Llewellyn. She left me all these records and what kind of genealogist would I be if I didn’t pull out every scrap of information I could?


You see, I have more names to get through. First things first, we have to get the family members out of the way. Then, we will see what all is left and see who we have. This is the bridal party. All familiar names, any names that aren’t family are instantly recognized because of The Diary of Llewellyn. I need to remind myself to index that so that it is easier to follow. I guess that would be a good use of that Genealogy Task Tracker I have. 😉


First off, hats off to Mr. B. F. Oakley, Jr. who wanted to make it clear – still single. Ha! I see two aunts, an uncle and a Walker on this page. The Walker might be connected, I’ll have to check that.


Oh boy, more familiar names! I’m 80% positive that Armstrong was the surname of one of the priests at Llewellyn’s church. Then we have the Moores showing up in droves. Excuse my yell of excitement because now I also have the signature of the first known Moore in America, William H. Moore. (Note: I added the arrow for the blog, the image and original scan are pink arrow-less.) The only thing that would make me happier is if he signed it Wm. H. Moore – born in This Parish, in This County, of Ireland. That’s probably too much to ask though, so we’ll just go ahead and be happy for what we have. I also won’t mention that he had a son who was also named William H. Moore. The shakiness of the signature looks more like an 80-year-old than a 57-year-old. It could be either one though and the Junior’s wife and daughter are the very next signatures. I don’t want to think about that now though.


Last page and tons of family names and a few non-family names. I also just solved one of the questions from my post last week. There on the right hand side is the signature of Mr & Mrs Chas Haynes and right under them is Viola Love. Man, this list of names is really making me happy today. I’m not done yet though!


Now we have hearts added to the people who signed Llewellyn’s Guest Book. I added a few more details to show that some of her cousins signed the book themselves.


Now here is William’s side with his cousins added and it looks less lonely. I left both Williams with question marks since I’m trying to be a non-biased researcher (Ha!). All in all, I think other than making a list of the names that are not in the tree, I am done analyzing this wedding! I hope…

Treasure Chest Thursday is a daily blogging prompt used by GeneaBloggers.

Mystery Monday: Finding Bell Brodie part 2

bellbrodie-00For the last few weeks, I’ve been jumping around a lot. I’ve been working on a billion things and not anything. Do you do that too? Always busy but never seem to get any one thing done. This weekend, I finally took some time to sit down and re-visit my Bell Brodie mystery. I didn’t expect to take such a big break but it was never far from my mind!

I don’t want to spend too much time running around in circles. I think it’s important to re-evaluate the things I picked out of the transcribed letter and make a plan before preceding.

  • Bell Brodie is writing to her “Dear Cousin”.
  • The letter is dated for September 1866 and is addressed from London.
  • Bell calls the person she is writing to, “Dear Jennie” in the middle of the letter.

Using these three clues, I’m planning to do a few things.

  1. I’m going to go through the Menzies/Love line of my family tree and match the year to a generation. This will help me decide if the Jennie mentioned is Jennie Love, Jane Menzies or Jean Farris. Lots of Jean/Jennie/Janes in the family!
  2. I’m going to use the 1861 and 1871 census to see if I can find a Bell Brodie, maybe in London. The letter doesn’t hint at Bell’s age. I figure once I estimate whose cousin she is, I’ll can have an age range at least.

The next clues were:

  • Bell mentions that “Your mother and Alick” were staying with Bell. She even addresses the woman staying with her as Aunt several times in the letter.
  • Bell tells Jennie several things to tell Alick, making it seem like Alick is not present even though in the beginning she mentioned he’d been staying with her 10 days.

What this does for me:

  1. The only thing I can think of is using the “Alick” to help me identify Jennie. I’m assuming Alick is Jennie’s brother. I shouldn’t assume that but it won’t hurt to see if there is someone in the household of Jennie who fits.

The final thing I’m going to research from the first set of clues is this.

  • Bell mentions the fun they had when she sailed up the Hudson in New York. Though she says next that she wished Jennie and Alick had been there at the time.

Bell mentions that she sailed up the Hudson River. Which means she traveled to New York. That also means that if I’m lucky, I can find her in a passenger list. I’ll search Castle Garden first and go from there!

The Agnes Chronicles Continue

agneschroniclesI’m starting to think I blog to name things and give them cool title graphics. Either way, I decided to spend my first day back from being a little sick (a lot sick) by analyzing my Agnes again. After my last post, David was gracious enough to send me the scans. It was so fun to look at them. One of my favorite things to do is to decipher handwriting. In fact, I’m pretty obsessed with handwriting and naming patterns. I actually use to “change” my handwriting all the time in school. Just for fun. It’s crazy to look back and see how different I made each change. My signature loops were always a standout. You can change a lot about your handwriting, but some things always stay the same.

Anyway, David was also nice enough to say that I could share the Agnes passage with everyone here on the blog. His only request is that it stay here. I hope everyone respects that. I’ve added a watermark also, showing that the image is David’s property. I would hope everyone would honor his wishes and not post this scan anywhere else on the internet.

Agnes Hamilton passage
Agnes Hamilton passage

The whole document was basically a written out family history of the Reverend Andrew Hamilton and his family. It was a fascinating read definitely! I’m very grateful to hear from a descendant of this line so that I can once and for all rule out a certain family. I’m now positive that Agnes #2 isn’t my Agnes. However, that doesn’t mean all these Hamiltons aren’t related by a further up connection. Remember not to discount anyone with a matching surname from the same area. This family could be the 3rd cousins of my family, or even just first cousins. I won’t know until I’ve really nailed down which family is the right family.

Brief note taking
Brief note taking

I did some brief note taking on the children of Thomas Hamilton and Agnes Cuthbertson, or as you know their daughter, Agnes #1. This means I’ve done a basic search for all three Agnes’ siblings and parents. Agnes #3 was previously researched here on this blog post.

Besides knowing Agnes #2 isn’t my Agnes, I haven’t gone any further then the notes you see above. Actually, I can’t seem to find my sheet of paper for Agnes #3, so it’s a good thing I took a picture! Though I should be able to re-make it thanks to ScotlandsPeople‘s previous searches page.

I think my next option is to see if I can hunt down any census records or other marriage/death records for both Agnes’ left in the running. Alas, that will have to wait until my next credits purchase as I’ve run myself out again. I do that quickly.

Previous Agnes Posts:

  1. Giving some of my time to Agnes
  2. Giving Even more of my time to Agnes
  3. Another Agnes Post

I have created a new blog category for the Agnes Chronicles. All future and past posts can be found under that category.

Another Agnes Post

Man, that Agnes Hamilton is sure becoming a hot topic here on the blog. Unfortunately for me the latest was unfolding in the middle of my road trip to Minnesota and then the Hurricane known as Sandy. Now that the dust has settled and the laundry is kinda caught up, I can really sink my teeth into this new Agnes development and it’s a doozy.

I was probably wrong in this post I made back in August. While on the road to Minnesota, I received notification of new comments on my blog. So naturally, I read them right away. Then I panicked, because I had no way of digging in right away. Note to self, just leave email alone until you get home next time.

Here are David’s comments from my earlier Agnes posts:

Comment #1

Re. Agnes Hamilton.
Sorry but if i have taken in the info contained in this thread correctly than i believe you are in error.
The Rev. Andrew Hamilton (m. Janet Bachop) is my GGG Grandfather. My relation is through their only son William (later also a Reverend, emigrated to Australia in 1836).

Agnes did die young.I have records to confirm this. Happy to forward same if you are interested – need a little time as i will have to scan them.

Regards, David

Comment #2

This excerpt re. Agnes from a document (c.1839) in my possession it is titled:

“Family Register
of the Revd Aw Hamilton
of the High Church Kilmarnock
transcribed by the Revd Robt. Weir.”

The entry for Agnes:

“Agnes Hamilton was born on the 5th day of Feby.1805, and died on the 5th Feby.1806, at twelve O’clock Mid-day, the hour at which she was born.”

Hope this helps.

David Hamilton.

First of all, David if you’re reading this, I’d love to see the scans when you have the time! Email me privately at; Secondly, oops.

That’s right, I didn’t look any farther into the records on Agnes other than the birth records on Scotlands People. What a newbie that makes me look like! This morning I did do a few searches through Scotlands People for death records, but found none for the Agnes in question. However, I’m definitely not one to shoot down a family record of something. That’s probably the reason why I have a lot of Taylors and Mays’ in my file.

It definitely appears as if I need to spend a lot more time familiarizing myself with the Hamilton side of my family. I even searched through the Love/Hamilton Ancestry member trees and it’s a tossup on all of them. A lot of people give the Reverend and Janet Bachop as Agnes’ parents and the others actually use Agnes #3 from my original Agnes post.

click for full size
click for full size

For some reason, when I need to really get a look at something, I have to pull out pen and paper. I’ve tried digital stuff, but nothing feels as thorough as a piece of paper that’s color coded with highlighters and gel pens. I’m just weird like that I guess! So I decided to see how much Agnes #3 fit into a naming pattern. I haven’t gotten out my naming pattern paper yet. That’s for another day! However, Agnes #3 is just as feesible as the last Agnes was.

This genealogy stuff isn’t for the proud that’s for sure! You just have to remember, you could always be wrong… unless of course you’re right.

I’ll be visiting Agnes again soon. I have to get back on schedule around here, and then I’m hoping to get a little more organized in my research. Webinars have definitely gotten me inspired!

Finding hints on a record

Yesterday I wrote about my first productive day back from an unexpected break from technology. As with all research, one thing can always lead to many more avenues of information. Yesterday was no different for me. I talked about my marriage possibility list and how I was going to use the list to see if I could find out the spouses of my 5th great grandfather‘s siblings. Often when I’m coming back from a break, and I’m looking for something specific, I re-examine the records I’ve already found. So yesterday, I decided to go back through the death records I had for all of the children of James Love and Janet Fleming.

click for full size
click for full size

On the death record of Margaret Love, the informant is listed as Andrew Ritchie, nephew. I’ll take that clue! When I looked at my information for Margaret’s sisters (since the nephew did not share the Love surname), I saw that her oldest sister Elizabeth married James Wylie and died 2 years later with that surname. That means she was out as Andrew’s mother. The second eldest sister, Janet, was unaccounted for, which left her as an option. The youngest sister, Jean, was also unaccounted for at that time. That left me with two sisters and one nephew. That seems to be my story a lot! Trying to find out which sister a niece/nephew belongs with.

So I went to my trusty “possible spouses” list, and you can even see in my photo from yesterday who the obvious answer was:

Yesterday's post
Yesterday’s post

With that hint, I verified that Jean Love and James Ritchie had a son named, Andrew.

They did.
They did.

My next step (for now) was to search out a death record for Jean Ritchie. I wanted to verify that her maiden name was Love and that her parents were James Love and Janet Fleming. They were.

click for full size
click for full size

So with that, I’ve tracked another sibling of my 5th great grandfather, and I’ve added another will to my to do list. Those are 5 and 10 credits a piece sometimes, so they come when I’m really blocked or feeling like I want to spend some money. What a rebel I am!

James Love and Janet Fleming's family
James Love and Janet Fleming’s family

All that yesterday on top of surgery on my great grandmother Llewellyn’s sewing machine (according to Grandpa Moore it was hers)! Today I think I’ll stick to some office work for the rest of the day and make sure all my logs and lists are up to date. I also have to add James and Janet’s family to my database on the website so that when I talk about them, you can find out who I’m talking about.

P.S. Just because I was away, doesn’t mean I didn’t notice that nifty new feature on FTM2012!

Web links? Yes please!
Web links? Yes please!

You have no idea how much easier it will be to update my website manually when I’m researching now!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to work on the next RMC update tomorrow and Friday! I’m really ready for the redesign to be moving forward again!

Note: As part of the redesign I’ll be making a disclaimer page. Until I get all that sorted out, just to be clear, I have no affiliation with anyone for any perks. I just really love the tools that I use and I like to get excited about new finds. I do not currently make any money for this website, so please don’t sue me for any reason. I’m really wanting to save up for an iPhone 5 come December. ^.^ <– That’s my giggly face.

Is the computer on or is it just me?

Whew, who knew a break from technology would be that long. I sure didn’t! Yesterday I ended my unexpected hiatus by booting up my desktop and opening every genealogy program I own. I guess I had decided enough was enough and it was time to do something tech related again.

My focus yesterday was the Love family. (Of course I chose them, I always start with them after a hiatus.) One of the first things I did was break out my printout of all Love surname marriages for Beith parish. I made the list months ago using credits from Scotlands People. Since I knew I was going to be dealing with a lot of Loves eventually, I spent the credits at the time and figured it couldn’t hurt.

Once I had the list out, I made lists of my ancestors siblings. Using the list I was able to list possible spouses. I say possible because I wasn’t prepared to make any commitments to a spouse until I was sure of them. So armed with my new lists of possible spouses for the siblings, I bit the bullet and got myself some more credits. However, I like to make my credits go as far as I can. Knowing what I know about the Love migration pattern, I went ahead and just did a general LOVE search for deaths in the Statutory Registers. Note: The Statutory Registers began in 1855, before that they used OPR (old parochial registers), however Scotlands People warns that the OPR’s were infrequently used, so aren’t as accurate. I decided to use the Statutory records because I had already found Robert and Elizabeth Love’s deaths in them, so I thought their five siblings might be as well.

6 pages or 6 credits is worth it for me, because that’s 150 LOVE deaths between 1855 and 1930 in Beith parish. Since the age is also listed, I can narrow down quickly if any of these are my ancestors or their siblings.

I quickly was able to find an Andrew Love that fit the parameters for the brother of my 5th Great Grandfather. The record confirms that this Andrew was the son of James Love and Janet Fleming. It also shows that he was also a Grocer (which definitely runs in the family) and the widower of Margaret Jack. Now that I have a spouse name, I can look on my marriage list and find out when they were married. If I wanted to spend another credit, which of course I did, I could do a search for their children’s names. I held off on looking at the actual records of their children’s births for now. They aren’t in my direct line, so I can hold off on verifying them for a little while longer. I did add the marriage and children into my database with placeholder source citations so that I would know I need to still look at the originals.

I’m making some definite progress on the children of James and Janet. I still have more death records to check to see if I can narrow down the other three children. Then it’s onto the Wills & Testaments database on SP for more records if I can find them. Not to mention the census records, I’ve barely touched the Scotland census yet, since I’m trying to get lists of spouses and children to differentiate between all the same names.

That was actually a pretty productive day for being a day back after an extended break. The only thing left is to transfer my hand written notes into Microsoft OneNote and to finish making the printout for Beith death records. Oh and of course I have to update the database on my website. Sheesh, that stuff sure piles up quick doesn’t it!

Giving Even More of my time to Agnes

Agnes Webstats (click for full size)
Agnes Webstats (click for full size)

I’ve never been a stats watcher. Sure I like seeing how many visits my page gets. It’s not my main focus though, I just love talking about genealogy. I could write multiple entries every day about genealogy if I had the time. What I do like to do is to check my popular posts. The top four are in my sidebar at all times and I don’t think they’ve changed in months, now I see why!

Above is the top posts for all time on my blog. The main page is the obvious top one. The second one really surprised me though. My 4th great grandmother, Agnes Hamilton, must have been a very popular relative because she generates a lot of visits to the blog!

The entry in discussion is one I made when I felt guilty that Agnes wasn’t getting as much of my genealogy time as her in-laws were. Well, thanks to my readers I’ve got even more guilt because they give her more attention then I do!

I’m here with an update today. I’m going to go ahead and add the #2 Agnes as my Agnes. I’m doing this because all points really lead to her in the practical sense. Like my cousin Grace also said, it also fits in with her age on her death certificate (Thanks Grace for that)!

Agnes gets some company
Agnes gets some company (click for full size)

With that leap, I jump another generation and Agnes gets four siblings. I didn’t have enough credits to see if these were baptism or birth dates, so I’ll have to make sure to add to do tasks for them.

With the searches I used to find Agnes’ family I am officially out of Scotlands People credits again. It’s always a sad feeling to run out but payday is coming! haha.

I hope you also understand that this means I get another chance at Scottish naming patterns. Any chance I get to analyze naming patterns!

Giving some of my time to Agnes

I’ve been feeling really guilty lately. I have been so involved in my Love success, that I feel like I’ve left Agnes Hamilton in the lurch. So today I’m going to spend a little quality time with her.

My family file

Trying to find Agnes’ birth record might get a little tricky. I have her records all the way from her marriage through her death, but nothing before. So the birth record and her parents names would be a huge stepping stone for me.

Unfortunately I have many birth date calculations for Agnes. They range from 1803 through 1811. Obviously, that’s a big gap. So I’ll do a search on Scotlands People to see if the options there will narrow it down.

The things I know are absolutely true are that her name is Agnes Hamilton and she was born in Kilmarnock parish.

Search Results

With my general results above, there are 3 possibilities there.

  1. Agnes Hamilton, born May 1802, daughter of Thomas Hamilton and Agnes Cuthbertson.
  2. Agnes Hamilton, born Feb 1805, daughter of Andrew Hamilton and Janet Bachop.
  3. Agnes Hamilton, born Oct 1810, daughter of James Hamilton and Mary Wallace.

Just looking at the names helps me none. My Agnes had two sons with the first names of Thomas and Andrew. She also had a son with the middle name of Wallace. Agnes also had a daughter named Agnes, which could be for herself or her mother. So looking at the names does nothing for me.

One thing that pays in the favor of the second Agnes is that her birthdate is much closer to the birthdate of Andrew Love, my Agnes’ future husband. In every single record I have for the couple, their ages are always recorded as the same. Sometimes, you’ll get that because only one person is giving the information, however, I’ve never gotten that on every single record unless it is true. I’ve decided to have a look at the record for Agnes #2 first.

Agnes #2

This shows that the second Agnes is the children of “Reverend Andrew Hamilton, minister of the chapel in this place”.

The possibility rises of this Agnes being the one for one simple, weird reason. Andrew and Agnes have two marriage records. One in Beith parish, where Andrew was born, and another in Kilmarnock, where Agnes was born. Usually when I see two marriage records, the second record is just an announcement that the marriage happened in the first place. That’s not the case with these. The marriage records are dated one day apart.

Could this be a sign that there were two marriages? One for Andrew’s family and another for Agnes’ father, the Reverend?

The other Agnes’

I guess I’ll have to spend some more time with my Agnes before I can figure out which Agnes she actually is.