Showing posts with label Drouin Collection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drouin Collection. Show all posts

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Genealogy Blog Party: Duh to Wow! Uncle Sidney's Birth Record Leads to New Cousins

The May theme for Elizabeth O'Neal's Genealogy Blog Party is: Duh! What was your genealogy "duh" moment and how did you solve it?

Dad (Harold Burk) and Uncle Sidney in WWII

I knew my father's younger brother, Sidney Burk, was born in Canada in 1914, and brought across the border by his mom a year later when she moved back to NYC as her husband looked for work there.

But since Uncle Sidney died a bachelor, and I knew him well, I never bothered to look for his birth records or even his naturalization, assuming there was one.

This was an anomaly: I'm forever chasing after genealogy documents of ancestors' siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins--because there are often nuggets hidden in their documents that can help me learn more about the family (like maiden names or hometowns). For some reason, I just didn't see my uncle's birth as a research priority, especially since I knew little about searching in Canadian records.

Then I heard an expert in French-Canadian genealogy mention the Drouin collection. I went home, logged on, and entered "S Berk" with "Quebec, Canada" as the place of birth. (Berk was the family's name before Burk.)

The top result of my search was "Samuel B. Berk," a name I never heard of. But with a click, I had on the screen a handwritten record of Uncle Sidney's birth, as the son of Henrietta Mahler Berk and Isaac Berk, my grandparents. Duh. So simple, and quite intriguing to find out he'd been given a different name than the one I knew him by.

Double duh: A few lines down in the results was a "Lily Berr" and below that, "Rose Bert." Click: they were both related to Abraham Berk (not transcribed correctly but worth a click to check). I know that name! It's my great-uncle, the brother of my grandpa Isaac. Never before had I known where Abraham lived or the names of his children, and suddenly that entire line opened up to me. Even better, there were living cousins who I soon traced and now am in contact with.

So my duh led to discovering an entire limb of my father's family tree. From duh to WOW!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Discovering Our Connections

With pleasure I want to introduce Corinne Mitchell and her new blog, Discovering Our Connections. Corinne really knows her way around Canadian genealogy, particularly the Drouin Collection on Ancestry--which is how we met

Over the years, Corinne has noticed some transcription errors in Drouin records and submitted corrections, including one about a Montreal Berk relative of mine. When I found this correction, I clicked on the pencil icon to contact her, wondering whether there was some family connection. No, we're not related, but Corinne is passionate about genealogy and gracious in sharing what she knows.

Now I'm following Corinne's blog and her adventures in discovering family connections from Eastern Europe and North America. She has some fascinating family stories, lots of old photos, and documentation galore. Can't wait to see who she discovers next!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quebec Area Ancestors? Use the Drouin Collection!

Last night's local genealogy club program was all about researching ancestors in Quebec province. My Uncle Sidney Burk was born in Montreal and lived there for less than a year--that's the entire extent of my Quebec-area ancestry, or so I thought.

On the recommendation of the speaker, I clicked to the Drouin Collection of Quebec vital records to find Sidney's actual birth record. Here's the direct link to the Drouin Collection's gateway on Ancestry. I clicked on "Quebec Vital & Church Records," then typed "S. Berk," "1914," and "Montreal." In an instant, the search put somebody named "Samuel B. Berk" at the top of the results. 

Samuel B. Berk's 1914 birth record (Sidney Burk in New York)
Even though I'd never heard of Samuel Berk, I clicked anyway--and there was my uncle, with the name given to him at birth, as registered with Congregation Tifereth Israel in Montreal. Parents shown are Isaac Berk (changed to Burk in NY) and his wife, Hereitta Maller (really Henrietta Mahler). Isn't it lucky that maiden names are shown in these handwritten records!

Lily Berk marriage record from June 7, 1931
On Isaac Burk's border crossing record from 1915, he listed his brother as the nearest relative in Canada: Abraham Berk of 431 Mt. Royal Ave., Montreal.

AND there was a marriage entry for "Lily Berk" in the Drouin search results, so I clicked. As you can see here, she's the Montreal-born daughter of Abraham Berk and Annie Horovitz, marrying Polish-born Joseph Goldberg (Farber). Both bride and groom lived at 66 Bagg Ave. in Montreal in 1931, when they were married. This address is less than one mile away from Mt. Royal Ave.

More Drouin research is in my future!