Tuesday, April 26, 2011

California Pioneer and Immigrant Files, 1790-1950 Database on Ancestry.com

I often check the Ancestry.com New or Updated Collections page to determine what's been added.  Today I found, among several other new databases, the California Pioneer and Immigrant Files, 1790-1950 as a new database.

The database description is:

"Some 10,000 records are contained in this database with biographical information about pioneers who arrived in California prior to 1860. The information is recorded on a series of index cards which were collected into the California Information File beginning in the early 1900s. Many of the facts were contributed by the pioneers themselves, their descendents, or other resources some of which are noted in the records. Available facts about individuals includes name, birth date and location, parents’ names, spouse’s name, marriage date and location, death date and location, and can include extensive personal details like profession or occupation, residence before California, residence in California, political offices held, education, politics, participation in principle events of California history, and lists of descendants."

The source citation, created by Ancestry.com, for this collection is:

"Ancestry.com. California, Pioneer and Immigrant Files, 1790-1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: California State Library - Sacramento Co, Sacramento, California, Pioneer Index File (1906–1934); A–Z. Sacramento, California: California State Library."

I checked for several surnames, and hit some gold dust with "Whittle."  Remember the Whittle Research Compendium from last fall?  I found something more to add to it!

There was no entry for Alexander of Rachel Whittle, but there was for Elizabeth (Whittle) (Ray) Swerer (found by searching for "Whittle"):

The two images above show four sides of two cards - the bottom of the second image is actually the first side of the first card (these were filmed two to an image).  The information on these cards includes:

Card 1 - side 1:

*  Name in full:  Mrs. Elizabeth Swerer
*  Place of birth: England
*  Date of birth: June first 1839 . 1839
*  Parent-Father: Alexander Whittle
*  Parent-Mother (maiden name in full): Rachel Morley
*  Married or unmarried:  Widow
*  If married, to whom:  first time to William B. Ray, second time to William Swerer June 8, 1863
*  Date of marriage: March 7, 1855  Place: Sonora, Tuolumne, Co
first time Carson, Calaveras Co.

Card 1 - side 2:

*  Date of arrival in California: 1849
*  Ovcerland or by steamer: [blank]
*  If by steamer, give name: ship Julinder
*  States lived in before coming to California: Sydney Australia
*  Places of residence in California: Tuttletown Tuolumne Co. I have lived here for fifty one years
*  Progession or occupation: [blank]

Card 2 - side 1:

*  Public offices held: [blank]
*  Politics: Republican
*  Where educated: in Sydney and happy valley san francisco
*  Principal events in history of California: [blank]
*  Present address:  Mrs Elizabeth Swerer Tuttletown Tuolumne Co

Card 2 - side 2:

*  Miscellaneous notes:  I have got twelve children living the odlest a girl will fifty two next April I have got seven boys and five girls
the first time I was grandmother I was grandmother of twins and the first timre I was great grandmother of twins also.


Well!! Isn't that information interesting?  I now know when she came to California (1849) and the steamer ship she came on (the Julinder).  As a girl of age 10, she must have come with her mother and siblings. 

My guess is that this card was filled out in about 1908, since her oldest daughter was 52, and was born in 1856.  Elizabeth (Whittle) (Ray) Swerer died in 1912.  If I did not know her parents names from previously found records, I would now from this record.  also the marriage dates and places of her two marriages. 

Do you have early California pioneers and immigrants?  If so, you may find your ancestors in this database.  Go forth and search!

I note that my wife's great-grandparents, Elijah and Jane (Whittle) McKnew were not in this database, even though they could have been.

A research tip:  Search for siblings of your ancestor even if your ancestor isn't in a record collection!  You may be pleasantly surprised.


Unknown said...

Thank you for informing me of this. It will save me a trip to Sacramento. You can find an online index of these cards here:


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