October 6, 2015

William Burden Stevenson 1842 – 1926

William Burden Stevenson – Soldier, Sailor, World Traveler

Usually, when you begin researching someone in a family line you start at their birth and work forward, and backward as well to connect them with their parents and ancestors. With William Stevenson I think I began in the middle and worked both directions. I knew some people in his immediate had lived here in Washington State, but what really piqued my interest was that William had resided here in my town of Port Orchard and is buried in a local cemetery here.

William’s parents were John and Ellen Burden Stevenson who were both born in Scotland circa 1815. As an adult, John was an officer in the Irish Coastguard and as his career was ending son William, who had been brought up to also be a Naval Officer for Britain, was just beginning his time in service. William’s father John had retired sometime after 1860 and was awarded a land patent by Queen Victoria. John had his choice of British locations, but in the end he chose Canada. To be specific, on Lake Malcolm in Ontario. All of the family still at home, including the youngest, Jane Elizabeth who was born in 1860 when her father was still stationed in Killybegs, Wexford, Ireland set sail for North America.

I’m guessing that William, the oldest, entered his naval service before the rest of the family left Ireland. His entry paper states he joined 27 June 1860 and was on the 1HMS St. Vincent. At the time of William’s service on the ship it was primarily a training vessel for young boys. William’s designation was as an Ordinary Seaman. Later records (American Civil War) note that during his time on the Vincent they spent time in the Mediterranean Ocean.

1862 – William Stevenson deserts the Royal Navy

One can only imagine what life was like in the Royal Navy for nineteen year old William. In looking at the records for the St. Vincent it wasn’t uncommon for these young sailors to be caned or birched if the Captain deemed it necessary. I don’t know that William ever received that punishment, but perhaps there was a far greater peril on the ship: disease. 1864 Training Ship, Home Station, Portsmouth. 2Report of Fevers and Small Pox onboard. Number of Cases of Disease and Injury. No proof has been found as to just how and where William left the ship, but we next find him as new soldier in the American Civil War.

In William’s Civil War pension application records he states that about two weeks after leaving the Royal Navy as a deserter he made his way to Pennsylvania, and joined Company I of the 111th PA Infantry under the false name of Thomas Crawford.

To be continued…


1HMS St Vincent (1815). (2015, April 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:35, October 5, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=HMS_St_Vincent_(1815)&oldid=654963476

2(2015) HMS St Vincent. Retrieved October 05, 2015, from http://www.pbenyon.plus.com/18-1900/S/04400.html

© 2015 Carol Wilkerson. All rights reserved


Was Great Grandpa Named John GORMLEY Nordgren?

 His Middle Name Is Gormley?

My genealogical head-scratcher for the night is/was I was looking at some of my recent ancestors who might be in the latest release of the SS records and happened upon someone who has my GGrf in their tree with my pictures (which is OK, I make them public) but it shows in their tree that my GGfr’s middle name (of which I have no record) as Gormley. John Gormley Nordgren. This person who added it is connected to the Croasdill family, which includes John’s youngest child, my aunt Edith Nordgren Croasdill. Edith took care of her father near the end of his life, so maybe someone in her family ran across my Nordgren family documentation.

I think this person who owns the Chester_Chesler Family 2015 Tree on Ancestry will contact me soon so we can solve this mystery!

FREE Genealogy Databases To Access This Weekend

Before you click on any of the links here, please prepare your research plan. As Thomas McEntee advises, create a notebook or folder in which to save your found documents. Don’t put it off until “later”. Do it as you find them and sort them later in the folder if you need to. Now, on to what’s free to access this weekend.



100% FREE Ancestry Access this weekend

That includes millions of Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce and Census records, as well as new Virginia records and others from the original 13 Colonies.


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American Ancestors is offering FREE Access through July 8th to their Great Migration Databases 1620 – 1635. You will have to sign up as a Guest, but that’s easily done.



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Looking for that elusive Revolutionary War ancestor? Now through July 15th Fold3 is offering FREE access to their Revolutionary War Documents database. Get started with your search today!


A final thought… As you visit each site you may have to sign in or sign up. It may take a bit of your time, but keep in mind that several sites offer access around holidays and the time you spend signing up means you will already have that detail done for the next time. Happy Searching everyone!

A Dozen Genealogy Books I Own

7+ Websites for Revolutionary War Research



Flip-Pal Registered Owners Are Now Eligible For Software Update


In case you missed it, last week Flip-Pal released a free software update v 3.0 for their toolbox application. Here’s what you can expect with this new update:


  • Edit adds rotation and cropping with an improved color correction optimized for scans

  • Share adds quick and convenient login and uploading of scans to Dropbox, Evernote, and Repixl along with Facebook and Picassa

  • The Community page has many recommended FlipPal partners that you can connect with to round out your scanning solution

  • The resources available on Help have been updated, including the User’s and Quick Start Guides, How-to videos, and FAQs

  • Speed has been improved.

Use Flip-Pal Toolbox version 3.0 if you have one of these:

  • Apple Mac OS-X version 10.8 (Mtn. Lion) and newer
  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Microsoft Windows 8
  • Microsoft Windows Vista
  • Microsoft Windows XP with SP3

Click this link to obtain Flip-Pal Toolbox version 3.0 and its user manuals

Use Flip-Pal Toolbox version 1.14 if you have one of these:

  • Apple Mac OS-X version 10.4 (Tiger)
  • Apple Mac OS-X version 10.5 (Leopard)
  • Microsoft Windows XP with SP2 or earlier
  • Preference for the original Flip-Pal Toolbox

Click this link to obtain Flip-Pal Toolbox version 1.14 and its user manuals.



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