Monday, 30 March 2015

Bankruptcy, Arrears and Auction Sales


When hard times hit, many people could not pay their land taxes and their properties were seized and sold. Past and present, towns list for sale the properties for which the taxes have not been paid. There are also lists of properties for sale for non payment of mortgages.



In the US the Journal of the Common Council for different cities may hold a Delinquent Tax List.  This one is from Detroit Michigan for 1876.



Search "Journal of Common Council" at google books, HathiTrust or Internet Archives.

When my 4th great grandfather, Cement King (miller of Loddiswell, Devon) died he left the mill to his oldest son, Thomas, who in turn left it to his only son, John Clement King. In 1867 Henry Steer, baker and grocer of Dodbrooke went bankrupt. John King, miller of Loddiswell, and James Hannaford, grocer of Kingsbridge, were appointed Trustees. Their responsibilities were to protect the rights of the creditors and investigate the affairs of the debtor.



These notices can be found in local newspapers, also  publications like the London Gazette and the Canada Gazette.

My daughter once worked for a company that went bankrupt.  They owed her over $3000, and when the smoke cleared SIX years later she received a check for $33. I wonder if that included interest? *sigh

Another search you can do is for Auction Sales, a good indication the person has either moved or died.  When I moved west, I sold my house and then had a 2 day auction sale, selling everything except what I packed of my life in 16 small boxes. This notice is from Stanstead, Quebec in 1919...




Following are some lists of sales. Also check at the local town hall. At Newspaper archives or Archive websites and Internet Archive (search “unpaid taxes” “rate arrears” “bankrupt”, "auction sale household", "insolvent" etc). For Scotland search "cessio bonorum".


Relevant Links

Lands: returned for sale by the treasurer of the United Counties of Huron, Perth and Bruce (Ont) for arrears of tax, to the 1st January 1850

Niagara District fall assizes - 1844 (names at back of book)

List of lands to be sold in Jan 1826 for arrears of taxes - NY

List of lands to be sold in April 1830 for arrears of taxes - NY

List of lands in county of Henry, Illinois on which the taxes remain due or unpaid 1843

List of lands to be sold for arrears of taxes 1840's to 1860's at City of Albany

List of land in Putnam Count, Illinois to be sold for unpaid taxes 1837

List of land in Vermilion County, Illinois to be sold for unpaid taxes 1836

List of land in Randolph County, Illinois to be sold for unpaid taxes 1838

District of Columbia read estate tax sale... arrears of taxes for 1887

Sales laws of Bengal India: being the law of sale for arrears of revenue, Patni rents and public demand 1905

Bundaberg Council, AU - auction; sale of land for rates arrears

List of property for sale by MSB Putnam, Hamilton, Ontario - mortgage sale

North Chicago; its advantages, resources, and probable future: including a sketch of its outlying suburbs, and a map showing the relative price of residence property in the north and south divisions  1973

Prospectus; terms and conditions for the sale of 755 lots in the twelfth ward of NY- 1829

The Auctioneer's, Land Agents', Valuers' & Estate Agent's Directory UK 1880

Legal document granting a license to sell property at a public auction to Melissa D Buck, 1897 November 9

Scottish Forfeited Estate papers; 1715-1745

Canada - list of Trustees under Bankruptcy Act appointed up to Mar 1921





Sunday, 29 March 2015

Serendipity Sunday - What's the rate?



I came across this booklet titled the Public Service Rate Book. Not something one would think to look for, right? 



This booklet for Boston, published in 1912, holds rates for cables, telegrams, toll calls, wireless calls, postal service, money orders, train fares, Edison Electric rates, gas usage, and more.


Relevant Link:


Public Service Rate Book



Monday, 23 March 2015

Souvenir Books



With the completion of the railroad systems and people venturing further than their home town for holidays and adventures, the idea came about to make a souvenir book of the cities that the visitors would buy and take home to show to others, enticing their friends to make the trip.



In the late 1800's to mid 1900's souvenir books were printed for cities and villages, associations, jubilees and centennials, government officials, religious conferences, grand openings and unveilings, manufacturers, sporting events, wars ... the list goes on. I came across a few books titled Souvenir of .... Family, being genealogy books. Souvenir Albums were also published to commemorate floods, fires and earthquakes!

My 2nd great grandfather, Alexander Mavor, farmed in Compton, Quebec and spent his later years in Waterville, Quebec. I found a "History of Compton County", and I also found a Souvenir Book of Waterville from 1899 giving me a glimpse of what the village was like at that time. Some of the Souvenir books of cities are only pictorial, and some are Historical Souvenir books for an anniversary, writing about founding citizens and their homes, perhaps with a map, as well as photos of the beauty of the place.



I also found several souvenir books of the City of Kingston, where my paternal great grandfather worked and lived.




Search "historical souvenir", "souvenir [town]", "souvenir [association]", "souvenir old boys", "souvenir women", "souvenir des noces"  etc... Some of the following titles may give you ideas of what keywords to use in your search.  Also check local libraries for souvenir albums.

At Internet Archive there are 59 long pages of links to souvenir books, I managed to keep it down to 6 short ones, of links you may not think to search for. Many of them have photos of people and/or lists of names.


Relevant Links

Souvenir of Waterville, Quebec and vicinity 1899

Souvenir; List of Members Participating in the Grand Tour to Alaska 1891

Souvenir of John Alden - Pilgrim 1904

Bowling Souvenir - Tournaments Played - Brooklyn 1894-95

Album Souvenir XXIe Congrès Eucharistique, Montreal 1910

Souvenir and handbook of Feill a' Chomuinn Ghaidhealaich - Glasgow 1907

Red Cross "Carry On" Souvenir Programme, Brisbane, 1918

Bay of Quite Conference (Methodist Church) Souvenir; Picton, Ontario 1905

Golden Jubilee Souvenir - Karnata Historical Society - India 1970

Amalgamated Society of Engineers - Jubilee Souvenir London 1901

Souvenir.. South Carolina Bankers Association; Isle of Palms 1907

The Coney Island Souvenir (with maps) 1883

Canadian Manufacturers' Association Souvenir - 1893

Transvaal Souvenir - New Brunswick Contingent - 1899

Souvenir: Toronto contingent of volunteers for service in Anglo-Boer War 1899

Canterbury old and new, 1850-1900. A souvenir of the jubilee (New Zealand)

Souvenir Poster Show, Women's Hospital Auxiliary, Brantford, Ont 1906

Perry's Victory Souvenir, Battle of Lake Erie 1813 - The "Niagara" Keepsake 1913

Illustrated souvenir [of carriages] - Studebaker 1893

Centenary souvenir - Iron Founders of England, Ireland and Wales - 1909

The Klondike, a souvenir 1900

Souvenir d'artistes - L.E.N. Pratte, Piano Makers, Montreal 1894 (and list of clients)

Official souvenir; 16th Convention, National Negro Business League, Boston 1915

Loyalists Centennial Souvenir - 1887, St John NB

Complimentary Souvenir Book, National Education Association, California 1915

Art Souvenir of Representative men, buildings, businesses and hoes - Fort Wayne

Souvenir Indiana State Prison South- 1890

Brantford Lacrosse Souvenir - season 1904

Souvenir de Pâques, Trois-Rivières 1909

Souvenir of Canadian Winter Sports - 1904

Souvenir portrait gallery of Saint John, NB 1893-1894

Fête Nationale des Canadiens-Français célébrée à Québec 1881-1889

Welcome Home! Kingston Old Boy's Souvenir - 1903

Souvenir; survivor's association, Gettysburg 1888-1889

Catholic Order of Foresters - Souvenir Book - Montreal 1892

Souvenir Book of the World War - US 1918

The Standard's Valcartier Camp Souvenir 1914

Sponsor Souvenir album; history & reunion - Confederate Army 1895

Football souvenir of the Princeton-Yale game 1911

Souvenir of the first annual Master Painters and Decorators convention held in the Windsor Hotel, Montreal 1904

Souvenir Programme; 8th Central Conference of American Rabbis, Montreal 1897

Historical souvenir and book of the pageants of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Quebec, the ancient capital of Canada - 1908

Golden Jubilee May Day celebration, New Westminster, BC - 1920

Souvenir of our public schools - Brooklyn, NY 1892

Souvenir décennal de l'Ecole Normale Laval, 1857-1867

Souvenir of the Federated Association of Letter Carriers, Hamilton Ont 1913

High Explosive Shells in the Making; a souvenir booklet, Maritime Mfg St John NB 1919

Souvenir of the Wisconsin School for the Deaf; 1852-1902

Historical souvenir of the Fremont Flood, Ohio March 1913

Souvenir, annual ball, Motion Picture Directors Association - LA 1923

Picture Player Camera Men's Ball; souvenir, Rutherford's, LA Jan 1914

A Souvenir, Goderich, Ontario 1897 - the healthiest and prettiest town in Canada

Souvenir, 19th annual Congress of the Assoc for the Advancement of Women, Mich. 1891

A souvenir of the village of Meadowvale-on-the-Credit, 1904

Souvenir des noces d'or des Soeurs de la Charité de Québec 1849-1899

With the American fleet from the Atlantic to the Pacific - Souvenir Edition 1908

Silver and Gold; a pictorial souvenir of the mines of Northern Ontario 1916

Souvenir offert par les magasins du Bon Marché f. par A Boucicaut 1894 (+map of Paris)

Visit of British Public School Boys to Queensland - Souvenir Programme 1926

Souvenir photo views of the big fire, Ottawa & Hull, April 1900

Joliette illustré; numero souvenir de ses noces d'or - 1843-1893

Souvenir of the Bristol Chess Club; 100 original games of chess recently played 1845

Hespeler Old Boy's Re-union; official souvenir programme - Ontario 1906

Souvenir Books of the various Exhibits of the Burroughs Wellcome and Company

Souvenir number of the illustrated war news: being a history of Riel's second Rebellion (with honour roll) 1885

Official souvenir program of the Yale-Harvard boat race, New London, Conn 1895

Souvenir; new exhibition of Canadian official war photographs in colour - 1918

The only official souvenir history of the street railway employees strike of SF 1902

Souvenir of Edmonton Schools, issued at the opening of the High School 1911

A souvenir of World's Fair women and wives of prominent officials connected with - 1892

Souvenir Program of the Women's citizens committee, 26th national encampment of the Grand army of the republic, Washington, DC 1902

Japan To-day; a souvenir of the Anglo-Japanese exhibition held in London 1910

A link of empire; Souvenir of the 70th year of incorporation of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company c1909

Official souvenir and stake program of the inaugural meeting of the Westchester Racing Association - Jockey Club 1905

Official Orange Souvenir; 212th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne - Toronto 1902

La Congrégation des hommes de Notre-Dame de Lévis - 1908

Farmington, Connecticut, the village of beautiful homes. Illustrating every home in the town, prominent people past and present, school children, local antiques, etc 1906

New Hampshire Homes - photographic views of city, village, farm homes, 1895

Sketches of old homes in our village - Vineyard Haven, Mass 1921

Norwood; her homes and people. Historical sketch of Cincinnati's suburban family 1894

Souvenir of Magnolia, Mass (with maps showing homes) 1886

Twin souvenir of Francis C Waid: 1892

"The Old House on the Hill"; historical souvenir sketch of the Marshall Family 1921






Monday, 9 March 2015

Cowards will please stay away!!



I will not be posting for a couple of weeks while we travel.

I leave you with this notice I found....


I have a few ideas yet for future articles, but if there is some subject you would like me to write about or find information on, you can email me with the particulars at beyondthebmd@gmail.com


What's in a name?


While researching our ancestors we often don't find a female descendant because she changes her name when she gets married. That is particularly true when there are many young women in the same town with the same name, and the parents are not listed on the marriage records. We all have a few of those. Immigrants may have had their name changed by agents who couldn't pronounce or spell their names as they came through customs. 

But sometimes we can't find a person because, for whatever reason, they change their name. An ancestor may decide to change his name for nefarious reasons, in which case we may never find them.  But to legally change their name, a person submits a petition to the court and places an ad in the local paper.

I can see why this couple decided to change their surname to Fox.  I guess he thought if he was changing his name he may as well go all out!




In some places if a woman gets divorced and wants to revert to her maiden name she must also petition the courts, as Mrs. Baer did in 1934.


In the UK notices are posted in the Gazette.  Type "name change" in the search box, then in the left hand column check "people".

There are many reasons a person will change his/her name. My husband's aunt, Marie Otilia Nolin had her name changed to Sister Thérèse Joséphine when she became a nun.  So religious orders are another place to look for an elusive ancestor.

Listed below are some links to people who have, for some reason, changed their name.


Relevant Links:

List of Persons whose names have been changed in Massachusetts - 1780-1883

How to change your name by Deed Poll - UK

English Province Society of Jesus - alphabetical catalogue of members who assumed aliases or by-names, together with said aliases. - 1875

Handbook of fictitious names: 1868






Sunday, 8 March 2015

Serendipity Sunday - Cabanes à Sucre



I was reminded recently that.... Sugaring off season is ON!

I always loved when it got to about the middle of February - great skiing and could often wear just a sweater with my ski pants, snow is wet enough to make awesome snow sculptures with the kids, and - a spring ritual that I looked forward to all winter - the maple sap run and sugaring off season.



Let's hope it has a decent run, as the temperatures have been unseasonable cold this year. To get a good run of maple syrup it takes cold nights and sunny warm-ish days for the month of February on. When the two are in the right balance a maple syrup producer can have a very good year.

The season is short, usually February through April. Most syrup is made from the sugar maple tree, but some places in Canada and the US make syrup from other species of maple and from birch trees.  

Many producers of maple syrup have a Sugar Shack, or as they say in Quebec... Cabane à Sucre. The first sugar shacks were just a rough cabin out in the maple tree forest where the sap was collected and boiled down to make the syrup.  Neighbours would help with the process, most likely for a share in the syrup. To celebrate the season friends and family would be invited to share "la tire sur neige" or syrup boiled down to make a toffee and poured over fresh snow. This is the favourite of kids and adults alike... it is rolled up from the snow on a wooden stick and eaten while still warm. Mmmmmmm!! Stick-to-your-teeth-and-the-roof-of-your-mouth goodness!! 


I have been to quite a few sugar parties in my time, and when my kids were in school I worked at a sugar shack that was open on weekends, and maybe the odd day for a party. These days the traditional menu at a Quebec sugar shack may include any of these foods: ham, tortière (meat pie), omelettes, backed beans, boiled potatoes, grilled salt pork, "oreilles de crisse" (sometimes called Christ's ears, consisting of deep fried pork rinds), cretons (a family favourite pork spread I make often), habitant pea soup and pancakes. To top it off for desert you may see on the menu grand-père au sirop d’érable (a kind of dumpling boiled in maple syrup), sugar pie, pouding chômeur (cake made with hot maple syrup poured on the batter before baking) - and of course la tire.

On the 1851 Canada Census agricultural form, the column 40 heading was for Maple Syrup in pounds.  Even though none of my family ancestors produced maple syrup, many of their neighbours did.


When I first moved west my new friends had never been to a sugar shack or sugaring off party. What?? So I decided to host one in our back yard to give them a taste of my home. I got some maple syrup from Quebec and put everyone to work preparing a Sugar Shack menu including scrambled eggs, pancakes and grilled salt pork.  I gave everyone a can of syrup to take home, and it was a huge success!

When I later moved to the Island I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Francophone community of Nanaimo held a Maple Sugar Festival every year about mid-February, trucking snow in from nearby Mount Washington for la tire

If you have never experienced a sugaring off party, try to plan a visit to a maple producing city during the Maple Season, or host your own sugar party to chase away the winter blues. If your ancestors lived in or visited one of these maple producing regions, more than likely they attended a sugaring off party or perhaps produced maple syrup from the trees on their own land.



Relavant Links:


1851 Canada Census - Schedule B Agriculture

US Agricultural Schedules of Federal Census

Laboratory of the Inland Revenue Dept, Ottawa - Maple Syrup Vendors

The Maple Sugar industry in Canada 1913

Maple Syrup - info and regions that produce maple syrup

Top Regions Producers of Maple Syrup

Best Maple Syrup Farms and Festivals in Canada

The History of the Maple Syrup Making Process - NJ

Celebrate all things maple n Canada - blog

Manitoba Maple

Members of the International Maple Syrup Institute

Host a Sugar Shack Party - Canadian Living

Vermont Maid Syrup Recipes

Vintage Catalogues - Dominion & Grimm

Photos of Sugar Shacks on Flickr from LAC *New





Monday, 2 March 2015

Burials




My Porter ancestors came from Ireland and settled in Ulverton, in the South Durham area of Quebec. My 2x great grandfather John Porter was born there in 1840. He was a farmer/ wheel wright/ carpenter/ contractor/ coffin maker. John lived in Ulverton most of his life, married and had children there. Sometime after the 1901 census, John and his wife Susanna moved to New Hampshire. When they died in New Hampshire in the early 1900's their sons had their remains brought home for burial. To do this they had to get a "New Hampshire Death and Disinterment Certificate". This record is packed with information, including occupation, birth date, death date, cause of death, parents names and their country of birth, where the burial will take place, and more.



My husband's mother's family immigrate from Muzylowice, Galicia, which at that time was part of the Austrian Empire. I was fortunate enough to have someone put me in touch with a group that had done research in that area, and who were carrying out a Cemetery Project at Münchenthal, aka Muzylowice. They cleaned up the cemetery and erected a memorial. I got a lot of helpful information from Ed Rozylowicz.

The Church

The Cemetery
Many Cemeteries have an index on their website which you can search for your ancestor. Some give more information, others you have to ask for it and they may or may not charge a small fee.  I have had good response with some cemeteries, they gladly emailed me information on my ancestors including cause of death, death and burial dates, and location of the grave. Some have even offered to go out and take photos of the grave.  You don't know until you ask.

The older graves may be much harder to find or to read.  My daughter went to the Mount Royal Cemetery where some of our ancestors were buried and knowing where one grave was she still could not find it. But leaning up against their son's monument in the family plot was a piece of gravestone she could neither read nor move. You can see it at bottom right. Their son had this monument made for his beloved wife, and when he died and was buried there (according to cemetery records), neither of his daughters added his name to the stone.  



I am adding all my ancestors as I find them to Find a Grave and I link them to their family members, so that the records will be on Ancestry and others may find them in the future.


Related Links:

New Hampshire Death and Disinterment Records

Burial Location request at Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal

Les Cimetières de Quebec

The Company of Undertakers (jpeg)

Scottish Genealogy Society - Black Book (deaths by county)

Register of interments in the Greyfriars burying ground, Edinburgh 1658-1700

Gleanings from Blue Church Burial Ground - Augusta Township, ON

Wills, registers and monumental inscriptions of the parish of Barwick-in-Elmet, Co York (also in genealogies and wills)

Tabernacle United Methodist Church, NC 1994;  Cemetery listings and historical information, 1837-1994

Journal - Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland

UK Burials in Indian Cemeteries

The Annual Monitor - Obituary; members of the Society of Friends in Britain and Ireland.

Victoria Genealogy Society (BC) - Burials Index

Old Cemeteries of Victoria database

Obituary records of graduates of Amherst College (Mass)

Registre d'inhumation de Mount Hermon Cemetery, Quebec (Protestant) 1848-1904

Some Mount Hermon Cemetery transcriptions - Quebec City

The first Catholic cemeteries of Montreal: Lot owners at Cote des Neiges Cemetery 1897

Burials of the Algonquian, Siouan and Caddoan tribes west of the Mississippi

Mortuary records with genealogical notes of the own of Spafford, Onondaga Co, NY 1917

The Obituary book of Queen's College, Oxford; and ancient Sarum Kalendar, with obituaries of the founders and benefactors of the College - 1910

Memorials of St. Michael's: The Old Parish Churchyard of Dumfries 1876

Gravestone inscriptions and records of tomb burials in the Central and South burying ground, Boston 1917

Gravestone inscriptions ad records of tomb burials in the Granary burying ground , Boston

Burial inscriptions and data in Berwick, York County, Maine to 1922

Register of deaths and burials - Bellevue Cemetery Co, NC 1876-1988

Burials and inscriptions in the Walnut Street Cemetery of Brookline, Mass with historical sketches of some of the persons buried there 1920

History of the Old Tennent Church and a complete list of burials - NJ 1904

Epitaphia : a collection of 1300 British epitaphs, grave and gay, historical and curious, annotated with biographical notes, anecdotes, etc., with an introduction upon modes of burial and a general survey of interments in the British Iles from medieval times, together with an account of peculiar interments, church folk-lore, and a short chapter on American epitaphs – 1909

Inscriptions on the tablets and gravestones in St Michael's Church and churchyard, Charleston, SC and list of interments of persons to whom there are no stones - 1906

A Mohawk form of ritual of condolence - 1782 - Caughnawaga

Record Inscriptions at the Catholic Church at Patna Bihar and Orissa - India 1917

Canadian Deaths: The Dominion Annual Register and Review - 1878-1886

List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon 1913

Tombstone inscriptions from the churchyard of the First Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill Village, Dutchess Co, NY 1882

Tombstone inscriptions of the Old St Paul's Church cemetery, Newton, NC 1702-1967

Gravestone Markers (several volumes) - USA

Inscriptions on the Tombstones of Americans buried in Père La Chaise Cemetery, Paris France 1919

Register of Confederate dead, interred in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond VA 1869

Register of Confederate soldiers who died in Camp Douglas, 1862-65 and lie buried in Oakwoods Cemetery, Chicago, Ill 1892

List showing inscriptions of headstones for the Confederate soldiers and sailors while prisoners of war, died at Columbus and Camp Denison, OH and were buried in Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery, those dying at Camp Denison  having been thence removed 1907

A list of the Union Soldiers buried at Andersonville, 1866

Burial Hill in the 1990's, Plymouth, Mass: a six-year cemetery mapping project with descriptions, conditions and some photographs.

Zion Cemetery, Scarborough, York, Ontario

The act of incorporation of the Cataraqui Cemetery Co; its rules etc, and list of lotholders 1854 - Kingston, ON

Death records fro the ancient burial ground at Kingston, Mass , 1905

Index to Death Roll of the St John Globe, NB

Funeral homes, directors and cars history images on Flickr

Kentish monumental inscriptions - at Tenterden 1919

Andersonville Diary, Escape, and list of the Dead:  with name, regiment, date of death and number of grave in cemetery.

History of the Antietam National Cemetery, including a descriptive list of all the soldiers buried therein; together with ceremonies of Ancient, free and accepted Masons in laying the corner-stone of the soldier monument - 1890

The Oriental Obituary 1809 (British Raj Tombstones)

A calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem for Cornwall and Devon 1906

List of Licensed Embalmers - Illinois 1913

Official list of licensed embalmers - Iowa 1921

Account books, check and funeral registers for James L Comisky, North Adams, Mass 1882+

Vest Funeral Home mortuary records, Indiana 1947-1958

Cheshire and Lancashire Funeral Certificates; AD 160-1678

The burial of the dead; a pastor's complete hand-book for funeral services, and for the consolation and comfort of the afflicted - 1882

Collection of epitaphs and monumental inscriptions, chiefly in Scotland 1834

Historical sketch of Graceland Cemetery, Chicago

The Jewish Cemetery at Orangeburg, SC 1910

Indicateur du cimetière catholique de Montréal / par Siméon Mondou 1889

Monuments de Mont-Royal; cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges 1901


Documents sur les Juifs à Paris au XVIIIe siècle; actes d'inhumation et scellés 1913

British Settlers in Brazil and Uruguay - deaths

Lindenwood Cemetery Interment Records 1918

Inscriptions on the gravestones in the grave yards of Northampton, and of other towns in the valley of Connecticut, as Springfield, Amherst, Hadley, Hatfield, Deerfield, etc – 1850

Inscriptions Oyster Bay, NY 1911

The monumental inscriptions in the cemetery at Belleside, Fergus (Ont) 1833

Bedlam Burial Register - Liverpool St, City of London

Military re-interment of soldiers, Lundy's Lane, Niagara Falls, Canada - 1891


Links to Australian Cemeteries

The danger of premature interment : proved from many remarkable instances of people who have recovered after being laid out for dead, and of others entombed alive, for want of being properly examined prior to interment. Also a description of the manner the ancient Egyptians, and other nations preserved and venerated their dead, and a curious account of their sepulchral ever burning lamps and mausoleums. Likewise the pernicious effects of burying in the body of churches, and confined church yards pointed out, whereby many valuable lives have been lost to the public, and their friends.









Sunday, 1 March 2015

Serendipity Sunday - Patents on Google



While I was doing some research, I came across a search result for an 1889 patent by Leon Sirieix for a ship compass.

I dug around a little further and I see that Google has indexed and made available patents and patent applications from the US Patent Office, the European Patent Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization. This is what the Advanced Search page looks like, so lots of options for searching a patent:

 
 
There are over 8 million patents in the database, with the US dating back to 1790, and the others back to 1978.
 
The images are actual pages of the patents, including renewals and modifications.
 
Google has packaged all the Patent and the Trademark files into Zipped files and offers them for free bulk download. I opened a Trademark zip file to see what's what.  Inside just ONE file were 932 trademark pages, each one bearing the name and image of the trademark, the register number and date, and the signatures of the owners and witnesses. The trademarks range from simple words to elaborate drawings. Here are examples:
 
 
 
  
           The Boston Rubber Shoe Company               The Coventry Company