May 22, 2015

More Ways to Find an Ancestor in the 1851 Agricultural Census

Previously I talked about the 1851 Agricultural Census and using the online Library and Archives Canada Search Engine to find an ancestor.

You can also search on in their online Canadian Census records. Unfortunately you cannot narrow your search to just bring up results for the Agricultural Census. However when you enter an ancestor's name, IF that person is found in the existing Agricultural portion of the 1851 census, and IF they are found in a surviving 1851 Personal Census, you will see two results. One will be the personal census, the other the Agricultural.

Search Results 1851 Census for Charles Black - 2 entries, Agricultural & Personal

If the person is found in one census and not the other, how do you tell which you have? It's simple. The result for the Agricultural census will not display an age. 

Search Result for Agricultural Census - no age is shown

The database you want to search is called 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Don't enter the individual's age or year of birth. Just search by first and last name, and location.

It would make life easier if Ancestry had entered the word "Agricultural" into their database fields so we could narrow the search but they have not done so. However with a little patience you can find your ancestor providing that census has survived for the area the ancestor lived in.

Don't overlook this resource as it has great genealogical value to researchers. 

May 21, 2015

Is Being Sold Again?

Rumour has it that Permira Advisers LLC, the buyout firm that owns most of privately held, has hired investment banks to run an auction for the company. You can read more at Reuters.

Permira outbid other private equity firms to take Ancestry private in 2012 for $1.6 billion. 

What's in store for Ancestry and its customers now? We'll have to wait and see if the rumours are true.

May 20, 2015

Finding Ancestors on 1851 Agricultural Census Canada

Previously I talked about the 1861 Agricultural Census for Ontario and the goof that made when bringing it online.
Why search for ancestors in an Agricultural Census? These records provide details of exact location of land, type of farming, house lived in, livestock and more. doesn't appear to have the 1851 or 1871 Agricultural Census schedules (at least they are not easily found!) but there's good news!

In 2011 I talked about how to go directly to the Agricultural census on Collections Canada. That was a great database and search engine, much better than the new one on Library and Archives Canada. But it no longer exists. You must now search for ancestors in the 1851 Agricultural census at Library and Archives Canada. 

1. Select Canada West (Ontario) from the drop down list for Province/Colony.

2. To narrow your search by township or county (or both) simply add them as keywords. 
Be very careful using this search engine! It is unforgiving. For example if your ancestor's name was recorded as "Thos." (for Thomas) on the original census page, searching for "Thomas" will give you ZERO hits. 
It is best to use wildcards, for example "Tho*" allows for abbreviations and full name. 
I had ancestors in Flamboro Township in Wentworth County in 1851 so I entered keywords "flamboro wentworth" and got 3 hits. Each hit has a list of available images. All I needed to do was start at the first image and begin looking.

Here's an example of what one page of the 1851 Agricultural Census looks like. The graphic used here is blurry but the original is crystal clear.
So don't be afraid to give this a try in your search for more details of an Ontario ancestor.

May 19, 2015

Have You Checked Assessment Records for that Elusive Ancestor?

Genealogy records for early Ontario (Canada West, Upper Canada) are challenging to find. They are sporadic and held in different repositories. Some often over-looked pre 1850 records include Assessment Records. 

Assessment Record Page
These work well as a census substitute and they usually provide an exact location of land (Lot and Concession Number) within a Township.

Some give numbers and type of livestock and crops. Assessment records were used to assess individual's property and holdings in order to calculate and collect tax revenue.  

Not all townships' Assessment Records have survived. Not all townships did assessments for the same years. So if you are looking for these records you will need to find out if your County and Township of interest has any that survived. 

I am very pleased to announce that thanks to the generousity of transcriber Fred Blair, Olive Tree Genealogy has published 10 Assessment Records for early Ontario. Following is the list of Assessment Records now available for download on Olive Tree Genealogy Ontario Assessment Records section

    Assessment Ancaster Township, Wentworth County, Home District 1816
    Assessment_Ancaster Township, Wentworth County, Home District 1818
    Assessment Beverley Township, Wentworth County, Home District 1816
    Assessment Beverley Township, Wentworth County, Home District 1818
    Assessment Grand River Tract, Haldimand Township, Wentworth County, Gore District, 1816
    Assessment Nelson Township, Halton County, Gore District 1816
    Assessment Nelson Township, Halton County, Gore District 1818
    Assessment Trafalgar Township, Halton County, Gore District 1816
    Assessment Trafalgar Township, Halton County, Gore District 1823
    Assessment Trafalgar Township, Halton County, Gore District 1825

May 18, 2015

Organizational Project Part 6: Ready for the Second Sort of Photographs!

In January I began my plan to sort, organize and digitize my family photos.  I ended up ordering archival boxes and sleeves from a company called GetSmartProducts

I've previously shared how I am organizing, sorting and purging these photos and if you missed those earlier posts, you can view them by clicking on the lable "Organization Project" at the bottom of this post or in the right side bar.
Pre-marriage photo box - childhood & young adult
All my family photos and photos passed on to me after family members passed away have passed the first sort. That means I have tossed blurry photos, set aside photos that I don't want but others in the family might love to have, and put all the rest into the categories I decided on in my original plan
I now have 5 purple acid-free boxes with family photos categorized which cover my life: pre-marriage; marriage #1; marriage #2; marriage #3; grandchildren. 
I have other boxes for other general categories but for now I'm focusing on these 5 purple boxes. My next step is to take one box and do my second sort within those photographs. I plan on putting the photos into a semi-chronological order, which should make finding duplicates easier. This should also ensure that photos of special events such as birthday parties, vacations and other occasions end up together. 
Next I will remove duplicates and place them in boxes intended for each of my children. If there are duplicates that I think my nieces, nephews, cousins or other family members would like, I will put those into envelopes to be mailed to them. 

Once I've completed this sort (the second sort), I could either begin scanning these photos or I can leave them and start on Box #2. I have decided I will finish the second sort on these 5 purple boxes before starting to scan.

Here are links to the previous blog posts about this project:

Organizing Family Photos - Creating a Plan

Organizational Project Part 2 - Family Diaries

Organization Project Part 3 - Digitizing Family Slides

Organizational Project Part 4 - Sorting the Family Photographs

Organizational Project Part 5: The Domino Effect in an Organization Project

May 17, 2015

Nursing Sister Philip's WW1 Album 25R Outdoor Party

This Photo Archive consists of a small autograph album (6.5" by 5.25") kept by Constance (Connie) Philips as a memento of her time serving as a nurse during World War One. 

The majority of the photos and items are from 1915, when she served as a nurse in France and Britain.

The album and all photographs, postcards, and other ephemera contained in the album belong to Karin Armstrong and may not be copied or republished without her written permission. The images will be published on Olive Tree Genealogy with permission.

Each image has been designated an "R" for Recto or a "V" for Verso plus an album page number. Recto is the right-hand side page of a bound book while Verso is the left-hand side page.

I will be posting the entire album and my additional research on the individuals identified in Connie's album over the coming months so please check back frequently to view these historic photos. The easiest way to see what has been published is to click on the topic "Nursing Sister WW1 Photos" in the vertical menu bar on the right side of your screen. You can also click on that phrase at the bottom of this post.

May 16, 2015

Copyright Issues Raise Their Ugly Head Again

Will it never end? It seems many web surfers don't understand copyright. When something is published on the internet on a website or a blog, it is copyright to whoever wrote it. It is not up for grabs! 

I don't know why folks can't grasp that an article I write, for example, and publish here on my blog or on one of my websites, is copyright to me.  That means it cannot be published elsewhere without my permission. Think of this way - if you go to a Library and borrow Stephen King's latest book to read, you cannot copy it and republish it anywhere - online or offline, without Mr. King's permission. (which of course he would not give) If you do publish without his okay, even if you clearly state that Mr. King wrote the piece, not you, you can bet your life he will sue your (ahem) off.

So why then do some folks think they can come to a website, read something they like and copy and paste it on their own site? That is called COPYRIGHT VIOLATION! And you can be sued.

I have copyright notices on every page of my site. Yet some still continue to take my work and republish it as if they are entitled to do so. Some plead innocence when confronted but ignorance of the law is no defense. Some leave the author's name on it and even provide a link to the original website, as if that makes everything okay. But theft is theft and violating someone's copyright is, in my opinion, theft. 

Many people also confuse plagiarism and copyright. 

Plagiarism is when someone takes your work and presents it as their own.  I've had that happen to me. A genealogist with a weekly newspaper column took an article from my website, published it word for word in a very large American newspaper and put her name as the author. After a thorough investigation, the newspaper fired her. These are serious offenses we're talking about. And I don't back down. If you take my work, I'll pursue every legal avenue available to get you to stop. 

Copyright violation or infringement is when someone takes  work which is protected by copyright laws without permission.

What can you do if someone takes your hard work without permission? You can write to the person and demand they remove it. I like to give two options - remove the unauthorized work within 24 hours or pay me a publication fee of $500.00. Those who violate copyright need to understand that an author's work is worth money.

If the person isn't compliant, file a DMCA complaint with their website or blog provider. Send the DMCA notice to the person who took your without permission.

Don't let it go. We should all protect our work and take what we do seriously. It is not okay for others to do a hit and run with no regard for legalities or respect for the work of others.

May 15, 2015

Corrected List of Contents on Heir & Devisee Commission H1140

Canadiana.Org has digitized 21 films of the Heir & Devisee Commission Papers (Heir & Devisee Commission papers 1797-1854, found in their Heritage Collection), and that's a good thing for genealogists. These records have valuable and informative genealogical documents.

But as mentioned in a previous blog post I wrote called Heir & Devisee Commission 1797-1854 on - Listing Errors and a Workaround, the index and description of what is in each film, as provided on,  is incorrect.
I have been slowly going through each film and noting the correct contents in detail.  My first set of detailed listings of the contents of film H1133 can be viewed at No Response from so here are the Heir & Devisee Commission Film Details 

A complete and correct list of contents of film H1135 can be found on Olive Tree Genealogy website at Finding  Aid for Heir & Devisee Commission Online Films

H1140 Image 160
Here is a corrected list of contents for film H 1140
Does not contain what has listed Image 24 V 38 1804 Commissioners Reports. I have not completed this film but here is the corrected list of contents from Image 14 to Image 431:
  • 14 starts the documents 9 June 1809 survey report
  • 15 to 19 List of claimants. Markham, York, Whitchurch, East Gwillumbury. Plus details
  • 20 Home District May 1804 survey general’s report
  • 24 minutes and reports to the executive Council volume 38 home district 1804
  • 25-27 list of claimants and details of claim 13 June 1804
  • 29-38 list of claimants and details of claim July 1804
  • 40-42 ditto
  • 44 ditto
  • 49-61 ditto
  • 62-93 1803 and four
  • 97-105 miscellaneous documents volume 39 home district 1816; 1821 to 1823 claimants
  • 106 notices with names and details 1812
  • 108-111 documents dated 1818
  • 112-114 documents dated 1817
  • 115-119 1821-1823
  • 120-121 large legal document
  • 122 Detroit 1787 petition of Jacob Arnes
  • 123 certificate re Daniel A----- dated 1797
  • 124 Malcolm Tulley 1802 land title search
  • 128 volume 40 Orders in Council 1797 - 1802 home district
  • 129 Conrad Hotrum Niagara October 1800 also Thomas Paige, Thomas Dickson and David Heron
  • 130 names and locations, 1803
  • 132-134 claims 1803
  • 135 claims 1804
  • 140-142 Gen. Benedict Arnold of the city of London England deceased and his widow Margaret also Sarah Fitch and Ann Fitch of Devonshire
  • 143-144 Eastern District claims 1799 heard in 1804
  • 145 claims Markham and Pickering
  • 146-147 claims Markham 1804
  • 148–154 claims home district 1804
  • 158 volume 41 location certificates alphabetical for home district
  • 159 Nassau District land certificates 1-15 1790 – 1792
  • 160  List of names Nassau District Land Certificates
  • 161– 211 land certificates for each person listed. Please see complete list of names and image numbers for their Land Certificates at An index to Niagara area Loyalists and their Land Certificates
  • 215-216 Home District land certificates 1 – 17, 1787 – 1795. List of names. Note that I will be adding the complete list of names and image numbers
  • 415– 416 Peter Robinson son of the late Christopher Robinson
  • 417 Solomon Ball, Pickering 1803
  • 418-419 Peter Robinson
  • 420 Angus McDonald of York
  • 421-424 Basil Rossiton of Elizabethtown, Samuel Heron of York
  • 425 George Cutter of town of York, Shoemaker.  Basil Rossiton
  • 426 Duncan Cameron
  • 427 John Schmeltzer of Markham
  • 428 John Nicholas Steffens Markham Township
  • 429-430 John Daniel Frederick Bush of Kingston in Frontenac County in Midland District baker, brother to delete John Christian William Bush of the town of York
  • 431 Birth Certificate written in German for Johann Christian Wilhelm 1767. There are other names and the year 1773 and a name Johann Daniel Friedrich but I cannot translate the rest