April 20, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 16: Grades 10 & 11

Sharing Memories  Week 16: Grades 10 & 11
Sharing Memories is a series of weekly prompts to help all genealogists (including me!) with writing up memories of our ancestors and our childhood. 

We all love to find a diary or letters written by great grandma or grandpa where they talk about their lives and share their memories. Think how excited one of your descendants will be to read about your memories and your stories! These stories will be lost after a few generations unless we preserve them. And what better way than in a weekly themed post. 

This week's prompt is Memories of Grades 10 and 11. I have no memory of Grade 10. None. My theory of this blank spot in my memory is that it's due to my dad's sudden death on Christmas Day of Grade 9. Because it's as if Grade 10 didn't exist for me. 

Grade 11 is a bit of a blur but I remember having to get up in front of my class and read an essay I'd written. I was shaking so badly I could hardly see the words on the papers in my hand! I think my teacher thought I was going to burst into tears because he didn't make me finish reading it. 

I was pretty shy back then and didn't really fit in with the rest of the kids, both socially, economically and in fashion. But no one every picked on me or bullied me. In fact I experienced the opposite - the other kids looked out for me and were very kind to me always. I had tons of friends which doesn't really fit either with my shyness and the horrible clothes I had to wear and where I lived in town. You'd expect me to be ignored or ostracized given the circumstances. But I wasn't and in fact I actually got invited to a few parties in the "new area" of town. 

When I was a teenager the old and new area kids did not mix as a general rule. But the majority of my friends were new area kids and we all hung out at my house constantly. That was one unwritten rule the new area kids never broke - I was never invited to their homes except for the occasional party.

Bottom line was that I loved school and I had tons of friends so in that area of my life I was very happy.  What are your memories of those High School years?

April 19, 2014

52 Ancestors: Ots-Toch, the Mohawk Wife of Cornelis Van Slyke

I'm writing about my Mohawk ancestor Ots-Toch as part of Amy Crow's Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks . Ots-Toch was my 9th great-grandmother and I've written about her in my book on the Van Slyke family of New Netherland (New York). After researching her extensively, I was able to obtain my Metis status in Ontario. Luckily she is written about in contemporary records and this proving my Native American heritage was possible. 

Last year I submitted DNA kits to different companies for both myself, my brother and my son. Our Native American ancestry was confirmed through DNA which was like icing on the cake. 

Here is a brief excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book The Van Slyke Family in America: A Genealogy of Cornelise Antonissen Van Slyke, 1604-1676 and his Mohawk Wife Ots-Toch, including the story of Jacques Hertel, 1603-1651, Father of Ots-Toch and Interpreter to Samuel de Champlain REVISED EDITION published May 2010.

Caveat: Please take the use of the word "princess" with a grain of salt. It was common for 19th century writings to romanticize Native American women in particular, assigning daughter of a chief status to them. Ots-Toch was in fact fathered by Jacques Hertel, a French interpretor to Samuel de Champlain. It is not known who her Mohawk mother was. 

Little is known of the wife of Cornelis Van Slyke. Even her name, Ots-Toch, is clouded in controversy, with some writing it as Alstock. One word in the Mohawk language which may provide a clue to her name is "Otsihsto" meaning "the stars". "Otsihsto" is pronounced so that the sound is similar to "Asistock". It must be remembered that her name was recorded phonetically from verbal accounts and it is quite possible that Otsihsto is the correct interpretation of Ots-Toch's name.  Her date of birth is unknown, although it is estimated as circa 1622. There is argument over her heritage and her parents.

There are  two prevalent theories of Ots-Toch's heritage, one that she was a full-blooded Mohawk of the Turtle Clan, the daughter of a Mohawk chief or Sachem. [1] The second theory is that Ots-Toch was the daughter of a French trapper, Jacques Hertel and a full-blooded Mohawk Princess.  [2]  The use of the word "Princess" would imply that Ots-Toch's mother was the daughter of the Sachem or chief of her tribe.

According to Nelson Greene and other sources, Ots-Toch was "wild and savage like her mother". [3] Ouida Blanthorn, in her genealogy of Cornelis Van Slyck and his descendants written 1973, states that Ots-Toch was a "half-French, half-Indian maiden of compelling grace and beauty, whose mother was a Mohawk princess [sic] and whose father, Jacques Hartell [sic] was a French trader."

[1] National Association of the Van Valkenburg Family

[2]  A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times. Jonathan      Pearson. Ed. J. W. MacMurray, 1883 ;  The Mohawk Valley: Its Legends and Its History. W. Max Reid 1901

[3] Vol. II:p.334
There were many original records pertaining to Ots-Toch. As an example here is one given in my book as found in land records of 1713 for Harmen Van Slyke, grandson of Ots-Toch.

        Harmen was a Captain in a Schenectady Company in 1714 and an Indian trader in 1724. He received a grant of 300 morgens of land at Canajoharie NY from the Mohawks because

        "his grandmother was a right Mohawk woman" and "his father born with us at Canajoharie". His father was Jacques Cornelise, son of Ots-Toch, the half French, half Mohawk woman who married his father Cornelis Antonissen.

        The deed conveyed 12 Jan. 1713 and consisting of 2000 acres, stated:

               "in consideration of ye love, good will and affection which

               we do bear toward our loving cozen and friend Capt. Harmon

               Van Slyke of Schenectady, aforesaid, whose grandmother was a

               right Mohawk squaw and his father born with us in the above

               said Kanajoree [Canajoharie].......it being his the said

               Harmen Van Slyke's by right of inheritance from his father"

April 18, 2014

Easter Bunny Returns With His Family Tree

Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found!

This was announced previously on Olive Tree Genealogy blog but I felt it was worth repeating!
Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found! 
Breaking news - yesterday a little girl named Alice was playing in the garden of an old house in England when she fell down a large rabbit hole. Before climbing out she made a unique discovery. In a small wooden box under a pile of rabbit fur hats Alice spotted a yellowed letter. The letter was addressed to "Dear Easter" and signed "Uncle Wiggily", and it provided details of an interesting family tree!

The complete letter has been transcribed below:

Dear Easter,
Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found!I'm glad you asked about your family. Time is getting short for me and I think I'm the only one left who knows the stories of our family.

Your great-grandfather, Bugs, was one of three brothers (Bugs, Peter and Brer). The brothers left their home and sailed for America in the late 1800s. The ship they were on was caught up in a terrible storm and the brothers had to tie themselves to the mast. The ship sank but Bugs, Peter and Brer were lucky enough to find a plank and they climbed up on it and drifted for several days until they were rescued by the SS Lollipop.

When they got to Ellis Island, the customs officials changed the brothers' last names before allowing them to leave the ship, and so the three branches of our family began.

Bugs, Your great-grandpa, kept his Bunny name. Peter's was changed to Cottontail and all his descendants have kept that name. Brer's name was changed to Rabbit and it is from his line that our famous cousins White and Velveteen descend.

Great grandpa Bugs later met and married your great-grandmother Bunny Fufu. I don't know anything about her parents. My cousin Willy Bunny has photos and her family bible but he is stingy with the family information and refuses to share. Apparently Bunny Fufu's family bible was tossed into a fire by Indians when they attacked the settlement where she and her parents lived, but Bunny's father leapt into the flames and saved the bible. I wish Willy would not be so secretive with the information!

It gets a bit confusing, but Velveteen Rabbit, your mother, was your father Energizer's second wife and his third cousin once removed. It wasn't unusual for cousins to marry each other, but it does get confusing as we all seem to have large families.

Velveteen's father (your maternal grandfather) was Peter but I don't know too much about your mom's side of the family. I did hear there was an Angora in there somewhere way back. Some say she was a Princess and Peter rescued her from pirates!

Of course you know your grandparents - Buster and Trix. One day you should ask your grandma Trix why she calls your grandpa Buster by his nickname "Hassenfeffer" whenever she is mad at him, it's a cute story.

I've done some research on our family but am stuck on your great-great-grandmother. That would be your Great-Grandpa Bugs' mother. Great-Grandpa Bugs' father (your great-great-grandpa) was named Cadbury but I think your great-great-grandma was left by aliens. She is my brick wall. I know Cadbury called her Flopsy and they had 54 children but even though I've searched everywhere, I can't find what her SIRname was.

I guess I should tell you about the family scandal involving your Great great grandpa Cadbury Bunny. My Aunt Babbity told me she heard the grownups whispering about this when she was little. It seems that Cadbury's father fell in love with a chicken and Cadbury was the result of that love match! This might explain Cadbury's strange behaviour....

Well Easter, I think I've given you enough details to confuse you, but I hope I've gotten you interested in learning more! I know where some of the graves are of your ancestors and will take you there one day if you want to go. It's just a hop, skip and jump away.

Give my best to all the little children when you make your rounds this year,

As ever,
Uncle Wiggily
Since that exciting discovery in 2009, Easter Bunny has found more genealogy goodies!  In 2010 Easter found a family tree chart! You can see it here

In 2011 Easter was delighted to discover a Family Bible that once belonged to his great-grandmother Bunny Fufu! He's been hunting ever since, tracking down leads on the Bunny Trail and exploring every nook and cranny he can find.

UPDATE! I have learned that Easter opened a Twitter account last year and I'm trying to ferret that out so I can publish his tweets here as an exclusive Olive Tree Genealogy blog post on Monday. 

April 17, 2014

New Genealogy & History Records on Heritage Website

New Genealogy & History Records on Heritage Website
This is an announcement from Library and Archives Canada:
The following is a list of digitized microfilms that have been recently added to the Héritage website. Please note that although the titles have been translated, the records are still in the language of origin.
  • Amherst Papers
  • Canada. Department of the Interior: Letters patent
  • Canadian Home Economics Association fonds
  • Department of Canadian Heritage, Canadian Parks Service: Park/subject classification system
  • Department of Indian Affairs, Edmonton Agency: General operational records
  • Department of Indian Affairs, Manitoba Regional Office: Central registry files
  • Dominion Lands Branch registry
  • France, Archives Nationales. Contrôle général des finances. Sous-série G7 [French National Archives fonds, finances records, sub-series G7]
  • Frank Wright fonds
  • Henry Elvins Spencer fonds
  • Henry Pringle fonds
  • Immigration Program: Headquarters central registry files
  • Indian and Inuit Affairs Program: Modified duplex numeric system
  • Ministry of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada: Courts martial records, 1914-1919
  • Parish registers: Manitoba
  • Registrar of Shipping New Carlisle [Quebec], 1856-1902, and Quebec City [Québec], 1787-1965
  • Radnik fonds
  • Roderick K. Finlayson fonds
  • Sir Henry James Warre fonds
  • William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth fonds
  • William Osgoode fonds
Credits: "Announcement Quote. Eps10" by 2nix on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

April 16, 2014

Free Access to Civil War Records on Fold3

 Discover Your Ancestors on Fold3 To remember the commencement of the Civil War in April 1861, FOLD 3 invites you to explore all records in its Civil War Collection for free April 14–30.

Explore Civil War documents featuring everything from military records to personal accounts and historic writings. Soldier records include service records, pension index cards, “Widows’ Pension” files, Navy survivors certificates, Army registers, and much more. Other record types include photographs, original war maps, court investigations, slave records, and beyond. Items such as the Lincoln Assassination Papers, Sultana Disaster documents, letters to the Adjutant General and Commission Branch, and the 1860 census are also contained in the Civil War Collection.

Confederate-specific records include Confederate service records, amnesty papers, casualty reports, and citizens files, as well as Confederate Navy subject files and Southern Claims Commission documents.

Join Fold3 in its commemoration of the Civil War. Discover information on famous participants as well as your own Civil War ancestors through documents, photos, and images that capture the experiences and vital information of those involved in America’s deadliest conflict. Then commemorate your ancestors by creating or expanding memorial pages for them on Fold3’s Honor Wall 

April 15, 2014

More Fun With Evernote Genealogy Binders

More Fun With Evernote Genealogy Binders
Evernote Genealogy Binder for my son's Schulze ancestors
I'm discovering so many great tools using Evernote to create virtual Genealogy Binders.My first blog post on using Evernote can be found at Using Evernote to Make Virtual Binders for Genealogy Organization 

The latest trick I've found is an amazing time-saver and one I touched on briefly in my last blog post More Ways to Use Evernote to Create Virtual Genealogy Binders. Now I've fine-tuned this method and want to share it with you. It has saved me so much time and duplication. This is the method where instead of creating a new note in your Evernote Binder and methodically importing one file at a time by using the FILES>ATTACH FILES command in Evernote, you accomplish this in a different more efficient way by importing files as batches directly from your computer drive. 

First step is to make sure your computer files are named correctly. I've discovered that if you name your genealogy file (either image or document) with the exact name you want to use as the Title of your note in an Evernote Binder, this file name is imported as the Title of the note. So if you import a file named "jacobdewhirst1820baptism.jpg" the title will be automatically inserted as "jacobdewhirst1820baptism" 

Instead of having to rename it in the note to "Dewhirst Jacob 1820 baptism Yorkshire England", make sure your file on your computer hard drive has the name you want in the Evernote note so that you do not have to redo anything.

Previously I titled my notes in my virtual Genealogy Binders with the year then the person's name then a description. But since Evernote limits how many Binders you can create,I soon realized I needed to put all the siblings of my direct ancestors in the same binder. I can't create one binder for each person. So I needed to rename my notes with the surname then the first name then the year, followed by the description. That way each individual's notes will be grouped together and in chronological arrangement.

It is easy for me to make sure my computer files follow this format. For example as I am searching on Ancestry.com and saving various records for Jacob Dewhirst and family, I rename each file as it is downloaded. The 1841 census for Jacob gets the name "Dewhirst Jacob 1841 Census Yorkshire England" His baptism record gets the file name "Dewhirst Jacob 1820 Baptism Yorkshire England" 

Adding files in batches to Evernote
The next time-saving step is to go to my computer folder where the files are for Jacob Dewhirst. I can highlight them all, right click and choose "ADD TO EVERNOTE". Every file I've highlighted pops into my default notebook in Evernote. 

Now it is very easy to open that default notebook, highlight  all the newly imported files (they will all be together because of how I named them), right click and choose "MOVE TO NOTEBOOK Schulze Genealogy" 

Files added in batches to my default notebook
then moving them to Schulze Genealogy notebook/binder
Every image and document I imported is now very nicely in place in the correct notebook and best of all it is already titled and has been arranged automatically by Evernote in the binder. 

The other tip I have for you is to put quotation marks around the title you give your default notebook in Evernote. That will pop it to the top of the alphabetical list of your notebooks and this is very handy when you want to open that notebook to move your recently imported files.

April 14, 2014

Civil War Photos Found in Vermont Attic

Civil War Photos Found in Vermont Attic
Representation of a Civil War photo
This is a fascinating story of an amazing find in an attic. Hundreds of photos from the Civil War were found in a house belonging to one of the descendants of Alfred Waud, the Civil War artist.

They were purchased by one man who carefully inventoried each photograph and stored them in archival sleeves. In the end the collection consisted of over 500 albumen prints from the Civil War and the American west.

Read the story at My Photo Archiving Find Of A Lifetime How I Found Hundreds Of Civil War And Old West Photos In An Attic In Vermont

April 13, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 15: A Special Song

Sharing Memories Week 15: A Special Song
Sharing Memories is a series of weekly prompts to help all genealogists (including me!) with writing up memories of our ancestors and our childhood. 

We all love to find a diary or letters written by great grandma or grandpa where they talk about their lives and share their memories. Think how excited one of your descendants will be to read about your memories and your stories! These stories will be lost after a few generations unless we preserve them. And what better way than in a weekly themed post. 

This week's prompt is "A Special Song", a song you loved as a teenager. What music was popular when you were young? What did your parents listen to? What bands or groups did you ooh and aww over? 

We didn't have a radio or record player until I was about 9 or 10 years old as my mother always wrinkled her nose in disgust when she heard music and would emphatically state to anyone who would listen, "I hate music!" After my father bought a player, he got several 33LP records (remember those?) of musical show such as Oklahoma and South Pacific. I soon learned all the songs and my favourite was "Happy Talk" from South Pacific. Dad also had lots of Irish crooners and an album by George Formby which he listened to constantly. I loved the song on that album "Does your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavour.."

When I was 10 I chose to have my own record player rather than the bicycle which was tradition in our family. At the age of 10 each of my siblings got a bike but I wanted to be able to listen to music. My mother was shocked but she begrudgingly went along with my choice. I was so thrilled when my little plastic record player with plastic records arrived!
My bedroom became my haven and I'd sit and play my records over and over. 

I was a teen in the 60s so of course The Beatles were a huge impact then! But I have to be honest and say I preferred The Rolling Stones.When I was a young teen I started off listening to folk music - Ian and Sylvia, The Mamas and Papas,  and other similar groups but it didn't take long before I was heavily into The Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Animals, The Doors and other "edgier" groups.  

I still love music and even though I'm a "senior" I try to keep up with what's new and what's happening in the music world. The gals where I get my hair done chuckle over my iTunes songs in my playlist as it's quite a mixture of songs by such artists as  Shinedown, One Republic, Dashboard Confessional, Adele, Ed Kowalczyk, Pit Bull, Walk off the Earth, Flo Rida, Hedley, Hawksley Workman, The Killers, Jazmine Sullivan, Lady GaGa, Elton John, Maroon 5, Mary J. Blige, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Santana, Shawn Mullins, Sting, TIna Turner, Sublime, Velvet Revolver, Melissa Etheridge, Green Day and many more. 

Credits: "Music Card" by digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net