April 24, 2014

Sometimes the Best Find Comes When You Least Expect it!

About 25 years ago a woman I corresponded with about my PEER family in Guelph Ontario Canada told me an intriguing story. According to her she found a newspaper article about my great-grandfather Stephen Peer being attacked and killed by an axe-wielding neighbour. She didn't provide a date or any other details. No amount of pleading or coaxing on my part could get a source from her, not even the name of the newspaper. Stephen was not her ancestor and my Peer ancestry was of no interest to her so even my offers to share everything I had on the family held no interest.

So for 25 years I've tried to find this reference. Some time ago I found Stephen's death registration for 1897 but the cause of death was listed as Typhoid Fever not murder. Nonetheless I checked  Guelph newspapers for several months prior to his death just in case. But nothing turned up. These newspapers are not indexed so searching meant a long laborious read of every issue. Eventually I put this on the back burner as a curiousity, as a story that might have a little truth to it.

Searching Online Newspapers

Sometimes the Best Find Comes When You Least Expect it!
A few days ago while searching through some online Ontario newspapers as I do periodically, I came across this extract of a larger story.

It was published in The Lethbridge News (Alberta) on June 5, 1895 and was noted as a condensed story. I was pretty excited to find this but of course now I want the full story. Why was this pump so important? Who was Walter Hyde and his father? And why would an Alberta newspaper publish this?

Looking for Walter and the Full Story

A search of Ancestry.com census records turned up some information on Walter Hyde. He was born ca 1874 to Alfred & Sarah (Farrow) Hyde. It struck me that Walter was quite a bit younger than my great-grandfather who was born ca 1853.  I don't know if Walter went to jail or any other details of this incident but am determined to find out.

Since getting to Guelph to hunt through the filmed newspapers is difficult for me I decided to hire the Guelph Public Library Research Services to look for any references to this event. Fingers crossed that I find out exactly what happened.  Of course if any of my readers live in Guelph Ontario and would be willing to have a look in the Guelph Mercury in first week of June 1895 for this story, please let me know!

The Moral of This Story

The moral of my story is NEVER GIVE UP! Okay I have two morals - never give up and never ever dismiss a "story" as untrue until you've found evidence to either prove or disprove it.

April 23, 2014

Corrected List of Contents of H1150 Heir & Devisee Commission on Canadiana.org

From H 1144 V58
Burford Christian BRADT
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 Canadiana.org - Listing Errors and a Workaround, the index and description of what is in each film, as provided on Canadiana.org,  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 Canadiana.org 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

Here is a corrected list of contents for film 1150.

Film H 1150 Does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed as V. 87-89. This film contains V. 90-92
  • Vol.90 Image 17 Register of claims allowed arranged chronologically by district 1797-1804
  • Eastern District: Images 56-84; 97-98; 123-136; 176-184
  • Johnston District: Images 85-90; 99-101; 112-122; 187-198
  • Midland District: Images 19-55; 144-159; 169-175
  • Newcastle District: Images 137-138; 203-204
  • Home District: Images 95; 110-111; 162-168; 199-200; 205
  • Niagara District: Images 95; 106-109; 139-143; 160-161; 201-202
  • Western District: Images 96; 102-105
  • London District: Images 185-186
  • Vol. 91 Image 211 Index to claimants in Registers A, B, C, Vol 80-82
  • Vol. 92 Image 283 Index to claimants in Registers A-B Vol. 80, 81 
I have published the full set of corrections for the digitize records on Olive Tree Genealogy website at Heir & Devisee Commission This is a work in progress. 

April 22, 2014

The Poignant Story of a Lost Child on the Titantic


The Poignant Story of a Lost Child on the Titantic
RMS Titantic List of 1st Class Passengers Who Drowned - Allison Family
Ancestry.com. UK, RMS Titanic, Deaths at Sea, 1912
A 2 year old child, thought to be lost when the Titanic sank, is at the crux of this story. Lorraine Allison and her parents were all reported as dead but only her father's body was ever recovered.

Years later a woman  named Helen Kramer came forward claiming to be Lorraine and stating she had been rescued but no one knew who she was. The Allisons were a wealthy Canadian family and refused to accept that Helen was Lorraine, believing it was a hoax to obtain money.

Helen  and her family waged a long war to be accepted by the Allison family. In the end DNA evidence revealed the truth - that she was not Lorraine. However the years of insisting she was indeed Lorraine resulted in a great deal of drama including restraining orders imposed by the Allison family.

The very intriguing and you can read more about it at Lost child of the Titanic and the fraud that haunted her family

This story intrigued me so I did a little research on the family. Hudson Allison, Lorraine's father is found in the 1901 census living in Chesterville Ontario, which happens to be where the Allison family burial ground is located. Hudson was born in 1881 in Winchester Township, Dundas County Ontario. His birth registration found on Ancestry.com shows him given the name Hudson Joshua Creighton Allison by his parents  Jessie R. Allison and Phebe [sic] Johnston.

October 1909 saw the family of Hudson, wife Bessie and daughter Helen Lorraine sail from Montreal to England on board The Megantic. Hudson appears to have been a frequent traveler, no doubt for his business as he also appears on the passenger list for the Campania sailing from Liverpool England to New York in April 1911.
In fact the 1911 census for England shows him staying at the Carlton Hotel in London. He is listed as a 30 year old Financial Broker.

He also appears in the 1911 Census for Canada with his wife Bessie, 24, born in Wisconsin and his two children Lorraine 2 and baby Hudson 5 months old. Further research shows that his wife Bessie was born in Wisconsin to Arville and Sarah Daniels.

The Allison family memorial is found in Chesterille Ontario and shows that baby Hudson was rescued but died at the age of 18.

The Portland Press Herald printed a death notice for Hudson Trevor Allison on Friday August 9th 1929. It read:

"Ocean Park, Aug 8 -- Hudson Trevor Ellison [sic] age 18, of Westmount, P.Q, who had been passing a vacation with his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Hudson Ellsion[sic] on Seaside Avenue, died Thursday after a short illness as the result of ptomaine poisoning. The body was taken during the day to Chesterville, P.Q for burial."

Photo of Allison Family Memorial by Shirley Hacket on Find-A-Grave published as permitted by photographer

April 21, 2014

Found Easter Bunny on Twitter!

Found Easter Bunny on Twitter!
Those who followed my blog post on the weekend Easter Bunny Returns With His Family Tree
know that I had hear rumours that E.B. was on Twitter. Well I'm happy to say I found him yesterday! His Twitter handle is @IamEasterBunny if you want to see what he's been up to.

I read his tweets (See below for images) and it looks like he's hot on the bunny trail of a few of his brick walls. Plus he announced yesterday that he's been chosen as a Celebrity Bunny on the next season of the TV show "Hop to Find Out Who You Think You Are" Wow I can't wait to watch that episode!







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

52 Ancestors: OTS-TOCH, THE MOHAWK WIFE OF CORNELIS ANTONISSEN 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
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