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January 21, 2018

Finding an Ancestor in Early Upper Canada

Joan P. sent an email to Olive Tree Genealogy because of my research into the Peer family of Ontario and America. Here is Joan's query:
My paternal great-grandmother was Louisa Pear (dob 02 July 1861, born in Matilda, Dundas County, Ontario, Canada. Louisa Pear was married to Ira McIntosh.
Louisa's father my 2nd Great grandfather was Alexander Pear (dob about 1813). I cannot find any other information on where in United Stateshe was born or who his parents or grandparents were. He was married to Elizabeth Bouck (1825-1901). He shows up in Canada census of 1851,1871, and 1881.and lists a place of birth as "United States". As wellthe surname shows as Pear, Pier, or LaPear on various census.

I am hoping you would have some information you may have come across with regards to him and his family.
My answer: As it happens I do have some information on Alexander which I found while researching the Peer family. I do not know who his parents were but I believe that he may have had brothers Joseph born ca 1822 in Ontario and Edward B. born ca 1823 in Ontario.

Here is information on Joseph in the 1851 for Mountain, Dundas County
Joseph Pear  abt 1822  Canada farmer, 30
Mary M Pear 29, abt 1828  Canada
Lucinda Pear 7, abt 1845  Canada
William E Pear 2,  abt 1850  Canada

And here is a bit on Edward on the 1851 Census for Matilda, Dundas Co.

Edward Pear 29, farmer abt 1823  Upper Canada
Maria Pear 28 abt 1824 Upper Canada 
Wm Pear  2  abt 1850 
Mary Keeler, widow, age 60

Is it a co-incidence that Alexander, Edward, and Joseph named first-born sons William? (The 1881 census for Alexander confirms this) I suspect not. I suggest it may very well be that they named their sons in honour of their father. Please remember as you forge ahead that this is what I call a "Working Theory". That means you work towards proving or disproving it.

Here is Alexander in the 1851 census for Matilda, Dundas County

Pear, Alexander, farmer, 30 no place of birth
Elizabeth, 26
Alice, 2

Alexander is found on Conc 4, Lot 13, with 52 acres in 1851 in Matilda, Dundas Co.

Edward is found living Matilda, Dundas co. on conc 2 lot 13 with 100 acres.

Joseph LaPier (sic) is found in Matilda, Dundas Co. on Conc 4, Lot 18

Armed with that I would look in the online Abstract Index to Deeds for all these  properties. You want to choose "Historical Books". Once there you want to view
Abstract/Parcel Register Book, DUNDAS (08), MATILDA, Book 6, CONCESSION 4 for Joseph and Alexander's lots. For Edward you want Book 4, Concession 2. 

Interestingly enough I see a Bouck family in those Abstract indexes purchasing Concession 2, Lot 13 - a relative of Alexander's wife perhaps?

See who they bought from, when they obtained the land, and how. Also who did they sell to, and when? You can also read about the Abstract Indexes to Deeds and other valuable Ontario land records on Olive Tree Genealogy. There are many types of land records available that can lead to wonderful genealogy discoveries, and my articles will help you if you are not familiar with these records.

You will no doubt want to do more research on Edward and Joseph to try to find out their parents' names and to prove or disprove my theory that they are brothers to Alexander. Look for their death certificates, follow their children for more information on the family, and of course, gather census details for all available years.

I also suggest that if you need further help finding vital statistics you might want to refer to the books below:

Ancestor Birth Record Finder: Finding a Birth Record When You've Hit a Brick Wall available as an Ebook on or, also as a paperback on or

Ancestor Marriage Record Finder: Finding a Marriage Record When You've Hit a Brick Wall available as an Ebook on or, also soon as a paperback

Ancestor Death Record Finder: Finding a Death Record When You've Hit a Brick Wall available as an Ebook on or, also as a paperback on or

January 20, 2018

A Book on the Michigan Peer family

The Peer family, loyal to the British Crown, suffered from persecution in New Jersey throughout the American Revolution. Jacob Peer Jr. and his wife Lucy Powers settled in the wilderness of Upper Canada (present day Ontario) after the American Revolution.

After suffering losses during the War of 1812, Jacob Jr and Lucy left Ontario for Michigan in 1821. This book discusses the lives of Jacob, his wife Lucy, and their children in those early years. Descendants will enjoy seeing early documents such as land petitions, family photographs, probate records and wills.

Available on or

Note for the book on his parents you also need to purchase V. 1 Jacob & Anne Peer on or

  • Series: The Peer Family in North America
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Olive Tree Genealogy (April 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1987938054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1987938050
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches

January 19, 2018

Genealogy Chats on Twitter

 Did you know that there are chat sessions on Genealogy being held on Twitter? I've dug around and tried to find out what they are about, when they happen and who runs them. I don't have all the answers but this is what I was able to come up with:

Genchat. #genchat is a genealogy based Twitter chat. 
@_genchat on Twitter. Join us for #genchat every other Friday! Great #genealogy conversations, lots of learning, and good times! 9pm Central.

#GenchatDNA @genchatDNA ‏ on Twitter. A monthly group for newbies wondering where to start when testing their DNA

@ancestryhour  on Twitter.  #AncestryHour Tuesdays 7.00pm GMT. See website

#genchatDE @GenchatDE 
is the host for this German version of GenChat. Held every three weeks on Thursdays. See full schedule

#iamnextgen @Nextgennetwrk 
Usually on Saturdays, Schedule not known

#roguegen See the website

Victoria BC Genealogy SIG
#vgstwittersig Victoria Genealogy
Every 2 weeks, Wednesdays same week as #genchat
@ABGenealogy  starting  soon

If I missed any or if I made any errors, drop me a line in the comment section and I'll update this blog post.

January 18, 2018

Are You Stuck Trying to Find an Ancestor's Birth Record?

Most genealogists search the obvious birth records such as Church records and Vital Stats (Birth Registrations or Certificates). These records are fairly well known but before Civil Registration began in whatever country your ancestor was from, you will have to look for other records for a birth date.

If we don't find our ancestor in one of those common birth records, we're stuck! Where to search next? The Ancestor Birth Finder can help direct you to alternate sources for birth records. All we need to do is think outside the box.

What happens when a child is born? When a woman becomes pregnant? What events take place around the birth of a child? What kind of birth record paper trail is created on the birth of an individual? The answers to these questions will lead you to other sources of birth records and hopefully end that brick-wall.

When an ancestor is born, many records leading up to and surrounding that birth might be created. Let's talk about records kept before an ancestor is born, and those created after a birth up to the individual’s death.

Ancestor Birth Record Finder: Tips on Finding a Birth Record When You've Hit a Brick Wall is available on Amazon and as an ebook or paperback

January 17, 2018

Sewage Pipe Destroys Graves in Huronia Cemetery

The group Remember Every Name claims to have found evidence that sewage pipes have disturbed 150 graves in a cemetery attached to Orillia’s Huronia Regional Centre.

The centre was originally named the Orillia Asylum for Idiots and housed developmentally delayed individuals from 1876-2009.
From 1876 to 1971 over 4,000 individuals housed in the Asylum were buried with only numbers marking their graves. The Archives of Ontario has a list of people who died in the notorious Huronia Regional Centre, but won't release it without a freedom of information (FOI) request. This is the story of one of the children buried anonymously in the cemetery under Grave Marker 1751

January 16, 2018

NEW: Ontario Canada Marriage Records 1936

It was fun to search the new Ontario Marriage Records brought online by this week. My mom and dad married in Guelph in 1936 in a double wedding with mom's sister! It was interesting to see my mother and father's marriage.

It was new to me that my dad was a hat-maker! I knew he worked for Biltmore Hats but didn't know exactly what he did there.I thought perhaps a low-level job on an assembly line.

According to the website:

This database is a collection of approximately 3.3 million marriages recorded in Ontario, Canada between 1826 and 1928, and 1933 and 1936. The indexes contained in this collection were created by two different organizations – Ancestry and the Genealogical Research Library in Brampton, Ontario. The following list is a breakdown of the records included in this database and who created the index to them.

Indexed by Ancestry (includes images of the records):

    Registrations of Marriages, 1869-1928, 1933-1935 (MS 932, Archives of Ontario)
    Division Registrar Vital Statistics Records, 1858-1918 (MS 940, Archives of Ontario) [However, there are very few marriages in this record set.]
    Marriage License Books, 1907-1910 (MS 945, Archives of Ontario)
    Delayed Registrations of Marriages, 1892-1919 (MS 948, Archives of Ontario)
    District Marriage Registers, 1801-1858 (MS 248, Archives of Ontario)
    Roman Catholic Marriage Registers, 1828-1870 (MS 248, Archives of Ontario)

Indexed by Genealogical Research Library (no images available):

    Registrations of Marriages, 1869-1919 (MS 932, Archives of Ontario)
    County Marriage Registers, 1858-1869 (microfilm, Family History Library) (the FHL microfilm is of Archives of Ontario microfilm series MS 248, reels 5-18)

Surnames A-Z: X,Y, Z

There's a new meme going around Facebook right now. Genealogists are listing their mother's maiden name, father's surname, maternal and paternal grandparents' surnames and a few more generations back.

It's a cute idea but I don't think it's wise to be providing such detail, especially your mother's maiden name, as it is often the secret question asked on sites where you require a password to log in.

So I'm revising the meme to suit me and I hope others will follow suit, either here as a comment on Olive Tree Genealogy blog, or on their own blog.

Over the coming weeks I'll be listing my surnames starting with "A" and going through the alphabet until I reach "Z".

I'll preface this with a caveat - most surnames are more common than you might think, so sharing a surname doesn't mean we're related. To be completely useful any surname list should have a geographic location and a time period. But this is just a fun little exercise and if you spot a name of interest, just let me know and we'll compare dates and locations.

X, Y, Z SURNAMES: Zwahlen

Join me - maybe we connect! Find previous surnames on Surnames A-Z

January 15, 2018

Richter Family in Virginia Ephemera from San Juan

Annette P. has generously donated several ephemera items from the Richter Family in Virginia to Olive Tree Genealogy for publication.This postcard is to "Mom" - Leora Richter in Virginia from Toby and Libbet in San Juan