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January 31, 2010

Sharing Memories (Week 10) - First Day and Year of School

We are on Week 10 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Journal. I hope everyone will join me this week to talk about memories of your first day of school and of your first year.

For many of us that is Kindergarten. What do you remember? Did your mom tell you how you acted that first day? Were you happy? Sad?

Lord Elgin Public School

I recall my first day vividly! I was already reading (at a very beginning level!) when I started Kindergarten and I was very excited to see all the picture books in my new classroom! But the teacher told me I was not allowed to touch the books, none of the children were - she would read them to us. I told her I could read but she told me I was mistaken, that we children would learn to read at school.

The rest of my first day is a blur, but I do remember not liking school very much that first year!

My Kindergarten Picture

Perhaps you have some memories too, or photos that will jog your mind? I've found that the more you write, the more memories flood back that you thought you had lost. Try it, join us and write your own memories as a comment here to this blog post or on your own blog or privately in your own journal at home. Remember, we're writing this for our descendants, and any words we can give them will be a wonderful gift.

January 30, 2010

Win an Ancestry.com Annual World Deluxe Subscription!

It's Almost Time for "HAPPY 14th. BIRTHDAY OLIVE TREE GENEALOGY!!" Subscribers to my free Olive Tree Genealogy newsletter will be entered in a Birthday Draw to win one of three terrific prizes. Join today for a chance to win!

To celebrate this 14th birthday I'm giving away 3 genealogy prizes. Thanks goes to Ancestry.com , the world's leading resource for online family history, who have generously offered to provide an Annual World Deluxe subscription as one of the three prizes for the Olive Tree Genealogy Birthday Celebration! The World Deluxe Subscription includes historical records and images from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and more locations around the globe.

Winners will be chosen from a random drawing of subscribers to Olive Tree Genealogy newsletter. The draw will take place on February 15, 2010 and winners notified by email. Read more about our Birthday Celebration taking place February 15, 2010.

Win $500 of Ancestry.com Products!

Win $500 of Ancestry.com Products! If you are a Facebook fan and email your Facebook username to sweeps@ancestry.com, you will be entered to win an Ancestry.com Prize Pack.

Prize pack includes a 1-year World Deluxe subscription to Ancestry.com, Family Tree Maker 2010 and a MyCanvas photo book.

Read the Contest Rules

January 29, 2010

Meeting Cousins

Today I happened on a wonderful shout-out written by Kathryn Lake of Our Ryckman Roots

I'm quite honoured to have been chosen as the subject of Kathryn's blog post Follow Friday: Olive Tree Genealogy

Kathryn wrote some really lovely and generous things about Olive Tree Genealogy, which I appreciate very much. Thank you Kathryn!

Kathryn and I share a distant Ryckman ancestor and it has been a pleasure "meeting" Kathryn through e-mail and Facebook.

January 27, 2010

Have Feet, Will Travel

How mobile were our ancestors? Most of us tend to think of our ancestors living in the 18th and 19th centuries for example, as staying pretty close to home. Of course many of them traveled great distances by ship to immigrate to the New World. But once they got to Canada or America, did they travel as frequently as we do?

I was guilty of believing that travel any great distance was difficult. But then I stumbled on letters written by my great-great grandfather Levi Peer to his mother Elizabeth. One letter was sent by Levi from his home in from Halton County Ontario to his mother Elizabeth (Marical) Peer in Hamilton County Illinois in February 1847. In that letter Levi tells his mother
"I had some thought of coming to see you last fall but it so happened that I fell in with an opportunity of purchasing some land... which caused me to omit my visit..."

This casual remark in an 1847 letter made me sit up and take notice. Obviously my assumptions of limited travel were erroneous! Assuming that Levi would not have walked the entire way from Ontario to Illinois, I had a look at the map. It became fairly evident that Levi could have taken a stagecoach to a bigger center, then hopped aboard a ferry or raft (commercial, not Tom Sawyer type!) or boat to travel down the Ohio River from Pennsylvania.

The Ohio River flowed westwardly and became a convenient means of westward movement by pioneers traveling from western Pennsylvania. There were many Ohio River boatmen and boats to choose from. There are several cities in Illinois that are on the Ohio River and Levi would simply have chosen a stop near his mother's home which was in or near Shawneetown Illinois.

And so my pre-conceived ideas of limited travel for our ancestors was put to rest. We should not assume that they did not travel far and wide to visit loved ones. And thus we should keep our minds open to the possibility that we might find an ancestor in a genealogy record far from where we expect him to be.

January 26, 2010

What's In a Name?

Years ago, I hit the proverbial brick wall when searching my great grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Vollick) Peer's ancestor trail. We had no family lore to follow as clues, and no one had any knowledge of the family.

Through census records as well as birth and marriage certificates I was able to trace the line back to a Loyalist named Isaac Vollick. Isaac fought with Butler's Rangers during the American Revolution. After the Revolution ended, he and his family settled in the Niagara area of Upper Canada (now Ontario Canada). But there the trial ended. This was back in the days when the Internet was in its infancy, and thus no online searching was available.

Visits to Archives, Libraries and ordering in dozens of microfilms yielded one small clue - that Isaac had come from Albany New York. But try as I might, I could find *no* evidence of any family with the surname Vollick in New York before the 1780s which was the time period I was interested in.

In my research in Ontario records I had found the surname VOLLICK recorded in a variety of ways - including Follick, Voleck, Valk, Valc, Valic, and Volleck

I therefore knew to be creative in my hunting in New York records but I hit a dead end. Seeking help, I began writing queries and mailing them to various Ontario Genealogy Newsletters. And then one day, success! Another researcher wrote to me informing me that the Vollick surname was originally Van Valkenburg. She gave me sources and directed me to a 2-volume set of books published on the family.

That contact was my jumping off point and from there I was able to trace Isaac Vollick's family line back to the 1600s. I did not rely blindly on the published books on the family, but used them as clues, double checking every "fact" presented before accepting it.

And so my long search for my Vollick ancestry led me down a very different path than what I had anticipated - to the Dutch Van Valkenburg family. I did gather many facts and stories about Isaac the Loyalist and have written about that briefly on From Van Valkenburg to Vollick & Follick: Isaac Van Valkenburg, aka Vollick & Follick, the Loyalist

I also learned that besides being very creative with spelling of a surname, genealogy researchers also must keep an open mind to the possibility that names change over time. They can change slightly or drastically! We must be aware of the possibility of such a change, whether it was a matter of a non-English name being converted to English (such as my French Le Roi/Roy family changing to Larroway once they settled in New York) or for other reasons. Don't assume that the surname you are tracing was always what you think it was!

January 24, 2010

Sharing Memories: Birthday Parties! (Week 9)

We are on Week 9 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Journal. I hope everyone will join me this week to talk about memories of Birthday Parties.

What is the first birthday or birthday party you remember? Was it your own? A family member's? Talk about your memories, the sights, sounds and smells of the day. You might be very surprised at what memories come flooding back as you begin to write.

List the people who you remember being at the event. What a great find that list will be 200 years from now! Be sure to tell how each person is related to you.

We just returned from a 90th Birthday celebration for my husband's grandmother. Three of her younger siblings were there and many many relatives from both sides of the family. I'm listing them all in my Genealogy Journal even though they are my husband's relatives and not mine except by marriage. It was really nice for my husband to circulate and chat with family members he last saw 20 years ago!

One of the things that has bothered me my whole life is that I cannot remember *any* birthdays or parties for my birthday. None. Perhaps I had none and one day I must ask my older siblings if that is true. I know they had parties because I have seen photos! But why don't I remember any?

I'm hoping it's just a matter of me not remembering, but I have a horrible feeling that maybe by the time I came along my mother was tired of parties. Or maybe we just didn't have enough money. I do remember my eldest's brothers first wife being upset that I was not getting a birthday cake when I was 10 years old. So she baked me my own little cake and brought it to me. I was thrilled and have never forgotten the pleasure that I felt that day having my own little cake on my birthday.

So I have lots to write about this week and I hope you will join me. Share your memory here as a comment, or write about it on your own blog, or keep it private and write in your private Genealogy Journal. But please do join us!

January 23, 2010

Featured Genealogy Records: Arkansas Naturalization Index 1809-1906

Arkansas Naturalization Index 1809-1906 has been transcribed by Olive Tree Genealogy Team and is free and online at NaturalizationRecords.com.

Surnames A-M are currently online with the rest to follow.

January 22, 2010

NEW! Share Discoveries on NewspaperArchive.com!

I've discovered another new feature on NewspaperARCHIVE.com And I like it!

After logging in, or creating a new user profile, you can click on DISCOVERIES. Next click on SHARE DISCOVERIES.

I logged into the Facebook suggestion (of course you will need a Facebook account which is free) The image is what I see on the new page that loads.



Now I can share any discoveries I've made! First I have to find a newspaper article I want to share. Then I create my discovery. As the website states, you can share your discovery in 5 easy steps

1) Give your discovery a title
2) Choose one or more topics to best describe your discovery
3) Insert any images you would like to post from your computer
4) Write some text describing your discovery
5) Click "save" to publish your discovery!

You don't need to know any html coding because Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically, and lines and paragraphs break automatically. If you know how to use html there are codes that will work in the text field and NewspaperARCHIVE.com has included a list of allowed coding

When you are all done, you can choose another discovery to share or you can preview your first entry. If it is as you wish, you simply click the button labelled "SAVE NOW TO SHARE"

What I like about this new feature is that you can share your discoveries of ancestors on Facebook, or simply file the discoveries on the website for others to find. You can search through discoveries made and shared by other individuals, by topic, simply by clicking on EXPLORE DISCOVERIES in the side bar menu.

A nice feature and one that is in Beta so I'm assuming it will only get better!

January 21, 2010

Current FamilySearch Indexing Projects

FamilySearch Indexing is excited to announce a new Portuguese interface for the program. The first project available in Portuguese is a collection of marriage certificates from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Other new projects this week include the 1910 Census for four states, as well as records from Canada and Germany.

New Projects in the Past Two Weeks

· Brasil, Rio de Janeiro—Matrimonios, 1900–1910 [Piloto]
· Canada—1871 Mortality Census
· Deutschland, Westfalen, Minden—Volkszählung, 1880–1900 (In partnership with Mindener Geschichtsverein)
· U.S., Florida—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Georgia—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Kansas—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Louisiana—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Rhode Island—1905 State Census [Part 3]

Recently Completed Projects:

· Canada, British Columbia—Deaths, 1872–1986 [Part 3]
· France, Paris—Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Part B]
· Jamaica, Clarendon—Births, 1878–1930
· U.S., Alabama—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Arizona—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., California—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Colorado—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Connecticut—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Delaware—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., District of Columbia—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Idaho—1910 Federal Census
· U.S., Ohio—Tax Records, Post-1825 [Part 2]
· U.S., Rhode Island—1905 State Census [Part 2]
· Venezuela, MĂ©rida—Registros Parroquiales, 1654–1992 [Parte 1]

January 20, 2010

Shaking the Tree - Adding zest to the names

Recently I did some genealogy research for a friend. She has Newfoundland and Nova Scotia ancestry, and I'm not very familiar with either location re what genealogy resources are available. It's been fun finding out what records each Province has, and where they are kept.

I already knew about the wonderful Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics online but had no idea what genealogy is available online for Newfoundland.

To my delight, I stumbled on Newfoundland Grand Banks website. Many happy hours later, I had a pretty good outline of my friend's ancestry back several generations, proven with census, parish records, burials and other online records.

But I had no meat! All I had were names and dates. I really wasn't sure how I would find more detail to flesh out the lives of even one of her distant ancestors, but decided to have a quick look at Ancestry.com I really didn't expect to find much since it was Newfoundland I was focusing on (and it didn't become a province of Canada until the 1940s). To my surprise I found my friend's great grandfather in 1927 on board a schooner sailing from Port Aux Basques Newfoundland to the harbour in New York. He was listed as one of a 6 man crew on the Schooner General Byng.

Of course I googled the schooner name and was excited to find photos of its construction in 1918 and of it sinking on the Atlantic Ocean in 1928. Even more amazing was a photo of the 6-man crew in the lifeboat being rescued when the schooner sank!

Then I found a small notice that the crew from the General Byng went on to another schooner which later was lost at sea on a return journey from Portugal to Newfoundland. The entire crew, including my friend's ancestor, were never found.

That little excerpt on a website led me to NewspaperARCHIVE.com where I spent some time searching for any instances of the General Byng or General Gough. To my surprise (and delight!) there were several stories over the years, including the story of the sinking of the General Byng and the loss of the General Gough.

I have put together everything I found for my friend's ancestors, including printouts of the newspaper pages. It's bound and ready for her to pick up and enjoy! I hope she likes the zest along with the names and dates, for me it's like icing on the cake.

January 19, 2010

CSI Genealogy

How many times have you taken a careful look at your genealogy research only to realize that you never did get around to hunting for Great Grandpa Joe in the 1850 or 1851 census? Have you ever taken a good hard look at the chronology of the family you are searching? How often have you looked over your genealogy research? You might be very surprised at the clues and facts you've missed along the way!

But how can we organize our research so that it's easy to see what we have, what we still need to find, and what we've missed?

This is where CSI Genealogy comes into play!

C=Charts S=Success I=Investigation

With CSI Genealogy you create CHARTS to have a SUCCESSFUL INVESTIGATION into your family tree.

For example I am searching several families in one specific location in Puslinch Township, Wellington County Ontario before 1851. Records for that time period are sparse but there are some "Census" and Tax Assessment records that tell a lot about a family.

In order to figure out if there were more children I missed, or other clues I overlooked, I created a chart. Along the top are the years - 1833, 1834, 1835, 1837, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, 1843 & 1844. These years refer to the Assessment/Census years that haVe survived for Puslinch. Then I notate each year with a "C" or an "A" so I know whether it's a "Census" or a Tax Assessment record I'm viewing.


Down the left column I put the actual headings used in each of those years - the Lot and concession Number where the family lived, Number of Acres of land cultivated and then the breakdown of family members by Males and Females, within the age groups provided.

I can print these blank charts from my computer, and then by hand fill in what I find. This allows me to see at a glance what records I still need. I can also compare numbers and ages of family members each year. This tells me if I'm missing someone in the family, or if perhaps a family member died or married and moved out of the home.

Using my chart tells me at a glance when the family first arrived in the area. In the case of the family I am showing here, they do not appear until 1839. This fits with land records and other records indicating that is when they left Ireland for Canada.

These early Ontario "Census" records also give the family religion which is very helpful in searching for early Ontario births, marriages or deaths. In this case my notation of "RC" means Roman Catholic. I know to search the available Catholic church records now.

In the example chart I am showing here, I also made a separate spot for the 1842 Census as it has different column headings than the others. On the right side of the page, in the empty space, I scribble my own notes. In this case, knowing some of the family members from later census years, I am able to see what years I have an extra child (notated with a ? mark).

I create one chart for each family I'm searching and find this helps me tremendously in looking back over my old research, carrying on with new research and finding clues I overlooked!

It also gives me more of a sense of the family other than dates and names. For instance in 1839 when the family first appears in Puslinch, they have a farm of 100 acres and managed to cultivate 5. By 1840 they had cultivated 6, then 10 and so on until 7 years later, by 1844, with a lot of hard work, they had cultivated 35 of those 100 acres.

January 17, 2010

Sharing Memories: Winter Family Times (Week 8)

We are on Week 8 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Journal. I hope everyone will join me this week to talk about memories of Winter Family Times.

Did your family take annual winter vacations? Did you go on mini-trips, perhaps skiiing or skating adventures? Did your family like to toboggan every weekend? Tell us about your fun Family Times.

My father decided to teach me to skate when I was quite young (8 or 9 years old). He took me out to a frozen lake, I suspect it was Lake Ontario but really can't say for sure. I loved it as we spent time together and had a lot of fun.

Finally he decided I was ready to try my skates without holding on to his hand, so he bought me a hockey stick to use for support. I was pretty thrilled and off we went. We spent a few more skating times together this way but one day my mother decided she was coming too. Her first time out on the ice she fell, taking quite a hard tumble backwards and striking her head on the ice. We never went again!

I never did learn to skate without that hockey stick but still, it was a fun Winter Family time.

January 15, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

"Who Do You Think You Are?" premieres Friday, March 5 (8-9 p.m. ET) and gives viewers an up-close and personal look inside the family history of some of today's most beloved and iconic celebrities.

Among the celebrities featured are Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Emmitt Smith.

Ancestry.com is NBC's official partner on the series. From executive producer Kudrow ("Friends," "The Comeback") - in conjunction with her production company Is or Isn't Entertainment and the U.K.'s Wall to Wall productions - "Who Do You Think You Are?" is an adaptation of the hit BBC television documentary series created and executive-produced by Alex Graham. [Press Release]

January 12, 2010

12 Months of Finding Ancestors: Medical Records (Part 1 of a 12 Part Series)

Welcome to Part 1 of a 12 month series about finding and using less obvious genealogy records to find ancestors.

An excellent set of records to find out more detail about an ancestor are medical records. Often you will find information about family members - parents and siblings or other relatives.

Medical records will be found in various repositories, depending on the town, province, state, county or country you are looking in. It also depends on the year of your interest (privacy laws differ in every country) and the type of medical record you want.

For example you might want asylum records or hospital records or medical records from a prison or institution.

The first step I suggest is to search the Family History Library Catalog. This will allow you to see what records, if any, have been microfilmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City Utah. I did a quick search by title for MEDICAL and found over 300 sets of records including the following examples:

* Danvers (Mass.) medical records, 1878-1917 Massachusetts State Hospital (Danvers, Massachusetts)
* City of Halifax and Town of Dartmouth medical examiners' reports, 1895-Jan. 1931 Halifax and Dartmouth (Nova Scotia). Medical Examiner
* Applications for medical licenses, 1788-1848 Lower Canada. Provincial Secretary (while not medical records of patients, this would be an excellent resource for anyone seeking an ancestor who was a doctor)
* Kentucky medical history, WPA research project records, 1801-1940 Redmon, Sherrill
* Medical account books of Thomas Henry Dunn in Middlesex County [Virginia] 1852- 1853 Dunn, Thomas Henry
* Medical bills, 1826 Dunsfold (Surrey)
* Medical or physicians registers, 1886-1982 Prince Edward County (Virginia). Clerk of County Court

Next, look at what medical records are held state-wide or province-wide or county-wide. Find out what has survived, where it is stored and what you are allowed to access

Then look at what medical records are held locally (by city, town, township, parish, etc) Find out what has survived, where it is stored and what you are allowed to access

When I wanted to find out what happened to my husband's great grandfather's sister Ada, all I had to go on were whispers that Ada had died in the insane asylum in London Ontario in the early 1900s.

My first step was to find out if that asylum was still in existence. I discovered it was, but under a different name.

Next step was to phone the current hospital that used to be the insane asylum and ask about their records from 1900-1920. They informed me those were deposited in the Ontario Archives based in Toronto

Next I visited the Ontario Archives website, looked for what they had in medical records. There they were:

RG 10-279 London Psychiatric Hospital patients' clinical casebooks 1867-1906
RG 10-280 London Psychiatric Hospital patients' clinical case files 1906-1974
RG 10-281 London Psychiatric Hospital patient registers 1870-1957
RG 10-282 Records of the Medical Superintendent of the London Psychiatric Hospital 1878-1970
RG 10-283 Records of the Bursar of the London Psychiatric Hospital 1865-1923

Next I emailed the Archives to inquire about obtaining Ada's medical files. They conducted a search and emailed back to inform me that Ada's records were there (100 plus pages!) and that they were available if I submitted a Freedom of Information request. This of course is specific to Ontario and that is why you must search your own area's privacy laws and regulations once you find the medical records you need.

A little tip - if submitting a request for information in Ontario under the FOI (Freedom of Information), you have two choices. You can use an FOI request form which requires payment.

To avoid payment, you can simply write a letter stating your name, what information you are requesting, and that you are requesting this under the Freedom of Information, and send that letter to the instutition or repository that holds the records you want.

After submitting my FOI request via letter to the Ontario Archives, they copied Ada's file, censored it (but not too much was blacked out) and mailed the copies to me. This file contained a wealth of detail about poor Ada and what happened to her, when she died and the official cause of death, but the files also contained information on Ada's parents, including copies of letters sent by her brother and mother to the hospital.

All in all it was a lengthy task to find those medical records but well worth the effort.

January 10, 2010

Sharing Memories: Winter Meals (Week 7)

We are on Week 7 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Journal. I hope everyone will join me this week to talk about memories of Winter meals.

My family didn't have much money when I was growing up. It was a luxury to have a pomegranate in our Christmas stockings, and my mother cooked budget meals from budget cuts of meat. Her parents were from England my mother followed her mother's English style cooking.

So I grew up thinking all families ate, as we did, pig's feet, tripe, kidney, heart, liver and ox-tail stew. I will never forget that horrid white tripe quivering in it's milk sauce on a white plate. I could not eat it. Just looking at it was enough to send my stomach into dry heaves.

And my mother's version of liver was like shoe leather. I love liver now but I hated it as a child because it was so tough and dry. Heart was rubbery and chewy. Pig's feet were just gross in my eyes, and ox-tail stew was a runny fatty mess! Yes, I was a skinny child, mainly because I could not choke down the food my mother served.

Every morning we had porridge before heading off to school That I loved! And Sundays was always rare roast beef with one of my favourites - Yorkshire pudding. So I do have some good memories of meals I enjoyed but I think my bad memories are worth as much. I'm going to be writing about those memories this week and I hope you will join me. What foods or meals did your family eat? I guarantee that writing about them will bring back both humourous and warm memories!

January 9, 2010

It's Almost Time for "HAPPY 14th. BIRTHDAY OLIVE TREE GENEALOGY!!"

HAPPY 14th. BIRTHDAY OLIVE TREE GENEALOGY!!

Did you know that my website Olive Tree Genealogy will be 14 years old this
February? That's right! Olive Tree Genealogy actually began sometime in the
winter of 1995 but it wasn't until February 1996 that it was given space on the
old Rootsweb site. Imagine – I've been around on the Internet for 14 years,
that's a LONG time for a website!

You can read a bit about me or see some of the early versions of Olive Tree Genealogy at
http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/olive-tree-genealogy-history.shtml

To celebrate this 14th birthday I'm giving away 3 genealogy prizes from names
drawn at random from subscribers to my Olive Tree Genealogy newsletter. The draw
will take place on February 15 and winners notified by email.

I'm working out the details of the prizes and will let everyone know in a week
or so what they will be. So please let your friends and family know about this
draw for prizes coming up in a month. Anyone can subscribe to the newsletter at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OliveTreeGenealogy/

January 8, 2010

Family History Day 2010 — Boston

Family History Day 2010 — Boston

Saturday, February 20, 2010 – 8 am to 4 pm

Westin Copley Place, Boston, Massachusetts

Ancestry.com and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) are excited to sponsor a Family History Day in Boston. The day will include

* 6 fantastic classes to help you grow your tree

* Ancestry.com experts on hand to answer your questions

* Chances to meet one-on-one with genealogists from NEHGS

* Opportunities to have photos and documents scanned on high-speed scanners
And much more!

The cost for attendance is only $30, which includes parking. Register today to attend Family History Day 2010 in Boston!

January 6, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday to AskOliveTree Blog

On Jan 3rd, AskOliveTree Blog was one year old. In that year, I answered 247 questions from genealogy researchers. Phew! I hope my answers were helpful.

I know there are 365 days in a year but I had surgery and was hospitalized for some of those, then recovering and unable to sit at the computer for almost a month. So all in all, I'm pretty happy with my record!

Answering one query each day is almost impossible, so this year (2010) my more realistic goal is to respond to 5 queries each week. Can I do it? 5x52=260. I almost made it last year!

I do have more surgery looming on the horizon. Two, actually. The next one is March 1, 2010 and I don't know what the recovery period is for that one. But I'm still going to try to answer at least 5 queries each week, so wish me luck! Send your challenges, puzzles and brick walls to askolivetree@gmail.com

Almshouse & Poorhouse Records online

Almshouse & Poorhouse Records Search New York Almshouse Records 1782-1813. Records contain name of ancestor, date admitted, age, where from or born, complaint [illness], discharged, died, remarks. Start with New York Almshouse 1782-1813 Surnames 'A'

These records contain such detail as

1811 Oct. 11. Conlin, Mary age 38 from/born Ireland, Drunken Vagrant discharged Apr 11, 1812

1811 Nov. 26 Aimes, Henry age 52 from/born New York died Aug 17, 1812

1812 Jan. Anderson, Mary age 36 from/born New Jersey discharged May 5, 1812 sent to asylum

1807 May 7 Arden, Thomas Jefferson, Bastard, 5 months at nurse with Mary Parker

January 5, 2010

New Wildcard Search on Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com announced a change to their search capabilities yesterday. I played with it for a few hours and was impressed! Before the change you had to use three characters and then either a * or a ?.

For example to search my maiden name McGinnis, you had to put MCG* to get variations of the ending of the name (innis, innes, ennis, ennes, uinness etc) But that didn't pick up MacG starts or McI starts or such variations as Magennis. So it was time-consuming and sometimes impossible, to think of all possible mis-indexed or mis-spelled variations.

Now you can put a wildcard first, such as *innis or ?cGinnis to catch all of those spellings and variations.

Try it. You'll like it! But you need to know the rules as posted by Ancestry.com:

Either the first or last character must be a non-wildcard character. For example, Han* and *son are okay, but not *anso*

Names must contain at least three non-wildcard characters. For example, Ha*n is okay, but not Ha*

You can use two wildcards in your name searches: the * (asterisk or star) and the ? (question mark).

* matches zero or more characters (example M*n*s picks up McGinnis, MacGinnis, McInnes, Magenis, and so on)

? matches one character only (example McGinn?s picks up McGinnes or McGinnis)


A really useful application of this new wildcard search capablity is the ability to replace the first letter of a surname! This allows for mistranscriptions or misindexing of such letters as "L" for "S" or "W" for "M" or "J" for "T". So if your surname of interest is Loomis, look for *oomis and that will pick up Soomis or other misrecorded names

Yesterday I was looking for a man named Lewis. But that name can be spelled Louis, and of course, mis-spelled in many ways. So I searched for l*is (remember, you must have 3 non wild-card letters) and bingo, there he was, as Louis.

I love this new search and am so glad Ancestry.com decided to set this up for researchers

January 4, 2010

Sharing Memories: Winter Weather (Week 6)

Last week we wrote about New Year's Eve Memories in our Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Journal. I hope everyone will join me this week to talk about memories of Winter Weather.

Winter weather can be brutal where I live on Georgian Bay, Ontario Canada. We get over 20 feet of snow each winter, and we are often at the mercy of highway closings, especially in January and February. Growing up as a child in Ajax Ontario was not as extreme, but we did get snowstorms and icestorms that were quite spectactular.

The one I remember the most was the bad ice storm that hit our town when I was quite young. The woods across the road from our house were so beautiful the next morning - trees covered in icy snow and everything had a gorgeous blanket of white.

So join me on Week 6 of writing our memories, with your accounts of winter weather - the good, the bad and the beautiful

January 3, 2010

More Online Naturalization Records

Today I spent several hours working on my NaturalizationRecords.com website. I fixed several broken links on the USA state pages of online Naturalization Records, and added many new links to new Naturalization Records I found online.

The new links I added are:

* Surname Index to Jefferson County, Alabama Naturalization Records, 1887-1911
* Faulkner County Arkansas Declarations of Intent
* White County Arkansas Declarations of Intention
* World War I soldiers who applied for naturalization at Camp Pike, Arkansas
* Index of Declaration of Intention for Citizenship - Douglas County Colorado, 1871 to 1938
* Larimer County Naturalization Index (1885-1958)
* 1917 Enemy Alien Registration Affidavits for Johnson County Kansas , index of affidavits available at the National Archives, includes name, date of birth, city and country of origin, and women's maiden names
Naturalization records at the Johnson County Archives in Olathe, Kansas
* Sedgwick County Kansas Declaration of Intentions 1870 to September 26, 1906
* Name Index to St. Paul, Minnesota, Naturalization Records (1859-1916)
* Missouri Naturalization Records, 1816 - 1955
* Cape Girardeau Petitions, Name index to naturalization petitions ca. 1908-1979, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Southeast Division, Cape Girardeau Missouri,
* Hannibal Petitions, Name index to naturalization petitions ca. 1907-1973, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Northern Division, Hannibal Missouri,
* Jefferson City Petitions, Name index to naturalization petitions ca. 1938-1982, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Central Division, Jefferson City Missouri,
* Joplin Petitions, Name index to naturalization petitions ca. 1931-ca. 1969, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Southwest Division, Joplin Missouri,
* Springfield Petitions, Name index to naturalization petitions ca. 1911-ca. 1983, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Southern Division, Springfield, Missouri,
* St. Joseph Petitions, Name index to naturalization petitions ca. 1908-1976, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Northern Division, St. Joseph Missouri,
* Lincoln Nebraska Petitions, Name index to naturalizations petitions ca. 1932-1980
* Norfolk Nebraska Petitions, Name index to petitions ca. 1929-1942
* Chadron Division, Name Index to Naturalization Records, Including Declarations and Petitions, U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska, in NARA's Central Plains Region
* Hamilton County Ohio Probate Court Archived Records Search Naturalization Index (1856-1906)
* Shelby County Tennessee Naturalization Records 1856-1906
* Declarations of Intent 1894-1920 Sheridan County, Wyoming

Choose the state you wish to search for ancestor naturalization records by going to the USA Naturalization Records page and using the clickable USA map.

January 2, 2010

What does a Petition for Naturalization Tell Us?

Petitions for naturalization before 1906 usually show only a name, former allegiance, and date of naturalization.

Petitions for Naturalization after 1906 have information that has been verified and matched to an immigration record. Any immigrant arriving after June 29, 1906, could not naturalize until their immigration record (a passenger list) was found.

Since 1906, after an immigrant filed a Declaration of Intention or a Petition for Naturalization in a naturalization court, the Bureau of Naturalization was called upon to provide a certification of the immigrant's arrival record.

The certification, called a Certificate of Arrival was sent to the courthouse, and this allowed the immigrant to naturalize.

Examples of various Petitions for Naturalization are shown online on NaturalizationRecords.com The 1795 Petition for Naturalization for Patrick Ryan in Pennsylvania is lengthy but tells us little about Patrick.

In contrast, the 1906 Petition for Naturalization for Christopher Alt in Baltimore Maryland gives occupation, date and place of birth, date of immigration, port of departure and port of arrival, names of children plus dates and locations of births

Even better, the 1912 Petition for Naturalization for Jacob Imfang of Pittsburg Pennsylvania gives occupation, date and place of birth, date of immigration, port of departure and port of arrival, name of spouse, names of children plus dates and locations of births

January 1, 2010

New Year's Genealogy Resolutions

2010 is here. Another New Year for Genealogy. Have you made any Genealogy Resolutions? I decided that this year I would set a few goals (resolutions). Hopefully I'll stick to them!

1. File my genealogy papers. This goal really is the only one I should make. Given the dozens of tubs, piles of overflowing paper copies defying garbage, and general abundance of papers, this goal will take me all 365 days! But being an optimist, I've set more goals for 2010

2. Finish my books on the Peer Family of North America. I am so close to completing Volume 1! All I need is 2, perhaps 3 weeks of uninterupted time. That's possible isn't it?

3. Prove my SHUART family connection. Find more supporting evidence or better yet - conclusive proof - that my Elizabeth Shuart is the daughter of Henry Shuart and Rachel De Grauw.

4. Enter new-found genealogy data the same day I receive it! No more reading it and setting it aside

5. Go through my filing cabinets and enter genealogy data that I received, pored over in my excitement, then promptly set aside to enter "later".

Even though this is only 5 goals/resolutions, I think it is about all I can realistically expect to complete. I'll let you know on Jan. 1, 2011 if I was successful.

Hopefully you have some well-intentioned genealogy goals too. Let's hear about them! Feel free to post a comment here on Olive Tree Genealogy blog