Discover your inside story. Save 20% on Ancestry DNA April 21-26

October 17, 2018

How to Analyse Clues in Genealogy Records (Pt 1)

Sherri sent a query to Ask Olive Tree about her grandfather's death:

I have been looking for information for about 5 years about my grandfather who is named Burrell Charles Ball first married to Doreen Roxie Morcombe (from Omemee) and then afterward I think Estelle Ball was his wife.  Burrell’s brother I know was from Emily Twp, Albert and he died a few years back and Burrell died around 1993 but I do not know when, where, how etc. 
Also Russell Charles Ball was their father and I believe he lived in Lakefield but there is little information about any of them.  I know there was a fire in Russell’s Lakefield home where he had Burrell, Albert and Barbara E. Ball (I think).  He was married to Julia Secreta Wood that I believe died when she was young.   Where can I go to find out more information?

Olive Tree Genealogy Answer:

Hello Sherri. Since you did not provide an estimated year of birth for Burell, I had to hunt on the 'net to find some mention of him.  Luckily I happened on one of your message board posts where you stated he was born circa 1920 and, best of all, that he was in WW2.

His military service is a great clue and means there are a number of steps you can now take:

Step One:
Did you know that you can send for his military file from Library and Archives Canada? This will give you lots of detail about your grandfather, and may include his death date and location.

October 15, 2018

Reading Old Handwriting

This document is the registered probate copy
of the nuncupative will of Elizabeth Nicolai,
dated 21 July 1723.
Thanks to Twitter follower @FPLDGenealogy for passing this link on to me!

" has an amazing paleography exercise area you need to see!"

It is wonderful! There are lessons in reading 15th, 16th and 17th century handwriting as well as 10 interactive lessons. I'm still on Lesson One and enjoying the challenge.

If you have early English documents you will want to give this a try.

There is also an online tutorial for reading Latin, so if, like me, you've long forgotten most of your High School Latin, this might prove helpful. When I was researching my husband's Belgian ancestors, the records were found written in Dutch, Flemish, Latin, and French. I managed to decipher the standard words but it wasn't easy! 

October 14, 2018

Ancestry Family History Month DNA Specials!

Great News! if you've always wanted to have your DNA tested, or your family's DNA, here's your chance!

It's Ancestry Family History Month and there's a sale on AncestryDNA from October 15 at 10 p.m. MT to October 21 at 10 p.m. MT (Here's a time zone converter in case, like me, you are time zone challenged)

$69.00 a kit! That's a great sale.

I'm going to grab a few for family members for Christmas gifts! I've already tested at several companies, including Ancestry but not many of my relatives have.

You can read about my and my husband's DNA journey at:

DNA Genealogy - Friend or Foe?

Understanding Your DNA Results: Comparison Charts

DNA Results Leave us Gob-Smacked!

DNA Gave My Husband a Completely Different Great Grandfather

DNA and Native American Heritage

The Massey DNA Connection

October 12, 2018

Derr Photo Album Civil War Era

This is one of my favourite photographs from my rescued Civil War era photo album.

I call this the Derr Album and the photos that were in it can be viewed on my Lost Faces website. 

Most of the photos were identified, but not this one. It appears to be a older couple and either it is a very early photograph or they are wearing outdated fashion. The man's necktie is not usual for the 1860s. The woman's cap could is an older style. At first I thought it might be a Quaker cap but I'm rather puzzled by it.

The inscription inside the cover of this album reads:  -- and Richard -- Cleveland
The inscription on the front page Mr. & Mrs. R. Derr, Ney Defiance Co. Ohio

​Surnames: Derr, Prehn, Bartholomew, Stahl, Bushnell, Austen, Ward, Beavis, Brownlee, Garman, Gray, Green, Carter, Furst, Newcomb, Mott, Beck, Field, Wilson

Locations: Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania

October 10, 2018

Don't Overlook the Online Ontario Land Records

When you think you've hit a dead end or a brick wall, believe me, there's always more out there!

Case in point: On a genealogy group on Facebook, someone posted about the Pettit family, saying they could not find "much on their father Richard Pettit.... or their mother Nancy Lamon" 

So I had a look. There is actually a lot that can be found on this specific family through a simple Google search. One site has sourced details on Richard, his wife and family, and his parents and siblings. The few online trees on Ancestry have errors but they might be used for clues.

But a little known site for those seeking Ontario ancestors is the Ontario Land Registry site. There you can look for Abstract Indexes to Deeds which are the indexed record of every transaction on a plot of land from Crown ownership to the present day. You can often find a record of a will there, or a wife's maiden name.

Henry Petit, also his son Richard (and other family members) are found here
Abstract/Parcel Register Book

We can see that Henry Pettit received a patent for land from the Crown on 26 February 1858. This means he was the first owner of this land and he should also be found in the CLRI (Ontario Land Record Index) which records first time owners. He received 100 acres in the North half of Lot 3, Concession 6.

Continuing to read each line you can see when Henry sold  part of the land, and to whom. You also find that his son Richard is shown as selling some of the land in 1916. There are many Pettit names on these 2 pages for this parcel of land and you can see which Pettit gained possession over the years. This also can indicate relationships. As well you should look for spousal surnames. In this particular case we would want to look for Lamon and Smeath (Henry Pettit married Nancy Smeath)

Richard Pettit is also found here
Abstract/Parcel Register Book

Finding a name of interest in these abstracts means you can obtain the full record by referring to the instrument number beside the name. Remember, as helpful as these are, they are INDEXES.

Sometimes the full record is a lengthy, and often somewhat boring description of the boundaries of the specific parcel of land. Other times it is chock full of amazing details that we genealogists drool over. I once found the name of my husband's long-lost great aunt, her husband's name and more in the full instrument. We had lost all trace of her once she was no longer found with her parents on census records. The instrument details paved the way and led us to many more interesting facts about her life.

October 8, 2018

Online Ontario Newspapers

Some genealogists might not know about Bowling Green State University (BGSU) 's Historical Canadian Newspapers Online: Ontario

They have a very lengthy list of historical Canadian newspapers (with links) for all Provinces but I'm personally interested in Ontario so thought I would share that link with readers.

You can find all kinds of interesting items in local newspapers - beyond the expected birth, marriages, and deaths. There are often articles about accidents, or humorous events, or bankruptcies... you name it, there could be an article mentioning your ancestor.

For example here's an 1879 article (one of many) about my 2nd great uncle Harmon Philip Peer, who made a living out of jumping off bridges and the masts of ships, attached to cables - sort of the first bungie jumper. 

October 6, 2018

Celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving

It's our Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. How are you celebrating? Ours is a quiet one this year with just my hubby and I.

Long gone are the days when all my children and their families returned home for a feast like this on the left.

I no longer cook a big turkey like this one from 2015. So I feel a bit sad this year. Times change. Lives get busy. Family live far away.

I get it. But I still like to get together with family on this weekend.

I think my husband is looking forward to the peace and quiet though. With 10 grandchildren it can get rather hectic!

We've certainly had our share of fun on Thanksgiving. One year my husband decided to raise our own turkey for the feast. But he let it grow until it was over 50 pounds and I didn't have a big enough pot or oven to cook it in!

On the right are the two birds. One for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. They had a lovely reprieve that year. 

Wishing everyone who celebrates our Canadian Thanksgiving a wonderful holiday! What are your traditions?

October 1, 2018

Church of Ireland Parish Records Going Online

Good news for those searching their Irish ancestors! Those of us with Catholic ancestors already had our genealogy gift in 2016 - the digitization of the Catholic Church records. Read about those records at 10 Million Irish Catholic Parish Records Coming Online!

Now a grant has been given to digitize the Church of Ireland Parish registers.

The register records date back as far as 1619 and include the Church of Ireland parish registers for baptism, marriage, and burial. There are 1,110 sets of parish records in total and approximately 840 of them contain varying quantities of public records which have not yet been digitized.

I'll watch for news of a projected finish date so be sure to check back to Olive Tree Genealogy blog frequently. Eventually the digitised records will be indexed and made available on See Church of Ireland Press Release