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June 17, 2019

Genealogy Tip: Do the Basics Before Asking for Help

Peter posted this query in a group I am in. He didn't get any responses so I thought I'd take a look.
I  looking for any information about my fourth great grand parents who immigrated around 1820 to the Cavin, Peterborough area of Ontario from Ireland and were in the Orange Lodge. their names are Joseph Burns and Ann Madill. Their son John Thomas Burns was born 1838 in Cavin died 1931 in Toronto. I don't know how many other children they had. As for John I don't know his wife's name or how many children they had.
It surprised me that Peter didn't have any census record information for his family. Since the son John Thomas Burns was born ca 1838 in Ontario and died 1931 in Toronto Ontario, he should be found on the census records which were taken every 10 years - 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911, and 1921 (the last publicly available census for Ontario). Many of these are free on Library and Archives Canada. Researchers can also find them on Ancestry, and some are available on FamilySearch.

So while I love a good challenging brick wall to break down, genealogists should always do basic research before asking for help. The family unit can usually be put together by getting those census records. In fact a 5 minute search of census records gave me John's wife's first name and one child.

Searching for Vital Records such as marriages and deaths after 1869 can also help determine family groups.  Another 2 minutes and I found two marriage records giving the full name of John's wife and the names of two other children.

I realize that Peter might be new to Canadian research, specifically Ontario, so I hope this blog post will lead him in the right direction to get the answers to those questions he posed. 

June 14, 2019

Autographs of Passengers on Board M.S. Batory to New York

List of Passengers M.S. Batory from Gdynia Tuesday, July 25th 1950 Copenhagen, Wednesday, July 26th Southampton, Friday, July 28th to New York

Several years ago Deborah Wade provided Olive Tree Genealogy with a transcribed list of the passengers on board MS Batory from Gdnynia.

Deborah wrote "Off and on, I collect old menus and ephemera connected with trains, cruises, airplanes/airports, etc. The passenger list I'm about to transcribe is one such item. Maybe one of the passengers will be significant to a fellow genealogist. Although this voyage was in 1950, I believe there is some history behind the Batory: I have read that it was the last Polish passenger ship to leave Poland before the Nazis gained control in the late 1930's."
Recently Kelli Phoenix sent photos of an autographed Passenger List booklet from the MS Batory.  Although the ships sailed on different days, this kind of ephemera can be very helpful.  Perhaps you will find an ancestor name or address in Kelli's photos.

June 12, 2019

A Death Too Young: Pt4 Elsie Cousins Hayword

This is the last post in the story A Death Too Young. Part 1 and any other parts of this story of the Cousins family can be found by clicking on the tag Alfred R Cousins at the bottom of this post.

Although this story was to be about Alfred R. Cousins, the young soldier killed at Gallipoli, I was curious if there might be descendants of his brother or sister who might find the finding of the photo and clipping of interest. It appears his brother Arthur may have had an illegitimate son Ronald Cousins Abrahams born 1921 in Luton, but that he had no other offspring.

But what about Alfred's older sister Elsie, the one who was to be given Alfred's cap badge after his death. Local newspapers indicate that on April 11, 1917 she married Edwin Claridge Hayward. This confirms her to be the Mrs. Elsie Hayward named in Arthur Cousin's will.

Luton News and Bedfordshire Chronicle - Thursday 12 April 1917

I then found Edwin and Elsie living in Luton in the 1939 UK Registers. He is recorded as born 25 September 1893, she in 1891. He is a licenced victualler and Elsie is an assistant victualler. 

Because I was searching for either Edwin or Elsie in the online records, to my surprise I found Edwin enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in Kenora Ontario in 21 December 1914. It surprised me that he didn't enlist in the UK military instead of the Canadian! But it is confirmed to be the same man as he is recorded as Edwin Claridge Hayward born 25 September 1893 in Luton. One difference is that when he enlisted he gave his occupation as "moving picture operator"

Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), 
RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4196 - 32  

Edwin's full service file (78 pages) has been digitized and is available on Library and Archives Canada. From itwe learn he saw action in France, and suffered from the deadly Spanish Influenza in 1916. There are numerous medical records for Edwin including details of hospitalization for broken glass from an engine striking his left eye and rupturing it. 

Edwin's left eye was removed and a glass eye inserted.

 After being sent to England in 1916 he received permission from the military to marry in 1917. 

Edwin's death is recorded in his service records as January 3, 1964. His will was probated on 30 April that year. Since the person named in his will was his brother Noel Stephen Hayward, we might theorize that Edwin and Elsie had no children.

 His wife Elsie died 8 April 1961 and her will was probated on 12 June that same year.

As much as it saddens me, it seems the only descendant of Alfred Cousin's parents was the illegitimate son Ronald Cousins Abrahams born 1921. Why does that sadden me? Because it does not appear he was ever recognized by his father Alfred's brother Arthur. But perhaps Ronald had descendants and with luck, one of them will find this series of blog posts with the story of the family.

As for who tucked the clipping and photo into that book, we can only guess. My intuition is that either the father, mother or sister saved such a precious memento. Over time the book likely moved from generation to generation before turning up in a local bookstore. 

If you found my research or the process I used to find information helpful, please consider a donation to support my continuing to bring free genealogy online for all. 

June 10, 2019

A Death Too Young: Pt3 Arthur Cousins

This is the continuing story of A Death Too Young. Part 1 and any other parts of this story of the Cousins family can be found by clicking on the tag Alfred R Cousins at the bottom of this post.

We learned in Part 2 that Alfred's brother Arthur almost certainly had an illegitimate son by Violet Rose Abrahams. This son was born in 1921 in Luton and named Ronald Cousins Abrahams.  He is followed in Part 2 of this story, as is the fate of his mother Violet.

I then moved on to Arthur, who originally agreed to pay for the support of his son but a year later stopped paying, and denied that he was the father. So what happened with Arthur? The last we saw of him ws 1923 when he was in court for non-payment.

We know he was in the 1891 and 1901 census of Toddington with his parents. In July 1907 at age 18 Arthur enlisted in the military in a Bedfordshire Regiment.  (Regimental Number 9107) The 1911 UK census on Ancestry indicates he was in Barracks in Aldershot, Surray with other soldiers from the 1st Battalion Infantry.

In 1912 he was promoted to Corporal and sent to France in 1914, where he remained until September 29,1915 when he was wounded. In 1916 he was discharged from the army as "no longer physically fit for war service" having suffered a gunshot wound in his right shoulder.

Page 1 of 11 pages of Arthur's service files

Moving on to the 1939 UK Register we find Arthur John Cousins with birth date of 28 February 1889 living on Chapel Street in Luton. He is single and states his occupation as a master builder.

His death date is found in England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 as 24 October 1959 and his probated will was registered in London England on 4 December that year. He names his married sister Elsie in his will. Since no record of marriage was found, we might  theorize that he never married. Also from this probate it might also be theorized that he never acknowledged Ronald Cousins Abrahams as his son. 

There's one more blog post on this story. Check back in a few days to read the final post.

June 7, 2019

A Death Too Young: Pt 2 Arthur & Violet

This is the continuing story of A Death Too Young. Part 1 and any other parts of this story of the Cousins family can be found by clicking on the tag Alfred R Cousins at the bottom of this post.

Although this story was to be about Alfred R. Cousins, the young soldier killed at Gallipoli, I was curious if there might be descendants of his brother or sister who might find the finding of the photo and clipping of interest. Further research revealed that his older brother Arthur was the subject of a complaint filed in 1922 stating that he was not paying support money owed for his child by one Violet R. Abrahams.

Violet claimed that Arthur, age 34, was spending the agreed on money of 7s 6d weekly on movies and another woman. 

 Luton Reporter 12 September 1922

 The Luton Reporter also had this to report about Arthur and Violet. Arthur denied the child was his; Violet insisted it was. Arthur stated he was out of work so could not continue to pay the money as he had since the previous year. (As an observer reading this I have to wonder why Arthur would agree to pay in the first place if he didn't know the child was his.....)

The case was far from over, for in September 1923 Arthur was in court and we learn that he began paying the money for this child in August 1921.

Luton Reporter 24 August 1923

But who was the child? A search of FreeBMD revealed that a Ronald C. Abrahams born in Luton to a mother whose surname was Abrahams, was registered in September 1921. What happened to Ronald? Did he live to marry and have children? It would certainly be interesting if anyone descended from Ronald took a DNA Test to see if they matched to the Cousins family.

Further searches revealed a Ronald Cousins Abrahams born 24 June 1921 dying November 1989 in Luton. A search of the 1939 U.K. Register also found Ronald C. Abrahams age 21 living with his maternal grandparents. Recall that in one of her complaints, Violet stated that her parents had to look after her child. Violet had previously married in 1926 so possibly her son Ronald was sent to live with his grandparents at that time.

In 1952 Ronald C. Abrahams married Edith whose surname is given as both Bates and Parker. There may have been children of this marriage but privacy restrictions make it difficult to find more information from this year forward. Did Ronald know his birth father? Was Arthur Cousins the father? It certainly seems so, but let's do more research and find out what happened to Arthur.

But first, what about Violet? Violet Rose Abrahams was born in Luton in the fall of 1896. The 1901 census finds 5 year old Violet with her parents Arthur and Pollie (Mary) Abrahams and siblings Nellie age 10 , Lillie age 6, and Harry age 6 months. Also living with the family was Violet's maternal grandmother Hannah Mitchell.

1911 finds the family still in Luton with two more children, Arthur age 5 and Hilda 1 1/2 years old. Here Violet Rose is recorded by name Rose Isabella.

Further research found Violet marrying James Young in Luton in late 1926. The next record is the 1939 U.K. Register where we see the family consists of James, Violet, and their son Gordon Alexander who was born in June 1832 and is 8 years old.

It appears that Violet died in Luton in 1962. More on the family in Part 3 so be sure to check in a few days for the continuation.

June 5, 2019

The Mystery of Hilda's Foot

My friend and fellow genealogist, Katherine R. Willson posted this intriguing burial card on her Facebook page.

The burial of Hilda's foot apparently took place in Union Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1919. 

Katherine wanted to know if any of us in the genealogy community had ever seen anything like this. We had not. But of course, being avid genealogists, several of us went on a hunt for Hilda, hoping to find out what the story was behind this odd burial.

As you can probably imagine, we had a lot of guesses as to how Hilda lost her foot and perhaps more importantly, why she had it buried. Was her body destroyed in an accident and only the foot remained? Was the foot amputated for health reasons and her religious beliefs required that she bury the foot until she died and could be buried with it?

Then I found the following story in the Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) 04 Aug 1920, Wed Page 10 which explained what happened to Hilda and her foot.

Hilda died April 15, 1950 and her obituary reveals she was 66 years old. 

Milwaukee Journal Monday, Apr 17, 1950 Milwaukee, WI Page: 37

It remains a mystery as to why Hilda had her foot buried in one cemetery and her body in another.

June 3, 2019

A Death Too Young - the Story of Alfred R. Cousins

Over on Twitter Olive Tree Genealogy was lucky enough to spot a tweet from Stephen who posted a photo of a handsome young soldier.

Stephen's tweet read:

A photo from 1915 along with a newspaper clipping about the guy featured fell out of an old book I bought today.

Stephen later added in a private message to me, that the book, King Edward's Realm, had a leather embossed cover and gilt lettering on the spine. It makes sense that it would be kept and passed on from generation to generation. Books are not something most of us would throw out, especially one that special.

Someone tucked this photo into the book where it probably lay, forgotten over the passage of time.
The photo of this young soldier intrigued and saddened me. I wanted to know more about him and his family. And I wanted the world to remember him! Alfred should not be forgotten.

 Someone cared enough about him to keep his photo and death notice tucked safely away in a book. 

I asked Stephen permission to post the photo and newspaper clipping on Olive Tree Genealogy blog, and on my Lost Faces website.  He kindly agreed.

 The tattered newspaper clipping that was in the book mentioned that young Alfred was killed at Gallipoli, that disastrous and bloody campaign of 1914-1915 that saw almost 57,000 Allied troops killed and 124,000 wounded.

A search of military casualities from WW1 found that Alfred was killed 22 August 1915. He is listed as Alfred Richard Cousins from Luton England. At the time of his death he was a Private in the 5th Batallion of the Bedfordshire Regiment. Regimental Number 4461

The UK Army Register of Soldier's Effects records that Alfred's father received money in pounds, shillings and pence of 5-13-10 on December 21, 1915 and again of 3 pounds on September 20, 1919.

The Compliments of the Season from (Pte) Alfred R. Cousin
(to) H. Smith Esq. 

On 20 September 1915 the Luton Reporter carried the news of Alfred's death.

Another story of Alfred's death was published in  Luton Times and Advertiser on Friday 10 September 1915 in which a letter is mentioned. It was written by the soldier who was talking to him at the moment the shell struck and killed him and in the letter he encloses Alfred's cap badge to be given to the sister Elsie as a remembrance of her brother.

Sapper Russell Gregory, who was with the 1st Signal Company, East Anglian Royal Engineers, wrote to his parents on August 25, 1915:  "I was talking with him [Pte Cousins] two mornings ago when a shell burst and killed him instantly. I got his cap badge off his hat, and I thought if I sent it home to you, you would ask Hilda to give it to his sister, with whom she used to work, so they can at least have a remembrance of the noble death he died."

A brief mention of Alfred's death was found in the Luton Reporter on Monday 01 May 1916 where it was mentioned that "one of their Sunday School teachers, Alfred Cousins, had given his life for his country" And so we learn a few more things about young Alfred and his short life.

Alfred's last letter dated August 20, 1915 was written two days before he was killed and is a poignant reminder of how fleeting life can be. In it he wrote: "The regiment is progressing well, but I am afraid to mention anything about them is to ask for the thick black line of the censor across it. The only thing I can say is that I am more than proud of them."

Alfred's story begins with his birth in Bedfordshire in October 1894. His father was  Richard Alfred Cousins, born circa 1860 in St. Ives. His mother was Elizabeth Shelton who Richard married in 1888.

A very nice write-up of their marriage appeared in the Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette on Tuesday 19 June 1888

 It appears that little Alfred's mother Elizabeth may have died when Alfred was born because she is noted in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent on Saturday 20 October 1894 as having died ate age 32 on October 9, 1894. In 1900 father Richard married Susan Sharp.

In the 1911 census of Luton we find the family as Richard 51, Susan 53, Elsie 19, Aflred R., 16 and a niece Rose Mabel Dodsen age 22. The census notes that Susan and Richard had no children and had been married 10 years. Father Richard is a caretaker at a local church, Elsie was a milliner and Alfred was a clerk. The family lived in a 5-room home on Chapel Street in Luton Bedfordshire.

1911 Census from

In March 1945 Alfred's father died. Could he have been the person who tucked his son's photo and death notice in the book? Perhaps it was Alfred's older sister Elsie? Alfred also had an older brother Arthur J. Cousins born circa 1889. British Army Pensions Records from WW1 reveal that Arthur also enlisted in the military but survived the war. He gives his mother's name as Lilly so perhaps Richard married several times or Lilly was Elizabeth's nickname.

Although this story was to be about Alfred, I was curious if there might be descendants of his brother or sister who might find the finding of the photo and clipping of interest. Further research revealed that Arthur was the subject of a complaint filed in 1922 stating that he was not paying support money owed for his child by one Violet R. Abrahams.

I'll continue this story of Alfred and his family in Part 2 of A Death Too Young

May 31, 2019

Past Voices - Is There an Ancestor's Letter Waiting for You?

One of my many interests is in the letters written by our ancestors. Those words from the past resonate with me, even if the person who wrote them is not related to me. Some of my readers may not know that I have a website that features letters - letters from the Civil War, letters from the later 19th century, even some from early 19th century. Allow me to introduce my website Past Voices.

Past Voices gives our ancestors a voice - and these voices from the past come alive in their letters. Letter writing has long been an important mode of interpersonal and official communication. As long ago as 3500 BC, Sumerians sent "letters" written on cuneiform tablets in clay "envelopes". Letter writing flourished in the seventeenth century in Europe and it was an extremely important form of communication. As public postal services were established letter-writing increased even more dramatically.

WW1 Letter

Many letters on Past Voices are from soldiers far from home. Nothing tells the true reality of war more than the simple writings of the common soldier. These poignant letters from lonely men to their mothers, wives or sweethearts will touch your heart. Some letters will leave you bewildered by their unemotional telling of horrors almost beyond our comprehension. 
1798 Letter to "Honored Mother"
Past Voices also contains letters and memoirs from ordinary individuals going about their everyday lives. These letters provide us with a sense of history, of being there and experiencing life with the people who write about the times they live in.

On Past Voices you can find your roots and hear your ancestors' words across the generations. Add branches to your family tree as you find your genealogy.

You can also learn how to find and preserve old documents, family treasures and heirlooms.

I hope you find an ancestor, but if you do not, please take time to listen to these past voices

May 29, 2019

Finding Palatine Ancestors

The Palatinate or German Pfalz was subject to invasion by the armies of Britain, France, and Germany. As well as the devastating effects of war, the Palatines were subjected to the winter of 1708 and 1709, the harshest in 100 years.

The scene was set for a mass migration. At the invitation of Queen Anne in the spring of 1709, about 7 000 harassed Palatines sailed down the Rhine to Rotterdam. From there, about 3000 were dispatched to America, either directly or via England, under the auspices of William Penn. The remaining 4 000 were sent via England to Ireland to strengthen the protestant interest.

Palatine Immigrants to New York

In 1710, three large groups of Palatines sailed from London. The first went to Ireland, the second to Carolina and the third to New York with the new Governor, Robert Hunter. There were 3 000 Palatines on 10 ships that sailed for New York and approximately 470 died on the voyage or shortly after their arrival.

Pennsylvania Palatine Ancestors

Over the next 100 years, impoverished Palatines fled from Germany to America - many arriving in Pennsylvania. Olive Tree Genealogy has a Pennsylvania German Pioneers Project which includes the list of ships carrying Palatines from Germany to Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808 as well as names of passengers, Oaths of Allegiance and Ships Passenger Lists.

I have many Palatine ancestors who came to New York in 1709 and 1710. If you are looking for your Palatine immigrants, here are some links that may be helpful

Palatine Ships Lists to New York
Palatine Child Apprentices 1710-1714

Palatine Ships to Pennsylvania 1727-1808

Palatine Denizations (Naturalizations) 1708

These are two books you should have in your Library for Palatine research

* The Palatine Families of New York: A Study of the German Immigrants Who Arrived in Colonial New York in 1710 by Henry Z. Jones, Jr.

* More Palatine Families : Some Immigrants to the Middle Colonies 1717-1776 and Their European Origins Plus New Discoveries on German Families Who arriv by Henry Z. Jones, Jr. 

Here are my Palatine ancestral families:

BELLINGER a Palatine German pioneer family to New York

DECKMANN aka DEGMAN a Palatine German pioneer family to New York

WARNER aka WERNER a Palatine German pioneer family to New York

HOMMEL a Palatine German pioneer family to New York

SCHNEIDER aka SNIDER a Palatine German pioneer family to New York

KEHL a Palatine German pioneer family to New York

MERCKEL aka MERKLEY aka MARICAL a Palatine German pioneer family to New York

MULLER a Palatine German pioneer family to New York

WUEST aka WUST a Palatine German pioneer family to New York

May 27, 2019

Bigamy & Jail: Rachel Eves & Her 4 Husbands

A wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion. But for Rachel Eves Fardy her many marriages led to trouble. On 19 August 1899 a lurid headline hit The Globe newspaper:

HAMILTON: Mrs. Rachel Faraday Pleads Guilty of Bigamy

The Globe (1844-1936); Toronto, Ont. 19 Aug 1899: 20.

I was curious. I wanted to know more about Rachel. Why was her husband in the Home for Incurables? It was established in Hamilton Ontario in 1890 as St. Peter’s  Home for Incurables and cared for patients suffering from dementia or other chronic ailments.

An interesting tidbit is that her second husband was also a bigamist and was using the aliases of George Mavery and George Smith.

To give Rachel a voice and to tell her story I needed to find out more. A search of historic newspapers found several more articles that provided clues to further research.

After her short prison sentence was done, Rachel married two more times - to Frank Van Norman and then to Elias Slote. Her life was full of tragedy and challenges, from the deaths of two sons to the suicide of one husband and the chronic illness of her first.

Bigamy & Jail is Rachel's story - the story of a young woman enduring endless hardships yet finding the strength to go on, all the while doing the best she can to protect her children.

May 26, 2019

Grimsby Ontario Historical Newspapers Digitized

MacMillan, Alice (née Ramsay) (Died on 2 May 1935)
appeared in Grimsby Independent, 15 May 1935, p. 7
Great News for those genealogists seeking their Niagara area ancestors! Grimsby Ontario Historical Newspapers are now digitized and searchable online

"Three co-op students, a handful of volunteers, 10,000 pages spanning 64 years, and about 500 hours of labour later and the Grimsby Public Library has a reason to celebrate.There’s a lot to be found in the pages of the Grimsby Independent from 1885 to 1949." Continue reading the article at

I found an obituary from 1935 for the mother-in-law of my 3rd cousins twice removed, Walter Vollick.

May 24, 2019

Genealogy Tip: Search Account Books, Journals & Diaries

Account Books, Journals and Diaries 1772 ~ 1925

Shoemaker's Ledger Boook has compiled a unique collection of original Ledger Books, Journals and Diaries from stores, schools, and individuals. These old books are a wealth of great genealogy data.
Over the years Brian of

The ledgers can act as a census substitute, letting you know if your ancestors were there in the years between census. They also contain the kind of personal Genealogy data that often can not be found any other way by giving you a window into the daily lives of your ancestors. It is often quite amazing what one can find in some of the books. Store owners might record the death of a customer who owes money to the store. A farmer may note the birth of a neighbor's child. You just never know what you will find.

Brian has begun a project to scan all of these wonderful Ledger Books. Each book will be published as a downloadable PDF file on AncestorsAtRest website so that genealogists and historians can access them freely.

Go to the Links to available Ledger Books listed below
  • Staunton, Macoupin County Illinois 1930 ~ 1957 Court Records.
  • Orono, Lagrange, Howland, Penobscot County, Maine 1923 to 1925 Store Ledger.
  • Maine Store Ledger 1922-1927 PDF files available for download Index, P. 1, P. 23, P. 43, P. 63, P. 85, P. 105, P. 123, P. 215, P. 241, P. 273
  • Lubec, Washington County, Maine 1894 to 1995 Store Ledger. Over 4000 entries.
  • Lincoln County, Maine 1832 Samuel Hinds Ledger.
  • Clear Spring, Washington County Maryland 1861 to 1874 Store Ledger. Hundreds of names from North West Maryland and West Virgina
  • Salem and area Essex County, Massachusetts 1772 to 1780 Student Work Book And Store Ledger. MANY LOCAL NAMES
  • Townsend Middlesex County Massachusetts 1868 General Store Ledger. OVER 3850 NAMES
  • Massachusetts Boston Environs Ledger 1892-1894. PDF Files available for download Start p. 2, Start p. 20, Start p. 39, Start p. 63, Start p. 89, Start p. 109, Start p. 129, Start p. 151, Start p. 177, Start p. 200
  • Wheeling, Livingston County, Missouri 1879 to 1889 Ledger Book Of Edward Moore. OVER 300 LOCAL NAMES PDF file available for download
  • Fillmore Village, Andrews County, Missouri. Town Council Minutes 1900-1913 PDF file available for download
  • Grafton County, New Hampshire 1841 ~ 1877 Account Book Of William Thissel.
  • Rushford and area, Allegany County, New York 1868 ~ 1872 Stacy And Kyes Ledger Book. FULL INDEX ONLINE.
  • Oswego, Oswego County, New York 1858 ~ 1859 Samuel Stevenson Saw Mill Ledger Book. PDF file available for download
  • Oswego, Oswego County, New York 1875 Samuel Stevenson Saw Mill Ledger Book Money Owed . PDF file available for download
  • Oswego, Oswego County, New York Samuel Stevenson Saw Mill Ledger Book List of Electors . PDF file available for download
  • West Winfield, Herkimer County, New York 1865 ~ 1866 West Winfield Academy Cash Book. OVER 400 NAMES
  • Richfield, Otsego County, New York Auction sale 1880 ~ 1890. Found in the West Winfield Academy Cash Book. OVER 200 NAMES
  • Lubec, Washington County, Maine 1894 to 1995 Store Ledger. Over 4000 entries, many from New Brunswick, Canada
  • Rose Bay and River Port, Lunenburg County Shoemakers Ledger Book 1897 ~ 1918
  • Findlay, Hancock County, Ohio 1889 Store Ledger.
  • Marietta, Washington County, Ohio 1837~1838 Store Ledger.
  • Frederick, Miami County, Ohio 1869~1877 Blacksmith Ledger, Over 4500 names. Online For FREE.
  • 1858 Bucks County Ledger PDF files available for download
  • Bernville, Berks County, Pennsylvania 1867 to 1877 Haag, Kline & Co Ledger. Over 1000 names.
  • Bernville, Berks County, Pennsylvania 1863 to 1870 Haag, Kline & Co Ledger. Over 300 names. PDF file available for download
  • Mill Creek Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania 1885 to 1890 Mountain Spring Mills Ledger. Over 800 entries with names. PDF file available for download
  • Elk Creek Township, Erie County 1876 to 1878 General Store Ledger. Over 4000 entries with names.
  • Lower Heidelberg Township, Berks County 1874 to 1903 Farm Ledger of John W Gaul. Many Local Names.
  • New Hanover Township, Montgomery County 1858 to 1904 Farm Ledger. Also includes some names from Berks County and Bucks County.
  • Muncy, Lycoming County, PA 1831 to 1865 Docket Ledger of General William A Petrikin. OVER 250 NAMES.
  • Lebanon County, PA 1887 Heilman Dale Creamery Milk Book.
  • Hopewell Township, York County, PA 1890 Tax Collectors Book. (OVER 500 NAMES)
  • Schuykill, Pennsylvania Tax Collection Ledger 1913-1922 PDF files available for download Part 1, Part 2, Miscellaneous Papers
  • Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas 1908 to 1915 Jackson McFarland Store Ledger . PDF file available for download
  • S. R. Turley Ledger Book, Culpeper Virginia. 1896 PDF files available for download Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
  • Wytheville, Wythe County, Virginia Court Records Ledger. ALL PAGES ONLINE
  • History Of Tazewell County Virginia Book Sales Ledger. ALL PAGES ONLINE
  • Clear Spring, Washington County Maryland 1861 to 1874 Store Ledger. Hundreds of names from North West Maryland and West Virgina

May 22, 2019

The Bigamist in My Family Tree

Olive May Peer, born November 1898 in Port Credit Ontario, share a common Peer ancestor. Her 3rd great-grandfather Jacob Peer, who I wrote about in the book "The Peer Family of North America" is my 4th. great-grandfather. My grandmother, also named Olive Peer, was Olive May's cousin.

In February 1927 Olive May married Robert Jackson. She could not have known that her husband was using an alias, that his real name was Robert Rodgers, and that her husband would be charged with two counts of bigamy and sentenced to time in jail.

The story of Robert's arrest and sentence appeared in The Globe (1844-1936); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont] 24 Sep 1927: 16.

This was a revelation for me in my research. My Peer ancestors were always mixed up in something wild - from the tightrope walker Stephen Peer (my great-grandfather's cousin) to the first base jumper Harmon Peer (great-grandfather's brother)

According to the newspaper article Robert Rodgers married Kathie Elliott in 1914 before enlisting in the military. They separated but did not divorce in 1917. That was wife #1.

Later Robert married Cecilia Wallace. That marriage did not work out and they separated but did not divorce.

His third wife was poor Olive May.

September 1927 finds another brief article in the Toronto Daily Star (1900-1971); Toronto, Ontario [Toronto, Ontario]24 Sep 1927: 20. The judge in the case seemed to view Robert's crimes very favourably, which I find stunning.

The Toronto Daily Star (1900-1971); Toronto, Ontario [Toronto, Ontario]11 Nov 1927: 24. has more news of Robert, telling its readers that there is only one prisoner in the Brampton Jail and that is Robert. He was serving 3 months for Bigamy and apparently suffering from rheumatism, which prevented him from being transferred to Guelph.

I was curious about what happened to those three wives (and Robert) so I began my research.

I discovered more secrets including an alias that Robert used when he married Olive. I learned much more about his three wives (Jessie Cathie Elliot, Cecilia Wallace, and Olive May Peer) and the children they bore with Robert.

The stories of the abandoned wives are now told in my newly published e-book "The Bigamist in My Family Tree: Robert Rodgers 1890-1953 & His 3 Wives"  available on Amazon

May 20, 2019

Funeral Cards - an Overlooked Genealogy Resource

Funeral cards are an overlooked free genealogical resource. They often contain both the Birth date and Death date and can be used as a substitute for vital records. Technically they are not a substitute for vital records as the person giving the info might not have known for sure when the deceased was born or died but they can be used with caution, just as genealogists should use death certificates.

Unfortunately these valuable resources are scattered and there has not been a single repository for this resource until now. is working on  creating the largest funeral card database online.

To view the list of funeral card names, please choose a Funeral Death Card by location or by Surname Letter. Please Note: A lot of the funeral cards and Memorial cards on Ancestors At Rest do not have a known location so it is important that you look for the ancestor you want to find by surname.

 Choose from the following:


May 17, 2019

Finding a Loyalist Ancestor

A Loyalist is any person who is loyal to their allegiance (especially in times of revolt). During the American Revolution in what was to become the United States of America, a Loyalist (also called UEL - United Empire Loyalist) was anyone who remained loyal to the King of England. They were called Tories in their own country but Loyalists elsewhere. Most fled to Canada and helped settle that country, particularly Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Guide to Finding a Loyalist Ancestor in Upper Canada (Ontario) is available in paperback or as an e-book on and on
Other Loyalist genealogy records you will want to consult are Loyalist Muster Rolls for Butler's Rangers; Sir John Johnston's [Johnstone's] Brigade; King's Royal Regiment of New York (KRRNY); Men From the Turloch Militia who Joined KRRNY or Butler's Rangers; 1778 List of Men From Pennsylvania who joined the British Army & British Regiments who served in North America during the French and Indian Wars.

To find Loyalist ancestors, start with Loyalist History. This will help you understand what a Loyalist was, who they were, what Military Loyalist Regiments for British and Loyalist troops during the American Revolution, and where they settled. Butler's Rangers, mustered by Col. John Butler in New York and consisting of Mohawk Indians and men from New York is one of the Regiments featured. 

You can also read about other Loyalist families:

Isaac Van Valkenburg aka Vollick Loyalist from New York with Butler's Rangers in Niagara 

Jonas Larroway Loyalist from New York with Butler's Rangers in Niagara 

Shainholdts- A Loyalist in Butler's Rangers 

Elisha Wilcox (Willcox, Willcocks) Sr Loyalist from New England with Butler's Rangers in Niagara, and his children Asa Wilcox, Hezekiah Wilcox, Elisha Wilcox Jr, Sarah Wilcox Emmons, James Wilcox, also his son's father in law Gasper Brown