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December 7, 2019

1945 Rescued Photo & Ration Card Ralph A. Hamilton Jr.

Annette P. has kindly sent Olive Tree Genealogy more wonderful ephemera that she rescues.

This is a photo of Ralph A. Hamilton Jr. circa 1945.

Annette also sent his copy of a Male Officers' Uniform, Clothing and Accessory Ration Card  dated 14 August 1945

His rank in the U.S. Army is given as 1st Lt.


I did a search for Ralph in the online military records but there is more than one so I cannot be certain which is this Ralph. If anyone recognizes his photo please leave a comment on this blog post! 

December 5, 2019

A Challenging Upper Canada (Ontario) Puzzle

Bob S. asked about a challenging ancestor named John Smith. Since Bob's query was very long, I took bits and pieces to respond to.

I have hit a brick wall with with my 2nd great-grandfather John Smith. Based on information that I have been able to find he was born between 1817 and 1826. Most information said that he was born in Canada, but his sons death registration said that he was English. He was a widower when he married my 2nd great-grandmother, Susannah Powles(s), on Jan. 13, 1856 at Christ Church, Tyendinaga, Hastings
Bob - First let me say what terrific research you have done already on this elusive ancestor. I am sorry I can't include everything you sent me here in this blog post.

Searching Land Records
I found a property owned by John M Smith but it said it was Lot 37 in Concession III.  Think that it is the same Lot/person because of proximity but am not familiar with these records.. I also tried looking for property that John Smith indicated on 1851Census.  I think that this is my John Smith but am not positive.  He listed in column "Residence if out of Limits" as "4th Con Richm"  which I interpreted as IV Concession in Richmond, Lennox County which is adjacent to Tyendinaga.  Searching the map for Richmond, Lennox at  I found a J Smith listed as owning property in Concession III Lots 13 and 14 on the 1880 map.  I am not sure if we would have retained that property (if it was his).
The first thing I want to suggest re this land confusion is that you consult land records. I have written extensively about searching for land records in Ontario and you may wish to familiarize yourself with what is available for Ontario Land Records. I suggest you start with the CLRI and also the Abstract Indexes to Deeds for all these properties you have found.

The Computerized Land Record Index (aka Ontario Land Record Index) summarizes land grants of Crown Land, sales of land from Canada Company sales or leases and from Peter Robinson settlers' grants. If your ancestor settled anywhere in Ontario and he was the first time owner of Crown Land, he should be on these lists.

The Abstract Indexes to Deeds are the indexed record of every transaction on a plot of land from Crown ownership to the present day. Using the Abstract Indexes to Deeds you can check for every instance of your name of interest on that parcel of land.

There was a property dispute between Susannah's children and grandmother and Indian Department has file that mentions the property description (part of Lot 38 Con 2).  I think that I have found this on the maps linked to the OliveTree website but the location appears to be off somewhat (lot 37 Con III).  Are these the same lots just different descriptions? 
No those are not the same lot but they were close, perhaps even bordering on each other. Each farm could be quite large so conceivably the lots could touch even though they are on different concessions.  

Formulate a Working Theory

Next - I took a look at that 1851/52 census for John who was visiting other Smiths. I suggest you formulate a theory (which you will work to prove or disprove) that they are his relatives, and quite possibly close relatives such as a father (or mother) and siblings. Research each of the Smith individuals found there and try to find something that links them to John. The following articles may be of help to you.

From Theory to Fact: 30 Years in the Making

Turn a Genealogy Guess Into a Working Theory

Assumptions vs Working Theories - The Good and the Bad

Also, you no doubt noticed the "F" in the column for Place of Birth for those Smith individuals in that 1851/52 census. You didn't ask what it meant so you may already know this, but for those who do not know, here is the official explanation in instructions to census takers in 1851:

"The BIRTH PLACE of each person: you will here note that those born of Canadian Parents are to be marked with an F." [Source:] 

Coffin Plates & Other Death Records

  [I] have what appears to be a plate from a casket or box that indicated he died on Dec. 16th, 1888, aged 71 yrs 5 months.

This is a coffin plate. These were engraved with the deceased's name and death date and sometimes with more information, then placed on top of the coffin during the funeral. After the funeral, the plate was given to the family as a memento. You can read more about coffin plates on the AncestorsAtRest website where over 450 are shown with photos.  It is very possible that John's death was not registered. Even though it was mandatory to register a death, many people did not comply as it cost money and sometimes the trip to the Registry office was too difficult to make in the winter.

I suggest you try church records for the burial information. Check the census records to find out what religion John was, then look to see what church he might have used. Then check Ontario Archives to find out if that church has any surviving records.


I feel that your best bet is to trace those other Smiths John is visiting in 1851. It will be a lot of work but I believe well worth it. Check and compare every record you can find for them, including John. Are their similarities in the names of their children? In their places of birth? These are just a few of the questions you might ask yourself.

The land records should also help - often sons received land from fathers.

Best of luck!

December 3, 2019

Archiving a Large Genealogy Collection

2 of 15 boxes. Overflow in front seat
As some of you know, Olive Tree Genealogy recently received a very large collection of genealogy documents and books. My husband and I are slowly going through the 15 boxes of material, and sorting them into groups.

We are not studying the material or taking an inventory at this point. We simply want to organize the documents so we can choose our first set of records for inventory while storing the rest.

Then we plan to methodically go through each "group" or set of documents, taking a careful inventory and deciding how/if we can make the records accessible to genealogists and historians.

I neglected to take a photo of all our groups but here is how we organized the materials as we went through each box:

  • Published genealogy books
  • Published genealogy booklets
  • Family genealogies 
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Genealogy research notes
  • Garbage
Start of the "Groups" That's me in the chair

Garbage? Did Someone Say GARBAGE????

Yes there was garbage. This collection has obviously been underway for many dozens of years. There were binders of printouts from Ancestral File (Remember that?) and other assorted printouts that had no current genealogical value. We spotted printouts dating back to the early 1980s. Most pages were in plastic sleeves in binders, so we spent some time (several hours) removing pages from binders, then removing the paper from the sleeves. We shredded the paper, kept the sleeves for the hundreds of loose documents we spotted, and will be tossing the binders if we find we do not need them for other loose documents in this collection.

We'll move on to more of the groups in the next blog post. If you want to follow along on our progress on this journey, just click on one of the tags or keywords at the bottom of this post.

December 1, 2019

Receiving a Large Collection of Genealogy Documents!

Dunnville Genealogy Boxes Arrive
A few months back the Dunnville District Heritage Association offered to send Olive Tree Genealogy some newspaper clippings from a donation they had received. I was very excited to be asked and of course I agreed. A very large package soon arrived by mail consisting of hundreds of loose obituaries from newspapers.

As I was planning on how best to organize and inventory the clippings, another surprise came my way. I was told there were about a dozen large filing boxes full of miscellaneous genealogy items from the same donated materials.

We learned that these materials were from Betty Coldwell, the former chair of the now defunct Haldimand County branch of the OGS (Ontario Genealogical Society). This was too good an opportunity to save important historical records to pass up even though the thought of dealing with so many boxes was somewhat overwhelming.

My husband kindly offered to drive to Dunnville, some 3 hours distance from our home, to pick up the boxes. To my astonishment, there were over 15 large boxes full of genealogy binders, genealogy books, loose newspaper clippings, and more.  Here they are arriving at our home.

What To Do with So Many Boxes?

My husband and I are planners. We like to be organized. So we took a breath and decided we needed to sort the collection. First we needed a place to put the boxes where they would not be in the way but would be accessible. Then we could slowly and methodically "triage" the contents into organized groups of items.

Step One - Move & Triage!

So we moved to step one - moving the incoming boxes into our living room. Some had gotten wet in the journey in the rain from Dunnville to our home so removing the contents from wet boxes was our first priority.

My dogs helping me start the process

We took a break at this point but we plan to triage the contents ASAP. We saw at a glance that there are various items - hardcover genealogy books, genealogy booklets, binders of newspaper clippings, binders of research notes, family genealogies, and more. This next step will be a fun sort to organize into groups that we can either move to our basement until we have time to work on the contents, or keep in my office for starting an inventory.

The Journey Begins

Please follow along on our journey to inventory and preserve these documents. We aren't archivists but we plan to do our best. We also hope to figure out a way to make the documents accessible to genealogists and historians. If you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments on this blog post.

November 29, 2019

Congratulations to the Winners of Ancestry Giveaway!

Congratulations to the two winners of the DNA kit, and a year subscription to Ancestry.  Both entries were chosen at random from all entrants on Social Media (Twitter and Facebook)

The winner of the Olive Tree Genealogy Giveaway of a year subscription to is Jan Murphy

The winner of the Ancestry DNA Kit is Angie 

Olive Tree Genealogy wishes them both happy ancestor hunting! 

November 26, 2019 Subscription Giveway on Olive Tree Genealogy

Olive Tree Genealogy is excited to announce a Giveaway from!

If you live in Canada you can enter for a chance to win a free Ancestry Family History Subscription! This giveaway is only available through Olive Tree Genealogy.

What does an Ancestry Family History Subscription do?

Ancestry Family History Subscription
A subscription to Ancestry allows your friends or family members to build their family tree and, with access to billions of searchable historical records worldwide, discover the stories of their ancestors’ lives: where they lived, how and when they arrived in Canada, if they served in the military, who they loved and who they lost. Ancestry is continually adding records to the site, fueling continuous discoveries.

Contest Rules:
  1. You must be a resident of Canada to enter
  2. No purchase necessary.
  3. Winner will be chosen at random from entries received. See details below for entry requirements
  4. One winner will be chosen by a random draw on November 28, 2019.
  5. Giveaway starts immediately and ends at midnight EDT on November 27, 2019
  6. You are responsible for anything in regards to the legality of entering a contest in the area in which you live.
  7. The winner will be notified via Facebook or Twitter and must contact me at WITHIN 48 HOURS so I can arrange the free subscription for you
How to enter for a chance to win:

1. Share this blog post on Facebook OR Twitter. Be sure to tag Olive Tree Genealogy (see instructions for tagging below). If you don't tag me I won't know you shared the post and your name will not be entered in the giveaway.

2. If you share this blog post on both Facebook AND Twitter and tag me on both your name will be entered twice. 

How to Tag Olive Tree Genealogy

On Twitter, follow me at and then tag me with @LorineMS when you share the post on your Twitter Feed

On Facebook, join my Olive Tree Genealogy page at

Share this post on your Facebook personal page and tag me with @OliveTreeGenealogy when you share the post on your personal Facebook page or in an appropriate group.

November 24, 2019

Index to Anatomy Registers in Scotland

Search the Index to Scottish Anatomy Registers

The supply of bodies for dissection by anatomists and medical students was regulated by the Anatomy Act of 1832. From 1842, the Inspector maintained registers of bodies supplied to the medical schools around Scotland.

The registers start in 1842, and continue up to 1949. They generally provide the following information:
  • name
  • age and sex
  • last residence
  • date and place of death
  • cause of death, and by whom certified
  • time of removal
  • place to which removed (i.e. the institution) and teacher
  • date and time which the body was received
  • from whom the body was received
  • date and place of burial
If you are lucky enough to find an ancestor in the index you will see their date of death and age as well as location of death. You can then order a copy of the record.

November 21, 2019

Introducing the Free New York City GEOGRAPHIC Birth Index

Introducing the free New York City GEOGRAPHIC Birth Index! This record set is brought to you by Reclaim the Records

This new database is an index to all births in New York City from circa 1880-1912 (or ca 1917 in some cases outside of Manhattan). But unlike a typical birth index arranged by surname or by date, this one is arranged by the child's place of birth, the actual exact street address! 
There are approximately 2.8 million names in here, maybe more. Remember that this is an index. Armed with this data on the index card with your ancestor's name, you can then order a copy of the actual birth certificate from the city.

November 18, 2019

AncestryDNA Giveaway on Olive Tree Genealogy Blog!

Olive Tree Genealogy is excited to announce a Giveaway from!

If you live in Canada you can enter for a chance to win a free AncestryDNA kit! This kit giveaway is only available through Olive Tree Genealogy.

What does an AncestryDNA kit do?

AncestryDNA lets you pique family members or friend’s curiosity about their heritage and family history by taking them on a journey with AncestryDNA that can:
  • Provide an ethnicity estimate from more than 500 regions around the world going back up to thousands of years;
  • Reveal the migration journeys of their ancestors, showing the places and paths that are part of their family story;
  • Offer the potential to connect with family members that they never knew about or lost touch with through the ‘DNA Matches’ feature;
  • Help fill in gaps in their family history based on their results 
Contest Rules:
  1. You must be a resident of Canada to enter
  2. No purchase necessary.
  3. Winner will be chosen at random from entries received. See details below for entry requirements
  4. One winner will be chosen by a random draw on November 22, 2019.
  5. Giveaway starts immediately and ends at midnight EDT on November 21, 2019
  6. You are responsible for anything in regards to the legality of entering a contest in the area in which you live.
  7. The winner will be notified via Facebook or Twitter and must contact me at to arrange having the AncestryDNA kit sent to you.
How to enter for a chance to win:

1. Share this blog post on Facebook OR Twitter. Be sure to tag Olive Tree Genealogy (see instructions for tagging below). If you don't tag me correctly I won't know you shared the post and your name will not be entered in the giveaway.

2. If you share this blog post on both Facebook AND Twitter and tag me on both your name will be entered twice. 

How to Tag Olive Tree Genealogy

On Twitter, follow me at and then tag me with @LorineMS when you share the post on your Twitter Feed

On Facebook, join my Olive Tree Genealogy page at

Share this post on your Facebook personal page and tag me with @OliveTreeGenealogy when you share the post on your personal Facebook page or in an appropriate group.

November 13, 2019

Free Probate Records for Texas

Recently The Ancestor Hunt tweeted that "An often neglected source of terrific genealogical information are Wills and Probate Records. They often provide more information than obituaries. For Texas, there are a total of 114 Free Probate Records and Wills Collections to research."

This was intriguing so I went to the blog to have a look. He has done a lot of work compiling the list and links for Texas! If you have Texas ancestors, follow the links to the free Probate records online on The Ancestor Hunt Blog

November 11, 2019

Honouring My Military Ancestors

I have many military ancestors inlcluding my father, uncle, son, paternal grandmother's 5 brothers, maternal grandmother's 3 brothers, and more.

Here are some of those who gave their lives during war:

War of 1812

My 3rd great-grandfather Levi Peer's brother Stephen Peer fell at the Battle of Chippewa during the War of 1812, leaving behind a pregnant wife and young son.

World War 1
Philip Edgar Peer
All of my grandmother's brothers fought in WW1. Her youngest brother, Philip Edgar Peer (called Edgar by family), died in France in 1918 just days short of his 21st birthday.
Cecil Sandercock
My husband's great uncles Bill and Cecil Sandercock also fought in WW1 along with their father Samuel. Both Bill and Cecil were killed, one year apart. Bill was killed Aug. 23, 1917, his brother Cecil was at his side. One year later almost to the day, on Aug. 28, 1918, Cecil was killed.  
Bill Sandercock
World War 2

WW2 saw the death of my Uncle, James Nevin (aka Nev) Bonar. He died October 23, 1944 in Belgium at the age of 27.

Please take a few moments today to remember those brave men and women who fought and died, and those who are still fighting in Wars around the world.

November 8, 2019

Update to Free Irish Births, Marriages, Deaths

Sample Page of Deaths
An additional 2 years of records of births, marriages and deaths have been added to the website.  The marriage Index data along with additional images has also been updated for the years 1864-1869 inclusive.

The years covered by the release of the historic records of Births, Marriages and Deaths after this update are

Births: 1864 to 1918
Marriages: 1864 to 1943
Deaths: 1878 to 1968

Records include transcripts of the baptism and marriage records of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kerry to c. 1900, All Roman Catholic baptism, marriage and burial registers for Dublin City, All surviving Church of Ireland baptism, marriage and burial registers for Dublin City, and more

Visitors can search the database freely. Images are also available. If you have Irish ancestors you will want to check this site out.

November 6, 2019

Help Needed 1577 Inventory of my 12th Great Grandpa

I have many English ancestors. My mother was a first generation Canadian with both her parents born in Kent so you can imagine my huge British ancestry. 
  I only recently discovered that I could order wills and inventories for my British ancestors from the Kent History & Library Centre in England. After a few hours searching I found and ordered 17 (yes 17!!) for my direct ancestors. 

This is page 2 of the 1577 Inventory of my 12th great-grandfather Sylvester Spencer.

This is one of the earliest that I received and I am slowly struggling through it.  

Take a look at the enlarged portion below with the bits that I've managed to figure out (I haven't done the cash amounts for each item):

Item: His wearing apparrel

Item: three featherbeds that belong to (Thomas smyth?)

Item: ????

Item: One tablecloth and two rowels [rolls] and fower [four] pillowcotes [ancient word for pillowcases] and fower [four] table napkins

Feel free to drop your suggestions here! This is tough. It's a 2 1/2 page inventory and his will which I have not yet looked at is one page.

November 4, 2019

Lincolnshire exhibition sheds new light on Pilgrim Fathers

Source: BBC News
Newly discovered documents have revealed the Pilgrim Fathers settled in Boston in Lincolnshire for several months before they escaped England heading for the Netherlands in 1607.

I don't have any Lincolnshire or New England ancestors but if you do, you may find this of interest.

Previously it was thought they had only gone to Boston to take the ship, but according to the website BBC News,  

"This group of people - which includes really important members of the pilgrims like William Brewster, Richard Clifton and Thomas Helwys - they were worshiping here for up to three months."

The newly found documents are now on display at Boston Guildhall Museum

November 1, 2019

Index to Berkshire Wills 1480-1857

Berkshire Record Office announced that their index to Berkshire wills for the period 1480 to 1857 is now available online on their website.

I wish I had Berkshire ancestry but I don't.

Here is an example of what the index looks like.

You can also search this index of over 38,000 entries to see what Archdeaconry of Berkshire wills, administrations and inventories we have for the period 1480 to 1857.

The index is listed by surname, but also provides details of place name and occupation as well the document reference of the record and what microfilm/fiche (MF) copies are available at BRO.

To use the Name Search simply enter the name as surname, first name. For example: Blackmore, Dennis. You can also search by surname only or first name only.

For place names or occupations please use the Keyword Search.

If you would like to look at or order copies of any of the records listed, please Contact Berkshire Record Office.

October 31, 2019

Now's Your Chance! AncestryDNA Sale Starts Today

Holiday Sale:

This sale will start at 9:00pm PST on Thursday, October 31st and will end at 9:00pm PST on Wednesday, November 27th - the day before Thanksgiving.

Ancestry® Family Gift Subscriptions will be 20% off

What's the Average Age of Death for Your Ancestors?

It's Hallowe'en. What could be more fun than to take a good look at your ancestors' deaths?

I decided to list hubs' ancestors' death ages  and causes of death going back 6 generations - for those whose age at death I knew.

Here are 41 ancestors' ages at death and cause of death where known. The average age at death was 69.36 years with the youngest being 35 and the oldest 96

Not sure I like seeing all those heart issues.... of 41 ancestors 12 died from heart issues and strokes.

Next I did 5 generations of my ancestors. I only had 28 ancestors I could use and the average age of death was 72.07. The youngest was 32, the oldest 93.

The most common cause of death was old age (5 of 28) and I have a variety of death issues showing for my ancestors.

I find it interesting to tabulate and analyze data like this. What is the average age of your ancestors' deaths in the last 5 to 6 generations.

Happy Hallowe'en!

October 28, 2019

The Power of Needlework in Story Telling

Source: Victoria and Albert Museum
Recently on Twitter, @womensart1 posted an image of a sampler with the following information

"1830 sampler sewn by a young female servant, UK, Elizabeth Parker recounting abuse she suffered as a typically vulnerable young working-class women employed in a household far from family, and the power of needlework as a form of women’s writing" 

I was intrigued. This was such a powerful and painstaking way for Elizabeth to tell her story in a somewhat permanent fashion and being curious (as all genealogists are!) decided to track down the rest of her story. What I found was fascinating and troubling.

From the Victoria and Albert Museum we learn "Elizabeth recounts the story of her early life, and draws us in from the start, with the words 'As I cannot write I put this down simply and freely as I might speak to a person to whose intimacy and tenderness I can fully intrust myself.' We read that she was born in 1813 and lived with her parents, a labourer and a charity school teacher, and her ten brothers and sisters until the age of 13"

Elizabeth's painstaking efforts to immortalize her tragic life in servitude ends with this final sentence "what will become of my soul" – followed by blank space. For many years her adult life was not known - did she as she once hinted she would, commit suicide? Or did she live on to old age? Now her story is known and can be read at Victoria and Albert Museum

October 25, 2019

Using JSTOR, an Overlooked Genealogy Resource

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. According to a Twitter friend Finding Folk (@maki_ellen) journals often post obituaries of members.

With a personal JSTOR account, you can read 6 articles per month for free. I joined and then searched using the term "obituary" to see what I could find. 

Here's an example from Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, Vol. 96, No. 4756 (NOVEMBER 21st, 1947), p. 22 (1 page) - the obituary of Sir Alexander MacCormick born in Scotland 1856.

I'll definitely be spending more time on JSTOR in the future!

October 23, 2019

Poor Law Records on Oxfordshire County Council Heritage Search

Oxfordshire County Council Heritage Search is my new find! If you have Oxfordshire ancestors you will want to check this out. For example I searched "removal order" (without using a surname) and got 500 hits in Oxfordshire History Centre - Poor Law Name Index

This is an index of individuals and families named in the Oxfordshire Poor Law records, 1601-1861.

This index contains details of named individuals derived from records created in the administration of the Poor Law in Oxfordshire. The Poor Law was the system for providing a form of social security in operation in England from the 16th century until 1834. Individual parishes were responsible for administering the Poor Law and maintaining paupers and their families. The main types of records created were settlement examinations and certificates, removal orders, bastardy bonds, and apprenticeship indentures. Surviving examples of these records for Oxfordshire parishes are held at the Oxfordshire History Centre.

Also see the Poor Law Union Records online on Olive Tree Genealogy

23 ship names were given with the names of passengers on board. This is a first for most of these ships as no full passenger list is known to exist. Included in this Poor Law Union Immigrants to Canada Project are the names of emigrants for a 15 year period - no ship names were recorded but the researcher may be able to use the dates and years provided to compare with a list of known ship passages to Canada.

October 21, 2019

Oklahoma birth and death records are now searchable online at Ok2Explore
Ok2Explore is a free searchable index of births and deaths that occurred in the state of Oklahoma. Included is limited information on births occurring more than 20 years ago and deaths occurring more than 5 years ago. Indexes are updated each month.

The State of Oklahoma began filing records in 1908, however it was not required by law until 1917. 

Births The earliest birth record on file is 1865.

Deaths The earliest death record on file is 1908.

Visitors to the site may search the index using any combination of the subject’s name, date of event (birth or death), county of event, and sex of the subject.If you find a record of interest you can order a copy online.

October 18, 2019

Found an Ancestor in St. Marys Churchyard Brixham Devon

I just found an ancestor on a site Cowtown Brixham Graveyard that I didn't know existed until today.My 5th great-grandfather William Norman was buried in St. Mary's Church graveyard in Brixham Devon in 1836.

Brixham is divided into two halves, Lower Brixham, known as ‘Fish Town’ and Higher Brixham, known as ‘Cow Town’. Lower Brixham is a working fishing port which many people know as ‘the town of Brixham’. Higher Brixham was the original rural Saxon settlement. A thriving Victorian farming community developed centred around its medieval parish church of St. Mary’s.

A full database search engine website grant was funded by the Heritage Lottery. The database consists of all memorial inscriptions found in St Mary's church and grave yard in 2019. 13,000 names have been entered on the project register.
This is my ancestor's information and next I hope to spot a photo of his tombstone on the section of the site with images.
  • Surname NORMAN
  • First Name WILLIAM
  • Date of Death 21/01/1836
  • Age 80
  • Relationship HUSBAND OF ANN NORMAN
  • Plot PLOT 7 O04
If you are looking for births, marriages or deaths, see Featured Database Brixham Devon Church Records

There is more information photographs, family histories, walks etc on the Cowtown St Mary's 1850-1900 Project on Facebook. 

October 16, 2019

Female Denisovan Face Reconstructed via DNA

It was recently discovered that ancient humans called Denisovans once lived alongside Neanderthals. In 2012 a Denisovan genome was sequenced and it was found that their genes still live in the DNA of some Asians, Australians and Melanesians.

These early humans interbred with Neanderthals and other early humans. Thus their DNA lives on. Through DNA, researchers were able to predict  Denisovan appearance and now a young female Denisovan face has been reconstructed.

See her face, and read more at This is what mysterious ancient humans might have looked like

October 14, 2019

Finding Ancestors in Hearth Taxes

Hearth tax assessments 1667 Essex UK

Hearth Tax Digital is an online searchable database of Hearth Tax records in the United Kingdom. It is an ongoing project and is updated as new counties are completed. You will find both transcripts and databases available.

The website explains Hearth Taxes as:

Hearth taxes were levied in medieval and early modern Europe, notably in France and the Low Countries, but were not levied in the British Isles until the late seventeenth century. Following the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, the hearth tax was levied in England and Wales from 1662 until 1689 (it continued to be collected in Ireland until the early nineteenth century). It was charged according to the number of fireplaces in dwellings, and it was collected twice each year at one shilling per hearth. It was also levied in Scotland in 1691 with collection lasting until 1695. The hearth tax provides a remarkably rich series of records on population, wealth distribution and poverty in a period of key political, social and economic change.  

The site is maintained by the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities (University of Graz, Austria) and Centre for Hearth Tax Research (University of Roehampton, UK) and supported by the British Academy.

October 11, 2019

A New Look for Canadian Military Heritage

Canadian Military Project is another site I've revamped with a new navigation system and content. The new site is two older sites merged into one clean easy-to-navigate site at
The Canadian Military Heritage Project is dedicated to presenting Canadian military history ~ the wars, uprisings and conflicts in which Canadians participated. Our pages provide historical background as well as genealogy records for each conflict.
These pages will be of interest to educators, students, genealogists, military historians and those who are interested in the stories of the participants themselves.

October 8, 2019

A New Look for

I've finally taken the plunge and have been working very hard on redoing and moving my many websites. Two are now online and I'm pretty excited to share them with you. I've removed dead links and stale content, and replaced those with fresh content and links. I've also designed new navigation (menu) systems to make it easier for visitors to find what they want.

First up is Past Voices. It is still at  Past Voices gives our ancestors a voice – and these voices from the past come alive in their letters. 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.

Check it out for yourself - perhaps you'll find an ancestor's letter or postcard waiting for you!

October 4, 2019

Ancestor Most Wanted Charles Fuller

1841 Census Lenham
Here is my Number 1 of 10 Genealogy Mysteries: My great-great grandfather Charles Fuller. When and where he was born is anyone's guess. Here is what the U.K. census takers recorded during his lifetime spent in Lenham Kent England:

1841 census Lenham - Charles age 14 (b. 1825) - no birth location given in 1841 but I believe this is my ancestor
1851 census Lenham - Charles age 23/25 b Faversham (b 1826)
1861 census Lenham - Charles age 32 b. Milton (b 1829)
1871 census Lenham -  Charles age 44 b Faversham (b 1827)
1881 census Lenham -  Charles age 52 b. Lenham (b1829)
1891 census Lenham-  Charles age 60 b Frinsted (b 1831)  

THE KNOWN  Here is what I know about Charles: Marriage of Baptisms in St. Mary's Parish Church, Lenham. Entry #221:

Oct 17, 1858: Charles Fuller, of age, bachelor, labourer in Lenham. Father: John Fuller, labourer. Charles married Georgiana Golding, minor, spinster in Lenham.  Father of Georgiana given as George Norris, labourer. Married in the Parish church after banns. Witnesses: George & Sarah Earl. Neither groom, bride nor witnesses were literate, all signing with their marks.Marriage Cert. Parish of Lenham, Hollingbourne District, Kent.

1861-1891 census is definitely my ancestor.
1851 is almost certainly him as he is living quite near Georgiana Golding who later became his wife

I believe Charles died in the last quarter of 1892. His age was given as 68 giving him a year of birth of 1824.   


1826 Baptism of Charles Fuller

I suggest my ancestor is the  Charles FULLER, baptised 31 Oct 1826, Faversham, Kent to John & Winifred FULLER  In 1830 Winnifred died. In 1839 John Fuller remarried to Sophia. In the 1841 census where I found the boy I believe is my Charles, he is living with a "mother" Sophia and a younger sister Harriet.

One of the clues that led me to formulating the theory that my Charles was the Charles baptised to John and Winnifred is the name "Mene" and others which repeat in the generations. John and Winnifred named their children
  • Mene 
  • Mary Ann 
  • Sarah 
  • Joseph 
  • John
  • Philadelphia
  • Henry
  • Edward
  • Harriet
  • James
  • Frederick
  • Charles
My ancestor Charles and his wife Georgiana named their children
  • Frederick
  • Elizabeth
  • Harriet
  • Martha Ann
  • Charles *my ancestor - see photo below
  • Alfred
  • Mene
  • Edward John 
  • Walter
  • Albert Henry 
For some of the children I do not have middle names but I have highlighted the names that repeat in Charles' children.

Charles Fuller son of Charles & Georgiana with wife Mary Ann Norman Caspall

What I am hoping to find is proof that the Charles baptised in 1826 to John and Winnifred is my ancestor.

Do my readers have suggestions, ideas or thoughts? 

October 2, 2019

1891 Canada Census Abbreviations

Recently a member of an online group posed a very interesting question. She asked "Does anyone know what the initials, "s.a." in the religion column stand for on the 1891 Canadian Census?"

S.A. is not found on the official list of abbreviations to be used by the 1891 census takers. So what could it mean?

The general consensus of the group was that S.A. stood for "Salvation Army" Does anyone else have any ideas?

September 30, 2019

Found: A Book that Survived a Bomb Blast in 1940

ABC Adelaide posted on their Facebook page and I thought I'd help share this through my Olive Tree Genealogy blog and Social Media.

Can you help us find the owner or family of this book that survived a bomb blast - probably during the Battle of Britain in the UK? 
Megan Dubois is a book collector who found this rare find in a second-hand store in Cleve so if you know any Goddard’s who used to live around Cleve, or perhaps a McLellen or McHellen family who came out to Australia after World War 2, we’d love to hear from you! 

The inscription reads, "I bought this book in 1935 for 1/- it was in our house when a land mine dropped on it in 1940 Oct 18. I rescued it from the rubble and have used it ever since, I also had a cookery book from the same edition which my daughter Dian McLellen (Possibly McHellen) has. Joyce Goddard (Mrs) 1985."

September 27, 2019

What Strange Inscriptions Have You Seen on a Photo?

Photo Detective posed an interesting question on her Facebook page: "What's the strangest thing you've ever seen written on a family photo?"

I have a few vague or humourous inscriptions on photos but my favourite is this photo on the left with the inscription:

"Merchant Maulsby, cousin Matilda’s father the meanest man that ever lived"
I also like this inscription on an 1860s cartes de visite (CDV) of Lydia Edwards. She does look ill or at the very least, depressed.
"Lydia Edwards, Grandfather’s wife and a great invalid" 
What are some of the unusual writings you've ever found on an old photo? 

September 25, 2019

Searchable Illinois Physcian Database Online

James Craig Small 1917
The Illinois State Archives is happy to announce that the Physician Database is now available on CyberDriveIllinois

The database consists of more than 62,700 physicians and surgeons who registered for license with the Illinois State Board of Health and the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. The records span August 1877 to February 17, 1937.

The database contains more than 62,700 names of physicians or surgeons. Entries include the physician’s full name; certificate number issued; the known counties where the physician resided; year of registration or certificate issuance; and the volume and page numbers of the register where the physician’s entry appeared. Beginning in September 1898, the line number on the register page containing the entry is also listed. The date of birth for each physician or surgeon is included starting in 1924. Register entries occasionally listed multiple registration dates, counties, or ages for some physicians or surgeons.

Each database entry contains a link to the image of the register pages containing the physician’s entry.Here is the entry for the image above

Name James Craig Small
Certificate Number 12787
Line Number 7
Original Volume & Page #'s V. 11, n.p.
Year of License 1917
Residence/Location (Illinois Counties Listed) Cook

September 23, 2019

A New Leaf TV Show Starts Oct 5th!

Host Daisy Fuentes is taking ordinary people on an emotional journey to help them discover more about their family’s origins. Who will add A New Leaf to their family tree?

From A New Leaf Facebook page:

A New Leaf will follow everyday people on the cusp of key life inflection points, using family history, genealogy, and sometimes DNA analysis to help guide them on their journey of self discovery. Along the way, viewers will learn about different cultures as our featured guest uncovers new information about their family's heritage. Each week, A New Leaf will teach viewers the importance of appreciating and understanding their family history in order to make important decisions to enact positive changes in their lives.

Catch the Series Premiere on NBC on Saturday, October 5th!

September 20, 2019

Listowel Ontario Photo Album Found

Shelley C. posted on the Ontario Genealogy Facebook page:

I've "rescued" an old photograph album that belonged to the STRACHAN Family from Ontario, Canada. The album includes photographs of:

Jim STRACHAN (2 photos)
Margaret PENOYER
Hugh & Maggie STRACHAN
Tom & George STRACHAN
+ six unidentified photographs

The photographs were taken in Listowel, Ontario, Canada; Watkins, NY; Canandaigua, NY; and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in the 1870's through 1900's.

If you know the family you can either contact Shelley through Facebook or leave a comment on this post and I will see that she receives it.

September 18, 2019

125 Year Old Letter Found in Floorboards

"A letter written in 1894 and found between the linoleum and floor boards of a house being demolished to make way for Hobart's State Library will finally be returned to the author's family." ABC News

The letter was written by Sidney Hulbert on May 13, 1894 while he was in Sydney Australia and was found by Rex Nightingale during construction. He held on to the letter for 60 years and then turned to Social Media to find descendants. After being posted to ABC Facebook pages in both Hobart and Sydney, the letter was identified by its author's grand-niece Robyn Lobb.

Continue reading 125 year old letter found under floor to be returned to writer's family after social media search

September 16, 2019

Archives of Michigan New Website!

The Archives of Michigan new site,, is now live! They have many upcoming items of interest to genealogists. For example this is what they say about Michigan death records which are currently searchable from 1921 to 1947:

Over the next months this collection will grow to include death certificates from 1897 to 1952. Death certificates from 1897 to 1943 will display full images while 1944 to 1952 will only provide index information. Once these certificates are older than seventy-five years, the images will be added.

You can also volunteer to help index Michigan Naturalization records

Naturalization is the process by which a person born outside the United States becomes an American citizen. Citizenship records can provide a wealth of information to family historians. The amount of information varies by year, but can include the date and location of a person’s birth, occupation, immigration year, marital status and spouse information, the names and addresses of the people who witnessed the naturalization ceremony and more.