May 6, 2015

Loving Legacy Tree! (and a Special Offer for My Readers)

Review of Legacy Tree and a Special Offer
Recently I used Legacy Tree's research services. I was very impressed! The researcher assigned to my query was very speedy with her response and very professional. She showed a thorough understanding of what I knew and what I wanted to find out.

Within the week I received a detailed report which contained new information on my ancestor. The report also provided me with recommendations of more research that could be conducted. My particular search is in Germany which is an area of research unfamiliar to me and where I do not have access to the records. I will definitely use their services again to pursue this ancestor.

Because I was so pleased with their services, I reached out to Legacy Tree and they kindly agreed to let me offer a very nice special to my readers. And just in time for Mother's Day!

It’s Legacy Tree Genealogists’ 11 year anniversary! To celebrate, get a beautiful genealogy wall chart for just $11 with a qualified research project (includes tax/shipping; offer ends May 31, 2015). 

Legacy Tree Genealogists provides careful and efficient family history research for clients worldwide, including help with dual citizenship, DNA testing analysis and research, brick wall research, family biographies, and more. Learn more at

May 5, 2015

Patients in Toronto Insane Asylum 1841

Was your ancestor one of these troubled individuals below?

Following are the names of patients in the Toronto Insane Asylum in 1841 taken from the image above: James Watson, Keeran Flyn, John Gibson, Hugh Husson, James Beaty, Daniel Izord, Daniel McNab, John Stewart, Francis Lindsay, Elijah Chappell, John Lambert, Ellen Dunn ,Letitia Stevtns ,Eliza Murphy, Mary Kelly, Elizabeth McLean, Mary Campbell, Mary Thompson, Jacob Barnhart, Nancy Henly, Mary Erskine ,George Daniels, Edward Bevans, William Ridley, Anne Wallis, Mary Thompson, Martha Spotswood, John Beare, Nancy Hcnly George Winters, Samuel Morrell, Mary Thompson

For more information on existing medical records for Ontario see 

May 4, 2015

Introducing Drew Smith, Guest Genealogist

Some genealogists may not be familiar with Drew Smith, who is based in Florida.

I "met" Drew online on Facebook a year ago and was immediately impressed with his knowledge and genealogical skills. Drew's a busy guy and I am thankful he found the time to answer my questions. Read on to learn more about Drew and his work in technology and genealogy. 

1.     How and when did you become involved in the field of genealogy? 

Growing up in upstate South Carolina, it was difficult not to be aware of the importance of knowing about one's family and how everyone was related.  But as a child I was easily discouraged about working on my family, given such common family names as Smith, Martin, and King. When my favorite aunt passed away in 1991, I decided that her generation was nearly gone and that I needed to get serious about genealogical research. 

2.     What is your main genealogical focus? 

I have written and co-written a few books, written a large number of articles, and have done speaking at national and state conferences going back many years.  I am especially known as being the co-host of The Genealogy Guys Podcast. 

3.     Please tell us more about this main focus. 

Because I have a technology background, I am most interested in how to apply technology to solve genealogical problems. 

4.      What are your website(s) and blogs? 

I podcast at The Genealogy Guys Podcast (, and blog on occasion at Rootsmithing with Technology ( 

5.     Do you have a Social Media presence?  

I'm on Twitter at @drewsmithtpa, Pinterest at drewsmithtpa (haven't had much time to spend there), Facebook at drew.smith, and Google+ at +DrewSmithTPA. 

6.     Do you believe a Social Media presence is important? 

I think that Social Media provides the best way to be visible to other genealogists, especially if you're engaged in professional activities and you want people to be able to find you and see what you're doing. 

7.     Are you a member of any genealogical societies or organizations? 

I'm a member of APG and NGS.  I have previously served on the Board of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Florida State Genealogical Society.  I am currently the President of my local society here in Tampa, the Florida Genealogical Society, and I'm the Chair of the Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO). 

8.     What does genealogy mean to you? Why do you believe it is important? 

I think genealogy connects us to our history and to each other.  It makes history come alive and it enlightens us about our ancestors and about ourselves. 

9.     What do you believe is the most exciting development in genealogy today? 

The two most exciting developments in genealogy today are the increasing number of original records being digitized and put online for viewing, and the availability of DNA testing. 

10. Do you have a prediction or hope for the field of genealogy in the future? 

I hope that genealogy will continue to fascinate each new generation as it tries to understand the world and how its ancestors' past decisions led to the individuals alive today.  It is an affordable hobby that remains personal and intriguing.  I estimate that we'll continue to benefit from future digitization efforts for decades to come. 

11.  Please feel free to add anything you would like to say that hasn’t been addressed by the questions above. 

While genealogy isn't some sort of panacea that will lead to world peace, I do believe that those who engage in it come away with a better appreciation of humanity, both the good and the bad.

May 3, 2015

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album 22R Ward 30

This Photo Archive consists of a small autograph album (6.5" by 5.25") kept by Constance (Connie) Philips as a memento of her time serving as a nurse during World War One. 

The majority of the photos and items are from 1915, when she served as a nurse in France and Britain.

The album and all photographs, postcards, and other ephemera contained in the album belong to Karin Armstrong and may not be copied or republished without her written permission. The images will be published on Olive Tree Genealogy with permission.

Each image has been designated an "R" for Recto or a "V" for Verso plus an album page number. Recto is the right-hand side page of a bound book while Verso is the left-hand side page.

I will be posting the entire album and my additional research on the individuals identified in Connie's album over the coming months so please check back frequently to view these historic photos. The easiest way to see what has been published is to click on the topic "Nursing Sister WW1 Photos" in the vertical menu bar on the right side of your screen. You can also click on that phrase at the bottom of this post.

May 2, 2015

Featured: California Digital Newspaper Collection

Featured: California Digital Newspaper Collection
The California Digital Newspaper Collection contains 76,996 issues comprising 659,335 pages and 7,463,349 articles. It is free to search and consists of newspapers from 1846 to the present day.

Search the California Digital Newspaper Collection.

May 1, 2015

AncestryDNA Soon Available in Canada!

AncestryDNA Soon Available in Canada!
Great news! AncestryDNA will soon be available for Canadians. 

You can sign up for the invite list on to be notified as soon as it is available. 

I just signed up today and am eager to get my DNA kit to complete my testing.

April 30, 2015

Irish Catholic Parish Registers Coming Online July 8!

Irish Catholic Parish Registers Coming Online July 8!
If you have Irish ancestors, mark your calendars! The National Library of Ireland is bringing Irish Catholic Parish Registers online! Quoting from the NLI website:

On 8th July 2015 the NLI will make its collection of Catholic parish register microfilms freely available online on a dedicated website.

These records, which are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 census, consist primarily of baptism and marriage records and date from the 1740s to the 1880s.
My fingers are crossed that I might be able to find my mysterious Joseph McGinnis (ca 1827 Ireland -?) and Fanny Downey (ca 1827 Ireland -1904 Ontario Canada) in those records. 

The records consist of almost 400,000 images and are completely free to search. Typically, the parish registers include information such as the dates of baptisms and marriages, and the names of the key people involved, including godparents or witnesses. The digital images of the registers will be searchable by parish location only, and will not be transcribed or indexed by the NLI.

April 29, 2015

Got New Orleans Ancestors? Don't Miss These Online Records

Got New Orleans Ancestors? Don't Miss These Online Records
1801 Letter
The University of Notre Dame has the following searchable records online for the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas (later known as the Diocese of New Orleans) : Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas 1576-1803

Anyone using this database should be careful not to overlook the very detailed explanation of what each roll of microfilm contains.  There is also an interesting history of the Diocese provided.

One of the records I found consists of dozen of pages along with an English translation. They appear as thumbnail images which can be clicked on to view the original.
On the right is the start of the results for the record I found for the clandestine marriage in Ovachita of D'Anemours and Lucila Withe (Lucille White).

Even though they are not my ancestors it is fascinating reading!