January 30, 2015

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Crestleaf is looking for the "Greatest Love Story Ever Told" for Valentine's Day. Details are on their blog at http://crestleaf.com/blog/call-submissions-greatest-love-story-ever-told/

Here's what they had to say about this fun event:
In the lead up to Valentine's Day, we thought it would be fun to hear some inspiring love stories from your family, relatives or even friends you know. Just a great way to warm up the cold winter months with some inspiring and heart-warming stories.
1916. Mother in Grandma's arms and Godfrey standing in front of them
I submitted the story of my mother and her second husband Godfrey. They met in 1916 when mother was a few months old and were often together as children. As a teenager Godfrey lived with my mother's parents and fell in love with her. He left town without telling her because he wanted to find work, save his  money and come back and propose. When he came back my mother was engaged to my father so once again Godfrey left without saying a word. They lost touch after that.

50 years later in 1985 they accidentally ended up in the same town in Florida for the winter and after Godfrey's wife died, he confessed his love for my mother. She then confessed that she too had loved him way back in 1934.  

They were together from that date until Godfrey's death in 1995. Do you have a story to tell? Why not submit it to Crestleaf? It's a fun activity!



January 29, 2015

Exclusive Offer on IDrive Backup for Olive Tree Genealogy Followers

Keeping your genealogy research safe and sound is important. I've been thinking a lot about how and where genealogists should be backing up their computer files and reached out to iDrive to see if they could help. I'm very pleased to say they agreed to provide an exclusive deal for followers of Olive Tree Genealogy! 


iDrive is offering my followers 1TB of automatic Online Backup Storage PLUS 1TB of Sync Space file storage, for $14.88 for the first year. This is a 75% savings off the regular price of $59.50 and saves you almost $45.00

iDrive is easy to install and easy to use. There's no learning curve and you can start protecting your years of genealogy research immediately. 

Use this link for the Olive Tree Genealogy exclusive offer Offer valid  until Feb. 14,2015 

What Does iDrive Offer?

iDrive offers more benefits and features than Dropbox, Carbonite and Backblaze. Here are just a few of the benefits of iDrive:

- backup unlimited computers and smartphones: Mac, PC, iOS & Android
- ability to set a personal encryption key which affords extra security for your data
- real time (as it happens) backup
- offers both online backup and Syncing services  
- Facebook backup 
- Instagram backup
- iDrive Express:  IDrive will ship you a hard drive of up to 3 TB. You simply backup or restore all of your data from the hard drive and return the drive to IDrive. iDrive then transfers the data to your online account. 

iDrive vs Dropbox, Carbonite & Backblaze

Compare  iDrive and Dropbox, iDrive and Carbonite and iDrive and Backblaze

Are There Any Extras?

iDrive has extras benefits available for a small fee. The one I like best is

- Hybrid local backup with iDrive WiFi. This is secure local storage for all of your important files, with speedy backups and restores

Ready to start protecting your work? Use this link for the Olive Tree Genealogy exclusive offer 

January 28, 2015

Diary and Letters of the Nile Expedition of 1884 now online

The Canadian Military Heritage Project recently added a Diary and Letters kept by Moise Godin during the Nile Expedition of 1884. It's a fascinating account of a Canadian boatman who joined hundreds of Canadians to take barges down the Nile River.

The Nile Expedtiion was the first instance of overseas service of Canadians. In 1884, during the Battle of Khartoum in the Sudan, the British put out a call for Canadian volunteers to help guide British soldiers up the Nile River. The soldiers were to provide some relief to the isolated men stationed there. 

There are 3 pdf files available for download and several newspaper clippings

File 1: 32 pages from Moise Godin's Diary File 2: Drawings & Tickets File 3: 4 envelopes, 4 Letters to his wife Lucie dated 16, 17, 18, 20 Sept. 1884, 3 Letters to his wife early, middle & 30 of Oct 1884, 2 letters to his wife 25 Nov. 1884 & 16 Dec. 1884, Letters from his wife Lucie to Moise 22 Sept.1884 & 1 Nov. 1884 


January 27, 2015

Love it, Don't Care, Hate it! How Families React to Genealogy

Love it, Don't Care, Hate it! How Families React to Genealogy
Have you ever noticed that friends and family react in different ways when you start to relate a genealogy story or find?

In my family most are mildly interested if it's a good story about a rogue or an ancestor who did something exciting. They don't want to hear about 3rd great grandpa Joe who was a farmer his whole life or how I can't find Great Great Grandma Harriet's maiden name. 

There are a couple of my family members who tell me bluntly they aren't interested. At all. Not one little bit. This is usually followed by a yawn.

How many ask me what new things I've found? Zero. None.  I will admit that there are a couple who say the right things "Oh that's cool!" "Wow, good stuff!" but I know they're just being kind. And that's okay because at least I feel like my hard work over the last 30+ years hasn't been totally in vain.

I do wish there were one or two family members who cared, perhaps not as passionately as I do, but who showed more than a passing interest. I'd love to share genealogy discoveries with them. I'd enjoy chatting about brick walls, or brainstorming how to move ahead with a challenging ancestor.

However I count myself lucky to have a husband who shares my love for genealogy and family history. He listens, He enjoys brainstorming sessions. He understands and accepts that if I'm deep into census or church records, I am not stopping to make supper.

What kind of reactions do you get in your family?

Credit: Photo by Stuart Miles

January 26, 2015

Bridgeport Connecticut Photos Rescued

Recently I purchased 35 loose Cabinet Cards and CDVs (Cartes de Visite) that had been removed from an old photo album and were up for sale. Every photo except one was clearly identified and I had a bit of fun yesterday scanning the photos and researching the family.

 This is one of the photos. It's a really lovely photograph of two children, almost certainly brother and sister. They are labelled in period handwriting "Edmon & Fannie". This is the only identified photo that does not include a surname.

Because little Edmon is wearing a dress, we know he is a toddler and not toilet-trained, so probably around 2 years of age. 

The photo is a CDV with rounded corners and this can help date it. Rounded corners on CDVs did not begin until 1872.

Studying the photographer's mark on the verso of this CDV and finding out when M. Smith was in business, as well as studying the clothing styles, children's hair and other clues would allow this photo to be dated with some precision.

From my research yesterday it appears the photos may all connected through family relationships. For example there are 5 photos of brothers and sisters of the Williams family of Bridgeport Connecticut. This became evident as I searched census records on Ancestry.com . I believe, but have not yet proven. that 2 other Williams photos are of wives of two of the brothers.

The Williams family consisted of Benjamin Williams and his wife Elizabeth Goss. Benjamin was born in Maine and Elizabeth in New Brunswick Canada. All the children were born in New Brunswick. The photos I have are of the siblings Simeon, Orlo, Hartley, Eva and Samuel. 

There are photos of the Deniger family, also of Bridgeport. Joseph Henry Deniger and his sister Gertrude are two that I have found so far. Interestingly, their father Joseph Deniger Sr. was born in Canada and their mother Harriet was a Chatfield before her marriage. In the group of photos is one labelled "Uncle Lew Chatfield" and I found 21 year old Lewis Chatfield living with Joseph Deniger Sr in 1860 in Bridgeport.

I hope to have these lovely photos scanned, researched and online on Lost Faces soon. Meantime here is a list of the surnames written on the photos:

Williams, Jackson, Henderson, Morgan, Wells, Deniger, Night, Curtis, Dumbull, Marley, Carpenter, Ferry, Chatfield, Rider, Bowen, Smith, Diott, Polk

Locations of photographic studios were: New York, Bridgeport Conneticut, Danbury Connecticut, Boston Massachusetts, Norwalk Connecticut, Kingston Ontario, Gananoque Ontario, Davis New York, Poughkeepsie New York, Chicago Illinois, Detroit Michigan, and Lynn (Massachusetts?)

Sixteen of the photos were taken in Bridgeport Connecticut.

January 25, 2015

Update on Early Irish Marriage Records Online

The IGRS (Irish Genealogical Research Society) now has over 66,000 marriage records online. The index of early marriages is free to search. A quote from the website states:

With so many parishes in Ireland not having any register of marriages before the 1840s, the database is fast becoming an invaluable tool in identifying where and when ancestors tied-the-knot. It includes references from a myriad of different sources: books, gravestones, family bibles, deeds, wills, letters, court records, published journals, newspapers, census transcripts and old age pensions forms, to name just a few.
Sources drawn upon for this particular update include marriage licence bonds from a number of diocese covering all or parts of counties Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow; and there are further references to marriages from the Registry of Deeds.

January 24, 2015

Lambert Van Valkenburg in the New World

Official Seal of New Netherland
My 9th great-grandfather Lambert Van Valkenburg was born in the Netherlands circa 1614. With his wife Annetje Jacobs, Lambert sailed for the New World of New Netherland (present day New York state). 

From his son Jochem Lambertse Van Valkenburg, there are 10 recognized branches of the Van Valkenburg family (one for each of Jochem's children with his wife Eva Vrooman) and I descend from two - his son Isaac Jochemse (with wife Lydia Van Slyke) and Isaac's sister Jannetje Jochemse (with husband Isaac Van Alstyne)
Records found for Lambert indicate he was in New Amsterdam as early as Jan. 1644. Since it is unlikely the ships sailed in the winter, he was probably in New Amsterdam in the summer or fall of 1643. Existing records indicate he purchased land in July 1644. That 1644 plot of land  is now the site of the Empire State Building in New York City.

29 July 1644: Deed. Jan Jacobssen to Lambert van Valckenburgh, of house and plantation on the island of Manhattan, near Fort Amsterdam. [Register of Provincial Secretary Vol. II p. 121] [Source: Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the office of the Secretary of State, Albany NY edited by EB O'Callaghan]

16 March 1647: Patent. Lammert van Valckenborch; lot south of Fort Amsterdam, Manhattan Island. [Land Papers Vol. G.G. p. 192] [Source: Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the office of the Secretary of State, Albany NY edited by EB O'Callaghan]

Court records are a wonderful resource. Those of us with ancestors in early New Netherland are lucky for the Dutch kept meticulous records. It was a litigious time period and settlers were frequently in court suing their friends and neighbours. Lambert is found many times in the court records for New Netherland. Here is one of the more volatile examples:

Source:"Minutes of the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwyck 1657-1660", translated and edited by A.J.F. Van Laer, Vol.2, Albany, 1923. Page 9:
"Ordinary Session held in Fort Orange, January 9 Anno 1657


"President, J. La Montagne, Rutger Jacobsen, Jacob Schermerhoorn, Andries Herbertsen, Philip Pietersen

"Lambert van Valckenborch, plaintiff, against Henderick Claessen and Gerrit Willemsen, defendants.The plaintiff complains that the defendants beat him and his wife in his own house. The defendants deny it and claim that the plaintiff chased them with a naked rapier out of his house and pursued them to the center of the fort. The court orders the parties respectively to prove their assertions."

In 1659 Lambert was appointed to the Rattle Watch. The Rattle Watch was responsible for walking the streets at night, watching for crimes or fires and from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. they called out the hour every hour as well as ringing their rattles.

Source:"Minutes of the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwyck 1657-1660", translated and edited by A.J.F. Van Laer, Vol.2, Albany, 1923: Page 209-210:"Extraordinary Session held in Fort Orange, August 8 Anno 1659

"Instructions issued by the honorable commissary and magistrates of Fort Orange and the village of Beverwyck for the rattle watch, appointed at the request of the burghers to relieve them of night-watch duty; to the rattle watch of which place Lambert van Valckenborgh and Pieter Winnen were appointed the 6th of July of this year 1659, on condition that they together are to receive for the term of one year one thousand and one hundred guilders in seawan and one hundred guilders in beavers.

Read more about Lambert from the Court Records online at Lambert Van Valkenburg in The New World This was first published as "Lambert Van Valkenburg: His Life in the New World as Revealed in Court Documents and Other Primary Source Records From 1644 - 1664" by Lorine McGinnis Schulze in The National Association of the Van Valkenburg Family of America serialized beginning in the Fall of 1999

January 23, 2015

Earl G. Gregory's WW2 Navy ID Tags Need to Go Home (Case #24)

Sue wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with a request for help sending a WW2 Navy ID Tag back to family
Earl G. Gregory's WW2 Navy ID Tags Need to Go Home (Case #24)
I would like to find a home for the attached dog tag.  My father ran a wrecker service in DeKalb, Illinois and found this in a car many years ago.  It is for Earl George Gregory.
After receiving Sue's email I did some research. The first thing I noticed was that this was a Navy ID Tag (USN on the tag)

A search on Ancestry.com found this record for Earl:

Earl George Gregory
Service Info.: CWT US NAVY WORLD WAR II
Birth Date:18 Dec 1916
Death Date:11 Jun 1990
Cemetery:Thomason Cemetery
Cemetery Address:Main St Wayne City, IL 62895

Find-A-Grave shows his wife as Anna, buried with him.

If you can help find Earl's family, we can add this to our solved cases with a happy ending. There is probably a family member who would treasure this item, let's help find Earl's family and send it home.