Discover your inside story with AncestryDNA®

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 

May 15, 2019

Finding a Huguenot or Walloon Ancestor

Waloon: people who speak a French dialect and live in southern and eastern Belgium and neighboring parts of France.

Huguenot: a French Protestant of the 16th–17th centuries

The breaking out of war between France and Spain in 1635 caused a large influx of Protestant refugees into England from Picardy, Artois, Hainault and Flanders. Amiens was the capital of the Amienois in Picardy.

The Huguenots had long been persecuted in their homelands. Many families, in terror, fled for other lands after the fall of La Rochelle and Montauban. The West Indies, inviting because of its climate and fruitfulness, was becoming the refuge of many Huguenots for whom the cold region of Canada had no attractions.

Removals to these islands had been going on under the direction of a company formed at Paris in 1626, under M. D'Enantbus, who the year before had visited the island of St. Christopher in a brigantine from Dieppe. There he planted the first colony in 1627. In 1635, Martinique was occupied by a hundred old and experienced settlers from St. Christopher, including Phillippe Casier and his wife Maria Taine.

In 1640 Jesuit missionaries arrived at Martinique where there were almost a thousand French, "without mass, without priest,". Having been reluctantly admitted by the governor and the people, the Jesuits heightened the public dissensions which broke out in the islands and which grew so violent five years later, especially in Martinique, that many of the Huguenots were glad to get back to Europe. Many of them went to the Netherlands, some of them, as the Casier family of Calais, eventually finding safe haven at Harlem, New York.

Those seeking their Huguenot or Walloon ancestors may find the following helpful:

Huguenot Ships Passenger Lists
Huguenot Family Names
Huguenot Historical Overview
Huguenots to South Africa

I have written a book about one Walloon immigrant who settled in New Amsterdam (now New York City), New Netherland.

New Netherland Settlers: A Walloon in New Amsterdam:: Adriaen Vincent and his Wife Magdaleen Eloy - 2nd edition! available on Amazon

Adriaen Vincent, a Walloon from Belgium, made the perilous journey to New Netherland with his wife Magdaleen and their young family in the early 1640s. A former West Indies Company soldier, Adriaen was embarking on a new life. The family settled in the village of New Amsterdam, which would one day become the city of New York. Life could not have been easy for the couple, faced with a different culture and language. But settlers were pouring in and New Amsterdam was flourishing. Within a few years Adriaen and Magdaleen opened a tavern which catered to sailors and new arrivals. Their fortunes soon took a turn for the better and the family settled into their new life. This book contains new information on the family in the Netherlands and New Netherland, as well as details on descendants of Adriaen and Magdaleen 

May 12, 2019

6 Generations of Mothers

Wishing all the mothers I know a Happy Mother's Day!
That's my unbroken maternal line of 6 generations of mothers and daughters beginning on the right with my daughter Judy. 

Beautiful women inside and out!  

May 10, 2019

Questions to Ask Mom on Mother's Day

What a great post for Mother's Day! To help celebrate Mother’s Day, Gena Philibert-Ortega provides a list of family history questions to ask mothers on their special day.

Gena very kindly used a tip from me - Olive Tree Genealogy -  as well as a few other genealogists. Here is the link to her article:

Genealogy Tip: What to Ask Mom on Mother’s Day

May 8, 2019

Help Dating an Old Family Photo

A question was asked on a Facebook group about this photo. Audrey M. asked the group "Does anyone know how I could try to find the date of this photograph?"

I thought I would answer here on Olive Tree Genealogy blog.

To date photographs, first detemine the type. This is a cabinet card which were not used until ca 1870. 

Next determine when the photographer was in business. Narrow the years this way. A check online for the Maitland Photography studio in Stratford, Ontario Canada reveals that the owner, George Maitland, did not establish his photography business in that town until 1876. His first studio was on Market Street and that is where this photograph was taken. George was in business for about 30 years (perhaps a little longer) so we can estimate this cabinet card photo was taken between 1876 and 1906 or slightly later. 

Searches of available Stratford City Directories reveals that in 1888 George Maitland's studio was still on Market Street but in 1896, Maitland Photgraphy Studios was on Downie Street. Thus we have narrowed the year of the cabinet card even more.

Next we start looking at clothing and hairstyle clues. The adult woman's hairstyle is ca late 1880s to early 1900s but it could be narrowed down even more. Using the reference book "Out-of-Style:A Modern Perspective of How, Why and When Vintage Fashions Evolved" by Betty Kreisel Shubert
I see that her hair with its flattened "spit curls" was in style 1880-1890s.

Her dress with its tight fitted bodice looks like ca late 1880s to early 1900s as well.The children's clothing is confusing me slightly as the boys with their knickers look to be in the early 1900-1906 range. But the girls are wearing the yoke-style dresses framed with ruffles which was popular in the 1890s.  The 1890s also saw huge balloon style sleeves. I'm leaning towards dating this photograph in the late 1890s.
Here is a place to start reading up on some basic clues

May 6, 2019

4 Genealogy Qestions and Answers

Sue B. wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with several questions:
How do you know who to include in a tree?  Should I just include blood relatives?  I currently have 2500 people in my tree and it is growing daily.  I am using mostly ancestry and and sometimes to search for information.  My tree is in ancestry because I can move anything I find there to my tree.  I am not sure if I should transfer my tree from ancestry to somewhere else in case I opt out of ancestry.  Can I transfer all pictures, ancestry records, parish records and documents if I move my tree?
These are great questions and hopefully my answers will help not only Sue but any other genealogists who are struggling or floundering slightly. So let's take them one question at a time.

Q: How do you know who to include in a tree?  Should I just include blood relatives? 

A: There is no right or wrong way to research your ancestry. Each genealogist must decide on what suits them, or how much time and energy they want to put into their genealogy. But there are some things to remember before you make your decision. For example it is often the case that when you are stuck on finding an ancestor's parents or some other information, searching another son or daughter may provide the solution to your brickwall.

Q: I am using mostly ancestry and and sometimes to search for information. 

A: This isn't a question but I'm going to respond anyway. It seems you are searching mainly in Lancashire England. I would also suggest your branch out and use Find My Past and British Newspapers sites. They have excellent UK records.

Q: I am not sure if I should transfer my tree from ancestry to somewhere else in case I opt out of ancestry. 

A: I would have a backup copy of my tree on my computer even if you never opt out of Ancestry. My suggestion would be for you to find a genealogy program you like and keep your tree there. I like Family Tree Maker but you may prefer a different program such as Legacy Family Tree, Roots Magic, etc. If you google "genealogy programs for family tree" you will see many results and can read up about each of them.

Q: Can I transfer all pictures, ancestry records, parish records and documents if I move my tree?

A: If you are moving your tree from Ancestry, the answer is "no". You will have to save (download) each document manually to your computer and save it on your hard drive. Be sure to label each file so you can easily find it again. I suggest creating a folder for each surname and putting the appropriate files in there. If you are using Family Tree Maker on your computer you can add Media Files easily to each ancestor.

Here is an example of how I create my Genealogy Folders on my computer drive:

I like to name my files as Surname_First Name_Year_Type of Record. That way the documents fall into alphabetical order and chronologically for each individual. Every genealogist has their own method that suits them.

 I've given you my suggestions. Now it's time for my readers to weigh in with theirs. I'm sure there will be many different ideas and answers and I'm looking forward to reading them.